Throwback Thursday

  
Every successful musician has a history and usually that history is made up of important people who have helped inspire, shape and teach techniques that natural talents will eventually shape and mold into their own unique musical voice. 

When Emerson was about 10 years old he had such a teacher. I don’t know exactly the history of how they discovered him, but my parents found a young man in Steubenville, Ohio who was giving guitar instructions. That is when Pandel Collaros came into our lives.

I personally have never met Pandel and I don’t know what kind of student Emerson was, or just how long he took lessons, but this young man, Pandel, gave him a start by teaching him the basics of playing a guitar. 

It was wasn’t until I started the Emerson Hart and Tonic News Facebook page that I began thinking about all of the people who were responsible for helping Emerson along the way. That included Pandel. Curious as to what happened to this young man, I searched the Internet and finally found him thirty-five years after those first guitar lessons. And I was not surprised that Pandel has done very well for himself, too. He has not abandoned his love for teaching, nor his music.

Pandel is now a musician and Assistant Professor of music at Bethany College in West Virginia. He teaches music theory, aural skills, audio recording, and popular style guitar music, both acoustic and electric. He is also the founder and director of the Bethany College Rock Ensemble and performs frequently in a variety of area venues.
 

Pandel is a member of the Emerson Hart and Tonic News page. I hope to eventually meet the man who gave my son his first guitar lessons. On this Throwback Thursday I want to thank him for sharing his love of music and great teaching skills, not only to young musicians as Emerson, but to the many students at Bethany College who he has inspired by his love of music and to let him know it’s good to play it forward. As a musician one doesn’t have to be a platinum awarded artist for your life to have meaning. His life has mattered.   His life has mattered. 

Copyright Sandra Hart©. All Rights Reserved

Home Is Where The Heart Is

  

I was born with an extra chamber in my heart. OK. That’s not exactly the truth. I just have love for three places where I can hang my hat and call home. Period. 

Some of us are happy wanders with a pack on our backs and home is our wanderlust. Some of us are gypsies at heart who pick up and can only live for a short time in one particular place. Then there are those like me and maybe you. We are nesters. I am a nester.

 When I am living on the water it’s the sea inside of me that makes my heart beat. When I am living in the tropical sun it’s the white sandy beaches and swaying palms that warms my heart. Then there is Chelsea. Chelsea makes my creative heart crave to do just that. Every time I’m in Chelsea I long to be back in the theater and back into acting. 

Many mornings in Chelsea I awakened at 4 o’clock to be on the set by six. Night after night, I have taken cab rides home at 1 o’clock in the morning from the theater district, both exhilarated and tired to the bone. The indoor sets for Law and Order were just three blocks away at the Chelsea Piers and many streets shoots were right here in our Chelsea neighborhood where producer, Dick Wolfe lived. It was a good time in my life. It’s not a big revelation nor secret to anyone that it always is better when you’re doing what you love.  

  

I have often had script reads here in our Chelsea apartment with fellow actors. Back in 1999, I wrote my memoir, BEHIND THE MAGIC MIRROR, on a word processor. I did it right here, warmed by the light streaming through our ivy covered windows overlooking the gardens of London Terrace.  All the while unknowingly inspired by the ghosts of numerous Chelsea authors. 
  

The Chelsea Hotel is just a block away going east from here. One must take a deep breath before diving into this list of Chelsea Hotel writers: Mark Twain, Arthur C. Clarke, William S. Burroughs, Leonard Cohen, Jack Kerouac, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Jean-Paul Sartre, Thomas Wolfe, Arthur Miller, Edgar Lee Masters, Brendan Behan and so many others, not to mention all of the musicians who have lived and died there. 

I think most of us are a little schizophrenic in our likes and wants. Sometimes to survive economically we have to have a 9-to-5 existence that is not exactly us and we have dreams of another life we would like to live. Take it from this over-fifty woman,  “Don’t let those dreams die.” There are hours in your life away from the mundane where you can pursue your dreams if you just do it. It is up to you to make it happen.

Martin Luther said, “I have a dream.” He was not alone. Of course as individuals we each have our own dreams. Both you and I may have different dreams. Right now I’ve added a return to acting to my bucket list for next summer, but while we are still here we should each work hard to see our bucket lists fulfilled. Let your dreams awaken. Don’t let them die with life-long regrets. It is never to late.
Copyright Sandra Hart©. All Rights Reserved. 

THE ART IN POLITICS

  

   

The Art in Politics

I know it sounds silly, but that doesn’t make it not true. Art engenders empathy in a way that politics doesn’t and in a way that nothing else really does.  

Whether it’s a photograph, play, television show, movie, or lyrics in a song – it doesn’t matter. Art has a way of changing things that most factions don’t or can’t. 

Art can bring the conversation to the forefront when politics on sensitive issues builds walls and divides. We can dissect, digest, debate and appreciate Art in whichever form it is delivered and ruminate the message we take away. 

Without malice we can disagree, but Art spawns conversation and changes the temperature of how we talk about divisive issues. 

  

   

The books and plays; To Kill A Mocking Bird, Look Who’s Coming To Dinner, Bird Cage, West Side Story, Schindler’s List, Hamilton (now on Broadway) and, of course, Shakespeare. The list is long. I’m sure you can add to this with some that might have influenced or changed your thoughts about a social issue.

  

Photographs by Robert Capa, Eddie Adams and others that have evoked conversations and changed the world forever. Visuals of events frozen in time that provoke and will stimulate discussions for generations to come. 
  
Lyrics of Dylan, Springsteen, RAP, and, if I might add, the 90’s generation Dylan songwriter, Emerson Hart. These and many more creative or controversial writers bring sensitive issues – war, racism, poverty, dysfunction, mental illness into conversation. 

Art creates change in people’s hearts. It happens slowly, but it does happen. As the wheel of creativity turns, so does the world.

Copyright Sandra Hart© All Rights Reserved

Can’t Think Of A Title

               

Have you ever seen the commercial for Shriners Hospital when the little girl is asked what is love and she sweetly giggles and has a cute little smile and says a little bit embarrassed “I got nothing.”  
Well this week I’m kind of in the same predicament. I’ve got nothing. I’ve been home a week now and all I’ve been doing is cleaning, supervising sheet rock installation, dealing with plumbers, leaking washing machine hoses and selecting flooring for the damage that was done this winter to my home by frozen water pipes. That’s just inside. Outside I had acres of leaves from last fall to be cleaned up. What happened to the good old days when you could set your pile of leaves on fire after the kids had fun jumping into them? Should I admit to loving the smell of burning leaves in the fall? Life used to be so much easier and so much more fun before ticks and the thinning ozone layer.
This week my Creative Center is being smothered by the realities around me. No wonder for centuries artists and musicians have needed patrons to create so that they would be free from worldly tasks. Mozart and Rembrandt wouldn’t even be in our vocabulary had they been forced to work at McDonalds to pay the rent instead of being able to create without fear of being kicked out of their flat.
I have always thought too much outside static short circuits creative energy and right now I am on overload without much sleep. All of a sudden Sophie, who usually sleeps at our feet, has decided to be a bed hog dog and pushes herself between our pillows so that my husband and I have about 5 inches to go before we wind up on the floor. She’s like a sack of potatoes in a coma when I try to get her to move. My daughter Alison told me to let her know I am the master because dogs do well when you tell them what they need to do. Well, obviously not this Lhasa. 
So please forgive me this week friends. I’ve got nothing.
http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7XmY/shriners-hospitals-for-children-what-is-love
Copyright by Sandra Hart 2015. All rights reserved.

Fair Play/Fair Pay

Whatever type of work you do would you ever give away your expertise, hard work and talent and never get expect get paid for those services? Of course not. Well,  this may come as a shock to all of you music fans, no matter what band or artist you love, none of these artists get paid for any type of radio, AM or FM, Internet or Satellite play for their intellectual property. Zip.  Zero payment.  Pandora only pays minuscule royalties.

Performers and songwriters get paid royalties for recordings, but not their intellectual properties in today’s streaming digital atmosphere. Our USA artists don’t even get paid overseas when their music gets played by those countries who recognize performance right of artists. Why? Because the United States doesn’t recognize their artists performance rights. Crazy, right?
There is a short world list of those counties that DO NOT recognize intellectual rights of performers/songwriters. Who are they? I am embarrassed to tell you. Iran. China. North Korea  AND the United States. Some company we keep, eh?
This morning I was privileged to watch a live streaming announcement by SAG-AFTRA of a bill that is being introduced to Congress by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY) and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (TN) called the Fair Play/Fair Pay Act that will correct this wrong and protect the performer’s intellectual rights to get paid for their intellectual rights when  used. 
As Roseanne Cash has spoken out so clearly on this issue, “…. an artist puts his spirit, soul and mind into his work and that has value. Music radio, digital services would not exist if it were not for the artists’ intellectual property.”
If you want to help by writing to your congressman go to: www.musicfirstcoalition.org to ask your congressman/woman to lend their support to this bill. The future of music and the next generation of musicians need your support. 
THANK YOU FROM ALL THE MUSICAL PERFORMERS/ SONGWRITERS BEFORE 1972 AND BEYOND!

10 Reasons Why It’s Not Over At Fifty

10 Reasons Why It’s Not Over At Fifty
Sadly, the down economy has put a lot of workers over age 50 in the unenviable position of needing to find a new profession. Don’t believe that old cliché about middle-aged dogs and new tricks, though; lots of wildly successful people found big success in careers they began after their fiftieth birthdays. Here are just a few examples.
  1. Carole Gardner – Zelda Wisdom products.
  2. Grandma Moses- Artist
  3. Col. Saunders – Kentucky Fried  Chicken
  4. Frank McCourt – Angela’s Ashes
  5. Martha Stewart – Lifestyle
  6. Laura Ingles Wilder – Little House On The  Prairie
  7. Tim and Nina Zagat – Zagat 
  8. Takichiro Mori – Architect
  9. Ray Kroc  – McDonalds
10.  Rodney Dangerfield – Comedian

Although Rodney Dangerfield suffered from getting ‘no respect’ he had self-compassion in common with the many late bloomers who opened another chapter in their lives in their 40s, 50s and beyond. 

Late bloomers. I love that title and have been wearing it since I was 21. I wear it proudly knowing that I can bloom again and again and again. I never thought I had to wait until I was 40 or 50.  Some of us are annual bloomers,  or else have so many creative arms that we are perennial and can open new chapters in our lives continuously. We all are only limited by how many years we have on this earth. 
I think it’s getting better, but there still is a stigma associated with aging. We still live in a closed- minded culture, but there is nothing more fulfilling than taking a negative event in your life and turning it into a positive life-changing situation.
For instance let’s take Carol Gardner.  Carol is the creator of Zelda Wisdoms. At The age of 52 Carol was facing divorce that left her with huge debt, a bleak future with no income, and depression. 
It was suggested that she get a dog to keep her company. She did. A bulldog that she named Zelda and she entered a local contest that was giving away 40 pounds of dog food a month free for the winner. So Carol took pictures of Zelda in the bathtub, with hats on and designed a card with a message that said, “For Christmas I got a dog for my husband….Good Trade, huh?”  She won the contest, Zelda had plenty of food and starting with 24 Zelda Greeting Cards, Carol has now created a multi-million dollar worldwide Zelda Wisdom empire. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons! 
Personally, in my 20’s I started a career in television working for others, then in my 30’s overcame the loss of my husband by taking my television skills into marketing while raising my small children. I sent resumes out for a full year before anyone would hire an anchorwoman with small children in a private sector job. But I never gave up. In my 40’s I remarried and became a television producer and entrepreneur. I woke up one morning just before my 50th birthday and realized how fast life was moving for me and I had yet to do what I always had dreamed as a child – to act on the stage. So at 50 I embarked on one of the most exciting journeys in my life doing  theater,  television and film in New York City. 
Nothing was ever handed to me and I had to work very hard opening new doors for each of these chapters in my life,  but I persevered and I had self-compassion and I believed in the impossible dream – just the same as the 10 above ‘second chapter’ successes.   
When I was 61 I opened yet another chapter in my life by writing my memoir,  Behind The Magic Mirror.  I discovered the process so fulfilling that I  continue  to write my thoughts in books, articles, and on a weekly basis through this blog. 
In the end, I hope that I will be open to other journeys in my life. It is not over until it’s over.  As I wrote earlier, only time here on this planet can limit us. Nothing else. It is never too late to rediscover and reinvent your life. It is never to late to make lemonade!
Copyright Sandra Hart 2015. All rights reserved.