Monday, April 30, 2012

In That Carnival

Carousel horses at the 30th annual Springfest in Redondo Beach

Life in Los Angeles is filled with endless travel, whisking across the city on freeways, elevated above the vibrant streets and neighborhoods, passing it all by going to and from the routine destinations. Perhaps, an interesting sight will catch the eye as your car passes it by, just a fleeting glimpse of novelty.

For years, I have seen this little carnival, Springfest, in Redondo Beach, as I've made my way to the 405 Freeway. Each time, I think to myself, "Why not stop to look around?" but, each time, I am too busy, rushing off to an appointment. This weekend, I decided to stop, if only to snap a few photos. ;-)

"Go Gator" roller coaster

I didn't get on any rides, play any games, or even talk with anybody. I was too busy, rushing off to an appointment. Maybe next year. . .

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mood Indigo

Model for Duke Ellington Memorial (1988) by Robert Graham, on view at UCLA

Last year, I wrote a whole bunch of posts expressing my adoration for the music of Duke Ellington. It's a topic about which I can endlessly discuss, but I'll spare you all the gushing fanboy enthusiasm. ;-)

Ellington was born on April 29, 1899. There have been many excellent American composers and musicians, but, for me, Duke stands out as the greatest. So, let's spend some time this evening listening to some swinging American music, beyond category.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sculpture in Motion

1956 Alfa Romeo 1900 SSZ, body by Zagato, designed in the "Double Bubble" style

It had been a while since I last visited the Petersen Automotive Museum. Since today marked the birth dates of both Nicola Romeo (b.1876) and Ferruccio Lamborghini (b.1916), I figured it was about time to drop on by and check out the newest exhibit, "Sculpture in Motion: Masterpieces of Italian Design".

There were three gorgeous Alfa Romeo autos in this show, the 1956 1900 SSZ, the 1949 6C 2500 Villa d'Este, and the 2008 8C Competizione. They set the gallery aglow with awesome. ;-)

There were other fine vehicles on display, including a 1970 Bertone-designed Lancia Stratos HF Zero and a lovely 1959 Pinin Farina body Ferrari 400 Superamerica, but we'll focus on the Alfa Romeo beauties in this post. Hopefully, I'll get back to the museum sometime soon and fully document the show for you all.

Sideview of the 2008 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione

Yeah, I might be a dedicated Ferrari man, but I'd be willing to settle. ;-)

Frontview of the 2008 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione

Fortunately, this show is going on for a good, long time. It's scheduled to run until February 2013. But don't procrastinate. If you love elegant automobiles, this is a show to appreciate over and over again.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Why Not?

"Why Not?" billboard by the AIDS Health Foundation on La Cienega

You folks know that I love spotting odd billboards that pop up around town. Now, there's nothing ridiculous about this billboard itself, but, in conjunction with the gleeful little star, the context made me laugh.

After all, why should one need a condom at the Carl's Jr? ;-)


Thursday, April 26, 2012

It's Been a Long, Long Time

Image from the Corey Helford Gallery's exhibit of "Legend of the Pink Cherry" featuring works by Buff Monster, which runs until May 5

It's been nearly three months since last I wrote about the gallery scene over in Culver City. Why the long neglect? I just haven't been able to spend quality time checking out the shows, especially not to an extent that would enable me to coherently review them.

Well, I was passing near the art district, not intending to stop and see things, but a strong passion to visit the galleries overcame me, even if only for a brief glimpse. And so I did.

Ideally, I would write up a bunch of reviews detailing why I appreciate each exhibit, providing context and commentary, linking to a vid to showcase the artist's body of work. Sadly, I was only able to get a few quick visits along Washington Boulevard sqeezed into my limited viewing time. But it was all good.

Detail of (A) Murder of Crows 8 by Stephanie Inagaki, part of Skotia Gallery's group show "Veneris XII" which runs until May 5

I figured that, while I may not have either the time or ability to write up proper reviews, at least I can share some photos with you. ;-)

A gallery view of Shay Bredimus' "Kotomi" at Koplin Del Rio, exhibiting until May 12.

Awesome work!

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Want a Clydesdale

Parked Budweiser truck making a delivery, but where are the Clydesdales? ;-)

Nothing much to share tonight. Honestly, I'm a bit drained, hoping to get my mojo back in order soon but realizing that I'm going through one of those cyclical phases of the "blahs" that all writers, great or small, experience. But that doesn't mean that my ability to write has up and vanished.

It just means that I'm having a tough time developing a thesis with eloquence and artistry. My words are not failing me, but I might be failing them. ;-)

But, hopefully, we can amuse ourselves with meandering thoughts and whimsical play. We can dream of ponies and balloons.

Well, there are no ponies, but we've found some balloons.

A bit of popcorn and lemonade go a long way to having a good time on a hot Spring afternoon.

Yum!!! LJ loves kettlecooked popcorn and fresh squeezed lemonade!!!

And some music will make the night go right.

Seifu-An: Arbor of Pure Breeze

Japanese Garden at the Huntington: Arbor of Pure Breeze

A while back, I promised you all some photos of the newly reopened Japanese Garden at the Huntington. Well, I figured we would celebrate Earth Day by looking at this beautiful place.

A crooked bridge leads to the Bonsai Courtyard

It's a bit late tonight. So I'll let the photos "speak" for themselves. ;-)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dance Party: April

Detail from the cover image of Celine Dion's A New Day Has Come (2002)

So, we've been doing these monthly dance parties for a year now. My focus and approach has changed a lot since my first post last May. I used to focus exclusively on "Dance/Club" music. I used to write a lot of context on how the musical styles had changed over the 5-year increments.

But my "curatorial" style has changed over the year. I've broadened out my selection criteria and allow the listeners to bring their own experiences or context to my monthly playlist.  Yeah, I know that this is my blog and that, ultimately, everything boils down to being "all about me" but I like being "light-handed" and subtle. After all, if my song choices are interesting, then they can tell the story themselves.

Image from Soft Cell's Tainted Love (1981)

So, what narrative arises from this month's selection?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Flowers: Marguerite Daisies

Argyranthemum Frutescens: Marguerite Daisies

World's Bliss
(By Alice Notley)

The men & women sang & played
they sleep by singing, what
shall I say of the most
poignant on earth the most glamorous
loneliest sought after people
those poets wholly beautiful
desolate aureate, death is a
powerful instinctive emotion—
but who would be released from
a silver skeleton? gems
& drinking cups—This
skull is Helen—who would not
be released from the
Book of Knowledge? Why
should a maiden lie on a moor
for seven nights & a day? And
he is a maiden, he is & she
on the grass the flower the spray
where they lie eating primroses
grown crazy with sorrow & all
the beauties of old—oh each poet's a
beautiful human girl who must die.

Well, I haven't much to say tonight. It's been a long week and I'm quite happy to see it come to an end. It may be 420 today, but, since I don't partake, I'll have to get my high off of good poetry. ;-)

Alice Notley brings the bliss of beautiful words, imaginative vision, and engaging concepts. Now, if only we could find a way to make brownies out of her poems. . .

Argyranthemum Frutescens: Marguerite Daisies

As for the Marguerites, I figured two consecutive weeks of daisies would be a nice way to celebrate a bright April. Anyways, they certainly are a lovely bunch.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

2012 Weekly Wrap #9

Detail of The Swing (1767) by Jean-Honore Fragonard

Well, it's been a rough week. I would have liked to get a few posts up over the past few days, but distractions piled up, keeping me from hanging out with you all. For instance, this post ought to have been finished up on Tuesday morning. . . I guess it's better late than never. ;-)

Overall, I'm happy with Paideia, but I have a vague anxiousness that there needs to be a change. I keep on intending to start "quickie" posts, maybe a photo, a few sentences, and a vid or two after the jump. Perhaps, I'll start adding those to the rotation. It'll keep the front page fresh and dynamic.

I've also put an end to two Friday Flowers in a single "weekly" Wrap period. It just bugs me when that happens, an annoying pet peeve. Since I'm having a hard time keeping these Wraps on a weekly schedule, I'll have to drop the flowers. Yeah, it's a bummer, but maybe it'll provide incentive to improve my post count.

Anyways, let's look at our twelve posts of the "Weekly" Wrap.

Detail from the cover image of Ray Anthony's Bunny Hop (1952)

Four Art posts were featured. We celebrated the birth dates of the Rococo master, Jean-Honore Fragonard, and two of the High Renaissance giants, Leonardo and Rapheal. Then we offered up a brief look at my Saturday visiting Bergamot Station and the Torrance Art Museum.

Music was showcased in three posts. First, we celebrated Easter with the Bunny Hop. Then, a whimsy post about pirates featured some early music from the Age of Exploration. Finally, we celebrated the birth date of Dusty Springfield. Good stuff!!!

As regards Cinema, we had three related posts. The birth date of Bette Davis was a mandatory celebration here at Paideia. Then we looked on in horror upon a video that showed the awful aging of Lindsay Lohan; very sad. Finally, we went light-hearted with considerations upon the old-fashioned buffoonery of classic episodes of the Three Stooges. Nyuck, nyuck, nuck.

Our Friday Flowers featured African Daisies and the works of Samuel Beckett. Finally, I shared photos of the Blessing of the Animals over at Olvera Street.

At Madrona Musings, it was a busy time with the new exhibition opening in Torrance. We considered the works of Samuel Beckett with a video of Rick Cluchey. We announced the opening of the "Two-Headed Monster" exhibit in Gallery 2. We gave a Sneak Peek of "Between the Knowing" and, then, photos from the Opening Night. It's been fun times at the TAM.

In any case, here's to another exciting week.

Image of the Three Stooges from Disorder in the Court (1936)


Monday, April 16, 2012

Look of Love

Dusty Springfield was born on April 16, 1939

Another quick hit to celebrate the birth date of a lady with a meltingly smooth and warm voice, Dusty Springfield.

You all should know by now that I adore the "songbirds" of the '50s and '60s, from Julie London to Sarah Vaughan; few things please me more than a female vocalist soulfully winding a song in rich and fervent tones. Whether the piece is uptempo and bright, leisurely and hot, or gentle and slow, the passions are authentically conveyed by the singing traditions of the era.

I have many favorite "songbirds" on my Top Ten, a list that is always changing, but Dusty Springfield is a constant. Her voice became the sound of "white soul", introducing this powerful style of music to a broad audience. Yes, she played up the campiness of her stage persona, but, underneath the mod and glam, there is a powerful expression of life and emotion, from the painful to the blissful.

And that's what I want to consider, this veracity of sensation, to admire in celebration of the day.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Strangeness In Your Smile

Mona Lisa (c.1503-06) by Leonardo da Vinci

I can't let the day end without celebrating the birth date of Leonardo da Vinci. As I've mentioned previously, he isn't my favorite High Renaissance artist, but he certainly deserves our esteem.

Since I'm a bit pressed for time tonight, let's just take a moment to appreciate his most famous work, La Gioconda. She makes me smile. ;-)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Village Lanterne

Blues skies over Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, as I exit CoproGallery

I went all around town today. It was busy, but I had a good time. From Santa Monica to the South Bay, there is a lot of art on display to enjoy.

I'm a bit tired right now. So, here are a few photos. ;-)

Detail of Unknown Planets (2008) by Atsushi Fukui, on view at the Richard Heller Gallery

Visiting the Torrance Art Museum's Opening Night for "Between the Knowing"

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Flowers: Waiting for African Daisies

Osteospermum Ecklonis: African Daisy

"It is true that when with folded arms we weigh the pros and cons we are no less a credit to our species. The tiger bounds to the help of his congeners without the least reflexion, or else he slinks away into the depths of the tickets. But that is not the question. What we are doing here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come ---"

Well, Samuel Beckett isn't famous for his poetry, but a poet he was nevertheless. I could have posted a poem, but I couldn't pass on a quote from Waiting for Godot. And, although he wrote many fine works of literature, this is the piece that put him up among the All-Time Greats.

And that's an appropriate way in which to celebrate his birth date, April 13, 1906.

Osteospermum Ecklonis: Tradewinds Purple

And what of the African daisies? Well, I've been meaning to post them for quite a long time now, but time keeps on sliding by, leaving me waiting and waiting for the proper situation in which to share them with you. It seemed the Beckett's birth date was a fine time to stop waiting. ;-)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oh, A Wise Guy, Eh?

Detail from The Three Stooges' Columbia Intro Card

With the upcoming Three Stooges movie coming out this weekend, it's got me thinking about my childhood enthusiasm for the Stooges and their crazed antics, outrageously violent. It's weird to imagine the outrage that would ensue nowadays, if the television broadcasters scheduled such "antisocial" material, intended for child viewing. ;-)

Well, I'm not such a fan of "slapstick" or buffoonery any more, but, sometimes, I'll come across old reruns of these films. There's a guilty pleasure when I pause to give a quick viewing. I'll appease my shame over the lowbrow enjoyment by exclaiming it to be unbelievably imbecilic, mind-numbingly stupid.

But, I have to admit, though my complaints are perfectly justified, there's something authentic to physical humor. Buffoonery is an ancient form of comedy, transcending culture and language.

"Don't worry! I got it!"
Three Little Beers (1935)

I guess that the lack of sophistication makes it easily accessible. The physical mishaps, the pratfalls and slaps, these all speak directly to us in a visceral and inarticulated manner. Yet, there is certainly an art to setting up the joke, managing the expectations, building comedic tension.

"Ok, buddy, it's your tooth."
All the World's a Stooge (1941)

When the Stooges are left to their own devices in a dentist's office or stacking barrels on the back of a truck, you know something both absurd and atrocious is going to happen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Disturbing Visages

Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls (2004)


I'm not one for internet memes, but there's a vid of Lindsay Lohan aging, from childhood to today, 25 years, compelling in its creepiness. It actually pains me to see this darling child morph over the years, looking more my age than her own.

In any case, the video is like a modern day vanitas. Here it is:

Disturbing. . . here's to hoping for happiness and good health for Lindsay and all of us poor mortals, suffering from the ravages of time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Billy Bones' Fancy

Skull and crossbones

Another "whimsy" post for you all. ;-)

Time has been tight over the last few days; it's the norm with holiday weekends, messing up my writing schedules. But I had a good time this year, definitely a change from recent years. Maybe my advancing age is leading me to cherish family time a bit more. In any case, I'm fairly happy with things right now.

So, why the pirate theme? I came across this eye patch wearing skull upon the Men's Room of one of the local dive bars. I think it's an old promo for some Jamaican rum. It looked so cheesy and out of place that I had to photograph it and share with you all.

Arrr, mateys!!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bunny Hop

Detail of the cover for Ray Anthony's Bunny Hop record (1952)

Here's to a Happy Easter!!!

To celebrate, we've got a brief whimsy post for you all. ;-)

Alternatively, you can think about this guy:

Detail of Resurrection (1455) by Dieric Bouts, on view at the Norton Simon Museum

And that would be totally cool, but I'd rather hop, hop, hop!!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Blessed Beasts of Olvera Street

Sign advertising the Blessing of the Animals on Olvera Street

Just a quick visit to share a few photos from the Blessing of the Animals that I attended today on Olvera Street.

It was a hot day with lots of energetic animals, from house pets to farm animals. Hectic but fun. ;-)

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez administered the Blessing

If you have never been to the Olvera Street Blessing, it's quite the spectacle. It's always interesting to see how the various critters respond to being splash by holy water. Good stuff!!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Truth Is Beauty; Beauty Is Truth

Detail of the Transfiguration (1520) by Raphael

The precise date of Raphael's birth is not certain, but April 6, 1483, is one commonly held date. So, let's go with it for our celebration. ;-)

I don't get passionate about Raphael's work, but I am endlessly enchanted by it. Serene beauty rules his aesthetic reality. Gorgeous, young Madonnas, draped in sumptuous fabrics, sitting in an Arcadian landscape, hint of the celestial glory made manifest in earthly form.

Raphael is not my favorite artist, but he places high on the list. His art is the perfection of Renaissance ideals.

Detail of Madonna and Child with Book (1503) by Raphael

In the local collections, only the Norton Simon has a Raphael, the lovely Madonna pictured above. It is always a treat to go see this beauty.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Progress of Love

Detail of Happy Lovers (1760) by Jean-Honore Fragonard

My love for Rococo art is well documented. Frequently, during museum excursions, my friends have sighed with resignation or rolled their eyes in disdain when I gleefully exclaim, "I'm loco for Rococo!!!"

Perhaps my favorite Rococo master is Jean-Honore Fragonard, born on April 5, 1732. The vibrant colors, soft figures, dreamy landscapes, these all make for a delightful fantasy realm of lighthearted eroticism and whimsical play. If, by magic, I were pulled into the environs of any painter's aesthetic settings, I would want to travel to Fragonard's pastoral and abundant world of beauties.

The local museums don't have many of his works, but the few that they do have are fun pieces. The Happy Lovers at the Norton Simon is one of my favorite paintings in the collection.

Detail of the Fountain of Love (1785) by Jean-Honore Fragonard

So, let's spend a few moments appreciating the gentle grace of Fragonard's lyrical images, the poetic prettiness of his art.

It's Going to be a Bumpy Night

Bette Davis in Jezebel (1938)

One of my all time favorite actresses, Bette Davis, was born on April 5, 1908.

I've previously written about my adoration for her, but it's a topic about which I can endlessly discuss. Her sharp and snappy characters, so full of passion and vivacity, were always compelling, even if only in a "love to hate" sort of way. And her unique look, with those unforgettable eyes, had a commanding quality, a strange beauty.

All About Eve is one of my favorite movies. Bette Davis delivers on a perfect performance as Margo Channing. The manner in which she conveys subtle psychological nuances, in counterpoint to her overt "drama queen" campiness, brings about a rich appreciation for the character and her sad situation.

Bette Davis in All About Eve (1950)

So, let's take a moment to celebrate the wonderful artistry of this legend of Classic Hollywood.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

2012 Weekly Wrap #8

Scooby Doo and Shaggy running from the Headless Horseman on a lunchbox from 1973

Well, we haven't been prolific, but we sure as heck have celebrated a wide variety of topics. To a degree, that is because of the calendar. Because we love doing the birth date celebrations, it determines the topic of the day, from cool jazz to folk lore ghost stories. ;-)

Nevertheless, it's been fun times. And it's been consistent. I always feel bad when I leave you all hanging, waiting for the daily post. Yeah, I know that I don't have a bunch of followers. Most of my readers come through searches, looking for info from a post nearly a year old. But I still feel an obligation to those few readers that check out my random and crazy posts each day. There may only be a dozen or so, but I appreciate the readership and hope to provide something each day, even if only a whimsy post.

Well, let's get to the Wrap.

Saint Teresa of Avila by Carole Odell for the Paulist Press series, Classics of Western Spirituality.

Our eleven posts were spread out nicely.

We had two overt art posts. First, we discussed Micheal Krebs' "Surplus" series on view at dnj Gallery. Then we took a trip to the Hammer Museum to see the exhibit of Alina Szapocznikow's sculpture.

In music, we had three posts. We celebrated the birth date of Sarah Vaughan, Astrud Gilberto, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. That's quite the mix of styles. It'll either make you say "aah" or send you across the River Styx. ;-)

I don't do many religion posts, but, for the birth date of Saint Teresa of Avila, I made an exception.

There were three flower/garden related posts in this "weekly" cycle. We anticipated the opening of the Japanese Garden at the Huntington Botanical Gardens. We visited a Bonsai show. Then we mourned the passing of the fantastic feminist poet, Adrienne Rich, with a look at some gorgeous clivias.

Finally, we dipped into some Disney animation. The Little Mermaid and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow were both featured as celebrations for Hans Christian Andersen and Washington Irving, respectively.

Over at Madrona Musings, we had two posts. The first announced the upcoming exhibition, "Between the Knowing", which is an examination of existentialist themes and aesthetics. In keeping with this premise, we looked at the Myth of Sisyphus and a vid by Sara Ramo.

Lots of good stuff. Looking forward to next week.

Telly and Grover are "Waiting for Elmo" on Monsterpiece Theater.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hit the Road to Parts Unknown

Image for The Legend of Sleeping Hollow (1958)

"On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was headless!--but his horror was still more increased on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of his saddle!"

It's been a while since we enjoyed a ghost story. ;-)

This time we're celebrating the birth date of Washington Irving, born on April 3, 1783. Perhaps his best known story is the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow", which has spawned numerous adaptations since it was first published in 1820.

Although I really liked Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, my favorite adaptation is still the Disney version that originally was part of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad in 1949. It has an unforgettable art direction, with superb animation. Excellent visual storytelling.

Image from Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Remember, you can't reason with a headless man. ;-)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Somewhere Under the Sea

Ariel from The Little Mermaid (1989), based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale.

Hans Christian Andersen was born on April 2, 1805. I figured we would think about one of his most famous stories, "The Little Mermaid".

Except for the preachy ending, I always enjoyed this story. It captured the thrill of exploration, the wonder of being someplace new. I could empathize with the mermaid as she learned a whole new way of life. The dilemma that she faces when her time starts to run out would twist at my heart; I always wished she could find a way to win out.

Although Andersen gives a "happy" ending, I can't say that I ever liked it. It felt like a dodge. And the moralizing "good child/bad child" situation was simply a manner by which to browbeat the child audience. Very bad form!!! >:(

Detail form the 1989 theatrical release poster of The Little Mermaid

That's why I like the 1989 Disney retelling. Sure, it's a radically different story, but the premise is faithfully preserved. Moreover, it avoids Andersen's relationship angst issues and his sermonizing. All the magic that made the original so effective is kept, but all the dross is discarded. And the Sea Witch is somethin' fierce! ;-)