Read Cecchini’s article on PFOA and local drinking water at NorthJersey.com. PHOTO COURTESY OF NORTH JERSEY DISTRICT WATER SUPPLY COMMISSION
Steve Kelly & Joseph Palestina bring a forum for younger artists to Basemeant Wrx today. Owner Aimee Danchise said,”Montclair is just bleeding artists that have nowhere to go.” Today, they do.
Eric Carle’s illustrations are easy to identify. My husband did not recognize his name, but recognized his artwork as soon as he saw it at the Montclair Art Museum (MAM).
Carle’s books are well-known staples in the world of children’s books. His writing is simple and he created his colorful illustrations by hand-painting tissue paper collages. Among the original collages on display at the MAM exhibit, are his sketches and book dummies/mock ups.
And, appropriately, there is a space in the exhibit that has been dedicated as a child-friendly book nook with carpeted steps, bean bag chairs and, of course, Eric Carle favorites such as his 1969 title, “The Very Hungry Catepillar.”
The exhibit will be open until January 3, 2016. Click here for museum and event information.
My husband and I were excited we were able to take our six-year-old niece to the MAM Lawn Party on Saturday. I think we enjoyed it as much as she did. (But, admittedly, I was disappointed our niece did not want to paint the almost life-sized horse – blue – in Eric Carle fashion.) In addition to being able to check out Carle’s exhibit, Parents Who Rock featured a great line-up of local bands including Thee Volatiles.
If you missed the festivities on Saturday, the MAM’s Eric Carle Family Day for more hungry caterpillars and blue horse celebrations on November 15, 2015.
Photographs from the Montclair July 4th parade by K. Cecchini
Text by K. Cecchini/Photos Courtesy of Edward Delaney
For a moment, a jazz horn blended with punk riffs in the crosswalk between Church Street and South Fullerton. Yesterday was Montclair Make Music Day and the Thee Volatiles were making punk music inside the East Side Mags comic book shop.
The Thee Volatiles was born among the East Village DIY scene of the late 1980’s which made for a particularly interesting interview for an article in the Montclair Times (with a wealth of stories left to be told, there is certainly fodder for more writing).
Not only was it fun to see the article roar to life in a live show, the Thee Volatiles have rekindled my love for punk music.
Written by Kimberly Cecchini
(Text reposted from the Montclair Film Festival site: Sunday, May 10)
Thursday night’s headline for the Montclair Film Festival was a film event that fit its subject; it was larger than life and totally outside of the box. The live documentary screened at the Wellmont Theatre was a tribute to R. Buckminster Fuller, who according to a television host, had been called a “genius”, “the Benjamin Franklin of the space age” and a “crackpot”.
Director and producer Sam Green narrated a series of clips and stills from the late Fuller’s archive in harmony with indie band Yo La Tengo’s original live soundtrack. From the other end of the stage, the music’s tone alternated between foreboding, hopeful, eerie and Space Odyssey-esque to follow the rhythmic loop of triumphs and failures that made up Fuller’s life.
In a soft, bedtime story voice, Green took the audience on a trip of the architect, inventor and author’s life with a mixture of humor, empathy and a bit of reverence. Green also smoothly went off script and reminded the audience that it was a live performance with a “bless you” to a sneezing ticket holder.
On script, Green first marveled at the expanse of Fuller’s archives; there is a wealth of telegrams, letters, photos, blueprints and anything else that “crossed his desk”. The audience laughed as Green gestured towards an image of Fuller’s Social Security card and grinned, “I love this s**t!”
Fuller’s life began ordinarily enough; he married in 1917 and had children. However, a series of misfortunes led him to the brink of suicide. Legend says “a voice told him he couldn’t take his own life, that he had to dedicate his life to humanity instead”. And, Green added, “In some versions of his story, he even levitated”.
Whatever happened in that mythologically tinted turning point, Fuller heeded the voice. He initiated his own design revolution with the creed of today’s environmental conservationists, “do more with less”. By applying this philosophy to invention, Fuller believed that peace would be created as humanity could circumvent fights over resources.
To illustrate Fuller’s vision, Green shared a number of his sketches and prototypes. Fuller dubbed many of these ideas with a blend of the words, “dynamic, maximum and tension;”: dymaxion.
Perhaps Fuller’s own term was the most apt title for his designs. After discussing Fuller’s futuristic car and mass produced house concept (both of which “went down the drain”), Green placed his most famous invention in context, “Alexander Graham Bell got a phone, Thomas Edison, the lightbulb, with Buckminster Fuller, its the geo . . . dome– he’s the dome guy”.
It was his first success. In the 1950s his dome plans were used for botanical gardens, aquariums, radar stations, churches, and, of course, Fuller’s home. Green identified this success as another turning point, “he was no longer a fringe figure”. Yo La Tengo highlighted that transition with strains of hope.
“Opposite of Soundbites”
In from the fringes, the “huge egomaniac” was pictured on a 1960s Time magazine cover and became a lecture staple. When it came to lectures, though, less was not more.
Not only did Green credit Fuller as “the most impossible person to edit I’ve ever come across” because he spoke in “the opposite of soundbites,” but he also shared that one of Fuller’s lecture series was entitled “Everything I Know”.
At 42 hours, that title might actually be the opposite of hyperbole.
Was R. Buckminster Fuller a genius or a crackpot? Or perhaps a bit of both? However you slice it, Sam Green’s project is fitting for either personas.
See more information about the Montclair Film Festival and all its great events at the Montclair Film Festival page. View more photos at the MontclairFilmFest Flickr.
(Reposted from the Montclair Film Festival site: Sunday, May 10)
Mavis Staples often starts out a performance with a whisper to bandmate Rick Holstrom, “I don’t have much tonight.”
But a few songs later she’ll turn around to him and exclaim, “I got it back!”
Staples didn’t need to get it back on Friday at the Wellmont; she brought it.
After cheering her performances on screen during the documentary, Mavis!, the MFF audience gave her a minute long standing ovation. She and Colbert then jumped right into a lively, crowd-pleasing banter.
Through interviews and performances, Director Jessica Edwards created a tribute to the master of soul, R&B, jazz, gospel, rock and blues. Mavis! tells the story of the Staples’ tightly woven family and their progression singing gospel for congregations and then follows their evolution through multiple generations of music. On screen, music industry heavyweights such as Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt praise the Staples’ influence and Mavis’ transformative voice.
And everybody loved ‘Pops’ Staples. Even Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mavis’ father had experienced the brunt of segregation in his southern upbringing and on tour during the Civil Rights Movement, his family also endured it. After hearing King speak, Pops was inspired to write freedom songs and told his children, “I think if (King) can preach it, we can sing it.”
Today, Mavis carries his inspirational spirit in her voice and his familial love in her heart, “Pops taught me that the family unit is the strongest unit in the world.” These are not just words to her; older sister Yvonne always travels with her. Moreover, Mavis has expanded the definition of family to include her band and dear friends. She holds a similar sentiment for Wilco’s Tweedy as he has become a close collaborator in her renewed solo career.
Thank You For Being.
Stephen Colbert warmly welcomed Mavis Staples into their conversation by simply thanking her “for being.” Having worked together in the past, there was an easy affection between Staples and her “friend and brother.” Over the hour, they fluidly transitioned from serious themes to cracking each other up to an impromptu duet of Fats Domino’s “I’m Walking”.
After a spout of laughter from the audience, Staples teased, “What’s the matter with them?”
“They just love you, that’s all. They’ve never seen anyone make me quiet for this long.”
As few people can, Colbert broached topics with a mix of humor and reverence. He apologized when he brought out notecards for his questions, “I’m afraid I’ll forget because I’m too enchanted.”
Staples spoke about growing up with other musical greats like Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield in what they called Chicago’s “Dirty Thirties” between 33rd and 35th Streets. Colbert followed up, “Can you do gospel and be bad? Were you bad for gospel people? Because you sure were sexy; was it okay to be sexy and do gospel?”
Even on a more serious subject, Colbert made Staples giggle. He asked her how she had once “accidentally integrated” a laundromat in Mississippi, “Did you do a load of colors and a load of whites at the same time? That’s bold.”
Staples laughed, “Col-bert!”
It’s Still the ’60s . . .
Colbert and Staples spoke more about her having to walk a “fine line” in the South during the Civil Rights Movement. He paraphrased her father’s guidance to “not stir up any trouble,” but to “not let anyone push you around.”
At Colbert’s prompting, Staples also reflected on their freedom song’s contemporary relevance, “All the songs that I sing fit today . . . it’s still the ’60s as far as I’m concerned.” Staples continued, “When we first started singing protest songs . . . we thought we could change the world. Man, we did pretty good, but not everybody got on board.”
From freedom songs and gospel to the blues and rock n’ roll, Mavis Staples sings across genres without a day of formal
training. She said that when she works with a new producer she always tells them, “if it’s too high, bring it down; if it’s too low bring it up and eventually it’s right in there.”
Colbert quipped, “That’s the Goldilocks method of singing.”
Perhaps Staples crosses genres so easily because she doesn’t see a big difference between them. She demonstrated as the audience clapped along, “Jesus gave me water, Jesus gave me water,” and then she switched it up, “My baby, he gave me water . . .”
But even Staples had once resisted going to clubs because her hero Sister Mahalia Jackson did not perform in them. As always, though, Pops had a way of changing her mind by giving her purpose; “Ok, Daddy, I’ll take the church to the club.”
In appreciation, Colbert responded, “You’re taking the church to us.”
Tonight at Dawn just reached its 1st year anniversary and 200th article on Sunday (2.22: “Tonight at Noon“). To celebrate, we are presenting our largest (& favorite) milestones from the last 365 days. Thanks for taking the ride and stay with us as we evolve!
Tonight at Dawn: Favorite Posts by the Month
February: TaD’s 1st live coverage “The Man Behind the Curtain: Covering the VH1 Superbowl Blitz”
March: Japanese rainbows “Shinjuku, Block no. 2 (新宿二丁目)”
April: Live wire Lews Black Rants On: 7 Pieces of Advice
May: Get educated The Nigerian School Project
May (Indecision!) Montclair Film Festival Series
June: What’s threatening our democracy? Justice Reform Series
July: International collaboration Economy Decoded: Kesariya Baalam, Padharo Mhare des!
August: Give me the RED Light…District
September: Eco-tacular Meeting the 1st female prime minister of Ireland at NYC’s Climate March
September: (Indecisions, again!): Meeting Senator Cory Booker
October: Music reviews from @kraltunes make our stats POP! Pearl Jam (& my favorite @kraltunes piece)
November: The doctor is in! One of Dr. Nina’s “What you to need to know…”
December: ART! Margeaux Walter Has Got Heart (or a FAMNIG HJÄRTA)
January: “One small step for (wo)man” Peeing in the Shower (& Other Eco-Friendly Moves I’m Not Ready For)
February: Armchair activism via John Oliver: #Jeff We Can! #Jeff We Can! #Jeff We Can!
What’s next for TaD? More of everything! More @kraltunes, travel, Dr. Nina, live event coverage and real, current social and environmental issues. The next interview piece will be a sobering but hopeful conversation with a TED Talks speaker.