I was listening the other day to a Bruce Spingsteen concert recorded in Paris on May 26, 1979 — the year I turned 19.
Springsteen was sharing with the audience a bit about his upbringing, reflecting on the relative dearth of arts and culture in his young life.
But he recalled coming downstairs on school days dressed in the green Catholic school uniform he describes as “oppressive” to hear the sound of rock ‘n’ roll.
Seems his mother was fond of spinning the vinyl. Springsteen says the records disparaged by others were his only source of arts and culture — his lone introduction to life outside his small New Jersey neighborhood.
The records opened his eyes to other people and places, inspiring Springsteen to consider for the first time the vast expanse of possibilites for his own life. From vinyl, it seems, his dreams were born.
As I listened to Springsteen’s narrative, I was reminded of one of my favorite haunts in Tempe — an “indie” store called “Hoodlums Music & Movies.” Their love and respect for vinyl is really quite something.
Hoodlums periodically exhibits artwork from Spraygraphic — which is currently calling for vinyl art submissions as they ready for their next Hoodlums gig — titled the “Fill in the Groove Art Show.”
I lingered over the last exhibit with my 19-year-old daughter Jennifer, and recall that my favorite piece (by a Tempe artist whose name I didn’t hang on to) featured small tiles that looked like irridescent red glass.
Knowing their gifts for poetry and other types of toying with words and images, I hope my daughters will consider submitting at least one entry this year — assuming the vinyl “canvas” doesn’t come from my own cherished collection.
My son Christopher, now 21, thinks it’s cool that he sees album covers on his iPod screen as he’s scrolling through song selections. I remind him that most of the original covers line the shelves in our living room, but somehow that seems less impressive in the 21st century.
A vinyl record, whether pristine or painted, is a thing of beauty. Check out the Spraygraphic art exhibit when it hits Hoodlums on Feb 26.
Take along some children or teens. Sometimes kids who disparage art develop a hidden passion or talent once exposed to art that feels relevant and accessible.
Remember too that the crews at Hoodlums and the neighboring “Local First Arizona” bookstore called Changing Hands come together each month to present a free movie with post-film discussion.
Next month’s “Community Movie Night,” scheduled for 6pm on Fri, Feb 25, features a Don Argott documentary titled “The Art of the Steal” with guest speaker Timothy Rodgers, director of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
“The Art of the Steal” examines the art collection of a Philadelphia doctor and medical researcher whose founding of a pharmaceutical firm made him a millionaire.
Albert C. Barnes’ art collection — featuring original paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir, Picasso, Cezanne and others — was scattered, against his will, after his death. The film explores how and why it happened.
I think I’m especially drawn to Springsteen’s vinyl memories because they remind me of all those bloggers working their craft out there in the world of more traditional journalism.
Words and music matter. But there are a million ways to explore and enjoy them. Who’s to say that any one is truly better than another?
Long live vinyl, and the hoodlums who spin them.
Note: Click here to explore other “Local First Arizona” organizations and here to learn about the “Fill in the Groove Album Art Show.” And thanks to my hubby James for sharing this link to an article about the impact of a 1964 album on the life of one little girl with her own rock ‘n’ roll heroes.
Coming up: Spam meets musical theater?, Art tackles name calling, Children’s theater from jungle to farm, Lynn’s library: Latest finds, Equity 101 for beginners, The fine art of civil discourse