Bow Brush Body

I have known Fred Hatt for almost 12 years. Over the course of our friendship, his inexhaustible well of artistic expression and experimentation has never ceased to amaze me. I’d like to share this mesmerizing Fred Hatt project with Museworthy readers. From Vimeo:

Strokes of a violin bow, traces of a paintbrush, and the gestures of the body: dancer Kuan-Ling Tsai, artist Fred Hatt, and musician Andrei Matorin bring three art forms together in a collaborative shadow-screen performance.

Movers and Shakers

“Ode” from Music and Moonlight by Arthur O’Shaughnessy –

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;-
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

A Summer Night, 1890, Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer - A Summer Night (1890)

Vaudeville Musicians, 1917, Charles Demuth


With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample a kingdom down.

A Pyrrhic Dance, 1869, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema


Joyous Frolics, 1899, Paul Emile Chabas


We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Ninevah with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

The Bacchante, 1872, Mary Cassatt


Sounds of Spring, 1910, Franz Stuck


A breath of our inspiration
Is the life of each generation;
A wondrous thing of our dreaming
Unearthly, impossible seeming —
The soldier, the king, and the peasant
Are working together in one,
Till our dream shall become their present,
And their work in the world be done.

The Peasant Dance, 1568, Pieter Brueghel the Elder


Study for the Spanish Dance, 1879, John Singer Sargent


They had no vision amazing
Of the goodly house they are raising;
They had no divine foreshowing
Of the land to which they are going:
But on one man’s soul it hath broken,
A light that doth not depart;
And his look, or a word he hath spoken,
Wrought flame in another man’s heart.

The Impassioned Singer, 1510, Giorgione


Chocolat Dancing in the Irish and American Bar, 1896, Toulouse-Lautrec


And therefore to-day is thrilling
With a past day’s late fulfilling;
And the multitudes are enlisted
In the faith that their fathers resisted,
And, scorning the dream of to-morrow,
Are bringing to pass, as they may,
In the world, for its joy or its sorrow,
The dream that was scorned yesterday.

Music (Sketch), 1907, Henri Matisse


Singing Peasants, Filipp Malyavin


But we, with our dreaming and singing,
Ceaseless and sorrowless we!
The glory about us clinging
Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing:
O men! it must ever be
That we dwell, in our dreaming and singing,
A little apart from ye.

Midsummer Dance, 1903, Anders Zorn


Candle Dancers, 1912, Emil Nolde


For we are afar with the dawning
And the suns that are not yet high,
And out of the infinite morning
Intrepid you hear us cry —
How, spite of your human scorning,
Once more God’s future draws nigh,
And already goes forth the warning
That ye of the past must die.

Dance of the Majos at the Banks of the Manzanares, 1777, Francisco de Goya


Aragon, La Jota, 1914, Joaquin Sorolla


Great hail! we cry to the comers
From the dazzling unknown shore;
Bring us hither your sun and your summers;
And renew our world as of yore;
You shall teach us your song’s new numbers,
And things that we dreamed not before:
Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers,
And a singer who sings no more.

A Dance to the Music of Time, 1636, Nicolas Poussin


Praise Winter’s Glory

The great Bill Veeck famously said, “There are only two seasons – winter and Baseball.”

As a baseball fan myself I can somewhat relate to the sentiment. Winter. Ugh, winter. That bleak dormant interval between the last out of the World Series and the first pitch of opening day. Winter gets such a bad rap from so many corners. The short days and limited sunlight dampen our mood. The cold weather forces us to put on uncomfortable restricting layers of clothing (my personal pet peeve). Fanatical baseball fans lament winter. Beach bums lament winter. Folks who suffer from “seasonal affective disorder” lament winter. Even hibernating bears lament winter so much that they curl up and sleep through the whole damn thing 😆

I think we could all learn a lesson from pagans, who know how to extol winter’s significance through their sacred celebrations of the solstice. From Stonehenge to Guatemala to Morningside Heights, it’s a hell of a party. Here in NYC, the Paul Winter Consort has been commemorating the winter solstice for the past 16 years with a glorious annual concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in upper Manhattan.

For those who haven’t been to St. John the Divine you are missing one of the most spectacular, spiritual, and magical places in New York City, if not the world. It has been under construction in perpetuity for 100 years and will likely remain forever unfinished. That’s part of cathedral’s charm, believe it or not. You often hear in conversations, “Have they finished St. John the Divine yet?”. Answer: “Nope. Still working on it.”

The solstice is arriving today in the Northern Hemisphere. Last year saw a rare winter solstice event – the miraculous coinciding with a lunar eclipse . To celebrate today here is a great video, also from last year, of the Paul Winter concert at St. John the Divine. Absolutely worth watching not just for the music, costumes, and dance, but to chase away the winter blues. Everyone, rejoice! Remember, the sun will be re-born and the light will return. And so will baseball 🙂

Dancing in My Dreams

Several times after art modeling I have been asked if I am a dancer. The question never fails to thrill me, even though the answer is, sadly, no. But just knowing that I give that impression is totally awesome. I’ve always regretted that I never took dance as a girl, specifically ballet. I really, really wanted to and probably should have pushed my parents to sign me up for classes. There was even a dance studio just a few blocks from my house. I would see girls going into the building and was envious. I pictured them in their ballet shoes and tights, practicing at the barre, doing plies, being elegant, graceful and beautiful.

Dance Class by Edgar Degas:

Maybe this subject is on my mind lately because of the movie “Black Swan” which is much talked about these days. I haven’t seen it yet. From what I hear it’s quite terrifying! But the movie isn’t really relevant. My childhood desire was never to become a professional star dancer or prima ballerina. I possess neither the drive, toughness, nor the competitive nature for that. That’s not what I’m made of. I simply wanted to take ballet classes for the poise, the music, the cute outfits, and the movement. Ah, the movement.

Charles Amable Lenoir’s A Dance By the Sea:

So perhaps it’s natural that I eventually fell into art modeling, a profession that emphasizes movement of the body and expression through physicality. Perhaps it symbolizes my latent, unrealized dream of being a dancer. I recognize that dancing and modeling are two very different things. But we have some common ground to be sure, particularly with regard to short pose art modeling. Both dancers and models engage in extension, balance, flexibility, and stretching. Lots of stretching! In a way, you could think of art modeling as “dancing” without the technique. After all, a “pose” is a frozen moment of movement. And dancers do, without question, make excellent art models.

La Danse Amoureuse, by Gustave Clarence Rodolphe Boulanger:

So I’ve come to terms with the reality that, at 42 years old, my chance to train as a dancer is long gone. But I do have art modeling. Instead of a dance studio, I have art studios. Instead of leotards and little skirts, I have my nude body. Instead of music to accompany me, I have the silent concentration of artists. Not too shabby 🙂

Let’s have a dance class-inspired “Music Monday”. A popular composition for ballet practice, this is Beethoven’s “Fur Elise”:

All That Jazz

On Cape Cod last week,  my family and I were sitting at a big round table enjoying a wonderful dinner. The champagne flowed as freely as the conversation. As is typical among our gang, the discussion was dominated by the arts, and on this particular night, film, theater, and music were the main topics.

My brother Chris is a composer and his standards for what make a quality musical are very high- higher than most peoples’. Chris is a guy who was happy to see Rent finally close! Anyway, he stated that he felt Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret was one of the best, if not the best, musicals ever produced. That led to a discussion of the film version starring Liza Minnelli, who won a well-deserved Best Actress Oscar for her performance. Another Oscar winner for that film was the director Bob Fosse. I happen to be a huge fan of Bob Fosse. From his films to his choreography, his overall creative vision, Fosse made memorable contributions to the performing and visual arts.

Besides his talent and impressive body of work, the late Bob Fosse signifies something else that is personal to my family. In his 1979 autobiographical film All That Jazz, my father made a small appearance! It was really exciting at the time. In the nightclub scene, my Dad was a musician on the bandstand in the background, and he was directed personally by Bob Fosse. Cool! I believe he instructed my Dad to act bored, a musician on a break reading the newspaper, and then pick up his horn to play when the act came onstage. The funny thing is that I wasn’t even allowed to see the R rated film at the time. I was only eleven years old and my father forbid it. But I have of course seen it since then 🙂

All That Jazz has one of the best opening scenes of a movie ever. Terrifically shot, it captures the grueling pressure of a Broadway audition and is set to the hit song “On Broadway” by George Benson. As a kid I remember loving that song, and playing the record over and and over again in my room, dancing as if I had big Broadway dreams. It’s a great, groovy track. I’m posting this video for “Music Monday” but it could easily be a “Dancing Monday”. That’s the excellent Roy Scheider (an actor I love) dressed in black, depicting the film character “Joe Gideon” based on Bob Fosse himself.