our first two monthly newsletters, following the inauguration
of our website, one comment we received particularly caught
our eye and tickled our fancy:
not sure it’s just a “newsletter”. You’ve created something
that seems to deserve a description with more élan.
on to this positive input like barnacle to a hull, we thought
what the hell (“heck” for those of you in the “Red States”):
from now on let’s call it a …“Muse-letter”.
so doing we coined a word unfound in Webster’s Dictionary
(or any other self respecting dictionary, for that matter).
So perhaps a cobbled definition is in order:
a direct or personal written or printed message
addressed to a person or organization, in the course of
which, the sender becomes absorbed in thought; especially
turning something over in the mind meditatively and often
a letter from a poet, or one who envisions oneself
as such, in which he or she “muses” on the news, or that
which is perceived to be news
that’s us: inconclusive would-be poets commenting about
nothing of overriding importance. Welcome to our first Muse-letter.
or so ago, construction began on Christo’s latest
project. Who’s Christo? What project?
try this hyper-hyphenated descriptive for starters:
Christo is an artist who specializes in long-planned/shortly-exhibited-one-time-only-mega-sized-environmental-art
projects, most of which having to do with the use of fabric
in unusual ways.
this current project calls for 7,500 steel “gates” adorned
overhead with decorative orange fabric panels, meandering
over some 23 miles of selected footpaths throughout New
York’s Central Park. (See the following for full description:
the fact that the idea for this extravaganza was
born in 1979, and that it has taken therefore almost 26
years to bring off (e.g. he could not get permission to
do this until Mayor Bloomberg of New York came on the scene…
Giuliani and previous mayors had always been dead set against
it), it will only stay up for 16 days: from February 12-27, 2005.
of such a long planning time offset by such an exceedingly
short running time, is part of the whole “artistic” concept
and process for Christo (now 69 years of age) and his wife
Jeanne-Claude (not getting any younger herself).
In other words, for them, “the hassle” is an integral component
in what makes the “art”, art.
projects completed over the years, and taking 5-10 years
in planning, have included:
- the 25 mile “Running Fence” of
white nylon in Sonoma and Marin Counties
in Northern California (1979);
- the surrounding of islands with pink
fabric, in Biscayne
Bay, Miami (1983)
- the wrapping of The Pont Neuf in
- closer to home for those of us in Southern
California, the Yellow
Umbrellas on the hillsides off the 101 Freeway (1991).
- the simultaneous Blue Umbrellas
- the wrapping of The Reichstag in
These projects—which become transformed
into “events”— invariably raise the question that so often
arises when one is confronted with an assault on the senses:
“IS THIS ART?”
as always, lies in the eye of the beholder. And while definitions
are always tough to pin down, there is the old famous judicial
quote regarding what constitutes pornography, that might apply here to “art” as well:
I’ll know it when I see it.
are endeavoring to do just that: see it for ourselves; to
“walk the walk”, so to speak, this coming February (snowstorms
Rudolph Eligible For
“Full Retirement” Benefits
now reached the age of 65, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
is eligible for full retirement benefits. Hard to believe
that time has gone by so fast since his first employment—
that much heralded ride on that foggy night in 1939.
His birth was the creation of
a copywriter for the Montgomery Ward Department stores named Robert L. May. In fact, Mr. May (ironically named), was assigned
the specific task of writing a Christmas story around which
the stores could do a promotion. (Also with some irony,
Rudolph has outlived the stores).
song recorded by Gene Autry wouldn’t come until 1949— selling
two million copies that year! And the rest, as they say,
is the ultimate archetype underdog story as we have come
to know it, though it differs from the originally written
version in many ways.
Greeks and Romans have their gods of transport: Hermes
and Mercury. We’re Americans. Give us Rudolph any
day of the week to outrace their sorry butts! Or
at least, when he was in his prime. Though the nose
shines as brightly as ever, it seems.
Sings Gershwin, Porter…among others
Since the advent of Rock ‘n Roll (about 50 years
ago), nothing has so split the generations, as their respective
tastes and preferences in music.
upon a time, when we were in short pants, say 1951 for example,
everyone had the same music: parents and their kids alike.
Back then, we were singing Frankie Lane, Johnnie Ray, Tony Bennett
songs, at the tender age of 6, for the amusement of family
and friends. (And without the benefit of a Karaoke machine.
Heck, TV was in short pants as well in ‘51).
Today, one would not expect to
find a “Gen Xer” singing the likes of Gershwin, Porter,
Arlen, Carmichael, nor songs made popular by Billie Holiday,
Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, etc. But then again, one would
not expect to find Jane Monheit.
newcomer who first came on the scene four years ago at age
23 with her first CD, “Never Neverland”, this “jazzy” song
stylist has now released her fourth CD, “Taking a Chance
on Love”. www.jazzsingers.com/JaneMonheit/
be appearing at Royce Hall at UCLA on December 3rd.
We will be there to check her out in person.
That’s Jane Monheit…remember the name.
“Red States/Blue States” Poetics
By now, the post mortems on the
election, are old hat. In fact even the expression “old hat”
is old hat, given that nobody wears a hat any more. Perhaps
to use a more ubiquitous article of clothing of our day…
the election is “old running shoes” by now. But we digress.
Note these lines we recently
ran across, that could have come from the Republican platform: