Francisco Goya

Spanish romantic painter and Printmaker Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes sadly died April 1828. He was born 30 March 1746 in the village of Fuendetodos in Aragon. He studied painting from age 14 under José Luzán y Martinez and moved to Madrid to study with Anton Raphael Mengs. He married Josefa Bayeu in 1773; the couple’s life together was characterised by an almost constant series of pregnancies and miscarriages. He became a court painter to the Spanish Crown in 1786 and this early portion of his career is marked by portraits of the Spanish aristocracy and royalty, and Rococo style tapestry cartoons designed for the royal palace.

Goya was a guarded man and little is known about his thoughts. He suffered a severe and undiagnosed illness in 1793 which left him completely deaf. After 1793 his work became progressively darker and more pessimistic. His later easel and mural paintings, prints and drawings appear to reflect a bleak outlook on personal, social and political levels, and contrast with his social climbing. He was appointed Director of the Royal Academy in 1795, the year Manuel Godoy made an unfavorable treaty with France. In 1799 Goya became Primer Pintor de Cámara, the then-highest rank for a Spanish court painter. In the late 1790s, commissioned by Godoy, he completed his La maja desnuda, a remarkably daring nude for the time and clearly indebted to Diego Velázquez. In 1801 he painted Charles IV of Spain and His Family.

In 1807 Napoleon led the French army into Spain. Goya remained in Madrid during the Peninsular War, which seems to have affected him deeply. Although he did not vocalise his thoughts in public, they can be inferred from his “Disasters of War” series of prints (although published 35 years after his death) and his 1814 paintings The Second of May 1808 and The Third of May 1808. Other works from his mid period include the “Caprichos” and Los Disparates etching series, and a wide variety of paintings concerned with insanity, mental asylums, witches, fantastical creatures and religious and political corruption, all of which suggest that he feared for both his country’s fate and his own mental and physical health.

His late period culminates with the “Black Paintings” of 1819–1823, applied on oil on the plaster walls of his house the “Quinta del Sordo” (house of the deaf man) where, disillusioned by political and social developments in Spain he lived in near isolation. Goya eventually abandoned Spain in 1824 to retire to the French city of Bordeaux, accompanied by his much younger maid and companion, Leocadia Weiss, who may or may not have been his lover. There he completed his “La Tauromaquia” series and a number of other, major, canvases. Following a stroke which left him paralyzed on his right side, and suffering failing eyesight and poor access to painting materials, following his untimely death His body was later re-interred in Spain. Goya is considered the most important Spanish artist of late 18th and early 19th centuries and throughout his long career was a commentator and chronicler of his era. Immensely successful in his lifetime, Goya is often referred to as both the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. He was also one of the great portraitists of modern times.

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Charlie Chaplin

English Comic actor and filmmaker Sir Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin, KBE was born 16 April 1889. He rose to fame in the silent film era, he became a worldwide icon through his screen persona “the Tramp” and is considered one of the most important figures of the film industry. Chaplin’s had an impoverished childhood in London ; his father left and his mother struggled financially, he was sent to a workhouse twice before the age of nine. When he was 14, his mother was committed to a mental asylum. Chaplin began performing at an early age, touring music halls and later working as a stage actor and comedian. At 19 he was signed to the prestigious Fred Karno company, which took him to America. Chaplin was scouted for the film industry, and began appearing in 1914 for Keystone Studios. He soon developed the Tramp persona and formed a large fan base. Chaplin directed his films from an early stage, and continued to hone his craft as he moved to the Essanay, Mutual, and First National corporations. By 1918, he was one of the best known figures in the world.

THE KID. http://youtu.be/zry8iPrHtjA

In 1919, Chaplin co-founded the distribution company United Artists, which gave him complete control over his films. His first feature-length was The Kid (1921), followed by A Woman of Paris (1923), The Gold Rush (1925), and The Circus (1928). He refused to move to sound films in the 1930s, instead producing City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936) without dialogue. Chaplin became increasingly political and his next film, The Great Dictator (1940), satirised Adolf Hitler. The 1940s were a decade marked with controversy for Chaplin, and his popularity declined rapidly. He was accused of communist sympathies, while his involvement in a paternity suit and marriages to much younger women caused scandal. An FBI investigation was opened, and Chaplin was forced to leave the United States and settle in Switzerland. He abandoned the Tramp in his later films, which include Monsieur Verdoux (1947), Limelight (1952), A King in New York (1957), and A Countess from Hong Kong (1967).

Chaplin wrote, directed, produced, edited, starred in, and composed the music for most of his films. He was a perfectionist, and his financial independence enabled him to spend years on the development and production of a picture. His films are characterised by slapstick combined with pathos, typified in the Tramp’s struggles against adversity. Many contain social and political themes, as well as autobiographical elements. In 1972, as part of a renewed appreciation for his work, Chaplin received an Honorary Academy Award for “the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century”. He sadly passed away 25 December 1977 although he continues to be held in high regard, with The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times, and The Great Dictator often ranked among industry lists of the greatest films of all time.

Sir Spike Milligan KBE

The late, great Comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor Sir Terence Alan “Spike” Milligan KBE was born 16 April 1918. He was of Irish and English parentage and Irish nationality. His early life was spent in India where he was born. The majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom. He disliked his first name and began to call himself “Spike” after hearing the band Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

Milligan was the co-creator, main writer and a principal cast member of the popular British radio comedy programme The Goon Show, performing a range of roles including the popular Eccles and Minnie Bannister characters. The Goon Show was originally produced and broadcast by the BBC Home Service from 1951 to 1960, with occasional repeats on the BBC Light Programme. The first series was entitled Crazy People; subsequent series had the title The Goon Show, a title inspired, according to Spike Milligan, by a Popeye character. The scripts mixed ludicrous plots with surreal humour, puns, catchphrases and an array of bizarre sound effects. Some of the later episodes feature electronic effects devised by the fledgling BBC Radiophonic Workshop, many of which were reused by other shows for decades. Many elements of the show satirised contemporary life in Britain, parodying aspects of show business, commerce, industry, art, politics, diplomacy, the police, the military, education, class structure, literature and film.

The show was released internationally through the BBC Transcription Services. It was heard regularly from the 1950s in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, India and Canada, although these TS versions were frequently edited to avoid controversial subjects. NBC began broadcasting the programme on its radio network from the mid-1950s.The programme exercised a considerable influence on the development of British and American comedy and popular culture. It was cited as a major influence by The Beatles and the American comedy team The Firesign Theatre as well as Monty Python and many others.

Milligan also wrote and edited many satirical books, including Puckoon and his seven-volume autobiographical account of his time serving during the Second World War, beginning with Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall. He is also noted as a popular writer of comical verse; much of his poetry was written for children, including Silly Verse for Kids (1959). After success with the groundbreaking British radio programme, The Goon Show, Milligan translated this success to television with Q5, a surreal sketch show which is credited as a major influence on the members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Milligan also appears briefly in the Mony Python film “The Life of Brian”. Spike Milligan claimed a right to Irish citizenship (as a child of an Irish citizen) after the British government declared him stateless. Milligan sadly passed away 27 February 2002 but his work remains popular.

Dusty Springfield

Dubbed The White Queen of Soul, British pop singer Dusty Springfield was born 16 April 1939 in West London to an Irish Catholic Family. Her career extended from the late 1950s to the 1990s. With her distinctive sensual sound, she was an important white soul singer, and at her peak was one of the most successful British female performers, with 18 singles in the Billboard Hot 100 from 1964 to 1970. Springfield first learned to sing at home and joined her first professional group, The Lana Sisters, in 1958, then formed the pop-folk vocal trio The Springfields in 1960 with her brother Dion. Her solo career began in 1963 with the upbeat pop hit, “I Only Want to Be with You”. Among the hits that followed were “Wishin’ and Hopin’”, “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself”, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, and “Son of a Preacher Man”. A fan of American pop music, she was the first public figure to bring little-known soul singers to a wider British audience, when she created and hosted the first British performances of the top-selling Motown artists of 1965

BEST OF DUSTY SPRINGFIELD http://youtu.be/onrBnvUYTfE

By 1966, she was the best-selling female singer in the world, and topped a number of popularity polls, including Melody Maker’s Best International Vocalist. She was the first British singer to top the New Musical Express readers’ poll for Female Singer. Her image, supported by a peroxide blonde beehive hairstyle, evening gowns, and heavy make-up, made her an icon of the Swinging Sixties. The marked changes in pop music in the mid-1960s left many female pop singers out of fashion. To boost her credibility as a soul artist, Springfield went to Memphis, Tennessee, to record an album of pop and soul music with the Atlantic Records main production team. Released in 1969, Dusty in Memphis has been ranked among the greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone and VH1 artists, New Musical Express readers, and the Channel 4 viewers polls. The album was also awarded a spot in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Sadly though After this, Springfield experienced a bit of a career slump which lasted for eighteen years. However She returned to the Top 20 of the British and American charts in collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys on the songs “What Have I Done to Deserve This?”, “Nothing Has Been Proved”, and “In Private”. Interest in Springfield’s early songs was subsequently revived thanks to these songs and the inclusion of “Son of a Preacher Man” on the soundtrack of the movie Pulp Fiction and Springfield staged something of a comeback. Sadly though soon after this renewed success Dusty Passed away on March 2nd 1999, however she has left a wonderful legacy in the form of some great songs. She has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame and the UK music Hall of Fame.

Wilbur Wright

American Aviation Pioneer and eldest of The Wright brothers, Wilbur Wright was born April 16, 1867. Wilbur, together with his younger brother Orville. is credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. The Wright Brothers spent a great deal of time observing birds in flight. They noticed that birds soared into the wind and that the air flowing over the curved surface of their wings created lift. Birds change the shape of their wings to turn and maneuver. They believed that they could use this technique to obtain roll control by warping, or changing the shape, of a portion of the wing. as a resultThe Wright Brothers designed their first aircraft: a small, biplane glider flown as a kite to test their solution for controlling the craft by wing warping. Wing warping is a method of arching the wingtips slightly to control the aircraft’s rolling motion and balance.

Over the next three years, Wilbur and his brother Orville would design a series of gliders which would be flown in both unmanned (as kites) and piloted flights. They read about the works of Cayley, and Langley, and the hang-gliding flights of Otto Lilienthal. They corresponded with Octave Chanute concerning some of their ideas. They recognized that control of the flying aircraft would be the most crucial and hardest problem to solve. Following a successful glider test, the Wrights built and tested a full-size glider. They selected Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as their test site because of its wind, sand, hilly terrain and remote location.

In 1900, the Wrights successfully tested their new 50-pound biplane glider with its 17-foot wingspan and wing-warping mechanism at Kitty Hawk, in both unmanned and piloted flights. In fact, it was the first piloted glider. Based upon the results, the Wright Brothers planned to refine the controls and landing gear, and build a bigger glider. So in 1901, at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, the Wright Brothers flew the largest glider ever flown, with a 22-foot wingspan, a weight of nearly 100 pounds and skids for landing. However, many problems occurred: the wings did not have enough lifting power; forward elevator was not effective in controlling the pitch; and the wing-warping mechanism occasionally caused the airplane to spin out of control. In their disappointment, they predicted that man will probably not fly in their lifetime.

In spite of the problems with their last attempts at flight, the Wrights reviewed their test results and determined that the calculations they had used were not reliable. They decided to build a wind tunnel to test a variety of wing shapes and their effect on lift. Based upon these tests, the inventors had a greater understanding of how an airfoil (wing) works and could calculate with greater accuracy how well a particular wing design would fly. They planned to design a new glider with a 32-foot wingspan and a tail to help stabilize it.

During 1902, the brothers flew numerous test glides using their new glider. Their studies showed that a movable tail would help balance the craft and the Wright Brothers connected a movable tail to the wing-warping wires to coordinate turns. With successful glides to verify their wind tunnel tests, the inventors planned to build a powered aircraft. After months of studying how propellers work the Wright Brothers designed a motor and a new aircraft sturdy enough to accommodate the motor’s weight and vibrations. The craft weighed 700 pounds and came to be known as the Flyer. The brothers built a movable track to help launch the Flyer. This downhill track would help the aircraft gain enough airspeed to fly. After two attempts to fly this machine, one of which resulted in a minor crash, Orville Wright took the Flyer for a 12-second, sustained flight on December 17, 1903. This was the first successful, powered, piloted flight in history.

World Voice Day

World Voice Day (WVD) is a worldwide annual event that takes place on April 16 devoted to the celebration of the phenomenon of voice. The aim of World Voice Day is to demonstrate the enormous importance of the voice in our daily lives, as a tool of communication, and as an application of a large number of sciences, such as physics, psychology, phonetics, art, and biology. It was initiated in 1999 as a combined effort of American and European otolaryngologists and speech and language pathologists, particularly the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) and MD Mario André in Portugal. Now, the celebration of the World Voice Day is scattered around the globe, including concerts, symposia, open house at voice clinics and voice education institutes, TV shows, and radio programs.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday  is a Christian feast and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary on Good Friday as described in the New Testament. Easter is preceded by Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem and Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating Maundy and the Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus and Holy Saturday. Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday. The festival is referred to in English by a variety of different names including Easter Day, Easter Sunday, Resurrection Day and Resurrection Sunday.

Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the northern hemisphere’s vernal equinox. Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on 21 March (even though the equinox occurs, astronomically speaking, on 20 March in most years), and the “Full Moon” is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies between 22 March and 25 April. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian calendar whose 21 March corresponds, during the 21st century, to 3 April in the Gregorian calendar, in which the celebration of Easter therefore varies between 4 April and 8 May. Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In many languages, the words for “Easter” and “Passover” are etymologically related or homonymous. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, but attending sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb, are common motifs. Additional customs include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, Easter parades and many other Easter releated events. These are observed by both Christians and non-Christians.