Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Let's Get Lost(with Mrs Peel)

Let's Get Lost was the first Chet Baker song I ever heard. It is also the title of a Bruce Weber documentary on Baker's life that was nominated for an academy award. Dennis and I did this version  a couple of days ago and I thought who would I choose to get lost with. Not naming any real women here, so I thought I would choose in my fantasy life to get lost with Dame Diana Rigg's Mrs. Emma Peel. I have often wondered since Baker spent a lot of his later life in Europe and England whether or not Dame Diana ever caught him playing at a jazz club. I have no idea whether or not she listens to jazz at all, but somehow I feel Baker's playing would suit her.

Baker passed away in 1988 while Dame Diana is still with us, happily in her seventies and hopefully still going strong. I understand she will be doing a couple of appearances on tv series this year, including Dr Who. They would appear to be quite different yet they may be much more similar than one might first imagine. I think they appeal to me because both of them strongly go their own way. Dame Diana was the first major actress to appear nude onstage(Abelard and Heloise) and has lead a strong and unconventional life. Baker to the end ignored trends in jazz and music and played his music. And he chose to lead a very vagabond life traveling through Europe and Japan playing gig after gig.....

Another similarity is that they both strongly cross certain boundaries effortlessly. Dame Diana' Emma Peel has become and will continue to be a social archetype. She was a sexy woman whose intelligence and personal power enhanced the sexiness. Her use of martial arts in 'The Avengers' series is what drew me into martial arts and eventually into Aikido. Baker rose to prominence in the early to mid fifties, Eisenhower America, in which according to one interviewee in the 'Lets Get Lost ' documentary, and his fluid creative music which contained so much feeling was definitely at odds with the male image of the day, which was more like that of a fullback in football......So Dame Diana a powerful woman, and Chet a creative male not afraid to express his feelings through music.

So here they are somewhat together, pictures of her juxtaposed to my and Dennis's rendition of one of his signature songs.....According to Artt Frank the Baker that comes forward in the documentary was not the Baker he himself knew. I agree with him. I think Baker got caught up in Weber's commentary on ageing. Clips of Chet as the golden boy of his youth are contrasted with a much older version of him. He is not really allowed to play the trumpet, with the inference that his playing grew weak as he got older, not the case by the way. The Baker family is in my estimation set up to be less than they are for the camera, which is unfortunate. And there is almost a cat fight like atmosphere when the women in Baker's life are put on camera. My sense is you understand Chet through his music.The documentary will lead you astray.

And with Dame Diana, the ageing question comes forth as well. Emma Peel will always be immortalized to be in her late twenties. Dame Diana for all her talent is now way past her Emma Peel years. She did a series of Mrs Bradley mysteries that I really liked. I wish she had done more in the way of films and tv so that her work, largely stage in Britain, would have been much more accesible to me. I find interviews of her at her present age quite interesting and she is indeed beautiful......And of course Emma Peel in her seventies is still quite formidable......

And so here is the video. I hope you enjoy it.......

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2012 Keep the Lights on Fundraiser

Yes it is that time of year again. Our portion of the buildings power bill has come due again and so we are looking to our annual fundraiser to help us pay it. This year it will take a slightly different form than in years past. Instead of one full afternoon workshop session we are going to have 2 trainings. Linda Holiday sensei will be here on Wednesday evening to teach a fundraising class from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. She has been very busy lately with national and international workshops, as well as finalizing details about her upcoming book on Aikido. So it fits her schedule a bit better to do her own portion of the fundraiser. And on Saturday January 5, 2013 we will have the usual full day event. For that we have Glen Kimoto sensei from Aikido of Santa Cruz, Jackie Cossman sensei of Aikido of Mt View, and Harry Concepcion sensei from Aikido of San Jose. I tried to get a fourth instructor but was unable to do so so I will take the fourth class. The way this usually lays out is to start January 5th at noon and go till 5, with 4 hour classes and breaks.

This year we will have a t shirt as a part of the fundraiser, designed by our own Barbara Gini. It is very cool. You can pre-order through November 19th. Just specify whether  male or female and give size and number. You can for this contact Hadi at pfatemi@yahoo.com. Also there will be a dojo photo available. There was a photo shoot yesterday that went well. I want to thank those who attended, especially those who don’t normally train on Saturdays and made a special effort.

So I have put together some pricings for the fundraiser. This looks okay but certain things might have to be tweaked.

T shirt  $25

Dojo photo $10

Dec 5th class with Linda Holiday sensei  $30

Jan 5th workshop  $50

Both Dec 5th and Jan 5th $70

T shirt photo and Dec 5   $60

T shirt photo both trainings  $100 and over donation

This has become a little bit like the pledge breaks on public television. You can donate more than the suggested amount, as some people have in the past. This is always appreciated. And if you are interested in a tax deductible donation email me at info@aikidosj.com.  Also feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

I put together a video about my favorite power spots on the planet. The Nachi waterfall in the Shingu area of Japan. Hanalea bay on the island of Kauai. The Sonoran desert that I drive through when I visit Artt Frank in Arizona. So a bit of a photo and video montage. Dennis and I did a piece recently that I named “Lullaby for the Earth”…..and I think it fits the footage well: