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Tag: music

How MadLyn lost her dog (but not her faith) at Salvation Mountain

When singer-songwriter MadLyn filmed her latest music video she chose Salvation Mountain as the setting — a location that’s near the top of my list when it comes to American places of quirky and unnatural beauty.

And she brought her dog, Lucy, along to serve as the video’s co-star.

Salvation Mountain, built of trash, straw, adobe and and thousands of gallons of vibrantly colored paint, was one man’s tribute to his faith in God, and even though I’m not religious, I was fortunate enough to drop by and meet him twice (the mountain’s creator, not The Creator) when he was alive.

Once, for a magazine story, and once during my Travels with Ace, I spent some time with Leonard Knight — an admittedly reclusive and obsessive sort who let nothing stop him in his quest to fashion a mountain where there was none. Knight died in 2014 at age 82.

Salvation Mountain pops up like a colorful hallucination in the otherwise bleak, almost lunar, desert terrain around Niland, California.

MadLyn went there in July with her director/father and a cinematographer to film a video for her song “Will You Take Me Home” and she did all the things that people do in music videos — prance, skip, sing, twirl, look pensive, wear multiple outfits and toss her curly locks about.

madlynslucyAnd snuggle with Lucy, who is featured throughout the video.

In one scene, MadLyn was to stand in front of the mountain and hold her little dog as a camera-equipped drone zoomed in on them and passed overhead.

Lucy didn’t like that. She jumped out of MadLyn’s arms and took off.

Lucy had gone all day with no leash (she was playing the role of a stray), but when the drone approached for a close-up she “starts freaking out and jumps out of my arms and runs out into the desert,” MadLyn recounted.

As the sun went down, MadLyn, her father and the cinematographer searched for hours, on foot and by car, enlisting the help of Slab City’s other denizens, but Lucy could not be found and was not responding to their calls.

Because the cinematographer needed to get back to his family, they drove back to Los Angeles, a three and a half hour trip.

The next day, a Saturday, MadLyn called animal shelters located near Niland, printed up flyers, checked with the company Lucy’s microchip is registered with and sent out pleas on Facebook.

Then she and her father headed back to Niland to search some more for Lucy.

Sadly, and a bit ironicallly, what had happened in real life was exactly the opposite of what director Fred Fuster had in mind for the video.

While the song’s lyrics seemingly pertain to man-woman love, Fuster (being a father) envisioned a different, more innocent, interpretation of his daughter’s song.

“As director I insisted on having that story line — where this woman who has a hard time finding love meets this dog at Salvation Mountain and I guess falls in love,” he said.

But instead of finding a dog, Madlyn, in real life, lost one.

madlynsFuster’s daughter began performing at age 3. She lost her mother to breast cancer at 13, and after that began to immerse herself completely in songwriting and pop music.

She later took her mother’s name, Madlyn, to honor her.

She has been active in raising money to fight breast cancer. Last year, she released the song, “I Call Her Mom,” with 100 percent of all digital sales going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).

No strangers to loss and dealing with dark times, Fuster and his daughter pulled into Salvation Mountain after nightfall to look for Lucy and seek out people who might have seen her.

They went a gathering spot in Slab City called The Range, where an open mic night was being held, and showed Lucy’s picture around.

One man told Fuster that it was unlikely a small dog like Lucy — given all the hawks and coyotes in the area — was still alive after 24 hours.

That’s when Fuster sat down and began to pray.

When he opened his eyes and looked down, there was Lucy.

After a tearful reunion, Fuster and MadLyn put Lucy in the car and gave her some water. The 18-pound dog drank 24 ounces, MadLyn says.

MadLyn, as you can see in the video at the end of this post, clearly considers what happened a miracle.

“Lucy was missing in the desert of Salvation Mountain for 24 hours completely by herself, and through the grace of God alone, she came back,” she wrote in an email to ohmidog!

She says the video is “dedicated to all shelter and foster animals looking for a loving home.”

I have a feeling Leonard Knight would like this story.

I know I do.

I Think My Dog’s a Democrat

Bryan Lewis is pretty sure his dog is a Democrat — certain enough, at least, to write a country song about it.

He premiered “I Think My Dog’s A Democrat” on radio station WTVN, and the YouTube video of the debut has garnered close to a half million views since early March.

Some music for dogs on The Late Show

Hard to tell if they were spellbound by Laurie Anderson’s music or just very well trained, but an audience of six dogs seemed to be listening pretty intently during her performance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Wednesday.

The performance artist has held two concerts for dogs since 2010, an idea she says came about while speaking with cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

She performed for thousands of dogs at a festival in Sydney, Australia in 2010. Earlier this year, she threw a similar concert in Times Square.

After being interviewed by Colbert, Anderson performed with a cellist and a percussionist as the dogs watched and listened. (The performance starts at about the 3:30 mark of the video.)

The performance began with “a section of lithe, elegant plucking that moved deftly into dissonance and scraping before coalescing into a rumbling, stirring close,” Rolling Stone reported.

Anderson’s recent film, “Heart of a Dog” — in which she reflects on the deaths of her mother, husband Lou Reed and her dog — is scheduled to debut on HBO April 25th.

Adele? This dog seems to really feel her

Cruelty to animals? You be the judge.

The dog in the video above is listening to Adele’s hit single, “Hello.”

He or she isn’t restrained, so we won’t say he or she is being forced to listen to the song. He or she appears free to leave the room, just as we are free to turn off the radio, or the Adele television ad, or the Adele TV show appearance.

Adele is not inescapable, though it sometimes seems that way.

A woman named Jillian Caspers posted the video of she and her dog sharing some Adele time — though it has been removed from some media outlets after complaints of copyright infringement by SME Entertainment Group.

(Don’t be surprised if it disappears from here as well. It’s not that Adele and her representatives are worried about us drowning in her music — a distinct possibility — they just want to make sure they get paid for it.)

We reproduce the video here not to step on Adele’s toes, but for a scholarly examination of the dog’s reaction to this particular song, which is also known to result in serious and heartfelt pangs of emotion in humans.

But is that what the dog is experiencing? Or is it just hurting his or her ears? Note how he or she howls most loudly during the high-pitched chorus.

It’s always a mistake to pretend we understand what a dog is feeling. And while conjecture about it is not necessarily a bad thing — it shows some sensitivity on our part — it often fails to get us anywhere as well.

And yet we can’t help but wonder.

Is the dog’s wailing a result of Adele’s vocal style hurting his or her ears? Or is he or she moved by the song’s oh-so-drippy emotion? We don’t think he or she is picking up on any sadness from the owner, as she is laughing her head off about it all.

It’s doubtful, too, that the dog is understanding the insipid lyrics.

The truth is — and it rips our heart in two to say this — we will never know.

Are the plaintive and nostalgic tones of Adele’s voice enough to send the dog on an emotional roller coaster ride. Is the dog having the equivalent of what we humans would call “a good cry.”

Or are the whines simply his or her way of saying, “Please spare me from another second of this.”

(All profits from this blog post will be sent to SME Entertainment Group)

Leave it to Bieber: Pop star urges adoptions

PETA, knowing better than most how much cute and fuzzy things appeal to the public, has tapped Justin Bieber to start in his second public service announcement for the organization.

Justin sings the praises of adopting pets in a PSA whose tagline is, “Animals Can Make U Smile. Adopt From Your Local Shelter.”

According to PETA, Bieber wants his fans to know that buying a dog or a cat from a pet store or a breeder takes a home away from a shelter animal,  3 to 4 million of which end up euthanized in America each year. Buying a dog, PETA says, supports puppy mills, operations in which dogs are raised in cramped, crude, and filthy conditions.

While preparing for the release of his debut album, My World, Bieber devoted some time to talk to peta2 about compassion for animals — something he says his dog Sam helped instill in him. “We moved to a city where we didn’t really know anybody, so I kinda wanted a friend around. And Sam was kinda like that friend.”

Bieber appears not with Sam, but with a dog named Bijoux in the newest PETA spot.

“It’s really important that people adopt,” Bieber says. “I really encourage going out to an animal shelter or a place where you can get a dog that has been abandoned or doesn’t have a home.”

You can learn more about Justin Bieber and his public service announcement at peta2.com

Heavy meddle: Creed works as wolf repellant

A 13-year-old boy in Norway credits the Creed song “Overcome,” cranked up to full volume, with saving him from a pack of wolves.

Walter Eikrem was walking home from a school bus stop in Rakkestdad, listening to the band through his headphones, when he noticed four wolves lurking nearby on a hillside, not far from his family’s farmhouse.

According to Spiegel Online, the boy heeded advice his mother had given him and didn’t start running.  “The worst thing you can do is run away because doing so just invites the wolves to chase you down,” he said, “… but I was so afraid that I couldn’t even run away if I’d wanted to.”

Instead, he unplugged the headphones from his mobile phone, and turned the volume up. Between the heavy metal, and Walter shouting and flailing his arms, it was enough to drive the wolves off.

“They just turned around and simply trotted away,” Walter said.

(Photos by Rune Blekken / TV 2)

Standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona

We started off on Carefree Highway,  got some kicks on Route 66, spent some time standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, and ended up at  a Motel 6 in Albuquerque.

That last one isn’t a song, though the price of a room was — only $29.99.

Day one of the trip back home — which will be slightly more rushed than our earlier travels — saw us cover 450 miles, even with repeated pee and sniff stops, as recommended by the animal communicator Ace recently spoke with.

We took time, too, to exit Interstate 40 and roll through Winslow on Route  66, stopping on a street corner of our own choosing to relive a line from the classic Eagles song, “Take it Easy.”

When no “girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford” came by, we moved on to Winslow’s officially designated place to stand on the corner, where a mural of a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, is provided.

“Standin’ on the Corner Park, opened in 1999, and it also features a statue that some people think is Jackson Browne, but it’s not. Glenn Frey is credited with co-writing the song, which was released by the Eagles in 1972.

The town makes much of its mention in the second verse of “Take It Easy” — then again you grab at what fame you can when you’ve been bypassed by the Interstate.

Until the 1960’s, Winslow was the largest town in northern Arizona. But, like Tucumcari, New Mexico, and other towns, the prominence they  enjoyed by virtue of their location on Route 66 faded when Interstate 40 bypassed the community in the late 1970’s. Tourism suffered and some downtown business closed their doors. “For the next twenty years, downtown Winslow was frozen in time,” the park website says.

The park was part of a downtown restoration effort that included the reopening of the historic La Posado Hotel. That effort required some re-restoration after a fire damaged the corner. Statue and mural are back in place now.

The statue, despite what some on the Internet claim, is not that of Jackson Browne. According to the official website of Standin’ on the Corner Park, it’s a generic “1970’s man,” wearing jeans, with a guitar resting on the toe of his boot.

While the song brought Brown, the Eagles and Winslow some much-wanted notoriety, the corner referred to in the song was actually in Flagstaff. But Winslow sounded better. (That leads me to question whether seven women were actually on Browne’s mind, or if maybe it was just three, and seven sounded better.)

Browne was still working on the song when Frey, his friend and neighbor, heard it. Browne had written the opening part of the second verse, then ran into writer’s block.

Here’s how Frey explained the collaboration in the liner notes to the 2003 album, The Very Best of the Eagles:

“I told him that I really liked it. ‘What was that, man? What a cool tune that is.’ He started playing it for me and said, ‘Yeah, but I don’t know — I’m stuck.’ So he played the second unfinished verse and I said, ‘It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.’ That was my contribution to ‘Take It Easy,’ really, just finishing the second verse. Jackson was so thrilled. He said, ‘Okay! We cowrote this.’ But it’s certainly more of him.”

The real corner that the song was about was next to the “Dog Haus,” a hot dog drive-thru on Route 66 and Switzer Canyon in Flagstaff.

Ace probably would have preferred that corner, given it has food, but he settled for two stops in Winslow before we pressed on and stopped for the night in Albuquerque. On Wednesday we pushed on to Oklahoma City, hoping to stay ahead of a winter storm that, along with some appointments we have back east, is preventing us from fully taking it easy.

But we promise this much: We won’t let the sound of our own wheels drive us crazy.