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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

David Graux: L'Echo d'un Songe

David Graux: L'Echo d'un Songe
no copyright infringement intended

His main subject is the beauty and mystery of woman, evoked both through his sensual nudes and through the symbolic richness and Oriental motifs of his colorful backgrounds. His paintings are, in effect, forms of tangible poetry.

And here is a small poem that I liked. I found it together with the image, in a blog of eigene Lyrik mit ausgewählten Bildern (own poetry with images of choice). The blog is authored by Gerhard, architect and poet. And, like in his other poems, Gerhard suggests a new title for the painting - Like an Hourglass.

Wie eine Sanduhr

Zum See will ich gehen
Wenn es Frühling wird
Das Leben packen
Es umdrehen wie eine Sanduhr
Auf dich warten
Bei unserer Bank
Wieder verliebt sein ...

I want to go to the lake
When spring comes
Grab life
Flip it over like an hourglass
Waiting for you
On our bench
To be again in love...

(Contemporary Art)

A Little Bit About Kannada

Ferdinand Kittel (1832-1903)
image from 1854
source: Heidrun Brückner [u.a.]: Indienforschung im Zeitenwandel. Analyse und Dokumente zur Indologie und Religionswissenschaft in Tübingen
no copyright infringement intended

Tomorrow is November 1st, and my Indian friends celebrate Karnataka Rajyotsava, commemorating the merge of all Kannada language regions from South India in a single state. This happened in 1956. The newly formed state was named Mysore. In 1973 the name was changed to Karnataka.

When I met first time my Indian colleagues at work I was expecting they were Hindi speakers. I knew that several languages were spoken in India, but I believed that all of them belonged to the Indo-European family, and that they were derived from Sanskrit.  So I was surprised  when my colleagues told me that, as they were from the South of India, they were not Hindi speakers, not at all, and, more than that, their languages were not Indo-European. One of them was a Tamil, the other was a Kannadiga. I learned from them that both Tamil and Kannada were Dravidian languages, with no relation to the Indo-European group.

Kannada is one of the 22 official languages in India (among perhaps hundreds of other tongues) and it is spoken by about 70 million people. It is related to Tamil (also to Telugu, the tongue of other one of my Indian colleagues) and it is the language of a culture as ancient as Sanskrit: there is a work on Kannada grammar (Shabdamanidarpana) authored in 1260 CE; as for the work of Nagavarma on prosody (Chandombudhi), it is even earlier, from about 950 !

And because tomorrow is a celebration dedicated to the state of Kannada language I'd like to speak here a little bit about Ferdinand Kittel, who came to the South of India in 1853 as a missionary, and decided to follow the words of Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians, 9:20-23) and to become as an Indian unto the Indians. Kittel was doing his missionary work in a Kannada region, so he started to learn their language, their customs, their music. What followed was the creation of a Kannada - English dictionary of 70,000 words, published in 1894: it was the work of his whole life. Kittel also composed poems in Kannada, a book of Kannada grammar, and translated Chandombudhi, but the dictionary was his Opera Magna.

(A Life in Books)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Claude Verlinde: Les Marottes

Claude Verlinde, Les Marottes, 1989
oil on canvas mounted on wood
(posted on Facebook by The Macabre And the Beautifully Grotesque)
no copyright infringement intended

The English title of this painting is Jester's Baubles, the German one, Die Narrenstäbe. I found it on Facebook, also in a blog of eigene Lyrik mit ausgewählten Bildern (own poetry with selected images) - the blog of a Swedish architect and poet, whose name is Gerhard.

For Gerhard, the title of this painting should rather be Reisende (Traveler) and here is a small poem he created while meditating over the image - a poem that suggests in the last line one more title:

Wir alle sind nur auf Besuch
In unserer Welt
Für kurze oder längere Zeit
Bevor wir weiter reisen

Der Fahrplan ist uns unbekannt
Das Ziel verborgen
Den Reiseleiter hat man
Lange nicht gesehen

Man nennt es Fahrt ins Blaue

Let's try an English version:

We are all just visiting
In our world
For a while, than can be short or longer
Before going further

The timetable is for us unknown
The goal is hidden
And the tour guide
is long unseen

It is called
Ride into the blue

I tried also a Romanian rendering, here it is:

Suntem doar calatori
In lumea ast-a noastra
O vreme doar, mai scurta sau mai lunga
Si-apoi plecam, sa ne vedem de drum

Programul nu ni-l stim
Telul e-ascuns
Iar calauza, e mult de cand
N-o mai zarim

(Claude Verlinde)


Monday, October 29, 2012

Claude Verlinde

Claude Verlinde
no copyright infringement intended

Looking at the works of Claude Verlinde, the first name that came to my mind was Remedios Varo. Both can be considered as Magical Realists, while there is a difference between them, that lies, I would say, in the sense of enigma. Each work of Remedios Varo brings an enigma, and the same is true in the case of Claude Verlinde. At Remedios Varo the enigma is filled with a tension between myth and science. Her heroes (sometimes androgynous, sometimes not, always looking like beyond this world) can be only alchemists or astrologists. For Claude Verlinde the enigma is filled with a tension between moral and immoral, sacral and demonic. Of course, Hieronymus Bosch also comes to mind.

His often darkly themed works employ the dark earth tones of the early Renaissance, as well as some of the visual staging and precise rendering characteristic of that period. He sometimes uses a brighter palette, but his work always has a feeling of referencing another time, if not another world (Lines and Colors).

An undisputed master of visionary art and a Surrealist par excellence genius, really up there with Salvador Dali and René Magritte (Conservapedia).

(Contemporary Art)


Friday, October 26, 2012

NY Times: Reports from Syria

NY Times correspondent C.J.Chivers reports from Syria.

(Zoon Politikon)

On Domenico Scarlatti's Birthday

Domenico Scarlatti was born in 1685 (the same year with Bach and Handel), on October 26. So it's his birthday exactly today.

Scarlatti's 555 keyboard sonatas are single movements, mostly in binary form, and mostly written for the harpsichord or the earliest pianofortes (there are four for organ, and a few for small instrumental group); some of them display harmonic audacity in their use of discords, and also unconventional modulations to remote keys (wiki).

Domenico Scarlatti: Sonata K13 in G Major
Scott Ross, harpsichord
(video by Trinitrotolaissance)

Domenico Scarlatti: Sonata K54 in A Minor
Pierre Hantai, harpsichord
(video by Trinitrotolaissance)

(Old Masters)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dorothea Lange: Country Store from North Carolina, 1939

Dorothea Lange: Country Store from North Carolina, 1939
(posted by Edelina Stoian on Facebook)
no copyright infringement intended

The old American images that Edelina Stoian finds and shares with us on Facebook are extraordinary. I also like her stories about old Vienna and old Prague, about pastries you can find in Venice and about dolls who can play tricks to dreamers. I would like to invite her once in such an old country store, just for challenge. But I'm sure she would conquer all hearts there.

I also wish to thank here Valentin Stefan Panait, who indicated the name of the author of the image above: Dorothea Lange.

Dorothea Lange in 1936
The car is a 1933 Ford Model C, 4 door Wagon.
no copyright infringement intended

(America viewed by Americans)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2012 Presidential Debate SPOOF- Rap Battles (ROUND 3)


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How To Write a Story

This is a story about how to write a story. It has a totally different title: it's named A Conversation with My Father, and is by Grace Paley, part of a collection published in 1974, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute. I found the story on the web and it says a lot about the way Grace Paley was writing her stories. Here you go:

My father is eighty-six years old and in bed. His heart, that bloody motor, is equally old and will not do certain jobs any more. It still floods his head with brainy light. But it won't let his legs carry the weight of his body around the house. Despite my metaphors, this muscle failure is not due to his old heart, he says, but to a potassium shortage. Sitting on one pillow, leaning on three, he offers last-minute advice and makes a request.
     "I would like you to write a simple story just once more," he says, "the kind de Maupassant wrote, or Chekhov, the kind you used to write. Just recognizable people and then write down what happened to them next."
     I say, "Yes, why not? That's possible." I want to please him, though I don't remember writing that way. I would like to try to tell such a story, if he means the kind that begins: "There was a woman..." followed by plot, the absolute line between two points which I've always despised. Not for literary reasons, but because it takes all hope away. Everyone, real or invented, deserves the open destiny of life.
     Finally I thought of a story that had been happening for a couple of years right across the street. I wrote it down, then read it aloud. "Pa," I said, "how about this? Do you mean something like this?"

     Once in my time there was a woman and she had a son. They lived nicely, in a small apartment in Manhattan. This boy at about fifteen became a junkie, which is not unusual in our neighborhood. In order to maintain her close friendship with him, she became a junkie too. She said it was part of the youth culture, with which she felt very much at home. After a while, for a number or reasons, the boy gave it all up and left the city and his mother in disgust. Hopeless and alone, she grieved. We all visit her.

     "O.K., Pa, that's it," I said, "an unadorned and miserable tale."
     "But that's not what I mean," my father said. "You misunderstood me on purpose. You know there's a lot more to it. You know that. You left everything out. Turgenev wouldn't do that. Chekhov wouldn't do that. There are in fact Russian writers you never heard of, you don't have an inkling of, as good as anyone, who can write a plain ordinary story, who would not leave out what you have left out. I object not to facts but to people sitting in trees talking senselessly, voices from who knows where..."
     "Forget that one, Pa, what have I left out now? In this one?"
     "Her looks, for instance."
     "Oh. Quite handsome, I think. Yes."
     "Her hair?"
     "Dark, with heavy braids, as though she were a girl or a foreigner."
     "What were her parents like, her stock? That she became such a person. It's interesting, you know."
     "From out of town. Professional people. The first to be divorced in their county. How's that? Enough?" I asked.
     "With you, it's all a joke," he said. "What about the boy's father? Why didn't you mention him? Who was he? Or was the boy born out of wedlock?"
     "Yes," I said. "He was born out of wedlock."
     "For Godsakes, doesn't anyone in your stories get married? Doesn't anyone have the time to run down to City Hall before they jump into bed?"
     "No," I said. "In real life, yes. But in my stories, no."
     "Why do you answer me like that?"
     "Oh, Pa, this is a simple story about a smart woman who came to N.Y. C. full of interest love trust excitement very up to date, and about her son, what a hard time she had in this world. Married or not, it's of small consequence."
     "It is of great consequence," he said.
     "O.K.," I said.
     "O.K. O.K. yourself," he said, "but listen. I believe you that she's good-looking, but I don't think she was so smart."
     "That's true," I said. "Actually that's the trouble with stories. People start out fantastic, you think they're extraordinary, but it turns out as the work goes along, they're just average with a good education. Sometimes the other way around, the person's a kind of dumb innocent, but he outwits you and you can't even think of an ending good enough."
     "What do you do then?" he asked. He had been a doctor for a couple of decades and then an artist for a couple of decades and he's still interested in details, craft, technique.
     "Well, you just have to let the story lie around till some agreement can be reached between you and the stubborn hero."
     "Aren't you talking silly, now?" he asked. "Start again," he said. "It so happens I'm not going out this evening. Tell the story again. See what you can do this time."
     "O.K.," I said. "But it's not a five-minute job." Second attempt:

     Once, across the street from us, there was a fine handsome woman, our neighbor. She had a son whom she loved because she'd known him since birth (in helpless chubby infancy, and in the wrestling, hugging ages, seven to ten, as well as earlier and later). This boy, when he fell into the fist of adolescence, became a junkie. He was not a hopeless one. He was in fact hopeful, an ideologue and successful converter. With his busy brilliance, he wrote persuasive articles for his high-school newspaper. Seeking a wider audience, using important connections, he drummed into Lower Manhattan newsstand distribution a periodical called Oh! Golden Horse!
     In order to keep him from feeling guilty (because guilt is the stony heart of nine tenths of all clinically diagnosed cancers in America today, she said), and because she had always believed in giving bad habits room at home where one could keep an eye on them, she too became a junkie. Her kitchen was famous for a while - a center for intellectual addicts who knew what they were doing. A few felt artistic like Coleridge and others were scientific and revolutionary like Leary. Although she was often high herself, certain good mothering reflexes remained, and she saw to it that there was lots of orange juice around and honey and milk and vitamin pills. However, she never cooked anything but chili, and that no more than once a week. She explained, when we talked to her, seriously, with neighborly concern, that it was her part in the youth culture and she would rather be with the young, it was an honor, than with her own generation.
     One week, while nodding through an Antonioni film, this boy was severely jabbed by the elbow of a stern and proselytizing girl, sitting beside him. She offered immediate apricots and nuts for his sugar level, spoke to him sharply, and took him home.
     She had heard of him and his work and she herself published, edited, and wrote a competitive journal called Man Does Live By Bread Alone. In the organic heat of her continuous presence he could not help but become interested once more in his muscles, his arteries, and nerve connections. In fact he began to love them, treasure them, praise them with funny little songs in Man Does Live...

the fingers of my flesh transcend
my transcendental soul
the tightness in my shoulders end
my teeth have made me whole

     To the mouth of his head (that glory of will and determination) he brought hard apples, nuts, wheat germ, and soy-bean oil. He said to his old friends, From now on, I guess I'll keep my wits about me. I'm going on the natch. He said he was about to begin a spiritual deep-breathing journey. How about you too, Mom? he asked kindly.
     His conversion was so radiant, splendid, that neighborhood kids his age began to say that he had never been a real addict at all, only a journalist along for the smell of the story. The mother tried several times to give up what had become without her son and his friends a lonely habit. This effort only brought it to supportable levels. The boy and his girl took their electronic mimeograph and moved to the bushy edge of another borough. They were very strict. They said they would not see her again until she had been off drugs for sixty days.
     At home alone in the evening, weeping, the mother read and reread the seven issues of Oh! Golden Horse! They seemed to her as truthful as ever. We often crossed the street to visit and console. But if we mentioned any of our children who were at college or in the hospital or dropouts at home, she would cry out, My baby! My baby! and burst into terrible, face-scarring, time-consuming tears. The End.

     First my father was silent, then he said, "Number One: You have a nice sense of humor. Number Two: I see you can't tell a plain story. So don't waste time." Then he said sadly, "Number Three: I suppose that means she was alone, she was left like that, his mother. Alone. Probably sick?"
     I said, "Yes."
     "Poor woman. Poor girl, to be born in a time of fools, to live among fools. The end. The end. You were right to put that down. The end."
     I didn't want to argue, but I had to say, "Well, it is not necessarily the end, Pa."
     "Yes," he said, "what a tragedy. The end of a person."
     "No, Pa," I begged him. "It doesn't have to be. She's only about forty. She could be a hundred different things in this world as time goes on. A teacher or a social worker. An ex-junkie! Sometimes it's better than having a master's in education."
     "Jokes," he said. "As a writer that's your main trouble. You don't want to recognize it, Tragedy! Plain tragedy! Historical tragedy! No hope. The end."
     "Oh, Pa," I said, "She could change."
     "In your own life, too, you have to look it in the face." He took a couple of nitroglycerin, "Turn to five," he said, pointing to the dial on the oxygen tank. He inserted the tubes into his nostrils and breathed deep. He closed his eyes and said, "No."
     I had promised the family to always let him have the last word when arguing, but in this case I had a different responsibility. That woman lives across the street. She's my knowledge and my invention. I'm sorry for her. I'm not going to leave her there in that house crying, (Actually neither would Life, which unlike me has no pity.)
     Therefore: She did change. Of course her son never came home again, But right now, she's the receptionist in a storefront community clinic in the East Village. Most of the customers are young people, some old friends. The head doctor has said to her, "If we only had three people in this clinic with your experiences..."
     "The doctor said that?" My father took the oxygen tubes out of his nostrils and said, "Jokes, Jokes again."      "No, Pa, it could really happen that way, it's a funny world nowadays."
     "No," he said, "Truth first, She will slide back. A person must have character, She does not."
     "No, Pa," I said. "That's it. She's got a job, Forget it. She's in that storefront working."
     "How long will it be?" he asked. "Tragedy! You too. When will you look it in the face?"

(Grace Paley)


Monday, October 22, 2012

Grace Paley: Suddenly There’s Poughkeepsie

Mid-Hudson Bridge as Seen from Vassar Hospital - Poughkeepsie
no copyright infringement intended

Grace Paley released the poem shortly before her death.

Suddenly there's Poughkeepsie / except for its spelling / an ordinary town - great phrase - there is also anonther one in this poem - Lorldly Hudson - she was embracing all, mockery and pantheist awe, in this poem where poetry is larger than life.

what a hard time
the Hudson River has had
trying to get to the sea

it seemed easy enough to
rise out of Tear of
the Cloud and tumble
and run in little skips
and jumps   draining
a swamp here and
there   acquiring
streams and other smaller
rivers with similar
longings for the wide
imagined water

there’s Poughkeepsie
except for its spelling
an ordinary town but
the great heaving
ocean sixty miles away is
determined to reach
that town every day
and twice a day in fact
drowning the Hudson River
in salt and mud
it is the moon’s tidal
power over all the waters
of this earth at war with
gravity     the Hudson
perseveres    moving down
down    dignified
slower    look it has
become our Lordly Hudson
hardly flowing
and we are
now in a poem by the poet
Paul Goodman  be quiet heart
home home
(The New Yorker, December 24, 2007)

(Grace Paley)

(New York, New York)


Grace Paley

Grace Paley
(1922 - 2007)
no copyright infringement intended

She was describing herself as a somewhat combative pacifist and cooperative anarchist.

...(if) you have a habit of looking at each day as a whole day -- unless you drop dead at noon or something -- then every day you live something interesting. It's interesting because you either meet a new tree or if you're in the city, you meet a new person. Or something happens. The sun shifts on the mountain -- very beautiful things happen (Grace Paley in an interview from 1998).

I will post right now a poem by her and you'll realize her large poetic breath.

(A Life in Books)


Jhumpa Lahiri

(Click here for the Romanian version)

Firstly I saw the movie made by Mira Nair, The Namesake. Then I found in bookshops the novel written by Jhumpa Lahiri. It was her second book, coming after a collection of short stories with an intriguing title, Interpreter of Maladies.

A very few words about who Jhumpa Lahiri is: born in London, where her parents had come from Calcutta, they moved to the US when she was three years old. She is now in her forties and lives in New York: a Brooklyn neighborhood (Fort Greene) that has been home for some famous writers, Whitman and Capote among them. Steinbeck also lived there for a time, and Amitav Ghosh (of Bengali origin, like Jhumpa Lahiri) is one of the current residents.

The biographic details of Jhumpa Lahiri belong to the universe of her personages: second generation of Indian-Americans, all of them university graduates living on the East Coast, fully belonging to the Western world, with a twist given by the birthplace of their parents - an identity of origin coming intrusively every now and then, to balance in unexpected ways the new identity they have built for themselves.

You'd say it is the experience of all immigrants, though a nuance needs to be added: Indian culture is radically different from ours, in all respects - religion, traditions, alphabet, family relations, cuisine, clothing, everything. And in the same time nowhere else is the English culture more present.

At the beginning I viewed the stories of Jhumpa Lahiri as a preparatory stage for the novel. It's much more than that. It is the same universe, but, while the novel  offers a long single journey through it, a collection of stories brings multiple short journeys, different views, different perspectives: each story adds a new nuance, completely independent from the others. Story after story, case studies of these Indian-Americans, their relations with other people their age, of Indian origin or not, with the generation of their parents, with people they meet while vacationing in India.

All of them live in Boston (where Jhumpa Lahiri took her academic degrees), cross the Public Garden and the Common any given day, go along Commonwealth Mall, or Boylston Street, or Washington Street (there is a great sense of immediacy in the way these stories are told). They live their American lives while the Indian world keeps on coming to mirror itself in the American world, present and past mirroring one another, country of adoption and country of origin.

Namesake, the movie, manages this play of mirrors through visual poetry: a superb meditation in images, with the views of the American city fading back and forth in the views of Calcutta.

Director Mira Nair is an image gourmet, while Jhumpa Lahiri is a gourmet of words, with sudden revelations of astounding semantic constructions. Take for instance  a boy named Gogol - it came to her mind unexpectedly, long time ago... was she just reading a story of the Russian? Had she observed someone just passing the street and was she trying to find some keyword for him?  Did the association strike her by pure chance? Firstly as an amusing, impossible invention, then nurtured by her imagination? Who knows? It emerged suddenly and it remained to obsess her for ten or twenty years, till the novel was born, The Namesake.

An Indian family in Boston, second generation. She is working at a publishing house. he is preparing a PhD at Harvard. She is realizing that they entered a family crisis and should separate. How to say this to him? And he is actually the one who's telling the story to us: becoming himself aware of their crisis, while being afraid of separation, trying to understand what she is trying to tell him, eventually getting what she has in mind. Her inner world revealed in his.

Another Indian-American family, again second generation, again the husband in the academia world. The crisis came long time ago, and remained there with them. For her, the husband became just a stranger, along with their kids. The only child she loves was made with another man: an affair of several years ago. The husband is completely unaware of the crisis, of the affair, of anything. They are now in a trip to India. A local driver is hired. He  works also as translator for a physician whose patients speak different local idioms. A translator, an interpreter of maladies. Her soul sends reverberations to him, and he's trying to interpret them. Did she fall in love for him, as he believes? No, it's not. It's that she cannot keep her secrets for herself anymore, she needs to confess, to be listened. To be mirrored in an interpreter of maladies.

Another family, first generation this time - he is teaching at Harvard, she stays at home. Their little daughter is telling us the story. For several months they have a guest at dinner almost every evening, a gentleman from Bangladesh. The guest is very polite, and has a very special way to discuss with kids, somehow formally, while definitely warmly. His family remained in Bangladesh where the situation is very tensioned right now - they just split from Pakistan, everything is in turmoil. The daughter is too small to comprehend the political drama, but she feels the guest is troubled by something. Eventually he returns to his country and after some time they get a postal card from him: a thank you note with the photo of his wife and kids. And the little daughter understands now his troubles: he was missing his kids the same way she is now missing him.

An American child with an Indian nurse - her husband is teaching at Harvard, she's missing India - her soul mirrored in the soul of the American child. I was reading this story one evening, meanwhile midnight had come, and I could not leave the book. Nothing was happening in the story, but it was like a spell. Just atmosphere, nothing else, woven in wizardry. I was thinking at Hou Hsiao-Hsien's movies. Well, there are differences, though. Hou is as minimalist as it can be, Lahiri is not. What she has is a formidable gift of communicating the immediacy, of pulling out the sense from the apparent banality. Maybe Josef Sudek, the Czech photographer, would be a better term of comparison.

An American woman has an Indian lover. This is fine, only the man is married, thus their relationship will slowly fade. She doesn't know his wife, and is trying to imagine what's in her mind. A co-worker of her, an Indian-American, has a cousin whose husband has left for an American woman.  The cousin is suffering, while determined to forgive if he comes back.

Meanwhile a third book came from Jhumpa Lahiri, again a collection of stories, Unaccustomed Earth: as I said, she has the gift of wizardry - her knowledge of telling stories is out of common - and her way of finding extraordinary constructions of words, like a boy named Gogol -  they come in the mind of an ordinary writer maybe once in a hundred years.

(A Life in Books)

(Una Vita Tra I Libri)


Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Music of Ron Carter

I just got on Facebook a great gift from my friend Vali Nas, and I am eager to share it with you all: a video with Ron Carter. For Vali, Ron Carter is his preferred bass-player, and the amazing Piccolo LP one of the great jazz albums (the song on the video below is from another album of Ron Carter).

I've been so many places in my life and time
I've sung a lot of songs, I've made some bad rhyme
I've acted out my life in stages
With ten thousand people watching
But we're alone now and I'm singin' this song for you

I know your image of me is what I hope to be, baby
I've treated you unkindly but girl can't you see
There's no one more important to me
So darling can't you please see through me
'Cause we're alone now and I'm singin' my song for you

You taught me precious secrets of the truth, withholdin' nothin'
You came out in front and I was hiding
But now I'm so much better so if my words don't come together
Listen to the melody cause my love's in there hiding

I love you in a place where there's no space or time
I love you for my life, 'cause you're a friend of mine
And when my life is over, remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singin' my song for you

I love you in a place where there's no space or time
I've loved you for my life, yes, you're a friend of mine
And when my life is over, remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singin' my song for you

I love you in a place where there's no space or time
I've loved you for my life, yes, you're a friend of mine
And when my life is over, remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singin' my song for you, yes
We were alone and I was singin' this song for you, baby
We were alone and I was singin' my song,

(Musica Nova)

Let's Meet Alex Blake

Says Marcia Bujold, if you like jazz, check this guy Alex Blake out. He is incredible! I've never heard anyone play a bass like that! Not just plucking strings, but also using the strings as percussion and as a strumming instrument. He gets some dramatic sounds. He often tours with Randy Weston, who is also amazing. She just saw him at Snug Harbor.

Here is another amazing video: Randy Weston and Alex Blake pay tribute to friend and fellow musician Freddie Hubbard who past in December 2008. The Memorial was held in Harlem's historic Abyssinian Baptist Church.

(Musica Nova)

(New York, New York)

(Marcia Bujold)


Friday, October 19, 2012

2012 Presidential Debate SPOOF- Rap Battles (ROUND 2)


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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Strada General Nicolae Dona


Casa de pe Strada Astronomului

Strada Astronomului este foarte scurta, vreo trei case de o parte si de alta. Leaga strazile Putul cu Plopi si Luigi Cazzavillan, foarte aproape de intrarea in Cismigiu de pe Stirbei Voda. In copilarie mi se intampla sa trec destul de des pe acolo. Era o casa pe strada Astronomului al carei aspect ma impresionase. O asociam cu numele strazii si imi imaginam ca este fie locuinta vreunui astronom care are un telescop dupa geam, fie a vreunui navigator inconjurat de harti marine si de atlase celeste, de busole si de tot soiul de alte dracovenii, fie macar a unui profesor de matematici indragostit de tainele cerului (de francmasoni inca nu citisem nimic pe vremea aceea, altfel i-as fi bagat si pe ei in ecuatie). Insa de Piri Reis aflasem, si ma intrebam daca nu cumva si vestitul amiral otoman nu locuise in vreo casa asemanatoare. Fireste, toate astea nu se bazau pe nimic, era doar imaginatie de copil.

Mult mai tarziu, prin anii 2000, aflat odata la New York, am gasit intr-o mica librarie din Greenwich Village o carte a unui alt otoman vestit (Evlya Çelebi, care ne vizitase tara si scrisese despre ea), si mi-am amintit de numele lui Piri Reis si de fascinatia mea pentru casa de pe strada Astronomului.

Am trecut ieri din nou pe strada Astronomului. Casa este abandonata - asa incat in locul invatatului pe care mi-l imaginam cu zeci de ani in urma, este vorba acum, probabil, de un rechin (imobiliar), care asteapta ca imobilul sa se darame singur, si apoi sa construiasca altceva. Ce pacat!

(Musical Background: Tchaikovsky, Nutcracker, Chinese Dance) 


Palatul Kretzulescu

Construit in anul 1902 dupa planurile arhitectului Petre Antonescu, palatul a apartinut mai intai Printesei Elena Kretzulescu. Se afla langa intrarea in Cismigiu de pe strada Stirbei Voda. Coborand treptele spre marea gradina, palatul te insoteste majestous, impreuna cu sera amintindu-ti de dragostea Printesei pentru natura si flori. Odata ajuns la capatul treptelor, esti intampinat de un helesteu gazduind lebede si rate, iar in stanga dai de Izvorul Mihai Eminescu - in copilarie ma opream intotdeauna sa beau din apa izvorului.

(Musical Background: Mozart, Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 2 in E Flat Major, Rondo Più Allegro 6/8)


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Buzz-Word of the Week: Malarkey

published in the DCist
(photo by number7cloud)
no copyright infringement intended

You'd say it's some kind of Big Bird or something, coming to let you know that he's all for VP Biden. It could be, what means that Sesame Street is to be found some place near Dupont Circle. Anyway, malarky seems to be the buzz-word of the week. Well, according to the Free Dictionary, malarky (or rather malarkey, but I wouldn't be that pretentious) means empty rhetoric, or insincere, or exaggerated talk (or a bit of all of them). You can say malarkey, as well as that's a lot of wind, or don't give me any of that jazz.

Was VP Biden too feisty at the VP debate, or did Congressman Ryan drink too much water? I thought so at the beginning, till I have read Gail Collins op-ed in today's NY Times: it's not that dramatic. Stuff happens, that's all:

(Zoon Politikon)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gordon Parks: Mary Macado, Mother of Isabeli Lopez, and Family

published in Artlog
by courtesy of International Center of Photography
no copyright infringement intended

(Gordon Parks)


Gordon Parks: Alabama, Untitled

Untitled, Mobile, Alabama published in Artlog
by courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery
no copyright infringement intended

Untitled, Shady Grove, Alabama published in Artlog
by courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery
no copyright infringement intended

(Gordon Parks)


Goordon Parks: Husband and Wife, Sunday Morning

published in Artlog
by courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery
no copyright infringement intended

(Gordon Parks)


Fighting Racism with a Camera: Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks
no copyright infringement intended

Photographer, musician, writer and film director, Gordon Parks remained best known for capturing the trials and joys of African Americans, in his photo-essays for Life magazine. I had known poverty firsthand, he once said, but there I learned how to fight its evil—along with the evil of racism—with a camera.

(America viewed by Americans)


(A Life in Books)