The Amateur’s Dilemma

The Amateur’s Dilemma

Over the years, I’ve become more and more interested in photography — in taking pictures, myself. When I was young and pursuing a degree in Art, with painting the focus, I was ambivalent about it as an art. I couldn’t really see it at nearly the same level as painting, as involving the same degree of talent, much less genius. Of course, at the time, my list of snobbish opinions regarding a host of different things was too long to detail, and would fill a book or two. Snobbery about books was, perhaps, at the top of that list.

Bridge of Shadows
Bridge of Shadows

But with age comes, if not wisdom, then at least some understanding of one’s limits — perhaps because those limits are starting to manifest themselves in ways we simply can no longer shrug off. Age, if utilized, causes us to slow down a bit, stop, take notice of our once take-no-prisoners declarations of likes and dislikes, and wonder: Could I have been wrong about … Click to continue . . .

Ian Hunter: Epic Poet of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ian Hunter: Epic Poet of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Known by most as the lead singer of Mott the Hoople, Ian Hunter was already a seasoned vet of 30 when he took the helm of that quintessential Glitter Rock band. I became a much bigger fan when he struck out on his own with his first solo effort in 1975, Ian Hunter, and continued to follow him through subsequent efforts — with All-American Alien Boy and You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic being favorites.

For me, Ian Hunter was like an English Dylan, one who didn’t try to hide his accent, his rawness, his earthiness. He wrote great songs, and had excellent Rock musicians backing him, especially Mick Ronson, David Sanborn, Jaco Pastorius and Queen. The sonic variety of his music impressed me always. Tough, hard-edged to sweet, rowdy to contemplative, raw to cooked and back again, his oeuvre is one of the best in the Rock world and is easily among the most overlooked and underrated.

He’s still touring and making music at … Click to continue . . .

New Poetry by Ann Applegarth

New Poetry by Ann Applegarth

A PLACE IN THE SUN

     – basking before Earl Stroh’s “Sunscape”

In the museum I love,
we stroll and consider
paintings, sculptures, and
a few random examples
of what passes for art
in this 21st century.
Weary, we sit and gaze
at Stroh’s serene, soothing
Sunscape – palest oils
smoothed in stunning simplicity,
no trace of brush or canvas,
a silk veil of softest paint
encircled by slim silver wire.
Glow and warmth are palpable.
I should have brought my parasol.

              

 

TWO FACES OF BEAUTIFUL

 

In his Albuquerque studio
on an easel near the north window
rests Howard Wexler’s stunning portrait
of artist Alice Seely
regal posture
elegant as a queen
sleek black hair in chic chignon
black velvet décolleté gown
a cloud of maribou encircling the neck
dangling onyx earrings
antique ruby pendant at her throat
aura of Arpège
delicate suede sandals
half-full Baccarat glass of claret
wistful dark eyes gazing into distance
mind in Prague, Nairobi, or New York
“Beautiful woman,” Howard … Click to continue . . .

Haley Reinhart’s Creep, from Postmodern Jukebox

Haley Reinhart’s Creep, from Postmodern Jukebox

The scars of being boxed, packaged and sold by corporate machines can last all too long, but if this video is any indication, Haley Reinhart has managed to overcome this in resounding ways. If her time with Postmodern Jukebox tells the tale, she’s not only overcome her stint on American Idol (2011), but used it the right way: to launch what appears to be a unique and promising musical career, while doing it her own way, independent of corporate pressures and cookie cutter mindsets.

To me, her performance of “Creep” is flawless, with its incredible dynamic range, mood shifts, infectious building toward crescendos, its soaring highs and lows. A jazz aficionado, Reinhart adds scat, growls in just the right places, merges beautifully with the backing band, and basically knocks it out of the park. She’s only 25.

 

New Poetry by Daniel Ableev

New Poetry by Daniel Ableev

From 8 NONSEMES

 

Oh complex Gran,
let there finally be thy numbers:
First 1 Pafnutian opinion,
thereafter 3 poseiding whales.

What have I left behind but old suffering.
Not head, not feet hold me here.
It was farmer’s naught, obviously,
by the name of Walter.

Yesterday was “hihi” ridicule,
today death is to be applied.
Yesterday: “dadance,”
today: thy soul’s distress.

Complex iterations
seem to the eighth viewer
as rather dull sonuds/echeos,
redolent of unsense, dumb-as-lake.

Gunners from all over,
gunners from every frikkin’ state out there:
Flirting with dadaster
is the way to goo!

A walking pupum,
slowly looking at me,
slowly asking me stuff.
A walking nunum.

Everywhere formations …
(my head is growing).
Colors of perplexion …
(my head is x-wing).

———-

I was bitten by a spider
last summer.
I bit back immediately:
Its head will be missed dearly.

In the abstract’s flow
instead of water is chagrin.
It does right into the ocean,
where lies seem to be the ruling … Click to continue . . .

George Spencer: god: a quarterback without a playbook

George Spencer: god: a quarterback without a playbook

god gets nervous when we get too close to him
— rene leclerc. god and his ways 

attention flutters, takes a walk. the narrative grinds on
boards so marched over aging thespians throw lines away.
cell phones buzz. messages zing round our heads. 
red onions eavesdrop and gossip underground.
all’s so bland road-kill is news  as a worm is cut in half by the gardener’s shovel  
but still they repeat beautiful the dew, lovely the garden

 there’s blood in my ear now and i’m happy to spin a song of small sins,
of the deceit of love’s sticky ropes
 from which sad young wannbe icarus tried to escape,                                                        
mounting the diving board over the empty swimming pool.
we’ve seen it a thousand times
and the motel isn’t responsible for unattended kids. 

the other side’s worse chaos 
where god’s a quarterback without a playbook.
a nihilist, solipsist,  ironist,  
 aslant his tongue overflowing with love
for the eighth false prophetess of  extended sunrises.

 too much of … Click to continue . . .

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Surprisingly good, fresh, funny and touching, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl tells the story of high school kids, coming of age, learning not just about life, but about death, and how we still keep discovering new things about people after they’re gone. Even the most important things. We still keep learning about ourselves in the process, and that how we treated them while they were on this planet is everything — well, except for realizing this should apply to the not-dying too.

Young Greg Gaines, played by Thomas Mann, is a senior in a Pittsburgh high school, and he’s socially awkward, very hard on himself, and tries his best to navigate through all the baffling teenage factions without ever getting involved in any one of them. And perhaps because he’s decided to remain free from all attachments — except for his one friend, Earl (RJ Cyler)  — he’s taken aback one day when his mother asks him to befriend Rachel, played by Olivia Cooke, … Click to continue . . .