fangirling about sonny and cher (+ a recipe)

“Believe in magic and it’ll happen.” ~ Sonny Bono

Don’t you love how we all have unique soundtracks to our lives?

Hear a certain song and it instantly takes you back — right there, feeling all the feels . . .

They say we’re young and we don’t know
We won’t find out until we grow.
Well I don’t know if all that’s true
‘Cause you got me and baby I got you
Babe
I got you babe
I got you babe

The year is 1965, a very good year for popular music. The Stones sought “Satisfaction,” Dylan confronted us with “Like a Rolling Stone,” the Temptations crooned about “My Girl,” Pet Clark hung out “Downtown,” the Beatles played Shea Stadium, and Arlo Guthrie got arrested for littering.

My friends and I lived and breathed music, poring over the pages of Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, saving our money for albums and concert tickets, daydreaming about meeting our many idols. Long hair and guitars? Yes, please. British accents? Triple yes. We instantly became rabid fans. So many cute rockers, so little time. 🙂

And then there was Sonny and Cher.  Never dreamed we’d fall so hard for such an oddly dressed couple. Sure, there were other singing duos we loved (Chad and Jeremy, Peter and Gordon come to mind) — but these two were so different, clearly smitten with one another, and their chemistry on stage had us clutching our hearts, yearning for that same brand of pure, perfect love.

We tried to emulate fashion icon Cher, with her gorgeous long black hair, Cleopatra eye make-up, bell bottom outfits and flashy gem stone rings. Sonny was adorable and fun-loving in his bobcat vest and Caesar haircut, exuding a certain paisano charm and friendliness.

Their signature song, “I Got You Babe,” released in July 1965, shot to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, selling over a million copies in the U.S., while also hitting #1 in the UK and Canada. Once their first studio album, Look at Us, came out in August, there was no stopping them and they were everywhere, touring and appearing on popular TV shows like “Shindig,” “Hollywood Palace,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “American Bandstand,” and “Hullabaloo.”

Some say “I Got You Babe” was inspired by Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe.” In any case, Cher had a solo hit with Dylan’s “All I Really Wanna Do.”

And we watched them all, and listened to their music constantly. When we heard they were coming to Hawai’i for a concert in December, we were ecstatic.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Something to make us feel happy, safe, and comforted:  charming watercolor and gouache paintings by Loré Pemberton.

Couldn’t find very much information about Loré online, other than she’s an artist who lives with her family in the northern woods of Vermont tucked between a mountain and a river in a place they call Cold Hollow.

 

 

Her style reminds me a little of Phoebe Wahl’s (which I adore), and features rustic woodland scenes, mothers, children and small animals.

There’s a lovely harmony with nature; children enjoy exploring the forest, catching fireflies, walking through the snow, and having outdoor parties.

This painting, called “Holed Up,” seems appropriate for these times. The three figures in red seem quite content in their cozy underground digs.

 

 

And this is Mr Cornelius’s favorite: “Mr. Bear’s House.” He would like to have his own little house with a mailbox with his name on it, and have Fuzzy the Fox peek in the window.

 

 

Loré fills her pictures with homey details like braided rugs, quilts, and the simple trappings of rustic living.

 

 

To purchase prints, visit Loré Pemberton’s Etsy Shop.

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nine cool things on a tuesday (stay home, save lives edition)

No doubt — this is a crazy, scary, sad, worrying time for everyone. Most of us are sheltering in place and trying our best to adjust to a new reality.

While we are not performing heroic deeds like all the frontline healthcare workers and first responders, grocery store employees and delivery drivers, we can all do our part by simply staying at home.

During tough times, I’m even more grateful for the artists, poets, writers, and musicians who make self-isolation more bearable by generously sharing their talents. What would we do without stories and poems to read, music and podcasts to listen to, movies to watch? Prime example of how healing the arts can be — a good reminder that all of us are in this together.

1. Uber-talented Vermont author/illustrator Ashley Wolff is featuring her border collie Rufus in a new series of “Stay Home, Save Lives” prints. She says this is her way of coping with the new reality and sharing solidarity. Pictured above is “We Are United States Strong.” Ashley also painted all 50 states and one territory.

 

 

 

Each signed, 11″ x 14″ print is made with archival inks on heavyweight 100% cotton watercolor paper. Visit her Etsy Shop or PM her on FB to order your state of choice (she will also personalize upon request).

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. There’s nothing ho-hum about Oregon-based ceramicist Sara Swink’s work. She creates human and animal figures that tease our thinking and beg interpretation. She takes something familiar and gives it a dreamlike, bizarre, or even humorous twist. Her distinctive pieces definitely compel us to take a second or third look.

Her love of clay began when she was eight, with the encouragement of a neighbor who was a potter. She learned to throw on a potter’s wheel, hand build and mix glazes in high school, even buying her own wheel with money earned cleaning houses.

Some twenty years later, she began taking ceramics classes, then studied art history, printmaking, drawing, and foundry work at several universities while teaching. Studying with Coeleen Kiebert (whose approach is to fuse artmaking with the psychology of the individual) was pivotal in shaping Sara’s work. Sara’s pieces can be seen as expressions of her inner psyche; there is a personal narrative that runs through all her art.

Sara opened Clay Circle Studio when she moved to the Portland area in 2006 and continues to offer workshops. Find out more about her classes at her official website, where you can also view a wonderful archive of available and past pieces.

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[tuneful review] Carlos Santana: Sound of the Heart, Song of the World by Gary Golio and Rudy Gutierrez

“There’s a melody in everything. And once you find the melody, then you connect immediately with the heart. Because sometimes English or Spanish, Swahili or any language gets in the way. But nothing penetrates the heart faster than the melody.” ~ Carlos Santana

Just as there are celebrated rock singers whose vocals are instantly recognizable (Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks), there are electric guitarists whose signature stylings and timbres we’d know just about anywhere.

Carlos Santana is rightfully ranked among the greatest rock guitarists of all time, alongside such masters as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. When you hear the pure, piercing tone of his guitar as it caresses a melodic line (oh, those amazing solo riffs and sustained notes!), there’s no mistaking whose fiery, impassioned “voice” you’re hearing.

Santana pioneered a unique fusion of rock, blues, jazz, and Latin, African and Cuban rhythms in the late 60’s and early 70’s — a distinctive sound that continues to electrify audiences today. With early hits like “Black Magic Woman” and “Evil Ways,” the rare addition of percussion instruments (congas, timbales) to guitar and organ flavored the music with an old world, positively primal feel. The aptly named, strictly instrumental “Soul Sacrifice,” with its driving polyrhythms and rousing solos, pulsates with an energy that fairly inhabits the listener, taking him/her on a transformative musical journey.

Though I’ve enjoyed Santana’s music since college, I knew very little about Carlos Santana’s childhood, so I was especially pleased to see that New York Times bestselling music biographer Gary Golio had recently published Carlos Santana: Sound of the Heart, Song of the World (Henry Holt, 2018). Illustrated by Pura Belpré Honor and Américas Award recipient Rudy Gutierrez (who created Santana’s iconic Shaman CD cover), this captivating picture book describes Carlos’s early years in Mexico as he seeks a personal, authentic mode of musical expression.

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