Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crossroads Fundraising Event

Last Saturday night (August 16, 2014) I attended with some close friends a fundraising event at the Cannery Ballroom, hosted by Nashville Veterinary Specialists, benefiting Crossroads Campus (a nonprofit that serves at risk and disadvantaged youth while rescuing abandoned dogs and cats).

Sadly, at the last minute the featured artist, the legendary singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris, was called to the bedside of her seriously ill mother. Fortunately, on hearing that Emmylou was unable to perform, several of Nashville’s finest artists offered to fill in for her, including Buddy Miller, Sam Bush and Trisha Yearwood.

The Eclectic Five with Holly and Barry Tashian were already scheduled to perform with Emmylou. Back in the eighties, Barry was a member of Emmylou’s Hot Band, appearing with her on countless television and radio shows as a vocalist and guitarist, recording 10 albums with her during that time.

But, it was Laura Sullivan (and Friends) who opened the evening’s entertainment. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s performance was both uplifting and energetic.

Taking the stage next was the country-swamp, rock and blues singer-songwriter Lisa Oliver-Gray with Crossroads Campus intern Cortez Rice. They performed a rock–rap cross-genre vocal duet, accompanied by guitarist Adam Fluhrer and Buddy Miller's base player, Todd Parks.

Following their performance, the Eclectic Five sang a series of old standards from the fifties and sixties.

After a brief break, Buddy Miller, Sam Bush and Trisha Yearwood took the stage, performing a number of Emmylou’s songs. To close out her set, Trisha asked her hubby, Garth Brooks to join her on stage to sing "If I Could Only Win Your Love."

For the final set, Buddy Miller’s base player, Todd Parks joined Buddy and Sam for a jammed session that brought down the house.

All and all, the evening was a rousing success, inspiring us with great passion and artistry.

Crossroads Campus is a certified 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to bring people from all walks of life together to achieve their mission of transforming the lives of people and animals. If you would like to know more about Crossroads or make a donation click here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Standing On the Edge

by Dee Newman

The scent of rain
as the morning sunlight
reveals the day.

Below, there are
ripples on the river
and mist in the trees.

A memory within me
whispers a lover’s caress
that once shuddered
in a long embrace.

beyond words, space and time
I stand here on the edge
gasping for breath
in this beautiful
everlasting wonderment.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams Dead at 63

Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) was found dead around noon yesterday (August 11, 2014) at in home just outside Tiburon, California. According to news reports, the Marin County coroner suspects death to be suicide by asphyxia.

His wife, Susan Schneider, released the following statement: "I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken.”

President Obama said: "Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams."

I have no words to express my deep sadness . . .

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Paul McCartney 'Early Days'

Remembering Steve Benneyworth

Steve died Friday, August 5, 2014, in Panama City, Florida while on vacation with his brother, Charles.

Steve was born on December 3, 1948 in Nashville, the second of four sons to Walter and Dorothy Benneyworth. He graduated from Hillsboro High School, later studying economics at Rhodes College in Memphis. Though he made his living remodeling homes in and around Nashville, his passion for the arts informed his life. His massive steel and concrete sculptures can be found on the campuses of both Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities.

Steve was one of the most loveable human beings I've ever know. He was always kind, loving and generous to and with everyone he met – a big bear of man whose patience was never waning. He adored his two children Hannah and Wilder, and I know they, like all of us who knew and loved him as a good friend, will forever miss his wonderful and endearing way of being in and of this world.

Steve is survived by his mother Dorothy Bivins Benneyworth; his three brothers, Albert (Laura), David (Audrey) and Charles Benneyworth; his daughter Hannah (Benneyworth) Gardner (Ryan) and son Wilder Benneyworth; his three nieces and seven nephews and five great-nieces and one great-nephew.

A celebration of his life will be held tomorrow, Sunday, August 10th, at 2 p.m. at the A-Frame of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Chapel. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. Shoes are optional. Internment of the ashes will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Belcourt Theatre of Nashville or Habitat for Humanity.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

From Scientific American: Charting Culture

Humanity's Cultural History Depicted in 5-Minute Video

A new video maps births and deaths of notable people, showing the rise and fall of cultural centers in the past 2,600 years.

Births and deaths show shifting cultural hubs.
Credit: Nature
All roads lead from Rome, according to a visual history of human culture built entirely from the birth and death places of notable people. The 5-minute animation provides a fresh view of the movements of humanity over the last 2,600 years.

Maximilian Schich, an art historian at the University of Texas at Dallas, and his colleagues used the Google-owned knowledge base, Freebase, to find 120,000 individuals who were notable enough in their life-times that the dates and locations of their births and deaths were recorded.

Click here to read the entire article.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Another Example of Shoddy Journalism

by Dee Newman

This past Sunday morning, Bob Schieffer, the host of CBS’s Face the Nation, offered us one of his concise commentaries. His remarks were not only an explicit presentation of shoddy journalism – completely contrary to the expected standards of his profession, they were a deliberate attempt to transfer Israel’s moral culpability to the victims of their brutality – the innocent Palestinian civilians.

The following is his complete commentary:
Trying to understand the news of this terrible summer, it is hard to come away with any feeling but that we are in the midst of a world gone mad.

On one side of the world, an ego-driven Russian leader seems to yearn for the time of the czars, when rulers started wars on a whim or a perceived insult -- and if people died, so be it.

In the Middle East, the Palestinian people find themselves in the grip of a terrorist group that has embarked on a strategy to get its own children killed in order to build sympathy for its cause -- a strategy that might actually be working, at least in some quarters.

Last week, I found a quote of many years ago by Golda Meir, one of Israel's early leaders, which might have been said yesterday.

"We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children," she said. "But we can never forgive them for forcing us to kill their children."

In a world gone mad, what is to be learned? Perhaps we should start by remembering what historian Will Durant once said:

"Barbarism, like the jungle, does not die out, but only retreats behind the barriers that civilization has thrown up against it, and waits there always to reclaim that to which civilization has temporarily laid claim."
Blaming Israel’s massacre of innocent Palestinian children in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip on all Palestinians may be idiotic and journalistic malfeasances, but accusing Palestinians of deliberately “forcing” Israel to kill their children in order to gain sympathy for their cause is down–right vile. Suggesting that Palestinians do not love their children like other people do, and therefore, undeserving of our compassion and empathy, is not just xenophobic, it is a despicable act and use of his power.

As an anchor of a major network news program, Mr. Schieffer’s attempt to dehumanize the entire Palestinian people with his unwarranted comments and baseless allegations is totally unacceptable.