Beauty/Culture: the Hoop Earring

Every fashionable woman owns at least one pair of hoop earrings.

Photo; Mitchell Sams

At Marc Jacob’s Fall/Winter 2017 show models stomped down the runway with shiny gold hoop earrings.  They ranged from giant three-tiered hoops to a single thin hoop with a diamond encrusted key dangling from it.

From Marc Jacobs show

In the Spring Box  of Style from Zoe Report were these earrings.

The collection, which was also full of oversized fur collared jackets and monochromatic tracksuits, was inspired by the early days of hip-hop.

“It is an acknowledgement and gesture of my respect for the polish and consideration applied to fashion from a generation that will forever be the foundation of youth culture street style,” Jacobs explained in the show notes.

Hoops are one of the most attractive styles of earrings and they come with a story. Anything interesting comes with a story.

Unfortunately, not everyone who borrows from street culture is as eager to acknowledge the contributions of people who created it. The round jewelry has been a favorite accessory for decades from Cher in the 1960s to Madonna in the 1980s, but hoop earrings have a deep-rooted history in communities of color.

This cultural significance of the hoop earring was brought to light recently when three Latina students painted a message to their fellow classmates at Pitzer College in California about their earrings. They scribbled “White girls, take off your hoops” in bright yellow spray paint on a wall outside of a dormitory, after they noticed an influx of their peers wearing oversized hoop earrings.

Photo: Elliot Dordick, The Claremont Independent

Alegria Martinez, one of the students responsible for the graffiti, wrote an email to the student body that stated that they were sick of white women appropriating styles that “belonged to black and brown folks who created the culture.” The controversy came shortly after Elle dubbed the hoop earring a must-have accessory for fall, thanks not only to Marc Jacobs, but others like Fendi and Michael Kors.

Designers, celebrities, and even retailers have been long accused of taking styles from marginalized groups they think are “cool” without any consideration for the context. Last November, people took to social media to call out Urban Outfitters when it attempted to re-brand oversized gold doorknocker earrings. “The same earrings that people find ratchet or ghetto on black women are now $16.00 and sold at hipsters R us. These are literally a dollar at the nearest black hair store. My culture says you’re welcome,” one woman wrote in a Facebook post that has now been shared over 21,000 times.

Hoop earrings have a very long history dating all the way back to the ancient Sumerians from modern-day Iraq in 2600 B.C.  Different variations of the hoop have been adopted by a range of cultures around the world, from the Hmong women of Vietnam to the Gadaba tribe of India, as Vogue points out. But, in America, the style has often been adopted by women of color in an effort to reclaim their culture and celebrate their history.

Hoop earrings became especially popular among African American women during the Black Power movement in the 1960s when many were embracing Afrocentric dress. From activists like Angela Davis to artists like Tina Turner, more women were adopting an African-inspired look that embraced natural hairstyles and hoop earrings.

As Tanisha C. Ford writes in her book, Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul, “In African-inspired clothing and large hoop earrings and sporting Afros and cornrow braids, Americans and Britons of African descent envisioned soul style as a symbolic baptism in freedom’s waters through which they could be reborn, liberated from cultural and social bondage of their slave and colonial past.”

The statement jewelry carried on into the 70s when it was embraced by disco divas like Diana Ross and Donna Summer. When the 80s rolled around, their thin gold hoops were traded for thick gold “door knocker” and bamboo hoop earrings by hip-hop artists like Salt N Pepa and MC Lyte.

By the 1990s, oversized hoop earrings were a fixture of Chola style, which was embraced by working-class Mexican American women in Southern California. The radical look was defined by slicked-down baby hairs, dark lip-liner, and door-knocker hoop earrings.

But, it was about more than just fashion. As Barbara Calderón-Douglass writes in her piece “The Folk Feminist Struggle Behind the Chola Fashion Trend,” “The chola aesthetic is the result of impoverished women making a lot out of the little things their families could afford.”

Martinez, who grew up in Southern California, says she sees the style as a form of resistance. “We are women of color from Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Bernadino and that is where this cultural style comes from,” explained Martinez. “Whenever we wear our hoops, or when I wear bold eyeliner and red lipstick, I feel really proud to be from that background.”

Fashion has always taken influences from different cultures. The problem with appropriating styles like hoop earrings is that many women of color still can’t wear these “trends” without facing discrimination for looking too “ghetto.” Not to mention, many of those who are eager to slip on a pair of hoop earrings fail to use their platform for any meaningful discussion about race.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, artist Helena Metaferia

Just last season Marc Jacobs faced a fury of appropriation accusations when he sent a predominantly white cast of models down the runway wearing colorful pastel dreadlocks. The designer had attributed the collection to the style of club kids, but failed to mention that the hairstyle has history in African culture. So, when the designer made a point to attribute his fall 2017 aesthetic to the early days of hip-hop and the people of color who created it, many were eager to praise him for finally appreciating the culture rather than merely appropriating it.

Hopefully, more in the industry will take note.

Source for this Story: http://i-d.vice.com

Life + Culture: Curtains (a book about life)

The peculiar circle of lifeTake a clue from an interesting read called “Curtains.” Why leave your life up to chance?  Choreograph it, script it…like the film you always thought you were starring in anyway.  Lives just don’t happen! They are projects.  This is what gives them meaning. You are responsible for the contents. You must fill up your dash. The dash being the short time in between the day you were born until the very end (1989  ????) And there are books to help you do it.  Books like 1,000 things to do before you die.  Which in reality only makes you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything. Although it’s a start for those who don’t know where to begin.  It’s all about living with purpose.  It’s important to live each day as if it’s your last because one day you will be right.

A friend of mine lent me a book to read entitled “Curtains”.  A book that I have to preface by saying I would never have chosen to read if I knew what it was about.  Because it has a lot to do with death and I didn’t want to go there. So this is somewhat of a book review and an overview of the meaning of life taken from what I read and my thoughts.

Why this book?

As it so happens the person who lent it to me used to be a professional curtain maker.  He made beautiful curtains for a living and so the title jumped out at him at the library.  I know; who goes to libraries anymore? Anyway it makes sense; he thought it was about curtains and was curious.

At the time he lent it to me I was just starting a book called Tango, a Love Story that another friend gave me because she knows that I love tango, the dance.  A light feel-good true story that was very timely. Let me tell you; Curtains is the furthest away from tango…maybe closer to Last Tango (in Paris or elsewhere).  But it is about the dance of life.

My friend assured me that he had not intended to read Curtains when he figured out what it was about but once he started he could not put it down and everyone he lent it to… same story.  I was intrigued and said I’d give it a go.  At least one chapter. So I put my beautiful tango book on hold to read a book about life coming around full circle to ultimately…death.  In a nutshell I found it morbidly fascinating, well written, extremely tongue in cheek, lots of wit but not without the gorey details.

Curtains was written by Tom Jokinen, a veteran radio producer (Morningside, Definitely Not the Opera + more) and a video-journalist at the CBC. He set his career aside in 2006 to be an apprentice undertaker at a small third generation family-run funeral home and crematorium in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  This drastic vocational change at the age of 44 resulted with him writing this book.  Why? Mostly he did it because he wanted to find out first-hand what goes in that gap between death and burial at a time when our relationship with the dead is radically changing.  What he found is from the mundane to the macabre, to the completely comic to the totally heartfelt. It delves into religion, different beliefs, customs and beyond.  It is a fascinating read. It’s about humanity and an exploration of our culture’s relationship with the dead, dying and those left behind. It prompts a question: Why do we each spend up to $10,000 – for most, the third-biggest cash outlay in our lives after a house and a car, according to Jessica Mitford, who wrote The American Way of Death – on funerals?

It may have been the prelude to the widely popular Netflix series 6 ft. under (which I hear was really well done but have never watched). What it basically comes down to is we don’t want to know; we do want to know; we’re confused; we’re better off not knowing, but we’re curious, sorry to know; not sorry; a little sorry! I’m not sure but I read the whole book anyway.  Too late! But it’s something we will all ultimately be dealing with whether we like it or not. From the book:

A modern take is that a man is now defined not by his faith but by his hobbies and quirks. Did he golf?  Was she an avid gardener?  Everyone is an avid something: an avid bowler, drinker, sailor or snake charmer.  Avidity is the key to unlocking your story.

Having faith doesn’t mean you have to be religious but religious faith, when it comes to death, is a fairy tale that soothes.  It doesn’t deny there’s a monster in the closet or a wolf in the woods but it tames them.  A study at Yale, published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, found that “bereaved individuals who relied on religion to cope generally used outpatient services less frequently compared to non-believers.

Epicurus said that there’s no need to fear the oblivion after we’re gone if we never cared about the oblivion that came before we were born.

“Curtains is deft, funny, surprising and above all thought-provoking.  Benjamin Franklin said that to know a society you only had to visit its cemeteries.  Jokinen has taken him up on that, and added in our funeral parlours and crematoria.  What emerges is a sharply focused picture of twenty-first-century North America – we’re uncertain about our values, distracted by inessentials but yearning, like every culture, to understand the meaning of death and the dead body, which is just another way of understanding life and humanity.” – Katherine Ashenburg, author of The Mourner’s Dance.

Food for Thought

Would this book pique your interest?

blending Art, Culture & Exercise

INspired by ART

Just when you thought the melting pot couldn’t get any narrower some smart person added working out to the mix of blending art with just about everything.workout1

Everything being fashion, music, culture (a given), food with or as an art, now getting FIT with Art which started only last month. might be the next new craze.  And like all big success stories it takes place in NYC at the largest art museum in the United States, “the Met”.

Here’s the lowdown taken from T, the NY Times Style Magazine:

Monica Bill Barnes & Company, the irreverent contemporary dance troupe, started “The Museum Workout”: a 45-minute physical journey that spans two miles of the Metropolitan Museum of Art before opening hours. The workout, commissioned by the MetLiveArts, contains a route curated and narrated by the illustrator Maira Kalman, the author of “The Principles of Uncertainty,” and encapsulates the company’s motto to “bring dance where it does not belong.” “We wanted to honor what exists and build from it,” Barnes, the company’s artistic director, says of the unlikely setting.

By pre-selecting objects to encounter along the way (the Met’s permanent collection houses over two million items) and dictating participants’ movements, Barnes hopes the format’s “physical framework allows each audience member to have a unique emotional experience.” The workout begins promptly at 8:45 AM; at this hour, the museum’s usually clogged steps are clear, shrouded in shadows and bright patches of morning light.

Within the museum, Barnes and the performer Anna Bass serve as our athletic docents. They dance side by side, snaking through the museum, trotting, marching, speed-walking with ease. When objects, like a terracotta monument carved with angels, obstruct their path, they diverge like hand-holding lovers, separated by an oncoming crowd.

Make no mistake: this is a workout. Your body will perspire, your heart rate will rise and you’ll shed any light layers. (That said, my one request would be to increase the cardio incrementally and start with more stretches that early in the morning.) And because our enjoyment of anything increases when it’s otherwise prohibited, the workout’s massive pleasure derives from its illicitness:“trespassing” the Met before re opening hours, writhing to Elton John within the galleries, gently sweating on various marble surfaces. It confers other singular bragging rights as well — like having done jumping jacks before the marble statue of a nude Perseus

WATCH the Museum Workout Video Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Though Kalman isn’t physically present, her presence is pervasive. Her narration proffers personal thoughts about art and unexpected aphorisms on mortality. Barnes admired her work as an acquaintance, and admitted that, like anyone she approaches for projects, “It’s just an excuse to become close to somebody that you think is going to add value and perspective to your own life.” Novelty aside, the building is exceptionally beautiful uncluttered with people. What the workout gives participants is an appreciation of the museum itself: the soaring ceilings, narrow hallways, spacious galleries; how the sunlight rakes and refracts through the windows, then scatters like beads from a broken necklace across the floor.

At the end, there’s coffee, clementines, crusty bread and butter. The assortment, neatly spread in the American Wing cafe, was chosen by Kalman, and her handwritten notes — scribbled with “KEEP MOVING” — lay arranged for participants to pocket. Though thrilling, the experience is ultimately ruinous. Wandering the halls after the museum has opened, your resting heart rate restored, How wonderful, you’ll think, as school children scuttle around, when none of you were here.

Source for Story: ALEXIS CHEUNG for T MAGAZINE – NY Times

What do you think?  Meet me at the Met.  Yes, No?

Humorous Sidenote (which has nothing to do with this post – I was phoning an auto repair shop): Today is Presidents Day in the U.S.  I phoned Saturday to find out about getting an oil change on Monday (today).  Asked if they were open on Monday.  Girl who answered replied “Yes, we’re open.”  To clarify I said “but it’s Presidents Day.”  She replied “yes,  but we’re Mexican!”  How about Sunday?  Are you open then?  No, she replied.  “We’re Mexican!”

Art/Exhibits: Light and Space

This UNUSUAL INSTALLATION by James Turrell is designed to entirely eliminate the viewer depth perception.light1

Perceptual deprivation is something I struggle with at times all the time when trying to park parking my car but this is completely different.  In general his work blends the worlds of art, science, architecture, astronomy, mathematics, archaeology, and spirituality.

James Turrell, Breathing Light

Ongoing at LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Artlight2

You don little sock booties and walk through a sloping curved room with a strong light source at one end that continuously changes color.  A little 60’s psychedelic, a little eerie mixed with some unexpected enlightenment.

About the Artist: 

James Turrell was born in Los Angeles in 1943 and attended Pomona College, where he studied art, art history, mathematics, perceptual psychology and astronomy. He took graduate courses at the University of California, Irvine, and received a master’s degree in fine art from Claremont Graduate School. 

www.lacma.org

Art/Film/PSIFF – The Dancer & King of the Dancehall

Fresh from the Palm Springs International Film Festival:danceTwo more movies with two intriguingly distinctive avant-garde dance styles and the ensuing competition that goes along with them. Because I wanted something artistic and upbeat as the festival draws to a close.

The dynamic energetic movies revolving around dance could not be more different from one another.  One resembling poetry in motion and the other raw & sexually charged.  Adversity is the only thing the main characters have in common and a drive to succeed.

I knew THE DANCER would if anything be visually stunning and I was correct.

Soko in

Soko in “The Dancer”

I loved it.  It was based on the true story of Loïe Fuller (perfectly played by French singer, songwriter, musician and actress Stéphanie Sokolinski, better known by her stage name “Soko”) an American dancer who became a sensation in Europe in the early 20th century-only to be swept aside just as quickly when a greater talent emerged on the scene. Don’t you hate when that happens? Said talent was Isadora Duncan whom you may have heard of as she became quite famous (gracefully played by Lily-Rose Depp in her first screen acting debut).  The story relates how Fuller went from living a difficult life with her father in the Midwest to ending up at the prestigious Paris Opera creating a dance that was unlike anything that was seen before. She became the toast of the town and a legend who helped almost by accident to create another living legend. A hauntingly striking film.

King of the Dancehall

kingofdancehall

In Jamaica they really do dance to a different beat.  I chose this movie because of the subject but also because I spent a lot of time all over Jamaica and part of that time was spent in Kingston where the film was shot.  It was written, directed and produced by Nick Cannon (host of America’s Got Talent) who was also the main star.  In other words a Nick Cannon production.  Cannon was at the screening and answered some questions at the end.

Shot in actual Jamaican outdoor dancehall venues, Cannon plays Tarzan (they all have nick names), a Brooklyn drug dealer fresh out of prison, whose mother (Whoopi Goldberg) is ill and unable to pay her medical bills. As he contemplates ways to make money he heads to Kingston where he contacts his cousin Toasta (Busta Rhymes) in the hopes of striking up a deal to export the island’s finest ganja (aka weed) back to his hometown.

The movie is in English with English subtitles that I assure you helps with understanding the dialogue because a lot of it is in Patois.  At least it’s authentic.

Toasta introduces Tarzan to the island’s nightclub scene with its vast network of fearsome gangstas, and his wife’s virginal (and sexy gyrating dancer of a sister) Maya whose suspicious bishop father (Lou Gossett Jr.) keeps her under a watchful eye.

Maya teaches Tarzan all the necessary moves so he is able to enter a contest in hopes of winning enough money to help out his mother.

What you need to know is that superstars like Beyoncé and Rihanna have used a lot of the original Jamaican dancehall moves in their shows and music videos.  The North American audience says “that’s a great move” while the Jamaican dance audience say  “she’s doing the (such and such…they all have names) move.”  In Jamaica, the dancers are celebrities in their own right, known all over the island as dance stars.

All my time in Jamaica I never visited a dancehall such as in this film, but I did go to a nightclub and in Negril the locals & others dance to live Reggae music at night on the beach.  This is where I witnessed very similar sexy dance moves as in the film. I had never seen dancing like that before….not here in North America!

Art/Film:  “Breakable You” &  “It’s Only the End of the World”

Two Films, two dysfunctional families involving two playwrights with two very different stories.  These were my first two choices to see at the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF). They make my world seem a whole lot less complicated and normal.

Image courtesy of Harmoney Productions

Image courtesy of Harmoney Productions

I saw the world premiere of a movie entitled “BREAKABLE YOU” mostly because two actors I really admire are in it.  Holly Hunter (the piano, what women want) & Alfred Molina (Chocolat, Frida).

“We’re all fakes until we have a good idea, and then we’re geniuses” – quote from the film.

This arguably dark comedy revolves around Eleanor, a psychologist (Holly Hunter) following the divorce of her plagiarising playwright husband  Adam (Tony Shalhoub)  who tries desperately to regain a former successful Broadway following.  They have a bi-polar philosophy grad student daughter named Maud (Cristin Miloti) who chases a forlorn uncommunicative man named Samir (Omar Metwally) who is trying to overcome an unbearable loss of his own.

Almost immediately following the divorce Eleanor embarks on an affair with her first love who happens to be her ex-husband’s brother (Alfred Molina).  Sound complicated?  It is. The setting takes place on New York’s upper west side with the Manhattan literary crowd.

If this sounds familiar like something from Woody Allen; trust me, it’s not!

“IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD”  (Juste la fin du Monde) is gaining awards buzz and for good reason.

Photo: theplaylist.net

Photo: theplaylist.net

I chose this one because of the amazing all French cast: Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux, Gaspard Ulliel & Nathalie Baye.  They were all unbelievably brilliant even if at times it was in-your-face hard to watch.

In brief the story is about a young writer returning home after 12 years to try to reconcile and tell his family some terrible news.  The news being that he is dying.  But the whole family is dying in a psychological sense.  This is one of the best (or worst) cases of family dynamic dysfunction I have yet to witness on the big screen.  Let’s just say….

My next selections from hereon in will be more uplifting.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is from January 2 – 16, 2017.    There is an abundance of fabulous films to choose from.  For more information go to: https://www.psfilmfest.org/

Let there be Light

December 24th, 2016

Store window - Granville Island

Store window – Granville Island

It’s Christmas Eve dayuglysweatersand today also marks the first day of Hannukah

The Festival of Lights

The Festival of Lights

Not only is the holiday’s lighting of candles beautifully symbolic of so many different things, but Hanukkah also creates a wonderful spirit of unison and love that I wish we saw more of during every other day of the year.

A little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness

Taken at dog beach

Taken at dog beach

And if you don’t have an actual minora don’t worry – it’s easy to make one yourself.

A Russian Hannukah

For the Russian Jew

For the Jewish Trekkie

For the Trekkie Inspired

For the Surfer

For the Surfer Jew

The Wino

Jew know any winos?

Hello Kitty - Japanese Style

Hello Kitty – JapaJew

Have a Merry Little Christmas too!

My Christmas Card. This year and last year

My Christmas Card

 

Edible Art: the BENTO redesigned

Thinking inside the Bento Box

Made with lunch meats, cheese, cucumbers, and mayonnaise. Courtesy of Amorette Dye

Made with lunch meats, cheese, cucumbers, and mayo (wasabi-mayo maybe?)

Like many aspects of Japanese culture, particularly contemporary fads (anime, Hello Kitty, harajuku girls), the bento has become extremely popular here in North America.

Frappucino: Chicken salad with toasted almonds, wheat crackers, tangerine wedges, cucumbers, cauliflower, rice, bits of Fruit Roll-Ups, and fondant over Okinawa sweet potato (naturally that purple!) Other food coloring used is vegetable-based colorants.

Frappucino: Chicken salad with toasted almonds, wheat crackers, tangerine wedges, cucumbers, cauliflower, rice, bits of Fruit Roll-Ups, and fondant over Okinawa sweet potato (naturally that purple!)

A single-portion meal, a Japanese bento typically contains rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables. It’s pretty much on every Japanese restaurant menu or outside billboard (with the more casual places) as a fundamental lunch staple.  A little variety of favourites in a partitioned decorative wooden box good for times you’re craving Japanese but you can’t make up your mind exactly what you want to eat, you’re hungry and don’t want to pay a fortune.  Usually it’s the expected Western preferences like California roll (boooring), chicken or beef teriyaki over rice, tempura and the tiniest bit of salad.  Sometimes miso soup on the side.

Recently I’ve come across some restaurants that offer a bit more creativity to the familiar boxed bento.  You can pick and choose your add-ons from a variety of delicacies (usually from looking at photos on the menu).  A design your own box lunch.  After all Bento (弁当 or べんとう) really means the art of arranging one’s lunch. This is perfect for me.

Canadian Geese. Yellow pear tomato, rice, portobello mushrooms, sesame seeds (as eyes), couscous, pear puree, green beans, and soba noodles.

Canadian Geese: Yellow pear tomato, rice (made with vegetable food-grade dye), portobello mushrooms, sesame seeds (as eyes), couscous, pear puree, green beans, and soba noodles.

Anyway, for fun I wanted to share a few of these brilliant or at least cute looking bento boxes and lunch plates.  I mean if they can create coffee art, why not this?

Above photos courtesy of Amorette Dye

foodart6bento3bento4

And finally a sophisticated French dessert

And who cannot resist a perfect happy ending

It brings new meaning to you are what you eat but are you willing to disturb the presentation?

ART/Culture: Where the Universe Sings

The nice thing about ART is that it’s universal.

Isolation Peak, Rocky Mountains. 1930. Oil on canvas. Hart House Permanent Collection, University of Toronto. Purchased by the Art Committee with income from the Harold and Murray Wrong Memorial Fund, 1946. (Lawren Harris).

Isolation Peak, Rocky Mountains. 1930. Oil on canvas. Hart House Permanent Collection, University of Toronto. (Lawren Harris).

And a necessary distraction. You can be anyone from anywhere and of any economic background or situation and appreciate what you see the same way (or not) as the next person.  This is why ART is so appealing and inspiring.  But aside from the recognized and renowned artists such as Picasso or Van Gogh (love them or not) it’s good to expand your knowledge of other well respected but maybe not so widely famous artists from other countries.  I’m having a Canadian moment here.  Those of you living in the U.S. might not have heard of the Group of Seven.  Comic book characters they’re not.

In the early decades of the twentieth century, circumstances brought together several artists who were committed to exploring, through art, the unique character of the Canadian landscape. Collectively they agreed: Canada’s rugged wilderness regions needed to be recorded in a distinctive painting style. This style would break from European tradition and reflect an increasingly nationalistic sentiment. Today, these men (and one woman, Emily Carr) are among Canada’s most famous artists. For many, their works have come to symbolize what is the distinctly Canadian identity.

When I lived in Toronto I had not paid too much attention to this Group of Seven but then I went to an exhibit at the McMichael Gallery to see what all the fuss was about and it changed me.  Just like the saying goes “if you love to travel, explore your own country first” (or something like that), the same goes for art.  So I did, and I learned something and appreciated what I saw – mostly the beautiful expansive and diverse landscape of my own country. Which, by the way I did explore in full since then.  So I can admit that Art did influence me in another respect.

This year at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) I looked forward to watching a documentary about one of the most influential Group of Seven artists – Lawren Harris.

A founding member of the Group of Seven and a major figure in the history of twentieth-century Canadian art, Lawren Harris (1885-1970) remains largely unknown in the United States. This year the AGO partnered with the Hammer Museum to introduce Harris’s iconic landscapes to audiences in Los Angeles and Boston. The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris was the first major solo exhibition of his work to be shown in the United States.

Around this time I was watching CBC (a former employer of mine while living in Toronto) and saw comedian (author and artist himself) Steve Martin talking about his love of Lawren Harris’ work with news anchor Wendy Mesley.  It was very interesting.

Steve Martin was Michael's guide for a tour of a new exhibition of Harris's work at the Art Gallery of Ontario. (Art Gallery of Ontario)

Steve Martin was Michael’s guide for a tour of the exhibition of Harris’s work at the Art Gallery of Ontario. (AGO).

The exhibition The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris was curated by comedian, musician, actor and writer Steve Martin in collaboration with Cynthia Burlingham, Deputy Director, Curatorial Affairs at the Hammer Museum, and Andrew Hunter, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art at the AGO.

I have a lot of respect for this guy.

I have a lot of respect for this guy.

Yes, I too believe that while anyone can put brush to canvas, true artists are not created equal.  Sorry, but that’s what I really think.  The ones who really move you are guided by some other outside force.

An intimate portrait of the life and art of Lawren Harris, a founding member of the legendary Group of Seven, and the expansive landscapes that inspired him below.

WHERE THE UNIVERSE SINGS: The Spiritual Journey of Lawren Harris (trailer):

https://vimeo.com/192636801

And while writing this I decided that I’m going to attempt to create a painting of my very own.. on a whim with some friends….and some expert guidance….and some wine. It’s not until the end of this month.  It’s kind of on my revised bucket list and believe me, I’m not expecting to create something of “worth”…just somethin…somethin….do something that scares you….well….this is it.  I’m expecting that whatever it is, it will turn out to be pretty scary. However, according to my personal horoscope this month I have all of the cosmic mojo I need to accomplish—nay, excel at—anything I put my mind to.  A possible masterpiece??  You’ve got to believe!

 How about you?  Do you have a desire to paint?

Culture/Art/Film: Landfill Harmonic

This is the best feel-good movie I’ve seen in a long time.

landfil2 I just watched it with my film buddy who I met at VIFF. landfil1This film is not about garbage, it’s about making the best of the junk that surrounds you.

The reason it’s uplifting is that it points out that no matter what your living conditions are like, through the power of hope and dreams you can build on becoming what you desire and we realize that music is that unifying force that binds all people.  It’s pretty powerful.  It’s actually a film on the power of music through very unusual circumstances.landfil5landfil4

These kids play everything from the BIG THREE (Mozart, Bach, Beethoven) to heavy metal (play heavy metal with heavy metal) favourites.

Land Fillharmonic was showcased last year at various film festivals but was recently re-released in many cinemas worldwide (you’ll have to check in your hometown).  If so, I highly recommend seeing it.  WATCH TRAILER:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCjbd21fYV8

Landfill Harmonic follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical youth group who live next to one of South America’s largest landfills. This unlikely orchestra play music from instruments made entirely out of garbage. When their story goes viral, the orchestra is catapulted into the global spotlight. With the guidance of their music director, Favio Chávez (a most amazing man), they must navigate this new world of arenas and sold out concerts. However, when a natural disaster devastates their community, the orchestra provides a source of hope for the town.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king – one of the instruments taken in the lobby of VanCity Theatre Tuesday night.

Instruments Beyond Borders...harnessing the power of music to better children’s lives.  Many schools have now very unfortunately cut music from educational programs.  It’s good to give back.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

An entirely volunteer, charitable Society dedicated to delivering donated musical instruments and funds to music education programs in disadvantaged communities at home and abroad.  In Vancouver instrument donations can be made at Tapestry Music (3607 West Broadway).  Tax receipts for donated instruments are available upon evaluation.

Music heals the world.  So will recycling.