This all hit me in Buenos Aires a year or so ago when I turned the corner in a museum and saw a famous painting, described in the nameplate as:
“Self-portrait with Monkey and Parrot. Frida Kahlo, 1907–1954.”
I know it seems the height of philistinism, but I always read nameplates first. And, in this case, maybe because I’d seen the image on a million totebags, it was the nameplate, rather than the painting, that affected me most. And mostly because it told me I was alive at the same time as a nigh-mythical figure from impossibly remote history.
Now I’m sure it’s not a good and honorable way to respond to art (can you say “narcissistic personality disorder”?). But it did get me to wondering, who else? What other surprising historical figures from what seems like way, way back were alive — and maybe alive nearby — same time as me?
Doing the exercise, it turns out a lot of them were musicians, which is how I justify putting them here:
Hard Rock has a cafe at the brand new Yankee Stadium, and, along with the prime real estate, gets thirty seconds every game in front of 50,000 fans on the hi-def Jumbotron. Not surprisingly, they tossed the opportunity to agency of record, D/C, which cooked up a modern mashup of the old chestnut “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as sung by New York-area rock stars.
The spot was mostly shot at the stadium the day before it opened. And the musical cast included Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, en route to a plane to Cleveland for his induction into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame; Bronx native and Yankees fanatic Ace Frehley of Kiss; Scott Ian of Anthrax; Little Steven Van Zant; the Bacon Brothers (Kevin and Michael); the Dictators’ Handsome Dick Manitoba, another Bronx-bred Bombers fan; and Bernie Williams, the retired Yankees star — and hot-shot guitarist — now making his own promising play for rock stardom.
In addition to the scoreboard, the spot will be aired on the TV systems at both the Yankee Stadium and Times Square cafes.