Wednesday, October 7

William Kentridge - “More Sweetly Play the Dance” (2015)

Notes Towards a Model Opera, 2014–2015, three-channel video installation, 11 minutes 14 seconds
"Dance has always been aware of death: it lingers just off to the side of the stage, waiting for the performance to end. William Dunbar’s 1508 poem 'Lament for the Makers' describes two 'state[s] of man': 'Now dansand mirry, now like to die.' In other words, you’re either dancing or dead. Death in the poem is personified as a sort of efficient businessman, doing his best to knock people out of the dance. The more familiar character of Death—the cloaked, scythe-bearing skeleton who fulfills his duties like an overworked godly employee—was around even before Dunbar, an invention of the medieval period, which remains the most productive time in human history for imagining deathly personifications. People then seemed less resistant to death than they are now, perhaps because the threat was omnipresent: one could die from the plague, childbirth, decapitation, infection, or even of indigestion, as Martin of Aragon did at a feast in 1410. The danse macabre, or death dance, another medieval invention, was an allegorical way of resisting as well as respecting the force of death. ..."
The Paris Review: More Sweetly Play the Dance
Marian Goodman Gallery
YouTube: More Sweetly Play the Dance (2015), If We Ever Get to Heaven (EYE 25/4/2015 - 30/8/2015)

2009 November: William Kentridge, 2011 April: The Insolent Eye: Jarry in Art, 2013 August: Stereoscope (1999)

Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York, 1897-1917

"Between 1897 and 1917, six painters, none native to the city they so provocatively and energetically portrayed, challenged the standards for suitable artistic subject matter when they took to the streets of New York and seized on images full of motion and life. Their 'prophet' was Walt Whitman, and their achievements create a vibrant record of urban growth and artistic evolution. George Bellows, William Glackens, Robert Henri, George Luks, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan were friends and collaborators, each developing their own distinct style, each capturing different slices of New York life. There are scenes of poverty and wealth, work and play, sensuality and despair. Zurier and her coauthors, Robert Snyder and Virginia Mecklenburg, bring expertise in art, social, and cultural history to this lively volume. They profile each artist and analyze his works, establishing a visual context with photographs and graphic arts of the time. Most of the paintings, which are beautifully reproduced, are rarely seen in books, and some, especially Shinn's exceptional pastels and watercolors, are a revelation. - Booklist"
amazon: Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York, 1897-1917

The Map of Literature combines centuries of books and poems in one gorgeous illustration

"Romanticism serves as the bridge between realism, enlightenment, and fantasy in 17-year-old Martin Vargic's meticulously comprehensive Map of Literature. Vargic is a self-appointed illustrator of brilliant worlds made out of our own ideas. The Map of Literature, which reviews writers of drama, poetry, nonfiction, and prose works, is one of 64 and infographics featured in his new book Vargic’s Miscellany of Curious Maps: Mapping Out the Modern World (Available in US/UK). ..."

Tuesday, October 6

The Blue Mask - Lou Reed (1982)

"In 1982, 12 years after he left the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed released The Blue Mask, the first album where he lived up to the potential he displayed in the most groundbreaking of all American rock bands. The Blue Mask was Reed's first album after he overcame a long-standing addiction to alcohol and drugs, and it reveals a renewed focus and dedication to craft -- for the first time in years, Reed had written an entire album's worth of moving, compelling songs, and was performing them with keen skill and genuine emotional commitment. Reed was also playing electric guitar again, and with the edgy genius he summoned up on White Light/White Heat. Just as importantly, he brought Robert Quine on board as his second guitarist, giving Reed a worthy foil who at once brought great musical ideas to the table, and encouraged the bandleader to make the most of his own guitar work. ..."
Graded on a Curve:
Lou Reed, The Blue Mask

YouTube: The Blue Mask (Live), Average Guy, The day John Kennedy died, Women, Underneath The Bottle, Waves of Fear
YouTube: The Blue Mask (Full Album)

2010 August: Heroin, 2011 June: All Tomorrow's Parties - The Velvet Underground, 2011 June: The Velvet Underground, 2012 November: Songs for Drella - Lou Reed and John Cale, 2013 October: Lou Reed (1942 - 2013), 2014 June: The Bells (1979), 2014 August: New York (1989), 2015 June: Capitol Theatre Passaic, NJ 9/25/1984.

Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1981 - Riad Sattouf

"In October, Metropolitan Books will publish the English translation of the acclaimed French graphic memoir, Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1981. The grim but funny three-volume work by Riad Sattouf, about growing up under bleak political regimes in Syria and Libya, will also, Metropolitan hopes, be the kind of breakout hit in the States that it has turned into in Europe. Sattouf is a bestselling cartoonist in France and an award-winning filmmaker. Arab of the Future, named best book of the year at the Angouleme Festival, is also delivering sales—the first volume has moved more than 200,000 copies since its release in France last May. (Volume two in will be released shortly in France.) ..."
Breakout Graphic Memoir ‘Arab of the Future’ Coming to U.S.
The Middle East Monitor
W - Riad Sattouf
Google: Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1981 - Riad Sattouf

Bob Williams - My Goose Is Cooked / Talk To Me (1958)

"Two contrasting R&B killers from this fantastic but little known vocalist! Recorded for RCA in the early '50s as the rock 'n roll era was about to dawn, 'Talk to Me' is a wicked, driving Jump Blues with cool horn riffs and even cooler jangling guitar accompaniment. The flipside 'My Goose Is Cooked' is a greasy piece of twisting Black Rock & Roll which surfaced on two obscure independents near the end of the same decade. Both are sure-fire dance floor sure-shots and very hard to source on their original issues."
YouTube: My Goose Is Cooked, Talk To Me

Monday, October 5

Kongo: Power and Majesty

"A landmark presentation that will radically redefine our understanding of Africa’s relationship with the West, Kongo: Power and Majesty, opening at The Metropolitan Museum of Art this September, will focus on one of the continent’s most influential artistic traditions, from the earliest moment of direct engagement between African and European leaders at the end of the 15th century through the early 20th century. The creative output of Kongo artists of Central Africa will be represented by 146 works drawn from more than 50 institutional and private collections across Europe and the United States, reflecting five hundred years of encounters and shifting relations between European and Kongo leaders. From a dynamic assembly of 15 monumental power figures to elegantly carved ivories and finely woven textiles, the exhibition will explore how the talents of Central Africa’s most gifted artists were directed toward articulating a culturally distinct vernacular of power. ..."
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
NY Times: A Lost African Civilization, and a Sculpture That Tells Its Story
NY Times - Review: ‘Kongo: Power and Majesty’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Guardian - Kongo: Power and Majesty review – African treasures inspire awe at the Met
Yale Press: Kongo
YouTube: Kongo "Power and Majesty" exhibition at Metropolitan Museum of Art

Unforgotten New York: Legendary Spaces of the Twentieth Century Avant-Garde

"It’s the people that make the character of a city, but people need a place to get together if magic is going to happen. New York City is perhaps only rivalled by Paris for world-famous centres of creative expression — whether they be artist studios, hedonistic nightclubs or coffee shops that served as a magnet for intellectuals. These places, as much as the people themselves, helped to shape New York’s reputation as a leading centre of artistic and social development in the latter half of the 20th Century. Reel off the names. Studio 54. Andy Warhol’s Factory. The Gaslight Café. CBGB’s. How many of these important venues have survived the passing of time, and how many burned brightly and died, leaving only memories? Unforgotten New York: Legendary Spaces of the Twentieth Century Avant-Garde investigates the legacy of legendary New York haunts that are no more, recalling their glory days and the influential figures of the creative world who were once regular visitors. ..."
Unforgotten New York looks at the ghosts that haunt the city's most influential venues of the 20th Century...
John Short: Unforgotten NY
John Short rediscovers New York's lost creative spaces

HMS Surprise - Patrick O'Brian (1973)

Wikipedia - "HMS Surprise is the third historical novel in the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian, first published in 1973. The series follows the partnership of Captain Jack Aubrey and the naval surgeon Stephen Maturin during the wars against Napoleon's France. Maturin is tortured gathering intelligence. On HMS Surprise, Aubrey and Maturin make a long voyage to bring an ambassador to Southeast Asia, rounding the southern tip of Africa. ... A convoy including Aubrey seized the ships carrying the gold deemed necessary by Spain to agree to join the war on the side of France. On the quibble that Spain had not yet entered the war, the new First Lord of the Admiralty decides the vast sum is a droit of the Crown so thus not shared out with the captors. Smaller amounts will be distributed to the captains, quite opposite to the expectations of the successful convoy. The First Lord blunders into mentioning the name of intelligence agent Stephen Maturin during the proceedings, very risky for Maturin. ..."
The Patrick O'Brian Mapping Project
Aubrey-Maturin in Brief 3: H.M.S. Surprise

2009 September: Patrick O'Brian, 2013 July: Harbors and High Seas - Dean King and John B. Hattendorf

Sunday, October 4

Rubble Kings – The Mixtape

"In case you missed it, Rubble Kings is a recently released documentary about the war torn gang era of NY from 1968 to 1975 that was fueled by failing race relations and an overall 'unfocused rage'. The movie focused on the events during this time period that broke down these walls and ultimately gave birth to hip-hop culture. Just this week saw the release of Rubble Kings – The Mixtape which effortlessly showcases the amazingly powerful music of this time period from all walks of life. Director Shan Nicholson enlisted the help of additional Rub homies Sammy Needlz, Rok One and DJ Tahleim to put this amazing project together and give this documentary a proper soundtrack. Listen to and download this fantastic mix below."
The Rub (Video)
NY Times: ‘Rubble Kings’ Recounts a Death That Led to a Gang Truce and Changed the Bronx (Video)
Roger Ebert
Rubble Kings
facebook (Video), twitter (Video)
YouTube: RUBBLE KINGS Official Trailer (2015) New York Gangs Documentary

Social Media Takes Television Back in Time

Illustration by Cristiana Couceiro; photograph by Steve Bonini
"... Every Thursday since the show’s premiere, most of the 'Scandal' cast and crew have used Twitter to add live commentary that runs during the broadcast. The cast’s social media presence — which, according to the ratings firm Nielsen, inspires hundreds of thousands of tweets from viewers during every broadcast — has been credited with deepening the program’s relationship with its audience. Television used to be a supremely solitary experience, for its creators and for its viewers. The writer David Foster Wallace called it 'an absolute godsend for a human subspecies that loves to watch people but hates to be watched itself.' For a time, digital technology seemed to be deepening the rift. TV has always been spatially isolating, with each of us cut off from everyone else who was watching. Then DVDs and DVRs and, later, on-demand services like Netflix added a temporal disconnection, too, making it increasingly unlikely that everyone else everywhere else was watching the same schlock at the same time. ..."
NY Times (Video)
NY Times: Social Media Takes Television Back in Time - Platforms like Twitter and Vine are helping make TV more communal, increasing the likelihood that programs are watched when they are broadcast. (Video)

Spool's Out: September's Tapes Reviewed By Tristan Bath

"... African Ghost Valley - ARA (Hylé Tapes).  This Switzerland-based, ‘Canada-European duo’ utilise samplers to craft their soundscapes, which cover a pretty wide range of tones across their debut tape ARA. ‘Cordillera’ blends pads and field recordings into a lush bed over which wonky synth lines tinkle, while opening track ‘Dunesl Ceremonies’ is a different kind of beast entirely, pulsating like an earthquake for an extended crescendo that delves deep into darkness. The title track and ten minute ‘Always Eat What You Kill’ (which takes up the entire flipside) aren’t as gripping as the opening pair of tracks, but the duo’s methodology, and the organic ways in which this music unfolds still make for a great listen. All manner of noise erupts from their samplers, and ultimately this is an impressive - albeit somewhat familiar - approach to freeform patchwork sound composition. ..."
The Quietus (Video)

The Quietus: Spool's Out (Video)

Saturday, October 3

Laurent Kronental

Les Tours Aillaud, Cité Pablo Picasso, Nanterre, 2014.
"The colossal grands ensembles, or high-rise public housing projects, in Paris and its surrounding banlieues, or suburbs, were built after World War II to accommodate an increasing population of rural migrants and immigrants. Today, the deteriorating buildings are largely considered failed experiments — catalysts for the alienation of their populations and a slew of accompanying social issues. Some are being renovated and reimagined but more still are slated for demolition. In Laurent Kronental’s series, 'Souvenir d’un Futur' (Memory of a Future), the product of four years of visits to nearly a dozen of these places, the modernist concrete landscapes are made to seem impossibly huge and virtually abandoned, like something out of a dystopian fantasy. ..."
Washington Post: A poetic vision of Paris’s crumbling suburban high-rises
Laurent Kronental
W - Brutalist architecture

Richard & Linda Thompson - Rafferty's Folly (1980)

"The Thompsons were without a record contract in 1980, when Gerry Rafferty offered to finance an album for them with his 'Baker Street' producer Hugh Murphy. The sessions yielded 10 tracks – and Richard rejected them all. Eighteen months later, though, he and Linda re-recorded six of the 10 songs with producer Joe Boyd as Shoot Out The Lights. Rafferty’s Folly, then, offers an alternative version of what became the couple’s final album. It’s more polished, with more instrumentation – keyboards, Moogs, accordion, simulated strings – compared to the stark Shoot Out The Lights. Other surprises include 'Wall Of Death' and 'Don’t Renege On Our Love' with Linda on vocals, as well as a beautiful version of Sandy Denny’s 'I’m A Dreamer' (later included on Linda’s 1986 comp, Dreams Fly Away). Both Thompsons have since relaxed their attitude to the Rafferty sessions – Linda has admitted she prefers some of her vocals here. But it wasn’t bundled in with last year’s deluxe edition of Shoot Out…, and for now, it exists only in boot form, including this and Before Joe Could Pull The Trigger, which throws in demos from ’80-’82."
Willards Wormholes (Video)
YouTube: For Shame of Doing Wrong (Rafferty's Folly)

2011 July: Shoot Out the Lights - Richard and Linda Thompson, 2012 February: I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight, 2014 March: Videowest 81, 2008 January: Linda Thompson, 2011 November: Linda Thompson - Fashionably Late, 2012 December: "Paddy's Lamentation" - Linda Thompson

Post-Scarcity Anarchism - Murray Bookchin (1971)

Wikipedia - "Post-Scarcity Anarchism is a collection of essays by Murray Bookchin, first published in 1971 by Ramparts Press. Bookchin outlines the possible form anarchism might take under conditions of post-scarcity. One of Bookchin's major works, its author's radical thesis provoked controversy for being utopian in its faith in the liberatory potential of technology. Bookchin's 'post-scarcity anarchism' is an economic system based on social ecology, libertarian municipalism, and an abundance of fundamental resources. Bookchin argues that post-industrial societies have the potential to be developed into post-scarcity societies, and can thus imagine 'the fulfillment of the social and cultural potentialities latent in a technology of abundance'. ..."
From Post Scarcity Anarchism, 1971: Listen, Marxist! by Murray Bookchin
[PDF] Post-Scarcity Anarchism
Murray Bookchin: social anarchism, ecology and education
Institute for Social Ecology: The Communalist Project by Murray Bookchin | September 1st, 2002

2014 September: Anarchism in America (1983), 2015 August: The Prophet Farmed: Murray Bookchin on Bernie Sanders

Friday, October 2

Citizenfour (2014)

Wikipedia - "Citizenfour is a 2014 documentary film directed by Laura Poitras, concerning Edward Snowden and the NSA spying scandal. ... In January 2013, Laura Poitras, an American documentary film director/producer who had been working for several years on a film about monitoring programs in the US that were the result of the September 11 attacks, receives an encrypted e-mail from a stranger who called himself, 'Citizen Four'. In it, he offers her inside information about illegal wiretapping practices of the US National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies. In June 2013, accompanied by investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald and The Guardian intelligence reporter Ewen MacAskill, she travels to Hong Kong with her camera for the first meeting with the stranger, who reveals himself as Edward Snowden. After four days of interviews, on June 9, Snowden's identity is made public at his request. ..."
Wikipedia (Video)
NY Times: Intent on Defying an All-Seeing Eye (Video)
Slate: The NSA Debate We Should Be Having (Video)
New Yorker: Why “Citizenfour” Deserved Its Oscar

Disco Not Disco (2000)

"Is it disco? Well, not completely. Just look at the title -- it sounds confused. And the title was inspired by one of the groups featured here, and that group, Was (Not Was), was not disco. Most of these songs came from the post-punk era, and like the material by a lot of the bands that easily fit in that category, they blur the line between punk (in attitude) and dance (in rhythm). But only one or two of the artists here could honestly be classified as post-punk. Furthermore, how could anyone say with a straight face that a compilation with the Steve Miller Band's 17-minute long 'Macho City' is a post-punk one? So what is it then? It's Disco Not Disco, a compilation of songs suitable for the dancefloor. Less ambiguously, what binds these strange bedfellows together is the fact that they were popular on the dancefloors of New York City clubs in the late '70s and early '80s. ..."
W - Disco Not Disco, W - Disco Not Disco 2, W - Disco Not Disco 3
Disco Not Disco: Post Punk, Electro and Leftfield Disco Classics 1974-1986
YouTube: Yoko Ono - Walking On Thin Ice (1981 Re-Edit), Was (Not Was) - Wheel Me Out, The Bank - Tinga Lin Tingo, Eddy Grant- Time Warp (12'' VERSION), Maximum Joy - Silent Street/Silent Dub

American Impressionism and Realism: The Painting of Modern Life, 1885–1915

William Merritt Chase, At the Seaside
"American Impressionism and Realism: The Painting of Modern Life, 1885–1915 brings together the appealing works of two generations of American painters and presents them from a fresh point of view. The American Impressionists and Realists have been categorized as separate or even opposing groups, but, in fact, they shared significant experiences and goals—notably Parisian training, an enthusiasm for modern French painting, and a desire to translate these sources into a peculiarly American idiom. The continuities between these two groups are more impressive and the constrasts more subtle, a complexity that is highlighted by arranging the works not by artist or chronology, but by broad subject categories: the country, the city, and the home. ..."
Yale Press
LA Times - New Look at 'Modern Life' : LACMA Show Reveals Continuity of American Impressionist, Realist Painting

Thursday, October 1

Tom Verlaine (1979)

"Tom Verlaine scores a solid winner on his first solo release. Not surprisingly, many of the songs here suggest the music of Television, his former band, especially in the use of vibrant and full guitar textures and frequent solo break sections in which to feature them. Verlaine's fey vocals surprisingly do not detract from the gutsiness of these numbers. Several of the songs here utilize hooky initial guitar riffs in the tradition of 1960s bands like the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and the Beatles, most notably on 'Flash Lightning,' 'Kingdom Come,' and especially 'Grip of Love.' ... This is a top-notch solo debut that bears repeated listenings."
W - Tom Verlaine
How Tom Verlaine is creating new waves
YouTube: The Grip of Love, Souvenir from a dream, Kingdom come, Breakin' in My Heart, Last Night, Red Leaves, Mr.Bingo, Yonki Time

2007 November: Tom Verlaine, 2010 March: Tom Verlaine - 1, 2011 October: Warm and Cool, 2012 Nov: Little Johnny Jewel, 2012 December: Words from the Front, 2013 July: Flash Light, 2013 October: See No Evil, 2014 October: Dreamtime (1981), 2014 November: Marquee Moon (1977), January: Adventure (1978).

1001 Ways to Beat the Draft - Tuli Kupferberg and Robert Bashlow (1966)

Wikipedia - "1001 Ways to Beat the Draft is a satirical Vietnam War protest pamphlet written in 1966 by Robert Bashlow and Tuli Kupferberg. The text reels through dozens of ways that young men facing conscription during the Vietnam War could avoid service. Kupferberg leaves no societal more unscathed in this anti-war pamphlet, which is considered one of the most notable antiwar publications. Donald L. Simons, in his autobiography I Refuse: Memories of a Vietnam War Objector, wrote 'It is not possible to determine how many men successfully fooled the system, but stories of attempts, and how to do it, became part of the Sixties culture.' The most famous examples were Arlo Guthrie's classic folk song, 'Alice's Restaurant', and the book, 1001 Ways to Beat the Draft. The pamphlet was published originally by Oliver Layton Press, New York; Kupferberg also printed it under his publishing label, Birth Press, and an illustrated version from Grove Press came out in 1967."
Jacket2: Tuli Kupferberg, '1001 Ways to Beat the Draft'
1001 Ways to Beat the Draft - Tuli Kupferberg and Robert Bashlow (1966)

Jimmy Reed - Big Boss Man (1960)

Wikipedia - "'Big Boss Man' is a blues song first recorded by Jimmy Reed in 1960. Unlike his most popular songs, the songwriting is credited to Luther Dixon and Al Smith. It was a hit for Reed and has been interpreted and recorded by a variety of artists, including Elvis Presley and B.B. King, who had record chart successes with the song. 'Big Boss Man' is an uptempo twelve-bar blues shuffle that features 'one of the most influential Reed grooves of all time'. It is credited to Jimmy Reed's manager, Al Smith, and Vee-Jay Records staff writer, Luther Dixon. The song is one of the few Reed hits that was written by someone other than Reed and his wife. Backing Reed, who sang and played harmonica and guitar, are Mamma Reed on vocal, Lee Baker and Lefty Bates on guitars, Willie Dixon on bass, and Earl Phillips on drums."
YouTube: Big Boss Man

Wednesday, September 30

Astor Place

Wikipedia - "Astor Place is a short two-block street in NoHo/East Village, in the lower part of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It runs from Broadway in the west, just below East 8th Street; through Lafayette Street, past Cooper Square and Fourth Avenue; and ends at Third Avenue, continuing as St. Mark's Place. It borders two plazas at the intersection with Cooper Square, Lafayette Street, Fourth Avenue, and Eighth Street – the Alamo Plaza and Astor Place Station Plaza. The name is also sometimes used for the neighborhood around the street. It is named for John Jacob Astor, at one time the richest person in the United States, who died in 1848; the street was named for him soon after. ..."
Karen Johnson - Astor Place
Astor Place Area
Curbed NY
YouTube: man in a cube, Astor Place: Riots at the Opera, Designing IBM Astor Place

Roman à clef

The Mandarins - Simone de Beauvoir (1954)
Wikipedia - "Roman à clef ... French for novel with a key, is a novel about real life, overlaid with a façade of fiction. The fictitious names in the novel represent real people, and the 'key' is the relationship between the nonfiction and the fiction. This 'key' may be produced separately by the author, or implied through the use of epigraphs or other literary techniques. Created by Madeleine de Scudery in the 17th century to provide a forum for her thinly veiled fiction featuring political and public figures, roman à clef has since been used by writers as diverse as Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Victor Hugo, Phillip K. Dick, Bret Easton Ellis, Naguib Mahfouz, and Malachi Martin. The reasons an author might choose the roman à clef format include satire; writing about controversial topics and/or reporting inside information on scandals without giving rise to charges of libel; the opportunity to turn the tale the way the author would like it to have gone; the opportunity to portray personal, autobiographical experiences without having to expose the author as the subject; avoiding self-incrimination or incrimination of others that could be used as evidence in civil, criminal, or disciplinary proceedings; and the settling of scores."
Literary Definition: Roman à clef

Art Zoyd - Rock in Opposition Festival 2015

"The lineup for this year’s Rock In Opposition festival has been confirmed. The 2015 edition of the French event takes place in Le Garric on September 18-20, dedicated to the memory of Daevid Allen and curated by Robert Wyatt. It includes a 45th anniversary appearance by Art Zoyd in a 9-person lineup, which is the subject of a nearly-complete crowdfunding campaign. Organisers Rocktime say: 'RIO’s international influence has been confirmed over the years, due to the intensity of a unique proposition in an unforgettable location. We seek to create incredibly moments of live performance and sharing, where audiences from all over the world can gather round their passion.'”
Team Rock
YouTube: Rock in Opposition Festival 2015 (1 of 3), (2 of 3), (3 of 3)

Tuesday, September 29

Shepard Fairey: A Steady Drumbeat Inside and Out

"A steady drumbeat characterizes the work of Shepard Fairey on the street and in the gallery, using art and design and his insight into the corrosive power of propaganda to pound out damning critiques and ironic appeals that address political, social, environmental issues of our day. If the new mural and the paintings, layered collages, and metal sculptures comprising On Our Hands are an indication of our current state, it is a time of neglect and peril like no other – yet exactly like every other. ..."
Brooklyn Street Art

2009 March: Shepard Fairey, 2010 August: Banksy, 2011 May: Shepard Fairey's New Music Video For Death Cab For Cutie, 2013 August: Brooklyn Mural Project featuring Faith47, DALeast, Shepard Fairey, Eltono, Buff Monster & more, 2015 August: Politically and Socially Conscious NYC Street Art, Part II: Caleb Neelon & Katie Yamasaki, Shepard Fairey, Kesley Montague, Icy & Sot, Chris Stain & Josh MacPhee, David Shillinglaw & Lily Mixe

The Greenwich Village vision of artist Alfred Mira

Seventh Avenue, Greenwich Village
"Alfred S. Mira and his realistic, gritty, intimate Greenwich Village street scenes should be better known. Born in 1900 in Italy to a carpenter father, he left school and began working for an interior decorator, dreaming of going to art school but without the 50 cents a day it cost to attend. He did make a career out of painting though; he listed his address as East 8th Street and his occupation as painter in the 1940 census. And he sold his work at the Washington Square outdoor art exhibit, a heralded event decades ago. ..."
Ephemeral New York
Interview with Artist Alfred Mira

Poetry Center Digital Archive

"Poetry Center Digital Archive makes available significant portions of early audio recordings from the Poetry Center's American Poetry Archives collection, supplemented by select archival texts and images. New files will be added incrementally as recordings are prepared and as we proceed through the collection from the 1950s onward. The Poetry Center, founded at San Francisco State College (now SFSU) in 1954 by English professor Ruth Witt-Diamant, has been recording and archiving tapes of its public events for nearly six decades. ... This collection, together with the Poetry Center housed within the SFSU College of Humanities (Department of Creative Writing), today holds over 4,000 hours of unique original audio and video master-recordings, 1954–present – an inestimable cultural asset. ..."
Poetry Center Digital Archive: About
Poetry Center Digital Archive (Video)
San Francisco State University

Monday, September 28

Dance Theater Workshop

Wikipedia - "Dance Theater Workshop, colloquially known as DTW, was a New York City performance space and service organization for dance companies that operated from 1965 to 2011. Located as 219 West 19th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, DTW was founded in 1965 by Jeff Duncan, Art Bauman and Jack Moore as a choreographers' collective. In 2002 DTW opened its new Doris Duke Performance Center, which contains the 192-seat Bessie Schönberg Theatre. ... Such notable artists as Mark Morris, David Gordon, Bill T. Jones, Laura Dean, Susan Marshall, Ron Brown, Donald Byrd, H.T. Chen, David Dorfman, Doug Elkins, Molissa Fenley, Whoopi Goldberg, Janie Geiser, Bill Irwin, LadyGourd Sangoma, Ralph Lemon, Bebe Miller, Michael Moschen, David Parsons, Lenny Pickett, Merián Soto, Pepón Osorio, Paul Zaloom and hundreds of others found an early artistic home at Dance Theater Workshop."
New York Live Arts (Video)
NY Times: Dance Theater Merges With Bill T. Jones Troupe
[PDF] Dance Theater Workshop (1965-2011) by Elizabeth Zimmer
YouTube: Dance Theater Workshop

Behind the Beat: Hip Hop Home Studios

"Behind the Beat is a look into the creative spaces of producers and DJ's from the US and UK. Featured are the studios and equipment of some of: Madlib, J Dilla, DJ Design, DJ Premier, DJ Spinna, Skitz, Nextmen, Taskforce, DJ Swamp, E- Swift, Beyond There, Kut Masta Kurt, Fat Jack, Jehst, Beatminerz, DJ Shadow, Dan the Automator, Chief Xcel, Young Einstein, The Grouch, Numark, Cut Chemist, Thes One, J Zone and Mario Caldato Jr. From the press release: 'These photographs are about more than just the equipment. Decades on from hip hop’s birth, producers have an enormous presence, commanding underground and even pop followings. But more often than not, producers are just a name on a record, always in the background. These pictures capture the visual side of the beats they make. They are the images behind the beat.'"
Stones Throw
W - Behind the Beat: Hip Hop Home Studios

Rollins Plays for Bird (1957)

"As the tenor sax is not in the same key as an alto, Sonny Rollins would have to transpose a lot of music to take a tribute to Charlie Parker to a high level. Instead Rollins has chosen standards associated with Parker, and recorded them within a year after Bird's passing. This idea poses some peculiar challenges, added on to the fact that the quintet of Rollins starts the proceedings with a 27-minute medley of seven tunes seamlessly stitched together. Pianist Wade Legge, an unsung hero of jazz in the '50s for sure, plays some wonderful music here, and laces the grooves of the tunes together, while bassist George Morrow and the always exceptional drummer Max Roach keep things moving forward. Even more unusual is that trumpeter Kenny Dorham is in many instances invisible on the date, playing less than a cursory role to Rollins. Dorham rarely plays together with him, and is much more separate than equal, which in many regards is a shame. Considering how well Dorham and tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson worked as a tandem, one wonders why this happened. ..."
W - Rollins Plays for Bird
YouTube: Rollins Plays for Bird 43:29

2012 September: The Singular Sound of Sonny Rollins, 2012 December: Village Vanguard

Sunday, September 27

Joint Ventures: How sneakers became high fashion and big business

Dunk Low Pro SB Pigeon, 2005, by Nike x Staple Design.
"Say you were a city kid growing up in America. Say you wanted to show off your grace and speed, your skills and creativity, your vision and stroke and raw power. You wanted to break laws and defy gravity. But you needed ankle support, and it was helpful to not burn the hell out of your soles. A good basketball sneaker mattered. In 1923 Converse put the name of one of their salesmen, a balding white guy called Charles 'Chuck' Taylor, on the side of a sneaker, but the Seventies saw corporate America finally acknowledge urban influence, the city game. Black players started getting paid to endorse basketball shoes: first Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, jazz fluid and unstoppable, with his picture on the tongue of an Adidas high-top; then Knicks guard Walt Frazier rocking low-top suede Pumas; then high-flying, superbly Afroed, ferociously goateed Julius Erving, who wore leather Converses with dr. j printed above the outsoles. ..."

2011 June: American Basketball Association, 2012 July: Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC, 2012 November: Your Guide to the Brooklyn Nets, 2013 March: March Madness 2013, 2013 October: Rucker Park, 2013 November: Free Spirits', 2014 January: History of the high five, 2015 February: Dean Smith (February 28, 1931 – February 7, 2015), 2015 June: Basketball’s Obtuse Triangle, 2015 September: SLAM Magazine.

Lee "Scratch" Perry - Black Ark in Dub (1993)

"A fine collection of early Perry dub packaged in what seems to be a semi-legit, bootleg way. This label seems to be tied in with the French label Lagoon, which has released the Perry-produced Bob Marley session (two CDs, both of them essential). This is a good selection; Perry remixes are typically audacious and crazy, but there's little enclosed information telling you when the tracks were cut. Lack of information is an ongoing problem with Perry releases, since his entire output defies any kind of authoritative historical treatment. Still, this is worthy of your time, even if it doesn't provide the big buzz of some of Perry's other, more far-out experiments."
W - Black Ark Studios
YouTube: Black Ark in Dub (Album)

2009 November: Lee "Scratch" Perry, 2012 February: Arkology, 2012 June: The Black Ark, 2012 July: Subatomic Sound System meets Lee Scratch Perry & Ari Up of the Slits, 2012 August: "I Chase the Devil", 2014 March: Blackboard Jungle Dub (1973)

Ernest Hemingway: Between Two Wars

A visa from the War Department issued in 1944.
"This is the first ever major museum exhibition devoted to the work of Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961), one of the most celebrated American authors of the 20th century. Organized in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, it includes multiple drafts of Hemingway's earliest short stories, notebooks, heavily revised manuscripts and typescripts of his major novels—The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and For Whom the Bell Tolls. The show also presents correspondence between Hemingway and his legendary circle of expatriate writers in 1920s Paris, including Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Sylvia Beach. Focusing on the inter-war years, the exhibition explores the most consistently creative phase of Hemingway's career and includes inscribed copies of his books, a rarely-seen 1929 oil portrait, photographs, and personal items. ..."
The Morgan Library & Museum
The Morgan Library & Museum: Images
NY Times: Hemingway Was a Pack Rat. Here’s What His Mementos Reveal.
New Yorker: May, 13, 1950. How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen? By Lillian Ross

2012 June: "The Spanish Earth", Written and Narrated by Ernest Hemingway, 2014 November: Lost Generation

Saturday, September 26

Explained: The Secret Language Of New York City's Signage

"When you walk down the streets of New York City, you aren't walking just through the present. You are surrounded by the canyon walls of the past, and the signage around you—the building names, the business signs, the faded slogans—are actually fossils, peeking out from the strata of decades gone by into the present. An adjunct professor of design and typography at the Cooper Union School of Art, Alexander Tochilovsky considers himself something of a paleontologist of these signs. By wandering around the streets of Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood, Tochilovsky was able to point out what the billboards, building names, house numbers, and mailboxes that surround us say about New York's past."
Fast Company (Video)

In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way: A Graphic Novel

"[Deep breath.] So there's this new English translation of a French graphic novel adaptation of Swann's Way, the first of seven novels in Marcel Proust's masterwork, In Search of Lost Time. Got all that? First there was the 1913 novel by Proust (in French!), then a graphic novel adaptation by Stephane Heuet (in French!) that was published in installments between in 1998 and 2013, and now that whole thing has been translated by Arthur Goldhammer (into English!). It's complicated. But then, this is Proust we're talking about. "Complicated" is where the guy hangs his beret and stores his mustache wax, so it makes a certain amount of sense. ..."
NPR - French, English, Comics: Proust On Memory, In Any Language (Video)
W.W. Norton

2008 June: Marcel Proust, 2011 October: How Proust Can Change Your Life, 2012 April: Marcel Proust - À la recherche du temps perdu, 2013 February: Marcel Proust and Swann's Way: 100th Anniversary, 2013 May: A Century of Proust, 2013 August: Paintings in Proust - Eric Karpeles, 2013 October: On Reading Proust, 2015 September: "Paintings in Proust" - View of the Piazza del Popolo, Giovanni Battista Piranes

Maureen Gallace

Fall Construction. 1997
"Painting from nature is nearly as old as the hills. For years, Alex Katz was the most prominent keeper of its flame, but other devotees have lately come into clearer view — Mr. Katz’s contemporary, the great Lois Dodd, for one. In addition, younger painters like Maureen Gallace and the even younger Daniel Heidkamp and Aliza Nisenbaum have wholeheartedly or partly followed suit. Painting from various forms of life has become a thing — as they say — in the hipper reaches of the contemporary art world. So what better time to survey the underappreciated achievement of Martha Armstrong, a plein-air painter in her mid-70s who trained at Smith College and the Rhode Island School of Design and has worked for years in relative obscurity. Since 1988, she has had eight solo shows, including this one, at the noticeably unhip Bowery Gallery, an artists’ co-op founded in 1969. ..."
NY Times
Bowery Gallery
Maureen Gallace

Friday, September 25

The Jam - "Strange Town" / "The Butterfly Collector" (1979)

"Paul Weller left British journalist Paolo Hewitt with the impression that 'Strange Town' was about an alien visiting London, and perhaps it is, as the singer swallows so many of the song's lyrics that it's difficult to be sure. But the ones that he does enunciate perfectly describe not an alien, but the feeling of alienation that is experienced by any tourist or immigrant. Ask directions in Weller's strange town and the response is, 'I don't know, I don't care, and I got to go mate.' Inquire in the wrong clothes and wrong accent, and they'll 'smash your nose.' Tired, friendless and frustrated, this visitor is no happy camper, and no poster child for the London Tourist Board. ... There was a toughness about 'Strange Town' that was new to the band, as producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven transformed their previously youthful energy into an adult aggression that matched Weller's own bitterness at this time."
W - "Strange Town" / "The Butterfly Collector"
YouTube: "Strange Town", "The Butterfly Collector"

2009 March: The Jam, 2011 December: Down in the Tube Station at Midnight, 2012 November: "Going Underground", 2013 January: In the City, 2013 February: This Is the Modern World, 2013 July: All Mod Cons, 2013 November: Setting Sons, 2014 January: Sound Affects (1980), 2014 December: Live At Bingley Hall, Birmingham, England 1982, 2015 March: "Town Called Malice" / "Precious", 2015 July: The Gift (1982).

South of the Border - Oliver Stone (2009)

Wikipedia - "South of the Border is a 2009 American documentary film directed by Oliver Stone. The documentary premiered at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. Writer for the project Tariq Ali calls the documentary 'a political road movie'. Stone stated that he hopes the film will help people better understand a leader who is wrongly ridiculed 'as a strongman, as a buffoon, as a clown.' The film has Stone and his crew travel from the Caribbean down the spine of the Andes in an attempt to explain the 'phenomenon' of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, and account for the continent's 'pink tide' leftward tilt. A key feature is also Venezuela's recent Bolivarian revolution and Latin America's political progress in the 21st century."
NY Times: Oliver Stone’s Latin America
South of the Border (Video)
Guardian: Oliver Stone: 'The truth about Hugo Chávez' (Video)
NPR - Oliver Stone, Visiting Points 'South' With A Few Buds
Jacobin - The Truth About Chávez: Bernie Sanders is wrong — Hugo Chávez was no dictator.
Jacobin - History Doesn’t Go In a Straight Line: Noam Chomsky on Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn, and the potential for ordinary people to make radical change. By Noam Chomsky
YouTube: Documentary - South of the Border 1:17:54


Wikipedia - "Buck buck (also known as Johnny-on-a-Pony or Johnny-on-the-Pony) is a children's game with several variants. One version of the game is played when 'one player climbs another’s back' and the climber guesses 'the number of certain objects out of sight.' Another version of the game is played with 'one group of players [climbing] on the backs of a second group in order to build as large a pile as possible or to cause the supporting players to collapse.' As early as the 1500s, children in Europe and the Near East played Buck, Buck, which had been called 'Bucca Bucca quot sunt hic?'. Pieter Bruegel's painting 'Children's Games' (1560) depicts children playing a variant of the game. ..."
Johnny on the Pony
The finest & bravest square off in Johnny on the Pony
Online Magazine Topics Guide
vimeo: Johnny on the Pony
YouTube: Buck-Buck

Thursday, September 24

Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980

Mangelos (Dimitrije Bašicevic). Manifest de la relation. 1976.
"Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980 focuses on parallels and connections among artists active in Latin America and Eastern Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. During these decades, which flanked the widespread student protests of 1968, artists working in distinct political and economic contexts, from Prague to Buenos Aires, developed cross-cultural networks to circulate their artworks and ideas. Whether created out of a desire to transcend the borders established after World War II or in response to local forms of state and military repression, these networks functioned largely independently of traditional institutional and market forces. ..."
NY Times - Review: ‘Transmissions’ at MoMA Explores an Era When Art Upended Tradition

Kansas Joe McCoy (May 11, 1905 – January 28, 1950)

Wikipedia - "Kansas Joe McCoy (May 11, 1905 – January 28, 1950) was an American Delta blues musician and songwriter. McCoy played music under a variety of stage names but is best known as 'Kansas Joe McCoy'. Born in Raymond, Mississippi, he was the older brother of the blues accompanist Papa Charlie McCoy. As a young man, McCoy was drawn to the music scene in Memphis, Tennessee where he played guitar and sang vocals during the 1920s. He teamed up with future wife Lizzie Douglas, a guitarist better known as Memphis Minnie, and their 1930 recording of the song 'Bumble Bee' on the Columbia Records label was a hit. ..."
YouTube: Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy-Pile Driver Blues, What's The Matter With You?, Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie When the Levee Breaks, Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe - What's A Matter With The Mill, Me And My Chauffeur Blues #1 - Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy, Well, Well, Look Who's Coming Down The Road, One More Greasing, Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe - Wild About My Stuff, Joliet Bound - Kansas Joe McCoy & Memphis Minnie, Evil Devil Woman Blues, Kansas Joe McCoy & Memphis Minnie - Preachers Blues, Weed Smoker's Dream -Harlem Hamfats

Public Enemy - Shut'em Down (1991)

"The passing of the torch in hip-hop is never a happy occasion. It's mostly filled with bitterness and shit talking. Chuck D clearly knew that PE's five-year reign was coming to a close. Once you realize and come to grips with this fact. you can either fight the power, or play diplomat and go out like a champ. If only every act in hip-hop thought like this. Thank God Chuck D chose the latter and let young upstart Pete Rock take over the boards to give PE's 'aight' song the decade' second best facelift. (The first goes to Black sheep's 'The Choice is Yours.') This song marks the renaissance period of New York hip-hop that was more jazz-centric over the usual Southern soul bed it was used to. A marvelous closing-credits soundtrack to a storied streak of revolutionary madness from the best group in hip-hop."
Rolling Stone
YouTube: Shut'em Down, Shut Em Down (Pete Rock Remix)

2009 May: Public Enemy, 2011 July: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, 2012 February: Fear of a Black Planet, 2012 August: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black, 2012 December: A Dozen Pivotal Moments in the 30 Year Career of Public Enemy, 2014 June: "Prophets of Rage" (2011), 2015 February: The Noise And How To Bring It: Hank Shocklee Interviewed, 2015 May: Give it up (1994).

Wednesday, September 23

Eleni Karaindrou - The Weeping Meadow (2004)

"Film and orchestral music composer Eleni Karaindrou has made a beautiful and moving statement with THE WEEPING MEADOW. A native of Greece, Karaindrou's influences are decidedly European, and within the music, one can hear the stamp of impressionistic composers like Erik Satie, avant garde innovators like Bartok, as well as Greek and Balkan folk forms. Karaindrou's music also traffics in 20th-century minimalism, creating tense, atmospheric spaces that feel empty and dense at once (one of the composer's frequently used motifs involves 'patterns' that recall the tingling, polyphonic gestures of Phillip Glass). Although several themes are reprised throughout the album, the combination of ambient textures, folk phrasing (accordions, guitars, and violins figure prominently into several pieces), and lush orchestral work keep the music consistently interesting. ..."
YouTube: The Weeping Meadow, Refugee's theme & The Weeping Meadow (Live)
YouTube: The Weeping Meadow Full Album 44:04

2008 June: Eleni Karaindrou, 2012 October: Ulysses' Gaze

King Ottokar's Sceptre - The Adventures of Tintin (1938)

Wikipedia - "King Ottokar's Sceptre is the eighth volume of The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. Commissioned by the conservative Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle for its children's supplement Le Petit Vingtième, it was serialised weekly from August 1938 to August 1939. Hergé intended the story as a satirical criticism of the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, in particular the annexation of Austria in March 1938 (the Anschluss). The story tells of young Belgian reporter Tintin and his dog Snowy, who travel to the fictional Balkan nation of Syldavia, where they combat a plot to overthrow the monarchy of King Muskar XII. ..."
Tintin Wiki
YouTube: King Ottokar's Sceptre (Full Movie) 1:25:16

2008 May: Georges Remi, 1907-1983, 2010 July: The Adventures of Tintin: Breaking Free, 2011 December: Prisoners of the Sun, 2012 January: Tintin: the Complete Companion, 2012 December: Snowy, 2015 August: The Black Island (1937)

In praise of dirty, sexy cities: the urban world according to Walter Benjamin

Modern Marseille is being sandblasted, primped and cultureified.
"Marseille isn’t as wicked as it used to be. In 1929, the playwright and travel writer Basil Woon wrote From Deauville to Monte Carlo: a Guide to the Gay World of France, warning his respectable readers that, whatever they do, they should on no account visit France’s second city. 'Thieves, cut-throats and other undesirables throng the narrow alleys and sisters of scarlet sit in the doorways of their places of business, catching you by the sleeve as you pass by. The dregs of the world are here unsifted … Marseille is the world’s wickedest port.' Much has changed since 1929. Gay doesn’t mean what it used to mean. Marseille isn’t the world’s wickedest port, but subject to one of Europe’s biggest architectural makeover projects. ..."
W - Walter Benjamin
The Walter Benjamin Research Syndicate