is the nature of great souls.”

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Albert Einstein:

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

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Goin’ Out on a High:

Joanie. Her final album and final tour. Whistle Down the Wind is a soulful return to her folkie roots (“And I wish the wars were all over”). An amazing career and a perfect finish to an amazingly stellar career. I saw her at the Winspear several years ago and her ‘new’ lower voice of the past two decades has stood her in good stead.

There is a sense of our time and the old melancholy, and a sense of closure here. She does songs by Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tom Waits, Josh Ritter, Zoe Mulford, Joe Henry, Tim Ericksen, and Eliza Gilkyson, continuing her ongoing quest to find others’ songs to suit her purposes.

Joanie is an honest-to-goodness legend who deserves a happy retirement and who deserves standing o’s all the way on her final tour. She remains The Ultimate Loyal Conscience of ’60s Folk Music.

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’70s Memory of the Great Gig Young

“And then–I introduce them to Harvey. And he’s bigger and grander than anything they offer me. And–when they leave, they leave impressed.”                                             

“Ah–well, some people are blind. That’s very often brought to my attention.”                    -Elwood P. Dowd (in Mary Chase’s comedy Harvey, about an imaginary 6 foot high white rabbit)              

Once a busy, popular movie star, Gig Young had turned to doing dinner theatre and appeared here in town at the old Stage West at the Mayfield Hotel. We had front-row seats and there he was playing Elwood P. Dowd as if he was born to play the role. (Young had an alcohol problem from middle age on so playing Dowd was pretty close to home for him.) He was perfectly cast, absolutely charming and alternately sad and funny. It was a tremendous show and you could see he really enjoyed himself. This was one of the best live show performances I have ever seen. Such a neat guy in a classic, moving comedy.

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Happy St. Pat’s!

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Not widely known and appreciated for about

a hundred years after his death: Bach. The guy who wrote over 1,000 compositions and was the Master of Harmonies. The guy who influenced everybody who came after him: Mozart, Beethoven, and anyone else of consequence. The above documentary is an eye-opener on his life and work, and successfully lays out a case for his being the biggest contribution to and influence on the history of classical music.

Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, this hour-long outstanding film features Jacques Loussier, John Eliot Gardiner, and Jonathan Miller. The musical samples are impressive and inspiring, too. Highly recommended for anyone who knows little or nothing about this great man. Highly recommended also for fans who want a concise overview of his life, techniques, and achievements.

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Catering to an Egoic Dictator and the Lowest Denominator

If a president surrounds himself with limited yes-men who do nothing but agree with his latest, transitory whim no matter how stupid and dangerous it is, how prepared will he and they be to deal thoughtfully and critically with foreign and national crises?

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Irresponsible Amazon

running commercials on the supper-hour showing two boys having a ketchup and mustard war, giving ideas to dumb boy viewers who will see this as a perfectly acceptable social activity/game.

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Cowardly, Stupid Trudeau

not supporting the UK, US and other major countries against the Russian chemical attacks. “Uh, uh, uh–” (Has anybody noticed he’s a lousy public speaker yet BTW?) As cowardly and stupid as Trump not speaking out against the Russians.
He is similarly cowardly and stupid to court the Canadian steel industry while totally ignoring the Western oil industry; over-favoring Bomabardier in Quebec while promoting Western alienation and separation.

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“Ach, Glenn, why so slow?”

(The most amazing, misunderstood classical album of all time)

He decided to revisit his 1955 masterpiece in 1981 and commit it to record and film. The bloody nerve of Gould thinking he could top what had remained his best-known work.
This time around he slowed down many passages so you could savour every note previously lost in the blur of the analog original. Very cheeky. And he pounded the keys with an authority which drove the purists nuts, having the audacity to sing along, too!

What was the hell was this new Goldberg Variations about? It was about The Immense Intensity this time around–all the nuances, not just the simple focus and purity of the original. When Gould played it again, it was like an orchestra of instruments–a wonderful illusion that–to bring down the imagined house one final time.

It was, in a phrase–the music of the soul–in all its naked splendor. And Gould nailed it with thunder in the faster sections, yet with an alternate deep tenderness in the slower pieces he had not been capable of a quarter of a century before.

I think of the second version as his retake to reveal all the beauty, sensitivity, and great passion he had missed the first time around. Humming along, he was likewise lost in the grandness that he heard, generated, and captured sublimely–a grandness to some extent that transcended the greatness of Bach’s own original.

In short, he had turned the aria and variations composition inside out and plumbed its depths–the soul behind the music as well as his own soul, totally free and freed, for all to share and feel in this tremendous masterwork.

No, the limited naysayers and purists were completely out to lunch in their nitpicking and complaints. What they missed is one of the most remarkable cases of reinvention ever created in the annals of classical music. Gould’s 1981 variations–‘warts’ and all.

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