Leo Tolstoy

Russian writer Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Никола́евич Толто Was Born 9 September [O.S. 28 August] 1828 He primarily wrote novels and short stories. Tolstoy was a master of realistic fiction and is widely considered one of the world’s greatest novelists.Tolstoy first achieved literary acclaim in his 20s for hisSevastopol Sketches (1855), based on his experiences in the Crimean War, followed by the publication of a semi-autobiographical trilogy of novels, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth (1855-1858). His fiction output also includes two additional novels, dozens of short stories, and several famous novellas, including The Death of Ivan Ilych, Family Happiness andHadji Murad. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays.

He is best known for two long novels, War and Peace(1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). War and Peace chronicles the history of the French invasion of Russia and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society through the stories of five Russian aristocratic families. Portions of an earlier version, titled The Year 1805, were serialized in The Russian Messenger from 1865 to 1867. The novel was first published in its entirety in 1869.

Anna Karenina is the tragic story of a married aristocrat/socialite and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. The story starts when she arrives in the midst of a family broken up by her brother’s unbridled womanizing. Then a bachelor, Vronsky asks her to leave her husband Karenin, a senior government official and marry him instead, however she is vulnerable to the pressures of Russian social norms, the moral laws of the Russian Orthodox Church, her own insecurities, and Karenin’s indecision. Although Vronsky and Anna go to Italy, where they can be together, they have trouble making friends. Back in Russia, she is shunned, becoming further isolated and anxious, while Vronsky pursues his social life. Despite Vronsky’s reassurances, she grows increasingly possessive and paranoid about his imagined infidelity, fearing loss of control.

A parallel story within the novel is that of Konstantin Lëvin or Ljovin, a wealthy country landowner who wants to marry Princess Kitty, sister to Dolly and sister-in-law to Anna’s brother Oblonsky. Konstantin has to propose twice before Kitty accepts. The novel details Konstantin’s difficulties managing his estate, his eventual marriage, and his struggle to accept the Christian faith, until the birth of his first child. Anna Karenina is also an evaluation of the feudal system that existed in Russia at the time—politics, not only in the Russian government but also at the level of the individual characters and families, religion, morality, gender and social class.

Tolstoy is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer.His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho-pacifist.

Tolstoy sadly passed away 29 November 1910 however His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth-century figures as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr and his epic sweeping novels such as Anna Kerenina and War and Peace are still rightly regarded as classics and have also been adapted for film and television many times

Otis Redding

American singer and songwriter, record producer, arranger and talent scout Otis Ray Redding, Jr. was Born September 9, 1941 . He is considered one of the greatest singers in popular music and a major artist in soul music and rhythm and blues. His singing style has been influential among the soul artists of 1960s and helped exemplify the Stax Sound. After appearing at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, he wrote and recorded “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” with Steve Cropper.

Born and raised in Georgia, United States, ‘Redding left school at age 15 to support his family by working with Little Richard’s backing band, the Upsetters and by performing at talent shows for prize money. In 1958, he joined Johnny Jenkins’ band, the Pinetoppers, and toured the Southern United States as driver and musician. An unscheduled appearance on a Stax recording session led to a contract and his first single, “These Arms of Mine”, in 1962. Stax released Redding’s debut album, Pain in My Heart, two years later. Initially popular mainly with African Americans, Redding later reached the broader American popular music audience. He and his group first played small gigs in the South, then played for the first time in the western United States, at the Whisky a Go Go. Redding later performed in Paris, London and other European cities. Sadly though Otis Redding was tragically killed in a plane crash on December 10 1967.

Following Redding’s tragic death (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay became the first posthumous number-one record on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts . The Dock of the Bay also became the first posthumous album to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart. His premature death devastated Stax, already on the verge of bankruptcy. The label soon discovered that Atlantic Records owned the rights to Redding’s entire catalog. Redding received many posthumous accolades, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He received the honorific “King of Soul”. In addition to “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” “Respect” and “Try a Little Tenderness” are among his most well-known songs.

Dave Stewart (Eurythmics)

Best known for his work with Eurythmics the English musician, songwriter and record producer David Allan “Dave” Stewart was born 9 September 1952 in Sunderland, England. In 1971, whilst still in his teens, he secured a record deal as part of folk-rock band Longdancer. He also collaborated with Brian Harrison to produce an EP recording two songs (Girl and Green She Said) from a school musical production written by teacher Dick Bradshaw, one traditional number (A Blacksmith Courted Me) and a song written by Dave and Brian (Deep December). In late 1976, he was introduced to Annie Lennox by Paul Jacobs. Soon, Stewart and Lennox became romantically involved. They teamed up with Sunderland musician Peet Coombes, releasing the single The Catch. The band then developed into The Tourists who enjoyed modest success, including a hit in 1979 with a cover of the Dusty Springfield hit “I Only Want to Be with You”. However the Tourists split up in 1980, as did Stewart and Lennox, though the pair continued to work together. They formed a new musical project named Eurythmics, and went on to be one of the most successful pop-rock duos of all time. After a string of hit singles and albums, they split in 1990, but reunited in 1999 for the album Peace and another world tour. Lennox and Stewart worked together again in 2005, recording two new tracks for the greatest hits package Ultimate Collection, released to coincide with Eurythmics’ 25th anniversary.

After the Eurythmics dissolved in 1990, Stewart moved to France and immediately released an album with his new band The Spiritual Cowboys followed by A second album in 1991.In 1992, Stewart collaborated with singer Terry Hall (formerly of The Specials, The Fun Boy Three and The Colourfield) on the projectVegas. The duo released one self-titled album but this was commercially unsuccessful, though one of the singles from the album (“Possessed”) made the UK Top 40.In 1993, Stewart appeared in an Apple Inc. advertisement for the Power Macintosh in which he riffed on the word “power”. He also had a small cameo as a computer hacker in the 1995 film Hackers.In 1994, Stewart released a solo album, Greetings from the Gutter. The album was not a commercial success, though Stewart scored a minor UK hit with the single “Heart Of Stone” which reached number 36. He then released another album, Sly-Fi, first on the internet.In 1997, Stewart released an album Come Alive with the actress and singer Rhona Mitra. In 1999, he produced an second album,Female Icon.In November 2002, Stewart worked with former South African president Nelson Mandela. Stewart came up with the idea of turning Mandela’s prison number into a telephone number then wrote and recorded songs with Paul McCartney, Bono and Edge which you could only hear if you dialled this number.

He then began organising the 46664 campaign and series of concerts in the fight against HIV/AIDS in South Africa and in 2007, Stewart unveiled an initiative called “Greenpeace Works”, which he labelled as a “think tank” to dream up ways celebrities and Greenpeace can work together on green issues. On the project, The Dave Stewart Songbook, he wrote a large coffee table size book full of stories and photographs and also re-recorded 21 hit songs which have been co-written or co-produced by him during the past decades and were originally released by artists such as Jon Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Bob Geldof, Shakespears Sister, No Doubt, Bryan Ferry, Tom Petty and Eurythmics. Also included is the song “American Prayer” written by Stewart with Bono of U2. In 2008 Stewart released a new solo track, Let’s Do It Again, and in 2010, Stewart recorded his first solo album of new material since 1998’s Sly-Fi. Entitled The Blackbird Diaries, it was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, and includes duets with Stevie Nicks, Martina McBride, Colbie Caillat and The Secret Sisters. Stewart has made a film of the making of the album and also filmed a live concert in Nashville at The Belcourt Theatre on 9 December 2010

Stewart produced or co-produced all of Eurythmics’ albums and, once the band became established, he also became a producer of other artists. In 1985, as well as producing Eurythmics’ hit album Be Yourself Tonight, Stewart co-produced the album Southern Accents for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, as well as co-writing several songs for the album including the hit “Don’t Come Around Here No More”. The same year, Stewart also produced the debut solo album by Feargal Sharkey, which included the UK number one hit “A Good Heart”. Due to these accomplishments, Stewart won “Best Producer” at the 1986 BRIT Awards in London.Stewart would go on to write and produce for a variety of other artists throughout the years. In 1986, he collaborated with Bob Geldof on tracks for his debut solo album Deep in the Heart of Nowhere. Working together, the duo named themselves “The Brothers of Doom”. Stewart also co-wrote and co-produced several tracks for Mick Jagger’s 1987 album Primitive Cool.

He co-wrote the Shakespears Sister hit single “Stay”. Along with his then-wife, Siobhan Fahey, Under the pseudonym “Jean Guiot”), as well as several other tracks for their second and third albums .In 1996, Stewart produced the debut album by Alisha’s Attic, Alisha Rules the World.In 1997, Stewart co-produced the album Destination Anywhere for Jon Bon Jovi, as well as co-writing several tracks.Stewart collaborated with Bryan Ferry on his 2002 album Frantic, co-writing several tracks and co-producing one of them. He also co-wrote “Friend or Foe” for the Russian pop duo t.A.T.u., which is on their 2005 album Dangerous and Moving .In 2008, Stewart was brought in by Ringo Starr to produce his album Liverpool 8, after Starr dismissed the album’s original producer, Mark Hudson. Hudson’s work on some tracks earned both Stewart and Hudson credits as co-producers (along with Starr himself) .In 2010, Stewart announced on his Twitter account he was co-writing and producing the new studio album by Stevie Nicks. The album, entitled In Your Dreams, was co-produced by Glen Ballard and released in May 2011. In 2011, Stewart produced an album for Joss Stone and released a new song called “Leap of faith” in collaboration with Greek superstar Anna Vissi. Stewart also produced Fire EP for artist Orianthi. He has also worked occasionally with American ska-punk band No Doubt, co-writing “Underneath It All” for their 2001 release Rock Steady and “Sparkle” for their 2012 release Push and Shove. In 2011 Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones formed a new supergroup called Super Heavy which includes Dave Stewart, Joss Stone, Damian Marley, and A.R. Rahman. In 2012 Stewart released his new album The Ringmaster..

He has also written a few film scores and co-wrote the theme song for the 1986 comedy Ruthless People with Mick Jagger and Daryl Hall. Stewart took a greater involvement in the film industry in 1989 by writing and producing the soundtrack Lily Was Here for the Dutch film De Kassière. The single of the same name, featuring saxophone player Candy Dulfer, topped the Dutch charts for five weeks. The single also reached the UK Top 10 and peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1990.Though he had previously directed music videos, he made his feature film directorial debut in 2000 with Honest, a black comedy set in London in the late 1960s featuring three members of the British girl group All Saints. Stewart also performed the song Everybody, All Over The World (Join The Celebration) for the 2004 remake of the film Around the World in 80 Days. Stewart, in conjunction with his brother John J. Stewart of Oil Factory Productions, and in collaboration with music critic and author Robert Palmer and documentary filmmaker Robert Mugge made a documentary dealing with Delta Blues music. Deep Blues: A Musical Pilgrimage to the Crossroads, which was filmed in Memphis, Tennessee and various north Mississippi counties. Stewart was also the main interviewer for the HBO series Off the Record, which highlighted songwriting and features prominent musicians. The pilot aired on HBO on 24 November 2006 and featured Bono and The Edge from U2. He collaborated with Mick Jagger to record songs which appear on the soundtrack to the movie Alfie, released in 2004. The soundtrack includes the critically acclaimed song “Old Habits Die Hard”, which won a Golden Globe award for Best Original Song from a Motion Picture.In 2012, together with Rosemary Reed, Stewart was the executive co-producer of Living The Life series on Sky Arts and recorded an exclusive soundtrack for the new episodes. stewart is the co-creator and executive producer of the 2012 ABC sitcom Malibu Country starring Reba McEntire.

Henri Toulouse Lautrec

Post impressionist French painter, printmaker, draughtsman and illustrator Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa Sadly passed away 9 September 1901 at the age of 36 from complications due to alcoholism and syphilis. He was born 24 November 1864. Henri’s parents, the Comte and Comtesse, were first cousins (Henri’s two grandmothers were sisters) and unfortunately Henri suffered from congenital health conditions sometimes attributed to a family history of inbreeding. At the age of 13 Henri fractured his right thigh bone and, at 14, the left. The breaks did not heal properly. Modern physicians attribute this to an unknown genetic disorder, possibly pycnodysostosis (also sometimes known as Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome), or a variant disorder along the lines of osteopetrosis, achondroplasia, or osteogenesis imperfecta. Rickets aggravated with praecox virilism has also been suggested. His legs ceased to grow, so that as an adult he was extremely short. He had developed an adult-sized torso, while retaining his child-sized legs. He is reported to have had hypertrophied genitals.

Physically unable to participate in many activities Toulouse-Lautrec immersed himself in art. He became an important Post-Impressionistpainter, art nouveau illustrator, and lithographer, and recorded in his works many details of the late-19th-century bohemian lifestyle in Paris. Toulouse-Lautrec contributed a number of illustrations to the magazine Le Rire during the mid-1890s.After failing college entrance exams, Henri passed at his second attempt and completed his studies. During a stay in Nice his progress in painting and drawing impressed Princeteau, who persuaded his parents to let him return to Paris and study under the acclaimed portrait painter Léon Bonnat. Henri’s mother had high ambitions and, with the aim of Henri becoming a fashionable and respected painter, used the family influence to get him into Bonnat’s studio.Toulouse-Lautrec was drawn to Montmartre, the area of Paris famous for its bohemian lifestyle and the haunt of artists, writers, and philosophers. Studying with Bonnat placed Henri in the heart of Montmartre, an area he rarely left over the next 20 years.

After Bonnat took a new job, Henri moved to the studio of Fernand Cormon in 1882 and studied for a further five years and established the group of friends he kept for the rest of his life. At this time he met Émile Bernard and Van Gogh. Cormon, whose instruction was more relaxed than Bonnat’s, allowed his pupils to roam Paris, looking for subjects to paint. In this period Toulouse-Lautrec had his first encounter with a prostitute (reputedly sponsored by his friends), which led him to paint his first painting of prostitutes in Montmartre, a woman rumoured to be called Marie-Charlotte.La Toilette. in 1887 he participated in an exposition in Toulouse using the pseudonym “Tréclau”, an anagram of the family name ‘Lautrec’. He later exhibited in Paris with Van Gogh and Louis Anquetin. The Belgian critic Octave Maus invited him to present eleven pieces at the Vingt (the Twenties) exhibition in Brussels in February. Vincent van Gogh’s brother, Theo bought ‘Poudre de Riz’ (Rice Powder) for 150 francs for the Goupil & Ciegallery.

From 1889 until 1894, Henri took part in the “Independent Artists’ Salon” on a regular basis. He made several landscapes of Montmartre, painting a series of pleasant plein-air paintings of Carmen Gaudin, the red-head model who appears in The Laundress (1888) in the garden of Monsieur Pere Foret.Toulouse-Lautrec was also commissioned to produce a series of posters for the Moulin Rouge. Other artists looked down on the work, but Henri was so aristocratic he did not care. The cabaret reserved a seat for him and displayed his paintings. Among the well-known works that he painted for the Moulin Rouge and other Parisian nightclubs are depictions of the singer Yvette Guilbert; the dancer Louise Weber, known as the outrageousLa Goulue (“The Glutton”), who created the “French Can-Can”; and the much more subtle dancer Jane Avrill. Toulouse-Lautrec also travelled to London. Making posters in London led him to making the ‘Confetti’ poster, and the bicycle advert ‘La Chaîne Simpson’.While in London he met and befriended Oscar Wilde. When Wilde faced imprisonment in Britain, Henri was a very vocal supporter of Wilde. Toulouse-Lautrec’s portrait of Wilde was painted the same year as Wilde’s trial.

Throughout his career, Toulouse-Lautrec created 737 canvases, 275 watercolours, 363 prints and posters, 5,084 drawings, some ceramic and stained glass work, and an unknown number of lost works. His debt to the Impressionists, in particular the more figurative painters Manet and Degas, is apparent. His style was influenced by the classical Japanese woodprints which became popular in art circles in Paris. In his works can be seen parallels to Manet’s detached barmaid at A Bar at the Folies-Bergère and the behind-the-scenes ballet dancers of Degas. He excelled at capturing people in their working environment, with the colour and the movement of the gaudy night-life present but the glamour stripped away. He was masterly at capturing crowd scenes in which the figures are highly individualized. At the time that they were painted, the individual figures in his larger paintings could be identified by silhouette alone, and the names of many of these characters have been recorded. His treatment of his subject matter, whether as portraits, scenes of Parisian night-life, or intimate studies, has been described as both sympathetic and dispassionate.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s painting style is highly linear and gives great emphasis to contour. He often applied the paint in long, thin brushstrokes which would often leave much of the board on which they are painted showing through. Many of his works may best be described as drawings in coloured paint. Due to his illness Lautrec was rather short and was mocked for his short stature and physical appearance, which led him to drown his sorrows in alcohol.At first this was beer and wine, but his tastes expanded. He was one of the notable Parisians who enjoyed American-style cocktails, France being a nation of wine purists. He had parties at his house on Friday nights and forced his guests to try them. The invention of the cocktail “Earthquake” or Tremblement de Terre is attributed to Toulouse-Lautrec: a potent mixture containing half absinthe and half cognac (in a wine goblet, 3 parts Absinthe and 3 parts Cognac, sometimes served with ice cubes or shaken in a cocktail shaker filled with ice).In 1893 Lautrec’s alcoholism began to take its toll, and as those around him realized the seriousness of his condition there were rumours of a syphilis infection. In 1899 his mother and some concerned friends had him briefly institutionalised. He even had a cane that hid alcohol so that a drink was always available.

. His immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 1800s yielded a collection of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern and sometimes decadent life of those times. Toulouse-Lautrec – along with Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin – is among the most well-known painters of the Post-Impressionist period. In a 2005 auction at Christie’s auction house, a new record was set when La blanchisseuse, an early painting of a young laundress, sold for $22.4 million U.S. Toulouse Lautrec was placed in a sanatorium shortly before his death and died at the family estate in Malromé He is buried in Verdelais, Gironde, a few kilometres from the Château Malromé, where he died. After His death, his mother, the Comtesse Adèle Toulouse-Lautrec, and Maurice Joyant, his art dealer, promoted his art. His mother contributed funds for a museum to be created in Albi, his birthplace, to house his works. The Toulouse-Lautrec Museum owns the world’s largest collection of works by the painter.