Friday, March 31, 2023

"Summertime" by Joni Mitchell

I am absolutely blown away by Joni Mitchell's (previously here) voice in this excerpt from her all-star concert tribute when she received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize. It sounds as if, miraculously, she has shaved thirty years off her voice...and considering the harrowing health issues she has been through the last several years, this is especially wonderful to hear. Long live Joni!

PBS stations will broadcast the concert — “Joni Mitchell: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” — at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, March 31 (check local listings) and on and the PBS App as part of the co-produced Emmy Award-winning music series. It will also be broadcast to U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world via the American Forces Network.

Mitchell got her start performing in coffee shops and nightclubs in her native Canada and would go on to become an icon among music makers, setting a new standard marrying music and lyrics. With such songs as “Both Sides, Now,” “Chelsea Morning,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Woodstock” and “The Circle Game,” Mitchell became a household name.

Mitchell redefined the role of women musicians. She oversaw all aspects of her albums, including songwriting, arrangements, performance, production and artwork. Her sound crosses musical genres from folk to jazz, classical and rock, and she continues to inspire her fellow artists.

Mitchell is also a talented painter, creating the cover art for many of her albums, and her visual art will be featured prominently in the tribute concert, along with her music.

“I’m a creative person. I like the creative process,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been a painter all my life. I’ve been a musician most of my life. If you can paint with a brush, you can paint with words. … It’s a great honor to join the pantheon of recipients.”

Bestowed in recognition of the legendary songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is the nation’s highest award for influence, impact and achievement in popular music. The honoree is selected by the Librarian of Congress in consultation with a board of scholars, producers, performers, songwriters and other music specialists. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo the late Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Garth Brooks, and Lionel Richie.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

"Asteroid City"--A New Film by Wes Anderson!

It is always a glorious day when I discover there is a new Wes Anderson (previously here) film on the way! "Asteroid City" looks as charming as his previous films--and it appears that he is using his established repertory of players along with some great new faces like Bryan Cranston, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Margot Robbie, and Jarvis Cocker. The trailer below features classic Anderson framing and his lovely, washed-out-old-Kodak-snapshot color palette.

Focus Features says:
"ASTEROID CITY takes place in a fictional American desert town circa 1955. Synopsis: The itinerary of a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention (organized to bring together students and parents from across the country for fellowship and scholarly competition) is spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events.
ASTEROID CITY is only in theaters June 16th."

I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

BEAUTY: Digital Art--Andrea Zanatelli

Artist Andrea Zanatelli has worked with  Florence Welch and Courtney Love on some amazing projects, and his Embroidery Series captures all the Edwardian, Gothic Revival, Pre-Raphaelite, and Victorian sense of his work. These are not actual embroidered pieces but digital composites of individual images of fabrics and embroidered and beaded objects. Stunning...

Top to bottom: The Blue Iris; Carnations; The Cobweb; Heartsease or The Circle of Protection; Ode To Spring; Our Tears; The Rose Bloom; Three Lilies; Andrea Zanatelli portrait by Alessandro Oliva for "The Greatest Magazine"

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

noma Kyoto

noma, the three-Michelin-star restaurant run by chef René Redzepi (previously here), has been doing pop-ups at locations around the globe for some time now and their latest adventure is in Kyoto, Japan. noma Kyoto is located at the Ace Hotel which describes the experience:

The noma residency will run four days a week — Wednesday through Saturday — from Wednesday March 15th through Saturday May 20th — a 10 week run. There will be two seatings available every day — one lunch seating, and one dinner seating.

The noma Kyoto menu will cost €475 EUR per person with accompanying beverage pairing of €300 EUR per person, choice of alcoholic or non-alcoholic pairing.

The Ace Hotel Kyoto room package is an accommodation package that comes with a minimum 2 night stay in a Deluxe King room, as well as access to book 2 seats at the noma residency. All seats booked via the Ace Hotel Kyoto room package will be seated at communal tables. The communal tables seat up to 12 guests.

The multi-course tasting menu will take inspiration from noma and Rene Redzepi’s extensive travel in the Kyoto region and its neighboring areas, as well as the restaurant’s decade-long relationship with Japanese cooking and cuisine, combined with the innovation and creativity so unique to noma.

The interiors were done by OEO Studio who worked with some of the best local artisans specializing in ceramics, tatami, textiles, bamboo, and wood to express a concept that blends the Scandinavian roots of noma with the craftsmanship and materials of the Kyoto area. The beautiful results include artistic bamboo ceiling installations, pendants made of compressed seaweed, and a recreation of an underwater kelp forest hanging above guests.

It seems as of this writing, there are a very few limited number of seats still available. Check the Ace Hotel noma site for more info.

Monday, March 27, 2023

"Industry" by Harry Talin

I am currently mesmerized by this ambient, drone-y track, "Industry" by Harry Talin (previously here, as Trailblazer) from his 2015 release "The Exciter.". The layers, the overdubbing, the reverb, the all strikes me right. *sigh* Where are you Harry? Are you still making music?

Sunday, March 26, 2023

BEAUTY: Painting--Celia Reisman

I am fascinated with the gorgeous imagery of artist Celia Reisman...her selections of various backyards is deceptive. They seem simple but for me at least, they are infused with meaning and memories of backyards I grew up in, of the meaning of someone's home and land and the life that is lived there. I am also quite entranced with her lyrical presentation and color palette, recalling the work of The Nabis, previously here.

Top to bottom: Broadway Vista; Corner Confetti; Echo Park Coral; Havertown Friends Meeting; New Seasons; Open Gates; Purple Umbrella; Road I SD; Silver Lake; Trumpet Tree

Saturday, March 25, 2023

BEAUTY: Illustration--Jordan Bolton

Here are a few poignant and profound panels from artist Jordan Bolton's beautiful series "Scenes From Imagined Films" available at the Etsy site linked at the bottom.

Friday, March 24, 2023

"So Hard So Hot" by Alison Goldfrapp

It's always a good day when Alison Goldfrapp releases new material. Here is "So Hard So Hot" from her debut solo release. In the past, she has performed under Goldfrapp, the band she formed with composer/musician Will Gregory (previously here) but her album "The Love Invention" will be released on May 12, 2023. She says it is her "tribute to the dance floor" and this video, produced with AI imagery, is giving me some fun, nostalgic 80s Olivia Newton John vibes. Love it.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

BEAUTY: Interior Design--The Power of Black by M. James Design Group

As an interior designer, I can attest that in general, clients are very afraid of dark colors. People have a morbid fear of a dark wall color but just look how it creates presence, drama, and expansiveness in this Houston apartment designed by M. James Design Group. I love that they boldly specified Black by Benjamin Moore for the wall of casework in the living room and for the primary bedroom and bath to begin with, but I also heartily congratulate them for getting their client on board (no easy task). It really does elevate and transform the spaces.

All photos by Douglas Friedman

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

"Run A Red Light" by Everything But The Girl

Ah, here's another song released from the upcoming Everything But The Girl album "Fuse," their first in twenty four years! I must say Tracey's lower, richer tone really works on this beautiful, moody piece, "Run A Red Light."

Cashed up and all set
It’s a lock-in here until he says so
A little bump from a car key
Sit back darling, it’s all about us

Forget the losers, forget the morning
Put a tune on, and put your feet up
It was my idea, I hope you know that
We’re gonna have this, I’m the one now

Run a red light
Forget the morning
This is tonight

It’s the bar take not the door split
A few weeks and I can work it
Keep it simple, keep the same crowd
We’re on the inside, I’m the one now
Yeah I’m the one now

It’s 2am, we’re leaving loudly
Wake the neighbours, we won’t come quietly
They’ll all know my name soon
Anyway, anyway, anyway, anyway

Run a red light
Forget the morning
This is tonight

Ben and Tracey explain the song:

"It’s the third track so far from the new album, 'Fuse' (out Apr 21), and is actually the oldest song to feature on the record. Unlike most of the new material - which was written in a burst of creativity last year - Ben wrote it a few years ago, but never recorded it.

It was one evening last summer when he played Tracey some older rough sketches and demos he had on his phone as possible inspirations for the new album. One of them was a version of this abandoned song. As soon as Tracey heard it she wanted to sing it. Ben had originally written it for himself, but never settled on how to record it. Tracey loved the melody and kept it. It took her voice low into her register. She really enjoyed exploiting that tone, bringing out all the resonance of the deep notes, singing it close to the mic, like she was whispering in someone’s ear.

The lyric of the song talks about the kind of character Ben often used to run into during his years of DJing - the guy at the end of the night who is all talk, all full of big wild ideas, dreaming of the day he’s gonna run his own club and be a big shot. But there’s a mixture of bravado and vulnerability in there - a sense that for all his apparent confidence, at heart he’s just a dreamer.

We feel that combination of attitude and emotion is captured beautifully by Samuel, the main dancer in the video, and it’s another example of the kind of mixed feelings that we so often inject into our songs. We’re always drawn to people and situations which are complicated, or which give rise to ambivalent feelings. We love the shifting perspective, the uncertainty, the doubt that underpins so much of what motivates people.

That mix of bravado and vulnerability is present in this photo too - maybe it always is in the photos we like best. The camera is good at capturing fleeting moments, tiny flickers of changing mood."

"Fuse" will be released in just a few weeks. I can't wait.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Happy Spring Equinox 2023!

Happy Spring Equinox 2023!

The day and night are of equal length today. Perfect symmetry.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

BEAUTY: Interior Design--Portage Lake House by Morgan Madison Design

I am totally smitten with and gobsmacked by this incredible interior project from Morgan Madison Design. As an interior design myself, I can assure you that every single thing in this project is exquisitely chosen and placed. Absolute kudos to Tanner Morgan and Jennifer Laouari for creating a breathtaking interior narrative. Just phenomenal...

I love how the sense of the house is consistent from space to space. And I love the tumbling block marble floor and Boyd chandelier in the dining room, the olive green casework in the lounge, the marvelous marquetry wallcovering from Maya Romanoff on the primary bedroom ceiling, the wall-mounted antique commode vanity in the primary bathroom, and of course the dramatic crane wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries in the guest room.

All photos by Stephen Karlisch