Viewing: Literature - View All Posts

Christmas List 



Dear Santa,

As you know, Christmas Day is also my birthday. 

 

This year, I've been a very good boy and a hard working dog.

 

Please bring me anything from this list:

 

  • CD: Grand River Crossings by Geri Allen
  • Book: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • DVD: Johnny Staccato
  • Large black Rudy Vallee-style megaphone
  • Autographed Nicholas Payton pocket square
  • Medjool dates grown in Dateland AZ
  • Custom personal cologne designed by David Carlos Valdez
  • Working replica of the Mystic Seer
  • Hat like the one Mark Gross wears on the cover of Blackside
  • Property taxes windfall
  • Chili and lime saladitos

 

Thank you!

 

Love,

 

Dmitri

BEFORE MOTOWN 



We're putting together a jazz residency in Michigan next spring, with concerts in Detroit, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo, and workshops at colleges and high schools throughout the state. These will be my first Michigan appearances since attending Interlochen Arts Academy 30 years ago, and I'm very excited about getting back to the Great Lake State.

As part of my preparation, I've been brushing up on the cultural history of the region. A great resource is the book Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit 1920-1960 by Lars Bjorn with Jim Gallert — a very well-researched and enlightening volume, drawn largely from the oral histories of seminal musicians who lived and worked there. Highly recommended.

~DM

IMPRESSIONABLE 



When I was young and asking the big questions, I learned most of what I still believe about loyalty, bravery and morality from the Silver Age superheroes in my comic book collection.

 

For real.

 

In later years I would travel internationally, study world religions, read classic works of philosophy and ethics, and even pay attention to my father's many lectures. I went to private school, public school, boarding school and the school of hard knocks. I'm an educated cat.

 

But to this day, when the world tests my mettle or challenges my sense of right and wrong, it's not Spinoza but my inner Green Lantern who shows up for the fight.

 

I've always been impressionable in this way. 

 

For example, I'm pretty sure I have a goatee because of the way Spock looked in "Mirror, Mirror." I know I started wearing dashikis in high school because of a picture I saw of Elvin Jones in Downbeat. I sport a beret on stage because Dizzy did.

 

Today, while watching Highlander for the godzillionth time, I noticed something about Christopher Lambert's home. Like so many characters in films of the 1980s and '90s, The Highlander lived in a loft.

 

It now occurs to me that my interior design preferences and bone-deep love of warehouse loft spaces and mid-century modern furniture are not based on anywhere I've lived or anything I've seen or studied. They don't reflect some sophisticated notion about the aesthetic requirements of an artist's life. They aren't because I need space to rehearse and create.

 

Nope. I learned about loft living from the movies. Dig: 

 

William Sanderson in Blade Runner (1982). Jennifer Beals in Flashdance (83). Lambert in Highlander (86). Barbara Hershey in Hannah and Her Sisters (86). Mickey Rourke in 9-1/2 Weeks (86). Tom Hanks in Big (88). Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally (89). Rosanna Arquette in New York Stories (89). Nancy Travis in So I Married An Axe Murderer (93). James Caan in Bottle Rocket (96). Ethan Hawke in Great Expectations (98). Julianne Moore in The Big Lebowski (98). Adam Sandler in Big Daddy (99). Christian Bale in American Psycho (00). Owen Wilson in Zoolander (01). Olivier Martinez in Unfaithful (02).

 

I want their cribs!

 

Thanks, Hollywood.

 

(Sure hope this flugelhorn thing works out.)

AFFECTION FOR THE WEST 

"I have such tremendous affection for the West that I would want anyone I love to experience it and to see it and to spend as much time there as possible. I would definitely want that experience for my family, but it's also not entirely a romantic thing. I mean, I don't want to romanticize the experiences of people who are living in rural, poor communities...or the desert. Our dominant cultural narrative totally devalues all three of those things: rural, poor and desert. So there was a sense when I was there that you're often told that where you are is not valuable or important. Just think about the way we talk about the desert as a wasteland or the middle of nowhere or it's barren. That's a really bizarre phenomenon, when you've spent your whole life in a place and then the culture tells you it actually doesn't even exist, and if it does exist, it's worthless. That's a bit of a heady place to be, I think, and that's partly what I was looking for with this book, was getting a portrait of the place that had never before been presented to me."

 

~Battleborn author Claire Vaye Watkins on NPR Fresh Air


WILL 


"If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 

To serve your turn long after they are gone, 

And so hold on when there is nothing in you 

Except the will which says to them: hold on..."

—Rudyard Kipling

 

"Your will turns thought into reality. 

You must learn to focus your will and 

create what you see in your mind. 

The limits are only what you can imagine."

—Tomar-Re

 

"The man who is to be great is the one who can be 

the most solitary, the most hidden, the most deviant, 

the man beyond good and evil, lord of his virtues, 

a man lavishly endowed with will."

—Friedrich Nietzsche

RSS