Tag Archives: film

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

26 Jun

JUNE’S SUPER TRIBUTES

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A tribute to love and the arts, my Performing Arts high school reunion was described by one of my classmates as “a roomful of love.” There was a lot of love, all of us happy to be together, some classmates coming from afar. All these years we have never lost touch with each other. There is a sense of ease when you are with the people you were always most comfortable with. We all knew that we hit the jackpot – none of us cut out for a standard high school experience. We were dancers, actors, and musicians. We were outsiders and we found each other. And we never lost that bond.

HAIL WONDER WOMAN

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Have you seen the new Wonder Woman movie? It is the updated version of the classic comic book character from DC Comics (1941) and the TV series (1970s). The most popular female comic-book superhero of all time, the series is celebrated for its depiction of strong women. In her book, The Secret History of Wonder Woman (Deckle Edge, 2014), Jill Lepore reveals our hero’s origins, essentially based on feminism. Influenced by early suffragists and feminists, Dr. William Moulton Marston created her in 1941. In his first script, he explained her Amazonian origins in ancient Greece, where men had kept women in chains, until they broke free and escaped. Strengthened by supporting themselves, they developed huge physical and mental power. Dr. Marston’s comic was meant to chronicle “a great movement now under way – the growth in the power of women.” … He goes on to say, “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.”

… AND FAREWELL BATMAN

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Adam West was Batman/Bruce Wayne in the 1960s TV series. In tribute to West’s iconic portrayal of the Caped Crusader, the Bat-signal was projected onto the tower of Los Angeles City Hall. As I’m sure you remember, the Gotham City Police Department used the Bat-signal to summon the superhero to help them … West’s deadpan delivery of his lines and his genuine yet self-mocking portrayal was what made the show a phenomenon. That and the way he danced the Batusi, of course. And don’t forget that famous earworm of a theme song: dada dada dada dada. Sure the plots were absurd and his adversaries were totally nuts – the Penguin? the Joker? the Riddler? really!??! – but he made all the ridiculousness perfectly sincere and sublime.

THE MUSIC OF ART

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Marc Chagall’s Triumph of Music (left) and Source of Music (right). Aptly, these huge murals are in the windows of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center for all to see and enjoy. Growing up in a Russian shtetl, Chagall was surrounded by musicians, many were violin players. Music became his inspiration throughout his life and his deep love of it informed his artistic style. He listened above all to Mozart while he painted. He died at 97, having lived through the 20th century’s best and worst times (Russian pogroms, WWI, and Nazi persecution in WWII) … His musically inspired works include murals for opera houses and theaters, as well as backdrops, scenery, and costumes for operas. His distinctive use of bold colors and dazzling brush strokes brought to life fanciful dreamlike animals and even a fiddler on the roof! “Color is vibration like music; everything is vibration.”

“…FIND MAGIC WHEREVER YOU LOOK”

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A whimsical tribute to Dr. Seuss and his menagerie of unforgettable characters is at The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, MA. On display are our unforgettable “childhood friends” including Yertle the Turtle, Thing One and Thing Two, the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, and Horton the Elephant who heard a Who … Aimed at children of ALL ages, the museum’s cheerful displays convey the positive message of his final book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!Congratulations! Today is your day. you’re off to great places! You’re off and away!” … And just like his books that address life’s obstacles and fears, the museum offers an environment filled with hope, encouragement, and inclusion. A welcoming message that is underscored by Dr. Seuss’s famous line from Horton Hears a Who: “Don’t give up, I believe in you all, A person’s a person no matter how small.”

FEELIN’ GROOVY

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groov·y / ɡroovē adj.
Slang. Exciting, attractive; excellent; enjoyable:

Groovy music; Groovy car; Groovy shag haircut
“Man, those are some groovy guitar riffs.”

Hey man, so you think you know what the word groovy means? In 1932, groovy was a jazz slang term, used in a phrase meaning first-rate, performing well, or excellent such as in the groove … Teens circa 1941 started using it for wonderful. Then in the happy hippie times of the 1960s, it was used as a synonym for cool, excellent, fashionable, or awesome … However, in late Victorian England, it had the completely opposite meaning. In that time, it applied to someone stuck in a groove or a rut – a square. As defined in Farmer and Henley’s Slang and Its Analogues (1890): “GROOVY, Adj. – Settled in habit; limited in mind” … Whoa, that is definitely not groovy.

WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE DOG?

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What makes a movie even better? A really cute dog as the star or in a supporting role, of course. They steal our hearts … Rin Tin Tin was a real German Shepherd who became a movie star in the 1920s. Rin Tin Tin the Fourth starred in the TV series (1954) about an orphan boy and his dog who help the Cavalry soldiers bring law and order to the Old West … Toto in The Wizard of Oz was played by a Cairn named Terry, whose film credit used her character name, Toto, rather than her real name. There never was a real Toto … Lassie, who starred in Lassie Come Home (1943), is also fictional. A boy in Yorkshire, England owns Lassie until his father sells her to a duke in Scotland. But brave Lassie is determined to find her way back home, encountering adventures that are the basis of the TV series (1954). Although Lassie was a female, she was played by a Rough Collie male named Pal … And my fave: Asta, the Wire Fox Terrier from The Thin Man movies. Owned by famous sleuths, Nick and Nora Charles, he helped them solve crimes by finding dead bodies and sniffing out and retrieving hidden guns. A veteran actor, he fittingly received star billing as “Asta,” his professional name.

WE CAN HELP

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As a tribute to Adam West/Batman, Wonder Woman, talented dogs, the power of reuniting, and the arts and creativity and freedom, donate to the American Civil Liberties Union. For almost 100 years, the ACLU works to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and its laws. That includes freedom of speech and religion, a woman’s right to choose, the right to due process, and citizens’ rights to privacy. A champion for people of color, women, LGBTQ people, prisoners, immigrants, and those with disabilities, the ACLU operates within the court system to enact change and protect our basic human rights as American citizens. We can help them continue to fight for our freedom and the protection of our constitutional rights now and for the next generations.

Soundtrack to this Issue

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Elvis Costello’s Alison

Their aim was true! 129 points true! Here’s a nod to 2017 NBA Champions the Golden State Warriors – Alison from Costello’s 1977 debut album, My Aim Is True. Go Warriors!

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

Oh it’s so funny to be seeing you after so long, girl.
And with the way you look I understand
That you are not impressed.
But I heard you let that little friend of mine
Take off your party dress.

I’m not going to get too sentimental
Like those other sticky valentines,
Cause I don’t know if you’ve been loving somebody.
I only know it isn’t mine. 

Alison, I know this world is killing you.
Oh, Alison, my aim is true.

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

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

 

Sources:
PA pic top: Richard Goldfinch
PA pic bottom: Richard Goldfinch
Wonder Woman pic: Wonder Woman’s revised look on the cover of Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 (2016). Art by Stanley Lau
The Cat in the Hat sculpture inside The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum: Mark Murray/Springfield Museums
Alison: Words and Music by Elvis Costello ©Universal Music Publishing Group

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.

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

28 Sep

SEPTEMBER REFLECTIONS

Komorebi isSunlightFilterLeaves.Sept2014.stouttraveladventure Japanese for “the sunlight that filters through the leaves of the trees” from Lost in Translation, a collection of words without English counterparts … NYC’s CultureAID will prepare arts organizations for another Hurricane Sandy-like emergency … A newly discovered extinct swamp animal is named Jagger’s Water Nymph because its mouth structure is “a highly innervated muzzle with mobile and tactile lips.” … San Francisco’s Spoke Art Gallery pays homage to Stanley Kubrick’s Kubrick.TracieChing.Sept2014glorious films with eye-catching artworks … Metallica made the Guinness World Records as the first rock band to perform on all seven continents … To celebrate the NY Philharmonic’s Opening Night Gala, the Empire State Building again glowed red … Hakuna Matata! Broadway’s The Lion King has the most box office total of any work in any media in entertainment history … New jukebox musical, Piece of My Heart, tells the story of Bert Berns who wrote Twist and Shout, Hang On Sloopy, and oh yeah, Piece of My HeartNY Film Festival’s celebration of the wit, intelligence, and strong women characters of Joseph Mankiewicz’s films includes All About Eve and A Letter to Three Wives … Opening night at the Met Opera saw the return of James Levine leading the orchestra in a spirited and updated Le Nozze di Figaro. Bravo, Maestro! … George Harrison’s The Apple Years 1968-75 box set of his first six albums, digitally remastered from analog masters. Also an all-star tribute concert George Fest benefits the Sweet Relief Musician’s Fund … KeithRichards.GusBook.Sept2014Also new Beatles Mono Vinyl box set … lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar, Robert Plant’s 10th solo album inspired by blues, bluegrass, West African and world music, is “a kaleidoscope of sound, color, and friendship” … Introduced to music by granddad Theodore Augustus “Gus” Dupree, Keith Richards wrote Gus & Me, a children’s book with pen-and-ink illustrations by daughter Theodora … We lost Bob Crewe. You know his songs, the Four Seasons hits, Sherry, Walk Like a Man, Rag Doll, and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You … Also, Joe Sample, the Crusaders pianist, played funk, pop, dance, jazz, rock. “Unfortunately, in this country, there’s a lot of prejudice against the various forms of music. The jazz people hate the blues, the blues people hate rock, and the rock people hate jazz. But how can anyone hate music?” So true … And Bruce Springsteen turns 65. Born to run and still driving, searchin’, boppin’, and making magic. Happy birthday, Boss.

CAN WE TALK?

Who JoanRivers.9.5.14.CherEltonPeeWeewere Joan Rivers’ first guests on her Late Show Starring Joan Rivers? Cher, Pee-Wee Herman, and Elton John. Cool? Very … “I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door – or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.” … Words to live by from a person who was always relevant, who always spoke the truth, and who was always funny. Amen.Joan+RUNDMC.Sept2014

As RUN-DMC’s agent, I booked them on the Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, where they performed Walk This Way in October 1986. And yes, Joan rapped with my guys: “Well, have you heard, I’m the first and number one, Not the best, not the worst, cause my name is Run, And I’m second cause I reckon that you want to see, An emcee like D inside the place to be, And have you heard he is third and his name is Jay.” And Joan raps: “I’m Mama Joan and I’m here to say, I got my own show and I’m here to stay!”

FUNNY + INFLUENTIAL = COSBY

“My father established our Cosby.Sept2014relationship when I was seven years old. He looked at me and said, ‘You know, I brought you in this world, and I can take you out. And it don’t make no difference to me, I’ll make another one look just like you.’” … In Cosby: His Life and Times (Simon & Schuster, September 2014), Mark Whitaker, longtime Newsweek editor and TV news executive, reveals the man we all think we know. Still travelling to do shows more than 30 weeks each year, Bill Cosby is a celebrity without entourage who carries his own bags and says hello to everyone. Mark will make you believe that the man we invited into our homes every week, the man who made us laugh at our own foibles, this groundbreaking comedian, is the approachable man we thought he was. Thank you Mark.

WE CAN HELP

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund pSweetRelief.Sept2014rovides financial assistance to career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. Donations help pay for an artist’s medical expenses, housing, food, utilities, clothing, transportation, programs, and counseling.jmj-foundation.Sept2014

Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell, RUN-DMC’s DJ, died October 30, 2002. The Jam Master Jay Foundation for Music provides funding and resources to support free public school music education programs. Donate to continue Jay’s legacy of creativity, positivity and community support.

Bruce.Magic.Sept2014

Soundtrack to this Issue is
Radio Nowhere by Bruce Springsteen
From the album, Magic ©2007

C’mon, sing along:
I was driving through the misty rain
Searchin’ for a mystery train
Boppin’ through the wild blue
Tryin’ to make a connection with you

IMGP2541.cr.newsltr

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

 

Sources:
Sun through leaves pic: Stout Travel Adventure
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World: By Ella Frances Sanders (Ten Speed Press, September 2014)
Jagger’s Water Nymph quote: Journal of Paleontology (September 2014)
Kubrick pic: Tracie Ching
Robert Plant quote: from Amazon editorial review
Joe Sample quote: Los Angeles Times (1985)
RUN-DMC and Joan Rivers rap: Jam Master Jay: The Heart of Hip-Hop by David Thigpen
Cosby: His Life and Times: Simon & Schuster (September 2014)
Radio Nowhere lyrics: © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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