May Day/ Beltane/ Labour Day

May Day on May 1 is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday. it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. Dances, singing, and cake are usually part of the celebrations that the day includes. In the late 19th Century, May Day was also chosen as the date for International Workers’ Day by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago. In those countries that celebrate International Workers’ Day, the day may also be referred to as “May Day” but it is a different celebration from the traditional May Day.

The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the Floralia, festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, held April 27 during the Roman Republic era, and with the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. It is also associated with the Gaelic Beltane, most commonly held on April 30. The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian European pagan cultures. While February 1 was the first day of Spring, May 1 was the first day of summer; hence, the summer solstice on June 25 (now June 21) was Midsummer.

As Europe became Christianised, the pagan holidays lost their religious character and May Day changed into a popular secular celebration. A significant celebration of May Day occurs in Germany where it is one of several days on which St. Walburga, credited with bringing Christianity to Germany, is celebrated. The secular versions of May Day, observed in Europe and America, may be best known for their traditions of dancing around the maypole and crowning the Queen of May. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of “May baskets,” small baskets of sweets or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps.

Since the 18th Century, many Roman Catholics have observed May — and May Day — with various May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary In works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary’s head will often be adorned with flowers in a May crowning. May 1 is also one of two feast days of the Catholic patron saint of workers St Joseph the Worker, a carpenter, husband to Mother Mary, and surrogate father of Jesus.Replacing another feast to St. Joseph, this date was chosen by the Pope Pius XII in 1955 to create as a counterpoint to the Communist International Workers Day celebrations on May Day.Beginning in the late 20th century, many neopagans began reconstructing traditions and celebrating May Day as a pagan religious festival. Traditional English May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and celebrations involving a maypole. Much of this tradition derives from the pagan Anglo-Saxon customs held during “Þrimilci-mōnaþ” (the Old English name for the month of May meaning Month of Three Milkings) along with many Celtic traditions.

the traditional flower associated with May Day is the May blossom, the flower of the May tree or common hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna. May Day has also been a day of festivities throughout the centuries and is most associated with celebrating springtime fertility (of the soil, livestock, and people) and revelry with village fetes and community gatherings. Since the reform of the Catholic calendar, May 1 is the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, the patron saint of workers. Seeding has been completed by this date and it was convenient to give farm labourers a day off. Perhaps the most significant of the traditions is the maypole, around which traditional dancers circle with ribbons.

The May Day bank holiday, on the first Monday in May, was traditionally the only one to affect the state school calendar, although new arrangements in some areas to even out the length of school terms mean that Good Friday (a common law holiday) and Easter Monday (a bank holiday), which vary from year to year, may also fall during term time. The Spring Bank Holiday on the first Monday in May was created in 1978; May Day itself – May 1 – is not a public holiday in England (unless it falls on a Monday). In February 2011, the UK Parliament was reported to be considering scrapping the bank holiday associated with May Day, replacing it with a bank holiday in October, possibly coinciding with Trafalgar Day (celebrated on October 21), to create a “United Kingdom Day.”

May Day was abolished and its celebration banned by puritan parliaments during the Interregnum, but reinstated with the restoration of Charles II in 1660.[8] May 1, 1707, was the day the Act of Union came into effect, joining England and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. In Oxford, it is traditional for May Morning revellers to gather below the Great Tower of Magdalen College at 6:00 a.m. to listen to the college choir sing traditional madrigals as a conclusion to the previous night’s celebrations. It is then thought to be traditional for some people to jump off Magdalen Bridge into the River Cherwell. However this has actually only been fashionable since the 1970s, possibly due to the presence of television cameras. In recent years, the bridge has been closed on 1 May to prevent people from jumping, as the water under the bridge is only 2 feet (61 cm) deep and jumping from the bridge has resulted in serious injury in the past. There are still people who insist on climbing the barriers and leaping into the water, causing themselves injury. In Durham, students of the University of Durham gather on Prebend’s Bridge to see the sunrise and enjoy festivities, folk music, dancing, madrigal singing and a barbecue breakfast. This is an emerging Durham tradition, with patchy observance since 2001.

Kingsbury Episcopi, Somerset, has seen its yearly May Day Festival celebrations on the May bank holiday Monday burgeon in popularity in the recent years. Since it was reinstated 21 years ago it has grown in size, and on May 5, 2014 thousands of revellers were attracted from all over the South West to enjoy the festivities, with BBC Somerset covering the celebrations. These include traditional maypole dancing and morris dancing, as well as a number of excellent contemporary music acts; artists such as Mad Dog Mcrea and the Three Daft Monkeys have played in previous years. In 2014, the Green Man Stage was graced with four acts, including traditional Somerset folk singer Mary Bateman, upbeat folk act The Roving Crows, solo acoustic artist Gaz Brookfield and the Lounge Lizards.

Whitstable, Kent, hosts a good example of more traditional May Day festivities, where the Jack in the Green festival was revived in 1976 and continues to lead an annual procession of morris dancers through the town on the May Bank Holiday. A separate revival occurred in Hastings in 1983 and has become a major event in the town calendar. A traditional Sweeps Festival is performed over the May bank holiday in Rochester, Kent, where the Jack in the Green is woken at dawn on May 1 by Morris dancers.

At 7:15 p.m. on May 1 each year, the Kettle Bridge Clogs morris dancing side dance across Barming Bridge (otherwise known as the Kettle Bridge), which spans the River Medway near Maidstone, to mark the official start of their morris dancing season. Also known as Ashtoria Day in Northern parts of rural Cumbria. A celebration of unity and female bonding. Although not very well known, it is often cause for huge celebration. The Maydayrun involves thousands of motorbikes taking a 55-mile (89 km) trip from London (Locksbottom) to the Hastings seafront, East Sussex. The event has been taking place for almost 30 years now and has grown in interest from around the country, both commercially and publicly. The event is not officially organised; the police only manage the traffic, and volunteers manage the parking.

Padstow in Cornwall holds its annual Obby-Oss (Hobby Horse) day of festivities. This is believed to be one of the oldest fertility rites in the UK; revellers dance with the Oss through the streets of the town and even through the private gardens of the citizens, accompanied by accordion players and followers dressed in white with red or blue sashes who sing the traditional “May Day” song. The whole town is decorated with springtime greenery, and every year thousands of onlookers attend. Prior to the 19th-century distinctive May day celebrations were widespread throughout West Cornwall, and are being revived in St. Ives and Penzance.

Kingsand, Cawsand and Millbrook in Cornwall celebrate Flower Boat Ritual on the May Day bank holiday. A model of the ship The Black Prince is covered in flowers and is taken in procession from the Quay at Millbrook to the beach at Cawsand where it is cast adrift. The houses in the villages are decorated with flowers and people traditionally wear red and white clothes. There are further celebrations in Cawsand Square with Morris dancing and May pole dancing. At the University of St Andrews, some of the students gather on the beach late on April 30 and run into the North Sea at sunrise on May Day, occasionally naked. This is accompanied by torchlit processions and much elated celebration. Both Edinburgh and Glasgow organize Mayday festivals and rallies. In Edinburgh, the Beltane Fire Festival is held on the evening of May eve and into the early hours of May Day on the city’s Calton Hill. An older Edinburgh tradition has it that young women who climb Arthur’s Seat and wash their faces in the morning dew will have lifelong beauty.
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International Workers’ Day or Labour Day is held on May 1 in Great Britain to celebrate labourers and the working classes. It is promoted by the international labour movement, anarchists, socialists, and communists, it also coincides with the Celtic spring festival Beltane. The date was chosen to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886 when the police killed four demonstrators while trying to disperse a public assembly during a general strike for the eight-hour working day. International Workers Day was also campaigned for by other trade unionists as a day to celebrate labor and was first proposed In 1882 by Matthew Maguire, a machinist, who proposed a Labor Day holiday while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union (CLU)) of New York.Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor also proposed a day in May 1882, after witnessing the annual labour festival held in Toronto, Canada. Thus on September 1887, Oregon was among thirty US States to celebrate Labor Day an official public holiday.

Elsewhere May 1 was chosen to be International Workers’ Day After Raymond Lavigne proposed international demonstrations on the 1890 anniversary of the Chicago protests at a meeting held by Second international in Paris. Subsequently May Day was formally recognized as an annual event at the International’s second congress in 1891. In 1904, the International Socialist Conference called on “all Social Democratic Party organizations and trade unions to legally establish an eight hour working day. Since thenvMay Day has been a focal point for demonstrations by various socialist, communist and anarchist groups. May Day has been an important official holiday in countries such as the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Cuba and the former Soviet Union. May Day celebrations typically feature elaborate popular and military parades in these countries. In 1955, the Catholic Church dedicated 1 May to “Saint Joseph The patron saint of workers and craftsmen (among others).

During the Cold War, May Day became the occasional for large military parades in Red Square by the Soviet Union and attended by the top leaders of the Kremlin, especially the Politburo, atop Lenin’s Tomb. It became an enduring symbol of that period. Haymarket affair in Chicago. The police were trying to disperse a public assembly during a general strike for the eight-hour workday, when an unidentified person threw a bomb at the police. The police responded by firing on the workers, killing four demonstrators. In 1889, a meeting in Paris was held by the first congress of the Second International, following a proposal by Raymond Lavigne which called for international demonstrations on the 1890 anniversary of the Chicago protests. In 1955, the Catholic Church dedicated 1 May to “Saint Joseph” the patron saint of workers and craftsmen

In London there is a May Day March and rally, organised by the London May Day Committee (South East Region Trades Councils), during which people gather together in Clerkenwell Green near the Marx Memorial Library before marching to Trafalgar Square for a rally with speeches from representatives of local, national and international trades unions and campaigning organisations. This event always takes place on May 1 with the intention to reinstate May 1, regardless of what day it falls on, as a national holiday. More images and information of London’s May Day rally is covered by the “Working Class Heroes” project.
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Beltane or Beltain is the Gaelic May Day festival. Most commonly it is held on 1 May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. In Irish it is Bealtaine in Scottish Gaelic Bealltainn and in Manx Gaelic Boaltinn or Boaldyn. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals—along with Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasadh—and is similar to the Welsh Calan Mai.

Beltane is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and it is associated with important events in Irish mythology. It marked the beginning of summer and was when cattle were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle, crops and people, and to encourage growth. Special bonfires were kindled, and their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective powers. The people and their cattle would walk around the bonfire, or between two bonfires, and sometimes leap over the flames or embers. All household fires would be doused and then re-lit from the Beltane bonfire. These gatherings would be accompanied by a feast, and some of the food and drink would be offered to the aos sí. Doors, windows, byres and the cattle themselves would be decorated with yellow May flowers, perhaps because they evoked fire. In parts of Ireland, people would make a May Bush; a thorn bush decorated with flowers, ribbons and bright shells. Holy wells were also visited, while Beltane dew was thought to bring beauty and maintain youthfulness. Many of these customs were part of May Day or Midsummer festivals in other parts of Great Britain and Europe.

Beltane celebrations had largely died-out by the mid-20th century, although some of its customs continued and in some places it has been revived as a cultural event. Since the latter 20th century, Celtic neopagans and Wiccans have observed Beltane, or something based on it, as a religious holiday. Neopagans in the Southern Hemisphere often celebrate Beltane at the other end of the year (~1 November).

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Walpurgis Night

Walpurgis Night ( Walpurgisnacht) occurs on the night of 30 April, so called because it is the eve of the feast day of Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century Missionary and abbess in Francia. In Germanic folklore, Walpurgisnacht, also called Hexennacht (Dutch: heksennacht), literally “Witches’ Night”, is believed to be the night of a witches’ meeting on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains, a range of wooded hills in central Germany between the rivers Weser and Elbe. The first known written occurrence of the English translation “Walpurgis Night” is from the 19th century. Local variants of Walpurgis Night are observed throughout Europe in the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, and Estonia. In Denmark the tradition with bonfires to fence off the witches going to the Brocken is observed as Saint John’s Eve—essentially a midsummer celebration “with witches”.

As Walpurga’s feast was held on 1 May (c. 870), she became associated with May Day, especially in the Finnish and Swedish calendars. The eve of May Day, traditionally celebrated with dancing, came to be known as Walpurgisnacht (“Walpurga’s night”). The name of the holiday is Walpurgisnacht or Hexennacht (“Witches’ Night”) in German, Heksennacht in Dutch, Valborgsmässoafton in Swedish, Vappen in Finland Swedish, Vappu in Finnish, Volbriöö in Estonian, Valpurgijos naktis in Lithuanian, Valpurģu nakts or Valpurģi in Latvian, čarodějnice and Valpuržina noc in Czech.

The Germanic term Walpurgisnacht is recorded in 1668 by Johannes Praetorius as S. Walpurgis Nacht or S. Walpurgis Abend. An earlier mention of Walpurgis and S. Walpurgis Abend is in the 1603 edition of the Calendarium perpetuum of Johann Coler, who also refers to the following day, 1 May, as Jacobi Philippi, feast day of the apostles James the Less and Philip in the Catholic calendar. The 17th-century German tradition of a meeting of sorcerers and witches on May Day eve (Hexennacht, “Witches’ Night”) is influenced by the descriptions of Witches’ Sabbaths in 15th- and 16th-century literature.

In the Czech Republic 30 April is pálení čarodějnic (“burning of the witches”) or čarodějnice (“the witches”) is celebrated, during which Huge bonfires—up to 8 metres (26 ft) tall—are built and burnt in the evening, preferably on top of hills. Young people gather around. Sudden black and dense smoke formations are cheered as “a witch flying away”. As evening advances to midnight and fire is on the wane, it is time to go search for a cherry tree in blossom. Young women should be kissed past midnight (and during the following day) under a cherry tree. They “will not dry up” for an entire year. The First of May is celebrated then as “the day of those in love”.

In Estonia, Volbriöö is celebrated throughout the night of 30 April and into the early hours of 1 May, where 1 May is a public holiday called “Spring Day” (Kevadpüha). Volbriöö is an important and widespread celebration of the arrival of spring in the country. Influenced by German culture, the night originally stood for the gathering and meeting of witches. Modern people still dress up as witches to wander the streets in a carnival-like mood. The Volbriöö celebrations are especially vigorous in Tartu, the university town in southern Estonia. For Estonian students in student corporations (fraternities and sororities), the night starts with a traditional procession through the streets of Tartu, followed by visiting each other’s corporation houses throughout the night.

In Finland, Walpurgis day (Vappu) is one of the four biggest holidays along with Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and Midsummer (Juhannus). Walpurgis witnesses the biggest carnival-style festival held in the streets of Finland’s towns and cities. The celebration, which begins on the evening of 30 April and continues to 1 May, typically centres on copious consumption of sima, sparkling wine and other alcoholic beverages. Student traditions, particularly those of the engineering students, are one of the main characteristics of Vappu. Since the end of the 19th century, this traditional upper-class feast has been appropriated by university students. Many lukio (university-preparatory high school) alumni wear the black and white student cap and many higher education students wear student coveralls. One tradition is to drink sima, a home-made low-alcohol mead, along with freshly cooked funnel cakes.

In the capital Helsinki and its surrounding region, fixtures include the capping (on 30 April at 6 pm) of the Havis Amanda, a nude female statue in Helsinki, and the biennially alternating publications of ribald matter called Äpy and Julkku, by engineering students of Aalto University. Both are sophomoric; but while Julkku is a standard magazine, Äpy is always a gimmick. Classic forms have included an Äpy printed on toilet paper and a bedsheet. Often, the magazine has been stuffed inside standard industrial packages, such as sardine cans and milk cartons. For most university students, Vappu starts a week before the day of celebration. The festivities also include a picnic on 1 May, which is sometimes prepared in a lavish manner, particularly in Ullanlinnanmäki in Helsinki city.

The Finnish tradition is also a shadowing of the Socialist May Day parade. Expanding from the parties of the left, the whole of the Finnish political scene has adopted Vappu as the day to go out on stumps and agitate. This includes not only political activists. Other institutions, such as the state Lutheran church, have followed suit, marching and making speeches. Left-wing activists of the 1970s still party on May Day. They arrange carnivals. And radio stations play leftist songs from the 1970s.

Traditionally, 1 May is celebrated by a picnic in a park. For most, the picnic is enjoyed with friends on a blanket with good food and sparkling wine. Some people, however, arrange extremely lavish picnics with pavilions, white tablecloths, silver candelabras, classical music and extravagant food. The picnic usually starts early in the morning, where some of the previous night’s party-goers continue their celebrations undaunted by lack of sleep. Some student organisations reserve areas where they traditionally camp every year. Student caps, mead, streamers and balloons have their role in the picnic, as well as in the celebration as a whole.

In Germany, Walpurgisnacht or Hexennacht (“Witches’ Night”), the night from 30 April to 1 May, is the night when witches are reputed to hold a large celebration on the Brocken mountain and await the arrival of spring and also hold revels with the Devil. Brocken is the highest of the Harz Mountains of north central Germany. It is also noted for the phenomenon of the Brocken spectre when a shadow of a person can appear magnified by low level sunlight shining behind and below as the sun is setting.

The Brocken (or Blocksberg) also features in Goethe’s play Faust when magician Mephistopheles conjures up supernatural creatures During Walpurgisnight. “Walpurgisnacht.” Is also mentioned in Bram Stoker’s short story, “Dracula’s Guest,” an Englishman (whose name is never mentioned) is on a visit to Munich before leaving for Transylvania. It is Walpurgis Night, and in spite of the hotelier’s warning not to be late coming back, the young man later leaves his carriage and wanders toward the direction of an abandoned “unholy” village. As the carriage departs with the frightened and superstitious driver, a tall and thin stranger scares the horses at the crest of a hill. In some parts of northern coastal regions of Germany, the custom of lighting huge fires is still kept alive to celebrate the coming of May, while most parts of Germany have a derived Christianized custom around Easter called “Easter fires” (Osterfeuer). In rural parts of southern Germany, it is part of popular youth culture to play pranks such as tampering with neighbours’ gardens, hiding possessions, or spraying graffiti on private property. In Berlin, traditional leftist May Day riots usually start at Walpurgis Night in the Mauerpark in Prenzlauer Berg.

Sweden celebrates Valborg, which has more to do with the arrival of spring. celebrations vary in different parts of the country. Walpurgis celebrations are not a family occasion but rather a public event, and local groups often take responsibility for organising them to encourage community spirit in the village or neighbourhood. During the Middle Ages, the administrative year ended on 30 April. Accordingly, this was a day of festivity among the merchants and craftsmen of the town, with trick-or-treat, dancing and singing in preparation for the forthcoming celebration of spring. The first of May was a great popular festival in the more midland and southern parts of Sweden. On the eve of the festival, huge bonfires blazed. Walpurgis bonfires are part of a Swedish tradition dating back to the early 18th century. At Walpurgis (Valborg), farm animals were let out to graze and bonfires (majbrasor, kasar) lit to scare away predators. In Southern Sweden, an older tradition, no longer practiced, was for the younger people to collect greenery and branches from the woods at twilight. These were used to adorn the houses of the village. The expected reward for this task was to be paid in eggs.

Choral singing is popular in Sweden, on Walpurgis Eve and choirs Sing traditional 19th century songs of spring. traditional spring festivities are held in the old university cities, such as Uppsala and Lund, where undergraduates, graduates, and alumni gather at events that last most of the day from early morning to late night on April 30, or siste april (“The Last Day of April”) as it is called in Lund, or sista april as it is called in Uppsala. For students, Walpurgis Eve heralds freedom. Traditionally the exams were over and only the odd lecture remained before term ends. More modern Valborg celebrations, particularly among Uppsala students, often consist of enjoying a breakfast including champagne and strawberries. During the day, people gather in parks, drink considerable amounts of alcoholic beverages, barbecue, and generally enjoy the weather, if it happens to be favorable.

In Uppsala, students have honoured spring by rafting on Fyrisån through the center of town with rickety, homemade, and often humorously decorated rafts. Several nations also hold “Champagne Races” (Swedish: Champagnegalopp), where students go to drink and spray champagne or somewhat more modestly priced sparkling wine on each other. The walls and floors of the old nation buildings are covered in plastic for this occasion, as the champagne is poured around recklessly and sometimes spilled enough to wade in. Spraying champagne is, however, a fairly recent addition to the Champagne Race. The name derives from the students running down the downhill slope from the Carolina Rediviva library, toward the Student Nations, to drink champagne.

In Linköping many students and former students begin the day at the park Trädgårdföreningen, in the field below Belvederen where the city laws permits alcohol, to drink champagne breakfast in a similar way to Uppsala. Later at 15:00 o’clock the students and public gather at the courtyard of Linköping Castle. Spring songs are sung by the Linköping University Male Voice Choir, and speeches are made by representatives of the students and the university professors.

In Gothenburg, the carnival parade, The Cortège, which has been held since 1909 by the students at Chalmers University of Technology, is an important part of the celebration. It is seen by around 250,000 people each year. Another major event is the gathering of students in Trädgårdsföreningen to listen to student choirs, orchestras, and speeches. An important part of the gathering is the ceremonial donning of the student cap, which stems from the time when students wore their caps daily and switched from black winter cap to white summer cap. In Umeå, there is a tradition of having local bonfires. During recent years, however, there has been a tradition of celebrating Walpurgis at the Umeå University campus. The university organizes student choir songs, there are different types of entertainment and a speech by the president of the university. Different stalls sell hot dogs, candies, soft drinks, etc.

Walpurgisnacht is not celebrated today in the Netherlands due to the national Koninginnedag on the same date, though the new koningsdag (king’s day) is on 27 April. The island of Texel celebrates a festival known as the ‘Meierblis, where bonfires are lit near nightfall, just as on Walpurgis In order to drive away the remaining cold of winter and welcome spring. In recent years a renewed interest in pre-Christian religion and culture such as Walpurgis Night. In 1999, suspicions were raised among local Reformed party members in Putten, Gelderland of a Walpurgis festival celebrated by Satanists. The party called for a ban. Rumors that Satanic sects celebrate Walpurgis Night come from other towns as well, with the local churches in Dokkum, Friesland organizing a service in 2003 to pray to the Holy Spirit to counter such Satanic action.

Eduoard Manet

French painter Édouard Manet Sadly died 30 April 1883 in Paris After contracting gangrene, Rheumatism, syphilis and Locomotor Ataxia. He was born 23 January 1832 at his ancestral hôtel particulier (mansion) on the rue Bonaparte. His father, Auguste Manet, was a French judge who expected Édouard to pursue a career in law. However His uncle, Edmond Fournier, encouraged him to pursue painting and took young Manet to the Louvre. In 1841 he enrolled at secondary school, the Collège Rollin and in 1845, he enrolled in a special course of drawing where he met Antonin Proust, future Minister of Fine Arts and subsequent lifelong friend. in 1848 he sailed on a training vessel to Rio de Janeiro, but twice failed the examination to join the Navy. Instead From 1850 to 1856, Manet studied under the academic painter Thomas Couture. In his spare time, Manet copied the old masters in the Louvre and From 1853 to 1856, visited Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, and was influenced by the Dutch painter Frans Hals, and the Spanish artists Diego Velázquez and Francisco José de Goya.

In 1856, Manet opened a studio Where he painted The Absinthe Drinker (1858–59), beggars, singers, Gypsies, people in cafés, and bullfights. He rarely painted religious, mythological, or historical subjects; apart from Christ Mocked, now in the Art Institute of Chicago, and Christ with Angels, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Manet had a portrait of his Mother and Father and The Spanish Singer, displayed at the Salon in 1861. In 1862 he painted Music in the Tuileries, and in 1863 he painted The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l’herbe) which was exhibited at Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Rejected) and also painted Olympia, both of which caused great controversy. In 1868 he painted Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets and also became friends with impressionists Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro, Morisot also became his sister-in-law when she married his brother, Eugene in 1874. Unfortunately Manet was excluded from the International Exhibition of 1867 at the Paris Salon, so he set up his own exhibition.

In 1879 he painted a self portrait and became influenced by the Impressionists, especially Monet and Morisot and also painted two portraits of the composer Emanuel Chabrier. Among Manet’s fans were Émile Zola, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Charles Baudelaire. In 1878 he painted The Cafe Concert, which was set in the Cabaret de Reichshoffen on the Boulevard Rochechouart, and went on to paint many other cafe scenes depicting the Bohemian social life in 19th-century Paris in which people were depicted drinking beer, listening to music, flirting, reading, or waiting. Manet also visited Pere Lathuilles a restaurant on the Avenue de Clichy and painted Chez le père Lathuille (At Pere Lathuille’s). In 1873 he painted Le Bon Bock and in 1864 he painted The Races at Longchamps and Masked Ball at the Opera and his 1868 painting The Luncheon was painted in Manet’s Dining Room.

Manet also painted War subjects including View of the International Exhibition, and the Battle of the Kearsarge and Alabama (1864), the Battle of Cherbourg (1864) and The Barricade. The French intervention in Mexico also interested him and he Painted The Execution of Emperor Maximilian, 1867, an action which raised concerns regarding French foreign and domestic policy and is currently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In January 1871, Manet traveled to Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the Pyrenees and his friends added his name to the “Fédération des artistes” of the Paris Commune. In 1973 He painted The Railway, widely known as The Gare Saint-Lazare, and In 1874 painted several boating subjects which are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, His last major work, was A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère), and In 1875, he provided Lithographs for a book-length French edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”. Then in 1881,the French government awarded Manet the Légion d’honneur.

Sadly Manet contracted syphilis in his forties, for which he received no treatment. He also suffered from rheumatism. In the years before his death, he developed locomotor ataxia, a known side-effect of syphilis, which caused him considerable pain. Consequently In April 1883, his left foot was amputated because of gangrene, and he died eleven days later on 30 April 1883 in Paris and is buried in the Passy Cemetery in the city.

UNESCO International Jazz Day

International Jazz Day occurs annually on 30 April. It was organized by UNESCO to celebrate “the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people.” The Day was proclaimed during the UNESCO General Conference in November 2011. The first annual International Jazz Day was kicked off in Paris by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock. UNESCO partners with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor Herbert Jeffrey “Herbie” Hancock was born April 12, 1940. He Started his music career with Donald Byrd, he shortly thereafter joined the Miles Davis Quintet where Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and funk music. Hancock’s music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs “cross over” and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of jazz, blues, and modern classical music, with harmonic stylings much like the styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.

Hancock’s best-known compositions include “Cantaloupe Island”, “Watermelon Man” (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), “Maiden Voyage”, “Chameleon”, and the singles “I Thought It Was You” and “Rockit”. His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award, after Getz/Gilberto in 1965.

Sergio Leone

Legendary Italian film director, producer and screenwriter Sergio Leone Sadly died on 30 April 1989, of a heart attack at the age of 60. He was born 3 January 1929 and started out In film After watching his father work on film sets, and began his own career in the film industry at the age of 18 after dropping out of law studies at the university.Working in Italian cinematography, he began as an assistant to Vittorio de Sica during the movie Bicycle Thieves in 1948. Leone began writing screenplays during the 1950s, primarily for the ‘sword and sandal’ (a.k.a. ‘peplum’) historical epics, popular at the time. He also worked as an assistant director on several large-scale international productions shot at the Cinecittà Studios in Rome, notably Quo Vadis (1951) and Ben-Hur (1959), financially backed by the American studios.When director Mario Bonnard fell ill during the production of the 1959 Italian epic The Last Days of Pompeii (Gli Ultimi Giorni di Pompei), starring Steve Reeves, Leone was asked to step in and complete the film. As a result, when the time came to make his solo directorial debut with The Colossus of Rhodes (Il Colosso di Rodi, 1961), Leone was well-equipped to produce low-budget films which looked like larger budget Hollywood movies ln the early 1960s, sadly historical epics fell out of favor with audiences.

So Leone shifted his attention to a sub-genre which came to be known as the “Spaghetti Western”, owing its origin to the American Western. His film A Fistful of Dollars (Per un Pugno di Dollari, 1964) was based upon Akira Kurosawa’s Edo-era samurai adventure Yojimbo (1961). Leone’s film elicited a legal challenge from the Japanese director, though Kurosawa’s film was in turn probably based on the 1929 Dashiell Hammett novel, Red Harvest. A Fistful of Dollars was also notable for establishing Clint Eastwood as a star. Until that time Eastwood had been an American television actor with few credited film roles.The look of A Fistful of Dollars was established by its Spanish locations, which presented a violent and morally complex vision of theAmerican Old West. The film paid tribute to traditional American western films, but significantly departed from them in storyline, plot, characterization and mood. As a child the American Old West fascinated him , which carried into his adulthood and his films.Leone’s next two films – For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) – completed what has come to be known as the Man with No Name trilogy (a.k.a. the Dollars Trilogy), with each film being more financially successful and more technically accomplished than its predecessor.

The films featured innovative music scores by Ennio Morricone, who worked closely with Leone in devising the themesSergio Leone’s next film Was Once upon a time in the west, Which was shot mostly in Almería, Spain Cinecittà in Rome & Monument Valley, Utah & starred Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale. Once Upon a Time in the West emerged as a long, violent, dreamlike meditation upon the mythology of the American Old West, with many stylistic references to iconic western films. The film’s script was written by Leone and his longtime friend and collaborator Sergio Donati, from a story by Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, it was a huge hit in Europe, grossing nearly three times its $5 million budget among French audiences, and highly praised amongst North American film students. It has come to be regarded by many as Leone’s best film.

Leone’s next film Once upon a time in the West was shot mostly in Almería, Spain Cinecittà in Rome & Monument Valley, Utah & starred Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale. Once Upon a Time in the West emerged as a long, violent, dreamlike meditation upon the mythology of the American Old West, with many stylistic references to iconic western films. The film’s script was written by Leone and his longtime friend and collaborator Sergio Donati, from a story by Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, it was a huge hit in Europe, grossing nearly three times its $5 million budget among French audiences, and highly praised amongst North American film students. It has come to be regarded by many as Leone’s best film.

After Once Upon a Time in the West, Leone directed Duck, You Sucker! (Giù la Testa, 1971). Leone was intending merely to produce the film, but due to artistic differences with then-director Peter Bogdanovich, Leone was asked to direct the film instead. Duck, You Sucker! is a Mexican Revolution action drama, starring James Coburn, as an Irish revolutionary and Rod Steiger, as a Mexican bandit who is conned into becoming a revolutionary.Leone continued to produce, and on occasion, step in to reshoot scenes in other films. One of these films was My Name is Nobody(1973) by Tonino Valerii ] a comedy western film that poked fun at the spaghetti western genre. It starred Henry Fonda as an old gunslinger facing a final confrontation after the death of his brother. Terence Hill also starred in the film as the young stranger who helps Fonda leave the dying West with style.Leone’s other productions included A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe (1975, another western comedy starring Terence Hill); The Cat (Il Gatto; 1977, starring Ugo Tognazzi), and A Dangerous Toy (Il Giocattolo; 1979, starring Nino Manfredi). Leone also produced three comedies by actor/director Carlo Verdone, which were Fun Is Beautiful (Un Sacco Bello, 1980), Bianco, Rosso e Verdone(White, Red and Verdone – Verdone means “strong green” – a pun referring to the three colours of the Italian flag, the star and to director Verdone, 1981) and Troppo Forte (Great!, 1986). During this period, Leone also directed various award-winning TV commercials for European television.In 1978, he was a member of the jury at the 28th Berlin International Film Festival.

Leone turned down the opportunity to direct The Godfather, in favor of working on another gangster story he had conceived earlier. He devoted ten years to this project, based on the novel The Hoods by former mobster Harry Grey, which focused on a quartet of New York City Jewish gangsters of the 1920s and 1930s who had been friends since childhood. The four-hour finished film, Once Upon a Time in America (1984), featured Robert De Niro and James Woods. It was a meditation on another aspect of popular American mythology, the role of greed and violence and their uneasy coexistence with the meaning of ethnicity and friendship. Unfortunately Warner Bros. Edited it drastically for the American market, abandoning its flashback structure for a linear narrative. Lasting over just two hours, the recut version received much criticism and flopped. However The original version, was released in the rest of the world, and achieved major critical acclaim, with some critics hailing the film as a masterpiece.

Before his death he was part way through planning a film on the Siege of Leningrad, set in the Eastern Front during World War II. He was survived by his wife and three children.In his later years, Leone had a falling out of sorts with actor Clint Eastwood. When Leone directed Once Upon a Time in America, he commented that Robert De Niro was a real actor, unlike Eastwood. However, the two made amends and reconciled before Leone’s death. In 1992, Eastwood directed Unforgiven, a revisionist western drama for which he won an Oscar for best director, as well as Best Picture. Leone was one of the two directors whom Eastwood dedicated his award to, the other was Don Siegel who directed Eastwood in a string of movies in the 1970s, including Dirty Harry. (The film contains a dedication “To Sergio & Don” before the end credits roll.)

Willie Nelson

American musician, singer, songwriter, author, poet, actor, and activist Willie Hugh Nelson was born April 29, 1933 in Abbott, Texas. Nelson wrote his first song at age seven and joined his first band at ten. The Nelsons, who taught singing back in Arkansas, started their grandchildren in music. Nelson’s grandfather bought him a guitar when he was six, and taught him a few chords, and with his sister Bobbie, he sang gospel songs in the local church. He wrote his first song at age seven.

Nelson attended Abbott High School, where he was a halfback on the football team, guard on the basketball team and shortstop in baseball. He also raised pigs for the Future Farmers of America organization. While still at school he sang and played guitar in The Texans, a band formed by his sister’s husband, Bud Fletcher. He also earned money by singing in dance halls, taverns, and honky tonks from age 13, and also played guitar for the local band Bohemian Polka with whom, he toured locally during high school as a singer and guitar player. Nelson’s musical influences were Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Django Reinhardt, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong.

After graduating from high school in 1950, he joined the Air Force but was later discharged due to back problems. After his return, Nelson attended Baylor University for two years. In 1952, he married Martha Matthews, and from 1954 to 1956 studied agriculture at Baylor University. Nelson joined the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, but dropped out to pursue a career in music. He worked as a bouncer for a nightclub, as a partsman in an autohouse, saddle maker and again tree trimmer. He later joined Johnny Bush’s band. Nelson moved with his family to Pleasanton, Texas, where he auditioned for a disc jockey job in KBOP. The owner of the station, Dr. Ben Parker, gave Nelson the job despite his lack of experience working on radio With the equipment of the station, Nelson made his first two recordings in 1955: “The Storm Has Just Begun” and “When I’ve Sung My Last Hillbilly Song”. He recorded the tracks on used tapes, and sent the demos to the local label SARG Records. SARG rejected the recordings.

Nelson then had stints working for KDNT in Denton, Texas, KCUL and KCNC in Fort Worth, Texas, where he hosted The Western Express, taught Sunday school and he played in nightclubs. He then decided to move to San Diego. He was unable to find a job, and decided to go to Portland, Oregon, where his mother lived. Nelson tried to hitchhike, but after nobody picked him up, he slept in a ditch. He then found a nearby railroad yard and boarded a freight train that left him in Eugene. A truck driver then drove Nelson to a bus station and loaned him $10 for a ticket to reach Portland. He also worked as a disc jockey in Texas radio stations and a singer in honky-tonks. In 1956 Nelson moved to Vancouver, Washington, and was hired by KVAN in Vancouver, Washington and appeared frequently on a television show. he wrote “Family Bible” and recorded the song “Lumberjack” in 1956. He released his first record, “No Place For Me”, which included “Lumberjack” on the B-side

After his son Billy was born In 1958, he moved to Houston, Texas, where he signed a contract with D Records. He sang at the Esquire Ballroom weekly and he worked as a disk jockey. In 1960 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, Where he often spent time at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, a bar near the Grand Ole Opry frequented by the show’s stars and other singers and songwriters. There Nelson met Hank Cochran, a songwriter who worked for the publishing company Pamper Music, owned by Ray Price and Hal Smith. Cochran heard Nelson during a jam session with Buddy Emmons and Jimmy Day. He subsequently signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music which allowed him to join Ray Price’s band as a bassist. He also wrote “Funny How Time Slips Away”, “Hello Walls”, “Pretty Paper”, and “Crazy”.
Nelson signed with Liberty Records and was recording by August 1961 at Quonset Hut Studio And released “Willingly” (a duet with his soon-to-be second wife, Shirley Collie, and “Touch Me”. In 1962, he recorded his first album, …And Then I Wrote. Following this success, Nelson signed in 1964 with RCA Victor and joined the Grand Ole Opry the following year. He was one of the main figures of outlaw country, a subgenre of country music that developed in the late 1960s as a reaction to the conservative restrictions of the Nashville sound

Following hits in the late 1960s and the early 1970s, Nelson retired in 1972 and moved to Austin, Texas. The ongoing music scene of Austin motivated Nelson to return from retirement, performing frequently at the Armadillo World Headquarters. In 1973, Nelson turned to outlaw country, And recorded albums such as Shotgun Willie and Phases and Stages in 1974, including “Bloody Mary Morning.” This was a concept album about a couple’s divorce, inspired by his own experience. Side one of the record is from the viewpoint of the woman, and side two is from the viewpoint of the man. he also produced and starred in PBS’ Austin City Limits. In 1975, he switched to Columbia Records, where he recorded the critically acclaimed and popular album Red Headed Stranger, which included a cover of Fred Rose’s 1945 song “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”. In 1975, Willie Nelson collaborated With Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser to record another outlaw country album, Wanted! The Outlaws. Next Nelson released The Sound in Your Mind and his first gospel album Troublemaker. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie (1973), combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978), made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music.

In the summer of 1977, Nelson discovered that Reshen had been filing tax extensions and not paying the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Nelson was arrested. The charges were later dropped, when Reshen’s assistant, Mark Rothbaum stepped in and took the charges. Rothbaum was sentenced to serve time in jail. Impressed by his attitude, Nelson fired Reshen and hired Rothbaum as his manager. In 1978, Nelson released two more platinum albums. One, Waylon & Willie, was a collaboration with Jennings that included “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”, a hit single written and performed by Ed Bruce. Nelson released more hit songs during the late 1970s, including “Good Hearted Woman”, “Remember Me”,”If You’ve Got the Money I’ve Got the Time”, and “Uncloudy Day”.

During the 1980’s, while creating hit albums like Honeysuckle Rose and recording hit songs like “Midnight Rider”, “On the Road Again”, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” (with Julio Iglesias) and “Pancho and Lefty”, with Merle Haggard.
To All the Girls I’ve Loved before won three awards during the 25th Annual Grammy Awards: Song of the Year, Best Country Song and Best Male Country Vocal Performance. The single was certified platinum; while Honeysuckle Rose was certified quadruple-platinum, and later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008. Two collaborations with Waylon Jennings were also released;WWII in 1982, and Take it to the Limit,in 1983. He also joined the country supergroup The Highwaymen, along with fellow singers Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson.

Willie Nelson also became more involved with charity work, such as singing on We are the World in 1984. In 1985, Nelson had another success with Half Nelson, a compilation album of duets with Ray Charles and Neil Young. In 1980, Nelson performed on the south lawn of the White House. The concert of September 13 featured First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Nelson in a duet of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother”. Nelson moved to Austin, Texas, where the burgeoning hippie music scene (see Armadillo World Headquarters) rejuvenated the singer. His popularity in Austin soared as he played his own brand of country music marked by country, folk and jazz influences. he performed at the Dripping Springs Reunion, the concept of this festival inspired Nelson to create the Fourth of July Picnic.

In 1990, Nelson’s assets were seized by the Internal Revenue Service, which claimed that he owed US$32 million. The difficulty of paying his outstanding debt was aggravated by weak investments he had made during the 1980s. In 1992, Nelson released The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?; the profits of the double album—destined to the IRS—and the auction of Nelson’s assets cleared his debt. During the 1990s and 2000s, Nelson continued touring extensively, and released albums every year including 1998’s Teatro and performed and recorded with other acts including Phish, Johnny Cash, and Toby Keith on the song, “Beer for My Horses”, which won an award for “Best Video” at the 2004 Academy of Country Music Awards. A USA Network television special celebrated Nelson’s 70th birthday, and Nelson released The Essential Willie Nelson as part of the celebration. Nelson also appeared on Ringo Starr’s 2003 album, Ringo Rama, as a guest vocal on “Write One for Me”.

Nelson was featured on the album True Love by Toots and the Maytals, which won the Grammy Award in 2004 for Best Reggae Album. Which also featured Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Trey Anastasio, Gwen Stefani/No Doubt, Ben Harper, Bonnie Raitt, Manu Chao, the Roots, Ryan Adams, Keith Richards, Toots Hibbert, Paul Douglas, Jackie Jackson, Ken Boothe, and The Skatalites. In 2005, Nelson released a reggae album entitled “Countryman” featuring Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals on the song “I’m a Worried Man”. In 2005 Nelson headlined the Tsunami Relief Austin to Asia concert to benefit the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. A live performance of the Johnny Cash song “Busted” with Ray Charles was released on Charles’ duets album Genius & Friends. In 2007 Willie Nelson performed with jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis at the Lincoln Center, which was released as the live album Two Men with the Blues in 2008, Nelson also recorded the album Moment of Forever.

Nelson also duetted with Kenny Chesney on his album “That Lucky Old Sun”. In 2009 Nelson and Marsalis joined with Norah Jones in a tribute concert to Ray Charles, released as “Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles”. In 2010, Nelson released Country Music, a compilation of standards produced by T-Bone Burnett, which was nominated for Best Americana Album at the 2011 Grammy Awards. In 2011 Nelson participated in the concert Kokua For Japan, a fund raising event for the victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In 2012 Nelson released the album Heroes featuring his sons Lukas and Micah of the band Insects vs Robots, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Billy Joe Shaver and Sheryl Crow. In 2013 he released To All the Girls…, a collection of duets with all female partners, featured among others Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Mavis Staples, Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. In 2014 he released the album Band of Brothers, and duetted with Rhonda Vincent on the song, “Only Me”. He also collaborated with Haggard Django and Jimmie. In 2017 Nelson released the album God’s Problem Child.

Nelson has also acted in over 30 films. Nelson’s acting debut was in the 1979 film, The Electric Horseman, followed by appearances in Honeysuckle Rose, Thief, and Barbarosa. He played the role of Red Loon in Coming Out of the Ice in 1982 and starred in Songwriter two years later. He portrayed the lead role in the 1986 film version of his album Red Headed Stranger.  Other movies that Nelson acted in include Wag the Dog, Gone Fishin’ (as Billy ‘Catch’ Pooler), the 1986 television movie Stagecoach (with Johnny Cash), Half Baked, Beerfest, The Dukes of Hazzard, Surfer, Dude and Swing Vote.He has also made guest appearances on Miami Vice (1986’s “El Viejo” episode), Delta, Nash Bridges, The Simpsons, Monk, Adventures in Wonderland, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, King of the Hill, The Colbert Report, Swing Vote and Space Ghost Coast to Coast. He also makes a cameo appearance in Woody Harrelson’s live film, Lost in London and appeared alongside Merle Haggard in the documentary The American Epic Sessions directed by Bernard MacMahon Performing, “The Only Man Wilder Than Me”,and Bob Wills’ classic “Old Fashioned Love

In 1988 Willie Nelson published his first book, Willie: An Autobiography, was published. The Facts of Life: And Other Dirty Jokes, a personal recollection of tour and musical stories from his career, combined with song lyrics, followed in 2002 In 2005 he co-authored Farm Aid: A Song for America, a commemorative book about the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of Farm Aid. His third book, co-authored with long-time friend Turk Pipkin, The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart, was published in 2006. In 2007 he published a book advocating the use of bio-diesel and the reduction of gas emissions, On The Clean Road Again: Biodiesel and The Future of the Family Farm. His next book, A Tale Out of Luck, was published in 2008 and co-authored by Mike Blakely. In 2012 Nelson released a new autobiography entitled, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road. Which contained further biographical details, as well as family pictures and stories about Nelson’s political views, as well as his advocation for marijuana, plus artwork by his Son Micah. In 2015, a second Nelson autobiography was published entitled It’s a Long Story: My Life co-authored with David Ritz.

In 2002, Nelson became the official spokesman of the Texas Roadhouse, a chain of steakhouses and In 2008, Nelson reopened Willie’s Place, a truck stop in Carl’s Corner, Texas. In 2010, Nelson founded with the collaboration of producers and filmmakers Luck Films, a company dedicated to produce feature films, documentaries and concerts. In 2011 he created Willie’s Roadhouse, as a result of the merger of his two other channels The Roadhouse and Willie’s Place. In 2014 Nelson hosted the thirteen-episode television series Inside Arlyn, shot at Arlyn Studio in Austin, Texas Featuring artists being interviewed by Nelson and Dan Rather, followed by a performance.

Nelson is a major liberal activist and the co-chair of the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), which favours the legalization of marijuana. Following the legalization of marijuana in different states, Nelson announced in 2015 the establishment of his own marijuana brand, Willie’s Reserve. On the environmental front, Nelson owns the bio-diesel brand Willie Nelson Biodiesel, which is made from vegetable oil. Nelson is also the honorary chairman of the Advisory Board of the Texas Music Project, the official music charity of the state of Texas. Nelson has also co-authored several books, and has been involved in activism for the use of biofuels

Alfred Hitchcock

Often “referred to as the “Master of Suspense”, the Prolific British film director and Producer, Alfred Hitchcock KBE, sadly passed away 29 April 1980. He was born 13 August 1899 in Leytonstone, London and during a career spanning more than half a century, He pioneered many elements of the suspense and psychological thriller genres. He had a successful career in British cinema with both silent films and early talkies and became renowned as England’s best director.

During his career Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films, many of them psychological thrillers and became a highly visible public figure through interviews, movie trailers, cameo appearances in his own films, And he also hosted the television programme Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1965) and Created a recognisable directorial style. Hitchcock’s stylistic trademarks include the use of camera movement that mimics a person’s gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. In addition, he framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative forms of film editing. His work often features fugitives on the run alongside “icy blonde” female characters.

Among his most famous films are Rebecca, North By Northwest, Notorious, The Birds, Psycho, Jamaica Inn, Rear Window, Rope, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo and Marnie. Hitchcock also developed many pioneering techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres during which he created a distinctive and recognisable directorial style. He pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a person’s gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. He framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative film editing. His stories frequently feature fugitives on the run from the law alongside “icy blonde” female characters. Many of Hitchcock’s films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime, although many of the mysteries function as decoys meant only to serve thematic elements in the film and the extremely complex psychological examinations of the characters. Hitchcock’s films also borrow many themes from psychoanalysis and feature strong sexual undertones. Through his cameo appearances in his own films, interviews, film trailers, and the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he became a cultural icon.

Alfred Hitchcock has left a long lasting legacy in the form of some fantastic films including Rebecca, Notorious, Saboteur, Spellbound, Psycho, Rope, The Birds, North by Northwest, Marnie, Vertigo, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Frenzy. Hitchcock also received his knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II In the 1980 New Year Honours and He also came first in a 2007 poll of film critics in The Daily Telegraph, which said of him: “Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands, Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his characters and from us) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else.” The magazine MovieMaker also described him as the most influential filmmaker of all time, and he is widely regarded as one of cinema’s most significant artists. Many of his films still remain popular today and are often shown on television.