Tuesday, April 30, 2019

What Wealth Really Brings

The lead article in this morning's Hyperallergic eNewsletter is about the relationship of wealth and art. More specifically, the Hakim Bishara piece is titled A Study Says High Family Income Significantly Increases Likelihood of Becoming an Artist.

There were several reasons the Bishara article caught my eye. First, upon reading the title I thought of my own life and how growing up in the Bridgewater 'burbs was a significant step up from the near abject poverty of my father's upbringing. I pursued an art major. He pursued a career in which giving his children a better life than he experienced was a priority.

Having recently watched The Grapes of Wrath, based on John Steinbeck's novel of the same name,  it was apparent that the Joad family was more focused on survival than on encouraging the children to go to art school.

But the second notion that entered my thoughts upon reading this story had to do with wealth and suicide. Just this past weekend I heard someone say that wealthier nations have a higher suicide rate than poorer nations. When you hear something in passing you seldom ask for sources, so I took a minute to Google a few stories to support this assertion. It wasn't difficult.

Here's the first, from Business Insider: 'Keeping Up With The Joneses' Could Lead To Suicide

The second is a study from the psych department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: The wealth of nations revisited: Income and quality of life. Here's an abstract of the research by Ed Diener and Carol Diener:
Does economic prosperity enhance the quality of human life? Across 101 nations, 32 indices were analyzed that reflect a representative sample of universal human values (e.g., happiness, social order, and social justice). Wealth correlated significantly with 26 of the 32 indices, indicating a higher QOL in wealthier nations. Only suicide and CO2 emissions were worse in wealthier societies. Basic physical needs were met early in economic development, whereas advanced scientific work occurred only when basic physical needs were fulfilled for almost all people in the society. Limitations of the conclusions are discussed.

This TIME article by Josh Sanburn makes a similar assertion: Why Suicides Are More Common in Richer Neighborhoods.

* * * *
My thoughts return to Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning. Money as an end helps keep a roof over our heads but can't fully satisfy the hunger in our hearts. Just a little food for thought.

Related Story
A Lesson from 29 Golden Gate Suicide Attempts

Monday, April 29, 2019

Foreshadowing: an Invaluable Tool in the Writer’s Toolkit

Writing fiction involves many skills that the average person does not automatically possess. Masters of the craft of novel writing become so by mastering these skills. Description, character development, plotting and pacing are just a few of the skills one must hone.

This past week I read George Orwell's 1984 for what is probably the third time. While reading, I  observed that one of the techniques Orwell used is foreshadowing.

Foreshadowing is a literary device in which the author hints toward something that will happen later in the story. By means of foreshadowing the author generates suspense, creates tension. And in 1984 a second reading reveals just how many ways the ultimate "reveal" is foretold and how each time it increases the reader's anxiety for the central characters, Winston and Julia.


If you've not read the book, the following info will give away the ending. Also, if you've not read the book, then you owe it to yourself to read Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm, Huxley's Brave New World and C.S. Lewis' space trilogy that culminates in That Hideous Strength. The three authors were writing at roughly the same time about things that they foresaw, things we are experiencing in various degrees at this very time in history.

The main characters are Winston, Julia and Big Brother. Winston is the central character, a man who works for the Ministry of Truth, his job being to re-write the past to make it perpetually consistent with what the Party dictates in the present.

The world he inhabits has no privacy. There are telescreens everywhere, foreshadowing our own age of Alexa and the Internet of Things. Thinking one's own thoughts is itself a crime.

There are three political realms: Eastasia, Eurasia and Oceania, where Winston lives. The totalitarian state of Oceania is perpetually at war, first with one and then the other.

At the center of the story is the development of Winston's love relationship with Julia, who uses sex (sexcrime) as a means of rebellion against Big Brother. Also central to the story is Winston's diary. That is, the novel begins with his own taking up of a pen to keep a diary, a forbidden act that is punishable by death.

As the story progresses Orwell drops little clues about a place where it is always light, about a Room 101 and the Ministry of Love. The references are increasingly ominous. Readers, however, do not know how to imagine what takes place there, only that it is not good.

Eventually both Winston and Julia are caught, betrayed by a man named O'Brien whom they believed they could trust, who the thought was like themselves part of a hidden underground. Winston no doubt projected his belief that O'Brien was a co-conspirator and seduced into trusting him.

From here we accompany Winston to the Ministry of Love where he is tortured--by this very selfsame O'Brien--until his heart and mind have been altered and he not only mouths the right words, he actually loves Big Brother.

* * * *
At the center of Winston's core is his conviction that he will not betray Julia, whom he has come to love. The manner in which he is tortured is terrifying. Earlier in the book Winston and Julia have been secretly meeting in a room in a rundown place infested with bugs. A rat emerges from a rathole in the corner of the room and we can tell by Winston's reaction, and his own admission, that he is terrified of rats.

As it turns out in the end, by means of this horror that O'Brien extracts a confession from Winston. "Do it to Julia!" It's all the more heartbreaking because of Orwell's having painted the characters so vividly and you so much care about them. You really want love to win out in the end.

Had the torture scene taken place without foreshadowing, it would never have been as effective. By means of subtle references, and then later overt references, readers clearly grasp that this is not something anyone would wish for. When Winston is later incarcerated after having been arrested, other people come and go from the jail cell, each one shaken to the core when they are told they must go to Room 101. Their reactions underscore the horror that awaits.

Whether you are a writer of novels or screenplays, learning how to incorporate clues into the story is an invaluable technique for generating suspense. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Dylan's Whiskey Company Sued for Name Theft


Well, who would've thunk it. Heaven's Door Spirits is being accused of trademark infringement. The suit is being brought against Heaven's Door by another whiskey distiller, Kentucky-based Heaven Hill.

You can see photos of traditional-looking Heaven Hill here, and a review of one of their products here on Reddit.

Having myself spent three decades in marketing, involved in the naming process for several products in two different industries, I'm aware of the challenge companies come up against in creating names. One of the more important criteria, when names are similar, is the issue of confusion. In this particular instance, does the consumer accidentally buy Heaven's Door when they intended to purchase Heaven Hill?

I can't imagine Dylan fans being confused. The introduction of Heaven's Door last year was handled with such panache that it's produced a truly distinct image in the mind of the target consumer.

It's a good thing that no whiskey-maker is able to trademark the golden color of the fluid itself. When you serve it on the rocks, there would most assuredly be a bit of confusion.

I learned long ago that naming companies and products is different from naming books. When I published my young adult novel The Red Scorpion, it was only after I searched for it on Amazon that I discovered that their were nine other Red Scorpion books. Alas. Books can share the same name to infinity and beyond. Not so businesses.

As a marketing ploy, the lawsuit instantly puts Heaven Hill, a whiskey of which I was heretofore unaware, on the map. Then again, I'm not a whisky connoisseur. I'm evidently not the only one, however. In 2016, Tom Mazelin of The Whiskey Wash, who specializes in writing about products in this market, acknowledged that he himself was unaware of Heaven Hill when researching for his article Exploring the Bottom Shelf Bourbons Under $25.

As for brand confusion, here are the logos. Can you tell them apart?

* * * *

In other whiskey news, here's breaking story. According to Jimmy Jim, only one bottle of this $85,000 whiskey exists on Earth

As for the Heaven's Door lawsuit, here's the full story, albeit a bit short on details... Bob Dylan's whiskey company hit with trademark suit.

Meantime, we're on the road again...

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Andy Warhol's Elephant in the (Basquiat) Room

Thursday afternoon I was able to make time for the Andy Warhol Museum while in Pittsburgh. The Pirates were playing at Heinz Stadium as I passed through the heart of the city. Finding a parking spot was easily achieved and I was soon inside, purchasing a ticket at the reception area. Tickets are half price for seniors, which turned out to be an unexpected perk, more than covering the cost of parking.

As noted in yesterday's post, the layout of the seven-story museum is chronological. You begin at the top and work your way down. Each level unfolds a more developed aspect of Andy Warhol's career explorations, from ad agency commercial illustration/design to Pop Art and screen printing, fascination with celebrities, film making and even journalism. And yes, there is a room dedicated to the Andy Warhol Screen Test in which museum-goers can also do a screen test.

This blog post is devoted to the Elephant here pictured, which stands on a small pedestal in the Warhol-Basquiat Gallery. It's been famously observed that the two artists did a lot of collaboration and the results were often dramatic. It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall as these two created the works here.

When I entered the space, I initially scanned, then panned, the elephant. My eyes were drawn to the Warhol-Basquiat collaborations, bold and brassy, dramatic and uninhibited.

After circling the perimeter of the room, engaging each of the pieces (most of them mixed media) I returned to the elephant, and upon noticing the falling man pattern that spilled over the paper mache creature, I seemed to take more pleasure in the piece. It wasn't just a zebra-striped endangered creature.

As for the subject matter, Warhol had in 1983 produced a series of prints featuring 10 endangered species for Ron and Freyda Feldman. In other words, the sculpture was not unrelated to a theme he'd already shown interest in.

"Elephant" (Side view)
Here are a couple of the Warhol/Basquiat pieces that were hanging in this room.

Collaboration (Chairs/African)
Collaboration (Year of the Rat, Rodent (TM))
Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it.

Related Links
Basquiat and Warhol: Exploitative or even-handed relationship?
Was Robert Hughes Right About Basquiat?
Warhol's Elephant 293

This Week's Top Five Stories On Medium (by ennyman)

Here are the stories I've written which received the most pageviews this week on Medium.

Four Marketing Lessons from the Battle of Vicksburg
Here are four important marketing and leadership lessons that stand out from this battle. Each could be elaborated on with illustrations from businesses today. Published on Medium at The Startup.
Read More

Add Martin Guitar Factory to Your Bucket List
Every business has a story, a starting point and a history. Martin Guitars just happens to have a story that leaves none of us untouched. That is, anyone for whom music or pop culture has been a part of their lives, this company’s products have produced sounds that enhanced your life.
Read More

Life is the Artist’s Pallet
Artists, whether their medium is words or paint or cameras or music, discover at some point in time that they are themselves a medium, a vessel through which observation and experience is transmuted and shared.
Read More

Remembering Kurt Vonnegut
A Vonnegut tribute and re-cap of my interview with the author.
Read More

“Go Away Bomb:” — Dylan Writes A Song for Izzy Young
An original manuscript which Dylan wrote for and at the request of Israel “Izzy” Young, will be on display this coming month along with numerous other items from the Bill Pagel Archive. Young owned a music store called the Folklore Center in Greenwich Village. This original document from the Bill Pagel Archive will be on view through much of the summer here.
Read More

* * * *

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Andy Warhol Museum: Reflections of the Contemporary American Soul

This week I visited the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. It would be fairly easy to make a case that Warhol was one of the the most important artists of the 20th century. He's certainly one of the most well-known, in the company of Picasso, Dali and Duchamp. Like Picasso and Dali, he was prolific. Like Duchamp, he was ground-breaking.

And like each of these other three, he is not easily understood.

Nearly everyone can recite Warhol's observation about "15 minutes of fame." Here are a handful of quotes that reveal a little about this master of illusions, whose real self seems to have been hidden in plain sight.

* * * *

"A lot of people thought it was me everyone at the 'Factory' was hanging around, that I was some kind of big attraction that everyone came to see, but that's absolutely backward: it was me who was hanging around everyone else. I just paid the rent, and the crowds came simply because the door was open. People weren't particularly interested in seeing me; they were interested in seeing each other. They came to see who came."
--Andy Warhol

Dennis Hopper
* * * *

"What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it."
--Andy Warhol
Brillo Boxes and Campbell's Soup Cans. 
* * * *

"Business art is the step that comes after Art. I started as a commercial artist, and I want to finish as a business artist. After I did the thing called 'art' or whatever it's called, I went into business art. I wanted to be an Art Businessman or a Business Artist. Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. During the hippies era people put down the idea of business – they'd say 'Money is bad', and 'Working is bad', but making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art."
--Andy Warhol

"They always say that time changes things, 
but you actually have to change them yourself."
--Andy Warhol

Meantime, art goes on all around you.
Often, in ways you take for granted.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

A Walt Whitman Birthday Party with Poetry Readings, Presentations and Cake

A Whitman Reader by Holy Cow! Press
"Give me the splendid silent sun, with all his beams full-dazzling!"
--Walt Whitman

There were undoubtedly many significant people born in 1819. A short list might include Abner Doubleday, credited with founding American baseball; Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick and other great stories; Alan Pinkerton, the famous detective and founder of the Pinkerton Agency; and Queen Victoria,  who shares a May 24 birthday with Robert Zimmerman, preceding it by 122 years.

And then there was Walt Whitman, one of the most influential poets in the American canon.

On Friday evening, May 31 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. there will be a celebration here in Duluth of his 200th birthday at the Hartley Nature Center on Woodland Avenue. Organized by Duluth Poet Laureate Gary Boelhower, the event "Walt Whitman at 200: A Birthday Party with Poetry Readings, Presentations, and Cake" will feature readings by Duluth Poets Laureate Bart Sutter, Deborah Cooper, Sheila Packa, Ellie Schoenfeld, and Gary Boelhower along with presentations by Mara Hart, Professors John D. Schwetman, and Chris Johnson.

The event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.

Events like this one give evidence that the poetic vision and spirit still lives for as Whitman himself wrote, "To have great poets, there must be great audiences too."

* * * *
A few noteworthy lines from this 19th Century bard...

As for me, I know nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under the trees in the woods,
Or watch honey bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown,
Or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring,
What stranger miracles are there?

* * * *
"It is a beautiful truth that all men contain something of the artist in them. And perhaps it is the case that the greatest artists live and die, the world and themselves alike ignorant what they possess."

* * * *
"Peace is always beautiful."

* * * *

Related Links
Why Walt Whitman Called America the "Greatest Poem"
Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song
Whitman, Dylan and Me: Uncanny Connections

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Add Martin Guitar Factory to Your Bucket List

In the lobby of the Martin Guitar Factory.
I live in Minnesota, my family in Pennsylvania. Over the years I've spent a lot of time flying home from the ABE airport, a.k.a Allentown-Bethlehem-Emmaus. Like airports everywhere, ABE has a number of displays showcasing sites to see in the area. One of the sites advertised here is the Martin Guitar Factory in nearby Nazareth. Though I always expected it to be special, I had no idea how special their factory tour and museum would be.

Every business has a story, a starting point and a history. Martin Guitars just happens to have a story that leaves none of us untouched. That is, anyone for whom music or pop culture has been a part of their lives.

It began in Germany where a young man named Christian Frederick Martin, born to a long line of cabinet makers, left his home to go to Vienna to become an apprentice making guitars. Unfortunately, upon returning to Germany he found himself wedged between his dream and the realities of the guild system there. C.F. Martin left his homeland and came to America.

Martins have been in the center of music history for a long, long time.
New York was bustling, but business there had its challenges. Someone told him that there was land in Pennsylvania and an abundance of Germans there. In 1838, after five years in the big city, he bought a tract of land on the outskirts of Nazareth. Eventually it became a factory for hand-crafted guitars. By the time he passed away in 1873 he'd already created a legacy for fine guitars.

Two decades later an influx of Italian immigrants led to the introduction of mandolins to the product line. Distribution, however, was an issue for many years and things weren't always coming up roses.

Templates and tools of the trade.
In the 1920's there was a ukulele crazeand the third generation Martin was on it. Their initial entry into the uke market was lackluster due to the over-braced design. This was soon corrected and Martin eventually became the dominant ukulele in this arena. As the Roaring 20's roared, so did Martin Guitars. As with all market cycles, the 30's challenged everyone, including the Martins.

There's more than one way to respond to hard times. Some companies fold, others, innovate. The Martin Guitar Company chose the latter path. To their credit, they survived. Fans of all forms of American music have been beneficiaries.

Guitars with personality are part of the Martin tradition.
One of the innovations of this period was the Dreadnought, so named after a large class of World War I battleships. (In case you were wondering where that name came from.) It had a large body, booming bass and seemed a perfect accompaniment for vocals. In eventually proved to be the perfect instrument for the folk music scene that would soon evolve.

In the post-WW2 boom, the big challenge for Martin Guitars became keeping up with demand. In 1955 a decision was made to build a larger plant and really get serious about the business. The one constant throughout their history has been an adherence to high standards.

* * * *
This is a brief introduction only. If you play guitar at any level, you'll want to add "a visit to the Martin Guitar Factory" to your bucket list. You'll discover things about guitars that you'd never considered before. That sheen you love, for example, is the result of a process that includes nine coats of lacquer. The selection of woods, adhesives and strings are all part of the equation. You'll discover how they authenticate their guitars so that you know you have the real deal when you pay for your guitar. It's all there, not only the what but also the why.

The museum, too, is killer. You'll see the history expressed in the form of those who love the products they produced.

The who's who of Martin guitar players includes some of our most legendary names. Gene Autrey, Roy Rogers, Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Jeff Beck, Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan, who played a Martin D-28 at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, and a Martin 00-42 there in 1964. Dylan, a fan of Martins in the Sixties famously played a 1963 Martin D-28 at George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh in 1971. That Martin, which Dylan purchased for $500 sold for near $400K 46 years later.

Stringed instruments are their thing. 
Here are a few quotes that give you a sense of the value here.

I was in a parade with this singing cowboy
back when I was a boy circa 1960.
"I still play that guitar. It's a Martin D-18 with a clear pick guard. I've played that guitar on and off my TV shows for nearly 50 years. "
--Andy Griffith

"My favorite guitar now is my Martin HD-7 because it's got everything. It's got the jingle-jangle thing from the twelve string, it's got the flexibility of the six string, and the bass notes where you can do bass runs and that sort of thing."
--Roger McGuinn

"I only had time for one trip back in [to my burning house]. I grabbed my two prized possessions, a pound of marijuana and my Martin guitar."
--Willie Nelson

* * * *
There is a Martin Guitar Museum just off to your left, where most of these photos were taken. It gives you a sense of the history. Then there's the factory tour, and you see the great care with which the guitars are made. Both the museum and the tour are free. My iPhone battery was out of juice, to my dismay, by the time we got to the factory tour. It was exceedingly rewarding and I will likely return.

"Come gather 'round people wherever you roam..."
The Man in Black.
The Martin Guitar Factory Museum is a model for other companies
on how to market their brand. Don't compromise quality and
show others why people love their product.
Guitar pickers of all stripes drift through this lobby. Here's one I saw while I was there.
Birds-eye view of a table in the lobby.
For more information:
Visit https://www.martinguitar.com/about/visit-us/

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Influence of G.K. Chesterton: Perfect Pith

G.K. Chesterton
Influences: We all have roots, and if one were to make the effort we could probably each make a genealogical tree of our ideas, identifying the people who have been our own chief influences.

The same holds true for the authors and thinkers whose books we have become familiar with. We certainly see it in politicians who frequently cite their influences by quoting the men and women who have inspired them.

C.S. Lewis, whose writings have been tremendously influential in the past century, had a circle of friends that included J.R.R. Tolkien. These friends were undoubtedly important people in his personal development. As for roots, Lewis made note of two major literary figures from a preceding generation: George MacDonald and G.K. Chesterton. MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet and minister who also happened to be a friend and mentor of Lewis Carroll. (Now you know the roots of The Chronicles of Narnia.)

As for Chesterton, he was a writer, philosopher, journalist, dramatist, orator, lay theologian and creative spirit. A contemporary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his Father Brown (Father Brown Mysteries) was equal to Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie's shrewd observers of the devious, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. (Who doesn't love a good mystery now and then?)

As a setup for an upcoming blog post I thought it appropriate to introduce Gilbert Keith Chesterton, the keen social critic and wit whose book The Everlasting Man made an impact on the young hot-headed atheist, C.S. Lewis.

* * * *
Here are some Chesterton quotes to help acquaint you with his mind and wit. Read them slowly, rather than as quickly as you can. 

"Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance."

"The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man."

"The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder."

"Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese."

"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it."

"Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions."

"What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but absence of self-criticism."

"I've searched all the parks in all the cities — and found no statues of Committees."

"There is a great man who makes every man feel small. But the real great man is the man who makes every man feel great."

"The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen."

"One can sometimes do good by being the right person in the wrong place."

From his essay on Tolstoy:
"The truth is that Tolstoy, with his immense genius, with his colossal faith, with his vast fearlessness and vast knowledge of life, is deficient in one faculty and one faculty alone. He is not a mystic; and therefore he has a tendency to go mad. Men talk of the extravagances and frenzies that have been produced by mysticism; they are a mere drop in the bucket. In the main, and from the beginning of time, mysticism has kept men sane. The thing that has driven them mad was logic. ...The only thing that has kept the race of men from the mad extremes of the convent and the pirate-galley, the night-club and the lethal chamber, has been mysticism — the belief that logic is misleading, and that things are not what they seem."

* * * *

Sunday, April 21, 2019

"Go Away Bomb:"---Dylan Writes A Song for Izzy Young

The early Cold War was a pretty scary time for American civilians who were being bombarded with messages about a potential impending atomic holocaust. Death by means of The Bomb was a very real possibility in the back of many of our minds. Books like Nevil Shute's On The Beach and films like Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove kept the notion alive.

Many ordinary people, like my cousins' family in Cleveland, built bomb shelters in their homes, stockpiling food and water. Schoolchildren everywhere were trained in what to do in the event of a nuclear war, much the same as we practiced fire drills.

Mad Magazine, a staple in many households, had a cartoon series called Spy vs. Spy which also played off this cold war theme. To a certain extent few of us were untouched, including a young Bob Dylan, who translated our shared anxiety into language that resonated with us.

* * * *

"Go Away Bomb" MSS original. Notation upper right by Izzy Young.
From the Bill Pagel Archive, courtesy Bill Pagel
One of the items on display at Karpeles Manuscript Museum Library during Duluth Dylan Fest this coming month is an original manuscript which Dylan wrote for and at the request of Israel "Izzy" Young, who owned a music store called the Folklore Center. This original document from the Bill Pagel collection is one of numerous rare and unique items from the Pagel Archive that will be on view through much of the summer here.

When the young Bob Dylan arrived in New York in 1961, his first destination was Greenwich Village. Izzy Young's Folklore Center, at 110 MacDougal Street, became one of his haunts. He would often hang around the store listening to Izzy's records and writing songs. In his Chronicles: Volume One, Dylan wrote this about the Foklore Center: “The place had an antique grace. It was like an ancient chapel, like a shoebox-sized institute.”

Side 2. "Go Away Bomb"
Young asked Dylan to write a song for an anti-atomic bomb songbook Izzy hoped to put together. Though Izzy never put out the songbook, he did hang on to this early unreleased Dylan manuscript for over 50 years before parting with it. Izzy Young himself wrote the notation in the upper right corner of the manuscript, “1963 Bob Dylan wrote this when I asked him to do a song for a bomb song book.” Dylan delivered the song the day after he was asked to write it, according to Young.

The song stays within the realm of the social movement and our nation's shared fears about nuclear war during the early 1960’s. Dylan’s songs “Let Me Die In My Footsteps,” “Masters of War,” “Talkin’ World War III Blues” as well as “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” all reflect this same theme.

In addition to the manuscript Bill Pagel is including two photos of Izzy Young at the Folklore Center  from those early Greenwich Village days.

About Izzy.
Izzy Young, circa 1980. Photo source: Library of Congress.
Israel Goodman Young (March 26, 1928 – February 4, 2019) was a noted figure in the world of folk music, both in America and Sweden. He was owner of the Folklore Center in Greenwich Village and, after moving to Stockholm in 1973, also opened and operated the Folklore Centrum store there. Izzy organized the first New York concert by Bob Dylan and devoted decades of his life supporting folk music.

When a teenage Bob Dylan arrived in New York in the winter of 1961, Young became something of a mentor for him.

Young’s music store, which doubled as a small performance space, had a small back room where Dylan plinked out songs on an old typewriter. Young was struck by Dylan’s ability to absorb everything he heard, but was otherwise unimpressed. “Then he began writing those great songs and I realized he was really something.”

EdNote: The info here about the late Izzy Young and his Folklore Center was stitched together from Mr. Young's obituary in the New York Times and Nicole Saylor's Blog Post for the Library of Congress.

* * * *
Related Links & Sources
Izzy Young Obituary, NY Times
Izzy Young's Folklore Center (Nicole Saylor)
2019 Duluth Dylan Fest Schedule
Hibbing Dylan Project
A Bob Dylan Timeline (at New Pony)
Spy Vs. Spy

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Art For Earth Day is a Rich Twin Ports Tradition

Water Is Life. Gail Rosenquist @ Lizzards
Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.
--Winston Churchill

Today is the 26th anniversary of our annual Art for Earth Day Gallery Hop in the Twin Ports. The forecast for aesthetic enrichment is: Excellent. The weather forecast is: Uplifting. A light breeze, warm temps and sunshine to accompany us through the morning as we spring into the season.

The Earth Day Gallery Hop is the most tangible step that we're heading into the fullness of a new season of arts activities in the Northland. In just one week the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival will kick off (April 28-May 5). In a month Duluth Dylan Fest--with music, art, poetry and more--will arrive (May 18-26). On the heels of Dylan Fest is the DuSu Film Festival (May 29-June2).

Here are some items of note for Twin Ports Arts followers. Special thanks to Esther Piszczek for her work assembling all the useful info for our local arts community. Visit the Twin Ports Art blog that she manages for more more. Meanwhile, Get out and make a day of it today.

The ubiquitous Karin Kraemer
Saturday, April 20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Art for Earth Day Gallery Hop
"The 29th annual Gallery Hop features a free bus tour to galleries all over the Twin Ports. Tour local galleries, visit with artists and watch demonstrations. Free parking will be available at DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace, the lot west of the Depot and lot G at UMD."

Participating entities: Art Dock; Duluth Art Institute; Duluth Pottery; Joseph Nease Gallery; Lake Superior Art Glass; Lizzards Art Gallery and Framing; Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center; Siiviis; Tischer Photographic Gallery; Tweed Museum of Art; UMD Department of Art and Design; Waters of Superior. MORE DETAILS HERE

Saturday, April 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 
EarthDAI Market, Duluth Art Institute's Lincoln Park Building, 2229 W. Second Street "The EarthDAI Market will feature handmade works of art from the Duluth Art Institute Ceramics Studio and many local artists. Live music, food, and beverages will create the perfect ambiance for loving the Earth. Art demonstrations and activities celebrating our beloved mother earth, reminding us to do our part as a community. Please, join us in the festivities and celebrations. The EarthDAI Market is happening in conjunction with the Art for Earth Day Gallery Hop."

Saturday, April 20, 1-3 p.m.
Earth Day Gallery Hop: Beadwork Exhibit, Nordic Center, 23 N. Lake Avenue

Saturday, April 20, 1-3 p.m.
Family Day/Art Education Open Studio, Tweed Museum of Art, Sax Brothers Gallery Space, 1201 Ordean Court "Dr. Alison Aune, Art Education Professor in the School of Fine Arts at the Unversity of Minnesota Duluth, and her Art Education students are offering this community event in conjunction with the celebration of Earth Day. Participants are invited to make and take a beautiful Finnish Himmeli mobile to hang at home. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served."

Edges by Karen Owsley Nease @ Lizzard's
Saturday, April 20, 4-6 p.m. 
Opening Receptions, Lizzard's Art Gallery and Framing, 11 West Superior Street
Edges: an Exhibition of New Oil Paintings by Karen Owsley Nease
"Karen's oil paintings explore the edges created when two colors meet. Based on her observations of Lake Superior, they present two distinct styles of painting: that of minimalist color fields of distant horizons, along with dramatic, naturally depicted waves coming ashore."

Water Vessels: Water is Life, Handcrafted Pottery by Gail Rosenquist
"Gail is in awe of, and humbled by the water and waves she has been blessed to spend time watching by Lake Superior and on the island of Hawaii. She is painfully aware of threats worldwide to this irreplaceable resource. This earth day project is her celebration of this amazing giver of life."
On view: April 20 - May 25

* * * *
As you move forth into this celebration of Art for Earth Day
may your lungs be filled with fresh breezes, and your souls as well.
Ars longa, vita brevis.
Art is long, life short. --Hippocrates

Friday, April 19, 2019

This Day In History: The American Revolution Begins

Cowpen's Flag, 13 stars, 13 stripes.
It seems like I must have been about eight years old when our family visited the bridge where the opening salvo of the American Revolutionary War took place. It was called "the shot heard round the world."

The British had sent 700 Redcoats, led by Major Thomas Pitcairn, to capture Patriot leaders in the region of Boston and to seize the arsenal in Lexington. To their surprise they found 77 armed Minutemen waiting for them on the town's open green. The Colonial patriots were ordered to disperse. Tensions were high, and while the patriots appeared to be drifting off the green a shot was fired. The next instant musket smoke covered what was now an instant battlefield, the Battle of Lexington. The brief encounter resulted in 18 American casualties, eight dead or dying and ten others wounded.

The British only lost one soldier in the early morning encounter. Over time, despite being better trained and better equipped, they would eventually learn the challenges of fighting a war across the ocean and a long way from home.

What follows are some quotes from this period of upheaval that led to the birth of our American Republic.

* * * *

Spirit of '76 by Archibald Willard. Public domain.
Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! 
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.
John Dickerson

* * * *

Let tyrants shake their iron rod,
and slavery clank her galling chains.
We fear them not, we trust in God,
New England's God forever reigns.

The foe comes on with haughty stride.
Our troops advance with martial noise.
Their veterans flee before our youth,
and generals yield to beardless boys.
--William Billings

* * * *

British over-confidence is best expressed in this letter from Major Pitcairn to the British Secretary of State John Montago:

"Vigorous measures at present would soon put an end to this rebellion. The deluded people are made to believe that they are invincible.... When this army is ordered to act against them, they will soon be convinced that they are very insignificant when opposed to regular troops."

* * * *

"The Redcoats are coming! The Redcoats are coming!!"

* * * *

This statement by a British officer, after the Battle of Lexington and Concord, says a lot: "Whoever looks upon them as an irregular mob will find himself much mistaken."

* * * *

I was myself was too young to appreciate history and the import of this "place" where the actual first fighting began in our war for independence. While our parents read the placards and historical signage, I was down in the creek looking for crawdads. I caught a very cool little eel-like creature and brought it up to show my parents who were up on the bridge. When I opened my hand, the leech was fastened to my palm. It was my first experience with these blood-suckers and it made an impression.

* * * *

These are the times that try men’s souls... Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.
Thomas Paine

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