Gil Gutiérrez at Opus 40

Gil Gutiérrez is a master guitarist who has performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and in intimate venues like the Jazz Standard in New York City.

In recent years, he has performed with symphony orchestras and jazz combos; over the last decade, he has been a member of the San Miguel 5, Doc Severinsen’s current group, which has several performances scheduled this year to celebrate Doc’s 90th birthday.

Gutiérrez maintains a busy performance schedule in America and at home in Mexico, but perhaps the most fulfilling way to experience his ongoing musical exploration is in an intimate setting such as a wood-lined parlor while he is at work in a small group, such as in a trio with violinist Robert Stern and bassist David Rodriguez. Hmmmm. On Saturday, May 13, Gil Gutiérrez, Stern, and Rodriguez will bring their music to the Barbara Fite Room at Opus 40 in Saugerties, New York.

Tickets are available for $30 in advance, $40 at the door. Tickets are available online through PayPal, or by calling (845) 246-3400.
Read More

Carnival vs. Lent

Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Kampf zwischen Fasching und Fasten (The Fight Between Carnival and Lent) depicts today, the day before Lent. Today is an important enough day in the Christian calendar to go by a few nicknames: Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday,” “Pancake Day.”

Any day that is associated with food, whether because restrictions are about to be imposed or restrictions are to be erased for one special day, by rights ought to have as many nicknames as it can bear.
Read More

Through a Wall, Clearly

The architect Philip Johnson died in January 2005 at the age of 98, at his residence for the previous five decades: his famous Glass House (above), which he built in 1949.

The idea behind the house is intricately simple: walls are an interference (obviously) between us and the world. What if the views on your property provided your home’s natural walls? Of course, my cynical brain brings me to memories of neighborhoods in which I would have happily lived without any windows, where “the view” (not the TV show) was exactly what I did not want to see. Heck, my cynical brain brings me back to apartments in which there were not enough walls between me and … me.
Read More

Mystical Things

A few years ago I wrote about two artists who played with the question of whether what they are depicting is anything more or less than words on a page or paint on a surface. Both the poet George Herbert and the painter Arcimboldo make art of the question, What is art? Is it what it depicts, an idea about what it depicts, both at the same time (which makes it a third option), or something less than? Is art, by definition, always a misfire, in that a depiction of a thing is not the thing and never can be?

Arcimboldo painted portraits of character types rather than individuals; for instance, a librarian composed entirely of books or a gardener made of vegetables in a bowl. That latter painting depends on the viewer to decide to see the bowl filled with veggies or a human “face.”
Read More

Little Glass Houses

The architect Philip Johnson would have been 110 yesterday. He died in January 2005 at the age of 98, at his residence for the previous five decades: his famous Glass House (above), which he built in 1949.

The idea behind the house is intricately simple: walls are an interference (obviously) between us and the world. What if the views on your property provided your home’s natural walls? Of course, my cynical brain brings me to memories of neighborhoods in which I would have happily lived without any windows, where “the view” (not the TV show) was exactly what I did not want to see. Heck, my cynical brain brings me back to apartments in which there were not enough walls between me and … me.
Read More

Despair Has No Wings …

To be is to despair and to despair is to remember the thousand tightly missed connections and not-yet completed conversations that will reveal themselves eventually as never really begun. The Surrealists got despair, perhaps better than most. They adopted Existentialism’s finer frustrations and rendered them with comedy, joy, and horror in sometimes strange proportions.

The comedy of coincidence and the tragedy of imminent abandonment dominate their work. Everyone is always alone, and this fact is simultaneously hilarious and horrifying in Surrealist Art.
Read More

Coloring

For those with synesthesia, the world seems no more interconnected than they assume it always is for the rest of us, until the person with the condition casually mentions how lively and bright blue the letter K always is to a playmate, who then reacts in a baffled way.

It is a condition that an unknown number of people have, but it is a condition to which the modifier “suffers” can not be added, because it does not often have negative effects on an individual’s life. (For some, it must have negative effects, just as any condition might.) It is not known how many people have or might have some form of synesthesia because not many people take the time or are offered the opportunity to describe the way they perceive how they perceive the things they perceive.
Read More