Tag Archives: Aretha Franklin

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.

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

27 Oct

OCTOBER IS FALL’S CROWNING GLORY

Part spoken word, part concert, Lennon: Through a Glass Onion celebrates his words and music. Happy birthday, JohnJohnLennon.stageshow.Oct2014 … On the eve of her new album release, Aretha Franklin talked with Clive Davis at the 92Y. “It really is an honor if I can be inspirational to a younger singer or person, it means I’ve done my job.” … Big-hearted Betty Buckley performed six concerts at Joe’s Pub, from her new T Bone Burnett-produced album, Ghostlight … Simon Rattle led the Berlin Philharmonic in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the Park Avenue Armory, part of Lincoln Center’s White Light FestivalEverly Brothers honored with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Music Masters award … Bravo, Maestro James Levine on your 2,500th performance with the Metropolitan Opera OrchestraMatisse’s colorful cut-paper collages at MOMA … Yeah, they went their own way, but now Fleetwood Mac is back and on tourPrince.ArtOfficialAge.Oct2014The Who: 50 Years Greatest Hits album, whoa, fifty years? No! … Also out with new albums: Yusuf, Neil Diamond, and Annie Lennox sings American standards … The 3rd annual CBGB Music and Film Festival featured Devo … Speaking of, Mark Mothersbaugh has a solo art exhibition, Myopia, traveling the US … The surprising, enterprising, never disappointing artist known as Prince released two albums at once, Art Official Age and PlectrumElectrum … Esa-Pekka Salonen and the NY Philharmonic play Stravinsky’s The Firebird, let’s see, do the prince and princess live happily ever after? …

The glorious voices of Ladysmith Black Mambazo played Carnegie Hall’s South African music fest … Happy 30th birthday to Def Jam Records,BloodMoon.10.8.14.Oct2014.cr influential and genre-defining … Masters of Hawaiian Music played SubCulture. Can you say ki ho’alu? That’s slack-key guitar to you … A Harlem block is officially renamed, George Carlin Way … Recovered, the Allman Brothers resumed their residency at The Beacon … They gave it away on iTunes then U2 released Songs of Innocence, their 13th album, featuring the single The Miracle (of Joey Ramone). You had me at Joey Ramone … The Beach Boys’ gorgeous classic, God Only Knows,  celebrates the launch of BBC Music with the likes of Pharrell Williams, Elton John, Chris Martin, Stevie Wonder, Chrissie Hynde, Sam Smith, and more, and oh yeah, the great Brian Wilson … Two new breeds in Westminster, Coton de Tulear and Wirehaired Viszla … New postage stamps celebrate Batman turning 75 … The Blood Moon, a total lunar eclipse, rose up bright red … And R.I.P. Jack Bruce, Cream’s singer and bassist, and co-writer of the best song there ever was and ever will be, Sunshine of Your Love.

COMPASSION IS THE SOLUTION

So says my favorite singer/songwriter, Matt Turk. Big congratulations on his latest album, Cold Revival, and his sold-out releaseMattTurkColdRevival.pic-ChristinaTorpie.October2014 party at The Bitter End …

“Opening with a lilting mandolin strum, Cracked Egg turns sharply into a powerhouse of explosive drums and heartfelt singing … When A Boy’s gentle, acoustic picking becomes a more upbeat track with the right amount of organ punched in … The album’s title track Cold Revival has a perfect country feel with restrained slide guitars, understated organ and strings … Say You’ll Live’s minor chords, mandolin and spoken word opening bursts into a dramatic, organ-driven piece.”

“Matt Turk strikes a fine balance between rockers and introspective acoustic excursions.” … Oh, and Matt is Featured Artist in Guitar Player magazine … Don’t wait, buy Cold Revival at turktunes!

GOTTA READ IT, GOTTA SEE IT

Books on music: Bernstein Meets Broadway: Collaborative Art in a Time of War by Carol Oja, Griel Marcus’sFiddler.book.Oct2014 The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs, Mick Fleetwood’s Play On (timed with his band’s tour), Sheila E’s The Beat of My Own Drum, Neil Young’s Special Deluxe, Joe Perry’s Rocks, David Ritz’s Aretha Franklin bio (timed with her album release) Respect, and Tradition! The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, the World’s Most Beloved Music by Barbara Isenberg …

And new films about music: Andre Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix in Jimi: All Is by My Side, JK Simmons as a music teacher in Whiplash, and Ethan Hawk’s inspiring bio on the equally inspiring 87-year old piano teacher, Seymour Bernstein, Seymour: An Introduction.

FALL’S WELCOME AND FAREWELL

FallColors.ChrisMeloni.Oct2014

“Even if something is left undone,
everyone must take time
to sit still and watch the leaves turn.”
(Elizabeth Lawrence)

 

WE CAN HELP
ASPCA.DonateBox.Oct2014

Soundtrack to this Issue
ArethaFranklinSingsTheGreatDivaClassics.Oct2014
Aretha’s Version of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep
(with a dash of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, oh yeah!)

From the album, Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics
©2014 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

C’mon, sing along:

The scars of your love remind me of us
It keeps me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love keep me breathless
I can’t help thinking

We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart inside of your hand
But you played it to the beat

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

 

Sources:
Lennon: Through a Glass Onion pic: Illustration by Aaron Smith
Matt Turk pic: Christina Torpie, October 2014
Matt Turk’s Cold Revival review quotes: Rob Ross/PopDose
Matt Turk’s Magnet Magazine review quote: Magnet October Issue #114
Fall Colors pic: Chris Meloni
Rolling in the Deep lyrics: Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, Paul Epworth © EMI Music Publishing Ltd., Melted Stone Publishing Ltd.

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