Friday, August 31, 2012

We Can Do It!

Photo by Jeremy Clowe for Norman Rockwell
Museum. ©Norman Rockwell Museum. All rights reserved.
What better way to kick off Labor Day weekend than a visit to the Museum from Rosie The Riveter? That's right--Mary Doyle Keefe, the original model for Norman Rockwell's 1943 painting, stopped by Norman Rockwell Museum today along with her family. As I am often called on to do, I stopped by to say hello and take a few photos. 

I had already met and conducted a video interview with Keefe several years back, and learned that she worked as the town telephone operator when Rockwell, her Arlington, Vermont neighbor, "called" on her to pose (he apologized aferwards for making her look so big and muscular). The illustration appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on May 29, 1943, and I think it is one of his better images, actually... it's amusing, creative, graphically bold... the figure is even inspired by Michelangelo's painting of Isaah from the Sistene Chapel


"Rosie The Riveter," 1943, Norman Rockwell
(1894-1978). Norman Rockwell Digital Collections.
©SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.
(the original painting recently sold for $4.9 million! It is now
part of the collection of The Crystal Bridges Museum).
Anyway, it's always fun to see people's reactions when one of Rockwell's models enters the Museum. There were several photographs taken, autographs signed (she did the honors for my wife), and her family was happy to share more of her brush with fame.

Keefe actually just turned 90 years old... she looked great and still seemed pretty active... must be from all that hard work. I think she's actually more modest about her time working for Rockwell, so it must be a little tiring to make public appearances at a moment's notice. 

Me? I'm exhausted... as I mentioned, I haven't been sleeping that well this week, but I have also been pushing myself at work and outside on a few projects. A few setbacks, new things learned... but all in all, a decent week. I'm ready to just kick back tonight... ease into the long weekend.




Links:


Drawing Inspiration: Norman Rockwell in Stockbridge (documentary I created for Norman Rockwell Museum)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

RN U Done Yet?

Cool... turned on the TV tonight, and they were showing Gran Torino--I loved that movie! Good old Clint Eastwood... great actor... inspiring figure... hey, I don't remember him talking to a chair... and what the hell is he going on about? And look... this actor looks like he's serving in the Revolutionary War... what's going on? Wow. This movie is kind of crap, actually...


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Shoot The Moon

I've been having trouble sleeping lately.... not quite insomnia, but I have been regularly waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning over the last couple weeks... It's pissing me off. 

I think what has been keeping me from sleep is a constant wondering of how I am going to move forward in certain areas... how I'm going to complete various video productions that I have lying around... how I can find sustained fulfillment as a creative person. 

I have been trying some new tactics... figuring out ways to get ahead of things in my day-to-day... budget my time more effectively.

News came over the weekend that astronaut Neil Armstrong had passed away. I was born exactly a year after the historic Apollo 11 spacecraft landed on the moon, and Armstrong took his "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." I can only imagine what   the world was feeling on July 20, 1969... a sense of wonder and hope... achieving the impossible... especially after a decade that had ended so violently...



Instead, I grew up in a time where space travel and flights to the moon had become routine events... only perhaps fully realizing the risks involved after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. I have, however, grown up in a time of great changes and achievement... the development of the internet... smartphones... that boggles my mind, after growing up in the era of the landline phone.

I have had the opportunity to interview an astronaut: Story Musgrave flew several missions for NASA, repairing the Hubble Space Telescope along the way. He grew up on the Linwood Estate in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, which is now the grounds of Norman Rockwell Museum. When I interviewed him at the Museum back in 2004, Musgrave talked about growing up on the former farm property, climbing up trees and running tractors at an early age. He had a very peaceful and philosophical sense about him... something I gathered he might have acquired from viewing the world outside of our own. 

Apparently Neil Armstrong also grew up in a small town, mastering flight even before he got his driver's license. People talk about how, despite his great achievements, he was a humble and quiet man--he avoided the spotlight.

I'm interested in learning more about individuals who reach such heights... literally. What type of character finds a way to mount the insurmountable? Now that is humbling... maybe it is about just doing your thing... not giving up... operating from the gut. Maybe certain people don't have this type of personality... this level of intelligence...

One thing I appreciated from my wedding was when the rabbi listed the favorite things both me and my wife and had shared with her about our each other: one of Sarah's was my persistence... not giving up. That both surprised and pleased me, because I often don't believe it myself... get easily frustrated... lose sleep. It's easy to forget that even Armstrong had a co-pilot (Buzz Aldrid) to help get where he needed to go...



Related Links:

"Man on the Moon" (blog post I created for Norman Rockwell Museum), August 27, 2012

"Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon, Dies at 82," New York Times, August 25, 2012

"Neil Armstrong: Private Man, Public Hero," Life magazine slideshow

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Minty Fresh

What a cool day. I spent it in the Capital Region, which meant I didn't have far to drive (for a change). After an early morning workout, I traveled to the WAMC studios in downtown Albany to take part in a live segment about Norman Rockwell Museum's upcoming Girl Scout Festival, that will celebrate the organization's 100-year anniversary.


Norman Rockwell created the designs for these
12 Girl Scout medallions for the Franklin Mint
back in 1977. I thought they looked great!
Courtesy and from the collection of
Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts.
I'm usually the one gathering guests to represent the Museum, but this time no one was available... so I decided to do the talking. I have done live radio before (even had my own weekly show), but I'm no expert on the Girl Scouts, so it did feel a little "unknown" once I got there...

Luckily I had two very informed guests join me: Monica Minor, the Vice President of Girl Development for Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York; and Dana Carnegie, Communications Manager for Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts (both of these ladies' councils will be helping us with the festival). Dana I had spoken with before, and was very impressed with her professionalism--we share a similar job in terms of managing communications, so it was inspiring to talk with and finally meet her--I thought she came off great on the air. She also brought along a loan of original Girl Scouts medallions that Norman Rockwell had designed for the Franklin Mint back in 1977-- the Museum did not have these originals, so it will be a nice addition to a small exhibit of related Scout artworks that we will be displaying... I was really happy to help secure this loan. Dana also brought along a box of thin mints for me, so she is officially OK in my book.

The host of The Roundtable, Joe Donahue, always seems to do his homework, so I thought it went well. A good portion of the show was devoted to talking about Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, so I was happy to have Dana and Monica there to inform us all. I really let them do most of the talking, and was happy to learn more about the organization. Conscious of our short 15 minute segment, I did want to acknowledge my wife's long-time involvement with the scouts... this is where much of my interest came from, and I guess you could call it a love letter... hope it was appropriate. There were other things I had hoped to add, but it is hard to think on your toes during such a live segment, and better to let the host lead the show. 

Here is a link to listen to the final broadcast: 
wamc.org/post/norman-rockwell-museum-girl-scout-festival-centennial-celebration

After that, I drove up the street to do some more outreach for the Museum... this time at a local comic book shop to talk about our upcoming exhibition on the art of Alex Ross. They seemed excited... I may have been more of an authority of that subject. I left with several new ideas all the same.

Good, productive day. It's good to get out of the office now and then...


Monday, August 27, 2012

Girl Power!

Yes, these are Sarah's. Note the waterfall emblem
that she and her troop chose back in the day...
how prophetic! Photo ©Jeremy Clowe.
All rights reserved.
Spent part of the day getting ready for a live radio interview I'm taking part in on WAMC, the Albany, New York NPR affiliate, on Tuesday morning, August 28. I will be joining two local representatives from the Girls Scouts of The United States of America, in a discussion about Norman Rockwell Museum's Girl Scouts Festival to be held on September 22, celebrating the organization's 100-year anniversary. My wife was a long-time scout, so I better know my stuff!!! 

It should be fun to be on the radio again, but I'll be sure to heed that old scout motto: "be prepared."

Interview will air on the program The Roundtable, starting at 11:10 a.m. ET. You can listen live at: www.wamc.org

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pure Movement

For a couple who barely left the neighborhood this weekend, we sure got a lot accomplished! It's funny how the prospect of moving can light a bit of fire under your feet... we set about organizing our current place and I swear, it's the most comfortable I have seen it! Things can get a little overwhelming when you let clutter take over, and I'm pleased with how Sarah and I finally took the time to get on top of that. I hope we can continue to keep good feng shui in mind while starting our new home--I work so much better as a result.

So we have two apartments that have really caught our eye--both nice places that I can see us living in... I guess it might come down to location. Hopefully we can figure things out by the end of the month.

Tonight we drove down to Scotia's Freedom Park to meet friends and family for a free, live dance performance of the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company. It was held outside, close to the banks of the Mohawk River, and the evening benefitted from pleasant late summer air. The dancers were good--they did one work that related to the river, some audience participation for children, as well as a couple Latin-themed numbers... I thought those worked best... I mean, how can you not respond to that music?


On the way home Sarah and I reviewed the performance, and thought it was funny that we both watch dance with more of a critical eye these days. We're not professional dancers, but I guess when you are continually exposed to So You Think You Can Dance and The Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, you become conscious of the high bar being set by some performers. 

I mentioned last week that I found my way out to the Berkshires via Jacob's Pillow. I had been dating a dancer (who subsequently broke my heart), and was curious to learn more about that world. Sure, I had taken some classes back in Rochester--swing, ballroom, and with such modern dance groups as Garth Fagan Dance, but I knew there was a whole other level of understanding... this girl used to talk in such an insightful way, that I hoped to gain that same level of original thought. Well, imagine my surprise when I arrived at the Pillow and watched a documentary on the Paul Taylor Dance Company... and heard many of her once inspired words repeated right back to me. Not only that, but I got to see a whole other level of dance... I mean the kind that is weightless... joyful... effortless... I'm not saying that old girlfriend wasn't a good dancer (I guess she was in some technical kind of way), but there is something about honest expression and, in this case, originality that I guess you either have or not.

Ok, maybe I'm just bitter... that girl really did a number on me in the disrespect department (if I were to choreograph the experience, I would use this song). But I hate to taint a blog intended to be about the beauty of dance, so I'll just say... lesson learned about sticking up for myself.

Sarah and I both love dance, and I look forward to learning more... perhaps some more modern dance lessons... it really is one of the most pure art forms. When you're losing yourself in honest, creative movement... that's what I want to be and experience in my life. Moving on...


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sharing in the Digital Age

Transitioning... c.2009. Photo ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.
One of the contributions I am most proud of making during my years at Norman Rockwell Museum, has been the videotaping of oral histories with Norman Rockwell's models, acquaintances, family, and other artists who have been inspired by or continue in the illustrator's tradition. I am frequently conducting the interviews, manning the camera, checking the audio, and in some cases, editing it for promotional or exhibition use. It can be time-consuming, but I'm good at it... and feel I am providing an invaluable service (last fall I did an interview with Ralph Baer, one of our donors, who is considered the founder of video games). I have also conducted oral histories outside of the Museum, and am so glad that I thought to sit down with my late grandmother, who meant the world to me... I learned so much about my family that I might never have known otherwise.

Many of the interviews I have conducted for the Museum were before the advent of HD cameras, so I'm happy that steps are being taken to preserve this work for later access. I am also at a point where I must consider this for my own large archive of independent recordings, which include interviews with many important music artists... some who have also since passed.

The other day the Museum Director forwarded along a newsletter from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which contained an article about Michigan State University's efforts to preserve and improve the practice of conducting oral histories in the digital age-- the school was actually the recipient of a 2009 IMLS grant that supported this ongoing effort.

The early result is the "Oral History in the Digital Age" website, which is attempting to gather some recommended standards--everything from selecting video equipment and achieving good audio recordings to intellectual property issues and oral history podcasts. It looks like a useful site for video professionals and even the casual videographer, looking for advice on how to record their family or friend's story for future preservation. 

Hmm... so how does one go about winning a grant to afford the upgrade of digital technology? I'll have to research that one further...

Related Links:

Oral History in the Digital Age website

Personal Archiving -- Digital Preservation, Library of Congress website


Friday, August 24, 2012

Travelogged

The weekend is here... thank God. Busy week at work, and ongoing efforts to find a new apartment for us newlyweds. We're going to take it easy tonight, and finally go check out the latest Woody Allen film, To Rome With Love. From what I've heard it doesn't quite match the brilliance of his last film, Midnight In Paris (that would be mighty hard to top), but I have been very pleased with Allen's latest movies, including Match Point, Scoop, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and Whatever Works... so I'm still eager to see this one-- the cast looks fun:



It's been a great summer... obviously... but I might be ready to just kick it around home this weekend with the missus... make plans for the year ahead... hmm... maybe start planning a real Roman holiday...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hero-isms

Spent the day at work preparing for our upcoming exhibition, Heroes and Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross. The artwork looks great, and it sounds like Ross had the same comic book cornerstones as I did growing up: creating his own books, being glued to the TV to the animated and live action superhero shows (no better Hulk!). I think it explains something of the realistic approach he has taken with his art. Here is a clip I found of the artist talking about his work:



The rest of the day was spent setting things up for a radio segment about our upcoming Girl Scouts Festival Day. The more I learn about the organization, I can see why it is responsible for influencing many of our real-life heroes. "Once a girl scout, always a girl scout..." one of the council representatives tells me. Yeah, I can see it with my wife-- shazam!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Treasure Hunt

At the end of tonight's apartment search, a beautiful rainbow... which lead directly to Indian food... I knew it! 

We also had one of these following our wedding. A rainbow that is.

##

Photo ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Peace Talks

Tonight I again helped out Peace Action New York by filming their annual Doris Shaffer Memorial Lecture in the Berkshires. This year's speaker was Peter Beinart, the controversial author of The Crisis of Zionism. He considered the following topics: must Israel choose between a Jewish majority and democracy? Has Settlement activity gone too far to be reversed? What is the role of the American Jewish Community? Do Boycotts have a role or are they only for Israel haters? 

My mother-in-law, who was in attendance, asked if my head was spinning... YES. He was an effective speaker, and I think it sparked thoughtful discussion. I'll have to go back and watch it... I was too busy making sure no one tripped my tripod, or nodded their head into my shot. Not much creative for me, but a worthwhile endeavor to help out with and learn from.

http://panys.org


Monday, August 20, 2012

Rolling On The River

This morning my co-worker was asking me about the arts scene in Hudson, New York. I told her that I had just heard about a new museum planned for the city, created by noted performance artist Marina Abramovic. Well, not long after I had this discussion, I happened to receive a link to this article in the Albany Times Union.

According to the article, The Marina Abramovic Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art is scheduled to open in 2014: "it promises to be a laboratory for all types of what Abramovic calls 'time-based performance,' including dance, theater, film, video, opera and music." The artist gave a preview of the space on Sunday, August 12, and the architectural models promise something quite futuristic.

Jump back to the past, and I think this renovated building they are planning to use is the old movie theater that my father used to live near in the city. I have heard stories about how he used to walk down to the building to make sketches of the old movie posters on display outside. Kind of sweet to see the space being rehabilitated for creative use.

There is an interesting scene forming in Hudson. I have already blogged about the music. Abramovic is a world renowned artist, and it will be interesting to see how her creativity could add to the vibe. There is a documentary that just came out (The Artist Is Present) that I should see to learn more about her work and ideas... however I have actually gotten a taste of it already--in 2010 we saw Abramovic's exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, where she sat motionless in a chair in the middle of a gallery, for hours on end, while visitors were invited to sit down in front of her and stare back. It was an intriguing and, not surprisingly, successful show.



I like the note in the article from the Institute's Director Serge Le Borgne, who said his mission is to introduce more people to performance art. "Art is not only for the elite," he is quoted. "Art is for everybody..." Exactly. I admire Abramovic's vision, and hope the Institute can work with the city of Hudson to involve and challenge everyone. Despite the influx of arts, the city risks gentrification (sadly, it may already be there). It would suck if it were to become overrun with some of the pretentious people I have come across in the Berkshires. But if it does, I guess I can still hold out for the Capital Region...

Related Links:

"Hear the boom? That's art," Albany Times Union, Friday, August 17, 2012

Marina Abramovic: Live at MoMA, MoMAvideos, YouTube

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present/Institute For Long Duration Performance Art, aitchayess, YouTube

"Special Chairs and Lots of Time: Marina Abramovic Plans Her New Center," New York Times, May 6, 2012


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Royal Beserkshires

Last night's show with the Royal Berkshire Improv Troupe went well−it was my first post-wedding, a fact that was duly noted in the opening introduction (I think Sarah was the only audience member to get kissed by a member of the Troupe last night... well, make that all members!). We tried out a couple new games, got to know a new troupe member, and played to an enthusiastic crowd−I think we would be even tighter with more regular rehearsals. It is nice what the Student Educational Development Fund is doing for my old town of Lee, and I am happy to be contributing as one of the regular performers of the Berkshire Visual and Performing Arts Center



Speaking of performing arts in the Berkshires, we're heading back to the Berks tonight to catch a hip-hop dance company called Compagnie Käfig perform at Jacob's Pillow. This looks promising:


Jacob's Pillow is the reason I ended up in the Berkshires... long story (good and bad), but it's worked out... found my dancing partner!

Photos by Sarah Clowe for Royal Berkshire Improv Troupe. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Great Performances

Photo by John Whipple. All rights reserved.
I submitted an inquiry today for a commercial being filmed in the Capital Region. They requested a head shot, so I sent one of my wedding photos... why not? Yesterday was our one-month anniversary!

On the topic of performing, I'm doing my first post-wedding improv gig tomorrow night with RBIT- 7:30 p.m. at the Spectrum Playhouse, Lee, MA--should be fun... now I'm doing improv for two!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Working That Green Screen

Before someone else asks, yes that is me in the audience for this show, Dr. Fuhrman's Immunity Solution! currently airing on PBS stations. Yes, I agree with much of the sentiment, even if the presentation is a little silly... but then again, so is much of TV:



Sarah and I sat in on a taping of this show at WMHT-TV's studios in Troy, New York, a few months back. It was an opportunity to meet again with some of the station's staff I had been getting to know, and make a quick buck (yes, we got paid to sit in the audience). The production was first-rate--the studio looked beautiful, and was well-coordinated. I don't know about the presentation though... the doctor seemed a little forced, and it had the air of one of those infomercials... but I'll reserve judgment until I see the final show (maybe I can fast-forward through the silly bits).

Having said that, maybe Dr. Fuhrman's book is worth reading. I know that Sarah and I have been pretty keen on learning more about the prevention of disease through natural foods--we are big supporters of locally-grown produce and co-op markets, and have been on a green drink kick ever since a recent trip to New York City... we even got a food processor and juicer for our wedding, so I'm ready to "go green"... we just need to learn how to make better wheat-grass smoothies than a few years back (was like having a glass of mowed lawn... blecch!).

This book looks interesting: healthygreendrink.com (no canned audience reaction required!).


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back To Shore

Yes, I have a new favorite album:



I picked up England Keep My Bones, the latest CD by London-based singer-songwriter Frank Turner, before we left for our camping trip. It's a rollicking and rockin' folk-punk album. Definitely the kind of mood I want to be listening to at the moment.

I had never heard of Turner before, but he's starting to blow up on both sides of the pond, having performed at the opening ceremony of this summer's Olympic games. Cool. Nice to hear real music can still make a difference.

www.frank-turner.com

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lake Effect (Just to Recap)

Just got back from our long weekend camping trip. As I said before, what a time!

The day started with quite a steady rain, and we were grateful for our new tent (thanks Aunt M + Uncle K)! The odd thing is that the weather in the area we were camping (Sterling, New York) seemed to change throughout the day, without fail. By afternoon, we were enjoying bright, sunny skies, and walking around the trails of the Sterling Nature Center. On one side you saw fields, beaver marshes (where blue heron build their nests), and then suddenly you happen upon Lake Ontario!

I have to say that the Lake might have been the highlight of the trip (along with visiting longtime high school friends). We went for a late afternoon swim yesterday, and today walked along the shoreline, picking up colorful stones and interesting pieces of driftwood, and admiring the green and blue waters... and crashing waves! Yeah, it felt a lot like the ocean--the waves were very active, and the whole scene was very relaxing.




The Sterling Renaissance Fair was also nice--it's a carved out area of the countryside in Central New York, not far from where I grew up. It was hard sometimes to figure out who worked there and who came dressed for the part. Our friends Ken and Lena did, and the rest of us enjoyed talking in thee and thou, ye and yor along the way. We saw some knights, maidens, pirates, wenches, and even some jousting. For lunch Sarah and I shared a huge turkey leg... you felt guilty passing on one of those. The last time I had been there was back in the mid-90s, and it hasn't changed much... it is just as fun.

Saturday evening we spent time sitting around a camp fire, catching up with friends and their families, and even enjoyed some Perseids-- the sky was clear enough that we had a dazzling meteor shower to entertain us... good fun.







Yesterday we discovered the beach with our friends, and then stuck around once they all returned home. We experienced some rain later in the day, which thwarted our plans to make another camp fire, but Sarah and I managed to enjoy another quiet evening at the campsite. At one point we kicked back Strongbows, and listened to the closing ceremony of the Olympics (British music fan that I am, I was enjoying it. Indeed). Fitting with the mood, the rain came down steadily... but it sure was cozy.


It was a great chance to get away, and I wonder what we will do to keep this summer of love going next weekend...

Related Links:




Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fair, Weather, Friends

Great weekend. Renaissance Fair... meteor showers... we even had time for a dip in the lake today! Nothing like getting away from it all... eh, even if the camping site has wi-fi...  ok, I'm signing off.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fair and Balanced

Off to the Renaissance Festival and our annual camping trip with Ye Olde Homies... looking forward to it!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Scouts' Honor

"Good Scouts (Portrait of a Girl Scout),"
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978). Cover illustration
for "Life" magazine, November 6, 1924.
Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collections.
I had a delightful phone conversation today with the communications manager at the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts. Norman Rockwell Museum is planning a big celebration for the Girl Scouts of the United States of America on Saturday, September 22, to mark the organization's 100 year anniversary (a longtime supporter of scouting, Rockwell did some work for the organization), and I was calling to find out more information, and how to publicize the event. I have been feeling generally disappointed with some people lately, so this phone conversation helped to brighten my day.

Dana does essentially the same kind of work I am doing, managing the council's press department and trying to be a good spokesperson for the organization. I have to say that I admired the thoughtful, intelligent, and helpful manner she had-- as trying as it can get to deal with press, media, and the public, I imagine that she does a great job. We talked a bit about the history of the Girl Scouts, founded in 1912 by the trailblazing Juliette Gordon Low, who was inspired by the boys' scouting movement during a trip to Europe. Her "Girl Guides" gathered for the first time in Savannah, Georgia, and today there are 3.2 million Girl Scouts—2.3 million girl members and 890,000 adult members working primarily as volunteers. Girl Scouting helps girls develop their full individual potential; relate to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect; develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision-making; and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills, and cooperation with others. 

The story of the Girl Scouts sounds fascinating, and I'm so glad the Museum is doing this celebration. My wife Sarah, in fact, was a Girl Scout for a long period of time, right through high school, and the more I learn about the organization, I can see why she would stick with it--the organization seems like it would match her personality traits of being helpful and service-minded. I guess that is part of why we connected--I too was involved with Cub Scouts, and my father was actually a scout master for a period of time--I have fond memories of my time with the group, and the service and community aspects match my nature and interests as well.

Unfortunately, the Boy Scouts have come under a bit of flack recently for not being so open-minded when it comes to issues of equality. There was a bit of concern about how to promote this event, because of some of the bad press that the Scouts have received. Actually, the Girl Scouts of the USA are a separate organization, and have been much more progressive when it comes to issues of tolerance and opportunities. It makes sense, since the organization was founded by forward-thinking women during an era of increased rights and gender equality. 

I guess I have been feeling slightly cynical lately, finding that some of the "artists" that I know have been more concerned with money than the important things in life--like family, friendships, causes for the common good. Maybe I have too high expectations of people. I think I'm actually coming around to be a little more realistic about people, about not counting on others' to fulfill my needs, help me find happiness. But I also have a wonderful wife now, who supports me and keeps me level-headed. 

Disappointments come and go... maybe more for the sensitive, idealistic type... but helping to promote meaningful events for organizations like the Girl Scouts, restores my faith in humanity. We need people like Juliette Gordon Low--it must be a honor to help forward those ideals. 

www.girlscouts.org

Norman Rockwell Museum press release I wrote for September 22 event


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pole Position

Well I have been interested, but haven't really managed to watch much of the Olympics this summer. I catch glimpses here and there... swimming like the dolphins can swim, knock-down volleyball matches, gravity-defying gymnastics, and this event, which I actually used to do for a brief spell back in high school:


Well... she makes it look a lot better than I did (uh, yeah... I better watch that again). Actually, Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva was on "track" to be the first woman in history to win the same individual event in three straight Olympics, but Team USA put a stop to that--last Monday, Jenn Suhr of nearby Fredonia, New York, won the gold medal for polevaulting, after clearing 4.75 meters at her second attempt (Isibayeva took the bronze, behind Yarisley Silva from Cuba, who won silver). As for the men, it sounds like an interesting year... with a #PoleVaultersMutiny over how many competitors will be in contention for a medal tomorrow (14 over the planned 12), and... this (oh snap!).

I'm actually much more into running now than I was back in my high school track days. Over the last decade, I have gone through periods where I have been pretty active with my running (and my legs prove it). 

Following our wedding, I have found myself a little exhausted and overbooked to keep a consistent workout routine... and I've been feeling it. Some aches and stiff back last night told me that I have to find a way around this.

So... this morning I woke up early and went for a good, healthy run in the Hudson Valley--first thing, right before work and other distractions entered my field. The difference in the way I felt was obvious as the day wore on. 

Again and again I realize that it's better to just face life's adversity head-on, and do away with it. I have had some rather blue feelings over the last couple weeks, but am finding new ways to deal with that, rather than just accepting it. Some of my hang-ups have been rather silly, but it still has something to do with my sense of controlling my own destiny.

We're getting ready for a weekend camping trip with some longtime friends--I'm looking forward to getting out in the fresh air, but also anxious to get back next week to continue some of my independent creative projects... yes, looking to vault ahead even further in the second half of 2012.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Live Effect!

Here it is... a live clip of me and my wife Sarah dancing to "Strange Effect" onstage with Diego Garcia! We chose his recording of the Kinks' classic as the first dance for our wedding, and were honored when he invited us onstage to dance to it during his August 5, 2012 concert at Schenectady's Music Haven!



A beautiful night... even if he couldn't quite get my last name right! I toned down the "hamming" from our wedding dance, because I didn't want to take away from his performance.  Very talented group of musicians... they followed this with an equally lovely cover of Neil Young's "Harvest Moon." I highly recommend checking them out when they hit your town.

Related Link:

www.facebook.com/diegogarciamusic

And thanks to the staff at Schenectady's Central Park... what a lovely day in the pavilion jamming our wedding tunes, the peace march, and for putting on this concert.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Uncle!

un.cle

"n. 1. a. The brother of one's mother of father."


 Sam I am. Helping out with the "I Miss America" pageant/
protest, Schenectady, New York, May 2008.
Photo ©Schenectady Neighbors for Peace. All rights reserved.
So, I just received the news... I'm an uncle again-- for the sixth time! My new niece looks adorable. Of course my friends are asking me "isn't it about time..." yeah. I know. Hanging out with my lovable new nephews is making it harder to come up with reasons not to...

"Idiom: 1. cry/say uncle 
Informal
To indicate a willingness to give up a fight or surrender."

Well, I can't take that definition to heart, but life sure gets tough sometimes... I wish I could make changes happen sooner in other areas. It's been a long time comin'...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Strange Effect... Gone Viral

View from the Music Haven Stage.
Left to right: Diego, Sarah, JClowe Experience.
Photo courtesy Bob Fiorini. All rights reserved.
Whoa. I emailed Diego Garcia on Facebook to thank him for playing our wedding song for us last night in Schenectady, and added the link to the video that my friend Margaret shot from the wedding. He went ahead and shared it with his fans, and the blessed thing has gone viral! (well, at least I know he reads his emails)...

Hey, maybe it will get me a spot on the next Dancing With The Stars... or better yet, So You Think You Can Dance

It's Monday... back to the grind... back to other business. Moving on up...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Roses and Wine

Only a few miles up the road from us is a true gem--Schenectady's Central Park is beautiful, sprawling park that has just about everything you could think of... including a view! Seriously, you can take pedal boats out on the pond, go swimming, play tennis, volleyball... even frisbee golf (I've been a fan since my Rochester, New York days). The park also has the Rose Garden, which is just exquisite: 


 

Today we spent the whole day in the park--we had the opportunity to rent a whole pavilion space, and threw a little picnic, potluck, dance party. I just bought a sweet Bose music system, so it was chance to test that out, and jam some indie rock in the park. This gave us a chance to finally play the huge list of songs we had compiled for the wedding... around 90+! It felt good to kick back with friends and enjoy a lazy summer day. It rained a bit here and there, but no matter... it's getting to be familiar!

By late afternoon, Schenectady Neighbors for Peace had congregated at the peace pole they had erected in the park. The occasion was to honor the memory of those who perished in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan back during World War II. Tomorrow is the 67th anniversary, and it's still unbelievable to imagine that this horrific act happened. The memorial included music, poetry, prayer, and a silent march around the pond. The group ended up back at the pavilion we had rented, and we had a nice potluck dinner.

And that wasn't it! Later that evening, Latin alternative artist Diego Garcia performed a free concert at the outdoor Music Haven in the park. We had become big fans of Garcia, and even used his recording of the Kinks' "Strange Effect" as our first dance. Well, the rain came down steady at times, but we stuck it out with umbrellas and ponchos... by the end of his set, many of the audience had run up to the front of the stage to dance... little did we know what was in store next....

Just as it seemed he was finished, Garcia addressed the crowd, asking if the engaged couple he had met many months back were in the audience... we had been in touch via Facebook, and told him we were considering using his song at our wedding. Well, he invited us up on stage to serenade us with the song, and then asked us to dance... which we did! It was a repeat of our wedding, with us getting our best tango/cha-cha on--the crowd loved it! They said we were an absolute highlight of the concert. It felt great, and Garcia followed it up with another great cover, Neil Young's "Harvest Moon."

We are so grateful to our friends, family, and the park for an absolutely lovely afternoon... the honeymoon continues...

Photos ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Free For All + Fun Friday

If I had my way, every day at my job would unfold like yesterday. 

Norman Rockwell model June Larkin.
Rockwell used her Troy, New York home as the
 reference for his "Homecoming" illustration,
and asked her to pose for the picture. Photo by
Jeremy Clowe for Norman Rockwell Museum.
All rights reserved.
I started the day off by interviewing a former model for Norman Rockwell. Timely actually, because the model, June Larkin, posed for Rockwell's 1945 painting, The Homecoming, which is on a temporary loan to Norman Rockwell MuseumLarkin's family heard about the painting through a news story, which makes me feel that I am doing something right in my job as manager of the Museum's press department. 

The family lives out in the Troy, New York area, which is where Rockwell based his illustration. Larkin shared her memories of meeting the famed artist as he walked around the boarding house where she and her family lived back in the 1940s. Not knowing who he was, she engaged the artist in conversation, and he asked her to pose for a picture he was working on. It wasn't until months later that she realized she had been asked to portray the shy girl standing at the side of the building waiting for the homecoming G.I. on the cover of the May 26, 1945 issue of The Saturday Evening Post

Norman Rockwell used Troy, New York, as the backdrop of several of his best-known illustrations back in the 1940s-1950s. Interestingly enough, there are now markers in the city to mark some of the well-known locations of these illustrations. Albany Times Union writer Don Rittner has an interesting blog that talks about Rockwell's association with the "collar city." Larkin's family also tells me of a coffee shop in the city that has reproductions of all Rockwell's Troy illustrations--sadly, it doesn't sound like Larkin gets an unlimited coffee card.

Anyway, I enjoyed learning more about June, and hearing about some of the history of Troy--it is really a fascinating city, that I have enjoyed learning more about. At one time, it was the site of much industrial and manufacturing (Larkin worked in the garment business during World War II-- a real "Rosie the Riveter!"). Here is a WMHT-TV documentary I have been meaning to watch about Uncle Sam's hometown during those war years. I also have my own short film I shot in Troy courtesy of the Arts Center--will have to share that soon.

Photo by Jeremy Clowe
for Norman Rockwell Museum.
All rights reserved.
Yesterday was also Free Fun Friday at the Museum, a special day where our visitors were offered free admission, courtesy of the Highland Street Foundation. We worked with the organization last year and it was a big success, and this year proved no different (they offer free admission to cultural venues throughout Massachusetts during the summer). What was fun about this Friday for me, was that I was asked to go around and take photos of our visitors. I spent most of the day doing so, and there was no shortage of subjects. What I also enjoy about this is that it gives me an opportunity to meet and talk with people--I ran into people from all over the east and west coast who were visiting, including a woman from my hometown of Rochester, New York. I find it fun to be creative while also communicating--it gets you away from being chained to your desk or art table. It was a beautiful day, and I think I got some good shots.

On the topic of photography, I'm looking at some of our great photos from our wedding, and trying to figure out where to collect them. Today I'm also getting ready for our big picnic/party tomorrow. It should be fun, and I look forward to more "Kodak moments" with our friends.  

Related Links:

"Norman Rockwell And Troy Made Beautiful Art Together!" Don Rittner, Albany Times Union, August 8, 2011