Friday, June 8, 2018

Anthony Bourdain - RIP

This was one of the most heartbreaking of days. As soon as I got up, I looked at my phone and saw the beginning words of a headline, "Anthony Bourdain" it started. Oh no. Before I swiped over, I briefly thought, maybe he and Asia Argento got married. But no, the worst news ever, dead at 61. I thought, heart attack. And then the news did get worse. Suicide. It was a same 1-2 punch as the morning I woke to the news of Chris Cornell. Unexpected death. Must be a heart attack...and then shockingly, suicide. I saw him twice in person, first in Milwaukee and then in Chicago. I've watched him for 15 years. I have his Les Halles cookbook, the great "Kitchen Confidential," and, no bs, just pulled "Parts Unknown" off my bookshelf last Saturday and started re-reading it. I can hear the cadence of his voice, imagine the movements of his body in some of my favorite episodes. It feels so personal, as if I truly lost someone I knew, a friend who took me along to places I couldn't go to on my own. It's a thought all fans are feeling, no doubt. I imagine his best friend, Eric Ripert, finding him. And I'm conjuring up all sorts of reasons in my head. His food explorations led him, and us, to the truer journey of connecting with people, cultures, history, socio-economic crisis or in other words, humanity on the most vulnerable level. He was vulnerable, too. I'm so sorry for your pain, Anthony. Thank you for all you gave us and tried to make us understand.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tom Petty 1999 VH1 Behind The Music (RIP 1950-2017)

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers~Last Two Songs~You Wreck Me/American Girl~...

Oh, Tom!  You songs have been intertwined into my entire life.  I am so,so saddened and shocked to see you go.  I feel...I don't think I can feel anymore.  So much musical loss in the last two years.  Rock on, Tom Petty.  You were one of a kind.  Cool beyond belief, always following your own path of independence and brilliant songwriting and singing.  So glad I got to see you, even if was only twice.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Early Morning Searching, A Rainy Telephone Call and Pete Thorn on Chris Cornell, 1964 - 2017

I know I wrote about Chris Cornell extensively yesterday, but I'm not done.

I spent over an hour walking around in the drizzle talking to my friend Cindy about Chris Cornell today.  I had to--to mourn with her, discuss him. She really is the only friend I have who knows Chris (from afar of course) and his music the way I do.  She and I saw Chris twice together, once when Chris was supporting his "Scream" album and the last time 10 months ago.

We talked about how rare it is to even have a TRUE artist such as Chris or Prince or Michael Jackson.  How when they are lost, who do you look to?  I said to her, and he was smart.  He wasn't someone looking for the quick fix.  He was someone who sat in his basement with a stack of Beatles albums and memorized them.  Prince studied James Brown and Sly Stone.  These are people who knew a history of rock music, blues, funk, punk, so there were layers of influence to them. I said it's like cooking.  You're supposed to season all the components of a dish as you go along to coax all the nuances of flavor to come out.  You don't just sprinkle a little salt on at the end and expect it to have any complex depth to it.  Chris had the Beatles in him, and The Stones and Led Zeppelin, but also Black Sabbath and Elvis Costello.  When you stir that all together, along with true emotion, intelligence, and vocal skill, well that's how a superstar comes along rather than someone just looking to lay down a beat track with two 7-word verses that loop over and over again.  Ugh.

Now, prior to that conversation earlier this afternoon, I woke up at 1:00 a.m. unable to breathe.  I felt a tightness in my chest and had to get my inhaler to get through.  But in that eerie early hour, as soon as my mind and eyes opened, I thought of Chris.  I couldn't go back to sleep so from 1 a.m. until 5 a.m., I searched for more clues and read more articles and watched more videos (something I had been doing every moment since hearing the news and while not at work). The unreality of a world without him is starting to feel real.  I had to try to get that through to my head and heart.
Here's some worthwhile finds. Please check out the following if you, like me, are in  mourning.

In no particular order:

It makes sense to me that there was something else going on with Chris that motivated him to "commit suicide."    Read his wife, Vicky's statement re: the possible influence of the drug Activan in his system in Spin Magazine's article here.

Here's a link to Mark McGrath (from the group Sugar Ray) on "The Woody Show."  It's totally worth listening to the whole thing, but here is a right on the head quote from Mark that sums up why we feel so sad when a beloved singer dies:

"You loose someone of that magnitude, it takes awhile to resonate.  When you lose someone like Prince, you lose a Scott Weiland, you lose a Chris Cornell, I think it takes awhile for all of us to mourn the loss.  Music is super personal, too.  You internalize music and it becomes a family member if you're really that vested in music & it means that much to you.  It's like feel almost like a family loss. To loose that, it hurts, it's tough, it's very tough." 

This Washington Post article of the history of Soundgarden and of Cornell's vow to make it as an artist doing original music no matter what it took, even if he/they were never a 'success' is excellent.

Here's a very short clip from "American Masters" on Chris Cornell discussing the camaraderie of the bands in Seattle--how they inspired one another, and the development of Temple of the Dog.

The Chicago Tribune's article on how Eddie Vedder is the last grunge frontman still standing.  There is a great point made in the article where rock critic Steven Hyden is quoted from his book, "Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me" as saying:

"By the early aughts Pearl Jam was actively subsuming the operatic emotionalism of their more popular early records in order to cater to hard-core loyalists," Hyden wrote. "The way Vedder purposely piloted Pearl Jam toward a significantly smaller audience is still remarkable. Other than Radiohead, no rock band has ever been more deliberate about ferreting out precisely the people it wanted to care about its music."

This article from Variety is a really great one and a good rock history lesson of how Soundgarden paved the way for all the Pacific Northwest bands, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains (and Stone Temple Pilots by association) who followed.  Note this point which Jem Aswad, Senior Music Editor, makes:

 "But Cornell was a true original in his own right. And the sound and culture of the 1990s would not have been what it was without him or Soundgarden, who cut the path that so many followed."

Here's Charles R. Cross from "Music from NPR," writing on how Chris was Grunge's "True Seattle Son"  Charles knew Chris Cornell personally--read his perspective on how the band had been together for 10 years before it broke through--the slow burn to success.

From Heavy's Chris Bucher, the police report that outlined the timing after the concert, his last call to his wife, and what went down.  I had to read that...find that.  I still had the thought, does anyone question if this was a murder?  I pieced several different articles together, and it seems the band left in shuttle bus from the theater at 11:25 p.m.  Chris' body guard was in his room with him around 11:35; Chris spoke to his wife Vicky at 11:40 p.m. and by midnight he was dead.  I had to know this...make sense of that span of time.  It still is unbelievable.

I wrote in my previous blog post yesterday that I had watched 3 clips of his final concert, and Chris didn't seem right.  He seemed to be moving slowly--a little strangely to me.  His vocals weren't as "on" as normally.  I thought he looked exhausted.  Somewhere else--on YouTube--someone wrote that he seemed "low energy."  This well-articulated article from the Detroit Free Press, by Ashley Zlatopolsky, "Chris Cornell's final performance:  Something Clearly Wasn't Right, corroborates my thoughts that Chris wasn't the Chris I was used to seeing.

By the way, here's a link to the entire final concert.  I've listed the set list at the bottom of this page.

Here's Alexis Sottile's Rolling Stone Magazine article on Cameron Crowe and the 25th anniversary of the movie, "Singles."  He really has wonderful stories of the musical genius and unbelievable creativity of Cornell as well as his impressions of living in the midst of the development of the Seattle scene.  Please read it so you can put into context this quote:

"And holy shit, this is Chris Cornell, as Cliff Poncier, recording all of these songs, with lyrics, and total creative vision, and he has recorded the entire fake, solo cassette. And it's fantastic. And "Seasons" comes on. And you just can't help but go, "Wow." This is a guy who we've only known in Soundgarden. And of course he's incredibly creative, but who's heard him like this? And we got to use "Seasons" on the soundtrack, and Chris did some of the score. And some of the unreleased score is on the new version of the album."

Here's Pete Thorn, his guitarist who supported him through his "Carry On" tour and "Scream" tour.  I saw his play during both of those tours.  He relates poignant memories of playing with Chris, and describes what kind of honorable, supportive, creative, strong person and friend he was.  If you look at the time it's says 37 minutes and you'll think, I'll never listen to all of that.  But you will. It will break your heart a little more though.

Detroit, MI, 5/17/17 Set List
Ugly Truth
Hunted Down
Non-State Actor
Black Hole Sun
Crooked Steps
Day I Tried to Live
My Wave
Zero Chance
Fell on Black Days
A Thousand Days Before
Burden in My Hand
Blow Up the Outside World
Jesus Christ Pose
Beyond the Wheel
Rusty Cage
Slaves and Bulldozers interspersed with lyrics from Led Zeppelin's "In My Time of Dying"

Thursday, May 18, 2017

RIP Chris Cornell "One (U2 Music with Metallica Lyrics)"

I had to be at work early today--7 a.m., for a special process that needed to be done.  As so happens when you need shut-eye, I instead woke up at 4:15 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep.  At 6, I finally got up, had a message on my phone that the power was down at work and texted my boss on how we were going to proceed.  At the end of our conversation, I took one of my dogs out, came back in, and saw my phone flashing.  She had typed one more message, "Chris Cornell died?"

I replied, "F#*@ what?"

She knew how much he meant to me.

I had last seen Chris play 10 months ago.  He was as fantastic and moving as always.  Cool, both in control and at ease in his banter, singing, and playing.  It was the sixth, and now I know my last, time I saw him in concert.  The first was on the last tour of Soundgarden in the '97.  They opened for the grandfather of grunge, Neil Young.

The next time wasn't until April 11, 2007 at the Metro in Chicago.  It ranks as my #1 concert experience...and let me tell you, I've been to a lot.  I had begged so many people to go with me (can you believe this), and FINALLY my friend Andrea said she'd go.  The concert was sold out, but we got some tickets from a StubHub type place.  I remember when she sent me an email that contained a copy of the ticket.  I swooned.  I printed out that email and carried it around with me in my wallet.  I loved his voice, his music, his looks, his attitude.  I just couldn't believe I was going. Chris had been through Audioslave by then, and he was touring as a solo act.  His hair was short at that time, really showing off his gorgeous face.

I remember what I wore, how my hair was cut, and that it was raining that night.  I was standing next to a guy who had driven up from Champaign from the University of Illinois.  He had a cold, but he was there.  As we stood waiting for him to come out, my heart was pounding, and I felt myself getting jelly legs!  I turned to my friend and said, "I have to go!"  I just was overcome with the moment.  She said, "Turn around, you're not going anywhere."  And I turned around, and one minute later he came out, and cooly said, "How ya' doin'?"

We were only about 10 feet from the stage, and he could survey the crowd easily.  And at one point, truly, he stared right at me with those blue piercing eyes.  I'm sure he held everyone's gaze at some point, but at that moment it was me, and I couldn't breathe.

The most memorable moment was when he sang his version of Michael Jackson's, "Billy Jean."  It was slowed down into a soulful groove and then crescendoed into his sexy wail at just the time the lights flashed an guitars wailed.  I will never forget that moment.  It was one of those times where I was fully IN it, but also was outside of myself with this knowledge of what I was experiencing.  It was out-of-body is all I can say.  You don't get transported like that at every concert.  Truly, there's just a handful.

I saw him 2 more times that year--once when he stripped his sweaty shirt off, and that was a moment we didn't forget.

But let me make it clear--he had physical beauty, yes, but it was that voice...that distinctive voice--hard-edged but tender and feeling, too--that was the true draw.  Henry Rollins once said that Chris Cornell's voice could peel paint off of a wall.  But it was the soulful side of his slower songs and acoustic performances--powerful, painful, rough-edged, expressive--that was the true draw.  He made you feel it.  Robert Plant of Led Zepplin had that influence of the blues mixed in with rock mixed with Middle Eastern music.  He was bluesy, hard and soft.  That was Chris Cornell.

The strangest thing is that I had been listening to Chris nonstop over the last week.  I had been painting late at night, especially last weekend, and I had Chris playing on YouTube.  I love his combination of the music from U2's "One" and the lyrics of Metallica's "One."  Over and over I played it, along with his version of Prince's, "Nothing Compares 2 U" and Whitney Houston's/Dolly Parton's, "I Will Always Love You."  I listened to Soundgarden's, "Fell on Black Days," and Audioslave's, "Getaway Car."  I always loved "Sunshower" from the movie "Great Expectations" etc.  I could list this on and on.  I'm listening to the latter right now, and my heart is in my throat, because he is gone.  He really is gone.

Maybe that powerfully pained voice had to come from a place of some desperation/depression.  I wouldn't have thought Chris would kill himself.  He had been through so many suicides of friends and contemporaries in his life (e.g., Andy Wood--from Mother Love Bone which caused him to form the group Temple of the Dog and which just recently reformed and toured; Layne Stanley; Kurt Cobain, etc.)  No one knows, though, the depth of someone's pain.  There's an article that states him as saying, "it's harder to get help the more famous you are."  I get it.  You're in the public eye.  You supposedly have everything you could ever want.  That's the worst part of depression.  You SHOULD feel o.k. with all you have.  And when you don't, where do you turn, what do you strive for?  What gives you the drive to put one foot in front of the other when you're in pain?

I knew he loved his second wife and children deeply.  I've watched him carrying his daughter Toni around in videos and at concerts since she was a baby.  She looks just like him and has a beautiful voice as well.  He had to be in so much anguish to be driven to what happened last night.

I've watched videos of his last performance in Detroit, and he looks weary, exhausted.  The songs seem very slowed down.  I read somewhere that some insiders thought he had relapsed with alcohol.  He had been sober for about 14 years.  But this is all supposition--you want to know why now, just like with Prince--another irreplaceable voice.  All I know is, he could not have been in his right mind.  Was he weary from playing the same songs after 25 years?  Was the pressure, and inability to get out of something--a tour--pressures from the music industry just too much?  I don't know, and we probably won't.

But Chris, your talent, your voice, we ache for you, and we are crushed.  God bless you.

From 7/11/16 - the last time I saw Chris in concert.

Some of the better articles on Chris:

Chris Cornell's Final Red Carpet with Family
LATimes 1991 article w/Chris Cornell on making Badmotorfinger
The one below is something I found after I original blogpost.  The LA Times writer wrote the same thing I did, comparing Chris and Robert Plant and Mideastern Influence.  I guess I heard the same thing they did:
Chris Cornell-A generation lost its Robert Plant
LA Times Obit Chris Cornell
Chris Cornell Interviews Jimmy Page, Part 1

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Documentary producer Sheila Nevins tells the truth

I watched this CBS Sunday News clip three times now (twice when it first aired last week).  Thought maybe some of you would be interested in her journey, from "Mad Men" style worker to the queen of documentaries.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Happy Birthday, Miss Fitzgerald

Today would have been Ella Fitzgerald's 100th birthday, isn't that crazy?  She suffered through a lot of tragedy, this songbird who gave us beauty through her jazzy, bluesy, incredible voice.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Prince - It's been one year

I said to some friends and coworkers yesterday, tomorrow will be one year since Prince died.  I was sad.  All over again.

A year ago, I thought, I'm going to gather together all my books and magazine articles on Prince and shove them together in one photo to show to all my devotion and love to all his music.  As if doing so would prove to the world how much he meant to me.  To show, I suppose, the depth of my grief.  The loss of that voice, his suggestive eyes and moves, his incredible, electrifying guitar ability.  But I didn't do it--take the photo, that is.  I just couldn't bring myself to see it lain out in front of me.

Earlier this week I had read and re-read accounts of when he had died along with some updated articles from the NY Times you can find here, an account of phenomenal singer Judith Hill on the flight that landed in Moline, IL, 6 days before Prince's death, here.  There are more links to other article within these two articles.

There was also an article in The New Yorker from April 6th, in which the author, Ben Greenman, says,

When I encounter someone else who is as devoted to Prince’s music as I am, I tend to turn away from that person, embarrassed by the recognition of mutual interest, eager to return to the safety of private joy. There’s an early Prince song, “Private Joy,” in which he jealously keeps a lover to himself: “Ain’t gonna tell nobody nobody ‘bout my little pretty toy.” I knew what he meant.

I know, too.

When you love an actor or musician or author so much--when their work affects you so deeply and has become a background benchmark to numerous events in your life, your loss isn't fleeting.  It's deeply personal and deeply cutting, and painfully lasting, or as Prince sang in the song Adore. "until the end of time..."

My tribute from this day last year.

HBO GIRLS Season 1, Episode 6 The Return

Sunday, April 16, 2017

HBO Girls - A Tribute Season 1, Episode 3

All Adventurous Women Do...

HBO Girls--Endings, Beginnings, Tribute - Season 1, Episode 2

Tonight, in 15 minutes, the final show, the series finale, of Girls is going to air on HBO.

Back in January, I decided I would honor the show by making a drawing of each episode.  I couldn't, of course, include everything that happened within the episode on my page, but I could include the scenes/phrases/images that struck me the most.

Well, I only posted the first drawing of this undertaking.  I'm not sure why, probably because I have a lot of balls in the air, but now I find this last episode starting I haven't shared much with you.  I've drawn 17 shows.  I naively thought I could put together each show in a day, but it ended up being way more labor intensive.  I watched each episode quite a few times before I even decided what to put into my piece.  So, I'll begin with Season 1, Episode 2, and work my way forward.  Let's go!

Thanks for the incredible run HBO, Lena Dunham, Jenni Konner, Judd Apatow, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver, Alex Karpovsky, Andrew Rannells, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach & so many more excellent actors!  You created something amazing, sustaining, & magical!

 Just as a reminder, here's how it started.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Are you a frustrated Artist? Here's some advice

Here's some really wonderful advice from Shoo Rayner on succeeding as an artist, or for that matter, whatever it is you want to do or be.  He reminds us to not let lack of an art degree or specialized training stop you.  I love this!  Basically there's always a way around lack if you're determined enough!

Thursday, April 6, 2017


I had been feeling disheartened for a few days.  Part of it had to do with the gloomy weather we had been experiencing, which is strange, because I actually love rainy, gray days.  It probably was a combination of things, but that was the background for this emerging portrait I had drawn last night.


Below, I put the portrait behind the doors of a bookcase, giving it a slightly different story.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Bartendar - I still draw

Here's a sketch I began drawing in a meeting.  I'm listening, but I have to draw to listen.  You know, like Tyler Henry, the Hollywood Clairvoyant Medium, who scribbles on paper while he does his readings.  With the pen moving, the brain can focus.

Anyway, here's a pen on paper crosshatch sketch from last week.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Robbie Robertson, Al Pacino, and a Sunday Spa - Enlite Super Face

I woke up very early today, and began it with a 4 a.m. bath.  Yes, crazy!  I did catch one of my favorite movies (1999), "Any Given Sunday" with my man, Al Pacino, and Jamie Foxx...such a great movie and a lot of great music.  Robbie Robertson from The Band (if you're unfamiliar with Robbie's place in music history, please watch Martin Scorsese's "The Last Waltz" and see him also backing Bob Dylan in the film, "No Direction Home."  Click HERE for his autobiography, "Testimony.") was in charge of the music, so no wonder it was great.

Anyway, before that viewing happened, I took a bath and slathered on  this Enlite Super Face Liquid Assets Detoxifying Platinum Peel-Off Mask.

Whew!  Yes, that's the official name.  I bought it at the drugstore one day ($19.99) when I was feeling the need for some beautification.  I happen to love peel-off masks, because they're so futuristically fun.  This one comes off in rubbery, deflated balloon-like, metallic strips.  Try to really let it fully dry. The parts on my neck that never quite dried because I kept accidentally submerging myself in the water took some time to rinse off.  It was like it was "slippery" on my skin, and just wanted to stay on there.  My skin did feel and look softer in the reveal. (-:

Look how fabulously thick and metallic this stuff is.
(Is it just me, or do you also see a happy eel head on this finger?  See the eyeball on the upper, left-hand side and the smiling mouth underneath it?)

Peel away.

Here's the product description:

Make a smart investment!  This unique, mineral-rich peel-off mask contains a proprietary anti-oxidant blend of Colloidal Platinum and Malachite Extract, along with a cocktail of anti-aging peptides.  This mask helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin luminosity while it strips away dead skin cells and impurities to reveal immediate and visible results. 

Contains OPTISHIELD our proprietary anti-oxidant complex to help protect against free radicals and environmental aggressors.

It doesn't contain:
  • No Parabens, No Sulfates, No Animal Testing


Smooth a think layer over clean, dry skin, leave on for 20-30 minutes or until completely dry.  Gently peel off from outer edges and rinse off any residue with warm water. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Happy April!

I have been on hiatus from my blog for quite a long time.  I've been overhauling my art studio and investigating different passions of mine.  I haven't quit making art, I just haven't been posting as much on my blog.  You can find most of my output over on Instagram at @jujulabean.

There's a weird thing that has to happen every so often in your life.  I read recently that you cannot always have expansion.  That thought resonated with me, because it was exactly the way I was feeling.  I'm still doing the work--making art--but I had to think in which way I wanted to head.  It takes time to back the truck up, spin it around in repeated reverse/forward, reverse/forward lurches, and drive into a different direction.

I'm still mapping my way, but with the start of spring, and especially with the beginning of a new month, I feel ready to begin putting my fingers to the keyboard again.

I'm going to go a little freestyle in subject matter from here on out.  For over 4 years I posted painting after drawing, drawing after painting.  And although art is and always will be a huge part of my life, I also love fashion, cooking, chocolate, MUSIC, and things of beauty--including beauty products!

I've got an itch this year to complete a chocolatier program, to cook a new soup every day, and to continue illustrating every episode of HBO's Girls which is ending its series after 6 seasons.  Look, some people only have one path.  I feel like there is so much to see and do in this world before I croak that I want to skip down as many paths as I possibly can!

So I'm going to let my current stream of thought be my freewheelin' jazz approach to this blog until it goes through it's next metamorphosis. 

Let's begin with the following.  One of my favorite chocolatiers is Vosges Haut Chocolates based out of Chicago.  You can find their website here, and specifically, their Easter offerings, here.   Vosges is not, shall we say, inexpensive, but it is soooooooo delicious.  Made with the finest ingredients, I respect the cost.  Does that sound strange?  To my way of thinking, just like calories, the cost doesn't matter as much when you're getting something for it...or as my great grandma used to say, cheap is expensive.

Watch for specials in shipping and percentages off which Vosges offers frequently.  Finally, indulge and ENJOY!

From far left, Blueberry Lavendar Petunia Rabbit, Strawberry Lemon Max Rabbit, Crunchy Piemonte Hazelnut Emma Rabbit and Sicilian Pistachio Luella Rabbit Look at those sweet boxes, too! I'm a sucker for fine chocolates AND beautiful packaging! 

Thursday, March 9, 2017


I was lucky enough to see Casey last September in Nashville at the incredible "Story" conference.  Do what you can't...that's what he does and so should all of us.  No one knows what lies within you, but you.  Don't let anyone tell you who you are (they don't know) or what you're capable of, peeps!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Patti Smith in Chicago

Hey all--it's been two years and 3 months since I wrote this ode to Patti Smith and then left it in draft form.  I wanted to write so much more.  I wanted to talk about how Patti said during the show,

"How do you like my hair cut?  I got it Paris."  

It was just the right dramatic pause.  Not arrogant or entitled, but full of masterly timing that evoked an uproar from the audience.  Quintessential Patti.

Since this never-before-published post, I've seen Patti perform again, bought her book, "M Train" and watched her (via video, of course) accept Bob Dylan's Nobel Peace prize for literature (see Spin's write up here.)  Why publish this now?  I saw a call out on Twitter for artwork or writing on Patti, and thought, what the heck--maybe someone will know what I'm talking about when I describe my appreciation of the Godmother of Punk.

The day I bought these tickets, my hands were shaking on my keyboard.  Only 10 tickets left for a second added show.  Heart pounding, the first set of seats I had clicked on were gone as I tried to check out.  Same thing with the 2nd set.  Now I was down to 6 tickets.  Was the website malfunctioning?

I was panicking.  It's not that I hadn't known Patti Smith was coming.  I had asked a couple of people, but at $125 a ticket, I didn't pursue it in my usual manner.  Then, as I watched this dream of mine start to fall like dry dust through my fingers, I mentioned it to my husband.  Could we make this my Christmas present?  My eyes started to well up...this might be my only chance to see her.

My voice started to crack as I plead my case.  Kman stopped me and said, "I know how much Patti Smith means to you; I read your blog." Well, it's true you know.  Here's where I talk about my love of Patti before this:  Day 148. Thanks Ray Manzarek.  (I've got a great video of Patti singing, "Ain't It Strange" (in Amsterdam) and a drawing of her from one of my Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbooks, "The Last Word Ever Spoken.")  Anyway, I got my Christmas present early and it was SO worth it--a dream come true in the form of a ticket.

Patti Smith had swirled around in the consciousness of my life, but it wasn't until I read "Just Kids" in a 2-day gallop back in the beginning of 2011 that I truly fell in love with her music, lyricism, incitefulness, humanity, poetry.  I've read it several times since and even tried to get college students in my reading class to read it for extra credit.

There is no way I can express how life-altering that book was to it gave me the courage to plunge further into my creative have someone understand how desperately important it was to be an artist.  To accurately describe this strange calling inside that compels you to give up all else in its pursuit.  Really, the only other books in my lifetime of reading that have ever touched this internal artistic calling are Irving Stone's, "Lust for Life" and Chaim Potok's, "My Name is Asher Lev."  In fact, Patti was in town to accept The Chicago Tribune's Literary Award at Chicago's Humanities Festival the day before. (Click here for more info.)

By the way, if you have the time, and you REALLY should make the time, read this great description of Patti's life and influence by Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot of the eve of that Literary Award.

 Chicago Tribune Patti Smith at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


I'm pretty bummed that HBO's series, Girls, will be ending soon.  The final season begins next month, and in anticipation of that bittersweet event, I've decided to do a drawing of each episode.  It's my way of honoring Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow's witty, biting, touching creation.  I'm just going to put down my favorite parts, because, you know, my sheet of paper is only so big!