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By John A. Barry And Bill Carmel

Apologies to Irving Berlin

Uploaded: Feb 13, 2017

Berlin wrote “Puttin’ on the Ritz” in 1927. The song first appeared in the 1930 film Puttin’ on the Ritz (1930). This version features poor but fashionably attired blacks parading on Lenox Ave. in Harlem. Berlin rewrote the lyrics for Blue Skies (1946) to feature affluent whites promenading on Park Ave.

I’ve written four take-offs on the latter version under the title “Putin’ on a Blitz,” respectively about the murderous dictator’s rape of Georgia and Ukraine and about his support for war criminal Bashar al-Assad.

Recently I ran across an old pull-down map of Europe a friend gave me years ago. I had always planned to do something with it but didn’t know what. Then it struck me: a visual representation of Putin’s aim to reconstitute the old Union. With white, blue, and red, the hues of the Russian tricolor, I modified the map by using trAction Painting techniques and brushes. I painted the lines radiating from Moscow with inline skates. With brushes, I inserted the tricolor question marks in Western European countries.