Tuesday, November 21

Mysterious object confirmed to be from another solar system

Artist's impression of `Oumuamua, the first confirmed interstellar asteroid
"Astronomers are now certain that the mysterious object detected hurtling past our sun last month is indeed from another solar system. They have named it 1I/2017 U1(’Oumuamua) and believe it could be one of 10,000 others lurking undetected in our cosmic neighbourhood. The certainty of its interstellar origin comes from an analysis that shows its orbit is almost impossible to achieve from within our solar system. Its name comes from a Hawaiian term for messenger or scout. Indeed, it is the first space rock to have been identified as forming around another star. Since asteroids coalesce during the process of planet formation, this object can tell us something about the formation of planets around its unknown parent star. ..."
Guardian (Video)
W - 'Oumuamua
BBC: Bizarre shape of interstellar asteroid
YouTube: First Interstellar Asteroid Wows Scientists

‘Oumuamua is rocketing through our Solar System at 44km a second.

ECM’s Catalog Is Finally Streaming. Here Are 21 Essential Albums.

Manfred Eicher, the founder of ECM Records, with Naná Vasconcelos, Pat Metheny and the engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug.
"Sound quality has always mattered to Manfred Eicher, the meticulous and exploratory producer who founded ECM (Edition of Contemporary Music) Records in 1969 and has produced the vast majority of its recordings. ECM has released an extraordinary catalog that encompasses jazz, classical music and cross-cultural fusions from composers and performers like Keith Jarrett, Vijay Iyer, Arvo Pärt and Meredith Monk. Across styles, the label’s hallmark has been the contemplative detail of its music, a kind of acoustic enhanced realism. ECM was long a holdout against streaming services that have to contend with bandwidth limits and non-optimal soundcards in computers and phones, as well as deals that minimize the value of music. But as of Nov. 17, everything on ECM will be available through the major streaming services, awaiting discovery by new listeners. Here The New York Times music critics and contributors choose 21 ECM albums to begin the exploration. Use your best playback system. JON PARELES. ..."
NY Times (Audio)

Monday, November 20

BSA Film Friday: 11.17.17

"Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities. Now screening :
1. We’re Street (Somos Rua) – Rollerblading as Urban Art and Performance
2. PEZA – Yoseba MP
3. Don’t Fret Does Commercial Gig for Sports Team
4. “Complex Meshes” Miguel Chevalier, Fabian Forban, Krista Kim, REO
Brooklyn Street Art (Video)

12 groovy 45s from the Paris DJs private record store

"More than 10.000 records (new releases or reissues handpicked by the Paris DJs team, plus the big stocks from Grant Phabao & Djouls' collection) have already been listed on Paris DJs' private record store. We opened it on Discogs a year ago while Parisian people may contact us to give us a visit adn save on shipping costs. Since then already 1.500 records have been sold. Soon we'll start listing the records from other members of the crew, it never truly ends… But thousands of records is maybe too much so we thought we should share regularly some insight, and list some selections of some of the cool music we have in store for you. Here's a first one, twelve 45s, cool & groovy stuff in different styles. ..."
ParisDJs (Video)

Sunday, November 19

What Christian Artifacts of the Middle East Can Show Us About Tolerance

"PARIS — Behind the famous dilating windows Jean Nouvel designed for its Seine-side home, the Institut du Monde Arabe has presented a string of recent shows that have deepened and diversified France’s understanding of Islam. From 'The Thousand and One Nights' (2012) to 'Hajj: The Pilgrimage to Mecca' (2014) and the epic 'Ocean Explorers' (2016), exhibitions here have disclosed the breadth of Islamic culture and history, and their intimate, centuries-long links with the West. But Islam is not the only religion in the Arab world, and this autumn the institute, which celebrates its 30th birthday this month, has turned its attention to another faith. 'Eastern Christians: 2,000 Years of History,' a vital, thorough, and sometimes astonishingly gorgeous exhibition, explores the birth and transmission of Christianity from Jesus’ death to the present day. ..."
NY Times
Oriental Christians: 2,000 Years of History

23 Stupendous Vocabulary Words I Learned From ‘Calvin & Hobbes’

"I almost had to repeat kindergarten because I procrastinated on learning to read. Faced with this threat, I hit the books, and by the end of the year I had achieved a 5th grade reading level. I credit Bill Watterson and Gary Larson for this; I remember sitting in my dad’s apartment at ages six and seven, each of us curled up with one of his Calvin & Hobbes or The Far Side volumes. While he savored the pages, I soldiered through the multisyllabic speech bubbles, pausing every now and then to ask things like, 'Daddy, what does hypothetical mean?' ..."

2011 January: Calvin and Hobbes, 2015 March: Bill Watterson talks: This is why you must read the new ‘Exploring Calvin and Hobbes’ book, Calvin and Markov

Ambrose Adekoya Campbell: London Is The Place For Me 3

"History, they say, is written by the victors. Without a doubt, it's written by the governing majority, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the near invisibility, until very recently, of black and African people in chronicles of British life and culture. Honest Jons provides a vibrant antidote to this Eurocentric bias with the London Is The Place For Me compilation series (not to mention, of course, restoring some important early black British music to the racks). Volume 1 looked at Trinidadian calypso recorded in London in the 1950s; Volume 2 broadened the field to include music made by African artists. This latest volume stays with London-made African music of the 1950s but, unlike its predecessors, focuses on just one musician: Ambrose Adekoya Campbell, the trailblazing grandaddy of all African musicians who've since arrived in the city. ..."
All About Jazz
YouTube: London Is The Place For Me 3 1:06:19
YouTube: London Is the Place for Me Part Three: Ambrose Adekoya Campbell

Saturday, November 18

A Chess Novice Challenged Magnus Carlsen. He Had One Month to Train.

"HAMBURG, Germany— Max Deutsch went through a month of training before he traveled across the ocean, sat down in a regal hotel suite at the appointed hour and waited for the arrival of the world’s greatest chess player. Max was not very good at chess himself. He’s a 24-year-old entrepreneur who lives in San Francisco and plays the sport occasionally to amuse himself. He was a prototypical amateur. Now he was preparing himself for a match against chess royalty. And he believed he could win. ... Magnus Carlsen is a 26-year-old world champion from Norway who has become a global celebrity because of chess. He belongs alongside Garry Kasparov and Bobby Fischer in any conversation about the most talented players ever. Max’s original idea had been to beat a computerized simulation of Magnus. But when The Wall Street Journal stumbled across his 'Month to Master' project while reporting another story, it offered to put him in touch with the real-life version. Max was game. ..."
WSJ (Video)

Wire - Live at the Roxy, London – April 1st & 2nd 1977/Live at CBGB Theatre, New York – July 18th 1978

"Previously only available as bootlegs or as part of the limited edition Wire: 1977-1979 box set, this is the first time these historic live recordings have been made widely available. Their importance lies in the fact that they catch the band live at two pivotal stages of their evolution. Caught on tape some five months before recording Pink Flag, Disc One comprises both complete 25-minute sets from the band’s appearances at the Roxy’s punk festival. Interestingly enough, they include covers of JJ Cale’s 'After Midnight' and the Dave Clark Five’s 'Glad All Over'. Not actually recorded at the legendary punk rock hovel (but just around the corner, in front of a small audience in an old run down theatre, by long-gone NY radio station WPIX), the CBGB recording offers a fascinating contrast. With CBGB’s owner Hilly Kristal credited as executive producer, the sonics are fuller and the performances considerably more assured across the 11-song set, made up of tracks from Pink Flag and the yet-to-be-recorded Chairs Missing.  ..."
Record Collector
W - Live at the Roxy, London – April 1st & 2nd 1977/Live at CBGB Theatre, New York – July 18th 1978
amazon, iTunes
YouTube: Live at The Roxy, London - April 2, 1977 - FULL SET - HD Audio 25:40

2009 January: Wire, 2012 January: On the Box 1979., 2013 September: Chairs Missing (1978), 2014 June: 154 (1979), 2014 July: Document And Eyewitness (1979-1980), 2015 April: The Ideal Copies: Graham Lewis Of Wire's Favourite Albums, 2015 July: Pink Flag (1977), 2015 December: The Peel Sessions Album (1989), “Dot Dash”, "Options R" (1978), 2017 June: Outdoor Miner / Practice Makes Perfect (1979).

The Wages of Fear - Henri-Georges Clouzot (1953)

Wikipedia - "The Wages of Fear (French: Le salaire de la peur) is a 1953 French-Italian thriller film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, starring Yves Montand, and based on the 1950 French novel Le salaire de la peur (lit. 'The Salary of Fear') by Georges Arnaud. When an oil well owned by an American company catches fire, the company hires four European men, down on their luck, to drive two trucks over mountain dirt roads, loaded with nitroglycerine needed to extinguish the flames. ... In 1982, Pauline Kael called it 'an existential thriller—the most original and shocking French melodrama of the 50s. ... When you can be blown up at any moment only a fool believes that character determines fate. ... If this isn't a parable of man's position in the modern world, it's at least an illustration of it. ... The violence ... is used to force a vision of human existence.' ..."
Roger Ebert
Guardian - The Wages of Fear: No 8 best action and war film of all time
YouTube: Wages of Fear - Trailer

Friday, November 17

2017-18 College Basketball

Joel Berry II
"Sports Illustrated’s College Basketball Projection System is a collaboration between economist Dan Hanner and SI’s Chris Johnson and Jeremy Fuchs that produces our 1–351 team rankings, conference predictions and player statistical forecasts. For a deeper look at how the system works, read this explainer. This model has produced more accurate team rankings than similar projections produced by ESPN, CBS Sports and noted analyst Ken Pomeroy for the past three seasons. ..."
SI (Video)
W - 2017–18 NCAA Division I men's basketball season
CBS Sports (Video)
The Ringer - College Basketball Preseason Power Rankings: Games Are Back, and So Is Title Favorite Duke (Video)
College basketball: 16 bold predictions for the 2017-18 season (Part I) (Video)
SB Nation: 11 predictions for college basketball’s 2017-18 season (Video)

2012 July: Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC, 2013 March: March Madness 2013, 2014 January: History of the high five, 2015 February: Dean Smith (February 28, 1931 – February 7, 2015), 2015 September: Joint Ventures: How sneakers became high fashion and big business, 2015 December: Welcome to Smarter Basketball, 2016 January: The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams (1994), 2016 January: A Long Hardwood Journey, 2016 March: American Hustle - Alexandra Starr, 2016 July: Photographers in Focus: Ethan Sprague, 2016 November: 2016–17 College Basketball

Interactive Map Lets You Take a Literary Journey Through the Historic Monuments of Rome

"... A modern visitor to Rome, drawn to the Coliseum on a moonlit night, is unlikely to be so bewitched, sandwiched between his or her fellow tourists and an army of vendors aggressively peddling light-up whirligigs, knock off designer scarves, and acrylic columns etched with the Eternal City’s must-see attractions. These days, your best bet for touring Rome’s best known landmarks in peace may be an interactive map, compliments of the Morgan Library and Museum. Based on Paul-Marie Letarouilly’s picturesque 1841 city plan, each digital pin can be expanded to reveal descriptions by nineteenth-century authors and side-by-side, then-and-now comparisons of the featured monuments. ..."
Open Culture

Homesick for Downton Abbey? Here’s a Way to Go Back There

Arrested time: Fans of “Downton Abbey” can wander into Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen, steaming pots and all, in “Downton Abbey: The Exhibit” in Manhattan.
"It lives. The show you could never quite kick the habit of. The show you tried to replace with 'The Crown' or 'Call the Midwife' or 'Peaky Blinders' or, God, 'Poldark.' But nothing, it turned out, could quite fibrillate your atrium like that first sight of Downton Abbey every Sunday evening, framed against a blue sky by a yellow lab’s twitching haunches, and bringing with it the promise of gorgeous, onrolling misery for every character, upstairs and down. Quietly, stubbornly, you kept the flame alive, trolling the show’s Wiki forum, lunging at every report of a possible film version, plotting your make-believe itineraries to Highclere Castle, where most of the show was filmed. And now your faithfulness has its reward. The Abbey — or, at least, 'Downton Abbey: The Exhibition' — has come back to you. ..."
NY Times

2012 March: Downton Abbey, 2013 February: Downton Abbey 3, 2015 January: ‘Downton Abbey’ and History: A Look Back, Recap: Rumble With Lord G!, 2015 February: Recap: Prayers for Lord G’s Truest, Furriest Love, 2015 February: Recap: The Crawleys Should Have Sent Their Regrets, 2015 February: Recap: Yes, It’s Called the Hornby Hotel, 2015 March: Recap: In the Finale, Mary Meets Mr. Handsome, 2016 March: ‘Downton Abbey’ Finale: A Grand British Story With an American Finish

Thursday, November 16

Blade Runner - Ridley Scott (1982)

Wikipedia - "Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. It is a loose adaptation of the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. ... Blade Runner underperformed in North American theaters and polarized critics; some praised its thematic complexity and visuals, while others were displeased with its unconventional pacing and plot. However, it subsequently became an acclaimed cult film, and is now regarded as one of the all-time best science fiction movies. Hailed for its production design depicting a 'retrofitted' future, Blade Runner remains a leading example of neo-noir cinema. ..."
Vanity Fair: The Battle for Blade Runner (Video)
Thirty Years Later – Blade Runner (1982)
Guardian: Tears in rain? Why Blade Runner is timeless
amazon: Blade Runner: The Final Cut


"I am a life-long bookseller and avid reader. I began making these book sculptures when struggling to come up with a gift for my boss, celebrating the ten year anniversary of her bookstore. There was no book I could give her that she hadn't already discerned, so I decided to take a favorite book of poems and reconfigure it into a tree. Dismantling a book is not done without consciousness. Books are precious items. All the books used in my art have been loved and read, and are chosen because of their particular worth. Taking apart text, line by line, I like to think I am reading these books in a different way. Words take on different meanings when isolated or spun into a physical form. These art pieces are an attempt to read words as objects."
Allison Glasgow

Neil Young - Words (Live at Red Rocks, 2000)

"Someone and someone / Were down by the pond / Looking for something / To plant in the lawn / Out in the fields they / They were turning the soil / I'm sitting here hoping / This water will boil / When I look through the windows / And out on the road / They're bringing me presents / And saying hello // Singing words, words / Between the lines of age / Words, words / Between the lines of age // If I was a junkman / Selling you cars / Washing your windows / And shining your stars / Thinking your mind / Was my own in a dream / What would you wonder / And how would it seem? / Living in castles / A bit at a time / The King started laughing / And talking in rhyme // Singing words, words / Between the lines of age / Words, words / Between the lines of age"
YouTube: Words (Live at Red Rocks, 2000)

2008 February: Neil Young, 2010 April: Neil Young - 1, 2010 April: Neil Young - 2, 2010 May: Neil Young - 3, 2010 October: Neil Young's Sound, 2012 January: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, 2012 June: Like A Hurricane, 2012 July: Greendale, 2013 April: Thoughts On An Artist / Three Compilations, 2013 August: Heart of Gold, 2014 March: Dead Man (1995), 2014 August: Ragged Glory - Neil Young + Crazy Horse (1990), 2014 November: Broken Arrow (1996), 2015 January: Rust Never Sleeps (1979), 2015 January: Neil Young the Ultimate Guide, 2015 March: Old Black, 2015 September: Zuma (1975), 2016 January: On the Beach (1973), 2016 April: Sleeps with Angels (1994), 2016 November: Eldorado (EP - 1989), Long May You Run - The Stills-Young Band (1976), 2017 June: "River Of Pride" / "White Line" (1975), 2017 July: "Thrasher" [Live at the Cow Palace, 1978]

Wednesday, November 15

Inside Paul Cézanne’s Studio

"A few years ago, during a visit to Cézanne’s studio in Aix-en-Provence, I experienced a flash of insight about the artist that I saw as intrinsic to his becoming the father of modern painting. Once having seen it, it inspired me to move in a new direction in my own work. Cézanne painted his studio walls a dark gray with a hint of green. Every object in the studio, illuminated by a vast north window, seemed to be absorbed into the gray of this background. There were no telltale reflections around the edges of the objects to separate them from the background itself, as there would have been had the wall been painted white. Therefore, I could see how Cézanne, making his small, patch-like brush marks, might have moved his gaze from object to background, and back again to the objects, without the familiar intervention of the illusion of space. ..."
The Paris Review
artbook: Joel Meyerowitz: Cézanne's Objects

2011 August: Paul Cézanne, 2014 November: Cézanne: Landscape into Art, 2015 March: Madame Cézanne, 2017 June: Portraits by Cézanne

Soul Jazz Records - In the Beginning There Was Rhythm (2001)

"How raw do you like your dance music? Does modern techno feel like a soft blow to your skull? There used to be a better way. London's Soul Jazz Records has released In the Beginning There Was Rhythm, a compilation of British post-punk bands, including the Slits, Gang of Four, Throbbing Gristle, and Cabaret Voltaire. We're talking about drums and wires, knife-sharp scratchy rhythm guitar, crappy synths, and veteran funk and reggae horns. We're talking men shouting political slogans and naked women covered in mud. And while this music sounds old, it sure as hell isn't dated-- this stuff is primal, made by people who were finding new ways to channel the brute instinct that first drove man to bang animal skins with sticks. These songs came out of the bleak setting of industrial England in the late 70s and early 80s. The Thatcher administration came into power, and skinheads and members of the National Right roamed the streets. Against this climate, bands emerged from the inner city melting pots embodying a new racial, sexual, and musical diversity. ..."
YouTube: In The Beginning There Was Rhythm 11 videos

Univers Zero - Phosphorescent Dreams (2014)

"... The newer incarnation of Univers Zero was notable for its return to the 'classic' lineup and refocus on acoustic instrumentation. This served them well with three studio and two live albums after The Hard Quest, showing they clearly had a new lease on life and an eager fanbase. This enthusiasm is particularly noticeable in the band’s latest instalment. Although clearly and uniquely evil sounding, there’s a more buoyant, lively quality to this year’s Phosphorescent Dreams. The first two tracks are quintessential Univers Zero, but 'Très Affables' borders on joyful with its 9/8 motif. 'Rêve Mécanique' delves into this territory as well. Kurt Budé’s woodwinds circle around Nicholas Dechêne’s beautiful shimmery guitar, melding perfectly with the intricate piano before the track changes direction and heads into territory approaching free-jazz. This is the happiest they have ever sounded and injects a freshness into the work that is certainly well-received. After 40 years and 12 albums of sonic intensity and bleak dissonance, it’s nice for a bit of a change. ..."
echoes and dust
The Progressive Aspect
YouTube: Phosphorescent Dreams 1:02:42

2016 October: Heatwave (1986)

Tuesday, November 14

The Forgotten History of the Owl’s Head

"Owl’s Head Park has a mystical hold over many Bay Ridge residents, one that’s difficult to explain to outsiders. Sure, it’s 24 pleasant acres of woods, hills, playgrounds, curving paths, breathtaking views and a skating ramp, but are they worth a trip on the R train? It’s not even the nicest park in Bay Ridge, a superlative that surely belongs to Shore Road Park, the winding network of waterfront trails and baseball fields that extends more than 30 blocks, from Owl’s Head to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. But the more time you spend in Owl’s Head, watching sunsets from atop its massive hill or riding Flexible Fliers down it, the more it sticks to you, the more you realize what the neighborhood’s early settlers realized: this is one of the finest pieces of land in Brooklyn. ..." (Jan 22, 2015)
W - Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Owl's Head Park

Kanga’s Woven Voices

"At dusk, the women of Sokomuhugo Street in Stone Town are finishing setting up their charcoal stoves to make fresh batches of buttery, flaky chapati for those who gather after evening prayer. Draped casually over their heads and around their hips are matching, intricately patterned fabrics, each further distinguished, along the bottom of each cloth, by its own Swahili proverb. They are wearing kanga, one of the most ubiquitous and popular fabrics in all of East Africa. Multifunctional, vibrantly colorful and affordable, kanga permeates the fashion landscape, especially on the semi-autonomous, predominantly Muslim island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania, where it is said to have originated. ..."

What the Future Sounded Like: Documentary Tells the Forgotten 1960s History of Britain’s Avant-Garde Electronic Musicians

"It really is impossible to overstate the fact that most of the music around us sounds the way it does today because of an electronic revolution that happened primarily in the 1960s and 70s (with roots stretching back to the turn of the century). While folk and rock and roll solidified the sound of the present on home hi-fis and coffee shop and festival stages, the sound of the future was crafted behind studio doors and in scientific laboratories. What the Future Sounded Like, the short documentary above, transports us back to that time, specifically in Britain, where some of the finest recording technology developed to meet the increasing demands of bands like the Beatles and Pink Floyd. Much less well-known are entities like the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, whose crew of engineers and audio scientists made what sounded like magic to the ears of radio and television audiences. ..."
Open Culture (Video)
YouTube: The New Sound of Music (BBC Documentary 1979) 48:53

Monday, November 13

Habib Koité & Bamada - Afriki (2007)

"In the six years since Mali's Habib Koite released his last new studio album, he developed a reputation in the West as one of his country's greatest cultural exports. On Afriki, Koite has fine-tuned his carefully manicured approach to melodic, acoustic-based songs of deep personal and global meaning. Always an engaging singer and songwriter, Koite's guitar is on equal footing here; his playing and the overall musicianship of his band, Bamada, outshines anything they offered in their previous outings. Koite exhibits a newfound sensitivity in his playing, always intricate, evocative, rhythmic and moving. Some of the instrumental work is reminiscent of the folk guitar styles of the '60s, but on tracks like the exquisite 'N'Teri,' a simple song of thanks, Koite brings in lush orchestration and background vocalists, as well as an array of native African instruments such as the balofon and n'goni. ..." Nov. 12, FlynnSpace, Vermont
W - Habib Koité
YouTube: N'teri (Afriki, 2009), N Teril, Baro

A painter drawn to the “Mountains of Manhattan”

“New York From Brooklyn”
"Overshadowed by social realist painters and then the abstract movement early in the 20th century, Colin Campbell Cooper never quite got his due. But his evocative takes on New York’s streetscapes and skyline reveal a fascination with the bigness of the city’s architecture contrasted against the smaller personal stories of millions of anonymous New Yorkers. The bigness you notice first, especially with paintings like the 'Mountains of Manhattan' (top) and the 'Cliffs of Manhattan' (second), which both depict the city as an awesome and mighty wonder along the lines of the Rockies or the Alps. When Cooper contrasts the big and the small, as he does here in 1917’s 'South Ferry,' he gives us a more humanistic view of Gotham. We may not be able to read their faces, but every one of those trolley riders ans sidewalk vendors has a story. ..."
Ephemeral New York

Sunday, November 12

Eric Rohmer - Nadja à Paris (1964)

"Occasionally, unintentionally, triggered by a smell or an old tune, my mind drifts to that time when Paris didn’t resemble the USA at all, when life on the street and screen was similar and our days appeared like the films of the nouvelle vague. There was something breezy about reasons then, why you did this or that, no clear motivation or Hollywood endings. Of course there were American films around but many were quite good, nothing like the bang-bang violence we now dump all over the globe. Those films didn’t crush or overwhelm others in quantity (a reason why they were so admired) and you could also see French, Italian, Polish, Czech, or Russian films any time. There was a cinematheque, which for students was one franc. ..."
NYBooks (Video)

2010 February: Eric Rohmer, 2014 October: Rohmer in Paris (2013)

Faran Ensemble

"The Faran Ensemble was formed in 2009 by three musicians sharing similar musical vibes and values, who decided to embark together on a spiritual quest. Their journey, expressed in music and sound, reflects the beauty of nature, travelling through different sceneries, from the clean and quiet desert to luscious green hills, sometimes even passing through the hectic noise of the city. Their instruments belong to the ancient traditions of the east, allowing the musicians to combine mystical sounds with modern influences. In their music, Mediterranean landscapes weave an enchanted soundscape, a magic carpet to take the listener on a voyage to faraway lands. The ensemble’s name, Faran, refers to Wadi Faran, a dry desert riverbed which in winter fills with water and life and in summer is silent and pristine. The Faran crosses three countries, but ignores all artificial human borders. ..."
Faran Ensemble
Soundcloud (Audio)
YouTube: Dune, Cubaya, Beautiful Ethnic Music, Camila, Desert Storm

How Nona Hendryx Captured the World of Captain Beefheart

"In 1965, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band released their first single on A&M records. The song was a relatively faithful cover of Bo Diddley’s 'Diddy Wah Diddy' — with just a bit more speed and harmonica. As usual with traditional blues, the lyrics were oblique: The Diddley–Willie Dixon composition hints at vague dangers, doomed love, and a dark sexuality verging on the pornographic. Where or what was 'diddy wah diddy?' A jail? A cathouse? A backwoods ghetto? 'I got a girl in diddy-wah-diddy/It ain’t no town and it ain’t no city,' growled Don Van Vliet in his shape-shifting Captain Beefheart persona. As good as this white kid from Southern California was at mimicking black idols like Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, Van Vliet was never going to be a conventional white blues rocker. ..."
VOICE (Video)

2009 October: Captain Beefheart, 2010 December: Captain Beefheart, Art-Rock Visionary, Dead At 69, 2011 October: Interview with Captain Beefheart, 2013 August: This Is The Day (1974-Old Grey Whistle Test), 2014 July: Safe as Milk (1967), 2014 August: Some YoYo Stuff: An observation of the observations of Don Van Vliet by Anton Corbijn (1993), 2015 January: It Comes to You in a Plain Brown Wrapper, 2016 November: Doc at the Radar Station (1980), 2017 October: Works on Paper.

Saturday, November 11

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

Romare Bearden: Pittsburgh Memory, 1964, mixed media collage of printed papers and graphite on board, 8½ by 11¾ inches.
"The show opens in 1963 at the height of the Civil Rights movement and its dreams of integration. In its wake emerged more militant calls for Black Power: a rallying cry for African American pride, autonomy and solidarity, drawing inspiration from newly independent African nations. Artists responded to these times by provoking, confronting, and confounding expectations. Their momentum makes for an electrifying visual journey. Vibrant paintings, powerful murals, collage, photography, revolutionary clothing designs and sculptures made with Black hair, melted records, and tights – the variety of artworks reflects the many viewpoints of artists and collectives at work during these explosive times. Some engage with legendary figures from the period, with paintings in homage to political leaders Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Angela Davis, musician John Coltrane and sporting hero Jack Johnson. Muhammad Ali appears in Andy Warhol’s famous painting. This landmark exhibition is a rare opportunity to see era-defining artworks that changed the face of art in America."
Tate (Video)
NY Times: A Tate Modern Show Examines Race in the U.S.
YouTube: Showcase: 'Soul of a Nation' Exhibition

Friday, November 10

Dream of a House: The Passions and Preoccupations of Reynolds Price

"Reynolds Price (1933–2011), who authored forty-one acclaimed novels, memoirs, plays, and collections of poetry and essays, was one of America's most notable writers of the past half-century. His works have a home on the shelves of millions of admiring readers worldwide. Fueled by a brilliant mind and exuberant spirit, Price’s singular literary voice not only shines a light on the land and people of his native South, but also on the inherent worth of every person. His enduring belief in beauty, courage, grace, and hope transcends time and circumstance. Confined to a wheelchair for the last twenty-seven years of his life, Price surrounded himself at home with art and objects that he loved. ..."
Center for Documentary Studies
Oxford American
The Paris Review: Seeing Reynolds Price Through His Art Collection
New Republic: Dream of a House Remembers One Writer’s “Long and Happy Life”

Reynolds Price's house, Durham, North Carolina, 2011.

"Radio Radio" - Elvis Costello and The Attractions (1978)

Wikipedia - "'Radio Radio' (sometimes written 'Radio, Radio') is a single by Elvis Costello and The Attractions released in the United Kingdom in October 1978. The song had already appeared on the US version of their second album, This Year's Model, released earlier that year. The song is a protest song concerning the commercialisation of radio broadcasts and the restrictions that prevented many punk songs from being played. It includes a reference to the BBC's ban of the Sex Pistols' 1977 single 'God Save the Queen'. The song made waves in the USA after Costello's appearance on Saturday Night Live. ... In the event, Costello began the SNL performance by playing 'Less than Zero.' However, after a few bars, he turned to the Attractions, waving his hand and yelling 'Stop! Stop!,' then said to the audience, 'I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, there's no reason to do this song here,' possibly referring to the fact 'Less than Zero' was written as a reply to British fascist politician Oswald Mosley. However, SNL music director Howard Shore attributes the move to Costello's bucking pressure by his music company to play 'Less than Zero' on the show. ..."
Songfacts (Audio)
YouTube: Radio, Radio (SNL 1977)

2011 August: Get Happy!!, 2011 November: "Watching the Detectives" (1978), 2014 August: This Year's Model (1978)

Thursday, November 9

Found: A Rare Carved Stone That Could Rewrite Art History

The carved seal, at just 1.4 inches, is a remarkable achievement.
"In spring 2016, a team of archeologists from the University of Cincinnati was digging at a Mycenaean site in the Pylos region of Greece when they made a surprising discovery: the intact tomb of a Bronze Age warrior dating to about 1500 B.C. The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports declared the find the 'most important to have been discovered in 65 years.' Now, almost two years later, the tomb has revealed its most valuable secret, and intricately carved sealstone that researchers are calling 'one of the finest works of prehistoric Greek art ever discovered.' It didn’t look so at first, but once a thick crust of limestone was cleared off it revealed a detailed scene of a victorious warrior, one defeated opponent beneath his feet and another falling at the tip of his sword. And all this was carved in meticulous detail on a piece of stone just over 1.4 inches long. ..."
Atlas Obscura
This Prehistoric "Masterpiece" Could Rewrite The History of Ancient Greek Art
NY Times: In Greek Warrior’s Grave, Rings of Power (and a Mirror and Combs)
W - Minoan civilization
W - Nuragic bronze statuettes

"Ilo Abu Chi" - de Celestine Ukwu (1974)

"Most Nigerian pop stars adopt or acquire titles like King, Sir, Lord, Cardinal, etc, but the great Celestine Ukwu was happy to be a humble Professor and his band had the poetic name of the Philosophers. Ukwu began his career in the 1960s in Enugu, capital of the Eastern Region of Nigeria under Mike Ejeagha. He moved back to Onitsha where he formed the Music Royals, but the Biafran war put an end to their career in 1967. After the war he resurrected the band in the early 70s as the Philosophers National. Tragically Celestine Ukwu died in a car crash on 8 May 1977, not yet forty. ..."
YouTube: "Ilo Abu Chi" 44:03

2,000+ Impressionist, Post-impressionist & Early Modern Paintings Now Free Online, Thanks to the Barnes Foundation

On the Grass, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
"Georges Seurat, Henri Rousseau, Giorgio de Chirico, Auguste Renoir, Vincent Van Gogh — all of us associate these names with great innovations in painting, but how many of us have had the opportunity to look long and close enough at their work to understand those innovations? To feel them, in other words, rather than just to know about them? The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia has just recently made it possible for us to contemplate thousands of works of art including those of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modern masters, zoomed in up close and at any length we like, by digitizing their collection and making it free online. ..."
Open Culture

Wednesday, November 8

Russian Revolution

A mass meeting in the Putilov Works in Petrograd during the 1917 Russian Revolution
Wikipedia - "The Russian Revolution was a pair of revolutions in Russia in 1917 which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II and the old regime was replaced by a provisional government during the first revolution of February 1917 (March in the Gregorian calendar; the older Julian calendar was in use in Russia at the time). Alongside it arose grassroots community assemblies (called 'soviets') which contended for authority. In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was toppled and all power was given to the soviets. The February Revolution (March 1917) was a revolution focused around Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg), the capital of Russia at that time. In the chaos, members of the Imperial parliament (the Duma) assumed control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government which was heavily dominated by the interests of large capitalists and the noble aristocracy. The army leadership felt they did not have the means to suppress the revolution, resulting in Nicholas's abdication. ..."
NY Times: Red Century - Exploring the history and legacy of Communism, 100 years after the Russian Revolution.
BBC - To the cinema, comrades: The revolutionary age of Soviet film posters
W - Ten Days That Shook the World, John Reed, [PDF]
YouTube: Russian Revolutions of 1917 (Revolution in Red) 23:33, The October Revolution

Vladimir Lenin addressing a crowd in Moscow in 1918.

Listening to Kate Williamson’s Comics

"There is a lot of sound, a lot music, in Kate T. Williamson’s 2008 graphic novel At a Crossroads: Between a Rock and My Parents’ Place, but there are few if any actual sound effects. There are some “thump thump thump”s written into the panels during a brief anecdote about a squirrel infestation, and three little musical notes are rendered during a karaoke scene, where they could almost be mistaken for crumbs on the carpet. That’s about it. Yet despite the relative paucity of drawn sound, the book abounds with sound. It appears in the form of the sounds around her that she shares with the reader in keen descriptions that also reveal her state of mind. There are also numerous references to her favorite pop music, which serves as an emotional support structure. ..."
Exclusive Comics Excerpt: ‘At a Crossroads’
amazon: At a Crossroads: Between a Rock and My Parents' Place

Patti Smith Group - Pale Blue Eyes/Louie Louie (1976)

Chelsea Hotel, 1971
"What you will likely find remarkable about this early live recording of the Patti Smith Group is the fact that she does so much talking. Recorded in the intimate Cellar Door club in Washington, DC, for the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio series, Smith waxes poetic to audience about nearly everything under the sun, including an interesting observation about performing in Washington during 1976. ... A former college dropout who moved to Greenwich Village in the late 1960s where she developed her skills as a beat poet, Patti Smith eventually discovered that the energetic punk music scene of the mid-1970s could work as the perfect vehicle for her controversial poetry and singing style. ..."
Paste (Audio)
YouTube: Stockholm 1976

Tuesday, November 7

Why You Hate Contemporary Architecture

John F. Kennedy Federal Building, Boston, MA.
"The British author Douglas Adams had this to say about airports: 'Airports are ugly. Some are very ugly. Some attain a degree of ugliness that can only be the result of special effort.' Sadly, this truth is not applicable merely to airports: it can also be said of most contemporary architecture. ... Or take Boston’s City Hall Plaza. Downtown Boston is generally an attractive place, with old buildings and a waterfront and a beautiful public garden. But Boston’s City Hall is a hideous concrete edifice of mind-bogglingly inscrutable shape, like an ominous component found left over after you’ve painstakingly assembled a complicated household appliance. In the 1960s, before the first batch of concrete had even dried in the mold, people were already begging preemptively for the damn thing to be torn down. ..."
Current Affairs

Dennis J. Banks, Naawakamig (1937-2017)

"Naawakamig — 'In the Center of the Universe ' — was his Anishinaabe name. But to most, he was known by his Anglo name: Dennis J. Banks. Born on the Leech Lake Reservation in 1937 — Ojibwe territory in present-day Minnesota — Banks became a force in a world where Native people rarely mattered. He cofounded the American Indian Movement (AIM) in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1968 and, along with AIM, played a starring role in the liberation of Wounded Knee in 1973 — a radical, insurgent moment of indigenous revolution. Under Banks’s leadership, AIM became the most powerful Native movement of the twentieth century, galvanizing indigenous people throughout the United States, Canada, and beyond. ..."
Jacobin: Standing Rock and the Struggle Ahead, The Indigenous Revolution, A History and Future of Resistance, A Tale of Two Standoffs
W - Dennis J. Banks
Dennis J. Banks: “Make No Mistake America, We are Going to be on Your Back”

The 10 Best Chess Records Albums To Own On Vinyl

"Of course, the invention of rock ’n’ roll cannot be traced exclusively back to Waters and Chess. Fats Domino, Little Richard and Elvis Presley—artists associated with Imperial, Specialty and Sun Records, respectively—have all been credited as forefathers of the genre. But even though other artists and independent labels released similar sounds around the same time, Chess Records had a profound effect on the musical revolution of the mid-20th century. ... Although Berry left the label for much of the 1960s, he remained indebted to the Chess brothers for kick-starting his career. When he returned to Chess Records in 1970, he titled his next album Back Home. The Chess brothers’ timing happened to be perfect. Black Americans fleeing the Jim Crow-era South had been settling in Chicago, resulting in both an influx of talented musicians and an audience eager for blues music. ..." (Joe J.)
Vinyl Me, Please

Monday, November 6

Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World

"Artist and activist Jimmie Durham (b. 1940) has worked as a visual artist, performer, essayist, and poet for more than forty-five years. A political organizer for the American Indian Movement during the 1970s, he was an active participant in the downtown New York City artistic community in the 1980s. In 1987 he moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico, then to Europe in 1994, where he has lived ever since. Predominantly a sculptor, Durham often combines found objects and natural materials and incorporates text to expose Western-centric views and prejudices hidden in language, objects, and institutions. Calling himself an 'interventionist,' Durham is oftentimes critical in his analysis of society but with a distinctive wit that is simultaneously generous and humorous. Durham's expansive practice spans sculpture, drawing, collage, photography, video, and performance, and the exhibition includes approximately 120 objects dating from 1970 to the present. ..."
Whitney (Video)
NY Times: Coming Face to Face With Jimmie Durham
Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World (Video)

Sunday, November 5

1975-1988: Urban Color

1984 - Dave's Restaurant, New York.
"Born in Chicago in 1946, Wayne Sorce studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and went on to have a distinguished career in photography. In the 1970s and ‘80s, Sorce explored the urban landscapes of New York and Chicago with his large format camera, making precisely balanced compositions of color, geometry, and light that also recorded the era’s particular styles of signage, advertising, and automobile design. Wayne Sorce: Urban Color, an exhibit of cityscapes by Sorce and his contemporaries, is on display at Joseph Bellows Gallery in La Jolla, California through Nov. 30."

Un Flic - Jean-Pierre Melville (1972)

"Haunted by death-obsessed men of action, Un Flic (A Cop) is a fitting final act for noir master Jean-Pierre Melville, who died in 1973, a year after this production. The title suggests that film is about Edouard Coleman, Alain Delon’s weary policeman, but the true subject is Coleman’s age. These characters are all worn down by time, and while that doesn’t make them sentimental or sloppy, they are always aware that any screw-up could get them killed. The balletic opening bank heist, a precise, dialogue-free set piece where deferred stares speak louder than the roaring of waves rolling in at a nearby beach, happens at twilight, but the metallic sky looming overhead makes it impossible to be sure of the time of day. ... Their uneasy relationship is at an impasse: At the bars, they sip Scotch, and warily exchange sidelong glances. Feelings are a liability in Un Flic, so Delon’s heartsick detective always looks vaguely distracted, his eyes betraying the character’s sadness. At the end, his partner fidgets while Edouard, trapped in his own head, drives down the Champs-Élysées. The other cop knows he can’t do anything for Edouard, except maybe offer a stick of gum. Un Flic‘s Paris is purgatory; the city’s silvery-blue, halogen-lit miasma is a fact of life."
W - Un Flic
LA Times: Revisit Jean-Pierre Melville's world of crime in 'Un Flic'
Un flic: art and artifice (and also cars and hats and blondes)
YouTube: Un Flic - Trailer, Isabelle Aubert and Michel Colombier

2017 June: Jean-Pierre Melville’s Cinema of Resistance

Mars ‎– 3 E / 11,000 Volts (1978)

"Mars was a New York City No Wave band formed by vocalist Sumner (Crane) Audrey in 1975. He was joined by China Burg (née Constance Burg; a.k.a Lucy Hamilton) (guitar, vocals), Mark Cunningham (bass), and artist Nancy Arlen (drums), and briefly by Rudolph Grey. The band played one live gig under the name China before changing it to Mars. They played a mixture of angular compositions and freeform ambient noise music jams, featuring surrealist lyrics and non-standard drumming. All the members were said to be completely untrained in music before forming the band. In 1978, Mars appeared on the influential No New York compilation LP produced by Brian Eno, along with DNA, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and James Chance and the Contortions, which helped to bring the nascent No Wave genre into the foreground. After the break-up of Mars at the end of 1978, Cunningham was part of the bizarre John Gavanti 'no wave opera' project with Crane, Arto Lindsay, and others. ..."
YouTube: 3E, 11,000 Volts

2015 November: The Complete Studio Recordings NYC 1977-1978

Saturday, November 4

Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City - Julia Wertz

"New York City can be the place where you go to 'make it,' but as cartoonist Julia Wertz points out in her new book, it's as storied for its failures as its successes. A 300-page visual epic, Tenements, Towers & Trash captures the New York that's risen up by stacking failure upon failure as implacably as residents toss bags onto curbside garbage piles. This isn't The City That Never Sleeps, it's The City Where Dreams Go To Die. But as far as sweeping histories of dead dreams go, Wertz's is a pretty upbeat one. She has a passion for abandoned places (her urban exploration blog, Adventure Bible School, offers plenty of photographic evidence) and she adores uncovering tangible remnants of fizzled ambitions and cockamamie schemes. She sketches page after page of charming flops. There are long-closed businesses whose signs lend charisma to generically gentrified neighborhoods. There are phased-out technologies that once provided cleanliness, safety and transit. There are notorious citizens whose spectacular acts of moral nihilism included theft, arson and murder. In Wertz's hands, even these people have some appeal — they're pathetic, but scary. ..."
NPR: 'Tenements, Towers & Trash' Brings Clean Lines To The City Of Failure

The Impressionist Line: From Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec

"In 1874 French artists Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir were among the founding members of the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, Etc., an artist cooperative dissatisfied with the conservative annual state-sanctioned art exhibition known as the Salon. The independent-minded collective—the Impressionists—defied academic tradition with their innovative artistic practices as well as their public presentation strategies. Prints and drawings made up nearly half of the works included in the eight Impressionist exhibitions—a series of independent, artist-organized events held in Paris between 1874 and 1886—that defined the movement. Today Impressionism is usually understood as celebrating the primacy of oil painting rather than the drawn or printed line. The Impressionist Line challenges this perception, exploring the Impressionists’ substantial—and often experimental—contributions to the graphic arts. ..."
The Clark
Radicals at work: New exhibit at The Clark turns around common thinking about the Impressionists
The Clark: Image Gallery

Two Series Highlight the Competing American Visions of Sam Shepard and Dennis Hopper

"It’s probably pure coincidence that BAM is presenting a week of Sam Shepard films right as the Metrograph screens five days of Dennis Hopper–directed titles. The mini-Hopper retro has been prompted by the release of Along for the Ride, a documentary about the troubled actor-filmmaker’s career, as seen through the eyes of his longtime assistant and friend, Satya de la Manitou. The Shepard movies are presumably screening because of the actor-writer’s recent passing. And yet, there’s serendipity here, too: No two actors of their generation better expressed the modern iteration of the lonesome cowboy — that dying myth of the all-American wanderer. Their careers regularly threatened to intersect, but the two almost never worked together. (When they did, on 2002’s prison pen-pal drama Leo, Shepard said Hopper was 'like a crazy brother.') Maybe that’s understandable, too: They were, in some way, opposites — separate sides of the same coin. ..."

2017 August: Sam Shepard (November 5, 1943 – July 27, 2017), 2009 November: Easy Rider (1969), 2010 May: Dennis Hopper (May 17, 1936 – May 29, 2010), 2010 November: The American Friend (1977), 2012 November: Dennis Hopper Documentary (90s), 2013 May: The Lost Album, 2013 December: On the Road, 2016 November: Dennis Hopper: Colors, The Polaroids