Archive | January, 2014

January Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

31 Jan


A new year brought a new Bruce Springsteen album. And it opened at #1 on Billboard. High Hopes indeed … The HighHopes.BruceSpringsteen.1.31.14New York Guitar Festival’s month-long celebration of all-things guitar included Guitar Marathon: Las Americas, which featured artists from Latin America performing a variety of styles, the Alt-Guitar Summit, a six-hour classical marathon, and the really cool Silent Films/Live Guitars, music to silent films featuring NY … Make Music Monthly, a series of talks with musicians at the Cornelia Street Café and on podcasts, debuted with a discussion of Charles Mingus’s two-hour work, Epitaph … NY Phil’s pianist-in-residence, Yefim Bronfman, played Greenwich Village basement space SubCulture … The 10th annual five-day NYC Winter Jazzfest featured a 75th anniversary concert at Town Hall for Blue Note Records and a takeover of Greenwich Village clubs … Rolling Stone scribe Will Hermes to write Lou Reed bio, potentially called, Lou: A New York Life … Beatlemania just starting: Capitol released The Beatles: The U.S. Albums, a 13-CD set … Neil Young played Carnegie Hall, where he made his solo debut in 1970 … We wish a speedy recovery to Maestro Kurt Mazur who had to cancel his annual Manhattan School of Music conducting seminar … Although he’s not retiring until June we begin bidding our goodbye to NY Philharmonic Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow, who showed his chops in Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3 and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto. A great musician and a real nice guy. Bravo!


PeteSeeger.1.31.14One of a kind. Made a mark. Not just in music. But on culture and on society. Making peace was Pete Seeger’s message. And his mission. “The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.” He left us with Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, If I Had a Hammer, and Turn, Turn, Turn. And he also gave us his versions of This Land Is Your Land and We Shall Overcome. In Beacon you lived. And a beacon you were, and will forever be. Bless you and thank you, Pete Seeger. We remember you well.


Ceci n’est pas une pipe. You know the words. Better, you know the image.Magritte.The-Kiss.1951.1.31.14 The one and only René Magritte. MOMA’s celebration of the great Surrealist, Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926-1938, finally came to an end. His art was representative, yet paradoxical, his images indelible. Even popular. That he shared the same name as my father made him my favorite. That he made me think, while appreciating the pretty pictures, only made me admire him more. What you see, well, is that what is?


ChimesOfFreedom.1.31.14The world’s largest grassroots human rights organization, Amnesty International, is a global movement of people fighting injustice and promoting human rights. And music has played a big part in raising awareness and much needed funds, and inspiring others to care.

Donate or buy the Chimes For Freedom CD featuring Johnny Cash, Pete Townshend, Patti Smith, Pete Seeger and more singing Bob Dylan songs.

Soundtrack to this Issue is Pete Seeger singing Bob Dylan’s Forever Young. From Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International.

 Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l

“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

Pete Seeger pic: Huffington Post, January 28, 2014
Pete Seeger quote: NY Times, January 29, 2014
René Magritte pic: The Kiss 1951

Two Music Firsts: Grammys and Super Bowl

22 Jan

So here’s good news in the music world. One expected. Since the Grammys are all about exploring the present music scene, a new award is always welcome. The other is totally unexpected. And oh so cool. The Super Bowl is exploring beyond their comfort zone. Check it out.

Here’s a really cool Grammy award. It’s a new one. And if you loved your music teachers as much as I loved mine, you’ll dig this news. TheGrammyMusicEducator.1.22.14 GRAMMYs are recognizing for the first time ever the significant role music teachers play in shaping students’ appreciation of music with the Music Educator Award. The first recipient is Kent Knappenberger of Westfield Academy in Western New York – “Mr. K” to his students.

“I think it’s my job to try to approach children in a way that I can try to find something musical in them and sometimes in the kid you think shouldn’t have some musical gifting. If you start looking – wow, it’s there and amazing things happen.”

It will be presented to Mr. K at the Special Merits Awards Ceremony during GRAMMY Week. Congrats, Mr. K! Do you know a great music teacher? The deadline to nominate next year’s music educator is March 31. Applications are at

At the Super Bowl, we’re accustomed to hearing huge popular artists take the stage. At half-time and before the game. In groundbreaking ReneeFleming.1.22.14.decca-AndrewEcclesand truly great Super Bowl news, the national anthem will be sung by opera star, Renee Fleming. The winner of four Grammys and the National Medal of Arts, she is such a perfect choice. If you’ve ever been at a performance or event where she is the host, you know how down-to-earth and gracious this brilliant soprano is. And what a voice! Usually performed by pop and country stars, it’s not an easy song to sing, but Ms. Fleming will nail it. And I bet she will win over a lot of new fans. Hey NFL, outstanding!




Grammy quotes: Official Grammy website
Kent Knappenberger pic: CBS News
Renee Fleming pic: Decca/Andrew Eccles

Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks: January 20, 1975

20 Jan

Released on this day in 1975, Blood on the Tracks is one of the very best albums ever. In fact it is the album that is always on my turntable. Just waiting for a spin. A perfect album. Lyrics and melody. Melody and lyrics. Most think it’s his best album. It’s the one that every Dylan album that has come after it is compared to. I know that it’s surely one of my favorites (I’ve always loved Planet Waves as much).

Inspired to write about his broken marriage, each song tells a part of a great love story. With songs about love and tragedy, relationships found and lost, Dylan sings soulfully and honestly. “These are songs of ‘images and distorted facts,’ each expressed through tangled points of view, and all of them blue.” The opening song, Tangled Up In Blue, is perhaps best of all.

Tangled Up In Blue
Early one mornin’ the sun was shinin’,
I was layin’ in bed
Wond’rin’ if she’d changed at all
If her hair was still red.
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like mama’s homemade dress
Papa’s bankbook wasn’t big enough.
And I was standin’ on the side of the road
Rain fallin’ on my shoes
Heading out for the east coast
Lord knows I’ve paid some dues gettin’ through,
Tangled up in blue.




Tangled Up In Blue lyrics: music and lyrics by Bob Dylan, Sony/ATV Music Publishing 1974
Quote: David Cantwell

My Journey of Rescue: Part One

19 Jan

I love dogs. I have been sad over losing my Buddha Boy. I have felt rudderless. Without an anchor to hold me steady. I lost something beautiful and oh so important.

I started on a journey of rescue. Ready or not, friends started sending links to rescue sites where cute terriers awaited my visit. And as it turned out unexpectedly, I fell in love. A lot. With cute faces and warm eyes. Just as my wonderful vet said I would. But permanent attachment to any of these loves was not to be.

What did happen by the end of the journey – which I am calling Part One out of high hopes and a positive feeling of what will be – is that I realized I learned so much more than I could have ever imagined. About dogs, sure. About myself, too. And about finding myself anew. Our capacities for love really know no bounds. Neither computer screen nor 7-page applications keep us from getting touched by living creatures that get under our skins.

Each dog has made an

indelible paw print on my heart.

You do not meet these sweet vulnerable beings – in person or online – without remembering them forever. I have not forgotten any one of them. I can’t. Each has made an indelible paw print on my heart. And though it makes me sad now. Brings tears to my eyes. I know that my heart is fuller for knowing them. For going through the experience (as hard as it turned out to be for me). And that can only be a good thing.

All need to be rescued. Their stories are difficult to hear. Their damage both visible and unseen. Because of my own story, exactly because of my own story, I have always believed that as long as a creature is present on this Earth, it will need rescuing. Shelter or shop, it’s a living thing that needs a home. As I know only too well, the picture presented on the outside isn’t always the reality on the inside. We all need rescuing.

At each trial, however, my gut instinct was telling me no, not right, not this one, not yet. There is scientific evidence of “an inner knowing preceding our rational mind.” I have always listened to my gut feeling and my intuition. Heeding these inner inklings has always been my natural course. You can’t overthink on love. You feel the rightness about it, in which case there is no back and forth, no right or not right debate. With intact memories of my first meetings with Skeffington, then Buddha, I knew what I expected. That would be a strong feeling of joy without any thought of anything else. This is my guidepost. The only one I know. Thus on this journey, my ultimate conclusion was that heart not head prevail.

I think about each dog. Those I met and the ones I met solely online but hoped to meet. I pray that they are well and that they are happy. That they are comfortable and loved. They deserve to be in homes where kindness is the norm.

I learned right away that it was not just about the dogs. The people I met on this journey were kind, trustworthy, and well-intentioned. Very smart, very savvy about the dogs in their care. It is their mission. I did not want to disappoint any of them. They deserved to know the truth about their charge’s future home life. They learned my story to determine my value to their charges. I answered all their questions. I asked a lot of questions of each of them, too. And they rewarded me with their knowledge and patience. In each case, hard as it was for me, and I was told hard for them, too, the right decision was always made. Always. Just because I am sad for what might have been, the right way prevailed. It is always about the best for the dog. That’s what we’re all in this for, right?

LucasLucas.cr2 MatthewMatthew.cr2

Rescue works both ways. Believe me. It is the truth. I believe this deep down in my bones. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Although Richard Gere rescues her, Pretty Woman Julia Roberts rescues him right back – it is how this whole life thing works.

We rescue each other. With kindness and love and respect. And our dogs deserve nothing less. They are sweet, sweet, sweet creatures. They will love you and trust you and count on you. You need to be worthy of all that. Anything else, anything less, will not, cannot do.

I am changed by the dogs I met. By the people I talked to. By the experiences I went through. By the feelings I had. Every day I think about Simon, Maxx, lovely Fergus, Bennie, Lucas, and sweet, shy Matthew. Does a new chapter await? I hope so. There is still the next journey to be taken. Because there is a need yet unfulfilled. Love will be found. So I am told. So I believe. Amen.

Inner knowing quote: The Intuitive Compass by Francis P. Cholle (Jossey-Bass 2012)
Simon: Home For Good Dog Rescue
Maxx: Zani’s Furry Friends
Fergus: Unconditional Love Pet Rescue
Bennie: Animal Haven
Lucas: Posh Pets Rescue
Matthew: Bideawee


1 Jan

Change is hard. Everyone agrees this is so. This year brought each of us changes that were expected and unexpected, welcome and unwelcome. We adapt to some. Others we struggle through. Hope gives us the strength to persevere. Friends and colleagues provide inspiration.

Here’s to changes. And here’s to welcoming them in the new year.

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Ah, changes are taking the pace I’m going through

Dec13.DavidBowieChangesListen to David Bowie’s Changes


Changes lyrics: words and music by David Bowie (EMI Music Publishing)

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