Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Everyone in the world is experiencing much higher amounts of at home time. This, combined with social distancing, is meant to reduce individual risks of contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. But it only works if you really practice self-protective behaviors!


COVID-19 is considered a type of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus, the first of which caused an epidemic back in 2003.  Like SARS-1 COVID-19 (also called SARS-Cov-2) virus does affect the respiratory system, and shares some patterns of community-based transmission, erupting in clusters that rapidly spread. Because of this, most of the infection control protocols being used by governments and communities are based on the containment of the original SARS-1 virus.

It is not well known if COVID-19 is transmitted frequently via surfaces, but it is widely suspected. On March 19, a joint study released by scientists from the NIH, CDC, UCLA, and Princeton reported that “(SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to 3 hours, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

COVID-19 can live for 3 hours in the air and for 4 hours to 3 days on surfaces after an infected person has left the space.


What Can You Do? Create a Virus-Free Space for Yourself!

Since we are all home now, you want to make sure to start with a contaminant-free space today. After that, the germs in your house will be yours and you can probably get by with regular maintenance.


Look at your home as a container with surfaces and spaces (air). When the container is closed, only the germs that are already inside will spread—and they will spread fast.  Start now by getting rid of what is in the house by:

Minimizing the surfaces the virus can cling to by clearing all surfaces of clutter

  • Bag all trash and removing it regularly
  • Get rid of paper piles, cardboard, etc.
  • Sort mail outside and toss what you don’t need
  • Wash all plastic containers, plates, cups, utensils, etc, and put them in closed drawers and cabinets

Washing all plates and utensils before and after you use them

Opening the windows on all sides (as well as bedrooms and bathrooms)  to air out the house at least daily

STEP 2:  DISINFECT all surfaces once – if people touch it, clean it

  • Remove germs once by cleaning with disinfectant or even soap and water, and try to limit the number of surfaces that get touched.
  • Repeat cleaning any time you suspect recontamination.
  • Use disinfectant cleaners to spray down all surfaces, let sit a few minutes to kill germs, and wipe with a clean paper towel – DO NOT REUSE THE SAME TOWEL FOR THE NEXT SURFACE


KITCHEN:  counters, tables, refrigerators, stoves, toasters, sinks, microwaves, cabinets and cabinet handles

BATHROOMS: sinks, toilets, faucets, cabinet nobs and handles, mirrors

BEDROOMS: clean linens more frequently—at least weekly, and more often if someone is sick

FLOORS: vacuum rugs and carpets (using a rug spray if you have one), hardwood and tile floors.

Use a disinfectant wash on kitchen and bath floors, air dry rooms by opening windows.

Read more about types of cleaners to disinfect different surfaces here.

STEP 3: Reduce potential areas of new contamination

The virus lives on fabrics—and then gets carried to new parts of the house on your clothing. Here are some ways to reduce contamination:

  • Limit clothing each person wears so you do not have large piles of soiled clothing, and wash frequently.
  • Bag dirty laundry in a plastic garbage bag and keep away from main rooms and clean clothes (in basement, laundry room, or an uncluttered closet) until ready to wash.
  • Wash all towels after 1 use and do not rehang to dry
  • Wash hand towels frequently
  • Use hot water to wash when possible
  • Keep doors to bedrooms, bathrooms, basements, and unused rooms, etc, closed to reduce cross contamination
  • Open all doors and windows (to rooms that are used) daily to air them out

STEP 4: Upgrade Personal Hygiene

Shower frequently, especially after exercise or coming in contact with other people

  • Wash hands frequently–keep liquid handwash and bar soap readily available
  • Separate toothbrushes and other personal hygiene items for all people in the home
  • Wash and wipe sinks, faucets, toilets and other surfaces after every use
  • Keep a bathroom disinfectant deodorizer (like Lysol) in the bathroom and spray the air regularly throughout the day

STEP 5: Protect the Perimeters of Your Home from New Contaminants

Now that your home is relatively contaminant free, it is a safe zone—until someone leaves and comes back in, bringing new germs with them. If you never leave and never let anyone in, you are least likely to get the coronavirus. But staying inside forever is not practical, and most people are still venturing out for groceries, doctor’s visits, work, and just to take walks.

Even with safe social distancing, it is IMPOSSIBLE to avoid coming in contact with the COVID-19 virus altogether. So, the next best thing is to keep new contaminants from entering your clean home—by leaving them at the door (If you live in an apartment with interior hallways, stairs, elevators, etc, these steps are especially important):

  • Remove shoes at the door, spray the bottoms, and leave them there
  • Keep a box, a tray or a basket by the door for shoes and spray frequently with disinfectant
  • Mop the floors by the entryways daily and air out
  • Remove outside clothing (coats, sweaters, hoodies, etc) at the door and hang them if possible until the next time they are needed
  • Wash outside clothing every few days
  • If you think you were exposed while out, take off pants and tops and outdoor clothing and immediately put them in a plastic bag to be washed.
  • Wash hands every time you come in from outside
  • Disinfect door handles from both sides once inside your home

Following these steps will not guarantee that you don’t get the virus, but they will reduce your risk–and it may shorten the course if the virus does make it into your home.

STILL MORE SUGGESTIONS: Here is a really helpful Self-Quarantine Checklist!

Coronavirus Disclaimer: The information posted here comes from the main scientific sources for healthcare information in the US—the CDC, the FDA, academic institutions and other published sites. These are noted where possible. Very little about the COVID-19 virus is established fact. While I make every effort to present the most unbiased sources, the data and statistics to this pandemic are changing daily, no general guidelines are yet available for treatment and the outcomes are unknown. Please check with your personal healthcare sources before following any medical advice.


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I am often led to arts enclaves by the artists who live and work there. Such was my introduction to Rockport, Massachusetts last summer, and so deep was my infatuation, that I have already booked a week there this summer.

Rockport, Mass sits on the northern coast of the state, just past Gloucester, on the very tip of Cape Ann. The artist who led me there was a wonderful contemporary architectural landscape painter named David Arsenault, whose work I have followed for several years. His aesthetic is to paint clean, crisp visions of the simple elegance of these landscapes. His website invites you to visit both the town he loves to paint (complete with lodging information and local events), and the gallery he now occupies on Dock Square (a move from his previous location on Bearskin Neck).

What is it about this place?

Take a look at the location and you’ll see why the fascination with Rockport. It’s about an hour’s drive north of Boston—but it couldn’t be further from the city. The energy here is slow and easy during the day, warm and bubbling at night.

No Coastal MA map

The Massachusetts Coastal Zone Map (full map available at http://www.mass.gov)

Yes, this is Yankee country—where “ahhhhr’s” float on the wind. You can walk Bearskin neck to the tip of Cape Ann in Rockport and from that vantage point, the Altantic surrounds you on three sides. It’s a picturesque place that has inspired artists for centuries, as well as photographers, and even filmmakers.

In nearby Gloucester, the famous fisherman statue leans into the wind It’s the oldest seaport in America, home of Gorton’s, the originators of the fish stick, and the port where the families of the Andrea Gail crew waited for the six fishermen who never returned from The Perfect Storm. But you can relax there, with a nice meal harborside.

Just west of Rockport is Manchester-by-the-Sea, now best known as the site of the Oscar-nominated film from 2016. (Much of that film was also shot in Rockport.)

Motif #1v5

And the next time you watch Sandra Bullock in The Proposal, you’ll realize she didn’t go all the way to Sitka Alaska, but to Rockport (and other surrounding areas). You’ll recognize the iconic replica of a fishing shack called “Motif #1” (pronounced Mow-tiv, ask the locals why), which Wikipedia refers to as “the most often painted building in America.”

Rockport was designated one of the 10 Prettiest Coastal Towns in New England by Yankee Magazine—and it’s well deserved. This tourist haven blooms primarily in the warm breezes of the summer (although there are activities year-round, particularly at Christmas), with an easy pedestrian shopping district filled with crafty shops with stories and interesting items from around the world—handmade ponchos from South America and French linens and drums and perfumed oils—not to mention the pewter and woodwork and ART everywhere. You actually can get something here that won’t be in every tourist town in America.


The Beach

Okay, it’s everywhere. Rockport is really more like a peninsula jutting out into the ocean, so it’s easy to find a bit of public sand or a bench to sit and enjoy the views, or can take a nice dip (and you don’t even need hotel access). There’s also other stuff, like kayaking, whale watches, fishing excursions and boat tours (check www.rockportusa.com). My personal recommendation is to just hop on the water taxi in Gloucester at any stop.

The Rockport Arts Colony

The village wakes up in summer like the opening of a Disney movie. Last summer, my friend and I came of out breakfast in the main square and stepped right into a little parade, complete with a marching band. Music can be heard frequently on the streets, but the real deal is the spectacular Shalin Liu Performance Center, with its amazing backdrop of the coastline behind an impressive showcase of performers of all styles (classical, jazz, pop, folk, orchestral and choral). It’s a focal point of the village, a nice stroll from many of the hotels and inns and nestled between a number of restaurants and art galleries.

Rockport1 2016

And, don’t forget the ART. Rockport is home to 30 galleries that show the works of hundreds of local artists. Visiting artists of all kinds are encouraged to set up easels and can easily by guided to many local spots for painting by the gallery owners in town. The Rockport Art Association also hosts a number of art exhibits and painting workshops where you learn the best of what these artists have to teach.

Two art-related events worth noting are:

Head to Gloucester for the small galleries, restaurants and shops of Rocky Neck and the Cape Ann Museum where you can explore the gloriously rich maritime and granite-quarrying history of this tiny New England region through centuries of fine art and sculpture.

Just so you know, there are many things that I’ve missed, so you’ll just have to go and explore it yourself (and share what you learn in the comments).


David Arsenault in his studio, August 2016

Make sure to say hi to David and talk to the locals—they love Rockport and Gloucester and will be very happy to tell you so much more about it!

More Reading:

In Rockport, artists kept the Depression at bay (Boston Globe, 2010)

Artists of Cape Ann – A 150-Year Tradition – by Kristian Davies, 2001

© Copyright 2017– Arts Enclave.

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It may be a while before we find our way home again.

This blog has fallen idle in the past year or two because truthfully, I didn’t know what to say anymore. I wrote my first post on Christmas Eve, 2009, after something we never knew could fall did, and the message was that Art Matters. From then on I wrote about the crossroads of where Art and Life meet. There was no shortage of topics—just a shortage of time to cover them.

But as life around us grew more serious with events like Aurora and Newtown*—which occurred just 11 miles from where I was living at the time, and two days after I interviewed Kenny Loggins and the Blue Sky Riders—it seemed that art of all kinds began to recede into the background. Dare I say it—we became less relevant?

And now, on the first day of a very different world for all of us, it seems that the last thing on the agenda is art of any kind. Artists, musicians, composers, filmmakers, writers, etc.—we all seem to be quite beside the point.

But nothing is further from the truth.

What you do with your art in the next few years will be informed by the massive changes in the way we are coming to live and to think on a daily basis. We will all be challenged on our values, no matter what they are, because we now cohabit a world in a heightened state of disagreement, of conflict, and of confusion.

History does repeat, and looks at lot like the early 60s, a time that led directly into a creative explosion. Art thrives in adversity and finds its voice. Artists of all kinds are ridiculously brave in the darkness, willing to put fingers out into the unknown and explore whatever could be out there. What they show us about ourselves through songs and movies, in paintings and stories, will amaze us and open our hearts. It happened before and will happen again, and soon.

Of course, there is a unique lack of appreciation for any of the arts within the new administration, which has set as one of its first goals the elimination of funding to the National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) and Humanities (NEH). Really? A world in crisis and the first order of business is to cut out the arts? But I do digress….

The arts are and have always been the soul of our entire way of life. Artists are now charged with preserving our culture, as they have been since the first cave drawings were made. We capture not just the facts, but the raw emotions of the smallest moment in time, protecting and projecting images of who and what we are that are likely to outlive any number of transitions in our government.

And in the middle of the chaos to come, the words, the pictures and the thoughts will be released from a collective creativity that will lead us to understanding, to empathy, and hopefully to peace of mind. The message today is the same as it was in 2009: Art Matters. And now it matters more…please keep at it.

So welcome again to the Arts Enclave Blog – Where Art and Life Meet!

*going right up to the biggest and most lethal shooting in Orlando in December of 2016

© Copyright 2017 – Arts Enclave.

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Take success where you find it, and call it yours.

Stan Lee, the most famous comic-book creator of all time, was born Stanley Martin Lieber. He started working as a teenager at Timely Comics (later Marvel Comics) where he filled the inkwells for the artists. He planned to use the pen name Stan Lee for serious fiction. In 2008 he received a National Medal of Arts as a writer, editor and publisher—of comic books.

Dan Fogelberg and Joni Mitchell both planned on being fine artists. Oops.

As I write this, I am repeating the mantra to myself: take success where you find it. A lifetime of planning my career in the arts has taken me to many places I did not expect to go, and while the goal stays the same, the journey is not at all what I could have pictured. Through the years, I have worked in publishing, hospitals, advertising, art festivals, movie sets, corporate business, and even retail. It’s all good, because eventually, it all ends up in the book…

You can’t plan your journey in the arts…or in life. You can only prepare for it and then go where it takes you.

Very few will find the kind of success in their fields they dreamed of and others will find so much more. If you choose a life in the arts, then it’s about legacy. While money and fame are certainly possible, they are the rare rewards and to many a distraction from the actual work. Stan Lee, to my knowledge, has never published the novel he planned on writing, although, I suspect he’s pretty satisfied with what he has done.

Even in the business world, there are parallels. Only one person at a time is the CEO. The rest are all just hopefuls and minions.

Now there’s a term we have come to see differently: Minions. Defined as, ‘a servile follower or subordinate of a person in power,’ the connotation of this word changed with the release of the movie Despicable Me. Where once a minion was thought of as one of the faceless mass of followers, usually of ignominious stature, that movie created a whole world of individual minions who are fantastically happy being just what they are. In fact, the new movie “Minions” is based on the notion that they seek to be followers in the most zen-like fashion.

It’s a hard life to pursue the arts, and we are drawn to it because inside, we simply have no choice. Eventually it will call you out, and you know what you want to do. For most of us, it will mean working at other vocations to earn the moments we spend making art of any kind. Those moments are certainly precious, but the ones we spend in our other lives are what we bring to our art.

It’s what you do outside of your art that goes into it.

The secret is to appreciate the journey for what it is. Be a minion to your calling and accept the unique life it brings you.

Here they are, singing the Banana song. Enjoy.


BTW: Support Wikipedia with a small donation to keep it ad free. It’s the best FREE resource on the planet!


© Copyright 2014 – Arts Enclave.

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Georgia Middleman loves a great hook. Gary Burr looks for the North Star. And Kenny Loggins, he tries to find the truth of the emotion behind a song. Together, they are making music as Blue Sky Riders, and today they launched a CD of new songs crafted (mostly) by the three of them together, called  Finally Home.”

I have written about Kenny Loggins here before, as I am fascinated with his seemingly limitless facility for reinvention—or more aptly, evolution in to the next person along the way…it’s a life skill worth learning, and a creative process that keeps raising the bar on itself.  So I was thrilled to be able to interview the band by phone while they were working on the album in December.


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Seurat probably never said, “fuck-it.” Anyone who has seen his pointillist paintings becomes instantly aware that he just kept going, adding dot after dot after dot until the wee hours. But at what point (literally what point) was it time to stop? It’s really not clear that Seurat knew.

Here’s how it goes:  Anything in life is about perception, which is subjective, meaning completely clouded by the notions and emotional artifacts of the person doing the perceiving. That final impression—of a painting, a song, a movie, an event, even the way you spent Thanksgiving—is as much about the mind of the audience as it is about the creator.

Art needs to cut through this cloud in which billions of particles of debris are already floating to leave one single, fleeting impression. Seurat, who led the Post-Impressionist Movement, discovered he could manipulate the way the brain receives the message by breaking down the colors in the painting into separate points.

Seurat is the artist most associated with pointillism—although there were (and still are) others who practice it. The technique involves placing very specific dots of pure color in careful juxtaposition. Up close, they are DOTS, painstakingly applied, and appearing to have little meaning. But as you move away, the mind takes over, filling in the spaces for a more complete, unified picture. The further back you stand, the better it looks.

Georges Seurat

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat (Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of Chicago Museum of Art)

Seurat painted about 240 paintings, often repeating the same subject. His most famous work, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” appeared in different forms over several years, as he “reworked” the painting, actually adding the points of color later in the process as his technique grew.


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With a nod to my friend Jackie who’s always involved with cool shows, I’m suggesting you check out her newest venture with Funk Therapy Productions. They have put together a pretty cool fall concert series designed to blast you into the past with some old school funk.

First up, Brooklyn-based funk band LETTUCE hits the stage in at Rhythm Dance Club in Norwalk (731 West Ave) tonight (Thursday). Lettuce just released a new album, Fly, and returns to Connecticut after playing the always awesome Gathering of the Vibes this past July.

…Never thought I’d write this sentence, but the time is right for a good old-fashioned funk sound. And tonight’s your chance to get your funk on with rulers of the genre. The seven members of Lettuce have been playing together for 20 years, after meeting at Berkeley School of Music. Other bands lined up in the Funk Therapy series include Mystic Bowie, Roots of Creation, and The Brew.

Check the Funk Therapy Productions site for tickets to all the shows.

© Copyright 2012 – Arts Enclave.

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