I’ve been on a Motown kick lately, which is probably appropriate given today’s holiday.
It started as an innocent request to Google to play Otis Redding. Then all the flashbacks of listening to the oldies stations in my youth (when this music was only 20-30 years old!) came and made me find a Playlist on Spotify.
About a month ago I quietly started my own WordPress art blog, named appropriately “Drip Torch Studio”. Every day I post a bit of my visual art whether it be paintings or photos.
Fun Fact: Drip Torch Studio came into existence far before Drip Torch Press. But I have put far less energy into it. I intended to create a brand and an image and make loads of money. Sadly this has not happened. Part of my resolution to be more disciplined this year is to put some more energy into it.
Along with the new site, check out my Facebook page here.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy putting it together!
This week instead of analysis, I have a movie recommendation.
Recently we decided to get a Roku box. With a Roku box comes the temptation to watch entirely too much tv. Since it’s located in our bedroom, I tend to use folding laundry as an excuse to catch up on shows. Multi-tasking, go!
Last week, partly out of guilt and partly because I have binge watched every show I am actually interested in (hush), I was trying to make my tv watching more “educational”. To this end I watched a documentary about a photographer, since it was related to art and I could write about it here. Unfortunately, I can’t really recommend it here since the subject matter was a bit risque. And in all reality, as far as documentaries go, it was a bit disappointing.
I can however recommend Cezanne et Moi, which is currently on Netflix. This French film follows the friendship between painter Paul Cezanne (with whom I identify entirely too much for comfort) and writer Emile Zola.
While I am sure it took great artistic license (see what I did there?) in telling the story, it isn’t light and fluffy and filled with positive nonsense. The movie is frequently dark and gritty, much like real life, especially the real lives of starving artists.
Being a movie about two artists, it is well shot in beautiful locations. Being French, it has only the most attractive actors and actresses. Since the dialog is in French, it matters not to English speakers how well they deliver the lines, although Zola’s character seemed a bit stiff and hard to read.
The biggest (only?) problem I had with this movie is that it is entirely in French and subtitled, which makes it a bit difficult to watch while folding laundry!
But if you can watch TV without feeling guilty for not multi-tasking, I highly recommend this for all the art lovers (especially Cezanne) out there.
I have been horribly lax with MAAM’s lately. Working and taking care of five little hooligans doesn’t leave much time for music or art appreciation. But Spotify reminded me that it’s Native American Heritage Month.
I was excited to see these playlists, as I got used to listening to KIYE while in Idaho this summer. This is probably the only station in the world to play pow-wow music, Marty Robbin’s “El Paso“, and an entire album of T-Pain, all in the same hour.
Sadly, when I clicked on the main playlist I was greeted with new aged flute music. While I understand this is certainly a genre produced by many Natives, it certainly didn’t satisfy my desire to hear the good stuff from KIYE. Some of the playlists were slightly better, but here is my version of a Native American Spotify Playlist:
Pretty much anything by them. My favorite thing about them is their ability to place totally modern situations into round dance chants, like in “Facebook Drama”.
My eastern very white upbringing comes out on this one, I actually chuckled a little at the juxtaposition. Growing up on the politically correct East coast, we were taught to be anti-stereotypes to the point of being anti-culture. It was a jarring experience to come out West and see roadside stands selling beads and artworks and run by actual Natives, and even more jarring to hear them actually singing similarly to the “stereotypes” I had been taught to shun in school. Wasn’t this exploitive? Not that this describes all Natives, but the simple fact is that it is deeply intertwined into the culture.
On my very first trip to Northern Idaho in 2013 I actually had a crew boss tell us to turn off KIYE because he thought it might be considered “offensive” by some of the Native firefighter crews. Having worked with several Natives I can assure that crew boss that no, they are not offended.
If you are not stupid (i.e. disrespectful) about it, appreciating a culture for what it puts out on the public airwaves is not offensive at all. As long as you understand that there are in fact differences between tribes of different regions (for instance, teepees were a plains thing, not a SW thing) and don’t make stupid assumptions based on TV or movies you’re not generally going to make anyone mad.
Enough of that political sidetrack. Back to music. There is actually a pretty decent Playlist here of just powwow music. Look around Spotify or just tune in to KIYE or other similar stations online for some more great Native music.
Welcome to “Music and Art Monday”, the posts where I distract myself from heavy and/or dull topics and write something actually interesting.
In these posts I hope to focus on one band or painter a week and tell you a bit about what I like about them.
This week I’ll discuss a bit of my background with music and next week with art.
Music has always been playing in the background of my life. Growing up my parents always had music on in the car or at home. There was rock (Elvis to be precise), the Statler Brothers, New Orleans jazz, soul, 80’s country (Oak Ridge Boys etc), the Monkeys, Herman’s Hermits, and other oldies. The first concert I remember attending was a country concert though I could not tell you who.
When I got my first tiny transistor radio at five or six years of age I kept it tuned to the local oldies station every time I was in my bedroom. I gained a great love for Motown and Mersey Beat bands. Pretty much any pop song from the 50’s to the early 70’s could be heard in my room at that time.
When I wasn’t listening to my own radio I was listening to whatever my siblings had on. 80’s hair bands like Def Leppard, Metallica, and Bon Jovi, pop stuff like New Kids on The Block, and early pop rap like M. C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice were always on. All the 90’s music phases went through our house. This was back when MTV played actual music, and along with most of the songs I have a pretty clear memory of most of the videos.
At some point in the decade, my sister got really into hippie music, with a huge emphasis on The Beatles, Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jefferson Airplane.
Around the age of 12, I got really philosophical and started listening to Jewel and Bob Dylan because: poetry. I bought my first two cds around that age, “Beatles For Sale” and Jewel’s “Pieces of You”. Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumper” was the third. I played each one until the laser burned holes in them (not really, but I am sure my parents had quite enough of “You Will Save Your Soul).
I amassed quite a collection of vinyl in my early teen years. Cheap thrift store selections meant that nothing was off limits. Stemming from my love of Jewelry and Dylan, much of what I bought at the time was folk. My friend dragged me to a John Prine concert and afterwards I had to buy every album I could find of his.
Around the time I discovered girls I was introduced to David Bowie, Pink Floyd, and Alice Cooper. I’d listen to just about anything to impress girls, those three actually stuck.
Most of high school was spent listening to Cake, Led Zeppelin, and David Bowie ad nauseum at my friend’s house. There are innumerable singles that also have a special place in my heart from that time.
In college I discovered free sampler CDs at the local record store and just like my earlier experience with thrift store vinyl everything from rock to pop to rap and folk were blasting through my ears for those four years.
Ever since then, my musical tastes are all over the place. From all of these roots I have not found a genre that I did not like at least something from. Thanks to Weird Al I can even add polka to that list. Hopefully this broad interest will keep me supplied with many posts in the future. Maybe I can even get some of you to listen to the more obscure bands that only I seem to listen to.