Cycles

It’s interesting, to meet someone who has always worn the same styles, eaten the same kinds of foods and listened to the same music. On one hand, I admire the steadfast loyalty this takes. But is this a life, fulfilled? For some it seems so, but when I get the jones for something new, there’s no stopping me seeking it out.

For what seems like a terribly long time, I could listen to nothing but female music artists. One in particular was in constant rotation for over a decade. The shows I attended were mostly female singer-songwriters. There were a few male standbys that got some play, but for the greater part of the 90’s, it was all about the ladies. Did these women saturate the airwaves? If the music I listen to ever hit he airwaves, that might be one explanation. Celebrity has evaded most of my favorite artists. I will admit to holding a kind of grudge against those who do. It’s like my little secret is out, and now I have to share. Rarity is a fine quality.

For a couple of years, I have listened to mostly male artists and bands. There have been a few exceptions, but nothing that has held my attention for very long. Some of my favorite women have released new material, which I would have gone nuts over when I was a devoted fan. Instead, I can barely preview the stuff.

This could never, of course, have anything to do with my black and white thinking. It’s either the sky or the grass, good or bad. I can’t seem to get the hang of gray areas. I’m only cheating myself. I could have the best of both worlds.

That’s where the “same guys” and I part company. If you would have told me during my dance music phase that I would be listening to folk singers a few years later, I would have laughed. Often times memories have a soundtrack. Mine is a mix tape.

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Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is my Mom’s birthday.  I would not be here today if it weren’t for her.  I don’t say that simply because she gave birth to me.  I say that because she has carried me in places where I could not stand, let alone walk.  She is the living representation of unconditional love and tolerance.  She has done for me what I could never have done for myself, and she has also encouraged me to do for myself that which I would rather she had done for me.  I love you, Jeannie.  You are my density.  Jean Joann Demaray 12/13/46Mom & Dad

Happy Family 1970

Vegas 1999

John Winston Lennon, 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980

“You are all geniuses, and you are all beautiful. You don’t need anyone to tell you who you are. You are what you are. Get out there and get peace, think peace, live peace, and breathe peace, and you’ll get it as soon as you like.”

At around 10:50 pm On December 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon in the back four times at point-blank range as he approached the entrance of his home at the Dakota apartments in New York City. John was taken to the emergency room of nearby Roosevelt Hospital but pronounced dead on arrival at 11:07 pm. The dream was over.

Chapman pled guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life. He remains in prison and has been repeatedly denied parole.

John’s body was cremated. Accounts vary as to what his widow Yoko has done with his ashes.

Two days before his death John told an interviewer that he felt he could go anywhere in New York City and feel safe. When asked how he thought he might die he replied “I’ll probably be popped off by some loony.”

In an interview hours before his murder, Lennon said “I’ve always considered my work one piece whether it be with Beatles, David Bowie, Elton John, or Yoko Ono. And I consider that my work won’t be finished until I’m dead and buried and I hope that’s a long, long time.”

I was 12 on that fateful night. I had just returned home from confirmation class. I would always turn on the cabinet radio in my Grandma’s basement when I got settled in. I heard the news most likely soon after it broke. I was devastated. I had been listening to the Beatles since I knew what music was and loved John best. I called my best friend Dee Dee, distraught. Her Mom said that it was a little late for a phone call. I explained to her that John had been shot. She made an exception. My Mom had just bought Double Fantasy for my sister and me and I had been playing it over and over again. This could not be happening. It was the first time in my young life that death had touched me personally. He was a part of me and will always be.

“For our last number, I’d like to ask your help. The people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you, just rattle your jewelry.” John, during the Royal Variety Performance in London (4 November 1963) attended by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret. John had intended to say “****ing jewelry”, but was persuaded against doing so by Paul McCartney and the group’s manager Brian Epstein.

“I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jesus, I would have gotten away with it. I’m sorry I opened my mouth. I’m not anti-God, anti-Christ, or anti-religion. I wasn’t knocking it or putting it down. I was just saying it as a fact and it’s true more for England than here. I’m not saying that we’re better or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing or whatever it is. I just said what I said and it was wrong. Or it was taken wrong. And now it’s all this.” During a news conference in Chicago, where he apologized for the above statement, which was accepted by the Vatican. (11 August 1966)

“That’s part of our policy, is not to be taken seriously, because I think our opposition, whoever they may be, in all their manifest forms, don’t know how to handle humor. You know, and we are humorous, we are, what are they, Laurel and Hardy. That’s John and Yoko, and we stand a better chance under that guise, because all the serious people, like Martin Luther King, and Kennedy, and Gandhi, got shot.” As quoted in BBC interview with David Wigg (8 May 1969)

“The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.” Interview for KFRC RKO Radio (8 December 1980)

Happy 60th, Tom Waits

Thomas Alan Waits (born 7 December 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. Waits has a distinctive voice, described by one critic as sounding “like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.” With this trademark growl; his incorporation of pre-rock styles such as blues, jazz, and Vaudeville; and experimental tendencies verging on industrial music, Waits has built up a distinctive musical persona. He has worked as a composer for movies and musical plays and as a supporting actor in films, including The Fisher King, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Short Cuts. He has been nominated for an Academy Award for his soundtrack work on One from the Heart.

Lyrically, Waits’ songs are known for atmospheric portrayals of bizarre, seedy characters and places, although he has also shown a penchant for more conventional ballads. He has a cult following and has influenced subsequent songwriters despite having little radio or music video support. His songs are best-known to the general public in the form of cover versions by more visible artists—for example, “Jersey Girl,” performed by Bruce Springsteen; “Downtown Train,” performed by Rod Stewart; and “Ol’ ’55,” performed by the Eagles. Although Waits’ albums have met with mixed commercial success in his native United States, they have occasionally achieved gold album sales status in other countries. He has been nominated for a number of major music awards and has won Grammy Awards for two albums, Bone Machine and Mule Variations  (source)

Tom appeared in the film Wristcutters: A Love Story as Kneller, leader of a band of “happy campers”, on a site where minor miracles occur.  The story is a magical one.  Tom is a fine actor and one of the greatest musicians of our time.  I am honored to pay respect to him on this, the 60th anniversary of his birth.  I tip my hat to you, Mr. Waits.

The Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso-Andrea Bocelli

Cimema Paradiso (Italy, 1988.) Written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore.  Starring Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi, Philippe Noiret and Jacques Perrin.   One of the first foreign films I ever saw and one of the best films I have ever seen.  If it doesn’t touch your heart, it has gone cold.

Down by Law (1986)

Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch.  Starring Roberto Benigni as an Italian tourist, Tom Waits as an unemployed disc jockey and John Lurie as a small-time pimp. Also stars Nicoletta Braschi and Ellen Barkin.  Songs by Tom Waits.  Cinematography by Robby Muller.

It’s not where you start–it’s where you start again.