April 25, 2014 |
With spring arrives a fresh blossoming of seasonal metaphors to suggest new birth. A sprouting of unheard music arriving after months of cultivation. Proverbial butterflies crawling out of their cocoons. Bears stretching after deep sleep. In the immortal words of Peter Sellers' character Chauncey Gardiner in “Being There”: “In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.” So it goes in late April, with the arrival of young music throughout the marketplace, the best of which is gunning for song-of-the-summer punch, making early moves toward July ubiquity.
April 25, 2014 |
SYDNEY, Australia - The video playing on the television inside Baz Luhrmann's bedroom was supposed to be much steamier. But where there should have been desirous bumping and prurient grinding, the couples were remarkably chaste, as if they had been ordered to abstain from all manner of randy moves. "Look at this," the filmmaker behind "Moulin Rouge!" and "The Great Gatsby" said from the foot of his bed. "You couldn't get any more sexless. " Working inside the creative compound he calls Iona in Sydney's arty Darlinghurst neighborhood, Luhrmann was sitting with a reporter, reviewing news clips from 1980s Australian ballroom dancing competitions, whose judges favored technique over passion.
April 14, 2014 |
It was an offhanded comment by singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester, but it stopped Elvis Costello cold when he was chatting with Winchester for his short-lived music-interview series “Spectacle” on the Sundance Channel a few years ago. In an aside, the inordinately gifted songwriter casually identified “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz” (one of the first songs for which he'd gained acclaim in the early 1970s) as the first song he'd ever written. Then he nonchalantly moved on to finish the main point he was making about the art of writing songs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 12, 2014
Jesse Winchester, 69, a U.S.-born singer who established himself in Canada after dodging the Vietnam War and who went on to write songs covered by Elvis Costello, Jimmy Buffett and Joan Baez, died of bladder cancer Friday at his home in Charlottesville, Va., according to his agent Keith Case. Winchester's best-known songs include "Yankee Lady," "Biloxi," "Say What" and "Mississippi, You're on My Mind. " Artists as diverse as Reba McEntire, Wilson Pickett, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and the Everly Brothers have performed Winchester's pieces.
April 12, 2014 |
Bob Dylan's mercurial words on religion and spirituality have been examined for decades. Scholars, cultural critics and theologians have speculated with their pens, parsing the songwriter's syllables as if they were grains of sand. Entire books have focused on his spiritual explorations, beginning with his Jewish roots, his sometime embrace of evangelical Christianity and beyond. For all the words, though, few have argued its point more thoroughly - and with fewer academic buzzwords - than Brothers & Sisters, a choir of Los Angeles session singers who in 1969 gathered at Sound Recorders Studios in Hollywood under the direction of Lou Adler to record an album of the most uplifting and spiritually inclined works in Dylan's early canon.
April 11, 2014 |
You don't have to travel all the way to East Africa to go on safari. Grab your binoculars and camera and scan the 50-mile-long Carrizo Plain National Monument for its array of wildlife. Carrizo Plain, about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles and known as California's Serengeti, is the largest single native grassland remaining in the Golden State. It's home to the highest concentration of endangered species in California. Drive slowly on Soda Lake Road and search for herds of pronghorn antelope and Tule elk. The real challenge will be spotting rarer critters such as the blunt-nosed leopard lizard, San Joaquin kit fox, San Joaquin antelope ground squirrel and giant kangaroo rat. Don't ignore old fence posts either, favorite perches for raptors such as ferruginous and red-tailed hawks, prairie falcons and American kestrels.