Tag Archives: Queen

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

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

29 Nov

VALOR + HONOR = SPIRIT OF NOVEMBER

Stevie Wonder honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom … Speaking of, he played his 1976US-POLITICS-MEDAL OF FREEDOM-STEVIE WONDER album Songs in the Key of Life from start to finish at Madison Square Garden … Billy Joel is the sixth recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Who also got this? Stevie Wonder … The Concert for Valor on Veteran’s Day in D.C. featured Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, and Metallica honoring our troops …Speaking of, Bruce releases new box set Bruce Springsteen: The Album Collection Vol. 1, 1973-1984, includes re-mastered editions of his first seven studio albums, recreations of original artwork and a book of rare memorabilia … American Arts Trust launched the American Veterans Art Wall, a virtual wall where U.S. veterans can submit their own creative expressions … Queen Forever features three previously unreleased tracks with Freddie Mercury on vocals, including a collaboration with Michael Jackson … Joni Mitchell’s Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced FenderStrat.Nov2014contains 53 re-mastered songs spanning her career. “I am a painter who writes songs. My songs are very visual. The words create scenes.” … In her latest album, It’s The Girls, Bette Midler plays the music of girl groups like Be My Baby, One Fine Day, and You Can’t Hurry Love. Hurry and get it … Arlo Bloodhound.Nov2014Guthrie’s annual Thanksgiving concert at Carnegie Hall … Bob Marley tribute concert at the Apollo celebrates the 35th anniversary of his debut there … Guitars and good deeds: Fender Music Foundation benefit concerts provide instruments for classrooms and music therapy programs, City Winery hosts Guitar Mash, 350+ pros and amateurs perform together, raising money for music education concerts, and Wall Street Rocks concerts benefit ReserveAid, supporting reservists and National Guard members deployed abroad … Winner of the National Dog Show is Nathan the Bloodhound. “He kisses everybody he meets and doesn’t know a stranger – he makes me smile every day.”

MUSIC ON FILM

Dead.Nov2014Great directors on great musicians: Martin Scorsese is producing a documentary on the Grateful Dead in honor of the band’s 50th anniversary. “The Grateful Dead were more than just a band. They were their own planet, populated by millions of devoted fans. I’m very happy that this picture is being made and proud to be involved.” … Ron Howard to direct a feature documentary on The Beatles, focusing on the period from 1960 to 1966. “These guys looked and sounded different, and were absolutely explosive to watch. The girls were screaming. It was this flash of genius and uniqueness, but they were also relate-able.” … In the Mick Jagger-produced Alex Gibney doc, Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown about the Godfather of Soul’s life, career, and musical legacy, Jagger says he “tried to steal everything [from Brown] I could possibly do.”

WE CAN HELP

Delivery.10.29.14.happiness.cr

“Here comes the sun…” So grateful for Barkley coming into my life. Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England. Who rescued whom?

NatlSearchDog.Oct2014National Disaster Search Dog Foundation raising money to build a permanent national training center for search dogs on 125 acres in California … PACT for Animals provides temporary, free, in-home foster care for the pets of deployed military personnel and hospital patients and their families … Pilots N Paws is a meeting place for those who rescue, shelter or foster animals, and volunteer pilots and plane owners willing to assist with the transportation of animals.

StevieWonder.soundtracksunshine.Nov2014

Soundtrack to this Issue is
You Are the Sunshine of My Life by Stevie Wonder
(Stevie Wonder performing at The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House,
celebrating Black History Month, February 24, 2011.)

C’mon, sing along:
You are the sunshine of my life
That’s why I’ll always be around,
You are the apple of my eye,
Forever you’ll stay in my heart

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

 

Sources:
Stevie Wonder pic: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Bloodhound pic: AKC
Bloodhound quote: The Baltimore Sun
Grateful Dead pic: stereogum.com
Martin Scorsese quote: relix.com
Ron Howard quote: deadline.com
Search dog pic: Search Dog Foundation
You Are the Sunshine of My Life lyrics: Stevie Wonder, writer/©Black-bull-music Inc., Jobete Music Co. Inc.

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

29 Jun

JUNIE JUNIE MO MOONIE

On the first day of summer, Make Music New York filled the City with more than 1,300 free outdoor performances. The flutists StrawberryMoon.June2014in Central Park ruled (natch) … Elvis Costello solo at Carnegie Hall. About Everyday I Write the Book: “…a song I really hate. I wrote it in 10 minutes, and then it was a hit.” … Maya Angelou’s handwritten manuscript of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings on display at the NY Public Library’s Schomburg Center … Looking for viability and relevance globally, Harleys go electric. But where’s the vroom? … The brilliant Patti LaBelle on Broadway in After MidnightQueen on a 19-date cross-country tour with Adam Lambert … The NY Phil Biennial was an 11-day festival of new music … Spike Lee directed the live stream of Pharrell Williams at The Apollo … Have you seen the iPad ad with Esa-Pekka Salonen? Software takes him from inspiration to score to orchestra … Bang on a Can collaborating with the Jewish Museum for a year and the Rolling Stones played Tel Aviv. L’chaim! … Dylan’s original lyrics to Like a Rolling Stone handwritten on hotel stationery sold at auction for over $2M – including doodles … You know it’s summer when Gangster of Love Steve Miller plays Jones Beach with Journey, and Ringo and his All Starr Band (Todd Rundgren!) play the Beacon … Caramoor’s American Roots Music Festival of folk, country, blues, and bluegrass featuring Rosanne Cash and my favorite roving troubadour, Matt Turk … And the June Full Moon –called Honey Moon, Strawberry Moon, or Rose Moon – filled the sky on Friday the 13th.

MUSICAL MOVIES

Supermensch.June2014He managed Alice Cooper, Blondie, and Luther Vandross. Mike Myers celebrates his great friend Shep Gordon in Supermensch … Clint Eastwood + The Four Seasons = Jersey Boys, based on the Broadway musical … Toni Colette is a rock music critic in Lucky ThemWe Are the Best! has all the wild fun raw emotions that a real punk girl group can muster … Begin Again with movie stars Keira Knightly as songwriter and Mark Ruffalo as record guy, with musician Adam Levine as musician with record deal … Don Cheadle crowdfunding for Miles Davis biopic, to direct, write, and star.

THINKING ABOUT…

MilesDavis.June2014“Tonight you’re mine completely. You give your love so sweetly…but will you love me tomorrow?” Gerry Goffin is remembered for writing beautiful songs with Carole King … RandR Hall of Famer Bobby Womack cited his lost friends, from Sam Cooke to Luther Vandross, as motivation to work. “I’m standing up for [them]. I feel proud to represent them. This is what soul music is about. Music has to reach the soul.” … I will always be grateful to Peter Shukat, my great advisor and friend. At the top of the music lawyerdom heap (John, Yoko, Miles, Jimi, Marley), he was ever accessible as he was skillful. Rest easy, Peter … Producer John McClure worked on 200 recordings with Leonard Bernstein: “[Bernstein] is not long on patience and not stingy with blame…[but he was] unfailingly stimulating, educational, maddening, and musically nutritious.” … And a passing of the bow (not baton), as Glenn Dicterow, NY Phil’s concertmaster since 1980, moves to sunny California to teach. I got to say goodbye to him, as did the City at the Beethoven Triple Concerto performances. A great musician, and, oh yeah, a mensch.

 

WE CAN HELP

R&RHallOfFameMus.poster

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum tells the history and significance of rock and roll through its exhibits, library, archives, and educational programs. Become a member or volunteer. You can even donate an artifact!

Soundtrack to this Issue is
The Joker by the Steve Miller Band

SteveMiller.greatesthits

Greatest word ever in a song? Pompitous – of course! Listen to the Space Cowboy sing about the pompitous of love, lovey-dovey, playin’ music in the sun, and those peaches.

C’mon, sing along:

SteveMiller.peaches

 

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l

IMGP2541.cr.newsltr

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

 

Sources:
Painting of the Strawberry Moon: by Leah Dorion
Supermensch pic: supermenschmovie
Will You Love Me Tomorrow? lyrics: EMI Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Bobby Womack quote: LA Times, June 28, 2014
John McClure quote: NY Times, June 24, 2014
Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame pic: 2014 Induction Ceremony poster

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

29 May

MY OH MY WHAT A MAY

The US Postal Service honored two giants, issuing the Jimi Hendrix and Harvey Milk stamps. Need a better excuse to stopJimi.Stamp.May2014 texting and send a letter? … Queen guitarist Brian May reveals plans for a new Queen album HarveyMilk.Stamp.May2014featuring unreleased Freddie Mercury vocals from the 1980s. More Freddie Mercury? Yes, please … Audra McDonald channels is Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill … Journey lead singer, Steve Perry, one of the true great rock voices, performed on stage with the Eels for the first time in almost 20 years. Don’t ever stop believin’ … Buzz Lightyear and Woody played the NY Philharmonic in Pixar in Concert … The NY Phil also held its annual Memorial Day concert at St. John the Divine, featuring Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony … Norm Lewis, who made his Broadway debut in The Who’s Tommy in 1993, takes over the Phantom role in Phantom of the Opera “Swordfish.” You won’t need the password to go to Marxfest, a series of films, talks, and concerts honoring the Marx Brothers. Remember this Groucho groaner? “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas; how he got in my pajamas I don’t know.”

 PASSAGES

SingingBird.May2014

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Mission accomplished, Maya Angelou.

MetMuseum.Buddha.May2014

A birthday is a time for reflection as well as celebration. So I spent some of mine at the Tibet and India: Buddhist Traditions and Transformations show at the Met. Buddhas offering protection. Buddhas praying. Buddhas preaching. Buddhas meditating. All were imposing, inspiring, graceful, and, most of all, peaceful.

WE CAN HELP

AspcaNewFacility.May2014

The ASPCA never stops caring, never stops helping. A brand new facility will help save the lives of NYC’s homeless and abused dogs and cats. The ASPCA Kitten Ward and the NYPD CARE ward for canine cruelty victims is a special place for the extra care they need. Support their steadfast efforts. Become an ASPCA member, donate, or volunteer.

BoxTops.May2014.use

Soundtrack to this Issue is
The Letter by The Box Tops

Listen to Alex Chilton’s indelible soulful vocals. Released in 1967 on the album of the same name, it reached Number One on the Billboard Hot 100. Write a letter, mail it with Jimi and Harvey. C’mon, sing along:

Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain’t got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I’m-a goin’ home
My baby, just-a wrote me a letter

I don’t care how much money I gotta spend
Got to get back to my baby again
Lonely days are gone …

Well, she wrote me a letter
Said she couldn’t live without me no more
Listen, mister, can’t you see I got to get back
To my baby once-a more. Anyway, yeah!

IMGP2541.cr.newsltr

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

 

Sources:
Buddha pic: Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Letter lyrics: © Universal Music Publishing Group, EMI Music Publishing

Friday Fave: Pressure Trending

7 Jun

From its inimitable scat singing opening, we know immediately what song we’re in for. Trending this week was the recent reveal of the isolated vocal track of David Bowie and Queen’s Freddie Mercury recording, Under Pressure. The story of how the song even got recorded by these icons of rock is equally noteworthy. Issued October 26, 1981 and featured on Queen’s 1982 album Hot Space, it is now a classic. Why? Is it that remarkable confluence of great artists, great lyrics, and great music?

Mm ba ba de, Um bum ba de, Um bu bu bum da de
Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure that brings a building down
Splits a family in two, Puts people on streets
Um ba ba be, Um ba ba be, De day da
Ee day da – that’s okay.

How does such a song endure? The story behind it doesn’t hurt its legendary status – the history of the song’s life after its creation is as notable. Played by Queen at concerts, featured on live recordings, greatest hits compilations, sampled by Vanilla Ice in Ice Ice Baby (followed by a lawsuit between Vanilla Ice and Queen that culminated in lots of money and Vanilla Ice buying the song!), performed by David Bowie and Annie Lennox at the 1992 Concert For Life tribute to Freddie Mercury, featured in movies, covered by maBowie&Lennox.UnderPressureny modern artists, and its music video which doesn’t include any of its musicians. Well, it’s certainly a recipe that would be hard pressed to serve as a template for promoting a hit song, much less a classic.

And now that we hear the only-vocal track, we appreciate how remarkable a recording it is. Once heard, it is haunting, making it indelible. Tell me, is there a more compelling plea than Mercury and Bowie singing, pleading: Why can’t we give love???

Source:
David Bowie and Annie Lennox pic: eurythmics.me.uk

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