Sunday, June 20, 2010

Todd Lilienthal, Artists, Babysitting, and John Henry

I am reminded of the day I met Todd Lilienthal, now a thundering musician, singer, steal-drivin' banjo man with his band out of Boulder, Colorado, Moonshiner.

I met Baby Aaron's brother Todd when he was just a year older than in his photo (right), closer to the age he is in the photo with Aaron, but earlier than that, at about age six. I was glad to know this talented person until he was eight. At the time I was very happy to meet such a personable, engaging, friendly boy in my new job as nanny on Quail Avenue, in the Berkeley hills just shy of Grizzley Peak, near Tilden park.
I was primarily there to care for his new born brother Aaron, A little bitty boy, layin' in the palm of yer' hand... oh wait. I guess that was John Henry, Aaron was a little bigger than that, 'tho he was but two weeks old when our association began.
I found them both on facebook! Amazingly, the boy I knew from age six to eight, Todd, is now the leader of a steal-drivin' gang... hold on. He is a great banjo picker, a singer of John Henry, and covers of other great bluegrass, soul and rock tunes such as Time (Pink Floyd), Brown-Eyed Women (Grateful Dead), as well as some they wrote themselves, and many wonderful others. The painting is of some of the tools of my own trade.

Moonshiner has been described thus:

"The hard driving newgrass outfit from Boulder County is known for their invigorating innovations of traditional forms with insurmountable twang."
Marc Tonglen, The Mountain Ear

"Moonshiner formed based on long standing friendships and common, deep rooted musical interests. The band is focused on playing high energy shows and writing tunes that fit their unique style of playing..." is their description of themselves

Moonshiner link is to your right at this blog, have a listen!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Baby Aaron

The miracle of facebook for me is that I was able to reconnect with Aaron, the tiny babe I cared for from the time he was two weeks old until he was two years old. What an adorable little golden- curled personality was this child.

I would stroke the little soft spot where the cranium has not yet closed in infants ever so gently, barely touching it. A look of sweetest contentment would enlighten his already Yogic little face as he lay upon my belly, then the two of us would sleep an hour or two.
His first word was "Nanra," for Chandra. Then he said "Mama," "dogie" for doggy, "hoie," for horsie for the giant horse that the Revolutionary War soldier rode in the enormous painting at the Berkeley Art Museum. It was wheelchair/stroller accessible, and I frequented it with Baby Aaron on a regular basis.

I had taken care of and taught art to hundreds if not thousands of children (beginning when I was eleven, until well into my thirties) by the time I met Aaron, and after as well; but he is the stand-out in my memory, the most precious little infant of all. we met when I was twenty-eight, as I recall. Now Aaron is studying for the Bar examination!

Pages are from my book, Insomnia (Awakening).

Assemblage sculpture was the first of it's kind that I did. It is made from the baby-suit, tiny tee-shirt, and outgrown stroller given to me by his mother. It was created in the garage of his parents that they graciously allowed me to use as my art studio.

The original photo of the piece (smallest, yellow and black) was taken by Amanda Dahl, for the website created by Aki Sasaki for my work,