Thursday, May 31, 2012

song of the open road

TO The States, or any one of them, or any city of The States, Resist much, obey little;
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved;
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, of this earth, ever afterward resumes its liberty.

Walt Whitman (31 may 1819-1892) poet, essayist, and humanist
"Caution" in Leaves of Grass

Thus in silence in dreams’ projections,
Returning, resuming, I thread my way through the hospitals,
The hurt and wounded I pacify with soothing hand,
I sit by the restless all the dark night, some are so young,
Some suffer so much, I recall the experience sweet and sad,
(Many a soldier’s loving arms about this neck have cross’d and rested,
Many a soldier’s kiss dwells on these bearded lips).

excerpted from "The Wound Dresser"  in the Leaves of Grass

to celebrate walt whitman's birthday i turned to my cache of photos and post two photos of walt's words that i've encountered on my wanders.

the first photo is of the sign that stands proudly in front  visible voice books - one of the few remaining independent bookstores remaining in town -- as walt whitman is a national treasure; visible voice books is a cleveland treasure.  

the second photo is of the entrance to the dupont circle metro station in washington dc - pretty far out to read walt's words emblazoned as one descends or ascends from the depths of the earth.

instead of a song, today i offer a reading of one of my favorite whitman poems,  song of the open road - (to hear the second half of this epic poem go here)

 in response to  steve's comment and question, i offer this addendum:

walt whitman lived in dc for 10 years (1863-1873) during that time he nursed wounded soldiers - whitman was a great opponent of slavery when he was living in new york he was most affected by the reports and photographs of injury and death to the union soldiers. he was also most worried about his brother george; george was serving as a union soldier. walt was so moved and worried, he decided to walk to washington from ny - he found his brother (who it turns out at the time he got there was okay) but whitman stayed on and cared for the wounded. i'm sure this is the backstory as to why this verse was chosen. a few years ago there was a wonderful exhibit at one of the smithsonian museums i attended on whitman's experiences and life in washington. if i find a link to this exhibit i will add an addendum to the addendum!

addendum to the addendum:

ah, the wonders of google.... the exhibit i remembered was at the smithsonian's portrait gallery july 2006-march 2007, to get started an on-line version of the exhibit, one life: walt whitman, a kosmos  click here

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

puff the magic dragon

The symbolism of the Goddess is not a parallel structure to the symbolism of God the Father. The Goddess does not rule the world. She is the world. Manifest in each of us, She can be known internally by every individual, in all her magnificent diversity.  
 Starhawk (b. 1951) writer, activist, ecofeminist

an image of an ancient goddess and a dragon adorn the body of kathy, the local wisewoman who owns goddess blessed, a most magical of shops in my hood.

kathy may have a dragon tattoo,  however, the other day i encountered a dragon with a girl tattoo. 

the dragon with the girl tattoo, created by local artist rob masek is in front of the tower press building

currently there are 25 dragons roaming the streets of cleveland; well, okay they aren't really roaming the streets.  the dragons are on display around town as part of the st. clair superior development association's annual public art project celebrating the animals of the chinese zodiac 

as soon as the dragons were installed i went off on a dragon hunt with a friend - below is a photo of the dragon-hunting party in reflection with the imperial king of all dragons, created by mitzi lai - this is the fourth animal mitzi has had in the annual zodiac project- they are all wonderfully fantastical and all  festooned by mitz's signature bling!!

We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves. 

Tom Robbins (b.1936) writer

to see a slide show of all the dragons which grace cleveland  click here - the slide show contains information as to the name of the dragon and the local artist.


peter, paul and mary singing their mega hit  puff the magic dragon in 1966,   the song was written by lenn lipton and peter yarrow in 1963.  the concert footage is part of the bbc series tonight in person. 


Saturday, May 26, 2012

blue haze

If you understood everything I said, you’d be me. 

Miles Davis (26 may 1926 - 1991) jazz musician, bandleader, composer

it may still be may, but with the outside thermometer hitting 90 yesterday and more of the same for the next few days it certainly feels like the hazy days of summer are here!

nothing like listening to some cool jazz to help one chill out!  last night we did that very thing  - we caught the jazz combo cuda at the barking spider .  without a doubt,  the spider is one of the best places to chill in cleveland and catch live music seven days a week!

have a sweet memorial day weekend! 

blue haze from miles album of the same name, the song was recorded on march 15, 1954.

the album was released in 1956. joining miles on this song is horace silver (piano), percy heath (bass), and art blakey (drums) - several other musicians (including charles mingus) join miles on other tracks of the album blue haze.


 photo: self-portrait, woodlawn cememtery, the bronx, june 2010.

Friday, May 25, 2012

forever young

Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. 
 Ralph Waldo Emerson (25 may 1803 - 1882) philosopher, poet, essayist

emerson's sage advice will keep one forever young!

speaking of forever young and some more wise words, here's dylan singing his 1974 song forever young.   by the way, in case you missed it yesterday was dylan's birthday! happy belated birthday zimbo (apparently according to imdb, zimbo was dylan's childhood nickname!  funny, given that kimbo was one of my childhood nicknames! and there are still a few souls that call me that!)

photo:  vermilion, ohio 19 may 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

scarborough fair

How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? 

Arthur Conan Doyle (22 may 1859 - 1930) novelist, poet, physician 

this weekend was the hessler street fair - the fair has been a staple of the cleveland community for over forty years and for me an absolute must. it is by far the most colorful of our fair city's many festivals.  in addition to great music, wonderful arts and crafts,  a place to meet lots of old and new friends, the fair is a wonderful venue to see some really fine ink.

today we shine our spotlight on the body art of ray raymond a particularly gifted and delightfully entertaining slight of hand artist who was busking at the fair. 

ray's ink is an eclectic array - and range from a visual ode to a favorite musical group (six feet deep and their song angry son) on one arm to an ethereal angel and dove on the other.  

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. (acd)

as in past years, the mouse offers a  slide show of some of my photos from the 43rd annual hessler street fair - to view it click here

to celebrate fair season and the unofficial start of summer on the north coast, today's song is one of my all time favorites scarborough fair.

this version is done by the incomparably talented eclectic group the imagined village. however, before the song gets really underway is four minutes of wonderfully entertaining prattle by billy bragg. i love billy and as far as i'm concerned he can prattle on forever. in this vid billy discusses his identification with marmite, his quest to define what is is to be english, along with all sorts of other interesting bits (including quoting one of billy and my heroes - woody guthrie).

Friday, May 18, 2012

for what it's worth

It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.

 Bertrand Russell (18 may 1872 - 1970) philosopher &  polymath

today i offer a favorite song in honor of a favorite thinker.

buffalo springfield's for what it's worth -written stephen stills, was released as a single in 1967 and was included on buffalo springfield's debut album, supposedly  the original title comes from a comment that stills made to a record producer  "I have this song here, for what it's worth, if you want it."   sometimes the song is also referred to as stop, hey what's that sound.

buffalo springfield was only together for two years (1966-1968).   however, the group served as a launching pad for the skyrocketing careers of neil young,  stephen stills,  jim messina, and richie furay.  young and stills went on to perhaps even greater fame in crosby, stills, nash and young; and,  messina and furay went on to create poco.

today all four are still active making music as soloists and with various groups.  the original group also included two other musicians, who also continued to make music, - bruce  palmer (d. 2004) and dewey martin (d. 2009).  young, stills, messina and furay did reunite in 2011 for a six concert reunion tour.  wow, that would have been a real flash to the past.

photo: long island sound,  madison connecticut.  may 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

favorite color

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.
Adrienne Rich (16 may 1929 - 27 march 2012) poet & essayist

today's vibrant wall was done by kazilla (aka cassie williams) - originally from santa fe kazilla now lives and works in miami.  kazilla's women centric work  straddles  the worlds of street art and fine art and is distinctive with her use of bold colors and lines and frequent incorporation of animals. 

in late march the brilliant poet and feminist essayist adrienne rich died - my haphazard blogging failed to recognize this loss to our world  - today i belatedly pay respects and give thanks to ms rich.  

favorite color a very early joni mitchell song - in fact the song doesn't seem to appear on any recordings and this video was recorded before joni was joni!  her she is introduced on the canadian television program, let's sing out in 1965 by her given name joan anderson!  

oscar brandt's introduction is priceless as is joni's performance. 

 photo: 532 nw 29th street miami (wynwood district), 29 april 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

too much to hide

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today. 
 John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) 35th president of u.s.

bet you didn't realize may 15th is international conscientious objectors' day.  i didn't until i glanced at the calendar this morning (wondering what calendar would list such an occasion, wonder no more - it is the 2012 syracuse cultural workers calendar,  the syracuse cultural worker calendars have been a staple at casa mouse since the mid 1980s).

today's quote by jfk is spot on!

along with being international conscientious objectors' day,  it is also tattoo tuesday.  i met the woman with today's extraordinary tattoos the other day while wandering about the neighborhood - although i didn't think i would forget her name, i have - one would think with my record of forgetting names,  i would start writing them down! 

i was so focused on the ink and discussing the various buddhist images of her sleeve tattoo, i forgot to ask her due date - but given the size and presentation of her belly,  i predict she's definitely having a may baby!    peaceful passage little one!

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.  - Buddha

too much to hide from the album nuclear daydream (2006) by joseph arthur.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

white bird

As soon as you can say what you think, and not what some other person has thought for you, you are on your way to being ... remarkable 
J.M. Barrie (9 may 1860 - 1937) author 

 today is the birthday of scottish author sir james matthew barrie best known for his stage play peter pan or the boy who wouldn't grow up (1904).

when i was a wee lass i was captivated by the story of peter pan;  in 1960 there was a telecast of peter pan which starred mary martin as peter, after seeing the show i  became obsessed with the notion of flying. i don't remember if it was peter or tinker bell that i wanted to be,  but i do remember driving my parents to distraction by  "flying" when i was inside the house (flying = propelling myself from place to place by jumping from one piece of furniture to another ).  it is a good thing i was born in the 1950s and not today;  surely if i was born in this day and age somebody would have pathologized my 'creativity' and given me some type of  medicalized label! 

before peter pan, barrie wrote the novel  the little white bird (1902) which introduced the mythology and character of peter pan.

in 1969 the group it's a beautiful day released their song white bird on their debut album - maybe it was some weird cosmic holdover from my obsession with peter pan and flying, but this song has captivated me since i first heard it 1969!

photo: wall art in the wynwood neighborhood of miami florida, 29 april 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

where the wild things are

Today we are aware as never before of the plurality of human life-styles and possibilities, while at the same time being tied, like in an old silent movie, to a runaway locomotive rushing headlong toward a very singular catastrophe. 
 Gary Synder (b. 8 may 1930) poet, ecological philosopher
quote from Earth House Hold: Technical Notes and Queries to Fellow Dharma Revolutionaries

i met ben a few weeks ago when i went to a wild ramp picking party - the ramps were great  but they weren't nearly as wild or as wondrous as the asian inspired art which ben wears.

ben graciously gave me on a tour of  his ink work - most of the magnificent and powerful art was done by a denver based tattoo artist named john slaughter.  ben said he simply told slaughter the type of symbolism and images he would like and away slaughter went!

the detail and intricacy of each piece was amazing - i particularly liked the small fox-like face  at the center of the samurai's body!

ben recently moved to cleveland and is currently the executive sous chef at muse, one of cleveland's premier dining establishments.  i have found that some chefs have some of most amazing and interesting body art - not too surprising - for the core of preparing good food is  a creative and expressive endeavor!

this morning i heard that maurice sendak died .  

adieu maurice.

in memory of maurice, in lieu of a song today i offer a reading of where the wild things are, sendak's most famous book.   although i love max and his wild things, i think my personal favorite children's book by maurice is mickey in the night kitchen.  probably because for me it is the most fun to read out loud -it is so musical and fun and of course centers around food -  i'm in the milk and the milk in me!! god bless milk and god bless me!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

i am a child

No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure. 
 Emma Goldman (1869-1940) activist & author

in japan and south korea  may 5th is children's day.   in japan, since 1948  the day has been considered a national holiday.  however the observance of children's day is ancient and traditionally children are celebrated twice a year - march 3 for girls and may 5 for boys.   today in japan the march children's day is now known as the doll festival.

according to the portal,  many  many countries  have a special day to celebrate children.  what is odd about children's day in the usa is that although there have been ,  and continue to be, there is no single or permanent observance of children's day  - the day seems to vary from place to place and from time to time.

in 1954, the united nations declared a universal children's day to take place on november 20th and although the usa is a member of the un, it doesn't appear to me that the un declared day has really caught on. 

as for me i'm going to celebrate children's day by going to ms. t's soccer game -  after the game,  maybe i can talk the gang into going out for some sushi for lunch!

today's song is one of my all time favorite neil young songs i am a child   -- thie version belowe was recorded in 1973.

neil wrote the song when he was with the buffalo springfield. and appeared on their third and final album last time around (1968)

photo: koinobori (carp windsocks) at the entrance of the morikami japanese garden in delray beach, florida. april, 2012

by the way,  these windsocks grace the landscape of japan from april through may in honor of boys with the hope that they grow up strong and healthy.

Friday, May 4, 2012

a little this 'n that

The world to come may be like a song, with a little a' this 'n' that.
To make ev'rybody want to sing along, with a little a' this 'n' that.
A little dissonance ain't no sin,
A little skylarking to give us all a grin.
Who knows but God's got a plan for the people to win, with a little a' this 'n' that. 
 Pete Seeger (born 3 may 1919), singer-songwriter, activist 

yesterday was the birthday of pete seeger - he turned 93!

happy belated birthday pete!

regular visitors to the mouse know that pete is one of my personal heroes. a few years ago, in fact, to correspond with the year that pete turned ninety,  there was a campaign to have pete be awarded the nobel peace prize for his lifelong and tireless devotion for working toward peace and justice. sadly, despite that thousands of people around the world signed the petition, seeger was not awarded the peace prize. instead that year the peace prize was awarded to barack obama.

now,  i respect mr. obama and i am very, very happy that he is our president. i voted for him in 2008 and i will be voting for him again this year. but to award obama the peace prize over pete seeger - well, i couldn't make sense of it then or now!  at the time i sweeten my sour grapes by thinking , well maybe, this will get obama to bring the troops  home immediately -- especially george's folly as i call the war in iraq. 

well that didn't happen now did it?

as far as  awarding pete the nobel, i'm afraid that ship may have done sailed!   it is unlikely that the nobel committee will consider another american anytime soon.  but one never knows.   by nobel committee rules, the person who receives the peace prize must be alive; if pete is to be recognized for his peacework, i hope someone start strategizing sooner versus later!

pete is still going strong at 93.  rumor has it he may perform at this year's clearwater music festival in june.  a festival he inspired - along with being a lifelong activist for peace, seeger has also been dauntless in his efforts to protect and clean up the environment.

peace and protecting the environment do go hand in hand - all things are connected

although pete is not singing much these days in public,  his singing voice is not what is was, he is still recording.   earlier this year he contributed a spoken version of dylan's song forever young  to the album chimes of freedom: songs of bob dylan honoring 50 years of amnesty international.

to celebrate pete's birthday i thought i'd share a few photos i took over the last week that make me happy - i hope they make you happy too .

let's just say it's a little this and that!

lily of the valley - it is the season!  i just adore these fragrant delicate beauties.   there is a huge patch a few blocks from my house which i stumbled upon a couple weeks ago when there was just a couple blooms out.   yesterday i walked by to see how the field was doing - the lilies are in full bloom now - talk about olfactory nirvana!   i'm wonder if the people in the two houses that flank this lily  patch would mind if i camped out for a couple days. 

while in florida we stayed in a place right on the beach. i was totally smitten by the shore birds - especially the sanderlings. these little sandpipers are just amazing. they breed in the high arctic and winter up and down the atlantic and pacific coasts from canada to argentina.

speaking of birds, i just adored watching pelicans in flight while i was in florida. for me, watching pelicans is like time traveling - they remind me of flying dinosaurs.

one last pic - unfortunately, the photo is pretty crappy - but the encounter was exciting!

last night i wandered over to the park on erie's edge not far from my house.  i wanted to get a good sky photo for skywatch friday on the snap. a cool front was coming in (thank goodness! it was over 90 degrees here yesterday); when i left the house there were some awesome thunderheads and i thought they would make a dramatic photo. by the time i got to the park, the thunderheads were gone, but the sky was still nice.  however,  what really rocked my world was the close encounter with brother fox.

some kids went down among the rock pilings and apparently flushed out the fox who then ran up the hill - i instinctively snapped. no time to adjust settings, but still the photo makes me happy as seeing a fox really makes me happy!

today two tunes! first a brief little irish love song that pete plays on flute which then is followed by the song a little this 'n that, pete wrote the song to celebrate the birthday of his beloved wife toshi. the video comes from a concert that pete and his grandson tao rodriguez-seeger gave at wolftrap in 1993

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

i'm a manatee

Graffiti is one of the most free art expressions of the world; you don’t do it for money nor for an institution, it’s free expression and it liberates yourself creatively from a lot of restrictions.
  Roa -  from vincent morgan's 2010 interview with the belgian graffiti artist

i recently returned from a brief sojourn to south florida. the purpose of the trip was to attend the wedding of a nephew.  it was a great trip - there was a nice mix of visiting family,  chilling at the beach and poolside,  exploring new places, eating good food, and meeting new people.

the wedding on saturday  and friday night's pre-wedding activities were fabulous - in fact, so much so that i am rethinking my general curmudgeon attitude about weddings.   how can i not love a wedding which takes place in a beautiful japanese garden, where the two main readings are dr. seuss's  oh the places you'll go and bob dylan's forever young,   and where the female attendants are wearing green dresses of their own choosing,  not to mention a wedding which has the cake is topped with monsters instead of those plastic bride and grooms in formal and traditional attire. 

because of air fares we were better off by flying down on thursday and returning on monday,  this  worked out well as we had time for a mini-vacation.  in spite of being born in florida and having lived there only several months as an infant; i only have been to florida once and that was only for about eight hours several years ago - and for that trip i solely wandered around south beach looking at the architecture and all the beautiful people and visiting with friends who had recently moved there.. as with weddings, until this most recent visit my general attitude about florida has been pretty grumpy (too hot, too humid, too many bugs) - and as with weddings, i am now rethinking my earlier biases!  i now understand the allure of the sunshine state.

the wedding was held in delray beach, a charming beach town on the atlantic ocean.   friday and saturday  we had plenty of time to explore the area and also get in some quality lounging about.   as delray is less than an hour north of miami on sunday after checking out the delightful wright by the sea resort where we stayed,  we headed to the big city to spend the day wandering around.  unfortunately the stormy (read torrential rains) weather prevented us from taking our planned walking tour of the art deco district of south miami beach, however, we did enjoy a bit of the architecture by driving around and looking at the buildings through rain streaked windows. after driving up and down collins avenue and adjacent art deco laden streets  we left the island miami beach is located on and took the causeway over to miami proper.  first stop in miami was  to eat a late lunch in little havana at versailles.  normally i'm suspicious of places that tout themselves as the 'world's most famous such and such --in this case, "the world's most famous cuban restaurant" -- but versailles was recommended to emma by a friend who lived in miami for many years and appreciates good food.  what can i say,  after eating at versailles, i must say there is just reason for such a grandiose claim to fame! 

after lunch the weather calmed down and the rain lightened up enough to leave the comfort of being inside a building or car.   upon leaving the restaurant we drove through the little havana district checking out the giant chickens (or roosters) and street art.

little havana may have had some decent murals, but we heard that the real mecca for edgy street art/graffiti in miami is in the wynwood art district. in fact,  street art/graffiti is so pervasive in wynwood  there are even street art bike tours!   unfortunately, i learned about this too late - however, if i ever return, you can bet i will find a way to schedule this activity into my itinerary!  our wanders in wynwood barely scratched the surface on all there is to see!

we pretty much aimlessly wandered around wynwood - and only through dumb luck did we happened upon the fantastic giant manatee by roa in the top photo.  what i love about this piece is how roa artistically editorializes  the most pressing human related threat to these gentle sea cows - injury and death caused by collision with watercraft.

like many street art enthusiasts roa is one of my faves - during wanders in nyc, i've seen a few animals in his artful menagerie -  a squirrel, a rat*, a bird*, and a rabbit.   (*i thought i've posted snaps of the rat and bird but couldn't locate the past posts to link, so i guess it is time to mine the archives and work them into future wall wednesday posts!)

the acclaimed actor john lithgow wrote a book and song in praise of the gentle and very threatened manatee - the book and song is entitled i'm a manatee  -today's vid is by a youtuber named hugh having puppet fun with john's song.