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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

Purple.aug2017.piano-USE

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

BonnieTyler.aug2017

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

Dumbledore.WB_HalfBloodPrince.aug2017

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

DogNews.westiebeans.aug2017-USE

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

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

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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

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

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.

 

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

28 Oct

OCTOBER’S COOL!

snoopy-october-2-oct2016

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.
(George Cooper 1840-1927)

 

TAKE IT EASY

glennfreystatue-oct2016-cr

Well I’m standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see … Why it’s a bronze statue of Eagles founding member Glenn Frey who wrote those lyrics that ended up memorializing Winslow forever. The idea for the statue came from two radio morning hosts on Phoenix classic rock station KSLX to pay tribute to Frey’s impact on Arizona’s history. He is portrayed with his long hair and handlebar mustache, the way he looked in the early 1970s. And of course, there he is standing in “Standin’ On The Corner in Winslow, Arizona Park”Just find a place to make your stand and take it easy.

 

SHERLOCK FEELS NO PAIN

sherlockandpinkfloyd-oct2016

“Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home?” The extraordinary actor who stars as Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, joined David Gilmour on stage to sing Roger Waters’s part on Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. It was an unannounced appearance for the surprised crowd at Royal Albert Hall. After delivering the line, “That’ll keep you going through the show, Come on, it’s time to go,” Cumberbatch left, yielding the stage to Gilmour.

 

THE AMERICAN ELM

americanelmtree-oct2016-cr-use

“The calm quiet strength of a tree
Showing anyone near
All the secrets of time
The calm quiet strength of a tree”

In the fall of 1858, the plans for New York City’s Central Park was underway. Land was set aside and plans drawn up to create a peaceful oasis in a busy city. On October 17, 1858, the very first tree was planted. It was the first of more than 20,000 trees now thriving in the Park … Central Park’s American Elm trees that line the Mall (also known as Literary Walk) are cherished and protected. A fence enclosing them has signs that say: Protect the American Elm: Please keep out. For this is one of the largest and last remaining groves of American Elm trees in North America. They were popular in 19th century landscaping (hence all the Elm Streets!), but due to Dutch Elm disease in the 20th century many of them died. Walking under their graceful canopy feels like you’re walking in a cathedral. Still green, the leaves on their twisty branches will soon turn to the fall colors, a beautiful and wondrous sight.

Hermann Hesse wrote about his love of trees: “… when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy.”

 

DYLAN’S NOBEL PRIZE

dylan-nobel-oct2016

“Do you love me or are you just extending goodwill?” … It’s love alright. Love for Bob Dylan who received the Nobel Prize in Literature for the poetry of his timeless, ever relevant lyrics and for the influence his body of work continues to yield. This is the first time a musician has been given this award. Born Robert Zimmerman, he fittingly adopted the name Dylan after the poet Dylan Thomas. Even Joyce Carol Oates notes this is an “inspired and original choice, his haunting music and lyrics have always seemed, in the deepest sense, literary.” And most significant the award acknowledges that the beauty of his words has import and that songwriting is a laudable inclusion in the pantheon of literature.

dylan-timesareachangin-oct2016

 

CLASSICS NEVER GET OLD

oldcellaconcert-oct2016

“I was so much older then I’m younger than that now.” If Dylan said it, it must be true. All these artists are over 70, yet there’s no denying they are forever young. Desert Trip, the classic rock festival in Indio, CA, gathered thousands, 75,000 in attendance each night. Dubbed Oldchella, their songs are invincible and timeless with lyrics that are as important now as they were when they were written in the 60s and 70s. Our collective memory is tied-up in these songs and these artists. Rock ‘n ‘roll is nothing less than life-affirming. We consider their mortality and take the opportunity to worship our heroes while we still can. “May your heart always be joyful, And may your song always be sung, May you stay forever young.”

 

CLASSICAL AND ROCK: “TEAR DOWN THIS WALL”

mikemills-oct2016-use

Echoing President Reagan’s message to Gorbachev, R.E.M.’s bassist Mike Mills and violinist Robert McDuffie are doing just that. They have collaborated on Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra and are touring together with a chamber orchestra performing the six-movement work in opera houses and concert halls across the country. Both are classically trained but went in different musical directions. Working on the concerto, they intentionally wanted to combine the two genres. Says Mills, “One of the main things I like about [the concerto] is that we are trying to break down the walls between classical and rock ‘n’ roll, to show that there are elements within each that translate into the other. Some of the piano parts I wrote for R.E.M. have really small, tiny, little classical elements…” … It’s really cool and joyous. Take a listen to these excerpts.

 

BIGLY: ADVERB

bigly-oct2016-oxford1933

He said what??? Is bigly a word? For many of us, its use in the last presidential debate was the first time we heard it. I looked it up and it is a word. A variation of big, an adverb we commonly use, it means big, in a big manner, largely, comprehensively. The picture above shows the definition as it appears in the Oxford Universal dictionary from 1933. Bigly dates back to Middle English, when it meant in a blustering manner, haughtily, pompously. Lasting until the early 20th century, it has fallen out of use in our contemporary vocabulary … Look, he could be saying big league but swallowing the last g. A term that comes from baseball, players work their way up the ladder from the minor leagues to reach the major leagues, also called the big leagues … Back to bigly! The suffix -ly means in this way as in: largely, hugely, broadly, shortly. So why don’t we say: bigly, longly, smally, littly? There is no reason semantically. I think it’s going to catch on. Bigly is going to be huge. Believe me.

 

PETALS FOR PEACE

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Yoko Ono’s first permanent public art installation in the US is a giant lotus flower in Chicago’s Jackson Park. The Sky Landing sculpture was constructed near a Japanese garden in an area dedicated to Japan-US relations (Yoko was born in Tokyo). The artwork has 12 large steel lotus petals and mounds that form the yin yang symbol to represent peace. It is a “place where the sky and earth meet and create a seed to learn about the past and come together to create a future of peace and harmony, with nature and each other.”

 

FLUTIST, NOT FLAUTIST

Silver flute on a musical score

I am a flutist (pronounced FLOO-tist) because Jean-Pierre Rampal was a flutist. He was my role model and whatever he did was good enough for me. So why do people ask if I am a flautist (pronounced FLOU-tist)? Although technically, they’re both right, flutist is more right. Nathaniel Hawthorne used flautist in The Marble Faun in 1860, perhaps because it was set in Italy where flute is flauto and a flutist is a flautista. But flutist is the older term, used in 1603! Plus, flutist is an offspring of the French flûtiste, which came from flûte. Voila! Having the historical claim and the more direct lineage, flutist it is and c’est moi!

 

UPDATE: BREAKFAST IN AMERICA

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In our September Newsletter we featured Craig Carlson who opened diners in Paris that serve an authentic American breakfast! He wrote about his successful venture in Pancakes in Paris. We have made an impression all the way to the author in Paris! Our wonderful Shirley Struchen sent the Newsletter to Melissa Dixon in Paris, who met the author at his reading event. Here’s what she wrote: “I just met Pancakes in Paris author and he is so lovely! His story is fantastic. He came to Paris with $300 in his pocket. He launched an amazing restaurant. He was happy to learn about Yvette’s blog review.” Here is Melissa with the author. Merci, Melissa. C’est formidable!

 

DOG NEWS

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In one of William Merritt Chase’s most celebrated paintings, The Tenth Street Studio (1880), the dog lies on a rug in the center of the room, head on the floor, one leg stretched across the train of an elegant white dress worn by the young woman in a blue chair. Chase’s (1849–1916) much-loved dogs were a customary presence in many of his works. His white, longhaired Wolfhound named Katti (pictured with him here) appears in several portraits. A renowned teacher at the Art Students League in New York City for 36 years, he furthered American modern art. Catch a major exhibition of Chase’s work now at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

“Before returning to America Chase purchased the beautiful white Russian hound Katti which he used in several pictures. The dog, a fastidious and aristocratic person, was the most considered member of the family. They found him rather a trying guest as he refused to eat anything but beefsteak.” (The Life and Art of William Merritt Chase by Katherine Metcalf Roof, 1917)

 

WE CAN HELP

wecanhelp-aspca-hurricane-oct2016

Hurricane Matthew ripped through the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The storm is over but the region has the lasting effects of the devastating floods. The ASPCA Disaster Response Team is always ready to deploy in natural disaster areas. So far, they have helped and transported nearly 950 animals to safety in these four states and there are still more to be saved. Our donations ensure that the Disaster Response Team has what they need – boats, leashes, medical care – to respond to animals in need.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

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The single from his new album, Keep Me Singing:
Van Morrison’s Too Late

Magical and poetic. Mixing rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, soul, jazz, gospel, and Celtic music, no two words define Van Morrison’s music and lyrics better. A new album is always good news. On this Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer’s 36th album of 12 original songs, his inimitable Celtic soul sound is as powerful as ever. And now this Belfast native is a Sir, being knighted for his musical achievement and his service to charities in Northern Ireland. We all love Brown Eyed Girl, Moondance, Domino, and Into the Mystic so let’s take a listen to a new one. Enjoy!

 

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

IMGP2541.cr.newsltr

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

 

Sources:
Comfortably Numb lyrics: David Jon Gilmour, Roger Waters ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Peermusic Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, IMAGEM MUSIC INC
The Tree poem: Tom Splitt ©1994
Hermann Hesse’s quote: Trees: Reflections and Poems (1984)
Is Your Love In Vain? Lyrics: Bob Dylan ©1978 Special Rider Music
Joyce Carol Oates quote: @JoyceCarolOates/Twitter
Times They Are A-Changin’ lyrics: Bob Dylan ©1963, 1964 Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991, 1992 by Special Rider Music
Forever Young lyrics: Bob Dylan ©1973 by Ram’s Horn Music; renewed 2001 by Ram’s Horn Music
Mike Mills quote: Rolling Stone, October 19, 2016
Sky Landing pic: Kiichiro Sato/The Associated Press
Yoko Ono quote: AP/NationalPost.com
Flute pic: Sébastien Bonaimé via Getty Images
William Merritt Chase with pet dog pic: Florence, ca. 1911, The William Merritt Chase Archives, Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY, Gift of Jackson Chase Storm
ASPCA pic: aspca.com

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

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“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

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