Sunday, February 15, 2009

My walls

I thought I'd open up with a different sort of topic since it's an overcast winter Sunday here in the desert. This is primarily about my walls, but tangentially about music, since I couldn't avoid hanging posters about bands even if I tried.

The posters, pictures, paintings and calendars that anyone throws on his or her walls are just about the most straightforward a statement of personality and interests a person can make, so here's what I've put up, both now and in the past.

To build up a little suspense, I'll start way back toward the beginning, with the childhood era. In a word, my walls were dominated by sports. But the only thing I still have from my pre-college era is a poster of the 1988 Dodgers, now laminated, that's rolled inside a tube. I know I'll keep it forever, but I don't really think I'll ever hang it up again.

In college, it was all music all the time, cut outs from magazines even, anything that showed a favorite band or album or in some way or another made me feel like I was cool. Free or $1 promo posters from record stores rounded out the purchases from the early-semester poster sales. This, of course, is when the Bob Dylan posters started showing up on my walls.

Bob Dylan remains a big presence in my house, but the living room is anchored by beautiful, large black & white photos of old Dodgers. One is a close-up profile of Jackie Robinson in his minor league uniform, one of the all-time greatest athletes on the verge of making history with pride, determination and an unwavering talent. Next is shot of Jackie and manager Walter Alston, side-by-side on the dugout steps. Next I have the famous one of an exhausted and ecstatic Sandy Koufax, holding four baseballs, each marked with a zero to celebrate his then-record fourth no-hitter.

The Dylan ones are two huge ones, studio shots from the Highway 61 era, one featuring Dylan noodling on a Fender bass, while another is a hazy, out-of-focus shot of him glancing sideways, harmonica rack around his neck and cigarette in his mouth. The third is and another shot from the same period, London 1966, with Dylan scrunched up in a leather jacket, his hair boisterous and wild, wearing hipster shades to hide God-knows-what.

They're all black & white, and I gotta say it, all six go together very well. I've always loved black & white photography, Bob Dylan and the Dodgers, and it's a damn classy living room.

The Jackie Robinson theme continues in the kitchen, with six framed 8 by 10s, some famous and some not. One is of a retired, white-haired Jackie, on a Civil Rights march, holding a sign demanding jobs today, not tomorrow.

The old Dodgers photos are courtesy of my dad, a photographer who years ago, out of the blue, got a job reprinting large photos for a display of the team's history at Dodger Stadium. And figured that printing a few extra ones didn't hurt one bit.

Around the corner are three Ted DeGrazia prints that used to hang in my grandparents' house. They're both gone now, and while the DeGrazia pictures aren't the type of things I associate most closely with them, it's a comfort to have those prints around.

Over my CD shelves in the hallway are two show-specific posters: the first a one-of-a-kind Calexico poster from the 2007 Reid Park show for Bookman's 30th birthday, signed by not only Calexico but by many of the Mariachi Luz de Luna players who sat in for the lengthy and joyous show (I hung around afterwards for long enough to not only collect the signatures, but also share some tequila with Ruben Moreno). The next is a poster from Bob Dylan's 2002 Tucson show at AVA amphitheater, complete with my backstage pass sticker affixed to the front.

Near the door I have a poster from Calexico's special 2008 benefit show for Congresswoman Giffords' campaign, signed by the congresswoman. And on the opposite wall I have a poster for Son Volt's Wide Swing Tremolo album, signed by all four members of the band (in my pen jar to my right I have a drumstick from that same October 1998 Rialto Theatre show when Heinecke and I met the band, and drank Heineckens on their tour bus. Mike Hiedorn is a tremendously nice guy, though Jay Farrar was kind of expectedly sullen).

Then there's a 2009 calendar of black & white New York City photography, which breaks my several year streak of Ansel Adams calendars (I have an uncle in the calendar business who never fails to give a monthly page-flipper for Christmas). The framed photos are one of me and my Grandpa, pretending to sleep in a move typically goofy of the two of us, taken by my dad and given to Grandpa for Christmas in 1983, and one of a fog-shrouded Thumb Butte, taken by my friend Cynthia, from her and Zach's porch on a winter's morning a few years back. A pennant from the 1980 All-Star game at Dodger Stadium completes the bedroom wall art.

So that's it for now. For a while I've wanted to gravitate toward having more actual art on display, but the question is where to start. Ideally I'd have work by people I know personally, or local artists whose work I've seen before. And for years I've had this notion that I'd love one day to get somebody to put together an impressively detailed Diego Rivera-style painting that shows all the close friends I've had over the years.

Calexico - Guero Canelo (live)
Bob Dylan - Sitting On A Barbed Wire Fence (Highway 61 outtake)
Count Basie Orchestra - Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball
Son Volt - Medicine Hat (live)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My aunt and grandmother both had magnets with ted degrazia pictures on them. seeing that in your post brought back really nice memories for me. thanks. and I enjoy your blog.