Tag Archives: cool

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

 

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

yoko-oct2016-grass-use

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

pancakesinparisupdate-oct2016-cr-use

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

dognews-williammerrittchase-oct2016-cr-use

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

soundtrack-vanmorrison-oct2016

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

Is it Still Cool to be on the Cover of the Rolling Stone?

18 Jul

Rolling Stone is in the business to make money. They need to sell ads and get people to buy their magazines. And they know that provocative magazine covers sell. Founded in 1967 in San Francisco by Jann Wenner, it has been on the forefront of music and journalism for almost a half-century. They want to maintain their relevance, their importance in the national conversation. They want to be the voice and ultimate source for all things cool and relevant. That their reputation as a major marketer of mainstream entertainment may now transcend their bonafides as a publisher of cutting edge cultural critique makes  us wonder: Have their early days of music, peace, and love been replaced with music, peace, and money?

A treasured coveted piece of rock ‘n’ roll real estate. That’s how cool it is to be on the cover of the Rolling Stone. There’s even a song about it, the great Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show’s The Cover of the Rolling Stone. No other words have ever expressed better what that achievement really means:

Oh, we’re big rock singers. We got golden fingers. And we’re loved everywhere we go…We take all kinds of pills To give us all kind of thrills, But the thrill we’ve never known Is the thrill that’ll getcha When you get your picture On the cover of the Rolling Stone…Rolling Stone…Wanna see my picture on the cover. Rolling Stone… Wanna buy five copies for my Mother. Rolling Stone…Wanna see my smiling face On the cover of the Rolling Stone… But our minds won’t really get blown Like the blow that’ll getcha When you get your picture On the cover of the Rolling Stone.

What are we to make of the Rolling Stone August 2013 issue with the Boston bomber on the cover? Is it glamorizing terrorism as many think? The article inside written by Janet Reitman is a thoughtful account of who he was before his act and its devastating aftermath. In 1970, Charles Manson was on the cover. And the article won them a National Magazine Award. Is he getting “rock star” treatment? The cover of the September 1981 issue had a beautiful and still dead Jim Morrison. With an allure founded on a bad boy reputation of drinking, drugs, arrests, and riots. But he left us a legacy of evocative music that still has meaning.

We see rock star hair and a guarded direct gaze. What has he left us? Not anything good. His legacy is one of terror and victims. Is Rolling Stone making him a celebrity? They certainly have a controversial cover that may sell lots of issues. It’s getting a lot of media coverage. And it certainly has a lot of people talking. The question is: Is it still cool to be on the cover of the Rolling Stone?

Post.RollingStone.bostonbomberPost.RollingStone.mansonPost.RollingStone.morrison

 

Sources
The Cover of the Rolling Stone lyrics: Shel Silverstein

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