Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Coldplay's Viva la Vida

Frida Kahlo
Viva la Vida
59 x 50.7 cm. oil on masonite 1954
Frida Kahlo Museum, Mexico City, Mexico.

Coldplay's lead singer, Chris Martin, was inspired by the life and art of the Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, while recording Coldplay's latest album: Viva la Vida. Martin was struck by the appeal to life gouged into the watermelon in the foreground of Frida's Viva la Vida which he viewed on a visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City,

Both Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera were involved in revolutionary politics in the Americas. Both artists felt it was their responsibility to point out and help change the injustices in society. But the band has used another painter's work to stand in for their inspiration. Eugène Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People graces the cover of Coldplay's new album.

Though, the painting has been tagged by Frida, Chris, Banksy or perhaps Ricky Martin in white paint with the phrase "Long Live Life!"

The undamaged painting is seen below:

Eugène Delacroix
July 28. Liberty Leading the People
Louvre, Paris, France

The Louvre describes the painting in some detail in materials from their self guided tour:

"This work is unlike others by Delacroix, who was especially drawn to exotic subjects. His compositions inspired by contemporary events were rare.
In July 1830, three days of riots known as “Les Trois Glorieuses” led to the downfall of Charles X and the enthronement of Louis-Philip, despite a vain attempt by the people of Paris to re-establish the Republic on 28 July, the day celebrated here. The belltowers of Notre-Dame situate the scene behind the huge barricade, already piled with corpses. Striding over the top, Phrygian bonnet on her head and rifle in hand, the allegorical figure of the Republic waves the tricolor flag and urges the people to follow her. The different classes of society can be recognized from the clothes in which they are dressed. Political awareness is epitomized by the boy, the emblematic Parisian street urchin and forerunner of Victor Hugo’s character Gavroche, who takes his destiny into his own hands despite his young age.
This powerful, innovative painting caused an uproar at the Salon of 1831. The freedom of the artist’s brushwork depicted the Republic not as a symbolic image but as a real woman — dirty, half-naked, and hirsute. Only smooth-skinned, allegorical nudity was acceptable! This forceful work also heralded the critical function of contemporary art. Louis-Philip grasped the message only too well: he purchased the painting to commemorate his accession to the throne, then hid it away so that its subversiveness could not turn against him."

By using Liberty Leading the People , Coldplay seems to be suggesting that artists need to storm the barricades with the forces of change. Isn't that the painter Delacroix in a tophat and armed with a musket?
Perhaps joining a mob led by a topless French woman isn't a bad idea after all? What would Gwyneth say?

(The first single, Violet Hill, is available for the next week as a free download from the Coldplay's site:
Violet Hill Download)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Prove It All Night Live - Thinking of Danny Federici

Filmed at Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ. 19-9-1978

A gray morning at the beach in L.A. I'm thinking of Danny Federici and the fragility of life. Sometimes you just have to crank up the music real loud and let the memories reverb around the room. At the 7 minute 35 second mark of this tape, Danny lets it all out. Warn your neighbors. Let the dog out. Pull a Spinal Tap and set the max at 11 and let the wake begin!


Friday, April 18, 2008

Good on ya, Danny. Rest easy.

Danny Federici
January 23, 1950 - April 17th, 2008

"So we lose another friend... I have known Danny since he started playing at the Stone Pony back in the late 60s. He was always a crusty guy with a sarcastic sense of humor, so, of course, we got along just fine. I can recall many nights jamming on blues and rock & roll classics, then he and I,Garry, and whomever else was on stage would shift into some jazz standard or improvise on a chord progression. He was a much more advanced musician than most of us at the time, and he raised the bar for all of us. It was embarrassing to hear how good he already was and to listen to your own pitiful efforts. And, yes, for all you REAL early fans out there, Danny was the one who pushed the speaker cabinets over onto the chief of police who was behind the stage trying to cut the power on a Steel Mill concert. There were arrest warrants, so he always denied it, but I was back there and saw him get up and do it. No one was hurt, but it helped keep the show going. Good on ya, Danny. Rest easy."
- Southside Johnny

“What people take for granted on a daily basis, among so many other things, is their skin. I spent my life, like many others, catching some rays, surfing, hanging out in the sun and it never bothered me until now. Who knew that something as simple as a proper sunscreen or keeping yourself covered up on a sunny day could one day save your life? Our culture looks at a nice tan as a sign of luxury. We spend time in tanning booths when we can't go to the beach or lay by the pool. It's time to think again. Especially if you're fair skined, have freckles, or light eyes. Be aware of the dangers, take precaution, and have yourself checked out regularly by a dermatologist from head to toe. It could absolutely make the difference in your life."
- Danny Federici

The Danny Federici Melanoma Fund

Miss You ... Good Luck, Goodbye

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

With These Hands: "A Great American Reclamation Project Needs to be Undertaken"

In the Basin of Angels
Gregg Chadwick
In the Basin of Angels
36"x36" oil on linen (1987-1992)

My City of Ruins
- Bruce Springsteen

There is a blood red circle
On the cold dark ground
And the rain is falling down
The church door's thrown open
I can hear the organ's song
But the congregation's gone
My city of ruins
My city of ruins

Now the sweet bells of mercy
Drift through the evening trees
Young men on the corner
Like scattered leaves,
The boarded up windows,
The empty streets
While my brother's down on his knees
My city of ruins
My city of ruins

Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!
Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!
Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!

Now's there's tears on the pillow
Darlin' where we slept
And you took my heart when you left
Without your sweet kiss
My soul is lost, my friend
Tell me how do I begin again?
My city's in ruins
My city's in ruins

Now with these hands,
With these hands,
With these hands,
I pray Lord
With these hands,
With these hands,
I pray for the strength, Lord
With these hands,
With these hands,
I pray for the faith, Lord
We pray for your love, Lord
We pray for the lost, Lord
We pray for this world, Lord
We pray for the strength, Lord
We pray for the strength, Lord

Come on
Come on
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up

Copyright © Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP)