Author Archives: James Holbeyfield

James Holbeyfield

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Behind Every Great Man . . .   
Cosima Wagner, Part 3

CosimaWagnerBrekerwinter1,940 words

Part 3 of 3

Cosima emerged from mourning after the conclusion of the 1883 season of the Bayreuth Festival. Read more …

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Behind Every Great Man . . .   
Cosima Wagner, Part 2

CosmiaWagner2

Cosima Wagner by Franz von Lenbach

1,364 words

Part 2 of 3

Cosima and Richard Wagner were married on August 25, 1870, five weeks after her divorce from Hans von Bülow received final sanction, four years after Minna Planer had died of a heart attack, and seven years and three children after they first fell in love with each other.

Exactly when von Bülow came to understand the full nature of the bond between Cosima and Richard is not known, Read more …

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Behind Every Great Man . . .   
Cosima Wagner, Part 1

Cosima and Richard Wagner

Cosima and Richard Wagner

1,500 words

Part 1 of 3

Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt was born on Christmas Eve, 1837. Her father was Franz Liszt, the first romantic superstar of music. In addition to being genetic sire to Cosima and her siblings, Liszt was the spiritual father of every celebrated piano virtuoso to follow, and also in a sense, the rock stars of the late 20th century. A critical difference however, was that in contrast to the ’70s silliness that chokes every scene in Ken Russell’s Lisztomania, the real Liszt genuinely was the most talented pianist of his era, Read more …

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A Dog’s Best Friend

Adolf Hitler (far left, under X) and his terrier Fuchsl

Adolf Hitler (far left, under X) and his terrier Fuchsl

1,024 words

There was a time in America, within living memory, when Adolf Hitler was treated by the most popular magazines as a worthy man and a worthy leader, even after WWII had begun. And still today, a logical person ought to realize that Hitler could not have been wrong about everything, if only by accident. Read more …

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Suckers!

SERGE GAINSBOURG2,444 words

Songwriter Serge Gainsbourg was born Lucien Ginsburg in France in 1928. He died in 1991. His parents were Ukrainian Jews. Actress Charlotte Gainsbourg is his daughter. Gainsbourg’s overriding musical agenda was to inject American popular culture and Jewish pornography into French popular music. His life was a series of deliberately engineered media scandals.

Read more …

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Charles Krafft:
The Enduring Power of Artists & Objects

KrafftSnuggleBunny1,462 words

Within aesthetics, one of my longstanding interests is the possibility that the sheer psychophysics of certain art forms, forms of enormous importance in the Western tradition, have been largely explored; at any rate, that portion with enduring appeal to the most highly developed human brains. When I first began thinking along these lines, I had quite a sense of loss, because the idea grew from consideration of the art that has touched me most deeply since infancy, dreamily listening to my mother play; Read more …

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Honoring Doug Christie

Christiefoto1,564 words

Douglas Hewson Christie died on March 11th, 2013 at the age of 66. He was among the greatest defense lawyers of his generation, in Canada or any other country, and his greatness was founded on two piers: courage and honor.

In his eulogy for his father, Doug’s son Cadeyrn has said that his father was meant for the battlefield, and in another age would have fought with sword and shield, but in our age, his battlefield was the courtroom.

Read more …

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Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World

encounters_at_the_end_of_the_world_2007_580x435_7108962,155 words

Bavarian director Werner Herzog’s Antarctic odyssey Encounters at the End of the World was released in 2008. It is not a work of fiction, with all the inspirational, mythological, and crystallizing power of high art; it is a documentary. Read more …

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A Fisherman’s Wake

boat_wake2,099 words

My old skipper died not long ago. He had sold his last fishing boat almost twenty years before and gone on to other endeavors, and I had been out of touch with him for several years when I heard he’d become gravely ill. Read more …

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Billy & Alexa Ray Joel

Andy Warhol, "Before and After 4," 1962

Andy Warhol, “Before and After 4,” 1962

2,018 words

I had a somewhat antagonistic discussion with my son when he was home from college this Christmas. I was trying to tell him about the need to be aware of Jewish influence on his life. We were arguing, not so much about the Jews per se, as about whether my ideas had done me any good.  Read more …

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