Tuesdays Tunes: “Sunny” by Bobby Hebb

Bobby Hebb - Sunny By Bobby Hebb (1976, Vinyl) | Discogs
(1966)

One from my early, early memories and one I never forgot. I mean this song is perfect. The words really adapt to the music perfectly…

And who hasn’t felt that way, thanking the sun for the “sunshine you gave…and for…the love you brought my way…” Who hasn’t felt “…ten feet tall…” when that sunshine is filling your soul with energy, hope and lighting your way out of darkness.

And it was darkness, we are told, that brought Bobby Hebb to write this song. First he felt the national tragedy when in his country…the US…a president was assassinated (1963) and then a personal tragedy, his brother was knifed to death at a Nashville bar, took over his life. Coming out of tragedy one should be thankful and this is what makes this song one of my favourites.

“All my intentions were just to think of happier times – basically looking for a brighter day – because times were at a low tide. After I wrote it, I thought ‘Sunny’ just might be a different approach to what Johnny Bragg was talking about in ‘Just Walkin’ in the Rain.” This is what Bobby Hebb had to say about his song. He was looking at the bright side of life and walking…singing…his way out of depression or a depressive mood. It is a great message and learning experience for many, still valid.

The song, recorded in New York and released in 1966, rose immediately to become a hit and Bobby Hebb was asked to tour with The Beatles…

I love this song for sure and I hope you enjoy it. Here is an interesting version taken from a TV show in 1972:

(Bobby Hebb, “Sunny” in a 1972 performance)

CHEERS!

Mi viaje a Fanzara en la Comunitat Valenciana/My trip to Fanzara in Comunitat Valenciana

(Foto propiedad de FBC, Omnia Caelum Studios Valencia/Photo property of FBC, Omnia Caelum Studios Valencia)

Viajando por nuestra Comunitat Valenciana. Fanzara es realmente un museo al aire libre…

Disfrutad.

Travelling our Comunitat Valenciana. Fanzara is really an open air museum.

Enjoy.

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CHEERS!

BIG SCANDAL IN BRASIL…over Art, or over this?

Diva: la vagina de 33 metros que creó la artista visual Juliana Notari | La  República
(“Diva” the 33 metre long vagina made by Juliana Notari)

Some facts about “Diva”:

It took eleven months to construct…

According to the description in the international press, “Diva” is a vagina made from cement and resin. It is 33 metres high, 16 metres wide and 6 metres deep. It is a concept created by Brasilian artist Juliana Notari. The artist forms part of Proyecto de Residencia Artísticas of the Museo de Arte Moderno Aloisio Magallanes (MAMAM) and Usina de Arte. Basiscally it is a large open air museum.

According to the artist on Facebook, she says that “Diva” was made by hand and the construction was directed by Engineer Roberto Gatis. It took the labour of forty men. And I wonder, why men? Should not they have been women? After all, this, as you will see later, was a political work to denounce the bad treatment of women throughout the ages.

After all, Notari has said that the reason for the work was “para dialogar con cuestiones que remiten la problematización de género desde una perspectiva femenina aliada a una cosmovisión que cuestiona la relación entre la naturaleza y la cultura en nuestra sociedad occidental falocéntrica y antropocéntrica”. Which through my translation, which I hope you will understand, what she says in this brief manifesto is that she constructed “Diva” to create a dialogue that speaks to the problem of gender from a feminine perspective allied to a cosmic vision that questions the relationship between nature and culture in our western phallocentric and anthropocentric society.

Hmm…

She goes further to state that the work is part of the resistence, artistic resitence and that these topics have become more and more urgent. And she says a lot more but you can look it up, it is in various newspapers and a google search will lead you to them because I don’t like to read rubbish…

Of course the work is being attacked, and by who? By the usual suspects. Those in the far right, those in the religious extreme, those who are machista, in other words, those who get scandalised easily, those who are intolerant and those who want to control others and impose their will. No big deal. Not too hard to rile them up and this is what she wanted to do.

But to say that this supposed vagina, that really does not look like a vagina…she should have studied the anatomical form a bit more…does not say anything like that to me. I look at it as a red stain upon the earth. And actually it may even serve well as a form of decorative pool for exotic fish if you fill it with water and perhaps decorate the area around it with some nice flowers and not with the toxic materials she used to construct it. Oh, but wait, she did not construct it. It was designed by a male engineer and dug up by forty men…

So, you judge for yourself what this “land art” is all about and why all the attention is given to it. In my opinion, Notari did it with the intention of shocking those who easily are shocked by these things, which in no way are new, interesting or original. After all the vagina has been drawn, painted, sculpted and photographed for centuries. No shock value there. It does not speak about feminine questions and the real problems that exist, which make women victims, like gender and sexual violence.

I looked for more of Notari’s art and found only that she aspires…in my opinion…to rival Yoko Ono by creating the most simplistic, ridiculous and nonsensical conceptual art performances or displays. Therefore I leave it here. There is nothing to show. And please understand that these are my opinions, not my facts. The facts are out there for you to see and for you to decide.

CHEERS!

La artista forma parte de la segunda edición del Proyecto de Residencia Artísticas realizado por la Museo de Arte Moderno Aloisio Magallanes (MAMAM) y Usina de Arte (Foto: Facebook/Juliana Notari)
(Juliana Notari, Facebook photo)

Weekend Artists Series, Part 3: Portraits of Young Men with Coins…

Botticelli, Portrait of a Man with a Medal of Cosimo il Vecchio de' Medici  – Smarthistory
(Boticelli 1445-1510)

This video, which concludes the Weekend Artists Series for this week features a painting by Sandro Boticelli, “Young Man Holding a Roundel” which is scheduled to be auctioned at Sotheby’s this January and is expected to sell for more than 80 thousand US Dollars. It was painted circa 1480. I have included other similar portraits in the video so that you can take a look and see which one you think should be really worth all that money. And I would like you to tell me what you think of these exorbitant prices for artwork that may or may not be worth all that much.

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CHEERS!

Weekend Artists Series, Part 2: Fernande Olivier

(Fernande Olivier in an etching by Picasso, 1881-1966)

The importance of a good model for an artist is reflected in Fernande Olivier, Picasso’s first love and possibly first model upon arrival in Paris in 1900. Here is a short video clip of some of her photographs and some of the artwork she inspired. Let me know what you think, both of Fernande and of models in general. Thank you!

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CHEERS!

Weekend Artists Series, Part 1: Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp cómo entender sus obras - Arte - Arte
(Marcel Duchamp, 1887-1968)

This artist thought he was exalting the value/importance of the conjunctural, the fleeting and the contemporary.

Marcel Duchamp (born Marcele Duchampsonis on the 28th of July 1887 in Blainville-Crevon, France) seems to think art is created solely by the will of the “artist”. He dismisses the need of form, preparation or even talent.

Incredibly…to me…a significant number of supposed art historians consider him the most important artist of the XXth Century. This accreditation, naturally, began in the 1960’s.

André Breton said he was the most intelligent man of the century. And this is what Marcel Duchamp said of Breton:

“I never met a man with a greater capacity to love, or with a greater power to love the greatness of life and whose hatreds would not be understood because through them he protected the quality of his love of life, of the marvels of life. Breton loved like a beating heart. He was a lover of love in a world that believes in prostitution. That is his sign.” Marcel Duchamp

Marcel’s “art” was mostly composed of “ready-made” materials. However, his attitude towards art continue to heavily influence the newer tendencies within contemporary art today.

So what is his style? What is his tendency? To which school of art does he belong? He doesn’t. He does not belong to any school and has no style except for uniqueness. He has broken all the norms, rules, aesthetics and forms that existed in his day and if he were still here he would continue to do the same. He is considered to be the precursor to some of the more extreme and radical aspects of the evolution of art since 1945.

A little background on this artist:

In 1904 he took the entrance test to the École des Beaux-Arts and failed to gain admission. He registered instead at a private school, the Académie Julian, a school he quickly skipped out of preferring the night life at the local bars where he would sketch scenes of “real life”. He did his military service in Eu and returned to Paris in 1906. He began to paint in the fauvist style as of 1908. Then, and for some time, supposedly under the influence of Cézanne, he painted portraits, the most important of which was a psychological portrait of his father. However, even if he did demonstrate some talent in his early paintings, he painted very few of them in comparison with other artists.

On the 2nd of April 1915 he tells his friends in France that he was “totally decided” about leaving France. He said in a letter that he was “not going to New York, I am leaving Paris, which is different”. On the 15th of June he was on the transatlantic ship Rochambeau en route to New York. He dedicated his first few months in Manhattan to learning English and earning a living teaching French, but he did not paint. Two months later he had gained employment at the FIAF French Institute Alliance Française of New York.

In 1917 the Independent Artists Society is founded in New York, imitating the Salon des Indépendants of Paris. Their mission was to mount expos without juries or prizes. They were very successful and within two weeks they had six hundred members and Duchamp was named the charge of selection of artists and their work. He decided that the works would be exhibited in alphabetical order according to the artist’s last name. 2.125 works were exhibited corresponding to 1.200 artists, making this the largest expo in the history of the United States. Duchamp inserted his work under the pseudonym R. MUTT.

And what was that work of art that Duchamp submitted? It was a urinal that he had bought and on the which he had painted the name R. MUTT. The organisers refused to accept the entry and Duchamp resigned. However, the urinal was exhibited at Galery 291 (was an art gallery located at 291 5th Ave., Manhattan) where it was photographed. The original urinal disappeared, and no one really knows why it was even submitted to the exhibition by Duchamp. It could have been a provocative act of cynicism directed at those within the Institute who took themselves much too seriously.

What makes the urinal a work of art was because it was selected by the artist Marcel Duchamp. Fifty years after the fact Duchamp said he had tossed a urinal in their faces and now they admire it for its beauty and aesthetic. He is a genius and a very intelligent man, I must admit.

I am just going to add that in 1917 he did meet and befriend another “great” artists, Joan Miró in Barcelona. As an aside, I’ve nothing good to say about the “artwork” of Joan Miró, although nothing against the man who I do consider to be a most intelligent one as well. After all he has made many believe he is a great artist when he was, in fact, a talent-less man.

So reference Duchamp, I will jump to 1968 and say that he died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.

Here is the urinal, and since there is really nothing more to illustrate there will be no companion video. Hope you liked the post and hope you tell me what you think. Are you an admirer? Do you really think he is such a great artist? Tell me. All I have to say is that I do admire him, not for his art but for his philosophy, his sense of humour and his wit. If you are a fan of this type of art I would suggest you read up on this tendency which is called the “ready made”. There are many articles and information online to be found.

El urinario de Duchamp: la polémica pieza que cambió la percepción del arte  - La Tercera
(Photo by unknown photographer)

Un poema para este viernes valenciano: “Pater Noster”

(Foto propiedad de FBC, Omnia Caelum Studios Valencia)

Si este viaje fracasa jamás volveremos a casa,

y no llegaremos a viejo.

No ha sido por falta de intento,

Sino por falta de espejo.

La dignidad nos engalana,

pero si no llega una mañana

limpia, nueva y bien soleada,

la dignidad no nos vale de nada.

Si nos apuntas con tu rifle del futuro,

si nos ofendes con palabras tan soeces,

si nos arrastras por el lodo,

no podremos alabarte,

no podremos rezarte un Pater Noster.

Pero yo no, yo no lo creo,

lo que ven yo no lo veo,

y sigo firme aquí creyendo,

que si lucho voy pudiendo,

comprender cuán soy comprendido.

Y a vistas luz,

ya no escondido,

está el camino que me lleva a la verdad.

Rezaré mil Pater Nosters,

buscare entre los que escoges,

y seguiremos este viaje hacia la mar.

C.2021, Francisco Bravo Cabrera, 22 de enero de 2021, Valencia, España 🇪🇸

Thursdays Middle of the Week Classic Rock Album: Yessongs by Yes

First things first and this was the first live album by Yes…

Does that mean anything? Maybe, who knows, but it is a fact and people love facts…

The album documents the band’s Close to the Edge tour, although it includes some songs from the Fragile tour as well. It is, after all, a three record set. “Perpetual Change” and “Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)” are from Fragile, and in those songs you will hear their original drummer Bill Bruford, while in the others the drummer is Alan White.

This is an amazing band and one of the best albums I’ve ever heard. The solos are incredible, Yes at their best! Here you find the best songs from The Yes Album, and definitely, Yessongs is and should be considered a greatest hits album done live. One part that I definitely enjoy is the one where Rick Wakeman plays a medley of some of his solo album The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Then Chris Squire has his own part in “The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)”.

Although many of the songs faithfully reflect the studio versions, you get some like “Perpetual Change” or “Starship Trooper”, whose live versions are superior to the studio version and clearly demonstrate the strength of the band, the mastery of the instruments, the knowledge of orchestration and arrangement and how bloody good these lads can play.

These are the lads that played in Yessongs:

Jon Anderson: Vocals
Steve Howe: Guitar
Chris Squire: Bass
Rick Wakeman: keyboards
Bill Bruford: drums on the 4th song of disc 1 and song 2 of disc 2
Alan White: drums on the rest of the songs

Just to remind you, or to inform you if you are not from the 70’s generation, Yes was formed in London in 1968 and got big, really big in the seventies. Yes joined bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer as the leaders of progressive or symphonic rock. They were heavily influenced by The Beatles, the Moody Blues and others but soon developed their own style. One thing that instantly attracted me to Yes was that they did seem to find the perfect formula to merge jazz and classical music and still make it rock. Not that doing that was out of place or innovative in those days. I find such a merging of styles in many of the rock groups of that era.

Yes was the quintessential progressive rock band of England. I would say heads and shoulders above Genesis, although not as theatrical, and much more consistent and stronger than Jethro Tull. But that is according to my taste, and maybe not yours…

So, since I am not a record or music reviewer or critic, I will leave the judgements to you. All I ask is that you tell me what you think, if you think of anything. And without another word, here is the album:

ENJOY IT!

CHEERS!

Journal Entry #2, From My Blood-Red Orange (Valencia)

(Here I am sitting in Valencia, at my favourite bar enjoying a beer before lunch)

Well today in the journal I must say that I am working on a new painting…nothing to do with the big project of four that I talked about Monday…that I had started about one week ago. I thought about creating “pop art”, of course my way, but I did not want to…really and fully…follow all the rules. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think of art as a serious manifestation of human ability and I do believe there are rules, except that I also believe that rules are meant to be broken, some times. So I started out on the left side of the canvas and I created a “person”, a figure, with a recognisable face, but in my more usual expressionistic style, let’s say contemporary expressionism/impressionism as I don’t really and fully follow the rules of the original…and old fashioned…expressionism. Then on the right side I decided to go “pop” but my way. This is what came out and I am not yet finished with this painting, but I’ve titled it “Gusto” recalling the days when I loved, absolutely loved to drink carbonated cola drinks made by the most popular company in the world…

“Gusto” acrylic on canvas, 36x48cm by FBC, Omnia Caelum Studios Valencia

I have sketched…in pencil…one of the four paintings that I have been commissioned to paint and I am happy with it. I had been painting it in my head for several weeks and now I can actually see it on paper and it looks good, so one is ready for the canvas now to tackle the other three…

I am still watching…season seven…of Homeland on Netflix and it is getting more and more interesting. Interesting as a fictional drama with almost super-hero type protagonists and super-villain types antagonists. However, the thought that to create a crime or in this case a spy drama you must make the “heroes” almost super human is ridiculous. Yes, the ones, especially the one, in this series have flaws, severe almost crippling flaws, but their flaws hardly encumber them from continuing and whenever they are in grave dangers, something almost magical happens and they are safe again and on the way to eliminating the threat. But that is not the thing that really bothers me about this series. What I see is almost like the blueprints of what is happening today in the United States. They talk about impeachment, invoking Article 25, riots in the streets, the siege of the Capitol and the violation of human/civil rights by a despotic, autocratic and almost tyrannical US president. Basically to stop the evil…which for the US it is always the Russians…the CIA must break all laws, violate all rights and act like thugs, and just so no one gets jealous, they have also put the FBI in the same category of both being criminal organisations. Incredible! Of course I enjoy it because this is what creates tension and interest in a fictional account but I just hope that no one gets the idea that things are really done that way. Well, I cannot vouch for Federal law enforcement but I can tell you that in my thirty years of law enforcement, in the US, at the county level, things worked legally…

Anyways, the weather is back to beautiful in my city of Valencia, here in Mediterranean Spain. We have highs reaching 16-17 degrees Celsius and lows of about 3-5 degrees, mainly at night…

Because the COVID numbers continue to rise, not only in Spain but in all of Europe, our president Ximo Puig has decided to order the closing of all our bars and restaurants. We can only get take out starting 21 JAN and the prohibition is supposed to be until 03 FEB. I know that the numbers are rising but why the attack on the bars and restaurants? Are they not all in compliance with the regulations? In any event, all “non-essential” stores and businesses will close at 1800 hours and the curfew, for all citizens, begins at 2200 hours and ends at 0600 hours. In some of our autonomous communities, like Castilla La Mancha, the curfew is set to begin at 2000 hours and I would not be surprised if our president changes it here as well…

In closing…for this edition…I would like to say that 2020, although a very hard, unusual and tragic year, was a year of getting closer to my work and getting closer to my spiritual roots. I am a “fallen” Catholic, born, baptised, confirmed and schooled in parochial schools and then with the Jesuits, but now I may have climbed up off the floor where I fell. I never lost faith in God and this last year has shown me that faith is very important in human behaviour and interactions. I am not afraid, therefore, of this pandemic because I know God is in charge. I still don’t go to church or keep the Holy days, perhaps I never will, but my condition of “fallen” is changing and I think it may not have had I not passed through a year as 2020. I am thankful that nothing happened…and nothing has…to myself or my loved ones.

I am also very happy to have made great new friends on WordPress! Some that started 2020 off as good friends, or en route to becoming that, have faded away or chosen other paths, but, new ones came along. I am grateful for their support and encouragement throughout the early period of my blog. Blogging was absolutely something new to me. I thank you Brad Osborne, Joni , Tiffany, Aiva, Rebecca, the Cincinnati Baby Head, CB and my good friend from Tennessee, SP, and many, many more. I thank profoundly those that have continued to follow Omnia Caelum all these months because I only really started blogging in August of 2019 and it is going strong like I never would have imagined. I have managed to join a wonderful community where there are writers, poets, artists, travellers and all around great people from all over the world. I do miss many that I used to hear from months back, but maybe they either stopped blogging or, well…

Oh, just one more thing. I am so glad that today a new president will be sworn in to the US! Thank you to the millions of people in the US that made that possible. I hope and pray that the transition is orderly and most importantly peaceful. We needed a change in the US and here in Europe we certainly welcome normalcy again from Washington. Congratulations Biden-Harris!

I THANK YOU ALL!

CHEERS!