Art Historian Jed Perl's challenge to reveal a topic in the work of Pablo Picasso that hadn't been thoroughly covered results in “Cock-a-Doodle,” an analysis of the master's lifelong penchant for making art about poultry. Less glorious and known than the master's celebrated images of women and bullfights, birds intended for the dinner table are nonetheless a critical aspect of his oeuvre. For Picasso common birds were perfect tools for implying the elemental. He was not a gourmet. Food was less important for him as nourishment than as a mirror of the soul. Based on an eighty-five page analysis of all of his works on the topic, this essay focuses on his 1962 painting Coq Troussé (Trussed Cock) . In this picture Picasso reversed the ordinary process whereby birds are slaughtered before plucking, making this painting unique in the history of game bird portraiture. Horrified and horrifying, the unwilling star of Picasso's timeless and global image demands that his viewers confront their fears of savagery and death. Picasso focused on the carnage lurking behind societal niceties; loved divulging the viscera of so-called civilization; and found in humble, ungainly chicken (and other edible birds) an enduring motif for his humanistic mission.
Late Night in the Lion's Den: A Social History of Chinese-American Restaurant-Nightclubs in the 1940s Restaurant menus can serve as excellent primary source material for social histories. The springboard for this article is a 1940s menu from San Francisco's Lion's Den, a Chinese-American restaurant and nightclub. A thorough review of the food and drink offerings is bolstered by an interview with a former Lion's Den dancer and emcee, Ms. Nora Wong. She tells stories of growing up Chinese in the U.S., and provides vivid insight into the real life of Chinese performers in the mid-twentieth century. The article is illustrated with period menus and the first-ever public glimpse of a telling behind-the-scene photograph from Ms. Wong's personal album. Beginning with 1930s Shanghai, the world nightlife capital that inspired imitators in the U.S., this article explores the naissance, development, heated competition, and eventual demise of Chinese nightclubs in both California and New York City. Many Chinese restaurant/nightclubs of the period are discussed, and other well-known performers are featured. Other topics discussed include the Western exotification of Asia, stereotyping, sexism, and racism.