Champion: An Opera in Jazz

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Terence Blanchard’s ‘Champion: An Opera in Jazz’

A groundbreaking work combining the disciplines of opera and jazz,Terence Blanchard’s Champion: An Opera in Jazz tells the real-life story of world champion boxer Emile Griffith, a man haunted by memories of his past who struggled to reconcile his sexuality in a hyper-macho world. Produced by SFJAZZ in conjunction with San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle,Champion is a visually stunning production features elaborate staging and video elements with a jazz trio, orchestra and chorus, bringing out the full glory of Blanchard’s soulful score as it illuminates a tragic story that remains acutely relevant today. Tormented by the death of opponent Benny Paret following their 1962 bout for the welterweight title, Griffith spent his life questioning himself and a society that would accept his accidental killing of a fellow athlete, but not his sexuality. The opera features a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Michael Cristofer and features renowned bass Arthur Woodley reprising his role as the title character. Far more than one of jazz’s most prodigious trumpeters,  Blanchard has carved out a brilliant career as an A-list composer. He premiered Champion at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in June 2013, and has substantially re-worked the piece for this exclusive string of performances on the Miner Auditorium stage, the first since the premiere. (Excerpt taken from a piece written for the SFJSZZ Center.)

Champion

The Press takes notes,  while the fight goes on.

 

I kill a man and most people understand and forgive me. However, I love a man, and to so many people this is an unforgivable sin”. —Emile Griffith

Building Super Bowl City 50 – San Francisco

 

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San Francisco gets ready for the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos! The weather is clear and sunny. Macy’s fireworks filled the sky over the Ferry Building to kick off the week of celebration. Last week I was down by the Ferry Building where construction was the main attraction – lots of fun, taking shots with my camera and talking with the security volunteers.

Drawing with a Stick

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Hunting for the right drawing tool I pick up a stick. Will one end of the stick draw a fine line? Will the other end make a softer line and shape? Dipping the stick into a container of India ink I look and start to draw. Eye, to hand, to paper, I make marks. I draw the shape of my face, feeling tone of my head, the texture of my hair, gesture of my turned head. I draw  space, my hair touching the edge of the paper  or the two dimensional picture plane. My head is turned;  my hair  goes back into three dimensional space. I draw until my sketch is done. Awareness of my surroundings clicks back into place. I return to everybody’s world.

Painting with Pikazo – Try it – You’ll like it

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Honey, did you eat something from the garden?

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You don’t look too good. I think you better stay in bed today.

Pikazo, the new app for Apple iphones and ipads is selling like hot cakes. Not surprising. It’s really fun to play with. You, too, can be an artist and paint in the style of a famous painter or make up your own style. Here I used two photographs of mine, one of a friend and the other one of apple blossoms from the garden. Part of the fun is waiting to see what Pikazo comes up with after you choose your pictures. Every single Pikazo image requires about 3,000,000,000,000,000 calculations. Is it worth $3.00?  Yes! It’s a lot of fun.