Tuesday, April 29, 2003
The light is great today...
I went yesterday and found a perfect item for the last bit of preparation before painting... a small fold up table that I'll use for holding my paints, brushes and water jar.
Now everything is all GO, even the light is co-operating. I got a great CD for aural inspiration- so why am I not propelled to get to work?
This happens every time.
It's a process of some kind, but I don't know the significance of it. Once I get started , then it's no problem...
It's almost as if I "stare down" the canvas, to get a bearing of some sort- to summon the muse, to get mentally in the higher ground, who knows... they all sound good, though- hmmm?
I am a big fan of Georgia O'Keeffe. I've read many books about her, as I have always been a reader. As a child I spent many solitary afternoons reading while my sisters were out playing with the neighborhood kids. I felt lonely as a child, I don't know why, but reading always filled that hole- I once read somewhere: "We read to connect to humanity".
I think that's true.
But anyway, back to Georgia.
She said something that amazed me, because I do the same thing and never knew we had this in common.
Georgia had a thing she called "making the unknown, known". I don't know how she came to this philosophy, but for me it works like this:
If you sit quietly in a field, or anywhere for that matter- and just study something, give it your complete attention, and let your eyes "see"- the unknown really becomes visible.
This is what I paint.
I've always thought explanations were stupid, but I don't anymore. To assume anyone knows or cares how I think or feel is far fetched- but I'll just say this for anyone who reads this and connects:
till next time 'Mela
Sunday, April 27, 2003
but there's no sun...
the light is too dark to paint in
I take this as an invitation
to do something else.
Fluourescant light is weird.
You leave the house with too much make-up on.
I've reassessed my make up philosophy -
The secret of appearing young:
Wear too much as a youth
and tone it way down
as the years
Chop and saute onions for the omelette du jour
the aroma does a dance with a luring finger to
the biking passerby.
They offer a silent
Delicious shiny sparkling nails
and L' Heure Bleue
make me feel
'Till next time 'Mela
Thursday, April 24, 2003
I opened the paper to the Arts section, to see if my listing in the "gig" guide was up, but I was halted by the sight of the most excellent Nina Simone's picture gracing the music page of The Daily Yomiuri.
I thought, at last, at last - she will be appearing somewhere here in Japan.
I have been a fan of hers for a very long time, and although I knew she was advancing in age, it didn't dampen my hopes that one day, she would appear here in Tokyo.
Ms. Nina is now singing and playing her beautiful music to an audience in Heaven.
God Bless Nina Simone, who recently passed away at 70.
I remember listening to her "Black is the color of my true love's hair" one beautiful Spring day in a park in North Bergen, New Jersey.
My son was playing with the ducks, [chasing them around] while I listened to Nina on my cassette player. It was so hauntingly beautiful. She had a way with each song- from ethereal to explosive...
I 'm glad her recorded music will live on...
Till next time... 'Mela
Sunday, April 20, 2003
The Easter Promenade
On a drizzly April morning
a purported large rabbit was said to have hidden
colored eggs in the most trickiest of places-
but nobody looked for them,
" We give 'em 'bout 2 weeks, authorities were quoted as saying;
and then you can use your nose to find 'em..."
Birds screeched the blues outside the window
and tap danced in a plastic tray
fighting over the now moist millet
placed on a sunnier day...
"The streets will be dampened, Princess Pea declared,
as she rustled her crinolines-
but promenade I shall!"
She was wearing a chapeaux
made with flowers, and bows.
She's a very fashionable gal...
The sun was unavailable for comment.
The neighborhood trees wave green fingers
the daffodils oooh and ahhh
watching the slow parade of spring
the Easter Promenade...
Thursday, April 17, 2003
A day at the market
The breeze lifts the hem of my skirt
as I ride by.
No reason to investigate that falling down branch or the bruises on that little one's face -
Pedal-ling my ass away...
Vegetables are so unsociable.
Waxed lyrical spherical pinch me I'm dreaming!
Ice age shrimp do a frozen limbo dance.
Tubular rolls and boxes of puffed paper... and the members card motto:
don't you dare leave without that giant dikon...
Insert key here:
The curtains and carpet have been redone from pastel to moss green,
you're welcome to leave all complaints in the proper receptacles -
but it's a like it or lump it neighborhood.
Park and ride
smell the welcome mat of home
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
Man, am I thirsy. I woke up with a craving for a beer. Maybe because I watched "The DOORS" last night, or maybe because the sky tilts just so- who the hell knows or cares- let the games begin...
It's a game of artful dodging.
And no matter how much you think non alcoholic beer is a nice substitute- it's complete and utter doggy doo to the seasoned beer drinker.
It's a game of reconditioning. Learning how to "live" without it.
I find it amazing at how people's atitudes change towards a "dry" used to be oh-so-wet person.
A mixture of contempt, fear, and indifference- and in the very welcome cases, understanding.
But to carry on with your own convictions and put some hard time down with it, usually does win over acceptance...
But an ice cold heineken would be most excellent .
"You can go swimming, 'just don't go near the water... " -a song from childhood.
Now I invest in different things with what used to be my personal elbow bending time. I read, I watch videos, I cook. I actually eat at parties! I have discovered the wonders of hors d'oevres!
Maybe thats where this blog comes in.
I feel a strong urge to write lately- like I've been holding it in for so long, that I'll bust.
"It's in 'im- its gotta come out... let that 'chile BOOGEY WOOGIE"... - John Lee Hooker
I guess I need to SING! Music is one of the best ways for me to get closer to God...
"God can give you a miracle if you believe" - Andrae Crouch
Till next time, 'Mela
Sunday, April 13, 2003
A lovely day in the cards today... and after a small hiatus, I will get back to "coaching" again. I hesitate to call it teaching. I am a vocalist, I didn't study it, it is a thing I have felt strongly about for as long as I can remember. I sing because it feels natural. Its a gift. People like what comes next, but I can't explain it- or worse, TEACH it- please don't misunderstand me, I have great respect for teachers, but I truly believe there are some things that can't be taught. What I can do is offer pointers to people who look for them, and a few good stories...
When I started out- there didn't seem to be any such people.
I was on my own.
It was a strange occurrence to have people doubt my sincerity on account of my youth. "Go learn about life"... or "What do you know about troubles" were common responses to my musical attempts in my youth. "Go out there and pay some dues" was one of the main things I would hear from older higher ups on the totem pole- I say this now, not with bitterness, but with a bit of bewilderment when now, after polishing up my act, paying some dues, and learning my craft- that the "biz" seems to lean now more toward the younger models. As Billy Crystal says: "These are the jokes!"
I guess you have to hang in long enough, to get respect:
" I'm oooooooold. Everything gets respect if it lasts long enough- old whores, old cars, old politicians..."
-John Huston, " CHINATOWN "
In any event, I'm keepin' on, keepin' on...
A very old and dear friend of mine in Los Angeles gave me this when we were first hanging out together. She witnessed a lot of my repeated attempts at getting a break... she gave me this poem, which
I now give to any young vocalists who MEAN it:
NOTHING IN THE WORLD CAN TAKE THE PLACE OF PERSISTENCE.
TALENT WILL NOT; NOTHING IS MORE COMMON THAN UNSUCCESSFUL MEN
WITH TALENT. GENIUS WILL NOT; UNREWARDED GENIUS IS ALMOST A
EDUCATION ALONE WILL NOT; THE WORLD IS FULL OF EDUCATED
DERELICTS. PERSISTENCE AND DETERMINATION ALONE ARE
-Ray A. Kroc
I guess it works for anybody in any field.
I miss one of my mentors of jazz, my dear friend, and [at that time] fellow elbow bender, Corky Alexander. He was a great supporter of me in jazz, art, my family, and my life here in Tokyo. When I came here I met a person [in him] who truly cared. I miss his funny face, his jokes, and his inspiration. Always full to the brim with stories, he was a world class enthusiast on life, and most fun aspects of it. He passed away last December, and I miss him so. On this Palm Sunday, let me just say this:
Till next time, ‘Mela
Thursday, April 10, 2003
I didn't get the art show.
There, I said it, and that's it. They said: "Sorry, so many artists and limited space"... This was my first try at the "American Club" , maybe you have to beat a path on the rug before you are considered seriously- in any event- c'est la vie...
I do have some other good news, though. I have a gig at jazz spot "J " in Shinjuku May 2nd, Friday- with The Mike Price Jazz Quintet.
Funny, I was thinking that day of calling Koda-san, [the owner of the club] for a date, but I got distracted by the events of the day after 3pm in the afternoon. [Jazz etiquette: never call before 3pm-]
But he called me.
So, we're on, and I'm hoping to do some new pieces, and to get a mellow jazz sound this time. I got great guys backing me; Mike Price, of course on trumpet, and flugelhorn. He loves to practice, he's meticulous, and he has a flair for keeping the band members "focused". Keisaku Takahashi, on piano- he's simply one of the best pianists I know. He has an great ear, and he can swing with the best of 'em. He plays on my CD, and we've been performing together 10 + years. Tomoya Hara on guitar, he knows ALL the chords, dude... Mark Tourian, on bass- Mark's the greatest- he can groove and get funky- and he's a terribly sweet guy... and last, but not least, Forris Fulford, on the drums- he's got a laid back way of keeping time, that feels very "adult " to me- mellow, and cool- and Forris has a beautiful singing voice.
I look forward to playing with the guys again.
In Paris, France, there is a beautiful garden with a plaque that reads like this: [translated of course]
"In May, you should do as you wish"...
I will be appearing at a new venue in May, for a sizable chunk of the month, called "Tableaux Lounge" in Daikanyama [Shibuya-ku].
May 15,16,17,22,23,24,29,30,31... with a pianist I haven't played with in quite a while, Kei Shibata.
So - although I do have some work for the immediate future, I feel a little down. I know I shouldn't take it personal when I don't get selected for an art show, but I do... I consider my paintings very personal, so I feel rejected when "we" are not chosen. It is something I must work to overcome...
I got my Easter Egg coloring Kit! "DUDLEY'S DAZZLIN' COLORS"... ain't WE got fun.
And this Sunday is Palm Sunday... I remember it as a kid in upstate NY.
Everyone who didn't go to church ALL year long showed up for this particular Sunday to get their annual palms to tack up under their picture of Jesus. They musta had a shipment flown in special for Sunday Mass... Jerusalem Palms? Florida palms? Cuban palms? Spider palms? Who knows... except they sure don’t grow 'em in any place upstate NY.
And the next Sunday would of course, be EASTER. I feel so old fashioned [but once again, in a good way...] by the fashion rules taught to me by my very elegant mother and grand mother- but I still abide them- you don't wear white until after Easter, IT SIMPLY ISN'T DONE!
Easter was the real "Spring" to me- new dress, hat, gloves, shoes, handbag -the works. It has been a tradition that I cannot let go of [and don't want to, either!]. This is probably why I cringe when I see the girls here wearing in February white alligator simulated slingbacks with a gauzy dress/skirt over raggetty-ass, hem ripped at the bottom jeans- all of this ahem, elegance, and the absolute piece de resistance to this fashion statement is, you guessed it- the Louis Vuitton handbag-
I think these girls should save the money from the L.V. bag and use it to travel to Paris, and learn a few things about being a girl: how to dress, and HOW TO WEAR SHOES. A woman walking down the street in Paris clomping her heels as if she were in bedroom slippers would be sneered at, IF it ever happened- I can't help but feel embarrassment for these girls, they may teach what to buy in fashion magazines, but they just don’t teach S T Y L E...
And this has turned into a rant, I 'spect. I have read a lot of other peoples' blogs, and they all have their own reasons for doing them, and I, too have reasons, although with every new entry the reasons differ, but for todays entry I' ll just say this: "Thanks, Doc... my hour is up"
Till next time, ' Mela
Thursday, April 03, 2003
The force of nature. I find it amazing lately. The way things just move without a push. The way that trees from buds to blossoms will go on to make leaves- the way children become adults, and parents become old, and myself just marveling in this metamorphosis, powerless to lift a finger to stop it.
I guess I finally do understand why Japanese like to get snockered at "hanami" [cherry blossom] time...
but it's no longer an option for me.
Now I find myself getting teary eyed a lot more than I used to. Not because I'm sad or depressed, but just plain sentimental. [But in a good way, says Billy Crystal...]
One look from my son said it all today, it said, "Yes, I am growing up" "Yes, I am going to soon not need you" and "Yes, I do appreciate all you've done for me, just not right now"...
So I am learning too.
Learning slowly [so slowly] how to let go.
How to let him be the man he will be and fight the urge to "help". It is as difficult to learn as it was to learn how to raise him, and all so bittersweet...
All these memories just come flooding the gates with that one look. I only hope that he will remember as I do...
I have been doing my best- and filling my life with his and my agenda.
Will he remember?
The new school year starts in a few days. Today he [with me accompanying] did the haircut, the eye exam, the new sneakers, but something unexpected came to me that I didn't plan on. In our parting at the train station, as I prepared to go do shopping for dinner, we nodded at one another, and in that look it said more than "see you at home"...
it said : " thanks"...
Till next time [Mamma] 'Mela