Saturday, August 1
"One cold spring I found myself alone in Rome, in a small room high up over Parioli, trying to write. The words came thickly, sluggishly, and none of them were any good. I quit for the day. For a while I read day-old copies of Paese Sera, the Communist daily, and the Paris Herald, and then, bored, I turned on the radio, lay down on the lumpy couch, and, half-listening, stared out at the empty sky. The music was the usual raucous Italian stew, mixed with screaming commercials, and I fell into a heavy doze. Then, suddenly, absurdly, I came awake, as an old song started to play. ... But I did not think about the hard young men of that old beachhead, or about their war, or even about cowboys in flight from homicidal girlfriends. I thought about Brooklyn. ..."
2015 November: Downtown: My Manhattan
"... Rail Band 2: Mansa [Belle Epoque, 2008]. Formed by the Malian government in 1970 to beguile visiting businessmen and long recognized as the equal of Orchestra Baobab and Étoile de Dakar, Bamako's Rail Band was sparked initially by future crossover pioneer Salif Keita, who quit shortly after the 1973 arrival of vocalist-instrumentalist Mory Kante. Its presiding genius is master guitarist Djelimady Tounkara, backbone of the three maddening double-CDs that now constitute the band's legacy. Each set is dominated by four-to-10-minute recordings from 1973 to 1977, with synthed-up '80s tracks snuck in here and there, and though it's possible true cognoscenti can fathom an organizational logic that goes unexplained in the notes, I cannot. My mind tells me that the first volume is the least accessible not because it's appreciably earlier but because it seeks out deep-Malian lyrical content. ..."
amazon: Belle Epoque
The Rail Band: Belle Epoque Vol. 3 - Dioba
Belle Epoque Volume 1: Soundiata
YouTube: Belle Epoque Vol. 1: Soundiata, Belle Epoque Vol. 2: Mansa, Belle Epoque Vol. 3: Dioba
"Why do we cherish gold so much? Its value is essentially its colour, this glorious yellowness that never stops shining. It’s connected to the colour of the sun and in prehistoric cultures all around the world the sun was the most powerful divinity: the bringer of light and warmth to the world. Ancient peoples didn’t just think gold looked like the sun; they believed it was materially the same thing. For the ancient Egyptians, gold, with its eternal shine, represented the afterlife, and the skin of the gods was supposed to be made of gold. That’s why it was used for Tutankhamun’s funerary mask (above). By covering yourself in this immortal substance, you would yourself become immortal. ... - James Fox"
YouTube: History of Art in Three Colours: Gold
Friday, July 31
"It's been long time since Tom Waits recorded an album as saturated with tenderness as this one. The carny-barker noise merchant who has immersed himself in brokenness and reportage from life's seamy, even hideous underbelly for decades has created, along with songwriting and life partner Kathleen Brennan, a love song cycle so moving and poetic that it's almost unbearable to take in one sitting. Alice is alleged to be the 'great lost Waits masterpiece.' Waits and Brennan collaborated with Robert Wilson on a stage production loosely based on Alice Liddell, the young girl who was the obsession and muse of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland books. ... Instead, this song cycle is, for the most part, steeped in jazz ballads, old waltzes, European folk songs, theatrical love paeans, and music not so easily identified. ..."
YouTube: Alice, Everything You Can Think Of Is True, We're All Mad Here, Reeperbahn, I'm Still Here, Watch Her Disappear, Poor Edward
2012 July: Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards, 2013 March: Burma Shave, 2013 May: "Ol' '55", 2013 July: The Heart of Saturday Night (1974), 2014 January: Blood Money, 2014 March: Telephone call from Istanbul (1987), 2014 November: Rain Dogs (1985), 2015 February: Mule Variations (1999), 2015 April: Swordfishtrombones (1983).
"In the pantheon of art writers Peter Schjeldahl holds a special place near the top as one of our greatest living critics. He entered the New York scene in the ’60s, a poet and college dropout escaping a Lutheran upbringing in Minnesota. Over the decades his language has remained surprisingly fresh and unfailingly precise—the kind of effortless grace born of relentless practice, like a ballet dancer’s landing. Art critic for the New Yorker since 1998, he is alive to the nuanced movements of his own feelings, which he charts over the course of each review. This summer he met with the Rail’s Jarrett Earnest to discuss the interconnections between seeing, feeling, and writing."
New Yorker (Video)
Bookforum: Poetic Justice
amazon: Let's See: Writings on Art from The New Yorker
Wikipedia - "East-West is the second album by The Butterfield Blues Band, released in 1966 on Elektra Records, EKS 7315 in stereo, EKL 315 in mono. It was recorded at the famed Chess Studios on 2120 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. ... Like the band's record debut, this album features traditional blues covers and the guitar work of Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. Unlike the debut, Bishop also turns in some guitar solos, and drummer Sam Lay had left the band, to be replaced by Billy Davenport. The social complexion of the band changed as well; ruled by Butterfield in the beginning, it evolved into more of a democracy both in terms of financial reward and input into repertoire. ... Both reflected his love of jazz, as 'Work Song' had become a hard bop standard, and the title track 'East-West' used elements of modal jazz as introduced by Miles Davis on his ground-breaking Kind of Blue album. ..."
YouTube: EAST WEST (FULL ALBUM) 45:13
2014 January: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (1965)
Thursday, July 30
"Avant-garde altoist John Zorn teams up with trombonist George Lewis and guitarist Bill Frisell to form a unique trio. Without the benefit of piano, bass, or drums, they interpret the hard bop compositions of Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Sonny Clark, and Freddie Redd, generally not even the better-known ones. The performances are quite concise (Dorham's 'Windmill' is covered in 40 seconds), respectful to the melodies, and unpredictable. There are hints of the avant-garde here and there, but also plenty of swinging, bop-oriented solos and coherent ensembles. Very intriguing music that is highly recommended to a wide audience of jazz and general listeners."
allmusic - More News For Lulu
W - News For Lulu
W - More News For Lulu
Spotify - News For Lulu
YouTube: News for Lulu 1:04:26, More News for Lulu
2009 March: John Zorn, 2010 August: Spillane, 2011 October: Filmworks Anthology : 20 Years of Soundtrack Music, 2012 September: Marc Ribot, 2013 January: Bar Kokhba and Masada, 2013 September: Masada String Trio Sala, 2014 January: Full Concert Jazz in Marciac (2010), 2014 March: "Extraits de Book Of Angels" @ Jazz in Marciac 2008, 2015 June: The Big Gundown - John Zorn plays Ennio Morricone (1985).
Wikipedia - "The New York City blackout of 1977 was an electricity blackout that affected most of New York City on July 13–14, 1977. The only neighborhoods in the city that were not affected were in southern Queens and neighborhoods of the Rockaways, which are part of the Long Island Lighting Company system. ... The blackout occurred when the city was facing a severe financial crisis and its residents were fretting over the Son of Sam murders. The nation as a whole was suffering from a protracted economic downturn, and commentators have contrasted the event with the good-natured "Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?" atmosphere of 1965. Some pointed to the financial crisis as a root cause of the disorder, others noted the hot July weather. (The city at the time was in the middle of a brutal heat wave.) Looting and vandalism were widespread, hitting 31 neighborhoods, including most poor neighborhoods in the city. Possibly the hardest hit were Crown Heights, where 75 stores on a five-block stretch were looted, and Bushwick, where arson was rampant with some 25 fires still burning the next morning. ..."
PBS: Blackout (Video)
NY Daily: Pete Hamill: Cursing the darkness in the blackout of 1977
Was the 1977 New York City Blackout a Catalyst for Hip-Hop’s Growth? (Video)
NY Daily: Lightning strikes cause blackout in 1977
"A history of the comic book industry in New York City, how the energy and diversity of the city influenced the burgeoning medium in the 1930s and 40s and how New York’s history reflects out from the origins of its most popular characters. In the 1890s a newspaper rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer helped bring about the birth of the comic strip and, a few decades later, the comic book. Today, comic book superheroes are bigger than ever — in blockbuster summer movies and television shows — and most of them still have an inseparable bond with New York City. What’s Spider-Man without a tall building from which to swing? But not only are the comics often set here; the creators were often born here too. Many of the greatest writers and artists actually came from Jewish communities in the Lower East Side, Brooklyn or the Bronx. ..."
The Bowery Boys: New York City History
Wednesday, July 29
"Happy eighty-eighth to John Ashbery. Many of his poems from the Review are available online, but I wanted to share a meditative passage on film from 'The System,' a long prose poem published as fiction in our Spring 1972 issue. In 1971, Ashbery read from 'The System' at St. Mark’s Church, in New York. Someone captured his prefatory remarks on tape, and they’re pretty illuminating in suggesting an approach to the poem:
Oh. I don’t think I have the last page of it with me. Well, it doesn’t really matter, actually. I don’t … I do like the way it ends, but it’s kind of an environmental work, if I may be so bold. If you sort of feel like leaving at any point, it won’t really matter. You will have had the experience. You’re only supposed to get out of it what you actually get out of it. You’re not supposed to really take it all in … you know, think about other things. I am disturbed that it’s incomplete, but maybe that’s good.You can read the whole thing in Issue 53. ..."
The Paris Review
"If you follow music news, you’ll have read of late more than a couple stories about two former members of two highly influential bands—Jackie Fox of the Runaways and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. Fox’s story of exploitation and sexual assault as a sixteen year-old rock star comes with all the usual public doubts about her credibility, and sadly represents the experience of so many women in the music business. Gordon’s numerous stories in her memoir Girl in a Band document her own struggles in punk and alt rock scenes that fostered hostility to women, in the band or no. The discussion of these two musicians’ personal narratives is compelling and necessary, but we should not lose sight of their significant contributions as musicians, playing perhaps the least appreciated instrument in the rock and roll arsenal—the bass. ..."
Open Culture (Video)
"It’s not all about the murals! A sacrilegious thing to say perhaps, especially on a Sunday, especially when we are in town to see fresh new murals at the Wall\Therapy festival in Rochester. But none of the artists will take us to task because everyone knows that the roots of Street Art and graffiti are in the un-permissioned work that happens underground in hidden spots that become revered; magnets for aerosol mark-making, veritable spray can galleries. These crumbling houses of the holy are foundational to the modern Street Art scene. After all, if the good Lord didn’t want teens to get high, have sex, and catch tags he wouldn’t have created urban decay. ..."
Brooklyn Street Art
Tuesday, July 28
"Sad, spare, and beautiful, Blue is the quintessential confessional singer/songwriter album. Forthright and poetic, Joni Mitchell's songs are raw nerves, tales of love and loss (two words with relative meaning here) etched with stunning complexity; even tracks like 'All I Want,' 'My Old Man,' and 'Carey' -- the brightest, most hopeful moments on the record -- are darkened by bittersweet moments of sorrow and loneliness. At the same time that songs like 'Little Green' (about a child given up for adoption) and the title cut (a hymn to salvation supposedly penned for James Taylor) raise the stakes of confessional folk-pop to new levels of honesty and openness, Mitchell's music moves beyond the constraints of acoustic folk into more intricate and diverse territory, setting the stage for the experimentation of her later work. Unrivaled in its intensity and insight, Blue remains a watershed."
W - Blue
YouTube: California, All I Want, A Case of You, Carey
YouTube: Blue 36:12
Wikipedia - "The 10th Street galleries was a collective term for the co-operative galleries that operated mainly in the East Village on the east side of Manhattan, New York in the 1950s and 1960s. The galleries were artist run and generally operated on very low budgets, often without any staff. Some artists became members of more than one gallery. The 10th Street galleries were an avant-garde alternative to the Madison Avenue and 57th Street galleries that were both conservative and highly selective. From the early 1950s through the mid-1960s (and beyond) in New York City many galleries began as an outgrowth of an artistic community that had sprung up in a particular area of downtown Manhattan. The streets between 8th Street and 14th Street between Fifth and Third Avenues attracted many serious painters and sculptors where studio and living space could be found at a relatively inexpensive cost. Finding the audience for vanguard contemporary art to be small and the venues in which to show few artists began to band together to launch and maintain galleries as a solution to the lack of other showing opportunities. ..."
The 10th Street Galleries
Art in the Village: East 10th Street Galleries
The 10 Best Art Galleries In NYC
Monday, July 27
"Chris Froome became the first Briton to win the Tour de France twice when he safely reached the finish line in Paris at the end of the three-week race. The 2013 champion finished alongside his team-mates on the final stage, behind a sprint won by Andre Greipel. Mark Cavendish, seeking a fifth win on the Champs-Elysees, finished sixth after the 109.5km race from Sevres. The win for Froome means a Briton, and Team Sky, have now won three of the last four of cycling's showpiece races. Froome, 30, beat Colombia's Nairo Quintana to the yellow jersey by 72 seconds with Spain's Alejandro Valverde third. The final stage ended with 10 laps of a 7km course around Paris but the times for the general classification were taken the first time they crossed the finish line because heavy rain in the French capital had made the roads treacherous. ..."
André Greipel claims final sprint, Chris Froome wins the 102nd Tour de France (Video)
Froome clinches Tour as Greipel takes finale
Telegraph: Tour de France 2015, stage 21: Chris Froome crowned winner as Greipel takes final sprint
Chris Froome wins 2015 Tour de France (Video)
2008 July: Tour de France 2008, 2009 July: Tour de France 2009, 2010 July: Tour de France 2010, 2011 July: Tour de France 2011, 2012 July: 2012 Tour de France, 2015 July: 2015 Tour de France, 2015 July: Tour de France 2015: Team Time Trial Win Bolsters American’s Shot at Podium
"South America is arguably one of the last regions to have been touched by prehistoric humans. The Aboriginals there today descend from people who had lived there from up to 15,000 years ago. From archaeological findings, Neolithic cultures had inhabited the rainforest from 11,000 years ago. The colonial history of Brazil is, like that of North America in general, bound up with the Transatlantic Slave Trade. It is imperative to understand that the victims of colonialism also include Africans, who were forcibly removed from their homelands in order to build on others’ around the globe. Today, there are over 900,000 indigenous Brazilians, and around 14 million Black/Afro-Brazilian, with around 83 million identifying as ‘pardo’ (Brown or mixed race), and 91 million Whites. ..."
"Fantastic. Another rare Saturn release makes its way into the digital realm. This time, it's Some Blues But Not the Kind That's Blue, a nice 1977 date that's heavy on standards. Aside from the two Sun Ra tunes (one of which had been unreleased prior to this), this is a pretty inside date with some major statements from Ra on piano and John Gilmore on tenor. ... It's interesting to hear these rehearsals in relation to the same song's arrangement from a few years later. Although recorded about a decade apart, Some Blues But Not the Kind That's Blue is of a piece with Blue Delight: mostly standards albums that really put the spotlight on Sun Ra's piano playing and the tenor artistry of John Gilmore. Although the Arkestra is notorious for its outside playing and cacophonous tendencies, this album shows they could play it straight as well as anyone in the game. Wonderful stuff."
W - Some Blues But Not the Kind That's Blue
Dusted Magazine (Video)
YouTube: Tenderly, Black Magic, Some Blues But Not the Kind That's Blue, I'll Get By, Outer Reach Intense Energy
Sunday, July 26
Pont Boieldieu in Rouen, Rainy Weather, 1896, Camille Pissarro
"This extraordinary gathering of paintings reveals the story of Monet, Renoir, Degas, Manet, Pissarro, and their visionary art dealer and champion, Paul Durand-Ruel. The artists now known as the Impressionists once struggled to introduce their new style of painting to critics and the public. With Durand-Ruel, they forged an identity and moved from the margins to international fame. Recaptured in this exhibition are the often forgotten setbacks and breakthrough triumphs of Impressionism. Monet’s visions of graceful poplar trees, Renoir’s joyous dance paintings, and Pissarro’s luminous cityscapes showcase the talent recognized by Durand-Ruel. Durand-Ruel secured Impressionism’s place in history through tireless promotion across Europe and the United States—enthusiastic Americans ensured its success."
Philadelphia Museum of Art (Video - The Triumph of Impressionism, Monet’s “Poplar” Series)
Philadelphia Museum of Art: Featured Artists
NY Times: Paul Durand-Ruel, the Paris Dealer Who Put Impressionism on the Map
WSJ: ‘Durand-Ruel’ Impressionism Show Tours Paris, London, Philadelphia
YouTube: Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand Ruel at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Switzerland: Zermatt to Gornergrat in Summer (50m)
"You may remember the 7.5 hour documentary released in 2009 which allowed you to travel the journey between Bergen to Oslo from the comfort of your home. If your wanderlust was fired up watching that video, then you may enjoy some of the other trips you can take. Switzerland: Zermatt to Gornergrat in Summer (50m), Zermatt to Gornergrat in Winter Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 (30m), Le Train de Vignes (11m). France: Brussels to Paris (1h24m), Villefranche - Latour-de-Carol (narrow gauge) (2h20m). UK: Glasgow - Fort William (4h30m), King's Cross to Royston (39m). Italy: San Remo - Genoa (2h8m), San Remo - Cuneo (2h). Austria: Salzburg - Villach (2h6m). ..."
"You don’t see an All Star Comics #3 every day. Published in 1940, it’s a milestone in what’s known as the Golden Age of comic books: the debut of the first bonafide superhero team, the Justice Society of America. There’s hardly a plot, only a meeting of some of DC’s biggest stars — Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman — taking turns sharing tales as if they were telling ghost stories at a campfire. Spectre recounts a battle with a monster from the moon; Hawkman remembers a crisis on the island of Krakatoa. The masked vigilantes on the cover are a friendly lot, decades removed from the gritty realism that would come to dominate the industry later. The Flash wears a slightly over-sized long-sleeve shirt, emblazoned with a yellow lightning bolt. His face is as pleasant and plain as a dumpling, and on his head sits a helmet that brings to mind an overturned colander. ..."
Saturday, July 25
"There is no such thing as a bad John Coltrane record, but that doesn’t mean that every album is equally good. There are essential records, where he took great strides forward on his personal musical quest; and secondary ones, where the movement is more lateral in nature. Afro Blue Impressions is a one of the latter. It’s a document of Coltrane and his band pausing to reflect on some of those giant steps. Recorded in November of 1963 in Berlin and Stockholm, Afro Blue Impressions captures the John Coltrane quartet at an interesting time. This is the quartet at their most melodic; after the sheets of sound era but before the free-blowing of Ascension, with the influence of recordings with Duke Ellington and Johnny Hartman fresh in ears and minds. ..."
W - Afro Blue Impressions
YouTube: Lonnie's Lament, Naima, Afro Blue, Spiritual, I Want To Talk About You, Impressions, Chasin' The Trane
2011 November: John Coltrane Quartet, Live at Jazz Casual, 1963, 2012 March: John Coltrane 1960 - 1965, 2012 September: "Naima" (1959), 2012 October: Blue Train (1957), 2013 April: The World According to John Coltrane, 2013 November: A Love Supreme (1965), 2014 July: New Photos of John Coltrane Rediscovered 50 Years After They Were Shot, 2014 November: Coltrane’s Free Jazz Wasn’t Just “A Lot of Noise”, 2015 February: Lush Life (1958), 2015 May: An Animated John Coltrane Explains His True Reason for Being: “I Want to Be a Force for Real Good”.
"The car chase montage (or supercut, if you will) is not exactly an original concept, but looking for an editing challenge, this one came up. Editing a car chase is no doubt hard and difficult work. Editing 50 of them together does make it easier depending on how strict your standards of continuity are. I tried to have 'sections' of continuity - little scenes, that tell their own little stories, but don't necessarily fit together as such. The most time consuming part of the process is no doubt finding and preparing the clips. It is also the most boring part. The fun part is editing them together in new and interesting ways. This is also the most frustrating part, because the possibilities are almost endless and if you're not careful, the project will simply get stuck in the mud, so to speak. ..."
vimeo: The Art of the Car Chase (Video)
"For the past week, I’ve been scouting dozens of construction sites around Brooklyn and Queens, which means I’ve been running into the same boring green fencing pretty much everywhere (specifically, 'hunter green,' as per city requirements). As I was driving around, I was suddenly reminded of the best construction fencing I think I’ve ever seen in New York. It was a number of years ago, and I even took pictures to run on Scouting NY, but for some odd reason, never got around to it. ..."
Friday, July 24
Three New York City venues are looking back at the Puerto Rican nationalist group the Young Lords
"The Bronx Museum of the Arts is organizing a multi-venue artistic and cultural survey of The Young Lords Organization—a radical social activist group founded by Puerto Rican youth in the 1960s that demanded reform in health care, education, housing, employment, and policing. Exhibitions of art and archival materials at three cultural institutions in New York City will explore how the Young Lords’ activities, community-focused initiatives, and their affirmation of Puerto Rican identity inspired artists from the 1960s to the present day, and had a major impact on the City and the social history of the United States. ... The initiative will include public and educational programs across partnering venues to build awareness of the Young Lords’ innovative contributions to the struggle for civil rights and influence on contemporary artists, and to spark conversations about grassroots community activism today. ..."
NY Times: When the Young Lords Were Outlaws in New York
aljazeera: Young Lords exhibit a timely salute to Puerto Rican activism
"1816 is the debut album from modern classical collective The Frozen Vaults. It is thematically based around the year 1816, which recorded one of the coldest years the world has ever seen. At the time, little was known as to why this phenomenally cold year was upon them, which soon become known in history as 'the year with no summer' and 'eighteen hundred froze to death'. Eventually through extensive scientific research, it was discovered that the exceptional cold was more than likely attributed to a violent volcanic eruption by Mount Tambora in the year prior. In recent years we have seen that particularly bad eruptions have had a similar effect, yet rarely to the extent recorded in 1816. ..."
a closer listen (Video)
YouTube: First Moments, A Year Without Summer, Stilled (Excerpt), The Great Thaw
"For Off White, James Chance, a veteran of New York's avant-garde no wave scene, recast his seminal band the Contortions as a parody of a soul band, albeit one incorporating the rhythms of disco and funk rather than R&B. Thus, Chance became James White (as a nod to James Brown), the Contortions became the Blacks, and his music, previously a twisted, experimental brand of avant-jazz, became a disco/funk/free jazz hybrid. As bizarre as the fusion of Albert Ayler and Giorgio Moroder might sound, Off White works primarily because Chance commits to both sides of the music. ... By carefully constructing his music with such polar opposites, Chance manages to highlight how both of them have more similarities, especially in rhythm, than would appear at first listen. Off White may be an acquired taste, but listeners who dig into it will have their patience rewarded with some of the most challenging, intriguing music to emerge from the post-punk era."
W - Off White
BOMB: James White a.k.a. James Chance
YouTube: Off White 1:14:58
2009 December: James Chance, 2011 December: No New York, 2014 July: No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980, 2015 January: Buy - James Chance and the Contortions (1979).
Thursday, July 23
Charles Ramsey, intwinpeaks.com
"In a town like Twin Peaks, it’s not hard to get lost. Here are all the Twin Peaks maps I’ve collected so far, but please let me know in the comments if you come across any other ones! ... The city roadmap shows almost all the important sites, including The Great Northern Hotel, White Tail Falls, Black Lake Dam, Twin Peaks Town Hall, The Grange (burned), Palmer House, Briggs House, Hayward House, Twin Peaks High School, Black Lake Cemetery, Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, Upper Twin Park, The Gazebo, Lower Twin Park, County Museum, The Bookhouse, Old Railroad Depot, Double R Diner, Roadhouse, Horne’s Department Store, Calhoun Memorial Hospital, to Packard Place, to Packard Sawmill, to Owl Cave, to the Railroad Cemetery, to Ghostwood National Forest, Harold Smith’s Apartment, Dead Dog Farm, Big Ed’s Gas Station, to Unguin’s Field Observatory (U.F.O.), and Old Unguin’s Field."
Twin Peaks Maps
2008 September: Twin Peaks, 2010 March: Twin Peaks: How Laura Palmer's death marked the rebirth of TV drama, 2011 October: Twin Peaks: The Last Days, 2014 October: Welcome to Twin Peaks, 2015 June: David Lynch: ‘I’ve always loved Laura Palmer’.
"Color street photography has been around New York City since the very beginning - of color photography, I mean. Early proponents were people like Saul Leiter, Helen Levitt and Joel Meyerowitz. Sally Davies has been carrying on this tradition since the 80's here in New York City. Her work is vivid, fresh, and engaging. Almost like paintings, Sally's storefront images are little self-contained stories. Photo after photo, we read these images as if they were pages from a history book - they capture the spirit, the people, and the cityscape all at once. Sally's photos are good now, but I can only imagine how critical they will become with age. She has created both art and important historical documents in one - a real feat in photography. I recently spoke with Sally about her beginnings in photography, her gear, and being a woman in the art world."
SALLY DAVIES PHOTO BLOG
"To accompany their 2013 LP, Push the Sky Away, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds have shared a live performance video for the album's Miley Cyrus-referencing track 'Higgs Boson Blues'. It was shot in East London and directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. Forsyth and Pollard were also behind the upcoming Cave documentary 20,000 Days on Earth, which will premiere in January at the Sundance Film Festival. Days depicts an imagined 24 hours in the life of Cave and explores his creative process. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds just released a live record and announced a North American tour."
YouTube: Higgs Boson Blues
2008 August: Nick Cave, 2010 November: Henry Lee - Nick Cave & PJ Harvey, 2011 March: The Boatman's Call, 2011 December: B-Sides & Rarities, 2012 January: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - White Lunar, 2013 January: "We No Who U R", 2013 April: No More Shall We Part, 2013 June: The Secret Life Of The Love Song/The Flesh Made Word (1999), 2013 October: The Abattoir Blues Tour (2007), 2014 March: Push the Sky Away (2013), 2014 May: Live from KCRW (2013), 2014 July: I Am the Real Nick Cave, 2014 March: God Is In The House (2001), 2015 June: Nocturama (2003).
Wednesday, July 22
Wikipedia - "Skeleton Crew was a United States experimental rock and jazz group from 1982 to 1986, comprising core members Fred Frith (guitar) and Tom Cora (cello), with Zeena Parkins (harp) joining later. Best known for their live improvisation performances where they played various instruments simultaneously, they also recorded two studio albums Learn to Talk (1984) and The Country of Blinds (1986). Skeleton Crew originally began in 1982 as an unnamed quartet, but before their first performance, two of the band members (Fred Maher and Tim Schellenbaum) suffered collapsed lungs within two weeks of each other, leaving ex-Henry Cow guitarist Fred Frith and improvisational cellist Tom Cora from Curlew with the choice of continuing or abandoning the project. They chose to continue, agreeing to play all the instruments on stage themselves. Frith played guitar, violin, keyboards, bass drum and hi-hat while Cora played cello, bass guitar, homemade drums and other contraptions enabling him to play instruments with his feet. ..."
W - Learn to Talk
W - The Country of Blinds
W - Learn to Talk / Country of Blinds
YouTube: Factory song, We're Still Free, Learn to talk, The Hand That Bites, You may find a bed, The Border, Bingo, Safety in numbers
2010 June: Tom Cora, 2012 February: Fred Frith & Tom Cora, 2012 April: The Ex + Tom Cora, 2011 January: Zeena Parkins, 2012 November: News from Babel, 2012 December: Fred Frith, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins / sound. at REDCAT, 2013 October: Art Bears Songbook - 2010-09-19 - Rock In Opposition Festival, 2014 October: Janene Higgins & Zeena Parkins (2000), 2015 March: Phantom Orchard: Zeena Parkins and Ikue Mori
Wikipedia - "Since 1973, Véhicule Press has published poetry, fiction, translations, and social history by Canadian authors, with a commitment to publishing first-time authors—a third of its list. It publishes books of interest to Canadians and an international audience, in addition to titles that document Quebec culture in its Dossier Québec series (histories of the Irish, Scots, Jewish, Japanese, and black communities). ... Véhicule Press began in 1973 on the premises of Véhicule Art Inc. – one of Canada’s first artist-run galleries located in what was once the legendary night club Café Montmartre – using equipment inherited from Kenneth Hertz’s Ingluvin Publications, and an ancient printing press that had been abandoned by a member-artist of the gallery. In 1975 the press became Quebec’s only cooperatively-owned printing and publishing company. Simon Dardick and Guy Lavoie were general editors; Ken Norris, Artie Gold, and Endre Farkas were the poetry editors. ..."
W - Artie Gold
the véhicule press blog
Exploring four decades of Véhicule Press
Tuesday, July 21
"This album, the group's third, was where they showed just how far their talents extended across the musical landscape, from blues to R&B to classical rock. In contrast to their hastily recorded debut, or its successor, done to stretch their performance and composition range, A Salty Dog was recorded in a reasonable amount of time, giving the band a chance to fully develop their ideas. The title track is one of the finest songs ever to come from Procol Harum and one of the best pieces of progressive rock ever heard, and a very succinct example at that at under five minutes running time -- the lyric and the music combine to form a perfect mood piece, and the performance is bold and subtle at once, in the playing and the singing, respectively. ..."
W - A Salty Dog
YouTube: A Salty Dog (Live), Pilgrim's Progress / Quite Rightly So / Magdalene, The Devil Came From Kansas, Still There'll Be More
YouTube: A Salty Dog [Full album, 1969]
2009 July: Procol Harum, 2011 December: Broken Barricades, 2013 April: "Homburg", 2013 June: Procol Harum (1967), Home (1970).
"My career started when I was a child and I built my first sandcastle on the beach in Genoa, where I grew up. Making things has always been a pleasure for me – happy hands, happy mind – and making sandcastles was my training in fantasy. Now, as an architect constructing buildings like the Shard, I have to think about the final result, but as a child making castles of sand I didn’t, they were ephemeral. I have four children; the oldest is 50 and the youngest 16, so I have been making sandcastles for a long time. There is no age limit – you can enjoy making a sandcastle however old you are, although it helps to think like a child. Here’s how to do it. ..."
"In Italy in the early twentieth century the decorative arts were used to interpret the desire for progress of a nation that had only just found its unity. Cabinetmakers, ceramicists and glass-makers all worked together with the leading artists, creating a veritable 'Italian style'. This period of extraordinary creativity is recalled through around a hundred works in a chronological display. The 'Liberty' style, which came into its own at the turn of the century, is recalled with designs by Carlo Bugatti, Eugenio Quarti and Federico Tesio mixed with works by the Divisionist painters. A second section is devoted to Futurism, its esthetic inspired by progress and speed extending to every aspect of life. ..."
Monday, July 20
"Stewart Brand came onto the cultural scene during the 1960s, helping to stage the Acid Tests made famous by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, and later launching the influential Whole Earth Catalog (something Steve Jobs described as 'Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along'). He also vigorously campaigned in 1966 to have NASA release a photograph showing the entirety of Earth from space — something we take for granted now, but fired humanity’s imagination back then. ... Above you can watch How Buildings Learn, Brand’s six-part BBC TV series from 1997, which comes complete with music by Brian Eno. Based on his illustrated book sharing the same title, the TV series offers a critique of modernist approaches to architecture (think Buckminster Fuller, Frank Gehry, and Le Corbusier) and instead argues for 'an organic kind of building, based on four walls, which is easy to change and expand and grow as the ideal form of building.'”
Open Culture (Video)
2009 April: CoEvolution Quarterly, 2010 April: The Whole Earth Catalog, 2013 December: THE WHOLE EARTH: California and The Disappearance of The Outside, 2010 May: Ken Kesey, 2013 April: Sometimes a Great Notion - Ken Kesey (1964)
"Most people'll tell you that Rip Rig + Panic were a noisier version of Pigbabg. Not that 'most people' have the slightest inkling who Pigbag actually were of course, let alone Rip Rig + Panic. RR+P stumbled stinking, blinking, scratching their heads & (I imagine) hitching up their britches, out of the mangled wreckage of The Pop Group sometime in 1981. Initially a loose knit experimental musical collective fronted by The Group's avant garde jazzbo Gareth Sager (with drummer Bruce Smith in tow), they released a succession of irreverent singles & albums on Virgin Records that seemed commercially unorthodox at the time &, even with 20-odd years hindsight, still sound singularly radical & anarchic. ..."
I Love Total Destruction
YouTube: Bob Hope Takes Risks, Hey Mr E! A Gran Grin With a Shake of Smile, Peel Session 1981 1. Symphony In Dave's Flat (0:07) 2. A Grand Grin And A Shaky Smile Please Mr Barman (5:11) 3. Pullover No Sox (10:09)
2010 December: Rip Rig and Panic, 2015 February: "You're My Kind of Climate" 12 inch mix
Wikipedia - "'It Hurts Me Too' is a blues standard that is 'one of the most interpreted blues [songs]'. First recorded in 1940 by American blues musician Tampa Red, the song is a mid-tempo eight-bar blues that features slide guitar. It borrows from earlier blues songs and has been recorded by many blues and other artists. 'It Hurts Me Too' is based on 'Things 'Bout Comin' My Way', recorded by Tampa Red in 1931 (OKeh 1637). The melody lines are nearly identical and instrumentally they are similar, although the latter has an extra bar in the turnaround, giving it nine bars. ... Several versions of 'It Hurts Me Too' were recorded in the 1940s and 1950s, including those by Stick McGhee and Big Bill Broonzy. When Elmore James recorded it in 1957 (Chief 7004), he (or Chief's owner, Mel London, who is credited on the release) supplied some of the lyrics that are most familiar today. ..."
YouTube: Tampa Red, Elmore James, Junior Wells Chicago Blues Band, Big Bill Broonzy, Joe Carter
Sunday, July 19
"W. Eugene Smith sits at the fourth-floor window of his dilapidated loft at 821 Sixth Avenue, New York City, near the corner of Twenty-eighth Street, the heart of Manhattan’s wholesale flower district. He peers out at the street below, several cameras at hand loaded with different lenses and film speeds. His window faces east from the west side of Sixth Avenue. The dawn light begins to rise behind the Empire State Building and other Midtown skyscrapers looming over the modest neighborhood. Three musicians stand together on the sidewalk below talking and laughing. One holds an upright bass in its case, another has a saxophone case slung over his shoulder, and the other is smoking a cigarette. It is six o’clock in the morning; the temperature is a moderate thirty degrees. The musicians are going home after a night-long jam session. Smith snaps a few pictures."
Jazz Loft Project
Jazz Loft Project: Radio (Video)
NPR - Tales Of The Tape: Introducing The Jazz Loft (Video)
YouTube:The Jazz Loft Project: An Interview with Sam Stephenson
"This literary and cartographic exploration of Los Angeles reorients our understanding of the city in highly imaginative ways. Illuminated by boldly conceived and artfully rendered maps and infographics, nineteen essays by LA’s most exciting writers reveal complex histories and perspectives of a place notorious for superficiality. This chorus of voices explores wildly different subjects: Cindi Alvitre unveils the indigenous Tongva presence of the Los Angeles Basin; Michael Jaime-Becerra takes us into the smoky, spicy kitchens of a family taquero business in El Monte; Steve Graves traces the cowboy-and-spacemen-themed landscapes of the San Fernando Valley. Overlooked sites and phenomena become apparent: LGBT churches and synagogues, a fabled ‘Cycleway,’ mustachioed golden carp, urban forests, lost buildings, ugly buildings. What has been ignored, such as environmental and social injustice, is addressed with powerful anger and elegiac sadness, and what has been maligned is reexamined with a sense of pride: the city’s freeways, for example, take the shape of a dove when viewed from midair and pulsate with wailing blues, surf rock, and brassy banda."
Abandon All Despair Ye Who Enter Here (Video)
LA Times: LAtitudes navigates the histories and cultures of L.A.
"Strange can exist anywhere, but we have a habit of thinking only the maximal and unhinged-- Captain Beefheart, Basement Jaxx, R. Kelly-- are truly weird. How bizarre can the music of Philip Glass or Wolfgang Voigt really be? It seems contained, planned; the curio is the choice to be so on-keel in the first place. One of my favorite aspects of Nicolas Jaar's debut full-length, Space Is Only Noise, is how thoroughly it scatters this misconception. Space is leftfield electro-pop, far-flung and without reserve, but it is also patient, quiet, and small. Jaar is a Providence via New York via Chile producer. He is 21, he attends Brown University, and he already has several well regarded singles and EPs to his name in addition to running the Clown & Sunset imprint. Requisite hot remixes: check. ..."
Nicolas Jaar interview: “Ghosts that appear inside the silence.” (Video)
YouTube: Space Is Only Noise (2010) 45:57
2013 September: Nicolas Jaar, 2014 January: Other People, 2015 May: Nicolas Jaar Soundtracks Short Film About Police Brutality and #BlackLivesMatter
Saturday, July 18
"CHIOS, Greece — The rickety raft made of empty oil drums and a wooden tabletop rolled and pitched with the waves while tied to the side of the Dona Liberta, a 370-foot cargo ship anchored far from land in the Atlantic Ocean off West Africa. 'Go down!' yelled a knife-wielding crew member, forcing two Tanzanian stowaways overboard and onto the raft. As angry clouds gathered on the horizon, he cut the line. Gambling on a better life, the stowaways had run out of luck. They had already spent nine days at sea, most of the time hiding in the Dona Liberta’s engine room, crouched deep in oily water. But as they climbed down onto the slick raft, the men, neither of whom knew how to swim, nearly slid into the ocean before lashing themselves together to the raft with a rope."
NY Times (Video)
Ninety Percent of Everything
The Disorder Of Things
Ghostly Ship Graveyards from Around the World
"I fell for Søren Kierkegaard as a teenager, and he has accompanied me on my intellectual travels ever since, not so much side by side as always a few steps ahead or lurking out of sight just behind me. Perhaps that’s because he does not mix well with the other companions I’ve kept. I studied in the Anglo-American analytic tradition of philosophy, where the literary flourishes and wilful paradoxes of continental existentialists are viewed with anything from suspicion to outright disdain. In Paris, Roland Barthes might have proclaimed the death of the author, but in London the philosopher had been lifeless for years, as anonymous as possible so that the arguments could speak for themselves. Discovering that your childhood idols are now virtually ancient is usually a disturbing reminder of your own mortality."
2011 July: Søren Kierkegaard, 2013 April: Repetition (1843), 2013 December: The Quotable Kierkegaard, 2014 October: Fear and Trembling - Søren Kierkegaard (1843), 2014 December: The Dark Knight of Faith - Existential Comics.
"Even the cover is a winner, with a washed-out look that screams new wave via horn-rimmed glasses, even more so than contemporaneous pictures of either Elvis Costello or the Embarrassment. But if it was all look and no brain, Crazy Rhythms would long ago have been dismissed as an early-'80s relic. That's exactly what this album is not, right from the soft, haunting hints of percussion that preface the suddenly energetic jump of the appropriately titled 'The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness.' From there the band delivers seven more originals plus a striking cover of the Beatles' 'Everybody's Got Something to Hide' that rips along even more quickly than the original. The guitar team of Mercer and Million smokes throughout, whether it's soft, rhythmic chiming with a mysterious, distanced air or blasting, angular solos. But Fier is the band's secret weapon, able to play straight-up beats but aiming at a rumbling, strange punch that updates Velvet Underground/Krautrock trance into giddier realms."
W - Crazy Rhythms
YouTube: Crazy Rhythms (Live)
YouTube: Crazy Rhythms (Full Album || 1980, Stiff Records)
Friday, July 17
"Disorderly, discordant, and richly chaotic, these two videos are centered around the Italian street art paintings and artists whom you will recognize from our earlier postings on community/gallery organized urban art programming – but within the context of historical art publicly displayed, peoples movements, patronage, fascism, the classics. Dioniso Punk allows everyone to talk – neighbors, artists, organizers, curators, public philosophers, elected officials, psychologists, sociologists, entrepreneurs, posers, professors, historians, students, an opera singer, the petite bourgeoisie, international visitors and hapless puzzled opinionated locals. ..."
Brooklyn Street Art (Video)
"Reflections on a Marine Venus, a very personal memoir by leading 20th century novelist Lawrence Durrell, explores life on a magical and enchanting island (Rhodes) right after World War II. It is about Greece when it was a demiparadise. But it is also about the distillation of life and experience, the savoring of all the exquisite pleasures, physical, sensual, and intellectual, available on one lovely island at one time, and that might still be there for us to discover in our own time."
amazon - Reflections on a Marine Venus
Lawrence Durrell on Love, Life and No Escape
Where the Tigers Were: Travels Through Literary Landscapes
2011 December: The Alexandria Quartet - Lawrence Durrell, 2013 September: Villa that inspired Lawrence Durrell faces demolition, as Egypt allows heritage to crumble, 2014 August: Prospero’s Cell (1945), 2015 April: Bitter Lemons (1953–1956), 2015 May: Caesar's Vast Ghost: Aspects of Provence.
Wikipedia - "Ramparts was a glossy illustrated American political and literary magazine, published from 1962 through 1975. Unlike most radical magazines of the day, Ramparts was expensively produced and graphically sophisticated, effectively reaching an audience that may have been put off by the grittier "movement" publications of the time. ... The early magazine included notable pieces by Thomas Merton and John Howard Griffin, but one observer compared its design to 'the poetry annual of a Midwestern girls school.' Change was in the wind, however. Located as it was on the outskirts of San Francisco, the West Coast epicenter of 1960s explosion of opposition to the Vietnam War and anti-establishment counterculture, the magazine's orientation radically changed along with the world around it. ..."
NY Times: Back When Ramparts Did the Storming
NY Times: Scoop
NY Times: ‘A Bomb in Every Issue’
amazon: A Bomb in Every Issue
The Ramparts I Watched
YouTube: Team Video: Ramparts Magazine
Thursday, July 16
"Spanning the 20th century, the almost 300 found photographs in 'Unfinished Stories' depict a century of image-making by private photographers. 'A quick shot fired by a hunter without deliberate aim,' reads the original definition of a snapshot from the early 19th century. The term 'snapshot,' popularized shortly after the invention of Kodak’s box camera in the 1880s, came to describe photographs of everyday life using a handheld camera. Speedy new technology boosted the ability to create a visual diary, commemorating events and personal moments, road trips and holidays. Now, more than a century later, these once ubiquitous and now historic, silver gelatin photographs are rapidly being replaced by Instagram and other digital forms of photography, hence a new appreciation for such photographs. ..."
Henry Singleton, "The Storming of the Bastille."
"Today people all over the world celebrate the 1789 storming of the Bastille Saint-Antoine — a dramatic popular rebellion that sparked the French Revolution. But what was the French Revolution, how did it reshape Europe and the world, and what relevance does it have to the workers’ movement today? Here’s a short primer, lovingly compiled by Jacobin to mark the occasion."
2014 February: French Revolution Digital Archive