Thursday, March 22

Faces Places - Agnès Varda and JR (2017)

"The French filmmaker Agnès Varda, whose movie 'Faces Places' is up for Best Documentary tonight, is not only the oldest Oscar nominee in history; she is also older than the Oscars themselves. She was born, in Brussels, in May of 1928, a year to the month before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held its first awards ceremony, and made her first film, 'La Pointe Courte,' at the age of twenty-seven. Aside from her previous work as a photographer, she had no formal training in cinema. 'La Pointe Courte' later earned Varda the nickname Grandmother of the New Wave—a slightly strange distinction, since she was born only a couple of years before other pioneers of the movement, like her husband, Jacques Demy, or her friend Jean-Luc Godard, who was twenty-nine when 'Breathless' came out, in 1960. But Varda got there first. ..."
New Yorker: Agnès Varda Is Still Going Places
W - Faces Places
Agnès Varda and JR Talk Aging, Faces Places, and Road Trips Over Afternoon Tea
YouTube: Faces Places - Official US Trailer (HD)

August 2010: Agnès Varda, May 2011: The Beaches of Agnès, 2011 December: Interview - Agnès Varda, 2013 February: The Gleaners and I (2000), 2013 September: Cinévardaphoto (2004), 2014 July: Black Panthers (1968 doc.), 2014 October: Art on Screen: A Conversation with Agnès Varda, 2015 September: Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962), Plaisir d’amour en Iran (1976), 2017 April: Agnès Varda’s Art of Being There, 2017 April: AGNÈS VARDA with Alexandra Juhasz, 2017 August: Agnès Varda on her life and work - Artforum, 2017 October: Agnès Varda’s Ecological Conscience

NYC Subway Tiles

Fulton Street station, Rookwood Pottery, 1905.
"After the Rapid Transit Act was signed into law on 22 May 1894, the Rapid Transit Railroad’s Board of Commissioners began planning a Bronx-Manhattan-Brooklyn subway. Groundbreaking occurred on 24 Mar 1900 and after four years of construction at a cost of nearly 70 million USD the Interborough Rapid Transit Subway – 'the greatest municipal enterprise of modern times' – was opened on 27 Oct 1904. In 1901 the general contractor John McDonald hired the architects George C. Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge, who had just completed work for the Bronx Zoo, to design the stations and platforms. Inspired by the 'City Beautiful' theories of urban planning, which had reached their peak following the 1893 Columbian Exposition, Heins and LeFarge designed beaux-arts stations and decorated the platforms with arts-and-crafts style glazed terracotta bas-reliefs and faience mosaics depicting, often obliquely, the name of the station. Although in line with the artistic tastes of the times the result wasn’t exactly an efficient system of way-finding. ..."
Codex 99

Astor Place station, Grueby Faience, 1904

Aline Kominsky-Crumb

Wikipedia - "Aline Kominsky-Crumb (née Goldsmith; born August 1, 1948) is an American underground comics artist. ... As a teenager, she turned to drugs and the counterculture, and was a hanger-on to New York countercultural musicians such as The Fugs. Relocating to East Village during her college years, she began studying art at The Cooper Union. ... After she and Diane Noomin had a falling out with Trina Robbins and other members of the collective, they started their own title, Twisted Sisters. Kominsky-Crumb later claimed that a large part of her break with the Wimmen's Comix group was over feminist issues and particularly over her relationship with Robert Crumb, whom Robbins particularly disliked. ... Since moving to France, she has focused more on painting and less on producing comics. In February 2007 she released a memoir entitled Need More Love: A Graphic Memoir, a collection of her comics and paintings, along with photographs and autobiographical writings. ..."
The Loving, Self-Deprecating Comics of Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Robert Crumb
Drawn & Quarterly
YouTube: Aline Kominsky-Crumb & R. Crumb Drawn Together

Wednesday, March 21

Socialism As A Set Of Principles

"Nearly half of millennials describe themselves as sympathetic to 'socialism' and not terribly fond of 'capitalism.' Yet if you asked each of them to explain the mechanics of how a socialist economy would function, I doubt many would have especially detailed answers. Jacobin magazine’s ABCs of Socialism consists of answers to skeptical questions about socialism (e.g. 'Don’t the rich deserve their money?' 'Is socialism pacifist?' 'Will socialism be boring?') but notably 'How will socialism actually work?' is not among them. With twelve million Democratic primary voters having cast ballots for a self-described 'socialist,' isn’t it concerning that nobody has explained in detail how socialism will 'work'? Embracing a new economic system without having a blueprint seems like it could only ever lead to something like Venezuela’s collapse. ..."
Current Affairs

Still a Long Time Coming

A protest in 1965 outside Selma's courthouse.
"What history of the civil-rights movement should we tell today? How do the political gains of an era marked by hope and possibility look from our contemporary vantage point? Our conditions, after all, seem to call for pessimism. Like Ronald Reagan before him, Donald Trump has pandered to law enforcement. Like Bill Clinton, he has justified attacks on the American welfare state that disproportionately hurt people of color. Like Richard Nixon, he rode into the White House with a call for law and order, and he and his cabinet hope to dismantle the few anti-racist protections left intact. The absurdity of reliving these previous administrations today, as if we were living in 1981, or 1993, or 1969, would be satirical if it were not so plausible. Just over a year into Trump’s presidency, the fragile state of racial justice in America can only produce a deep sense of despair. While researched and written before Trump’s election, Karlyn Forner’s Why the Vote Wasn’t Enough for Selma, a history of the Alabama city and surrounding Dallas County, seems to appropriately reflect the tenor of our time. ..."
The Nation
amazon: Why the Vote Wasn't Enough for Selma Paperback, Karlyn Forner

Cabaret Voltaire ‎– Micro-Phonies (1984)

"Following neatly after The Crackdown's aggressive art/funk/electro combination, Micro-Phonies shows the duo taking that combination to a stronger level. Having invented the shadowy, murkier side of industrial/noise experimentation, here Cabaret Voltaire make their equally justified claim at fully kickstarting the beat-heavy crunch such labels as Wax Trax! would pursue shortly thereafter. DAF and the On-U Sound collective deserve as much notice for this, but the Cabs' relatively higher profile in the English/American cultural scheme made them the harbingers as much as anyone. Flood's sympathetic co-production with the band is another feather in his cap, and the album sounds just as strong today as it did upon its release. Micro-Phonies' most noted tracks are the appropriately funky, horn-heavy 'James Brown,' and the gripping 'Sensoria,' which makes for a brilliant album closer, with nervous-tension synth signals and a spare but compelling guitar line over another strong beat combination. ..."
W - Micro-Phonies
Cabaret Voltaire
YouTube: Blue Heat (12Mix)
YouTube: Micro-Phonies [Full Album] (1984)

2009 December: Cabaret Voltaire, 2015 June: #7885 (Electropunk to Technopop 1978-1985), 2017 November: The Original Sound Of Sheffield '83 / '87 (2001)

Tuesday, March 20

Czech New Wave

Czech New Wave directors including Vera Chytilova (center), Milos Forman (second from right), Evald Schorm (to his left), and Jiri Menzel (far right).
"The Czechoslovak New Wave was a movement in cinema beginning in 1963 and lasting until the end of the Prague Spring reforms of 1968. Led by students of the Film and Television School of the Academy of the Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU), the arrival of this new wave of cinema came about largely as a result of new directions in the arts generally and the pressure for social and political reform that developed both inside and outside of the Communist Party in the 1960s – a collective pressure that led to the abolition of censorship and the movement towards increased democratisation. The three films that launched the wave were the debut features of Milos Forman (Black Peter), Vera Chytilová (Something Different), and Jaromil Jires (The Cry). They were followed by the work of a whole range of debut directors, among them Jan Nemec, Evald Schorm, Pavel Jurácek, Jan Schmidt, Ivan Passer, Jiri Menzel, Hynek Bocan, Juraj Jakubiso, Dusan Hanák, Elo Havetta, and Drahomira Vihanová. Each tended to go in different creative directions and find their own individual approaches, although their films often shared a common sense of humour, absurdity, pathos, and sometimes startling surrealism. ..."
New Wave Film
W - Czechoslovak New Wave
10 Essential Films From The Czech New Wave
Discover one of the hidden gems of the Czech New Wave
Czech New Wave Cinema: The Children of Marx and Kafka
Czech New Wave Cinema and Věra Chytilová
[PDF] Surrealism In and Out of the Czechoslovak New Wave
Criterion: The Eclipse Viewer – Episode 31 – Pearls of the Czech New Wave [Part 1] (Audio)
YouTube: Czech New Wave Video Essay, Understanding Experimentalism in the Czech New Wave

Loves of a Blonde (1965)

Cartographic Misdirection - r beny

"When first pulled up on its YouTube page, this video from musician r beny invokes a bit of cartographic misdirection. In the center of the frame is a single black box. The box is packed with knobs and buttons as well as a small, bright screen, which is itself packed with little icons. To the right of the box, in view when beny’s left hand isn’t, is a piece of paper with two columns of information. The circles and triangles on the paper bear more than a small resemblance to what is cycling through on the screen. It’s not uncommon for musicians, beny included, to post videos of their early experiments with new (or at least new-to-them) equipment, so it would be entirely rational to interpret this piece of paper as a page from the device’s instruction manual, a reference as beny lets the lovely music unfold. ..."
disquiet (Video)

2017 October: Lightbath’s Percussive Reverberations, 2018 February: The Actions Within - r beny

Expert Introductions: The Quietus' Top 40 Genre Compilation Albums

"For this feature, we asked tQ's esteemed contributors to pick their favourite unmixed genre compilation album, the records that introduced them to hitherto unexplored corners of the musical map. For some, their albums of choice took them to realms that were entirely unknown to them - Venezuela's burgeoning community of experimental musicians in the 1970s for example, or the beautiful traditional music of the Caucasus. For others an LP caused them to entirely reevaluate a genre, turning metal or experimental electronica from an impenetrable other universe into a welcoming new world to be explored. Some are simply excellent records. Such is the joy of the humble genre comp. Below you'll find some of the very finest ever released, a top 40 which takes in metal, hip hop, folk, drum & bass, kologo, disco and more, and spans almost every continent on Earth. We hope you enjoy this collection of the finest collections. - Patrick Clarke"
The Quietus (Video)

Monday, March 19

Jay Swanson

"Jay Swanson moved to Paris for a job that turned out not to exist on a visa that no one had gotten before. He might just stay forever. I'll switch to first person now, just to throw you off. I'm a sci-fi/fantasy writer who loves making videos and telling stories in any format available. As I dig deeper into the history of Paris to use in my world (fantasy author here) I turn around and share it through guiding tours around Paris and here on my vlog. ..."
YouTube: Jay Swanson
YouTube: How To Visit the Louvre Quickly and Efficiently, How to Buy Postcard Stamps in France, How to Survive Ordering in a Parisian Cafe, All Day Exploring Markets and Cooking in Paris with Jean Yves, Visiting Pere Lachaise and Receiving Criticism, Foggy Run and a Vegan Burger in Paris, How To Use the Paris Metro, Do You Tip in France?, Do I Feel Safe in Paris?, Good Coffee in Paris, Coffee in Paris

Arènes de Lutèce - Bill Davis, Photography. 10th Year.

Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago (1959)

"When Cannonball & Coltrane was released in 1964 it had been out-of-print for some time in it's original incarnation as The Cannonball Adderley Quintet In Chicago. That LP was originally recorded and released in 1959 on Mercury Records, and while it's a mystery as to why Mercury would let the original go out of print, it's pretty obvious why they would choose to re-release it on Limelight (a Mercury subsidiary) in 1964 with both men listed as co-leaders. A bit of a cash grab, to be sure, but the sessions had also gained some historic merit since it was recorded, by the mid-1960s both Adderley and Coltrane had reached new levels of fame and critical adoration that was unthinkable at the time the original album was recorded. ..."
The Jazz Recorded - Dynamic Duo: Cannonball Adderley & John Coltrane - "Cannonball & Coltrane" (Audio)
W - Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago
YouTube: Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago

2015 March: Attica Blues (1972), 2016 June: Archie Shepp - The Magic of Ju-Ju (1967), 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”, 2015 July: Afro Blue Impressions (2013), 2015 September: Impressions of Coltrane, 2015 December: Giant Steps (1960), 2016 January: Crescent (1964), 2016 April: The Church of Saint John Coltrane, 2016 July: Soultrane (1958), 2016 December: Dakar (1957), 2017 July: The John Coltrane Record That Made Modern Music, 2017 October: Live at the Village Vanguard (1962), 2017 December: Interview: Archie Shepp on John Coltrane, the Blues and More

Sunday, March 18

Can Donald Trump Be Impeached?

The Senate as a court of impeachment for the trial of Andrew Johnson.
"It’s really hard to impeach a president. The founders included the provision, from the very start, as the weakest, 'break the glass in case of emergency' mechanism for reining in an out-of-control executive. He was already subject to a four-year term, so he would remain answerable to the people, and to two other branches of government, which could box him in constitutionally. But the founders’ fear of creeping monarchism — the very reason for their revolution — and their deep realism about human nature led them to a provision, rooted in English constitutional precedent, whereby a rogue president could be removed from office by the legislature during his term as well. At the same time, it’s clear they also wanted a strong executive, not serving at the whim of Congress, or subject, like a prime minister, to a parliamentary vote of 'no confidence.' He was an equal branch of government, with his own prerogatives, empowered, in Hamilton’s words, to conduct his office with 'decision, activity, secrecy and dispatch.' He stood very much on his own feet. And so the impeachment power was both strong and weak. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: Don’t Run From Trump
New Yorker: Impeachment, American Style By Cass R. Sunstein (September 20, 2017)
amazon: Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide, A Citizen's Guide to Impeachment, Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America

President Donald Trump at The White House on Thursday.

Be Yourself Tonight - Eurythmics (1985)

Wikipedia - "Be Yourself Tonight is the fifth album by the British pop duo Eurythmics, released in 1985. Largely recorded in Paris, with additional recording in Detroit and Los Angeles, this album saw Eurythmics move away from their previous more experimental, synthesizer-based songs, to a more commercial pop/rock sound. Combining elements of Motown and rock music, the album incorporates a more traditional band line-up/instrumentation. Nonetheless, the recordings still possessed an atmospheric and cutting edge sound, winning Stewart awards for his production work on the album. The release of the album also coincided with a new look for singer Annie Lennox, who ditched the androgynous look of the previous albums and became, in biographer Lucy O'Brien's words, 'a bleach-blonde rock 'n' roller.' Be Yourself Tonight included guest appearances by notable artists such as Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Elvis Costello. ..."
YouTube: Eurythmics, Aretha Franklin - Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves, It's Alright (Baby's Coming Back), There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)
YouTube: Be Yourself Tonight (Full Album) 43:36

2009 August: Eurythmics, 2012 December: In the Garden, 2013 April: "Missionary Man", 2013 June: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), 2016 July: 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother)

Where to Go for a Gentleman’s Haircut

"The serene snip, snip, snip of scissors is the only sound that breaks the genteel silence at Paul Molé Barber Shop, which, at 105 years old, claims to be the city’s oldest destination for a shave and a haircut. The second-story business, a fixture on Lexington Avenue between 73rd and 74th Streets since it opened in 1913, has catered to generations of men. 'And some ladies, too,' said Adrian Wood, the owner, a silver-haired Englishman and barber who wears dress shirts monogrammed at the cuffs. At Paul Molé (it rhymes with olé!), a 'gentleman’s haircut' costs $38 and a 'deluxe open-razor shave,' $39. Telltale signs of the shop’s vintage Americana aesthetic include an antique barber’s pole that rotates the classic red, white and blue stripes in the corner window, an 1890s carousel horse that is stabled in the children’s section and a collection of shaving mugs inscribed with customer names. ..."
NY Times
Esquire: 15 Short Haircuts That Will Never Go Out of Style
Hairstyles for Men – A Guide to Mens Haircuts
W - Pattern hair loss

Saturday, March 17

Stop Blaming Poor People for Their Poverty

Poverty and Wealth, William Powell Firth, 1888.
"Why do so many scholars blame the poor for their poverty? In 'Why the Poor Don’t Vote to Soak the Rich,' UCLA political scientist Daniel Treisman writes, 'In a democracy, income inequality should in theory correct itself. The poor majority should vote to tax the rich and divide the proceeds among themselves. But that’s not happening in the United States.' While Treisman notes that a number of factors might explain this apparent puzzle, he focuses on poor people’s political ignorance, their misperceptions about economic inequality, and 'the desire of millions to see themselves as more or less average.' Many other scholars make similar arguments, attributing economic inequality to the voting behavior and attitudes of the poor. Yale political scientist Ian Shapiro, for instance, claims that most poor people do not want the wealthy to have a higher tax bill because they compare themselves not to the rich but to those closer to themselves in the social order. ..."

Joni Mitchell: We look back over her extraordinary 50 year career

Joni Mitchell waves to the crowd during her 70th birthday tribute concert as part of the Luminato Festival at Massey Hall in Toronto in 2013.
"This month marks the 50th anniversary of Joni Mitchell’s debut album, Song to a Seagull – a modest, then-overlooked release that subtly sounded the arrival of one of the most singular, influential voices in the history of popular music. A voice we’ve sadly, but almost certainly, heard the last word from. The 74-year-old has released just one LP of new material in the past two decades, and the likelihood of suspending retirement slimmed farther after suffering a life-threatening brain aneurysm in 2015. Indeed, Mitchell appeared to voluntarily bring the career curtain down at the close of last year with the release of her first and only authorised biography. In David Yaffe’s Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell, its subject emerged an oddly aloof malcontent. ..."
The National (Video)

2015 July: Blue (1970), 2015 Novemer: 40 Years On: Joni Mitchell's The Hissing Of Summer Lawns Revisited, 2016 August: On For the Roses (1972), 2016 November: Court and Spark (1974), 2017 February: Hejira (1976), 2017 August: Miles of Aisles (1974), 2017 October: Joni Mitchell: Fear of a Female Genius

Théodore Rousseau - Farm in the Landes c.1852-67

"In the summer of 1844, Rousseau visited the remote region of the Landes in southwestern France. There he made a pencil sketch of a farm shaded by towering oak trees and later produced a more detailed oil study of the scene. He developed this painting from the preparatory sketch and study, working on it intermittently over the next twenty years. The meticulous detail and high finish reflect Rousseau’s extended working process and his desire to present a timeless vision of the ideal coexistence of human beings and nature in this rural setting."
The Clark
W - Théodore Rousseau

2014 November: The Untamed Landscape: Théodore Rousseau and the Path to Barbizon, 2015 October: The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Friday, March 16

How a Group of Journalists Turned Hip-Hop Into a Literary Movement

"Sitting in a homely bistro on Malcolm X Boulevard, music journalist Greg Tate is bundled up in a peaked beanie, bright yellow scarf, and plenty of padded layers. His threads offer protection from the chill setting down on the Harlem streets outside, streets that have offered a home to a galaxy of Black American icons—from Duke Ellington to Cam’ron—across the last century. When a little-known mixtape track by local rapper Vado starts to pour out of the speakers, Tate breaks from his salmon salad to shake from side to side. At 60, one of the most influential hip-hop writers to ever strut these curbs still keeps his ears wide open. It was 1981 when Tate jumped on an Amtrak from Washington D.C. to New York City to cover Harlem rap group the Fearless Four’s show at the Roxy, his first assignment for The Village Voice. The following year, he moved to the city, accelerating a blistering career with the Voice that’s included dozens of lengthy columns on culture, politics and, of course, the snowballing hip-hop scene. ..."

A Slightly Embarrassing Love for Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” was (supposedly) written on one continuous, hundred-and-twenty-foot scroll of typing paper—a savage and unmediated burst.
"Every year on or around March 12th, acolytes of the Beat writer Jack Kerouac cluster at the Flamingo Sports Bar in St. Petersburg, Florida, to celebrate his birthday. Kerouac would have turned ninety-six this week had he not died just three blocks south, at St. Anthony’s Hospital, on October 21, 1969. The official cause was an abdominal hemorrhage, made fatal by several decades of ferocious drinking. He was forty-seven. Two local acolytes, Pat Barmore and Pete Gallagher, have been organizing Jack Kerouac Night at the Flamingo for five years. Folk and jazz musicians play short sets, while poets read from battered notebooks. (Sometimes, in true Beat style, both things happen at once.) Patrons are encouraged to toss back 'a shot and a wash,' Kerouac’s preferred tipple. (When I texted a friend in New York a picture of a menu board displaying the price of the Kerouac Special—two dollars and fifty cents for a whiskey and a plastic cup of beer—he texted back, 'That should be illegal!') The Flamingo, which opened in 1924, is more of a pool hall than a literary salon. A sign warns against gambling, profanity, lifting tables, throwing pool balls, and snapping sticks. ..."
New Yorker

2009 November: Another Side of Kerouac: The Dharma Bum as Sports Nut, 2010 July: Kerouac's Copies of Floating Bear, 2011 March: Jack Kerouac on The Steve Allen Show, 2013 September: On the Road - Jack Kerouac, 2014 May: “Walker Evans and Robert Frank – An Essay on Influence by Tod Papageorge” (1981), 2015 March: Pull My Daisy (1959), 2015 December: Hear All Three of Jack Kerouac’s Spoken, 2016 July: Mexico City Blues (1959), 2017 February: The Jack Kerouac Collection (1990), 2017 May: The Subterraneans (1958), 2017 June: The Town and the City (1950), 2018 January: Big Sur (1962)

Thursday, March 15

‘The Trains Are Slower Because They Slowed the Trains Down’

"In the summer of 2014, New York City Transit intern Philip Betheil was finishing up his master’s in urban planning at Columbia University when his boss, David Greenberger, gave him a project. The two worked for NYCT’s operations planning division, and Greenberger tasked Betheil with looking into an arcane bit of subway minutiae called signal modifications and what effect they had on train service. They worked on the report on and off over that summer, tossing more than a dozen drafts back and forth. ... But now, more than three years later, the report, which was obtained by the Village Voice along with other internal documents, provides a radically different explanation for the subway’s declining performance than the one that MTA leadership has given the public. The root cause of the subway system’s decay, it turns out, isn’t budget cuts or overcrowding — rather, the collapse of the subway system appears to have been primarily self-inflicted by the authority itself, in response to a single accident two decades ago that set the transit system on a path to disaster. ..."

Pennsylvania Special Election Results: Lamb Wins 18th Congressional District

"Conor Lamb, a Democrat, pulled off a narrow but major upset by winning a special House election in the heart of Pennsylvania Trump country. Mr. Lamb won in the state’s 18th Congressional District, a reliably Republican seat in recent elections and an area that Donald J. Trump won by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016. The victory is an ominous sign for Republicans ahead of this year’s midterm elections. ... Now Mr. Lamb will have to decide soon which district to run in this year. The State Supreme Court threw out Pennsylvania’s current congressional map and recently issued a new map with redrawn boundaries. Tim Murphy, a Republican, resigned from the seat last year after reports that he encouraged a woman, with whom he had an affair, to have an abortion."
NY Times
NY Times: Conor Lamb Wins Pennsylvania House Seat, Giving Democrats a Map for Trump Country (Video)
NPR: Democrat Conor Lamb Appears To Have Won Pa. Special Election. Here's What It Means (Audio)

Like an Old Fashioned Waltz - Sandy Denny (1974)

"Like an Old Fashioned Waltz is the third solo album by Sandy released in June 1974. The album marked her first release that contained none of the folk influences seen on her recordings thus far and for this reason it divided her fans into those that preferred the traditional elements of her earlier work and those that followed her development as a singer songwriter. Work began on the album whilst Sandy was still promoting her previous LP Sandy. The first track recorded was ‘No End’ at Walthamstow Assembly Hall on 3rd December 1972 in a solo version accompanying herself on the piano (this version was subsequently discarded in favour of a new recording with a band and strings). Sandy embarked on a month long tour of the US in April 1973 stopping off at the famous studios at A&M Records to record four songs; ‘Friends’, ‘Solo’, ‘At the End of the Day’ and the new version of ‘No End’ prior to a week long residency at the Troubadour, Los Angeles. ..."
Sandy Denny Official
W - Like an Old Fashioned Waltz
YouTube: Like an Old Fashioned Waltz - Full Album 9 videos

2009 March: Sandy Denny, 2013 January: "A Sailor’s Life" - Fairport Convention, 2013 May: The North Star Grassman and the Ravens

Wednesday, March 14

The 2018 March Madness Cinderella Guide

"Chalk is for teachers and boring brackets. Sure, picking all teams with tiny numbers next to their names may give you the best chance of winning your office bracket pool. But it’s not called March Calmness. As famed American philosopher Jon Rothstein once said—actually, he’s said it several hundred times—college basketball is where the unexpected becomes the ordinary. You’re going to want to pick an underdog to root for once games tip off. But you likely haven’t spent much time watching the America East, Big West, Southland, or Big Sky conferences. Use this as your resource; I’ve studied up on the 23 one-bid leagues in search of the best teams, players, and, of course, mascots to be aware of as you fill out your bracket. ..."
The Ringer (Video)
How To Build A Bracket For This Wide-Open NCAA Tournament
Penn Is History’s Best No. 16 Seed. Can It Pull Off The NCAA Tournament’s Greatest Upset? (Video)
The black coaches in the NCAA tournament (Video)

2011 June: American Basketball Association, 2012 July: Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC, 2012 November: Your Guide to the Brooklyn Nets, 2013 March: March Madness 2013, 2013 October: Rucker Park, 2014 January: History of the high five, 2015 February: Dean Smith (February 28, 1931 – February 7, 2015), 2015 June: Basketball’s Obtuse Triangle, 2015 September: Joint Ventures: How sneakers became high fashion and big business, 2015 October: Loose Balls - Terry Pluto (2007), 2015 November: The Sounds of Memphis, 2015 December: Welcome to Smarter Basketball, 2015 December: New York, New York: Julius Erving, the Nets-Knicks Feud, and America’s Bicentennial, 2016 January: The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams (1994), 2016 January: A Long Hardwood Journey, 2016 March: American Hustle - Alexandra Starr, 2016 November: 2016–17 College Basketball, 2017 November: 2017-18 College Basketball, 2017 March: N.C.A.A. Bracket Predictions: Who the Tournament Experts Pick, 2017 June: The Rise and Fall of the High-Top Sneaker, 2018 January: Chaos Is This College Basketball Season’s Only Constant, 2018 February: Heaven is a Playground, 2018 March: The End of March Madness?

Fruitvale Station - Ryan Coogler (2013)

Wikipedia - "Fruitvale Station is a 2013 American biographical drama film written and directed by Ryan Coogler. It is Coogler's first feature-length film and is based on the events leading to the death of Oscar Grant, a young man who was killed in 2009 by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale district station of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system in Oakland. The film stars Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant with Kevin Durand and Chad Michael Murray playing the two BART police officers involved in Grant's death, although their names were changed for the film. Melonie Diaz, Ahna O'Reilly and Octavia Spencer also star. ..."
NY Times: A New Year, and a Last Day Alive (Video)
Slate: How Accurate Is Fruitvale Station? (Video)
YouTube: Fruitvale Station - Official Trailer

Tuesday, March 13

Havana’s Symphony of Sound

A courtyard in front of Iglesia del Santo Angel Custodio in Old Havana.
"... Yet this odd feeling of defeating space and time came as much from our destination as anything. Cuba, that elusive island unfurling across the Caribbean like a tangled flag, sits barely 100 miles south of Key West. 100 miles! And yet, in some respects, it might as well be 10,000 miles. The country’s complex identity is inherently bound up in the duality of this proximity, in its ability to feel both so close and yet so far away at the same time. Our visit came at a strange time for Cuban-American relations, as the country languishes in a period of post-Fidel, post-Obama uncertainty. Many Cubans we talked to cited President Obama’s 2015 visit as a watershed moment, a critical first step in normalizing relations between the two countries. ..."
NY Times (Video)

The Greatest Week in the History of Avant-Garde Jazz

"... In the early summer of 1969, the group recorded a pair of albums, A Jackson in Your House in late June and People in Sorrow in early July, earning enough money to get a place of their own 18 kilometers north of Paris. That’s where they were living when another horde of expatriates arrived in August. But first, that group was in Algiers. 2,600 kilometers to the south, musicians were taking part in the week-long Pan African Cultural Festival. The event saw poets, photographers and musicians from 31 countries commingling with activists like Eldridge Cleaver of the Black Panthers and Stokely Carmichael of the Black Power movement. ... A star of the festival was saxophonist Archie Shepp, a man with a blistering tone on his tenor and the temperament to match. As the Vietnam War raged, Shepp once remarked that he regarded his horn as akin to a machine gun in the hands of the Viet Cong. ..."
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)

Notes on Italy’s Election

Five Star Movement candidate premier Luigi Di Maio attends a press conference at the party headquarter on March 5, 2018 in Rome, Italy.
"The Italian election results, which produced a hung parliament, are surprising but not exactly shocking. While the campaign was mostly lifeless, the Five Star Movement (M5S) achieved far greater support than expected. It won around 31 percent of votes, rather than the mid to high twenties suggested by pollsters. As widely forecast, he right-wing coalition proved the largest single bloc, with the extra poison that the hard-right Lega (18 percent) for the first time surpassed Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (14 percent). Their electoral pact (including two smaller parties) failed to secure a majority of seats and now risks a split. This historic shift of power within the Right — the now-nationwide Lega secured four times more votes than in 2013, while Berlusconi’s party is weaker than ever — marks a further collapse of what is loosely called the 'center.' ..."
W - Italian general election, 2018
NY Times: Italy Has Dumped America. For Russia.

2018 January: The Fate of the Party, 2018 March: In Italy Election, Anti-E.U. Views Pay Off for Far Right and Populists

Monday, March 12

Fireside chats

Wikipedia - "The fireside chats were a series of 30 evening radio addresses given by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (known colloquially as 'FDR') between 1933 and 1944. Roosevelt spoke with familiarity to millions of Americans about the promulgation of the Emergency Banking Act in response to the banking crisis, the recession, New Deal initiatives, and the course of World War II. On radio, he was able to quell rumors and explain his policies. His tone and demeanor communicated self-assurance during times of despair and uncertainty. Roosevelt was a great communicator on radio, and the fireside chats kept him in high public regard throughout his presidency. Their introduction was later described as a 'revolutionary experiment with a nascent media platform'. The series of fireside chats was among the first 50 recordings made part of the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress, which noted it as 'an influential series of radio broadcasts in which Roosevelt utilized the media to present his programs and ideas directly to the public and thereby redefined the relationship between President Roosevelt and the American people in 1933.' ..."
YouTube: First Fireside Chat from FDR (March 12, 1933), FDR Fireside Chat- The Dust Bowl, FDR - Fireside Chat - Germany's Invansion of Poland 09-03-1939

Like A Cosmic Newspaper: Val Wilmer On Sun Ra

"Back in the mid-sixties, African and Eastern-style clothing was still relatively rare in New York, even in the East Village as it was then known. A light-skinned Black man, carrying a shopping bag and wearing a glittering tunic under his jacket, was bound to attract some attention on Second Avenue before noon, especially with his greased-down hair tied around with a star-spangled bandanna. He led the way up some stairs and into a room ablaze with light. The light came from inside a huge rubber ball suspended from the ceiling, and the room was filled with musicians and instruments of every description. Marshall Allen had been out to buy food for the occupants of 48 East Third Street, who included in their number the legendary pianist, poet and philosopher known as Sun Ra and several members of his Solar Arkestra. Another day at the Sun Studio was just beginning. ..."
The Quietus

Performance as a Life Science

"'As artists, we’re all contending with what to do at a time like this. I wanted to make a piece that can be seen as an alternative possibility of human behavior, where the values are cooperation, interdependence, and kindness, as an antidote to the values that are being propagated right now.' After a half-century as an influential figure in the creation of contemporary performance culture, Meredith Monk goes right to the heart of the challenge. Her spare new work, Cellular Songs, is conceived for five women performers—Monk and her vocal ensemble consisting of Katie Geissinger, Allison Sniffin, Ellen Fisher, and Jo Stewart. Dressed in layers of white and beige-toned clothes, the women sing, dance, play the piano together, and lie on the floor, all the while modeling behavior of care, comfort, companionship, and collaboration. ..."
BAM 150 Years

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), 2017 December: Monk Mix: Remixes & Interpretations of Music By Meredith Monk (2012)

Sunday, March 11

Carnival of the Grotesque: Kara Walker’s Insistent Resistance in New Orleans

"The enemy was in sight. It was chugging back up the broad Mississippi, its majestic paddle wheel churning the waters, returning the day-trippers to the dock at the edge of the French Quarter. On the opposite bank, facing downtown New Orleans where the river’s curve forms the promontory called Algiers Point, Kara Walker was waiting. Her antagonist was the steamboat Natchez, a tourist fixture of the Crescent City that purveys nostalgia for a gracious antebellum South — the belles, gamblers, and cotton traders traveling between market towns, steaming past forests and plantations. A replica of its nineteenth-century ancestors, the Natchez does harbor cruises, weddings, and special events. In 1988, when New Orleans hosted the Republican National Convention, nominee George H.W. Bush and family made their triumphant arrival aboard the vessel. Now, under threatening skies on a mild Friday in late February, Walker, the celebrated artist who has made the violence and grotesque of America’s racial history her central theme, was about to deliver some counterprogramming, months in the making. ..."
W - Kara Walker
SF MoMA: Kara Walker explains her interest in “demoted” art forms (Video)

2011 May: Kara Walker

The Mystery Of Cabin Island - The Hardy Boys

Wikipedia - "The Mystery Of Cabin Island is Volume 8 in the original The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories published by Grosset & Dunlap. This book was written for the Stratemeyer Syndicate by Leslie McFarlane in 1929. Between 1959 and 1973 the first 38 volumes of this series were systematically revised as part of a project directed by Harriet Adams, Edward Stratemeyer's daughter. ... A series of adventures begins for the Hardy Boys and their friends Chet and Biff after they are invited to spend Christmas vacation on Cabin Island at the invitation of its owner, Elroy Jefferson, as a reward for recovering Jefferson's car in The Shore Road Mystery. While they are collecting the keys to the cabin from Mr. Jefferson they meet Mr. Hanleigh who is interested in purchasing the island. As well, Mr. Jefferson asks the Hardy boys to locate his grandson Johnny who has gone missing. As the boys try to enjoy themselves, someone seems determined to spoil their fun. ..."
[PDF] The Mystery Of Cabin Island

2010 October: The Hardy Boys

Recycled Funk Episode 13 (Blend Special)

"For as long as I’ve been a DJ, I’ve incorporated the blend, aka live remix into my sets as often as possible. It has become a lost & forgotten aspect of most DJ sets. The art of mixing, like really mixing and putting your personal touch on a set of music. What is a blend exactly. Well, if you’re an oldschool DJ like myself then the label “blend” is synonymous with a) extended/long mixes of 2 songs, or b) mixing an acapella of 1 song with a beat/instrumental of another. In this instance I am showcasing the acapella blend. For the record, I do not, never have used the sync feature to execute a blend mix, or any mix for that matter, and there is no overdubbing involved here, except for my vocals/ID tags. One continuous mix from start to finish. This mix showcases primarily Hip-Hop vocals, with a couple of R&B acapella’s included. I hope you enjoy this Recycled Funk vibe!"
Brooklyn Radio (Audio)

Saturday, March 10

Rent party

Harlem Rent Party (1929) Mabel Dwight
Wikipedia - "A rent party (sometimes called a house party) is a social occasion where tenants hire a musician or band to play and pass the hat to raise money to pay their rent, originating in Harlem during the 1920s. The rent party played a major role in the development of jazz and blues music. The Oxford English Dictionary states that the term skiffle means 'rent party', indicating the informality of the occasion. Thus, the word became associated with informal music. However, many notable jazz musicians are associated with rent parties, including pianists Speckled Red, James P. Johnson, Willie 'the Lion' Smith, and Fats Waller, although rent parties also featured bands as well. The OED also gives boogie as a term for rent party. Rent parties were often the location of so-called cutting contests, which involves jazz pianists taking turns at the piano, attempting to out-do each other. ... Culturally rent parties are a places for the middle class African Americans to go on their nights off to get away from the everyday struggle. During this time the African Americans face high rent prices due to discrimination large numbers of people would be forced to live in small spaces for very high rent prices. ..."
House Rent Parties : The Vintage Swing & Blues Era (Video)
Open Culture: Discover Langston Hughes’ Rent Party Ads & The Harlem Renaissance Tradition of Playing Gigs to Keep Roofs Over Heads
With Its 'No Dancing' Law Verging On Repeal, New York Legitimizes Its Nightlife

Dancing in a Harlem nightclub, sometime in the late 1930s. The Cabaret Law was originally intended as a tool for cracking down on jazz clubs in the Manhattan neighborhood.

Qat Coffee & Qambus: Raw 45s from Yemen

"Compiled by Chris Menist, Qat, Coffee & Qambus: Raw 45s from Yemen features vintage oud and vocal music inspired by the qat-chewing, coffee-sipping, qambus-playing culture of Yemen. Although part of the classical Arabic musical tradition, the music of Yemen takes its rhythmic lead as much from the East African coast (a mere 20 miles across the Red Sea) as the surrounding Arab Peninsula. Little has been written about the music and culture of one of the world’s oldest civilizations, and each 45rpm disc gives a small glimpse of the poetic tradition, the unique local oud styles as well as an insight into people’s day-to-day lives, or the highs and lows of human relationships. Overall, the compilation gives a flavor of the sights and sounds of Yemen, with detailed notes that tell the story of the hunt for music that has mostly lain forgotten in the antique markets of the capital, until now."
Dust Digital (Audio)
YouTube: Qat, Coffee & Qambus: Raw 45s From Yemen : Folk, World, Country Music Collection Arabic 39:47

Friday, March 9

A Map of Radical Bewilderment

"Although he is now remembered mostly as a romantic nature writer, in his own time and place Henry David Thoreau was a highly trained, well regarded, disciplined though eccentric land surveyor. In the summer of 1859, he stood under a willow beside the Concord River contemplating a gash he had cut low in the tree’s trunk, to gauge the water level. In 22 miles the Concord fell only 32 inches — it was very nearly a pond — and any additional water heaved the river up and over its banks, before gravity’s current slowly siphoned it out to sea. Yet flooding wasn’t necessarily a problem. Indeed, the annual springtime deluge was the town’s lifeblood, because the waters always rolled back, leaving behind a thick, black, nutrient-rich muck spread all across the bottomlands, whose field grasses grew fat and sleek on nature’s bounty, perfect fodder for the farming town’s livestock. But in 1798, in the predawn haze of the industrial era, the Middlesex Canal Corporation downstream at Billerica raised the height of an old mill dam that had been slung across the river, setting off a century-long fight for control of this resource. ..."
Places Journal

Thoreau’s drafting tools and surveying chain, exhibited at the Concord Museum.

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, 2017 December: Walden on the Rocks - Ariel Dorfman

The Entire Archives of Radical Philosophy Go Online: Read Essays by Michel Foucault, Alain Badiou, Judith Butler & More (1972-2018)

"On a seemingly daily basis, we see attacks against the intellectual culture of the academic humanities, which, since the 1960s, have opened up spaces for leftists to develop critical theories of all kinds. Attacks from supposedly liberal professors and centrist op-ed columnists, from well-funded conservative think tanks and white supremacists on college campus tours. All rail against the evils of feminism, post-modernism, and something called 'neo-Marxism' with outsized agitation. ... Radical Philosophy has published essays and interviews with nearly all of the big names in academic philosophy on the left—from Marxists, to post-structuralists, to post-colonialists, to phenomenologists, to critical theorists, to Lacanians, to queer theorists, to radical theologians, to the pragmatist Richard Rorty, who made arguments for national pride and made several critiques of critical theory as an illiberal enterprise. The full range of radical critical theory over the past 45 years appears here, as well as contrarian responses from philosophers on the left. ..."
Open Culture
Radical Philosophy
Radical Philosophy - Issues
W - Radical Philosophy

Thursday, March 8

International Women's Day

Karabo Poppy Moletsane's Ntsoaki’s Victory
Wikipedia - "International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. It commemorates the movement for women's rights. March 8 was suggested by the 1910 International Socialist Woman's Conference to become an 'International Woman's Day.' After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations. The earliest Women's Day observance, called 'National Woman's Day,' was held on February 28, 1909 in New York, organized by the Socialist Party of America at the suggestion of Theresa Malkiel. Though there have been claims that the day was commemorating a protest by women garment workers in New York on March 8, 1857, researchers have described this as a myth. ... Delegates (100 women from 17 countries) agreed with the idea as a strategy to promote equal rights including suffrage for women. ..."
NY Times: Women We Overlooked in 167 Years of New York Times Obituaries
Guardian: Feminists have slowly shifted power. There’s no going back
Jacobin: The Socialist Origins of International Women’s Day
Vogue: International Women’s Day 2018: The History of IWD’s Socialist Roots
Yale: Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900

Emma Löwstädt-Chadwick (Swedish, 1855-1932) Beach Parasol, Brittany