Monthly Archives: May 2009

A Man of Many Passions

By Anne Johnson

NEW YORK CITY – Walking through the white, angular galleries inside the Museum of Modern Art, Hector Feliciano points to a Cubist painting of a dull, brown and blue toned figure and says in his warm accent, “This is one of the paintings looted by the Nazis.”

In recent years, “Harlequin” by Pablo Picasso and other paintings with similar histories have been returned to their pre-war owners, thanks in part to Feliciano. Feliciano documented 2,000 of the nearly 200,000 stolen artifacts in his book “The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World’s Greatest Works of Art”.

Pablo Picasso's "Harlequin" (Image via the MoMA)

Pablo Picasso's "Harlequin" (Image via the MoMA)

Feliciano spent 8 years of his life researching and writing “The Lost Museum”. He spent the last 10 years helping a few European families recover prized heirlooms. Now, Feliciano is moving on from this secretive and exclusive world of art dealers and museum curators.

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In Tough Times, Students Eat Trash

By Anne Johnson

NEW YORK CITY – With the light of the street lamps and the storefront windows, a small group of people rummage through piles of trash bags outside of the D’Agostino Supermarket on 38th Street at Third Avenue. “I’ve got tomatoes!” a muffled voice exclaims. Another asks, “Anyone want some corn flakes?” Quickly identifying this rag-tag assembly, a passerby hollers, “Freegans!” a witness to the freegan “trash tour.”

Freegans reuse goods thrown away by their neighbors. They recover everything from clothing and food to appliances and furniture.

The name “freegan” is a mashup of “free” and “vegan”. These two words reflect the core of freegan beliefs: vegans withdrawing from consumerism by subsisting completely on found and naturally grown food.

Due in part to the state of the economy, freeganism, also known as “dumpster diving”, is gaining popularity among college students. The anti-waste lifestyle of foraging for food in supermarket garbage has one major appeal towards students struggling to pay for tuition and housing: it’s free.

Freegan eating a bagel found in the trash. (Image via daylife.com)

Freegan eating a bagel found in the trash. (Image via daylife.com)

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One Morning with the Stylish Janice Chou

By Anne Johnson

NEW YORK CITY – Janice Chou is a master at multi-tasking. Walking in to the StyleCaster.com studio on West 27th Street, the 22-yr-old is in her element. This particular Friday morning in April, the recent college graduate is working with the website’s high-tech 360-degree green screen. Here, featured looks by guest stylists are photographed while a model spins around on a circular platform.

Chou’s title at StyleCaster.com may read Fashion Assistant, but it is clear that she does much more than organize a closet full of pretty clothes. Working at a fledgling website, Chou has expanded her role in the studio to include her own fashion news column and a series of do-it-yourself video blogs. In between photographing looks on the green screen, she interviews the makeup and hair stylists for video blogs.

The Brooklyn-based NYU alum describes her work for the website saying, “I do a little of everything.” However, writing is where her heart is and her column for the site, “Young Blood”, is the beating center. In this lifestyle blog, Chou focuses on her love of music, covering album releases, concert details, and general news from the music world.

Chou is deeply dedicated to her work at StyleCaster. She is unperturbed by the characteristic long hours of the fashion industry and that of a young company. “We are here from 10 a.m. to whenever the work is done,” she explains.

The work and dedication seems to be paying off. Since it’s private launch in January, StyleCaster.com has attracted thousands of fans. Part news room, part shopping center, part online community, StyleCaster.com offers a one-stop site for fashion lovers across the globe. “We are trying to think outside of a set community,” explains Chou, “we are catering to the prep, the hipster, and everyone in between.”

After answering a few questions, she is busy again: fixing a problem with the green screen, editing a video blog of an interview with the makeup artist, and securing the model’s belt that keeps slipping off of her spindly frame. It never seems to end. By noon, 11 looks have been photographed and catalogued, only 64 to go for today. Later in the day, she will work on her column, switching her focus from fashion to music and the Death Cab for Cutie new release. But right now, it is just time for lunch.