Sampson napping on his favorite rug

Sampson napping on  his favorite rug
happy, happy, happy

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sequins, Prez Candidates, Vibrations!

Silver Sequins --

My childhood having been, for the most part, on the stage -- resulted in many, many show biz people, props, and situations leaving vivid images in my mind's eye and ear. I remember the awe of the "orchestra pit", even empty, but especially when it was full of musicians. Most of the productions I performed in were at night and the footlights on the edge of the stage served well to blind me to the presence of the audience, as I wasn't tall enough to see beyond the lights. When the audience would erupt into applause, it seemed to loom up out of nowhere.

All the men in the business, I recall, wore suits and ties, whether they were managers, directors, or talent agents. Most of what I did were vocal and/or piano performances, though I also did some dance and some acting. It's funny how the one thing that stands out as my fondest and most longed-for theatrical link, is sequins. Especially, I loved the dancers' sequined costumes -- to me, they were thrilling and breathtaking! To this day, I really can't resist sequined items: purses, handbags, jackets, headbands, particualrly if silver-sequined. There is just something about them that has the power to transport me to a glamorous, exciting place. I may take a "group" picture of some of my sequined treasures and post it -- just to add some pizzaz to my blog -- and for your enjoyment, in case you share this particular passion!

Most of the costuming I saw was on the people I met backstage, when I'd be huddled with the rest of the crew, waiting for our cues and those electrifying words -- "you're on"!

During one such occasion, when I was an impressionable teen, I struck up a conversation with a stripper who had jet black hair pulled up into a ponytail ... and lots of deep green eye shadow on her eyelids. Among other things that she advised me about during those fleeting backstage moments, was that I must never (and she emphasized this) put perfume directly on my clothes. Actually, her exact words were "Never pour perfume on your clothes!" Well, this was useful information because I knew nothing about perfume application -- and I can still hear her voice, with its New York City accent, every time I apply my favorite (vanilla) scent onto my skin. During her act, when the light would hit her in a certain way, I noticed that she must be wearing those early-style contact lenses, as every so often, the light would bounce off them for a split second. And, oh yes, she had sequins -- lots of them!

So I really have two (fashion) selves: the one that loves and usually can be found in a friendly flannel shirt (over whatever else) and the one that admires the look and feel of sequins and silky stuff!

Presidential Candidates...

The presidential primaries are in full swing and it’s exciting and awesome to realize the U.S. actually/finally has a woman candidate and a black candidate in the running. Although Clinton and Obama differ in their approach, background, and personalities, I consider either/both of them to be very worthy of my vote. It was sad to see Edwards lose so much ground in the nomination process, as he had promoted a lot of needed concepts since early on in his presidential efforts. I believe, though, in Clinton’s intelligent, very conversant, savvy and well-informed approach and in Obama’s energetic, inspiring, and enthusiastic plans to restore our economy, rescue the struggling middle-class, bring home our troops, and establish an efficient, uniform system of health-care for all citizens – including those of us who currently have none.

I am afraid of the consequences a McCain victory would bring, if he were to be elected – I consider him a war machine (with little knowledge about economic matters, or anything other than career war).

I hope Americans will vote prayerfully – and when I say that, I mean spiritually, universally, not according to dogma. Look at where Bush’s dogma and insistence that he was God’s chosen one have gotten us ... unending war, a horribly battered economy, and even more horribly battered environmental and humanitarian policies and practices, a severely widening chasm between rich and poor, and a blight on our reputation in the world.

We need a president who can solidly approach the restoration of our country and who will make ethics, humane policies, addressing climate change, and preservation of the environment (and of the other species who share the world with us – the animals, our fellow travelers) – major priorities to be addressed. The fate of the world is literally at stake.


Good Vibrations & Excitations!

Sometimes people inquire about the music and color vibrational studies I’ve done (and around which I created my music therapy program). The core principle is that every sound and sight is made up of vibrations. Here are some introductory paragraphs (copyrighted in 2005) from my booklet "Music And Color – The Principle Of One and Both".


"... Every sound, whether the human ear can hear it or not, is made up of vibrations – vibrations produced by the ocean, weather, earth, plants, every creature, and every activity (think of carpenters working on a building; children playing in the schoolyard the howls, barks, mews, roars, growls, hisses, chirps produced by animals)."

"As a life-long songwriter and performing artist, I’ve experienced profound emotional, physical, and spiritual benefit in creating and presenting music. Also, I’ve had the opportunity to see truly remarkable benefits of music on listeners; for example, when I present music programs to residents of assisted-living facilities, frequently people put aside their walkers and get out of their wheelchairs, to dance. They leave the performance with obvious new energy, emotional zest, and a sense of connecting. Music can be exhilarating, electrifying, thrilling, sensuous, uplifting, soothing, or calming. There are times and needs for each of these."

"As a visual artist and nature-lover, my interest in color values also began at a young age. Colors have a full range of influences on us. The advertising industry and many businesses know this and utilize the colors that promote particular products and services."

"As a scientist, I’ve spent hundreds of hours studying the correlation of music, color, the body’s seven energy centers, and the relation of all of this to us, our health and well-being, our earthly environment and, beyond that, to the universe. Again – those inescapable and marvelous mathematics and vibrations!"


Friday, January 18, 2008

Keep Scrolling, Please!

Lengthening Days! I love those additional minutes of daylight we’re getting now!

Share The World (Everyone Matters) –

This is a wonderful poster that I had framed several years ago. It originally came into my hands while I was humane education director at a regional non-profit organization. I got two copies of the poster and gave one to a favorite classroom teacher for her students. The poster depicts children representing each racial group; they are dancing in a circle around a globe of the Earth, holding hands with various members of the animal world. It’s a beautiful and inspiring picture and message. I'll be singing about the interconnectedness of all people and all of Earth’s family (fauna and flora) – at church (TVUUC) on February 3rd, accompanied by Bill.

Read some of my thoughts about interconnectedness on my website at
http://claralandau.home.comcast.net; click on the "Sunny Dae" link.

Leo On The Loose – (astrologically speaking)

Early last Sunday evening, I took on a major furniture-moving event. It was much more of an event than a project, because it was not a planned or thought-out thing. It was sort of an emotional storm – the kind that demands great physical release. From what? I’m not sure. Six hours of shuffling, lifting, and dragging items, both within my loft and from the loft to the basement, left me tired and well-spent, but pleased. Here in the loft, I enjoy quiet solitude and the company of my plants and a significant portion of my library. This is a good place for me to come and catch my breath (the computer is downstairs), lay down plans, and remember and/or re-discover who I am. Dixie Lee loves to hang out here, too.

Playmate –

A month or so ago, Bill (my talented, eloquent guitarist for whom I have great affection and admiration) became ill with some form of the flu. Several weeks went by before he was feeling like hauling his guitars and amp over to my place for some music practice. Of course, I’d missed him and our music in the interim. Somewhere during that time, a song drifted into my mind from long ago – it is one that my mother often sang to me when I was a child. "Playmate, come out and play with me"... it goes on "And bring your dollies three, Climb up my apple tree". I wrote down the words I remembered, then changed a few of them to fit my purpose. It became "And bring your guitars three" and then I thought of two alternate lines..."And bring your guitars two (the number he usually brings)", followed by "I want to play with you".

If you’re not familiar with this old-time children’s song, then this may not mean much to you; if you did hear it when you were a kid, you may be smiling now :) The original of the song was composed in 1940 by Saxie Dowell. Various versions of the lyric have circulated ever since. The song is in 4/4 tempo. My mother would alternate "Playmate" with a somber 3/4 tempo song called "I Don’t Want To Play In Your Yard (if you won’t be good to me)", but I decided not to include that!


Experimenting with "Playmate", I turned out a fun, rhythmic, jazz arrangement of this wonderful little piece of yesteryear.

Dogster –

I couldn’t resist! One look at http://www.dogster.com/ did it for me. Dixie Lee is now a member and is gathering "Pup Pals". If you’d like to visit her page, she is # 698748.

Frances/Francis –

My household has a new member! Frances/Francis (your choice), the calico goldfish, joined us early in January. Years ago, I had a large aquarium with many fish. Maintaining it was sometimes toilsome, though the sight of fish blissfully swimming around the tank was very calming, entertaining, and nice. I’m thinking that Frances is probably a female fish (just a hunch), though the double spelling of the name should make things right for her/him. It’s fun to have a fish again.

Music Recording & Peripheral Services –

I want to mention here the extraordinarily expert tech and creative services that musicians can expect if they visit my musician friend, Sandy Garrett, at his Songwriters Studio, here in Knoxville. His website is at http://www.songrecord.com/. Always helpful and pleasant (and affordable), he is the very best!

YB Advertisement –

Will end this post on a note that may seem like (may actually be) misguided humor! Last summer I thought "Oh, why not give it a try?", as I placed my very nice (in my opinion) music lesson ad in one of the yellow page telephone directories. I wasn’t expecting an avalanche of lesson requests, especially in the current down-turned economy. But I wasn’t quite prepared for the three – yes three! – inquiries I’ve had thus far.

Inquiry #1: "I had an accident at work last week and lost a finger – can I still learn how to play piano"? The caller’s vibes were sincere ... I think he was looking for some kind of reassuring dialogue... so I suggested he might call me again after he’s healed and had therapy.

Inquiry #2: A husky male voice announced, "My name is Sharon and money is no object. We’re helping a man who just inherited a half million dollars" (or maybe it was a million and a half ... I don’t really remember which). Sharon continued: "We’re helping him to spend it. He likes to be dominated by women". I tried not to laugh out loud and I heard myself saying "Oh, every woman’s dream"! "Yes", says Sharon. "He wants piano lessons but wants a mean teacher – can you be mean? Money is no object." "Well, Sharon", I say, "Make some calls around and I’m sure you can find someone meaner than me."

Inquiry #3: "While I was in jail, I had lots of time, so I wrote poems. My friend said I can sell the poems if I get someone to write music for them". I say, "I’m driving right now and can’t stay on the phone. Are you from Knoxville?" "Yes". "OK, then ... pick up a copy of MetroPulse and look on their musicians-seeking page. I need to hang up now." He says, "What’s MetroPulse"?

I’m tempted, of course, to think about what a waste of money it was to place that ad (though I never would have known if I hadn’t tried it); yet, that old, overly-used phrase "It all depends on how you look at it" kicks in. Three strange calls and I guess the possibilities are endless – with seven months remaining for this telephone book’s use. I’ll cross-file this experience under "Weird Humor" and "Life Lessons". Who knew what I was missing during all those years I didn’t have an ad :)

Best wishes to all in this New Year!!!