April Offerings – Part VII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Alexander Arshansky

Interviewer: “Why are you an artist?”
Arshansky: “I strongly feel it has always been my calling. I started drawing at 3, made my first oil painting at 12. My family was always very much against me being an artist, and I went along with what was expected of me. However, by age 30 things started getting in prospective, and I realized that this is the only true thing that makes me happy and complete.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of VIII: Ludwig van Beethoven

7 April 1805 – Ludwig van Beethoven conducts the premiere of his Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”) in Vienna.

A Poem for Today

“The Yellow House, 1978”
By Maggie Dietz

The kitchen in the house had a nook for eating, a groove
for the broom behind the door and the woman moved through
it like bathing, reaching ladles from drawers, turning to lift

the milk from the refrigerator while still stirring the pudding,
as if the room and everything in it were as intimate to her as her
body, as beautiful and worthy of her attention as the elbows

which each day she soothed with rose lotion or the white legs
she lifted, again and again, in turn, while watching television.
To be in that room must be what it was like to be the man

next to her at night, or the child who, at six o’clock had stood
close enough to smell the wool of her sweater through the steam,
and later, at the goodnight kiss, could breathe the flavor of her hair—

codfish and broccoli—and taste the coffee, which was darkness
on her lips, and listen then from upstairs to the water running
down, the mattress drifting down the river, a pale moonmark

on the floor, and hear the clink of silverware—the stars, their distant
speaking—and picture the ceiling—the back of a woman kneeling,
covering the heart and holding up the bed and roof and cooling sky.

Below – Brian Simons: “Starfish Yellow House.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Lucy Maud Montgomery

“When weeds go to heaven, I suppose they will be flowers.”
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Canadian Art – Part I of II: Larry Bracegirdle

Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Larry Bracegirdle: “As a self-taught painter, Larry calls himself a ‘painterly realist.’ In contrast to his early work, which verged on photo-realism, he has learned through practice and self-study to loosen up and let the paint do the talking. Now there is next to no blending of the paint. He says, ‘I mix up a brush load, wipe it on the canvas and move on.’ The method in which Bracegirdle practices his art has come full circle. Beginning with the use of photography as a technique to hone his drawing skills; then painting ‘en plein air’ in order to train his eye; to painting interiors, a subject matter which “sits still” then back to photography to capture the moment, he now paints real life with finely tuned drawing skills and a keen, passionate eye. Influenced by Dutch painter Jan Vermeer, Larry specializes in domestic interiors and like Verneer, has become renowned for his use of light.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“Convergence”
By Christine Stewart-Nunez

Through the bedroom window
a February sunrise, fog suspended
between pines. Intricate crystals—
hoarfrost lace on a cherry tree.
My son calls out, awake. We sway,
blanket-wrapped, his head nuzzling
my neck. Hoarfrost, tree—I point,
shaping each word. Favorable
conditions: a toddler’s brain, hard
data-mining, a system’s approach.
Hoar, he hears. His hand reaches
to the wallpaper lion. Phenomena
converge: warmth, humidity,
temperature’s sudden plunge;
a child’s brain, objects, sound.
Eyes widening, he opens his mouth
and roars.
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Fancies in Springtime: Wayne Pacell

“In our day, there are stresses and fractures of the human-animal bond, and some forces at work would sever it once and for all. They pull us in the wrong direction and away from the decent and honorable code that makes us care for creatures who are entirely at our mercy. Especially within the last two hundred years, we’ve come to apply an industrial mind-set to the use of animals, too often viewing them as if they were nothing but articles of commerce and the raw material of science, agriculture, and wildlife management. Here, as in other pursuits, human ingenuity has a way of outrunning human conscience, and some things we do only because we can–forgetting to ask whether we should.”
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Canadian Art – Part II of II: James Huctwith

Painter James Huctwith (born 1967) lives and works in Toronto.
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From the Music Archives – Part II of VIII: Billie Holiday

“Don’t threaten me with love, baby. Let’s just go walking in the rain.” – Billie Holiday, American jazz singer and songwriter, who was born 7 April 1915.

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Chinese painter Qu Muzi
(born 1982): “Qu Muzi paints scenes of mystery and wonder, usually featuring a single figure in a dreamlike setting. Her treatment of light and colour is muted, with an occasional flash of brilliant colour.
She pays close attention to texture and design, which complement the careful composition of her paintings.
There is a wistful sense of fleeting beauty, tinged with sadness, in Qu Muzi’s paintings.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Lissa Warren

“All those windows, and not a cat in them. All that light to bask in, wasted.”
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“Irony is the hygiene of the mind.” – Princess Elizabeth Asquith Bibesco, English writer and author of “Haven,” who died 7 April 1945.

Some quotes from Princess Elizabeth Asquith Bibesco:

“Life more often teaches us how to perfect our weaknesses than how to develop our strengths.”
“Blessed are those who give without remembering and take without
forgetting.”
“Those we love are entitled to resent the allowances we make for them.”
“To be on a pedestal is to be in a corner.”
“What we buy belongs to us only when the price is forgotten.”
“It is easier to be generous than to be just.”
“Each play worth seeing should be watched a second time on the faces of the audience.”
“Winter draws what summer paints.”
“The image of ourselves in the minds of others is the picture of a stranger we shall never see.”
“We learn nothing by being right.”
“We are bound to those we love by their imperfections — their perfections help us to explain them to others.”
“Death is part of this life and not of the next.”
“Perfect moments don’t turn into half-hours.”
“My soul has gained the freedom of the night.”
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From the Music Archives – Part III of VIII: Babtunde Olatunji

Born 7 April 1927 – Babtunde Olatunji, a Nigerian drummer, educator, social activist, and recording artist.

Fancies in Springtime: Marty Rubin

“I’m on the side of whatever keeps the flowers growing.”
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A Third Poem for Today

“Grandpa Vogt’s—1959”
By Ben Vogt

The food is on the table. Turkey tanned
to a cowboy boot luster, potatoes mashed
and mounded in a bowl whose lip is lined
with blue flowers linked by grey vines faded
from washing. Everyone’s heads have turned
to elongate the table’s view—a last supper twisted
toward a horizon where the Christmas tree, crowned
by a window, sets into itself half inclined.
Each belly cries. Each pair of eyes admonished
by Aunt Photographer. Look up. You’re wined
and dined for the older folks who’ve pined
to see your faces, your lives, lightly framed
in this moment’s flash. Parents are moved,
press their children’s heads up from the table,
hide their hunger by rubbing lightly wrinkled
hands atop their laps. They’ll hold the image
as long as need be, seconds away from grace.
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Here is the Artist Statement of British ceramicist Katharine Morling: “My work can be described as 3 dimensional drawings, in the medium of ceramics. Each piece, on the surface, an inanimate object, has been given layers of emotion and embedded with stories, which are open for interpretation in the viewer’s mind. When put together, the pieces combine to make a tableau staging the still lives of everyday objects. The life size pieces and the unexpectedness of the scale create a slightly surreal experience as you walk through this strange environment. I work very instinctively, one piece leads to the next, I try not to pin down what I am doing or even why. I have to trust and believe that I can communicate through this medium. My searching is never complete; each piece is a journey for answers that are only hinted at, with more questions.”
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Fancies in Springtime: David Bohm

“Universe consists of frozen light.”
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From the Music Archives – Part IV of VIII: “South Pacific”

7 April 1949 – “South Pacific” opens at New York City’s Majestic Theater and runs for 1,928 performances.

American Art – Part II of IV: Tamara Adams

Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Tamara Adams: “A Native Oregonian, Tamara paints primarily acrylic on canvas. Continuously evolving, she relies heavily on her imagination, without models or reference books and few outside influences. Tamara began painting exotic themes long before she had been exposed to great artists such as Gauguin and Rivera. Painting has always been her way to escape the ordinary aspects of her life, doing what she loves and believing in the power of art to comfort and enrich the soul.
Tamara’s portrayals of women are warm, whimsical, and reflective. The exotic imagery and deep resonance of color capture the eye and the imagination. In Tamara’s words, ‘It doesn’t seem satisfying to say that I paint what I see, and yet it is what I see, wherever I go, whoever I am with, along with the things that surround me inspiring me to paint.’”
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From the Music Archives – Part V of VIII: Charlie Thomas

Born 7 April 1937 – Charlie Thomas, an American rhythm and blues singer best known for his work with The Drifters.

Fancies in Springtime: John Guare

“I believe that the imagination is the passport we create to take us into the real world. I believe the imagination is another phrase for what is most uniquely us.”
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“Goals incapable of attainment have driven many a man to despair, but despair is easier to get to than that — one need merely look out of the window, for example.” – Donald Barthelme, American postmodernist writer and author of “Snow White,” who was born 7 April 1931.

Some quotes from the work of Donald Barthelme:

“The distinction between children and adults, while probably useful for some purposes, is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos, crazy for love.”
“Succeed! It has been done, and with a stupidity that can astound the most experienced.”
“The world in the evening seems fraught with the absence of promise, if you are a married man. There is nothing to do but go home and drink your nine drinks and forget about it.”
“All of us…still believe that the American flag betokens a kind of general righteousness. But I say…that signs are signs and some of them are lies.”
“There is no moment that exceeds in beauty that moment when one looks at a woman and finds that she is looking at you in the same way that you are looking at her. The moment in which she bestows that look that says, ‘Proceed with your evil plan, sumbitch.’”
“I have to admit we are locked in the most exquisite mysterious muck. This muck heaves and palpitates. It is multi-directional and has a mayor. To describe it takes many hundreds of thousands of words. Our muck is only a part of a much greater muck — the nation-state — which is itself the creation of that muck of mucks, human consciousness. Of course all these things also have a touch of sublimity — as when Moonbelly sings, for example, or all the lights go out. What a happy time that was, when all the electricity went away! If only we could re-create that paradise! By, for instance, all forgetting to pay our electric bills at the same time. All nine million of us. Then we’d all get those little notices that say unless we remit within five days the lights will go out. We all stand up from our chairs with the notice in ours hands. The same thought drifts across the furrowed surface of nine million minds. We wink at each other, through the walls.”
“I believed that because I had obtained a wife who was made up of wife-signs (beauty, charm, softness, perfume, cookery) I had found love.”
“The privileged classes can afford psychoanalysis and whiskey. Whereas all we get is sermons and sour wine. This is manifestly unfair. I protest, silently.”
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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Night Flight”
By George Bilgere

I am doing laps at night, alone
In the indoor pool. Outside
It is snowing, but I am warm
And weightless, suspended and out
Of time like a fly in amber.

She is thousands of miles
From here, and miles above me,
Ghosting the stratosphere,
Heading from New York to London.
Though it is late, even
At that height, I know her light
Is on, her window a square
Of gold as she reads mysteries
Above the Atlantic. I watch

The line of black tile on the pool’s
Floor, leading me down the lane.
If she looks down by moonlight,
Under a clear sky, she will see
Black water. She will see me
Swimming distantly, moving far
From shore, suspended with her
In flight through the wide gulf
As we swim toward land together.
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Fancies in Springtime: Jacob Bronowski

“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.”
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From the Music Archives – Part VI of VIII: Mongo Santamaria

Born 7 April 1922 – Mongo Santamaria, an Afro-Cuban Latin jazz percussionist.

American Art – Part III of IV: Bruno Perillo

Painter Bruno Perillo graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He lives and works in Brooklyn.
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Fancies in Springtime: Craig Childs

“Most animals show themselves sparingly. The grizzly bear is six to eight hundred pounds of smugness. It has no need to hide. If it were a person, it would laugh loudly in quiet restaurants, boastfully wear the wrong clothes for special occasions, and probably play hockey.”
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From the Music Archives – Part VII of VIII: John Oates

“The worst thing that happened to me was when platforms went out of style.” – John Oates, American guitarist, musician, songwriter, and part of the duo Hall & Oates, who was born 7 April 1949.

Here is one critic describing the artistry of French painter Francine de Van Hove: “The remote world portrayed by Van Hove is peopled by nude young women. The lighting which exposes them is of a precise quality which makes their reality veer slightly, almost imperceptibly, away from everyday reality.
Her figures strike up very natural poses which make us feel the existence of a precarious yet exquisite dividing-line between the ordinary and the extraordinary.
Her figures (she paints from ‘live’ models) define certain canons of beauty. This aptitude is characteristic of an innate sense of stylisation which has always been felt as necessary by painters who tend to paint timeless subjects.
Van Hove’s art possesses the essential quality of suggesting without proselytising. It abolishes the distance between emotions and their perception. The subtlest feelings, the most tenuous allusions she has set down come across to us in a startlingly precise fashion. And the vibration in that transmission is pure pleasure.”
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From the Movie Archives – Part I of II: Jackie Chan

“The kids never listen to you, especially the youngest ones.” – Jackie Chan, Hong Kong actor, comedian, action choreographer, director, singer, martial artist, stunt performer, and wise parent, who was born 7 April 1954.

Some quotes from Jackie Chan:

“I just want people to remember me like I remember Buster Keaton. When they talk about Buster Keaton or Gene Kelly, people say, ‘Ah yes, they’re good.’ Maybe one day, they will remember Jackie Chan that way.”
“American stuntmen are smart – they think about safety. When they do a jump in a car, they calculate everything: the speed, the distance… But in Hong Kong, we don’t know how to count. Everything we do is a guess. If you’ve got the guts, you do it. All of my stuntmen have gotten hurt.”
“Do not let circumstances control you. You change your circumstances.”
“Coffee is a language in itself.”
“I’m crazy, but I’m not stupid.”
“We learn martial arts as helping weakness. You never fight for people to get hurt. You’re always helping people.”
“I now have two different audiences. There’s the one that has been watching my action films for 20 years, and the American family audience. American jokes, less fighting.”
“Cinema reflects culture and there is no harm in adapting technology, but not at the cost of losing your originality.”
“I only want my work to make people happy.”
“I really like children to watch my movies.”
“I sometimes just don’t like to see the Ultimate Fighting. I just find it, as a martial artist, I just find it too violent.”
“Jackie Chan is a myth.”
“My affection for Taiwan is witnessed by everyone. My wife is Taiwanese and I am a son-in-law of Taiwan. I am half Taiwanese.”
“The ads all call me fearless, but that’s just publicity. Anyone who thinks I’m not scared out of my mind whenever I do one of my stunts is crazier than I am.”
“The world is too violent right now.”
“When you are learning about a martial art, it is about respect.”

From the American History Archives – Part I of II: American Pioneers to the Northwest Territory

7 April 1788 – In the words of one historian, “American Pioneers to the Northwest Territory arrive at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, establishing Marietta, Ohio, as the first permanent American settlement of the new United States in the Northwest Territory, and opening the westward expansion of the new country.”

Below – The arrival of Rufus Putnam and the pioneers at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers on 7 April 1788.
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Fancies in Springtime: Trish McCagh

“Animals are the bridge between us and the beauty of all that is natural. They show us what’s missing in our lives, and how to love ourselves more completely and unconditionally. They connect us back to who we are, and to the purpose of why we’re here.”
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From the Movie Archives – Part II of II: Francis Ford Coppola

“My movie is not about Vietnam. My movie is Vietnam.” – Francis Ford Coppola, American film director, producer, and screenwriter, who was born 7 April 1939, commenting on “Apocalypse Now.”

This is one of the great opening scenes in the history of cinema:

From the American History Archives – Part II of II: The Lewis and Clark Expedition

2 April 1805 – Lewis and Clark Expedition: The Corps of Discovery breaks camp among the Mandan tribe and resumes its journey West along the Missouri River.

Below – Karl Bodmer: “Mandan Village.”
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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Back Then”
By Trish Crapo

Out in the yard, my sister and I
tore thread from century plants
to braid into bracelets, ate
chalky green bananas,
threw coconuts onto the sidewalk
to crack their hard, hairy skulls.

The world had begun to happen,
but not time. We would live
forever, sunburnt and pricker-stuck,
our promises written in blood. Not yet

would men or illness distinguish us,
our thoughts cleave us in two.
If she squeezed sour calamondins
into a potion, I drank it. When I jumped
from the fig tree, she jumped.
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From the Music Archives – Part VIII of VIII: Ravi Shankar

“In our culture we have such respect for musical instruments, they are like part of God.” – Ravi Shankar, Indian musician and sitar player, who was born 7 April 1920.

Fancies in Springtime: Joseph Bruchac

“We need to walk to know sacred places, those around us and those within. We need to walk to remember the songs.”
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(c) The Wordsworth Trust; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
“What we need is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out.” – William Wordsworth, English Romantic poet and co-author (with Samuel Taylor Coleridge) of “Lyrical Ballads” (1798), the book that launched the Romantic Age in English literature, who was born 7 April 1770.

“The World Is Too Much With Us”

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

Below – Old Triton blowing his wreathed horn on Ocean Beach in San Francisco on 1 December 2014. Listening to him play did, in fact, make me less forlorn.
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A Sixth Poem for Today

(Untitled)
By Joette Giorgis

children grown—
dust accumulates
on half the kitchen table
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Fancies in Springtime: Katie Ganshert

“Wildflowers burst from the ground in vivid blues and whites and violets, creating a picture more pleasing than anything her hands could design. She didn’t understand how it was possible, but Evan had been right. The abundance of snow had produced an abundance of wildflowers. More than she’s ever seen before. Somehow, those cold, lifeless winter months had prepared the land for something breathtaking. Something beautiful. Something brimming with life.”
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Back from the Territory – Art: The work of Alaska artist Marianne Wieland

In the words of one writer, “Arctic themes pervade Marianne Wieland’s work, legacy of the years she flew to the villages of Nome and Kotzebue as a stewardess with Alaska Airlines. Visual impressions of the far north, honed to their essential elements, appear in many of her prints, evoking a sense of that vast land and its inhabitants through archetypal forms.”

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “ Chugiach Morning”; “Dance of the Cranes”; “Hope for All”; “Long Days”; “Long Nights”; “Moose in Garden”; “On a Clear Day.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Derrick Jensen

“We have a need for enchantment that is as deep and devoted as our need for food and water.”
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American Art – Part IV of IV: Allan Morrow

Allan Morrow graduated from San Diego State University in 1979, with a BA in Painting and Printmaking.

Below – “Flight Path A”; “I Shot an Arrow”; “Tower Cranes”; “Sooner or Later”; “Kettner Casnio”; “Indigenous Man.”
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