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Pablo Picasso, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, was born 142 years ago today
Pablo Picasso at his studio / 7 rue des Grands Augustins, Paris, France, 1948
The large painting behind him is called LA CUISINE (II), painted in November, 1948
Photo by Herbert List
Pablo Picasso was born 142 years ago today.
Picasso was Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and stage designer who spent most of his adult life in France.
As one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore.
Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
Picasso, Henri Matisse and Marcel Duchamp are commonly regarded as the three artists who most defined the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the 20th century, each responsible for significant developments in painting, sculpture, printmaking and ceramics.
Picasso demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent in his early years, painting in a realistic manner through his childhood and adolescence.
During the first decade of the century, his style changed as he experimented with different theories, techniques and ideas. His revolutionary artistic accomplishments brought him universal renown and immense fortune, making him one of the best-known figures in art.
Here Picasso’s draws in a short video.
Eddie Lang, father of the jazz guitar, was born 121 years ago.
Lang played a Gibson L-4 and L-5 guitar, providing great influence for many guitarists, including Django Reinhardt.
Born as Salvatore Massaro, he was the son of an Italian-American instrument maker in Philadelphia. He took violin lessons for 11 years. In school, he became friends with Joe Venuti, with whom he would work for much of his career.
Lang was playing professionally by 1918, playing violin, banjo and guitar. He worked with various bands in the northeast of the U.S., worked in London (late 1924 to early 1925) and then settled in New York City.
Lang was considered the first important jazz guitarist. He was effectively able to integrate the guitar into 1920s jazz recordings. He played with the bands of Joe Venuti, Adrian Rollini, Roger Wolfe Kahn and Jean Goldkette, in addition to doing a large amount of freelance radio and recording work.
On February 4, 1927, Lang featured in the recording of "Singin' the Blues" by Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra featuring Bix Beiderbecke on cornet. Lang traded guitar licks while Beiderbecke soloed on cornet, in a landmark jazz recording of the 1920s.
In 1929, he joined Paul Whiteman's Orchestra, and can be seen and heard in the movie, The King of Jazz. In 1930, Lang played guitar on the original recording of the jazz and pop standard "Georgia On My Mind,” recorded with Hoagy Carmichael and his Orchestra. Joe Venuti and Bix Beiderbecke also played on this recording.
When Bing Crosby left Whiteman, Lang went with Crosby as his accompanist, and can be seen with him in the 1932 movie, Big Broadcast. Lang also played under the pseudonym, Blind Willie Dunn, on a number of blues records with Lonnie Johnson.
Lang died following a tonsillectomy in New York City in 1933 at the age of thirty.
He had been urged by Crosby to have the tonsillectomy so that he might have speaking parts in Crosby's films. Lang's voice was chronically hoarse, and it was hoped that the operation would remedy this.
Here, Italian jazz guitarist, Michele Ariodante, and American violinist, Andy Stein, play “Wild Cat,” a classic tune by the Lang-Venuti duo.
Helen Reddy was born 82 years ago today.
An Australian American singer, actress and activist, Reddy was often referred to as the "Queen of 70s Pop."
In the 1970s, she enjoyed international success, especially in the United States, where she placed 15 singles in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. Six made the Top 10 and three reached #1, including her signature hit, "I Am Woman."
She placed 25 songs on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Fifteen made the Top 10 and eight reached #1, six consecutively.
In television, she was the first Australian to host her own one-hour weekly primetime variety show on an American network, along with several specials that were seen in over forty countries.
Reddy retired from live performance in 2002 and practiced as a clinical hypnotherapist and motivational speaker. She lived in Australia.
Her song, "I Am Woman," played a large role in popular culture and became an anthem for second-wave feminism. She came to be known as a "feminist poster girl" or a "feminist icon."
Reddy died on September 29, 2020 in Los Angeles at age 78. She suffered from Addison’s disease and dementia in her later years.
Here, Reddy performs “I Am Woman” in 1971.
Minnie Pearl, 1956
Photo by Walden S. Fabry
Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon — known better as her character, Minnie Pearl — was born 111 years ago today.
She was a country comedienne who appeared at the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years (from 1940 to 1991) and on the television show, Hee Haw, from 1969 to 1991.
Sarah Colley was born in Centerville, in Hickman County, Tennessee, about 50 miles southwest of Nashville. She was the youngest of the five daughters of a prosperous lumberman in Centerville.
She graduated from Ward-Belmont College (now Belmont University), at the time Nashville's most prestigious school for young ladies, where her major was theater studies. Dance was a particular interest of hers. After graduation, she taught dance for several years.
Her first professional theatrical job was with the Wayne P. Sewell Production Company, a touring theater company based in Atlanta, for which she produced and directed plays and musicals for local organizations in small towns throughout the southeastern United States.
As part of her work with the Sewell company, she made brief appearances at civic organizations to promote the group's shows. She developed her Minnie Pearl routine during this period. While producing an amateur musical comedy in Baileyton, Alabama, she met a mountain woman whose style and talk became the basis for "Cousin Minnie Pearl.”
Her first stage performance as Minnie Pearl was in 1939 in Aiken, South Carolina.
The following year, executives from Nashville radio station WSM-AM saw her perform at a bankers' convention in Centerville and gave her an opportunity to appear on the Grand Ole Opry on November 30, 1940.
The success of her debut on the show began an association with the Grand Ole Opry that continued for more than 50 years.
Pearl's comedy was gentle satire of the rural South, often called "hillbilly" culture. Pearl always dressed in styleless "down home" dresses and wore a hat with a price tag hanging from it, displaying the price of $1.98. Her catch phrase was "How-w-w-DEE-E-E-E! I'm jes' so proud to be here!" delivered in a loud holler.
After she became an established star, her audiences usually shouted "How-w-w-DEE-E-E-E!" back.
Pearl's humor was often self-deprecating, and involved her unsuccessful attempts at attracting the attention of "a feller" and, particularly in later years, her age. She also told monologues involving her comical 'ne'er-do-well' relatives, notably "Uncle Nabob" and "Brother,” who was simultaneously both slow-witted and wise.
She usually closed her monologues with the exit line, "I love you so much it hurts!" She also sang comic novelty songs. Pearl's comic material derived heavily from her hometown of Centerville, which in her act she called Grinder's Switch.
Grinder's Switch is a community just outside of Centerville that consisted of little more than a railroad switch. Those who knew her recognized that the characters were largely based on real residents of Centerville.
So much traffic resulted from fans and tourists looking for Grinder's Switch that the Hickman County Highway Department eventually changed the designation on the "Grinder's Switch" road sign to "Hickman Springs Road."
Pearl suffered a serious stroke in June, 1991, bringing her performing career to an end. After the stroke she resided in a Nashville nursing home where she received frequent visits from country music industry figures, including Chely Wright, Vince Gill and Amy Grant.
Her death on March 4, 1996, at the age of 83, was attributed to complications from another stroke.
She was an important influence on younger female country music singers and rural humorists such as Jerry Clower, Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Carl Hurley, David L Cook, Chonda Pierce, Ron White and Larry the Cable Guy. In 1992, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
In 2002, she was ranked as #14 on CMT's 40 Greatest Women in Country Music list.
Here, Minnie Pearl performs in the “Jasper High” sketch on the Johnny Cash Show.
On this day in 1991 — 32 years ago — Bill Graham, the rock music promoter, died in a helicopter crash.
In the early 1960s, Graham moved to San Francisco, and, in 1965, began to manage the San Francisco Mime Troupe. He had teamed up with local Haight Ashbury promoter, Chet Helms, and Family Dog, and their network of contacts, to organize a benefit concert, then promoted several free concerts.
This eventually turned into a profitable full-time career and he assembled a talented staff. Graham had a profound influence around the world, sponsoring the musical renaissance of the '60s from the epicenter, San Francisco.
Graham and Helms made famous the Fillmore and Winterland Arena; these turned out to be a proving grounds for rock bands and acts of the San Francisco Bay area including the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin.
Graham was killed in the crash west of Vallejo, California on October 25, 1991, while returning home from a Huey Lewis and the News concert at the Concord Pavilion.
Flying in severe weather, with rain and gusty winds, the aircraft flew off course and too low over the tidal marshland north of San Pablo Bay. The Bell Jet Ranger flew directly into a 223-foot high-voltage tower near where Highway 37, which runs between Vallejo, California and Marin County, California, crosses Sonoma Creek.
The helicopter burst into flames on impact, killing Graham, pilot and advance man Steve "Killer" Kahn, and Graham's girlfriend, Melissa Gold, ex-wife of author Herbert Gold. The charred remains of the helicopter hung eerily in the tower for more than a day.
Two women sitting at a bar, 1902
Painting by Pablo Picasso, born 141 years ago today
From the artist’s blue period. The painting hangs in the Royal Academy of Arts in London.