Music and Art Monday, December 4th, 2017: Cezanne et Moi

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This week instead of analysis, I have a movie recommendation.

Recently we decided to get a Roku box.  With a Roku box comes the temptation to watch entirely too much tv. Since it’s located in our bedroom, I tend to use folding laundry as an excuse to catch up on shows. Multi-tasking, go!

Last week, partly out of guilt and partly because I have binge watched every show I am actually interested in (hush), I was trying to make my tv watching more “educational”. To this end I watched a documentary about a photographer, since it was related to art and I could write about it here. Unfortunately, I can’t really recommend it here since the subject matter was a bit risque. And in all reality,  as far as documentaries go, it was a bit disappointing.

I can however recommend Cezanne et Moi, which is currently on Netflix. This French film follows the friendship between painter Paul Cezanne (with whom I identify entirely too much for comfort) and writer Emile Zola.

While I am sure it took great artistic license (see what I did there?) in telling the story, it isn’t light and fluffy and filled with positive nonsense. The movie is frequently dark and gritty, much like real life, especially the real lives of starving artists.

Being a movie about two artists, it is well shot in beautiful locations. Being French, it has only the most attractive actors and actresses. Since the dialog is in French, it matters not to English speakers how well they deliver the lines, although Zola’s character seemed a bit stiff and hard to read.

The biggest (only?) problem I had with this movie is that it is entirely in French and subtitled, which makes it a bit difficult to watch while folding laundry!

But if you can watch TV without feeling guilty for not multi-tasking, I highly recommend this for all the art lovers (especially Cezanne) out there.

Music And Art Monday, November 27th, 2017: Expressionists

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Female Rider [1931-32]
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Female Rider [1931-32]
I used to think of myself as a big big fan of the Impressionists. Van Gogh was one of my earliest experiences with real art. I love Monet, and I have yet to find a Degas that doesn’t draw and keep my attention.

But as I expanded my art appreciation I came to find myself much more attracted to the opposite of the Impressionists, I find more and more that I love the Expressionists.

Is it my personality? The Expressionists were far more concerned with emotional experience than the display of objective reality. As an ENFJ I find my mind concentrates far more on the deeper underlying feelings behind actions and less on the actions themselves.

While I appreciate the work that goes into realism in art, I much more appreciate the art of someone who can evoke feelings, good and bad.

The_Scream Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch – The Scream

Here are a few of my favorites of this genre:

 

Music and Art Monday: November 20th, 2017: Native American Heritage Month

I have been horribly lax with MAAM’s lately. Working and taking care of five little hooligans doesn’t leave much time for music or art appreciation. But Spotify reminded me that it’s Native American Heritage Month.

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Thanks Spotify

I was excited to see these playlists, as I got used to listening to KIYE while in Idaho this summer. This is probably the only station in the world to play pow-wow music, Marty Robbin’s “El Paso“, and an entire album of T-Pain, all in the same hour.

Sadly, when I clicked on the main playlist I was greeted with new aged flute music. While I understand this is certainly a genre produced by many Natives, it certainly didn’t satisfy my desire to hear the good stuff from KIYE. Some of the playlists were slightly better, but here is my version of a Native American Spotify Playlist:

Fawn Wood and Dallas Waskahat: One More Chance

This has some of that new agey flute in it, but I don’t care, I love the harmony.

Robbie Romero & Red Thunder: Ya Na Neh Yo

This is a bit of a rock song, in fact the whole album is pretty good.

Alex E Smith: Just For Old Time’s Sake

This is somewhat more “traditional” and what most people think of as Native music. Great harmonies.

Edmund Bull: Follow Your Dreams

Edmund Bull does a great blend of western country and chant that makes for a smooth and easy listen if you’re not used to some of the drums and dance circle music.

Northern Cree: She Was Gone

Pretty much anything by them. My favorite thing about them is their ability to place totally modern situations into round dance chants, like in “Facebook Drama”.

My eastern very white upbringing comes out on this one, I actually chuckled a little at the juxtaposition. Growing up on the politically correct East coast, we were taught to be anti-stereotypes to the point of being anti-culture. It was a jarring experience to come out West and see roadside stands selling beads and artworks and run by actual Natives, and even more jarring to hear them actually singing similarly to the “stereotypes” I had been taught to shun in school. Wasn’t this exploitive? Not that this describes all Natives, but the simple fact is that it is deeply intertwined into the culture.

On my very first trip to Northern Idaho in 2013 I actually had a crew boss tell us to turn off KIYE because he thought it might be considered “offensive” by some of the Native firefighter crews. Having worked with several Natives I can assure that crew boss that no, they are not offended.

If you are not stupid (i.e. disrespectful) about it, appreciating a culture for what it puts out on the public airwaves is not offensive at all. As long as you understand that there are in fact differences between tribes of different regions (for instance, teepees were a plains thing, not a SW thing) and don’t make stupid assumptions based on TV or movies you’re not generally going to make anyone mad.

Enough of that political sidetrack. Back to music. There is actually a pretty decent Playlist here of just powwow music. Look around Spotify or just tune in to KIYE or other similar stations online for some more great Native music.

Music and Arts Monday October 23, 2017: Meet Mo

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Mo at home in his cigar shop Holy Smokes

It’s been a long time since I did a M&A Monday, so I thought I would start anew with a good one.

On Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting Holy Smokes Cigar and Pipe Shop during it’s weekly “Cigars and Guitars” night. It seems the turnout was a bit lower than normal, but that didn’t stop the shop’s owner Mo Leverett from treating us to a few of his songs.

I met Mo just before heading out on last year’s adventure to Arizona, and even from that brief meeting I knew I liked the man. Occasionally you meet someone who you just know has had an adventurous life, from his look, his manner, or his way with words. This is one of those men. That evening he told the men gathered at his shop  his testimony, and confirmed to me his interesting life. I remembered that much when walking in to Holy Smokes Friday night.

But I forgot about his music.

It’s not often that I get hooked on someone’s music from hearing a live performance of it,  possibly because I don’t get out that much, but largely because live music can often lack the quality and depth of music carefully manufactured in a studio. Mo proved to be one of the rare cases. His music almost begs to be performed live, just so he can pour his emotion into it time and time again.

So here’s my recommendation this week, go check out his videos on YouTube. In particular I really enjoy “Like Hell Inside“, “Florida“, “If You Know What I Mean“, “It’s Your Family”, and “His Claim To Fame“.

Then if you like what you hear, head on over to his site and purchase a CD or two. Or three.

You won’t be disappointed.

Music and Art Monday April 3rd, 2017: The Fountainhead

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No new music and no new art, but I do have a book recommendation.

I just finished reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. It took me forever to finish because I got bored with it one third of the way through and quit reading it. How many times can she use the phrase “head thrown back”? Why is everything angles and light? Why are all of her characters so simplistic and one-dimensional?

Almost a year after putting it down, I decided to plug through and finish it. I must say the rest of it was worth the effort.

If you don’t want to read all of it, I at least recommend reading the third and final part. This is the real meat of the story, the summation of all the previous long and boring parts. This is the section where all of Rand’s philosophy shines through and makes you step back and contemplate life for awhile.

When Roark delivers his final speech, it makes you want to create. When I finished it I immediately wanted to write. I didn’t care what everyone else felt about my writing, I just had to write.

It makes one step back and consider just how second-hand everything we do in life really is. How much do I produce, and how much do I simply borrow and steal from others? The conclusion is startling.

Rand’s writing style is a bit romantic and over the top with gold and light, but when she pours out the philosophy it’s a pleasant punch to the gut that leaves you thinking “she’s right, she’s idealistic, but she’s right.”

Every book of hers can be condensed and never lose the punch. Atlas Shrugged is her magnum opus and is oft recommended, but it too can be concentrated down to a few chapters and never reduce it’s meaning.

So go pick The Fountainhead up, maybe it won’t take you an entire year to read. Or maybe I will, but only because you are savoring it.

Music and Art Monday February 27th

Almost didn’t get one this week. We spent three days driving from VA to FL. THREE DAYS!

So, that was a lot of time to listen to music. This week I will recommend some driving music:

Franz Ferdinand by Franz Ferdinand

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This album doesn’t have any bad songs to drive to, just a constant beat of awesome. It helps that the lead singer sings in pretty much exactly my range.

Record in A Bag by Hollerado

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Another band I discovered in a truck in Idaho. A good mix of upbeat and slow stuff to keep you wide awake.

Sugar Man by Yolanda Be Cool

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Really anything by Yolanda Be Cool is good to drive to, but this remix of Rodriguez’s Sugar Man is the best in my opinion. Second best is Soul Mokossa (Money).

Stay Gold by First Aid Kit

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It’s hard to choose between this and The Lion’s Roar but this has more of a road trip feel right off the bat with “My Silver Lining”.

An Awesome Wave by alt-J

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Sometimes you just need something musically complex to keep you alert on the road. This album has enough ups and downs and strange sounds to keep any brain wondering where it’s going next.

Hope you enjoy these!

No art this week. I did not sit still long enough to browse through anything. O.O

 

 

Music and Art Monday, February 20th 2017

Well, I’m a little late this week. We’re in the process of moving so life has been a bit of a whirlwind.

Here are two short recommendations for this week:

Kopecky was a band I discovered while working as a road guard on a fire in Northern Idaho. There wasn’t much traffic but there was XM radio in the rental truck!

“Drug For The Modern Age ” is my favorite of the two albums I have heard by them. It has a pretty nifty 80’s vibe and I enjoy the vocals by both male and female singers. It’s not often that bands will switch up singers like that and have it work out well, in my humble opinion.

The two songs that get stuck in my head the most are “Quarterback” and “Better Luck Next Time”. Probably my least favorite is the title track. But they are all good for hanging out or driving, so check them out next time you need something just a little bit different.

For my art this week, I recommend you check out The Feast of St.John by Jules Adolphe Breton.

There aren’t too many copies of it floating around the internet, though I believe if you dig long enough you’ll find it in Gandalf’s Gallery.  I won’t talk too much about it but I will say I liked it so much that it inspired me to make a horrible version of my own:

::Shutters::

Those were my early days. I’d like to think that I would do better next time.

Well, that’s it for this week. Hopefully next week I will be sitting still long enough to write something better.