Sunday, September 24, 2017

"New York Morning" by Elbow

I've been a fan of Elbow for a while but somehow I am just now getting to this special, tender, soaring song from their 2014 album "The Take Off and Landing of Everything."

The lyrics to "New York Morning," written by lead signer Guy Garvey, are such a specific ode to the city of New York, but they touchingly celebrate a kind of striving of the human spirit that is universal. I feel like a possible visual for the song could spread outside of New York across the country and the world, to show all of us just doing our best, because we can, we did, and we do. The words are buoying, thrilling in a way...

But the official video celebrates a couple of New Yorkers, Dennis and Lois, who spent their young lives in downtown nightclubs befriending influential bands like The Ramones. Theirs is a sweet, quirky story rooted in the Cindy Adams always said, "Only in New York, kids...only in New York."

The first to put a simple truth in words
Binds the world in a feeling all familiar
‘Cause everybody owns the great ideas
And it feels like there’s a big one round the corner

Antenna up and out into New York
Somewhere in all that talk is all the answers
And oh my giddy aunt, New York can talk
It’s the modern Rome and folk are nice to Yoko

Every bone of rivet steel
Each corner stone and angle
Jenga jut and rusted water tower
Pillar, post, and sign
Every painted line and battered ladder building in this town
Sings a life of proud endeavour and the best that man can be

Me, I see a city and I hear a million voices
Planning, drilling, welding, carrying their fingers to the nub
Reaching down into the ground
Stretching up into the sky
Because they can
They did and do
So you and I could live together

Oh my God, New York can talk
Somewhere in all that talk is all the answers
Everybody owns the great ideas
And it feels like there’s a big one round the corner

The desire in the patchwork symphony
The desire like a distant storm for love
Did it come from me
‘Cause it feels like there’s a big one round the corner

The way the day begins
Decides the shade of everything
But the way it ends depends on if you’re home
For every soul a pillow at a window, please
In the modern Rome where folk are nice to Yoko

And here is a lovely quick explanation of how the song was written, presented by Guy Garvey.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

"Spent The Day In Bed" by Morrissey

A NEW MORRISSEY RELEASE ("Low In High School" out on November 17, 2017) MEANS A NEW MORRISSEY SONG: "Spent The Day In Bed".

Morrissey tells it like it is:
"Stop watching the news!
Because the news contrives to frighten you
To make you feel small and alone
To make you feel that your mind isn't your own"

Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy Autumnal Equinox 2017

Today is the official start of autumn, when our planet begins to tilt the other direction, tipping the northern hemisphere away from the sun. The days grow shorter, nights grow longer, as we move indoors and into ourselves for hibernation and introspection. Autumn is a time of harvest as the earth moves into hibernation as well. It is a beautiful time, a spiritual transition, a doorway between summer and winter.


(And for my friends Down Under, Happy Spring!)

Happy Birthday "Oh, By The Way" 2017!

Congratulations "Oh, By The Way," you are eight years old today!

Eight years ago, I had a dream in which I started a blog called “Oh, By The Way.” When I woke up that morning, I went to the computer and promptly started a blog called “Oh, By The Way.” Seriously--it was the first thing I did that morning, and yes, I often act out in waking life things I have dreamt.

"Oh, By The Way" is my digital scrap book of things I like, things I would share with a close friend and say: “Oh, by the way, do you know of this artist/ clothing or interior designer/ model/ singer/ actor/ gorgeous man… or, have you seen this video/ photo/ film... or heard (or do you remember) this song/ band... or, read this book/ poem/ inspiring quote... or, visited this place/ restaurant/ famous building... or, have you heard of this amazing new scientific discovery?”

And what have people responded to the most over the last eight years? Here are the Top Ten posts ranked by individual pageviews:

1) Style master Nick Wooster is still the reigning champion of posts at 60,770 hits.

2) And my essay about the astounding musical suite "The Ninth Wave" by my darling Kate Bush (who taught me how to fly) holds second place at 24,239 views!

3) Just this year, a post about Men In Make-Up soared from low digits to rank third with 17,156 individual page hits.

4) A post showing the many looks of actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson shows up at a respectable 15,105 views.

5) And hot on Aaron's heels is another actor, Jared Leto. I showed him shirtless in a double wrap belt, images that were liked by 10,243 people.

6) Gorgeous silver-haired model Andy Lucchesi captured 9,200 hearts.

7) And 7,032 people still love a post from 2010 about Retro Holiday Wreaths made from antique glass ornaments.

8) Oddly, a post identifying the differences between the cookies Lorna Doone, Ladyfinger, and the tiny cake-like Madeleine is hanging in at 6,956 hits.

9) Still on the Top Ten list at 6,725 views is a video of the alternately funny and chilling Vatican Fashion Show section from Fellini's astounding surreal-celebration-disguised-as-a-travelogue-film, "Roma."

10) And garnering 5,967 hits for last place is an illustrated post about three traditional German Christmas decorations: Schwibbogen, Christmas Pyramid, and Angel Chimes.

Huh. Who knew?

Followers and regular readers: thank you so much! I hope you find this blog fascinating, beautiful, interesting, moving, inspiring, informative, and uplifting. Welcome to the birthday party. Help yourself to a slice of virtual cake and a glass of milk. Or an Iced Chai Latte!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Last Day of Summer 2017

Today is the last day of summer up here in the Northern Hemisphere...

"Bad Love" by RY X

Just released: "Bad Love" by dreamy crooner RY X. So much beauty: sounds and sights.

The New York Times said of RY X, "His voice is a pearly, androgynous tenor, a vessel for liquid melancholy that blurs words at the edges. He stretches pop structures with repetition that grows devotional, obsessive, hypnotic".

Filmed at Las Pozas, the legendary Mexican estate of Edward James (previously here).

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"Untitled (Dividing Time), 2017" by Robert Longo

Artist Robert Longo (who shot to fame in the early 80s with his large-scale black and white drawings of business people contorting against an empty background) finished a charcoal drawing, prophetically, on the day of the most recent Presidential election, November 8, 2016. It showed a flag divided down the center by a five-inch void.

Longo is no stranger to flag imagery having completed a series of black American flags several years ago. But he has now branched out into creating actual flags with his creation Untitled (Dividing Time), 2017. Arts foundation Creative Time (the group that commissioned Tribute in Light, the twin beacons of light that illuminated lower Manhattan six months after 9/11) commissioned Longo to create a physical manifestation of his charcoal drawing for Pledges of Allegiance, a serialized commission of 16 flags by famous artists. Creative Time's website says, "Each flag points to an issue the artist is passionate about, a cause they believe is worth fighting for, and speaks to how we might move forward collectively. Conceived in response to the current political climate, Pledges of Allegiance aims to inspire a sense of community among cultural institutions, and begin articulating the urgent response our political moment demands."

Longo elaborated on his creation: "I created this flag for Creative Time’s Pledges of Allegiance project based on a large-scale charcoal drawing I completed on the day of the most recent presidential election. The drawing Untitled (Nov. 8, 2016) consists of a left and right panel, with five inches separating them. I chose to draw the right panel larger but with fewer stars; my intention is to present the current symptomatic divide in the United States." Indeed, there has been a frightening political swing to the right not just here in the United States but in areas around the world. The divide in this country--politically, racially, socially--is something that is simply not going to go away. And I'm not sure how it is going to evolve, but I have an uneasy foreboding that it will entail some version of a Civil War...but I'm not sure that makes sense since, apparently, the first one never ended.

Robert Longo’s Untitled (Dividing Time) has been raised at ten cultural institutions around the country. It is on view at:
– Creative Time Headquarters, 59 East 4th Street, NY, NY
– The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, 258 Main St, Ridgefield, CT
– Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY
– 21C Museum Hotel Durham, 111 Corcoran St, Durham, NC
– University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, 3821 USF Holly Drive, Tampa, FL
– Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI
– Kemper Art Museum at Washington University, 1 Brookings Dr, St. Louis, MO
– RISD Museum, 224 Benefit St, Providence, RI
– KMAC Museum, 715 W Main St, Louisville, KY
– Cornell’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, 114 Central Ave, Ithaca, NY

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Rejoice" by Hercules and Love Affair with Rouge Mary

Rejoice with "Rejoice" by Hercules and Love Affair with Rouge Mary on vampy vocals.

Go on and just do it
Why won't you come and take it?
Go on and just do it
Why won't you come and take it?

Slave to the darkest hour
We're longing for the light

Rejoice from this very day
Rejoice every situation
Rejoice from this very day
Rejoice, don't let your life pass you by
Rejoice from this very day
Rejoice every situation
Rejoice from this very day
Rejoice, don't let your life pass you by

Founder of Hercules and Love Affair Andy Butler said of the song:
"The lyrics to 'Rejoice' were written in a day. It’s so obvious when you look around, that we all have so many reasons to be sad and we are so used to complaining about sticky situations. So much that we forget the ancient secret. 'Rejoice' highlights the importance of gratitude and the power of positive thoughts. 'Smile though your heart is aching,' Charlie Chaplin once said. I interpret it in a very powerful way, with a belting voice to symbolize the urgency of the message. I feel this song is like a solution to face problems of all kind. Could it be coffee for the ears? I don’t know, but for sure, it truly is an ode to positivity.

As with this entire record, 'Rejoice' was born out of taking detours from a traditional 'vocal house' record. I picked up the tempo and stumbled onto a bass line that evoked my fave early industrial tracks from Front 242 or Cabaret Voltaire. The stomp is one of exuberance, and was begging for 'vamping' or 'riffing' from a singer – something Rouge Mary is so great at. The exuberance just pointed me to the word 'Rejoice,' so I asked her to bring that message to the song. It’s a message she brings every day to her life, so it was exciting to watch her once again share 'the keys to the kingdom!'"

L to R: Rouge Mary, Andy Butler, John Grant, Gustaph, Krystle Warren

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Pampshade

Japanese artist Yukiko Morita first had the idea for a lamp made out of bread way back in 2007. After years of prototypes and graduating from Kyoto University of Art and Design, Morita's bread lamps, or Pampshades as she has dubbed them, are ready for sale.

Each piece of bread is baked, carefully hollowed out by hand so only a very thin shell remains, and finally coated with a resin which preserves the bread forever. The various shapes and styles of bread ranging from a batard or baguette to smaller croissants and champignons are then fitted with LED lights. Pampshade lights can be purchased through Morita's website (they are rather affordable) and the good news is she now ships globally!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

BEAUTY: Architecture--The Summer Cave House

In these waning days of summer up here in the northern hemisphere, let's look at a stunning summer house on the Greek island of Santorini on the Aegean Sea. Created by Kapsimalis Architects, the Summer Cave house was built around an existing cave house carved into the volcanic rock. The new house now covers 1,760 square feet and includes a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, a hammam and a sauna. The second level terrace includes an infinity pool and an outdoor dining area...which must be spectacular at night.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

BEAUTY: Interiors--Martin Brudnizki

Interior designer Martin Brudnizki recently gave a new look to the Ivy Soho Brasserie, one of the numerous offshoots of the original Ivy restaurant in London. To illustrate the interesting leap between inspiration and finished product, the concept for this restaurant and bar started with the art work of William Blake (1757 – 1827) who was the most famous resident of Broadwick Street where the Ivy Soho Brasserie is located. I can see how Blake's color palette was interpreted into the scheme that includes an onyx bar, bronze pendant lighting, marble floor tiles, polished parquet and a mixture of burnt orange leather and velvet banquettes and bar stools. But the art work on the walls of the restaurant is far from Blake with a Pop Art/Peter max vibe.

Another Brudnizki project that has a similar feel is the Beekman Hotel in Manhattan. The Bar Room at Tom Colicchio’s Temple Court is located beneath The Beekman’s stunning, nine-story Victorian era atrium. I love the Bohemian/Old World feel and Brudnizki's use of antique silhouettes for furniture and lighting.

And finally, back in London, Scarfes Bar features the same kind of classic elements and cozy, inviting pillows on banquettes and chairs.

Friday, September 15, 2017

"Mountaineers" by Susanne Sundfør with John Grant

Norwegian singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfør recorded a transfixing song with John Grant called "Mountaineers" for her brand new release "Music For People In Trouble." It starts as a dirge and ends up as a soaring liturgical explosion.

Jumbo jets spiraling down like vultures of the stars
Soaring above barren lands of boiling tar
The liquid rainbow spills an ocean of scars
Among the buzzing of a million cars

And looking up at a heaven of fireflies
I cannot help but marvel at the beauty before my eyes
Neck deep in black water
Swimming in the soil of your wasted oil
What it is, what it means

What it is, what it means
Now I know
We'll never be what you need, no

What we are, what we want
It will never change
We won't abide by your laws anymore

(What it is, what it means
Now I know
We'll never be what you need, no)

What we are, what we want
It will never change
We will break through your walls
Wild wolves

Thursday, September 14, 2017


A meditation not on a color but a pattern...