Portrait of the Artist as Just an Artist

Should The Cosby Show still be on TV?

Do I have your attention?

What Bill Cosby did to women was despicable. It was wrong on all sorts of levels which is why he went to prison.

But his TV show, the one all about family values….should it be pushed aside to the bins?

Should the thousands of other people who worked on that show be forced to suffer in shame even thought they did nothing wrong?

Do we separate the artist from the art?

I have been struggling with this issue for awhile. There are many books, movies, music and art that I like and appreciate for their intrinsic value. It’s pretty to look at, or complex in its ideas. It makes me think or it inspires me. Is it wrong to look at a work of art and not contemplate who the artist is? Should we just get rid of all that intellectual property because of the person who made it?

So, I have decided to take a stand: I am going to separate art from the artist. I am going to enjoy a piece of work on its own merits. I am not going to look at the background of an artist.

My college book club is really focused on looking at the background of the authors of the books that we read. We spent the first ten minutes of the last book club hearing someone recite the bio of the author…


Can’t a book just be a book?

Shouldn’t a book stand on its own merits without knowing anything about the author? if you’re a scholar this could be very interesting. I understand many a thesis is based on looking into the life of an artist. But for the lay person? Should we need a reason for the art? Shouldn’t the art stand alone?

Does the authors bio really matter?

Does who the artist is really matter?

Should we separate art from the artist?


On a side note: Two of my blog friends wrote very thought provoking pieces yesterday. As they gave me much to think about, I thought that you might enjoy them as well:



Highlights of the Week That Was- March 7

This is a comic from my blog buddy Matt. If you want to check out his amazing work www.aprolificpotpourri.art
this is how I was trying to prep for my podcast: can you say cut and paste
It was so nice to be in a theater
This is The Strand bookstore in NYC- at the same time there were two movements going on- 1) Save a beloved Indie bookstore from going out of business 2) Don’t save it because the owner invests in stocks of large corporations like Amazon, so you’re not really supporting a small business
What I watched this week. Quite good and Daniel Kaluuya is just amazing
Seen in gift shop at Morgan Library

My Song

“I love music, any kind of music”.

I didn’t write that line. That credit belongs to the iconic songwriting duo Gamble and Huff, as was sung by the O’Jays. And that simple line sums up quite neatly how I feel about music.

What is it about tunes and lyrics, hearing musicians play instruments and singers sing songs, that makes many of us feel good? What makes some songs become popular? What makes some songs stay in people’s minds forever?

There are some theories.  I know there’s a mathematical formula about beats per minute that supposedly is found in many chart toppers. Certain singers have voices that are just so pure that people will listen because the vocals are that incredible. There are musicians that play their instruments so well that you can’t help but be in awe of them. But those are just theories…and there is no universal song that everyone loves. Every listener takes something out of a song, a piece of work. Everyone has music that just speaks to them.

One of my songs is “Iris” written by Johnny Rzeznick.  There is something about this song that resonates with me, and also every other Goo Goo Dolls fan as evidenced by the crowd singing the chorus at the concert I attended recently. And of course my blog sister Cynthia, who has written about this song as well.

And I’d give up forever to touch you
‘Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be
And I don’t want to go home right now
And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life
And sooner or later it’s over
I just don’t wanna miss you tonight
And I don’t want the world to see me
‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s meant to be broken
I just want you to know who I am
And you can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything feels like the movies
Yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive
© BMG Rights Management

So what is it about this song? Why does it grab my attention? Seriously, other than the obvious romantic stuff (cause we all know I’m not particularly romantic), what captivates me?

And of course, what are the songs that captivate you? Which songs will always be on the playlist in her heart?



What Are You Listening To?

A few weeks ago my very wise blog friend Kim wrote a post about what music she listened to that week.  I remarked that I loved hearing what songs/music/performers motivate people, that it’s such a view into one’s soul. And we wondered if music was a better indicator of what’s truly inside a person, as opposed to books or movies or other leisure time pursuits.

So I began thinking.

Can you tell who a person is by looking at their playlist?

I thought about myself first.  Selfish, I know.  My music taste is literally all over the place- I listen to almost every type of music- my exceptions being misogynistic rap and heavy death metal (I don’t even call that stuff music, she says with a touch of disdain in her voice)

So…what does my varied taste in music signify about me?

  1. multiple personality?
  2. indecisiveness?
  3.  reinvention?
  4. open minded?
  5. just a lover of things with a beat?
  6. experimenter?
  7. curious?

Feel free to pick one or two and comment what you think.  This is the multiple choice portion of our morning.

Let’s drill down more into how I listen to music.  I don’t like quiet (for reference see yesterday’s blog about the environments we choose to live in) I seem to always have music or TV on in the background when I’m home, even if I’m not actively listening or watching.  Background noise comforts me: it puts my body in a certain rhythm.  When I walk around town, or use mass transit, you will see the little white buds in my ears.   I’m always listening to something musical. Music helps me think.  Music helps me relax.  Music quiets my brain, and allows me to come up with blog ideas. (I know- some of you are now thinking-stop the music- your blogs are driving us crazy) but, bottom line, I always have music on.  FYI- never podcasts or audio books.  The words distract from my thoughts and it feels like information overload.

Does this make any of the choices clearer? Feel free to short answer at this point…

What about my go to’s?  There are certain songs/performers that I never turn off if they come up on shuffle, or on the radio.

  1. U2 (any song)
  2. “Freebird” Lynyrd Skynyrd
  3. Goo Goo Dolls (any song)
  4. “Stairway to Heaven” Led Zeppelin
  5. “Make you feel my love” any version
  6. Journey (mainly Steve Perry stuff, but I’m flexible)
  7. “Patience” GNR

What do these songs/artists tell you about me? This is another short answer because I have absolutely no idea what this compilation actually means.  I can’t even begin to give you multiple choice.

So, for the essay (can you tell my daughter has been actively studying for the SAT and AP and regents exams?) please write about what my musical tastes (or lack there of) say about me.  Specific examples will be given more weight when it comes to grading.  Remember, this essay will be 35% of your grade.




Week in Review- March 18-24

Another week in the books!  Here’s a little wrap up of my week:

What I Listened to:

Claude Debussy: Treason- Oriental Influences for Flute and Piano

Lucy Dacas- Historian

Yuja Wang

Grateful Dead- The Best of The Grateful Dead (Live- remastered)

Borns- Blue Madonna

Romeo Santos

Esa-Pekka Salonen- Memoria

My Fair Lady soundtrack

Apollo Fire

What I Watched:

“Call the Midwives” (I know- I’m late to the party.  Love)

Queer Eye (I miss the original Fab 5, but still love the concept)

New York International Children’s Film Festival- Shorts Program 3.  My daughter and I have been going to this festival since she was three.  We love voting on our favorite movies.  If I find the program I will list the films we saw.  Our favorite was “Negative Space”.  I know “Geneva Convention” won the category though. (technically last week, but…)


“Instinct” This could become my new favorite show.  I know it’s a golden age of TV, but I like my TV light and easy.  I have home ADD- I can’t just watch TV, I have to watch along with doing something else, so thoughtful TV shows are out of my realm.  This is a nice. cozy mystery starring Alan Cumming.  Seriously perfect for me.

“Keep the Change” I love indie movies, my Husband doesn’t.  Recently, he found out about an amazing Italian place across the street from one of my favorite indie movie theaters.  Sometimes it’s a win/win.

What I went to:

Angela Hewitt performing Bach’s :Goldberg Variations”.  She is an gorgeous pianist, but I have to say the first two thoughts after the 90 minute no intermission performance were 1) Wow.  She has that all memorized.  and 2) look at how stiff she is when she got up from the piano.  That takes a lot of stamina


Cooper Hewitt  Saw “Access and Ability” exhibit which was a cool exhibit about the functionality of design and “Bob Greenberg Selects” which was just his curation of tech objects in our world.  This is just a fun space and cool if you have kids and are visiting. (technically this was last week but I didn’t mention it because I was in a lousy funk last week and didn’t feel like writing about it

What I’m Reading:

Finished “Portrait of a Lady” ( I actually liked this book when I first read it 30 years ago.  Not so much on the reread)

“A Piece of the World” Christina Baker Kline (remind me not to have my two book clubs meet within days of one another…)

Funnyish part of week:

My daughter has applied for three summer internships so far (the other four are in the works of being sent out).  I thought she would definitely get called back for one of them:  she didn’t.  I thought she had no  shot at another: so of course she got an interview.  So another moment that I literally know nothing.  But- she did get an interview with the one she really wants, which was almost a disaster because she didn’t get the first email they sent….

Random Question (getrandomthings.com)

Are you related or distantly related to anyone famous? Infamous maybe…  But, my cousin plays lead guitar for a fairly popular singer, but that’s borderline if he’s famous or not.  Otherwise, no.  My family is utterly unremarkable.


Yay!  Very happy to love my box.  Yes- I am obsessed!!



Sunday Wrap-up

This was a busy week for me.  Here’s my list of the good, the bad, and the ugly- though this week erred almost entirely on the side of the good:

I am getting no compensation for any of these things- I am using all my own ill gotten gains.  Also, unless otherwise stated, all events are in New York City.  Ratings are 0-5.


“Confessions of a Domestic Failure” by Bunmi Laditan-  I found this book very funny, but I really feel this book is aimed towards Mothers who try to be Pinterest perfect, but end up being Pinterest fails.  4


“Grantchester” PBS- I am not loving this season.  I think they forgot that it is supposed to be a murder mystery show. 3.8

“Prime Suspect Tennison” Not Helen Mirren.  3.7

“My Mother and Other Strangers” After two episodes I am unsure what I think.  Giving it one more try. 3.5

“Food Network Star”  I love a food type competition show.  I’m rooting for Cory (him and his food are both easy on the eyes) and Jason (he makes me laugh and his food looks amazing) 4.2


“The Big Sick” I loved this movie- happy, sad, funny, touching- it feels real.  4.8


Magnolia Bakery- banana pudding 4.8

Second Avenue Deli-  pastrami, corned beef, fries…..It’s fine- but the cost is high, and for this much money it should be more than fine. 3.8  (if you want deli, try the more kitsch Katz’s or the more upscale Mile End)

Mel’s Burger Bar- The Broadway- The burgers are decent, but the broadway is served on rye bread.  I happen to love any sort of patty melt situation. 3.9

Covina- Spicy Honey pizza, Mandilli (pasta)- both delicious.  This is great place to go with group because menu is conducive to sharing. 4.4


U2- Lumineers  Giants Stadium NJ- Awesome concert experience.  Just amazing. 4.9

Mid Summer Night Swing- Lincoln Center- outdoor dance party.  I saw Loser’s Lounge, a cover band and they did 70’s disco.  They were amazing and evening was fun.  This was capped off by silent disco.  Silent disco is when everyone gets headphones- three dj’s spin, and there’s a toggle on headphones so you can switch the music.  SO MUCH FUN.  Please try this if you have the opportunity! 4.8 on all aspects


People’s Improv Theater (PIT) great small venue.  They host a lot of comedy/improve things.  Shows are inexpensive and short. 4.5 on venue  I saw Gypsy Danger, an improve group that improvs movies.  They were just OK 3.7 on act