Posts Tagged ‘Lou Reed’

“Trinity: Sky, Land and Man” — At the Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA

One minute was enough, Tyler said, “A person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.

― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Yesterday was probably the best day I have had in the studio in some time. Easily the best this year , the one we call 2021. Things just went well all the way around. A new painting I was working on came to completion and far exceeded the expectations that I had when first beginning it.

I could feel the momentum from it and knew that it would carry me forward for awhile. And just that bit of knowledge creates its own momentum which carries over into other aspects of my life. I am not going to get into them because for the most part they are mundane and small insignificant things. Personal stuff that doesn’t make a bit of difference in anyone’s world but my own.

But it’s those little things, those little pangs of happiness and satisfaction, that make up a good day. Not every good day is made up of earthshaking events. In fact, almost none are. Big events usually have so many ramifications that their weight sometimes takes away from the joy they might otherwise bring. 

Well, that’s my take. I might be a little cynical in that respect.

But it was a good day. I would say perfect but I don’t truly believe in perfect as a state of being. At least, one that lasts for more than a singular moment on the rarest of occasions. There are just too many contributing factors in our lives that would have to come into alignment for it to occur more than once in a great while.

I do believe in pretty damn good as a descriptive term though. Even that takes hard work and perseverance. And if in getting to that, a perfect moment pops up like a purple unicorn every so often, all the better. If there are perfect moments they most likely show up on pretty damn good days.

I think the words from Chuck Palahniuk and his novel Fight Club at the top sum it up pretty well. 

So, let’s call yesterday a pretty damn good day. I am not sure there was any perfection involved in the day but then again, I was never expecting it. But its absence didn’t diminish it in any way.

Maybe it will show up today. Who knows? I think I will get to work and find out.

Hope you have a pretty damn good day. Here’s a favorite song from the late great Lou Reed. It’s called Perfect Day. Most likely that Pretty Damn Good Day just didn’t carry the same weight or simply didn’t fit the meter of the song. Doesn’t matter– it’s a pretty damn good song.

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I wrote an entire entry just now for this blog and, after reading it over, I decided to chuck the whole thing. Just didn’t hit the mark, didn’t feel right.

Sometimes it’s better to just go back to square one than try to cobble together something that is rickety from the start. Or just do something altogether different.

So, this morning I am just going to say ‘To hell with it’ and play a song that soothes me in some small way.

It’s a Lou Reed song, Sunday Morning, from his days with the Velvet Underground in the 1960’s. The late model/singer Nico, best known for Andy Warhol transforming her into a Pop Art icon, does the vocals here but you can hear Lou’s voice in her vocals.

It has that familiar Velvet’s drone that I think gives it that soothing quality I am looking for this morning. Plus, this is kind of a neat video.

Have a good Sunday, okay?


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Thank You Card- Susan Ferrito sm

The image above is from a Thank You card I received the other day.  Looking at it reminds me of one of those perfect days like we had yesterday, one of those late winter days where there is plenty of sun and comfortable temperatures.  Perfect for walking amid the remaining snow, making the troubles and worries of the rest of the world slip away for a short time.  A perfect day for one of those rare moments.

The Thank You card was from my friends. Tony and Susan Ferrito, for a small favor I had done for them. Susan made the card based on my paintings and I think it came out tremendously well.  I particularly like the dark ring around the sun.  Thank you, Susan– I will display the card prominently here in the studio!

So, being Sunday morning, the obvious choice for my musical selection is  Perfect Day from the late Lou Reed, this one with an interesting animation.  I thought I had played it here not too long ago but when I looked it up I found that it had been almost exactly six years ago, during the Winter Olympics of that February in 2010.   I guess there’s no sense worrying about wearing out such a great song by playing it every six years.

So, I hope you have  a perfect day of your own on this fine Sunday.  Enjoy…

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GC Myers-Heartshare smSunday morning on a holiday weekend but no holiday here in the studio yet.  No, not for another week or so as I get ready for my Home+Land show that opens in just under two weeks, on July 17 at the West End Gallery.  It’s been crazy busy the last couple of weeks but I am seeing the results coming clearer now and I think it has a real pop to it, one that has me getting excited to see the work hanging in the gallery.

There’s just something about seeing the work spaced on the gallery wall and not propped up in various positions around the studio that makes me see it as something apart from myself, something in and of itself.  It’s a bittersweet but exciting moment for me when I see a painting that has taken on personal meaning for me in the studio, like the one shown above, Heartshare, on the wall of the gallery.

It really lays claim to its own identity at that point and my time with it is close to an end.  It has become what it is and takes on the characteristics of the viewer, perhaps symbolizing things that I never saw or imagined in it myself.  That’s the mystery and beauty of this thing called art– sometimes one thing takes on many different meanings for different people.  There are no absolutes.

Well, it is Sunday morning and time for a little music so I thought I’d carry through on the theme of the painting at the top.  Here’s a song  called Some Kinda Love from the Velvet Underground.  Formed by Lou Reed and John Cale, the Velvets were one of the most influential bands of the mid-60’s.  A good rhythm to start your Sunday.  Have a great day.

FYI: The painting at the top, Heartshare, is 16″ by 20″ on canvas and is part of a series of paintings I’ve done over the last several years based on the myth of Baucis and Philemon.

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Green Eye CloseupIt’s Sunday morning.

Quiet and I don’t have a lot on my mind.  Just thinking about some work that is on the easel that needs a bit of work, soemthing to bring it to a close.  It’s there waiting and I ready myself to jump in.

Some days you need a kick to wake up  and get into it but this morning I just want a quiet vibe as I slide into the work.  So I settle on on some music from the late and great Lou Reed when he was with the Velvet Underground Pale Blue Eyes.

That’s nice.  Relax and have a great Sunday.

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GC Myers- Septemebr SongIt’s hard to believe that September is upon us already.  September always has a contemplative feel, a pause after the hustle and bustle of the summer months before making the transformation into the cooler, grayer months.  The leaves begin to turn.  The days get shorter. The air takes on a cool hardness that is a keen reminder of the coming coldness of the winter.

One of my favorite songs is the classic tune from Kurt Weill, September Song.  It’s been recorded by literally hundreds of artists through the years from many genres, from Jimmy Durante to James Brown to Lou Reed.  Willie Nelson does a rendition that is very delicate, maintaining the tenuous nature of the tune.  Just a lovely version.  I’ve included it at the bottom.

The image here is a new piece, a 6″ by 10″ painting on paper that I am calling September Song.  It is part of a group that will be accompanying me for the trip to the Principle Gallery on September 13th, when I will be giving a gallery talk there.  More info on that later. This painting has a wistful feel, as though the tiny figure is pausing on the path to reflect on where he has been, what he has seen and done.  The sun above and the churning rays of light emanating from it represent the inevitability of time, of change.   I wasn’t sure what to title this painting but when I realized that we were into September, the tune immediately came to mind and the narrative of the scene filled out for me.

Now, I am going to give a listen to Willie as he sings September Song:

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lou-reed-transformer-imageLou Reed died yesterday at the age of 71.

Lou always found his way into my listening life.  I wrote about Lou a few years back on this blog, recounting how I played his album Rock N Roll Animal all day one Christmas when I was an early teen, filling the house with the strains of Heroin and Sweet Jane.  A few years later, one of my prize finds from scouring the bargain bins at the local Newberrys store were a couple of early Velvet Underground recordings– on eight-track tapes.  I still chuckle at the idea of Lou and the Velvets  on one of those big clunky tapes.  I remember driving with a shoe box filled with tapes to play in the car.  I think there were maybe ten tapes.

But Lou was there, on one of those huge dinosaur cartridges.  It was as unpolished as anything I had heard.  Bad recordings and Lou’s flat vocals which sounded even more strained on these recordings.  But there was something there that transcended the sound quality or even Lou’s voice.  It was real expression.  Not raw emotion, but  restrained expressions of deeper feelings.  The sensation I got is similar to that which I get now from looking at great Outsider art.  It is  work that somewhat takes the form of more traditional art  but is less concerned with the technical aspects and more centered on getting across the feeling and the individual voice of the artist behind the picture.  They can appear crude but sometimes there is a pure beauty in them, one that speaks across the wider range.  Real art.

That’s what I heard in Lou’s songs for many years.  Sorry to see him go.

There are many songs from Lou that I could play here but I want to hear Perfect Day.  It’s a song that I forget at times but when I come across it, find it sticking in my mind for weeks. Hope yours is a perfect day…

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Well, this year’s Name This Painting! contest has come to an end, as of  several hours ago.  There are so  many worthy titles here.  I’m going to go over the list today and choose the one that I feel fits best.  I will announce the winner tomorrow although it seems hard to say that some of these titles are not winners in some way.  I want to thank everyone who submitted titles.  Your insights and thoughts are really inspirational, believe me.  If I could, I would be sending you all prizes.

So, as I go back to contemplating which title stands out for me, here’s a version of a favorite song of mine, Perfect Day from Lou Reed.  I’ve played his original version before here but this is a bit different.  It’s actually a BBC promo that has multitudes of artists singing lines from the song.  But the power of the song comes through.  Enjoy and come back tiomorrow to see which title wins.

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Perfect Day

I don’t normally like to put posts with music in them too close to one another but while watching the Winer Olympics I keep seeing an ad with Lou Reed‘s Perfect Day carrying the message.  I can’t even remember what the ad is for but I always stop when it comes on to hear Lou.

It’s a funny thing how the world has come around.  When I was listening to Lou Reed many ages ago, the idea that his songs would be used as the motor for commerce seemed totally inconceivable.  His songs were not pretty.  His songs were not sentimental in the way we normally see sentiment.  They were about seamy people on the grubby side of town.

And Lou was not a pretty voice.  His plaintive flat tones lent a matter-of-fact feel to his lyrics of drug use, sexual ambiguity and street-smart losers.  Not the stuff of your normal pitchman.

I remember a Christmas when my brother gave me the album Rock N Roll Animal and all Christmas Eve and most of the next Christmas day my stereo was blasting Sweet Jane and Heroin through the house.  Not exactly holiday cheer but when you’re young and pretty much stupid, you don’t fully appreciate the occasion.

But time passes and the mainstream shifts, and what was once verboten now is the stuff of TV ads and supermarket background music.

I don’t know if there’s a point here.  I just wanted to play Perfect Day for you.  Have one yourself…

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Jim Carroll Catholic BoyIt was announced this past Sunday that author/musician Jim Carroll had died at the age of 60 from a heart attack.  He is probably best known for the critically acclaimed memoir of his youth, The Basketball Diaries, which was later made into a film featuring Leonardo DeCaprio in a portrayal of a young Carroll.

Carroll’s life as a youth was memorable.  He was a star on the basketball courts of New York, earning national attention.  He was also recognized as a budding talent as a writer and poet.  This guy had a lot going for him.  But at the same time he was well on the road to a heroin addiction and a stint as a street hustler, prostituting himself to feed his habit.  That’s a lifetime of highs and lows by the time he hit his twenties.

I first became aware of him in 1980 or 81 when his Catholic Boy album came out.  It was real NY stuff, out of the same vein that produced Lou Reed and Patti Smith.  I liked the album a lot.  It was one of those albums that you sometimes stumble across that you know will never find a huge audience but somehow speaks to you in a very personal way.  I was never surprised that he never achieved the same type of popularity musically after that first album came out.  Just on eof those rare moments of expression.

I was just thinking about him last week as I had been listening to his best known song,  People Who Died, a song that has an infective driving sound and vivid imagery. I guess he could’ve added a verse for himself.  Here it is.  RIP Jim Carroll…

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