Posts Tagged ‘Velvet Underground’

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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If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.

–Emil Zatopek


The words above are from Emil Zatopek, the immortal Czech runner who was called the greatest runner of all time by Runner’s World Magazine.  Zatopek wowed the sports world at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki by winning both the 5000M and 10000M races then entering at the last minute and winning the marathon. It was the first marathon he had ever competed in.

I think he must be correct in his quote. Running is one thing, something most of us can do for short intervals. But committing to and running marathons are a whole different thing. It takes real focus and dedication– a compulsion — to run marathons at a high level. It requires altering your diet to get the most from the least. It takes the willingness to sacrifice the time for training, putting in endless miles running alone. Mastering that solitude is a special skill in itself.

I know that it’s something I will never do which is perhaps why I admire those that take on this hard task.

One person I know who does this is my nephew, Greg. He’s been running most of his life in some form. A little cross country in high school. Running just to stay fit as he aged. Casual stuff for the most part. He trained for and ran his first NYC Marathon in 2005, I think it was. He was in his early thirties at the time and his time was respectable.  In the years since, with some time away from competitive running to be a great dad to three active sons, he has slowly become a committed marathoner, doing all the things I described above.

Fittingly, the work and time he has dedicated have shown up in his results. His times have consistently improved even as he has aged. At age 47, he is consistently in the top 2% of both all runners and his age group. In yesterday’s NYC Marathon, he established a personal best for that race coming in at 2:56:16.

It’s been fun watching Greg’s continuing progress as a runner. Seeing his dedication and hard work rewarded is a lesson that I hope his sons absorb and use in their own lives. I am pleased for Greg and proud of his hard fought efforts.

Great run, Greg. Keep up the good work and looking forward to you establishing a new personal best in Boston in 2020, if that’s in your plans.

Here’s a favorite of mine from the Velvet Underground in honor of your race. It’s, of course, Run, Run, Run.


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Beginning to See the Light smHere’s another new painting that is part of my upcoming show, Home+Land,at the West End Gallery, opening July 17.  This 12″ by 12″ canvas is titled Beginning to See the Light, which sort of continues a theme from yesterday’s post as the title is also the title of a Velvet Underground song.

While I was working on yesterday’s post and listening to some music from the Velvets, I kept looking at this piece and when this song came on it just seemed right as a title for it in the moment.  It’s not that the lyrics necessarily jibed well but just the idea of that moment of realization that the title possesses seemed right because this is what I see in this piece– arriving at a moment of understanding.  The world seems calm and right but vivid in that moment.

Here’s the song that gave me the title.  It’s coupled with some absurdist/avant garde imagery from a 1968 Soviet film, The Color of Pomegranates.  I don’t know how relevant this is to the song but it’s kind of interesting?

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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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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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