Saturday, March 31, 2012

View of the Village

The view from the Hammer Museum gallery floor, looking past the Skylight Gardens dome towards the Fox Theater. The cupola of the Janss Dome is barely visible to the left.

I was visiting the Hammer Museum today to see the current exhibition, "Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955-1972". The show was excellent, a comprehensive and educational survey of this undeservedly obscure Polish artist.

It was a surrealistic display of biomorphic constructs, legs and breasts and lips emerging from black foam or sprouting like flowers from a plastic stem. Creepy but compelling.

Anyways, after viewing the show, I stood overlooking Westwood Village and was struck by the interesting shapes and patterns that are on view. So I took a picture to share with you. ;-)

Petit Dessert I (1970) by Alina Szapocznikow

Interesting stuff to be seen in Westwood, both in and out of the galleries.

Borne by the Channel Of a Green Stream

View from the Chinese Garden Pavilion at the Huntington Botanical Gardens

Not much to say right now, but I wanted to share this photo. I took it last weekend while visiting the Huntington Gardens. The view is from the Chinese Garden looking towards the Japanese Gardens, which will be reopening on April 11. Yeah, my anticipation is building somethin' fierce. ;-)

You can bet that I'll be sharing some photos with you.

But, for now, we can only gaze from afar, dreaming of the beauties awaiting in the hidden garden.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Flowers: Clivia

Clivia: Baby Doll

(By Adrienne Rich)

when it comes down turning
itself in clusters before the flat
light of the shortest day

you see how all turns away
from us how we turn
into our shadows you can see
how we are tested

the individual crystal on the
black skirt of the maxi-coat
under the lens

was it a whole day or just a lifetime
spent studying crystals

on the fire escape while the 'Sixties
were running out
could you see

how the black ladder spun away from us
into whiteness
how over and over
a star became a tear

if no two are alike
then what are we doing
with these diagrams of loss

Adrienne Rich passed away this week. Given her age, it came as no great shock, but it is sad news nevertheless. She was an inspiration for generations of women poets. Her poetry went through many phases over the course of her long life, never growing stale or redundant.

Her distinct voice has made the world a better place. I will treasure her poems and will read them again to experience anew Adrienne Rich's unique insights.

Clivia: Bodacious

As regards the clivia, I attended the annual show at the Huntington Gardens. Many gorgeous flowers were on display. Here are a few lovelies to start the weekend right. ;-)

Girl from Ipanema

Astrud Gilberto was born on March 30, 1940

"When she walks, she's like a samba that swings so cool and sways so gently that when she passes, each one she passes goes -- aah."

I don't do Internet memes, blogfests, or networked "pass along" posts. That's not because I look down upon them or believe that they are an inferior sort of writing. Not at all!!! Anything that inspires one to write is totally cool with me. The reason that I don't do such posts is because I always have something that I want to write about; there just isn't the time or energy to pick up a blog challenge, like the very cool "A to Z Challenge", which would totally dominate my blogging focus for a whole month.

Just to use the A to Z Challenge as an example, it would be easy to make up a list of Los Angeles galleries and museums to highlight over the course of the month: Angles, Blum & Poe, Corey Helford, DNJ, Edward Cella, Frank Lloyd, George Billis, Honor Fraser, Icon Projects, JK, Koplin del Rio, La Basse Projects, Mark Moore, Nicodim, Otero, Patrick Painter, Quarum, Richard Heller, Schlesinger, Thinkspace, UCLA Fowler, Vielmetter, William Turner, laXart, Young Projects, Zask. But I have other things that I'd rather write about on any given day.

But sometimes things synch up. So, over at Spunk On A Stick, they are doing a Sad Songs blogfest, which goes with my selected birthday celebration of the day. Astrud Gilberto was born on March 30, 1940. Her most famous song is "The Girl from Ipanema", which, in spite of its mellow and sweet bossa nova sound, is actually a song about being ignored, overlooked by the focus of your desire, unrequited admiration.

Astrud Gilberto, the Queen of the Bossa Nova

But we shall not overlook this classic songbird from Brazil. ;-)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

You Want It. You Need It.

Detail of Surplus II by Michael Krebs

Currently on exhibit at dnj Gallery is "Surplus" by Michael Krebs, a critique of consumerist corporate social influence and the commodification of desire, in which iconic images of war and armed strife are reimagined within a banal "market" context.

To be honest, I'm of mixed feelings about the appropriation of such imagery for this premise. Although the image of a girl screaming and running down a toy store aisle lined with packaged plastic dolls, fleeing as though in mortal danger, conveys both an absurdly humorous feeling and a creepy consideration of how children are indoctrinated into consumerist mindsets, the fact that it is a reflection, a tableau malsain of Nick Ut's iconic image of a Vietnamese girl fleeing from a napalm bombing, leaves me a bit uncomfortable. And perhaps that is the intention; perhaps it raises the question of how materialist values harm the individuals of a society.

I suppose it comes down to envy and banality. War is instigated by envy on a societal scale and implemented by the most basic and brutish and banal methods of coercion. Likewise, consumerist society is predicated on envy, "keeping up with the Jones" or constantly buying the newest model merely to preserve a social standing, never satisfied when others have "more" or "better" without making a raise or call, even if that which is desired is banal mass marketed trash, empty pablum.

Detail of Surplus I by Michael Krebs

In the end, both result in destruction. In war, the devastation is measured in lives and suffering. In consumerism, it is in wasted resources and misguided lives, a painful opportunity cost squandered on mounds of rubbish.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It Is Love Alone That Gives Worth

Ecstasy of Saint Teresa (1647-1652) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

It's been a long time since I posted about religion or spirituality, but Saint Teresa of Avila is one of my favorites. I was going to write about her back in October, on her Feast Day, but the circumstances regarding the dating of her death are so absurd that I feel inappropriate honoring her on that day.

St. Teresa passed away either just before midnight October 4, 1582, or, moments later, after midnight on October 15. How the heck can eleven days be "moments later"?! Well, because of the concurrent implementation of the Gregorian calendar, replacing the outdated Julian calendar, there was no October 5 through 14 in 1582.

In any case, St. Teresa of Avila writes with a simple authenticity, avoiding wild cosmological expressions or fanciful apocalyptic visions. Her mysticism is experienced and conveyed with humility and compassion. Although visionary, Teresa never obfuscates or ornaments her insights, attempting to sound profound. I don't know if I believe in that which she experienced, but I certainly do believe that she had a "mystical" understanding and is attempting to share it with her readers, in a spirit of generosity and tenderness.

Teresa of Avila (1827) by Francois Gerard

Moreover, I find her insights beautiful and inspiring. Her world is one where Love is the divine spirit, which dwells within our souls. For humanity, salvation is to be found by accepting this Divine Love and allowing it to be your eternal guide.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Divine One

Sarah Vaughan was born on March 27, 1924

We can't let this day pass without paying tribute to Sassy, the Divine One, the wondrous Sarah Vaughan!!!

Born on March 27, 1924, Sarah Vaughan become one of the leading Jazz vocalists of her generation. Considering the competition, that's an impressive feat. Her voice, smooth but sassy, is seductive and playful, soulful and light, expressing a mercurial mood.

I'm always reluctant to name my favorites, but, for tonight at least, Sarah is my favorite Jazz songbird. ;-)

Sarah Vaughan, "Sassy"

Let's listen to some music.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Adorable Little Trees

Bonsai: Japanese Black Pine

This weekend was the California Bonsai society's 55th Annual Show, held at the Huntington Gardens. I've been eagerly awaiting the reopening of the Japanese Garden, set for April 11. So, this show was like a delicious appetizer. ;-)

It's actually been a long time since I showcased a Bonsai show. Well, here are a bunch of photos to make up for my slackitude.

Bonsai: Blue Atlas Cedar

Amazing artistry. More after the jump:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 Weekly Wrap #7

Detail of Dandelions (1867) by Jean-Francois Millet

While I would have like to have put this post up on Friday, circumstances prevented it. And my Friday Flowers, a weekly feature which I haven't skipped for ages!!!

Well, it's better late than never. So, here's our "Weekly" Wrap.

It was actually a decent week, with solid productivity and a nice variety of posts. I'd have liked to get more art and gallery stuff up. But I'm happy with the three that I posted. We had a couple "whimsy" articles, but, so long as we keep up the quality and reliability of our normal type of blogging, there's nothing wrong with that.

Anyways, I'm open to suggestions. If there is something you want to see here at Paideia or some topic you want me to elaborate upon, then feel free to leave a comment. Although I'm writing primarily for my own pleasure, if I can entertain you all as well, then I'm open to requests. ;-)

Detail of The Wizard Has No Friends by Dirty Donny Gillies

So, let's look at our posts:

There were three Art posts. Our only gallery visit was to Dirty Donny Gillies' "Vantastic Voyage" at CoproGallery. We then had two featuring LACMA topics. First, I expressed my support for Michael Heizer's Levitated Mass, a monumental work featuring a 340-ton boulder which was transported across the Los Angeles area to great media attention. Second, we took a look at the awesome Surrealism exhibit "In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States". Good stuff!!!

In Music, we had four posts. Two were birthday celebrations, Johann Sebastian Bach and Nat King Cole. That's quite the contrast in musical style. Then, we had a "whimsy" post regarding dandelions, inspired by a photograph that I snapped while walking past a field. Finally, we had our monthly dance party with nine fun songs, ranging in musical performers from the Beatles to Abba to Neil Young. "I want to live. I want to give." ;-)

As mentioned above, we missed our last Friday Flowers, but, since this "Weekly" Wrap had two Fridays, we still had some Spring variety to usher in the new season.

Additionally, we had our seasonal Mucha-admiring post for Spring with appropriate art and music. Moreover, we had a couple St. Patrick's Day posts. First, we looked at some ads for Jameson Irish Whiskey. Then we looked at the empty bottle aftermath. Urg. . .

Over at Madrona Musings, the posting has been sparse, given that there is no exhibit currently on view at the Torrance Art Museum. However, I did take a couple photos of a work that will be on display when the museum reopens, Adam Bateman's As the Rose. It's mighty cool.

And that's all for this Wrap. I hope you've had a great time. Looking forward to the upcoming week and all the fun that we'll consider.

Lucky Charms advertisement form 1965


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dance Party: March

Cover image from Vanessa Williams' "Save the Best for Last" (1992)

It's time for our monthly celebration!

This time around is a whiplash of styles, but I love them all, for different reasons both aesthetically and personally. Whether you want to be "There beneath the blue suburban skies" or "Feel the sun on your face and tell me what you're thinking" or feel that the "Night is young and the music's high. With a bit of rock music, everything is fine", there's something for all types tonight. ;-)

And we love variety!

Image from Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" concert film (2006)

So let's listen to some music!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dreaming as the Days Go By

The Chess Queens (1944) by Muriel Streeter

I recently visited LACMA's exhibit "In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States" which was an eye-opening experience. I found it so profound for two reasons. First, the works on display were exceptionally strong, powerful expressions of surrealist aesthetics.

Second, there were many "forgotten masterpieces" on display, works that should have greater prominence and fame; I'm reasonably learned in art history, but there were many awesome pieces that were unfamiliar to me. I can't help but feel that these artists have been neglected by art historians because of gender bias. The fact that some of them were from Latin America or lived there put a double whammy on them, making them beneath the notice of the male-centric Euro-centric art cognoscenti.

So, kudos to LACMA and the Museo de Arte Moderno for putting this show together. It's about time that these treasures got the appreciation that they deserve.

Detail of Celestial Pablum (1958) by Remedios Varo

Although I found the actual layout to be confusing, the exhibit was segmented along a variety of themes that pervade the works of these artists. From the use of games and chance in composing works to the conceptualization of the Self, the exhibit examined topics both philosophical and technical. Yet, it always presented the subject in a coherent and accessible manner, never drifting off into deep Art Theory or Formal Techniques territories.

Wandering Through a Field

Dandelion in a field

I don't have much to post right now, but I figured we could listen to some music.

Throughout the day, I take random photographs of anything that catches my attention. Yesterday, I saw this white dandelion all by itself at the edge of a local field. (Yes, the Los Angeles area isn't totally paved over or loaded with McMansions.)

So, our theme for today is dandelions!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bach to the Baroque

Detail from a Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach (1748) by Elias Gottlob Haussmann

It would be a gross negligence, an injustice, if we didn't celebrate the birth date of the Baroque master, Johann Sebastian Bach, born on March 21, 1685.

My appreciation for Bach's music is beyond words, but, oddly, I don't get passionate about it. Whereas with Schubert or Mozart, I can endlessly praise or gush with enthusiasm, listing every precious compositional nuance, each moment of brilliance or inspiration. With Bach, I have no desire to champion his greatness.

Perhaps it is because Bach requires no champions. His music is so undeniably superb that I cannot even begin to imagine how anyone could not admire it. Perhaps it just isn't a particular listener's "thing" but, even so, they must be able to discern the quality, to value it intellectually, dispassionately.

The music is masterful in precision, balance, and progression. Cool and composed, the intricate sounds are the perfection of the Baroque.

Statue of Johann Sebastian Bach (1908) by Carl Seffner, in Leipzig

But I'll stop blathering and allow the music to state its case.

Springing into Spring Time

Detail of Irises (1889) by Vincent van Gogh

A Prayer in Spring
(By Robert Frost)

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Finally, we've made our way past winter, my least favorite season. The cold, the gloom, the lack of flowers, these all drag on me, weighing down my spirit. Writing helps alleviate the heaviness, but I hate the inefficiencies that nag at all my projects.

If I keep on blogging for a series of years, you'll recognize the seasonal pattern. But Spring is finally here!!! And I'm ready to have some fun! ;-)

Detail of Spring (1896) by Alphonse Mucha

So, let's listen to some music.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Wee Bit Too Much to Drink

Empty bottles of Jameson Irish Whiskey and Irish Manor


That's a lot of drinkin'.

Not much to say, but sixty bottles of booze is a whole lot of booze.

Enjoy!!! ;-)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Who Cares About a Big Rock?

Site of Michael Heizer's Levitated Mass project, still under construction at LACMA

When Domenico Fontana moved the Vatican Obelisk to St. Peter's Square in 1586, it was considered a technological marvel of the era, the replication of an engineering feat that had not been accomplished since Antiquity. Even centuries later, when Cleopatra's Needle was relocated to London in 1878, moving such monumental stones was still considered an impressive feat, worthy of attention, praise, and great expense.

Today, naysayers shout down any enthusiasm for such projects. The engineering and transportation difficulties are deemed unimpressive. The expense is considered frivolous, even when drawn from private funds. The artistry is mocked and the concept dismissed. When enthusiasm is expressed, the critics say it is but empty hype.

Well, I don't know if I'll end up liking Michael Heizer's Levitated Mass, but the concept is intriguing. The history of art is punctuated with megaliths, obelisks, and grand monuments. I see this work as being a part of that historic continuum, another contribution to this ancient genre of creativity.

Detail of the Moving of the Vatican Obelisk (1586) by Domenico Fontana

I reserve judgment of the work until I see the finished product, but I believe the concept is valid. But is it worth the expense and energy and enthusiasm? These are judgments that can only be made after seeing the end results. History has shown that these monumental projects become the focus of pride and articulate the contemporary zeitgeist down to future generations.

The pharaohs of ancient Egypt and the engineers of Renaissance Italy are long gone, but their monumental legacies endure. Is our civilization too small, too feeble, too self-loathing to even attempt such tasks? Perhaps, we find it crass to posture and proclaim, like Ozymandias, "Look on my works, Ye Mighty, and despair!"

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Wee Bit to Drink

St. Patrick's Day: A celebration of Irish culture or Irish booze?

I'm not one to celebrate any standard holiday, especially one that seems dedicated to drunkenness. Heck, if I want to get smashed on Irish whiskey, I can do so throughout the year.

But for those of you who enjoy wearing the green and knocking back some Guinness, Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Just don't get so caught up in celebrating that you find yourself wearing something like this:

A St. Patrick's Day dummy.

You may ban the Baileys and junk the Jameson, but the humiliation of dressing like a reject Lucky Charms will live forever on Facebook. ;-)

Straighten Up and Fly Right

Nat King Cole was born on March 17, 1919

Who's the smoothest, coolest cat to ever croon a classy tune?

Let's put down the Guinness for a moment and spend a few moments remembering one of the most distinctive voices of the Great American Songbook, Nat King Cole. With his rich baritone sound, Cole become an icon of the cool mid-century style, pre-Rock and post-Swing. Moreover, he trail blazed a path to stardom for the many African-American performers that were soon to follow in the Pop/R&B scene.

As regards most male vocalists of the era, such as Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin, I'm not much of a fan. The music simply doesn't appeal to me and neither do the performance stylings of the period. However, Nat King Cole stands out with a subtle jazziness that gives depth to his songs. The typical "Rat Pack" performance was mostly style and little substance, but Cole had both.

Nat King Cole

So let's listen to a few classic pieces. ;-)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Flowers: Spring Is Coming

A rose, pink and white, blossoms in the garden. Spring is almost here!

To a Child Dancing in the Wind
(By W.B. Yeats)

Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water's roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool's triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of wind?

It seemed only proper to spotlight an Irish poet tonight. ;-)

I'm not the biggest fan of Yeats, but his poems certainly have a compelling rhythm and evocative imagery. And, on the night before St. Patrick's Day, it feels just right.

A display of orchids

I couldn't settle on what type of flowers to feature. I might get soft with the poetry, but you'll not be finding any shamrocks or clovers posing for my Friday Flowers. Therefore, it's a mix this evening, which is probably the best way to anticipate the upcoming glories of Spring.

Save Versus Enchantment/Charm

"Vantastic Voyage" featuring new works by "Dirty" Donny Gillies, on view at CoproGallery

Unfortunately, while I've been away, many excellent shows have opened and/or closed. One of my favorites is closing tomorrow, March 17, "Dirty" Donny Gillies' "Vantastic Voyage" at CoproGallery.

Being a long-time gamer, I can't help but love this show. These works capture that late '70s fantasty feel of wizards and spaceships and giant d20s. And the frames feature "old school" lettering alongside silhouettes of classic spaceships, like the Millennium Falcon or Imperial tie fighters from Star Wars.

In short, Dirty Donny captures everything awesome from the genre. It's a critical hit!!! ;-)

A giant blue d20 in front of Stargasm by "Dirty" Donny Gillies

With only one day left, if you have even a drop of gamer geekitude in your soul, this is a "must see" exhibit.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

2012 Weekly Wrap #6

Detail from The Parasol (1777) by Francisco Goya

No, I didn't fall off the edge of the world or experience a localized reversal of gravity. ;-)

Well, let's try to get this train back on the tracks. Since the last Wrap, I've been contemplating where I want to take this blog; what do I want out of Paideia? To be honest, I haven't a clue. The process of writing and sharing my thoughts are worthwhile activities, but should I try to "up my game" and cultivate a larger following? I don't know.

Whatever the new experiments that are attempted over the next year, we have to take care of the fundamentals, our focus on the arts and culture. So, I'll attempt to reestablish the three gallery posts per week, with a museum feature once per week. I've allowed discipline to slide on this matter, but that'll be fixed.

Now, let's get to the Wrap.

Detail of Green Shirt (1965) by Robert Rauschenberg

We had four Art posts. Two were dedicated to celebrating Pierre-Auguste Renoir's birth date, one focusing on some famous works and the second looking at the local collection at the Norton Simon Museum. While visiting the Norton Simon, we took a look at Robert Rauschenberg's Green Shirt. Finally, we celebrated Giovanni Battista Tiepolo's birth date.

In Music, we had six posts. First, we celebrated our monthly Dance Party. Then we had birth date celebrations for Dexter Gordon, Federico Moreno Torroba, and Antonio Vivaldi. We celebrated the anniversary of the debut of Georges Bizet's classic opera, Carmen. And, finally, we had a whimsy post listening to songs about stairways leading to nowhere. ;-)

Then we had three Friday Flowers posts. Yeah, our "week" had three Fridays. We looked at some lovely anemones along with the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Then, we enjoyed some pansies with the works of Dr. Seuss. Finally, orchids and Louise Gluck's poems made for a wonderful treat.

And we celebrated our first year of Paideia with a megapost, very retro-style, harkening back to the early days at this blog. Lots of fun memories.

Over at Madrona Musings, I wrote a "spotlight" piece on Mary Addison Hackett's The Walk. Then I showcased a few gallery shots and a walkthrough video for the closing week of "To Live and Paint in LA". Next was a brief post outlining the route of the Levitated Mass, a 340 ton boulder that was being transported near the South Bay. Finally, I wrote an article about the work of Yvette Gellis. Interesting stuff!!!

Well, it's been a while but that's a decent bit of work. I'm happy with the quality. I hope you all are too. Until next time, mi amigos!

"And he, he himself, the Grinch, carved the roast beast."


Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Flowers: Orchids and Vespers

Purple Orchid

(By Louise Gluck)

In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.

I think Louise Gluck may be my favorite contemporary poet. I was reminded of her amazing artistry in the January issue of Poetry Magazine. And then, she had a reading at the Hammer Museum. Many people don't realize it, but, if you love poetry, the Golden Age is today!

A cluster of purple orchids

As regards the orchids, aren't they beauties? I don't often feature flowers from my garden, but I so adored these lovelies that I had to give them some front page time. ;-)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Painted on the Ceiling

Detail of the Triumph of Virtue and Nobility over Ignorance (1750) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

More Venetian baroque for today.

This time we celebrate the paintings of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, born on March 5, 1696. He is best known for his amazing ceiling frescoes, which feature the elaborate staging of figures floating in luminous spaces over the viewer's head. They convey a powerful sense of space, a feeling of ascendance.

Out here in LA, we're lucky enough to have a nice sampling of Tiepolo's work. At the Norton Simon Museum, it is always a pleasure to see the Triumph of Virtue and Nobility over Ignorance. It commands the view of the Baroque wing. Likewise, the Getty and LACMA have a few nice works as well.

But to really appreciate Tiepolo, you need to see the works in their original context and site. Alas, I haven't the time or resources to take a trip to Italy any time soon. ;-)

Detail of the Miracle of the Holy House of Loreto (1743) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

So, lets look at some vids instead.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Red Priest

Detail of View of the Santa Maria della Salute with the Dogana di Mare (1780) by Francesco Guardi

We can't let the day pass without celebrating the birth date of Antonio Vivaldi.

All year long, we've been enjoying his music, interspersed most notably within our seasonal posts. I absolutely adore his compositions, treasures of the baroque Venetian style. In terms of elegance, few composers can compare.

So, let's take a moment to enjoy these beauties and reflect on the shimmering image of 18th century Venice.

Detail of Venetian Capriccio (1760) by Francesco Guardi

Once again, let's listen to some music. ;-)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Arena Is Full of Blood!!!

Detail of Bullfight, Suerte de Varas (1824) by Francisco Goya

Georges Bizet's opera, Carmen, premiered on March 3, 1875.

In operatic history, it is one of the most influential works, bringing into vogue an interest in realism as a viable subject matter for the stage. The music became a staple of the repertoire, breaking the Italian and German dominance of the genre. Sadly, it was Bizet's last opera, but it certainly was a masterful way in which to punctuate the life of a composer.

So, let's celebrate this classic work. And what of the Goya paintings? Well, the opera is about beauty, passion, and death in 1820s Spain. I figured the Goya's would make a nice visual accompaniment. ;-)

Detail of Young Woman with a Letter (1819) by Francisco Goya

Let's listen to some music.

Corridor to Coca-Cola

Empty Seats and a Coke Machine

For this new year of Paideia posts, I want to share more "whimsy" photos, which I've already started with recent "stairway" articles.

That doesn't mean that I'll stop doing my normal birth date celebrations for artists, painters, poets, and other such cultural luminaries. In fact, it'll allow me to feature some people about whom I normally know very little, but can appreciate. For example, today is the birth date of Federico Moreno Torroba, an interesting Spanish classical, born in 1891.

I know just about nothing about him, but I like his guitar music. ;-)

Federico Moreno Torroba was born on March 3, 1891.

So, let's listen to some music!