Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Quintessential Hip

I think like most Canadians that tuned in this past Saturday night to watch The Tragically Hip, I'm still thinking about the whole epic very Canadian event. A friend posted this tonight and I had to share it. This video link below is from SNL 21 years ago, in 1995. It's quintessential Tragically Hip. So good, so sweet, so Tragically Hip.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Canadians Joined At The Hip

It's common for people to empathize with our personal heroes that are in the media limelight. It can also  speak to how those of us who are not in the limelight, will tend to rally around those folks, but often seem to have a rather ambivalent position toward everyday people affected by life threatening disease or crisis unless we have been directly and personally touched in some way.

I read an article online written in Slate magazine with the highlighted headline that Gord Downie is a 'dying singer.' That's not what I saw or heard on Saturday night. Gord is very much alive and fully engaged in living, putting many of us to shame who whine and complain about our miserable little lives. People "living' this way are not engaged in the process of living, they're engaged in dying, but certainly not someone like Gord Downie and those like him that are living with disease or other difficulties.

We are all dying, but fact is, death is just another part of life and that joins us all at the hip, but death shouldn't define our lives. Living life to the fullest, regardless of our circumstance is what should tell us and others who we are. Gord  Dowie and The Hip, on this past Saturday night, with millions viewing, epitomized this.

Many of us might see Gord as one of our Canadian heroes, but perhaps he is no more, no less that all of us in one way or another, and what joins us at the hip is our heroic humanity.

 I thought Dave Bidini described The Hip the best, when he said this in his article.

" Over the past few weeks, interviewers asked me: 
"What did you learn from The Tragically Hip?" The answer that I didn't give them, but what I'll give you, is that is wasn't me who needed learning, it was others. People who'd never seen themselves in the mirror, never recognized themselves as being this kind of Canadian.

Monday, August 15, 2016

"Adult Colouring Books Speak to the Infantilisation of the Therapeutic Imagination "

Being without wheels meant I had to get a ride with my neighbour at six thirty in the morning Friday. We were off to Amherst where she dropped me at a friend's who put me up for the night, fed me and was a very gracious host. Saturday she drove me to the Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery for the opening of the group exhibit Small Wonders 6" x 6" 2016, which I participating in.

It was a wonderful day for lots of reasons, meeting and talking to the other artists who exhibited, meeting up with creative friends, and I even saw a first cousin I hadn't had contact with, in probably 30 plus years.

Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery is a very special space, in a very special place. It's inviting, intimate, and in a very personable and, friendly atmosphere. It's a gallery full of a variety of original art, prints, books, and there are many classes/workshops and exhibitions that are offered to the public.

 It got me thinking about the difference between large and small commercial gallery spaces. You will find no colouring books in this gallery.

My life long friend who came to the exhibit had just returned from Winnipeg and shared with me her experience visiting the Winnipeg Art Gallery. We discussed something that seems to have become our shared nemesis, colouring books.

Over lunch she told me about a wonderful exhibit of Marc Chagall's work and of an Inuit art exhibit. They both sounded beautiful, and I longed especially to be able to see the exhibit of Marc Chagall as I love his work. My friend said she wanted to find something, a book related to Marc Chagall. She found nothing nor was there anything available, published about the Inuit Artist Exhibit. What she did find was many colouring books. I presume they were printed reproductions of past artists, and work that could be filled in with coloured pens or pencils etc.

This infantilisation of the imagination that sociologist and commentator Frank Furedi refers to in his article, appears to be taking over art gallery gifts stores, and wherever else they can be sold. It all reminds me of that science fiction movie, The Night of The Triffids. I liken colouring books to being the contemporary Triffids, deadening imaginations and creativity.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery - Small Wonders 6 x 6 x 2016

I'm very excited about being part of this exhibition at one of my very favourite spots in Nova Scotia, Tidnish, at the Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery, which is an intimate very friendly and fun space. I'm looking very forward to seeing old friend's, meeting new ones and seeing all of this art!

Here's the down low, from Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery all about the exhibit.

.Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery challenged artists from far & wide to produce tiny art,  measuring 6 X 6 inches for an Exhibition entitled Small Wonders 6 X 6 X 2016.  Sixteen artists will be displaying 34 works at the Gallery between August 13 and September 5.  Various media & materials have been used including fibre art (rug hooking), acrylic, oil, egg tempera, watercolour, charcoal, photography, screenprinting, seaglass and mixed media.  The artists, both emerging and professional,  hail from Tidnish, Amherst,  Truro,  Parrsboro, Apple River, N.S.  and Baie Verte Sackville, Riverview, Moncton & Coverdale, N.B.  It’s truly remarkable to see what creativity can be unleashed within such a small space.  Join us and meet the artists at the Opening Reception on Saturday, August 13th from 1 to 4 p.m.  Exhibition support from Visual Arts Nova Scotia is gratefully acknowledged.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Dion DiMucci - The Winter Dance Party

Robert Johnson - Dion DiMucci

One of my earliest memories growing up in a musical family, was sitting with my parents, my brother, together with my grand parents, in their living room listening to Boogie Woogie  on old 78 records. It was a special kind of experience for a kid, and it was one that has stayed with me my whole life.

Having a brother ten years older and born in 1943 meant I was exposed to all the 50s music, and the dye was definitely cast without me really knowing it. This meant I heard Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bobby Darren, Buddy Holly, Dion and a whole lot more Rock and Roll. Later my brother's interest in country and blues music directly and deeply continued to influence my love of music especially everything there was to know and learn about blues.

Last night I heard one of the very the best interviews given by Dion DiMucci on Saturday Night Blues on CBC Radio with host Holger Petersen. I was spell bound, listened intently while he talked about all his musical influences and why he's returned to the music that defines his soul, the Blues.

 I loved Dion's music. It had an edge and well lets face it he was a sexy guy, teenage idol, who could sing, play guitar, and write a great song.

After listening to this very rare interview, I began to comprehend more clearly just why I was so drawn to his music, learning about the musical heroes that he was exposed to at an early age, and why he's the person he is today.

Dion hasn't changed his music genre but returned to what he always loved. I'd agree with the music critics that say he is the only living musician from the 50s that has continued to be relevant and creative.

What was a great surprise it was finding out that he is also a painter. Unfortunately I've only been able to find these two art pieces online, that I've posted, but I sure would love to see more.

The painting above, he did of Robert Johnson, is powerful and I love it.

On Saturday Night Blues he played several cuts from his album and they blew me away, with his fantastic lyrics, melody and musical expertise. I wasn't surprised, but I was delighted to learn more about his music and to hear his own personal story of recovery and what changed him and why. It was very moving and poignant.

I spent a while trying to find more of Dion DiMucci's art work and the interview I heard last night on Saturday Night Blues, but to no avail. I did find a youtube video done in 2009. Dion talks about loosing his best friends, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson in the plane crash on February 3 1959. It's a very moving testament and a real musical history lesson. It's in depth and lengthy but very much worth watching. It's what changed Dion DiMucci's life forever.

You can learn more about him and his music on his site Dion DiMucci.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Old Man Trump - Like Father, Like Son

“Stare. It is a way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.” - Walker Evans

I heard this song this morning. I was familiar with the story, and that is was written by Woody Guthrie.
Lucinda Williams had recently done her own version while on tour. It's gone viral. It's a timeless song, and to me is akin to the classic book of Walker Evans photography and writing of James Agee, that they created during the depression in 1936, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

These folk in the book were far from famous. But this documentation of reality and truth, portrayed the dignity of those down but not defeated. This book was seen as a threat to the status-qou and was stopped from being published for many years.

Those folks who oppress, have a desire not only to oppress, but also to defeat. Woody Guthrie's song and Walker Evans photos and James Agee's portrayal are just as relevant now as in the past. They both point to a kind of back to the future, where  many aspects of the present are historically a repetition of the past. There are numerous parallels and comparisons that can be found between those landowners in places like Alabama, such as Watson Tidmore, and modern day landowners like Donald Trump.

I Ain't Got No Home - Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

I ain't got no home, I'm just a-roamin' 'round,
Just a wandrin' worker, I go from town to town.
And the police make it hard wherever I may go
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.
My brothers and my sisters are stranded on this road,
A hot and dusty road that a million feet have trod;
Rich man took my home and drove me from my door
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.
Was a-farmin' on the shares, and always I was poor;
My crops I lay into the banker's store.
My wife took down and died upon the cabin floor,
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.
I mined in your mines and I gathered in your corn
I been working, mister, since the day I was born
Now I worry all the time like I never did before
'Cause I ain't got no home in this world anymore
Now as I look around, it's mighty plain to see
This world is such a great and a funny place to be;
Oh, the gamblin' man is rich an' the workin' man is poor,
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.

© Copyright 1961 (renewed) and 1963 (renewed) by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. & TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)

David Whitford's article entitled The Most Famous Story We Never Told from Fortune Magazine written in 2005 tells the follow up story 69 years later of Frank Tingle, Bud Fields, and Floyd Burroughs families, that Walker Evans and Jame Agee's book in based upon..

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Invention of Photography

In this age of digital cameras everyone is a photographer. Not that there's anything wrong with digital photography, however there are those individuals, young and old alike that don't know or understand the development of the photographic process, about the cameras, the dark room and the importance of understanding the rich history of photography dating back to the 1800s and how it changed the world.

The earliest known photograph to include a recognizable human form, was taken in Paris, France, in 1838 by Louis Daguerre.
 A friend sent me a link this morning to BBC Radio telling me about an episode entitled the Invention of Photography.