The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Category — Famous Artists

Who Is This Man?

A thousand one-hand-claps for the first person who identifies this famous artist. His one desire? To project his almost mystical feelings about the American west into his work.

January 8, 2011   Comments Off on Who Is This Man?

The Dream Is Over

I remember where I was when John Kennedy died, riding with a friend in his car by the high school, and, also, just as vividly, where I was when I first heard John Lennon sing “the dream is over” on a street in Brooklyn. For Lennon it had a very personal meaning. He had moulted, shed his skin, and become a mensch like the rest of us. For me, and those of my generation, it meant the end of the hippie fantasy, imagining we had the power to remake the world into a better place.

These past few days, I’ve heard John’s words running through my head again, remembering all the dreams that have died since those heady days of power. I don’t agree that God is a concept by which we measure our pain—I’m basically a happy person—but I sure as hell believe in the rest of it. No one was ever more forthright and courageous than John Lennon. Who will take his place and be as brave today?

Give his song, “God,” a listen on YouTube. There are many versions to choose from. And remember, be brave, keep the faith, it’s not over until it’s over.

God is a concept
By which we measure
Our pain
I’ll say it again
God is a concept
By which we measure
Our pain

I don’t believe in magic
I don’t believe in I-ching
I don’t believe in Bible
I don’t believe in tarot
I don’t believe in Hitler
I don’t believe in Jesus
I don’t believe in Kennedy
I don’t believe in Buddha
I don’t believe in Mantra
I don’t believe in Gita
I don’t believe in Yoga
I don’t believe in kings
I don’t believe in Elvis
I don’t believe in Zimmerman
I don’t believe in Beatles
I just believe in me
Yoko and me
And that’s reality

The dream is over
What can I say?
The dream is over
I was the Dreamweaver
But now I’m reborn
I was the Walrus
But now I’m John
And so dear friends
You’ll just have to carry on
The dream is over.

December 30, 2010   Comments Off on The Dream Is Over

Jealous Guy

December 5, 2010   Comments Off on Jealous Guy


Although John Lennon had J. Edgar Hoover on his trail with every intention of deporting him, he never succeeded. Lennon eventually obtained a green card and lived a quiet life in NYC with his wife and son until he was shot at point blank range outside his apartment building in 1980. Although less than perfect as a man, he fought unstintingly for peace and justice in a way few have before or since. He was a kind of flawed and sinning Gandhi with a genius for music.

More than thirty years have passed since his death. Our world is radically different from the one he inhabited. Watching retrospective accounts of his life and listening to his music are difficult for those of us who lived through those times. It is not so much that he died or his death was a tragedy, but that in the post 9-11 world, it means nothing. The conservatives have won in a way no one could have imagined. Today John Lennon would be deported in less than a day and never allowed to return.

Denys Arcand in his film Les Invasions barbares makes the case (in dramatic terms) that 9-11 marks the end of civilization in the United States and the West. He compares it to the invasion of the barbarians. Interestingly, he does not say exactly who the barbarians are.

Which brings me to Dr. Steven Jones, a Galileo like figure, who noticed there was something wrong with the collapse of WTC7. It seemed to fall as fast as a baseball dropped from the same height. In order words, at free fall speed. Unfortunately for him, he was a trained physicist and began to wonder how a 47-story skyscraper could totally collapse into its own footprint in 6.5 seconds. His hypothesis was not one his minders at BYU liked, and they got rid of him. It’s not one anyone likes, really, because it could lead to a re-revision of history that would put John Lennon back in the space he occupied before the world was turned on its head.

But, nevermind. Let’s just ignore what is obvious to our eyes and believe what we’re told. It’s much simpler that way.

December 4, 2010   Comments Off on Why?

Today’s Quiz

What is the name of the smiling American painter (pictured to the left) who abandoned his country at a young age never to return, was deeply influenced by Courbet, was an infamous bon vivant, rake, and argumentative, contrary fool, who painted his mother in a drab black-and-white style which his contemporaries thought was wholly inappropriate, and, who like another American, Andy Warhol, changed the world of art (and advertising) forever?

November 11, 2010   2 Comments

The Snail

“Do I believe in God? Yes, when I work.”

Who said this and what did he mean?

The piece shown was made when he was already 84 years old. It distills the essence of a lifetime spent imitating nature. Only the hands of God could have created it. Hint: he signed his work ^^^^^^^^^^^.

Oh, and why did he call it “The Snail?”

June 5, 2010   Comments Off on The Snail