Tag Archives: Cesar Chavez

Lynn’s library: Lives of the…

Lives of the Bloggers. It might make for an interesting book title, but bloggers have yet to catch the interest of Kathleen Krull, author of several books about the oddities and foibles of some rather famous folk.

Krull tackles the lives of presidents, extraordinary women and athletes — with wit and wonderment appealing to both children and adults.

But it’s her three titles about the lives of great artists that I’m especially pleased to count among my personal library.

Ever wondered what motivated, amused or maddened famous musicians?

Krull’s Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times (and What the Neighbors Thought) was my first foray into the series.

It’s a work at once instructive and amusing, revealing tidbits and tales about musicians of many ilks. Here are a bit of Krull’s own musings from her website…

The life stories of famous musicians — Bach, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Woody Guthrie — are familiar to many. But what were they like really?

What kind of children were they? How did they die? And what went on in between? What did they eat? What did they wear? How did they spend their money? What were their phobias, quirks, and bad habits?

Who were their “significant others”? And what did the neighbors think? (Music is not a quiet career.)

The 16 musicians profiled — with caricatures — include Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Vivali, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Stravinsky. Also Joplin, Gilbert & Sullivan, Guthrie and more.

Given the book’s emphasis on classical music, I’d like to see Krull tackle another music-related title — Lives of the Rockers. Think Elvis, Lennon, Jagger and Springsteen (but please, no Bieber).

Seems some artists are rather odd.

Lives of the Artists: Masterpieces and Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought) tackles the quirks of 19 artists.

This is precisely its charm. One recognizes after reading it, as with other titles in the series, that famous folk are people too — and not without their shortcomings.

Featured artists include Leonardo, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Cassatt, O’Keeffe, Matisee, Chagall, Picasso, Dali, Noguchi, Rivera, Kahlo and Warhol and others equally diverse.

The artist who illustrates Krull’s “Lives of the…” series is Kathryn Hewitt. And Krull herself is married to another children’s book illustrator, Paul Brewer.

Writers are indeed a quirky folk.

Finally, there’s Lives of the Writers: Comedies, Tragedies (and What the Neighbors Thought) — featuring twenty writers, mostly novelists and poets.

Targets of Krull’s tattle tail trivia include Poe, Dickinson, Twain, Austen, London, Cervantes, Andersen and Shakespeare.

I rather wish that Krull had included her own profile in this one, for surely a writer this drawn to others’ oddities must have a few of her own.

So far I’ve learned only that she lives in San Diego and was fired from her first job as a teen. Seems folks at the library expected her to work rather than read all those fascinating titles.

The latest book in my Krull collection came from the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix

Alas — we are left to wonder about the lives of all those fascinating dancers and actors who’ve yet to pique Krull’s curiosity. One should never peak (or peek) too soon, I suppose.

Or pehaps these stage folk are simply better than others at keeping their secrets. Certainly a lack of idiosyncrasies isn’t the issue.

But no matter. It’s always good to leave something to the imagination. As it is, these three titles will give you plenty of fodder for holiday festivities when conversations dwindle to celebrity gossip.

Your famous folk will be far more fascinating than those of partygoers enamored with the likes of “Snooki” or “The Situation.” There is a reason, after all, that no one has ever penned a book titled Lives of the Reality TV Stars.

— Lynn

One of Krull’s newest titles features the fine art of…

Note: Krull’s other works feature fascinating fare about the likes of Dr. Seuss, L. Frank Baum, Hilary Rodham Clinton, Cesar Chavez and many others. My latest Krull aquisition is M is for Music — which I picked up during a visit to the MIM gift shop. Visit her website at www.kathleenkrull.com to learn more.

Coming up: Lives of the hippies — the musical “HAIR”


Bollywood & beyond

A young dancer enjoys a class with Kriti Dance (Photo: Daniel Friedman)

I was delighted to hear recently from a dance school that specializes in Bollywood dance, which has its origins in India’s film industry. It seems I’ve been invited to participate in a dance class — just to get a feel for this “contemporary and innovative” dance form.

The website for Kriti Dance readily notes that participants have been known to giggle a bit when first experiencing the unique waist and hip movements used in Bollywood dance — but I suspect that hearty laughter might be more likely with me (and my thickening body parts) in the room.

I’m opting instead to share the happy news that Kriti Dance, which recently performed during a Phoenix Mercury halftime, will begin a new session of classes at Dance Connection 2 in Chandler on Sept 11. It’s a tough day in so many ways — so I’m pleased to share a fun and fit way to dance away part of the day.

Classes for adults and teens start at 10:30am, with classes for 9- to 13-year olds starting at 11:30am and classes for 5- to 8-year-olds starting at 12:30pm. You can visit their website to learn more — and drop me a thank you note later for the decision to leave my hips at home (for now).

Kriti Dance offers fun and fitness for all ages (Photo: Daniel Friedman)

My weekend calendar is already plenty full — driving Lizabeth to and from a community service gig, seeing The Phoenix Symphony and Phoenix Theatre present a semi-staged production of “The Music Man,” and joining Lizabeth at the National Youth Theatre awards being held at Valley Youth Theatre.

Tonight we’ll be attending the first production of the 2010-2011 Southwest Shakespeare Company season at Mesa Arts Center — complete with red carpet flair and a fabulously fun photo contest. We’ll have to miss Sunday’s preview of Childsplay’s “A Year With Frog and Toad” so Lizabeth can see an ASA teacher perform in another show, but that just gives us more to look forward to next weekend.

There’s no lack of arts experiences in the Valley this weekend, so here’s a sampling of your many options to help you plan your family together time…

The Deer Valley Rock Art Center in northwest Phoenix offers half-price admisson to grandparents from 8am-2pm on Sun, Sept 12, in honor of Grandparents Day. Who’s to say that grandma won’t want to enjoy both petroglyphs and Bollywood dance in one weekend? Admit it — Bollywood dance is probably on your “bucket list” too.

Why not celebrate Grandparents Day in Bollywood style? (Photo: Daniel Friedman)

If you’re an artist eager to learn more about using technologies in art making and/or arts promotion, check out the Sept 11 STEWshop from Urban Stew. It’s one of a series of arts and technology workshops they’ll hold each second Saturday of the month between Sept 2010 and Feb 2011.

Children and their adults can enjoy making art together at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix Art Studio — which provides materials for making a special Grandparents Day gift in the studio this weekend.

Head to Chandler Center for the Arts if you love all things musical theater and musical standards. Valley favorites Rusty Ferracane and Christine Drathman will join composer/arranger Craig Bohmler and “top Valley musicians” for “That’s Life…from Sinatra to Sondheim.” (Perhaps we could persuade the trio to add a bit of Bollywood dance to the gig.)

Creative Stage Youth Theatre is eager to show off their new performing space at a free open house Sept 11 from 4-7pm at 19209 N. 83rd Ave (Ste 105) in Peoria — which is a great opportunity to learn more about their upcoming season.

When in doubt, just dance! (Photo: Daniel Friedman)

Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village in Sedona presents their 37th annual celebration of Mexican Independence Day with flamenco dance, folk music and children’s activities to include face painting and juggling demonstrations. Remind me to drop them a thank you note for the lovely mental image I just got of attempting to juggle while doing my Bollywood thing.

If you share my love of social justice theater, check out the work of Teatro Bravo at a “pay what you can” performance of “Manzi: The Advenures of Young Cesar Chavez” this evening at the Metropolitan Arts Theatre in Phoenix. It’s “a tale for the entire family” about the legendary advocate of farm workers’ rights — and runs through Sept 19.

So there you have it. Bollywoood and flamenco. Art and technology. Sinatra and Sondheim. If that doesn’t make you want to swivel those hips while gyrating that waist, I don’t know what will.


Note: Today marks the opening of the “Opera & Ballet in Cinema Series” presented by Harkins Theatres and Emerging Pictures. You’re in luck if you’re reading this in time to make it to the 11am live broadcast of “Cosi Fan Tutte” at Arrowhead Fountains 18 or Scottsdale 101 14. Visit www.harkinstheatres.com for ticket availability and pricing, and information on upcoming shows in the series. I can tell you from experience that tickets go quickly so don’t delay in deciding which of European operas and ballets presented in Hi-Definition digital projection you’d like to experience.

Coming up: Art and body image, Coupling fine arts and dual language instruction, The shape of social justice

Audition/Call for artists alert! Auditions will be held this weekend for productions of “The Nutcracker” by both Baller Etudes and Ballet Arizona. CONDER/dance is calling for submissions (from choreographers, dance filmmakers and performance artists) for the 4th annual “Breaking Ground” festival to be held Dec 10 & 11 at Tempe Center for the Arts.