Monday, September 22

Disco Purgatorio - Photographer Antonio La Grotta

"The Italian photographer Antonio La Grotta has done what some intrepid ruin pornographer ought to have done years ago: he’s taken pictures of Italy’s abandoned discotheques. In the boom times of the eighties, these discos sprang up across the Italian countryside, shrines to saturnalia and synthesizers. Now there are purgatories where once there were infernos. La Grotta describes these edifices as 'fake marble temples adorned with Greek statues made of gypsum, futuristic spaces of gigantic size, large enough to contain the dreams of success, money, fun …' ”
The Paris Review (Video)
Antonio La Grotta
Slate: The Crumbling and Abandoned Remains of Italy’s Once-Grand Discotheques

Sun Ra & His Arkestra: Live At Montreux (1976)

"The excellent Live at Montreux set from 1976 was released on vinyl by both Saturn and Inner City before disappearing from print for many years. In 2003, the set was reissued by both Universe/Akarma and P-Vine. A full 20-member Arkestra (plus dancers) turns in a typically freewheeling set. From 'Take the A Train' (featuring a killer solo from Marshall Allen), to the gospel-influenced 'El Is a Sound of Joy,' to the almost exotica 'Lights on a Satellite,' to the free and raucous 'Gods of the Thunder Realm,' and on to 'We Travel the Spaceways,' the Arkestra covers as much musical territory in this set as anyone would expect from a live Sun Ra show. This is considered to be another classic in a vast discography."
W - Live At Montreux
YouTube: Take The A Train, Arkestra, Is A Sound Of Joy, Outer Space Employment Agency (Live), Of The Other Tomorrow

Sunday, September 21

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

"THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY chronicles the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of the most prominent and influential family in American politics. It is the first time in a major documentary television series that their individual stories have been interwoven into a single narrative This seven-part, fourteen hour film follows the Roosevelts for more than a century, from Theodore’s birth in 1858 to Eleanor’s death in 1962."
PBS - The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (Video)
PBS (Videos)
NY Times: White House Photo Ops, Old School
W - The Roosevelts (film)
LA Times
The Roosevelts: Even When Imperfect and Overreaching, Ken Burns Is Still Titanic
YouTube: Intro (Video)

Nefés - Pina Bausch (2003)

Princesses call the shots, while men fetch, carry and manipulate them to fulfil their fantasy
"Pina Bausch fell in love with Turkey four years ago, and out of that love has come 'Nefés,' which her Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch performed on Saturday night as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. It is a dark piece, though Ms. Bausch’s sly humor and audacious visual imagination are in full play in this nearly three-hour modern-dance work. The fabled ancient city of Istanbul, gaudy and hectic, may have been the piece’s inspiration, but for all its humor, 'Nefés' is imbued with a meditative sadness. (Its title is the Turkish word for 'breath.') 'Nefés' sprawls out in a series of solos, duets and group processionals. The piece opens with a direct reference to Turkish culture, in a scene-setting tableau in which a man wrapped in a white bath towel comically cries: 'He is me! That’s me in the hamam!' over a succession of prone bodies."
NY Times
Tanztheater Wuppertal: Néfés
Review: Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch - Nefés - Sadler's Wells
the arts desk
Istanbul in Paris: "Nefés" by Pina Bausch
Sadlers Wells: Nefés (Video)

2008 May: Pina Bausch, 2009 June: Pina Bausch 1940-2009, 2012 August: Pina Bausch Costumes.

Saturday, September 20

Rebel Architecture

"Rebel Architecture is a six-part documentary series profiling architects who are using design as a form of activism and resistance to tackle the world's urban, environmental and social crises. The series follows architects from Vietnam, Nigeria, Spain, Pakistan, Israel/Occupied West Bank and Brazil who believe architecture can do more than iconic towers and luxury flats - turning away from elite 'starchitecture' to design for the majority."
Aj Jazeera (Video)

Read "Ulysses Seen", A Graphic Novel Adaptation of James Joyce’s Classic

"You’ve started reading Ulysses, James Joyce’s modernist classic, and never quite made it the whole way through. Sound familiar? You’re in good company. So here’s another approach. Start reading Ulysses Seen, the graphic novel adaptation of Joyce’s tome. The artist behind Ulysses Seen is Rob Berry, and he’s devoted to using 'the visual aid of the graphic novel' to 'foster understanding of public domain literary masterworks.' He’s clear to point out that Ulysses Seen isn’t meant to replace Ulysses. Rather it’s meant to be a visual companion to the original work. It uses the comic narrative to 'cut through jungles of unfamiliar references' and to help readers 'appreciate the subtlety and artistry' of Joyce’s text."
Open Culture
“Comics Become the Purest Language for Recounting Memory”: We Celebrate Bloomsday with Ulysses “Seen” Creator Rob Berry - Part 1, Part 2

2011 March: Passages from James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" (1965-67), 2010 March: Ulysses Seen, 2013 February: ULYSSES “SEEN” is moving to Dublin!, 2013: Dubliners, 2014 May: The Dead (1987 film), 2014 May: “Have I Ever Left It?” by Mark O'Connell, 2014 July: Digital Dubliners.

Stanley Kubrick’s Photos of New York Life in the 40s

"... In fact Kubrick’s special skill behind the camera and his ability to create visual intrigue were evident long before he was a Hollywood icon. Even at the age of 17, Kubrick was an immense talent. In 1945, for $25, he sold a photograph to Look magazine of a broken-hearted newsvendor reacting to the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A few months later Kubrick joined Look’s staff to become the youngest staff photographer in the magazine’s history. He continued to work for Look until 1950 when he left to pursue filmmaking. It was during this period that Kubrick’s respected—and often-imitated—style first became apparent. His photographs are vintage Kubrick: a complex blend of composition, drama, light and mystery."
Twisted Sifter

2008 August: Stanley Kubrick, 2010 September: 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2011 February: A Stanley Kubrick Odyssey - A Tribute, 2011 April: Killer's Kiss (1955), 2011 December: Chicago (1949), 2012 October: Dr. Strangelove (1965), 2013 April: LACMA, 2014 January: Day of the Fight (1951).

Friday, September 19

Object of Interest: The Vocoder

"The vocoder—part military technology, part musical instrument—has had quite a history. In our new Object of Interest video, we explore the vocoder in settings ranging from the Second World War to Kraftwerk parties, featuring interviews with Laurie Anderson, Cozmo D, Dave Tompkins, and Frank Gentges."
New Yorker (Video) 11:23
W - Vocoder
NPR - The Vocoder: From Speech-Scrambling To Robot Rock (Video)
Wendy Carlos Vocoder Q&A
The History of the Vocoder: From Spy Agent to Lead Singer (Video)
How to Wreck a Nice Beach (Video)
The 50 Greatest Vocoder Songs (Video)

David Lynch: The Unified Field

Woman with Screaming Head, 1968, Acrylic on canvas.
"In 1967 as an advanced painting student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia (PAFA), David Lynch made a hybrid work of art that brought together painting, sculpture, sound, film, and installation. Six Men Getting Sick (1967) expanded Lynch’s practice and opened him up to the possibilities of filmmaking. He went on to become internationally renowned as a film director but never stopped working as a visual artist. Lynch has maintained a devoted studio practice, developing a parallel body of painting, prints, photography, and drawing that deserves to be better known. In many ways his identity as an American artist brings together all aspects of his creative life into a unified field of subjects and concerns."
PAFA - David Lynch: The Unified Field (Video)
NY Times: Forever Wild at Heart
YouTube: David Lynch at PAFA Exhibition Walk-Through, David Lynch in Philadelphia - September 10, 2014

Maps: Crusades (1095–1291)

"In the 7th century AD, a Muslim Jihad had spread out of Arabia across the Mediterranean world, conquering about half of the Christian world, including the holy city of Jerusalem. The early Muslim rulers of this vast empire were relatively tolerant of Christianity and Judaism, which were seen as other Abrahamic faiths, preferable to Paganism under Islamic law. The Christians and Jews were thus given permission to practice their religion as long as they paid the Jizya, a special tax levied on non-Muslims. From the 7th to the 9th centuries, the Christian world was comparably weak and unable to recuperate any of the territories lost to the Muslims. However, by the 10th Century, the Christians began to recuperate and reclaim these lands."
The Crusades in the Holy Land
MetMuseum: The Crusades (1095–1291)
The Crusades - Introduction

Thursday, September 18

Dreamtime - Tom Verlaine (1981)

"Tom Verlaine's second album as a solo artist after disbanding Television is not groundbreaking or innovative as much as it is consistent. What is distinctive about Dreamtime, aside from its thick guitar fortifications, firm stance, and unwillingness to modify a sound he believed in, are the issues surrounding the making of these recordings. The first session was marred by the usage of poor quality reel-to-reel tapes, barely yielding only half an album. Other songs had to be re-recorded with different players, due to the original band's unavailability. There's also a strong connection with Patti Smith, who Verlaine toured with when leading Television. ... Not so much a set of tidy, trimmed concepts when one listens closely, as it is a vision of an artist laying it all out from the bottom of his heart. Many would easily admit Dreamtime is Tom Verlaine's shining hour."
W - Dreamtime
Another Spin: Tom Verlaine – “Dreamtime” (Video)
Johnny Bacardi's Off the Record
YouTube: Always, Penetration (Live), Without a word, A future in noise, Mary Marie, There's A Reason, The Blue Robe, Mr. Blur, Fragile, Down on the Farm

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.

Tour Guide

"‘Join the Army! Travel to exotic, distant lands, meet exciting, unusual people, and then kill them.’ It’s an old joke that’s only half joking. It’s no accident that Western culture’s first bit of travel writing is The Odyssey. Travel and war go together by necessity. My time in service led me to Germany, Kuwait and Iraq. I’ve got friends who, courtesy of the Marine Corps, saw Kenya, the Mediterranean, Thailand, Australia and Serbia. The promise of travel, at least, proved true. I never even saw combat, but I did go to Baghdad and see the much-photographed Swords of Qādisīyah. I didn’t take any pictures there, though. I still had romantic notions of war, and I didn’t want to come back to America with any photos that would let my friends and family mistake my deployment for tourism."

This app turns the NYC subway system into an art gallery

"I should be working on something else right now. I should be doing writing that I really need to finish ASAP, writing that could bring me some considerable upside both in money and reputation. But then Jordan Seiler and the heavy projects (as Re+Public) and Subway Art Blog went and released their awesome and eagerly anticipated new app: NO AD. So I’ve become momentarily distracted, and you should be too. Go download NO AD right now (for Android or iPhone), especially if you live in New York City."
vandalog (Video)

Wednesday, September 17

How ISIS Works

"The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has a detailed structure that encompasses many functions and jurisdictions, according to ISIS documents seized by Iraqi forces and seen by American officials and Hashim Alhashimi, an Iraqi researcher. Many of its leaders are former officers from Saddam Hussein’s long-disbanded army who augmented their military training with terrorist techniques during years of fighting American troops."
NY Times

2014 August: The Islamic State, 2014 September: Daniel Johnson’s Sad, Beautiful Poem About His Friend James Fole.

Johnny Shines, Robert Nighthawk, & Others - Drop Down Mama

"Some of the earliest blues ever recorded by the legendary Chess Records – material by a variety of artists caught at the very start of the 50s! The names here aren't as big as those of the stars who would firmly put Chess on the map later in the decade – but the work is a great indication that the Chess brothers were on the right track even in these early days – picking some of the finest talents of the underground, and setting their work to wax!"
dusty groove
YouTube: Robert Nighthawk - Drop Down Mama, Johnny Shines - So Glad I Found You, Robert Nighthawk - Sweet Black Angels, Robert Nighthawk - Anna Lee, Big Boy Spires - One Of These Days, Floyd Jones - You Can’t Live Long, Big Boy Spires - Murmur Low, Johnny Shines - Joliet Blues, Robert Nighthawk - Jackson Gal Blues, Robert Nighthawk - Return Mail Blues, Floyd Jones - Dark Road

Tuesday, September 16

Claude McKay and Gnawa Music

"... These kinds of Gnawa music shows can now be seen regularly in New York City, if not always with the fire-eating—in Times Square, at music spots in Harlem, Latin clubs in Queens, impromptu jam sessions in Central Park. The Gnawa are a Sufi order in Morocco who identify with the descendants of formerly enslaved West Africans. Their music is believed to heal people possessed by jinn, or spirits. The rise of this music, which began, in the nineteen-fifties, as a marginalized Sufi practice but has become arguably the most popular music emerging from the region today, is a question that nettles scholars and ordinary North Africans alike: How did Gnawa music become our national music? Of the myriad Sufi orders that use faith healing, and of the countless North African genres known for polyrhythmic syncopation, why has this one grabbed Western listeners?"
New Yorker
NPR - 'Rebel Music': When Hip-Hop Met Islam (Video)
NY Times: Music Mix: Spirituality and Protest
amazon: Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture
Google: Rebel Music...

Home - Delaney & Bonnie (1969)

Wikipedia - "Home is the first album by husband-and-wife singers Delaney & Bonnie, released on the Stax label (catalog no. STS-2026). Most of the album was recorded in 1969 at Stax Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, and features many of Stax's house musicians, including Donald 'Duck' Dunn, Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, and Isaac Hayes. The album's cover photo shows Delaney and Bonnie with Delaney's grandfather, John Bramlett, in front of the log cabin in Pontotoc, Mississippi where Delaney grew up."
amazon: Home
YouTube: It's Been A Long Time Coming, A Right Now Love, My Baby Specializes, Everybody Loves A Winner, Things Get Better, Just Plain Beautiful, Hard To Say Goodbye, Pour Your Love On Me, Piece Of My Heart

2010 August: Derek and the Dominos, 2010 September: Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, 2014 February: Delaney & Bonnie & Friends: Copenhagen December 10, 1969.

Scratch-Off Art on Subway Platforms

"To subway riders feeling impatient, restless or a little destructive, the print advertisements lining the walls of a station can make irresistible targets. Kevin Shea Adams, a photographer, began taking iPhone shots of ads in various states of decay and modification about four years ago. When layered on top of one another, the ads produce collage like art, as strips are peeled away to reveal underlying images. 'They’re participatory, they’re public, they’re sort of chaotic and random,' he says. Because Adams commutes between Bushwick and Greenpoint, most of the stations he has frequented are in Brooklyn, where they tend to be less well maintained. 'The ads are very tactile,' he says. 'When you’re standing waiting for a train, bored out of your mind, you just want to pull them.' - Julie Bosman"
NY Times

Monday, September 15

Grievous Angel - Gram Parsons (1974)

"Gram Parsons fondness for drugs and high living are said to have been catching up with him while he was recording Grievous Angel, and sadly he wouldn't live long enough to see it reach record stores, dying from a drug overdose in the fall of 1973. This album is a less ambitious and unified set than his solo debut, but that's to say that G.P. was a great album while Grievous Angel was instead a very, very good one. ... Grievous Angel may not have been the finest work of his career, but one would be hard pressed to name an artist who made an album this strong only a few weeks before their death -- or at any time of their life, for that matter."
W - Grievous Angel
The Return Of The Grievous Angel: The Story Behind The Song
vimeo: Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris - Return Of The Grievous Angel #1 (Alternate)
YouTube: Return Of The Grievous Angel, In My Hour Of Darkness, That's All It Took, Love Hurts, Hearts on Fire, I Can't Dance, Brass Buttons, $1000 Wedding, Las Vegas

2008 March: Gram Parsons, 2011 March: Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris. Liberty Hall, Texas, 1973, 2012 May: Sweetheart of the Rodeo, 2013 January: Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel, 2013 September: Flying Burrito Brothers - Live At The Avalon Ballroom 1969, 2014 February: The Gilded Palace of Sin - The Flying Burrito Brothers (1969), 2014 March: Burrito Deluxe - The Flying Burrito Brothers (1970), 2014 May: GP (1973).

Contiguous Spaces

Macetas Genaro, an event by Genaro López.
"In Mexico City, there are a surprising number of institutions dedicated to contemporary art. There are several national museums with more or less international programming and reviews, as well as a network of museums and art spaces related to the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico which, to varying extent and purpose, produce, exhibit and disseminate diverse works and discourses under the umbrella notion of contemporary art."
Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Sunday, September 14

The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free

Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus, 1839
"The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free is the first exhibition devoted to the extraordinary work J.M.W. Turner created between 1835 and his death in 1851. Bringing together spectacular works from the UK and abroad, this exhibition celebrates Turner’s astonishing creative flowering in these later years when he produced many of his finest pictures but was also controversial and unjustly misunderstood. Highlights of the exhibition include such important pictures as Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus and Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino, rarely reunited since first exhibited together in 1839; The Wreck Buoy 1849; and magnificent watercolours like Heidelberg: Sunset c.1840 and the seldom-seen Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland c.1837."
Tate (Video)
Guardian: Turner's abstract works demonstrate his confidence in his viewers
Telegraph: Late Turner: Painting Set Free, review: 'Don't let's get too sentimental about Turner' (Video)
YouTube: First Look: The EY Exhibition: Late Turner

2014 May: Ruin Lust

Pascal Comelade – September Song (2000)

"... Pascal Comelade is a french musician who’s sweetening my vicarious living lately, and for the improvement of yours, I’d like to share this about 20-minute album that serves perfectly as the soundtrack to your daily morning set-up. The First track (featuring Robert Wyatt), ‘September Song’ shall immediately grab your repeat-a-hundred-times balls unless Robert Wyatt’s mawkish, twangy vocals impose too much disturbance upon you; For my part Robert Wyatt’s singing and his music are, more often than not, depressing, however he’s in a quite cheerful shape in here, and it’s indeed dulcet when his voice duets with tender low-tone one of the other (well, guessing from the credits this could be also Wyatt himself)."
YouTube: September Song, L'Italiano

2014 June: Pascal Comelade

Saturday, September 13

A Definitive Ranking of Every Character on 'The West Wing'

"As of this month, The West Wing is 15 years old. We'll pause as you absorb how long you've been without Jed Bartlet and his merry band in your life. Doesn't it feel like just yesterday we all fell in love with Aaron Sorkin's bastion of liberal idealism wrapped up in fast-paced dialogue usually said while walking? ... But what those shows lack that The West Wing had in spades was a collection of well-written, heart-infused characters. These were the kind of people you wanted to know in your own life. They could make you feel inspired about politics in our nation's worst moments of cynicism. Simply put, it was one of the best TV ensembles ever."
TheWire (Video)
W - The West Wing
WIRED Summer Binge-Watching Guide: The West Wing (Video)

Four Female Punk Bands That Changed Women’s Role in Rock

Siouxie Sioux
"Today I am pleased to bring you samplings of a handful of my favorite bands. It so happens they are all mostly-female or female-fronted punk bands. This fact to me seems almost incidental to my enjoyment—these are all fantastic musicians, songwriters, and/or personalities. And yet their commonalities are highly remarkable all the same. Punk introduced aggressive, all-female bands like The Slits and frontwomen like Siouxie Sioux who never had to play vulnerable objects, desperate seductresses, jilted lovers, femme fatales, etc. and yet still manifested their power in their sexuality as well as in their fierce intelligence and fury. In the late ’70s, women strode out in front as leaders in punk scenes in the UK and US, and helped to change the gender politics of rock and roll."
Open Culture (Video)
W - All-female band
Women of the punk era
[PDF] Rip “Her” To Shreds: How the Women of 1970s
We Are the Grrls: Women in Music Before, During, and After Riot Grrl
[PDF] The History of Rock Music: 1989-1994

2009 November: Riot Grrrl, 2010 October: Ari Up (17 January 1962 – 20 October 2010), 2013 February: Women in Punk, 2013 July: Grrrl, Collected

Erik Kwakkel

6. Drawings on a collection of books from the Pillone collection (Christie's)
"I am a book historian at Leiden University, The Netherlands, where I study medieval manuscripts – books from before the invention of print. My research and teaching is hands-on, with real objects on the table. A good day for me is having medieval dirt on my hands. I am also directing a project on twelfth-century manuscript culture: 'Turning Over a New Leaf: Manuscript Innovation in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance'. If you want to know more about my work, check out my research profile or my project’s website. Also, if you are interested in watching some lectures I gave, some of them are available here."
Erik Kwakkel

Friday, September 12

Tom Clark - Edward Dorn (1929-1999)

Stripped bare by drought and grasshoppers. Grant County, North Dakota: July 1936
"... Ed was born and grew up in Eastern Illinois, on the banks of the river Embarrass (a tributary of the Wabash). He never knew his father. His mother was of French-Canadian ancestry, his maternal grandfather a half-Indian Quebecois railroad man ('master pipefitter in the age of steam'). He attended a one-room school, and while in high school played billiards with the local undertaker for a dime a point. 'Brought up off and on during / the intensity of depression nomadism,' he followed the wandering work-searches of his several 'exodus relatives' down 'bleak grit avenues' of a childhood whose anxious, difficult instruction, though he was always shy of speaking of it, never ceased to underlie and complicate the moral and historical vision of his work."
Jacket# Nine
Tom Clark - Edward Dorn: On the Debt My Mother Owed to Sears Roebuck

2007 December: Edward Dorn, 1929-1999, 2011 February: Slinger, 2011 April: The North Atlantic Turbine, 2012 September: Fulcrum Press.

The 10 Best Townes Van Zandt Songs

"Townes Van Zandt, the elegant Texas troubadour who authored some of the finest songs ever written over the course of his 52 troubled years, was always quick to make it known that he was very much in on the cruel joke of his destiny. During a checkered, if frequently brilliant, recording career — often derailed by label concerns, production difficulties and Townes’ own recalcitrance — he produced a handful of outstanding albums possessing gallows humor titles like The Late Great Townes Van Zandt. Johnny Cash once famously bragged in song about shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die. Townes seemed committed to a similar experiment on his own physical being, drinking with such masochistic abandon and candid reportage that he made himself a veritable art project of personal desiccation — he would carefully record the minutes as all of us watched him die a Kafkan death."
stereogum (Video)
W - Townes Van Zandt

2014 March: Heartworn Highways - James Szalapski (1975)

Thursday, September 11

Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals

"Born in 1932 and raised near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in a steelworker family, Michals was a pioneer in the 1960s when he broke away from established traditions of documentary and fine art photography. Rather than respecting the primacy of the photographic print, Michals added handwritten messages and poems to the paper surface. Instead of accepting the widely recognized dominance of a powerful single image, so respected by masters like Ansel Adams or Henri Cartier-Bresson, Michals created sequences of multiple images to convey visual stories. He has always considered himself to be a storyteller. Inspired by Surrealist painter Réné Magritte, Michals experimented with double and triple exposures to expand the meaning and interpretation of his subject."
Carnegie Museum of Art
Duane Michals: The StoryTeller (vimeo)

2011 October: Duane Michals, 2014 May:The Last Sentimentalist: A Q. & A. with Duane Michals

Wednesday, September 10

Billy Bragg - Peel Session

"Because Bragg started his career as a solo act, these live-in-the-studio radio transcriptions don't offer anything you can't find on Back to Basics. But fanatics will enjoy the occasional lyric deviations, and 'A13 Trunk Road to the Sea' (a rewrite of 'Route 66' with British directions) is a keeper."
W - The Peel Sessions Album (Billy Bragg album)
Billy Bragg: The Complete Peel Sessions (1983-2001) FIVE CD SET!
YouTube: Peel Session 1991, Peel Session 1983, Greetings To The New Brunette (Peel Session), A Lover Sings
YouTube: All you Fascists (are bound to lose)

2011 November: Billy Bragg, 2012 November: Strange Things Happen (Live on The Tube 1984), 2012 December: The Internationale, 2013 May: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions, 2014 June: Tooth & Nail (2013)

America a Prophecy

"... This groundbreaking anthology from the early 1970s takes such an approach in presenting the poetry of the North American continent, from pre-Columbian times to the present. It includes many recognized poets of the period, though appearing here in often unexpected contexts, and others who have been overlooked but whose contributions to the development of poetry are revolutionary. Starting from their own moment, the editors have read back into the more distant past and selected from broad American traditions works that had thitherto been considered outside the realm of poetry proper: the native poetry of the American continent, African-American sermons, blues and gospels, and the sacred, often innovative poetry of such radical religious groups as the Shakers."
Seven Words for Jerome Rothenberg by Peter Middleton
Jacket2: Helen Vendler on "America: A Prophecy," ed. Rothenberg & Quasha, with Rothenberg's reply

Moyra Davey: Burn the Diaries

"ICA presents a new body of work by Moyra Davey based on the artist’s recent reading of Jean Genet. The act of reading has long been integral to Davey’s work, which is full of images of books; however this is the first time Davey has ever made a book specifically for a gallery installation. Moving between photography, writing, and film, Moyra Davey’s highly personal and methodical work draws deeply on the form of the essay. Her art interprets and critiques her own experience as an artist through a generous frame of literary, philosophical, and cultural references, drawing as well on objects, memories, and even dust. Assembling a rich variety of texts, Davey uses them as the materials from which she constructs an almost romantic yet decisively biting point of view."

Tuesday, September 9

The Perfect Beat

"We make ourselves lists in order to know if we think what we think. I’ve wondered for years—while feeling uncomfortable with the wondering—whether there are any 'perfect recordings.' Obviously, there aren’t. But there are records that had a significant impact on me, as both a musician and a listener, and it seemed like something would come out of arraying them as a list. Maybe. 'Perfect' is an appealing word when compared to 'best': it’s patently ridiculous, but it also hints at the mystical belief that there are no mistakes. ... So here are the five volumes of lists, as Twitter timelines and Spotify playlists; they are also available to stream as a single Rdio playlist featuring all two hundred songs. Because of catalogue holes and a few cursor mistakes, all three lists are slightly different. No single answer, then, which feels right."
New Yorker

Monday, September 8

Photographs from the Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago

"Phillips is thrilled to showcase an exhibition of highlights from the sale of Photographs from the Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, to be offered in New York and London in Fall 2014. A leading international institution, the Art Institute of Chicago has been a pioneer in collecting artwork from every place and period, amassing one of the most reputable and comprehensive collections in the world. As part of that pioneering mission, the Art Institute has shown photographs as art since 1900, and for nearly 65 years the museum has pursued a vigorous acquisitions program of tremendous range and excellence."
Phillips: Auction

Carnival of Souls - Pere Ubu (2014)

"Pere Ubu's 18th album, Carnival Of Souls, inspired by and derived from the band's live soundtracking of Herk Harvey's classic 1962 B-movie of the same name, is out on Fire Records next Monday, September 8. As is currently stated in bold on the front page of the band's website: 'the album is not about the movie' but rather 'a complex sensual response to living in a world overrun by monkeys and strippers who tickle your ears, cajole you to join in with their cavorting and then become vindictive when you decline'. It is also a wonderfully dark, pulsating road trip through a nightmare landscape mapped out in analogue and digital electronics, treated guitars, clarinet, voodoo drums and of course, David Thomas' unmistakeable otherworldly vocals."
The Quietus
Home of Ubu Projex
Pere Ubu – New Album Carnival of Souls (Video)
YouTube: Irene

2008 April: Pere Ubu, 2010 July: Pere Ubu - 1, 2012 November: David Thomas And The Pedestrians - Variations On A Theme, 2013 February: Dub Housing.

You Are Quite Unnecessary, Young Man!

Antonin Artaud
"The English translation of Roberto Bolaño’s excellent final novella, A Little Lumpen Novelita, is out this month. The book opens with an epigraph by Antonin Artaud, who was born today in 1896: 'All writing is garbage. People who come out of nowhere to try to put into words any part of what goes on in their minds are pigs.' Since I read it about a month ago, I’ve thought of this quotation every day, often as I’m writing—you can imagine the rat-a-tat of my keyboard punctuated with an occasional 'All writing is garbage.' It’s a bracing sentiment, taunting and misanthropic, and a truer one than most of us would care to admit."
The Paris Review

2009 November: Antonin Artaud, 2011 August: La Coquille et le Clergyman - 1926, Germaine Dulac.

Sunday, September 7

UR New York

"Our mission as a collective is to create an urban industrial esthetic to our art by combining mediums such as photography, silk-screening, graphic design, and graffiti,using elements of our everyday lives we create surreal environments which individuals can relate to in one way or another. Each piece tells the story of our lives, our struggles, and our environments. We want to inspire creativity amongst people specifically the youth so they can pick up where we leave off."
UR New York (Video)

Fela Kuti - Alagbon Close (1975)

"Fela wrote Alagabon Close to lampoon the police after he was detained at the police station — which, not coincidentally, is located in a cul de sac of the same name. In this deeply anti-establishment song, Fela describes the harsh tactics that the police employ to control society, detailing their favoritism of the wealthy elite and their mistreatment of the poor. In Alagbon Close, Fela tells us, you can be detained indefinitely, you will be brutalized, you will be treated as an animal — the police have no respect for human beings. The song represents one of the first times anyone had directly taken on the Nigerian authorities in such a overt, brash manner. 'I No Get Eye For Back', a song emanating from a lyric in 'Alagbon Close', is a more melodic, instrumentally focused piece."
Fela Kuti
sputnik music
YouTube: Alagbon Close, I No Get Eye For Back

Cobra Records

Wikipedia - "Cobra Records (together with its Artistic subsidiary) was an independent record label that operated from 1956–1959. The label was important for launching the recording careers of Chicago blues artists Otis Rush, Magic Sam and Buddy Guy and 'signaled the arrival of a new generation of [blues] artists and a new sound ... to be called the West Side Sound.' Cobra Records was started on Chicago's West Side in 1956 by Eli Toscano (a record store and television-repair shop owner), with help from promoter Howard Bedno. When his previous record label, Abco Records, failed to generate much interest, Toscano approached Willie Dixon about working for Cobra. Dissatisfied with his arrangement with Chess Records, Dixon joined Cobra."
Grooveshark : The Cobra Records Story (Video)

Saturday, September 6

"Waterfront--Brooklyn" ca. 1934 - Harry Shokler

"This image shows a busy Brooklyn harbor with a view of Manhattan in the distance. Many artists during the 1930s focused on laborers and industrial scenes to emphasize the value of hard work in pulling the country out of the Depression. The smoking chimneys, groups of workers, and tracks in the snow evoke a sense of activity and perseverance in the face of hardship. To Americans in the 1930s, the skyscrapers of New York symbolized the city’s achievements and sustained the hope that the country’s economy would recover."
Smithsonian American Art Museum

A Little Chaos: A Short Crime Film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Enfant Terrible of New German Cinema

"If you ever want to feel like you have been wasting your life, look to the short but spectacularly productive life of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Within fifteen years – the span of his professional career –Fassbinder cranked out 40, count ‘em 40, feature films. That’s roughly 3 movies a year. But that’s not all. He acted in 36 movies, some his own, some directed by others. He also wrote and directed 24 stage plays, did two TV series and a handful of radio plays. The man was motivated. Of course, he also died of a drug overdose at the age of 37 and his personal life was so notoriously self destructive that it was the subject of at least one documentary. Make of that what you will."
Open Culture (vimeo)

2014 May: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 2014 June: Effi Briest (1974), 2014 July: Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974).

Friday, September 5

Afropunk Before Afropunk

"Last week, for the first time in years, I missed the Afropunk festival. The musical movement began as an extension of a 2003 documentary of the same name, a wonderful film conceived and directed by James Spooner. The festival has grown considerably since the days it was held on a small street across from the Brooklyn Academy of Music. While Spooner himself has been long gone from the scene, Afropunk continues to grow under the watchful eye of music industry vets Matthew Morgan and Jocelyn Cooper. Although the two have gotten flack from some who think that most of the acts included lately aren’t punk enough, criticism hasn’t stopped the festival from becoming one of the most popular NYC summer events, attracting crowds from across the world."
Ebony (Video)
49 Photos: Hot Style, Slammin' Music At Afropunk Fest In Brooklyn (Video)
W - Afro-Punk: The Rock
Bright Lights
YouTube: Afro-Punk - Trailer
YouTube: Afro-Punk: The Rock [FULL-LENGTH] 1:06:52

Daniel Johnson’s Sad, Beautiful Poem About His Friend James Foley

"Photojournalist James Foley, executed in Syria on Aug. 19 by the terrorist group ISIS, has been memorialized in a poem by his close friend, Daniel Johnson, a Boston-based writer whom he met during a three-year stint for Teach for America in Phoenix. The Academy of American Poets published the poem, 'In the Absence of Sparrows,' Wednesday morning. It is as painful as you’d expect, but the pain shifts between sharp and dull, blade and ache, capturing both the acuity of embedded reporters’ experience overseas and the suffering of those left behind."
In the Absence of Sparrows - Daniel Johnson
NY Times: Militant Group Says It Killed American Journalist in Syria

2014 August: The Islamic State

Back to the World - Curtis Mayfield (1973)

"Back to the World, the first album Curtis Mayfield recorded and released after hitting number one with the intense inner-city vignette Superfly, returned him to a steady balance of optimism for the future and direct social commentary regarding the problems of his people. The lead single, 'Future Shock,' was inspired by Alvin Toffler's 1970 book of the same name, which warned readers that industrial society was changing so radically that environmental and social problems could be endemic for decades. ..."
W - Back to the World
Rolling Stone
Back to Living: Curtis Mayfield and the Making of 'New World Order'
YouTube: Pusherman, Back to the world, New World Order, Right On For The Darkness

2013 June: Roots (1971), 2014 May: Super Fly (1972), 2014 July: There's No Place Like America Today (1975).

Thursday, September 4

Stefanie Klavens

"Stefanie Klavens has a love for 20th century pop culture and Americana. In her articulate photographic series, titled 'Vanishing Drive-Ins,' Klavens documents the disintegration of the American drive-in. Once a popular social and entertainment aspect, it has been slowly disappearing from the United States. As Klavens explains, 'The drive-in has suffered the same fate as the single screen theater. Before World War II the drive-in was a modest trend, but after the war the craze began in earnest, peaking in popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960’s. Drive-ins were ideal for the modern family, everyone jumped into the car, no babysitter needed.'"
The Art Of Disappearing: Stefanie Klavens Documents Vanishing Drive-Ins
Stefanie Klavens
‘Celluloid Dreams’: A Photographers Quest to Preserve the Memory of Historic Theaters Across America

2010 July: Drive-in theater

Brian Eno - Making Space

"Released in 2006 in collaboration with the Lumen London Gallery exhibit of 77 Million paintings, this is a compilation of previously recorded but unreleased tracks, some co-written by Leo Abrahams. All form a smooth, easy and quite spacey entity. Never officially released. Truly a stand-out compilation in the Eno canon, one of his best albums... all the more so for the surprise factor; this had been a very hard one to find."
YouTube: Making Space
New Yorker: Ambient Genius. The working life of Brian Eno.

The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy - British Art and Design

"The Pre-Raphaelites galvanized the British art world in the second half of the nineteenth century with a creative vision that resonates to this day. Rejecting contemporary academic practice as vacuous and stifling, they sought to produce work that was vivid, sincere, and uplifting. Their name affirms their initial sources of inspiration: medieval and early Renaissance art from before the era of Raphael. Originally championed by a small, secret brotherhood, the movement swiftly gained adherents, who introduced new approaches and ambitions."
MetMuseum: Selected Exhibition Objects
NY Times: Pining for a Burnished Time, Long Ago and Far Away

Wednesday, September 3

A Road Through Shore Pine - Robert Adams

"... A Road Through Shore Pine focuses on a series of 18 never-before-seen photographs made in Nehalem Bay State Park, Oregon, in the fall of 2013. ... In A Road Through Shore Pine, [Robert] Adams traces a contemplative journey, first by automobile, then by foot, along an isolated, tree-bordered road to the sea. As presented through Adams’s 11 × 14-inch prints, the passage takes on the quality of metaphor, suggestive of life’s most meaningful journeys, especially its final ones. For this group of photographs, all of which were printed by Adams himself, the artist returned to the use of a medium-format camera, allowing the depiction of an intense amount of detail."
Fraenkel Gallery

Franny and Zooey - J. D. Salinger

Wikipedia - "Franny and Zooey is a book by American author J. D. Salinger which comprises his short story "Franny" and novella Zooey /ˈz./.  The two works were published together as a book in 1961, having originally appeared in The New Yorker in 1955 and 1957, respectively. Franny and Zooey, both in their twenties, are the two youngest members of the Glass family, which was a frequent focus of Salinger's writings."
NY Times: Review by JOHN UPDIKE, September 17, 1961
NYBook: Justice to J.D. Salinger
J. D. Salinger: Seeing the Glass Family (Franny and Zooey)

2010 January: J. D. Salinger, 2012 July: The Catcher in the Rye, 2012 October: Nine Stories.

Woody Guthrie - "The Ranger's Command", "To Hear Your Banjo Play", "Greenback Dollar", "John Henry"

"Come all of you cowboys all over this land,
I'll teach you the law of the Ranger's Command:
To hold a six shooter, and never to run
As long as there's bullets in both of your guns.

I met a fair maiden whose name I don't know;
I asked her to the roundup with me would she go;
She said she'd go with me to the cold roundup,
And drink that hard liquor from the cold, bitter cup.

We started for the canyon in the fall of the year
Expecting to get there with a herd of fat steer;
And the rustlers broke on us in the dead hours of night;
She 'rose from her warm bed, a battle to fight.

She 'rose from her warm bed with a gun in each hand,
Said: Come all of you cowboys and fight for your land,
Come all of you cowboys and don't ever run
As long as there's bullets in both of your guns."
YouTube: "The Ranger's Command", (Ranger's Command), "To Hear Your Banjo Play", "Greenback Dollar" and "John Henry", Pete Seeger talks about Woody Guthrie

Tuesday, September 2

Passing Stranger :: The East Vilage Poetry Walk

"Passing Stranger is a sound-rich chronicle of poets and poetry associated with the East Village. Narrated by filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, it contains site-specific poetry, interviews with poets, archival recordings and music by John Zorn. Click on the blue dots to explore the virtual version or download the walking tour and go to the East Village for the ultimate experience."
Passing Stranger :: The East Vilage Poetry Walk (Video)
NY Times: Chasing Ghosts of Poets Past
Passing Stranger: Poetry in NYC's East Village (Video)