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

26 Mar

ARE YOU INSPIRED?

marvin-gaye-got-to-give-it-up.tamla.Mar2015

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” (Jack London) …

A jury ruled that Blurred Lines copied elements of Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give It Up, requiring Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke pay $7.3 million to Gaye’s heirs for copyright infringement. “The verdict handicaps any creator who is making something that might be inspired by something else…fashion, music, design, anything. This is about protecting the intellectual rights of people who have ideas. Everything that’s around you in a room was inspired by something or someone. If you kill that, there’s no creativity.” So says Pharrell Williams after the decision …

What does inspire mean? (verb) 1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence 2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought) 3. to influence or impel 4. to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence 5. to give rise to, bring about, cause … From the 14th century Old French, to influence with an idea or purpose;  inhale, breathe in …

“As an artist you want to record songs you feel strongly about…” A life filled with sadness, abuse, depression, and loss, Marvin Gaye found inspiration from what he saw around him and what he lived through. His songs reflected his concerns about poverty, discrimination, politics, drug addiction, and the environment. Motown founder Berry Gordy says of Gaye, “The truest artist I’ve ever known. Whatever he was going through in his life he put on records. So if you want to know Marvin just listen to one of his records.” … One may hold fast to the enduring resonance of What’s Going On, Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), and Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler), songs by an inspired and inspiring artist …

Let’s also keep in mind what Bob Dylan said, “Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it.” His are our last words.

CHANGES AT THE PHIL

PART 1: THE OPERATOR

Agent, manager, recording executive, film producer, and philanthropist, David Geffen is donating $100 million to renovate david-geffen.Mar2015and rename Avery Fisher Hall, becoming David Geffen Hall this September with the start of the New York Philharmonic’s 2015-16 season … Geffen made his mark in the music biz finding talent and building record companies to nurture that talent. He received the Ahmet Ertegun Lifetime Achievement Award from one of his early artists Jackson Browne at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. Of his success he said, “I have no talent except for the ability to enjoy and recognize it in others.”

Being shrewd is crucial to succeed, as this story from his bio, The Operator, shows. When John Lennon wanted to get back to recording, every label wanted to sign him. Upset that Yoko was not respected, John had her answer the phone calls. All the record execs “dismissed her rudely and demanded to speak with Lennon. Each time, Lennon directed Ono to hang up.” Although he didn’t know her, Geffen “shrewdly figured out that she was the decision maker…he sent her a telegram and asked for a meeting with her.” Seeing that it was addressed to her, John said, “He’s the one we’ll go with.”

By the way, did you know David Geffen started out in the mailroom at William Morris?

PART 2: THE MAESTRO

AlanGilbert.Mar2015The Philharmonic announced that music director Alan Gilbert will be stepping down in 2017 after eight seasons. The first native New Yorker to hold the post and the son of two of its players, he expanded the Orchestra’s repertory and its activities, developing CONTACT!, premiering new scores, and the NY Philharmonic Biennial, exploring modern composers … Especially inspiring (yes!) were his programs, La Dolce Vita: Music of Italian Cinema with Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, and Josh Groban, and Philharmonic 360, where the Orchestra surrounded the audience in the cavernous Park Avenue Armory, playing Boulez, Mozart, and Ives … His entrepreneurial energy and pioneering spirit has inspired the Orchestra and its audiences. Bravo, Maestro!

THE BACK-UP PLAN

You’ll find inspiration in the documentary, The Wrecking Crew, about the studio musicians behind The Beach Boys, The WreckingCrew.Mar2015Monkees, Sonny & Cher, The Mamas and the Papas, and my fave, The Association (Windy!) – the sound of 1960s LA soft rock. In it, Nancy Sinatra says, “The musicians were really the unsung heroes of all those hit records.” … What’s really cool is what media specialist Howard Homonoff has to say about the doc. In his Forbes article, Howard points out the film’s “real lesson is about being open to finding creativity and innovation in unlikely places – not just in music but far beyond.” Read it just to learn his takeaways – partnership makes good business and that there’s nothing that talent, experience, and professionalism can beat. Follow him, his articles are great … And oh yeah, teamwork can be inspiring.

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.Vans+ASPCA.Mar2015

Vans launched a new collection of shoes, shirts, hats, and bags featuring dog and cat patterns to support the ASPCA. The shoes are available for purchase now at vans.com and select footwear retailers.

Soundtrack to this Issue isWindy.TheAssociation.Mar2015.b

Windy by The Association
#1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart, July 1967

C’mon, sing along:
Who’s peekin’ out from under a stairway
Calling a name that’s lighter than air
Who’s bending down to give me a rainbow
Everyone knows it’s Windy

Who’s tripping down the streets of the city
Smilin’ at everybody she sees
Who’s reachin’ out to capture a moment
Everyone knows it’s Windy

And Windy has stormy eyes
That flash at the sound of lies
And Windy has wings to fly
Above the clouds (Above the clouds)
Above the clouds (Above the clouds)

Who rescued whom?Delivery.10.29.14.happiness.cr

So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

Sources:
Pharrell Williams quote: Rolling Stone, March 19, 2015
Marvin Gaye quote: Marvin Gaye fan page website
Berry Gordy quote: This is Rebel Music by Harvey Kubernik (University of New Mexico Press, 2004)
David Geffen pic: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2010
David Geffen quote: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2010
John Lennon story: The Operator by Tom King (Random House, 2000), pages 311-312
Alan Gilbert illustration: New York Times Book Review/Jillian Tamaki
Windy lyrics: Mildred J. Hill, Patty Smith Hill, Ruthann Friedman, © Irving Music Inc., Summy-birchard Company

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