Tag Archives: books

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

30 Oct

OCTOBER’S COLORS

1.FallLeaves.JackRussell.oct2018

Fall colors!
Celebrate nature’s spectacular show!

FIND AUTUMN’S LEAVES

2.Book.FallFoliage.oct2018

Brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows in an audacious display of color. Fall Foliage by Charles Smith and Frank Kaczmarek is a guide to the best fall colors in North America. We learn about the fall foliage trees and the best locations to see them. The beautiful colors we witness every fall never fail to bring us joy. Jump in big piles of fallen leaves! Take a walk on a brisk autumn day when colorful leaves rustle with each step we take! Drive through the countryside! It is so easy to feel inspired at this time of year as we take in the beauty and majesty of the season. Oh! And take a cue from our dogs. They’re happiest romping on crunchy leaves!

DUKE AND DUCHESS!

3.Duke.oct2018

Prince Harry and Meghan aren’t just husband and wife. They also became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. And those titles are due to Edward III … Duke (duk in Middle English) comes from the French duc and the Latin dux, meaning “leader” or “army general.” In 1337, King Edward III no longer wanted to use the English earl (“warrior, nobleman,” of German origin) and changed it for the French duke when he used the hereditary title of nobility, the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall. He created the Duke of Lancaster in 1351 and then the Duke of Clarence, which the Queen could also have given Prince Harry and Meghan. Duchess is the feminine counterpart to duke, used in English by the late 1300s and from the French duchesse ... Latin’s dux is related to its verb ducere, “to lead, direct, draw,” where we also got the English words conduct, deduce, doge, education, induce, produce, and seduction … Sussex comes from Saxon which comes from the Old English Súþseaxe, meaning “South Saxons” (appropriately two words wedded together!).

LET US EAT CAKE!

4.Cake.oct2018

“All over the world, all the time, people are eating cake. They always have and they always will.” (Maira Kalman) … There’s a new cookbook with fantastic drawings that only Maira Kalman can do! Cake, by Maira Kalman and Barbara Scott-Goodman, is all about…you guessed it…cakes! Birthday cakes. Wedding cakes. Afternoon Tea cakes. Who doesn’t love cake? Along with stories of Maira’s memorable cakes throughout her life, check out the mouthwatering recipes about everyone’s favorite celebration dessert.

DOG NEWS

5.DogNews.oct2018

Spending hours on our phones can make our dogs sad. There’s a new study from the UK that shows dogs can get depressed when we ignore them and talk on our smartphones instead. Additionally a veterinarian from Philadelphia has seen the effects of smart phone usage on pets. Being attached to our phones causes the important bond between us and our dogs to break down. Dogs read our body language and eye contact. “They read our facial expressions, so if we are on our phone and acting disinterested, and they’re looking for attention, it basically is ignoring your dog.” So, what to do? Get off the phone. Play with the dog!

ENDNOTE: TIKKUN OLAM IS THE ANSWER

6.EndNote.candles.oct2018

Tikkun olam is the divine imperative to perform acts of kindness that are intended to “repair the world.” … “The shock and pain we feel now for and with our brothers and sisters in Congregation Tree of Life in Pittsburgh will be replaced with creativity, building, renewal, doing, and promoting wellness and improving quality of life for all human beings on earth.” (York JCC CEO, Dani Fessler Dani Fessler, October 28, 2018)

WE CAN HELP

7.WeCanHelp.HIAS.oct2018

HIAS provides assistance to refugees around the world and partners with the US government to resettle refugees as part of the US refugee admissions program. Founded in 1881 as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, HIAS was established to protect refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are. Donate to HIAS to help them continue to help refugees find welcome, safety, and freedom.

Soundtrack to this Issue

8.Soundtrack.JohnLennonStandByMe.oct2018

John Lennon
Stand By Me

October 8. Happy Birthday, John. Here he is singing Ben E King’s 1961 classic, Stand By Me, that made it to #1 in 1961. John Lennon’s version was released in March of 1975.

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

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we see
No I won’t be afraid
No I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

 And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, now, now, stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me

 If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

 And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me, stand by me
Whenever you’re in trouble won’t you stand by me
Oh, now, now, stand by me
Oh, stand by me, stand by me, stand by me
Darling, darling stand by me
Stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

 

 

Who rescued whom?
9.KEEP-YP+Barkley

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

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
12.KEEP-Buddha

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

 

Sources:
Duke: John Kelly, Mashed Radish
Cake: Penguin Press (April 10, 2018)
Dog News quote: BMC Psychiatry journal, UK
Soundtrack lyrics: Ben King, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

October 30, 2018
All Rights Reserved

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

DalaiLama.aug2017.peacepsych2-USE

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

WeCanHelp.TheArts.aug2017.arts+culture-USE

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

Soundtrack.PinkFloyd.black.aug2017-USE

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.

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

 

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

27 Apr

SOMETIMES IT SNOWS IN APRIL

Prince.Apri2016.snowinapril

Sing along to Prince:

 Sometimes it snows in April
Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad
Sometimes I wish that life was never ending,
But all good things, they say, never last

APRIL’S SCOTTISH REIGN

Parade.StephenPDriscollMemorialPipeBand.NYCTartanWeekFB.cr

And it was in the relentless rain, those unavoidable April showers, that the great Scots were celebrated in the New York Tartan Day Parade.

PURPLE REIGN: LONG LIVE PRINCE

Prince.Apri2016

Doves cry now, so do we. How sad it is to lose this magical artist too soon. With huge limitless talent, he could do it all. And all of it he did to perfection … “When I first started out in the music industry, I was most concerned with freedom. Freedom to produce, freedom to play all the instruments on my records, freedom to say anything I wanted to,” said Prince at his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 … “Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince; and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” (William Shakespeare, Hamlet)

SEX, LIES, AND MOVIES

Book.DirtyWordsAndFilthyPictures.Apr2016

Freedom of expression. It’s the entitlement of a true artist. And it is what the First Amendment guarantees, meaning the government does not have the right to forbid us from saying and writing what we like. But in the movies, that wasn’t always so. Did you wonder why married couples were in two beds instead of sharing one? That is because during Hollywood’s Golden Age film censors, charged with protecting the moral fabric of their communities, were the arbiters of what we could see … In his new book, Dirty Words and Filthy Pictures: Film and the First Amendment (University of Texas Press), Jeremy Geltzer explores cinema censorship, the movies that changed the law resulting in greater creative freedom for all, and how modern versions of censorship are shaping what we see today … Well-suited for this subject, Geltzer is an entertainment attorney for major studios (Paramount, Warner Bros., Disney), producer (Turner Classic Movies), and teacher of film history.

APRIL CELEBRATES POETRY

Foley.Apr2016

In the movie biz, it’s the Foley artist who enhances the film with sound effects such as a thunderous night or a procession of clip-clopping horses … In her poem Foley (from The Oldest Map with the Name America, 1999), Lucia Perillo tackles the music lover’s age-old conundrum:

“In certain sixties pop songs that had the singer keening
antonyms: how can something so right feel so wrong,
so good hurt so bad…you know what I’m talking about.
And don’t you think it’s peculiar:
in the first half of the sixties they made the black girl-groups
sing with white accents and in the second half of the sixties
they made the white girl-groups sing with black accents,
which proves that what you hear is always
some strange alchemy of what somebody thinks you’ll pay for
and what you expect.”

ACTORS AS MUSICIANS

EthanHawke.born-to-be-blue.Apr2016

Ethan Hawke stars in Born to Be Blue, a re-imagining of jazz legend Chet Baker’s musical comeback in the late 60s. This is what Hawke says about why actors like to portray musicians:

“One thing about studying Shakespeare as an actor is that you start to hear the music in language. Shakespeare and the best rappers have a lot in common. There’s a musicality to language. Music is just about as powerful a unifying force as we have. It’s without language, it’s without race, it’s without so much … It’s because we want to be a little closer to the music.”

SHAKESPEARE’S APRIL

Shakespeare.Apr2016.1

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon on April 23, 1564 and died on April 23, 1616. And it is April that is mentioned in his works more than any other month.

“April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”
(Sonnet 98)

“O, how this spring of love resembleth
The uncertain glory of an April day,
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by and by a cloud takes all away.”
(Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I, Scene 3)

SHAKESPEARE, A NOBLER ACTION HERO

Shakespeare_action_figure.Apr2016

Need inspiration? Get yourself this Shakespeare action doll. Wordsmith as action figure, you ask? Why not? Known for his sharp tongue and withering wit, William Shakespeare wrote many a drama with loads of action. “To take arms against a sea of troubles,” his heroes believe in truth, faith, and loyalty, same as today’s action heroes. And he is wearing spandex. You just have to make up your own quips and obscure Elizabethan-era references. You know you’ll feel smarter and maybe he’ll even inspire you!

SCOTLAND’S NEW TARTAN: LOCH CHAIM!

Tartan.Jewish.Apri2016

The first kosher Jewish Tartan is here … Tartans have represented different clans in Scotland for over 200 years, now Jews have their own. This new Jewish Tartan design reflects both Jewish values and Scottish history. It features blue and white – colors of both the Israel and Scotland flags – with a central gold line representing the gold from the Ark, a silver line representing the silver that adorns the Torah, and red for the red Kiddush wine … A splendid symbol of Jewish and Scottish culture, order your Tartan tallit and kilt now!

DOG NEWS: SCOTS HONOR THEIR OWN!

TartanBagpiper+Barkley.IMG_0565.cr.Apr2016

The New York Tartan Day Parade featured the Barbour Tartan Dog Pack of Westies and Scotties. Sure, Outlander’s Sam Heughan was the Grand Marshall who led the marchers up Avenue of the Americas, but it was these distinguished Scottish dogs that brought roaring cheers from the bystanders. Yes, that’s my Barkley getting his marching orders from a Bagpiper as they get set to join the Parade.

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.GrammyFoundation.Apr2016

In honor of Prince, please consider a donation to the GRAMMY Foundation which provides national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich culture and musical heritage.

Soundtrack to this Issue

 Soundtrack.DonovanBeatles.Apr2016

Donovan’s Mellow Yellow

Great Scot! Born in Glasgow, Scotland and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, Donovan’s hits include Hurdy Gurdy Man, Jennifer Juniper, and Sunshine Superman. But who doesn’t hold fond memories of flower power and Mellow Yellow?

He traveled to India with the Beatles to study Transcendental Meditation in February 1968. That’s Donovan in all his very mellow yellow glory in the middle. (Left to right: Pattie Harrison, John Lennon, Mike Love, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, George Harrison, Mia Farrow, Donovan, Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, and Cynthia Lennon.)

Donovan: “The Beatles discovered meditation and were searching for something different. Well, they certainly got something different from Donovan. A guitar style and a set of chords that opened up an enormous amount of new ways of doing things. And that’s what we musicians do, we pass on styles from one to another.”

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

I’m just mad about Saffron
Saffron’s mad about me
I’m just mad about Saffron
She’s just mad about me

They call me mellow yellow
(Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow
(Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow.

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”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr

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

 

Sources:
Prince pic: Rolling Stone
Sometimes It Snows In April lyrics: Prince, Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group
Ethan Hawke pic: IFC Films
Ethan Hawke quote: Entertainment Weekly, April 1/8, 2016
Shakespeare pic: Chicago Stage Review
Soundtrack pic: Beatles Book Monthly No. 143
Mellow Yellow lyrics: Donovan Leitch ©Peermusic Publishing

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

27 Oct

IT’S OCTOBER, STAY CALM + READ A BOOK

Books.EdwardGorey.Oct2015.500x383

TAKE THE M TRAIN

MTrain.PattiSmith.Oct2015

“…Fred implored me to come and live with him in Detroit. Nothing seemed more vital than to join my love…saying good-bye to New York City and the aspirations it contained, I picked what was most precious and left the rest behind…”

Patti Smith blends a lifetime of memories with everyday experiences in her new book, M Train. In elegant prose and with sincerity, she recalls her favorite Greenwich Village café now closed, a cherished black coat now lost, her late husband, Frida Kahlo’s home, and Hurricane Sandy. Haunted by these intimate ghosts, she writes about the possessions (people, places, things) she has cherished, lost, and she reckons are now found as remnants in her soul, to be stored there forever … “The transformation of the heart is a wondrous thing, no matter how you land there.”

HIS AIM IS TRUE

ElvisCostello.bookcover.Oct2015USE“Songs can be many things, an education, a seduction, some solace in heartache, a valve for anger, a passport, your undoing, or even a lottery ticket.”

Elvis Costello’s new memoir, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, recounts his life which begins as the son and grandson of musicians. Destiny surely played its hand. In equal doses, as a fan and as a scholar, he writes about music and the artists he reveres. The wit and acute observations that we’ve come to recognize and appreciate in his songs are just as evident in his autobiography. Accompanied by a 38-track, 2-CD set, he tells the detailed stories, experiences, and emotions behind Alison, Accidents Will Happen, Watching the Detectives, Oliver’s Army, and Veronica.

NO MUSIC, NO LIFE

TowerRecords.Oct2015

From modest beginnings in a small-town drugstore in 1960, Tower Records became the heart and soul of the music world, a cultural phenomenon with two hundred stores, in thirty countries, on five continents. All Things Must Pass, a new documentary from Colin Hanks, charts Ross Solomon’s dreams and the chain’s magical legacy and fateful demise in 2006. Tower was the place to spend hours going through records and talking about music. And you’d never know who you’d see there. A cherished memory: spending an afternoon with the one and only Bill Graham. Not just a store.

THE GREATEST COVER

Ali.SportsIll.Oct2015“You feel his presence when you walk into the room. Even though he can’t really communicate with you, you hope that just by being near him, something rubs off on you.’’

That can only be one person. The Champ. The Greatest. Muhammad Ali, the world’s hero, my hero … He told Sports Illustrated in 1965, “I got a feeling I was born for a purpose. I’ve always had that feeling since I was a little boy. Perhaps I was born to fulfill Biblical prophecies. I just feel I may be part of something—divine things.” … On October 1, at The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY, the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award was inaugurated to honor a former athlete who has used the platform of sports to improve the world. The ceremony was 40 years to the day after Ali overpowered Joe Frazier in the Thrilla in Manila“How would you like to be remembered as an athlete? As the best heavyweight boxer of all time. As a person? As a good person who tried to be kind to everyone.”

DOG NEWS

DogNews.book.Oct2015“In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.” (W. H. Auden)

Wouldn’t you like to know why your dog behaves the way he does? The editors of Adopt-a-Pet.com just published a great resource for dog owners. The Total Dog Manual highlights behavior, training, and care. And Adopt-a-Pet.com should know – they are the world’s largest non-profit pet adoption website, helping shelters and rescue organizations find permanent loving homes for homeless pets. While they can’t speak, dogs do communicate to us.

So we should learn how to speak dog!

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.ASPCA.Oct2015.cr-DOGS

The ASPCA just completed the expansion of the rehabilitation center to shelter and care for even more canine victims of cruelty in New York City. The Gloria Gurney Canine Annex for Recovery and Enrichment can house up to 50 dogs rescued through the NYPD/ASPCA Partnership at any given time. And, crucially, the dogs will receive personalized behavioral rehabilitation necessary to prepare them for adoption. Our donations help the ASPCA continue to do their fabulous, innovative, and necessary work!

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.ElvisCostello.Oct2015

Elvis Costello and the Imposters’ live performance of
Everyday I Write the Book

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

Don’t tell me you don’t know what love is
When you’re old enough to know better
When you find strange hands in your sweater
When your dreamboat turns out to be a footnote
I’m a man with a mission in two or three editions
And I’m giving you a longing look
Everyday, everyday, everyday I write the book

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

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Book and a Dog pic: Edward Gorey
Patti Smith quotes: M Train (Knopf, October 2015)
Elvis Costello quote: Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink (Blue Rider Press/Penguin Random House, October 2015)
Ali pic: Sports Illustrated Cover, October 5, 2015
Quote under Ali pic: Dhani Jones, a former NFL linebacker who was a presenter at the night’s event, Sports Illustrated cover article, October 5, 2015
Ali quote: Muhammad Ali to Sports Illustrated’s Gil Rogin, 1965, Sports Illustrated cover article, October 5, 2015
Ali’s questions and answers: Sports Illustrated cover article, October 5, 2015
We Can Help pic: ASCPA
Elvis Costello’s Everyday I Write the Book lyrics: ©Universal Music Publishing Group

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.

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

30 Apr

APRIL STRONG

Record Store Day reminded us how great vinyl is and will always be. The good news is that indie stores around the country are Records.LucyLinusgrowing. Sad news is J&R closed … Robert Moog was surely smiling down on Asheville, NC, where his great invention was celebrated at the five-day festival Moogfest 2014. Brings back memories of ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery, doesn’t it? … Welcomed into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry were the original cast recording of Sweeney Todd, Jeff Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, Isaac Hayes’s theme from Shaft, and Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A WheelJill Sobule’s new album, Dottie’s Charms, was inspired by an old charm bracelet she got as a gift. She asked Jonathan Lethem, Luc Sante, and other authors to write lyrics based on each of the charms … Former French first lady, Carla Bruni at Town Hall singing folk-pop ballads from her Little French Songs album … Billy Joel showed up at a Long Island elementary school concert and sat in the back of the auditorium … PBS’s In Performance at the White House: Women of Soul featured Aretha, Patti, and others paying homage to their musical “foremothers” … “It’s quite nonintellectual and nonverbal; it’s just – feeling,” on his songwriting process in Bruce Springsteen’s High Hopes HBO documentary … Guys and Dolls at Carnegie Hall with Nathan Lane. Amen … Aerosmith’s Dream On remix with a children’s chorus for the Boston Marathon made for a mighty inspiring anthem … And the Blood Moon glowed crimson.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

“I’m still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries. This is Mockingbird for a new generation.” So said Harper Lee on ToKillAMockingbird.HarperLeeher 88th birthday, finally allowing a Kindle version of To Kill A Mockingbird … In 2006, Lee wrote an open letter to Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine that discussed her love of books.

“[In] an abundant society where people have laptops, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me: I still prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it. And Oprah, can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer? Weeping for Anna Karenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kurtz, having Holden Caulfield ring you up–some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal.”

WE CAN HELP

In recognition of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’ exhibit Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles.sneakers.4.30.14.crBeatles! in honor of the 50th anniversary of the group’s coming to America, consider making a donation to support their great efforts. Besides lots of Beatles tchotchkes, there were instruments, posters, photographs, interviews, correspondence from 1964 to 1966, and special events and films. I was thrilled to see the original promoter agreements for their American tour. The Performing Arts Library has always been a huge part of my life. Become a NYPL member, donate, or volunteer … For her 90th birthday, Doris Day asked in lieu of flowers, send a donation to her pet foundation, the Doris Day Animal League.

ELP.BrainSaladSurgery.4.30.14

Soundtrack to this Issue is
Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Still You Turn Me On
From their album, Brain Salad Surgery (great title!).
Then listen to Greg Lake’s version with just an acoustic guitar.

IMGP2541.cr.newsltr

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

 

Sources:
Harper Lee letter to Oprah: May 7, 2006 published in O magazine’s July “special summer reading issue”
Beatles sneaker pic: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

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

30 Dec

DECEMBER = INSPIRATION + HOPE

A heartfelt thank you for your friendship, partnership, and support. I Dec13.inspireMugappreciate our connection. There was meaningful conversation and helpful advice. Changes, too. Which led to adapting. Which led to even more changes. Such is the cycle of our lives. I look forward to learning even more from you and sharing more news and ideas with you in 2014. Let’s continue to inspire each other!

INSPIRING MUSIC…

Always inspiring, Handel’s Messiah at the NY Philharmonic. Making his NY Phil debut, Maestro Andrew Manze, with the Westminster Dec13.HandelsMessiahSymphonic Choir. And oh yes, everyone stood at Hallelujah. The soprano’s Air from Romans spoke to the season of hope: “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”…Bruce Springsteen brought us High Hopes, from his new album due January 14…And his Born to Run handwritten lyrics sold for $197,000 at auction…But wait, at the same auction, Yoko Ono’s typed manuscript (with handwritten notes) of her 1964 book, Grapefruit, sold for $485,000…Beyoncé out with a new marketing strategy, I mean no marketing strategy, no, I mean a new album – announced solely on Instagram – 14 songs, 17 videos, zero promotion. Social media + digital music distribution = a new way to do it…SeaWorld in Orlando saw concert cancellations by Willie Nelson, REO Speedwagon, Martina McBride, and Cheap Trick, over keeping whales in captivity…Remember Boston? Now it’s mostly Tom Scholz, an original techie, playing all the instruments on Life, Love and Hope. There’s a title with more than a feelingKennedy Center honorees included Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel, Martina Arroyo, and Carlos Santana…Speaking of. A NY institution merged with another NY institution: Billy Joel is Madison Square Garden’s first entertainment franchise. Hey, maybe some of his homegrown NY spirit will rub off on their Knicks franchise…New Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are KISS, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens, and Linda Ronstadt. Also, the E Street Band, Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham. Very cool list…Neil Young’s new release is really an old one from a 1970 solo acoustic tour, Live at the Cellar DoorDec13.Peter&TheWolfProkofiev’s enduring Peter & the Wolf, this one narrated, designed, and directed by the inspiring Isaac Mizrahi, set in Central Park, with the Juilliard Ensemble, and presented at the Guggenheim, a true NY holiday tradition…And Maestro Gilbert offers another NY tradition, the NY Phil’s New Year’s Eve Celebration, with classical comedy music duo, Igudesman & Joo. Bringing in the new year with laughter and music. Sounds perfect.

WHAT’S UP, DOCS? MUSIC!

HBO’s Six by Sondheim views the composer’s career through new versions of six of his classic songs, by some pretty great performers Dec13.MarvinHamlishincluding Audra McDonald and Darren Criss…PBS gave us Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love, a view of the artist whose life was totally devoted to music. Did you know he auditioned for Juilliard when he was 6?…And our fave doc of the year, 20 Feet From Stardom, an admiring ode to the never to be ever forgotten back-up singers, is on the shortlist for an Oscar.

GOOD BOOKS

Dec13.TheInterestingsMeg Wolitzer’s The Interestings resonates for all of us who went to a performing arts camp or school because it was part of our DNA and it would lead to our life’s passion and lifelong friends…The young protagonist of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch has a lot on his plate. His level-headedness and plain-spokenness keeps you riveted in his journey…In Johnny Cash: The Life, Robert Hilburn’s portrait tallies with what Bob Dylan said of Cash, “if we want to know what it means to be mortal, we need look no further than the Man in Black.”Beatles vs. Stones by historian John McMillan makes the case for each…And Mark Lewisohn’s first volume of his Beatles trilogy All These Years, Tune In, arrived in a glorious (almost) 1,000-page package. He tracks their beginnings up to December 31, 1962. Make room on your shelf.

WE CAN HELP

Dec13.ASPCA.mug.1

The ASPCA Adoption Center does good work. Each precious dog has a bed, blanket, toys, and coat. Each is cleaned, evaluated, and cared for. Cats, too. The ASPCA Love is a Treat mug is a great way to show your love, while making a meaningful purchase. Donate to ASPCA.

LAST WORDS

Change is hard. Everyone agrees this is so. This year brought each of us changes that were expected and unexpected, welcome and unwelcome. We adapt to some. Others we struggle through. Hope gives us the strength to persevere. Friends and colleagues provide inspiration…“Strange fascination, fascinating me, Ah changes are taking the pace I’m going through. Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes.”…Here’s to changes. And here’s to welcoming them…Cheers to a happy peaceful new year.

Dec13.DavidBowieChangesSoundtrack to this Issue is David Bowie’s Changes

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

Sources:
Marvin Hamlisch pic: PBS American Masters
Changes lyrics: words and music by David Bowie (EMI Music Publishing)

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

29 Nov

NOVEMBER = GRATITUDE + LIGHT

Love.pic.11.28.13

From mourning to morning…The light was sure to come…And it came with the support from friends and colleagues…Cards, calls, emails, visits, Facebook and LinkedIn messages, blog post comments, a special prayer, deli dinners, lemon bars, wines, carrot cake, flowers, plants, hugs, dog kisses (from Ethan) and pics (from Bogey), chocolate babka, and latkes…With heartfelt gratitude to you all…And with best wishes for you at this auspicious time of Thanksgiving and Chanukah…Let there be love. Let there be light. Let there be life.

MOVING ON TO MUSIC…

A new doc on PBS, American Masters: Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train a Comin’ looked at his life and music. Oh, and those clothes. Everything about him was colorful. Loved it…Musicwood covers concerns over wood by guitar makers, environmentalists, land developers, and loggers…A third doc, 12-12-12, went backstage at the benefit concert for Mozart.WQXR.Nov2013Hurricane Sandy victims at Madison Square Garden…Over at WQXR, it’s Mozart Month. The NY Philharmonic played his Requiem with the NY Choral Artists and performs his three final Symphonies, Nos. 39, 40 and 41, broadcast live November 30…And let’s hope the Brooklyn Philharmonic finds a way out of a dire financial situation…An eight-part series on YouTube, Zirka chronicles Robert Plant’s journey in Mali and features Malian music…Y’know those wonderful 92Y events that you wish you could go to all of them? Now ya can. They opened their archives, so stream away…Dylan Fest concerts benefited Sweet Relief Musicians Fund…The Stand Up For Heroes concert at Madison Square Garden featured MusicCorps wounded warriors playing alongside Roger Waters…City Winery hosted the Guitar Mash Benefit Concert and Jam that raised money for music education programs…Jazz and Colors in Central Park with 30 acts…Are record stores back? Vinyl, too? Rough Trade NYC opened in Brooklyn, has CDs and vinyl. WFMU’s Record Fair success is a sure sign of LP love. And Record Store Day expands to Back to Black Friday after Thanksgiving Day event…The Beastie Boys handled a toy company’s use of their music with a good outcome that respects the rights of artists. “We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering…As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads.”…Based on live recordings from their archives, the busy BBC released a new Beatles CD, a reissue, and a book. Thanks!…Van Morrison played NYC and has new deluxe behind the scenes CDs that include a re-mastered Moondance…Speaking of 92Y, Anthony DeCurtis talked to Lou Reed in 2006. “Lou Reed has defined so much of what contemporary music is about…my favorite conversations with him have often occurred running into him on the streets…that’s why we live in New York. So, the King of New York, Lou Reed.”…Finally, Lou Reed’s memorial at Lincoln Center was a fitting tribute, no speeches, no talking, just listening. His music speaking for him. And for us.

…AND ART + WORDS

At $58.4M, Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog (Orange) went for the highest JeffKoons.OrangePuppy.11.28.13auction price paid for a living artist…Remember Al Hirschfeld’s line drawings, caricatures of Broadway stars, that were on the cover of the Sunday NY Times arts section? His works are on view ‘til January 4 at the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts. Count those NinasThe Leonard Bernstein Letters (Yale U Press) is a collection ofLeonardBernstein.Letters.NovNewsletter.11.29.13 letters he wrote and received. Those by and to Aaron Copland and Adolph Green (who called him Lennish!) reveal wit, passion, anger, humor, and above all, the immense value they placed on music…Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year is selfie…Not too late to catch The Forty Part Motet sound installation at the Cloisters, there ‘til December 8The ever topical, musical, and erudite Tom Stoppard (Arcadia and Rock ‘n’ Roll!) wrote a radio play based on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Darkside, commissioned by that busy BBC in honor of the album’s fortieth anniversary, is also on CD…Malcolm Gladwell talks about underdogs and what advantage really is in David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. He explains, “…underdogs win more often than we think because their limitations can force them to be creative.”

WE CAN HELP

PoliceDog.11.28.13

Police dogs finally get bullet-proof vests. What took so long? Although over 450 now have them, there are many more who need them across the US. A vest costs $950. Donate to: Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc.

ABOUT A BLOG

I wrote four posts about losing my precious Buddha on Yvette Perry’s Blog…And I got back to business, though still hurting, with a post about Johnny Cash’s deeply moving version of Hurt as it was used on the TV show, Person of Interest…Also posted there is this newsletter so you can easily share it with your friends. Just click on any of the share buttons below each post…And hope you follow the Blog!

GeorgeHarrison.GiveMeLove.11.28.13Soundtrack to this Issue is George Harrison’s
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

Sources:
Love pic: Robert Indiana exhibit at the Whitney through January 5, 2014
Beastie Boys quote: LA Times, November 27, 2013
Mozart pic: WQXR
Jeff Koons Balloon Dog (Orange)
outside Christie’s pic: The Pup Diary
The Leonard Bernstein Letters
pic: Yale University Press (2013)
Malcolm Gladwell
quote: 60 Minutes, Sunday, November 24, 2013
George Harrison pic: Popdose

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