Friday, May 6

Alex Katz at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise

Night House 1, 2013
"Among the more moving art experiences is seeing a painter excel late in life. Alex Katz, 87, is well known for landscapes and portraits that combine direct perception; wet-on-wet speed-painting and scale; and a distinct merging of Pop Art, abstraction and the plein-air tradition. But now he is having one of the best gallery exhibitions of his career, a display of landscape paintings — lately his surest work — that while seeming to modulate his familiar style have a new, more emotional resonance. ..."
NY Times
Gavin Brown's enterprise
WSJ: A Look At Alex Katz’s Late Career
No Sad Songs: Q+A With Alex Katz and Gavin Brown
When Gavin Brown Met Alex Katz: An Artist's New Show Is At An Unexpected Venue

2008 February: Alex Katz, 2010 December: Life Imitates Art, 2012 June: Alex Katz Prints, 2013 April: On Painting: Alex Katz & Felix Vallotton

Windows that Open Inward - Pablo Neruda. Milton Rogovin, Photographing.

The rafters in Pablo Neruda's studio.
"In 1967, Milton Rogovin was invited to collaborate on a project with the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. While at Neruda's home in Isla Negra, Chile, Milton photographed Neruda's living room. The ceiling had the names of poets who were influential to Neruda. Windows that Open Inward contains poems by Pablo Neruda and photographs by Milton Rogovin. This book was published in 2004 by White Pine Press. Milton's involvement with Neruda and his month-long photographing trip to Chile is spoken about in films and books on Milton's photography. ..."
Milton Rogovin
W - Casa de Isla Negra
BBC - Chile through Pablo Neruda's eyes
Fundación Pablo Neruda
Google - Windows that Open Inward

February 2009: Pablo Neruda, 2011 November: 100 Love Sonnets, 2015 November: The Body Politic: The battle over Pablo Neruda’s corpse, 2015 December: In Chile, Where Pablo Neruda Lived and Loved.

Sturtevant Drawing Double Reversal

Sturtevant, Johns 0 Through 9, 1965.
"In the rooms of the MMK 1, a selection of more than one hundred drawings dating from 1964 to the present – and thus from throughout the late artist’s œuvre – is on display. Among them are eighty drawings here on view to the public for the first time. The intense research and study of Sturtevant’s graphic work carried out in preparation for the show led to the conclusion that the early drawings are the key to understanding her conceptual work. Particularly the so-called Composite Drawings of 1965 and 1966 convey an impression of her radical artistic thought and the status of her work in recent art history. ..."
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac - Solo
W - Elaine Sturtevant
NY Times: Elaine Sturtevant, Who Borrowed Others’ Work Artfully, Is Dead at 89
YouTube: STURTEVANT I RELOADED I GALERIE THADDAEUS ROPAC PARIS MARAIS I 2014/2015, Sturtevant's Repetitions, In Paris with Sturtevant

Thursday, May 5

Celebrating Jane Jacobs

"The writer, activist, and urban theorist Jane Jacobs was born 100 years ago today. Best known for her 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jacobs pulled together her experiences as an architecture journalist, New York City resident, and long-time observer of urban life (she grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, watching the city’s slow economic decline) to form her ideas about how cities and neighborhoods work best. In the book, which she called 'an attack' on established ideas of city planning, Jacobs argued strongly for urban density and diversity. ..."
#jj100 (Video)
W - Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs Walk
TIME - Defending Vibrant City Life: Jane Jacobs at 100 (Video)
Jane Jacobs believed cities should be fun — and changed urban planning forever (Video)
W - The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs
A MARVELOUS ORDER an opera about Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs (Video)
YouTube: Celebrating the City: Jane Jacobs at 100, Jane Jacobs vs Robert Moses: Urban Fight of the Century, Jane Jacobs - The Little Woman That Could, Jane Jacobs: Neighborhoods in Action

One Step Forward Two Steps Backward: 1976, Reggae & Critical Amnesia

"Be wary of the curators, including me, and the path they choose for you in ‘building a collection’. Always revealing, those artifacts a dominant culture deems representative of marginal cultures. Reggae music, as an expression of black Jamaican consciousness, as the music that most uniquely summates the imaginative and spiritual desires, and brute reality of Jamaican life, is now usually critically reduced to a half-handful of album-length transmissions. Noticeable also, among even the ‘collector’ mindset and in the tiny worlds of avant-garde rock-crit and even dance-crit, that increasingly the emphasis on dub’s studio-sorcery or dancehall’s digi-manipulation is paramount. ..."
The Quietus (Video)
YouTube: Peter Tosh - Them A Fi Get A Beaten, Power and the glory - Ernie Smith

“Daze World”, the Artist and Book from City to Canvas and Back

"'This is not an autobiography in the practical sense. I didn’t cover the day-to-day minutia of my childhood or formative teenage years all the way to the present. Rather, I have chosen to take the reader on a journey that covers some of the seminal moments in my life. Those moments shaped my art and allowed me to continue to evolve as an artist,' says graffiti/street/studio artist DAZE of the brand new collection of images and essays that make up 'Daze World,' the new hardcover from Schiffer. The trains of the 1970s are formative and foundational to the NYC story and Daze is happy to talk to you about his love affair with the cars, tracks, tunnels, yards. Also important to him is his gradual transition in the early and mid-1980s to canvas and galleries. It is a transition that may be insurmountable, or at least treacherous, for a graffiti writer. ..."
Brooklyn Street Art

Wednesday, May 4

The Slits - "Typical Girls" / "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (1979)

"Following on from the more recent spiky, punky, dubby sound of MIA’s ‘Paper Planes’, we have this classic from proto riot girrrls The Slits. Their take on ‘I Heard it Through the Grapevine‘ (Motown’s lament about 'the rumor mill that swirls around a cheating lover') has been described as 'the gold standard in violently recontextualized punk covers' and 'transcendent'. The song is memorable by virtue of it doing what all the best covers surely should: radically reinterpreting a song (a classic in its own right in this case, though I’d suggest it doesn’t have to be) and making it into something new. Apart from the genre shift, Ari’s vocal twists and ingenious insertion of 'I heard it through the bassline' at one point in the song give it a life of its own. Meanwhile, the lack of change in terms of heterosexist and standard gender appropriate alterations is refreshing. ..."
Song of the day: The Slits – I Heard it Through the Grapevine
YouTube: Typical Girls, I Heard It Through The Grapevine

2010 October: Ari Up (17 January 1962 – 20 October 2010), 2012 July: Subatomic Sound System meets Lee Scratch Perry & Ari Up of the Slits (7″ vinyl), 2014 September: Live in Cincinnati and San Francisco 1980, 2015 August: Return Of The Giant Slits (1981/2007)

Almendares Alacranes - 1878 to 1961

Wikipedia - "The Almendares club was one of the oldest and most distinguished baseball teams in the old Cuban League, which existed from 1878 to 1961. Almendares represented the Almendares District on the outskirts of the old city of Havana—when the league was founded it was still considered a suburban area, but later became a district within the enlarged city. Almendares was one of the most successful franchises in the Cuban League. In their early history they were known by their colors as the Blues; later they adopted the name of Alacranes (Scorpions). Throughout their existence they had a famous rivalry with the Habana baseball club. ... For Cubans, baseball offered the possibility of national integration of all Cubans, of all classes, black and white, young and old, men and women. ..."
Alacranes del Almendares Baseball in Cuba History
SABR: Lazaro Salazar
Inter-Social Leagues
Death Will Have To Find Me on a Baseball Field: Connie Marrero Bio
[PDF] Forgotten Heroes: John “Buck” O'Neil
Alacranes del Almendares

Jennifer Hayden

"Jennifer Hayden came to comics from fiction-writing and children’s book illustration. Her new book, The Story of My Tits (Top Shelf, 2015), is a 352-page graphic memoir and breast cancer narrative. Her previous book, the autobiographical collection Underwire (Top Shelf, 2011), was excerpted in The Best American Comics 2013 and named one of 'the best comics by women' by DoubleX. She is a member of Activate (the premier webcomics collective in New York City), where she posts her webcomic S’crapbook, which earned a Notable listing in the Best American Comics 2012. ... After hours, Jennifer plays electric fiddle with The Rocky Hill Ramblers and The Spring Hill Band. She lives in Central New Jersey with her husband, their two college-age children, two cats, and the dog."
Jennifer Hayden - Bio
Jennifer Hayden
Hayden Shares Her Breast Cancer Survival Tale in "The Story of My Tits"
amazon: Jennifer Hayden

Tuesday, May 3

Never Say Never - Romeo Void (EP 1982)

Wikipedia - "'Never Say Never' is a 1982 song by the new wave band Romeo Void. One of their best-known songs, 'Never Say Never' was a favorite on early MTV, featuring a music video filmed in black and white using film noir motifs. The song is driven by a throbbing, funky bassline and punctuated by jagged guitar and saxophone, incorporating post-punk influences. The song was featured in the 1984 film Reckless starring Aidan Quinn as a football star and renegade. Quinn's character takes over the school dance's DJ booth to play the single, much to the dismay of all his classmates. A dance sequence ensues with Quinn's character moshing about while a somewhat distraught Daryl Hannah tries to figure out how to dance with him. ..."
W - Romeo Void
YouTube: Never Say Never (Live)
YouTube: 01 - Never Say Never 00:00 02 - In The Dark 6:04 03 - Present Tense 10:26 04 - Not Safe 16:15

The Difference Engine - William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (1990)

"This genre-transcending science fiction novel by the co-inventors of 'cyberpunk,' William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, is set in an alternative version of Victorian London, circa 1855, with many of its familiar historical features intact: pea-souper fogs pierced with the dim glow of the first gaslight lamps, a war being fought in the Crimea, ladies in crinolines, gents in top hats, prodigies both of squalor and of nouveau riche excess. But then, and it is quite an enormous 'but then,' the authors have decreed that one crucial datum of history shall be other than it was: sometime in the 1820's the mathematician Charles Babbage succeeded in constructing an operational Analytic Engine, a clockwork computer powered not by electricity but by steam engines. The historical, cultural and scientific repercussions are enormous, as they have been in our own time, and the resulting counter-Victorian era is elaborated with a Dickensian density of imaginative detail. ..."
NY Times: Queen Victoria's Computers
W - The Difference Engine
libcom: The difference engine - William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
NYPL: William Gibson 101:03

2010 September: Cyberpunk, 2010 October: Bruce Sterling, 2011 July: William Gibson, 2015 May: Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology - edited by Bruce Sterling (1986), 2015 July: A Global Neuromancer

Bruce Conner: It's All True

CROSSROADS. 1976/2013.
"BRUCE CONNER: IT’S ALL TRUE is the artist’s first monographic museum exhibition in New York, the first large survey of his work in 16 years, and the first complete retrospective of his 50-year career. It brings together over 250 objects, from film and video to painting, assemblage, drawing, prints, photography, photograms, and performance. Bruce Conner (1933–2008) was one of the foremost American artists of the postwar era. Emerging from the California art scene, in which he worked for half a century, Conner’s work touches on various themes of postwar American society, from a rising consumer culture to the dread of nuclear apocalypse. ..."
UC Press - Bruce Conner: It's All True
YouTube: A Movie, BREAKAWAY - Art + Music - MOCAtv, Intro / THREE SCREEN RAY - Art + Music - MOCAtv, MEA CULPA - Art + Music - MOCAtv, MONGOLOID - Art + Music - MOCAtv

Monday, May 2

Algerian War

Wikipedia - "The Algerian War, also known as the Algerian War of Independence or the Algerian Revolution ... was a war between France and the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) from 1954 to 1962, which led to Algeria gaining its independence from France. An important decolonization war, it was a complex conflict characterized by guerrilla warfare, maquis fighting, and the use of torture by both sides. The conflict was also a civil war between loyalist Algerians supporting a French Algeria and their Algerian nationalist counterparts. ... Although the military campaigns greatly weakened the FLN militarily, with most prominent FLN leaders killed or arrested and terror attacks effectively stopped, the brutality of the methods employed failed to win hearts and minds in Algeria, alienated support in Metropolitan France and discredited French prestige abroad. ..."
Wikipedia (Video)
The Atlantic: A Chronology of the Algerian War of Independence
Algeria and War, 1954-62
History of Algerian Independence
YouTube: Charles De Gaulle and the Algerian War | 1954-1960 | Documentary on the Algerian War of Independence 26:15, Veterans: The French in Algeria 23:24, Al Jazeera Algeria Test of Power 1of2 An Authoritarian Era 49:12, Al Jazeera Algeria Test of Power 2of2 An Era of Tempests 47:12

2016 April: Algerian Chronicles - Albert Camus (2013)

Discover Harvard’s Collection of 2,500 Pigments: Preserving the World’s Rare, Wonderful Colors

"If modern paint companies’ pretentiously-named color palettes gall you to the point of an exclusively black-and-white existence, the Harvard Art Museums’ Forbes pigment collection will prove a welcome balm. The hand and typewritten labels identifying the collection’s 2500+ pigments boast none of the flashy 'creativity' that J. Crew employs to peddle its cashmere Boyfriend Cardigans. The benign, and wholly unexciting-sounding 'emerald green' is — unsurprisingly —the exact shade legions of Oz fans have come to expect. The thrills here are chemical, not conferred. A mix of crystalline powder copper acetoarsenite, this emerald’s fumes sickened penniless artists as adroitly as they repelled insects. Look how nicely it goes with Van Gogh’s ruddy hair. ..."
Open Culture (Video)

Amos Chapple

"For most people, Oymyakon—the world's coldest permanently settled area, located a few hundred miles from the Arctic Circle in the Russian tundra—wouldn't be a top-of-the-list travel destination. But for New Zealand photographer Amos Chapple, it offered an opportunity he couldn't refuse. Working as an English teacher in Russia to support his travel photography, Chapple viewed a trip to Oymyakon—and its nearest city, Yakutsk (576 miles away)—as a chance to embark on a unique photography project. ... Still, it's extremely remote: six time zones away from Moscow, there is a small airport but no railway, and the town boasts but one major road leading in and out of it. Known as the 'Road of Bones,' it was built by gulag inmates under Stalin's regime. ..."
Smithsonian: Photos From the Coldest City on Earth
On Siberia's Ice Highway (Video)
Amos Chapple

Sunday, May 1

GOWANUS! Brooklyn’s Troubled Waters

"Brooklyn’s Gowanus — both the creek and the canal — is one of the most mysterious and historically important waterways in New York City. By coincidence, it also happens to be among its most polluted, shrouded in frightening tales of dead animals (and a few unfortunate humans) floating along its canal shores. Its toxic mix is the stuff of urban legends (most of which are actually true). But this was once the land of delicious oysters. This was the site of an important Revolutionary War battle. This was part of the property of the man who later developed Park Slope. But, in current times, it ALSO happens to be one of New York City’s hottest neighborhoods for real estate development. How does a neighborhood go from a canal of deadly constitution to a Whole Foods, condos and shuffleboard courts? ..."
The Bowery Boys: New York City History
The Bowery Boys: New York City History - The history and future of Gowanus
Love that dirty water: The Gowanus Canal's Union Street Bridge
NYUpress - Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal by Joseph Alexiou
Inside Lavender Lake, Our New Favorite Beer Garden
vimeo: Lavender Lake (short story) - Stephane Missier
NY Times: Brooklyn Artist in Troubled Water


"OBaH turned a family legacy into a profession, becoming a rising industry music producer and highly sought after NYC DJ. OBaH stands for Oldskool Beats and Harmonies for a very good reason: he’s the son of veteran NYC DJ/Musician/Professor and activist, Baba Chico. Growing up, OBaH had the world’s best funk, jazz & soul records at his fingertips. Armed with his father’s epic library of music, OBaH quickly made his mark on the NYC club scene, becoming the resident DJ at several nightclubs in his native Brooklyn. Quickly gaining respect and a solid fan base, his first big break came courtesy of world-renowned DJ, Rich Medina, who invited OBaH to spin at his weekly party at the legendary (now defunct) APT nightclub in the Meatpacking district of NYC. ..."
OBaH: Bio
OBaH (Video)
Soundcloud (Video)
OBaH's mixes (Video)
YouTube: Dubspot Instructor Spotlight - Video Profile: Meet Brooklyn's DJ OBaH - Producer / Educator

"The Rolling Stones: Charlie Is My Darling — Ireland 1965"

"For those who can’t get to the New York Film Festival tonight or next Thursday for the screening of Peter Whitehead’s documentary 'Charlie Is My Darling,' which shows the Rolling Stones onstage and off during their 1965 concert tour in Ireland, fear not—it’s coming to DVD next month. But don’t miss it then: Whitehead catches the band while its feet are still touching the ground and while its members are still facing both the homey pleasures and the mounting terrors of a relatively un-insulated life, while their joy in making music and in having a limber jaunt together is still fresh and their success is still a lightly gilded serendipity. ..."
New Yorker - “Charlie Is My Darling”: The Rolling Stones in 1965
W - Charlie Is My Darling
NY Times: Early Stones, Presented as Diamonds in the Rough
DailyMotion: Charlie Is My Darling - Ireland 1965

2015 August: Exile on Main Street (1972), 2015 October: "Let's Spend the Night Together" / "Ruby Tuesday" (1967), 2015 December: Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka (1971), 2016 January: Some Girls (1978), 2016 January: The Rolling Stones (EP), 2016 March: Five by Five (EP - 1964)

Saturday, April 30

Spotlight (2015)

"'The city flourishes when its great institutions work together,' says the cardinal to the newspaper editor during a friendly chat in the rectory. The city in question is Boston. The cardinal is Bernard F. Law and the editor, newly arrived at The Boston Globe from The Miami Herald, is Martin Baron. He politely dissents from the cardinal’s vision of civic harmony, arguing that the paper should stand alone. Their conversation, which takes place early in 'Spotlight,' sets up the film’s central conflict. Encouraged by Baron, a small group of reporters at The Globe will spend the next eight months (and the next two hours) digging into the role of the Boston archdiocese in covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests. ... When institutions convinced of their own greatness work together, what usually happens is that the truth is buried and the innocent suffer. Breaking that pattern of collaboration is not easy. Challenging deeply entrenched, widely respected authority can be very scary. ..."
NY Times (Video)
NPR: Film Shines A 'Spotlight' On Boston's Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal (Video)
W - Spotlight
YouTube: Spotlight Official Trailer #1

Professor Wouassa - Dangerous Koko (2011)

"Debut album by Swiss-based afro-beat band Professor Wouassa. Features Duke Amayo, Chico Mann, Black Cracker, Korbo, Thais Diarra, Didier Awadi, Alina Amuri, Luthor… In the humid slums of the city of Lausanne, Switzerland, Professor Wouassa develops a singular musical genre with roots in the African continent. These six sorcerers don't shy away from mixing afrobeat, high-life and ethio-jazz to their background of 60's soul, old funk and hip-hop. ..."
afrobeat, afrofunk, afrojazz, afrorock, african boogie, african hiphop
YouTube: Dangerous Koko! - full album

Reginald Marsh, "Tattoo and Haircut," 1932

"Of the foremost realists of the 1930s, Reginald Marsh was fascinated by public behavior and the exciting commotion of New York. Tattoo and Haircut portrays a busy scene of people below the massive structure of the El on the Bowery, then an area notorious as a skid row. Rendered in Marsh’s gently satirical style are several city types: a derelict on crutches, loitering men conversing or smoking cigarettes, a chic woman walking by herself. Marsh used an egg tempera medium to fill every inch of the composition with details, from architectural elements to signs and text. Introduced to the artist by the muralist Thomas Hart Benton, the medium suited Marsh’s keen skills as a draftsman. Here he added successive films of tempera in muted colors, using its mottled, uneven surface to emphasize the grimy nature of this world. His technique thus reinforces his presentation of the subject: cacophonous, dilapidated, and dim, yet vibrantly alive."
The Art Institute of Chicago
W - Reginald Marsh

Friday, April 29

Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection

"Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection offers new perspectives on one of art’s oldest genres. Drawn entirely from the Museum’s holdings, the more than two hundred works in the exhibition show changing approaches to portraiture from the early 1900s until today. Bringing iconic works together with lesser-known examples and recent acquisitions in a range of mediums, the exhibition unfolds in eleven thematic sections on the sixth and seventh floors. Some of these groupings concentrate on focused periods of time, while others span the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to forge links between the past and the present. This sense of connection is one of portraiture’s most important aims, whether memorializing famous individuals long gone or calling to mind loved ones near at hand. ..."
Whitney (Video)
NY Times: Picturing America in the Selfie Age, at the Whitney

"Texas Flood" - Larry Davis (1958)

Wikipedia - "'Texas Flood' (sometimes called 'Stormin' in Texas' or 'Flood Down in Texas') is a blues song recorded by Larry Davis in 1958. It is considered a blues standard and has been recorded by several artists, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, who made it part of his repertoire. 'Texas Flood' is a slow-tempo twelve-bar blues notated in 12/8 time in the key of A♭. It was written by Davis in California in 1955 and is credited to Davis and Duke Records arranger/trumpeter Joe Scott. Nominally about a flood in Texas, Davis used it as a metaphor for his relationship problems:
Well I'm leavin' you baby, Lord I'm goin' back home to stay (2×)
Well where there's no floods or tornadoes, baby the sun shines every day
Although Davis later became a guitar player, for 'Texas Flood' Fenton Robinson provided the distinctive guitar parts, with Davis on vocals and bass, James Booker on piano, David Dean on tenor saxophone, and an unknown drummer. The song was Davis' first single as a leader and became a regional hit. ..."
W - Larry Davis
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: "Texas Flood", Fenton Robinson ~ "Texas Flood"(Electric Chicago Blues 1974), "Texas Flood" - Stevie Ray Vaughan & Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan - "Texas Flood"

Painting With Light: Art and Photography

John Atkinson Grimshaw "London, Pall Mall and St. James Street", c.1880s
"Painting With Light: Art and Photography from the pre-Raphaelites to the Modern Age, will exhibit at Tate Britain from the 11th May to 25th September. This is a concept we can fully support as an idea for an exhibition, getting under the skin on the relationship between British painters and photographers. Focussing on a period of 75 years, the exhibition is set to bring close to 200 pieces of work and a great way of presenting different collections and mediums the Tate has and can bring together. ..."
Interview: Painting with Light, Tate Britain, London

Thursday, April 28

Sun Song - Sun Ra (1956)

"This essential title is also available under the moniker of Sun Song (1956). Regardless of name, this long-player contains some of Sun Ra's most complex, yet accessible efforts. Ra had been an active performer since the late 1940s, recording with his various combos or 'Arkestra(s)' as Ra dubbed them. ... Ra's highly arithmetical approach to bop was initially discounted by noted jazz critic Nat Hentoff as 'repetitious,' with phrases 'built merely on riffs with little development.' In retrospect, however, it is obvious there is much more going on here. Among the musical innovations woven into the up-tempo 'Brainville' and 'Transition,' are advanced time signatures coupled with harmonic scales based on Ra's mathematical equations. ... Ra's original LP jacket comments can be found within the liner notes of the Sun Song compact disc. This is noteworthy as one of the rare occasions that Sun Ra sought to explain not only his influences, but his methods of composition and modes of execution as well. ..."
W - Jazz by Sun Ra
YouTube: Sun Ra - Sun Song [Full Album]

Simple Headphone Mind - Stereolab / Nurse With Wound (EP - 1997)

Wikipedia - "Simple Headphone Mind is the second collaboration between Stereolab and Nurse With Wound. As with their first release, Crumb Duck, Stereolab recorded the basic track and then handed it over to Steven Stapleton to do with as he pleased. Unlike with Crumb Duck, listeners can hear the original Stereolab recording, as it was issued under the title The Long Hair Of Death on a split single with Yo La Tengo; this version was also featured on Stereolab's Aluminum Tunes compilation album. Again, as with Crumb Duck, the release was a limited edition. ..."
YouTube: Simple Headphone Mind, Trippin ' With the Birds

Wednesday, April 27

Why is modern poetry so bad? (2013)

ONE MORE LOOK AT ALABAMA - October 1984 conference
"Friday morning, America’s great poets will wake up to find that someone has TP-ed their trees and scrawled 'COWARD' on the door. A 6,000-word jeremiad about the pathetic state of contemporary poetry appears in the July issue of Harper’s magazine, which hits bookstores Friday. In 'Poetry Slam, or, The Decline of American Verse,' Mark Edmundson, an English professor at the University of Virginia, upbraids our bards for being 'oblique, equivocal, painfully self-questioning . . . timid, small, in retreat . . . ever more private, idiosyncratic, and withdrawn.' That’s just for starters. ... Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Charles Simic, Frank Bidart, Robert Hass, Robert Pinsky — they’re all brought into Edmundson’s office for a dressing down. Their poems 'are good in their ways,' he concedes. ..."
Washington Post
[PDF] Poetry Slam or, The Decline of American Verse - Mark Edmundson
In Every Generation: A Response to Mark Edmundson
Slate: Who Are You Calling Opaque?
The Atlantic: Literature Is Dead (According to Straight, White Guys, At Least)
A Brief Reply to ‘Poetry Slam’ by Mark Edmundson
Poetry Daily Critique
W - Poetry Slam

"The Old New World" - Alexey Zakharov

"Here’s an amazing short film titled 'The Old New World' by photographer and animator Alexey Zakharov of Moscow, Russia. Zakharov found old photos of US cities from the early 1900s and brought them to life. The photos show New York, Boston, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore between 1900 and 1940, and were obtained from the website Shorpy. It’s a 'photo-based animation project' that offers a 'travel back in time with a little steampunk time machine,' Zakharov says. 'The main part of this video was made with camera projection based on photos.'”
This Animation Was Created Using Old Photos from the Early 1900s (Video)

Mike Kelley, More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages of Sin, 1987

"More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid is a chaotic assemblage of handmade dolls and blankets that Mike Kelley found in thrift stores. Kelley does not designate to whom more 'love hours' are owed, but simply puts forward the condition of loving something too much, or of receiving too little in return—like the cast-off items that make up the sculpture. The title also conjures associations of guilt: when parents and relatives create these toys and blankets, are the countless hours of stitching, knitting, and crocheting a kind of penance, and for what? Do we expect children to repay the time and love lavished on them? ..."
Welcome to Mike Kelley University
LA Times - Mike Kelley: A game-changer for the art world
W - Mike Kelley

Tuesday, April 26

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse

Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil – Pierre-August Renior 1873
"Renoir painted Monet painting his garden in 1873. The two pictures hang next to each other at the start of this exhibition. With their abundance of red dahlias and creamy clouds, their blue-shuttered houses and soft summer light, each painting looks remarkably like the other – except that where Renoir portrays his friend, Monet is nose-deep in the blossoms. 'Perhaps I owe it to flowers,' he said, 'that I became a painter.' This startling statement appears in large letters in the opening gallery, as well it might, for there is no doubting whose show this is. Gardens and Monet are such a heady, coffer-filling combination that it would be extraordinary if the Royal Academy stinted on Monet’s visions of the gardens he created at Argenteuil, Vétheuil and Giverny, but what’s marvellous is the way these paintings are planted at intervals all the way through the show until they build to a grand finale at the end – a spectacular vision of water lilies, and of modern art. ..."
Guardian - Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse review – ravishing visions
Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse (Video)
Telegraph: Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, Royal Academy, review: 'sensual and physical'
amazon: Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse

Giant Single: The Profile Records Rap Anthology (2012)

"Profile released a stack of R&B, freestyle, punk, rock, and reggae records, but scholars of '80s and '90s rap see Steve Plotnicki and Cory Robbins' venture as a crucial source with a rep as indisputable as that of any other rap label. For evidence, check Ego Trip's compulsory Book of Rap Lists, where roughly half of the 31 tracks compiled here made the authors' collaborative year-based charts. Giant Single is a long-overdue two-disc compilation that covers Profile's rap output, from Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde's 'Genius Rap' (featuring future label executive Andre Harrell) to Camp Lo's 'Luchini (aka This Is It)' -- two buoyant party anthems separated by 15 years. ... Still, Giant Single is a crucial part of hip-hop history. Testimonials from 16 hip-hop figures, along with sharp liner notes from Dan Charnas (onetime Profile employee and author of The Big Payback), only add value."
NPR: A 'Giant Anthology' Of Profile Records, Rap's Early Champion (Video)
YouTube: Giant Single: Profile Records Rap Anthology (31 Video)

Fela Kuti - Shuffering and Shmiling (1977)

"After the 1977 police attack on Fela's Kalakuta Republic, where his mother and about 80 members of his entourage and band were injured and arrested, he set out to light a fire underneath the authority figures and his various other enemies that were causing him and, in his eyes, the people of Nigeria to suffer in the form of harassment, oppression, and economic devastation. Shuffering and Shmiling is one of those comments. While continuing along in his tradition of savvy instrumental innovation, Shuffering and Shmiling plays out with the same intensity and voracious soloing that mark other great Africa 70 performances like Confusion, Gentleman, and No Agreement; but the point of departure here is the outward remarks he makes on a touchy topic: religion. ..."
W - "Shuffering and Shmiling"
Lyrics: Shuffering and Shmiling (Fela Kuti and Afrika 70)
The Afro Beat
YouTube: Shuffering and Shmiling

Monday, April 25

News from Babel (1983-1986)

Wikipedia - "News from Babel were an English avant-rock group founded in 1983 by Chris Cutler, Lindsay Cooper, Zeena Parkins and Dagmar Krause. They made two studio albums with several guest musicians (including Robert Wyatt) and disbanded in 1986. In the wake of English avant-rock group Henry Cow (1968–1978), Art Bears (1978–1981), a song-oriented group, was formed by three of Henry Cow's members, drummer Chris Cutler, multi-instrumentalist Fred Frith and singer Dagmar Krause. In Art Bears' wake, News from Babel emerged in 1983, comprising Cutler, Krause, Henry Cow woodwind player Lindsay Cooper, and United States harpist Zeena Parkins. It was Parkins's first 'rock group' and the first time she had recorded with her harp. This new group followed the song-oriented approach of Art Bears, but with a different musical emphasis. Cooper composed the music and Cutler wrote the song texts. ..."
W - Work Resumed on the Tower
W - Letters Home
W - Complete
YouTube: Sirens and Silences / Work Resumed on the Tower, Letters Home , Contraries (7 inch single, Rē Records)
YouTube: Forlì, 23 novembre 2014, Dragon at the Core (Live)

December 2009: Lindsay Cooper, 2010 February: Art Bears, 2011 April: Rags (1980)/The Golddiggers (1983), 2012 July: The Art Box - Art Bears, 2012 November: David Thomas And The Pedestrians - Variations On A Theme, 2013 March: The Last Nightingale, 2013 October: Art Bears Songbook - 2010-09-19 - Rock In Opposition Festival, 2014 April: Lindsay Cooper, 1951-2013, 2015 February: Oh Moscow (1991), 2015 April: Rarities Volumes 1 & 2 (2014), 2015 May: Music For Other Occasions (1986)
2010 January: Dagmar Krause,, 2012 July: Supply and Demand: Songs by Brecht / Weill & Eisler, 2013 February: Tank Battles: The Songs of Hanns Eisler, 2015 March: "The Ballad of Bougeois Welfare", "The Ballad of The Sackslingers", "Pavel's Prison Song", Etc..
2011 January: Zeena Parkins, 2012 December: Fred Frith, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins / sound. at REDCAT, 2014 October: Janene Higgins & Zeena Parkins (2000), 2012 October: Ikue Mori, 2015 March: Phantom Orchard: Zeena Parkins and Ikue Mori.

Galleries Scramble Amid Brooklyn’s Gentrification

“Whisper or Shout: Artists in the Social Sphere,” BRIC House in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
"ART has always been used to sugarcoat economic power moves. In Manhattan, the arrival of galleries can help make real estate hot, and for a while, art gains from the cachet. In Brooklyn, gentrification seems to have the opposite effect: It kills off the art that helped inspire it. Not long ago, a wave of start-up art spaces was building in Dumbo and Williamsburg, only to die down once property values rose, a dynamic that may now be underway in Bushwick. Whatever the case there, in a once rent-friendly borough, galleries and artists alike are scrambling, a reality that tends to promote resourcefulness in exhibition options and to give at least some art being shown and produced a political edge. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: From Caged Dolls to a Floating Pool, Art to See in the Galleries

The 1969 Bob Dylan-Johnny Cash Sessions: 12 Rare Recordings

"Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash had formed a mutual admiration society even before they met in the early 1960s. 'Of course, I knew of him before he ever heard of me,' Dylan wrote shortly after Cash’s death in 2003. 'In ’55 or ’56, 'I Walk the Line’ played all summer on the radio, and it was different than anything else you had ever heard. The record sounded like a voice from the middle of the Earth. It was so powerful and moving.' When the young Dylan arrived on the scene in 1962, Cash was impressed. ..."
Open Culture (Video)
YouTube: Johnny Cash Bob Dylan Studio Outtakes, Nashville TN 2-17-1969 54:42

Sunday, April 24

A Marcel Duchamp Collection

The Non-Dada, 1922
"A rare collection of works and matter by Marcel Duchamp, amassed by a single collector over a period of 40 years, including original editioned objects and prints, collaborative designs, catalogues, readymades, archival materials and ephemera, dating from 1917-1968."
LA Louver (Video)
Guardian - Ed Ruscha on Marcel Duchamp: 'He was a guiding light'
LA Louver: John Cage first met Marcel Duchamp in the 1940s. (Video)
W - Marcel Duchamp
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Zoot Suit

Dancing couple in the 1940's
Wikipedia - "A zoot suit (occasionally spelled zuit suit is a men's suit with high-waisted, wide-legged, tight-cuffed, pegged trousers, and a long coat with wide lapels and wide padded shoulders. This style of clothing became popular among the African-American, Chicano, Filipino American, and Italian American communities during the 1940s. In Britain the "Edwardian-look" suits with velvet lapels worn by Teddy Boys is said to be a derivative of the zoot suit. Zoot Suits were first associated with African American in urban communities such as Harlem , Chicago , and Detroit but it was made popular by Jazz Musicians in the 1940s. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word zoot probably comes from a reduplication of suit. ..."
W - Zoot Suit Riots
W - Zoot Suit (play)
PBS: Zoot Suit Culture
L.A. in the Zoot Suit Era
YouTube: The Zoot Suit Riots, Zoot suit fiebre latina LP, Zoot Suit. El Pachuco, Edward James Olmos

1970's Algerian Proto-Raï Underground

"Every bit the people's music as much as punk or hip-hop, raï has been flourishing for decades, even after post-colonial Marxist governments pushed it underground. Sublime Frequencies' vinyl-only compilation celebrates some of the best raï from Algeria's darker cultural years. There are any number of reasons why certain bands and singers fall into obscurity-- it's not always due to lack of impact, importance, or even something as practical as distribution. Sometimes they disappear because they're made to disappear. In the case of raï, Algeria's vibrant hybrid of Middle Eastern and European folk, its subject matter and party vibe often made the music a target in post-colonial Algeria, with former FLN fighter and later the nation's Marxist leader Houari Boumédienne not as huge a fan of free speech as he was of suppressing it. ..."
RootsWorld (Video)
YouTube: 1970's Algerian Proto -Rai Underground (1970)

2011 February: Raï, 2012 February: An Intro To Rebel Hip-Hop Of The Arab Revolutions

Saturday, April 23

Come Away With ESG (1982)

"It might have taken two decades, but the true genius of New York's early-'80s music scene is finally being acknowledged by a much younger generation of fans. And right in the middle of this revolutionary intersection of punk, disco, rap and soul were four sisters: Marie, Valerie, Renee, and Lorraine 'Sweet L' Scroggins, and their seminal mini-funk outfit, ESG. Recorded live and raw in a small studio located above Radio City Music Hall, the band's debut album, Come Away With ESG is a lasting document of their unique brand of minimal funk that would influence subsequent post-punk, hip-hop, and dance music acts. Stripped down to the most basic of drum beats and rudimentary basslines, 'Come Away' confirms the notion that the real rhythm is what happens between the beats. ..."
W - Come Away With ESG
Paste Magazine
YouTube: Come Away With ESG (FULL ALBUM, 1983)

2011 April: ESG

Henry Wiggen - fictional baseball player, 1954-1979

"... [Henry] Wiggen describes growing up in a small town in upstate New York, where he worshipped two pitchers: his widowed father, the star of the local semipro team; and Sad Sam Yale, the star of the Mammoths. We watch as Wiggen is signed by the Mammoths, groomed in their minor leagues and then brought up to pitch on the same staff as Yale, his aging hero. Wiggen goes through the same sort of transformation with his girl-next-door-turned-girlfriend-turned-fiancée, Holly Webster. Soon we see what the well-educated Holly sees: Wiggen's bad grammar doesn't suffocate his native intelligence and decency. Wiggen's roommate and best friend is Perry Simpson, a young black infielder who must cross a barrier only recently broken by Jackie Robinson. At spring training, Wiggen brings food back to the barracks in which they are bunking because the restaurants won't serve his buddy. ..."
ESPN - Henry Wiggen is still bringing the heat
Mark Harris remembered
W - Henry Wiggen
W - Mark Harris (author)
Diamonds In The Rough – Mark Harris
amazon: Mark Harris

History of Salsa Dancing!

"... On this joyous day, I hereby present you a project upon which I’ve been working for several weeks now, collecting info, piecing the puzzle together… History of Salsa dancing. I did my best, trying to cover the topic as fully as I can, but I’m certain that there is more to be discovered and said on the topic… Also, I tried to keep the descriptions rather short; if you want more info regarding a specific dance, just google it; I got much of the info doing just that. They say that a picture is worth a 1000 words… ... Well, let’s get to it! *presented in chronological order, both in the text and the diagram (bottom to top until salsa, as all styles came to exist roughly at the same time). **yep, it’s quite a long one, no doubt, as I tried my best to trace the evolution of Salsa, spanning almost 500 years of cultural history. We also have to remember that most of the time the various dance forms coexisted in Cuba, effecting one another. ..."
Che's Music Blog (Video)

2011 December: The History of Salsa From Africa to New York, 2012 April: Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy - Robert Farris Thompson, 2014 October: Fania at Fifty

Friday, April 22

Absalom, Absalom!! - William Faulkner (1936)

Wikipedia - "Absalom, Absalom!! is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, first published in 1936. Taking place before, during, and after the Civil War, it is a story about three families of the American South, with a focus on the life of Thomas Sutpen. Absalom, Absalom! details the rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen, a white man born into poverty in West Virginia who comes to Mississippi with the complementary aims of gaining wealth and becoming a powerful family patriarch. The story is told entirely in flashbacks narrated mostly by Quentin Compson to his roommate at Harvard University, Shreve, who frequently contributes his own suggestions and surmises. The narration of Rosa Coldfield, and Quentin's father and grandfather, are also included and re-interpreted by Shreve and Quentin, with the total events of the story unfolding in nonchronological order and often with differing details. This results in a peeling-back-the-onion revelation of the true story of the Sutpens. ..."
NY Times: How William Faulkner Tackled Race — and Freed the South From Itself
The Nation:  Ragged, Unkempt, Strange: On William Faulkner
amazon: Absalom, Absalom! The Corrected Text

2011 September: Southern Gothic, 2014 February: William Faulkner, 2015 October: William Faulkner Draws Maps of Yoknapatawpha County, the Fictional Home of His Great Novels, 2015 November: Interviews William Faulkner, The Art of Fiction No. 12.

This Is Dub Clash (2013 / The Clashification of Dub (2011)

"A great collection of dub material from The Clash, who explored this genre very deeply from 1980 onwards with Mikey Dread, who as Bill Price put it, added 'Genuine Jamaican dub' to the Clash's music. This CD collects material from Sandinista! and Super Black Market Clash along with a few songs no longer in print. The songs are all remixes (apart from track 14) of other songs that you will be familiar with, but in case you don't know which songs they are remixes of, here's the list. ... A great CD that collects together the best of the band's musical exploration into dub, along with some interesting rarities. I do think the versions of Bankrobber - Robber Dub and Justice Tonight / Kick It Over from Black Market Clash would have been better though. ..."
This Is Dub Clash
YouTube: Justice Tonight / kick it over, The Magnificent Dance, The Escapades Of Futura Dub, Robber Dub, The cool out, Radio One (reprise)

"The title of this disc has it exactly backwards: this album represents not the Clash-ification of dub, but rather the dubification of the Clash. Swiss neo-reggae stars Dub Spencer and Trance Hill take 12 classic Clash songs and reinterpret them as dubwise instrumental reggae; it's the kind of project that is liable to either succeed wildly or fall flat on its face. These guys have been doing stuff like this for a while now, and their taste and experience show. The most interesting problem for an album like this one lies in the fact that although the Clash experimented heavily with reggae throughout their career (covering Junior Murvin and Willi Williams while also writing apocalyptic reggae originals like 'Guns of Brixton' and 'Bankrobber'), most of their music had little or nothing to do with reggae. ..."
allmusic (Video)
YouTube: Bankrobber, Guns Of Brixton, London Calling, Magnificent Seven, Rock The Casbah, Armagideon Time, Police and Thieves, The Call Up, This Is England, Rock The Casbah, Train In Vain, Should I Stay Or Should I Go
amazon: The Clashification of Dub

Stephen Jonas - Exercises for Ear (1968)

"First published by Ferry Press in 1968, long out of print, Stephen Jonas’ Exercises for Ear was rescued in 1994 when Talisman House republished the complete book in Stephen Jonas, Selected Poems. Over the years I’ve wanted to extend the discussion of Exercises for Ear that I began in my introduction to that Selected, to look more closely at particulars, not-so particulars, local, not-so local, and to jump into the mix anywhere I choose—amidst characters and dramas of a tawdry, highbrow late 50s through mid-60s milieu—to listen to songs of Boston gone. To begin, these are not poems in a traditional sense. Gerrit Lansing has called them etudes. They are bits and pieces—some complete units, others trail off—snippets of conversations, tongue-in-cheek shouts, persona poems, rants, quick snapshots of Boston above and below ground. If anything, they are a marvelous whole, yet individually they’re more like riffs a sax player is rehearsing on the Esplanade with his case open for coins. No two alike. Melodies of hustlers, junkies, lovers, hipsters and not so hip—sneaky peeks, steamy manhole covers. ..."
“A Formal Rack/-et”: On Stephen Jonas’ Exercises for Ear (Soundcloud)
Poetry Foundation
amazon - Selected Poems: Stephen Jonas

Thursday, April 21

Diane Williams

"The very short stories of Diane Williams have been aptly called 'folk tales that hammer like a nail gun,' and these forty new ones are sharper than ever. They are unsettling, yes, frequently revelatory, and more often than not downright funny. Not a single moment here is what you might expect. While there is immense pleasure to be found in Williams’s spot-on observations about how we behave in our highest and lowest moments, the heart of the drama beats in the language of American short fiction’s grand master, whose originality, precision, and power bring the familiar into startling and enchanted relief. ..."
The McSweeney's Store
LA Times - “Beauty, Love and Vanity Itself”: An Interview with Diane Williams
Harpers ($)
Diane Williams: Avant-Garde Master of Miniature Fiction
P&W Magazine (Video)
Diane Williams: Two Stories and an Interview

America Can’t Do Much About ISIS

"In 2003, David Petraeus, then a division commander in Iraq, famously asked 'tell me how this ends?' in reference to the conflict just starting there. It was a good question then, and it’s a good question now. The war against the Islamic State gets a lot of attention, much of it focused on the immediate: Is the war going better or worse this month than last month? Is the Islamic State gaining ground or losing it? Are U.S. air strikes killing more Islamic State leaders or fewer? But these things only matter if they contribute to an ultimate end to the conflict on terms the United States can live with. Will they? In fact, we have a lot of evidence on wars like this and how they typically end. But it’s not a very encouraging story. The Islamic State threat is likely to persist, in one form or another, for a long time. ..."
The Atlantic

2014 August: The Islamic State, 2014 September: How ISIS Works, 2015 February: The Political Scene: The Evolution of Islamic Extremism, 2015 May: Zakaria: How ISIS shook the world, 2015 August: ISIS Blows Up Ancient Temple at Syria’s Palmyra Ruins, 2015 November: Times Insider: Reporting Europe's Refugee Crisis, 2015 November: Three Teams of Coordinated Attackers Carried Out Assault on Paris, Officials Say; Hollande Blames ISIS, 2015 November: The French Emergency, 2015 December: A Brief History of ISIS, 2015 December: U.S. Seeks to Avoid Ground War Welcomed by Islamic State, 2016 January: Ramadi, Reclaimed by Iraq, Is in Ruins After ISIS Fight, 2016 February: Syrian Officer Gave a View of War. ISIS Came, and Silence Followed., 2016 March: Brussels Survivors Say Blasts Instantly Evoked Paris Attacks.