Friday, November 30, 2012

Terrapin Crossroads Grate Room Gala --- Day 329

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 8 blocks and take yoga class

Wish I and my iphone camera had this man's skills:

Jay Blakesberg photographing Bob Weir

I try and try and try...getting blur, microphones, anything but a good shot of Bob and Phil tuning their instruments and together on stage.  Guess you had to be there as they say.  And I was, fulfilling my dream of seeing Phil and Bob together in a small venue.  I was maybe 10 feet at most away from Bob for the concert, and Phil, Jackie Greene and others were often just about as close.  Nice.

Bob Weir adjusting pedal

Phil Lesh finding the sound

Bob, Phil and Jackie Greene dueling guitars center stage.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

MTT and The GD --- Day 328

Walk: Terrapin Crossroads
Distance: A Few Steps in a Huge Downpour(?)

Early today because don't know when I'll get back from concert tonight.  Enjoying reading the few old articles in The New Yorker re: The Dead.  Especially Bill Barich's October 11, 1993 one on Jerry Garcia (Still Truckin').  And here's a passage concerning the Dead in a November 17, 1997 article by Alex Ross on the initiation of MTT as director of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra:

None of this quite prepared audiences for Tilson Thomas's raucous first season in San Franciso in 1995.  Outdoing even his contemporary-minded colleague at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen, he unloaded reams of twentieth-century music and turned again and again to American names.  The truly startling development was the two-week American Festival he held at season's end.  A marathon concert of avant-garde showpieces was capped by a dissonant jam session in which Tilson Thomas joined surviving members of the Grateful Dead.  No one who was there will forget the sight of Davies Hall overrun with Deadheads, or the sound of them cheering Varese's 'Ionisation" and Henry Cowell's "Quartet Euphometri." Most wonderfully, the festival lacked the condencension that so often poisons classical-pop crossover schemes.  It was an authentically festive day - topsy-turvy, at times sublime.

Wish I'd known to go to that!

L: Phil Lesh, Michael Tilson Thomas, Mickey Hart     R: Bob Weir   (1995, San Francisco Chronicle)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Twilight of the Year Continues --- Day 327

Walk: High-Tech Nails 
Distance: 8 blocks

Now that Melissa and Tony have won Season 14 of DWTS

and I've seen the good movies in town (some twice)
Argo (2), Searching for Sugar Man (2), Lincoln, Skyfall, A Royal Affair, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Sessions, etc...

the next trick for skirting around my mismatch with this stretch of the calendar will be

Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and many others together at Phil's Terrapin Crossroads Gala tomorrow night.

Kind of an ordeal for CIWT to go to these things, but, for old Grateful Dead's sake, I'd really like to see these two founding members together in a small, intimate venue.  These were the types of venues where The Dead began their 'long, strange trip' in the 1960's.  Long, strange and I might add indescribable.  A journalist recently tried for a description in The New Yorker of all magazines and came close in parts - the parts that related to his personal memories of listening to concert tapes while he was in college.  But, overall, especially at the end of the long article where he attempts to capture Phil, Bob, Furthur, the soul of The Dead's journey into the future, he is tone deaf at best and sensationalizing, shtick-seeking journalist at worst. I doubt even The Dead understand themselves or care to; never have, don't try.  They just keep searching for the sound and Heads keep showing up and history keeps forming.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And the Mirror Ball goes to... Day 326

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 8 Blocks and teach two yoga classes

My big decision for today is whether to actually watch the finals of this season's Dancing With The Stars to find out who the winners are.  Or whether to check online with East Coast sources who will know three hours ahead of San Francisco and not watch.  Probably I'll watch, but may be tired from teaching 2 classes in a row.  Hmmmm?

Meanwhile, my projected winners are: Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough.

But Wait, Surprise!!  The coveted Mirror Ball Trophy

went to....Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Good and Empty --- Day 325

Walk: Chiropractic, Yoga Tree Hayes
Distance: 2 miles

Just back from back adjustment (gawd, that neck part!) and yoga class with lots of advanced twists. 
Feeling kind of empty in a good way. Think I'll let it last...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tosca --- Day 324

Walk: Opera Building (Tosca)
Distance: 1 mile

I get to 2-3 operas every year thanks in large part to the proximity of so many places and events in San Francisco.  Personal growth is right at your fingertips; you sort of just can't...

By now I've been to enough to think I can evaluate what I've seen.  At the beginning - especially when there were no supertitles - I felt like such a hick not understanding most of what I was looking at and completely unable to know good from whatever. Now I also buy good seats;  then I used to stand in back which is a life of its own.  Standing is more social in its relaxed way, but I find that at some point in my more expensive seats I begin talking with the person next to me, and usually have a very rich conversation.  People at operas are interesting I find.

So, what did I think of Tosca today?  Okay, Cavaradosi, the tenor, did not hold my interest particularly. The music is beautiful with gorgeous arias but, I hate to say it, to me kind of boring between arias.  My favorite singer today was the man who played the evil Scarpia, Robert Frontali.

Today's Tosca, Angela Gheorghiu, is beautiful, especially in black.  But I think I especially would have loved to have been able to see Maria Callas (below) as Tosca.  Wouldn't a Lot of people?!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sh'ma/Listen, David Gelernter --- Day 323

Walk: Mindful Body, Office Depot, Laurel Village
Distance: 3 miles and teach yoga class

A friend sent a video on the artist, who painted the images below, David Gelernter.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Whence Black Friday -- Day 322

Walk: Sacramento Street, Laurel Village, Trader Joe's, Big O tires
Distance: 5 miles

Day after Thanksgiving is:

-Black Friday, (on and off it turns out but since 2005) the busiest shopping day of the year.  If you wonder like I do what the name relates to, this is what Wikipedia has to say: The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving.[4][5] Use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that "Black Friday" indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are "in the black.

- The busiest day of the year for residential plumbers.

- Sadly possibly the busiest day of the year for  Emergency Rooms.

- The day KFOG starts playing Christmas Carols only.

- This year a day the Dow soared indicating (to me) that we are just fine with our present and future president.

- The day my car had its tires rotated and front end aligned.

- A beautiful, clear, calm, quietly productive - you might say Zen grey - day for Callie and me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cavallo Point for Thanksgiving & Beyond --- Day 321

Walk: Fort Cronkite Loop, Cavallo Point
Distance: 6 miles

Cavallo Point is a truly lovely resort and spa in an unparalleled setting.  It is just across the Golden Gate from San Francisco (10 minutes) and a thoroughly tranquil and pleasant place to stroll around - on the large, expansive green, onto adjacent trails or along the water. They also offer a calender of cooking, artistic and other activities.  Totally first class and well done re-invigoration of old military buildings - very accessible even if you don't spend money on dining or spa services.

Every time I go there - which I did today for a casual but sumptuous Thanksgiving meal after a long hike - I am so impressed and reminded I should do it more often and keep it in mind to recommend to (outdoorsy) people looking for a 'perfect' place to stay in the Bay Area.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Enjoy Your Meal ---- Day 320

Walk: Mindful Body (Acupuncture), de Young (Paley, Nureyev and one room of American collection)
Distance: 6+ miles

Thinking about all the meals people will be sitting down to tomorrow, I visited this portrait (sorry, a bit fuzzy) while at the de Young today.  Dinner Table at Night by John Singer Sargent.  I'm sure I've sat at this woman's table and probably seen her at boarding school events.  I know the pursed lips/tight mouth, the direct conversation with us/her dinner guest and the remoteness of her husband who is financially in the opulent picture but facing away and not entirely in the portrait.  I know the gleaming silver, the perfectly controlled environment.  I know the correct utensils, posture, conversational topics and the feeling of emptiness even after the maid has cleared away the last plates from a sumptuous meal.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mission Pie -- Day 319

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 9 blocks and teach yoga class

Just learned from one of my students about a wonderful pie shop in the Mission District. Sweet pies, Galettes and small things, Savory Pies, Salads. Made daily with quality ingredients locally grown (or ground in the case of wheat from just south of San Francisco. Who knew?). Homey, neighborhoody, actively involved in good food and good company. Hopefully they will have a turkey pot pie left for me tomorrow. Otherwise, another time.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Daniel Day-Lincoln --- Day 318

Walk: Chiropractic, Sundance Kabuki, Union Square
Distance: 4 miles

You already know Daniel Day-Lewis's acting is going to be excellent in Lincoln.  No, you know he is going to be superb or beyond.  But what you don't know is that his portrayal of Lincoln is stunning. Deeply moving in its subtle completeness; there is virtually no question in my mind I was looking at Lincoln himself.  So, going in,  ciwt was absolutely wrong about not liking Lincoln  - even though it actually was a bit stultifying (as predicted), contrived, difficult to track from time to time along with other imperfections.  But overall, the tenderness, humanity, vast and nerve-ending deep range of Lewis's portrayal of Lincoln hovered over the whole movie even when he wasn't on screen and kept me right there the entire 2.5 hours - and will not be forgotten.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cinema Club --- Day 317

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (West of Memphis), Mindful Body
Distance: 2 miles and take yoga class

Today another movie - with Cinema Club, a "premier sneak preview film society in Atlanta, Boston, Boca Raton, Milwaukee, New Haven, Saint Louis, San Francisco and Washington" as they describe themselves.  Their description continues...

On select Sunday mornings in eight different cities this fall, we will preview and discuss the best new American independent and foreign films of the season. Always a secret until the day of the screening, our movies are shown before their local release, letting our members view and respond to them with true surprise and spontaneity.
After each screening, our distinguished moderators – local film experts, professors and critics – will lead a forty-five minute discussion with club members directly in the theater. At many of our showings, our moderators are joined in discussion by fellow film scholars, esteemed film critics and occasionally filmmakers themselves.
Our distinguished group of programmers have been guiding film societies, academic programs and even popular film festivals for over a decade. We attend dozens of leading festivals around the globe, always keeping our eyes open for the next Cinema Club gem.
I've enjoyed the experience a lot.  Many of the audience/club members make supremely cogent comments (which I could maybe do hours after the film and to just a few people instead of directly after the film into a mic to the several hundred who are at the screenings).  The moderators are outstanding.
Today's film was a documentary about a well-known case of false imprisonment for murder of three (then) young men in Memphis, known now as The Memphis Three.  Their story was entirely new to me and my stomach was clenched for almost the whole movie.  One personal reason is that as a child I had a Terror of any kind of entrapment by authorities, any kind of imprisonment.  My trust factor in such a situation was (and probably still is) zero. 
The discussion after the very intelligent and riveting film was co-led by one of the usual moderators and a few lawyers who specialize in representing innocent prisoners pro bono.  Believe me, my childhood fears were well founded.  Possibly more another day; it's still sinking in.
Through the Cinema Club 'surprises' I've seen many films I might not have gone to in the theaters.  All 'indies,' almost all excellent, and certainly, definitely to a film consciousness/ciwt expanding.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

This time, a Royal affair --- Day 316

Walk: Mindful Body, Clay Theater (A Royal Affair)
Distance: 16 blocks and teach yoga class

Went to A Royal Affair after teaching this afternoon. Here right out of Wikipedia is a little blurb. The story is set in the 18th century, at the court of the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark, and focuses on the romance between the queen and the royal physician Struensee.

The film competed in competition at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival[1] and has been selected as the Danish entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards

Didn't really know anything about it except that it was a good alternative to Lincoln whose showing times don't work with my schedule and which I'm not quite prepared to see. (Know the acting will be Outstanding but am pretty sure I'll find the movie itself a bit stultifying).  Anyway, back to the movie I did see, it portrays an episode of Danish history I knew nothing about in a very compelling - even suspenseful - way.  The acting is uniformly excellent, and I particularly like the authenticity of the castle and exterior settings.  It carried a very real feeling of being there in the late 1700's, and I felt involved, informed and once again reminded why I would not want to be a royal..  

Oh, and in and of itself, here is a Huge reason to go:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Barry McGee at Berkeley Art Museum --- Day 315

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 8 blocks and teach yoga class

Can't remember if I wrote about my trip to BAM for painter and graffiti artist Barry McGee a month or so ago.  I knew absolutely nothing about him before going and was really excited to see his works in the first room (See below).  They were to me soulful and gritty, and I looked forward to seeing his 'growth' as an artist in the rooms beyond.  There I saw his career "develop" from working with fellow taggers, through individual  international exposure at the Venice Biennial to 'create at will with unlimited budget' commissions (or so it looks to me). And, sadly, I felt the loss of its soul. To me his art has become shallow, theatrical and bloated.* I understand he is on a sort of hiatus, and possibly he is personally searching for a new and deeper direction.

Here are a few of the early works that appealed to me:

*See Day 313 of CIWT for a photo of some later art.

 PS - At some point - when I'm more informed and have possibly deepened my thinking on the matter - CIWT might write about graffiti art.  Right now I'm of the opinion that - unless it is done on some fence that is about to be torn down or something - it is defacement of public or private property, vandalism, etc..  This makes me feel strange about being entertained by graffiti shows and even so entertained by movies about artists like Banksy that I actually start rooting for the artist.  Once the front of my home was tagged and I was not At All entertained and had to pay quite a sum to have the tag removed.  Later...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Different Strokes --- Day 314

Walk: de Young (Contemporary African Art lecture), shopping errands
Distance: 10 blocks or so

My Amazon order of Lives of Great 20th Century Artists by Edward Lucie Smith just arrived.  Some people (vastly different than me) like to leaf through cookbooks whereas this book is my type of intriguing compendium.

Seeing it puts me in mind of going to the Paley Collection show at the de Young with a fine arts painter and our different takes on the art we were viewing.  Standing in front of a Cezanne masterwork, she said something about how the whole painting was directed toward a small church center left.  I was kind of shocked because I noticed the 'usual' stylistic qualities for which Cezanne is known: flat perspective, using brushwork and color to make geometric forms which construct his scene. But it hadn't occurred to me the picture was "built' toward the small church.

So I said something about how Cezanne was commenting on scientific theories of light and physics that were just making their way into the late 19th C. intelligentsia.  She didn't have much to say about that and returned to some more comments about how Cezanne had actually painted the work.

I then said something about his supposedly brutish mentality.  And on and on we went, never really finding much common ground in the aspects of the work we were resonating to.

This interested me, and one conclusion I came to was that, as an art appreciator and one time art critic/reviewer, I was personally interested in two things.  One my overall aesthetic take on the art.  And, two, facts (tidbits really) about the art, artist, historical period - or hopefully all those and more - that might make an art review lively and engaging to the reader.  The actual structure of the piece - while an integral and important aspect of a valid review - I don't believe makes for interesting copy in itself.

But I could see from her comments that structure, technique, brushwork, type of paint, where it failed or succeeded along these lines, etc. were really the only aspects her art creator mind was called to.

Interestingly, things reversed later when we were talking about books.  She enjoys facts about writers' lives - which I too find interesting.  But mostly I read for content and, primarily beyond that, for how and whether the writer painted his/her verbal scene.

Paul Cezanne, L'Estaque , (1879-83), o/c

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sausalito as Art --- Day 313

Walk:   R/T A- Dock Sausalito/Cibo
Distance: 4 Miles (?) and teach private

This house I walked by with a Sausalito friend today reminded me of a Barry McGee show I went to at Berkeley Art Museum a few months ago:

On the right of the show floor is a small fragment of a house/office he created.

McGee was (is?) a tagger/street artist.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Comfort for the Comforters --- Day 312

Walk: Fillmore Street (Pets Unlimited), Mindful Body
Distance: 20 blocks and teach yoga class

Hope these bedding type things provide comfort for some dogs and cats at Pets Unlimited, the neighborhood pet shelter and veterinarian hospital. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

But will it fit in my life? --- Day 311

Walk: No, Monday is a good day for household stuff

Very comfortable; but much thicker. Not sure Callie can even get there. 120 days to decide.
The New...hmmmm

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kluft and Skyfall are both winners --- Day 310

Walk: Mancini Mattress (bought a Kluft), Sundance Kabuki (Skyfall)
Distance: 5 miles

Skyfall is a must see for Bond adventure fans. It is actually very comprehensible, has some depth and poignancy, regular (not over the top) gorgeous cars.  The acting is excellent from beginning to end.  Daniel Craig has totally grown on me, and, as always for me, Javier Bardem is worth the price of admission.  The scenes with him and Craig are kinky fun. And, finally, Judi Dench gets to be the great Judi Dench she is.

Something for you to look forward to - as I look forward to the arrival of my new you-know-what (mattress if you don't) tomorrow.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Zzzzzzz --- Day 309

Walk: Mindful Body, Union Square
Distance: 1 mile and teach yoga class

Warning: Boredom ahead!

My back is telling me it might be time for a new mattress, so I went online to the site of the excellent, local handmade mattress company I bought from many years ago.  OMG, as they say!!  I can easily remember when cars cost what mattresses now sell for, and looks like it is going to be a similar grueling process of being tailed around by salespeople as I try to make my decision.

Also I see there are materials I have never heard of for mattresses: Latex? Foam? Pillow tops? Aye YiYi.

No matter how intense this process becomes, I promise this is my last blog on the topic.  Makes even me nod off.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Rouault, Vollard, Paley --- Day 308

Walk: de Young Museum (Paley Collection), Mindful Body
Distance:  1.5 miles and take yoga class

The works of the William Paley collection presently showing at the de Young Museum concentrate on the 'modernist' period, a hugely imprecise term that includes art from around the 1850's to the 1970's.  This show concentrates on the time from post-impressionism @1890 (Degas, Rousseau, Lautrec, Gaugin..) through Fauvism (Matisse, Derain, Rouault) to cubism (Picasso - also shown in earlier periods- Gris and Braque).  It is a powerful show in many ways, one being a show of buying power by one hugely powerful early CBS founder and top broadcast executive, William Paley.  Every piece on display is exceptional with a few being exceptional masterpieces, and we are lucky to have the assemblage - which is usually dispersed throughout MOMA -  here together in San Francisco.

One surprise of the show for me was an entire wall of Rouault paintings. (Georges Rouault 1871-1958)  His dramatic paintings with intense, stain-glass like colors and thick black outlines always stand out, and I know I've seen a work or two or three in several museums over time.  But I don't remember seeing so many of his paintings in one place, in this case in one collection. 

A fact that I learned at an art lecture may account for this, and I believe is corroborated by this sentence from one of Rouault's biographies: Encouraged by his art dealer Ambroise Vollard, he concentrated on graphic art between 1917 and 1927. One of the most famous series of this period is the extensive cycle 'Miserere' which was finished in 1927 and published in 1948. (N.B. - 21 Years between completion and publication).

The fact to which I refer is that Rouault's dealer mentioned above was said to have gone to Roualt's studio on a regular basis and bought every painting he saw each time. Eventually Vollard paid the abjectly impoverished Rouault a salary to paint and even established a quiet, clean studio on the top floor of his own house while shortly before Rouault had been living and painting in a rat-infested slum in Versailles.  Vollard's strong patronage and salary must have seemed an enormous blessing to Rouault at the time allowing him to make a living and continue as a painter.  But his exclusive contract with Rouault also allowed Vollard to essentially corner the market on all Rouault's works - paintings, prints, illustrated manuscripts and whatever else the artist produced.

And, in the long run, Vollard's patronage was was no blessing at all for Rouault. If the fact I remember from the art history lecture is true, Vollard is said to have completely withheld Rouault's work for 20 years (!).  In 1937 when he did release the Rouault works he owned, the modernism market was totally established, commanding huge sums and Fauvist works were rare and at a premium. In that year forty two paintings all in a style which was "relatively 'new' for critics and the public but long established by the artist himself"* more or less blew the minds of viewers and Rouault's reputation took a great stride forward.  The long-withheld Rouault works were literally gobbled up by wealthy collectors such as Paley - who perhaps was given first dibs by Vollard, as dealers usually do for prominent collectors. 

So, who capitalized on Roualt's art?  In this case Vollard and Paley as well as the other collectors Vollard sold to.  Rouault's original monies from Vollard were a pittance in the long run. But ironically Vollard was killed in an accident in 1939 thus releasing Rouault from his financial contract.  Rouault then prevailed in a lawsuit against Vollard's heirs and reclaimed his unsold paintings.  In the 1950s, what had been a trickle of retrospective exhibitions became a flood, and when Rouault died in February 1958, he was given a state funeral.

But at a higher level, Rouault was cheated out of his career:  His art was barely seen compared to the number of works that could have been encountered by other artists and collectors. Hence his work never really entered the "dialogue" or "conversation" of art.  Few other artists within and outside of France could be influenced by him or could comment on him either in their art or in actual conversations among themselves or with Rouault directly.  If this had happened, Rouault may have gained a greater reputation, or may have grown in reaction to critiques by other artists and critical reviews.  He may have had many stages in a career that, as it happened, was visually quite consistent from beginning to end. 

When Rouault recovered his paintings from the Vollard family, he burned 315 of them in front of witnesses.  I can't help but wonder or think this rage about what his career, life and even spirit (Rouault was highly religious and spiritual) could have become if not for Vollard's greedy, covetous withholding was much of what propelled Rouault toward this massively destructive act.

* I've located a biographical article on Georges Rouault that corroborates and fleshes out the little piece of information I picked up at the lecture:

Link to the de Young show:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Human Courage ---- Day 307

Walk: de Young (Kingship and Power in African Art), errands
Distance: 1 mile

One of the things I like about myself and have worked on/valued my whole life is that I am courageous.  The other day I googled "Courage" for the reasons we all google, and again and again found references to 'manly courage,' 'courage and manliness..' and all the quotes about courage were by men and about men's activities.  Finally I googled 'Is courage feminine?' and still all the references were to from for and by men.  Vis-a-vis courage, women were said to show it by their passivity, by their willingness (or something) to rely on men.  Men are courageous and go to war but women don't is one consistent idea about courage.

Well, I personally, female, would take a bullet or go to war for several things, values and beings that are absolutely dear to me.  And as I said, I am self-identified with and have striven my whole life to be courageous.

It is at least a week later, and I am still so appalled by this relegating of such an import human quality to men that I can't wrap my mind around it. I want to express my feelings and thoughts about this, and maybe I will.  But maybe they are best expressed by just putting this 'google' discovery out there and letting people form their own thoughts.

Other "Manly Virtues" I encountered are: Industry, Resolution, Self-Reliance, Discipline and Honor. (I'm sure there are more). All of these constitute Human Character as far as I'm concerned. I value them for myself and in others - men and women. 

*Virtually every image in Google Images relating to Courage is also male.  Check it out...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post Toasted --- Day 306

Walk: No

Post-election, post-daylight savings, post about a year of coming up with diversions from the election.  A little re-energizing and regrouping in order. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Night ---- Day 305

Walk: de Young Museum (lecture on the Paley Collection), Mindful Body
Distance: 1.5 miles and teach yoga class

5:30 SF time/ 8:30 East Coast.  The only thing on my/most everyone's mind is the election.  So back to TV and the returns...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Marin is not (Just) for the Birds --- Day 304

Walk: Miwok Loop, Best Buy
Distance: 5 miles

Looking every which way on my beautiful hike today.  Towards Tennessee Valley...

Out across Muir Beach to the Pacific...

Way across past the Oakland Hills where rarely visible Mount Diablo (rear center) was clear in the distance...

And didn't even notice an avian friend perched right next to me:

A little further on, he/she had joined up with a friend beside a couple of picnickers who, like me, were absorbed in their outing and didn't notice them:

Turned back toward the City:

And returned to home and Callie who was flaked out and oblivious to the birds..

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Silver Linings Playbook --- Day 303

Walk: Sundance Kabuki Theater (The Silver Lining Playbook)
Distance: 2 miles

The Silver Linings Playbook is opening November 21.  Saw it today with my advance release Cinema Club. You'll like it.

Jennifer Lawrence                    Bradley Cooper

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tony and Amy: That's a Wrap --- Day 302

Walk: Mindful Body, Vogue Theater, Hudson Grace (new Sacramento Street store),Trader Joe's
Distance: 3 miles and teach yoga class

Went to a documentary on Tony Bennett, The Zen of Bennett, and unexpectedly walked out of the theater with Amy Winehouse on my mindThe majority of the movie captures his recording sessions with some of the artists he sang with on his "Duets" albums: Carrie Underwood, Willie Nelson, John Mayer, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga and others.  I'd say see the movie for the depth of Bennett's talent as well as calm and for some footage of famous musical people in recording room settings. 

Bennett's apparently perfect calmness created a shockingly stark contrast with Amy Winehouse in a long segment of the documentary.  Standing at her mic near Bennett's she has a feral quality, animal quickness and instability only tangentially bordering on self-regard or even humanness.  She is riveting because, truly, you are almost afraid of what she might do in the next moment.  Her energies are both intense and barely bridled.  She is someone you want to be very wary of  and at that same time reach out and nurture.  She's just in So Much trouble.  But when all that trouble, unpredictableness and creativity harness themselves to her musicality, even Bennett is stunned. He knows he's in the presence of that rarest of commodities: true artistry, artistry so pure it roars out of the voice like a wild bull, relentlessly charging into the unknown even in a recording session. Each take is utterly unique from the one before.  Jaw-dropping, and you can see his do just that.

Outside the recording studio Bennett also knows Winehouse idolizes him and that she's "hooked on" drugs.  But in this his calmness fails him utterly; there is no way he can possibly comprehend the level at which her whole chemistry/being is involved with multiple drugs and destructive behaviors*.  He makes the mistake most do and thinks he can 'talk to her,' 'tell her to watch it,' 'tell her to stop before she gets hurt..' Might as well tell it to a hungry lioness devouring prey. 

He is devastated, bursting into tears hearing about her death.  The movie is dedicated to her.  Through his eyes we are able to hear and appreciate her enormous talent - something that went past me in all the sensational even violent notoriety that surrounded her.  The world lost a deeply original talent, but looking at her in the movie, you know what Bennett apparently couldn't quite comprehend: she was a very fragile, very maddening, very temporary visitor.

*It's a day later now and I've read a bit more on Bennett (and Winehouse).  One of the most interesting facts about him vis-a-vis this blog as well as the whole movie about his 'zen' is that he nearly died of a cocaine overdose in the 1980's.