American Art – Part I of III: Reuben Negron
In the words of one critic, “Reuben Negron’s art is firmly rooted in the narrative tradition. Although his work crosses disciplines, the intent maintains a singular focus – to tell stories of people and events that would normally go unsung. His comics, paintings and photos set to explore the delicate intricacies of the mundane – even when the content may at first appear taboo. The stories themselves are often taken from, or inspired by true-life events. Even the more ambiguous narratives have their seeds planted firmly in something Reuben has encountered personally.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of VI: Luther Monroe Perkins
Died 5 August 1968 – Luther Monroe Perkins. In the words of one historian, he “was an American country music guitarist and a member of the Tennessee Three, the backup band for singer Johnny Cash. Perkins was an iconic figure in what would become known as rockabilly music.”
From the Music Archives – Part II of VI: Rick Huxley
Born 5 August 1940 – Rick Huxley, an English musician and the bassist for the Dave Clark Five.
From the Music Archives – Part III of VI: The Beatles
5 August 1966 – The Beatles release “Yellow Submarine” as a single in the United Kingdom. Coupled with “Eleanor Rigby,” it quickly reached the number one spot on British popular music charts and remained there for thirteen weeks.
From the Music Archives – Part IV of VI: The Beatles
5 August 1966 – The Beatles release “Eleanor Rigby” in the United Kingdom.
From the Music Archives – Part V of VI: Bobbie Gentry
5 August 1967 – Roberta Lee Streeter, known professionally as Bobbie Gentry, releases “Ode to Billy Joe,” which was the #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for four weeks and earned her Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1968.
From the Music Archives – Part VI of VI: The Moody Blues
5 August 1972 – The Moody Blues release “Nights in White Satin.”
“The directing of a picture involves coming out of your individual loneliness and taking a controlling part in putting together a small world. A picture is made. You put a frame around it and move on. And one day you die. That is all there is to it.” – John Huston, American film director, screenwriter, and actor, who was born on 5 August 1906, sounding very much like Hemingway – and perhaps appropriately so, since film critic Ian Freer has called Huston “cinema’s Ernest Hemingway,” in part because he was “never afraid to tackle tough issues head on.”
Before he became a director, John Huston led an interestingly varied life, having been an amateur boxer, a newspaper reporter, a short-story writer, a portrait painter in Paris, and a cavalryman in Mexico. When he turned to filmmaking, Huston brought an artist’s eye and a psychologist’s insight to his movies, and fifteen actors received Academy Award nominations under his directorial tutelage, including his father and his daughter. A list of Huston’s great films would be too long for this posting, but he was the director of “The Maltese Falcon,” “The Treasure of Sierra Madre,” “The African Queen,” “Prizzi’s Honor,” and “The Dead,” and he was also an actor in several movies, including Preminger’s “The Cardinal” and Polanski’s “Chinatown.”
Good Company On The Road – Part I of II: The Traveling Wilburys
Good Company On The Road – Part II of II: The Traveling Wilburys
“The man who wants a garden fair,
or small or very big,
With flowers growing here and there,
Must bend his back and dig.
The things are mighty few on earth
That wishes can attain.
Whate’er we want of any worth
We’ve got to work to gain.
It matters not what goal you seek,
It’s secret here reposes:
You’ve got to dig from week to week
To get Results or Roses.” – Edgar Guest, English-born American poet who was popular in the first half of the 20th century and became known as the “People’s Poet,’ who died 5 August 1959.
Ain’t no use as I can see
In sittin’ underneath a tree
An’ growlin’ that your luck is bad,
An’ that your life is extry sad;
Your life ain’t sadder than your neighbor’s
Nor any harder are your labors;
It rains on him the same as you,
An’ he has work he hates to do;
An’ he gits tired an’ he gits cross,
An’ he has trouble with the boss;
You take his whole life, through an’ through,
Why, he’s no better off than you.
If whinin’ brushed the clouds away
I wouldn’t have a word to say;
If it made good friends out o’ foes
I’d whine a bit, too, I suppose;
But when I look around an’ see
A lot o’ men resemblin’ me,
An’ see ’em sad, an’ see ’em gay
With work t’ do most every day,
Some full o’ fun, some bent with care,
Some havin’ troubles hard to bear,
I reckon, as I count my woes,
They’re ’bout what everybody knows.
The day I find a man who’ll say
He’s never known a rainy day,
Who’ll raise his right hand up an’ swear
In forty years he’s had no care,
Has never had a single blow,
An’ never known one touch o’ woe,
Has never seen a loved one die,
Has never wept or heaved a sigh,
Has never had a plan go wrong,
But allas laughed his way along;
Then I’ll sit down an’ start to whine
That all the hard luck here is mine.
Below – Walter Langley: “Never Morning Wore to Evening but Some Heart Did Break”
Bulgarian painter Kalina Toneva is a graduate of the National Academy of Arts in Sofia.
American Muse – Part II of III: Ron Silliman
“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” – Ron Silliman, an American poet, who was born 5 August 1946.
from “You, part I”
Hard dreams. The moment at which you recognize that your own death lies
in wait somewhere within your body. A lone ship defines the horizon. The
rain is not safe to drink.
In Grozny, in Bihac, the idea of history shudders with each new explosion.
The rose lies unattended, wild thorns at the edge of a mass grave. Between
classes, over strong coffee, young men argue the value of a pronoun.
When this you see, remember. Note in a bottle bobs in a cartoon sea. The
radio operator’s name is Sparks.
Hand outlined in paint on a brick wall. Storm turns playground into a
swamp. Finally we spot the wood duck on the middle lake.
The dashboard of my car like the keyboard of a piano. Toy animals anywhere.
Sun swells in the morning sky.
Man with three pens clipped to the neck of his sweatshirt shuffles from one
table to the next, seeking distance from the cold January air out the coffee
house door, tall Styrofoam cup in one hand, ‘Of Grammatology’ in the other.
Outside, a dog is tied to any empty bench, bike chained to the No Parking sign.
Below – Jakub Schikaneder: “Symbolic Scene”
In the words of one critic, Polish painter Eugeniusz Stemplowski (born 1954) “is a self taught artist who has a unique talent to capture movement and atmosphere in his beautiful vibrant and colourful abstract creations.”
American Muse – Part III of III: Conrad Aiken
“All lovely things will have an ending,
All lovely things will fade and die,
And youth, that’s now so bravely spending,
Will beg a penny by and by.
Fine ladies soon are all forgotten,
And goldenrod is dust when dead,
The sweetest flesh and flowers are rotten
And cobwebs tent the brightest head.
Come back, true love! Sweet youth, return!–
But time goes on, and will, unheeding,
Though hands will reach, and eyes will yearn,
And the wild days set true hearts bleeding.
Come back, true love! Sweet youth, remain!–
But goldenrod and daisies wither,
And over them blows autumn rain,
They pass, they pass, and know not whither.” – “All Lovely Things,” by Conrad Aiken, American poet, novelist, short story writer, and recipient of the 1930 Pulitzer Prize (for “Selected Poems”) and the 1954 National Book Award (for “Collected Poems”), who was born 5 August 1889.
From “Evening Song of Senlin”
It is moonlight. Alone in the silence
I ascend my stairs once more,
While waves remote in pale blue starlight
Crash on a white sand shore.
It is moonlight. The garden is silent.
I stand in my room alone.
Across my wall, from the far-off moon,
A rain of fire is thrown.
There are houses hanging above the stars,
And stars hung under the sea,
And a wind from the long blue vault of time
Waves my curtains for me.
I wait in the dark once more,
swung between space and space:
Before the mirror I lift my hands
And face my remembered face.
Born 5 August 1877 – Thomas John “Tom” Thomson, an influential Canadian painter.
“There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say ‘It is yet more difficult than you thought.’ This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.” – Wendell Berry, American writer, poet, farmer, public intellectual, environmental activist, cultural critic, and author of “A Continuous Harmony: Essays Cultural & Agricultural” and “What Matters? Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth,” who was born 5 August 1934.
Some quotes from Wendell Berry:
“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
“Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.”
“People use drugs, legal and illegal, because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors. It should tell us something that in healthy societies drug use is celebrative, convivial, and occasional, whereas among us it is lonely, shameful, and addictive. We need drugs, apparently, because we have lost each other.”
“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”
“The complexity of our present trouble suggests as never before that we need to change our present concept of education. Education is not properly an industry, and its proper use is not to serve industries, either by job-training or by industry-subsidized research. It’s proper use is to enable citizens to live lives that are economically, politically, socially, and culturally responsible. This cannot be done by gathering or ‘accessing’ what we now call ‘information’ – which is to say facts without context and therefore without priority. A proper education enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing what things are more important than other things; it means putting first things first.”
“Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”
“In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else’s mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one’s own place and economy.
In such a society, also, our private economies will depend less and less upon the private ownership of real, usable property, and more and more upon property that is institutional and abstract, beyond individual control, such as money, insurance policies, certificates of deposit, stocks, and shares. And as our private economies become more abstract, the mutual, free helps and pleasures of family and community life will be supplanted by a kind of displaced or placeless citizenship and by commerce with impersonal and self-interested suppliers…
Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else’s legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make. What would be the point, for example, if a majority of our people decided to be self-employed?
The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth – that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood, and community – and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means.”
“You can best serve civilization by being against what usually passes for it.”
“Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.”
“We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.”
“Be joyful because it is humanly possible.”
“Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.”
“A corporation, essentially, is a pile of money to which a number of persons have sold their moral allegiance.”
“So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute…Give your approval to all you cannot understand…Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years…Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts…Practice resurrection.”
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”
“Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing. To be healed we must come with all the other creatures to the feast of Creation.”
“A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other’s lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves.”
“I dislike the thought that some animal has been made miserable to feed me. If I am going to eat meat, I want it to be from an animal that has lived a pleasant, uncrowded life outdoors, on bountiful pasture, with good water nearby and trees for shade.”
“Especially among Christians in positions of wealth and power, the idea of reading the Gospels and keeping Jesus’ commandments as stated therein has been replaced by a curious process of logic. According to this process, people first declare themselves to be followers of Christ, and then they assume that whatever they say or do merits the adjective ‘Christian.’”
“Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery. ”
“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.”
“Let us have the candor to acknowledge that what we call ‘the economy’ or ‘the free market’ is less and less distinguishable from warfare.”
“What I stand for is what I stand on.”
“Eating is an agricultural act.”
“I don’t believe that grief passes away. It has its time and place forever. More time is added to it; it becomes a story within a story. But grief and griever alike endure.”
“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.”
American Art –Part II of III: Vincent Giarrano
A Poem for Today
By Theodore Roethke
I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils,
Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper weight,
All the misery of manilla folders and mucilage,
Desolation in immaculate public places,
Lonely reception room, lavatory, switchboard,
The unalterable pathos of basin and pitcher,
Ritual of multigraph, paper-clip, comma,
Endless duplicaton of lives and objects.
And I have seen dust from the walls of institutions,
Finer than flour, alive, more dangerous than silica,
Sift, almost invisible, through long afternoons of tedium,
Dropping a fine film on nails and delicate eyebrows,
Glazing the pale hair, the duplicate grey standard faces.
American Art – Part III of III: Thom Ross
As a child, American painter Thom Ross (born 1952) became interested in the history of the American Old West by watching television shows such as “Bonanza,” “Rawhide,” and “Have Gun – Will Travel,” as well as John Wayne films. On June 25, 1976, at the hundredth anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Little Bighorn, Ross had what he describes as an “epiphany,” and he decided as an artist to portray iconic American people and events in new ways to bring out a more complex story than the traditional historical myths.
Below – “Texas Rangers”; “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral”; “Full Moon Billy”; “Wyatt Earp Eating Ice Cream”; “Sitting Bull Signing Autographs”; “Indians Playing Golf”; “Five Riders”; “Man’s Best Friend”; “The Northern Lights of Fredericksburg”; “Annie and Her Dog Dave”; “The Three Crow Scouts”; “Deadly Moonrise.”