When those of us born in 1952 turned 15 (or were about to turn 15) and the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper (including McCartney’s “When I’m Sixty-Four”), actually being 64 was just an incomprehensible abstraction. Well times change: here’s my live cover of the classic song (with background vocals, bass, drums, and organ added) that I’ve just posted on YouTube to celebrate my 64th birthday.
I was asked by the architecture students running Thumbnail, a PechaKucha style event, to submit a song consistent with the event’s theme of “fluff.” The song itself can be heard on SoundCloud; the video, which includes the song as well as a spoken introduction (consisting of twenty 20-second segments as required—for a total length of 400 seconds, or 6 minutes 40 seconds), can be seen on YouTube; or, if you want lots of additional information about the lyrics and production, see the video on my music page.
My brother Kurt and I have created a new music production entity called Rollover.2 (it’s a derivative of the rock group, Rollo; hence the name, which is a contraction of “Rollo Version 2.” Our first production is a new song called Honeymoon Phase. Lyrics and production notes can be found here; the video is embedded below or can be watched directly on YouTube.
Last summer (2015), the plaza behind Milstein Hall at Cornell University, along with the concrete fascia over the spaces that sit beneath the plaza, were cut up and put back together again. As I explain in the video embedded below (and on my Critique of Milstein Hall website), the concrete plaza was designed and constructed with no slope and no drain, in violation of standard design and construction procedures. This resulted in a nasty problem in which water, carrying efflorescent residues from the concrete above, worked its way into the gallery space, and onto both the gallery windows and the windows at the west end of the below-grade corridors. The new work doesn’t fix all the intrinsic problems with the design, but seems to fix enough of them, at least for now.
“God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day… God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good…”
But not good enough for Milstein Hall: only for this building does the sun set in the east!
I’ve been recording songs by other artists in chronological order — one for each year beginning in the early 1960s — and have now reached the end of the decade with “Sunlight,” a song written by Jesse Colin Young for the Youngbloods that was released in 1969 on their Elephant Mountain album.
I was an early fan of the Youngbloods because my uncle, who worked at RCA records, made sure we had all of their albums from the 1960s. “Sunlight” was always one of my favorite songs. I recorded this cover version live using one mic (well, I only have one mic) for the guitar and vocal. Live piano and bass (both Logic Pro software instruments, actually) were added later; all performances were captured live with my refurbished iPod Touch and edited in Final Cut Express.
I made this “trailer” to introduce a lecture in a class that I teach during the Fall term (Building Technology I: Materials & Methods); the class topic is working drawings, and I’ve been using Milstein Hall at Cornell as a case study.
Of course, the trailer is adapted from the movie version of Ayn Rand’s 1943 novel, The Fountainhead, with Gary Cooper playing architect Howard Roark. For more information on Milstein Hall, designed by OMA/Koolhaas, see my critique and construction videos.
I started making flip books when I was 14 years old, in 1966. A second round of flip-book making took place 18 years later, although I don’t remember what motivated me to do this again at age 32. In any case, I found the old stapled-together books in a box in the attic and made this YouTube video. What you see below is actually a better way to view them (a gif animation), but takes more work:
I’ve written another song. Not much backstory, except to remark on the obvious — that it’s one more examination of aging — and except that I had been struggling with the lyrics for months. At a certain point, I felt the need to say it’s done, and to move on. Even the video betrays evidence of that impatience: I didn’t want to deal with audio-video syncing problems I’ve been experiencing using Final Cut Express (Apple’s old video editing platform), and so there are some noticeable time lags between voice and image, especially in the final verse. You can find lyrics and production notes here along with a thank you to brother Kurt for helping with the final mix in his Brooklyn basement studio.