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  • Though Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera took many lovers over the course of their lifetime (the painting depicted is based on a photo by Nickolas Muray, one of Frida's longest affairs) their passionate chemistry and inspiration to one-another is undeniable. I got very interested in Frida after reading a New York Times article, where they wrote that the title of her final self-portrait was "No Moon at All." (Unfortunately, I have never been able to dig up an image of that portrait, despite a mountain of research. Send me a link if you find it!)

    At the time I read the NY Times article, Justin Evan Thompson was beginning work on a beautiful instrumental guitar piece that felt appropriate to set some lyrics to concerning Frida, her deepest love, and her lifelong acceptance of mortality. (Friends would later say of Frida that she "lived dying.") Even before setting out to compose the words, we began investigating deeper. We watched documentaries, listened to podcasts, lectures, and radio specials, filed through hundreds of old photographs and reproductions of her works, and read her most comprehensive biography. In it I learned that Frida and Diego first encountered each other when she was in high school. Frida would taunt him from below while he worked on his murals high up on the walls of the prep school she attended. Years later, she would visit him again in similar conditions, demanding he descend to give her artistic critique and guidance on early works.

    As many know about her already, Frida suffered a terrible accident which impaled her with the railing of a city bus she was riding. She endured countless surgeries and failing health all her life, and never was able to carry children. Her final painting (not her final self-portrait) is a still life of vivacious looking, and carefully carved, watermelons. The piece is entitled "Viva La Vida."

    The story goes that when Frida died, Diego had to be all but held back from the fires consuming her in the crematorium. Her biography illustrates that he became an old man overnight, that he outlived her by only three short years.

    His final statement as an artist? A still life of watermelons.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Watercolor Painting by Gabrielle Louise

    "No Moon at All"
    -Music and Lyrics of by Gabrielle Louise and Justin Evan Thompson

    After Frida no one ever loved Diego
    like a fire in a wheat field
    under a fountain of stars
    when they first kissed
    the streetlamp sparked
    and dimmed....

    You've seen the sun's lonely milk-pan daughter,
    thrown a stone, watched her dance on the water.
    You've heard her ring in the sky like an old bell,
    watched her wane to a white-washed sea shell.
    She turns her head now to hide her crying,
    and reflect that we all live dying.
    No Moon at All.

    "Come down, come down" Frida called up the scaffold
    "Come to the ground from you painted chapels"
    Some said their love was a dove and a bullfrog,
    a girl so fair shouldn't care for an old dog.
    But without him the night wore a dark cloak,
    and in despair, all the hours of the clock broke.
    No Moon at All.

    Though pain and grief held the hand of Frida,
    insistia en alegria.
    She paints her face, fills her hair full of flowers,
    and reflects in her final hours:
    No Moon at All.

    Viva la Vida
    (Que Viva!!)
    Long live life!

    Viva la Vida
    (Que Viva!!)
    Long live life!

    You've seen the sun's lonely milk-pan daughter,
    thrown a stone, watched her dance on the water.
    You've heard her ring in the sky like an old bell,
    watched her wane to a white-washed sea shell.
    She turns her head now to hide her dying,
    every star in the sky is crying.
    No Moon at All.

    After Frida no one ever loved Diego
    like a fire in a wheat field
    under a fountain of stars
    when they first kissed
    the streetlamp sparked
    and dimmed.
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