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Our heroes are by definition magnificently far above us in what they do and how they do it. If you take a moment to look at the heroes of baseball, it seems not so impossible that you too might someday do what they do.
The costumes (simple, soft, comfy) and the main actions of baseball (swing, run, throw, catch, run, slide) tell you how sweetly uncomplicated it all is.
For a kid looking on, enthralled, obsessed, it almost looks possible. I can wear a uniform like that. I can swing like that. I can feel it.
At least that’s how it seemed in 1959, and we can hope that it is not far from the truth today.
Of the many who played the simple game at the highest level, these two Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron, twin gods of the Milwaukee Braves in 1959, represented to the kid just about everything that was worth being if you were human–including approachability. Yes, you could imagine them coming to your house and throwing the ball around. Yes you did imagine it, over and over.
And those Milwaukee heroes didn’t seem to mind that you also worshipped others, like these two Baltimore Orioles, Brooks Robimson and Luis Aparicio (1967). Real heroes understand that. They know it is not betrayal, it does not diminish them.
Mickey Mantle (the Marilyn Monroe of baseball ?(without the tragedy), seemed to understand that as well as anyone. There seemed to be no envy in his rivalry with other players, no bitterness in his blazing competitiveness.
The best in baseball, at least in those days, always had time for the kid who worshipped them.
Brooks Robinson, sitting down, taking time. The kid is the batboy for the team. The BATBOY! Baseball even has a JOB for a kid, a JOB among the gods, a job in heaven itself.
What a game.
This batboy became a Chief Justice in the Court of Queens Bench in Canada, but we bet he never felt more glad to be alive than right there, the boy in charge of the bats.
If you are lucky, there is a game going on soon near you, and if you are super lucky, it unfolds in a place like this bit of heaven.
Nat Baily Stadium, Vancouver, BC
As we noted a while back: “Music, good music, SOUNDS good, of course. But we’ve noticed that the best music also LOOKS good.” This time, we’ve turned our eyes to music on the page, music made with pen and ink (or whatever) for other musicians to read and play. Above image from the cover of Stravinsky the Music-Maker seen here
A note from Johannes Brahms
Even if you can’t read music, you can tell this is music and you know it sounds pretty good. Henry Purcell at the British Library
This too. It is Robert Schumann @ Yale
Music on the page goes as far back as words on the page. In either case, it’s all about letting other people know what you hear in your head (and your heart), whether it is a thought about Spring or the sound of Springtime.
Lots more here.
This old beauty found at Oxford Early Music Festival.
Coming back closer to our time, you can see the music loosen up, take chances, leap, fly.
This lovely thing lives at Yale.
Autograph musical manuscript signed (Thelonious M), Monk’s Mood, 1 Page, New York, c.1956-7
Apart from the divine Mr Monk, 20th century music makers have shied away from showing us their direct hand-i-work. Keyboards and computers come between the fingers and the page. But with the digital tools available, new ways of showing our eyes the look of music have sprung up.
This video give us Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring as an animated score. Of course Nijinsky basically did that a hundred years ago, with bodies and fabric and genius.
So, we give the last word to the visual artist who deeply understood the look of music.Music: stop Look listen.
Puppets have been with us for a very long time. Amusing us, sometimes scaring us or making us mad–and by “us”, we mean people of just about any age in any country. Small figures made of simple materials become actors in a play. This is theatre the way we all like it. We laugh, we cry. Applause applause.
The above 200-year-old puppet troupe, supporting cast to the beloved character Guignol, is from Lyon, France, found here.
But happily, puppets are as much a part of the present as they are a reminder of the past. Today, right now, puppet making and puppet theatre are as widely appealing and inventive as ever.
This is one (of dozens) of small figures imagined and made by Canadian artist Geoffrey Farmer for a show called The Surgeon and the Photographer. Each is made of cloth and paper cut out of magazines and books. Are they “puppets”? They are to us, and the room full of them was, by a long shot, the best thing we saw in an art gallery in 2015.
Above, Mr Farmer’s puppets on parade at the Barbicon in London in 2013. Happily, all these little people have been gathered in a book.
Whatever their actual age, puppets seem to belong to a time all their own. This lad, who is Italian and just waiting for the show to go on, is about 300 years ago.
This past August, many of the fine performances at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival featured puppets and puppetry of the highest and most hilarious order, the most absurd, unsettling, laugh-in-spite-of- yourself kind of stuff you’ll find in any theatre anywhere…
Like Bruce, a sponge puppet, with quite a story to tell. Created by Australian company The Last Great Hunt
And Foxy, one of the stars of Sing for your Life, a “Hideously hilarious taxidermy puppet cabaret”written by taxidermy performance artist (!) Charlie Tuesday Gates. Don’t look toooo close.
Puppet festivals thrive today in many cities–like Istanbul, below
Montreal Festival Casteliers Afternoon of a Foehn.
So we encourage you to get off your hands and head out to a puppet show near you or way over there in Istanbul. Near or far, the delight remains supreme. We love these little creatures, don’t we?
G. Farmer. Mlle Puppette. Enchantee. Merci.
Music, good music SOUNDS good, of course. But we’ve noticed that the best music also LOOKS good.
That’s Edythe Turnham and her Band up there, lookin’ good. photo Dorothy Hilbert Collection seen here
Small music groups, particularly, seem to have great visual appeal. This is something like a family portrait–the resemblance is there–but where everyone has their own special piece of equipment and job to do. Found here.
When we go to see live music, we go to watch as much as to listen. What we experience at the time, and what we take away, has a lot to do with what we looked at, what we saw.
Artists of every era have used musicians as subjects. It’s just natural.
Fernand Leger, two performances, same band, new look. See here.
Jan Miense Molenaer painted this portrait of a family musical event in Haarlem, Holland, in the 17th century.
Lots of paintings of musicians at work here
This scene of how to walk like an Egyptian while playing a tune is from the Metropolitan Museum collection, found here
In our time, some of the most eye-appealing performances, we think, are given by the string quartet.
Performers at the Kairos chamber music festival, go here.
But for our money, nothing quite beats the genius solo performer deeply in tune with the music and the moment
Miss Holiday, the song, the look, none before or since quite like that.
Mr Hendrix was an eye magnet as well as an incomparable musician. Fine photograph by Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal, lots more here
Glenn Gould, Joni Michell. Music like no one else. Looking like no one else.
Listen up and look on.
Posters showing people dancing were among the first ever produced. Since then, many great dancers, along with many simply good ones, have appeared on posters. Two great ones from the 1991 Merce Cunningham Dance Company flying high above. Found here.
The 1920s and 30s produced a lot of amazing dancers, and a lot of great posters like the above four all found at the equally amazing International Poster Gallery, here.
This for the Baseler Ballett is pure poster art. By Herbert Leupin.
A little tribute to the hokey pokey by Picasso in 1961
Two for the Montreux Jazz Festival featuring people dancing by themselves, as people do at festivals. Jazz and otherwise. From International Posters, again.
Twyla Tharp above left is a modern master. Giselle was first performed in 1840 and is still going strong.
The two above posters are for an annual dance concert at Randolph Macon Women’s College. Nice. Seen here.
And the above is calendar of posters for the Martha Graham Dance Company. Go here.
If you want to pick up a nice dance poster, you can find them at auction. The above bunch sold at a Swann Galleries at auction in April 2010, seen here.
If you’d like to get into the act and do a bit of dancing yourself, there are lots of places to shake a leg and learn new steps. And you can also enter competitions in all sorts of places-including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (!).
First you might want to get your feet and knees in tip top shape at a dance camp. extreme or otherwise. And one day….