When singer-songwriter Christopher Cross unveiled his self-titled debut album in 1980, little did he know the impact it would have. With hits like “Ride Like The Wind,” “Sailing,” and “Never Be The Same,” the album went on to win five Grammy awards in 1981, including earning Cross the coveted Best New Artist and Album of The Year awards. A year later, Cross followed that success with an Academy Award win for Best Original Song with “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do),” from the movie, “Arthur.”
In the years since, Cross has released more than a dozen acclaimed albums, from 1983’s “Another Page” and hits like “All Right,” and “Think of Laura,” to recent albums like 2018’s “Take Me As I Am” and a limited-edition box set retrospective aptly titled “The Complete Works,” which celebrates his 40th anniversary as a recording artist.
On Tuesday, Cross will bring his signature sound and legacy of carefully crafted songs to an intimate performance at the State Theatre in Easton. Joining Cross that evening will be renowned Moody Blues guitarist and lead vocalist, Justin Hayward, who will be performing a selection of his own classic hits.
I recently spoke with Cross about his upcoming performance and more in this new interview:
Q. What can fans expect during your performance at The State Theatre?
Christopher Cross: I’m a singer-songwriter so for me it’s all about the songs and playing them for the fans. One thing about the show is that there are no tracks. I have an amazing group of musicians with me who are jazz trained and very high-level players and singers. It’s a sophisticated, high-production show as far as the music goes. I’ll be playing most of the first and second album and the hits that people know. I’ve made 12 albums over the years so I’ll also be playing selections from the other albums as well. This is our first time out this year and we’re really excited.
You can read the rest of my Morning Call interview with Christopher Cross by Clicking Here!
Over the course of his nearly 50-year career, Mandy Patinkin has established himself as one of the legends of stage and screen. His accolades include a Tony Award win for his debut performance as Che in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita,” as well as an Emmy for his role on the CBS series, “Chicago Hope.” Patinkin also spent eight seasons in the role of CIA agent Saul Berenson on Showtime’s acclaimed series, “Homeland.”
On Saturday, the self-described mailman storyteller, along with pianist Andy Ben-David, will take to the intimate stage of The State Theatre in Easton, to perform Patinkin’s latest concert experience, “Being Alive.” A show Patin
kin describes as a celebration of living, learning and loving.
I recently spoke with Mandy Patinkin about his upcoming performance and more in this exclusive new interview.
Q: How did your new concert experience, “Being Alive,” come about?
Patinkin: I had a previous concert called “Diaries” that I did before the pandemic. Times were a little dark then and, although I loved it, it was a bit of a dark concert. When we were coming out of the pandemic and deciding to get back on the road I said, “I need a concert that makes me and my audience feel happy.” So I went through 13 hours of archival material that I had in my repertoire over the years and we put together a happy, fun evening. I called it “Being Alive” because that’s the great privilege of being 70 years old and still waking up every morning. To say nothing of the fact that I get to do what I love and have fun.
Since beginning her artistic journey in watercolor, self-taught artist Maria Zinca has created an abstract world that’s both visually dreamy and soothingly surreal. The artist’s strength comes from her innate ability to draw the viewer’s attention to a pre-determined focal point location through the use of color, lines, objects and reflection.
Zinca’s dynamic use of angles and ubiquitous vision of rainy day and night scenes of her bustling Bucharest city tastefully captures the feel, essence, and energy of the streets.
Zinca continues to challenge herself with every painting she does and believes the type of materials you use is crucial in allowing you to ignore the timing and struggles with the watercolor medium itself, and focus more on putting the vision into the finished painting.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Maria Zinca about her art and career in this exclusive new interview.
How did your artistic journey begin?
Maria Zinca:I don’t know exactly when but I’ve liked to draw ever since I was a little child. I’m a self-taught artist who was born with a need to paint. At some point, when I was between twenty and thirty years old, I started decorating my house and was looking for pictures or paintings to fill up my walls. I wasn’t painting much during that time and started looking for ideas on places like Pinterest. I saw a few watercolors and thought, I can do this myself.
I started painting but was using cheap paper and everything was a mess. That’s when I started seeing what other people were doing with watercolor and knew I had to learn more. I started getting better quality paper, brushes, and pigments with the ambition of painting more and more.
How did you overcome challenges and struggles in those early paintings?
Zinca: I still struggle at times with not being able to do exactly what I want. When I started out, I would struggle with pigments, because I used cheap paints. When the painting dried, the colors were not very saturated, so I’d put another layer and then another layer. The paper was bad and didn’t help me. That’s when you get a feeling that you’re not good and think, I won’t do this again, but then tomorrow you’ll be back to paint another one. It’s a carousel of being on and off.
How would you describe your style?
Zinca:I like abstract paintings and am always trying to get away from reality as much as I can. To build a painting that doesn’t look like a photo. You can always take a photo, print it and then put it on your wall. With painting, you can go into a different reality you can’t mimic in other mediums. I want the viewer to be able to see the car, the building, or the man walking the street, but I don’t want to paint the entire car window or the detail on the man’s face. I want the feel and energy of the street. That’s what I try to put in my paintings.
What’s your creative process like? Where do you draw your inspiration?
Zinca: I like to take walks and when I’m in the street, I feel all this light, people and life around me. I try to express that in my paintings. I’m always looking for the mood, feeling and story from the street. I like to take a lot of pictures of my city and sometimes I’ll watch YouTube videos of someone walking down a city street with a camera for two hours on a rainy day. I’ll watch and then screen shot an image of everything I like. Most of the work is made even before I even start painting. I spend a lot of time preparing by thinking about composition, focus points, colors, and mood. I use a tablet with the Procreate app and draw what I visualize. When I have the sketch on my tablet as close as I visualize, I start painting. But I don’t copy an exact sketch of the image. Sometimes a painting asks for itself what needs to be done.
What do you think is the most challenging part about painting in watercolor?
Zinca: With watercolor, you have to express everything in that hour and second from when you pick up the brush. Sometimes I’ll be tired when I come into the shop and that can be seen in the painting. Watercolor sees your state of mind and energy when you’re painting. I love that challenge.
What are the keys to creating a great watercolor painting?
Zinca: There are a lot: The focus point, the message and concept of the painting. You have to tell a story and not just paint a pretty painting. Make the painting interesting using different methods like dry brushing and wet on wet. Having one part of the painting where it’s evenly blended and another part that’s very harsh. Build interest with color, composition, and different techniques to make the viewer go to the focus point. When I’m sketching, I think about all of that. Guiding the viewer to the focal point with color, composition, and technique.
What’s the best bit of advice you can give to an aspiring watercolorist?
Zinca: The most important thing is to paint every day and not give up. Just like exercise, if you paint every day, you’ll get better. Get used to the medium and brushes. Know your pigments and paper and get rid of the unknown element. It’s like when you’re in a car and you just focus on the drive. Know your materials so well that you don’t have to struggle and can focus only on painting. You also have to study. Even if you didn’t go to art school, look at books on composition and learn from others.
Are there any projects you’re currently working on?
Zinca: I do have other activities I do. I have a tattoo workshop and a gallery. I’m working on exhibitions and trying to help other artists here in Romania. I’ve also started focusing on making large portraits in watercolor. It’s very challenging. This is the next thing I’m going to do.