IT’S GOSPEL SUNDAY AT THE MYERHOFF

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FRED HAMMOND (Gospel singer/composer at the Meyerhoff)

What denominations are they placed in? Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal? Blacks, African Americans fall into all the aforementioned categories; and believe it or not, the slave trade is responsible.

No need for me to rehash the Atlantic Slave Trade, Africans singing out to God to save their lives. The slave owner at times was also the Sunday morning preacher. I call it the double enslavement: in the field, and in the church.

In a white Baptist church, the congregation looks tired when it sings, not nearly the same as in a black Baptist church. Why? The remnants of those horrible days and nights crossing the Atlantic, with chains on their feet and hands, have followed the succeeding generations to today.

Most African Americans in church, can be heard shouting out loud, MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE! Based on Psalm 100. “Come before his presence with singing”.

This singing enabled many slaves to look beyond the running blood, and large wounds inflicted upon their bodies, as they crossed the Ocean, to the so-called New World.

Black Gospel in association with World Vision to save African babies.

It was at the Meyerhoff Concert Hall in downtown Baltimore MD., that I had a look and feel of the power of the Gospel. It was a three-hour concert, where patrons wanted to stand rather than sit. Where part of the musical impact turned the audience into a congregation with raised hands, and shouts along with whispers of praise. The Meyerhoff felt like a slave ship (HOPE), [one of the American ships that brought slaves to Rhode Island]. Black bodies swaying with eyes closed, clenched fists, and voices trying to sing in unison with the choir leaders, FRED HAMMOND and HEZEKIAH WALKER.

IT MEANS THE WORLD TO ME

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Brazilian Guards for Picasso (A/P) (Alexander Meneghini)

The more reputable museums of the world have eyes watching you, as you look at pieces of art several hundred years old. Among the millions of visitors, are some who will “by any means necessary” conjure up a heist and wait for the highest buyer.

The stocking faces, ropes, crowbars, teargas; all have been used to steal art. So much so, armed guards have been placed in certain museums, for example in Brazil, where a crowbar and hydraulic jack were used to steal a Picasso.

BMA Guard Maurice Jones with Medusa, the door-knocker

At the Baltimore Museum of Art, the guards are not “strapped”, but their eyes are like radar guns, with faces that often say, “don’t you dare!”. “Did you not see that rope?”

What if though, BMA, were to change the psychology of the guard to a curator? Now the role is no longer a “nine to five” but a sleepless obsession: pieces must be acquired, faults repaired, a theme to be developed, and the collection has to be presented for the public’s acceptance or ridicule. Depending on how extensive the collection, some pieces are at times borrowed from other museums, involving financial compensation to the lenders.

The BMA decided to offer their guards an opportunity to be just that, CURATORS, this post pandemic Spring of 2022. To jump from Guards to Curators. I talked to a few:

CULTIVATING EDEN

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Adam’s new Outdoor Eden.

It is March 2022, and despite the topsy turvy weather, the landscapers, gardeners are out making preparation for Spring.

Why is man so eager to get his hands in soil, dirt, transport his seedlings from the hot house to the outhouse?

Believe it or not, soil has to do with climate change, the foundation of the eco system, and the colossal factor in reversing how we breathe and eat.

Kiss me now and live forever.

During this pandemic, we found out how weak our bodies are to combat COVID-19. Vaccines became the panacea of sorts, and right behind comes the surviving and undefeated statement, “good health to you!”; i.e., Nutrition. Two years ago, we were forced indoors, by a strain of Sars. (Covid-19). A few months after March of 2020, Climatologists measured the atmosphere, and saw how azure blue the sky was; the freshness of the air! Ahhhh!!! Pollution was down. EDEN (man’s first garden) was on its way back.

Symbols of love and diversity: the hummingbirds.

With contaminated air, for some it was difficult to breathe, severe pneumonia resulting in deaths. So, Marylanders are eagerly participating in this Edenic rebirth, getting into soil, ready to plant trees, flowers, and use solar, and kiss blissfully a new epoch.

Where would I find a collection of pioneers and stalwarts with shovels, dirt, seeds and all the paraphernalia to rebuild EDEN? At the Maryland Home and Garden Show.

king frog in his garden

Making Brush Strokes Rhyme with Raindrops

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Joan Mitchell (painter)

Can you imagine making this a reality, so much so that it would gain the applause and grand admiration of great minds of the world?

It is perhaps astonishing as when Mahatma Gandhi exchanged his English tailored suit and tie, for a simple Dhoti and Shawl.

People with such mental transformations, see a world that most of us cannot. Even though our society is not based on a caste system, our society is divided by heritage and power.

Joan Mitchell in her studio (mural size paintings) photos by Robert Freson)

How the various levels of us handle the complexities of living, can be documented with closer examination.

Frustration with lovelessness or unrequited love is exhibited by indulgence in alcohol and drugs. During the renaissance, snuff and alcohol was a choice of the few. (In the privacy of their homes or country clubs) (Dorian Gray)

The poor imbibed in public and were arrested.

In another enclave are those who found solace in nature, they became poets, writers, painters.

So, if you were a socialite and privileged person, born into wealth, and became frustrated with life, nothing could stop you from choice. You set out to be one of the first women to be admired as much as Van Gough.

The Chicago American spirit of adventure attracted you to the art world. Your lovers frustrated you, for your prowess was shackled. Hence plunging yourself into nature became your thrust.

Painting raindrops on a canvas pushed your creativity. “SUNFLOWERS ARE WONDERFUL WHEN THEY ARE YOUNG and MOVING WHEN THEY ARE DYING”.

SUNFLOWERS, by Joan Mitchell

JOAN MITCHELL made drafts 14 by 11, then expanded them to 110 inches tall. With a painter’s brush in the air, she like Mahatma wanted to create a new planet.

Love of nature drove her to take up residence in Seine France, a town of notoriety the birthplace of Monet, the famous French painter, who died in 1926. (86years old).

From the 1950’s to her death over 200 paintings, with a portion making a stop at the Baltimore Museum of Art, before moving on to Paris in the Fall, this year. (2022)

Perhaps JOAN MITCHELL wanted to be JAON of ARC, with a paint brush. (1926-1992)

Dr. Patrice Rushen Makes a House Call

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Patrice Rushen and friends (Baltimore MD.)

The pandemic has abated some, where the population can heed the call “YOU CAN COME OUT NOW!

Hence doctors have begun to resume house or home visits.

DR. PATRICE RUSHEN is one of the Chairs at the University of Southern California and was granted ambassadorial status as of 2005.

A child prodigy from the age of 3, with a birthdate the same as mine, September 30, it is no small wonder the achievement studs attached to her name, are described as “a mile long”.

In 1992, “FORGET ME NOTS” received a Grammy Award nomination. Over 15 million have seen this video. Her name is associated with spectacular works in Soul, R&B, disco, funk, film, music composition, and the only true American music, JAZZ.

So, when I heard the doctor was making a house call at Baltimore’s, KEYSTONE JAZZ CLUB, I secured an appointment. This is what she said to me: