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

27 Aug

AUGUST’S RAP-UP

StraightOuttaCompton.August2015

“Whether it was money, gangbanging, crack, LAPD and eventually AIDS — everything in the world came down on this group. What did we combat all that with? We had music. We had lyrics. We had hip-hop.” (Ice Cube)

You’d think the film Straight Outta Compton was based on today’s headlines. But it started in the 1980’s when five friends in Compton, CA, a city in south-central L.A. with drugs, crime, street gangs, and a high murder rate, formed a group and told their story. This biopic about the groundbreaking hip-hop group N.W.A. (original members Dr. Dre and Ice Cube are producers) beat all expectations, debuting at #1 … Their debut album of the same name marked the beginning of gangsta rap, hitting at real-life issues – racial profiling and police brutality. Rolling Stone cited the album as one of hip-hop’s most crucial albums, calling it a “bombastic, cacophonous car ride through Los Angeles’ burnt-out and ignored hoods.”  … With funky, bass-driven beats and explicit controversial lyrics, they left a lasting legacy on hip-hop music. The stories they were telling in the album were relevant then and resonate still – in this new film as well as in tonight’s evening news.

Hamilton.August2015.plain

And hip-hop made it to Broadway, too. Hamilton, opening to record-breaking advance sales, is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Real history with a real hip-hop score. Sure, it’s about the birth of our nation. But its world of politics with rivalries, self-interest, integrity, even a sex scandal, mirrors our own state of the union, centuries later. Another example of hip-hop storytelling that’s historically significant yet pertinent today.

THE BEATLES PLAY NEW YORK!

Did you have one of these?BeatlesShea.August2015.ticket

BeatlesShea.August2015August 15 marked the 50th anniversary of the Beatles concert at Shea Stadium. In front of 55,000 screaming fans, the largest crowd in music history at the time, they were introduced by Ed Sullivan: “…honored by their country, decorated by their Queen, and loved here in America, here are the Beatles.” Then they ran on stage to open the concert with Twist and Shout.

HAVING SURGERY? BRING FLOYD!DarkSideOfMoon.August2015

A good song makes us feel better, right? According to new research, patients who listened to music were less anxious after surgery and needed less pain relief. In fact the lead author, Dr. Catherine Meads, said Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon helped soothe her pain after hip surgery … Dr. Hazim Sadideen from University Hospitals Birmingham also researched the role of music, “Undertaking both minor and major surgery can induce stress. Music can be used…to improve the patient journey…” … So doctor, what do the tests show? Listening to music before, during, and after an operation can help reduce pain. That’s a relief … And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear, You shout and no one seems to hear, And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”

BABY WE WERE BORN TO RUNBornToRun.ColumbiaRecordsAd.1975

“The screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves, like a vision she dances across the porch, as the radio plays…” … So starts Born To Run, August 25 marking 40 years it hit record stores. This is the original Columbia Records ad. Special place in my heart, my record company (CBS Records) and recording studio (Record Plant) alma maters. One happy tramp.

DOG NEWSStraightOuttaCompton.Westieland.8.9.15

Turns out, August 15 is an auspicious date. It also marked Clear the Shelters day. About 7.6 million animals enter shelters across the country each year, 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats, according to the ASPCA. Waiving most or all adoption fees, 400 animal shelters nationwide took part in the one-day event. An initiative by NBC-TV stations to help get cats and dogs waiting for new homes successfully adopted, the result? Over 19,000 adoptions and still counting! Westie Rescue Barkley straight out approves.

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.USWarDogs.August2015Let’s show our love and appreciation for the military working dogs, who are highly trained to work side by side with their handlers in war zones as trackers or sentries, in search and rescue, and explosive detection. The U.S. War Dog Association has been sending care packages to military dogs all over the world, all year round, since 2003. You can send specific items needed by the dogs, such as cooling vests and mats, nail clippers, brushes, combs, Kongs and other heavy duty chew toys, doggles, collapsible nylon dog water bowls, and dog shampoo and treats (made in the USA only). Or you may make a financial contribution.

 

Soundtrack to this IssueSoundtrack.NWA.August2015

NWA’s Express Yourself
From Straight Outta Compton (Priority/Ruthless 1988)

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

I’m expressin’ with my full capabilities,
And now I’m livin’ in correctional facilities,
Cause some don’t agree with how I do this.

I get straight, meditate like a Buddhist,
I’m droppin’ flava, my behavior is hereditary,
But my technique is very necessary.

Blame it on Ice Cube…
Because he says it gets funky
When you got a subject and a predicate.
Add it on a dope beat
And that’ll make you think.

Express yourself…
Express yourself…
Come on and do it…

 

Who rescued whom????????????????????????????????

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:
Ice Cube quote: LA Times, Lorraine Ali, July 30, 2015
Straight Outta Compton album review: Jon Caramanica, Rolling Stone, September 30, 2002
Beatles at Shea pic: Copyright holder unknown. (Beatles Rarities)
Music and surgery quotes: Brunel University and Queen Mary University of London music during surgery study
Brain Damage lyrics: Roger Waters ©Roger Waters Music Overseas Ltd., TRO-Hampshire House Publishing (Dark Side of the Moon, EMI 1973)
Born To Run ad: Sony Legacy Records
Thunder Road lyrics: Bruce Springsteen ©1975 Laurel Canyon Music Ltd.
Adoption results: Clear The Shelters
We Can Help pic: The U.S. War Dog Association, Inc.
Express Yourself lyrics: O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson, Charles W. Wright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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