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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

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“I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me.”

Charles BukowskiFactotum

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A bit of beauty from Ella on a cool gray morning as I bask in the solitude that serves as my sunlight. Have a great day.

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Wasn’t going to write anything today as I have a full schedule in prepping work for delivery of my June Principle Gallery show combined with my visit to see my dad at the local nursing facility where has lived with his dementia for most of the last three years. But I began listening to some music and when Heroes from David Bowie came on, it made me scroll back through some older posts and I came across the one below.

Heroism is a term that has been warped a bit by our fascination with comic book heroism. On a Memorial day weekend, we should be reminded that many of the people who we memorialize for their service and sacrifice didn’t have superhero qualities. They were no different than anyone else when faced with adversity and danger– scared, confused and wishing it was all over. But heroism comes in fighting through these emotions and simply doing the task that is required of them. To simply do the right thing and take responsibility for those things before them that they can control. To unselfishly serve in the moment.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Doing one’s duty without giving thought to how the outcome might affect you is a rare thing. I guess that is why we celebrate holidays devoted to service and heroism.  And it’s especially rare in these perilous times where a single, simple act of heroism from a small handful people in congress could completely change the direction in which this country is headed.

That might be too much to ask of them. Heroism is not for everyone, I suppose. But for the rest of us, let us put aside our selfish concerns and serve someone and something greater than ourselves. Just do what is right. Then we can all be heroes.

Here’s the post from several years back:

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Arthur Ashe HeroismKeeping up the theme that was the subject of an earlier post this week, I decided that for this Sunday morning’s musical selection I would play a lovely version of Heroes from David Bowie. It’s an acoustic version (with Gail Ann Dorsey accompanying him on vocals and bass) from a 1996 performance at the Bridge School Benefit, an annual concert began by Neil Young to benefit the Bay Area school that helps kids with severe speech and physical impairments. In that context, the song takes on additional layers of meaning as you see the many parents in the audience with their children, many cradling them.

Heroism.

Looking for an image to illustrate this post, I did an image search by punching in the word hero. It was all superheroes and warriors which saddened me because I know that heroism is something far more than that. It’s about doing those things that need to be done, about taking responsibility in order to serve a purpose beyond your own needs. We think of it as a rare thing but it is evident every day in the actions of those people who give so much of themselves to others.

For me, an example of this came to me in a very personal way. When my mother was struggling in the last months of her battle with cancer, I visited her for  last time. Her and my father had been together for about 46 years at that point, years which could be described as turbulent at best. For such a long married couple, they had an odd love/hate relationship which had them always on the edge of huge screaming  battles that were fraught with violence. They were terrible things to see and even as a child I often wondered why they remained together. But they did and as she neared the end of her life, Dad became her cook, her maid, her nurse, and her driver to the many treatments that made up the last months of her life. Her everything.

When I made my last visit, I noticed a photo on her bedside table. It was photo of the two of them together from several years before, standing at some Florida site drenched in sun. On the cheap little frame, underneath my father was a word formed in simple block letters, those kind of press-on letters that you rub on from a sheet.

It was the word Hero.

Now, at that point in my life I didn’t see my father in heroic terms. Far from it. No, he was and is a very flawed human being with many traits that are far from any definition of heroism. But in this case, he took on the form of a hero for my mother and in that moment, looking at that photo, for myself as well. I realized that the word was not about great accomplishment but rather about following that need to serve another and just doing the right thing in a moment of need.

So it can be for everyone, as the song says :

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can beat them, just for one day
We can be heroes, just for one day

I finally came across the  quote at the top from the late Arthur Ashe that seemed to best fit the thought .

Have a great Sunday. Be a hero to someone today.

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Well I never pray,
But tonight I’m on my knees, yeah.
I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me, yeah.
I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now.
But the airwaves are clean and there’s nobody singing to me now.

No change, I can’t change, I can’t change, I can’t change,
but I’m here in my mold, I am here in my mold.
But I’m a million different people from one day to the next
I can’t change my mold, no, no, no, no, no, no, no

The Verve, Bittersweet Symphony

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No rest for the wicked. Busy busy early this morning so for this week’s Sunday morning music, thought I’d pair up a new painting from my recent Multitudes series with a classic bit of Britpop, Bittersweet Symphony, from The Verve from back in 1997. Hard to believe it’s been twenty plus years. Many of you no doubt know the song and the video, which has about half a billion views on the YouTube on the interweb, but I think it works for myself this morning and as an accompaniment to the painting.

The painting is a darkly colored piece called Multitudes: Everyday Saints. I was prepared to give an explanation of this piece but the more I think about it– and I’ve already spent too much time doing just that this morning– I think I’ll just let it stand out there alone for awhile.

Take it as it is, okay?

Gotta run now. Give a look and a listen and have a good Sunday.

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All over the place this morning as I looked for a piece of music. Went from the 1970’s funk of Curtis Mayfield to 1990’s Tom Waits to Pete Townsend at the Secret Policeman’s Ball to Tom Morello and Rage Against the Machine to early and late Warren Zevon to a William Burroughs spoken word piece (Seven Souls) set against an electro beat. There was also some Jimmy Reed blues and some Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

It was fun, as always, one of my favorite parts of doing this blog. I like sliding down those rabbit holes, moving from one thing to another connected by some vague association recognized by an algorithm that is well beyond my comprehension.

But despite it all, nothing hit the spot that I wanted to hit this morning. I felt all out of rhythm in a way. Then I somehow fell on this bit of music.

I don’t exactly know what connection led to this piece, a classical guitar performance of a composition, Oblivion, from the late Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla. It is performed by contemporary Ukrainian guitarist Nadja Kossinskaja and it just seemed to fit the feeling of the morning at this point in time.

It finally got me back in rhythm and back on track, regardless of how I got to it.

Give a listen. It’s good stuff and a good way to kick off a Sunday whether it’s wet and gray, as it is here, or sunny and warm. Have a good day.

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I would much rather be writing about art this morning and I am sure most of you would rather be looking at a piece of art than listening to my opinion on any current event. You might even mumble that I should shut my trap and paint. Well, this is my space, my journal, my diary, and when I am affected I need to put my feelings down somehow. And after watching the testimony of the Attorney General yesterday before the Senate Judiciary committee, I feel the need to air a grievance or two. It left me angry and more than a little worried about the future of this country.

I believe that we are closer to becoming an autocracy than we have ever been at any point in our history. The AG basically said yesterday that the president is above the law, that the president has the right to shut down any investigation into his actions if that president– the person under investigation— feels that the investigation is unfair to him. The AG also stated that because there is a Department of Justice policy that the president cannot be charged with a crime ( a ridiculous policy in itself!) he should not even be subject to investigation in the first place.

Think about that. The person with the greatest power in the nation cannot be held accountable by federal law enforcement agencies. He is free to lie and break multiple laws– even work with foreign powers to subvert our elections– in order to protect his position and the DOJ will simply stand by or work to investigate the president’s personal or political enemies, something that the AG did not rule out yesterday.

The AG showed himself to be the dangerous enabler many folks thought he would turn out to be. It was evident yesterday that this man was not acting as the protector of the people and our laws but as the protector of a single person– the president– who he has put above all law.

He has assumed the position not as attorney general but as both protector and sword of the president.

I don’t think that is in the job description. That is a real danger to real democracy and multiplies the power and threat of the presidency.

A lot of folks might say that this is just rhetoric and overstated hype. But autocracy and tyranny creeps up on you in small steps. It doesn’t just drop one day and you’re suddenly in an authoritarian society. It comes in small concessions made to the long established traditions and norms. It comes in accepting half-truths and outright lies even when they are easily proven to be falsehoods. It comes in beating down and denigrating the free press.

It comes with ridiculous promises and claims that stoke a sense of rabid nationalism among their true believers and so many clouds of confusion that the average citizen throws up their hands and says, “Whatever!” And that is exactly what they need to keep their march to autocracy. They need people to give up and turn blind eyes to their subversion because at this point, an alert citizenry that holds their representatives in government accountable might be the only thing keeping us from sliding into the abyss of tyranny.

I personally feel like we are at the edge of that chasm now and it is only a thin string that is keeping us from tumbling over.

For those of you who give a damn I say stay alert. Read the news and support the free press. Read the Mueller Report. If something doesn’t sound right or make sense, investigate. Call or write your reps and senators. Vote every chance you have. Ask questions.

Democracy and what we consider real freedom are not guaranteed nor are they free. At some point, a price must be paid by us all. It is looking more and more like we are all being called to account.

One last note and this rant is done: I think there is a lot more to come out, if it is allowed to see the light of day, concerning the Russian connections, especially in areas like money laundering, influence peddling and kompromat. I also think much might be heard soon about the Russian owned Alfa Bank.

Here’s a song from a couple of years back that says it all. It’s Take Back the Power from the LA-based ska punk band, The Interrupters. Have the best day you can and stay alert. Art tomorrow, I promise.

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Too many more productive things to do this morning rather than editorializing, as much as I might wish to do so. So I thought I’d just share the classic Talking Heads song, Road to Nowhere. You can take whatever meaning you wish from this selection.

This is a live version with David Byrne teaming up with singer St. Vincent and a marching horn section. Good and fun performance.

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To Leave Something Behind

Time is short this morning but I wouldn’t miss posting a bit of music on this Sunday morning. It’s a song from Sean Rowe that speaks very much to the desire that some artists have, myself included, to leave something behind. To leave a reminder, even a small one, that they existed and created in this world. That they had eyes and ears and a voice and a mind of their own. That they felt something, that they dreamed in this world.

The song is To Leave Something Behind and with his powerful voice, Sean Rowe certainly creates something here to leave behind. Give alisten and have a great day.

 

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