arts meme

John at Musings from Myopia tagged me for a meme about literature, music, film and art. I’ve tried to answer the questions as best I can. Rather than tag anyone in particular, if you like this meme, why don’t you answer the questions either on your blog (if you have one), or in the comments below if you don’t have a blog of your own. If you do the meme on your blog, send me a link and I’ll post it here.

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Q: Name a book that you want to share so much that you keep giving copies away.

A: I can rarely ever settle on one thing, so I’m giving three for this one:

To a paddler or anyone who likes the outdoors, I’d give one of the books by Gary and Joanie McGuffin. Their books are about paddling journeys on or near Lake Superior, or in places like Temagami. The books are filled with Gary McGuffin’s photographs, with some text by Joanie (not actually all that much text). Not sure which I like best — maybe In the Footsteps of Grey Owl: Journey into the Ancient Forest, although I also like Great Lakes Journey: Exploring the Heritage Coast . Incidentally, if you go to either of those links and look below the description, you can look at images from the books.

Second one would be for my naturalist friends — Bernd Heinrich’s A Year in the Maine Woods. I liked the mix of nature, science, and storytelling.

Third one would be for my naturalist-artist friends — David Carroll’s Self-Portrait with Turtles: A memoir. There are so many parts of this one that I can identify with. Most naturalist-artists would probably like it too.

Q: Name a piece of music that changed the way you listen to music

A: Hmm.. for some reason, this one seems difficult. This is the best I can come up with. In recent years, Ry Cooder and Manuel Galban’s Mambo Sinuendo album got me hooked on listening to music from warmer climes when I’m feeling like I can’t take another winter’s day here in the Frozen North. The soundtrack from the movie Frida (mentioned below), is also good as a winter fix.

Q: Name a film you can watch again and again.

A: Another three way answer. The movies are as follows:

* Rivers & Tides – a documentary film about British artist, Andy Goldsworthy. I should probably write some kind of review about it — in fact, I was eventually going to do so. I particularly like the first section when he is creating a rock “seed” cairn, a round structure out of drift wood, and a sculpture out of icicles next to the ocean. The additional shorts are fascinating, especially the one where he’s fashioning a curling ram’s horn using folded leaves and bits of thorn — incredible — well, the whole movie is.

* The Bill Mason movie Waterwalker, that I recently wrote about.

* The movie, Frida with Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo and Alfred Molina as DIego Rivera. I’ve watched it several times over the past few years. It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve always liked Kahlo and Rivera’s art, so it’s probably not too surprising that I liked it. There’s so much to like about this movie — the art plays such a large part in it; the acting is excellent; the set design in wonderful, and the music.

Q: Name a performer for whom you suspend all disbelief

A: I don’t watch many movies other than documentaries, so I’m going to go with Hayek and Molina in the above described movie, Kahlo. I’ve read Kahlo’s letters and other writings, etc…and have studied quite a bit about the artists. I feel that both actors brought the artists to life in a way that exceeded my expectations.

Q: Name a work of art you would like to live with.

A: There are so many that it’s difficult to pick just one. However, first choice will be:

The Bird Creature sculpture by Kiawak Ashoona (Eastern Arctic’s Cape Dorset, Nunavut) which is in the National Gallery of Canada.
I couldn’t find much in the way of photos of it (guess I should go downtown and photograph it myself!), however, I did find a couple of views on a Flickr gallery:
this one and this detail of the head.

If I couldn’t have that, it would be a wooden transformation mask carved by Haida artist, Robert Davidson.

Q: Name a work of fiction that penetrated your real life

A: Oh.. let’s see… I have to go a long way back for this one.
At 12 or so, I was given the Lord of the Rings trilogy. That summer I used to tear through the woods on horseback (with no saddle) pretending I was an elf being chased by Orcs. (well, what can I say… you *did* ask this question).

Q: Name a punch line and/or a sight gag that always make you laugh

A: I couldn’t come up with the “right” kind of answer for this one, so I’ve had to modify it somewhat. Here’s something that made me laugh recently. I don’t watch much television, and this description may not be entirely accurate, but this is how I remember it. A commercial that begins with a Buddhist monk turning a turtle right side up after he sees it flipped upside down. Later, he reaches for a facial tissue when he sneezes. After blowing his nose, he reads the label on the box: “Kills 99% of all germs”. The scene cuts back outside to the turtle – and you hear a scream in the distance.
Made me laugh both times I saw it.

EDIT: Susannah from Wanderin’ Weeta has also done the Arts Meme. You can visit her blog to read her answers to the meme questions here. If you’re a blogger and decide to do this meme on your blog, feel free to send me a link to your post and I’ll add it here. Thanks!

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12 Responses to “arts meme”

  1. John Says:

    Bev, I’m glad you decided to answer the tag! Your interests are so different from mine, but wonderously interesting to me, nonetheless. I’m definitely going to get Waterwalker, just slow out of the gate. One of my sisters-in-law is an absolute devotee of Frida Kahlo…her images are all over the house and the bookshelves are stacked high with all manner of relevant literature. If I can find it, I’ll soon post a photo I took of a wooden chair painted with Frida’s image…fascinating.

  2. burning silo Says:

    John – Yes, I was thinking how different our interests are, although I’m also a fan of Wright’s architecture and have at least a book or two of his houses around my place. Don’t feel you have to rush at getting Waterwalker — I just hope you like it after getting it. Keep in mind that I’m a paddler, so it may have more appeal to me than to everyone else! Yes, post the photo of the wooden chair if you happen to find it. I like both Kahlo and Rivera’s art. When I was in SF a few years ago, a friend took me to see Diego’s large mural at the SF Art Instituteand a smaller one in Stern Hall at U C Berkeley. It was nice to have a chance to see the SFAI mural — very memorable.

  3. burning silo Says:

    Here’s a link to a post that John has just made at his blog featuring the photo described in his comment up above — an image of Frida Kahlo, painted on a wooden chair.

  4. Celeste Says:

    Hi! When my kids were in elementary school, I worked with the Art Literacy program. One year one of the featured artists were Frida and Diego. Part of the fun every year was making an Art Cafe with a certain artist as the theme, so that year was Frida and Diego. We were lucky to have a mom who was the spitting image of Frida, so she went around(dressed up as Frida) to all the classes inviting them to the cafe. I really enjoyed researching the two, and I love their house(it’s a museum now). I agree the movie is wonderful, it’s in my top ten too. Did you know Madonna wanted the part? Salma did such a great job. Celeste

  5. Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) Says:


    Couldn’t resist. I picked up your meme, and passed it on. Here’s my post.

  6. burning silo Says:

    Celeste – That’s a really neat story! Indeed, how lucky to have a mom who could dress as Frida to visit the classes! I love the house too. I didn’t know Madonna wanted the part… and I agree, Salma did a wonder job with it….. she really did suit that part so well.

    Susannah – Glad you decided to do the meme. I’ve just added a note to the original post up above with a link to your meme page. Thanks!

  7. Cindy Says:

    am re-reading ‘A Year in the Maine Woods’, I love all of B. H’s books.. he’s a naturalists’ naturalist. Thanks for the other suggestions too :)

  8. burning silo Says:

    Cindy – If you haven’t read David Carroll’s Self-portrait with Turtles that’s one I think you would like. It’s a very nice read!

  9. Cindy Says:

    already ordered it! together with his
    Swampwalker’s Journal: A Wetlands Year
    geeze, I have about 20 unread books sitting here as is.. (not to mention all the magazines pouring in)time to build more book shelves ;)

    I’ve got a book, true story, about a woman who kayacked all the way around Lake Superior- a very powerful and inspirational book.. I’ll have to look the title up, I have several on kayacking.. and I love your post about snowshoes.. I snowshoed for years, and saw so many cool things while out on our shoes (and later x-country skis).. they’re a blast and I fell alot but had great fun :)

  10. burning silo Says:

    Cindy – I think you’ll enjoy Swampwalker’s Journal as well! Each page contains so many observations, and beautifully written. Have you read Year of the Turtle? It’s also a beautiful book — the paintings and drawings are wonderful. If you think of the name of the kayaking book, let me know. I’d be interested in that. Thanks re: the snowshoe post. Don and I have done so much winter hiking and snowshoeing over the years… it makes winter so much more bearable!

  11. Am Says:

    Intriguing to hear that there is a book called IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GREY OWL. After my mother died, I inherited her 1937 copy of DER HEILIGE BAUM (the holy or spiritual tree), by Grau-Eule (Grey Owl) with black and white photos. Thanks for the links.

  12. burning silo Says:

    Am – That’s very interesting about the Grey Owl book in translation. I just checked the wikipedia entry on Grey Owl and see that quite a few of his books were translated into other languages.