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Posts tagged "place"

Dec 07, 2012
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“You can make these pictures anywhere.” —Photographer Mark Cohen

Cohen has lived in Wilkes-Barre, a “down-on-its-luck small city in northeast Pennsylvania,” for 69 years, where he ran a photo studio and raised his family. In between photographing portraits and weddings, he walked around the city and took pictures, but there wasn’t much of a market for the work and he had a family to support, so he stuck to his day job. Now, he wouldn’t have it any other way:


  He lives in a 4,000-square-foot house and now feels that staying put allowed him to produce better work.
  
  “If I came to New York City and started horsing around and getting in long aesthetic discussions with professors of art, or hanging out with artists at the Cedar Bar? It would have been incredibly distracting.”


(via @sldistin)

“You can make these pictures anywhere.” —Photographer Mark Cohen

Cohen has lived in Wilkes-Barre, a “down-on-its-luck small city in northeast Pennsylvania,” for 69 years, where he ran a photo studio and raised his family. In between photographing portraits and weddings, he walked around the city and took pictures, but there wasn’t much of a market for the work and he had a family to support, so he stuck to his day job. Now, he wouldn’t have it any other way:

He lives in a 4,000-square-foot house and now feels that staying put allowed him to produce better work.

“If I came to New York City and started horsing around and getting in long aesthetic discussions with professors of art, or hanging out with artists at the Cedar Bar? It would have been incredibly distracting.”

(via @sldistin)

Sep 21, 2012
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Thinking about Neil Young and money

Above: Graeme Mitchell photo of Neil Young’s ranch (a.k.a. “Broken Arrow”) in California that accompanies David Carr’s great profile of Young.


  “For whatever you’re doing, for your creative juices, your geography’s got a hell of a lot to do with it,” he said. “You really have to be in a good place, and then you have to be either on your way there or on your way from there.”


With the money from his royalties and music industry success with CSN&Y, Young bought his ranch for $350,000 in 1970 at the age of 24. He wrote the song “Old Man” about it:


  About that time when I wrote (Heart of Gold), and I was touring, I had also — just, you know, being a rich hippie for the first time — I had purchased a ranch, and I still live there today. And there was a couple living on it that were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avila and his wife Clara. And there was this old blue Jeep there, and Louis took me for a ride in this blue Jeep. He gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, “Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?” And I said, “Well, just lucky, Louie, just real lucky.” And he said, “Well, that’s the darndest thing I ever heard.” And I wrote this song for him.


When I was reading the Carr piece, I couldn’t help but think that such a career would be borderline impossible today. A lot is made of Neil Young’s winding career, his artistry, and his authenticity — how he’s stuck true to doing what he loves and what he’s interested in, regardless of the financial reward. There’s a kind of artistic purity that people love about him:


  I’m not here to sell things. That’s what other people do, I’m creating them. If it doesn’t work out, I’m sorry; I’m just doing what I do. You hired me to do what I do, not what you do. As long as people don’t tell me what to do, there will be no problem.


It’s an admirable ethos, but it’s one that could also land you on your ass out in the street. Luckily, he has his friend and manager, Elliot Roberts:


  Roberts handles Young’s business and artistic interests with a great deal of savvy, so Young is good at making money — which helps, because he is also good at making it go away. “I spend it all,” he said. “I like to employ people and make stuff. It will be my undoing.”


Young’s also had a helluva safety net set up since he was in his early 20s. He mentions in the piece when he ran out of the money he was able to sell off a bit of his 1,000 acre ranch. As Carr notes, “Money doesn’t seem to matter much to Young unless he is out of it.”

If his own money doesn’t matter much to him, the money of his fans does. Here’s Jonathan Demme:


  I saw Neil after a show and told him how amazing it was, and he said: ‘Well, it better be amazing. Those people out there paid a lot of money to be here.’ ”


(If Young isn’t a salesman, he is definitely a showman.)

I call these bits out not to slag Shakey (I love a lot of his music) but because I think it’s very easy for young (no pun intended) artists to look to giants like Neil Young and take their artistic ethos out of context — staying true to your visions and not worrying about money is great, but it often exists in the context of having other people around who can worry about it for you. In other words: money doesn’t matter when you have enough of it.

Filed under: Neil Young

Thinking about Neil Young and money

Above: Graeme Mitchell photo of Neil Young’s ranch (a.k.a. “Broken Arrow”) in California that accompanies David Carr’s great profile of Young.

“For whatever you’re doing, for your creative juices, your geography’s got a hell of a lot to do with it,” he said. “You really have to be in a good place, and then you have to be either on your way there or on your way from there.”

With the money from his royalties and music industry success with CSN&Y, Young bought his ranch for $350,000 in 1970 at the age of 24. He wrote the song “Old Man” about it:

About that time when I wrote (Heart of Gold), and I was touring, I had also — just, you know, being a rich hippie for the first time — I had purchased a ranch, and I still live there today. And there was a couple living on it that were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avila and his wife Clara. And there was this old blue Jeep there, and Louis took me for a ride in this blue Jeep. He gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, “Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?” And I said, “Well, just lucky, Louie, just real lucky.” And he said, “Well, that’s the darndest thing I ever heard.” And I wrote this song for him.

When I was reading the Carr piece, I couldn’t help but think that such a career would be borderline impossible today. A lot is made of Neil Young’s winding career, his artistry, and his authenticity — how he’s stuck true to doing what he loves and what he’s interested in, regardless of the financial reward. There’s a kind of artistic purity that people love about him:

I’m not here to sell things. That’s what other people do, I’m creating them. If it doesn’t work out, I’m sorry; I’m just doing what I do. You hired me to do what I do, not what you do. As long as people don’t tell me what to do, there will be no problem.

It’s an admirable ethos, but it’s one that could also land you on your ass out in the street. Luckily, he has his friend and manager, Elliot Roberts:

Roberts handles Young’s business and artistic interests with a great deal of savvy, so Young is good at making money — which helps, because he is also good at making it go away. “I spend it all,” he said. “I like to employ people and make stuff. It will be my undoing.”

Young’s also had a helluva safety net set up since he was in his early 20s. He mentions in the piece when he ran out of the money he was able to sell off a bit of his 1,000 acre ranch. As Carr notes, “Money doesn’t seem to matter much to Young unless he is out of it.”

If his own money doesn’t matter much to him, the money of his fans does. Here’s Jonathan Demme:

I saw Neil after a show and told him how amazing it was, and he said: ‘Well, it better be amazing. Those people out there paid a lot of money to be here.’ ”

(If Young isn’t a salesman, he is definitely a showman.)

I call these bits out not to slag Shakey (I love a lot of his music) but because I think it’s very easy for young (no pun intended) artists to look to giants like Neil Young and take their artistic ethos out of context — staying true to your visions and not worrying about money is great, but it often exists in the context of having other people around who can worry about it for you. In other words: money doesn’t matter when you have enough of it.

Filed under: Neil Young

Neil Young on his ranch

Sep 18, 2012
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May 21, 2012
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Say it again: ‘Poetry is for everyone.’ Poetry is a place and it is free to all.

May 06, 2012
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Mar 17, 2012
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You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.
— Joseph Campbell on having a “bliss station,“ in The Power of Myth

Feb 07, 2012
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“Loss.png” by Kate Beaton

Update: Kate took the comic down:


  Sorry friends, took the comic down for now, parents worried some people would think it’s making fun just because it’s a comic. Small town.

“Loss.png” by Kate Beaton

Update: Kate took the comic down:

Sorry friends, took the comic down for now, parents worried some people would think it’s making fun just because it’s a comic. Small town.

Jan 29, 2012
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Jan 19, 2012
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Saul Steinberg, Autogeography, 1966 (via)

From “Descent from Paradise: Saul Steinberg’s Italian Years”:


  For most of his adult life, Saul Steinberg (1914-1999) drew maps—maps of real or imaginary locations, maps of words and of concepts. Often the maps are of actual places refracted through the artist’s mental constructs, as in View of the World from 9th Avenue, his famous March 29, 1976 New Yorker cover, which, reprinted as a poster, copied, and appropriated for many other cities of the world, became his personal nightmare; even today, it remains the icon that most easily identifies him. There is, however, another splendid map, completed ten years earlier; although intended for The New Yorker, it was never fully published in Steinberg’s lifetime. Entitled Autogeography, it is a bird’s-eye view of a green territory dotted with the names of many locales, large and small, from every corner of the world. A very blue, winding river flows through the territory, and on the bottom right it skirts a small lake with an island. On the island is the word “Milano,” while on the shore northeast of the island we find a locality named “Tortoreto (Teramo).”

Saul Steinberg, Autogeography, 1966 (via)

From “Descent from Paradise: Saul Steinberg’s Italian Years”:

For most of his adult life, Saul Steinberg (1914-1999) drew maps—maps of real or imaginary locations, maps of words and of concepts. Often the maps are of actual places refracted through the artist’s mental constructs, as in View of the World from 9th Avenue, his famous March 29, 1976 New Yorker cover, which, reprinted as a poster, copied, and appropriated for many other cities of the world, became his personal nightmare; even today, it remains the icon that most easily identifies him. There is, however, another splendid map, completed ten years earlier; although intended for The New Yorker, it was never fully published in Steinberg’s lifetime. Entitled Autogeography, it is a bird’s-eye view of a green territory dotted with the names of many locales, large and small, from every corner of the world. A very blue, winding river flows through the territory, and on the bottom right it skirts a small lake with an island. On the island is the word “Milano,” while on the shore northeast of the island we find a locality named “Tortoreto (Teramo).”

Dec 23, 2011
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Otis Redding, “White Christmas” (1968)

My favorite performance of Irving Berlin’s song, which has a really fascinating history, so fascinating in fact that NPR has done at least two stories on it: one in 2000 and one in 2002. Both very much worth listening to.

In January 1940, Irving Berlin, the most popular songwriter in America, raced into his office and asked his musical secretary to take down a new song. “Not only is it the best song I ever wrote, it’s the best song anybody ever wrote,” he said. His “White Christmas” was a seasonal, secular hymn that has lasted over half a century.

The composer of one of our most beloved Christmas songs, Berlin was Jewish, born in Russia, and his first language was Yiddish. This really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. When I was reading The Book of Gossage, Howard Gossage wrote that the best creative folks are “extra-environmental”—they are your immigrants, your outsiders, the folks who are able to notice what’s already there because it’s not “natural” to them.

Jody Rosen, author of White Christmas: The Story of An American Song, says that there might be a darker side to the song:

Berlin’s own feelings about the holiday were certainly ambivalent. He suffered a tragedy on Christmas Day in 1928 when his 3-week-old son, Irving Berlin Jr., died. Every Christmas thereafter, he and his wife visited his son’s grave. “The kind of deep secret of the song may be that it was Berlin responding in some way to his melancholy about the death of his son.”

"In spirit, if not in form, it’s a blues song.” (Enter Otis.)

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