Tag Archives: movies

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

27 Nov

NOVEMBER MEDLEY

CoverPic.nov2017

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
If your cup is full may it be again…

THE MYSTERIOUS ORIENT EXPRESS

OrientExpress.nov2017.train

Hercule Poirot solved his most famous case on it, Alfred Hitchcock’s lady vanished from it, and James Bond rode it from Istanbul to London … The original Orient Express, opulent and glamorous, ran between Paris and Istanbul, its first departure on October 4, 1883 from Paris’ Gare de l’Est … Not only tales of fiction, but real artists and spies traveled by the Orient Express earning it the nickname, “Spies’ Express.” An English spy named Robert Baden-Powell posed as a lepidopterist holding intricate sketches of butterfly wings that actually contained codes of fortifications along the Dalmatian Coast, helping the British and Italian navies in WWI … And there were actual murders on it, too. In 1935 a wealthy woman on her way to her husband, the Romanian military attaché in Paris, was robbed and pushed through the open window. Her body was discovered along the railway in Austria. When her belongings were found, missing was a silver-fox scarf. A Swiss policeman spotted a woman wearing that scarf. She told him she got it from a 23-year-old student. He was later sentenced to death but was eventually imprisoned for life. In 1950 Captain Eugene Simon, the U.S. naval attaché in Bucharest, was traveling with sensitive papers about spy networks in Eastern Europe. He fell off the train under suspicious circumstances in a tunnel near Salzburg. His murder was never solved. Too bad that Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian detective, wasn’t brought in to solve it!

… THE GENESIS OF POIROT

HerculePoirot.nov2017.StylesBookcover-USE

“Poirot was an extraordinary-looking little man. He was hardly more than five feet four inches, but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His moustache was very stiff and military. The neatness of his attire was almost incredible, I believe a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet wound” … And so we are introduced to Hercule Poirot by Captain Hastings in The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

While growing up, Agatha Christie enjoyed reading Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and thought about writing her own detective story. During WWI, Agatha Christie was a nurse at a Red Cross Hospital where her lifelong interest in poisons began. Surrounded by them, it was natural that death by poisoning was her preferred method to kill off her victims … For her first novel’s detective, she was inspired by the Belgian refugees in her hometown. So she created a Belgian refugee retired police officer. Of the utmost importance, he must be extremely intelligent, using his “little grey cells” to solve the crime. And of course he deserved a grand name – such as Hercules! Hercule Poirot was born and introduced to the world in The Mysterious Affair at Styles in 1920, four years after it was written, famous as much for his magnificent moustache as his little grey cells … He is the only fictional character to have received an obituary on the front of The New York Times in 1975, following the publication of Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case ... “My name is Hercule Poirot and I am probably the greatest detective in the world.” (The Mystery of the Blue Train). And very modest, too.

 

IS IT REAL OR IS IT SCI-FI?

Tablet.2001.nov2017

“(Floyd) would hold the front page while he searched the headlines…a postage-sized rectangle would expand till it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort … Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad and the fantastic technology behind it was the last word in man’s quest for perfect communications. Here he was, far out in space, speeding away from Earth at thousands of miles an hour, yet in a few milliseconds he could see the headlines of any newspaper he pleased.”

Before there was Apple’s iPad (released in 2010), Arthur C. Clarke envisioned the tablet of the future. In his 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), he dreamed up a portable computer that would be used by everyone on earth – and in space! – that he called the Newspad. In Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), we see the astronauts use the tablets to conduct spaceship diagnostic checks, to read the news (see pic), or when they need a line of communication to Earth. Arthur C. Clarke, who died in 2008, would be happy to know that it’s just not sci-fi anymore – today’s NASA astronauts use tablets.

 

HOW SPLENDENT IT IS!

Splendent.radientcolor.3-USE

splendent: [splen-duh nt] adj. 1. Shining or radiant as the sun. 2. Gleaming or lustrous as a gem. 3. Brilliant in appearance, color. 4. Admired by many; illustrious. 5. gorgeous; magnificent; splendid. 1425-75; late Middle English, from Old French esplendent, from Latin splendēns, splendent-, present participle of splendēre, to shine.

Now say these words aloud: bright, brilliant, radiant, incandescent, lustrous, shiny, glistening, sparkling, resplendent, and luminous. How seductive are they? Feel better? Doesn’t each one just make you smile and make your eyes light up? One word does all that. C’mon, say it with me: splendent!

 

DIGITAL BURGER WARS

EmojiBurgerWars.nov2017.2-USE.CR

There is a Burger Emoji Wars. Really. It started with a tweet about the difference between the Google and Apple cheeseburger emoji. Cheese on the top or on the bottom? You see, Apple’s emoji design places the cheese on top, while Google’s has it on the bottom. What is the correct way to layer the buns, meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese in a classic American cheeseburger, anyway? Call in the chefs. One says Google got it right. The cheese on the bottom is closer to the tongue and also seals in juices to prevent the bottom bun from getting soggy. Another countered that when the cheese is melted on the burger, the bun gets toasted and crunchy. But when the cheese is melted on the bun, the bun is a soggy doughy mess. One tweet seemed to sum it up best: it’s called a cheeseburger, not a burgercheese. Fries with that, anyone?

 

DOG NEWS: THE HARRY POTTER WAY

DogNews.HarryPotterShelter.nov2017.2-USE
An Orlando, FL pet shelter is using Harry Potter’s magical sorting hat from Hogwarts to sort their animals into Pawgwarts Houses to find them loving forever homes. They help potential pet parents match their lifestyles to a pet based on its behavior and personality, instead of breed labels. Staff and volunteers assess each dog’s qualities and personality traits from a series of activities, and then match it to a Pawgwarts House. A quick learner has the knowledge of a Ravenpaw. A small dog with determination has the ambition of Slobberin House. An affectionate jovial dog embodies the friendliness of a Hufflefluff. And a dog who embraces change and new things has the bravery of a Gryffindog … All you muggles and wizards can sort your dog into its appropriate Pawgwarts House by taking the Pawgwarts Sorting Quiz on the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando’s website.

 

ENDNOTE: GRATITUDE

Thanksgiving.marctetro.cr

Dear Friends, that we support one another through life’s joys and challenges, that we lighten each other’s loads, that we learn from each other, that we swear by truth, trust, and loyalty – that’s a lot to be grateful for. Thank you, Yvette.

“I thank you…for this most amazing day…
and for everything that is natural, infinite, which is yes.”
(e.e. cummings)

 

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.creativets.7.album-USE

“The song gave me a chance to tell my daughter something I never could quite figure out how to do,” says a vet in the Songwriting Program … CreatiVets helps disabled veterans cope with service-related trauma by fostering their self-expression through free music and art programs. It’s a way they can transform their struggles into an art form that helps them heal. The group flies veterans to Nashville to collaborate with accomplished songwriters for three days, or to study at either Chicago’s School of the Art Institute or Virginia’s Commonwealth University for three weeks … “It wasn’t until after I began to tell my story to people that I felt a sense of relief from some of the grief I held inside,” says a vet in the Art Program … Unsung Heroes is an inspirational tribute from nine brave veterans with nine different stories that honor and support our military heroes. Pick up the album to hear their songs and learn about the composers and veterans who collaborated on this project.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.Ripple.nov2017.garcia
Grateful Dead’s Ripple

Are we all just ripples in still water? Mystical and soulful, the primary source for Ripple comes from the 23rd Psalm, with its references to still water, a cup that may be full or empty, and paths of righteousness. Robert Hunter’s lyrics provide comfort and wisdom, while Jerry Garcia’s melody is graceful and pure. When asked to name a lyric of which he was particularly proud, Hunter answered, “Let it be known there is a fountain, that was not made by the hands of men,” a line from Ripple. “That’s pretty much my favorite line I ever wrote, that’s ever popped into my head. And I believe it, you know?” Echoing the 23rd Psalm, each of us is the shepherd of each other, with the hope and optimism for a global brotherhood. “If I knew the way, I would take you home.”

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

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near as it were your own? 

It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken,
Perhaps they’re better left unsung.
I don’t know, don’t really care
Let there be songs to fill the air. 

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow. 

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
If your cup is full may it be again,
Let it be known there is a fountain,
That was not made by the hands of men. 

There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone. 

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow. 

You, who choose to lead, must follow
But if you fall you fall alone.
If you should stand then who’s to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home. 

La dee da da da …

 

 

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:
Orient Express pic: a postcard for the Orient Express, c. 1900 (photo: Arjan den Boer)
2001: A Space Odyssey pic: Stanley Kubrick (1968)
Arthur C. Clark’s 2001: A Space Odyssey: Chapter 9
Dog News pic: Courtesy of Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando
Endnote pic: Marc Tetro
Robert Hunter quote: Rolling Stone 2015
Ripple lyrics: Jerome J. Garcia, Robert C. Hunter ©Universal Music Publishing Group

November 27, 2017
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.

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

 

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

26 Jun

JUNE’S SUPER TRIBUTES

PAReunion-use.top.june2017

PAReunion-use.bottom.june2017.cr-use

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

Wonder_Woman.june2017.cartoon-use

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

Batman.june2017.top-USE

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

Chagall.triump+sourceofmusicCOLLAGE.june2017-use

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

Sherlock Holmes and His Violin

17 Oct

I love Sherlock Holmes. The books. The movies. The TV shows. All of the TV shows. In fact as remarkable as Jeremy Brett was, it’s so cool how uncommon, how unexpected, how dazzling Benedict Cumberbatch is. That he’s portraying Sherlock in present time, with present day technology (smartphones and blogging are huge components of the show!), makes this Sherlock even more compelling.

Sherlock-Violin.10.17.13I love music. OK, not news. Hold off on alerting the media on that one. Back to Sherlock. And music. How happy was I to discover that Sherlockology, the ultimate resource for the BBC series Sherlock, found out how Sherlock feels about his violin. We also learn a bit about what to expect from our latest Sherlock – and his violin – as the series continues.

From the very first introduction Sherlock Holmes gives of himself, both in the canon and BBC series, he mentions his pastime of playing the violin and as such is known for his musical ability in this field as much as his smoking, drug taking and of course ‘the work’.

But true to character, Holmes didn’t have any old violin. During the short story ‘The Cardboard Box’, Sherlock Holmes revealed that he himself owned a violin made by the renowned violinmaker, Antonio Stradivarius. He had purchased it from a pawnshop on Tottenham Court Road for fifty-five shillings although believed it to be worth at least five hundred guineas.

For those not familiar with the worth of this out of circulation currency (we had to look it up too) Holmes clearly had an eye for a bargain. A shilling is worth in today’s money five new pence, making his purchase the grand sum of £2.75, while according to him it was worth £525. Taking into consideration the modern values of historic concertina prices, the actual cost is closer to just under a thousand pounds with its worth being in excess of £185,000. A costly instrument indeed, yet not when compared to the value of Stradivarius violin today when they come with a price tag of not thousands, but millions (the 1721 Stradivarius known as the Lady Blunt sold at auction for £9.8m in 2011.) So could our Sherlock Holmes in the 21st century really afford one?

Whatever Sherlock’s secret is, his violin will definitely be making a welcome return in series three. There was no question that the consulting detective would play the instrument in Sherlock regardless of manufacturer …

[Prior to airing, show creator] Steven Moffat was asked if his Sherlock would play. His answer was a resounding yes, suggesting this was one of the many elements that made the character so rich and eccentric. Benedict Cumberbatch went on to study the instrument under the tutorage of Eos Chater, who performs what you hear in the series.

Having thumbed through the sheet music on Sherlock’s music stand in 221B, it is clear he is certainly a very proficient violinist, not to mention composer … Whatever Sherlock’s secret is, his violin will definitely be making a welcome return in series three.

 

Sources:
Article courtesy of: Sherlockology’s Metro Blog
Pic: Sherlock performs Bach’s Sonata No.1 in G-Minor in The Reichenbach Fall, Hartswood Films/BBC

Elmore Leonard + John Travolta = Get Shorty’s Chili Palmer

22 Aug

Elmore Leonard’s dialogue told you everything you needed to know about a character. He did it in as short a prose style as necessary. To him, less was definitely more. I already knew Chili Palmer – I knew how he walked, how he talked, and how he looked you in the eyes. So when I saw him in the big screen version of Get Shorty personified by John Travolta, I was already along for the ride. 

Post.ElmoreLeonard.getshorty.8.22.13Get Shorty tells the story of a loan shark in Miami, Chili Palmer, who goes to Hollywood to collect a debt and ends up a movie producer. Hey, he figures, it takes the same skills he already has as a mobster. Who knew? Chili’s talk is straight, no bullshit. And he knows his movies. Here are some of Chili’s bon mots:

“Rough business, this movie business. I’m gonna have to go back to loan-sharking just to take a rest.”

“That was ‘Rio Bravo.’ Robert Mitchum played the drunk in ‘El Dorado.’ Dean Martin played the drunk in ‘Rio Bravo.’ Basically, it was the same part. Now John Wayne, he did the same in both. He played John Wayne.”

“Look at me.”

“I’m the guy who’s telling you the way it is.”

“I got an idea for a movie.”

“They always pay.”

“Going into the movie business. I’m thinking about producing … I don’t think the producer has to know much.”

“Look at me. What I’m thinking is, ‘You’re mine’ … But what I’m not doing is feeling anything about it one way or the other. You understand? You’re not a person to me, you’re a name in my collection book, a guy owes me money, that’s all.”

“You know, Welles didn’t even want to do this movie. But he had some studio contract he couldn’t get out of. Sometimes you do your best work when you got a gun to your head.”

 

Source:
Chili Palmer’s quotes from Get Shorty: imdb

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