Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Day 365. I DID IT!

This is it!  The very last day.  Geez, I have been painting and painting today trying to get this big thing in my head out onto the canvas, truckin' along fine, but when I typed that title and those first three words, I started crying!  What can I say, I'm an emotional girl.

And with that being said, please let me thank all of you who have supported me.  Your generous comments and likes, words of encouragement, purchases of my art--seriously, I don't know how I would have gotten through without them.  People I have never met, you know who you are, were so supportive as well and were there with me almost the entire way!  So many friends and acquaintances gave me incredible gifts of words, that left me swelling inside and speechless.  I don't know what I did to deserve you, but thank you!  My mom and husband heard my insecurities and exhaustion and frustration, and triumphs, too, more than anyone.  Thank you for putting up with me! Thank you God and Ebert for helping me through! One thing I was going to include on this canvas, but ran out of room, was a roller coaster to represent my emotions through all of this.  Oftentimes, it was a lonely journey.  You have to plug along when you're tired, or sick and tired, through sheer force of will.  I'm grateful I learned this valuable lesson.  I hope I'm not scaring anyone from pursuing your own 365-day project, because that lesson should be felt by everyone!

Finally, thank you musicians of the world, for providing me with background music that helped me not only get through this project, but through life in general.  I can't state enough how much your talents mean to my entire life.

Love to all, thank you so, very, very much for coming along for the ride, and Merry Christmas!

"Yo, Adrian, I mean Jill!  You did it!"

"SOB!  Thank you cartoon Rocky.  You inspired me the whole way!"

 "How did you do it?"

"Well, Reporter Man, I barely remember, but here are some clues."

(Now you know what all those "Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, DAH, dah, dah dahs were for!  "Gonna Fly Now......!")

Physical Changes:  

Innocent bystander:  "Oops!  You have black mascara under your eyes."  
Me: "No, those are dark circles.  I have not slept for a year."

Other problems:  The disappearing rear end from too much sitting.
Me:  "Where's my Brazilian Butt Lift video?"

Further sitting repercussions:
Second bystander--not so innocent:  "Oh, um, have you put on a few pounds?'
Me:  "Oh, yeah, just a few."

Reporter Man:  "You know, no one asked you to do this.  No one owes you a compliment."
Me:  "Oh, I know."

Me:  Um, can I have my Olympic Gold Medal now?" (-;

SYNOPSIS:  Following through...worth it all!

The last two songs that got me through, played repeatedly ad nauseam (well, it wasn't ad nauseam to me).

Joe Satriani and Grace Potter singing Neil Young's, "Cortez the Killer" live.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, "Backstreets," studio version.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Day 364. Vinyl Man (No Longer Available)

What I'm about to write is definitely not what I intended for today, but inspiration comes upon you at the drop of the hat so one must me open!

Back in my U of IL college days, yes, indeed, I was a freshman in 1983(!), I brought my entire record collection to school.  It was massive and grew much more massive through those years as I would spend any extra money I had at the wonderful and dingy "Record Swap" on Green Street   (and Record Service across the street).  Record Swap was the epitome of Indie and used records.  You would walk up this old flight of stairs to fluorescent music euphoria. It had that old book/cardboard smell. If you have the time, read this GREAT 2-part story on the store's glory days (part two having some fantastic memories of former employees).  Record Swap - The History of a Local Legend.

So loyal was my heart to dropping the needle down on a black, spinning disk, that when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's "Live 1975-1985 (5 LP BOX SET)" came out at the height of Springsteen's popularity, I went with the albums.  Now, mind you, that was pretty pricey at that time, and I had to make the right choice.  CD's were still in their infancy, and touted for their far superior sound quality.  However, I remember telling a friend at the time that I "didn't want to be a CD slut" so I went with the classic choice!  Now, of course, everyone says CDs are dead and it's all about VINYL!  Of course, I still call them albums, which ages me without giving away my college going years.  Records I used to get for $2.97 now go for $100--crazy how the wheel, or should I say turntable, goes around. 

Now we're coming to the inspiration point.  O.K., so I share this love of vinyl music, not only with my husband, but with my high school friend, Donny as well, although he is the most aggressive collector of albums now.  I had mentioned Don Keeley back on Day 327 (Global Storms Are Breaking Us)  when he lost his home, except for one wall of albums, to a tornado that swept through Washington, IL.

Stay with me peeps!  His friend (who my friend Cindy and I met when all 4 of us went to a Black Crowe's concert) Todd Clanin, put on the following shindig, for Donny last night.  Can you imagine?  They told him his remaining wall was on fire to get him out to this impromptu Christmas party in the freezing cold night.  I told Donny that he was a modern-day George Bailey.  Look at what his friends did for him (click link below picture--it's great)!  Now THAT is showing the Christmas spirit!  It makes a person's heart grow three sizes!  Merry Christmas!  Here's a pic. of his intact house before we all headed off for the Black Crowes.

Click here:


UPDATE:  Here's another article on Don, approximately 14 months later, as he finally returns to his home address, now with a new home, but with his classic record collection in tow.
Peoria Journal Star - Don Keeley Returns Home.

The 5 Record set back in the day--one of my last, first-release album purchases.

"COVER ME" from that great set, which I originally had posted is no longer available I see.  Here's the "Born in the USA" version:

A sight from days gone by...!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Day 363. Picasso and Chicago and Guitar on Table with Girl

One of the most amazing events for me in 2013 was going to see the Picasso and Chicago exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.  Picasso, Van Gogh, Matisse, and Alice Neel are my most favorite of artists, and to even stand in the presence of their incredible work reduces me into a shaky puddle on the ground.  I have a hard time controlling my emotions, tears, and extremities peering at their pencil marks or brushstrokes.  When I look at their signature--RIGHT THERE!  My gosh, I... Well, I barely have words.  That they once were standing in front of this canvas or paper, and now I am, too...  Typing these words, I can feel myself at the museum once again, feel my heart speed up, feel my eyes becoming wet.

My husband and I went on the very last day of the exhibit.  It was one of those, "I CANNOT miss this."  No question.  So we made it up there (does anyone remember my posts of my computer blowing up during this time period?  That's when we went.), and of course, it was packed.  All the other procrastinators were there with us.

Here's the funny thing about public events.  Whether you're in a gallery, at a play, or at an opera, you experience these intense events with complete strangers, and yet, through the experience, you somehow bond with them however momentarily.  As you slowly move along, throngs of people will speed and blow past you, as if on a race to get to the end. This action I don't understand and won't ponder at all.  However, there are a few people who move right along with you at the same speed.  You pause within feet of each other throughout the entire exhibit, slowly reading every wall post, examining each picture or sculpture for approximately the same amount of time.  Why, here is a soul mate in art!  All of our hearts are beating together and sometimes we'll look at each other and smile, silent and euphoric in our shared wonderment before us.  This is what it is.

And so, there was a young woman with dark hair in a blue and gray shirt, purse slung across her body, who flowed with us.  I would be taking pictures, and in front of one of Picasso's "Guitar on Table" the girl stood back so I could click. We laughed, because she, my husband, and I had been swirling around each other for quite some time, and she said, "I'm trying to get out of your shot," and I said, "I'm always ridiculously taking so many pictures, but I can't help myself.  I'll just call the picture, 'Guitar on Table with Girl.' "  And so people, here you have it. (If you have the time, please read to the end to get the whole feel of the day.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.)

On our way up:

 His SIGNATURE people!

Critics at the time accused him of imitating Van Gogh (below left).

See the girl in the 2 pics below who will soon be sitting at the table with the guitar? 

I know it's hard to believe, but I'm only posting about 1/3 of my pictures here.

P.S.  In the very last room, a guard accused me of having my flash on--which I didn't! I showed the guard my camera that clearly had the flash off.  That is the second time I've gotten in trouble at the Art Institute.  Another time I was inside a taped off box around a Cy Twombly.  I didn't see the tape, because I was looking at the Twombly!  Lost in the moment is my defense.

FINALLY, when we came out of the museum on Michigan Avenue, there was a street musician, a saxophone player, playing "Close to You."  Cars were rushing by, there was a definite chill in the spring air, flowers were just starting to bloom, the saxophone's notes were twirling over the street to us, and I had just seen Picasso!  A moment of utter and complete magic had just happened to me.  Heaven, I am here to tell you, can be here on earth.

Leaving the Art Institute:

Michigan Avenue

A wedding party I spotted from the car: