Architects for Change

Global Architecture Star Zaha Hadid: BBC Video plus my column for e-architect

++++ My column for e-architect begins:

Joel Solkoff’s Column – Volume II, No. 2

Writing on architects plus their role in the imminent global Baby Boom housing crisis

Zaha Hadid’s Miami compared to my life in rural “Rust Belt” Pennsylvania

“Miami has long been the economic and commercial capital of Latin America, both English and Spanish are commonly understood and it has been the place where many Latinos could be sure their money and their persons were safe from government takeover.”

The Almanac of American Politics by Michael Barone and Chuck McCutcheon

In 2016 Zaha Hadid will be instrumental in the revitalization of Downtown Miami. In four years, Zaha Hadid’s design for a residential high-rise in the financial district of Miami overlooking scenic Biscayne Bay will be completed. Currently, the design is presented to the public and potential buyers of condominiums in the form of an elaborately sophisticated laser-based imaging system that produces photographic images such as this one of Zaha Hadid’s One Thousand Museum project.

To see photographs and read all, please go to:

Caution: Readers may experience whiplash as the column goes back and forth from the luxury of Downtown Miami to the misery of Central, PA.

Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro, a Day of Madness,” Cherubino overture on the delight of love

Cherubino is a valet to the evil Count.

The Count is trying to assert his “right” to sleep with the bride before her wedding day.

First there is a scene in which the groom is evaluating the bed on which he will deflower his bride.


“Cherubino arrives…describing his emerging infatuation with all women, particularly with his “beautiful godmother” the Countess (aria: Non so più cosa son – “I don’t know anymore what I am”), asks for Susanna’s aid with the Count.

Wikipedia continues: “It seems the Count is angry with Cherubino’s amorous ways, having discovered him with the gardener’s daughter, Barbarina, and plans to punish him.

“Cherubino wants Susanna to ask the Countess to intercede on his behalf. ”


Here is the English version of the aria , courtesy of You Tube:

You who know what love is,
Ladies, see if I have it in my heart.

I’ll tell you what I’m feeling,
It’s new for me, and I understand nothing.

I have a feeling, full of desire,
Which is by turns delightful and miserable.

I freeze and then feel my soul go up in flames,
Then in a moment I turn to ice.

I’m searching for affection outside of myself,
I don’t know how to hold it, nor even what it is!

I sigh and lament without wanting to,
I twitter and tremble without knowing why,
I find peace neither night nor day,
But still I rather enjoy languishing this way.

You who know what love is,
Ladies, see if I have it in my heart.

Here is the aria performed by Glyndebourne Festival Opera 1973. Frederica von Stade sings the role of Cherubino.

Here is the first page of the aria Mozart wrote scoring it for voices and instruments.


The manuscript is part of the collection of the Morgan Museum and Library in New York City and is produced here by permission.

I saw this manuscript the day before I saw a surgeon for kidney cancer. Seeing Mozart’s original manuscript made me happy.

–Joel Solkoff


Copyright 2013 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.



Shania Twain Tribute 2

160px-It1927clarabow“It girl is a term for a young woman who possesses the quality It, absolute attraction.

“The early usage of the concept it in this meaning may be seen in a story by Rudyard Kipling: ‘It isn’t beauty, so to speak, nor good talk necessarily. It’s just It.’

“Elinor Glyn lectured:

“‘With It you win all men if you are a woman and all women if you are a man. It can be a quality of the mind as well as a physical attraction.’

“The expression reached global attention in 1927, with the film It, starring Clara Bow.”

–from Wikipedia


I love the expression IT girl.

It fills the niche language requires for an often inexplicable phenomenon of desirability.

Shania Twain became the IT girl of country music in 1997 with the (pre-released sexy videos and the actual) album release of Come On Over.

Come On Over became the “best-selling studio album of all time by a female act in any genre,” the most popular country album ever with global sales of more than 40 million copies.

According to Wikipedia: “The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and stayed there for 50 non-consecutive weeks. It stayed in the Top Ten for 151 weeks.”


This is a video of Shania Twain describing the title song and the album:

Nothing Shania Twain has done since has equaled the commercial success of the Come on Over album and analysis of its success continues to be a source of considerable speculation.

There is, for example, the observation that the album’s success was largely a result of the brilliance of her producer Robert JohnMuttLange–called by everyone Mutt.


  • Co-wrote the Come on Over songs
  • Arranged for startlingly erotic videos
  • Insisted on Shania’s especially effective and previously unequaled video wardrobe


I interrupt the thread by exposing you to more Shania message with the surprisingly static video:

“If you wanna to touch her, Ask” the number nine cut on Come on Over.



  • Married Shania
  • Fathered her son born (in all places for a country music performer) in Switzerland
  • Left Shania for her best friend and she…

Here is the Wikipedia account:

“In August 2001, their son Eja (pronounced ‘Asia’) was born. On 15 May 2008 a spokesman for Mercury Nashville announced that Twain and Lange [Mutt] were separating after Lange had an affair. Lange began seeing Twain’s best friend, Marie-Anne Thiebaud. The couple divorced in June 2010, and Twain is now married to Thiebaud’s ex-husband Frederic.”


Here for the hell of it is another static video of what appears to me to be a feminist song, Shoes, co-written with Mutt.

Shania sings:

“Men: have you ever tried to figure them out?
Huh, me too, but I ain’t got no clue: how ’bout you?
Men are like shoes, made to confuse.
Yeah, there’s so many of ’em,
I don’t know which ones to choose….”


To return to the consequences of Shania’s Coming Home success, when Mutt left questions remained,

  • Did Shania have the song writing talent to succeed without Mutt?
  • Could she wear clothes designed to look especially provocative in heavily marketed videos?
  • Could she refine and foster her feminist message and encourage others to follow her lead?

After a two year hiatus between albums, Shania released Up, a good album with a dreadful cover song (the only bad song she has ever released).

Impatience in fans for a sequel to Coming Home reached the point where one Philadelphia Country Music Station (whose devoted listeners consisted primarily of fans who had never ridden a horse nor could tell the difference between a soybean and a corn field) ran a contest. The winner obtained a free trip to Switzerland for the purposes of hounding Shania and asking her when she would finish the new album.

The album Up was widely regarded as a failure selling only 20 million copies globally compared to 40 million for Come on Home.


Here is Shania Twain in 2003 demonstrating her post-Mutt star quality at the Michael Jackson spot at the Super Bowl, singing from both albums:


Shania Twain remains productive and exceptionally desirable as she continues unrivaled as the Queen of Country.


This leads one to ask: What is country music?

Shania Twain, whose first name was purchased by her former husband Mutt, never wanted to be a country performer. He goal was rock.

Now, a wide variety of singers have raised the crossover questions.

  • Is it country?
  • Is it rock?
  • What kind of music is it?


The arbiter of course is Kris Kristopherson who declared definitely,

“If it sounds like a country music song, it’s a country music song.”


Now would be a good time to describe The pantheon of country royalty which includes Shania’s place in the pantheon and the role of Country Music as cancer therapy. You may have been wondering when I will get around to this subject.

In the next posting  The pantheon of country royalty we will start with Tim McGraw, the undeniable current King of Country.

Here is Taylor Swift, undeniably country–her first solo performance was at a rodeo–, paying tribute to the King by singing the song that brought her fame:

Tim McGraw


Joel Solkoff

Copyright 2013 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.













Why country music helped me survive cancer

This posting is a tribute to Shania Twain

  • Reigning queen of country music
  • Sexiest female performer in the history of country music
  • Writer of astonishingly intimate songs telling men what women want sexually and otherwise
  • Mentor to a talented array of female country musicians with a strong feminist agenda

There is a video where Shania Twain sings out her instructions to men not to touch without asking, but if they ask.

If the answer is Yes: See the sexy video for what you get.


As a child, Wikipedia reports, Shania Twain lived in poverty in Canada.

“Twain had a hard childhood in Timmins. Her parents earned little and there was often a shortage of food in the household. [Twain] did not confide her situation to school authorities, fearing they might break up the family. In the remote, rugged community, she learned to hunt and to chop wood.

Twain started singing at bars at the age of eight to try to make ends meet, often earning twenty dollars between midnight and one in the morning performing for remaining customers after the bar had finished serving.

“Although she expressed a dislike for singing in those bars, Twain believes that this was her own kind of performing arts school on the road.”

Shania Twain has said of her childhood ordeal:

“‘My deepest passion was music and it helped.

“There were moments when I thought I hate this. I hated going into bars and being with drunks.

“I loved the music and so I survived.


To get a true understanding of Shania Twain’s significance as the most effective star-power communicator of What Women Want, we must of course first go to the United Nations. The year is 1975.

The occasion:

After worrying about everything else, the UN finally decided that the role of women in the world was important [surprise!].

1975 became the official United Nations International Women’s Year.

This was the UN authorized and official song of the International Women’s Year.

This is Helen Reddy performing I am Woman in 1975.

\Wikipedia contains the following Helen Reddy’s account of the significance of her first hit song:

“I couldn’t find any songs that said what I thought being a woman was about.“I thought about all these strong women in my family who had gotten through the Depression and world wars and drunken, abusive husbands.

“There was nothing in music that reflected that.

“The only songs were ‘I Feel Pretty’ or that dreadful song ‘Born A Woman.’ (The 1966 hit by Sandy Posey had observed that if you’re born a woman ‘you’re born to be stepped on, lied to, cheated on and treated like dirt….)

“These are not exactly empowering lyrics.

“I certainly never thought of myself as a songwriter, but it came down to having to do it.”


The accomplishments of the U.N. year was creation of Womenwatch.

Womenwatch,” defines itself as,  “the central gateway to information and resources on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women throughout the United Nations system, including the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Secretariat, regional commissions, funds, programmes, specialized agencies, and academic and research institutions.”


Despite the U.N.’s good intentions as I write today young women are being sold into slavery in Monaco and throughout northern Africa. Their illegal importation as inexpensive prostitutes in Spain has become so significant a problem that London’s Financial Times reports on it regularly.


Depending on one’s views on the relative effectiveness comparing international principles to music, Helen Reddy’s legacy has reaped astonishing results for all of us who have come to country music in large part because of the earthquake-like significance of Kris Kristopherson’s role as a country singer. Worth a trip to the library is a reading of an old New York Times Magzine profile of Kristopherson. The article reported that Kristopherson quit the Army Academy at West Point to sleep on the streets at Nashville only to discover to wide surprise:

There is a market for long long country music–for songs that have something to say.

Consider this recording of Sunday Morning a song that was an astonishment to have been recorded at all let alone become a best seller. (“Long songs don’t work here in Nashville, son.”)

There is, for example, Shania Twain singing: Honey I’m Home.”


It is getting late. I realize that I will not get to everything I want to say in this posting, especially the therapeutic effect of country music. Ever since Freud asked the question What do women want? the answer is not apparent to those of us who are men. My tribute to Shania Twain will end temporarily. Look for Shania Twain Tribute 2 coming on this site.

I hereby conclude by providing two music videos:


-Joel Solkoff

Copyright 2013 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.





Dinah Washington sings “TV is the thing this year” (1953)
Lyrics: TV is the thing this year

If you wanna have fun come home with me

You can stay all night and play with my TV

TV is the thing this year, this year
TV is the thing this year
Radio was great, now, it’s out of date
TV is the thing this year

Last night, I was watchin’ old Tom Nix
My TV broke, I was in a fix
I got on the phone and called my man
Said, get here daddy as fast as you can

TV is the thing this year, oh
TV is the thing this year
Radio was great but now it’s out of date
And TV is the thing this year

Now he turned my dial to channel one
I knew that this was gonna be fun
He turned my dial to channel two
That station thrilled me through and through

He moved one notch to channel three
I said, Oh, how I love what you’re doin’ to me
He said, Wait a minute, let’s try channel four
Just about that time someone knocked on the door

TV is the thing this year, oh yes
TV is the thing this year
Radio was great but now it’s out of date
TV is the thing this year

The way he eased into channel five
That man musta had fluid drive
He moved once more to channel six
Then he opened up his bag of tricks

On channel seven the show was late
But we got our kicks on channel eight
He turned my dial to channel nine
Said, Baby, your set is fine

He moved on up to channel ten
Then we started all over again
He finally hit channel eleven
I cried mama, he treats your daughter good

TV is the thing this year
Yes, radio was great but now it’s out of date
TV is the thing this year

Baby, my set will need fixin’
Just about this time every night



Thank you, You Tube and Metro Lyrics.