Saturday, December 20, 2008

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Socks the Cat

Socks the Cat's Cancer Battle



Poor Kitty. Somewhere out there there is a photo of me holding Socks taken during a private tour of the White House that I was invited on during the Clinton administration. At that time, he was a big and friendly act that leaped into my arms and purred.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Party Machine

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another cool discovery...

Have any of you noted as of late all of the great archaeological finds that have been discovered recently? I, for one, find all of this very exciting...

4,300-year-old pyramid discovered in Egypt
2,000-year-old gold earring found in Jerusalem

New Bamiyan Buddha find amid destruction

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gotta love this!

For those of you who have been concerned that I may be abandoning my blog, fear not. I've just been busier than I have ever been in my life working with several new visual and performing arts projects connected to my work. I'll still be posting, but probabbly not on an every day occurance. Though - I'll do my best.

With that being said - I ran across this new item online which brought a smile to my face...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081110/ap_on_re_us/wwii_photo

Saturday, November 01, 2008

It's the day after Halloween



It's the day after Halloween. I had a big night last night.
I now feel like 14 hells.
I just can't party the way I used to anymore.
Alas.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween Folks...



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NRSC = Freaks

I am not from Minnesota nor have I ever been there (though I would love to visit one day and probably will as I do have friends there). I know that there has been a rather heated campaign between Minnesota senate race between Republican Norm Coleman and comedian Al Franken
raging throughout the state which I have been following somewhat from a distance.

I also want to state that I have been a fan of Al Franken for many years. I was first introduced to his unique comedy when he would appear on SNL in the late 70's as part of the Franken & Davis show. Years later I watched him as a celebrity contestant at a taping of Jeopardy and found him not only hilarious but articulate and very intelligent.

Then, several years after that, I became hooked on his radio talk show that aired for a couple of years on Air America Radio.

SO, you can imagine my disgust when I read about the recent low-down low-brow smear tactics that the National Republican Senatorial Committee has taken in a pathetic attempt to bring him down.

See for yourself here:

http://www.americablog.com/2008/10/norm-coleman-mails-rape-comic-book-to.html

Monday, October 27, 2008

And thus begins a new chapter...

It's an early Monday morning in late October.

In synchronistic fashion, yesterday afternoon was the very last day that I will ever set foot in my previous house in New Jersey while today is the day that I "officially" begin my new position as Executive Director of the Celebration Studios and Gallery here in Rehoboth Beach. I use the word officially in quotes only because I have been working more or less in the position for the last 2 weeks or so, but today is when it actually begins..."officially".

Of course, I'll still be responsible for many of the duties connected to my position as Associate Director of the Theatre for quite some time, the role has just been expanded into a wider scope of possibilities. I'm very pleased about taking on the new role, and the new work.

Make no mistake - there is much new work to be done. Much. But you see, this isn't so much a "job" as it is a life role that is played. It was the same way when I was the owner and curator of eklektikos gallery of art in Washington, DC for 10 years. The role becomes part of your psyche, thus, you are always "working", but it is more akin to always keeping the vision alive and prospering.

If you've ever been involved in similar projects, you know what I mean.

Perhaps that's an even better term, "project". Working on a "project" has always seemed more attractive to me than simply "working". "Working" seems mundane, rote, tedious, like an unpleasant necessity while working on a project seems creative, invigorating, collaborative, fruitful and pleasant.

So, with that in mind, let me reword my first paragraph—today is the day that I begin working on my new project—as Executive Director of the Celebration Studios and Gallery.

Here's to new chapters.



Zoom. Zoom.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Arrivederci New Jersey

Good morning. As I press down on my keyboard, it's a bit after 6:00 AM, E.S.T. I've been up since 4:51 AM, which, as of late, is quickly becoming the norm for me. But this morning has a rather odd aura about it for this is the last morning that I spend here in this particular house in New Jersey.

For a variety of reasons, each either too tedious or too personal to list, my partner and I listed our house here in New Jersey sometime around last May. To condense an extremely long story, we finalize the sale to the new owners on the 30th, exactly one week from today.

For those of you with absolutely much too much time on your hands, it may indeed be possible to research much earlier postings in this blog to discover that we purchased this home almost 3 years ago to the date. I remember moving in less than a week before Halloween and being concerned that I hadn't had time to pick up candy or carve a jack-o-lantern because of the chaos, a thought that, in hindsight, I now view as completely absurd.

Initially, I was very pleased with the decision. It was, and still is, a lovely old home a top a small hill looking over the quaint main street confines of a charming bedroom community of Philadelphia. However, as the months flew from the calendar like faded leaves from a branch, the events that I had envisioned occurring did not. I became disillusioned and ready for change.

Now, the change that I requested from the universe was delivered to be in abundance. Since moving back to the beach on a full time basis last May, my life has indeed taken on a new level of involvement that I find stimulating, challenging, rewarding—and most importantly—that allows me to enlarge my creative horizon on a daily basis.

So, it is not with sadness that I notice the fact that this will be the last 6:46 AM that I spend in the Butterscotch Castle. It seems that the older I become, the less wistful I become as well. The past is the past and I've learned that attempting to dwell in it, as well as regret it, is futile to say the least. Upward and onward with myself.

However, there is an oddness about knowing that one particular moment is the last moment. It's a tad bit haunting - the finality of it all, and as such, it seems that my morning is composed of a very long stream of final moments.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Halloween is just around the corner...

Gotta love it...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

In Memorium...

To a brilliant talent and an amazing humanitarian...


Paul Leonard Newman
January 26, 1925 - September 26, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Return of The Dame

Some of you may not know that the Nick Sprouse referred to in this article is my brother. He had been the talent buyer for the famed "Dame" in downtown Lexington for many years.

However, last June 22, the Dame was closed after its lease was bought out as part of a move to clear businesses from the block to make way for construction of CentrePointe, the proposed 35-story high-rise hotel and condominium tower.

That decision proved to be controversial to say the least and it left the future of the Dame, as well as that of my brother's career, in limbo.

I'm very pleased to learn this morning however, that a Phoenix has risen from the ash.

http://www.kentucky.com/211/story/523969.html

Monday, September 15, 2008

Funny



Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

In case you were mislead by the title of this post, I have indeed been busy, busy, busy. The majority of the time that has past since my last post, has been devoted to my work at the Rehoboth Beach Theatre of the Arts and my exhibit which opens on Friday the 12th at the Philip Morton Gallery in Rehoboth Beach.

So, speaking as someone with little free time, I found this article of interest.

http://www.dbtechno.com/health/2008/09/09/study-shows-exercise-helps-people-beat-their-fat-gene/

Imus admit that I laughed aloud with a cynical guffaw when I read the last two lines which read

"Those in the high activity group who did around 3 to 4 hours of moderate exercise each day burned 900 more calories than the low activity group.

This shows that with exercise, you truly can beat your fat gene."

Huh??!! 3 to 4 hours of exercise A DAY?! What person has time for that? Say someone works an average 9 to 5 job, and let's say that they wake up on average around 7:30 AM to get their morning ritual underway. Now let's figure an average of 30 minutes to get to work and another 30 to get home. In order to have 3 to 4 hours of exercise a day, they would need to rise at 3:30 AM and leap into some exercise routine groggy eyed with morning breath, or exercise from roughly 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM each and every night.

Welcome to Fantasy Island...

Fantasy Island


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Freakin' back pain...

Though I don't think that I have mentioned it here during this last week, I had one of my infamous "back throw out" sessions last Saturday night while at the "Almost Queen" show at the theatre. I can't really pinpoint any one thing that may have led to the "lumbar strain", but nevertheless it occurred.One moment, I was fine, the next - I was in severe pain and unable to stand up properly. Trouble is, here it is one week later, and I still have tightness and pain in my lower back. Not like for the first few days thankfully, but I have been experiencing some level of or pain ranging from mild to extreme for the last 8 days now.
And that doesn't make me feel like doing much of anything at all.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Refreshingly Honest...

After I left the theatre yesterday afternoon, George and I made plans to get together with our friend Michael, eat some dinner and watch a movie. Though as loosely made plans often tend to do, our schedule changed a bit when we all decided to dine at a local and hip little diner within walking distance from Michael's home.
We were in the mood for something "homey" food wise and once our server arrived the following conversation took place:
Michael K : "So, how is the meatloaf? Would you recommend it?"
Waitress : "No. Personally, I think it's disgusting. But if you're into that kind of thing..."
After a brief second of raised eyebrows and quick smirks, George than asks,
"Hmm. Well, what about the spaghetti and meatballs?"
Waitress: "You know, you're better off going to an Italian restaurant."

Thanks to her refreshing honesty, we all had Patty Melts.

And they were delicious.

Thank You honest waitress.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Howdy friends and neighbors


Originally uploaded by superbomba.

Imagine that you decide to host a "Get to Know Your Neighbors" BBQ/cocktail party on some sunny Saturday afternoon.

The doorbell rings...

Many thanks to superbomba and her phenomenal photo collection.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Leslie Jordan....

Guess who's coming to the RBTA?

(http://www.thelesliejordan.com/)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Busy Times

I have been so busy in my new position as Associate Director of the Rehoboth Beach Theatre of the Arts, that I've not had the same amount of time as I had been used to to partake in such activities as updating my blog on a regular basis. I'm not complaining, mind you, as I truly thrive on the challenge and excitement of it all. It's such a new project that there is, understandably, quite a bit of action always going on behind the scene.

I've performed in and/or have worked backstage with enough theatrical productions to have seen times of total chaos backstage. In fact, I've been in the middle of several just within the last several weeks as backstage manager with our current production. What's wonderful about working with such stage professionals is that together we ensure that the audience is blissfully unaware of any situation/s behind the curtain.

Of course that is exactly how it should be. "Suspension of Disbelief" is the term I believe...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The best toast I ever tasted...

This just struck me as so bizarre that I just had to post it. Not only can the toaster create the best toast you'll ever taste, it seems to be able to defy gravity as well. Either that, or the young woman enjoying her "coffee" likes to live life on the edge, or at least likes her toasters on the edge of the table.

Of course, judging from her glassy eyed "I hear you but I can't seem to comprehend a word you're saying" stare, she may mistake the toaster as her purse at any moment and slide her hand into it looking for her lip stick. In any case, if my breakfast conversation revolved around debate about whether I just finished "the best toast I ever tasted", I would think of other more practical uses for the toaster, perhaps as an accompaniment to a relaxing bath...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hidden Face..

I love little stories about little surprises like this...

Hidden face uncovered under Van Gough painting...

Oddly enough, one of my well known works, "Marilyn"



Published in this : "Marilyn In Art", has an entirely different painting underneath it entitled "The Prophetess". I'm not sure if I have an image of the original work. But if I come across it, I'll post it here.

By the way, when you get a chance, check out this blog - www.rehobothbeachtheatre.blogspot.com.
This is the new blog for the equally new Rehoboth Beach Theatre of the Arts where I now serve as Associate Director.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Heap Big Silly Drink


0722082033.jpg, originally uploaded by sprouseart.

There I am on the right sharing a loving cup of a mini-mexican hat shaped punch bowl filled with god only knows how many different kinds of booze at a place called Mango's in Bethany Beach last night as we celebrated the birthday of my friend Michael. Fortunately, I didn't sip as strongly as I could have knowing that I had a full day today.

When it was brought to the table, the center of the hat was aflame. Fortunately, the birthday boy knew to blow out the wee fire so as to not burn away the alcohol of the rum.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Busy busy busy

Would it help to state that I have been working like a mad man? A little over 2 weeks ago, I took a position with the Rehoboth Beach Theatre of the Arts located, of course, in downtown Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. That position, as back stage manager, has now grown into backstage manager and publicist for the theatre. I'm very happy doing both as I feel as if I am in my "element". Of course, I also am spending as much time as possible in my studio as I have a solo exhibit in September at the Philip Morton gallery.

Needless to say really, but this new schedule has taken a large bite out of my regular schedule, leaving me less free time for, say, this blog. But fear not, I'll still be popping in and out frequently, but perhaps not daily.

Also, I'll be posting links here soon to the blog that I will be creating for the Rehoboth Beach Theatre of The Arts. If I could figure out how to use my groovy new phone for blogging, then you'll find even more dynamic content here. I'll let you know, or am very open to ideas on how to do that.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

GO CAROL KRECK

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/11/mccain-campaign-had-prote_n_112255.html

BUSY Saturday!

It's 5:59 AM here. Why am I up so early on a Saturday morning? Well, I may have overlooked the information that last week I officially started working as the Assistant Stage Manager for the Rehoboth Beach Theatre of The Arts. (If you happen to be in the area during the run of our current production of "Broadway Fever" I urge you to catch a performance as it really is spectacular - if only I could get the words from Seasons of Love out of my head -




However, I also have to drive back to NJ this AM ( two hours) so that I can jury an Figurative Art Competition for the Annual Haddonfield Fine Art and Crafts Festival . I have to finish there by about 3, then high tail it back to the beach for tonight's show.

Truth be told, if I stay attentive and "in the now" it should all be wonderful!

Cheers

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Follow the money....

I believe that I have made it rather clear that I intend on supporting the Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States, however, I'm not a fan of blindly following anyone or anything without keeping an inner-eye open. It's not an issue of not being able to trust, it is actually more of an issue of trusting greatly, trusting my inner-voice - the voice of my essence, some would call it intuition. It's the same voice that wisely suggests that I not allow any experience to take me over completely because that's when people begin to make mistakes. I believe that history has shown repeatedly that blind trust in anything has ultimately proven to formulate as costly mistakes.

That being said, let me now question why BHO voted to pass the FISA Bill. This is the same bill that he strongly opposed in 2007 with a statements coming from his campaign like "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies" and "Senator Obama unequivocally opposes giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies and has cosponsored Senator Dodd's efforts to remove that provision from the FISA bill. Granting such immunity undermines the constitutional protections Americans trust the Congress to protect. Senator Obama supports a filibuster of this bill, and strongly urges others to do the same".

This issue is deservedly getting all of the attention that it should. It seems to me that his decision to support this Bill after so vocally promising to vote against less than a year ago, was truly foolish and I can't see how it can be spun it any positive light.

Here is a very astute quote from an article by Bob Ostertag that sums it up quite nicely: "Here is another level on which this whole thing stinks. It is one thing for a presumptive nominee to adjust policy positions to reach out to constituencies he wants to bring in to his coalition which were not part of his primary victory. We have seen Obama do that with evangelicals, for example. Warrantless wiretapping has no constituency. There is no sector of the American population that just might jump off the fence and get behind Obama if he only agrees to give telecommunications corporations retroactive immunity for illegally collaborating with the Bush administration's spying. He is not courting votes here. Either he is caving in to pressure from the giant telecom corporations, or he has really bought into the idea that American actually needs warrantless wiretapping. Either option is equally unpalatable to many activists."

And here is a very compelling video produced by the American News Project.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

July 6. 08

It's been over a week since my last post. Summer is actually a rather busy time here at the beach and it's easy to overlook such things as the "blog". I bet if one were to study my posting habits over the last few years, it could be seen that as summer progresses the span of time between my posts follows suit.

I've also been thinking of new ideas that I want to incorporate into this blog as well as my personal site as a visual artist. Truth be told, by ideas about many things have evolved recently, thanks in a great part to this.

In fact, the longer I sit here and stare at the keyboard, the less motivated I am to spend my current moment typing out what my very well be nothing more than my opinion of something. I've been finding myself critical of that same behavior in the media over the last year or so (basically - op-ed pieces being labeled news stories), and I really don't want to be guilty of the same behavior on my on blog.

I'm not sure how this new mind set will transform these digital pages, but I feel that it will occur, in fact, perhaps it has already begun.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Iraq? Huh? What's that??

According to this new unsettling story on huffingtonpost.com, the average time spent covering the "war" in Iraq by the major news networks is 2 minutes a week!

Read the article here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/22/reporters-major-networks_n_108560.html

It may also interest you to know that a quick scan of CNN.com's main page as of this posting had no mention of Iraq. It did however have these important tidbits listed under its "Latest News" section which is prominently featured on the upper right hand side section of the page -

While there were a few other items that dealt with the current race for the White House and the cost of gas, these were titles featured right along with them. In fact, out of the 19 listed, these were half of the "news" stories.



Small wonder we have such an under-informed populace in this country - which of course leads to dreadful mistakes like this...

In Memoriam...

George Carlin



May 12, 1937 - June 22, 2008

The end of a brilliant comedian with an equally brilliant mind.



http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/24/arts/24carlin.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_carlin

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Very Funny Video...

Love This.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gwqEneBKUs

And this is is even better - HOWEVER, it is definitely NOT safe for work, and the language may offend some listeners, though, it certainly didn't seem to offend McCain back in '92.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Euu_DMhsXQo

"Them"


Them, originally uploaded by sprouseart.

Wacky digital collage with big thanks to flickr pro-member superbomba. Her collection of retro, "Arbusesque", vernacular found photography is simply out of this world!

I'm off to NJ this morn to move major parts of my studio to my new studio just a little over 2 months before my next solo exhibit!

Aiiieeee!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy B-day Nick - Shame about the Dame...

Tee Hee.. this is what our black cat Scraggles likes to do most mornings, a rousing game of fetch with her toy mice...



She will keep going like that until you either throw the mouse in some spot where she can't find it - like on top of the refrigerator.

Today is the birthday of my brother Nicholas. He is younger than I...much younger, and he is hitting a milestone decade birthday that falls between 20 and 40. I hit that birthday mark myself so many moons ago that my memory of the celebration that evening is somewhat vague and watercolored.

I do remember that George arranged a wonderful surprise dinner party with about 15 guests at a Spanish restaurant in DC that is now long gone. I can't remember the name of the place, though I remember the location. I remember most, but not all, of the guests that were there. I don't remember what I ate but I do remember the server and the manager walking from guest to guest pouring sweet tasting fortified wine from a leather cask into our mouths as celebratory shots. As the birthday boy, I had the biggest shot and I do remember swallowing several mouthfuls of wine as the crowd cheered me on.

Nick implied to me not too long ago that this particular birthday was making him feel a bit "old". I immediately asked him if he'd like to trade ages, which seemed to change the tone of the conversation a tad. Of course, while feeling older when hitting that particular mark is somewhat expected when you enter it, ultimately it isn't as psyche damaging as it was, say 25 years or so ago. It fact, by today's standards, it is considered downright young, and certainly, I will make no attempt to disagree.

I remember the day that Nick was born with pristine clarity. It was a warm and sunny June 20th, and my older brother David and I were playing Frisbee in the street when my parents left for the hospital. I was 13 and David was 10 days from 15. The year was 1978. I was wearing cut off Levi's with frayed ends and ever so slightly split up the side seams and my hair was parted in the middle and "feathered" back. I had a very wide distressed tan leather belt with large metal riveted punched with a huge oval shaped "rainbow iridescent" Boston belt buckle. I was also wearing a bright, canary yellow t-shirt that was spray painted with the word "Mike" on it in rainbow colored, metalic paint with a font so stylized that would have camouflaged me perfectly against the side of any ultra-popular customized van.

So, now who has the right to feel old? Tee Hee. I can already imagine some of my friends who read this blog (some of whom I met the year Nick was born or shortly thereafter and whom Nick grew up around) also sharing in their own private dismay that Sprouse's "little brother" was turning 30. For after all, if he's that old...what does that make them?!

I hope Nick has a great birthday, though, based upon our conversation from the other day, he may be feeling a bit somber and forlorn for the club where he has been the General Manager and the Main Talent Buyer for several years is closing its doors after this weekend. Tonight, as he informed me, will be the last Friday night at the Dame. There is some chance that the Dame will re-emerge in a new location but nothing is definite.

Feel free to read the article sent to me today by Nick.

http://www.kentucky.com/712/story/438335.html


If it's any consolation Nick, maybe when your my age 13 years from now, you'll look back on this day with vague watercolored memories as well.

Cheers!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Obama Hires Solis Doyle

My brother turned me onto this article on Huffingtonpost.com yesterday afternoon when it hit -

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/16/obama-hires-solis-doyle-a_n_107395.html

I sent him this response this morning and felt the need to share it here as well.

Hmm. I'm not sure how I feel about this. Oddly, it seems that as of this morning, the main-stream media has yet to pick up on the decision. If Obama did make this decision as slap in Clinton's face, then I would see that as a highly irresponsible decision motivated by ego and inexperience. This isn't a game of schoolyard kickball, this is about the future of our country which, in my opinion, is hanging in a very delicate balance right now. Assuming that he did make the decision motivated by those reasons, It seems to me that it would only strengthen the idea bouncing around some folk's heads that he isn't "there" yet when it comes to fixing the long list of wrongs that we as Americans are struggling with right now.

But, let me rather suppose that that isn't the reason. The article on huffingtonpost.com uses terminology such as "insiders believe", "according to two close Clinton confidantes" and "one individual with knowledge of the Clinton campaign's political leanings". Again, the cynic in me dismisses such "sources" of information as potential gossip, unsubstantiated innuendo, and often downright untruthful made up on a whim by over zealous reporters needing to pad a "story" which is really just a thin disguise for an op-ed piece. It's important to note that there was another source that I read from an insider who debunked the entire theory of animosity between the two. I find it perplexing that the same people that would dismiss such "inside sources" when they see them printed on the cover of cheap and tawdry celebrity tabloids while waiting in line at the grocery store would be quick to believe them in some other context.

While it's possible that there may be bad blood now between PSD and HC, but there are some facts that seem to be overlooked.

1 - The two had been (and may very well still be) very close friends and PSD had been HC's personal assistant since 1992.

2 - The two women are such consummate professionals that, though possible, I can't imagine that they would transform into catty and bitter rivals when HC decided that PSD needed to step down. The truth is that there were mistakes mad in HC's campaign pre-Iowa and that's when PSD held the reins. It seems to me that as professionals and close friends, they would come to a mutual understanding that it wasn't working and, that for the better of the campaign, a change needed to be made.

3 - It's important to remember that Obama and Clinton had a private meeting not too long ago. Since most of the news story is based upon conjecture ( with a negative slant since that always makes for more exciting reading) isn't it just as possible that during that meeting Obama may have said something like this -

"Look, after this dies down, I'm going to offer you the VP so we can move forward with what really needs to be done."
In response to which HC may have said, "Great. I'm ready, but I just want one small request, bring in Patti as my VP assistant."

It is possible that that is what my be occurring.

If happy little bluebirds fly...


Rainbow, originally uploaded by sprouseart.

Look what appeared over the rooftops in front of my home late yesterday afternoon after a line of severe thunderstorms moved through.

The sun was setting behind me which lit the receding clouds ahead creating the perfect arc.

It was one of those sunsets where everything was bathed in radiant gold and orange light like a Kodachrome slide from the 50's.

What a show!

Monday, June 16, 2008

When seeing isn't always believing...



Above is another Victorian cabinet photo that I transformed with the help of Photoshop. While I'm doing these mostly for fun, I’m also hoping that they will illustrate how pervasive digital image manipulation has become a constant facet of our contemporary culture driven by an almost maniacal obsession with being youthful looking, thin, and attractive.

Many people are blissfully unaware that over 95% of all the photographs on magazine covers and in articles as well as both print, web and billboard advertisements have been digitally altered, sometimes dramatically. Those who are aware of it often choose to delegate the fact to some dusty corner of their mind and forget about it choosing to buy into the belief that those on the covers really are that flawless.

The problem is that these images create illusions that many people feel that they need to recreate in their own lives in order to achieve perfection. Anyone who knows their way around Photoshop and has a basic understanding of the layout of the human face can do the same thing to photos (as can be seen by my examples).

I first learned this “skill” in the late 90’s when I was working for a web design firm that specialized in web sites for radio stations. Most of the deejays, at least then, were known only by their wonderful voices and the public wasn’t quite sure what they looked like. My specialty was to shave off pound and years from the DJ’s photos before they were placed on the web site so as not to disappoint, or shock, the listening, often much more youthful, audience.

So, the next time you’re flipping through your favorite magazine, or you find yourself perusing the covers of the magazine rack while waiting in line at the grocery store or for your plane at the airport, ask yourself, does that celebrity really have such flawless skin? Can she or he really look like that now that they are between the ages of 35 and 70? Are they really that svelte and trim?

Once you open your eyes to the manipulation you’ll see it everywhere. And, if you happen to hear a young person exclaim how fantastic that person looks, you may want to unobtrusively inform them that they only look that way because the photo had been altered with a computer. That it isn’t reality.

There is nothing wrong with someone trying to make them self look and feel as attractive as they want, but it isn’t right if they are trying to recreate in reality a look that they are bombarded with everywhere that isn’t based in reality.

The underlying message seems to be that the cover models are more perfect living worry free, happy lives because they are beautiful and wealthy with perfect teeth, wrinkle free skin, fat free abs, thighs and arms. The message ultimately is that these people are better than you and that they will always be better than you unless you become one of them. People, especially young impressionable people, need to learn that it is image manipulation, and not based in reality.

Fortunately, there are more and more examples of the manipulation appearing on the web. Like this article on jezebel.com about a recent cover featuring Faith Hill. Or on this "photoshop" section of jossip.com.

When you get a chance, check them out, you may be very surprised.

Finally, there are some sites that post images of people, which as far as I can tell, haven’t yet been manipulated. One is http://www.jamd.com/. Visit the site and put the name of someone that you may have seen recently on the cover of a magazine in the search engine and you may be surprised at how radically different they look than the image of them that you noticed on the cover.

By the way, this type of "remake" and manipulation isn't always just aimed at teens and adults. Read this article, especially you parenst out there, about the "remake" of children's favorites from the past -

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/11/business/media/11cartoons.html?ref=arts.

I remember my sister had the "Strawberry Shortcake" dolls when she was young and she loved them. Look at the "new" Straberry Shortcake now. Perhaps she is ready for her own strawberry cellphone and hot pants.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Death By Eraser...

I didn't wake up this morning thinking about finding something ghoulish to grace the digital pages of my blog on a sunny, late Spring morning. But really, this is just such a prime and breath-catching example of "life is stranger than fiction" with perfectly macabre sidecar that I couldn't resist.

It seems that on the 15th of February 1909, on his 15th birthday no less, young George Spencer Millitt was trying to escape from a group of giggling girls who wished to bestow some innocently sweet birthday kisses upon his blushing cheek when he accidentally "ran a sharp eraser into his body" causing his death. This tragic event occurred, as luck would deem it, at his place of employment - the Application Bureau of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.



The photo of the headstone and the newspaper clipping is courtesy of flickr member jack_mord. He is also the fellow behind this intriguing and somewhat Gothic dark site - www.thantos.net.

By the way, if you were as curious as I as to what exactly a Victorian "ink eraser" was and how it could mortally harm someone, you'll find and example here...

http://www.tias.com/8600/PictPage/1922182527.html#images

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Slide show of the damned


Slide show of the damned, originally uploaded by sprouseart.

Family viewing pleasure...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lightening striking again...

I have heard of Henry Darger in the past, but somehow his work and his story was placed on some dusty corner of my mind until I ran across this article on msnbc.com -

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24994261/

Clearly, the man was deeply disturbed on many levels, but what an amazing treasure trove of work his mind and talent left behind.



By the way, if you're ever in the mood to kvetch about your childhood or even your present life circumstances, read a bit about Darger's childhood and tormented adulthood and then see if you don't feel like whistling a different tune.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Darger

Late yesterday afternoon/early evening, I was working away in the studio for my upcoming solo exhibit at the Philip Morton Gallery in September. The air was still stifling hot when I entered the studio as we were still in the throes of the "tropical" heat wave. It was that kind of heat that makes everyday creature behave oddly - squirrels flatten themselves against the bare earth for coolness and birds sloth about with their beaks ajar as if they were dragging themselves across the desert floor attempting to reach some distant hallucinatory oasis.

Fortunately for me, I keep my studio cool in the summer with a wall unit that we had installed after we renovated the space. If not for that, I too, would have been flattening myself to the bare earth for coolness no doubt. I opened the door, stepped into the refreshing acrylic paint scented air and quickly pulled the heavy door shut behind me locking out the hellishness of the baking sun.

I began working on one of my paintings and was quite oblivious to the world outside of my studio door. The rumbling of the air conditioner mixed with the music that I was playing helped in this obscurement. It was just I alone with my cool air, my art and my iTunes and I felt very content.

About an hour into my painterly nirvana however, all of the lights in my studio blinked. "Power surge", I thought to myself and went about my work. Then it happened again, but this time it was accompanied with a rumbling sensation that, even though I couldn't hear, I could feel through the concrete floor beneath my feet. I quickly muted the music realizing that something wasn't quite right.I opened the door to my studio and was greeted by quite a change in the weather. The stark blue and hazy 101 degree skies that were present when I entered my studio how now been replaced with something much more sinister. The temperature had dropped considerably and the trees were thrashing so severely with whipping winds that I remember wondering for a brief second why they weren't snapping off like weakened twigs. In the not too far distance, blue explosions of lightening were backlighting a massive cluster of churning black clouds. Since there were still hazy patches of blue above my head, I could see that the violent storm, though approaching quickly, was till not overhead. "Time to close shop", I thought matter-of-a-factly, as I stepped inside to power everything down which took less than two minutes. When I opened the door again to make the quick walk from my studio to the back door of the house, large rain drops where intermittently smashing into the ground around me and the storm moved closer. I stepped out of the studio and pulled the heavy door shut behind me and began walking quickly to my back door. That's when it happened.

Everything that happened next happened in a nano-second which is the weirdest sensation because I can recall it as if it took 10 minutes, like a time/space rift. First, I felt the air change around me as if it were being sucked up and away from me, and it felt tingly. Then there was a bright explosion of purple light so intense that I froze in my tracks because I felt temporarily blinded. It surrounded me as if I had walked into the headlight beam of on oncoming semi truck. It instantly befuddled me and I remember feeling as if my legs had suddenly become rubbery but only for a moment because following that was the loudest crack/explosion sound that I may have ever heard. It actually made my ears ring afterwards.

"Oh God, I've been struck by lightening!" I remember thinking to myself. But since I was still standing and seemed to be all right and could move again, I ran into the house thinking that I must have been spared.

Again, all of this happened literally in the blink of an eye. I can't explain why I recall it as if it took much longer. I'm still not sure if somehow I wasn't struck, but surely there would be some sort of mark or burn. When I reached the house my heart was beating so quickly that I felt ill and I couldn't catch my breath. Even as I recall it now my heart is beating faster and I feel a bit dizzy. I picked up the phone and called George who managed to calm me down leaving me to ponder what may have occurred. I can only guess that the strike must have been extremely close over my head, but later I could see no marking of anything that had been struck. I should read up on lightening so as to de-mystify for me.

I do recall several years ago I met a man who told me that he had been struck my lightening on three separate occasions. He was certainly a truthful and well respected man on all other occasions so I had no need to disbelieve him. He did tell me that the first time that it happened to him, he was hurled into the air a good 70 feet or so. He told me that even though it happened instantaneously, he felt the experience as if it were in slow motion. He even recalled seeing a neighborhood woman a few backyards away quickly pulling laundry off the line before the storm hit. This was later confirmed by the woman. He also told me that when he fell back down to the earth, it was as if he lofted down like a feather. He also had no physical injuries from the drop.

Who knows? I guess I was just lucky one way or the other.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The joy of a productive day.

I had a very productive day today and that pleases me greatly. I have just one more little hurdle to leap over before being totally finished with one particular project, but that hurdle won't come until tomorrow morning. I also made great headway with another ongoing project which I'll post about when that's completely finished. That one involves hats collected by a close friend. Due to a variety of reasons the project has been in the works for over a year, but now it is, as my friend with the hats likes to say "almost soup".

I'm going to spend some time in the studio tonight before jumping into bed with some reading material as I have a new exhibit coming up in a few months.

More on that soon as well.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Just put one foot in front of the other...



In a dream last night, I was walking on water. I can't remember what type of body of water it was ( though I'm leaning towards small lake or large pond). Nearby either on the shore that I was trying to get to was a small group of people. Like many unknown people that appear very vividly in my dreams, they were dressed in a late Victorian/early Edwardian style of clothing.They were amazed that I was walking on water and were very vocal about it.

I just remember being very embarrassed by the ado they were making and wishing that they would shut up and ignore me. I remember feeling something close to dread actually when I realized that they had seen me. I only remember feeling like this because in the dream I was walking on the water only to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible ( I wish I could remember what situation was occurring that made me decide to walk very quickly to the shore rather than swim, but I can't) .

I remember telling myself in the dream that if anyone saw me doing it that my life would probably not be the same again and that I had really better weigh the options quickly before opting for that particular mode of transportation. During the time that I was hurriedly deciding what to do, I noticed that the group on the shore had their backs turned to me as if occupied by some other thing in the distance. I remember thinking that if I walked as fast and quietly as possible that I could make it to the shore without them turning around and seeing me.

No such luck. The minute I started my aqua trek, they in unison turned towards me and began reacting. Of course, I had to finish through with the walk at that point, though it only took a few seconds. Fortunately, I awoke as soon as I hit the shore and didn't have to dream further about what wacky explanation I would have to come up with for the now freaked out crowd.

I now know how much it would suck to have some wild ability that you had to keep under your hat all the time for fear of exposure...



I've looked up "walking on water" on several online dream dictionaries, but they all seem to have variations of this - "To dream that you are walking on water, suggests that you have supreme and ultimate control over your emotions. It may also suggest that you need to "stay on top" of your emotions and not let them explode out of hand. Alternatively, it is symbolic of faith in you".

"Supreme and ultimate control" eh? Those sound like words that may be uttered by some James Bond nemesis. To be fair, I have been dealing with several anxiety producing situations as of late and have had to talk myself out of panic attack mode on more than one occasion. I do however keep a few Xanax pills about somewhere only for severe panic ( they were a boy's best friend that time that George and I got terribly lost on a super highway somewhere outside of Florence, Italy). Fortunately, I've not had to use them since, and would prefer not to as I'm the type who gets anxiety about taking an anti-anxiety pill.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Victorian before/after Photoshop

See what happens when you wake up at 4:54 AM on a hot summer Sunday morning...

Friday, June 06, 2008

Banana Raspberry Glitch...

It's Friday morning. I've been up since about 5:30 AM as usual. I've all the windows opened as it is a cool morning, though we are under an "excessive heat watch" for the next several days. I remember when I was a kid watching a mediocre made for television movie entitled "Heat Wave!" which came out in 1974. I really have only vague recollections of it, but every time it gets terribly hot in the summer, I recall scenes from that forgotten film.



Yesterday morning while drinking my coffee, I felt the urge to Photoshop something. I found an old photo of a woman from 1899. She was overweight and a bit worn looking in the original image. But after the magic of Photoshop, her image was transformed. If only I could figure out a way to use it on myself in reality.

Here's the before and after...

Victorian before/after

Also, this morning, I was in the mood for something different for breakfast. I saw that I had 3 very ripe bananas sitting in the basket. I didn't feel right about throwing them away and "wasting" food, especially in this day and age. "When I was a kid", I thought to myself "my mother would make Banana Bread out of these". There was no way that I felt motivated enough to jump into the production of homemade Banana Bread, but it did start my gears moving.

I then remembered that I had a box of whole wheat pancake mix. "Aha" I said. I'll just make some Banana Pancakes. I decided to puree the bananas in the food processor which was easy enough. I had just one cup of mix left over in the box which was what the directions called for. The other ingredient that I needed was oil. All I had was Olive Oil. "What the hell", I thought, and in it went. I also soon realized that the only milk that I had was Buttermilk. No problem. In it went. Now to add the one egg, the banana glop and I would be ready to go.

Moments after I introduced the tropical smelling glop to the mix, I remembered that I had a bag of frozen raspberries in the freezer. "Mmm...Banana Raspberry Buttermilk Whole Wheat Pancakes" I remember saying aloud like a holy mantra guaranteed to induce some sort of homespun Nirvana. I added a cup of the berries and just for good measure a heavy sprinkle of cinnamon, a few shakes of Splenda, and a dash of Kosher Salt, plus a good shot of my homemade Vanilla Extract ( all thanks to the Barefoot Contessa - I've had mine for about 4 years now).

You would think that these wonderful ingredients would create something heavenly. Alas, no. Somehow in the cooking process ( and I did indeed use the hot griddle with just enough butter spray), they became a hideous concoction of burnt to a crisp/overtly caramelized raspberries mixed with an uncookable yet scalding hot hyper-sweet banana/cinnamon oozing ickiness that could only be glopped onto a plate. Frankly, it tasted as if someone had roasted the innards of some sweet old woman's purse ( think a combo of Rolaids, lilac perfume, and bright red waxy lipstick with a few crumpled Kleenexes for texture) on the griddle and slopped it up.

The syrup helped.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Auntie Em, Auntie Em

Thursday morning. June 5th. I have a busy next few days ahead of me, but I would rather not focus on all of that work. I'll deal with it as I deal with it. It will be what it will be. Que Sera Sera. Whatever will be, will be.

See, how "The Power of Now" that is? Though, it of course it sounds much more like this instead...



You know, it's rather difficult to find an image of Doris Day that isn't steeped in cheesecake. That's why my favorite image still is this one.



Self-admittedly, I created this one myself in Photoshop about 2 years ago, but I still love it. It's based on a screen shot from her 1955 film "Love Me or Leave Me". I love this image. It's raw, sexy, and dripping in that mid 50's noir look and feel, though the film isn't known as a noir work.

One of the highlights of yesterday was my visit with my friend Jeff West. He recently opened his new home furnishings store "Jeff West Home" in Rehoboth Beach. We've been friends for several years and he truly has an amazing gift for interior design. Mentioned on his website is this "his homes have been featured in The Washington Post, Coastal Living, Cottage Style, Chesapeake Life, Delaware Beach Life and Cape Gazette". It's true of course and his new shop reflects that style sensibility perfectly.

Late yesterday afternoon and early evening was the time for severe thunderstorms and tornado watches. George and I watched the first line move through on the front porch where we were saturated by waves of howling wind and intense rain until the continuous lightening and deafening thunder helped hasten the decision to move back into the house.

The tornado watch lasted until 1:00 AM in the morning and as I was falling to sleep around 11ish, I had a strange sensation that I hadn't had since I was a child back in Kentucky. Often, in the Spring and Summer, we would be under tornado watches. While most of them occurred during the day, sometimes that would stretch through the night. I remember laying in bed listening to the thunder and watching the sky light up with blue and purple wondering what would happen if a tornado hit in the middle of the night when we were all asleep.

As the passage of time would have it, I had forgotten completely about that thought until last night as I was quietly watching the storm from my bed. I remember thinking that if such an event did occur, that we would obviously deal with it then.

I made sure that a pair of slip on shoes were next to my bed just in case...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

When the world hands you lemons... make Pink Lemonade Cupcakes...

I've been a bit MIA during the last 2 weeks and 3 days. Truth be told, I've been in a funk and I was simply not motivated to create an entry. Frankly, I'm still in a bit of a funk, but it seems that jumping back into something, like my blog, may help progress me back into a "non-funk" space.

I won't go into any specific reasons as to what has placed me in a funk as it is really just a compilation of different things that have started to wear thin. Several of these "things" came clearly into focus over the span of time since my last visit here, but again, why bore anyone with them. In time, each will be dealt with one way or the other. It simply is what it is.

On a more positive note, we were fortunate to have our wonderful friends Denise and her boy friend Luke visit us twice in the last few weeks. We've been friends with Denise for several years and she and Luke have been together for close to 2. We always have a great time together highlighted by much laughter, summery cocktails, fantastic food.

On a weird whim, I was hit with the craving for cupcakes, particularly pink lemonade cupcakes. I must have run across them in either a magazine or online. The idea of them shone in my mind like a beacon. Oddly enough, I have never had one before, but the idea of them made my mouth water. The craving turned into a full blown desire so I decided as I was driving up from N.J. that I would make a batch of these cupcakes for the weekend of Denise and Luke's visit.

Since I couldn't remember where I had been introduced to the initial idea of the pink lemonade cupcake, I hit the web and typed the term into google. I went with the first return at the top of the list where I found this little treasure.

Already I could feel my craving being satisfied as I read with glee about the confection. I decided that this was the recipe that I would go with. And go with it I did. The only thing that I did differently was to use whole eggs rather than egg whites and I added a bit more oil ( more like the amount on the box - minus a bit). Also, I simply added red food coloring to a can of white frosting.

I also had only purchased enough pink lemonade concentrate for one batch of cupcakes, so I had to improvise as to what flavoring I could use for the second batch. I opened the liquor cabinet and spied a bottle of Baileys Mint Chocolate Liquor. That was it. I decided to add yellow food coloring to the frosting for the BMCL cupcakes.

In any event, when the baking, frosting and decorating (star sprinkles, fresh raspberries and black cherries) was through, the results were quite lovely.



The Pink Lemonade were my favorites, though Denise loved the Baileys. George and Luke were fans of both, though George has now hinted at the possibility of me making a Pink Lemonade Cake. This, I must admit, is an idea that truly does intrigue me...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

You say it's Your Birthday...

Today is my birthday. I came into this plane of existence on Monday, May 17th, 1965 at 12:30 in the afternoon Eastern Time. I don't want to spend much time here dwelling in the meaning or the importance of one's birthday. There are countless resources on the web for that. I'd rather just focus on enjoying the day. George has wonderfully arranged a little soiree this evening in honor of my birthday which will include a gathering of some close friends. Two of those friends arrived last night and will be staying with us here at the beach over the weekend. I'm expecting to have a lovely day and evening, especially since I awoke this morning to a pristinely hued blue sky and golden sun which was a welcome transformation from yesterday's cold, gray, rain. The older one grows the more the meaning of one's birthday changes. I've reached a point now where I have very clear memories of my parents being the same age as I am now. It's an odd remembrance. I find myself thinking, "Hmm...Perhaps that's why they reacted that way" to this or that. I also find myself thinking about the way that they physically looked then and I begin to wonder if I look any different. I was with some friend's the other night and someone mentioned something about someone's hands. Inevitably, we each began to look at our own hands and I was struck by how similar mine now looked to my father's when he was around my age. In fact, it was a bit overwhelming briefly and I had to divert my attention to something else. For a moment, it felt as if my hands were not my own. I felt like a spectator looking at some other person's hands that were now part of my body. It wasn't disturbing or emotionally upsetting, just slightly unsettling. In fact, it was slightly liberating, and surely would have been even more so had I allowed myself to go fully into the experience. There was this sense of non-being. Not in the sense of not existing, but in the sense of existing everywhere since this very strongly grounded idea of "what" you are that we each have was suddenly shaken aside by the simple thought of "I have my father's hands".

With that being said, onward and upward with my enjoyment of the day. If only my guests would wake up...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Two Weeks...

What a way to celebrate a 3 year blog anniversary - by not posting for 2 weeks! I have been very busy however, very busy indeed, and I'm not finished yet.

So - The main reason that I've been absent for the last two weeks was that I was creating from scratch the web site for my new branding idea "itsbymichael.com".



Let me state first and foremost that I am not replacing my traditional work with the pet prints or the digital collage. This is in addition to my painting. In case you have been hiding in a cave for the last year, the economy in the states is beyond the valley of shaky. So, an artist has to do what an artist has to do.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary...

Today marks the 3 year anniversary of this blog. There really isn't much more to say about that then that is there? I'm not going to spend any time here going over the experiences of the last three years because if you are really interested, you can read about them yourself by visiting the archive section in the lower right hand area of this page.

Last night, while looking for a film to stream on my television via my laptop via Netflix.com, (I gave comcast cable the boot last week and feel ever so free) I came across a film entitled "Pick Up On South Street". I was surprised that I had not seen it before, though it did sound vaguely familiar. In any case, it ended up being one of the best, if not the best, film-noir works that I have ever had the pleasure to watch and I highly recommend it if you are a fan of noir film.

You can read a great review and synopsis of the film here. It stars Jean Peters ( stunning as a street smart, sassy yet big hearted, slightly slutty siren), Richard Widmark, and Thelma Ritter and Richard Kiley. The film is truly masterful with packed with so many perfect scenes, performances, innuendo and more that it truly beams as a perfect example of the best of film noir. The scene between Ritter and Kiley (described on wikipedia.com as "a touching and believable performance in her climactic scene opposite a communist spy who has come to kill her: she knows she cannot stop him, but she is determined to let him know her contempt for him and all his kind ") absolutely took my breath away. It amazes me that Ritter never won an Oscar for her film work, though she was nominated 6 times.

And Jean Peters, truly phenomenal film eye candy - and her performance is spot on. Absolutely spot on.



Again, if you ever have the chance to watch this film, take it. And, if you happen to have a netflix account, or know someone who does, you can stream this on your computer. I have the ability to connect my laptop to my television, which is an extra treat, but this film is so flawless that it can, and should, be savored at any size.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday, Monday

Somehow, I managed to let my blog slip by for the last four days. Obviously, I've had other issues to focus my attention on that demanded more attention. I've been quite busy working on PR material for a new line of imagery that I've been working on. I have a close friend who had been helping me with branding ideas. I'll post more information about the development of it all here after I copyright any involved material. I have learned the hard way on the importance of copyright.

In fact, I was scheduled today to meet with an attorney in NYC who was interested in performing some pro-bono work on my behalf regarding a copyright infringement suit that I was about to file against a well established company in Manhattan. It came to my knowledge that they purchased a print of my work a while back. They then decided to have that work photographed and then skin all of their delivery vans with the image as well as use it on their website as a backdrop to promote their products. Needless to say really, I was never contacted about such and my name appeared nowhere in connection with their lame-brained marketing idea.

I discovered yesterday afternoon however from a close friend who also happens to be my attorney that their attorney contacted her and informed her that they were indeed removing my image from their vans and the website.

I checked the website and it is indeed gone, as for the vans, well, at this point I can only take their word for it. But I will definitely check that out as well.

So, based upon this news, I will cancel my meeting in NYC today, or reschedule it, if I discover that the company has not followed through totally with their promise. Frankly, I don't want or need to dedicate my energy to that when there is so many other things for me to do. However, if you happen to see a delivery van in NYC with this image plastered on the side...



Please feel free to let me know. You know, this isn't the first time I've had to take folks on legally for using my work improperly. Perhaps one day I'll blog about the time I discovered that a well established luxury condo building in the financial district of Manhattan was using 3 of my works to promote their condos - though, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to speak of that case or not as it was resolved.

Lesson. If you are thinking about using my work without my permission, especially for your own profit, chances are, I WILL find out about it - and I WILL do something about it.

Now, with that said - I finished Tolle's latest book ( see previous post). I must admit, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Initially, I was a bit unsure ( the book clearly isn't for everyone, or perhaps I should say that not everyone is ready for the book - of course, you would have to read it to know what I'm referring to) but the more I read the more I found myself taken with the message.

There is much truth about the book to the following quote from a New York Times article entitled The Wisdom of the Ages, for Now Anyway - “He essentially taken some of the wisdom of the ages and said, ‘Let me make this easier for you,’ ” said Vivien L. Jennings, a major independent bookseller in Fairway, Kan. “And you don’t have to read 20 books to get this wisdom. I’ll give it to you in a $14 paperback.”

The way he writes his message is very compelling and it rings truthful for me. And frankly, I listen much more closely when something rings truthful then when it does not. Finally, after I read the book, I felt glad that I did. For myself, that's the real litmus test.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Show and Tell".

I've been shamefully absent from my blog over the last few days. It's not that I've lost interest, I've just been rather busy - thankfully.

I'm the type of person who reads before falling asleep and I usually keep three or four books and the last three issues of the New Yorker ( still the best magazine ever published) on my nightstand. As of late, I've been drifting off to slumberville after reading Eckhart Tolle's latest tome - "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose".



Tolle is the author of "The Power of Now" which I raved about in this blog when I read it. I may have actually read that book 3 times and will again I'm sure. I'm only about half way through this latest work. Frankly, my jury is still out over this one. That doesn't mean that this isn't a worthwhile read by any means - it's just that I want to finish it before I make any comment on the contents.

Sadly, I discovered today that two singers of two great 1970's songs died today. I enjoy both of these tunes very much and have sang them loudly and unapologetically while painting or cleaning or driving somewhere countless times. The first, and my favorite of the two, is Al Wilson, performer of the fantastically sultry song "Show and Tell".




Man, I can't state enough how much I love this sexy song. His voice is spot on for the tune and the way he slowly builds the momentum with it just throws me. He starts the song almost as if he is in a conversation with his partner, matter-of-a-factly making simple and truthful, yet very symbolic, statements about himself and his love for her such as "these are the eyes that never knew how to smile until you came into my life" and "these are the arms that long to lock you inside every day and every night". Mmmm

As you can hear in the great SoulTrain video above, it just grows more impassioned and heated until by the end of the song he is practically screaming ( in a melodic and controlled sort of way) about his love and desire. This is still one of my favorite sexy songs of all time and a blast to sing.

The other entertainer who died today was Paul Davis, best known for his song "I Go Crazy".



Wow. How may times did I sing this song when a teen? I think I just cranked this up on the irreplaceable XM satellite radio 70's station in the car belting it out during my last drive to the beach. Though Paul looked like he may have fallen from the back of a fast moving, cannabis smoke filled, customized van he had a melodic, emotive and gently sweet sounding voice . "I Go Crazy" really showed that off to perfection.

The lyrics of 'I Go Crazy", about a man who realizes that he never got over being in love with a woman from his past whom he has run into somewhere, are still a bit heartbreaking. Particularly, because he sounds almost as if he is on the verge of tears from longing and frustration through most of the tune. Not unlike "Show and Tell", he starts off as a man in control, an illusion which is quickly uncovered by the end of the song.

Alas, perhaps these two men, who were both in their 60's, can create some awesome afterlife duet somewhere one day.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Drop the pilot, try my ballon

I had a welcoming blast from the past yesterday morning. Since those of us in the Garden State have been lucky enough to enjoy a string of pristine weather over the last few days, I decided that yesterday morning would be the kick off day for my "power walk" exercise routine which I dedicate myself to rather compulsive/obsessively as soon as the weather turns sufficiently warm. I stick with it until the onslaught of cold weather returns again which, thankfully, is still many months down the road. In a nutshell, I have arisen from hibernation and want to drop the winter weight.

Mind you, I did have a gym membership for all of the last year, however, with my unique schedule, it just wasn't a place that I found convenient enough for me to dedicate myself to. Frankly, I also just never "clicked" with that particular gym. On the fistful of times that I did visit it, it just didn't do it for me. For some reason, which I still can't put my finger on, I felt like an intruder while exercising there.

When the very perky, overtly sweet smelling, middle-aged gym manager with the glitter pink eyeshadow asked why I was ending the membership, I had to think quickly to come up with an answer that seemed appropriate. I told her that I was moving back to Delaware. I could tell from the brief and awkward moment of silence which seemed only too accentuated by her plastered-on toothy smile and the blank stare the accompanied it that she didn't believe me. It lasted only a moment, but it seemed as if the entire time her eyes were flashing some coded "please rescue me" signal with each blink of her sparkling pink frosted lids.

But I digress. Yesterday morning, I let my iPod shuffle randomly select tunes from my playlist so as to accompany me on my power walk. I was out on the lovely morning when I had my blast o' de past.




Ah... Joan Armatrading. Before there was Corinne Bailey Rae, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, and yes, even Tracy Chapman, there was Joan. I had forgotten what a huge fan I was until I heard "Drop The Pilot" loud and clear through my earphones. Ignore the rather cheesy and highly dated video above and just listen to the song. Clean, concise, brilliant.

She still tours and performs brilliantly, mostly in Europe it seems, and I would love to see her perform live. Here she performs the amazing song "Love and Affection" from a concert from last year.




What a treasure.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hazel Court


Hazel Court, originally uploaded by sprouseart.

Movie 'scream queen' dies at 82

http://www.wickedlady.com/films/ladies/CourtHazel/index.html

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Birthday...

I've been some what in a bit of a whirl wind of activity since my last blog entry for which I am quite pleased. I've always have been the type of person who likes staying busy. Most of the work has been involving some PR issue for myself which I am not at liberty to discuss at the moment.

I did want to pop briefly in order to make mention that today was/is the birthday of two important people in my life. First, my father would have been 71 on this day had he survived passed the age of 65. Secondly, my friend Tony hits 43 on this date. Tony have been close friends since we first met back in 1978 whilst in Junior High.



Needless to say, he and I have seen and experienced quite a bit together over the last 30 years. He and his lovely wife are quite busy with their very young boys as of late so we've not been able to communicate as frequently recently, but the connection is there nevertheless. He's one of a small group of other wonderful people that compose a very special "group" that has been an important part of my life for a very long time. You know who you are if you happen to be reading this - but, what the hell, here is the list, in no particular order...

Tony
Mary
Kathryn
Mark
Helen
Dan
Kurt

Of course, there are many others that spring off from the list, but that is the "core" so to speak. I must admit however, that if anything, I am a man that has been blessed with an amazing, invaluable, and substantial list of close friends. Some I have known for many years, some just a few. Many of them have never met the others and often they have no concept of the others simply because of geographical locations. I tend to think that all of them would get along together fabulously (though I have had that proven wrong on a couple of occasions - but that's best saved for some snowy night before the fire) and that we could throw an amazing party. I'll have to work on that one.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Red Tie


The Red Tie, (© Michael Sprouse 2008) originally uploaded by sprouseart.

It's a cool though sunny Monday morning here by the shore this April 14th. My friend Marnie has been visiting us for the weekend and after a rather wild Saturday night and wonderfully mellow Sunday, we are now sitting around the dining room table sipping our coffees, conversing, and reading the morning news.

My latest digital collage work entitled "The Red Tie" (above) is now available (like the majority of much of my work) on http://Sprouseart.imagekind.com/. You'll find it under the "Digitalart" icon.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Bee Keeper's Daughters

Good news - Yesterday was so lovely that I didn't bother with the blog at all. I did however go on a long walk, wash my car by hand, and enjoyed a wonderful cookout at my friend's house up the street. While today is cooler and a bit overcast, I'm still retaining the elevated mood from yesterday and am glad for it.

Here's a digital work I created this morning while sipping my coffee. It's titled "The Bee Keeper's Daughters".




Of course, if you're interested in wonderful and affordable high quality fine art prints or greeting cards of this work, click here: "The Bee Keeper's Daughters" prints

Enjoy your Friday!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Trained monkey anyone?

It's another cloudy and cool Spring morning here in the Garden State. I'm so anticipatory of just one purely warm and sunny Spring day that I have been stumbling half-awake to the window immediately after rising from my bed to see if my wish has been fulfilled. It makes me feel like a child hoping for a silent overnight snowstorm that would cancel school for the day.

It's just the bleakness of it all that I find so displeasing. All the lovely colors of the season seem to have been sucked away into some punishing vacuum formed by a reluctant sun. Even the beautiful blooms of daffodil and hyacinth that align my front yard sidewalk seem distant and shrouded. The forecast for tomorrow, however, seems much more promising with a hinted high of 73 and afternoon sunshine. Perhaps I can talk some friends of mine into a picnic at the local park.




I can't understand why I've not sold more prints from http://Sprouseart.imagekind.com/ as of yet. Perhaps it's the fault of our failing economy. I know that it isn't an issue of the work because after 20 something years as a visual artist, one develops the knowledge as to whether they have talent or not. I also truly don't believe it's the pricing as there is a huge range of prices available from a large selections of prints to choose from. I need to think of other ways to promote the prints and I am very open to suggestions (hint, hint) . Alas, if things don't improve soon, I may have to find a new line of work...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Mind blowing...

I've been rather busy today, but I wanted to share this quick link with you dedicate readers, all two of you (thanks to my dear hearts Kathryn and Jessie), that I found truly mind blowing, and please pardon the pun. Let's just call it food for thought...
P.S. It may take a moment to load, but it is really worth it.

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/229

Monday, April 07, 2008

"Power Pug"

As you can see, I spent the last three days not adding posts on my blog. It wasn’t that I had any particular need to step away from the Sprouseart blog, it was just that I needed to spend a little extra time focused on some other projects. I actually had a rather full weekend, but now it’s late Monday afternoon/early evening, and I simply don’t fill like posting any of the details.

I’m sure however, if it was sunny and 75°F rather than the bleak and overcast 45°F that it has been for the last several days, I would feel a bit more inspired to do something – anything rather than sit in a chair and stare blankly at the steely grey sky counting my blasĂ© sighs.

Truth be told, I was never much for sigh counting, no matter the dramatic appeal. I spent the majority of my time creating art during the last three days. The first of my two works is a small painting that I’ve entitled “Perplexities”. Like the other works from this series (which I call “Narratives”) I chose the title from a word in a sentence from a 1910 book that I own. I incorporated the sentence into the work, as I did with the other works from the series. In this particular work, the sentence, which reads “life had suddenly become a maze of perplexities”, appears in the upper right corner of the work.

The other work that I completed is a digital work entitled “Power Pug”. These are works that I have created as of late with the goal of them being a bit more commercially popular - a la “bread & butter” art – than my traditional paint on canvas works. The “digital pets” are more whimsical, cute, and smaller in size, and, since they are open ended prints, quite affordable for most folks.

While the "Digi-Pets" series are shamelessly aimed at the animal lover, I being one of them, I do feel that I have added an extra spark to these works that, at least according to friends and others who have seen them, make them rise above the fray of hard-core “cutesy” animal prints. And since it beats lying flat on my back and beckoning in sailors in off the street, I also offer personalized digital works featuring the faces of anyone’s beloved pet. Here’s “Power Pug”

Now, just in case you were wondering where you can get a print of these works, the links are here:"Power Pug" and "Perplexities" respectfully.