Sunday, July 27, 2003
Connecting the dots:
The dust spots that lead to a new manic summer sport:
cleaning the unbelievable amounts of dust and grime that seem to arise from nowhere...
I can't stand it.
If this is on the walls...
A lot of my canvases are not in frames, and some that are don't have glass...
Why were dust, grime and mosquitoes invented?
Scourges on mankind, with absolutely NO redeeming purpose.
I love that line from "The Witches of Eastwick", one of many-
Jack Nicholson's character of
the devil [Daryl Van Horn] is making a speech about the difference between "nature" and "evil". Nature, he says, being what happens when God makes "mistakes", and evil when the mistakes are purported to come from other sources.
Nature or evil, they do have some serious dust here...
At times I feel like "The Woman in the Dunes" trying to stay on top of it.
Except she was shovelling sand...
I've got to find something to wear to go out, another exercise in futility-
It's like the children's book "If you give a mouse a cookie..."
I vote for carving watermelon head masks.
Till next time... 'Mela
Friday, July 25, 2003
The sunflowers are everywhere!
So tall and lovely!
The flowers always bloom,
every year as usual-
But what is interesting to me is their arrival-
Depending on the weather, the flowers can blast on the scene, or be very slight, making not much of an entrance at all.
It is when they seem to be [to me] exploding everywhere, that I feel their attention, and I photograph, and paint them.
I don't know if it's the extra rain that's caused it-
but the sunflowers are so tall this year.
Clear over my 180cm head!
I did this painting "Summerlight" a few years ago, the same time of year.
It was so unbelievably hot, and the sky was clear dark blue, and I somehow wanted to catch the heat and the "light".
Now it's cool and rainy,
and I have been enjoying the indoor time to read the new Harry Potter book.
At 766 pages, it's a nice long read.
My son Michio got his new Nintendo game "F ZERO GX".
I took a quick look. Awesome.
Things have really come a long way since "Pac Man"...
"Seedlings turn overnight
blossoming even as we gaze..."
-Fiddler on the Roof
Sheldon Harnick, lyrics
Till next time... 'Mela
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
I haven't been hiding, or fallen off the planet-
I've been in my "analytical shell" for a few days.
Some people just go to Bermuda...
My gig at the Press Club was a hit.
There was a nice crowd there, with some new faces, and some very dear old friends.
Kei Shibata was an absolute gem on piano.
It is difficult to socialize when I'm working, but I tried as best I could to at least say hello to all who came.
I'll get another chance in August, on the 8th- Friday, at "J" in Shinjuku.
A girlfriend of mine has recently got in touch, and hopefully we will embark on an artistic project together. She is singer/pianist who also is a painter-
Another multi-colored bird...
So, summer vacation begins-
I'm trying to hatch a few localized plans for it,
all in the planning stages-
Staying in the grasslands [here] this summer...
Lots of new tunes to learn this summer!
And guess who finally got the new "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
To all my friends who are baking in the heat, here's a recipe from this fab book of recipe's I bought for a friend, when he quit drinking-
Then I bought one for myself, when I quit drinking-
It's called :
"The California Health Bar Drink Guide"
by Sally Ann Berk.
Not a great title, but ...
It's a great book of non alcoholic drink recipes.
2 parts fresh-squeezed lime [1 oz.]
2 parts fresh-squeezed orange juice [1 oz.]
2 parts pineapple juice [1oz.]
1 part raspberry syrup [1/2 oz.]
Fresh crushed mint leaves
Fresh mint sprig, for garnish
Combine all ingredients except ginger ale and mint sprig with cracked ice
in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Pour into a chilled collins glass. Fill the glass with ginger ale and stir gently. Garnish with the mint sprig.
Who says you shouldn't drink alone?
Till next time... 'Mela
Friday, July 18, 2003
I must be turning into an "old hand" here in Japan,
as I welcome the clouds and rainy season.
The rice fields are so lovely now-
It's an optical illusion to look at one from a distance-
It gives the impression of a beautiful green grassy lawn,
sprawled out across the field, with a fluffy, almost surreal edge to it-
like Andrew Wyeth's painting "Christina's World".
But upon closer inspection,
it is not grass
growing in soil,
but rice seedlings growing in soil and water,
thicker and taller
with this extended rainy season.
On Monday, Marine Day, they open the public pools.
You see these cute college kids as life guards, maybe freshly released from summer studies...
My gig is tomorrow at the Press Club.
I look forward to it.
I have been having a lot of thoughts lately, as to the nature of being a "successful" jazz vocalist.
I have found a balance through the years, as a mother, and a person in general, as not to be so constrained by my job and it's schedule.
Lately I'm reading a lot of info on today's jazz artists in the States,
and how they spend many days in hotels & planes,
Although I have been striving for success all this time,
this present view hardly seems like success.
It seems more like slavery and manipulation- for the ultimate boss,
I don't think I'd want to be so busy that I couldn't have a minute's peace.
Although the payoff is substantial,
the "art" would become drudgery,
and that would be the end of creation, and the joy it brings, at least to me.
So , I guess what I am saying is,
if this is what "making it" is all about,
maybe I have been fortunate in that I have not had
these constraints placed on me. I have been here for my son, I have been painting, and becoming a whole person, albeit cash strapped a lot of the time,
but I still feel joy in creating music, art, and writing.
But if I was offered a chance to do much more, would I take it?
In this world, it seems that a person's worth is decided by how much money they make, how much they own, etc.
I have never felt comfortable in a world where overt capitalism inspires such fierce competition.
It saps my creative energy.
I have only asked of life for a chance to do what I do, be respected by my fellow artists, and make enough money to live and support myself and my son- all the rest is baggage- leaverage to be used like a carrot on a string to entice a person farther from where they want to be.
Am I liberated?
"Money don't get everything, it's true-
but what it don't get, I can't use
I want money,
that's what I want
that's what I want
that's what I waaaaaaaaaaa-ant that's what I want..."
till next time... 'Mela
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
On this thunderstorm just inches away day,
I went to visit the button factory.
That's what I call this place in Shinjuku- a virtual treasure trove of findings-
buttons being one small part of it.
It's called OKADAYA, right up the street from "ALTA" in Shinjuku's JR east exit. It has 5 or more floors with an assortment of things:
craft materials, crystal beads, leather works, small sewing machines,
stage make up, wigs, hair ornaments, and costume jewelry.
And, a floor of BUTTONS!
You can [and I have] spent hours looking at their assortment of buttons.
I always buy blouses or jackets that are made well, but the buttons are either plain plastic, or some other ho hum thing, well this store has the remedy.
From Italy, Germany, Belgium, France, and of course, Japan.
And on the ground floor across a small alley is part 2, the FABRICS!
It's an interesting part of town, actually...
It runs the gamut.
I am listening to a CD mix of trance music- Tangerine Dream, Deep Forest, and now Kraftwerk, "Tour de France" ...
Throw some Abdullah Ibrahim [Dollar Brand] and Les Negresses Vert in the mix, along with
Thelonius Monk and John Coltrane, et voila...
"Fun Fun Fun on the Autobahn" - Kraftwerk
Til next time... 'Mela
Friday, July 11, 2003
After arriving home from my glorious morning, I have only this to say:
Rant of the day:
A few small changes should be made in the following departments:
Gidensha Hokanjo [bike keeping place] should actually read : Gidensha Kaizoko [bike pirates]
complete with a skull and crossbones on the gate.
There is a practice here that has gotten on my last nerve, and that is to lift your bike and ship it to some lot somewhere, and charge you a "penalty" to get it back. And the penalty this time was 2000 yen. Especially raised for the month of July.
Forget about the personal expense of taking taxis , buses, or walking in this heat- these are all in the shoganai department, ARRRRRRRRRR.
Next, the post office.
Instead of "it will get to you in 1-2 weeks," it should say,
maybe if someone at Narita Airport incoming mail feels like it, the mail might make it into customs, and then, it might get through customs if they are able to prod, x-ray, and otherwise unwrap to view the contents "up close", and perhaps from then it might just get to the post office closest to you. Maybe. Give or take a month or two.
Personal problems associated with this delay can also be submitted to the shoganai department.
To my friends and family elsewhere, shoganai means, " it can't be helped". People here use it for EVERYTHING. Ie; "I wish this goddamn bus wasn't filled to the gills-" SHOGANAI.
"Gee, this train could maybe get one more person in it, but we would have to break out the K-Y..." ShOGANAI.
Some politician asshole says of gang rapists: "they've got vigor" no one does a thing to get him reprimanded, let alone fired-
you know why? Because it's SHOGANAI.
This is usually the time where I make that great escape to Narita airport, and fly the hell outta Dodge- and it comes right on time, as I feel particularly murderous in July-
One two many gulping beer commercials,
along with the stupid shit-o-meter inscessantly flying off the scale has got me feeling like I'm cuckoo for frickin' cocoa puffs.
But on the plus side, the bus driver was helpful today, and a nice old lady helped me find the place too- and a guy who works on the highway walked with me to find this place also, out in that heat.
Not all things and people are bad here...
It just feels like it at times.
Ah, an earthquake.
Till next time... 'Mela
Saturday, July 05, 2003
Barry White passed away.
God, I loved his voice.
All his hits, I remember dancing till I dropped!
In the glory days of the "hustle"-
when partner dancing was in "vogue",
Barry was the MAN.
I'm sure he inspired a baby boom
with his sexy voice.
And his clothes- that man could dress.
God Bless Barry White, he was an original...
I stayed up late last night to watch Wimbleton tennis-
the men's semi finals-
Phillippoussis and Grosjean.
I love to watch tennis,
tonite it will be THE match:
Venus and Serena.
The 4th of July came and went here for me.
Not quite the same as when I am in my home state of New York.
I remember one year watching the fireworks in NYC from our rooftop apartment in Cliffside Park, N.J.
Having been in the actual crunch of the NYC fireworks celebration the year before,
the rooftop was another option.
The boats on the Hudson river were a sight I won't soon forget...
The 4th's of the past...
This year I listened to music, music, music!
It's my way to celebrate.
Instead of bar-b-que
I rustled up some tacos, not the prepackaged Old El Paso taco mix, and corn tacos that fall apart just picking them up- no, I do flour tortillas, with a seasoning I make myself- missing a lot of the ingredients that are in the mix- like extra salt and additives.
They are a favorite around these premises.
Celebrations are bent and twisted to fit to new surroundings,
like a bonsai tree...
It is so here in Japan for Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.
While not originating here, a lot of Japanese are enthusiastic about checking out American holidays, and their foods- albeit a bit more slowly than I'd prefer, but hey- they actually carry taco sauce in my supermarket now- 10 years ago, feggetabboudit...
And Moka came to visit!
A little ball of pepper, she is!
I showed her my painting "Violets" to ask her if she remembers
that time when we met ;
she said: "Sure"...
Refreshingly spunky little girl, I wonder what she will grow up to be!
"You're my sun
my guiding star-
My kind of wonderful,
that's what you are..." -Barry White
Robbin Slocum, if you're out there, Happy Birthday!
Til next time.... 'Mela