Archive for January, 2010

A World Shattered in Seconds, Changed in Two Hours

January 23, 2010
from Rolling Stone: Music News, Reviews, Photos, Videos, Interviews … by Rolling Stone

Photo: MTV Hope for Haiti Now via Getty Images:

Friday, January 22, 2009, dozens of big-name stars from Springsteen to Madonna are joining forces to help raise money for relief work in Haiti. Rolling Stone will be following all the musical action as it happens right here. Watch some of the best performances, and in addition, take an opportunity to flip through music biz vet Jeff Antebi’s photos from Haiti and our other coverage on the industry’s response to the horrific earthquake:

Hope for Haiti Now: Bruce, Madonna, Jay-Z and More Photos From the Telethon

Inside the Recording of Bono and Jay-Z’s Haiti Single “Stranded”

Dave Matthews Band, Lady Gaga and More Stars Rock to Aid Haiti

8:00 p.m.: Alicia Keys opens the telecast alone at a grand piano singing “Prelude to a Kiss” from As I Am.

8:04 p.m.: George Clooney, the telethon’s organizer, explains why this benefit is so important while the camera pans past the bank of all-star phone operations.

8:07 p.m.: All four members of Coldplay are strumming away to a rendition of “A Message” live in London.

8:13 p.m.: “A small prayer for Haiti,” says Bruce Springsteen before starting an acoustic version of “We Shall Overcome.”

8:16 p.m.: We spy Ringo Starr in the phone bank!

8:20 p.m.: Stevie Wonder is at the piano performing an excellent medley of “A Time to Love” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with a choir.

8:24 p.m.: Wyclef Jean mournfully describes the scene he encountered in his homeland in the days following the earthquake.

8:25 p.m.: Shakira offers a stirring, stripped-down version of the Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You” backed by the Roots.

8:34 p.m.: John Legend takes the piano for traditional “Motherless Child,” and really digs into the bridge.

8:39 p.m.: Mary J. Blige and her high hair are putting a soulful spin on “Hard Times Come Again No More,” a 19th century song that’s been covered by Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan.

8:44 p.m.: Another pan of the star-bank reveals LL Cool J, Randy Jackson and Common manning the phones.

8:47 p.m.: Taylor Swift (safe from Kanye West, who will not be appearing on the telethon) gently strums “Breathless” by Better Than Ezra.

8:53 p.m.: There’s no shortage of melisma during Christina Aguilera’s performance — the debut of a new song that features the lyrics “If you lift me up.”

9:01 p.m.: A very buff-looking Sting picks up an acoustic guitar for a jaunty, jazzy rendition of his classic “Driven to Tears,” backed by the Roots, who seem to be the house band in this New York studio (a role they’re clearly comfortable with thanks in part to their day job on Jimmy Fallon’s show).

9:06 p.m.: Beyoncé teams up with Chris Martin (on piano) for a powerful version of her I Am … Sasha Fierce ballad “Halo,” changing the lyric to “Haiti I can see your halo” live from London.

9:13 p.m.: Sheryl Crow is flanked by Kid Rock and Keith Urban for an acoustic “Lean on Me.” All the artists have really been staying on message with their selections tonight.

9:21 p.m.: Madonna, dressed in a tight black leather jacket, is leading a choir in an emotional acoustic version of “Like a Prayer” from the New York studio. Paring the song down brings out its defiantly uplifting core.

9:30 p.m.: Justin Timberlake has settled in at the piano for a slow, shuffling rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (a song quite appropriate for the occasion, though Cohen has called for a brief pause in covers of his tune). He’s accompanied by Matt Morris, who Timberlake signed to his own label.HT

9:34 p.m.: Taylor Swift takes a phone call!

9:36 p.m.: Ringo Starr is answering phones, and now the Beatles are in the building: Jennifer Hudson is beautifully embellishing “Let It Be” (backed by the Roots). Is this the right pick, or would you rather have heard “Hey Jude” or “All You Need Is Love”? “With a Little Help From My Friends” (with Ringo)?

9:42 p.m.: Haitian artist Emeline Michel has taken the stage, putting a quite unique spin on Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross” (one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time).

9:48 p.m.: The biggest collaboration of them all has arrived: Jay-Z, Rihanna, Bono and the Edge singing the Swizz Beatz-produced “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour).” For the story behind the track, click here. Is it us, or is the mix slightly off? Getting lots of Rihanna, just a bit of Bono.

9:51 p.m.: Stevie Wonder takes a call! “A whole lot of littles make a whole lot of lots,” he tells his caller.

9:53 p.m.: Dave Matthews and Neil Young’s acoustic selection is perhaps the most mournful track of the night, Hank Williams’ “Alone and Forsaken.”

9:58 p.m.: Yéle Haiti founder Wyclef Jean brightens the mood a bit with “Rivers of Babylon,” another track from the soundtrack to The Harder They Come (one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time). “Let’s rebuild Haiti, man,” he yells as the song jumps into a funky breakdown and he shouts out Anderson Cooper.

Hope for Haiti Now: check out photos from the all-star telethon.

Charles in Wonderland

January 23, 2010

It doesn’t get more romantic than this. A man or woman places a billboard message in Times Square, New York, (oh and in San Francisco and Atlanta) claiming a forever soul mate.  Generally that would signify “Big Love ” and that money is no object in the expression of just how he or she feels for the partner.
That is unless you are the co-president of Oracle Corporation, a member of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, married and recently estranged from your eight year extramarital lover.

Charles E. Phillips just might be the man about whom romance novels are written. A prominent, wealthy, corporate executive who has it all, including YaVaughnie Wilkins.

Well apparently not any longer… But people,  if you play with fire, you just may get burned. OBTW, Phillips reports that he and his wife have kissed and made up and rumor mills add that he and his former lover have too.

shades of…

January 21, 2010

pink

pro ~ per

po~ e ~ tic

punc ~ tu ~ a ~ ted

pur ~ i ~ tan ~ i ~ cal

par ~ ti ~ cu ~ lar

pre ~ ten ~ tious

pret ~ ty

pink

January 17, 2010

The following poem is delivered to you by a man who, if alive today, could turn brick chocolate into fondue or asphalt into shimmering liquid gold with the wave of a writing instrument. In order to have the permission to re-print this poem,  I summoned the galaxy royalty.

LISTENING

What is the deep listening?

Sama is a greeeting from the secret ones inside

the heart, a letter.

The branches of your intelligence grow new leaves in

the wind of this listening.

The body reaches a peace.

Rooster sound comes, reminding you of your love for dawn.
The reed flute and the singer’s lips:
the knack of how spirit breathes into us becomes as simple and ordinary as

eating and drinking.

The dead rise with the pleasure of listening.

If someone can’t hear a trumpet melody, sprinkle
dirt on his head and declare him dead.

Listen, and feel the beauty of your separation, the unsayable absence.

There’s a moon inside every human being.
Learn to be companions with it.

Give more of your life to this listening.

As brightness is to time, so you are to
the one who talks to the deep ear in
your chest.

I should sell my tongue and buy a thousand ears when that
one steps near and begins to speak.

Rumi (1207-1273)

Whether you study the quatrains and odes of this masterful 13th century Persian or not, it will be impossible for you to deny the hypnotic appeal of the poetry of Rumi. Even if you have not spent time learning about the life and beliefs of this ageless writer, his words cast a spell of both magic and certainty.

Are you listening? Rumi asks?

Do you hear? He reiterates his question!

In his poem, Listening, Rumi may be trying to tell us that the power of knowledge comes alive when we pay attention.

Nature, simplicity and even the deceased are among the living by simply listening.  If you do not heed the voices inside you are better off dead and buried. For we are one with God, the universe and all life form and yet we do not quiet ourselves.

Quiet yourself is Rumi’s message.

We recognize the power and beauty of the moon, and yet we do not accept that we are the “moon”.

Such simple and complete wisdom from Rumi’s closing line  as we are called to pay the closest attention when man or nature or the spirit is at our feet.

Do not read Rumi in your head, speak his words in your heart and say them aloud and you, too, will hear with a thousand ears.

I Know The Way You Can Get

January 17, 2010

I know the way you can get

When you have not had a drink of Love:

Your face hardens, Your sweet muscles cramp.

Children become concerned

About a strange look that appears in your eyes

Which even begins to worry your own mirror And nose.                                                                                                 Squirrels and birds sense your sadness And call an important conference in a tall tree.                                              They decide which secret code to chant  To help your mind and soul.                                                                                 Even angels fear that brand of madness That arrays itself against the world And throws sharp stones and spears into The innocent  And into one’s self.

O I know the way you can get If you have not been drinking Love:  You might rip apart Every sentence your friends and teachers say, Looking for hidden clauses.

You might weigh every word on a scale Like a dead fish.

You might pull out a ruler to measure From every angle in your darkness The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once Trusted.                                                                                                                                                                                             I know the way you can get If you have not had a drink from Love’s Hands.

That is why all the Great Ones speak of The vital need To keep remembering God, So you will come to know and see Him As being so Playful And Wanting, Just Wanting to help.

That is why Hafiz says: Bring your cup near me.                                                                                                                        For all I care about Is quenching your thirst for freedom!                                                                                                        All a Sane man can ever care about Is giving Love!

Very little is written on the  14th century poet, Hafiz.  Myths, rumors and tales swirl around the Persian like the “name” he earned, hafiz, which is a title given to someone who is said to have memorized the Koran. Hafiz is known to have done so in fourteen different ways.

I know the Way You can Get makes it to the top of my all-time favorite poems. I  am convinced that Hafiz wrote this for me or to me. Or perhaps, I wrote this poem at the beginning of time and Hafiz had stolen the words from my heart hundreds of years ago.

How true it is that the universe, your universe and mine is out of synch without that drink of love. Inside your very being there is disruption without love. Visible to all creatures: small and mighty and to God and his messengers affected by your need to drink from the cup of love. And Lord knows, as well as this author, that at the very core of evil exists the absence of love.

Hafiz equates the presence of love to freedom. For without love we are bound by chains, burdens and torment.

I Know the Way You Can Get when you are giving away all of your love: alive, free and truly who you are meant to be.

Bishop Fulton Sheen in Black and White

January 17, 2010

Once upon a time there was a place where families thrived in a traditional values environment. Generally that meant there was ethnicity and community. It also meant that society was monochromatic. Yes, things were black and white.  And while I don’t mean television, TV was simple too: black and white.

Being raised in a Catholic Polish family meant living in an ethnic, traditional neighborhood where nothing was gray; not values, not church and that included Bishop Fulton Sheen.

As a young girl I lived in fear of three things: confession, my grandmother (AKA “Busha”),  and Bishop Sheen. Timing is everything. I was born too late for the weekly night time radio program, The Catholic Hour. But I recall hearing aunts and uncles tell stories of a Bishop’s voice that reverberated truth in a no nonsense approach to the right life.

I would not, however, escape the memorable influence of Bishop Sheen.  Like “saying” the daily rosary and meatless Fridays, watching Life is Worth Living and The Fulton Sheen Program were sacrosanct. During the 1950’s and 1960’s Sheen, in his royalty, would look directly into the camera and your soul and speak without mincing words on moral issues of the day.

Sheen was a televangelist before the term was coined. Here are a few quotes Bishop Sheen is credited with saying:

There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.

A heckler asked Bishop Sheen a question about someone who had died. The Bishop replied, “I will ask him when I get to heaven.” The heckler replied, “What if he isn’t in Heaven?” The Bishop replied, “Well then you ask him.”

A man told Bishop Sheen he did not believe in hell. The Bishop replied, “You will when you get there.”

Our brains today are big enough. Could it be that our hearts are too small?

Dirt is nothing more than matter which is in the wrong place.

As Our Lord said, “Where your treasure is, there is your heart also.” Hence the least love of GOD is worth more than the knowledge of all created things.

Did you know that, in Heaven, an angel is a no-body?

We cannot like everyone, but we can love everyone.

When we say we fear GOD, we mean we shrink from hurting One Whom we love.

We do not need a voice that is right when everyone else is right. We need a voice that is right when everyone else is wrong.

Hearing nuns’ confessions is like being stoned to death with popcorn.

Life is like a cash register, in that every account, every thought, every deed, like every sale, is registered and recorded.

Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?

Beautiful Membrane

January 5, 2010

No, it’s not a photo out of a super hero comic book or a scene from Armageddon. Probably in the Guinness Book of World records for the tallest building, Burj Kahlifa, in Dubai India, is the  new skyscraper that touts of 160 floors of commercial and residential space. The construction of this  828 m (2,717 ft) building began on  September 21,  2004, with the exterior of the structure completed on  October 1,  2009 and the building officially opened on  January 4,  2010.

Burj Kahlifa includes: 1,000 pieces of art, an Armani Hotel occupying 15 of the lower 39 floors. Floors through to 108 will have 900 private residential apartments, an outdoor zero-entry swimming pool located on the 76th floor of the tower, 57 elevators and eight escalators, and a $217 million exterior fountain just to name a few outstanding features.

Burj Khalifa is expected to hold up to 25,000 people at any one time.

Not to be undone, in 2014, China expects to complete the Shanghai Tower, which at 2,073 feet will be crowned the tallest building in the world.