Had a very nice visit in Alexandria. On Friday the weather always seemed on the verge of a huge thunderstorm, which had me a little apprehensive– even more than I normally be on the day of a show– about prospects for the opening reception of this year’s show, Part of the Pattern, at the Principle Gallery on that evening. However the storm never really hit with much force and the reception turned out well.
It was a really nice evening with a great crowd that kept me completely engaged throughout. It was good catching up with folks who have been coming to the shows for many years now as well as greeting many new faces. I can’t say “Thank You” enough to those who were able to come out on Friday and to our friends at the Principle Gallery–Michele, Clint, Pam, Haley, Pierre and Megan— who made it all possible. Oh, and special thanks to my canine friends at the gallery, Asher and Chase.
Word came out during our time there that Muhammad Ali had passed away. Ali was a huge hero of mine when I was a child, part of what I consider the Holy Quartet of Heroes– Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Bob Gibson– who had much in common. They were all dominant legends in their respective sports, the greatest winners of their times.
They were all strong and smart black men who were not afraid to go against the grain, to take a stand outside the world world of sports and say things that were not always popular nor politically correct. They seemed to understand that that their sports were secondary to the state of the world. They all transcended their sports and became cultural heroes and symbols, something more than mere performers on the athletic stage.
Ali was certainly a standout in that last category. He was arguably the most widely recognized person on earth, a sports figure whose image was widely known throughout the world decades after his time as an athlete had ended. I remember reading, I think it was in Wilfrid Sheed‘s biography of Ali, about Ali’s picture hanging in mud huts in Africa.
He was so much more than a boxer. I have a hard time watching boxing today but I watched a lot of it when I was a kid and it was mainly because of Ali. It was no less brutal a sport then but Ali made it seem like there was an air of poetry and gracefulness in it. In my mind, I can still see his seemingly effortless movements around the ring, dancing lightly on the toes of his white shoes around plodding opponents. It was a thing of beauty to see this big man move like he was being carried by the breeze as the other man would dive at him, often flailing away at a target that was there then gone in a flash.
He was the rarest of birds. Style and substance.
Sorry to see him go.
Well, this song doesn’t have a lot to say about Ali but it is about a boxer and it is a beautiful song. Below is a version of the great Simon and Garfunkel song as perfomed by Alison Krauss, Shawn Colvin and dobro-master Jerry Douglas.
Thanks for stopping in today and have a great Sunday.
PS: TODAY IS THE LAST FULL DAY — this event ends MONDAY, June 6, promptly at 12 noon–to take part in the event to raise funds for the Soarway Foundation‘s efforts in Nepal. Your donation, which will help immensely, also gets you a chance at winning a painting of mine valued at $5000 plus a signed poster. What more can you ask? You get the pleasure from helping others, a tax deduction and a chance to win something fairly valuable.