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     Been thinking a lot lately about creativity and the uniqueness in each of us. Everyone has something unique, a perspective on the world that no one else has in exactly the same way. If we tap into that place, we hit our “vein of gold” and self expression becomes effortless and full. What started me on this train of thought, was a moment at the TCM (Turner Classic Movie) Film Festival. I mentioned a few blogs ago that I attended the festival (“TCM Film Festival, Carole Lombard, Finest Friend”). During the four day festival, I was lucky enough to attend a two and a half hour live interview with Sophia Loren (who is now 80) – interviewed by her son, Edoardo. Sophia has always been a favorite of mine. In fact, the only day in my life I ever cut school, was when I found out she was appearing at a department store in the mall to promote her perfume, “Sophia”. I still remember standing in line, finally walking up to her, saying “hello”, shaking her hand (which was the softest thing I’d ever felt – like a pillow), and getting an autograph. I was in heaven!

     During the interview, her son asked fantastic questions about her childhood, her start in films, her costars, her body of work and more. She was articulate, warm, funny and very motherly – such a treat to watch!

Sophia Loren being interviewed by her son, Edoardo, at the TCM FIlm Festival

Sophia Loren being interviewed by her son, Edoardo, at the TCM FIlm Festival

     While she is a great actress no matter what she plays, I always thought, generally speaking, her performances in her Italian films were especially rich, detailed, and “fuller” than her performances in English. Her son asked her about working with director Vittorio De Sica, (whom she worked with frequently), who is the person that gave her her breakthrough role in the movie, “The Gold of Naples”. She said she never studied acting, but Vittorio was Neapolitan (from “Naples”, Italy), and he made Neapolitan stories with Neapolitan characters. She said she instinctively knew Neapolitan women – how they spoke, walked, talked, their mannerisms and so on. It came naturally to her (to the point where she was the first person to win an acting Academy Award for a non-English speaking role with her “Best Actress” Oscar for 1960’s “Two Women”).

  That thought hit a nerve in me. It reminded me of Julia Cameron’s book, ‘The Vein of Gold”. In it, she mentions the director Martin Ritt and his “theory” about actors. He suggests there is a certain territory or range that actors were born to play which he calls their “vein of gold”. To quote him from Julia’s book, “Of course, you can always cast an actor outside his vein of gold. If you do, the actor can use craft and technique to give you a very fine, a very credible performance, but never a performance as brilliant as when he is working in his vein of gold”. It clicked when Sophia talked about playing Neapolitan women. Then I started thinking about other actors – all of whom have a “vein of gold” territory, and then singers who sound best when they sing a particular style of music. Or writers who excel at writing a particular way. Or doctors who have a certain “expertise” in one area. And I think that all of us have a “vein of gold” in us – some place we inherently inhabit and can bring to life in whatever we are doing. And the good news is that it is already there – inside us.

Part of the journey in the lives of those of us who search for “more” is to discover who we “really are” – to get past the filters, and the cobwebs of the past and try to get to the core of what makes us who we are. And I can see from Sophia’s comment, and from the “vein of gold” theory, that being true to ourselves brings us the most freedom and the most joy in life. It is a quest to uncover what’s already there.

A song from my first CD, “Infinite Man” encapsulates this idea – that we are all we need. It is the song, “No”, and it is a reminder that we are perfect the way we are. You can hear it here:

In a world where the amount of fame, or “likes”, or online followers is how we are measured, it is easy to lose sight of what’s important and forget that we are so much more than what we do or accomplish. We each have gifts and qualities that can’t be measured, but only expressed and shared. And they are ten times more valuable to the quality of our lives than any amount of internet “likes”.

For those of you not familiar with Sophia Loren’s work (and those of you who are, too), I’ll leave you with a clip from one of my three favorite Sophia Loren films, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” – one of her many directed by Vittorio De Sica, and costarring her most frequent costar, Marcello Mastroianni. Here, she plays a high class prostitute, and Marcello wonderfully plays her regular client. She remembers at the end that she made a vow not to have sex for a week. The clip doesn’t have English subtitles, but even without knowing Italian you can see a great actress at work! And she is as sexy as one can possibly get in this clip, too! Enjoy!

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#VeinofGold #SophiaLoren #MartinRitt #TwoWomen #MarcelloMastroianni #YesterdayTodayTomorrow #No #JayJacobson #InfiniteMan #JuliaCameron #VittoriodeSica #GoldofNaples #EdoardoLoren

     For some unknown reason, I happened to wake up around 4:15am this past Saturday morning. I immediately remembered that there was to be a Total Lunar Eclipse around that time, so I walked outside and looked at the sky. The moon looked very strange – the full moon was visible mostly in shadow with just a sliver of it being lit white. It later became totally orange –  a “Blood Moon”. It was like nothing I’ve seen before, so beautiful, so other worldly. I didn’t expect the eclipse to look like that – I thought it would just be blackened out. I grabbed my camera and tried to take some pictures (without a tripod) and here is the best of them:


     As I stood outside, thinking about the earth being right between the sun and the moon, I thought about how vast the universe is. It is something I think about from time to time, especially when I’m confronting nature. It is also a thought that comforts me in times of stress. We live in such a fabricated world in our minds. But when I’m in nature, I can let go of the “to-do” lists in my head, the goals I want to accomplish, and all the other thoughts that seem so important. It all disappears in an instant when I focus on a tree, or a mountain – or the planets. I’ve heard it said that two ways to be totally present are to do gardening work or to be with an animal. Both automatically keep you present and in the moment. Looking at the eclipse did exactly that and more. It erased all connection to the man made life we live in, and I felt part of nature -part of the “real world” so to speak. I felt a connection to all the people in the past, for thousands of years, that looked up and saw this same thing. I felt part of a bigger picture. I felt a sense of belonging. And I felt the wonder of life. All the stresses from the thoughts in my head get put into perspective in an instant, and I realize how insignificant they are. It brought me back to the realization that life is so much bigger than we can comprehend. Life is so big, so grand, and so mysterious. We don’t have to “know” all of it. We are part of it. I think on some very deep level – beyond our comprehension – we already know all about life since it is us. We are life, just in a human form. We’ve come to think we are separate, but we are not. We are connected, part of everything around us. We even share much of the same DNA as all other life forms – trees, plants, insects, animals, fish. Why not stop and have a look at nature (a tree, the sky…) and regain some perspective.

     It is a concept I continue to explore in different ways in my songs. The most obvious expression is in my song, “So Small” from my CD, ‘Peace At Last”. The chorus directly states what I felt looking at the eclipse:

     I look to the ocean waves to wash away my own dismay

     Stare into the dark of night with all her stars that shine so bright

     Making me so small

     So small

Set against a drum and bass sound, this song also touches on how important we think we are, while realizing we are just a fraction of life:

     The world is such a great big place

     It’s so much bigger than our own race

     I know we’re so small

     From the wettest forest to the driest sands

     It’s all more essential than our demands 

     I know we’re so small

You can listen to the song here:

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#Nature #BloodMoon #JayJacobson #TotalLunarEclipse #Beingpartofnature #DrumampBass #SoSmall

  • Writer's pictureJay Jacobson

     I attended the TCM (Turner Classic Movie) Film Festival in Hollywood over the weekend, seeing 9 films – many I had seen before and a few new to me. I started the festival with a screening of the 1936 classic screwball comedy, “My Man Godfrey”, which I’ve seen many times, but this is the first time on the big screen. It was literally like seeing it for the first time – and what a fantastic film! Wow! Afterwards, it got me thinking…


William Powell and Carole Lombard in “My Man Godfrey”

     The film stars William Powell and Carole Lombard, both of whom were household names at the time (and both were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances). In real life, Powell and Lombard were already married and divorced by the time this film came out, and this was several years before Carole famously married Clark Gable. William Powell started in silent movies and hit superstardom in the 1930’s and 1940’s – including his success as Nick Charles in “The Thin Man” series of movies opposite Myrna Loy (who was dubbed the Queen of Hollywood in 1936). He had a flair and a very likable quality, and was a wonderful actor and comedian. He was also my Grandmother’s favorite actor! Carole Lombard is one of my favorite actresses of all time and she is fabulous in “My Man Godfrey”. She had a rare combination of being gorgeous AND being a great actress and top notch comedienne. She was so natural, and her performances are still modern today. She was known as the queen of the “screwball comedy” (a style of comedy popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s, usually with a strong female character making zany choices amidst fast paced dialogue and farcical situations), and Carole was even the idol of Lucille Ball (TV’s queen of comedy). In “My Man Godfrey”, she was at the top of her game in creating the archetype of the screwball comedy heroine – fast talking, ditzy, and glamourous – paving the road for stars such as Goldie Hawn, Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Lucille Ball, and so on. Again, this got me thinking…

     Movies were big in my family for the past three generations – since the beginning of film. I was raised on classic Hollywood movies, and have a college degree in film directing, so I am pretty knowledgeable about “old” movies. I would rush to see any Alfred Hitchcock or Katharine Hepburn or Cary Grant or Jean Harlow or Ingrid Bergman or Montgomery Clift film I could find to watch (among many others). So they are a huge part of my life and upbringing. I have a memory as a very young child, being at my grandparents house when the movie “There’s No Business Like Show Business” came on the TV. My grandfather asked me if I ever saw a Marilyn Monroe film, and I hadn’t yet. Surprised, he said, “you have to see one”, and we sat down together to watch the film. I loved it and wanted to see more of her. I couldn’t get over how beautiful and appealing she was. Marilyn definitely had something special.

     As I left “My Man Godfrey”, I started thinking about how Lombard and Powell, who were world renown at the time (Lombard was even the highest paid star in Hollywood in the late 1930’s), are probably not known to very many people today. How can someone who made such a huge impact during their lifetime be so forgotten? (Funny enough, William Powell’s character in “My Man Godfrey” is labelled as a “forgotten man”!) Many “old time” movie stars and directors are not known by today’s generations. I would guess that Marilyn Monroe is probably the most famous person still recognized from “old” Hollywood, but how many people today have actually seen one of her movies?

     That is the way of the world. Time moves on no matter what. I guess what is of value is the impact we have while we are here. It’s not about being remembered once we are gone. If Buster Keaton can be forgotten, we all can – and will – be forgotten at some point. Screwball comedies impacted all films that came after them in ways we can never know. The same with actors, musicians, writers, teachers, friends, and so on. We may not be remembered for it, but we are each part of the bridge that takes human beings to the next place. It is like a stone that is thrown into a river. The stone disappears but the ripples caused by it can be seen for a while after the stone is gone from sight. And although it may not be visible to the eye (depending on how large the stone or how big the pond), the stone even alters the water line ever so minutely. This is a great reminder to me to enjoy living my life and not to focus on results. To be in the moment and soak up and enjoy what I am doing while I’m doing it.

     This feeling of rekindling times past leads me to reflect on a song from my first CD (“Infinite Man”), titled, “Finest Friend”. It was written about a couple of specific childhood friends (merged into one), and the impact they had on my life. There is a desire to hold onto things and relive them, especially things that give us meaning in our lives. But one can’t hold on to anything. Eventually everything slips by, much like a great Carole Lombard performance. When I think back to the times I wrote about in “Finest Friend”, I tried to bring back to life the innocence and joy in the moments I felt back then.

     That’s one of the things I love about music. While there is no real way to bring it back to life, music seems to be the only way to explain or share emotions from the past. Hopefully, the combination of the guitar, banjo and lyrics can communicate those days from my childhood somewhat. You can have a listen and judge for yourself below:

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#AlfredHitchcock #MyManGodfrey #CaryGrant #MontgomeryClift #TCMFilmFestival #JuliaRoberts #JayJacobson #CaroleLombard #GoldieHawn #MarilynMonroe #CameronDiaz #ThinMan #InfiniteMan #KatharineHepburn #LucilleBall #IngridBergman #BusterKeaton #FinestFriend #WilliamPowell #JeanHarlow

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