When did culture start?

Culture sign isolated on whiteEvery day it seems that another event is canceled – art shows, parades, Broadway and recently I read that Art Basel may be canceled. I’m still waiting to find out the fate of New York Comic Con, which is in early October.

The good news great news is that NYC has no new covid cases since March. None. I’m so proud of New York. Here in Florida, we are the opposite. If there is a Comic Con, how will they let people in? New York is safe now, do they want us grubby infected jerks in their state or city now?

But right now, things are boring. There is nothing to go to, nothing to attend anymore. It got me thinking, when did things start? When did culture start? I mean I’m sure the world was boring many years ago. There is the Coliseum in Rome, so we know that in 80 AD there were events going on. And I guess in ancient times before that there were things happening like chariot races, but when did opera start or plays on stage? When did someone say, “Let’s put up a stage here and perform?” When did someone say, “Let’s put up some clothes lines and hang art?”

When did art move from cave walls to something more portable? When did someone set up the first museum or have the first concert?

It’s something to think about. Before then there were dark ages, and I don’t mean the time before the Renaissance, I mean like caveman times.

Lady Gaga announced ‘One World’ concert

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I was watching Morning Joe yesterday and there was Lady Gaga talking about a concert that will be on MSNBC Saturday, April 18, the “One World: Together at Home” concert, a sort of Live Aid, but it’s not a fundraiser, it’s just a night of entertainment to get everyone’s mind off our current situation.

What made me laugh was her background. I had written about how everyone has such interesting homes, many with bookshelves, and one of the richest, most famous women in the world has this plain white background, with a desk lamp. While she is all that when on the stage, she is just one of us in “real life.” I had seen others on tv with their awards in the background, you know,  an actual shelf or grammys or emmys or whatever, but not Gaga. Love that about her.

Here she is on YouTube, announcing the concert – same background.

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Art, food, music, friends and of course cucumber punch at Gifford Lane

Once a year, in our little village, we have what’s called the Gifford Lane Art Stroll – it’s about art, but it’s also about food, music and friends – it’s an old fashioned block party and it’s a place where everybody knows everybody else.

I took a Freebee over, it’s a little golf cart that drives people around town, and the driver told me, “The whole town is there!” And that’s the way it’s been for 21 years. It’s one of our favorite events of the year.

Money raised through the art, food and cucumber punch – the best part of the event, goes to two local charities.

My friend Dave and his wife Trina, who started the event so long ago, open their house to visitors. The green cucumber punch is ladled out in the kitchen and people stroll out back to their tropical back yard. It’s old Florida.

A funny thing is that Dave calls out to people as they obliviously walk by, “Thank you for coming! Take all the punch you want!” If I said it, that would be sarcastic, but he means it. And that’s part of the charm of the whole thing.

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The Lake Worth Street Painting Festival

A few of us went up to Lake Worth Sunday for the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival. It was the 22nd year for this great event. The center of this little town is taken over by artists and the streets become works of art. It starts on Saturday morning and ends Sunday night. There is all this art and lots of food and music.

On Monday, the streets are open and come-what-may, cars, people, pets, they all walk on the art and by the end of the week it’s gone. Ephemeral.

More art shows filling the streets

This past weekend we had a couple of arts festivals in town. They were a lot of fun, I went all three days with different friends and family. There are a lot of art shows this time of year in Miami. We have a couple more coming up, I may go to the Street Painting Festival in Lake Worth next weekend, and then in March there is one final show, which is more of a block party. One of our favorite ones of the year.

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This is from 2008, a friend painted me at a local restaurant. I hadn’t seen this painting since back then, she gave it to me the other day. Love it.

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The rest of these photos are just some of this weekend’s art shows.

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Fall in Central Park

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I have been busy, pumping out Hal and High Water strips. I’m almost ready to send them in to the syndicate. I’m going to NY at the end of the week for Thanksgiving week, so I hope to have the strips submitted by then.

I found this photo from last year. It’s the Bow Bridge in Central Park. You can’t see him him very well, but at the very end of the bridge is a guy playing an instrument. He’s all in black, see him just before you enter the bridge? I think it was a flute or a saxophone, I can’t remember. What I do remember is that I was trying to take a short video of him to put on Instagram and he kept turning his back to me. At first I thought it was coincidence, but then I realized, he didn’t want to be taped.

I usually tip these street/park musicians, especially when I take pictures or tape them, but I didn’t in this instance. So I never got him playing, but you can imagine being on the other side of the bridge and hearing his music in the distance, which brings me to this next photo.

This is incredible; the photo, but the experience.

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It was November 2015. I was in Central Park and saw this view in front of me. Amazing. As I sat there on a park bench, I heard Adele singing “Hello” faintly in the distance. It almost sounded like angels! I looked around and didn’t see anyone. “Hello” was released a month before, in October 2015, so it was played all over. So to hear it in the park was strange, but not so strange, but the strange part was hearing it in the distance on a cool Autumn day, with this beautiful scene before me, with no other people around.

After I took the picture and was leaving, as I turned a bend on the path, there was a hot dog vendor with his radio blaring “Hello.” That’s where it was coming from, wafting through the park. Sort of disappointing at that moment, knowing where Adele was coming from!

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The instruments of rock stars

I’m looking forward to a new exhibit opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC – it’s called “Play It Loud.” It features instruments played by famous people from famous songs. This video above is CBS Sunday Morning’s story on the exhibit.

Electric guitars, drums and amplifiers are featured. Jerry Lee Lewis’ piano is there, so is Keith Moon’s drum set and Chuck Berry’s Gibson guitar that he played Johnny B. Goode on, which still includes the traveling tags on the guitar case. There is John Lennon’s 12-string Rickenbacker and the drum set Ringo used on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame coordinated the exhibit and will present approximately 130 instruments alongside posters and costumes.

The exhibit runs from April 8 to October 1, 2019.

This video below is Don Felder playing Hotel California at the Met on his original double neck guitar.

The Peanuts gang singing

Here are a couple of great videos of the Peanuts gang performing famous songs. This is so good. The one above is “La Grange” by ZZ Top and the one below is Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and below that is “Barracuda” by Heart.

You can see a bunch of them here, at YouTube.

Fun art weekend


Every year on President’s Day Weekend, we have the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and St. Stephen’s Art Show in our town. It’s 3-day weekend of art, music, fun and friends.

One of my favorite things on Sunday was Lime, the group from the 1980s, one of my favorites. I had forgotten about so many of their songs which defined my youth.

A few friends and I were standing near the park and all of a sudden, Lime starts performing, that’s the video above I ran right over. They sang all their hits, “Babe We’re Gonna Love Tonight,” “Guilty,” “Unexpected Lovers” and more. So great.

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