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Posts Tagged ‘Artists’

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” Pablo Picasso

Today is Picasso’s birthday, he was born in Spain on October 25, 1881. My relationship to art is unfortunately subjective – if it moves me in any way, if it reminds me of the mountains or the sea, if I could just fall in love with the colors. But Picasso is a different breed of artist. Although I can understand his modernist vision, I wouldn’t want to hang his paintings on my walls…. even if I could afford them! His deconstructed asymmetrical portraits would haunt my dreams.

This weekend the Bride found an artist she loves at Artclectic, an annual art exhibit at the Grands school. Jaime Barks hails from Chattanooga and infuses her gorgeous paintings with the colors of nature. I wasn’t planning on attending, Bob and I had a mini-Oktoberfest planned with some dear neighbors in their carport. They cooked the bratwurst and kraut, we all brought a dish along with our folding chairs.

But I managed to sneak away from a simmering pot of German-style potato soup to immerse my masked-and-vaccinated self in the swirl of mixed media and sculpture at the school’s gym.

Last year Artclectic was cancelled due to Covid. They may have had an online auction, but nothing beats meeting the artists – “In Real Time and Real Life” plus mingling with friends and neighbors! Our everyday lives are expanding; children must get to religious school or soccer practice, dogs must go to the vet, parents are back at work, and social events are continuing outside and inside. The Grands should be vaccinated next month… it’s like post-Covid life has begun.

After four years of the clown presidency, coupled with our current pandemic, our mundane day to day way of life has been stirring up a lot of metaphorical dust.

And with it all, the artist/writer who carried me through lockdowns and other losses is Nashville native, Margaret Renkl. She sees the world the way my better self would want to see it. She can break our natural world into words that will inspire her reader. And she did just that this morning in the NYTimes, “The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Leaf Blowers.”

“They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts…. Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/25/opinion/leaf-blowers-california-emissions.html

Leaf blowers are maddening! They can destroy a meditative dog walk in a minute. We live directly across the street from an apartment building, every single day there is a team of leaf blowers that surround the whole block. I hated the sound of them in Rumson on expansive suburban lawns, but here in the city, it’s not just the jet-like decibel level of noise. It’s the swirling daily dust and debris with an occasional leaf thrown in that is almost disabling. Conversation stops, we look away to protect our eyes, but sitting in our garden, mask-less, cannot protect our lungs.

“That dust can contain pollen, mold, animal feces, heavy metals and chemicals from herbicides and pesticides,” notes Sara Peach of Yale Climate Connections. All this adds up to increased risk of lung cancer, asthma, cardiovascular disease, premature birth and other life-threatening conditions.

Bob has always been a huge proponent of “natural” lawn care. We would never spray chemicals on our lawn, we’d watch the grass turn yellow in August like it was meant to do, and Bob never believed in blowing the leaves into a pile. We’d occasionally rake the Fall bounty into piles for the proverbial ‘child romping in leaves’ picture. But he always felt like leaving the leaves alone was best, and maybe cleaning up the corners in the Spring. Turns out, Bob was right after all! But don’t tell him I said that.

Tell him I found a beautiful painting of the mountains, and I’m making another soup.

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It was 8 degrees this morning on my perch of the Blue Ridge. This is nose-hair freezing, eye watering, finger numbing cold, even if we still lived in the Berkshire Mountains. Which we don’t; we moved in part for warmer weather. But mostly to be closer to our daughter. Then she moved, to pursue her ER residency, to the ice capital of the South currently known as Nashville. And we’re all wondering why we didn’t follow the Rocker to LA right about now!

He texted us a weather report for the week – party sunny and 70s all week out there. Which is great since the band is on the Left Coast touring. They started out in LA at the Echo Tuesday night and a little birdie told me it was “…packed to the back.” Guess you can’t say, “…standing room only,” since everybody stands and rocks out all night. To check out their tour dates, and download “Cry Wolf” just skip ahead to their website: http://www.parlormob.com

“It’s the first thing we’ve produced ourselves with no outside involvement from anyone else for about 10 years, since we made our first record,” said guitarist Dave Rosen. “We didn’t really have any concern for anything else other than exactly what we wanted to do. So, we went a little crazy, basically.”

Imagine that, artists writing, recording, producing their own music. Bob was asking me if I ever heard of the Brill Building, sometimes called the Glass Building, and I said, “Nope.” So naturally I got a little history of music lesson. It’s located at 1619 Broadway and 49th Street in Manhattan, at the heart of the Theatre District. While we all know about the Motown sound coming out of the Hitsville Studio in Detroit, and Country coming from the Ryman, New York was doing music this way in the 50s and 60s.

“After its completion in 1931, the owners were forced by a deepening Depression to rent space to music publishers, since there were few other takers. The first three, Southern Music, Mills Music and Famous-Music were soon joined by others. By 1962 the Brill Building contained 165 music businesses.”

In essence this was called vertical integration. If a songwriter was looking for an artist and a publisher for their song, this was the place to be. In fact, “There you could write a song or make the rounds of publishers until someone bought it. Then you could go to another floor and get a quick arrangement, lead sheet for $10, get some copies made at the duplication office; book an hour at a demo studio; hire some of the musicians and singers that hung around; and finally cut a demo of the song. Then you could take it around the building to the record companies, publishers, artist’s managers or even the artists themselves. If you made a deal there were radio promoters available to sell the record.” http://www.history-of-rock.com/brill_building.htm

So before the internet, artist/songwriters needed all these middlemen, to get their music off a napkin and out to the public. Carole King had a cubby in the Brill Building, so did Neil Diamond, Paul Simon and Burt Bacharach. The power was in the hands of the publishers, not the artists. Today we have Pharrell Williams, the perfect example of a singer/songwriter/band/member who now runs his own multimedia company, hat and all. I mean I’d be happy too, wouldn’t you?

Happy touring boys, wish I could be at the Vegas show!

at the Echo

at the Echo

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