Art & Music, How They Save Me, Fill Me With Life, and Where They Lead My Thoughts

On a day difficult day in my heart,
I find love in art and music.
Art and music keep me afloat, better than that,
they inject my heart with lifeforce.

First, music.

Karkwa, Polaris Prize winners in 2010, have been on repeat for over a week. That’s a big deal for me. Even when I really really dig something, I rarely play it on repeat because I enjoy a range of music, and rarely want to stay on the same thing. But Les Chemins De Verre (you can listen to clips of the album on their site here), the album that won them $20,000 last year, is something special, as Jian Ghomeshi said while closing his interview with the band on Q (watch that interview here).

Say what you will about gala shows but I thank Polaris greatly for bringing Karkwa to my attention. Yes, they’ve been around for ever (12 years!) and have gained notoriety in Quebec and France, but that French-centric scene isn’t mine. I wish I were fluent in French, hell, I wish learning English AND French were mandatory in Canadian schools – we are supposedly a bilingual country! The bits of French we are taught in public school, with focus on grammar and not speaking, are pitiful. But if you want something done right, you do it yourself, right? So I’ll have to pursue that dream and go live in Quebec and immerse myself in it. One day, soon.

Next, art.

Holy shit more amazingness from Google: This was brought to my attention by a coworker today. Apparently, Google made arrangements to take high end cameras into galleries around the world and photograph – in super high res – entire collections of art. So not only can you view the collection in The Palace of Versailles, you can view the pieces as close as though your nose was touching the canvases! And somehow, even at that high resolution, the images load quickly! Truly stunning. This could be one to get lost in for hours, but every second would be worth it.

This is another notch in what seems like an endless stream of excellent free apps from Google (Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Maps, etc). It’s making me want an Android phone. Do you have one? Know anyone who does? I like the idea, and although I know you can access all your Google stuff from other smart phones, you’d think they’d be especially fast and efficient running on Google’s browser. I’ll have to look into that soon…

But smart phones and second languages aside,
today, I give thanks to art and music. Without you both I’d be but a shell.


Ode To Video Recording (You interviewed Nina Simone, Daniel Johnston, and Charles Bukowski, for this I thank you)

tonight I give my thanks to the invention of video recording,
specifically for the use of interviews.
for the use of people talking about themselves,
explaining themselves,
sharing themselves with their unknown viewers.

I feel especially thankful
because in the past couple days
I have watched 3 brilliant artists
explain themselves
share themselves
with me
even though we’ve never met.
And because they have shared themselves
their ideas
their lives, as difficult as they may have been,
I feel a belonging. I belong here right now
in my body,
living my life,
because I am doing what they have done.
They lived life,
pursued their passions
and lived to share it,
I am living my life,
pursuing my passions
I am learning to share them.

The 3 brilliant artists I am referring to are:
Nina Simone
Daniel Johnston
Charles Bukowski.

Although I have read some Bukowski,
have heard of Johnston,
and have listened to and adored Simone for many years,
I have not known much about any of them,
nor have I heard them speak,
I had not seen their faces
with their mouths
speak with their voices
saying whatever it is that their minds
felt the need to form into words and sentences.

The following 3 films brought on this gratitude and my sense of belonging.
I thank:
Bukowski: Born Into This (2003)

The Devil And Daniel Johnston (2005)

Nina Simone Live At Ronnie Scott’s (1985)
(after watching the following clip, watch the full video is here.)


So Blessed, Yeasayer Gives Me A Voice To Thank The People I Deeply Care For

My love for Yeasayer was reinvigorated after they released a live album on December 25th.
Titled “Live At Ancienne Belgique,” the by-donation 13-track album is a brilliant recording of an immensely talented and incredibly unique band having a ton of fun playing their tunes.
I haven’t seen Yeasayer perform, but they’re now on my must-see list.

The album has a fantastic rendition of ‘Red Cave,’ one of the tracks from their first album that originally turned me on to the band.
It has a wonderful chorus that is repeated over and over at the end of the song:

I’m so blessed to
have spent that time
with my family
and the friends
I love with my short life
I have met
so many people I deeply care for

What a wonderful ode to those people in our lives who make life worth living.
For all the heartache and difficulties that life puts us through, it is often manageable only with the support of our true friends – the type of friends who needn’t even offer us advice, they are there with an open heart and warm embrace, perhaps a home cooked plate of food.

This holiday season, I have been surrounded by outstandingly caring, giving, and downright awesome friends.
To these wonderful people I share with you this song by Yeasayer: