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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

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

30 Sep

SEPTEMBER BRIMS WITH HEART + MUSIC

Did you know September is Piano Month? Celebrate the great instrument. Listen to the piano opening on Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water…There’s Yamaha’s new stringless piano. WWVCD. What would Van Cliburn do?…Boston rolled out 75 pianos all over town for people with skill or not, to play on and enjoy…Yoko Ono’s new album, Take Me to the Land of Hell, Yoko.albumcover.9.29.13features Questlove and Lenny Kravitz. The ever peace-promoting Yoko took a NY Times full-page, as is her custom, posting the lyrics to Cheshire Cat Cry. “I’m rolling in your dreams, listening to your screams…Stop the violence, stop all wars.”A Night With Janis Joplin concert musical opens on Broadway…Elton John and Sting released new music…The San Francisco Opera premieres Stephen King’s downright operatic story Dolores Claiborne. “With a Stephen King novel you find a person in extreme situations, and I was drawn to the psychology of that, of how we cope, how we feel,” says librettist J.D. McClatchy…The NY Phil played the score to Kubrick’s great 2001: A Space Odyssey, while the Post.RayChalesStamp.Sept.2013film played on a screen behind the Orchestra…Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, and Bono helped fight poverty at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park…Renee Fleming sang, yes, sang the Top Ten List of opera lyrics on David Letterman’s Late Show…The US Postal Service honors Ray Charles with a stamp, released on his birthday, September 23. Also offered is a CD of his greatest hits. Honor this true music icon, buy his stamp. By the way, the stamp sheet looks just like a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve. Very cool…And Cher sang and talked everywhere upon theCher-Closer-to-the-Truth-Album.9.29.13 release of her new album, Closer to the Truth. Cher on Cher: “I’m serious about my work, but I don’t take myself seriously.” The single, I Hope You Find It, is pure Cher – all heart…The good news is Maestro James Levine returns to the Met Opera after a terrible fall which kept him away too long…And at the Met Museum, musicians performed period music that complemented the art in the European Paintings gallery…Alas, there is not good news for the NY City Opera company. This “people’s opera” is in need of money, lots of money, to survive. Losing an arts institution is in no one’s interest. The place Beverly Sills called home needs a benefactor who cares, really cares. In the meantime, there’s a Kickstarter campaign…The One Day University offered classes in Beethoven’s Ninth (The Story Behind the Masterpiece) and Gershwin, Ellington and the Search for an American Sound…Music plays a role in two new documentaries. Muscle Shoals about that Alabama city’s huge musical legacy. And Metallica Through the Never, a concert film. Bring your earplugs…Sir Paul, y’know the Beatle, released the single, New. “All my life, I never knew what I could be, What I could do, Then we were new.” Could it be a (silly) love song?…Finally, noted in the NY Times under In Memoriam: Isaac Stern, July 21, 1920-September 22, 2001, Fiddler.

A NEW FILM ON THE 60s TO LOVE

One man follows his dream and is an eyewitness to a noteworthy decade’s highpoints. Documentary filmmaker Chris Szwedo held a private screening of Eye on the 60s, a mesmerizing view of the sometimes serious, sometimes hilarious, and always very interesting photographer, Rowland Scherman. He started out taking pics for the Peace Corps which led to the Kennedys, then BobDylan-Halo.9.29.13RFK’s campaign tour, the March for Jobs and Freedom in DC, and to Life magazine. Barbara Walters, the Beatles, Mapplethorpe and Smith, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Arthur Ashe. There isn’t a pic he’s taken that isn’t seared into our collective memories. Scherman’s passion, his love, and his curiosity are displayed throughout his work – and all share his clear-eyed view of humanity. Oh, by the way, y’know that pic of Dylan with his hair in a halo, yeah, the pic on the cover of Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, yeah, that one? That’s Rowland Scherman and it won him a Grammy. This film is not only a wonderful look at the 60s, with all the pleasures that come with that. It is a document of an artist’s intertwined life and career. Hope you catch it. I loved it.

…AND BOOKS

Although her singing has been silenced by Parkinson’s, Linda Ronstadt’s voice LindaRonstadt.9.29.13is open, honest, and sure in her new memoir, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir. With Heart Like a Wheel playing in my head, her memoir felt as heartfelt as her performance of that song is genuine…Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep arrived. In this sequel to The Shining, Danny Torrance is all grown up. Is he fighting his demons? “Dan didn’t think he’d had such a clear shine inDramaHigh.9.29.13 years. It brought a ghost of delight that went back to earliest childhood, before he had discovered how dangerous the shining could be.”…Michael Sokolove’s Drama High about a public high school’s drama program is “the incredible story of a brilliant teacher, a struggling town, and the magic of theater,” and is a testament to the importance of arts education.

ON DOGS AND LOVE 

We can be heroes. Animal Planet’s Hero Dogs of 9/11 is a tribute to the 300 K-9 DISASTER RELIEF NIKIEdogs who played an important role in the rescue and recovery efforts at ground zero. “They will literally put their lives on the line for us.”…And heroes were in abundance at the annual AKC Meet The Breeds show. From the Irish Wolfhound to a teeny Chihuahua. Beauties with big hearts all. Alas, the Westies were a no-show at the show. But Angel-on-a-Leash.9.30.13.crI had a wonderful visit with David Frei. Host of the Westminster Dog Show, his Angel On A Leash is all about therapy dogs…Along with a new year wish for peace, I leave you with a Rabbi’s sermon on love. It is not what we feel, but rather what we do…When words of likability come cheap, our deeds matter more. When our emotions become a mere mouse click, our tangible actions define true relationship.” Read it, share it, dig it!

ABOUT A BLOG 

Simon&GarfunkleInCentralPk.9.29.13Posts on Yvette Perry’s Blog include lookalike book covers, Neil Diamond’s songwriting process, the Simon and Garfunkel Concert in Central Park, George R.R. Martin’s take on fantasy, and Diana Nyad’s mantra…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.

Cher-The_Very_Best_Of_Cher.9.29.13

 Soundtrack to this Issue is Cher’s Believe,
performed live in concert in Las Vegas.
I believe in Cher.

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

Sources:
Yamaha’s AvantGrand N3: David Pogue, The NY Times
Dolores Claiborne quote: The Sacramento Bee
Ray Charles stamp: Yves Carrère, photographer/USPS
Cher’s I Hope You Find It: The Today Show
Cher quote: CBS Sunday Morning
Eye On The 60s: Chris Szwedo Productions
Bob Dylan Halo pic: Rowland Scherman
Love sermon: Rabbi Benjamin Spratt

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