Musical DNA Goes Everywhere Today

February 25th, 2016 James Brown’s 1968 hit “Say it Out Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” not only became a #1 R&B hit, the anthem for the Black Power movement, but also inspired new pride among countless Africans in newly-independent nations that had just become free of colonial power.  Hits like this were heard via […]

The Otherworldly Voice of Soeur Marie Keyrouz

July 09, 2015 Soeur Marie Keyrouz You may remember Nuns Who Rock. I featured the big 1963 hit “Dominique,” sung by Soeur Sourire or ‘The Singing Nun,’ and then the Sicilian nun-rocker, Sister Cristina Scuccia. Now I’d like to spotlight a nun of another order: Soeur (or Sister) Marie Keyrouz, who has recorded numerous albums […]

America’s Jazz Ambassadors

May 16, 2013 During the cold war in the 1950s and 60s, when America was worried about Sputnik, ICBMs, and building bomb shelters, there was a quiet but determined cultural diplomacy going on behind the Iron Curtain. The U.S. State Department around the mid-1950s started sending American jazz musicians into Russia, newly-independent African nations (whom […]

The Theater of Horror: From Aurora to Abadan

July 26, 2012 On July 20, 2012, I woke up to news of the horrific shootings that took place at the movie theater in Aurora, CO. In the wake of this carnage, we are left with the question as to why this happened? What would possess a person to commit such a monstrous and cowardly […]

Useless Literary Terms Come Alive

May 17 2012 Synedoche: figure of speech wherein part represents whole, e.g. “crown” stands for “king” or “queen”. Objective Correlative: T.S. Eliot’s literary device, akin to metaphor, where an object or thing represents an emotion or feeling. How do I know such obscure things? Rather than following my dad’s advice to pursue a more practical […]

Repetition Plus Expression Equals Satisfaction

May 10 2012 On a week bookended by a beginning guitar class at McCabe’s Guitar Shop and a painting retreat in Encino, I was buffeted by a key challenge of the reinventing Boomer. The guitar classes were held in a room that does triple duty as concert hall, classroom, and showroom. All manner of stringed […]

Music and Art: Tools for Survival

January 26, 2012 Classical pianist Alexis Weissenberg recently died. He was considered one of the great virtuosos of the last century. He was a child prodigy in Bulgaria when he and his mother were taken prisoner by German soldiers in 1941. Weissenberg had a small accordion and could play excellent renditions of Schubert piano works […]

Education and the Arts: A Cultural Crossroads

November 17, 2011 Everything changes. Everything is connected. Pay attention. –Ancient Buddhist Proverb What does it feel like when your world is out of balance, off kilter, or out of control? Koyaanisqatsi, the Hopi word meaning- A life out of balance -is born of the Native American understanding that the world and all living things […]