Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Letter "J"

*Another long one, folks.  Just pick a section that appeals.
Music with a "J" connection
Last evening, we saw a movie that has to fit into my "J" post, because my mind is buzzing with the joy of this documentary's music, story and heart-touching main character.  We almost didn't see it.  I had suggested another movie, but Bill uncharacteristically disagreed with my choice.  It would have been sad to miss "Searching for Sugarman" and I could barely contain my gratitude as I babbled endlessly during our walk to the cafe around the corner from the theatre, where we sipped lattes and digested the movie along with a delicious sandwich.  Bill loved it too, but he joked that I could repeat "I loved this movie" only six times.  I was down to four and a half when we left the cafe, so I guess I'm now down to three and a half.  Apart from the jubilation I'm feeling, there is another "J" connection.  Sixto Rodriguez's parents immigrated from Mexico to Detroit in the 1920's.  He was born in 1942 and for a time, went by the name, Jesus Rodriguez.  I'm not sure how he came by that name.  It wasn't his given name, and at some point, it seems to have been dropped.    This is the only spoiler-free review of the movie I've found.  We wondered why people clapped as it was beginning.  Later, Bill thought it may have been because there were people in the audience seeing it for the second time.  I know I want to go back and see it again, really, really soon.  I also know that I hope you will see it.  My suggestion is to read the review I've linked, but skip the trailers and other reviews.  Make it a gift to yourself to let the story unfold in its own sweet way.  I feel I can promise that you won't be disappointed.  (Photo taken from this site.)

Art with a "J" connection
We came across this sculpture called Lovers ll when we stopped by Vancouver's City Hall gardens one day.  I was sad that it had not been kept clean, but even under the bird poop, I  felt drawn to its magnificence.  

I photographed the plaque and went home to find out more about the sculptor.  
Trained as a veterinarian and forced to repeat his studies three times in three different countries, Gerhard Juchum remained determined to create art in every spare minute that he could find.  His story is told poignantly at this web site.  It is one of courage, persistence and dedication to a city he came to love.  It has stayed with me. 
If you find yourself in Vancouver, stop by City Hall and  take some time to enjoy Lovers ll, and maybe say a small thank you to Gerhard Juchum for hanging in when most would have given up.  You can also see his "Fisher Hauling in the Net" at Van Dusen Gardens and there are other sculptures on Vancouver Island in Port Hardy and Port Alice.  There is one other supposed to be at Jericho Beach called "Untitled" that I will be looking for the next time I visit the park. 
"Joseph" in Chemainus
Seeing "Joseph" in the beautiful town of Chemainus, B.C. was a very enjoyable experience.

We walked a little before the show and found many lovely scenes like this one.  
Gorgeous murals and flowers filled just about every available space.  The murals alone will definitely merit their own "M" post.

 A jellyfish on Salt Spring Island  
I haven't figured out how to judge..

if they are alive, but the shimmering colours are jaw-droppingly lovely either way.
Ravens are the jokesters of traditional lore, and there is a pair on Salt Spring Island that I have watched during our three visits there.  I had a goal to capture the pair flying together.  That wasn't achieved but I judged this one's jetty silhouette to be worthy of posting.
Its jaunty and jam-packed choreography seemed to impress the mate. Whether it was serious or jesting, I couldn't tell.  Perhaps it was claiming its jurisdiction,  

or perhaps it just wanted to show that it could journey to its destination in a jiffy, via wings with jagged edges more magnificent than those of any jet. 
A jolly good time with Black Jack 
At first, I believed she was sleeping, but then.. 

I thought I caught her peeking.. 
and soon it was obvious that I was correct.

I guess she had been joshing all along.
"So, am I cute or what?  You be the judge."
Another day, she seemed even more determined..
to stretch her jaw wide for a dental examination.
I thought she might be trying to join me in a good laugh here, and indeed, our jocularity wasn't jaded at all. 

Her job judiciously deemed a success, Black Jack figured she had earned a rest. A "J" shape in the clouds over David Lam Park

Two more musicians and three more artists with "J" names  
I had found these and then forgotten about them, but it seemed wrong to leave them out.
In the "J" section of 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die by Tom Moon, I found George Jones. By clicking over his name, you can listen to "Wild Irish Rose" and clicking on She Stopped Loving Him Today will take you to another of his famous songs.  (I suggest turning your volume down for the 10-15 second advertisements before all videos linked in this post.)  In the first song, Jones sings of a homeless man who had been to Vietnam and I thought I read, in his expression, a personal connection.  In fact, although I learned from this Wikipedia article that he signed up for the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War, he spent his entire service in California.  Another article stated that he had served his time in Korea.  As with the conflicting information between those two sites, there is much in this musician's life that is contradictory.  Perhaps, what I saw as his connection to the lyrics is more about his many years of alcoholism.  You can read in that same article a famous story of his highway drive to the bar in the wee hours of the morning on his lawn mower because his wife  had locked up the car keys.  Sober for the past ten years (he credits this to his 4th wife), he has an active tour schedule that he says will continue until June, 2013, when he plans to do his last public performance.  By my calculation, he will be 82 years old.  He has made an indelible mark on the world of country music and it has been fascinating experience to explore his life.  The photo of him below was found at this link.
You can listen to Norah Jones sing "Miriam" at this link.  It is a bitter, angry song, set to a hauntingly beautiful melody with a childlike purity to it.  I like many of her songs; she is a talented jazz musician.  I loved "Miriam" until I watched the video and thought about the lyrics. Now, it disturbs me. That opens up a question that has been on my mind for some time.  While our baser instincts (jealousy, bitterness, revenge) need a safe outlet, is relief only possible when they are made public? I would love to hear your thoughts on that. Perhaps I am misinterpreting Norah's intent, or worse, guilty of expecting her to curb her creativity when it makes me uncomfortable.  Her photo below was found at this link.
Okay, I confess.  I used to be a musical snob.  I laughed at country music publicly, but privately, found myself loving the songs on an old cassette that a music teacher in New Brunswick gave me in 1988.  We used to listen to it as we traveled together to community band practice in Houlton, Maine .  I never really stood up for country music when most of my musician friends put it down, but the truth is that I love the story telling that all good country singers excel at. While some of the songs are just too "heartbreaky" (that's got to be a word), others break my heart just right.  I will leave it to you to figure out what that means, since I'm not sure I can put it into words any better than that.

I found Allen Jones in The Art Book and this photo of him here.

 This colourful painting is one of a series titled "Hermaphrodite."     

I photographed this write-up out of the book and hope you can read it.  Perhaps, the fact that stood out for me is how influenced he was by Jungian philosophy.  As for his art, I am attracted to his strong colours.

Gwen John (1879-1939) is pictured below.
I love this painting called "The Precious Book."  It makes me think of my friend, Phyllis. 
Again, I have photographed the write-up from the book.  What stands out for me is that she was Rodin's mistress.  He called her "my little artist" but neither he nor her artist brother, Augustus, gave her her due as an artist worthy in her own right of great distinction.  In fact, though her brother achieved  more fame in his own time, she now surpasses him.

Below, you can see a photograph and a self portrait of Alexei von Jawlensky (1864-1941).  I am struck by what seems to me to be anger and mistrust in his eyes.

I really love his painting called "Schokko" which means chocolate.  Apparently, the model had asked for a cup of hot chocolate.  

Again, a write-up photographed from the book and again, it is the colour that pulled my eyes to the painting.  The article suggests that Jawlensky relies on colour to express emotion and I would say that technique works extremely well. ABC Wednesday is now on the letter "N", but I forge ahead with my late entries, enjoying the stimulation that Mrs. Nesbitt and her team have fostered.  Thank you so much for visiting my blog today.  Now, I hope you will take a little trip over to the ABC site to see "N" posts from people around the world. 


  1. About the song "Miriam", I've never heard it before, but it's definitely memorable and poignant. I think we have to take a look at those dark things inside us, pull them out and recognize them for what they are and then deliberately reject them. For me, that would also mean asking for forgiveness for my dark side thoughts and actions.

  2. P.S. As for Black Jack, she doesn't look like she has one dark bone -- or thought, in her body -- other than the color of her fur of course. Dogs and cats are so adorable when they cover their eyes. They make me melt.

  3. black jack stole the show for me. :) such a cutie.

  4. Good morning Carol.
    Thought it only fitting that I must reply on this post as I am a 'J'!!!
    And that's NOT jailbird!! lol
    All I can say is that you have made me yearn to get back to Vancouver and the is such a beautiful province.
    So much to comment on but will be brief, I hope. The movie sounds very appealing especially if you and others saw it twice! I have only seen one movie twice in my life...'Moulin Rouge'.
    The photos of the raven made me take a seat! Wonderful that you were able to capture this series! Nice job.
    What a great voice George Jones has! Very distinctively his own sound. I like most country music...heck, I can listen to almost any type of music at least once!
    Miriam by Norah Jones....she is one of my favourite artists. What a healthy way for her to exorcise her demons.....going 'public' and not keeping those thoughts inside......better than jail! There's another 'J'.
    Great post Carol.
    Jim with a 'J'

  5. I love the series of the raven - I can see those silhouettes framed and grouped together in a wonderful wall piece....
    So glad you got to see the beautiful red jellyfish on your trip to Salt Spring. For the next month or so, smacks of them will show on our shores as the tide goes out. They all seem to survive and float away with the next high tide. (A whole bunch of jellyfish is called a 'smack' - isn't that a great term for them?)
    Another J - Jean!

  6. What a great post! I love being introduced to new musicians and artists. I will confess, however, that I cannot listen to country music so I am still a musical snob! Thank you for thinking of me when looking at the lovely portrait of reader!!!

  7. Beautiful and entertaining as always. I thought the raven silhoetes were wonderful but then the Black Jack series topped that.

  8. What cute critter shots!

  9. This post is filled with joyful moments, Carol. You mentioned one of my favorite thinkers Carl Jung who said, “The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” This is the essence of many of your captures. :)

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