All This, For That?

Wall3Final WallTo say I’m disappointed would not be entirely accurate. I had few expectations. But still I felt compelled to ask, all this, for that?

I suppose as an exercise the sampling had some merit —even a touch of poetry.

Yes, a little merit—no more than that which was demanded—as we’re talking about the side-street wall of a commercial building, which no one takes much notice of as they pass—almost always talking or texting. There was no intent to add anything of note or anything decorative on the wall. The building itself is notable only for its mass and a few Art Deco decorations, which are, or so I’ve observed, largely unnoticed.

Nevertheless, as I walked passed the building on my way to the bank or to the post office or to the # 1 train, I enjoyed the pleasure of observing and documenting something of the work of serious minded men and women.

All This, For That?

Berlin Symphony: Fantasia or Fantasy

Walther Ruttman’s Berlin, Symphony
Image from: GHDI.

A cinematic fantasia? A salute to modernity? A hyper-kinetic montage of Berlin life, circa 1927? What is revealed and what is hidden in a seemingly naturalistic rendering of a modern city?

A train appears out of nowhere and I am immediately filled with a sense of dread. It is an eerie feeling—an emotion at the opposite end of the spectrum that I imagine the filmmaker hoped to stimulate in his audience. I could not separate the images on the screen from a flurry of others that simultaneously rushed my mind’s eye. Images recalled from countless feature films, documentaries and photographs. This made it impossible for me to share in Ruttman’s delight in acceleration—toward what are we accelerating? Nor could I sit back and equate the speed and power of a locomotive simply with new perceptions and sensations of modern life. I could not read the train’s (and with it the audience’s) passage from rural to suburban to urban center as a metaphor for the civilizing power of industrialization. No. German trains of that particular era, hurling through space, can only have Auschwitz as their ultimate destination. Continue reading “Berlin Symphony: Fantasia or Fantasy”

Berlin Symphony: Fantasia or Fantasy

It Was the 60s and New York City was the Epicenter of Change

Photo: Girl on Limbo's stoopChange of cosmic proportions. The center of that center was St. Marks Place, and at the Center of St. Marks Place was a store called Limbo.

Marty (Limbo) Freedman and I have toyed with the idea of telling this story in various media and recently had conversations with two sets of TV and movie producers. They were excited by the idea of a show built around Limbo, and its cast of authentic characters, who individually and collectively define the mores and practices of the 60s. There was serious talk but also disagreement about how to proceed.

These “meetings,” not to be confused with happenings, led Marty and me to believe the time to tell this story has come, and we want to reach out to producers who have a passion for the 60s, the most passionate decade of modern times.

We want to tell a true story, in an episodic format, about some very funny, sexy, brilliant, curious, serious, strange, far-out, wasted, obscure, and also celebrated people who wanted to change everything, starting with the clothes on their back.

Curious? To learn more, visit Limbo St. Marks’ Facebook page here, or its Wikipedia page here, and if something clicks, contact us here.


It Was the 60s and New York City was the Epicenter of Change

Man Showing Off New Copy of American Lullaby

Nick Holding BookAnyone can admire a photograph of a well known, highly regarded, Global Creative Officer holding up his copy of American Lullaby. But are you one of the few with the wit, charm and wherewithal to acquire your own copy?

That’s really the question, isn’t it. Get your copy today and then send me a picture of you with it, along with the name of a favorite poem or two or lines that set your brain tingling or heart pumping.

Man Showing Off New Copy of American Lullaby

Angel City Chorale Performs “Hong Kong Harbor, 1984”

“Hong Kong Harbor, 1984”
Alternately titled, “From This Side of the Window”
Composed and Arranged by Philip White
Based on a poem by Robert A. Sawyer
Performed by Angel City Chorale
Soloist: Julie Athas

The Angel City Chorale performed Hong Kong Harbor, 1984 in their 2012 spring concert, Angels Over LA: An LA Story at Wilshire United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, California. The concert featured the work of Los Angeles composers.

The complete score can be seen and heard here at Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Inc.

Artistic Director, Sue Fink
Video edited by Sean Dugan


A poem Jodi Lister sent to me

A poem Jodi Lister sent to me Sat. 3 May 2003, 6:21:45 PM, which almost broke my heart.

The Two-headed Calf by Laura Gilpin

Tomorrow when the farm boys find this
freak of nature, they will wrap its body
in newspaper and carry him to the museum.
But tonight he is alive and in the north field
with his mother.

It is a perfect summer
evening, the moon rising over the orchard
the wind in the grass, and as he stares
into the sky, there are
twice as many stars as usual.

A poem Jodi Lister sent to me