Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Best Witches!

In Art, Best Witches, Donovan, Halloween, Jazz, Music, Rock, Sarah Vaughan, Shakespeare, Spooky, The Eagles, WDIZ! on October 31, 2012 at 12:00 am

Witch, kamiste, Deviantart

Hey, Best Witches, ghouls and ‘goyles! Hope your weekend was as spooktacular as mine!

Here’s the Sunshine Superman, Donovan, accompanied by a rather nice bit of witchy goth.

It must be the Season of the Witch. Must be.

The Eagles. Uh, yeah… Eagles… man… also accompanied by a rather nice bit of witchy goth. Who knew?

Raven hair. Ruby lips. Sparks fly from her fingertips… Ooh. Witchy. Way.

The incomparable Sarah Vaughan with That Old Black Magic that she weaves so well…

By the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.

~ Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I


Best Witches!


Heart of Gold

In Art, Autumn, Canadian, Love, More Wheat!, Music, Neil Young, Nifty, Prairie, WDIZ!, Wheat, Wheat! Wheat! Wheat!, Wheat-head, Whimsy on September 20, 2012 at 9:10 pm

“Reason clears and plants the wilderness of the imagination to harvest the wheat of art.”

~ Austin O’Malley


The Autumnal Equinox is fast upon us. A most excellent occasion. A dreamy Time of harvest and moons and amber waves of grain… of some great tunes…

I call myself a “wheat-head” I Love the stuff so. I mean, it is some kind of gilded beautiful, hey? I can’t adequately impress upon you how spectacular I think fields of wheat and the prairie are. I just can’t. Words won’t suffice, baby.

It’s symbolic of such a great deal of what I feel is intrinsically important to existence: heart, art, the prairie, farmers (the backbone of society, for food is life), literal and figurative seeds, the myths of Demeter and Ceres… the Autumnal Equinox

It signals a Time for winding down, giving thanks, preparing for Halloween and the big sleep of winter.

Not much makes me feel more autumn, more Canadian, more prairie, more “wheat-head” than this man and this tune. This is a very sweet, intimate performance by a very, very young Neil appearing on the BBC.

From Harvest, the best selling album of 1972 in the United States (Who knew?!), here’s Heart of Gold…

20120920-210830.jpg Harvest, Robert Zünd 1860

Here Come The Jesters

In Art, Nifty, The Fool on September 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm

The professional Fools of medieval and Elizabethan eras were really the precursors to the modern Fool as we know her/him in society today: the stand-up comedian; social commentators like Colbert, Daily and Maher; Late night hosts like Conan, Fallon, Letterman and Leno.

These Fools, performing for us daily, become essential to our modern psyches. The commentators on our Time and Space. They are adept at and delight in exposing and drawing attention to our many and monumental foibles as a society and species.

Here come the jesters, one, two, three…

Stańczyk, Jan Matejko (1838–1893)

Three of the most well-known fools who represent the change from the medieval notion of fool to Elizabethan fool are Richard Tarleton, William Kemp and Robert Armin.



Richard Tarleton is recognized as the first of the professional fools. During his lifetime, he was able to interact with and be successful on all levels of Elizabethan society:

1) the popular culture,
2) the professional theatre, and
3) the English court.

Tarleton was the first rustic clown of the Saturnalian festivals to become a fool in the Queen’s court and eventually transfer his talents to the Elizabethan stage. During his career, his role as fool eventually merged with his personality to the extent that it became his public persona. He was an appreciated guest at many different kinds of social functions by all segments of society. His theatre activities as a clown were much the same as his role as rustic fool.

Tarleton’s clown can be regarded historically as a synthesis of the three types of medieval entertainer:

1) the professional minstrel,

2) the amateur lord of mis-rule, and

3) the role of “Vice” from the old morality plays.

His clowning came from a rediscovery of the fool qualities within the amateur mis-rule tradition, evolving from English countryside oral culture. At times the rustic clown that he portrayed is in response to the new urbanized London inhabitant who is involved in commercial life and lives in opposition to country life. Tarleton helped foster in Londoners a new sense of community, a sense of shared values and experience, all the while making them realize that they were active participants in the making of a new “modern” culture. He would draw an instinctual response from his audience as they would easily recognize his character, actions, and methods in connection with their own social, religious, and cultural traditions.




Will Kemp also merged his on and off stage persona to become a very successful fool who became influential as a social commentator and dilettante. Kemp is an example of the next stage in the transition from rustic country fool to the theatre construction, stage fool. Although the stage was not the focus of his dramatic talents, he excelled at:

1) table-side entertainment,

2) athletic English dancing(jig), and

3) the playing of traditional instruments.

Kemp was the consummate stand-up solo performer. He often imitated a natural fool and was notorious for his improvisations, especially in songs and poetry. At the end of a Theatre play, Kemp would engage the audience drawing them into a verbal jousting match. His quick-witted repartee was exactly what the audience had come to expect from the fool’s role in the mis-rule/inversionary tradition. In 1599 Kemp needed publicity and published a book of his experiences dancing from London to Norwich, his most famous publicity stunt. This stunt came about shortly after he had left the Chamberlain’s Men. Allegedly he had had a disgreement with the group’s dramatist, William Shakespeare, over his improvisations at the expense of the dramatic written material. He became a casualty of the changing dynamics between the social construct fool and emerging Elizabethan theatre, unable to adapt his comic role to the narrative’s dramatic structure.



Around 1600 the Ptolomeic world complete with a hierarchical cosmological order is no longer the organizing principle governing human social actions. The “modern” era begins to emerge in all cultural forms. In drama, acting style in Elizabethan Theatre began drifting toward a style and characterization based on notions of mimesis or representation–a superficial resemblance of one thing to another–and away from an acting style based on iconography or non-representational signaling. Stage actors began to communicate to an audience through a complex display of signs and actions rather than through being the sign itself, as fools were. This “new” acting style is the acting we consider to be the craft today. Rather than the representational characters of the morality plays, or the dancing, tumbling, and juggling of the carnival clown, actors become more and more responsible to the author’s written text. Robert Armin replacing William Kemp as “Shakespeare’s fool” is an example of this evolution.

When Armin joined the Chamberlains Men, the company’s playwright, William Shakespeare created a whole series of domestic fools for him. Armin’s greatest roles, Touchstone in “As You Like It,”(1599), Feste in “Twelfth Night,”(1600), and (the) fool in “King Lear,”(1605); helped Shakespeare resolve the tension between thematic material and the traditional entertainment role of the fool. Armin became a counter-point to the themes of the play and the power relationships between the theatre and the role of the fool–he manipulates the extra dimension between play and reality to interact with the audience all the while using the themes of the play as his source material. Shakespeare began to write well-developed sub-plots expressly for Armin’s talents. A balance between the order of the play and the carnevalized inversion factor of festive energy was achieved.

Armin was a major intellectual influence on Shakespeare’s fools. He was attuned to the intellectual tradition of the Renaissance fool yet intellectual enough to understand the power of the medieval tradition. Armin’s fool is a stage presence rather than a solo artist. His major skills were mime and mimicry; even his improvisational material had to be reworked and rehearsed. His greatest asset was as a foil to the other stage actors. Armin offered the audience an idiosyncratic response to the idiosyncracies of each spectator.

Eventually, Armin became a great biographer of fools. In 1600 he published Fool Upon Fooles or Six Sortes of Sottes, a work comprised of six sketches of natural fools. In another work, Nest of Ninnies, he categorized two kinds of fools:

1) naturals–mentally deranged or feeble-minded simpletons,

2) artificials–quick-witted allowed fools.

He was a master and pioneer in the study of exactly how natural fools behaved. He believed that he himself was a natural because of his deformed stature. His stage fools were based on observations of naturals rather than on the re-creation of an emblematic stage type. Armin’s fools cause the audience to reflect on what it is to be a part of the human condition; but, in a way that also establishes his characters as perpetual outsiders who reflect on but do not become a part of the dance of reconciliation at the end of the play.

~ History of The Fool



A Brief History of the Fool

In Art, Nifty, The Fool, Uncategorized on September 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Fools have always captured my imagination. They hold an authentic and innate position in human history. From Jesters to Shakespeare to Saturnalia to Stand-up the Fool may always be found presenting our folly and pretensions to us lest we forget who we are; lest we forget to laugh at ourselves. S/he permeates all aspects of life.

Artists have long depicted the Fool in literature, fine art and music… Do you know how many songs there are with ‘fool’ in the title? Oodles, cats and kittens. Oodles. And I’m going to play a bunch of ’em for you, too. I sure hope you dig it.

The Fool is a complex character and makes more appearances in our society, holds more sway, than we might initially suspect…

Keying Up—the Court Jester (1875) William Merritt Chase

The world of traditional man had more mysteries, contingencies, and surprises than the world of rational man. In traditional pagan systems celebrations and holidays were a colorful and illustrative
demonstration of a pre-civilized state-of-mind.

Traditional forms often dealt with transitional periods in the life of the countryside: old year/new year, Lent, Mid-Summer, marriage feasts, funerals, initiation rites and holidays. Traditional fools played erratic games with these primary foundations of human experience and expressed how the society either managed or mismanaged meaning in both everyday and heightened experience.

“Fools” emerged in medieval England in the13thC. The rigid social hierarchies of medieval society relied on these reality maintenance constructs which were closely related to traditional inversionary re-enactments of mis-rule to create a sense of release for and in the population. Although, ultimately the role was meant to re-affirm the hierarchy and strictness of the medeival system. “Fools” became a construct whose unique position in the community’s power structure demonstrated the reality of secularized opportunism, relativism, and immoralism. The “fool” wore a subtextual connotation of evil, pretending stupidity, often opposing the figure of the wise or holy man in a culture’s structure. In the moral/philosophical dimension, s/he is the negative inversionary counter-point to virtue and wisdom.

As “Vice,” a character in medieval morality and mumming plays, the fool was a fundamental part of the rustic tradition of the English countryside. In that tradition, he is a central character in both English culture and theatre, one who never allows the audience to forget the interactive nature of either their reality or the theatre reality, an activity which always requires their full attention and involvement. “Vice” has the task of assuring the audience that no boundaries exist between the world of the play and the world of reality. S/He is the link between the exotic imagination of the play and the immediate world of the audience. Whose duties included improvising with the audience and sweeping aside the confines of the script in order to establish verisimilitude and an easy transformation between English oral and written traditions. When Shakespeare began his career, the “Vice” figure had been transformed by theatrical and societal norms into a recognized anarchist who made aberration obvious by carrying release to absurd extremes.

“Fools” enact the raw material of a culture, ceremoniously demonstrating and articulating what becomes of a society if it forsakes the “burden” of tradition. Folly, the philosophy of the fool, is a ritualized outlet for repressed sentiments. The fool displays a folly which is just as important as rationalized wisdom, a construct of magical quality and ambiguity which accurately counter-balances the rationalism of both medieval and renaissance systems. The fool commonly conducts an interaction between themselves and a person who society defines as wise by acting stupid and cunning at the same time, an interaction which would always end in the fool winning in this uneven matching of wits. The fool constantly questions our perceptions of wisdom and truth and their relationship to everyday experience. S/he readily applies metaphysical abstractions to attack the routine taken-for-granted aspects of the daily rituals of the audience, becoming an important conduit for determining meaning and clarifying abstractions which rule our lives. The fool lifts the veil of authority, devoid of decorum constantly making silly remarks, acting irreverently, unmasking the unpleasant aspects of power. S/he gives us the opportunity to humorously look at our own values and judgements as the powerful socio-cultural structures of power pull, push, and shape our identity. The social significance of the fool cannot be underestimated, it is perhaps the surest sign that a society has attained cultural maturity because the construct allows the society to reflect on and laugh at its own complex power relations.

The traditional fool: in their reversal role, by their revitalization of traditional values and meanings, in their individualism and lack of stern principles, is being typically modern despite their lack of respect for rationality. But, rather than being a rebellious political figure the fool is grounded in traditional societies to remind people of their acceptance and need for their everyday life structures — s/he is a reality maintenance construct. Fools do not possess values, norms, and meanings of their own worldview; they attach themselves to existing worldviews and turn them upside-down, inside-out or backwards. Presently, their folly can only exist derivative of and parasitical to the predominant worldview of reason. A fool performs his act, creating an awe-inspiring relevance for the audience; joking, dancing, or juggling; establishing meanings and values in daily social life; and, perverting pieces of common-sense knowledge. Yet, the role must maintain its marginality, losing its own rebellious power by coming too near to the center of power, his/her role being a symbolic reminder of the hollowness of human pretentions in relation to religious and moral infallibility.

~ History of the Fool

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

In Art, Batman, Dark, Death, Fransico Goya, Indifference, Life, Loss, Love, Madness, People, The Joker, Ugh on July 31, 2012 at 12:14 pm

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, Fransico Goya


The ‘Joker’ is a tortured soul?

This is REALLY bad.

He looks really afraid and bewildered — no doubt heavily medicated — to me? There’s something in his ‘ness’? He doesn’t know what’s going on anymore than the rest of us? He’s broken?

The ‘monster’ show isn’t materialising for me, yet again. Vilifying this young man will not serve us well. No. Not at all. He needs help. We need help. This is a monstrous scenario. Our society — all of us — are implicated here. We’d best step-up.

Maybe there are few real ‘monsters’, only monstrous scenarios? What if they’re all just sad, pathetic, broken people? Broken beyond reason, comprehension?

Who broke them so badly? Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?


The help being offered many is no help at at all, Batman? Someone should have seen this coming? It would seem those who did stood idly by?


They chose to do nothing. Then said, “Oh, we knew something was wrong.” They let him down. They let us down. They let everyone die. Don’t make he same choice they made. If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice. Don’t be indifferent. It doesn’t look good on you, baby…

And… Everyone is destroyed. Just. Like. That.

The victims. The kid. The psychiatrist. Their communities… The Batman. It’s ripples reverberate ever outward. All because no one acted to help the boy. Maybe they even helped push him over the edge? I dunno? I think someone, something did.

The sleep of reason produces monsters. Let us try to understand this boy, this tragedy as best we can. Try to heal it and each other. Lest we become the monsters we fear so ourselves.

We can do better than this. We must.

Sleepers just stop sleepin’

We’re burning daylight.


In Art, Hold It Now, Whimsy on July 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm

This is a wonderful blog! Check it out, cats and kittens. Behold ‘Hold It Now’…


Art can feel like a very serious affair sometimes. We have built austere institutions in every major city to exalt its importance. Billions of dollars are spent annually trying to acquire its cultural cache. Art represents taste, prestige and social class. So, if an art object can symbolize status in society, what does a multimillion dollar inflatable rabbit cast in stainless steel say about society?

The bunny in question would be Jeff KoonsRabbit from 1986. Art historians and critics have argued about the validity of Koons’ work since its inception. It has been dismissed as sensationalist kitsch or praised as postmodern pop that holds a mirror up to society’s guilty pleasures and vacuous need for consumption. However you view the importance of it in the canon of western art, there is a certain pleasure of seeing yourself reflected on the highly polished surface of a multimillion dollar inflatable…

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Black Liquorice

In Art, Groovy, Jackson Pollock, Life, Love, People, Poetry, The Midway, Very Bad Poetry on July 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Jackson Pollock, Number 8, 1951, Black Flowing


Iron Maiden’s inferno

Emerging fireworks

Another midnight

Midway on the Midway

An illustrated man appears

Black scribbles

Collective erotica

Licking his skin

Rough yet smooth


Phallic Sharpie

Liquorice nipples

Hard but soft

I taste them

Bite them

Devour them

Consume their salt

Mark his chest

Cacophonies of sound

Kaleidoscopes of colour

Burning rapture

Conflagration in the night


Tales of Brave Ulysses

In Aphrodite, Art, Cream, Love, Music, Philosophy, Sex, Venus on July 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Aphrodite, FriederichswerderscheKirch, Schinkel Museum from bradpsculptor.wordpress.com (I am unable make a link? Sorry.)


Demonstrating Love or sexual behaviour is part of the human condition, being alive. None of us would even exist without it. When do we classify it as whoredom, perversion and when is it an expression of Love, union, sexuality — divine? How can this expression — in its purest sense — be wanting, unacceptable?

Why not speak of Love? Act of Love? To speak and act of Love steals power from hate. There is much talk of hate. No? Think about it? How often do you encounter that word each day?


Uh, yeah. It adds up, hey?

That word should be the taboo. Not sex.

Colossal volumes encompassing myriad mediums have been devoted to the captivating Aphrodite alone — from cults to mythology to fine art to music… on and on she goes. She has enchanted the hearts and minds of man for an eternity it would seem.

How much Love could we all inspire if we were to — to paraphrase — wipe the dew off our spectacles, see that the world is moving and let Love reign, my conservative friend?


Heavy, psychedelic Cream. Tales of Brave Ulysses. 1967. Dig it.


The Blue Violinist

In Art, Marc Chagall on July 30, 2012 at 12:59 am

The Blue Violinist, 1947, by Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

A Little Cat Music?

In Art, Bauhaus, Burt Bacharach, Cats, David Bowie, Duane Eddy, Edward Gorey, Flaming Lips, Friendship, Groovy, Led Zepplin, Love, Love and Rockets, Mike Myers, Music, Nifty, Peter Gunn, Pink Floyd, Poetry, Queen, Silly, T.S. Eliot, The Art of Noise, The Stray Cats on July 12, 2012 at 6:21 pm


I Love cats
They Love me
Domestic or feral
Whatever they be
Mutual admiration society

Here’s Syd and the cats from their 1967 debut, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn… Pur-r-r-fect. 😉

‘Lucifer Sam’ has been covered by the likes of Love and Rockets and the Flaming Lips. The song was built around a descending riff, with the dominant instrument being composer Syd Barrett’s electric guitar, fed through an echo machine; the resultant sound has been likened to a sinister Duane Eddy. This is augmented by bowed bass and increasingly agitated organ and percussion effects. Though the lyric frequently refers to Lucifer Sam as a cat, some speculation has arisen as to whether this was in fact 1960s slang ‘cat’ for a man, real or imagined, in some type of relationship with Barrett’s then-girlfriend, Jenny Spires (referred to in the song as “Jennifer Gentle”). However, Sam was simply Barrett’s domestic feline; the track was originally called “Percy the Rat Catcher” during the recording sessions.

So, here’s that very feline tune and another best theme song ever, too! The Art of Noise featuring the original Rebel Rouser, Duane Eddy, with the theme from Peter Gunn… WAY cool!

Peter Gunn was an American private eye television series which aired on NBC and later ABC television networks from 1958 to 1961. The show’s creator (and also writer and director on occasion) was Blake Edwards.


Breezy, pouncing Over the Hills and Far Away… It is what my cat friends say to me when I meet them walking down the street. Cats know stuff. Dogs, too… Who knew? Do they say this to you, too?

No, I never…

There’s the mercurial Dave, obviously… 50% of the ‘Cat People’ I find are so ill or injured they must go to ‘sleep’. Some have suffered immensely, needlessly, callously at the hands of humans. This is their song…

Then, there’s the Toms… The Stray Cats…

Any kitten contemplations would be incomplete without including the, even more literally mercurial, Feline Freddy and the cats that comprise Queen. Because, a rescued cat — or dog — is the best friend you’ll ever make…

(I’m, also, sending this one out to all my good peeps — human and animal… You know who you are. I ❤❤❤❤❤ you all madly and thanks a bunch! You’re THE best. All of you. All these years. Some new ones, too. True blue. Who knew? I know I am one lucky kitten, hey? I count my lucky stars every day. 😉 💋)


You now have learned enough to see
That Cats are much like you and me
And other people whom we find
Possessed of various types of mind.
For some are sane and some are mad
And some are good and some are bad
And some are better, some are worse —
But all may be described in verse.
~ T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), The Ad-dressing of Cats

So, anyway… Here’s Mike Myers and Burt Bacharach asking that perennial of questions: What’s New, Pussycat? WAY groovy-silly, baby. 😉 lol


There’s a lot of cat songs. Some, obvious. Some, less so.

This is just a little cat music for today…

Hope you can dig it.