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

28 Aug

AUGUST’S MOONDANCE

TotalEclipse.aug2017.5-use

“… All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night … [for] the reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.” (Victor Hugo)

The total eclipse of 2017, when the sun was completely blocked by the moon, crossed from the West Coast to the East Coast, from Oregon to South Carolina. A once-in-a lifetime sight, it was a phenomenal phenomenon … “On a magic night in the moonlight, Can’t I just have one more Moondance with you, my love.”

 

MOONSHADOW, MOONSHADOW

Moonshadow.teafortillerman.aug2017.cr-USE

“Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow.” Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, wrote Moonshadow about finding hope in any situation. To be present and joyful. To see life as it is right now. Every moment is rich and unique; whether we are aware of it or not, we are always “leaping and hopping on a moonshadow.” If we worry about what could be, or what was, we are missing the splendor and wonder of life. How there is always light to be found in the darkest situations. In fact, he calls this song the “Optimist’s Anthem.” The song’s timeless message is a celebration of the greatness of life itself.

 

THE FINAL FRONTIER

Voyager.GoldenRecord.aug2017.single

One day, maybe a billions years from now, aliens might find a spaceship from Earth holding a time capsule of life on our world. Launched in August 1977, NASA spacecraft Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 each have on board a Golden Record, a 12-inch gold-plated copper disc with greetings in 60 languages, sounds and photos, and samples of music from different cultures around the world … In Murmurs of Earth, Carl Sagan writes that Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode made the cut, the only rock ‘n’ roll song to make it; Jefferson Starship did not. Here Comes the Sun could not be sent because the Beatles, who totally wished their song sent into deep space, did not hold the copyright to their own song … The other songs from the US represent different music genres: Louis Armstrong’s Melancholy Blues (jazz), the Navaho Tribe’s Night Chant, Blind Willie Johnson’s Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground (gospel blues), and (with France and the USSR) Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance performed by the Columbia Symphony Orchestra (modernist classical ballet) … The mission is continuing today. As far as we know, E.T. has yet to discover the records. And the beat goes on.

 

PURPLE REIGNS

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In honor of Prince, the color mavens at Pantone created a new shade of purple. It is named Love Symbol #2 after The Purple One’s logo and inspired by his custom-made purple Yamaha piano.

 

HEART OF THE MATTER

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Once upon a time there was light in my life, But now there’s only love in the dark, Nothing I can say, A total eclipse of the heart … Bonnie Tyler performed her huge 1983 hit Total Eclipse of the Heart as the solar eclipse happened. On a cruise ship! The Royal Caribbean’s Total Eclipse Cruise aboard the Oasis of the Seas ship. Positioned in the path of totality a few hundred miles off the coast of Florida, she sang just as the moon moved across the sun … Oh and on the ship’s menu? Yep, you guessed right. Moon Pies.

 

BUSY AS A DUMBLEDORE

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Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. Did you ever wonder how JK Rowling came up with the Hogwarts Headmaster’s name? Albus is Latin for white, which may refer to his beard. Percival was a Knight of the Round Table who searched for the lost grail. Wulfric may refer to Wulfric of Haselbury, who had the gifts of prophecy and healing in 12th century medieval England. And Brian is derived from an Old Celtic word meaning noble … Then there’s Dumbledore. It’s an Old English word for bumblebee. “Because Albus Dumbledore is very fond of music, I always imagined him as sort of humming to himself a lot,” says Rowling … Heed these words from this magical and wise wizard: “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

 

ENDNOTE: …AND BACK ON EARTH

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In closing this month’s missive, current events got me thinking about the Dalai Lama’s words to the commencement class of the University of California/San Diego this past June: “… in order to create a happier, peaceful world – firstly, inner peace. Very important. Peace, world peace, must achieve through inner peace, not through weapon” … Amen.

 

DOG NEWS

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Did you eat all your veggies, Barkley? That’s a good boy. With a healthy diet, our dogs live longer and feel better. Studies show that the preventive power of vegetables can actually be a life-saving benefit. Researchers at Purdue University found that by adding fresh vegetables to their diets, cancer cell growth was prevented and decelerated by 70 to 90%. Given that so many dogs 10 years old-plus succumb to cancer (the leading cause of death for dogs of this age), feeding our dogs vegetables is a really good thing! Just make sure you know which ones are good (carrots, celery, and green beans) and the ones that you should never give them (onions, mushrooms, avocado). Barkley likes his apples, pineapple, and bananas, too.

 

WE CAN HELP

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What is the economic impact of the arts and culture in America? Thousands of nonprofits across the US bring arts and culture to their communities. And these communities do see an economic benefit. Say you go to a performance, a museum, or a music festival. That means that parking garages, restaurants, and shops get real busy. Money spent locally stays locally. An industry that generates joy, inspiration, and vitality also provides a direct economic benefit through local jobs, government revenue, and increased tourism. Moral of the story: Support the arts in your community.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

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Pink Floyd’s Eclipse 

As Professor Dumbledore says to Harry Potter: “While we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one.” As the song is ending, listen. Heartbeat, heartbeat, heartbeat…

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

All that you touch
And all that you see
All that you taste
All you feel 

And all that you love
And all that you hate
All you distrust
All you save 

And all that you give
And all that you deal
And all that you buy,
Beg, borrow or steal 

And all you create
And all you destroy
And all that you do
And all that you say 

All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight 

And all that is now
And all that is gone
And all that’s to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

Who rescued whom?

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

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l

KEEP-Buddha
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Moondance lyrics: Van Morrison ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Moonshadow pic: Tea for the Tillerman cover art by Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam
Moonshadow lyrics: Cat Stevens, Yusuf Islam ©BMG Rights Management US, LLC
Golden Records pic: NASA
Total Eclipse of the Heart lyrics: James Richard Steinman ©Carlin America Inc.
Dumbledore pic: Still from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince/Warner Bros.
JK Rowling quote: The Independent UK
Dumbledore quote: JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Dumbledore quote before Eclipse: JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Pink Floyd’s lyrics: George Roger Waters ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., TRO, Inc.

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

27 Jul

NO LIE JULY Freedom.july2017.2-USE

free·dom ˈfrēdəm noun

Definition: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Origin: before 900 Old English frēodōm … Refers to an opportunity to exercise one’s rights and powers: freedom of speech or conscience.

“This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.” (Lyndon B. Johnson)

 

WILL YOU DO THE FANDANGO?

Scaramouche.Freddy.july2017

The new communications director in the White House, Anthony Scaramucci, has caused a flurry over his name. All over our fair land can be heard “Scaramouche! Scaramouche!” … You might know what Scaramouche is but do you know what it was? So Scaramouche is the name of a character in the Italian commedia dell’arte, comic theater popular from the 1500s to the 1800s. He is characterized by boastfulness and cowardliness. Scaramouche comes from the Italian word scaramuccia, its original meaning “to skirmish.” It evolved to mean “a cowardly buffoon” or “rascal.” By the way, if you’re wondering, it is unlikely that Scaramouche performed the Spanish dance known as the fandango.

 

(HE)ART OF GLASS

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“There is something about glass, one of the few materials that light goes through. You’re looking at light itself.” … Dale Chihuly creates beautiful works of art out of glass. His magnificent flowers and amazing organic shapes – all in brilliant colors – are on display at the New York Botanical Garden until October 29. Intertwined throughout the landscape of the Botanical Garden, Chihuly’s glass sculptures interact with sunlight during the day and glow at night. Mixing art and nature, light and color, the conservatory is a magical setting for Chihuly’s shimmering artworks … Explaining his appeal for showing his work in botanical settings, he says “Many of my forms are inspired by nature. Putting them into gardens feels right to me. I love the idea that people may ask themselves ‘is it man-made or is it natural?’”

 

MOVIE MUSIC

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Chronicling 50 years of French film-making, Bertrand Tavernier’s Voyage à Travers Le Cinema Français is a personal documentary, his view into cinematic language and movies as a whole. Included are great classics like Jean Renoir’s Rules of the Game (1939) and Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows (1969), a personal favorite about underground resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied France … He shows us the elements central to the film process. Prominent among them is music, devoting time on the composer Maurice Jaubert, who wrote music for Julien Duvivier’s Un Carnet de Bal (1937) and Vigo’s L’Atalante (1934). In showing exactly how music plays a truly important role in film-making, Jaubert demonstrates that a score, in Tavernier’s words, “should find the heart of a film. It should come in when words can no longer translate emotions. Music prolongs them.”

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And in the just-released movie, Dunkirk, another composer is integral to telling director Christopher Nolan’s story of the evacuation of Allied troops from the French city of Dunkirk before Nazi forces can take hold. Nolan’s longtime collaborator, Hans Zimmer, provides the film score. We are familiar with the many film scores he wrote that include The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight series, Gladiator, Rain Man, and Interstellar. His goal when writing a score is to add to the story: “Your job is to invent, and your job is not to be a slave to the movie but to elevate it somehow and bring your own personality into it” … Here’s an interesting fact. Zimmer produced the Buggles’s 1979 hit song, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” the first music video on the new MTV music channel!

 

JANE AUSTEN’S SENSIBILITY

JaneAusten.emma2.july2017

Jane Austen still resonates with readers and movie audiences today – on this, the 200th anniversary of her death. She exposed universal human truths by focusing on the small stuff. She wrote about families, detailing their daily ordinary lives. We knew what her characters looked like, but more importantly, we knew their thoughts and their feelings. Her novels are of a time, yet are seemingly contemporary. In her stories of courtship among the well-mannered gentry – with their proper diction, lovely villages, and strict social codes – she is also describing our modern times. She showed the underbelly of her times, such as the property and inheritance laws that kept women dependent on men. Yet her smart headstrong female characters figured out how to ultimately attain happiness. They change with the times, adapting to new circumstances. Maybe we don’t read her to escape from our modernity, but to see it clearly reflected back to us.

 

GIRLS GO TECH

GirlScouts.SuperPowerButton.july2017

Girl Scouts of America has just added 23 new hi-tech badges that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math. Among them are badges that introduce girls to race car and aviation design. Girl Scouts can earn badges in designing robots and coding. They’ll earn a badge in meteorology by learning to predict weather patterns and potential hazards. And they will have the chance to build rocket ships and design board games. How cool is this!?!? … The girls will learn skills that can empower them, increase their confidence, and help them succeed in life. And those studies that show women remain vastly underrepresented in the technology industry? Not for long!

 

BE COOL!

Cool.mcqueen.july2017

James Dean was cool. So was Bogey. Dylan? Bowie? They’re from Planet Cool. Paul Newman? Definitely. Elmore Leonard was cool, he even wrote Be Cool. And Steve McQueen, well, he was the coolest. Cool has been the label we use on those cultural icons we most admire in music, film, art, design, literature, and so on. The word cool did not flourish until the end of World War II when it became attached to people in the arts. It embodied rebellion, to live by one’s own moral code in a changing world. To be a maverick, a rebel, a loner. To be cool meant to be inventive, witty, and creative, especially in the face of political turmoil. To be cool, calm, and collected is seductive. Cool is self-confidence. Cool is our savior, true all those years ago and true now in today’s unsteady world.

 

WE CAN HELP

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Animal cruelty happens all year long. However, the lives of dogs and other pets are most at-risk during the summer months – the peak time for owner-surrenders, new births, and abandonments. When they need the most help, the ASPCA experiences a drop in donations every summer. That’s why they hope we won’t take a vacation from helping animals. Our donations this summer helps them continue their work on behalf of homeless, abused, and neglected animals. The ASPCA never takes a vacation because every animal deserves a loving home.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.richiehavens.july2017

Richie Havens at Woodstock sings Freedom 

Richie Havens became Woodstock’s first act to open the festival when the scheduled band got stuck in traffic. He performed but ran out of material until he remembered “…that word I kept hearing while I looked over the crowd in my first moments onstage. The word was: freedom.” He chanted that word over and over and then segued into the gospel song, Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child. 

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

Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom 

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child 

A long way from my home

 

Who rescued whom?

KEEP-YP+Barkley

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

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l

KEEP-Buddha

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

 

Sources:
Freedom: Random House Dictionary ©Random House, Inc. 2017
Chihuly flowers pic: New York Botanical Garden
First Chihuly quote: NY Times, April 27, 2017
Second Chihuly quote: New York Botanical Garden
Alain Delon in Le Samouraï pic: Bertrand Tavernier/Voyage à Travers Le Cinema Français
Maurice Jaubert quote: New Yorker, July 17, 2017
Hans Zimmer quote: The Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2017
Steve McQueen pic: John Dominis, Schirmer/Mosel
Richie Havens pic: woodstock.com
Richie Havens quote: Rolling Stone April 22, 2013
Freedom lyrics: Michael James Hucknall ©EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group, PACIFIC ELECTRIC MUSIC

 

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

26 Jun

JUNE’S SUPER TRIBUTES

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A tribute to love and the arts, my Performing Arts high school reunion was described by one of my classmates as “a roomful of love.” There was a lot of love, all of us happy to be together, some classmates coming from afar. All these years we have never lost touch with each other. There is a sense of ease when you are with the people you were always most comfortable with. We all knew that we hit the jackpot – none of us cut out for a standard high school experience. We were dancers, actors, and musicians. We were outsiders and we found each other. And we never lost that bond.

HAIL WONDER WOMAN

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Have you seen the new Wonder Woman movie? It is the updated version of the classic comic book character from DC Comics (1941) and the TV series (1970s). The most popular female comic-book superhero of all time, the series is celebrated for its depiction of strong women. In her book, The Secret History of Wonder Woman (Deckle Edge, 2014), Jill Lepore reveals our hero’s origins, essentially based on feminism. Influenced by early suffragists and feminists, Dr. William Moulton Marston created her in 1941. In his first script, he explained her Amazonian origins in ancient Greece, where men had kept women in chains, until they broke free and escaped. Strengthened by supporting themselves, they developed huge physical and mental power. Dr. Marston’s comic was meant to chronicle “a great movement now under way – the growth in the power of women.” … He goes on to say, “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.”

… AND FAREWELL BATMAN

Batman.june2017.top-USE

Adam West was Batman/Bruce Wayne in the 1960s TV series. In tribute to West’s iconic portrayal of the Caped Crusader, the Bat-signal was projected onto the tower of Los Angeles City Hall. As I’m sure you remember, the Gotham City Police Department used the Bat-signal to summon the superhero to help them … West’s deadpan delivery of his lines and his genuine yet self-mocking portrayal was what made the show a phenomenon. That and the way he danced the Batusi, of course. And don’t forget that famous earworm of a theme song: dada dada dada dada. Sure the plots were absurd and his adversaries were totally nuts – the Penguin? the Joker? the Riddler? really!??! – but he made all the ridiculousness perfectly sincere and sublime.

THE MUSIC OF ART

Chagall.triump+sourceofmusicCOLLAGE.june2017-use

Marc Chagall’s Triumph of Music (left) and Source of Music (right). Aptly, these huge murals are in the windows of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center for all to see and enjoy. Growing up in a Russian shtetl, Chagall was surrounded by musicians, many were violin players. Music became his inspiration throughout his life and his deep love of it informed his artistic style. He listened above all to Mozart while he painted. He died at 97, having lived through the 20th century’s best and worst times (Russian pogroms, WWI, and Nazi persecution in WWII) … His musically inspired works include murals for opera houses and theaters, as well as backdrops, scenery, and costumes for operas. His distinctive use of bold colors and dazzling brush strokes brought to life fanciful dreamlike animals and even a fiddler on the roof! “Color is vibration like music; everything is vibration.”

“…FIND MAGIC WHEREVER YOU LOOK”

Dr.Seuss.CatInHat.june2017-use

A whimsical tribute to Dr. Seuss and his menagerie of unforgettable characters is at The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, MA. On display are our unforgettable “childhood friends” including Yertle the Turtle, Thing One and Thing Two, the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, and Horton the Elephant who heard a Who … Aimed at children of ALL ages, the museum’s cheerful displays convey the positive message of his final book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!Congratulations! Today is your day. you’re off to great places! You’re off and away!” … And just like his books that address life’s obstacles and fears, the museum offers an environment filled with hope, encouragement, and inclusion. A welcoming message that is underscored by Dr. Seuss’s famous line from Horton Hears a Who: “Don’t give up, I believe in you all, A person’s a person no matter how small.”

FEELIN’ GROOVY

Groovy.june2017.cr-use

groov·y / ɡroovē adj.
Slang. Exciting, attractive; excellent; enjoyable:

Groovy music; Groovy car; Groovy shag haircut
“Man, those are some groovy guitar riffs.”

Hey man, so you think you know what the word groovy means? In 1932, groovy was a jazz slang term, used in a phrase meaning first-rate, performing well, or excellent such as in the groove … Teens circa 1941 started using it for wonderful. Then in the happy hippie times of the 1960s, it was used as a synonym for cool, excellent, fashionable, or awesome … However, in late Victorian England, it had the completely opposite meaning. In that time, it applied to someone stuck in a groove or a rut – a square. As defined in Farmer and Henley’s Slang and Its Analogues (1890): “GROOVY, Adj. – Settled in habit; limited in mind” … Whoa, that is definitely not groovy.

WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE DOG?

Dog.COLLAGE.pizap.june2017.BLUE-use

What makes a movie even better? A really cute dog as the star or in a supporting role, of course. They steal our hearts … Rin Tin Tin was a real German Shepherd who became a movie star in the 1920s. Rin Tin Tin the Fourth starred in the TV series (1954) about an orphan boy and his dog who help the Cavalry soldiers bring law and order to the Old West … Toto in The Wizard of Oz was played by a Cairn named Terry, whose film credit used her character name, Toto, rather than her real name. There never was a real Toto … Lassie, who starred in Lassie Come Home (1943), is also fictional. A boy in Yorkshire, England owns Lassie until his father sells her to a duke in Scotland. But brave Lassie is determined to find her way back home, encountering adventures that are the basis of the TV series (1954). Although Lassie was a female, she was played by a Rough Collie male named Pal … And my fave: Asta, the Wire Fox Terrier from The Thin Man movies. Owned by famous sleuths, Nick and Nora Charles, he helped them solve crimes by finding dead bodies and sniffing out and retrieving hidden guns. A veteran actor, he fittingly received star billing as “Asta,” his professional name.

WE CAN HELP

ACLU.june2017-use

As a tribute to Adam West/Batman, Wonder Woman, talented dogs, the power of reuniting, and the arts and creativity and freedom, donate to the American Civil Liberties Union. For almost 100 years, the ACLU works to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and its laws. That includes freedom of speech and religion, a woman’s right to choose, the right to due process, and citizens’ rights to privacy. A champion for people of color, women, LGBTQ people, prisoners, immigrants, and those with disabilities, the ACLU operates within the court system to enact change and protect our basic human rights as American citizens. We can help them continue to fight for our freedom and the protection of our constitutional rights now and for the next generations.

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.NBA.june2017.cr-use

Elvis Costello’s Alison

Their aim was true! 129 points true! Here’s a nod to 2017 NBA Champions the Golden State Warriors – Alison from Costello’s 1977 debut album, My Aim Is True. Go Warriors!

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

Oh it’s so funny to be seeing you after so long, girl.
And with the way you look I understand
That you are not impressed.
But I heard you let that little friend of mine
Take off your party dress.

I’m not going to get too sentimental
Like those other sticky valentines,
Cause I don’t know if you’ve been loving somebody.
I only know it isn’t mine. 

Alison, I know this world is killing you.
Oh, Alison, my aim is true.

Who rescued whom?KEEP-YP+BarkleySo grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

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

 

Sources:
PA pic top: Richard Goldfinch
PA pic bottom: Richard Goldfinch
Wonder Woman pic: Wonder Woman’s revised look on the cover of Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 (2016). Art by Stanley Lau
The Cat in the Hat sculpture inside The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum: Mark Murray/Springfield Museums
Alison: Words and Music by Elvis Costello ©Universal Music Publishing Group

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

25 May

THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY

Lily-of-the-valley.LeMuguet.may2017

The tradition of giving lily-of-the-valley flowers on May 1 may have begun in 1560, when Sir Louis Girard presented King Charles IX with a bunch of lily-of-the-valley flowers as a token of luck and prosperity for the coming year. The King liked it so much that he began the custom of presenting lily-of-the-valley flowers to the ladies of his court each year on May Day. Ever since then, the lily-of-the-valley has been considered a talisman, a porte-bonheur, ringing in the return of springtime happiness … They are called muguet in France, they symbolize love and affection. In fact, May 1 is a French holiday, when people offer muguet to their loved ones and neighbors in a gesture of friendship and in celebration of spring. Bonne Fête du Muguet!

GRAMMYs BACK WHERE YOU BELONG

GRAMMY-COLLAGE.may2017-USE

How great is this? Marking the first GRAMMY telecast in New York City since 2003, the 60th GRAMMY Awards will be at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, January 28, 2018! It was announced via a very cool short film called NY Storiesdirected by Spike Lee, featuring artists telling stories at musical landmarks all over the city. As Spike calls it, “New York City of Music!”

THERE’S A NEW BLUE IN TOWN

Blue.may2017

So many blues. Can there really be a new blue? Oregon State University chemists accidentally created a new shade of blue, the first in 200 years. The color is called “YInMn blue,” after its chemical makeup of yttrium, indium and manganese oxides. It’s like cobalt blue, but a little brighter, more vibrant. This is an important find since blue plays a significant role in our lives because of its relationship to the sky and water. You can bet we’ll be seeing it real soon in new cars and on fashion runways. It’s even a new Crayola crayon replacing the recently retired Dandelion yellow.

DREAMING THE BEATLES

Beatles.may2017.cr-USE

On this 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band, let’s celebrate it with the just-published book by Rolling Stone columnist Rob Sheffield, Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World. As a Beatles fan with bookshelves filled with Beatles books – bios, song analyses, et al. – this is a welcome addition simply because it is none of that. Instead it is a collection of essays that explain why they matter to our generation and what that says about us. There is no doubt that we are a generation emotionally attached to them. Rob Sheffield construes it this way: “Being born on the same planet as the Beatles is one of the 10 best things that’s ever happened to me.” Amen to that.

SIR ROGER MOORE

RogerMoore.Moonraker.may2017

Although Moonraker may have been silly, Roger Moore’s fourth outing as James Bond mixed charm, style, and a dry humor with a deadpan delivery and wink in his eye. His Bond had a well-intentioned nature. In fact, he imbued dignity in every one of his roles … My first sighting of Sir Roger was as Simon Templar, aka The Saint. Later, he became my favorite Bond. How sad to ponder that we have lost our first James Bond actor. However, my favorite Roger Moore movie is Ffolkes, a spy thriller where he plays an unconventional and very cocky anti-terrorism expert. I may have seen it a very long time ago, but it’s an unforgettable adventure story with great acting … An animal lover, Sir Roger was opposed to fox hunting and campaigned against the use of foie gras in restaurants … He was cool. I close with a few of his own words: “I’m the fourth best James Bond” … “Of course I do my own stunts. And I also do my own lying” … “I would love to be remembered as one of the greatest Lears or Hamlets. But, as that’s not going to happen, I’m quite happy I did Bond.”

A IS FOR AVOCADO

AvocadoCreamSauce.may2017-USE

Love avocados? Here’s a recipe for a great and very versatile Avocado Cream Sauce. Scoop one large ripe avocado into a food processor. Add ½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream, juice from 1 lime, kosher salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and thick. You might want to add any of these: minced garlic, cilantro, basil, chili powder, jalapeño, or sriracha sauce. Mix with spaghetti as a pasta sauce, drizzle over grilled chicken or salmon, as a dip with chips or to dress a salad, with tacos, spread on a hamburger bun, and great with shrimp and sushi rolls, too! Makes everything even more delish!

DOG NEWS

DogNews.DogsOnTheTitanic1912.may2017

As long as we are marking the 20th anniversary of Titanic and Celine Dion’s smash hit My Heart Will Go On from the film, I thought I would share a story about the real Titanic. Many pets were on the ship for the journey but few survived the ship’s sinking (the dogs pictured on the deck here didn’t survive). Of the 12 dogs aboard, three dogs did survive – all three small. One Pomeranian was named Lady, bought by Margaret Hays while in Paris. She was wrapped in a blanket by Miss Hays when the order was given to evacuate. The second surviving Pomeranian was owned by Elizabeth Rothschild. The Pekinese, named Sun Yat-Sen, was owned by Myna Harper and her husband, Henry S. Harper, of the publishing firm, Harper & Row. All three boarded early lifeboats in the arms of their owners … Oh, if you hear the one about a First Officer William Murdoch’s large Newfoundland who swam between a lifeboat and the rescue ship and whose barking guided the survivors to safety? Don’t believe it – it’s chalked up to a hallucination … Then there’s this. In 1986, in the ship’s wreckage lying on the seabed, a statue of the goddess Artemis was found. She is the patron saint of animals.

END NOTE

Manchester.TicketsCollege.may2017-USE

The Manchester tragedy – my thoughts went instantly to those teenagers that were thrilled to go see their favorite artist perform in concert. How many times did I do the very same thing when I was a teenager? Countless times. Then I grew up and did the same thing for a living. Not once did I ever think I might be in danger – that there was the possibility of terrorism at suchlike events and in suchlike venues. THEY WERE ATTENDING A CONCERT. A CONCERT. ONLY ATTENDING A CONCERT…

WE CAN HELP

AlanGilbert.May2017.nyphilbalconies“Music helps to define what it means to be human, and orchestras will continue to do what we have always done: playing powerful, intriguing, uplifting, thought-provoking music.” … Bravo Maestro! Alan Gilbert will celebrate his final season as Music Director of the NY Philharmonic with the Season Finale: A Concert for Unity on June 8-10. The Orchestra will be joined by musicians from orchestras around the world playing Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 to celebrate the power of music to build bridges and unite people across borders. Yo-Yo Ma (June 8) and Wynton Marsalis (June 9) will perform as special guest artists … The Maestro’s tenure may be over but his legacy lives on through the Alan Gilbert Fund, honoring his innovative programming and partnerships, and his fresh perspectives on classic works. He will be leading a new initiative in which musicians from around the world will come together to perform music at critical times in support of peace, development, and human rights. We can all support that.

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.HarryNilsson.may2017

What’s your favorite song mentioning NY? This is mine:
Harry Nilsson‘s I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City

This song, written by Harry, was not used as the theme for the film, Midnight Cowboy. Instead they chose Harry to cover Fred Neil’s Everybody’s Talkin’. But I’ve always thought this was the one!

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

I say goodbye to all my sorrows
And by tomorrow I’ll be on my way
I guess the lord must be in New York City

I’m so tired of getting nowhere
Seein’ my prayers going unanswered
I guess the lord must be in New York City 

Well, here I am Lord, knocking at your back door
Ain’t it wonderful to be
Where I’ve always wanted to be?
For the first time I’ll breathe free here in New York City

Who rescued whom?barkleyypSo grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lBuddha.TiffanyLatz.b-w“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Blue pic: YInMn Blue courtesy of Oregon State University
Dogs Aboard the Titanic pic: Courtesy of Widener University
Roger Moore pic from Moonraker: ©MGM/United Artists
New York Philharmonic pic: Michael Falco for The New York Times
Alan Gilbert quote: Charlie Rose interview
I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City: music and lyrics by Harry Edward Nilsson ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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

28 Apr

APRIL’S WONDERS 

Giraffe.apr2017

Millions of us watched and waited for April the Giraffe’s baby to arrive at Animal Adventure Park. She finally gave birth to her baby boy. What to name him? Vote a minimum of five times at $1 per vote, with the money going to giraffe conservation, the Park, and helping local families with medical expenses. So far top names are Unity, Patches, Apollo, Patch, Peter, Harpur, Geoffrey, Noah, and Ollie.

Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY is an interactive educational animal park, where you not only see the animals, but you can pet, feed, and ride them, too. April the Giraffe has plenty of company – there are mammals, birds, and reptiles – over 200 animals representing 70 species.

PINK MOON RISING

PinkMoon.apr2017.c-InAlaska

April’s full moon, the first full moon of spring, is called the Pink Moon named after the pink ground phlox wildflowers which bloom in early spring. You see here a deep pink moon rising over the snowy grasslands of Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Cold Bay, Alaska. Naming the full moon was a way to gauge the time for many cultures.

CHART TOPPER

Prince.1958-2016.apr2017

Prince has sold more albums than any other artist in 2016 – from his death on April 21, 2016 through April 13, 2017. His albums and songs have sold a combined 7.7 million copies in the US: 2.3 million in traditional album sales and 5.4 million from digital song downloads. People bought the albums The Very Best of Prince, Purple Rain, and 1999. His best-selling songs were Purple Rain, Little Red Corvette, Let’s Go Crazy, and Kiss. Here’s something we can look forward to. There will be a deluxe reissue of Purple Rain with previously unreleased material coming out later this year.

FIRST CLASS

StevePerry.BeforeNow.pizap.apr2017-use

This year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame ceremony was memorable in so many ways. David Letterman was the last-minute replacement for Neil Young and the only non-musician of the evening to speak. And of course, being Letterman, he summed up what the event really celebrates. While inducting Pearl Jam, he said: “When I came here for rehearsals, I was reminded what a gift live music is. Never take live music for granted.” … Then there was the fabulous appearance of Steve Perry – one of rock’s great voices – joining his long ago band Journey. Oh, if only he would have performed with them. Nonetheless he was first class all the way … The 2017 inductees were: ELO, Joan Baez, Journey, Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, and Yes. The always smiling Nile Rodgers received the award for Musical Excellence.

ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE

SpaniardsInn.apr2017

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Here is The Spaniards Inn, one of London’s oldest pubs, found on Spaniards Road in Hampstead, London. It is believed that John Keats was inspired to write Ode to a Nightingale while listening to birds in the inn’s garden. In the poem, Keats sees a nightingale and wants to escape from the world with the nightingale which is flying away. Perhaps symbolizing freedom, he wishes to be like the bird and fly away from his problems.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is fam’d to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now ’tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?

DON’T BE A FOOL

AprilFoolsDay.apr2017

Why is April 1 April Fools’ Day? And why do we celebrate it with practical jokes? For one thing, springtime seems to inspire lighthearted fun. So perhaps April Fools’ Day started from an ancient spring festival or maybe it was just an excuse to play a prank and trick someone into believing something extraordinary. So, why is April 1 called April Fools’ Day? The bottom line is that no one knows for sure, leaving the door open to make up our own ridiculous and unbelievable stories to explain it. Hey, maybe someone will believe your story … that is until they see your sly smile!

DOG NEWS

Dog.Met.DogPosing.apr2017

NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new “Open Access” policy makes images of artworks in the public domain widely and freely available for unrestricted use, and at no cost. So of course we had a look and found something we could relate to. This is [Dog Posing for Portrait in Photographer’s Studio Chair] a daguerreotype by American photographer Rufus Anson circa 1855. See? Some things never change – it’s always about the dog!

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.purpleheart.apr2017

They demonstrate bravery and courage. The Purple Heart, established by George Washington in 1782, recognizes the sacrifice and commitment of combat-wounded veterans. The Purple Heart Foundation’s mission includes programs and services that aid in the recovery of all veterans and serves as an advocate for legislative policies affecting them. Nearly 90% of cash donations fund programs and services such as the National Service Officer Program, National Scholarship Program, service dogs, and recreational and rehabilitative programs. We can help support the men and women who have served our country.

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.MainIngredient.apr2017

The Main Ingredient’s Everybody Plays the Fool 

Lead singer, Cuba Gooding, Sr. died this month. May his soulful voice sing on and on and on … Listen to them perform on The Midnight Special in 1974.

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

Ok, so your heart is broken
You’re sitting around mopin’, cryin’, cryin’
You say you even think about dying
Well, before you do anything rash, baby, dig this

Everybody plays the fool, sometime
There’s no exception to the rule, listen baby
It may be factual, it may be cruel, I ain’t lying
Everybody plays the fool

 

 

 Who rescued whom?
barkleyypSo grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
Buddha.TiffanyLatz.b-w“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Alaska moon pic: Kristine Sowl/USFWS
Prince pic: KSTP graphic (ABC Eyewitness News)
Steve Perry Before pic: Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Steve Perry Now pic: AP
The Spaniards Inn pic: The Spaniards Inn
Dog News pic: Funds from various donors, 2004
Soundtrack lyrics: Rudy Clark, Kenny Williams, J. R. Bailey, 1971 ©BMG Rights Management

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

27 Mar

MARCH SAYS DREAM ON

DesertBloom.mar2017.purple.cr-USE

There’s a Super Bloom happening in San Diego’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Purple verbenas, desert dandelions, brown-eyed primroses, desert sunflowers, and evening primroses offer us a glimpse of what we hope is in store for all of us after a crazy snow-filled March.

DESERT BLOOM

JoshuaTree.mar2017

This 30th anniversary of U2’s Joshua Tree reminds us of another California desert blooming with wildflowers. Known for its mind-blowing views, the Joshua Tree National Park has inspired artists and musicians for the past 75 years. The Joshua tree, the largest of the yuccas, grows only in the Mojave Desert. A spike-leafed evergreen, it grows nowhere else in the world. Mormon settlers are said to have named it “Joshua” because it mimicked the outstretched arms of the Biblical Joshua, at prayer and waving toward the Promised Land.

JoshuaTreeU2AlbumPic.mar2017.faded

Produced in March 1987 by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno in U2’s native Dublin, their fifth album Joshua Tree took inspiration from the “mythic and real America,” says Bono. The Edge’s fierce guitar work plus Bono’s ever impassioned vocals equal a signature sound of spirit, hope, and emotion. Their best-selling album includes Where the Streets Have No Name, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, and With or Without You. It may be imperfect but still a classic.

MONOPOLY UPS THEIR GAME

Monopoly.newtokens.mar2017

Parker Brothers acquired the rights to Monopoly on March 19, 1935. Is there anyone who has never taken a chance on strolling Atlantic City to buy utilities and railroads or to hit it big with Boardwalk hotels? The original 10 tokens were an iron, purse, lantern, racecar, thimble, shoe, top hat, battleship, cannon, and rocking horse. The existing Scottish terrier, battleship, race car, top hat, and cat tokens will carry on. To be joined by Tyrannosaurus rex, a penguin, and a rubber ducky. No hashtag, no emoji, no cell phone. Offered a large collection of potential new tokens, more than 4 million voters worldwide selected these to be presented in the next version of the game. Take your game down from your closet shelf. See what tokens you have. What happened to the iron? I think my old game just got valuable. Ebay, anyone?

QUEEN MONOPOLY
QueenMonopoly.mar2017

Even greater Monopoly news! You will be a Champion of the World touring with Queen in the band’s own Monopoly version. According to Brian May, instead of moving around the board picking up real estate, Queen Monopoly will take players through standout moments and performances in the band’s career. Fans tour the history of the band, from their first concert at Imperial College in 1970 to their last with Freddie Mercury at Knebworth Park in 1986 and buy venues and hit singles and try to avoid taxes, jail, and bankruptcy. How cool is this? Really looking forward to passing “go” and “collecting $200” with the bicycle token from Bicycle Race or maybe Brian May’s guitar.

CHUCK BERRY

ChuckBerry.mar2017

“If you had to give rock ‘n’ roll a name, you might call it Chuck Berry.”
(John Lennon)

A founding father of rock ‘n’ roll, Chuck Berry will be remembered for his great songs, guitar riffs, and his famous duck walk. At 90 years old, he had a new album coming out this year. As a songwriter, he was honored with PEN New England’s first Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence award, held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. His co-honoree, Leonard Cohen, said “all of us are footnotes to the words of Chuck Berry.” Bob Dylan called him “the Shakespeare of rock ‘n’ roll.” And John Lennon called him “a rock poet.” … He influenced a new generation of musicians to write songs that tell a story. You Never Can Tell is a love story that goes like this: “It was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well, You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle, And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell, ‘C’est la vie’, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.” … By the way, did you know that his Johnny B Goode is heading for the stars on the Voyager spacecraft? It doesn’t get cooler than that.

MORSE NO MORE

Morse.mar2017

Colin Dexter, the creator of detective Inspector Morse who solves crimes in Oxfordshire, has died. Dexter’s 13 Morse novels (1975-1999) were adapted into the wonderful TV series starring John Thaw as the detective. That series then spawned Lewis, Morse’s longtime sergeant and Endeavour, about Morse’s early days on the police force. All his Morse stories were set in the city of Oxford, where murders happened at the University’s colleges, living quarters, and in Oxford’s beautiful countryside. The crossword puzzle loving Morse was erudite, cranky, cryptic, and not especially easy to understand. Thanks to Dexter for creating such an interesting character. And like Sherlock Holmes with prodigious intelligence and curious eccentricities, Morse always got his man.

DOG NEWS

DogNews.RescuingPennyJane.mar2017

Meet Alfred, a silly, big Goldendoodle, intent on jumping on everyone at the shelter. Brody is an overly exuberant and misunderstood German shepherd mix. Their stories and others form an inspiring trip through the world of homeless dogs and the people who work to save them in Rescuing Penny Jane. The author covers what life is like in the shelters across the country. There are badly abused dogs and many who are neglected. Others are given up by their families who cannot take care of them. Case studies provide valuable insights into the importance and challenges of finding these dogs their forever homes. Reading this book, you might feel moved to learn more about adopting and caring for a shelter dog. Or find out how to make a difference by volunteering in one.

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.WarriorCanine.mar2017

Vets with combat stress train service dogs for fellow vets. That says it all. Research shows that companion animals, specifically dogs, help reduce blood pressure and ease stress. At the Warrior Canine Connection, service members with PTSD or mild traumatic brain injuries benefit greatly from working with service dogs. It can take two years and many service members to train each dog during which the veterans learn to become more patient, handle stressful situations better, and get back to living their lives. It costs more than $25,000 to breed, feed, care for, train, and place each dog. Every donation makes a difference.

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.Aerosmith.mar2017

Aerosmith’s Dream On

For MTV’s 10th anniversary in 1991, the band performed the song live with an orchestra conducted by Michael Kamen.

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

Every time when I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by, like dusk to dawn
Isn’t that the way
Everybody’s got the dues in life to pay

I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it’s everybody sin
You got to lose to know how to win

Half my life
Is books written pages
Live and learn from fools and
From sages
You know it’s true, oh
All these things you do come back to you

Sing with me, sing for the years
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good lord will take you away

Who rescued whom?
barkleyyp
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
Buddha.TiffanyLatz.b-w
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Desert Bloom pic: Anza-Borrego DRC @AnzaBResearch
Joshua Tree pic: @Wanderlust Nomad, Trover
U2 pic: Anton Corbijn (taken during the album photo shoot sessions)
You Never Can Tell lyrics: Chuck Berry ©BMG Rights Management US, LLC
Dream On lyrics: Steven Tyler ©BMG Rights Management US, LLC

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

25 Feb

FEBRUARY MADE ME SHIVER

centralparksnow-feb-2017-b

LIGHT SHOW

fullmoon-eclipse-comet-feb2017-piz-use

“Shall we go, you and I while we can,
Through the transitive nightfall of diamonds?”

On February 10, the night sky gave us a spectacular show. A comet, eclipse, and a full moon –– a rare triple header all at the same time! It started with February’s full moon, called the snow moon; then the penumbral eclipse, when the moon, sun, and Earth align to create a subtle shadow; and ending with the pale green Comet 45P, the New Year comet, streaking the Earth. Talk about a cosmic trip!

ONE LOVE FOR MARLEY

bobmarley-feb2017

Bob Marley was born February 6, 1945 in Jamaica. Marley’s music embraced his message: unity, spirituality, and struggle. A new treasure trove of his live recordings from the 70s was found in a cardboard box in a London hotel. The 13 analog reel-to-reel master tapes document four London and Paris concerts from 1974 to 1978 and include No Woman No Cry, Exodus, and I Shot the Sheriff. Though water damaged, after being restored they are now digital and sound great. Nice way to celebrate Bob Marley’s birthday month.

WORDPLAY

crossword-feb2017

The New York Times Crossword puzzle celebrates its 75th anniversary. Crossword puzzles became a national and then a worldwide sensation in 1924 and 1925. In 1942 the NY Times started its regular run. I watched my father solve them fluidly – and English was his third language. I grew up on the puzzles edited by Will Weng and Eugene Maleska. They created the cleverest ones – their wordplay putting me to work … Solving a crossword is a comforting pastime especially during tough times, because it provides finite answers, giving us a sense of order and completion. If solving one every day makes me a crossword addict, let it be.

“I LOVE YOU MAN, PEACE AND LOVE”

ringopaul-feb2017

So tweeted Ringo to Paul and the story goes like this. Once upon a time Paul went to Ringo’s studio and recorded some new music. That is no fairy tale. It really happened. The Beatles’ rhythm section recorded together for Ringo’s upcoming album. Maybe they’ll start a band! That would be a fairy tale with a happy ending.

Here’s how Ringo describes his current songwriting process: “… I do sort of a rhythm-pattern synth track. And then I play drums and go, ‘Oh, there’s a verse. Oh, that sounds like a chorus.’ And then I call writers in and say, ‘Let’s write something to that!’”

I’M WALKIN’ HERE

midnightcowboy-feb2017-better

It’s Oscar time, a good time to think about my favorite movies. So naturally, Midnight Cowboy came to mind. It won for Best Picture in 1970, making it the first and only X-rated film to be awarded (later changed to an R rating) … This scene shows Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) and Joe Buck (Jon Voight) as they cross a New York City street. A cab jumps the light, causing Rizzo to yell my favorite movie line of all time: “I’m walkin’ here, I’m walkin’ here!” This was actually an ad lib by Hoffman who, while keeping it within the character, really did admonish the cab driver who really did jump the light … Joe and Rizzo make an odd pair but they ended up relying on one another to survive the hard streets of the gritty City. It wasn’t a pretty tale. The movie reflected the changing times and made way for the realistic and graphic movies of the 70s such as The Boys in the Band and The Godfather I and II … And if all that wasn’t enough to make it memorable, its hit song, Everybody’s Talkin’, was made indelible by the late great and much missed Harry Nilsson.

POWER OF MUSIC

grammys-feb2017

As the GRAMMYs celebrated music, Jennifer Lopez noted that this night is “about the music, the words, and the voices. How they move us, inspire us, and touch all our lives.” And she recited these words by Toni Morrison: “This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, and no room for fear. We do language.” Then the show went into full gear with the performing artists in all genres singing powerfully and persuasively the language of music.

BEST IN SHOW

dogshow-3newbreeds

So they didn’t win Best In Show, but these three new breeds proudly showed off their stuff at Madison Square Garden in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Top Dog was a German Shepherd named Rumor. Lest we forget the Westie (never!), Champion Lotrando “Rondo” Sunshine Celebration came in 2nd in Best In Group. There’s always next year.

WE CAN HELP

wecanhelp-fender-feb2017

The Fender Music Foundation works to make music more accessible to everyone by strengthening the state of music education. They provide instruments to music education programs across the country, including schools. 100% of each dollar donated gets instruments into school music classes, after school programs, and music therapy programs. You can help by purchasing memorabilia or by making a donation.

Soundtrack to this Issue

soundtrack-bobmarley-feb2017

Bob Marley’s One Love

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

One love, One heart
Let’s get together and feel all right
Hear the children crying (One Love)
Hear the children crying (One Heart)
Sayin’ give thanks and praise to the Lord
and I will feel all right
Sayin’ let’s get together and feel all right

 

Who rescued whom?

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

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l

TulipEars.b.hi-c
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Full moon pic: BG Boyd Photography
Dark Star lyrics: Bob Weir, Jerry Garcia, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Phil Lesh, Robert Hunter, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group
Paul and Ringo pic: Ringo Starr/Twitter/PA
Ringo’s quote: Rolling Stone, July 2016
One Love lyrics: Curtis Mayfield, Bob Markley ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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

28 Jan

UNFORGETTABLE JANUARY

unitypeacelove-jan2017

A new year rushes in bringing us change and more change. Let us strive to join together in kindness and to seek peaceful resolution. We have many possibilities. Choose hope.

AMEN, MLK

mlk-jan2017

Martin Luther King, Jr, in his opening address to the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1964:

“Jazz speaks for life. The blues tell the story of life’s difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph. This is triumphant music.” Amen, Dr. King.

SAVE THE ARTS

nea-jan2017

Access to the arts – how can one ever measure the importance of that? The National Endowment for the Arts brings the arts to areas that don’t have big museums, symphonies, ballets, and theater. Cutting the federal budget for this agency is a shocking thought – putting in peril funding that supports literature, visual arts, dance, theater, museums, and arts education programs around the country. Their support is vital, giving all of us the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise our imaginations, and develop our creativity. Here’s what we can do. Tell the NEA why the arts and the NEA’s work are important to you. Write to chairman@arts.gov or National Endowment for the Arts, Attn: Jane Chu, Chairman, 400 7th Street SW, Washington, DC 20506. By the way, that is Ms. Chu’s artwork you see here.

MR. PRESIDENT’S R.E.S.P.E.C.T. FOR THE QUEEN

arethaobama-jan2017

During Carole King’s tribute at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, brought the house down with the King classic “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” As her voice soared, President Obama was so moved that he wiped tears from his eyes … New Yorker Editor David Remnick asked the President to provide a quote for the profile he was writing on Ms. Franklin. President Obama, who brought all corners of the American music landscape to the White House during two terms, bound together his love of music and profound faith in our country thusly:

Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll, the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope. American history wells up when Aretha sings. That’s why, when she sits down at a piano and sings A Natural Woman, she can move me to tears — the same way that Ray Charles’s version of America the Beautiful will always be in my view the most patriotic piece of music ever performed because it captures the fullness of the American experience, the view from the bottom as well as the top, the good and the bad, and the possibility of synthesis, reconciliation, transcendence.”

GREENERY OFFERS COMFORT

greenery-frontdoor-jan2017-cr

This year’s color, as forecasted by the color institute Pantone, is a pretty yellow-green shade that evokes spring: Greenery. A symbolic choice, this life-affirming color speaks directly to the mood and attitude of our nation. “Greenery provides us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment [and] symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another, and a larger purpose,” says Pantone’s Executive Director. It is the color of hopefulness!

INSCRUTABLE ART?

artaward-theend-jan2017

Scary looking? Weird? Or mouth-watering? Hmm … You are looking at a swirl of vanilla ice cream, topped by a cherry that has attracted a fly and a drone. The End is by UK artist Heather Phillipson. She is one of the four finalists for England’s most visible public art commission, the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. The organizers describe The End as exploring “the extremes of shared experience, from commemorations and celebrations to mass protests.” Well then, it certainly speaks to our times.

WE CAN HELP

wecanhelp-nypddogcalendar-jan2017-use

That’s Timmy, aka “Mr. January” and one of New York’s Finest K-9s, helping the New York City Police Foundation raise money. He’s featured in the Foundation’s 2017 NYPD K9 Calendar. By making a $20 donation, you will help support new and ongoing NYPD programs and initiatives. It’s even got an extra month so you’ll have a head start setting up all your January 2018 appointments!

Soundtrack to this Issue

soundtrack-samcooke-jan2017changepainting-use

Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come

Released in 1964, A Change Is Gonna Come became an anthem for the Civil Rights movement. Ever timely and relevant, it moves from bigotry and violence to a message of hope. After winning the 2008 election, President Obama referred to the song in his victory speech, “It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, change has come to America.”

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

I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh and just like the river I’ve been running ev’r since
It’s been a long time, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come,
oh yes it will

 

Who rescued whom?
Barkley.WeCanHelp.Dec2015
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:
NEA pic: Art Works Blog, #WisdomWednesday, NEA Chairman Jane Chu, January 18, 2017
Aretha Franklin and President Obama pics: CBS-TV
Greenery quote: Pantone’s Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman
A Change Is Gonna Come lyrics: Sam Cooke ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Abkco Music, Inc.

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

22 Dec

DECEMBER WISHES

light-stars-decemberwishes-dec2016
WISHING YOU A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON
FILLED WITH FRIENDSHIP AND DELIGHT.

JOY

joy-bird-dec2016-cr-use
Tread softly, breathe peacefully, laugh hysterically.”
Nelson Mandela

As we welcome in the New Year, we can choose to be positive, optimistic, and to hold fast believing deep down in our hearts that, just as spring follows winter, good things will come.

LIGHT

light-treestarlights-dec2016“You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in.” (Arlo Guthrie) Arlo’s right, right? … So much light all around us at this time of the year. Light from the Chanukah candles, lights on the Christmas trees, twinkling white lights on the trees in the city streets. In Genesis 1:3 on the very first day of creation “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” As a verb, it means to illuminate and enlighten as with knowledge, to cast light upon. As a noun, we shed a light upon a problem or mystery, gaining enlightenment. The Eagles had this to say in Already Gone: “Just remember this my girl when you look up in the sky, You can see the stars and still not see the light.”

GOT CHOCOLATE?

chocolate-dec2016-1
Did you get or give a box of chocolate? This is the best time of the year for chocolate lovers. Chanukah gelt made of chocolate. Christmas gift boxes filled with all kinds of chocolate treats. Do you like it plain or with caramel or nuts? But the big question is milk or dark? (You know that white is not chocolate, right?) The dark has lower added sugar and fats than milk since the benefits come from cocoa. Thus, the more cocoa, the darker the chocolate, the better it is for you. But the lack of milk solids can make it dry and bitter. On the other hand, the milk is all creamy and yummy because it contains all the good stuff left out of the dark. Me? I’ve never met a chocolate I didn’t like. Luckily my present was a tower of the stuff.

WE CAN HELP: REMEMBER OUR VETS

veteransartwall-skullpic-dec2016This mask was painted by Perry Hopman, Staff Sergeant who served in Iraq and Kosovo. “The flag side was the face I showed to the world. The dead side was how I felt.” … Our veterans come back from combat suffering from PTSD. They need to come to terms with their overwhelming memories and emotions. Creating art for the American Veterans Art Wall helps them express their feelings of isolation and despair so they will see the promise of light ahead and feel real community. On the Art Wall, you will see paintings, poems, photographs, collages, cartoons, sculptures – and even tattoos. Take a look. You will feel sad, uplifted, grateful, and most of all proud. To ensure the American Arts Trust can continue to help heal veterans through art, we can donate or volunteer to be part of this worthy project!

Soundtrack to this Issue and a Bonus Track!

soundtrack1-hankwilliams-dec2016-cr2-use
Hank Williams’s I Saw the Light
(1948)

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

I wandered so aimless life filled with sin
I wouldn’t let my dear saviour in
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I’m so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

soundtrack2-toddrundgren-dec2016
Todd Rundgren’s I Saw the Light
(1972)

It was late last night
I was feeling something wasn’t right
There was not another soul in sight
Only you, only you
So we walked along,
Though I knew there was something wrong
And the feeling hit me oh so strong about you
Then you gazed up at me and the answer was plain to see
‘Cause I saw the light in your eyes

Who rescued whom?
barkley-img_3216-cr-dec2016
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
IMGP2541.cr.newsltr
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
The Eagles Already Gone lyrics: Jack Tempchin, Robert Arnold Strandlund ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Combat Art Therapy Mask pic: American Arts Trust.org
Hank Williams’s I Saw the Light lyrics: Hank Williams ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Todd Rundgren’s I Saw the Light lyrics: Todd Rundgren ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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

28 Nov

NOVEMBER: SERVICE. HONOR. FREEDOM.

veteransday-nov2016The sun continues to rise, welcoming a brand new day every day. And we can all agree on this: Let’s honor our veterans! For they protect our cherished freedom.

STAND UP FOR VETERANS

standupforheroes-nov2016-bossseinLouis CK, Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, and Bruce Springsteen. The famous comics and The Boss performed at the 10th Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert to raise funds for wounded veterans. Founded by ABC’s Bob Woodruff, who was wounded himself reporting in Iraq, Stand Up For Heroes has raised more than $33 million for the Bob Woodruff Foundation in the past 10 years. The foundation works with community and national programs, as well as the military, to make healthy and positive futures for veterans and their families.

PURPLE

purple-grid-nov2016“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” (Alice Walker)

A certain concession speech was made in purple lapels and blouse and a matching tie. Purple is the color you get when blue and red come together, it is bipartisanship, it is unity. The purple in the U.S. military Purple Heart award represents courage. Because of purple’s rarity in nature, it is a symbol of nobility, wealth, and power. Suffragettes wore purple to symbolize dignity in the 1900s. A symbol of harmony made forever memorable in Jimi’s Purple Haze and Prince’s Purple Rain. It symbolizes high ideals, creativity, devotion, and peace. With hope in our hearts and an “open mind”, we look forward, not backward. That we may experience peace and prosperity in a nation united, with liberty and justice for all.

HALLELUJAH

leonardcohen-nov2016“There’s a blaze of light, In every word, It doesn’t matter which you heard, The holy or the broken Hallelujah” … A beautiful song. And everyone who has ever covered Hallelujah, has done right by it: Bob Dylan, John Cale, Bono, Rufus Wainwright, Ed Sheeran, k.d. lang. But it was Jeff Buckley’s version that brought it to light. So the sad news that its composer, Leonard Cohen, died touched so many people … Cohen’s opening lyrics evoking King David introduce the music, describing the harmonic progression of the verse and explaining the song’s structure: “It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift.” In C major, it’s the ascending melody line, basically the scale that makes the song ultimately uplifting. A prayer, a hymn even … “I did my best, it wasn’t much, I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch. I told the truth, I didn’t come to fool ya. And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.”

Leonard Cohen explained the song: “This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled, but there are moments when we can…embrace the whole mess, and that’s what I mean by ‘Hallelujah.’ That regardless of what the impossibility of the situation is, there is a moment when you open your mouth and you throw open your arms and you embrace the thing and you just say, Hallelujah!”

Here’s what he said in an interview in 1991, but he could have said it now: “I think the irony of America is transcendent in the song…It’s a song of deep intimacy and affirmation of the experiment of democracy in this country…That this is really where the experiment is unfolding. This is really where the races confront one another, where the classes, where the genders, where even the sexual orientations confront one another. This is the real laboratory of democracy. So I wanted to have that feeling in the song, too.”

MUSIC HEALS WOUNDED WARRIORS

musicorps-poster-nov2016The MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band, consisting of injured war veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, was established at Walter Reed Hospital in 2007. To help in their recovery, each veteran is taught how to play an instrument, write songs, and arrange music by professional musicians. And they are really good, playing concerts across the nation. They joined Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters at a benefit concert in New York City and performed Hallelujah with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra. Do you watch NCIS? Then you might remember the special (and emotional) 300th episode last spring that featured the Band singing Hallelujah! Through music, MusiCorps helps our military veterans find peace and healing so they can go on with their lives. How inspiring is that?

HOPE

hope-nov2016-2-use“Hope and optimism are different. Hope has to do not with thinking everything’s okay, but seeing that it’s not and then you move anyway.” (Anna Deavere Smith) … No matter whom one voted for, the harsh atmosphere affected us emotionally and we feel spent. What to do? We must embrace change and have hope that, despite all expectations, we will come out on the other side stronger, smarter, and united. We can help each other by providing support, listening better, pursuing solutions, and working together. For engaging in these productive deeds we will inspire hope, we will heal our wounds, and we will move forward. That is my hope.

THANKFUL

tdayparade-trixiewithfelix-nov2016Appearing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time is a bouncing dog named Trixie seen here floating with Felix the Cat. By the way, the Felix balloon, a handmade replica of the original 1927 version, was the first ever flown at the Macy’s Parade … Thanksgiving is a day to eat delicious food with loved ones and watch colorful huge characters float in the sky. And it couldn’t come at a better time. Consider it a respite when we took the time to really enjoy all that the day brings and to be thankful to be in a country where peace and prosperity are possible.

FREEDOM MEDAL

freedommedal-nov2016What an incredible group of people to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. They include Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Ellen DeGeneres, Lorne Michaels, Robert DeNiro, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Cicely Tyson, Vin Scully, Frank Gehry, Maya Lin, and Bill and Melinda Gates … Talk about humility. This was Vin Scully’s response to his inclusion: “Oh my gosh, no. Are you sure? I’m just an old baseball announcer.”

DOG NEWS

dognews-secretservicedogsbook-nov2016Bravery, loyalty, and love. Wherever the president goes, so do the dogs. A new book, Secret Service Dogs: The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States by Maria Goodavage, tells the history of the Secret Service K9 program and tells stories about the dogs that served along with their handlers and the bond between them. And all they ask in return? To play ball and get lots and lots of belly rubs.

WE CAN HELP

wecanhelp-servicedog-cemetery-nov2016Patriot PAWS trains and provides service dogs of the highest quality at no cost to disabled American veterans with mobile disabilities and PTS in order to help restore their physical and emotional independence. A Patriot PAWS service dog is trained for 18 months to two years at a cost of approximately $33,000, so donations are crucial. They are currently accepting applications from veterans who served during Desert Storm.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

soundtrack-traffic-band-nov2016-useTraffic’s Freedom Rider
Traffic at the Santa Monica Civic Center, February 21, 1972.

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

Like a hurricane around your heart
when earth and sky are torn apart
He comes gathering up the bits
while hoping that the puzzle fits
He leaves you, he leaves you, Freedom rider

With a silver star between his eyes
that open up at hidden lies
Big man crying with defeat
see people gathering in the street
You feel him, you feel him, Freedom rider

 

Who rescued whom?
whorescued-img_2902-fb-sun-10-23-16
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
TulipEars.b.hi-c
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Leonard Cohen pic: Official website leonardcohen.com
Hallelujah lyrics: Leonard Cohen ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Leonard Cohen 1st quote: The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of ‘Hallelujah’ by Alan Light (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2012)
Leonard Cohen 2nd quote: Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo (Da Capo Press, 2003)
Anne Deveare Smith quote: Time, November 7, 2016
Freedom Rider: Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

 

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