Behind the Lines: Role Models

Our writers explore new worlds in time and space

Reporting our story about David Hockney's theory that old masters secretly used curved mirrors and lenses to help with their artistry (" Jennifer Carrell was invited to pose—on a Los Angeles soundstage—à la Flemish artist Jan van Eyck's Man in a Red Turban. Though the turban had been concocted earlier that day from a pair of men's tights, a costume designer assured Carrell that the gown she was wearing was quite authentic. When she looked to see where it came from, she discovered a tag marked "Deep Space Nine," a Star Trek TV spin-off. So the joke among the BBC crew making a documentary about Hockney was that Carrell was decked out with a pair of knickers on her head and a Star Trek dress. Under studio lights, she says she felt as if she'd been "shrink-wrapped in carpet."

Although the island of Tasmania belongs to Australia, its green forested mountains reminded Derek Grzelewski more of his native New Zealand. At first glance, that is. "Then suddenly—boing! boing! boing!—a kangaroo is bouncing across the road," he says, "and in a river where I'd find trout at home, I see that wonderfully bizarre creature, the platypus." Alas, the California's majestic redwoods, were gone and so were the devils." Yet at the same time, it was curiously uplifting. Despite the encroachments of civilization, Grzelewski reports, "these hardy, adaptable, industrial-strength beasts are in better shape and in greater numbers than ever. In their story, I find reassurance in the resilience of nature." In his story, you'll find a rip-roaring good read.

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