Tuesdays Tunes: “In the Navy” The Village People

In the Navy - Wikipedia
(1979)

It was 1979 and I had a couple of weeks “vacation” and came to Miami, Florida. That’s when I heard this song and I’ve been singing it’s catchy refrain ever since. I suspect no one has forgotten this song, or the video by The Village People, a vocal group from New York City that has become an American icon. Unfortunately “In the Navy” was the last top ten hit for the group.

Actually, the song and video almost ended up being a recruitment tool for the US Navy. In effect, Village People manager Henri Belolo gave the US Navy the free rights to use the song. The group went to the Naval Base San Diego where the video was shot on the deck of the frigate USS Reasoner. All went well but I guess the US Navy had a second thought and changed their mind and decided not to use the video or the song.

In the UK singles chart the song reached number 2 and in the Billboard Hot 100 it reached number 3. But for me it will always rank as number 1 (of course among other songs that I love as well). And so, “In the Navy” becomes today my featured tune, of course with the video as well. I hope you enjoy it (and although we have suffered a year of tragedies throughout the world, COVID, terrible storms, earthquakes and political strife) and I hope this song makes you dance!

CHEERS!

Journal Entry #1, From My Blood-Red Orange, Valencia

(Taking a break and a beer in Calpe, Alicante, Comunitat Valenciana)

This is something I decided to start today for 2021 and it is a type of diary, or my journal.

Well, a few weeks ago, at the beginning of the year (2021) I published a post that announced what I would be doing on a daily basis with Omnia Caelum Blogs and I said I would still post the “Artists Series” but it would be spread throughout the weekend…some think of the weekend as Friday, Saturday and Sunday…and that I would do it in three parts. Ok, so this weekend I only had time for two and one of them is not an artist…well she is but not a painter…but I had things to do.

So I took a day trip to Fanzara…

Fanzara y el poder transformador del arte
(photo of the streets of Fanzara by an unknown photographer)

“Fanzara es un municipio de la provincia de Castellón perteneciente a la Comunidad Valenciana, España. Situado en la comarca del Alto Mijares” (eso dice Wikipedia), Fanzara is a town in the province of Castellon in the Comunitat Valenciana, Spain in the area of Alto Mijares), according to Wikipedia). So I spent the day there with friends, taking a lot of photographs because it is truly a beautiful place and many of the houses are the convases for very nice murals, therefore I could not produce my third artist…

I am working on a big job, it is a series of paintings that depict a family’s travels from one country, through another country to finally reach Spain, four stops. Any ideas? (I know I did not give details but that was on purpose). So, what does that mean? It means that I may not be publishing on a daily basis for a while…

One thing I must say is that I am watching the North American series “Homeland”. I am watching it on Netflix and I am now in the 7th season. I find the show somewhat disturbing, somewhat absurd and very interesting. I know that it sounds like a paradox. But the show gives very bad examples of what the United States CIA is all about. It seems to describe a criminal organisation that has to violate all laws and mores to “get the job done”. It features a mentally ill woman who constantly gets “off her meds” to accomplish what she thinks of as great things. The others all violate their own laws and they justify their actions by saying they are defending democracy. So the message is that to defend democracy you have to act like a killer thug? A bipolar nut as a CIA officer? That is absolutely ridiculous. All I can say is that I love it because of its dramatic value but that it gives bad examples to young people…if they are actually paying attention, which I doubt…of how government officials should behave. And another thing is that it is either a game plan for things to come or the writers were prophetic…hmm…

Let’s see what this week offers. I only look on the positive side of life, so I leave you with this…

CHEERS!

Weekend Artists Series, Part 2: Is Madonna an Influencer of the Arts? A video with photographs & music…

Madonna se desnuda en una sesión de fotos muy salvaje para L'Uomo Vogue |  Diario Sur
(Madonna, 1958- )

Ok, so here is a short video…with original music…of Madonna and some of the art collections she is supposed to have. It includes a special, and secret painting from 1932 by Frida Kahlo titled “My Birth” (which is horrible, and that is my opinion) as well as photographs by Herb Ritts (who took some great shots of her), photographer Tina Madotti and Weegee. And as a bonus there is a pic of JR and some of his amazing photography in the streets of Berlin and other cities…

Let me know what you think…

(Please don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to our YouTube channel, thank you!)
Madonna wanted to go semi-nude at the Met Ball | Page Six

CHEERS!

Weekend Artists Series, Part 2: “Is Madonna an Influencer of the Arts?

Al borde de la censura: Madonna y un look revelador (en ropa interior)
(Madonna, 1958- )

I admired her in the 80’s and 90’s because she did whatever she wanted caring little for what the recording establishment had in mind for her or for her career. Madonna had a style of her own and paved the way for many other female singers which I don’t really like, well, except for Lady Gaga, who plays piano very good and has a hell of a voice…

So, let’s not talk about Madonna as singer, dancer, actress, composer and American icon, and talk about her as an art collector and as an influencer of the arts.

To start, she had a relationship with Basquiat in the 80’s when they were both starting to rise in their respective careers. It would be normal to assume she has a lot of his paintings. Since Basquiat did die at the young age of twenty eight, his body of work is certainly limited. And Madonna says that he actually painted black over many of the paintings he had given her. Was it a sign of desperation that suddenly surged after they broke up? Or was Basquiat forecasting the oncoming of the most important black mirrors in our lives, the mobile and the computer screens?

Well during those crazy days of the 1980’s she also “hung-out” with Warhol…naturally…and with Keith Haring…

Madonna also has Frida Kahlo that…supposedly…no one has seen. Critics…at least some of them…say it is an amazing painting. I’ve seen it and I beg to differ. (Well, of course I would as I place little if any value on the work or on the “legend” of Frida Kahlo). In any event the painting was done in 1932 and titled “My Birth”. Khalo might have defined it as a self-portrait, but what it really is I don’t know. She paints herself coming out of her mother’s…again a supposition…womb. Apparently this painting was done during the times that she and Diego Rivera lived in Detroit.

It is said that Madonna owns paintings by many great and not so great artist, but famous ones like Diego Rivera, the very well known Mexican muralist among other things; Man Ray, a very interesting photographer whom I have featured in this blog; Weegee, a fantastic Ukrainian photographer; Tina Modotti, also an outstanding Mexican photographer; Herb Ritts, a great North American photographer, who working in black and white only photographed many famous people including Madonna and even works from the cubist painter Fernand Léger.

Well, so far I am certain that she likes art, especially photography…maybe hers…and that she has the money to collect whatever art she wants. But what about the influencer part? Can it be that “they” think she’s an influencer because she’s rich and famous and has said she is a “fan” of Banksy and of JR? Can it be because she also likes Marylin Minter?

Well, in 2016 she appeared…performing of course…at Art Basel Miami Beach. She appeared onstage at the Faena Forum, around 32nd street and Collins Avenue, Miami Beach. And can you guess who was there to spur on the Material Girl? Well you don’t have to, I will tell you: Ariana Grande; Paris Hilton; Sean Combs; Jeremy Scott; Tracey Emin; the comics Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and James Corden; Alex Rodriguez; Courtney Love and Sean Penn, who was her first husband. Of course all the big spenders of the art world who never come to Miami…I know because I lived in Miami Beach, and very close to the Faena complex…but who love to party there during Art Basel week.

All in all, to me it’s just another celebrity party like the ones we’ve always heard about that they threw in Hollywood or in Manhattan, except that since Miami Beach got “famous”, the scene has moved there. I don’t believe for one minute that Madonna will influence the art world. She will, and does, influence the business of art and due to her “fame and glory” she can get folks…very rich ones…to spend and spend and spend like there is no tomorrow on “art”. But is it good art? Is it advancing art history? Or is it rubbish?

After all, Frida Kahlo, Banksy, Keith Haring. JR, not exactly the best are they?

You be the judge. Tell me, let me know what you think about this idea that Madonna is an art influencer. Do you believe it? Or do you too have stars in your eyes? Let’s converse about this and about any other aspect of art that you like. Thank you!

A short musical video of some of the works she has collected will follow tomorrow…

CHEERS!

Saturdays Artists Series, Part 1: Marta Cardenas

Marta Cárdenas exhibe el trabajo de su pincel caleidoscópico - Noticias de  Gipuzkoa
(Marta Cardenas, 1944- )

Marta’s work is representative of the Basque School and it is found in many galleries in Spain as well as well represented in ARCO (the biggest contemporary art fair celebrated yearly in Madrid). She was born in San Sebastián, (Donostia), on the 5th of September 1944. She is a painter and engraver focusing mostly on abstract art.

She was a figurative artist up to the 1990’s, then she made a switch to abstract…

Her first expo was in a gallery in her hometown of Donostia (San Sebastián) in 1970. Her career began to take force and rise when in 1980 she was the recipient of a scholarship by the prestigious Spanish organisation Fundación Juan March. And by that time she had made her debut in Madrid with a solo show in 1974.

She spent most of the 1980’s exhibiting in Milan, Paris and Lisbon. Then in 1986 she participated and exhibited in ARCO, which she returns to in 1991.

Her will to look at different ways to express her thoughts, feelings, emotions and messages through her art, being that she has always been an artist with much curiosity and with the spirit of exploration, led her to abstract art during the 1990’s. Her abstract work is closely tied to nature, using natural colours and textures, as she studies the colours of distant lands, the vegetation and the way the sun changes the aspect of things as the day progresses.​

The work of Marta Cárdenas can be found in various museums like Museo Reina Sofía of Madrid or the Museo de Bellas Artes of Bilbao, as well as in the Palacio de la Moncloa, the Biblioteca Nacional de España, the Fundación Juan March, the Colección BBK (Bilbao), and the Fundación La Caixa…

Personally, although I like her work, I cannot see all the things she references. Therefore, as mostly decorative pieces…which all art is decorative…I find the paintings appealing. As being paintings that transmit a strong message, I don’t think so. Her work is colourful and fun, and she is an extraordinary artist that truly works to create and develop her talent, but messages, to me, do not come through. She is, a highly recognised Spanish artist and is most certainly part…an important part…of our art history and of European art history so it is important to get to know her work. She is, after all still active.

I have prepared a companion post of some of her work. Tell me what you think. Tell me what you see in her abstracts and how they may differ to you from her figurative work. I would love to carry on a discussion/conversation about art, not just about this particular painter. So if you like this post and its contents, please like and share to maintain the conversation and extend it much, much further.

CHEERS!

Un poema para un viernes en Valencia: “Hojas amarillas”

(Foto propiedad de FBC, Omnia Caelum Studios Valencia)

Deja que me despierte el sol

que un rayo de luz negra me ha hecho soñar con la luna,

pues esta noche es soleada,

esta noche donde las mil se hacen una,

como es una la pena de mis amantes rechazadas.

pues en vez de rendirme al placer

busco otras cosas que hacer

bajo la sombra de una antigua cama.

Ya se que ha llovido

y cuando al fin veo que escampa,

veo que las hojas de mi parra se han vestido de amarillo

¡madre mía! y con que brillo…

He vivido el silencio de las libretas rojas de Leonardo,

y he conversado en la cuenca del Volga

con un rey bastardo,

cachondo y muy ruin el monarca,

me llevó en la barca de Lenin al mar de Anastasia,

para después pintar los mapas de Asia con tinta de China

y logré ver salir de sus minas

al rey Salomón…

Después de unos años:

De frente y de cara a la luz de la luna ando de rodillas

bajo un árbol de hojas amarillas.

C.2021, Francisco Bravo Cabrera, 14 de enero de 2021, Valencia, España

Thursdays “Middle of the Week” Classic Albums: “Lodger” by David Bowie

David Bowie - Lodger (1979, Cassette) | Discogs
(1979)

David Bowie, one of the classic among the classics of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s and beyond. I think he will always be a superstar of classical proportions. When you listen to Bowie, you are listening to genius. OK, I know that I’m getting a bit carried away here but I am a fan from the moment I heard “Suffragette City”, which I did when I was in High School and learning to get high…

But I am featuring here one of his lesser known albums, and why is that you may ask? Because I like the underdog. And this album qualifies. Low, Heroes and Lodger are the Berlin Trilogy, which Bowie did in collaboration with Brian Eno. And Lodger was the last one, released by RCA records in 1979. The album was received with little interest by fans, critics and even Bowie, who used this vehicle to experiment, perhaps, with World Music, or international rhythms, like in the song “Yassassin” (Turkish for Long Live!).

SOME OF MY FAVES:

“Fantastic Voyage” is one of his coolest songs, in my opinion. It starts by stating that “In the event that this fantastic voyage should turn to erosion and we never get old” and then he gives us a bit of good/clever advise, “Cause dignity is valuable but our lives are valuable too” because, after all, even if you learn to live with somebody’s depression…which no one wants to do…you can realise that, although it’s a very modern world, nobody’s perfect. Maybe he is talking about nuclear war when he says:

Shoot some of those missiles
Think of us as fatherless scum
It won’t be forgotten
‘Cause we’ll never say anything nice again, will we?”

“African Night Flight” perhaps a nod to the culture and music of the Veld, inspired after a trip to Kenya which David took with his young son Zowie. I think he was a precursor to the later popularity of “World Beat” music.

“Move On” is an homage to the passion for travel…

“Yassassin”, is this Turkish-style reggae? And “Boys Keep Swinging”…a nod and a wink to The Village People?…became the first single of the album.

I remember buying the CD (it was released in 1980). I liked the cover. It sort of told a story, at least to me…

The cover design was created by Bowie in collaboration with British pop artist Derek Boshier, and the photograph, with very low resolution, was done with a Polaroid SX 70 camera. The inside cover of the original album also contained photos of the cadaver of Che Guevara, the Lamentation of Christ by Andrea Mantegna and of Bowie being prepped for the cover photo.

I give it five stars…of course I am not a critic…simply because I hear and see a lot in the songs here. There was a time I would listen to this record again and again…

CHEERS!

Wednesdays Poem: “Saint Valentine’s Wishes”

(Foto property of FBC, Omnia Caelum Studios Valencia)

Waking up and smelling coffee,

“pour me a cup of tea”, I said,

trying to be as polite as I can be

as I slowly levitated

from my coffin or bed

where they laid me to rest

as they thought I was dead

cause I daydreamed and slept for a month…

In my dreams I floated through whims

ripping up the daisies that grew in the limbs

of the creature that I was creating

on a slab in a lab on a mountain that I was inventing.

Upon awakening…

I drank absinthe with Lenin and Marx

while we watched as our children danced circles

around a red Maypole.

and Plato could not find the words to explain

things in his head that philosophy can’t understand,

instead he madly insisted

that a cave was a metaphor for those

who Napoleon black-listed.

While wide awake…

I’ve been to the show and I’ve been in the cast

and I know that a voyage can’t last

unless it’s fuel is raw anarchy,

fed with sons of the monarchy

and inspired on Saint Valentine’s wishes…

C.2021, Francisco Bravo Cabrera, 13 JAN 2021, Valencia, Spain