28 February 2009

In Memoriam: Cyd Charisse

Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly in the film: Singing in the Rain
(released in 1952)

We lost Cyd this year, she has gone on to a better place. Ms. Charisse, truly, you are the best dancer I ever hope to see perform. Your passing touches me.

Requiscat in Pace.

22 February 2009

Great Art: Getting It Paid For, and Finished! -- "The Agony and the Ecstasy"

I recently spoke to several of my friends, one a film buff and the others folks who would love the story told here, and none of them had seen this film, much less read the book. Given what I knew about who I was talkin' to, I was quite surprised.

The Agony and the Ecstasy is based on one segment of Irving Stone's biographical novel of the same name. This superb film tells the story of the tumultuous relationship between Michelangelo Buonarroti and Pope Julius II over the painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

I have to admit, seeing Rex Harrison in a role where he quite effectively, as Pope Julius to Heston's Michelangelo, puts Charlton Heston in his place is, well, delicious. Heston was playing so many God-like roles in those days, it's good to see someone with the authority to put such a gigantic screen presence in his place.

But more importantly, the history of the now renovated Sistine Chapel ceiling, one of the greatest art accomplishments of the Italian Renaissance, is fundamentally important. It gives the viewer substantial insight into the ever difficult relationship between a great artist and a patron he (or she) must rely on to continue working.

In short, see this film. It is an essential for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of how great art gets made.

17 February 2009

Anna Christoffersson: Sweden Comes Through with the New Billie Holiday

A great new talent from Sweden -- sultry, soulful, great musician, beautiful voice. Ms. Cristoffersson has got it all. Check out her music on the jukebox on her MySpace page at:

12 February 2009

Happy Birthday Charles Darwin; Happy Birthday President Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
Charles Darwin
Today is the anniversary of both men's birth. Their actions and ideas changed the world forever. We should not forget the wisdom they helped us find.

Hayes Carll - It's A Shame (live)

'I have seen the future of old time country music; his name is Hayes Carll.'

05 February 2009

Tift Merritt: "Broken" (video and album track)

New talent on the rise. Ms. Merritt is gonna be big unless the industry decides to crush her. If corporate music does, I will sue them until they run for the Everglades.

This is real talent, you "gray-suited grafters" -- let it thrive.

Hats off to Ms. Merritt. Buona Fortuna.