Archive for September, 2021

Check out The Black Sheep Symphony, a modern classical work I composed over the summer. It’s now available now available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and YouTube and appears under the name of my musical act, “Salon de la Guerre.” This is my 28th album and my fourth symphony. It was composed, arranged and produced by yours truly.

It’s a sequel of sorts to my albums Gravitas: A Life, The Widowhood of Bunny and Infinity Boy.

I’ve got a couple of other albums following close on the heels of this one if this isn’t quite your bag. One’s pop and one’s ambient. If you’re into it … enjoy!

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–*Everyone forgets that these celebrity couples were once just zygotes.

–*There was a candy bar in this picture a minute ago. Who took it?

–*Why Hollywood won’t hire William Holden anymore.

–*Could writing a check on somebody’s back be the new TikTok dance craze?

–*This hot stock tip has the SEC waiting to arrest you for this hot stock tip.

–*Click here for a dopamine rush!

–*Could sexual intercourse be the new day trading?

–*What happens at the end of this colonoscopy is not dinner conversation, damn it!

–*This can of Fanta sitting by itself is just awkward!

–*This anti-vaxxer comedian made that famous joke thief look not so bad in hindsight.

–*This Kanye West made that Taylor Swift look not so bad in hindsight.

–*She gave up everything for a blood test device that didn’t work.

–*This hack will allow you to read the work of journalists for free by using the internet.

–*This hack will allow you to hear the work of musicians for free by using the internet.

–*Who is Lionel Barrymore dating 95 years ago?

–This Grecian urn hack will have you saying that truth is beauty and beauty truth.

–*This tomato bisque … um, awkward!

–*She wore a tiered skirt over jeans. Next thing you know, we were at war.

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In the next few weeks, I’ll be putting out a crazy amount of music, including my 28th, 29th and 30th albums. The first one is another contemporary classical piece called The Black Sheep Symphony, part of a series of sorts I’ve developed around a fictional family and their individual biographies (it started in 2016 with Gravitas: A Life, followed by The Widowhood of Bunny in 2017 and Infinity Boy in 2019. The new work continues with some of those same musical themes, but also allowed me the opportunity to get familiar with my new music software Logic Pro.

I have no mission statement for this music nor theory of tonal or microtonal music to discuss, just an abiding love for Prokofiev and Stravinsky and occasionally the mercurial Harry Partch.

The album that will follow this one is a 20-song collection of pop music, but I’ll leave that discussion for another time.

Like many people, my family has endured a bit of turmoil over the past 18 months (though our issues were not directly related to the Covid-19 pandemic). I even thought I might have to stop making music for a while. But then I found a lot of time at home with a new computer and new software–whose musical notation function has allowed me to compose every day and done wonders for my creative flow.

Again, if you’re into it, here’s a sample of The Black Sheep Symphony. As usual, it was composed, arranged and produced by yours truly. (Photo credit: Tatyana Maximova.)

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One of the memories of 9/11 I’ve never shaken: I took a subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan to write about the event (I had to lie about my intentions to the MTA staff to get on board). When I popped out in the West Village, I found a man with an easel and canvas planted right in the middle of empty Sixth Avenue. The sun hadn’t even set on that day, and he had already nearly completed a richly colorful painting of Lower Manhattan smeared in smoke and debris.

In a moment of crisis, I didn’t know what to make of this. The words “Who does he think he is?” came to mind. I was probably also jealous of his nerve and alternatively affronted by the fact that he was making sure to draw attention to his act by making a public stage out of an empty New York thoroughfare. At a spot near Houston Street where many people fleeing lower Manhattan were likely going to be marching past.

This happened before the age of cell phones. If somebody had taken a picture of him and it had gone viral, I always wondered what the Twitterverse would have done with him. Would they have hailed him as an example of superior coping skills or would they have called him a crass opportunist trying to draw attention to himself and his own cuteness while thousands of people lay dead a few miles south? I can’t help thinking now that, given people’s desire for bloodlust in the wake of the attacks, that this artist would have been canceled, stalked, doxxed and threatened.

But that’s why I’m using this little anecdote, hopefully to illuminate a bigger point. We all felt varying degrees of helplessness that day. Everybody. (If you’ve ever interviewed a 9/11 first responder, you know what I’m talking about.) Human beings aren’t good with helplessness. We must create ways to compensate and cope and feel some agency over world events that make us feel tiny.

For some of us, that meant getting in a car and driving away from town (perhaps with no explanation to anybody). For others, it was helping rescue workers. For those who couldn’t even help with that, it meant telling tasteless jokes (yes, they were being told in New York the day of. I heard them). Some created meaningless conspiracy theories. Others attacked innocent Muslims. Most Americans simply supported any military action put on the table.

And if we’d had Twitter, I would imagine it would mean going after the tragedy painter. “I’m going to cope by fighting with another person coping.”

My own coping mechanism after pulverized bits of the World Trade Center snowed down on my neighborhood in Brooklyn was to write a story or two about it. It wasn’t good enough. We all come face to face with our own limitations in a crisis, and that’s what makes the events of like 9/11—yes, it was a very beautiful day in New York—so personal to many. Trauma is a part of your body. It doesn’t forget.

So I’ve accepted that the painter was coping. It’s in human nature to act when we think we’ve got a picture of things. We also have to accept that the real picture of things is always going to change.

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