My 3 Things - November 2016

What is this thing called My 3 Things? Find out in the FAQ.

1. LISTENING: Sarah Vaughan covering "And I Love Her" by the Beatles
Sassy (that's Sarah Vaughan's nickname) always kills me. And nothing kills me more than going down every Youtube rabbit hole and finding yet another video of her making some familiar song utterly her own.

Her cover of this great tune is one of those moments. And her orange lipstick can't be beat!

Whatever you do, you HAVE to listen all the way through to the end. How she treats the last moments of this song, what she does with her voice, gave me goosebumps.

Still does.

2. SEEING: Kerry James Marshall's Mastry at the Met Breuer
"We never allow guests to the Press Previews at the Met," snapped the woman behind the desk at the Met Breuer (aka "the old Whitney") without even looking up at me or my journalist friend with the press pass.

My face felt hot, my hands enormous. I stood completely still, trying to dissolve into the crowd coming and going in the concrete lobby.

She heaved a heavy left arm out, over, and along the desktop, grabbing at a rather homemade sign-in sheet fastened to a worn clipboard. I could see the black pen scrawl of three or four other guests on the non-guest list and the thin white space where I was to write my down my shame, I mean name.

"Put your information down on this," she huffed. The clipboard appeared before my flushed face. I wrote as quickly as I could.

And then I was in!

Awkward but worth it. 

I followed the bespectacled and besuited crowd up the stairs to the start of the show and had my artistic clock cleaned. 

No joke. When I see shows like this it makes me a) want to fall in a heap on the floor and b) stop all this music b.s. and start painting full time. But I digress ... 

If you are unfamiliar with Kerry James Marshall's work, it's time you get familiar.

From the exhibition write-up: "Marshall has long been an inspired and imaginative chronicler of the African American experience. He is known for his large-scale narrative history paintings featuring black figures—defiant assertions of blackness in a medium in which African Americans have long been invisible—and his exploration of art history covers a broad temporal swath stretching from the Renaissance to 20th-century American abstraction." 

     // a little photo I snapped of KJM in front of three of his paintings at the Met \\

I dare you to think of a single living painter who does what he does, who investigates and reshapes the ENTIRE Western canon of art in such a restrained, deeply serious yet deeply playful yet deeply tender yet deeply heart-wrenching way. 

To see so much of his work in one place at one time is completely overwhelming. But if you can only go once, you must go and be overwhelmed.

And if you have the ways and means to, you must go back.

I did last week. I was even more stunned, smashed, and razed by the work. 

At the Press Preview, Marshall said "I always wanted my career to be a thoughtful one." 

He did it. He's doing it. 

PS. As part of this show, Marshall was asked to pick 36 works of art from the entire collection of the Met (Hello!? How awesome is that??) The pieces he selected constitute a not-to-be-missed mash-up of a show within the show -- Dürer, Wyeth, Tooker, a Dan people mask from Côte d'Ivoire, to name only a few. As if you need another reason to go ...)


3. SEEING: The film "Moonlight" written and directed by Barry Jenkins
Brilliant? Check.
Tough? Check.
Full of aching heartbreak? Check.
Restrained? Check.
Visually poetic? Check.
The viewer's expectations masterfully thwarted? Check.
Incredible acting? Check.
Important for the culture at large? Check.
Like nothing I've ever seen before? Check.
Not for the faint of heart? Ch-check.
So much more than the sum of all these checks? CHECK. 


//\\// OUTRO //\\//

Thanks for reading. I'm super grateful that you take the time. 

Here's what you do next ... 
1) Please leave a comment below in the comment box.

The best kind of comment is when YOU tell ME what YOUR 3 things are -- what you're reading, listening to, thinking about, seeing, pondering, etc. Fill me in! 

2) Send me an email and say Hi. I read everything you send my way. 

Big love,

PS: I've been playing and singing old and new songs on Facebook Live. It's fun and the sh*t gets real at these mini-concerts. How real? I pretty much cried my way through the most recent one. But it was worth it, as one viewer commented, it was "One of the most brave and beautiful things I've ever seen."

Find these vids on my "official" Facebook Music Page.

Go ahead and "like" the page. That way you'll get notified the next time I play live there.

And don't worry -- you don't have to have a Facebook account to watch. My page is public.