Bill’s Musings – Art-is-in

Happy Saturday! Music and are were my big wins this week.

First, I discovered that one my all time favorite groups, War, just released a new CD, “Evolutionary.” I found out quite by accident. Came home early one day, turned on the TV and there was War jamming’ on a new cut, “L.A. Sunshine,” to close out the Queen Latifah Show! A pleasant surprise for any of us who have followed the group since it’s inception in the 70s when they were the band for rocker Eric Burdon. Their distinctive West Coast R&B/Funk style — filled with rhythmic jazz riffs — still moves through your body and makes you wanna dance, as evidenced by Latifah’s audience. They joined the band in the chorus and danced ’til the show ended.

My other win was a trip to Crocker Art Museum last Sunday. Wonderful, thought-provoking art and photographs. Here’s a review of my favorite piece that day:

The Crocker is full of amazing collections, and I hadn’t even intended to visit this particular part of the gallery, but am I glad I did.

As I turned the corner into an unfamiliar part of the museum, there it sat, occupying prime real estate in the center of the cavernous exhibit room. A near gargantuan, three-dimensional portrait of a cowboy lassoing a steer on a wild plain screamed for attention among the mutterings of its neighboring canvases and sculptures.

“Progress II” is easily the most impressive piece in the room. Made up of a resin composite over a metal frame, it’s not just big – the detail glistens from every surface. The electric (literally) eyes of the steer and the mustang blaze with ruby ferocity as they strain at opposite ends of the lasso. One is attempting to escape, the other to hold fast.

The brown mustang’s nostrils flare, exhaling gusts of hot air from the effort of chasing down and holding the lean, muscular steer. His tail flares over high-kicking rear hooves and dust seems to fill your nostrils as his front hooves break the dirt to gain purchase, so close together that you know he’s done this before. He’s preparing to dig in so horse and rider can pull the stretched-out lariat tightly around the steers’ neck and pull him off balance.

The cowpuncher is nearly standing in the saddle, leaning back over his steed’s haunches, one hand keeping the tightly wound rope on the pommel, the other flying back to grab the brim of his Stetson. One can sense his leather chaps chafing against the saddle, sweat soaking through his long johns and red flannel shirt, muscles screaming from the strain of pulling this maverick in.

The steer. His horns are so long and sharp that you know the horse and rider are aware of the danger if he ever gets to turn and face them. You can practically feel the strength in the sinewy muscle and tendons that propel him airborne like a rocket in his attempt to escape. His bared teeth speak to the effort and you know he’s screaming with combined fear and rage.

And then, in subtle contradiction beneath this Old West prairie battle scene, you spy other signs of existence. There’s the huge, green-and-mustard hued rattlesnake coiled quietly under the mustang’s forequarters. A desert owl a few feet from the rattler, raises his mahogany, white-tipped wings as it to wave off a nuisance. A broken Native-American lance protrudes from a gnarled tree trunk.

I loved cowboy flicks growing up, and this sculpture reminds me of my favorites, from the old black and whites like “Destry Rides Again,” to the more modern big-screen magic of “Silverado.” What great memories!

Progress II

Finally, with all the bad news the National Football League has generated this few months, here’s a bit of good news that got lost in the shuffle. The Cincnnati Bengals re-signed a player they had just cut so that he’d have the insurance and money needed to pay for his four-year-old daughter’s cancer treatments (NFL Team Re-signs Player to Help Pay for Daughter’s Cancer Treatment).

Got any life wins you want to share? Drop your comments here! Have a win-derful week!

Bill M.


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