“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” — Francis Bacon
Different artists can interpret the same piece of work in vastly different ways. Say for instance Bette Midler’s fabulous torch song version of “Do You Want to Dance” (featured in my show How to Draw a Nekkid Man, formerly I Will Be Good) versus the Beach Boys original upbeat dance version. Or The Beatles version of “Till There Was You” versus the Broadway version sung by Barbara Cook and the film version sung by Shirley Jones (before The Partridge Family) written by Meredith Willson for The Music Man (which, by the way, he wrote at 55).
A current freshman at my alma mater, Vanderbilt University, recently attended a campus talk by Billy Joel. Turns out, the freshman, Michael Pollack, like his idol Billy Joel, is also a pianist from Long Island. During the Q&A, the freshman asked Joel if he could accompany him in his favorite Billy Joel song, “A New York State of Mind.” Billy Joel said okay. The rest is magical.
“Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgement difficult.” — Hippocrates
We call my car “the Self-Esteem Wagon.” In reality, it’s a 2002 Suzuki Grand Esteem, which is not a particularly popular car. We bought it used, sporting only 13,000 miles and an electric blue color that is way too bright for me. I have seen just one other Grand Esteem in the past five years and the owner of that car got so excited he honked his horn repeatedly as if we were old friends. My friend Howard Mansfield christened the car several years ago and the name stuck. When I make an appointment to get one of our family cars serviced, Sandy at Valley Automotive says, “Are you bringing in the Toyota or the Self-Esteem Wagon?” The running joke (or maybe it’s a theory) is that if you’re in a bad mood, just drive around in the Self-Esteem Wagon for a while and then you’ll feel really good about yourself. Works for me.