Thursday, December 14

Monk Mix: Remixes & Interpretations of Music By Meredith Monk (2012)

"Intrinsic to the artistic vision of this album is curator and producer DJ Spooky (Paul Miller), a conceptual artist, writer, and musician who pushes creative boundaries in the fields of visual art, sound art, music, film, media, and graphic art. His work has appeared in a wide variety of contexts such as New York's Whitney Biennial, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany, the Vienna Kunsthalle, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, New York’s Lincoln Center Festival, Spoleto Festival, Festival D’Automne (Paris) and many others. ..."
Monk Mix: Remixes & Interpretations of Music By Meredith Monk (Audio)
amazon, amazon - 1
YouTube: MONK MIX: Remixes & Interpretations of Meredith Monk's Music- CD Promotion, MONK MIX: Dolmen Music, Part I Shodekeh's Embody & Continuum Remix

2008 March: Meredith Monk, 2009 September: Songs of Ascension - Meredith Monk and Ann Hamilton, 2011 February: Meredith Monk: A Voice For All Time, 2011 August: Ellis Island, 2012 December: Turtle Dreams, 2013 February: Quarry: The Rally (Live, 1977), 2014 November; 10 Things You Might Not Know About Meredith Monk, 2015 April: Volcano Songs (1994), 2015 June: Ellis Island, 2016 April: 16 Millimeter Earrings and the Artist’s Body (1966/1998), 2016 December: Beginnings (2009), 2017 February: Book of Days (1988), 2017 May: Piano Songs (2014)

The Three Epic, Early Champions League Showdowns

"The draw for the Champions League round of 16 is set, and even though the first games will not be played for two months, we already know that at least one true European power will be eliminated before the quarterfinals kick off, and a couple more elite clubs could be in trouble. This is because the Champions League draw pitted some of the best teams in the world against each other in early clashes. According to Soccer Power Index, six of the nine best teams to make the knockouts have been drawn against each other. These three matchups — each of which consists of two games, one at each club’s home grounds — should give the Round of 16 a new level of drama. ... "
NY Times: Real-P.S.G. and Barcelona-Chelsea in the Champions League
YouTube: The Three Epic, Early Champions League Showdowns

Theaster Gates - Sun Salutations (undated), Breathing (2010)

A Game of My Own, 2017, wood, paint, black stain, Alabama ball clay
"Theaster Gates was born in Chicago in 1973. He first encountered creativity in the music of Black churches on his journey to becoming an urban planner, potter, and artist. Gates creates sculptures with clay, tar, and renovated buildings, transforming the raw material of urban neighborhoods into radically reimagined vessels of opportunity for the community. ... Gates’s non-profit, Rebuild Foundation, manages the many projects in his Chicago hometown—including the Stony Island Arts Bank, Black Cinema House, Dorchester Art and Housing Collaborative, Archive House, and Listening House—while extending its support to cities throughout the American Midwest. Many of the artist’s works evoke his African-American identity and the broader struggle for civil rights, from sculptures incorporating fire hoses, to events organized around soul food, and choral performances by the experimental musical ensemble Black Monks of Mississippi, led by Gates himself."
UbuWeb (Video)

2013 May: Theaster Gates

Wednesday, December 13

How the Index Card Cataloged the World

The Library of Congress card for Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.
"Like every graduate student, I once holed up in the library cramming for my doctoral oral exams. This ritual hazing starts with a long reading list. Come exam day, the scholar must prove mastery of a field, whether it’s Islamic art or German history. The student sits before a panel of professors, answering questions drawn from the book list. To prepare for this initiation, I bought a lifetime supply of index cards. On each four-by-six rectangle, I distilled the major points of a book. My index cards—portable, visual, tactile, easily rearranged and reshuffled—got me through the exam. Yet it never occurred to me, as I rehearsed my talking points more than a decade ago, that my index cards belonged to the very European history I was studying. The index card was a product of the Enlightenment, conceived by one of its towering figures: Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, physician, and the father of modern taxonomy. ..."
The Atlantic
W - Index card
How the Humble Index Card Foresaw the Internet

The Dump

The waves at Dead Horse Bay crash against the millions of pieces of glass that hide beneath the sand. The sound is not quite like that of other beaches.
"At a southeastern extremity of Brooklyn, near Floyd Bennett Field, sits a small pocket of ocean water, nestled among the Gerritsen and Rockaway Inlets, that has seen its fair share of muck. In the 19th century, horse-rendering facilities — which boiled carcasses and made glue of their byproducts — would dump the used bones into the water, giving the area its name: Dead Horse Bay. Decades later, as cars replaced horses, the renderers left, and New York City began connecting nearby Barren Island to the Brooklyn mainland, using sand, mixed with coal and garbage, as landfill. But the trash couldn’t quite be contained; it’s been emerging from the ground and washing up on the beach, bit by bit, ever since. Today, Dead Horse Bay is a sight to behold: unremittingly eerie, occasionally revolting, but nevertheless engrossing, even romantic. Visitors can catch a glimpse of New York’s past, take in the apocalyptic tableau — and, of course, enjoy a walk on the beach."
ABC News: Dead Horse Bay (Video)
W - Dead Horse Bay
Atlas Obscura

New Gabriel García Márquez Digital Archive Features More Than 27,000 Digitized Letters, Manuscript Pages, Photos & More

Gabriel García Márquez in Aracataca, March 1966.
"When Gabriel García Márquez died in 2014, it was said that only the Bible had sold more books in Spanish than the Colombian writer’s work: Love in the Time of Cholera, The Autumn of the Patriarch, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, The General in His Labyrinth… and yes, of course, One Hundred Years of Solitude, the 1967 novel William Kennedy described in a New York Times review as 'the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.' García Márquez began to hate such elevated praise. It raised expectations he felt he couldn’t fulfill after the enormous success of that incredibly brilliant, seemingly sui generis second novel. Everyone in South America read the book. To avoid the crowds, the author moved to Spain (where Mario Vargas Llosa wrote a doctoral dissertation on him). He needn’t have worried. ..."
Open Culture (Video)
Digital Collections - Gabriel García Márquez (Video)
NY Times: Gabriel García Márquez’s Archive Freely Available Online

Tuesday, December 12

The Graphic Designer Who Maps the World’s Cities by Smell

"Smell has long been dismissed as the second-class citizen of our senses—the 'most ungrateful' and 'most dispensable,' according to Immanuel Kant, who, echoing Plato and Aristotle, praised vision as our 'noblest' sense. But, on a recent Sunday, I spent the afternoon placing full faith in my nose, sticking it into garbage cans, restaurant exhaust vents, and within sniffing distance of my fellow-pedestrians on a stretch of the Lower East Side deemed New York’s smelliest block. The excursion started uneventfully, when I detected familiar fumes of gasoline on Delancey Street, but turning onto Eldridge toward Broome I confronted a pungent, intriguing miasma of garlic, cigarette smoke, rotten melon, roasted meat, and plastic. I trailed this scent to further whiffs of steamed dough and menthol outside a massage parlor, then got distracted by a cloud of incense and darted after it in pursuit—directly into the path of an oncoming biker, whom I admittedly hadn’t smelled coming. .This ignoble pastime, known as a 'smellwalk' in academic circles, was guided by a kit I downloaded from the Web site of Kate McLean, a designer and researcher at England’s Canterbury Christ Church University. ..."
New Yorker
How to Explore a City Through Its Scents - Fold Magazine
Sensory Maps

Black Ace (December 21, 1905 – November 7, 1972)

"Black Ace was the most frequently used stage name of the American Texas blues musician, Babe Kyro Lemon Turner (December 21, 1905 – November 7, 1972), who was also known as B.K. Turner, Black Ace Turner or Babe Turner. Born in Hughes Springs, Texas, United States, he was raised on the family farm, and taught himself to play guitar, performing in east Texas from the late 1920s on. During the early 1930s he began playing with Smokey Hogg and Oscar 'Buddy' Woods, a Hawaiian-style guitarist who played with the instrument flat on his lap. Turner then bought a National steel guitar, and began playing what one later critic called 'Hawaii meets the Delta,' smooth and simple blues. In 1937, Turner recorded six songs (possibly with Hogg as second guitarist) for Chicago's Decca Records in Dallas, including the blues song 'Black Ace'. In the same year, he started a radio show on KFJZ in Fort Worth, using the cut as a theme song, and soon assumed the name. ..."
American Music
YouTube: I Am The Black Ace, Whisky And Woman, You Gonna Need My Help Someday, Golden Slipper, Legs Too Little, Lowing Heifer, Triffling Woman

Puerto Rico Sketchbook: The Artists with the Shovels

"Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi has lost track of how many times he’s been to Barrio Paloma Abajo since the hurricane hit. As he drove up the vertiginous roads of the Cordillera Central, he ticked off what he and his colleagues at Defend PR have accomplished so far. They were working with an architect to rebuild houses wrecked by Maria. They brought seeds and water filters and set up a solar-powered cinema. Solar lights, mosquito nets, batteries, bug spray, rat traps. They drove kids to a local comedy show. They installed tarps on roofs and brought chain saws to cut down the dangling tree branches and shoveled debris from the broken bridge. They organized themselves into brigades to clean wrecked farms. Jacobs-Fantauzzi rolled up his sleeve and showed me a trail of red welts. Ants, he suspected. Jacobs-Fantauzzi is a filmmaker, not an aid worker. Defend PR, the media collective he cofounded, had been known for its documentary shorts, not for delivering hundreds of meals, as they planned to that day. ..."
The Paris Review

2016 May: Molly Crabapple

Monday, December 11

10 Moroccan Musicians You Need to Know

"Morocco has a rich musical culture with flavors of Berber, Spanish, Arabic, and Saharan influences. Berbers, indigenous North Africans, have a proud heritage of folk music predating Arabic times, with a sound distinct from Chaabi – a popularized folk genre. Gnawa music originates from sub-saharan Africa and involves a minimal combination of hejhouj (a three-string camel skin bass instrument), percussion, and religious or mystical chanting. Here are 10 Moroccan musicians utilizing these traditions. ..."
The Culture Trip (Video)

What Is the ‘Russia Story’?

"In late 2016, top United States intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government directed a massive cyberattack aimed at denying Hillary Clinton the presidency and putting Donald J. Trump in the White House. This broad campaign included hacking and leaking Democratic emails, pushing false information on Russian media outlets, gaining access to state and local electoral boards, and using social media to disseminate misinformation. President Trump and his advisers have been dogged by revelations of undisclosed meetings, emails and phone calls between Russian officials and people connected to Mr. Trump during the campaign and presidential transition. ..."
NY Times

Astoria Hotel

The Astoria in 1956.
"As a young man in the late 1800s, Henry E. Braden, Sr. moved to New Orleans from the cotton fields outside Natchitoches, Louisiana. He opened a restaurant here called the Astoria, which he eventually expanded to include a barbershop, pool room, tavern, hotel, and the Astoria Gardens dance hall, one of the largest in the South for black audiences. (Successive generations of Bradens would go on to serve prominently in the civic life of New Orleans, often as the first people of color in their respective positions.) For decades the Astoria was a fixture of African-American society, hosting artists like Duke Ellington and Count Basie and luminaries of the black intelligentsia. For visitors turned away elsewhere in the Jim Crow South, the dignified service at the hotel was an oasis. It was popular for locals, too, who came here to eat, drink, dance. ..."
A Closer Walk (Audio)
The Birth of Jazz and the Jews of South Rampart Street

Sunday, December 10

Learn Constellations with a Planisphere

"The movements of the stars have taxed the human mind throughout the ages — from ancient Babylonians seeking to predict sky events, to Greek philosophers wrestling with the structure of the universe, to beginning skywatchers today trying to figure out where's the Andromeda Galaxy. The turning of the celestial sphere perplexes everyone who takes up skywatching, but sooner or later the picture snaps into place and the whole setup becomes obvious. However, those who think the sky's motion is inherently simple should try explaining to a beginner why every star follows a different curved path across the sky at a different speed. And why do some stars move from west to east while most move east to west? Can you explain why some constellations turn somersaults during the night while others just tilt from side to side? ..."
Sky and Telescope
W - Planisphere
How to Make a Star Wheel the Simple Way
YouTube: How to Use a Star Chart

A Few Thoughts from Monet on Those Stacks of Wheat

Wheatstacks (End of Summer), (1890-91).
"Beginning in 1890, Claude Monet spent one year painting giant stacks of wheat. Here is his journal from that time. May 14, 1890. Saw giant stacks of wheat today. I think I am going to start painting those. June 8, 1890. Having a tough time painting these giant stacks of wheat. I guess I assumed I’d blow through them no problem because they’re just giant stacks of wheat and I’m a professional painter, but getting all the wheat to look good is tough. June 30, 1890. Painted a decent stack of wheat today. Going to call it, 'Wheatstack in the Sunlight, Morning Effect.' Something like that. Confession: I hated literally everything about painting that stack of wheat, especially how the light bounced off it. But here’s the thing: I have to paint the light right. People go apeshit about the light and how accurate the light is. They ask annoying questions like, 'Are the shadows accurate based on the light?' And I always think to myself, 'Who gives a fuck? It’s a painting of a red boat and it looks like a million bucks.' ..."
New Yorker

Sultan's Picnic - Rabih Abou-Khalil (1992)

"Composer and oudist Rabih Abou-Khalil generates variety and interest by bringing aboard different guest musicians for each album. The personnel on Sultan's Picnic is so similar to that of Blue Camel that one might expect them to sound similar. But there's a key difference in the presence of Howard Levy on Sultan's Picnic. Levy is a talented harmonica player who has done a lot of offbeat work, including a stint with Béla Fleck & the Flecktones. Despite the power of Charlie Mariano on alto sax and Kenny Wheeler on trumpet, this album is dominated by the idioms of the harmonica, specifically the jazzy, quirky, lackadaisical idiom popularized by Levy's work with the Flecktones. This domination is noticeable from the beginning, on 'Sunrise in Montreal.' Occasionally, the harmonica recedes to the background and allows other instruments to shine through. On 'Solitude,' Levy provides only the occasional raspy sound effect, while Abou-Khalil steps forward with an instrument he had custom-built: the bass oud. ..."
amazon, iTunes
YouTube: Sultan's Picnic (Full Album)

Saturday, December 9

La Notte - Michelangelo Antonioni (1961)

"Michelangelo Antonioni was a cinematic cubist. Fragmenting time and space, the Italian master created a potent new language for storytelling, and in the process charted a topography of modern ennui. His work’s glamorously broody visual surfaces might have been mimicked in perfume commercials — they were hardly the only artistic invention to be co-opted by advertising — but no one has quite duplicated the way he built poetic depth from narrative shards. However exquisitely his characters suffer, their search for meaning is real. Two of the screen’s most melancholic beauties, Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni, are the searchers in 'La Notte,' which is receiving its first major stateside reissue in more than half a century. The virtuosic 1961 drama is the second film in what’s regarded as a trilogy, beginning with 'L’Avventura,' Antonioni’s international breakthrough, and concluding with 'L’Eclisse.' Made in quick succession, the three pictures explore disillusion and romantic emptiness, and they all feature Monica Vitti. ..."
LA Times: Michelangelo Antonioni's melancholy classic 'La Notte' gets a stunning restoration
W - La Notte
senses of cinema
YouTube: La Notte Trailer, 1961

2011 September: Red Desert (1964), 2014 December: The Passenger (1975), 2017 April: Blow-Up (1966), 2017 October: L'Avventura (1960)

Work in Progress - Robert Wyatt EP (1983)

"Though I love the sparse keyboard and percussion sound of much of his 80s' work the songs don't always suit the style, but here everything works beautifully. Three of the songs are covers but when they're of this quality who can complain? His cover of Peter Gabriel's Biko is restrained and haunting where Gabriel's original - though good - was a touch bombastic. Equally great is the one original song, Amber And The Amberines, inspired by the Reagan administration's illegal invasion of Grenada in 1983. - silver_plane"
Rate Your Music
YouTube: Biko (Robert Wyatt version), Amber & the Amberines, Yolanda, Te Recuerdo Amanda

2010 November: Robert Wyatt, 2011 October: Sea Song, 2012 October: Comicopera, 2013 March: The Last Nightingale, 2013 September: Solar Flares Burn for You (2003), 2014 March: Cuckooland (2003), 2014 October: Robert Wyatt Story (BBC Four, 2001), 2014 December: Different Every Time (2014), 2016 March: Interviews (2014), 2016 June: Dondestan (Revisited)(1998), 2016 September: Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard (1975), 2017 January: '68 (2013), 2017 May: Shleep (1997)

Friday, December 8

What to Wear to Smash the State

"In late August, a crowd of thousands — primarily leftists and liberals — cascaded down Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley, Calif. They were marching on a spattering of right-wingers, Trump supporters and Nazis who were gathering under the mission to say 'no to Marxism in America.' At the front of the march were about 100 people dressed in head-to-toe black. According to many people present, this was the largest so-called black bloc they’d seen. This medley of black-clad anarchists, anti-fascists (known as 'antifa' activists) and their fellow travelers was a response to the previous week’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. There, protests ended with 19 injured and 32-year-old Heather Heyer killed when James Fields, an admirer of Hitler who demonstrated with white supremacists, drove his car into a crowd. This mass of solid black descending upon the park in Berkeley, hunting for fascists, was an intimidating aesthetic. That’s by design. ..."
NY Times
The Femme’s Guide to Riot Fashion
W - Antifa
A Taxonomy of Protest Clothing
Staying Safe in the Streets
the accidental uniform of the antifa

Spinal columns: the joy of the collection

DISCO by Mark Vessey
"‘A bookshelf is as particular to its owner as are his or her clothes; a personality is stamped on a library just as a shoe is shaped by the foot,” Alan Bennett once wrote. For a while, e-readers and music streaming appeared set to replace their physical counterparts, but the resurgence in vinyl and printed book sales suggests otherwise. For the past decade, Brighton-based photographic artist Mark Vessey has been capturing the beauty of these objects in a series of photographs: his Collections series documents magazines, books, vinyl records and other assorted items, stacked on top of one another or neatly lined up. For Vessey, 35, the passion for collecting started with Attitude magazine. Growing up in Chingford, on the outskirts of north-east London, Vessey would pick up the gay lifestyle title every time he was in central London – it wasn’t stocked in Chingford – and it showed him a life outside the 'bland, safe area' where he was. ..."
Guardian - Collectors' corner: book and music libraries – in pictures

Fela Kuti - Koola Lobitos / The '69 Los Angeles Sessions (1969)

"A new reissue that unearths a series of previously unreleased sides recorded between 1964 and 1968 with Fela's first band, Koola Lobitos. These songs are steeped in the style of highlife jazz that was popular in African clubs, a fiery hybrid of Latin jazz, rhythm and blues, even calypso. With most of the vocals sung in his native Nigerian, the music is bubbling over with punchy brass arrangements, simmering percussion, and bass grooves that mortar the sound. Highlights include an ode to Nigerian nightlife, 'Highlife Time,' and 'Omuti Tide,' with Fela's tongue-in-cheek phrasing of 'When the Saints Go Marching In' during his trumpet solo. The '69 L.A. Sessions find Fela & Nigeria '70 fleshing out the sound that would bring him acclaim and popularity. Ensconced in the knowledge of the American black struggle of the time from a female companion in Los Angeles, his approach went from bright and snappy to contemplative and hypnotic without compromising the groove. ..."
YouTube: The '69 Los Angeles Sessions

Thursday, December 7

Paterson - Jim Jarmusch (2016)

"Jim Jarmusch is among the rarest and most precious filmmakers of our time, because, at his best—as he is in his new film, 'Paterson'—he conjures an entire world of his own imagination. He does so with his wry and tamped-down tone, his loping rhythms, his puckishly frontal compositions, his worn-in sense of design, the winking terseness of his dialogue—and the loving precision of his documentary-rooted observations, which anchor his microcosmic cinematic world, with its austerely whimsical passions, in the world at large. 'Paterson,' the story of a poet and his poems, is set in Paterson, New Jersey, and its protagonist is a bus driver named Paterson, who is played by Adam Driver. Paterson the driver writes poetry; he thinks poetry while walking to and from the depot, he writes in his notebook (his so-called secret notebook) at the wheel of his bus while waiting for his shift to begin; he writes during his lunch hour while sitting on a bench beside his favorite place, the Great Falls of the Passaic River, with his copy of Frank O’Hara’s 'Lunch Poems' beside his lunchbox; he writes at his cramped desk in his basement, surrounded by building supplies and hardware. ..."
New Yorker: Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson” and the Myth of the Solitary Artist By Richard Brody
W - Paterson
TIME: Jim Jarmusch Talks About His New Movie, Paterson, and the Exuberance of Great Poetry
The Atlantic: Paterson Is a Quiet, Considered Masterpiece
YouTube: Official Trailer #1 (2016)

2014 October: Captured: A Film/Video History of the Lower East Side, 2015 December: Broken Flowers - Jim Jarmusch (2005).,2016 October: An Immersive Audio Tour of the East Village’s Famed Poetry Scene, Narrated by Jim Jarmusch, 2016 July: The Philosophy of Bill Murray: The Intellectual Foundations of His Comedic Persona, 2016 December: Jim Jarmusch Lists His Favorite Poets: Dante, William Carlos Williams, Arthur Rimbaud, John Ashbery & More

Marcel Proust - The Prisoner / The Fugitive (1923-1925)

Wikipedia - "Volume Five: The Prisoner. The Narrator is living with Albertine in his family's apartment, to Françoise's distrust and his absent mother's chagrin. He marvels that he has come to possess her, but has grown bored with her. He mostly stays home, but has enlisted Andrée to report on Albertine's whereabouts, as his jealousy remains. ... Volume Six: The Fugitive. The Narrator is anguished at Albertine's departure and absence. He dispatches Saint-Loup to convince her aunt Mme Bontemps to send her back, but Albertine insists the Narrator should ask, and she will gladly return. The Narrator lies and replies he is done with her, but she just agrees with him. He writes to her that he will marry Andrée, then hears from Saint-Loup of the failure of his mission to the aunt. Desperate, he begs Albertine to return, but receives word: she has died in a riding accident. ..."
W - In Search of Lost Time
The 14-Minute Marcel Proust

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, 2015 September: In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way: A Graphic Novel, 2016 January: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (1919), 2016 February: Chasing Lost Time: The Life of C.K. Scott Moncrieff: Soldier, Spy and Translator, 2016 May: The Guermantes Way (1920-21), 2016 August: Marcel Proust’s Search for Lost Time — Patrick Alexander, 2016 October: My Strange Friend Marcel Proust, 2017 March: Sodom and Gomorrah (1921-1922), 2017 August: Letters To His Neighbor by Marcel Proust; translated by Lydia Davis, October: Proust's À la recherche – a novel big enough for the world, 2017 October: Proust Fans Eagerly Await Trove of Letters Going Online

Wednesday, December 6

Live Textural Ambient Synthesizer Performance

Live Jam #25 - Slow evolving drone / Ambient - Self playing patch on Eurorack modular synthesizer
"Monorail, the solo musician not the retro-futuristic vision of transportation utopia, has a running series of live synthesizer jams on his YouTube channel. The styles and tools vary from jam to jam, though there is usually a modular synth at the core. Some might argue that the contemporary rise of the modular synth is itself a form of retro-futurism. If you scroll through his video archive you can chart, in the thumbnail images, the steady progression of his studio:

... This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at Monorail’s YouTube channel. Monorail is Rijnder Kamerbeek, based in Berlin, Germany."
disquiet (Video)

Walden on the Rocks - Ariel Dorfman

J.M.W. Turner: Wreckers—Coast of Northumberland, with a Steam-Boat Assisting a Ship off Shore, 1834
"The bodies are strewn everywhere along the beach. Burials are complicated because nobody knows the names of the dead—mostly women and children fleeing famine and poverty, trying to reach the land of plenty that has been promised to them but finding, instead, an early end in turbulent waters. Spectators gape at the debris from the recent shipwreck 'cracked up like an eggshell on the rocks,' while others go about their business. ... This scene of devastation and indifference seems torn from the latest headlines or photos from around the world, just one more group of refugees appearing fleetingly on our screens and in our consideration. ... The eyewitness referred to above, without whom we might not remember the incident at all, was none other than Henry David Thoreau. ..."

November 2007: J. M. W. Turner, 2009 April: Turner & Italy, 2011 June: J. M. W. Turner - 1, 2014 June: In Which We Find His Theory Of Color Implausible, 2014 May: Ruin Lust, 2014 September: The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free, 2016 June: Turner’s Whaling Pictures, 2017 March: Turner’s Modern and Ancient Ports: Passages through Time, 2017 July: Turner set free: Nature as roughhouse theater by W.S. Di Piero

2009 April: Henry David Thoreau, 2012 September: Walden, 2015 March: A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), 2017 March: Civil Disobedience (1849), 2017 April: The Maine Woods (1864), 2017 June: This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal, 2017 July: Pond Scum - Henry David Thoreau’s moral myopia. By Kathryn Schulz, 2017 July: Walden, a Game, 2017 October: Walden Wasn’t Thoreau’s Masterpiece

As Greenland Melts, Where’s the Water Going?

"In the summer of 2015, two New York Times journalists joined a team of researchers in Greenland that was conducting a unique experiment: directly measuring a river of meltwater runoff on the top of the ice. Now, the scientists have published the results of that work. A key finding — that not as much meltwater flows immediately through the ice sheet and drains to the ocean as previously estimated — may have implications for sea-level rise, one of the major effects of climate change. The scientists say it appears that some of the meltwater is retained in porous ice instead of flowing to the bottom of the ice sheet and out to sea. ..."
NY Times

Tuesday, December 5

Vermont Progressive Party

Wikipedia - "The Vermont Progressive Party is a political party in the United States. It was founded in 1999 and is active only in the U.S. state of Vermont. The party is largely social democratic and progressive. ... The Vermont Progressive Party originated with the independent campaign of Bernie Sanders for mayor of Burlington (prior to being elected mayor Sanders was a leader in the VT Liberty Union Party). ... Progressives started running for the Burlington City Council and getting elected from the poor, student, and middle-class areas of Burlington. They cleaned up the waterfront, which had been left trashed by industry, started citywide recycling, and established a public/private partnership with a land trust to make low- and moderate-income rental and home ownership available. The Progressive Administration started a women’s small business technical assistance program and an affirmative action ordinance for the awarding of city contracts. ..."
Vermont Progressive Party
Vermont’s Cautionary Tale
Dare to Win: A Brief History of Vermont’s Progressive Party
NY Times: As Vermont Goes, So Goes the Nation?

Hirtle’s Beach - Rose Bay NS

"A nature enthusiast’s paradise. Categorized as a living beach because the beach moves and shifts at the whim of the ocean. Hirtle’s Beach is ever changing. Here you will find more than three kilometers of white sand, rolling surf, fresh sea air, drumlin cliffs and breathtaking views. Hirtle's Beach appeals to the whole family, as there are 2 small lakes for kids to swim in, and those not up to the chill of the atlantic ocean waves!"
South Shore Connect
W - Kingsburg, Nova Scotia
YouTube: Hirtle's Beach

2015 October: History of the Acadians, 2012 February: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, 2012 December: Vanishing Cape Breton Fiddler, 2011 June: The Lost Salt Gift of Blood - Alistair MacLeod, 2016 February: Island (2001), 2016 October: Alistair MacLeod - No Great Mischief (1999), October: Nova Scotia Lighthouse

Monday, December 4

Stars of the Lid - And Their Refinement of the Decline (2007)

"After the near symphonic exercise of engaging the void that was Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid in 2001, it was hard to believe there was anything left to do. Wrong. Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie emerged from the studio in early 2007 with the equally huge And Their Refinement of the Decline. The notion of symphonic here is, without doubt, still present, but not in any normal way. Over two very differently themed discs, and three LPs, Stars of the Lid engage long conceptual ideas from a place one can only call micro-minimalism. An obsession with drones fading in and out on all kinds of instruments is what takes precedent here, whether that be a string section, a solo cello, harp, trumpet or a children's choir. (Yes, all of them are here, and more.) Don't worry, all this deep fixation with drones and classical music doesn't mess up Stars of the Lid's sense of humor. ..."
W - And Their Refinement of the Decline
YouTube: "...And Their Refinement of the Decline" - Full Album

impLOG – Holland Tunnel Dive / On B’Way (1979)

"impLOG was the solo project of Don Christensen after leaving New York No Wave group The Contortions in 1979. He began making music using found sounds, a Univox drum machine, guitar stomp boxes, Casio keyboards and percussion instruments. Eventually Don gave a demo tape to Charles Ball at Lust/Unlust Records, who loved it, and released the 'Holland Tunnel Dive' b/w 'On B’way' 12” in 1980. 'Holland Tunnel Dive' is a monotone lament, with a narrator reciting a list of all that is missing in his life along to a sparse, mechanical beat. A variable speed Milwaukee drill creeps its way into the song, eventually reaching cacophonous levels. After four minutes of industrial motorik, an upbeat saxophone riff breaks out unexpectedly, unsettling the listener even further. On the B-side is a deranged version of the Lieber and Stoller show tune 'On Broadway', featuring lead guitar by Jody Harris of the Contortions. The record perfectly captures the dark and seedy vibe of downtown New York in the early 80’s. All songs have been remastered from the original master tapes for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The jacket is an exact replica of the original. On the front cover is an illustration of a hydraulic pump against a taxi-cab yellow background. Each copy includes a double sided insert with lyrics, never before seen photos and liner notes by Don Christensen."
Dark Entries Records (Video)
Juno Download
YouTube: Holland Tunnel Dive, On B’Way

Sunday, December 3

The Comedic Beauty of Laura Owens’s Work

“Untitled” (2013)
"A new self-awareness entered painting toward the end of the 20th century, which initiated an irreverent, sometimes but not always loving interrogation of the medium. Artists of several generations and many stripes pushed this approach forward, ransacking painting’s history and conventions, examining it as both a commodity and an object in space, toying with its taboos and its pursuit of a signature style. One of the most innovative explorers of this vanguard has been Laura Owens, the subject of a jubilant, chameleonic midcareer survey now on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Ms. Owens loves painting but she approaches it with a rare combination of sincerity and irony. Distinguished by a sly, comedic beauty, her work has a playful, knowing, almost-Rococo lightness of being in which pleasure, humor, intelligence and a seductive sense of usually high color mingle freely. ..."
NY Times
New Yorker: The Radical Paintings of Laura Owens
YouTube: Laura Owens: Hugo Boss Prize 2016 Nominee

2013 March: Laura Owens, 2015 March: The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World

After The Heat - Brian Eno, Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim (1978)

Wikipedia - "After The Heat is a 1978 album by Brian Eno, Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius (the latter two being the core members of Cluster), credited to 'Eno Moebius Roedelius'. The album represents the second collaboration by the trio, the first being 1977's Cluster & Eno. As with the previous album, After The Heat was created in collaboration with the influential 'krautrock' producer Conny Plank. ... Comparing the album to the musicians' previous collaboration Cluster & Eno (1977), Pitchfork wrote in their favourable retrospective review: 'A few piano-centered instrumentals hint at the sound of the earlier record, but After The Heat exists in a fantastic sphere of its own.' All songs composed by Brian Eno, Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius. ..."
Remembering Dieter Moebius of Cluster (Video)
YouTube: After the Heat [Full Album]

Saturday, December 2

Living Well Is the Best Revenge By Calvin Tomkins

Gerald and Sara Murphy with friends at a beach in the French Riviera, late 1920s.
(July 28, 1962) "A writer like F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose life can almost be said to have attracted more attention than his work, may have to wait a long time before his literary reputation finds its true level. Although 'Tender Is the Night,' the novel Fitzgerald liked best of the four he published during his lifetime, was generally considered a failure when it first appeared (even by Fitzgerald, who tried to improve its standing by writing a revised version that nearly everybody agreed was much worse), it has been quietly assuming, over the years, something like the status of an American classic. Sales in the past twelve months exceeded five hundred and fifty thousand copies, or about forty-five times the sale of the original edition. The book, which was out of print when Fitzgerald died, in 1940, is now available in four editions, and is required reading in a large number of college courses in American literature. ..."
New Yorker

2014 January: View the Passport Photos of F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf & Other Cultural Icons, 2014 August: Gatsby to Garp: Modern Masterpieces from the Carter Burden Collection, 2014 November: Lost Generation, 2015 November: The Crack-Up (1945)


Lines 1 (September 1965).
"Aram Saroyan, the son of one of America’s most beloved novelists, grew up on New York’s West End Avenue and attended Trinity School, a private prep school in the same neighborhood. He attended the University of Chicago for a while and had his first poem published in the Nation. Returning to New York, he worked at Bookmasters bookstore near Times Square and at Virginia Admiral’s Academy Typing Service (she was a poet and the mother of actor-to-be Robert De Niro). After traveling cross-country to show his poems to Robert Creeley, then in Placitas, New Mexico, Saroyan was finally ready, at age twenty-one, to start his own little magazine, Lines, in 1964. ..."
From a Secret Location
Reality Studio: Lines Archive
W - Aram Saroyan
Lines Magazine (Ed.) Aram Saroyan
Jacket2: Stone Cutting All The Way
[PDF] Works – Saroyan Complete - Cuneiform Press

Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and Robert Rehfeldt

"There is a tradition that places the archive amidst a set of notions indebted to Jacques Derrida’s meditations on ‘fever’, ‘spectres’ and ‘hauntings’. The archive, in this respect, represents an exploration of the dark side of history; a navigation of, exploration of, hidden pasts. ‘A: The Mail Art Archive of Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and Robert Rehfeldt’ at ChertLüdde, Berlin, takes a wholly different tact, luminously associating the archive with fluid concepts such as networks, friendships and anonymity. Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt was born in East Germany in 1932 and relocated to Berlin in 1950, where she met her husband, the experimental artist Robert Rehfeldt. In 1970, she began her ‘Typewritings’ series, which she continued until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. Her recently rediscovered catalogue comprises almost 1,000 of these works: geometric visual poems, typewritten on A4 paper so as to be distributed by mail, which range from abstract typographic repetitions to emotional linguistic experiments to renderings of architectural shapes, objects and human silhouettes. ..."
A –The Mail Art Archive of Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and Robert Rehfeldt
Paulo Bruscky & Robert Rehfeldt “Home Archives” and Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt “Signs FIction”at Chert, Berlin
“SIGNS FICTION: Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt” and “HOME ARCHIVES: Paulo Bruscky & Robert Rehfeldt’s Mail Art Exchanges from East Berlin to South America”
W - Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt
W - documenta

Friday, December 1

Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty to Lying to the F.B.I.

"President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the F.B.I. about conversations with the Russian ambassador last December during the presidential transition, bringing the special counsel’s investigation into the president’s inner circle. Mr. Flynn, who appeared in federal court in Washington, acknowledged that he was cooperating with the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His plea agreement suggests that Mr. Flynn provided information to prosecutors, which may help advance the inquiry. The development came at a particularly sensitive moment for the White House, just as Mr. Trump and Republican congressional leaders are toiling to hold together a tenuous coalition to push through a large tax cut plan. It marked an unwelcome headline at a time when the president’s team is hoping to focus public attention on what they argue is an impressive list of accomplishments in his first year. ..."
NY Times (Video)
NY Times: Trump Is Cracking Up
Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI (Video)

Peter Gordon: The Love of Life Orchestra Founder’s Formative Years

"Peter Gordon’s music embodies many things: funk, minimalism, rock, disco, classical music, post-punk, and the creative ferment of downtown New York. Stumbling upon his odd and rich discography – much of it performed with his long-running, rotating group known as the Love of Life Orchestra – is like uncovering a hidden treasure. Many of Gordon’s old friends and collaborators, such as the late Arthur Russell, have been extensively documented in recent years through books and reissues, but Gordon remains a bit of an enigma. His music received a high-profile push thanks to James Murphy, who prominently featured Gordon and the Love of Life Orchestra in his Fabriclive.36 mix, assembled with LCD Soundsystem drummer Pat Mahoney in 2010. Later that same year, a revelatory reissue of Gordon’s music from the ’70s and ’80s was released on DFA Records, which included two little-heard tracks recorded with Russell. ..."
Red Bull Music Academy Daily

2010 December: Love of Life Orchestra, 2015 November: Extended Niceties EP (1980), 2017 April: Various Artists - The Fruit of the Original Sin (1981)

Graham Greene - The Heart of the Matter (1948)

"A policeman's lot is not a happy one. The white (and dark) man's burden must always be heavy. And man's debt to man will be forever in arrears -- from West Africa to the West End, from Brooklyn to Bucharest. Generations of novelists have wrestled with these melancholy truisms. It is a pleasure to report that Graham Greene, in 'The Heart of the Matter,' has wrestled brilliantly with all three -- and scored three clean falls. Mr. Greene (as a well-earned public knows) is a profound moralist with a technique to match his purpose. From first page to last, this record of one man's breakdown on a heat-drugged fever-coast makes its point as a crystal-clear allegory -- and as an engrossing novel. Mr. Greene has chosen a carefully unnamed spot on Africa's coastline as his backdrop: we are told merely that it adjoins Vichy-held territory across one of its sluggish, tan-colored rivers, that the time is the wrong end of World War II. ..."
NY Times (July 1948)
W - The Heart of the Matter
Crime and the City: Freetown and Its Colonialist Vice
[PDF] Heart of the Matter

Thursday, November 30

Watch Footage of the Velvet Underground Composing “Sunday Morning,” the First Track on Their Seminal Debut Album The Velvet Underground & Nico (1966)

"Before its many layers of well-deserved hagiography, the Velvet Underground’s first album emerged in 1967 on its own terms, in near obscurity, introducing something so mysteriously cool and hauntingly grim and beautiful. Goth and punk and post-punk and New Wave and chamber pop and shoegaze and indie folk and Britpop and noise and drone and No Wave… all came decades later. But first there was The Velvet Underground & Nico. ... [Tyler] Wilcox describes in his history how all of those qualities—luck, and Andy Warhol, included—brought the five original VU members together in 1965; how the band debuted with Nico at the Delmonico Hotel 1966, occasioning the New York Herald Tribune’s headline, 'Shock Treatment for Psychiatrists'; and how their lo-fi drone and Medieval folk meets decadent, literary 60s pop derived from influences like Booker T. & The MG’s and avant-garde minimalist La Monte Young. It’s one thing to read about this total re-imaging of rock and roll, and another thing entirely to see it. Unfortunately, little film of the band exists from that time—some of it very fragmentary or very rare. ..."
Open Culture (Video)

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, 2015 October: The Blue Mask (1982), 2016 March: New Sensations (1984), 2016 May: Coney Island Baby (1976), 2017 March: Celebrating Lou Reed: 1942–2013

The Treasures Blooming in Canada’s Largest Seed Catalog Archive

"The Royal Botanical Gardens—an 87-year-old, 2,422-acre swath of historic parks and gardens headquartered in Burlington, Ontario—is home to wonders animal, vegetable, and mineral. There’s a turtle tank in the main building’s lobby, native fish in the wetlands, and wild ducks and bald eagles flying over patches of protected land. Plants, of course, are everywhere, from rock gardens to nature trails to a two-story indoor greenwall. When I visited in early November, workers were building a miniature train set that snakes around an entire atrium, through scale models of Niagara Falls and the CN Tower. ..."
Atlas Obscura
W - Royal Botanical Gardens (Ontario)

Life Style - Barrington Levy (1983)

"Originally released in 1983 'Life Style' is probably the most sought after and one of the best Roots Reggae albums by Barrington Levy. Born in 1964 Barrington Levy started his career at the age of 15.He became famous early with his hits produced by Henry 'Junjo' Lawes on the 'Roots Radics' Riddims. Recorded at Channel One, Arranged & Produced by Alvin 'GG's' Ranglin 'Life Style' is reissued on vinyl for the first time."
Sounds of the Universe
Barrington Levy
YouTube: Barrington Levy's Life Style (1983 Full Album)

2012 September: Barrington Levy, 2015 July: Love Your Brother Man: The Early Years

Wednesday, November 29

The glorious mansions on a lovely Harlem block

"Nineteenth century New York had lots of freestanding, single-family mansions. Few survive today, but one Harlem block is host to four. These bells-and-whistles monuments to wealth and status do a pretty good job blending in with the walkups that surround them. You’ll find these mansions at St. Nicholas Place and 150th Street, in the middle of Harlem’s Sugar Hill neighborhood. Sugar Hill is roomy and lovely, but I don’t think the name was in use when James Bailey (of Barnum and Bailey Circus fame) decided to build this magnificent castle of a home in 1888 (below, in 1895). It’s a Medieval limestone mansion with 64 windows of mosaic glass and 30 rooms at 10 St. Nicholas Place—an offshoot of St. Nicholas Avenue, a high and wide road popular among the Gilded Age rich who went coaching there. ..."
Ephemeral New York

Tuesday, November 28

Spain’s Conflict Over Catalonia Is Covering Up Massive Political Corruption

A pro-independence demonstration asking for the release of jailed Catalan activists and leaders in Barcelona, November 11, 2017.
"'Franco has died,' read the tongue-in-cheek headline of the November 11 editorial in El País, Spain’s self-proclaimed newspaper of record. The headline recalled the televised announcement on November 20, 1975, by then prime minister Arias Navarro informing the nation of its leader’s passing—and, unwittingly, of Chevy Chase’s running gag on Saturday Night Live ('Generalissimo Franco is still dead'). The editorial meant to poke fun at foreign commentators who resort to comparisons with the Franco regime to describe the way Spain’s central government has handled Catalonia’s bid for independence. On November 5, Belgium’s former prime minister Elio Di Rupo branded Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy an 'authoritarian Francoist' on Twitter. These comparisons are 'absurd,' El País wrote, calling Di Rupo’s claim 'offensive,' 'intolerable,' and equivalent to calling Angela Merkel 'a totalitarian Nazi.' ..."
The Nation

2017 October: Catalonia Leaders Seek to Make Independence Referendum Binding, 2017 October: Catalonia: Past and Future - Luke Stobart, 2017 October: Spain moves to take over Catalonia after region declares independence

One Stop Record Shop

"Legendary guitarist Earl King ('Lonely, Lonely Nights' and 'Let the Good Times Roll') claimed that he walked into the One Stop Record Shop one day in late 1963 and was told 'All your gang is in the back.' Sure enough, behind the stacks of 45s and LPs he found Professor Longhair, Tommy Ridgley, Eddie Bo, and others huddled around the store’s piano. This was the same room where in early 1960 a teenaged Irma Thomas auditioned for Ron and Ric Records’ Joe Ruffino, which led to her cutting the hit 'Don’t Mess With My Man' (the preceding lyric is 'You can have my husband, but please…'). The record jumpstarted the career of the future Soul Queen of New Orleans. ..."
A Closer Walk (Video)
YouTube: JOHNNY 'GUITAR' WATSON - Those Lonely, Lonely Nights, Don't Mess With My Man - Irma Thomas, Let The Good Times Roll- Shirley & Lee

2014 February: Johnny "Guitar" Watson - Space Guitar: The Essential Early Masters, 2015 October: Don't Mess With My Man - Irma Thomas (1959)