May Rambling: Stolen Scream and lots of music

THE QUID IS A COOL ROCK BAND that gained some success during the Garage Band era in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

 

The Stolen Scream (via Steve Bissette’s Facebook page). Creative theft is a global phenomenon. “The Stolen Scream” is a snapshot of just one such phenomenal, almost spontaneous international appropriation of an artist’s (in this case, a photographer’s) work.

A death that was also a birth. “As a midwife, I’ve spent the last 30 years taking care of women in pregnancy. But nothing prepared me for this.”

It’s a horrible cycle I’m quite familiar with and occasionally adore. After all, anxiety is king, and I am its lowly peasant. Going into public, whether a store, the movies, a restaurant or a family function, is exhausting. (New blogger, a friend of a friend.)

Another Supermarket Interlude.

James Lipton gives Mitt Romney advice on how to come across as a more “authentic” human being. Of course, while some cannot forgive his economic policies, Willard being the Demon Barber of Wall Street and/or a flip-flopper, there are others who want to forget every mean word they’ve ever said about him.

Will the leaning tower of Pisa fall over?

7-UP: a Branding Revolution

It’s the second half of Mark Evanier’s story about his high school yearbook that’s really entertaining. He also writes about The $10,000 Pyramid, one of my three favorite game shows ever, and shares someone’s story about Dick Cavett, who I used to watch religiously on late night TV.

Upfronts: 2012–Video Trailers. Clips of the various new shows from the networks.

Steve Bissette has me wanting to see the new Dark Shadows movie, which I had previously dismissed. A Pac-Man movie and Movies With Matching Titles.

A Yank’s Humble Guide To Kiwi Music (Part II)

The Music of Nick McKaig, performing the Star Wars Theme (which Jaquandor linked to), some Christmas songs, plus TV themes such as The Simpsons, The Muppets, Friends, The Office, Mission: Impossible, and more.

A week’s worth of Na

Pictures at an Exhibition – especially check out the guy playing it on solo acoustic guitar.

THE QUID IS A COOL ROCK BAND that gained some success during the Garage Band era in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, from the POV of the wife of a former band member.

The obligatory Muppets segment: Racialious crushes Kevin Clash and Harry Belafonte; the latter has a song that shows up on SamuraiFrog’s 50 Favorite Muppet Songs. Do I want GPS via Sesame Street?

Brothers In Arms, the Dire Straits album, covered. Also, Coverville 867: The Beastie Boys Cover Story (and Adam Yauch tribute), and Coverville 871: The Donna Summer Cover Story, and Coverville 872: The Robin Gibb/Bee Gees Cover Story III.

Dustbury: “It bothers me a great deal that we’re now down to one Bee Gee. And I think it’s because it’s Barry, the oldest of the brothers, who’s still with us;” he speaks from experience. Arthur’s complicated feelings about the BeeGees, and especially Donna Summer. And here is Donna Summer’s MacArthur Park Suite (Extended Version), all 17+ minutes of it, the way I remembered it.

The New York Times obit of Doc Watson, legendary guitarist and folk singer.

The True Story Of The Traveling Wilburys

FROM THE OTHER BLOGS

What happens to your online content when you die?

Dumb and dumber?: Study finds level of Congressional speech in decline

GOOGLE ALERTS

On April 24th Joe Sampson performed a ten-song set with some of his friends joining him onstage. Nathaniel Rateliff, Roger Green & Esme Patterson joined him on stage and together they performed songs from Joe’s latest album.

But the club’s move to appoint Avery, alongside Roger Green, has been one of the masterstrokes of Sticker’s recent history.

Paul Simon’s Graceland, plus 25

When the Graceland album comes out in the fall of 1986, there are a lot of positive reviews, though there is some discussion of cultural imperialism, talk Simon occasionally faced directly,

On June 5, the 25th-anniversary edition of the landmark Paul Simon album Graceland will be released. It has a few demo or alternate tracks, plus something described as “The Story of ‘Graceland’ as told by Paul Simon,” which could be interesting. But what is really intriguing is the DVD that comes with it, Under African Skies, directed by Joe Berlinger, which I saw on A&E a few days ago. It not only discusses the making of the album, and shows the reunion of many of the artists; it also addresses the huge controversy over the album and the subsequent tour.

There was a United Nations cultural (and other) boycott of South Africa at the time of the recording of Graceland, because of the oppressive apartheid policies of the government. Paul Simon’s record label guy Lenny Waronker said that the African music Simon had been listening to could have been produced by studio musicians; Warnoker says that Simon looked at him as though he were crazy.

From HERE:
“I was very aware of what was going on politically,” Mr. Simon says in the film, though later he admits he really wasn’t. Harry Belafonte had urged him to get the blessing of the African National Congress before going, which he didn’t do. Mr. Simon bristled at such constraints and decided that the welcome and cooperation he got from black musicians was all the approval he needed.

The album gets made, but the release date is pushed back. Simon is already scheduled to appear on Saturday Night Live, and does so, with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, performing “Diamonds on the Soles of Their Shoes”, to thunderous applause.

When the record comes out in the fall of 1986, there are a lot of positive reviews, though there is some discussion of cultural imperialism, talk Simon occasionally faced directly, as shown in the film. Then he decided to go on tour:

From HERE (And check out the videos):

Nearly 25 years ago Paul Simon staged one of the most controversial pop shows in history. When he performed in April 1987 his Graceland concert was seen by some as an affront to a United Nations and African National Congress (ANC) cultural boycott on the apartheid-era in South Africa.

Others saw it as a celebration of the country’s rich musical diversity. At the time Simon was joined by South African musicians Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. But outside leading musicians joined protestors which included Billy Bragg, Paul Weller, and Jerry Dammers, famous for writing the anti-apartheid anthem, Nelson Mandela. Together they demanded an apology from Simon.

Graceland ends up winning the Grammy for best album. Moreover, Simon eventually gets invited by the Mandela government to perform in South Africa after the boycott was over.

From HERE:

At the end of the film, Simon reflects on the controversy with Dali Tambo, founder of Artists Against Apartheid and son of the late African National Congress (ANC) president Oliver Tambo. He is still convinced Simon was wrong to break the cultural boycott, and Simon remains firm in his belief that art and music are a force for good that should never be repressed.

They end their debate with a hug, but you can see that this debate may never be resolved.

Lots of good insights in this film from Belafonte, Masakela, Paul McCartney, and Oprah Winfrey, who initially supportive of the boycott of the album until she heard the music, which transformed her life. I also had a bit of ambivalence over the album at the time, and I was really happy to see Simon’s rationale at the time.

I’m always loath to get an album that I’ve gotten before, in this case, on both LP and CD. But if you haven’t gotten the CD, or your LP is starting to skip, the documentary Under African Shies makes the purchase worthwhile. the film is also available separately, on Blu-Ray, for a price twice that of the CD/DVD combo.

The Boy in the Bubble – Paul Simon

T is for Tennis Hall of Fame

“Without the guidance of Dr. Robert Johnson, Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, and countless others might not have succeeded so mightily.”

When we were in Newport, RI five years ago, we found ourselves at a sandwich shop. I happened to walk around the corner, and there was the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. I swore that next time we were in town we’d go, and in April, the Wife and I did.

From Wikipedia: “While the modern game of tennis originated in late 19th century England, most historians believe that the game’s ancient origin is from 12th century France, but the ball was then struck with the palm of the hand. It was not until the 16th century that rackets came into use, and the game began to be called “tennis”, from the Old French term Tenez, which can be translated as ‘hold!’, ‘receive!’ or ‘take!'” One can play “real” tennis at the Hall, though we did not.

There were plenty of artifacts: old racquets of players, videos, newspaper articles (e.g., about the scandalous apparel of women players in the 1920s that showed the knee!), info about the infamous “battle of the sexes” between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs (Hall of Famers both), histories of the Grand Slam and other significant tournaments, and lots of trophies.

But the key is the display of all the players and contributors. Each of them is represented on a kiosk that allows you to see a video of the players, a quote, and their major accomplishments; you can see the info here. Interesting that I recognize some old timers’ names such as Bill Tilden and Helen Wills Moody. Then there were the Aussies I remember growing up, such as Rod Laver, Toy Emerson, Tony Roche, and Fred Stolle, onto the players from the Open Era, which began in 1968, “when the Grand Slam tournaments agreed to allow professional players to compete with amateurs…This has allowed tennis players the opportunity to make a good living playing tennis.”

There was a video of the Hall speech by Andre Agassi, a 2011 inductee. A great player early on, he seemed to waste his talent and sank to a ranking of #141, but found his focus again and became a #1 player. This year’s inductees include Jennifer Capriati and Guga Kuerten, who will join the ranks on July 14, 2012.

At least a couple of players who are in the Hall I got to see play personally: Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, doubles specialists, who played singles and doubles, I believe, at the OTB Open tournament in Schenectady, NY in the early 1990s.

One person in the Hall who I was totally unfamiliar with was Dr. Robert Johnson, indicted in 2009 as a contributor. “Without the guidance of Dr. Johnson, however, [Althea] Gibson, [Arthur] Ashe, and countless others might not have succeeded so mightily. Dr. Johnson trained, coached, and mentored African Americans from his home in Lynchburg, Virginia for more than two decades.” Dr. Johnson died in 1971.

I’ve been to several Halls of Fame: baseball (Cooperstown, NY), basketball (Springfield, MA), the surprisingly interesting horse racing (Saratoga Springs, NY), the disappointing and now-defunct soccer (Oneonta, NY). The International Tennis HoF is a good one.

ABC Wednesday – Round 10

Memorial Day History

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day.

Mostly from here, because people seem to have no idea of the genesis of Memorial Day:

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that the date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

A long weekend!

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers, and singing hymns.

Shopping!

Local Observances Claim To Be First Local springtime tributes to the Civil War dead already had been held in various places. One of the first occurred in Columbus, Miss., on April 25, 1866, when a group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in battle at Shiloh. Nearby were the graves of Union soldiers, neglected because they were the enemy. Disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, the women placed some of their flowers on those graves, as well.

Summer has begun!

Today, cities in the North and the South claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866. Both Macon and Columbus, Ga., claim the title, as well as Richmond, Va. The village of Boalsburg, Pa., claims it began there two years earlier. A stone in a Carbondale, Ill., cemetery carries the statement that the first Decoration Day ceremony took place there on April 29, 1866. Carbondale was the wartime home of Gen. Logan. Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead were buried.

Family get-togethers!

Official Birthplace Declared In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide, or one-time events.

Heavy traffic!

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities. It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.The origins of special services to honor those who die in war can be found in antiquity. The Athenian leader Pericles offered a tribute to the fallen heroes of the Peloponnesian War over 24 centuries ago that could be applied today to the 1.1 million Americans who have died in the nation’s wars: “Not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men.”

Big movie releases!

To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

Let’s eat outside!

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”
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Vice President Joe Biden and others spoke to survivors of fallen military members.

Union College hosts a milestone for ‘Taps’; “School graduate penned song 150 years ago; concert helps celebrate”; 24 notes

On Memorial Day Weekend, America Reckons with Torture by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

TV: from 90% to 50%

I had been viewing ABC News, more out of habit. I thought the late Peter Jennings was excellent, but through the reigns of Charles Gibson and now Diane Sawyer, the news has gotten softer and mushier.

I don’t write about TV much for one simple reason: the little I watch, I don’t usually see in real-time. Depending on the show, I could be a  week to a couple of months behind, though I tend to stay current with the news. By the time I see it, much of it is an old story. Which begs the question, how long should one wait until writing about “spoilers”? After all, many people timeshift their viewing with the TiVO or VCR or, in my case, DVR. As of this writing, I STILL haven’t seen the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy, which aired two weeks ago, but I read, in a passing message on a blog, a major plot point that I wish I didn’t know. Whereas my wife still doesn’t know who won Dancing with the Stars, at least until she sees her hairdresser Wednesday, though, in fact, I do. It’s not a show I watch, so I’m not upset about that.

When I came back from my trip at the beginning of May, our DVR was 90% full. But with seasons finally ending, first Parenthood, and the The Good Wife in April, then the rest of my shows in May, the list slowly but clearly is on a downward plane, running anywhere from 48-52% full. I’m hoping that by the fall preview season, it’ll be close to zero.

It helps that there are so many reality shows in the summer that I’m not interested in. The only thing on the recording list is the final season of The Closer. And at least so far, I’m not likely to add a show to record in the fall; in fact, I haven’t added a show in a couple of seasons.

And the shows everyone tells me I SHOULD be watching, such as Mad Men, I’ll have to get the DVDs of the previous seasons first. But I never do – I STILL haven’t watched The Wire, and it’s been off the air about half a decade. Instead, I’ll watch baseball or something I already own on DVD, such as an old Dick van Dyke Show.

I have to figure out which national news broadcast I should watch. I had been viewing ABC News, more out of habit. I thought the late Peter Jennings was excellent, but through the reigns of Charles Gibson and now Diane Sawyer, the news has gotten softer and mushier. The final straw was Friday when the SpaceX rocket docked on the International Space Station. The LA Times thought it warranted a special notice, which I Facebooked. The NBC News teased about it. But ABC News had not a word one about it. It’s become almost as bad as ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s the Today show, full of personal dramas and puff pieces; the CBS morning news is CLEARLY better, and on those rare occasions I view morning TV, I watch that.