August 2009

Following the Elvis Dream

I cannot let August run out without marking a significant event. I met Elvis Presley in August of 1961…..48 years ago. At the time, I never guessed that I would end up designing guitars. I wish I could both rewind and fast forward my life at the same time so I could have presented the King of Rock with a Luna guitar!!!!!!!!!!

Elvis and his Luna on location - 1961

Elvis and his Luna on location - 1961

My girlfriend Jeannette was (is) the ultimate Elvis fan. Because I loved her, so was I. When Elvis was filming “Follow That Dream”, a 1962 musical filmed in Inglis and Yankeetown, Florida, it was the perfect opportunity for Jeanette to follow her own dream to meet Elvis. On Aug 8. 1961, we set out from Tampa with her mother Dorothy and her Italian Grandmother “Nana” in an ancient, powder blue 1952 Cadillac. It somehow took all day to drive 75 miles.

FollowThatDreamElvis-1

Dorothy, as always, was dressed like a Hollywood Goddess and Nana was her stately and imposing chaperone, parting the way like a lead ship parting the waters. Jeanette and I were both sailing behind dressed like preteen dorks…..me in bermuda shorts and top that I made in Home Economics,¬†(with green rick rack trim adding insult to injury) , and Jeanette in an equally embarrassing gold bermuda shorts outfit.
Halfway there we stopped in a diner with a “Welcome Elvis” sign and were forced to gulp down our burgers under the threat of turning the Cadillac around and heading for home if we didn’t finish our food. When we were finally in Crystal River at the Port Paradise Motel where the crew was staying, Elvis stepped out of his 1961 white Cadillac after his Yankeetown shoot at precisely 6:45 PM. Jeanette kept a keen eye on her little wristwatch to mark the time that her Dream came true.

Jeanette asked Elvis to move next to me for a picture when she saw I was shyly standing in the shadow of his light, and this snapshot was taken after his face had moved down to kiss my cheek¬† and was on it’s way back up (thus the blur and the silly look on my face) My autograph book was clenched firmly under my arm, but I never had the nerve to ask him to sign it.

Yvonne and Elvis

Though I was there that day for my friend Jeanette, in retrospect, I realize I was in the presence of a seminal force who influenced many of my own heroes.

Paul McCartney declared Elvis Presley as one of significant influences behind The Beatles ‘Sgt Pepper’ album. After the release of the 1967 record the band chose to stay at home rather than tour, and McCartney explained they got the idea from The King. “We had this idea that we’d make a record, and the record itself would go on tour for us,” McCartney told Rolling Stone. “That came from a story we’d heard about Elvis’ Cadillac going on tour. We though that was an amazing idea: He doesn’t go on tour, he just sends his Cadillac out. Fantastic!”

The day that he died, John Lennon, my all-time music hero, exclaimed, “Before Elvis, there was nothing” and so it was for the era of rock and roll music.

For those of you that have managed to read my entire nostalgic musings, I have one thing to say. “Thank you very much!” And don’t forget to “Follow Your Dream…..wherever that dream may lead!

Peace, Yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

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(Yankeetown is known for it’s “no-see-ums”…it’s really amusing to watch him scratch himself throughout the song)

deep play

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Garden Musings

I spent the 40th anniversary of Woodstock literally getting back to my garden which has been sadly neglected.

My garden was planted with a lush and unruly look in mind because:
a. I don’t have much free time to tend it
b-z. Unruly is one of my favorite words (up there with incendiary and incandescent)

But…at times it becomes necessary to give it some attention and I struggle with the questions it poses. What gets cut or pulled and what is allowed to continue doing what it does? My garden is tiny. Against all reason, I planted a species of bamboo (Bambusa Oldhamii) which becomes immense and I have derived much vicarious pleasure watching it grow over the past 5 years. So far, I have not had the heart to nip any of the new growth in the bud, although at this point it may require a chain saw to do so. This years growth is 4″ in diameter. It stands just outside my bedroom and I can imagine it coming up right through the floorboards. This thought is both mildly alarming and tremendously appealing to me as I would love to sleep and wake up amidst a stand of bamboo. It feels as though a powerful, wild and untamed spirit is living in my garden. I look up and imagine being held aloft by its strong and pliant branches, like the actors in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

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I had tried getting into a bonsai frame of mind with the safe, predictable and tame “lucky bamboo” before I planted the real thing, but it just didn’t work for me.

“My spirit has suddenly remembered itself
like a bonsai remembering the forest.
Its keeper comes home to find it grown straight and tall
Roots through the floorboards into moist, black earth.
Branches through the ceiling into moonless sky.
With fireflies flickering all around it.”

Peace, Yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

new growth week 1

new growth week 1

new growth week 2

new growth week 2

new growth week 4

new growth week 4

new growth week 6

new growth week 6

garden musings

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Dancing as Fast as I Can

When I’m not spinning plates……

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Danse Serpentine by Loie Fuller (1896) Peace, Yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

mental health

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Spinning Plates

It’s been awhile! I dream of having clear space to muse and write an inspirational blog, but clear space is hard to come by. My job at Luna Guitars has always involved spinning plates, but lately plates have been stacking up exponentially! This is what my desk (and the inside of my brain) looks like these days.

I’m a very focused person who does well with one task (or plate) at a time. Really! This is what my job used to feel like when Luna was in her infancy. Piece of cake.

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1026506/

This is what my job feels like now. Not such a pretty picture.

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Stay tuned!!!!!!!!!!!! Peace, Yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

mental health

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