Viewing: Bill Matheny - View all posts
June 19, 2016
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.
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!
(Sure hope this flugelhorn thing works out.)
October 24, 1935
William D. Matheny was born.
Happy birthday, Dad!
October 24, 1988
Chamber Jazz Ensemble
Berklee College of Music
David Valdez, alto saxophone and flute
Ole Mathisen, tenor and soprano saxophones
Jay Brandford, bass clarinet
Garrett Savlok, trumpet
Mark Taylor, french horn
Dmitri Matheny, flugelhorn
Terje Nygaard, trombone
Julian Joseph, piano
Peter Herbert, bass
Jim Black, drums
"A father has to be a provider, a teacher, a role model,
but most importantly, a distant authority figure
who can never be pleased."
"What was silent in the father speaks in the son,
and often I found in the son the unveiled secret of the father."
"It doesn't matter who my father was;
it matters who I remember he was."
Hold hard this infirmity.
It defines you. You are old.
Now fix yourself in summer,
In thickets of ripe berries,
And venture toward the ridge
Where you were born. Await there
The setting sun. Be alive
To that old conflagration
One more time. Mortality
Is your shadow and your shade.
Translate yourself to spirit;
Be present on your journey.
Keep to the trees and waters.
Be the singing of the soil.
I credit my father [a naturalist and school teacher] and his hip record collection for kindling my childhood interest in music. There was great music on our turntable all the time, from Rachmaninoff to Ray Charles.
According to Dad, one time when I was about five, he was spinning Kind of Blue. I asked, "Daddy what's that sound?" When he answered, "That's Miles Davis, a jazz musician." I responded, "Well, that's what I want to be when I grow up!"
The story may be apocryphal, but Miles is still my man.
Received a letter from Dad today,
poetry enclosed, as is his habit:
"Here's a poem by the Kentucky farmer Wendell Berry.
It may be almost the perfect poem for me,
so I wanted y'all to read it too..."
LOOK IT OVER
I leave behind even
my walking stick. My knife
is in my pocket, but that
I have forgot. I bring
no car, no cell phone,
no computer, no camera,
no CD player, no fax, no
TV, not even a book. I go
into the woods. I sit down on
a log provided at no cost.
It is the earth I've come to,
the earth itself, sadly
abused by the stupidity
only humans are capable of
but, as ever, itself. Free.
A bargain! Get it while it lasts!