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

29 Oct

OCTOBER’S FREEFALL
 TomPetty.Getty

“Gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for a while
And I’m free, free fallin’…” 

Tom Petty was MusiCares Person of The Year and celebrating the band’s 40th anniversary with a high-profile tour. What a great year he was having – then our hearts were broken ... “Well I know what’s right, I got just one life, In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around, But I’ll stand my ground, And I won’t back down” … TP once said of I Won’t Back Down, his anthem of iron will and moral conviction, “It’s so bare, without any ambiguity. There was nothing there but truth.” He could have been talking about any one of his songs. In fact those words could have been said about him, too.

 

DRACULA’S PRELUDE

Stoker.churchyard.oct2017

What would Halloween’s month be without a scary tale? How about a story of how that scary tale came to be? In 1890 Bram Stoker was the overworked manager of London’s Lyceum Theatre. Exhausted – perhaps he felt the energy had been sucked out of him? – he went on vacation to Whitby, a remote seaside village in North Yorkshire. Starting out as a peaceful vacation, he ended up creating Dracula. Planning to write, the seashore fueled his imagination. Medieval cottages, a church with a graveyard full of weathered headstones, and the ruins of Whitby Abbey. Seeing this 13th century pile of Gothic arches built on the remains of a 7th century monastery, a light went off for Stoker. Along with a full view of the harbor, he could visualize that this lovely setting was perfect for a Gothic horror story. Walking in the churchyard, Stoker noted many names and dates off the gravestones that he would use. He learned that in 1855 the ship Dmitry left a Russian port and encountered a fierce storm. It found its way into the Whitby harbor and gave Stoker the idea for Count Dracula’s arrival in England. It was Whitby’s museum library where he found a book on Eastern European culture and folklore, William Wilkinson’s An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldovia, helping him flesh out the origins of his vampire. He read that DRACULA in Wallachian language means DEVIL, a person with courage, cruel actions, and cunning. So he had the geographical origin, nationality, and now a sinister name. Stoker’s visit to Whitby, a peaceful and pleasant English village, was the catalyst for what became the most famous vampire novel.

 

I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND

Elizabeth-barrett-browning AndRobertBrowningHands.oct.2017

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace

That’s the beautiful first stanza of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43. Here is a plaster cast of Robert Browning holding Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s hand. It is by Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908), considered the most distinguished female sculptor in America during the 19th century and is known as the first female professional sculptor. These hands evoke the romance and strong union shared by the Brownings. You can tell which hand is which by the size of the hands and the clearly masculine and feminine wrist cuffs. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote that it symbolizes “the individuality and heroic union of two highly poetic lives.” And it is clear to see it personifies Elizabeth’s famous sonnet.

 

CELEBRATING JOHN’S BIRTHDAY (OCTOBER 8)

Book.Imagine.oct2017.jpg

John Lennon believed that music, art, and peace have the power to change the world. French graphic artist Jean Jullien has illustrated Imagine, the first picture book set to John’s original lyrics. With a foreword by Yoko, it was created in collaboration with Amnesty Internationalto inspire a new generation to imagine a world at peace.” … The book tells the story of a pigeon who sets out on a journey to spread a message of peace and friendship among birds from around the world Imagine’s enduring message for humanity sure is a clarion call for our times. With its simple illustrations, this beautiful book is a reminder that it is the simple things we do every day that can make a difference. Since ultimately we have the power to help heal the world. And the world will live as one.

 

FROM A SOUP CAN TO MARS

RayBradbury.F451.oct2017

In the 1940’s Ray Bradbury was an aspiring writer. As such, he had a scant budget. So when he cooked for his new bride it was classic newlywed style—he opened a can of Campbell’s tomato soup. Even as his fame and bank account grew, he stayed loyal to his favorite meal, ordering cans of the soup by the case. The author of such great sci-fi classics as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles (my fave), The Illustrated Man, and Dandelion Wine told Playboy in 1996, “…At one time, I had planned to have my ashes put into a Campbell’s tomato soup can and then have it planted on Mars.” But then he thought it should be a place his fans could visit. His plain headstone at Westwood Memorial Park bears his name and “Author of Fahrenheit 451.” But it was NASA that gave him the ultimate tribute when they landed a rover on Mars a few months after Bradbury’s death in 2012. They named the site where the Mars Curiosity touched down, “Bradbury Landing.” Ray Bradbury had the most amazing imagination and left us with stories that inspire us to dream.

 

TO TOO

MeToo.oct2017

Too is widespread and significant as of late. A little word, but a mighty one … Adverb 1. in addition, also, furthermore, moreover 2. to an excessive extent or degree: you’re too kind. 3. more than should be: too near the fire. 4. an affirmative to contradict a negative statement: I am too! 5. extremely; very … We’re using it, saying it, what does it really mean? Too is only a stressed form of the preposition to. Too started out as to. In 900, Old English to basically expressed “in the direction of.” When it was stressed, to went on to mean “furthermore,” “also,” and “excessively.” By the 16th century to, used at the end of a phrase indicating stress, its spelling became too. By the early 20th century, its use as emphasis became universally accepted. And now in the 21st century, its use is powerful and empowering.

 

DO YOU BELIEVE?!

Cher.Shoes.oct2017

What the…?!?! I saw this in my Twitter feed and thought – it’s gotta be Cher. Who else? With just these boots, Cher revealed in several tweets that she has been cast in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. All she would say about her character is that “her look is amazing, not like anything I’ve done & she’s a pistol.” Of course …. But wait! There’s more! A musical based on her life and career is coming to Broadway. The Cher Show, paying homage to her 1970’s show The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, will cover her six-decade career and feature her best known songs. “My life as a musical on Broadway. It seems crazy, exciting, and bizarre – but that’s probably how my life seems to most people,” says Cher.

 

ENDNOTE FROM GENE SIMMONS

EndNote.GeneSimmons.oct2017

What’s the best advice you ever received? “The wisest person I ever met continues to be my mother. She survived a Nazi concentration camp at fourteen when her whole family was killed. Her perspective on life is, ‘Every day above ground is a good day, so reach for the stars. As long as there’s nobody trying to kill you, what have you got to lose? You cannot fail.’ And she’s right.”

 

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.ASPCA

The ASPCA needs our help to care for the thousands of beloved pets and shelter animals displaced by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. They deployed animal search-and-rescue teams, provided critical supplies, and established an emergency animal shelter. They are also sending supplies to partner shelters affected by Northern California’s wildfires. So far they have come to the aid of 18,000 animals impacted by the recent back-to-back disasters. 100% of our donations goes to the ASPCA Field Investigation and Response Fund, which supports all of the ASPCA’s life-saving efforts for animals in disaster and cruelty situations.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.TP-FreeFallin.oct2017

Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’

 “Good songs stay written. Good records stay made…Tom made a lot of great music, enough to carry people forward.” (Bruce Springsteen) 

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

She’s a good girl, loves her mama
Loves Jesus and America too
She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis
Loves horses and her boyfriend too

It’s a long day living in Reseda
There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard
And I’m a bad boy ’cause I don’t even miss her
I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart 

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’ 

All the vampires walkin’ through the valley
Move west down Ventura boulevard
And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows
All the good girls are home with broken hearts 

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’
Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’, now I’m
Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’, now I’m 

I want to glide down over Mulholland
I want to write her name in the sky
Gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for a while 

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’

 

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

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

 

Sources:
Tom Petty pic: Michael Putland/Getty Images
I Won’t Back Down lyrics: Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Tom Petty quote: Rolling Stone interview (2009)
Bram Stoker pic of St. Mary’s churchyard: iStock
About Whitby: bramstokerestate.com
Hands pic: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Nathaniel Hawthorne quote: From his novel, The Marble Faun
Cher pic and quotes: Twitter @cher
Endnote quote by Gene Simmons: Rolling Stone (September 25, 2017)
We Can Help pic: ASPCA rescue/Hurricane Irma
Soundtrack quote by Bruce: David Fricke interview (October 2017)
Free Fallin’ lyrics: Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Music video of Tom Petty performing Free Fallin’ ©1989 UMG Recordings, Inc.

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

27 Sep

SEPTEMBER’S NEW LEAF?

HappyFall.sept.2017.fscottfitz 

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW

Ringo.GiveMoreLove.sept2017

Count on Ringo to catch the zeitgeist and encourage its remedy. If words alone would heal…Give More Love.

Sometimes this world can be a hard place
We wonder where we go from here
So many hurting bad, Lost everything they had
It’s hard to know what we can do 

Give more love, Give more love
It’s what we know we need more of
From the heart, Let it start
To spread to everyone, Now it’s up to you
There’s something you can do
Give more love, Give more love, Give more love

 

NOM NOM IS A NO-NO

NomNom1.sept2017.CookieMonster.red

“I’m hungry, let’s get some nom noms at the dining hall.” “I just had a cheesy pizza. Nom nom nom.” “You like that burger? Nom nom nom.”Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster originated the expression nom nom. While eating something delicious, he would keep repeating the phrase “om nom nom.” The earliest appearance of om nom was in the Urban Dictionary in 2004, defining it as “1. eating with extreme delight. 2. The noise made when food is **** good nd u wanna show everybody [sic]” … Now it generates loathing. Is it something a grown-up ought to say? Doesn’t it sound like baby talk? Maybe it’s a little gross? Or is it a trend that is oh so over? … How did it become a buzzword? The OED‘s definition of buzzword: “a catchword or expression currently fashionable; a term used more to impress than to inform.” I think both those definitions are applicable. It was even in the running for 2010’s word of the year.

NomNom2.sept2017.Cats

Nom nom became popular in 2007 when a cat licking a birthday cake was posted on the ICanHasCheezburger website with the caption “nom nom nom/nooo it are my birthday” … Let’s bear in mind that nom nom is not in the dictionary (the real dictionaries, Urban Dictionary aside). Scrumptious is a better word. So is delicious or delish, tasty, lip-smacking, and yes, yummy is cool. How about we all agree that nom nom belongs to Cookie Monster – and only Cookie Monster.

 

AFTER THE DELUGE

Hurricane1.sept2017

The word hurricane comes from Taino, a language spoken by the Arawak, the indigenous people of the Caribbean and picked up by Spanish explorers there. The Taino word hurákan means “god of the storm.” Interesting to note that the word hurricane now only applies to tropical storms that occur in the Caribbean or Atlantic Ocean … At the end of the 15th century, Christopher Columbus noted a severe tropical storm while in the West Indies: “Nothing but the service of God and the monarchy would expose me to such danger.” Sure enough, three of his ships capsized … The word appeared mid-16th century in the English translation of a Spanish historian’s opus detailing the Spanish conquest of the Americas (from 1492 to 1547) with this description of a great tempest: “…when the deuyll greatly intendeth to feare theym, he threteneth to sende them great tempestes which they caule Haurachanas, and are so vehement that they ouerthrowe many howses and great trees.” … Shakespeare used hurricano in King Lear when Lear howls on the heath: “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow! You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!” … Nature may be reminding us that out of destruction comes the chance to make new, to make better; out of destruction can come creation.

Hurricane2.sept2017.dylan

Rubin could take a man out with just one punch
But he never did like to talk about it all that much
“It’s my work,” he’d say, “and I do it for pay.
And when it’s over I’d just as soon go on my way.”

And then there’s Rubin Hurricane Carter, whose lightning-fast fists earned him that nickname. A top contender for the world middleweight crown, he had an astonishing four-fight winning streak, including two knockouts. Sadly, at the height of his boxing career, he was wrongfully convicted of murder and imprisoned for 20 years. Bob Dylan, advocating for his innocence, wrote about his life in the song Hurricane after visiting Carter in prison in 1975. Every night on the Rolling Thunder Revue tour, Dylan sang Hurricane and asked his audience to lobby for Carter’s release. Ultimately Dylan’s efforts actually helped get him out of jail.

 

BERNSTEIN!

LeonardBernsteinAt100.sept2017

“I can’t live one day without hearing music, playing it, studying it, or thinking about it.” And we are all the better for it … Leonard Bernstein at 100 is a two-year celebration of his life and legacy that kicked off with the Kennedy Center’s concert Bernstein on Broadway, featuring selections from his musicals. Events in cities all across the world will continue through August 2019 … The Grammy Museum’s traveling exhibit will go across the country. His record companies are issuing box sets, remastered recordings, and new recordings of his music. New documentaries will include highlights of his fervent support for civil rights through his music and in his own voice. And of course there will be concerts. Many concerts … I grew up going to Bernstein concerts with the Philharmonic. He was bigger than life, inspiring an enduring love for music. He made music easily accessible for the music novice as well as the trained musician. And most of all, using his favorite word, he made music fun … At a time when we all need our anxieties abated and our emotions and spirits uplifted, we have the Maestro’s music that reflects his own response to a time of great angst and disappointment. Motivating and hopeful – he has never failed to touch us deeply and remind us of our shared humanity.

 

LIGHT SHOW

JoshuaLightShow.sept2017

Light elevates us. But a light show transports us … Liquid light shows, projected on a screen behind the band, mix a live film to the beat of the music using glass oils or by cutting up transparencies … You remember being mesmerized by the colorful weaving wiggly psychedelic patterns at Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, and The Who concerts, don’t ya? A light show is a fully artistic visual interpretation of the music as the band is performing. So no two shows are alike, creating a truly unique and totally immersive experience. Joshua Light Show, perhaps the most famous light show, still going after 50 years, has even been prominently displayed in concert posters … “There’s no question that the development of the scene as it evolved in San Francisco was way more than the music,” says Jefferson Airplane (and Hot Tuna) guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. “And part of it, of course, was the visuals that came along with the light shows.”

 

DOG (AND PET) NEWS

DogNews.ASPCA-Irma.sept2017

The ASPCA saw the devastation of Hurricane Irma firsthand and they were there for animals in crisis. The ASPCA prepared water rescue, emergency sheltering, and relocation efforts for the areas where animals needed help most. 100% of our donations are going toward the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Fund, to ensure that rescue teams are always ready to help animals from situations of cruelty, neglect, and natural disaster … The ASPCA has these tips to prepare for an emergency situation such as Irma: Pets should be wearing ID tags with contact info; micro-chipping is a more permanent form of ID; make an emergency kit with medical records, water, bowls, pet food, and medication; and download the free ASPCA mobile app, to store important records needed for boarding pets at evacuation shelters.

 

ENDNOTE FROM RINGO

Endnote.RingoTweet.sky.sept2017

Even the clouds in the sky [are] beautiful
I am listening to we can work it out
peace and love

Endnote1.FingersPeaceEndnote2.HeartStarEndnote3.SunEndnote4.NotesMusicEndNote5.PeacePurpleSign

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.ElieWiesel.sept2017

The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect engages Americans to fight harder for Anne Frank’s dream: An inclusive world in which mutual respect replaces hatred and its consequences. We can help them to continue their traveling exhibits and educational programs across the U.S. and Canada. They go to museums, schools, universities, companies, and houses of worship. With our help they can carry on Anne Frank’s legacy. Fighting prejudice and discrimination, and advocating for her dream of a kinder and fairer world is more important now than ever.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack-Picture.ConcertPoster.sept2017.v3cr

David Bowie sings Paul Simon’s America

Organized by Paul McCartney to honor the memories of the victims of 9/11, The Concert for New York City was held at Madison Square Garden on October 20, 2011 … David Bowie opened the concert with a beautiful heart-rending cover of Paul Simon’s America with only guitar and bass for back-up. He told the crowd: “Hi friends, my fellow New Yorkers. I’d particularly like to say hello to the folks from my local [FDNY] ladder, you know where you are. It’s an absolute privilege to play for you tonight.” … It was originally released on Simon & Garfunkel’s Bookends album in 1968. Rolling Stone noted: “It captured America’s sense of restlessness and confusion during the year that saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, as well as the escalation of the war in Vietnam.” The emotion it stirs keeps it forever relevant. 

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

And we walked off to look for America
Cathy, I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
Michigan seems like a dream to me now
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
I’ve gone to look for America … 

Cathy, I’m lost, I said though I knew she was sleeping
And I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come to look for America
All come to look for America
All come to look for America

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:

Give More Love lyrics: Ringo Starr, Gary Nicholson/Ringo Starr Official Website
Hurricane pic: The aftermath of Hurricane Ike in Gilchrist, Texas (2008)/Reuters
Dylan’s Hurricane lyrics: Jacques Levy, Bob Dylan ©Bob Dylan Music Co.
Joshua Light Show pic: Joshua Light Show with Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington, October 2013, Fierce Festival, UK JLS (Twitter December 23, 2013)
Dog News pic: ASPCA
Endnote Ringo Starr quote: @ringostarrmusic (September 10, 2017)
Soundtrack quote: Readers’ Poll: The 10 Greatest Simon and Garfunkel Songs by Andy Greene/Rolling Stone Magazine (January 15, 2014)
America lyrics: Paul Simon ©Universal Music Publishing Group 

Special note about the Soundtrack: The video is May 30, 2002, but the sound is the actual performance from the October 20, 2001 concert.

September 27, 2017
All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

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

Chihuly.OrangeFlowers.july2017

“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

FrenchCinema.july2017.alaindelon.july2017

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.”

Dunkirk.july2017

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

ASPCA-Dogblackwhite.july2017

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

PAReunion-use.top.june2017

PAReunion-use.bottom.june2017.cr-use

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

Wonder_Woman.june2017.cartoon-use

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

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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

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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”

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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

27 Mar

MARCH SAYS DREAM ON

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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

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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.

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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

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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
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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

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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

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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

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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.

 

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

27 Sep

SEPTEMBER FULL OF HOPE

helloseptember-sept2016“The breezes taste of apple peel. The air is full of smells to feel. Ripe fruit, old footballs, burning brush, new books, erasers, chalk, and such. The bee, his hive, well-honeyed hum, and Mother cuts chrysanthemums. Like plates washed clean with suds, the days are polished with a morning haze.” (John Updike, September)

HOPE EVERLASTING

911lights-sept2016

“We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human beings as possible, because we are still each other’s only hope,” James Baldwin said to Margaret Mead in a historic public conversation in New York City, August 25, 1970 … The twin beams of light emitted each September 11, as transcendental as any symbol of remembrance can ever be, depicts the timeless hope of which James Baldwin speaks.

ROCK STAR!

freddiemercuryasteroid-sept2016-2-use“A shooting star leaping through the sky, Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity…Burnin’ through the sky yeah” … An asteroid has been named after Freddie Mercury to honor what would have been his 70th birthday. Asteroid “Freddiemercury” is “burnin’ through the sky” in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. Per Brian May, Queen’s lead guitarist as well as an astrophysicist, “It’s just a dot of light but it’s a very special dot of light and maybe one day we’ll get there.”

BREAKFAST IN AMERICA

pancakesinparis-sept2016
Former Hollywood screenwriter Craig Carlson, with no restaurant experience, recounts his dream of opening an American diner in Paris, Breakfast in America, and turning it into a popular restaurant chain in the heart of Paris.

“After a year in France, I was dying for a good ol’ American breakfast. [Back in LA] I ordered a ham steak, scrambled eggs, home-fried potatoes, and buckwheat pancakes. I stared at it wide-eyed and said, ‘Oh my God, this is the one thing I missed when I was in Paris!’ At that instant a year’s worth of eating French breakfasts replayed before my eyes. But the problem was that every breakfast was exactly the same. Croissants and pains au chocolat, croissants and pains au chocolat. I stared down at my pancakes…my heart racing as I repeated the phrase: ‘The one thing I missed in Paris’…I knew exactly what I wanted to do: open an American diner in Paris! I even knew what I was going to call it: Breakfast in America.”

KNOCKIN’ ON HEAVEN’S GATE?

dylangate-sept2016Did you know that Bob Dylan liked to sculpt enormous iron gates? Yes, it’s true. After all, he was born and raised in iron ore country in Minnesota. He just built a 26×15-foot iron gateway for the MGM National Harbor casino in Maryland. Called Portal, it incorporates found objects, farm equipment, kitchen utensils, and tools … Per Dylan: “Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow. They can be closed, but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways, there is no difference.” Whoa, that is so Dylan.

WHEN BAD ADVERTISING HAPPENS TO THE ARTS

wellsfargo-nea-sept2016Here’s a real head-scratcher. Seems that the Wells Fargo financial services company thought this was a good idea. Picture this. A smiling young woman with the caption: “A ballerina yesterday. An engineer today.” And the tag line: “Let’s get them ready for tomorrow.” Although they were taken to task for this tasteless ad campaign that they subsequently abandoned, how was it ever approved? The arts and those who choose to be artists are to be cherished, enjoyed, and encouraged. Hey, Wells Fargo, learn something about the arts from the National Endowment for the Arts and put aside some ad dollars for a donation. It’s the arts that fulfill promises and make life grand.

FULL OF AWE

awesome-sept2016-newsWords enable us to communicate with each other. What powerful tools they are! But changes in language and in people, including interpretation, people adapting language to fit their needs, societal changes, and shifting pronunciations, affect the meaning of a word over time. Let’s look at the evolution of the word awful: In Shakespeare’s time awful had the complimentary meaning of “full of awe.With the suffix –ful, awful means having the quality of awe. Its meanings include being worthy of, commanding profound respect or reverential fear, which may have led it to mean causing dread. So over the centuries, awful took on a negative quality – frightful, ugly, monstrous. Then awful was eventually replaced with today’s positive awesome. Note that the suffix -some is basically the same as –ful in its meaning. Since awful had such a strong negative connotation, awesome was used meaning “awe-inspiring” without the negativity. By the mid-1900s awesome went from awe-inspiring to its ubiquitous use today meaning amazing. Okay, so awesome may have reached its cultural saturation point, but its history is nonetheless awesome, right?

TRIUMPHANT NEW MUSEUM!

blackmuseum-baldwinquote-crA new major museum is always worth celebrating! Just opened is the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in the heart of Washington DC. Its very design is crucial to the story it tells. From its lowest floor depicting the history of slavery, each ascending floor follows the journey to the civil rights movement and up to “A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond” and President Obama’s inauguration.

…AND THE BEATLES’ CIVIL RIGHTS VICTORY

eightdaysaweek-sept2016In the new documentary, Eight Days a Week, director Ron Howard examines the Beatles’ touring years. Of note, we learn that in 1964 when they reached the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, FL, seats were segregated. They refused to perform until the venue was integrated, gaining a victory for civil rights. “We played to people. We didn’t play to those people or that people – we just played to people,” so said Ringo.

ROCK RELICS DO GOOD!

maxskcauction-bruce-sept2016Cool pic of The Boss, right? Unless you’ve read Yvonne Sewall-Ruskin’s High On Rebellion: Inside the Underground at Max’s Kansas City (see May 2016 Newsletter), you’ve never seen it. Taken upstairs at Max’s Kansas City backstage by Lily Hou in 1973, it was one of many great items up for auction to benefit Yvonne’s arts non-profit, Max’s Kansas City Project, which provides artists grants of emergency relief for housing, medical, and legal aid.

DOG NEWS

dognews-911dogs-sept2016Barkley’s incredible veterinarian Dr. Amy Attas (as well as Buddha’s and Skeffington’s!) volunteered to care for the heroic rescue dogs at ground zero. Dr. Attas and her colleagues listened to the handlers while their dogs were being treated for cuts, burns, and dehydration, prompting the vets to ask psychologists to sit with them. “A lot of the handlers told us that their dogs were really depressed, because they were search and rescue dogs and they weren’t finding anybody,” Dr. Attas told NBC News.

WE CAN HELP

9-11stairs-sept2016The Vesey Street stairs, on site at the 911 Memorial Museum and now known as Survivors’ Stairway, is the sole remainder above ground of the World Trade Center. Gazing at it, one visualizes all those people running down them seeking safety and escape with fervent hope that they make it out. The 9/11 Memorial Museum documents the impact of 9/11 and explores its continuing significance. There we bear witness to a collection of artifacts that remind us of the people we lost and the brave souls that heroically went in to help, to save, to do their job. It is a place of commemoration.  Make a monetary donation or you can make a contribution to the collection such as pics, videos, voice messages, personal effects, workplace objects, and diaries.

wecanhelp2-doghope-aacr-sept-2016Fact: Animals have a positive effect in helping people cope with traumatic events. HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response teams have been responding to crises and disasters since 2001, when they sent specially trained handlers and their dogs to provide comfort at ground zero in NYC. They calmed survivors and helped first responders and other workers relax and talk about their experiences, just as you see Tikva here at work. HOPE has since responded to major hurricanes, wildfires, train derailments, and school shootings. An all-volunteer organization, your donation helps them continue training and certifying new crisis teams.

Soundtrack to this Issuesoundtrack-highhopes-teleBruce Springsteen’s High Hopes

Happy Birthday to the Boss. And what a way to celebrate. Four hour concerts! A book! A book tour! A new album! … Along with his captivating, candid, and poignant memoir, Born to Run, is a compilation album Chapter and Verse which features 18 songs that reflect the themes and sections of the book and includes five unreleased songs … High hopes is surely what we are feeling, so here’s the title track from the High Hopes album:

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

Give me help, give me strength
Give a soul a night of fearless sleep
Give me love, give me peace
Don’t you know these days you pay for everything 

Got high hopes
I got high hopes
Got high hopes
I got high hopes

Who rescued whom?
Barkley+Mom.Tartan.IMG_0587.cr.Apr2016
At the New York Tartan Day Parade.
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:
James Baldwin quote: A Rap on Race (J. B. Lippincott; 1st edition, 1971)
Freddy Mercury lyrics: Don’t Stop Me Now by Freddie Mercury ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Brian May quote: The Guardian, September 5, 2016
Book quote: Pancakes in Paris by Craig Carlson Page 42 ©2016 Sourcebooks
Dylan’s gate pic and quote: Forbes, September 7, 2016
Dr. Amy Attas, DVM quote: NBC News/New York, September 11, 2016
Tikva at Ground Zero, NYC, 2001 pic: HOPEaacr.org
Soundtrack High Hopes lyrics: Timothy Scott McConnell ©Universal Music Publishing Group

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

26 Aug

HOT DOG DAYS OF AUGUST

Weather.Aug2016.cruse.png

 

 

How hot is it? Real Feel: 118 degrees – wow! … This has been one hot summer for most everyone everywhere. Hope you (and your dogs) are keeping cool wherever you are … Prediction: There will be snow soon enough!

 

THE BOSS TELLS HIS STORY

BruceBornToRunBook.aug2016

 

 

“I come from a boardwalk town where almost everything is tinged with a bit of fraud. So am I. By 20, no race-car-driving rebel, I was a guitar player on the streets of Asbury Park … But I held four clean aces. I had youth, almost a decade of hard-core bar band experience, a good group of homegrown musicians who were attuned to my performance style and a story to tell.” … From the forward to Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run, to be released in September.

 

SO HOW’D YA WRITE THAT SONG?

RobertPlant.aug2016

 

Many were mollified at the unquestionably correct verdict that, no, Led Zeppelin did not steal a lesser known band’s music for their not derived, resplendent, iconic Stairway to Heaven Robert Plant testified in court on the song’s origins: “…I sat with Jimmy by the fire, and he began playing. And I had this little couplet lyrically that, if you like, in tempo, fitted into what he was playing. So I just started developing that into two lines, then four lines, and then on, slowly, opening it up…‘There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven. And when she gets there she knows that the stores are all closed; with a word she can get what she came for.’…I was really trying to bring in that aspect of Welsh, the beauty and the remoteness of the pastoral Britain…Meanwhile, the guys were working on opening up the song and its transition into something that was really flowering and it was quite a thing as we moved on through the song, to open it up and to turn around various parts of it and see it develop into something I couldn’t even imagine.” … Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that’s how they wrote that song.

 

DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’!

Tchaikovsky.aug2016

 

 

The Nutcracker. Swan Lake. 1812 Overture. The celebrated Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) believed that one must keep working and working, just keep at it, and inspiration will happen … “We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. If we wait for the mood, without endeavoring to meet it half-way, we easily become indolent and apathetic. We must be patient, and believe that inspiration will come to those who can master their disinclination” … Two centuries later, producer, songwriter, and lead singer and guitarist of The White Stripes, Jack White echoes Tchaikovsky’s ideal … “Inspiration and work ethic — they ride right next to each other…Not every day you’re gonna wake up and the clouds are gonna part and rays from heaven are gonna come down and you’re gonna write a song from it. Sometimes, you just get in there and just force yourself to work, and maybe something good will come out.”

 

PEPSI-COLA HITS THE SPOT

PepsiColaSign.aug2016.day.2

 

 

The distinctive Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City, Queens, that faces the East River and Manhattan, is now an official New York City landmark. Its bright red swirly lettering has long been a welcoming beacon on the waterfront. Crowning Pepsi’s bottling plant at this site in 1940, its reconstruction in 1993 was faithful to the original sign. The 50-foot painted Pepsi bottle was probably replaced in the 1970s with an updated bottle design. Serving as a longstanding and well-known branding symbol, this sure is a testament to the power of a great marketing imprint.

 

READY FOR LIFT-OFF

MetChandelier.aug2016

 

 

Another should be New York City landmark are the Metropolitan Opera’s spacey chandeliers. Who doesn’t ooh and aah as the world-famous show before the show starring 12 radiant starbursts begin their ascendency as the lights fade? A gift made by the Austrian government to thank the US for its help after WWII, it was a shining symbol of the friendship between Austria and the US. Fondly named sputniks, their design was inspired by the post-war era’s International Space Race and the Big Bang. And now they have been mechanically overhauled, outdated equipment for raising and lowering them updated. Let the oohing and aahing begin!

 

YOU MAY SAY HE’S A DREAMER

JohnLennonVsUSABook.aug2016

 

 

“Let’s see, I think it was Jack Lemmon and Yoko Moto,” said Leon Wildes when asked the names of his new clients. With immigration and deportation hot-button issues in this election year, how timely and informative this new book is about John Lennon’s four-year battle to stay in the US. Wildes was John and Yoko’s lawyer, an expert on immigration law. Insights abound. We see that the debate about discretionary targeting of political protestors was as relevant then as it is now. Richard Nixon may have wanted John banished but, as Wildes states, “Thanks to [Lennon’s] willingness to fight, we managed to discover and helped create a remedy for impossible cases.” Funny how John’s 1972 deportation case with its societal significance and legal impact, is as essential a lasting legacy as is the extraordinary music he left us.

 

…AND SPEAKING OF JOHN’S MUSIC

BeatBugs.aug2016

 

 

Netflix’s new animated series, Beat Bugs, tells stories through Beatles songs, teaching kids life lessons while turning them on to great music! About a quintet of kid characters and their insect friends, Eddie Vedder performs as Jasper, a grasshopper who takes the insects on a Magical Mystery Tour. Pink sings Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds as Lucy the dragonfly, and yes, she has kaleidoscope eyes. James Corden sings I’m A Loser and Sia covers Blackbird. All You Need is Love is the theme song. Animated bugs singing Beatles songs? I’m taking that Ticket to Ride!

 

RIP, MENTSCH

StevenHill.aug2016

 

 

Law & Order is just a fact of life. It permeates countless homes. Who doesn’t love feeling the palliative power of watching L&O reruns over and over again? Switching channels, we are compelled to stop when there’s an episode airing. We know the words, we know whodunnit, we know the wisecracks. Especially those pithy gems spoken by Manhattan DA Adam Schiff, Steven Hill’s character. Hill even studied the law to make his character more convincing. Born Solomon Krakovsky to Russian Jewish immigrants, he passed away August 23. A devoted Orthodox Jew, he did not work on Shabbos, which was written into all his contracts. And when Hill resigned after a decade on L&O, in the show Adam Schiff resigned to work with a Holocaust organization. Oh, and he played the rabbi in Yentl. I admired him. A great actor who stayed true to his faith, Steven Hill had a deep sense of his own purpose and a heartfelt compassion which he exuded in every one of his roles. “Take the deal.”

 

I LOVE MY DOG

CatStevens.ILoveMyDog

I love my dog as much as I love you
But you may fade, my dog will always come through.

All he asks from me is the food to give him strength
All he ever needs is love and that he knows he’ll get.

All the pay I need comes shining through his eyes
I don’t need no cold water to make me realize that.

 

It is the 50th anniversary of Yusuf/Cat Stevens’ first hit single release, I Love My Dog in 1966. That was followed by The First Cut Is The Deepest, Wild World, Hard Headed Woman, Where Do the Children Play?, Father & Son, Morning Has Broken, Peace Train, and Moonshadow. Did you forget he wrote all those great songs? He’s on tour to celebrate his 50th anniversary as an artist – even playing New York City for the first time since 1976! Through his charity, Small Kindness, a portion of every ticket goes to UNICEF and International Rescue Committee to help children affected by the current refugee crisis. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, his most recent albums (2006’s An Other Cup is excellent!) are as notable as his early ones we cherish.

 

I LOVE MY RESCUE DOG

RescueDog.aug2016

So there’s this cartoon about the wonders of rescuing a dog. If you’ve ever adopted a dog, you will relate to comic artist Bird Born’s simple yet right-on telling of how he welcomed home his new friend. Remember, we never know where they are from, what kind of damage has been inflicted on them, nor are we ever assured that they’ll forget their history. But, we can shower them with loads and loads of love, make them feel safe, and show them the world will be a better place for them. Born’s experience in We’ve Taken A Dog From An Animal Shelter is a mirror of our experience, too. It’s the story of fear turning into owning the couch, the bed, the easy chair, well, you know the rest.

 

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.ASPCA-LAFlood.aug2016

 

 

The ASPCA has dispatched its Disaster Response Team to Louisiana to conduct water rescues for animals displaced by the area’s devastating floods resulting from three days of torrential rain. Donations will help the ASPCA “give people peace of mind while they cope with this crisis by making sure their pets are safe.”

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.JoshuaTree.aug2016.cr

U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

 

One can relate to this gospel-influenced anthem from U2, especially heading into fall’s new beginnings. This is critic Jeff Jensen’s description: “[It] is my bridge over troubled water, a psalm of reorientation in times of disorientation. It embraces hopeful paradoxes: that doubt and faith are compatible, that certainty doesn’t preclude a constant search for truth … a bittersweet hymn that calls me to look up when I’m down and keep clear-eyed when I’m fogged.”

 

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

I have climbed the highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you.

I have run, I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you.

But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.

 

 

 

Who rescued whom?

Barkley+Mom.Tartan.IMG_0587.cr.Apr2016

At the New York Tartan Day Parade.
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:
Bruce quote: Bruce Springsteen official website brucespringsteen.net
Robert Plant trial pic: Mona Shafer Edwards
Robert Plant quote: Rolling Stone, August 16, 2016
Tchaikovsky quote: Life and Letters of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky by Modeste Tchaikovsky (University Press of the Pacific 2004)
Jack White quote: from the documentary, Under Great White Northern Lights
Leon Wildes quotes: John Lennon vs. The U.S.A.: The Inside Story of the Most Bitterly Contested and Influential Deportation Case in United States History (American Bar Association, August 2016)
Beat Bugs pic: Netflix
I Love My Dog lyrics: Cat Stevens ©Universal Music Publishing Group
Soundtrack quote: Jeff Jensen/Entertainment Weekly August 12, 2016
U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For lyrics: Adam Clayton, Dave Evans, Larry Mullen, Paul David Hewson, Victor Reina ©Universal Music Publishing Group

 

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