GJ Willis' Art Notes
The Adventures and Misadventures of a Neer Do Well Artist Living in Baltimore.
I am a visual artist and writer living in Baltimore. I don't have any artist friends. Frankly, artists scare me, there so darn flaky. The above picture is either of me or proof that I'm a pretty decent artist. My goal is to be a self sufficient artist, whereas I wouldn't have to do something else in the day in order to eke out an existence. I also like to attend various cultural events around town. I go to plays, the symphony, etc. Also, I have Asperger's Syndrome. I found this out recently and it has explained a heck of a lot as to why I am as I am.
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Tuesday, January 31, 2006
I first heard the news on 98 Rock. It seems that they are always the FM radio station that is the first with breaking news. After hearing the breaking news on 98 Rock, I did as I usually did when I hear big news on the radio. I scanned around the radio dial to see if any other station had picked up the story yet. It took 92Q about twenty minutes to get around to saying anything about it. It was about two hours before NPR said anything about it. I am not too surprised by NPRs delay because I always get the feeling that that station is on an endless tape loop. Everything, except of course, the Marc Steiner Show.
The most surprising thing I found out about Coretta Scott King in her later years is that she supported gay marriage.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Today, I listened to the UK Official Chart Show with JK and Joel. All in all nothing terribly exciting on the UK charts, except Biggie making it to number one. I suppose this would make him the second hardest working dead man in show business right behind Tupac. Di you know that last year on the UK charts Tupac had a hit song with Elton John? I kid you not!
Anyway, here without further adieu is the UK Charts 1-10!!!
Sunday, January 29, 2006
I am deeply troubled by the events that occurred in the Middle East last week. The event in particular that I am most troubled by is the election of Hamas to the Palestinian Legislative Council. Hammas won 74 out of 132 seats.
The reason I am troubled is because Hamas is a terrorist group. They have claimed responsibility for several bombings that have occurred throughout the years in the Middle East. They have also stated time and time again that their goal is to remove Israel from the map. With a group like this in charge I fear that the violence in the Middle East will only increase to a greater intensity.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Its hard to believe but today is the 250th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
I could not believe that while listening to NPR as they were doing a story on it being Mozarts 250th birthday not once did they mentioned the play or movie Amadeus as being a possible contributing factor to Mozarts continued popularity. The movie made Mozart appear to be a fun guy you would like to hang out with. The Mozart in the movie did not fit the stuffed shirt stereotype that one would associate with a classical music.
Anyway, it felt as though the person doing the story did not want to mention the play or movie. It seemed in a sense as though he felt it was beneath him. I felt that his ignoring the impact of the movie and play, Amadeus, was blatantly ignoring the obvious.
Heck, I had not heard of Mozart until the Peter Shaffer play, Amadeus came out starring Mark Hamill. Then after that the much heralded movie came out starring the poster boy for where are they now, Tom Hulce. Oh, well I suppose I should not worry or criticize because after all I do not fit into NPRs primary demographics.
Anyway, my favorite pieces from Mozart are the obvious ones like A Little Night Music and the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro. I also liked a production of The Magic Flute that I saw on PBS a couple of years ago.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Here is my list of worst movies of 2005. These are movies that I feel were not worth the money I paid to see them. They were nothing more than expensive made for TVmovies or in one a case a boring episode of the Discovery channel writ large. As I did yesterday I am limiting this to movies I actually paid money to see and now regret. Obvious choices like Deuce Bigelow: European Gigilo and The Dukes of Hazzard are not included because I was smart enough to avoid them. However, I was not smart enough to avoid these five gems.
And in no particular order here is my short list of worst movie of 2005.....
Another thing I hated was the tacked on storyline about Willie Wonkas father. Nowhere in the Ronald Dahl book did it mention or allude to Willie Wonka having father issues. I hate it when movies add sub plots for the sake of making something more modern. Also I really loathed the new songs that the Oompa Loompa sang. In my opinion none of these new songs were as memorable as the ones in the original movie. In my opinion if it aint broke dont fix it!!!
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Today, I thought it would be fun to post my favourite movies of 2005. I am limiting the list to movies I actually saw that were released in the United States in 2005. Thus, movies that appear on a lot of big time movie critics lists like Crash and History of Violence are not listed because I never saw them. Tomorrow, if Im feeling up to it I will post my worse movies of 2005.
For starters I have to say that my favourite performer of 2005 is Terrence Howard. He was in two of the movies that I loved in 2005. In my opinion Terrence Howard has replaced Denzel Washington as the sexiest man in Hollywood. Lets face is Denzel is getting old and fat.
And without further adieau here is my Favourite movies of 2005
8. Capote...I found this to be an outstanding movie about Truman Capote and the steps he went through to write his masterpiece, In Cold Blood. Philip Seymour Hoffman was nothing short of brilliant in the lead role. He is an absolute shoe in for getting an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
The one thing I can say about this movie is that George Clooney deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting actor for this movie. His performance was phenomenal. Even though he gained several pounds for his role in the film you could not take your eyes off him.
Monday, January 23, 2006
The bus #1 bus I got on this morning was leaking rainwater over almost every seat. It made me wonder how it is determined which bus the driver takes out in the morning. Is it the drivers choice or does someone choose it for them? Who knows maybe our driver is not very well liked and thus he got the crappy bus.
Also I have to say that ever since the big Baltimore bus rescheduling of 2005 that nearly every bus I attempted to board in the morning has been crowded. The buses were so crowded that drivers would not allow any new passengers on board. So thus, there were many a morning where the buses passed me by. Whenever this happened I had to walk several blocks down to the light rail station. This whole situation was due to the fact that they were running the short Neoplan buses in the morning instead of the regular sized buses. I suppose some genius over at the MTA felt that no one really rides the bus at 5am in the morning.
Recently, it should be noted in fact just around Christmas time, they started running regular sized buses in the morning. So thus I have gotten a seat as usual instead of having to hotfoot it down to the light rail station. I hope that they do not go back to running the short buses in the morning ever again.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Today, I listened as usual to the BBC Radio 1s Chart Show with JK and Joel. While searching around the web I found
Anyway here is link to a short video of the Arctic Monkeys single, When The Sun Goes Down.
Anyway, here is a short video link to the Will Young single, All Time Love.
Here is a link to a short video of their single, Eddies Song.
The other nationality shocker for me was Belle and Sebastian. I had no idea that they were British. It was also surprising to hear JK and Joel explain who Belle and Sebastian were. This was surprising to me because I have been hearing them on the radio ever since the inception of WTMD. And to think they are virtually unknowns in their own land..... Anyway, they debuted on the charts at #13 with the song, Funny Little Frog. To me it does not sound very remarkable.
Here is a link to a long form video of the Belle and Sebastian single Funny Little Frog.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Today, for fun I checked up on how the music career of James Blunt is doing in the States. Also today for the first time ever I watched the video to Youre Beautiful in its entirety. I had no idea that it was slightly morbid in tone. It appears that at the end of the song Blunt commits suicide. Despite this somewhat disturbing imagery I still love the song and feel that there is a strong possibilty that it might make Top 10 on the Pop Charts.
So far his cd, Back To Bedlam has gone gold!! He is number 6 on the US adult contemporary charts with Youre Beautiful! He also has just cracked the Top 40 Pop singles charts with Youre Beautiful! I even heard Youre Beautiful played on the very mainstream MIX106.5 Looks like James Blunt is on his way!!
One interesting gossipy thing I learned is that he has allegedly broken up with his long term girlfriend and is now dating Jessica Sutta of the Pussycat Dolls. I am not 100% sure but I think they might be a singing group that consists of strippers.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
I can not believe the news!!! I just found out today that new episodes of Doctor Who will finally air in the US on the SCI FI channel!!!! The episodes are due to air Fridays in March. Oh, Happy Day!!!
Also I just learned that the new series will finally be released on DVD in July!!
I am absolutely ecstatic that I no longer have to buy my Doctor Who DVDs overseas.
Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, I am doing the Snoopy Dance!!! Woooooooooooo!!!!!!!!! Hoooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!! and Yabadaba Doooooooooooo!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Last night I watched the Golden Globes. Hurray for Brokeback Mountain and Philip Seymour Hoffman. I saw both of the movies so I feel great that I picked winners to watch. My favourite acceptance speech of the night was George Clooney winning for best supporting actor in Syriana. He lamented that he was the first winner of the night and thus he hadnt had the opportunity to get a drink yet.
Monday, January 16, 2006
Today I took off work in honor of it being Doctor King Day. This is the very first time in my employ at the company that I took that particular day off. I kind of felt funny about doing it in the past because my cousin was the head of the NAACP. I know that probably does not make much sense but thats how I felt....
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Today, I went to church for the first time this year. I didn’t go on Christmas Day because I wanted to be with my family. I know that sounds odd because of the meaning of Christmas, but Hey I logged in serious time in church last year. I admit I was not there as many times as the really tall lady with the curly hair. She is there so many times you would swear she lives there.
I didn’t go on New Years Day even though I really wanted to see what a sermon done by someone other than the usual ministers would be like. The reason I did not go was that it was New Years Day for crying out loud! New Years Day is the day I spend in recovery from eating the ginger bread house I made on New Years Eve. I did not go last Sunday because I was not feeling well.
So today on Martin Luther Kings birthday was my day to make it back. There was also a babys dedication service today. Last fall they did another baby service at the church so I thought I knew what to expect.
Today, the only seat I could easily get to was on the aisle. After the baby dedication service, Rev. Hubbell went down each center aisle and showed everyone the baby. We were invited to greet the baby. This I felt was stupid and dangerous because it is the middle of winter and I imagine a number of people are fighting colds which could easily be passed on to the baby. I did not touch the baby when they got to my row. I felt very uncomfortable. I like babys but am not sure what you should do with them. Besides I might have germs which might make the baby sick. I feel that this whole passing the baby around situation was absolutely foolhardy for the babys parents to agree to. To the best of my knowledge the parents last fall did not have a passing the baby around section of there daughters dedication service.
After the service I headed over to Walgrens to but stuff for my nieces baby shower. I got her $55 dollars worth of Walgrens baby things. In addition to the baby things I got her a box of sugarfree chocolates. I did this because she has gestational diabetes.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Today, I checked my phone messages and found that one of my nieces longtime friends left a message for me. It turns out that her friend will be throwing a baby shower for my niece over at my nieces place. This is all nice and well but all throughout Christmas I kept asking her if there was anything I could buy for the baby. She kept telling me that she already has everything.
I called up her sister to see if she had the slightest inkling of what her sister might need. To my chagrin her sister was out of town so I spoke to her teenage brother instead. He also had no idea because she had told him like me that she had everything for the baby. He suggested that I just buy something for her instead of the baby. Somehow it did not seem right to got to a baby shower with presents for the mother instead of the baby.
Then I decided to call back her longtime friend who left the message. She was a lifesaver. She told me that she and my niece had made a list of all the things that she might need. I have to admit that it surprised me that there existed a list of things that she needed for the baby.
This made me wonder if the reason she never told me anything she needed is because I am as poor as a church mouse. Heck, a church mouse has more money than me. Also it seems as though almost every time I run into my nieces they ask, when am I getting a car? You see both my nieces and the vast majority of their friends can afford cars. I, on the other hand can not.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Its Friday the 13th! Eeeek!
Today, I could have sworn that I was listening to the Howard Stern Show at work. It came in very faintly near the ghetto of the dial that contains all the NPR stations. The show sounded very low key and laid back. Then when I got home I went over to the DCRTV website and it turns out that my ears were not decieving me. There are folks out there who are running pirated broadcasts of his satellite Sirius show on regular terrestrial radio. I have to admit it felt bittersweet while listening in. Sweet because Stern was back on the air. Bitter because I know it will not be long before the radio pirates are caught and Stern will be off the regular airwaves again.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
The above is a painting by Jack Vettriano called The Singing Butler
Today, I actually painted and worked on art. I can attribute this to being re-inspired by the book and calendar I bought of the artwork of Jack Vettriano. Also this evening I listened to BBC Radio 1s Chart Show with JK and Joel. By the way I just went by JK and Joels personal website not the one featured on the BBCs website. I have to say right here and now, JK and Joel have an online store to beat all other radio DJs! I have never seen anything like it before. They offer a wide range of products. They have everything from electronic items to baby stuff! JK and Joel are complete money grubbing capitalist whores!! God I Luv Em!! JK and Joel rule!!
As far as the BBC countdown chart goes X-Factor winner Shayne Ward is still number one with his ballad, Thats My Goal. I figure the only reason it is number one is because he won a singing contest on TV.
Anyway, here is a link to a short video stream to the song I do not like but found myself singing along to.
Also while listening to the Chart Show I was introduced to a lot of new music, well new to my American ears.
I really enjoyed a group called Hard-Fi who do a song called Cash Machine. I believe I have heard this song played on WHFS. They play it on their station commercial.
I also found myself liking a group called Editors. That’s right Editors not The Editors. I enjoyed their song called Munich. The song is somewhat reminiscent of the 80’s. I have no idea if WHFS has added them to their playlist or not.
Here is a link to a short video stream of Editors singing Munich.
I also enjoyed listening to the current in vogue group that is getting a lot of press on both sides of the Atlantic, Arctic Monkeys. I really love their debut song, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor. It has a very lively punk rock sound to it. I have no idea what the rest of their cd sounds like. All in all I hope they do not turn out to be a one hit wonder.
A singer I heard for the first time and liked listening to on the Chart Show was Simon Webbe. His song No Worries sounds like something that might play well over here in the States. It has a nice laid back hip-hop sound to it.
The one group I have become absolutely floored with are Kaiser Chiefs. The group has a very catchy punk rock sound. The two songs I have heard from them, I Predict a Riot and Everyday I Love You Less and Less have been nothing short of brilliant. I predict big things for this group if the rest of their cd is as good as those two singles have been. Again I have no idea if they have been added to the playlist of WHFS. I would be in absolute shock if WTMD started playing them.
Here is a link to a short video stream of I Predict a Riot. I could not find a video link for Everyday I Love You Less and Less.
Here is a short video link to the duo Nizlopis uncomprehendable JCB Song. If you can tell me what they are singing about please let me know...
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Trisha Jeffrey and J.D. Goldblatt in Once On This Island
The big event today was going to Center Stage to see a matinee performance of Once on This Island. I will always think of this show as Fiona’s show. Fiona was the former assistant supervisor at Center Stages Telemarketing Department. Every year she would insist that they put on Once on This Island. I remember her saying that it was the best play she ever saw.
This was my first time seeing the musical. However, many years ago, I did read the book that the musical was based on, My Love My Love or The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy. This is the only book that I have ever read that has made me physically cry in sorrow. To me the play did not live up to the book.
After the show I went down to the Gallery to pick up a calendar for my cubicle. I first went to the book store in the Gallery but as I picked up a calendar from the display they had up all the calendars toppled down. I felt frightened and quickly left the store and headed over to Barnes and Nobles.
I ended up getting a calendar illustrated by my favourite living artist, Jack Vettriano. The calendar oddly enough is called,
Oh, before I forget here is a quick review of Once On This Island.
As far as the cast goes they were all pretty good. I can not recall any particular standout performances amongst them. They were all just good. I did see two faces in the cast that were familiar to me, Erick Pinnick and E. Faye Butler.
As I was watching the play I got this feeling that I had saw the man who plays Armand somewhere before. It turns out that he is a native of Baltimore. So odds are I probably saw him around town somewhere before he moved to New York to become an actor. Who knows maybe I even went to school with him or his kin?
It was also nice to E. Faye Butler return to the Baltimore stage. Butler is a phenomenal singer. However, I felt kind of uncomfortable looking at her in the costume she had on. It really accented her Dolly Parton-esq assets of which I was unaware of until this show.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Today is my birthday. I spent it feeling depressed and borderline suicidal. Since I’ve written this entry it is apparent that I have decided not to end it all.
Why am I depressed? I’m 36 and I have no children, husband, or even ex-husband. The vast majority of women in my age range are either married, divorced, or at least have a child.
My eldest niece already has a child and my other niece, her sister, is about to give to birth to her first child. Also my eldest niece is engaged or was engaged. I never really asked her if the wedding was on or off. By the way in case you are wondering both my nieces are in there mid-twenties and not teenagers.
Oh, well, I suppose I was not meant for that type of a life.... I suppose it is best to be happy with what you got. The way I see it, I have peace of mind and do not have to be in constant worry over whether my decisions will have a negative long term effect over the life of another human being that is left in my care. I am free to live my life as I see fit. No worries!
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
I think that the main reason for this is that C.S. Lewis, the author of the book was in addition to being a fantasy writer also a noted Christian scholar. I did not find this out about him until Shadowlands came out in 1993. Shadowlands was movie starring Anthony Hopkins as Lewis and Debra Winger as his wife Joy Gresham. The movie was about how Lewis in his later years met, fell in love, and married Joy. Sadly, soon after the marriage, his wife died slowly from bone cancer.
As far as all the Christian undertones of the Narnia series of books is concerned all I can say is that I was completely unaware of it as a child. To me the Narnia books were just fun, escapist, adventure books. I suppose looking back, Aslan could be considered as a Christ like figure. He dies and then comes back. Other than that I just do not see it.
As far as the movie goes I found it to be very entertaining. I did not see it as being particularly religious. To me it was just an enjoyable childrens movie. Overall, I have to say that it was a very good adaptation of the book. The children were perfectly cast.
I wonder if they will make a movie of the next book in the series, The Horse and His Boy? You now that I am on the subject it would be nice for once if someone made a movie out of the true first book in the Narnia series, The Magicians Nephew.
The only odd thing about the audience for the movie was that I saw two men who came to the movie together. I found it odd because men are not usually in the habit of going to childrens movies with one another. Then I noticed as they were leaving that they both wore earrings and walked kind of funny.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Today, I went back to work today feeling depressed out of my mind. I felt like breaking down and crying several times today.
For the first time ever there will be nothing decent to listen to on the radio. It will just be me and my iPod. Howard Stern is off the air and on its place on the radio dial are The Junkies! God, how I loathe them! Every time I see their billboards up around town I want to shake my tiny girl fist at them.
The main reason I wanted to see it is because I have never seen a gay cowboy movie before. Besides it has two hot guys in it who are hot for each other.
Overall, I found it a brilliant and moving love story. Albeit, it took a long while for Jack Twist and Ennis to declare their love and do the deed. It was fun to watch the reaction of a few audience members when it finally happened. A couple of men immediately stormed out of the theater. I am not sure if they left because they were offended by the guy on guy action or if they had somewhere else to go....really, really, fast.
In all there was a total of two big gay love scenes. The first one was very rough and violent in tone. I have to admit that the first one frightened me a bit. So in a since I can not entirely fault the men who ran out of the theatre. In the first love scene it seemed as though they were trying to draw blood by hurting each other. The second love scene was much gentler in tone.
Overall, I think Heath Ledger deserves an Oscar nod for playing the cowboy who found it hard to come to grips with his sexuality. It should be noted that both of the cowboys eventually married female clones of themselves. Jack Twist marries an equally sexually overt woman while Ennis marries a quiet woman. Despite, there straight marriages they continue on with there relationship on the downlow.
The one thing I hated about this movie was that someone died at the end. How come Hollywood can not seem to make a romantic movie without someone dying at the end?
As far as the audience goes I did see a couple of men who seemed to have been dragged unwillingly to the movie by their girlfriends. These I suspect were some of the ones who fled whenever Jack and Ennis got that special look in their eye. Also I was surprised by the number of women who were in the audience. A few of those women came in groups. I was surprised by the number of women I saw because I thought that the audience would be comprised primarily of gay men. All in all the majority of people in the theatre were either females or gay men and couple of uncomfortable heterosexual men. Also it should be noted that the theatre was absolutely packed. This of course was a surprise because it was a weekday.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
This evening for the first time ever I listened online to BBC Radio 1’s year end official countdown show with JK and Joel. The reason why I was listening to the BBC instead of my usual internet radio station of choice,
Anyway, I really enjoyed listening to the year end countdown on a
The most surprising duo on the UK charts is of course 2Pac and Elton John. This proves to me once and for all that 2Pac is lurking around laying low somewhere. After all, how can the hardest working man in rap really be dead if he’s off making duets with Elton John?
As far as the rest of the chart goes I can not understand the allure of an old man singing an old song being the top song of the year. The song, Amarillo sounds as if it is trapped in a timewarp of early 1970something. I also do not like that annoying crazy frog song. I can not believe how stupid some people can be for making a cell phone ringtone on of the top songs of the year.
Ok, enough of my dislikes. Two groups that I heard for the very first time and love from this chart are the MVPs (Most Valuable Playas), the Body Rockers, and The Arctic Monkeys. The MVPs and the Body Rockers have a dancehall vibe going on while the Arctic Monkeys have a punk rock feel. I hope to hear more good stuff from them in the future.
Below is the UK countdown in its entirety.....