Sunday, 29 October 2017

Nobel Laureate Bob

So Bob Dylan is bopping around the country singing again and a colleague of mine had an extra ticket, so I thought why not! How often do you get to hear a Nobel Prize winner present on his topic? (I was going to say on one that "you" can understand, but that would be going too far.)

We were a good ways away, so we could just see little people on the stage.  That doesn't mean we couldn't enjoy a really good concert. Mavis Staples was the warm up act and at 78 is she is an amazing powerhouse of a vocalist. A former "Staples Singer" she has amazing gospel and blues chops and a voice that knocks you off your feet with its power, accuracy and beautiful timbre.

Here is my (illegal shot of the stage when she was singing.)

And here is a shot of what she really looks like!

The concert was well worth it for Staples alone. I am now officially a fan!

Bob was Bob, in his usual inscrutable way.

He sat on the right side of the stage behind his piano and you could see his little head bobbing up and down sometimes behind the various mikes and some minimal electronic scaffolding. His voice was in fine form, much better than I expected and superior to the sound in either of the video links I have included below.

Although some videos show him playing guitar, I understnad that his hands are bothering him so he doesn't do that much, nor did he play guitar in our concert. He alternated between singing at the piano (mostly his better known "greatest hits") and singing from a microphone back center stage, which he would lay down in a swoon and sing to like a 1950s lounge singer. The latter songs were from his album of crooner hits and here his voice was really beautiful and his diction was clear as a bell.

 (From a prior concert - he did not wear a hat at our concert and was clad all in black - but did have the pants with the stripes).

For his own "classic" songs, he did what he usually does in concert these days - changed the tunes and the words, so often they were hard to distinguish from each other. The arrangements varied, but never matched the original treatments, so one might not be quite sure which song was being sung especially if he was swallowing his words in typical Dylan style. This is in keeping with his (don't break the) fourth wall tendency. The concert simply starts with a song.  We struggled from the distance to discover whichof the figures on stage was  Dylan.  He rarely acknowledges the audience, never names the band members or indicates he is aware of our presence.  He sings for himself and as my colleague pointed out, because the tunes and words aren't the same, it prohibits the audience from singing along, creating a kind of alienation effect. It was a strong reminder, that he is a poet and not as much of a musician.  We were there for the poetry.

But of course he still slurs his words, so that sometimes presented a challenge. The old standards like Autumn Leaves were easy to understand, but the author's own works dared us to comprehend. A couple of times it was the interpreter for the deaf, or a snatch of a phrase ("Tangled up in bloo-ooh") that gave the song away, but the newest version of "Blowin' in the Wind" sailed right by me unrecognized, despite the fact that I have sung that song at numerous, numerous rallies and peace marches and could probably sing it backwards! Here is a much more melodic version from a prior concert, so extrapolate from this and you will have an idea of the  "Blowin' in the Wind" that we heard.

 I was surprised that he got such pleasure out of the Sinatra-like standards. I always thought he was critical of the more conservative crooners that were the fuddy-duddies of the day. It seemed almost like a teenager locked in his room living out his secret fantasy! If so, more power to him to follow his dream! The songs were beautifully performed and a pleasure to hear!

For those that want a taste of the new rendition of old Dylan fare, check out this youtube video from two years ago. It is his signature encore piece, "Like a Rolling Stone." 

Friday, 6 October 2017

Too much ink!

Another attempt

Today I tried deductive prints at home. I over inked my ground:

It looks better here than in real life - but it is too dark. Here is a self portriat - also a bit dark and this time muddy.

I'll keep practising.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Today's Print

Deductive Process (Much easier than Additive!)

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Experiment at home - Printing

First an obligatory image of the one of the children:

So I bought some litho ink and decided to try a print or two at home. I did an applied print today.

Here is the glass plate after I applied ink and took an image. I like it better than the print!

I need to apply more ink, but it is a beginning.