To go about life with energy and enthusiasm, or verve, is to express spiritual vitality. People who live like this are noticed, and others seek to emulate them. That is because the vital spirit seems to move through them. People desire this, and are drawn to it. More important, living with verve, energy and enthusiasm is perhaps the surest way to do what many people would call God’s work in the world.
- Jackson Pollack, The Key (1946)
- Jasper Johns, Dancers on a Plane
- Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Progress of Love: The Pursuit (1771-72)
Tom Wolfe’s pen is high-octane. Reviewer Thomas Mallon observes: “. . . from genre to genre, the fundamentals of Wolfe’s game have stayed the same: a concentration on behavioral codes and status; the dominance of big themes over private emotions. Exuberance continues to rule his italicized, exclamatory and onomatopoetic pages.”
- Tom Wolfe, Back to Blood (Little, Brown & Company, 2012): on “the gaudy clash of (Miami’s) different and financial populations.
- Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1990): on betrayals and twists of the law.
- Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff (Farrar, Straus & Giroux): on man’s first trip to our moon.
- Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1968): youthful exuberance run amok in the 1960s.
Helen Oyeyemi, Mr. Fox (Riverhead Books, 2011). "Oyeyemi casts her word-spell, sentence by sentence, story by story, and by the end, the oppressive lair has opened up into a shimmering landscape pulsing with life."
Music: songs and other short pieces
Film and Stage
- Monsters, Inc.: an animated film characterized by “breakneck energy”
- Raiders of the Lost Ark: a high-energy action fantasy
- The Road Warrior, this Mad Max sequel is “a film of pure action, of kinetic energy organized around the barest possible bones of a plot”; “an extravagant film fantasy that looks like a sadomasochistic comic book come to life”
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson set the standard for energetic trumpeting with his unique brand of be-bop and swing.
- Jazzwoche Burghausen 2001
- Jazzfestival Viersen 1996
- MacArthur Park
- Sesame Street
- showing off his upper range
- Nice ‘n’ Juicy
- At Bern Jazz Festival, 1991
- Live in Berghausen, 1991
- Live in Montreal, 1982
- Live at the Top, 1975)
- ZDF, 1987
- Jazz Jamboree, 1992
- “Chameleon” album
- “A Message from Newport” album
Other jazz artists and albums:
- Cannonball Adderly, “In a Good Groove” album
- Louis Bellson, jazz drummer
- Miles Davis, “Milestones” album
- Binker and Moses, “Escape the Flames” album
- Freddie Hubbard, “The Night of the Cookers: Live at Club La Marchal, vol. 2” album
- Koko Taylor, “The Earthshaker” album (1978)
- Charles Mingus, Live at Montreux 1975
- Manu Dibango, “Africadelic”
- Ronnie Cuber & Gary Smulyan, “Tough Baritones”: “These baritone masters make a sport of navigating the fast-moving changes, zigzagging lines and skippy syncopations that define the (bebop) genre.”
- Justin Chart, “The Midnight People” (2022) (48’): “. . . relentless energy remains a hallmark of the album throughout.”