Thursday, July 10, 2014
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Pop music continues to evolve and amaze. Here are some CDs I've been listening to. I have no idea how many of these will make my end of the year list, but for what it's worth, here are a dozen CDs in heavy rotation in my car CD player and at home in the disc changer. Seems a sure bet something here might catch your fancy, too!
Temples - "Sun Structures" -- Temples – “Sun Structures”. Noel Gallagher proclaimed Temples, the hottest new band in Britain. But try not to hold that against them! The Temples, following Tame Impala’s template, showcase a wide variety of 60s psychedelic sounds that owe as much to California acid-tripping bands like the Doors, the Electric Prunes and the Jefferson Airplane as much as the pop sensibilities of England’s T-Rex and the Zombies. Lead singer James Bagshaw carries a charming confidence through his performances on these songs. If “Rubber Soul” or the Monkee’s foray into psychedelic music, “Head” float your boat, you’ll probably have lots of fun listening to this updated version of music inspired by Haight-Ashbury.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Tomorrow morning, a new community English center will open in the small town of Nueva Guinea, Nicaragua.
The moment it opens, it will be the largest foreign-language library in the entire country. It will change the culture of the entire town. It may help enable hundreds of lower and middle class Nicaraguan children and students in the region learn a new language, one that will increase their chances of rising out of the Third World and starting a better life.
Countless of volunteers worked on the building; washing and painting walls; scrubbing and waxing floors; building desks and book cases. Nearly $7,000 in various projects was raised to get the building refurbished. Hundreds of people in the United States donated a wide range of books to this project, from children's picture books to hardback, cloth-bound literary classics.
No one worked harder than my daughter, Isabel. It was her vision for the library that started the ball rolling. It was her personal project for the Peace Corps. It was her never-ending cajoling of needed supplies and donations that made this community center a reality. It was her baby from day one. Tomorrow morning, the baby is birthed and Nueva Guinea has a proud new library.
That this should come on the day before Father's Day is one of the nicest things that has ever happened to me. Sheer coincidence, for sure. I don't care much.
I am one very proud dad.
Isabel, you are one amazing person!!
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Friday, November 29, 2013
In July and early August, they played several gigs in club venues in Philadelphia. You could see them gain confidence and proficiency with each passing performance. Then, just two weeks ago, they headlined a benefit concert Luke organized for his sister’s library project for the Peace Corps in Nicaragua. I introduced the band before they performed. Standing on the stage with them felt like being in presence of caged lions. They were ready to pounce. And once Luke started singing, they owned the room. Music savvy friends who had never heard them before were suitably impressed. The Late Greats made my favorite music of 2013. I wish they had something out on CD, they’d be on the list for sure.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Deciphering Lou Reed on Election Night (my interview with Lou Reed the night Jimmy Carter was elected president in November, 1976)
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
The picture leaves a little bit to be desired. I shot it last night with a digital camera under the glaring overhead lights of my dining room bulbs. It was encased in a frame, covered in glass. The bulbs give the picture a yellowish cast that makes it resemble a lithograph.
This photograph was taken on the day I was married, October 8th, 1983, thirty years ago today to Annette Clare Klinger.
The marriage only lasted 15 years. The divorce is now as old as the marriage itself. But I will remember that day for a long time. Most people who attended the wedding remember it, too.
The picture was snapped on an afternoon as glorious as the weather today. The temperature never rose about 75 degrees. There wasn't a single cloud to be found anywhere in the heavens above. I was married to my bride under "Crystal Blue Persuasion" skies.
We wrote our own vows to one another. I carried mine on a torn and tattered piece of paper in my wallet for many years afterwards. Just seconds after saying our vows, a flock of Canadian geese flew overhead on their way to greener pastures down South. Their collective honks and calls seemed like a blessing at the time.
The pastor's name was John Sweet. He was a minister from a Presbyterian church around the corner from the humble brick row home where the Klingers lived, in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. His wife was named Sharon. Many wonderful moments happened that day, but the most memorable moment and the highlight of the entire day was her rendition of "The Lord's Prayer" at the end of the ceremony.
The song gave everyone who heard her sing chills. I still get them when I remember. Her voice was a soaring soprano that seemed to lift as high as the tall, stately maples that basked Curtis Arboretum in a glorious canopy of gold, green, red and orange and yellow. Summer was ending with a bang.
And then she sang.
Even the heavenly trumpets of the geese seemed pedestrian in comparison.
I had heard that some members of the choir in John's Presbyterian church did not want her to to sing with them in the choir. When she opened her mouth, and I heard her voice for the first time, the truth of the matter was revealed. None of them would ever match her talent, the sheer power of her vocal range. She would drown them all out. She was too good for them, by a long shot.
I am not certain, but that may have been her first public "performance." Three years later, she debuted at the Berlin Opera House. You can see her singing professionally with Placido Domingo here in this link:
The marriage was blessed in a variety of ways, especially on the day of the wedding. Its ending was hard and those of us in the middle of it all suffered greatly from its demise. But Annette and I have both said many times we would endure all its tears and hardships for the children we brought into the world.
I can live with the pain. The anniversary still brings many, many wonderful memories.