Halfway to Halloween

The Images I posted Thurs, Friday and today are from two local "haunted house" attractions.   It seemed appropriate to post them this weekend since most "haunted house" attractions have special events this weekend celebrating Halfway to Halloween (which I didn't know was "a thing" until I started researching these locations - LOL). 

The Haunted Schoolhouse began in 1974 and has endured decades of horror.  The lessons here are haunting and filled with horror - but my own real life school experience was filled with horror so I never went to this attraction.   

The Haunted Laboratory has been, as the door says, "Infecting Akron Since 1981".   It is housed in the Daniel Guggenheim Airship Institute next door to the schoolhouse.   Daniel Guggenheim (yes that Guggenheim family) was a war hawk who was fascinated with and promoted aeronautics - specifically the science and development of airships.  He had a difficult and complicated relationship with his brothers. He was partly responsible for dragging the US into WW1.    The institute was affiliated with the University of Akron and was in operation until 1949 when airships fell out of favor and their use was declining.   So it is perhaps appropriate that this location be turned into a "haunted house" attraction.  

It only seems fitting that the music today would come from a local Ohio group.   Midnight Syndicate in the early days became recognized for their gaming soundtrack to the popular video game Dungeons and Dragons.   They have since gone on to record many albums of horror, etherwave, darkwave music that have often been performed and used in haunted house attractions.   Enjoy the Dark Legacy.
TURN A BLIND EYE
To the desperate young, turn a blind eye
To the old and lonely, turn a blind eye
To our inhumanity
To our death dealing vanity
To the methods of persuasion, turn a blind eye
To the masters of evasion, turn
To the science of control, turn a blind eye
To a world in chains, turn
To the sellers of illusion, turn a blind eye
To masters of confusion, turn a blind eye
To a hollow culture
To the circling vultures
To lovers of power, turn a blind eye
To our final hour, turn a blind eye
To our resurrection
To a world in chains, turn
I don't want to get involved
It's not my problem
I'll just ignore it
I don't want to feel this
To the starving children, turn a blind eye
To your own redemption, turn
To the horror of extinction
To a world in chains, turn

QUESTION: THE TITLE OF ART OR ART OF THE TITLE?

This past week I've been thinking about the titles that people use/don't use on their artworks.   I've heard arguments for and against titles in our time.   The most common argument I hear about titles in our internet age is that the key words in a title can help people find your work more easily if they are not already followers of yours.   On the other hand, I've also heard that titles are a distraction from the work in question.

This has led to two basic approaches to titling ones work.    First either listing it as a most banal, plain descriptive title (i.e. "Flowers With Vase", "Farmhouse", "City Life" etc) or simply no title at all (i.e. just a blank space) or using the word "Untitled". 

What if both of these approaches are wrong?  Might it be simply a sign of laziness on the part of the creator to come up with a captive title?  I have certainly been guilty of this lazy approach.   Wanting to post something but not wanting to spend time with the image I've created to think about what it could mean or what the image could "say".   I think, as a creative exercise, that a title should be approached as a writer who writes a book.   After all who would read a book with no title on the cover or simply the word "UNTITLED" on the cover?   Who would read a book titled, "THE BROKEN DOWN CAR"?   Maybe some would but it is not very likely.   What if we put as much effort into a title as a writer puts into a book.    

Add to that, who says titles have to be short?  Are long titles a distraction or can they actually illuminate artwork much as artwork can illuminate a good literary work (as was proven in ancient times).  I suppose listening to the post rock genre of music is to blame for my conundrum.   There have been many post rock recordings with album and song titles that go beyond the common 1-4 word limit that most recordings use.  

Examples (band name followed by album or song title)
- The Silver Mt Zion Orchestra - HE HAS LEFT US ALONE BUT SHAFTS OF LIGHT SOMETIMES GRACE THE CORNER OF OUR ROOMS
- Explosions In The Sky - THOSE WHO TELL THE TRUTH SHALL DIE, THOSE WHO TELL THE TRUTH SHALL LIVE FOREVER
- Hammock - RAISING YOUR VOICE... TRYING TO STOP AN ECHO
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor - LIFT YOUR SKINNY FISTS LIKE ANTENNA TO HEAVEN
- Red Sparrowes - THE FEAR IS EXCRUCIATING, BUT THEREIN LIES THE ANSWER

In Truth there are many great short titles also but I think there is less substance (or maybe thats not the right phrase) or requires less from the listener. 
The titles of the albums listed above is a literary art in itself.   I would argue that it provides an additional context for listening.  Not only the casual listening that one gives a pop song but a deeper listen that engages ones imagination, intellect and emotional complexity.  A longer title can be a literary short-form poem, even a haiku.    It doesn't take away from the music but enhances the listening experience.    Or, in working with images, as I do... enhances the viewing experience.   

For the visual arts a longer title can lead the viewer into the image from a different point of view.  And has the opportunity to change the viewers experience and possibly behavior that has become so prevalent in a click-bait world.   In short I will do anything to slow the viewer down to enjoy the experience of the image.

Here are some images of mine that I've recently created with longer titles.   Let me know what you think about this topic in the comments. 

WE LANDED FOR THE STORM BUT WHEN THE STORM HAD PASSED WE HAD FORGOTTEN HOW TO FLY

WE SAT UNTIL WE COULD SIT NO MORE, BUT WE ALSO COULD NOT STAND, SO WE ASCENDED

I LOOKED AT MY HOME AND SAW THE EXPERIENCE OF MY SOUL

New Years Day

Starting off the new year with a hard truth. "Nothing changes on New Years Day".     As the war in Ukraine, started by that fascist, meglomaniac, power-hungry pig Putin', rages on, this song by U2 from their album WAR seems the most appropriate (sadly).    A child on the album cover stares out and asks, "what are you going to do?"

And as people who make News Years resolutions, resolutely start breaking them immediately....  

A toast:   Here's hoping this new year ends better than it began. 

New Years Eve FUN FUN FUNK

Well here we are.   It officially that last day of 2022.   So glad to see the year gone and ready for the new year.  New Years is always about celebration.   So what better way to celebrate than to funk it up.  
I decided to post 7 videos.   Why seven?   Well it's always been one of my favorite numbers aaaaannnnndddd 2+0+2+3=7.  LOL 

Come with me to Earth Wind & Fire's BOOGIE WONDERLAND. 
The funk master himself, Bootsy Collins had hit after hit.   Here he is joined by the Cleveland Youth Orchestra to a surprizing wound up version of WIND ME UP.    Wish I'd seen this show.   🙂
Known more as a disco band Chic could also get downright funky.    New Years Eve is about celebrating GOOD TIMES and Chic are here to make it happen.   Enjoy.
George Clinton's Parliament Funkadelic had so many great hits.     There here on New Years Eve to BRING THE FUNK.  Get ready to shake it loose. 
The great Gap Band invites you to climb aboard the PARTY TRAIN.    
The unbeatable Rick James.   Playing HARD TO GET keeps the party moving. 
Finally.   I grew up with a TV show called Soul Train - you might say that show taught me how to dance.   Enjoy Wild Cherry's PLAY THAT FUNKY MUSIC. 
Hope you all enjoyed the party.   See you Next Year!!!!!   HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!!

hump day – time to get the party started

In the past the holidays were typically associated with parties.   Now that lockdowns have been lifted it may be time to party again for the holidays.    Today is Wednesday (hump day) what better way to get through this day than to listen/watch the legendary Dame Shirley Bassey performing Get The Party Started.   
You better get your toe-tapping dancing shoes on.

The most fortuitous album in Jazz?

The Year: 1958
The Place: Paris, France
The artist: Miles Davis.
The Film: Ascenseur pour l'Ă©chafaud, (English: Elevator To The Gallows) directed by Louis Malle.

Nineteen fifty-eight was a very special year.   
But let's go back. a year earlier.   Miles Davis was at a musical crossroads even contemplating retirement.  He needed something different, something new.   None of the projects his label and management suggested were of interest at the time.  He did settle on  recordings with Gil Evans which would turn into a 5 album collaboration over the next few years.   Albums who's style would also be informed and influenced by the experience Miles would soon gain. 

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.  We're still stuck in 1957 and miles is still "stuck" in his predicament.   In November 1957 He travelled to France at the invitation of film director, Louis Malle, and was asked to compose the soundtrack for the director's first feature length film  Ascenseur pour l'Ă©chafaud.   Miles had never recorded a soundtrack before - let alone been asked to compose the score.

Perhaps with nothing to lose or perhaps nothing to be gained,  Miles launched himself forward.  He had an interest in modal jazz and was at the vanguard of that movement which was just being developed in the mid 1950s.  With Miles success, it would be a guaranteed influence on generations to come.  Miles was totally free.   Free from the expectations that had come to fall on him from the jazz world.  Film Director, Louis Malle, has suggested that he and Miles only discussed a few ideas before recording started in December 4, 1957.  Miles was joined by French jazz musicians Barney Wilen, Pierre Michelot, and René Urtreger, and American drummer Kenny Clarke.  Nothing was written down (composed).  Nothing was planned. 

The musicians sat in a darkened studio and watched the film unfold.   With Miles leadership they completely improvised the score to the film based solely on the mood in the film.  A film that would be a star vehicle for the smokey and dreamy Jeanne Moreau.   It is a pure delight to listen to the different takes of the various themes as they each reflect the freedom of complete improvisation with nothing tied to paper.  With no distractions or expectations Miles created a sound that would lead to some of his greatest work in the years to come.   Coloring both his collaborations with Gil Evans but also having a huge influence on his solo recordings starting with MILESTONES (1958) and A KIND OF BLUE (1959) (arguably his greatest solo record).   I'd go so far as to say that these albums would not have existed if it hadn't been for his experience in creating the score for this film. 

I'd strongly encourage you to purchase a copy of the complete recordings of this amazing soundtrack Ascenseur pour l'Ă©chafaud. 
Listen to what would be a nursery for the development of a new sound, new approach and new way of thinking about Jazz for generations to come.  
DRIFT
Drift or drifting is often referred to in unappealing terms.   But drift can be a force of nature, like when lava from a volcano is drifting down it's sides carrying chunks of rock that drift along in the molten lava.   For me this image captures that slow drifting movement.

https://youtu.be/cEU-dXsnNF0

My plea to the world.

My plea to the world.
Check out the link for Brian May (of Queen) classic solo track BACK TO THE LIGHT.  The lyrics are really powerful - especially for the times we are living in. 
https://youtu.be/Zvmp8YhEgQk

Far, far from the light 
Hear the night creatures call 
With a cold breath they howl 
All the hollow hours 
They're calling you

I'll be there 
No matter what your going through 
In the dark I care 
I'm holding on, I'm hoping on 
It's still the same old me inside

Back to the light 
Back to the streets that are paved with gold 
Back to the light, yeah 
Back to the land where the sunshine heals my soul

Deep, deep in the night 
When the world fills with tears 
And the wind blows 
Colder and colder it grows 
And the fire dims with the same old fears

I'll be there 
Though maybe you don't hear me, babe 
I still care 
No matter when and I still be there 
When you make it to the other side 
And I'm going back

Back to the light 
Back to the streets that are paved with gold 
Back to the light 
Goin' back to the land 
Where the sunshine heals my soul

On and on, searching for a clearer view 
Winning and losing an inner war 
Wonder what we do it for 
Though the road seems never ending 
Hold on to the hope I'm sending through 
Yeah

No, no matter what your going through 
In the dark I care 
I'm holding on, believe it 
We'll be walking in the light 
'Cause they'll be no place left to hide

Back to the light 
Back to the streets that are paved with gold 
Back to the light 
Oh, I'm goin' back to land 
Where the sunshine heals my soul, hear me babe 
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Back to the light

Back to the light

Back to the light

Back to the light, yeah, yeah

Babe, come with me 
Back to the light 
Yeah