In the absence of any organized celebrations for the holiday, I spent the afternoon of July 4th stretching my legs in midtown and enjoying the sites ‘on exhibit’ in the museum of the streets. At the southwest corner of Madison Avenue and 57th Street, I paused to appreciate a monumental sculpture that I’ve been passing by for years now, which is Alexander Calder’s bright orange, steel installation known as Saurien.
Saurien reaches a height of 18 feet at its tallest point, and the piece reminds me of one of Louis Bourgeois‘ monumental spiders, in that it stretches its ‘legs’ across the entrance to the IBM building, inviting visitors to walk under and around it. Although I’ve never read this in a formal description of the sculpture, one critic has claimed that this Calder is clearly meant to represent a dinosaur, with its stegosaurus-like spikes emerging from the top two arches. I can see that.
The irregular-edged, top forms inspired me to take this shot, with the spikes set in contrast against the skyline. Artsy!
While Calder is most famous for his kinetic sculptures and delicate, hanging mobiles, Saurien is an example of the artist’s fixed work, which are called stabiles. Saurien was created in Calder’s Connecticut studio in 1975.
Alexander Calder’s Saurien is Located in Front of the IBM Building in Midtown, at 590 Madison Avenue, on the Southwest Corner at 57th Street, NYC.
Geoffrey and I finally made it out to the Museum of the Moving Image today to see the amazing new Jim Henson exhibit, which was all kinds of crazy fun and well worth the haul out to Queens.
As soon as you enter the exhibit, just to the left there is a huge glass case full of assorted Muppets that aren’t necessarily the best known characters — but whom you would know if you are a diehard fan and have seen all of the shows — and one of them is this little gal whose name is Pink Stalk. She is kind of hard see because there is purposely not much light on the display, and I didn’t want to get kicked out for using my flash. To me, Pink Stalk looks like a Shrimp, but that seems to not be the case. Pink Stalk is just a stalk.
Here is the back story on Pink Stalk from a Muppet Wiki I found on my vey first Google Search attempt!:
“Two really gross clumps of crud – fabric – feathers and foam – maybe just mouths – realistic red interior and teeth. One has a club, which he smashes the others with from time to time. The other hits with his fist. They just make guttural sounds to each other – dialogue is to show inflection only and is completely unintelligible.”
After the Heaps beat each other up for a bit, two Stalks enter. The Pink Stalk prompts the Gold Stalk to get acquainted with the Heaps. However, when the Stalk pokes one of the Heaps to get their attention, they both attack him. The Pink Stalk tries to pacify her injured friend, who survived the blow with a twisted nose.The characters featured are listed in the script as Green Heap, Purple Heap, Pink Stalk, and Gold Stalk (although the stalks refer to each other in the script as George and Martha).
Do you remember where you were the first time you heard Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” ? I sure do. I was 14 years old, just hanging out in my bedroom, and when “Bo Rap” — as we used to call it — came on the radio, I thought it was the most mind-blowingly amazing thing I had ever heard in my life up to that point. In a lot of ways, it still is.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” was the song that changed everything; a song that recalls a special moment in music history that — like the greatness of The Beatles — will never repeated. At The Q Awards, held October 20th, in London, Queen were presented with the Classic Song Award, marking the 40th Anniversary of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which was originally released October 31, 1975.
To mark the occasion, and just in time for Black Friday Record Store Day, “Bohemian Rhapsody” will be released as a 12 inch limited edition vinyl, with the original B-side “I’m In Love With My Car,” on November 27th.
But wait, there’s more: on November 20th, Queen will also release Queen, A Night At The Odeon, Live At Hammersmith ’75, on CD, 2 LP vinyl and Super Deluxe Box Set formats, via Hollywood Records, and on DVD, SD Blu-Ray through Eagle Rock Entertainment. This show was the culmination of the 26-date Queen Invite You To A Night At The Opera UK tour, the first tour in which the band had ever performed “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Spirits were high within the band for this show; “Bohemian Rhapsody” – universally hailed as one of the most ground-breaking ‘pop’ songs ever released – was in the middle of its record-breaking nine week run at #1 in the UK charts. Their fourth album, A Night At The Opera (the most expensive record ever made to that point) was climbing the album charts on its way to the number one spot, which it achieved three days after this concert.
Queen guitarist Brian May recalled recording “Bohemian Rhapsody,” offering that “[It]was a great moment, but the biggest thrill for us was actually creating the music in the first place. I remember Freddie coming in with loads of bits of paper from his dad’s work, like Post-it notes, and pounding on the piano. He played the piano like most people play the drums. This song he had was full of gaps where he explained that something operatic would happen here and so on. He’d worked out the harmonies in his head.” Fascinating.
Queen spent days overdubbing the vocals in the studio using a 24 track tape machine. By the time they were done, about 120 vocal tracks were layered together. The opera parts alone took longer than 70 hours to complete. At the time, it was the most expensive single ever made and upon presenting it to their record label, they were told by various executives that 5 minutes 55 seconds was too long and the song would never be a hit. But after the song was played 14 times in two days by DJ and friend of Freddie’s, Kenny Everett, it was destined to be a hit. Hordes of fans attempted to buy the single only to be told by record stores that it had not yet been released. Here in the US, it was the same. American radio RKO managed to get a copy of the tape and started to play it across their stations, which forced the hand of Queen’s then-US label, Elektra, to release the song in its entirety.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” was Queen’s first ever #1 single and the 1975 UK Christmas #1, holding the top position for nine weeks. It is also the first song ever to get to number one in the UK twice with the same version.
On This Date, May 17th in 1975: Elton John was awarded a Platinum Record for sales of One Million copies of his Ninth studio album, Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy. Captain Fantastic was the first album ever to be certified Platinum on the day of its release.
On This Date, September 10th in 1975:Kiss released their first live album Alive! The double album went on to become the band’ first top ten album in the U.S. and to this day it’s considered a landmark for live albums.
This is an amazing ten minute video on the making of the greatest song ever in the universe of all time, “I’m Not In Love” by 10CC. Get ready to be enraptured by what they used to do in the recording studio before the guy who invented ProTools was even born.
On This Date, March 22nd in 1975: Led Zeppelin’s double album Physical Graffiti reached the top of the Billboard 200 album chart for the first of six weeks, giving the group its fourth number one album. The album was released one month earlier,on February 24th. The apartment building photographed for the albums’ iconic cover still stands at 96-98 St. Marks Place (East 8th Street) in NYC’s East Village.
Houses of the Holy: 96-98 St. Marks Place (Photographed By Me on July 30th, 2017)
On This Date, January 6th, in 1975: Pink Floyd entered London’s Abbey Road Studios to begin recording its seventh studio album, Wish You Were Here. Like much of Pink Floyd’s material, the album’s two-part song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a tribute to the band’s former singer and guitarist Syd Barrett, whose drug-induced breakdown had forced him to leave the band several years earlier. Syd would also have celebrated his birthday today (Born 1/6/1946), if he had not passed away in July of 2006 at the age of 60. Shine on you crazy diamond.