Four/Vol. Two

This month’s blog is full of news that I hope is interesting to you. I find that reference to my blog are complimentary and seems enlightening to my readers. Some of the comments seem to be referencing nothing in particular, so I am unable to reply positively to particular references that are made. It is nice to make general comments but it would help to be more specific so that I can understand what you wish to imply.

I find it necessary to point out from time to time the reason for my blog. Readers who find my blog from searches may find it interesting and I appreciate that. But I need to address some things for those who are visiting for the first time.
It has been several months since I started writing the blog in 2012. I enjoy writing, and enjoy the pleasure of information that comes to me from various sources. There are some bits of information that I create myself. The blog is not intended to be political, although I may make political references occasionally.
The purpose is to discuss with you, the reader, on a variety of subjects that interest me, and of course, to share those thoughts with you as well. The important thing is that whatever I write and pass on to you is truthful and factual. That is my mission.

There are those of you who are interested in offering assistance to me in writing the blog. I appreciate the offers, but the joy of writing it is that I do it myself. Should you be interested in doing a blog yourself contact me and I can offer suggestions to you about how to get started and where you can get help.

Muse One of the biggest news items in May in the press is Jason Collins, the NBA basketball player who announced his sexual orientation. Apparently that was huge news in the sports world and Sports Illustrated featured the story in it’s May issue of the magazine.

This was a big deal, the fact that Jason Collins made the announcement of his sexual orientation preference, and it tells the story about his coming out to family and friends. Well, this happens everyday, without any fanfare, with young and older people deciding to make that decision, sometimes in dire situations unlike in Collins’ situation.

Now that it is out in the open, what now and so what? For sure that weight has been lifted off him, especially announcing it to his twin brother, who supports him and strong family ties that helps him to be the person he always was. The difference is that everyone knows now, and people who do not understand what being gay openly in this world to the individual will have their opinions anyway. However, I am sure Jason Collins will go on with his life with a different attitude about all that. He has had a wonderful career in the sports world and with his personality and upbringing he will be a hero to many for doing what he has done. Good luck to him.

Have you noticed the increasing amount of apps (applications) in our lives currently? Especially in magazines, not counting the ones that are offered in your iPhones and smart phones. The apps are usually free to the user and are intended to give additional information to the magazine’s readers. The technology is surely available to us if we use it and if we want it. Of course, in this technological age, we have to make the decision about how much these technical advances impact our lives and effect our lives. Each of us need to make that determination for ourselves and have to make choices carefully.

Music therapy is a topic in a recent issue if AARP Magazine. In this magazine article it tells how important music therapy is to some people, especially in the case, for example, Gabby Giffords, who was shot in Colorado. Her life is filled with music in her therapy, and it has been a valuable source of her improvement. If you have a family member, or friend, who has to have any kind of therapy music may be a part of their improvement. Read the article for more information.

Bits & pieces The Travon Martin trial is slated to start on June 10, 2013. This controversial court session will no doubt be the highlight of the current news cycle and will be the focus of daily accounts. Interesting to note, Zimmerman’s lawyer elected to bypass the “Stand Your Ground” law requested by Zimmerman, and elected therefore to have him stand trial before a jury. Watch this case carefully.

Before this was posted there was additional information that the judge, Seminole County Circuit Judge, Debra Nelson, made the announcement that ruled Zimmerman’s lawyers will not be allowed to present in opening statements Martin’s tough talking text messages and social media posts, nor any discussion of his drug use. Part of the defense strategy is to shred the character of the Miami Gardens teenager who was shot to death last year in Sanford.Like I mentioned previously in posts, this case is one we have to pay close attention to the proceedings. The fact that Martin may not have been a regular and typical teenager is not the issue. He was innocent regarding the aggressive manner and motives that Zimmerman took at the time of the shooting incident.

There is a short film being circulated on YouTube lately,”The Strange Thing About The Johnson’s”, by a young, white film maker, Ari Aster, about an upper class, Black American family. The film has caused much controversy because it concerns a subject sinister as incest regarding the father and son who is the perpetrator in the story. The family consists of a mother, father and son and the storyline is over a few years starting with the son in his early teen years. The fact that the family is Black has no bearing in the story, in fact that is not the focus at all. And, that is part of the controversy. Many in the Black audience have problems with the film, and even though there are not racial overtones in the film they blame the writer of the film and an excellent cast because of the subject matter and for bringing the subject out in the open. Incest is a problem that has a dark past, and bringing this subject as portrayed by a Black cast has caused problems because it is seen as one more negative attempt to bring the Black Community down.  Well, we are now living in a society that many things in our lives are no longer unsaid and unspoken. This situation has been swept under the rug so to speak and it must be opened for all to see. There are many people who are living their lives daily with this threat. Surely, this story is disturbing, but worthy of discussion. Agree? Join a conversation. I welcome it.

Talkin’ Jazz This month on June 15 we celebrate the artistry of one of the most prolific pianists in jazz. Erroll Garner was born in Pittsburg, PA in 1921. He has a twin brother. Garner passed away on January 2, 1997, and it is undeniable that he is one of the most original piano players in the history of jazz.

Garner was a prolific and outstanding player, and the most improvisational player as well. The outstanding accomplishment about Erroll was that he did not read music and it was not something that prevented him from being the pianist he became. Erroll also was one of the most recorded pianists in jazz, and highlights were his recordings of Concert By The Sea, a live recording that sold many records, and another, Body And Soul. Erroll recorded many of the standards of the day, but his most important recording was his composition of Misty, that was recorded by just about everyone, most notably, Sarah Vaughan and Johnny Mathis who had hit recordings from it.  My personal choice would be the Columbia recording that contains many of the songs that Erroll sat down at the piano and played extended versions of standards, but one piece that stands out…chorus after chorus of the most incredible improvised version of Lullaby Of Birdland. Pure jazz.

Mulgrew Miller, jazz pianist, has passed away on May 29. He was 57 years old. He was one of the most respected pianists and bandleaders, working with a trio or group, and one of the warmest and gentlemanly people you could ever meet.

I met Mulgrew in Boston when he was one of the musicians invited to play for a tribute to fellow musician, pianist, James Williams. His legacy, on recordings in the studio and live performances will endear him to many. R.I.P., Mulgrew.

To close with this month’s entry I want to mention some things that might interest you.

Polaroid Corporation was featured in Art News Magazine in a news item column in Art Talk in the April 2013 issue.
Christopher Bonano’s article, an art editor at the New York Times Magazine, has written a history of Polarid photography in Instant: The Story Of Polaroid. Drawing from a series of interviews and from hidden archives that went public in 2010, two years after Polaroid stopped producing film for it’s cameras. This book is currently available if your interested in the history of instant photography.
A companion book on the same subject is, The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation is filled with images from such stellar artists and photographers including Ansel Adams and Andy Warhol. For those who appreciate the art works that instant photography presented, the 20X24 camera especially, these books may please you and peak your interest.
An interesting story to close with is an incident that involves the late President Kennedy. On the day the President was to arrive in Dallas for the next day’s events the President was supposed  to be presented with a gallery of art that was to be hung in his honor for the next day. However, the President’s party including Mrs Kennedy arrived late and they were unable to see the exhibit hung in the hotel in their honor. However, the next morning to their delight, they were simply impressed and made a call to the people who arranged the exhibit to approve of what they had seen; that included some of the most important artists in the world.  That exhibit of artworks opens on May 26, 2013. One comment was made, however, that the telephone  call the President made was the last call before he was assassinated.

Ron Gill



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