Sunday, July 24

Mexico City Blues - Jack Kerouac (1959)

Wikipedia - "Mexico City Blues is a poem published by Jack Kerouac in 1959 composed of 242 'choruses' or stanzas. Written between 1954 and 1957, the poem the product of Kerouac's spontaneous prose, his Buddhism, and his disappointment at his failure to publish a novel between 1950's The Town and the City and 1957's On the Road. Kerouac began writing the choruses that became Mexico City Blues while living with Bill Garver, a heroin addict and friend of William S. Burroughs, in Mexico City in 1955. Written under the influence of marijuana and morphine, choruses were defined only by the size of Kerouac's notebook page. ..."
Mexico City Blues [113th Chorus], 4th Chorus
Open Culture - Johnny Depp Recites ‘Chorus 113’ from Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues (Video)
YouTube: Choruses 1-10 (Allen Ginsberg), 230th Chorus & 19th Chorus (Gregory Corso)

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.

Crosscurrents - Danny Kalb and Stefan Grossman (1969)

"Originally released in 1969, Crosscurrents is the meeting of two very different guitarists collaborating on the blues and other folk forms. This is deep American white music played with character, innocence, and instrumental acumen. Danny Kalb was one of the co-founders of the Blues Project and a brilliant if underacknowledged guitarist. Stefan Grossman is, of course, one of the best-known acoustic guitarists in the world. This fleeting collaboration is inspired, ego-less, and gritty. Grossman wrote the lion's share of the set though Kalb, with his electric guitar and psychedelic effects, is an equal foil (though acoustically, Kalb is a monster as well). ..."
W - Danny Kalb
Spotify, amazon
YouTube: Devil Round The Moon, Harvest Of Your Days, Death Letter Blues, Singing Songs Unsung, Eagles On The Half, Requiem For Patrick Kilroy, Danish Drone, Crow Black Squall

2011 September: The Blues Project, 2012 January: Child Is Father to the Man - Blood, Sweat & Tears , 2013 January: Cafe Au Go Go, 2014 July: Live at The Cafe Au Go Go - The Blues Project (1965).

Captain Haddock

Wikipedia - "Captain Archibald Haddock ... is a fictional character and a major protagonist in The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. He is Tintin's best friend, a seafaring Merchant Marine Captain. ... Throughout it all, the Captain's coarse humanity and sarcasm act as a counterpoint to Tintin's often implausible heroism. He is always quick with a dry comment whenever the boy reporter gets too idealistic. ... As a sailor, Haddock would need to have a very colourful vocabulary, but Hergé could not use any swear words as he knew his audience included children. ..."
List of Captain Haddock's Curses
David's Favourite Captain Haddock Curses
YouTube: Captain Haddock with the raiders - Crab with the Golden Claws

2008 May: Georges Remi, 1907-1983, 2010 July: The Adventures of Tintin: Breaking Free, 2011 December: Prisoners of the Sun, 2012 January: Tintin: the Complete Companion, 2012 December: Snowy, 2015 August: The Black Island (1937), 2015 September: King Ottokar's Sceptre (1938), 2015 December: Red Rackham's Treasure (1943).

Saturday, July 23

Q&A: Antoinette Balzano and Cookie Cimineri of Totonno’s

"This year, Totonno’s, the famed Coney Island pizzeria, turned 90. Founded by the original pizzaiolo at Lombardi’s, Anthony 'Totonno' Pero, this doughy institution has counted punk legends (The Ramones), rock stars (Lou Reed), professional athletes (Derek Jeter), and world-class chefs (Mario Batali) among its regulars. For many customers, it’s a place that inspires some of their oldest memories, but for Pero’s granddaughters and co-owners, it’s home. We spoke with Antoinette Balzano and Cookie Cimineri about life in Brooklyn’s beach town, the pizzeria’s history, and why Lou Reed loved it so damn much. ..."
W - Totonno’s
NY Times: Fighting to Save the Flavor of New York
A Visit to Coney Island Institution Totonno's
YouTube: Totonnos (Brooklyn, NY)

2014 June: Pizza, 2014 October: Viva La Pizza! The Art of the Pizza Box (NYC)

The Blow-Up - Television (1982)

"Double live albums frequently come off as redundant and indulgent, but in the case of Television, The Blow-Up comes awfully close to being an essential document, simply because the band's studio albums didn't always capture the rawness and spontaneity that fueled their on-stage improvisations. Both of those qualities are present on The Blow-Up in abundance; the sound quality is not exactly pristine, but the performances, recorded in 1978 on what proved to be the band's final tour, are exciting and frequently breathtaking, capturing a side of the band that will enlighten anyone wondering how Television's intricate, layered sound was ever tagged 'punk.' ..."
Please, Don’t Blow Up Your Television
YouTube: The Blow-Up Live 1978 2LP FullVinyl

2007 November: Tom Verlaine, 2010 March: Tom Verlaine - 1, 2011 October: Warm and Cool, 2012 Nov: Little Johnny Jewel, 2012 December: Words from the Front, 2013 July: Flash Light, 2013 October: See No Evil, 2014 October: Dreamtime (1981), 2014 November: Marquee Moon (1977), January: Adventure (1978), 2015 October: Tom Verlaine (1979).

Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology (2015)

"Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for 'breaths') was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of artists and intellectuals, Souffles was a written fight for democratic ideals and a new Maghrebi literature following independence in Morocco. For those of us who can’t read French or Arabic, or who don’t have the attention span to sift through all of the archives, we now have the excellent Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology, edited by Olivia C. Harrison and Teresa Villa-Ignacio, with just the right amount of historical background and contextual commentary. ..."
Three Percent
Decolonizing Culture
Room 220
W - Souffles (magazine)
amazon: Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology from the Moroccan Journal of Culture and Politics

Friday, July 22

The Keeper

A detail from a collection of the artist Shinro Ohtake’s scrapbooks.
"'The Keeper' is an exhibition dedicated to the act of preserving objects, artworks, and images, and to the passions that inspire this undertaking. A reflection on the impulse to save both the most precious and the apparently valueless, it brings together a variety of imaginary museums, personal collections, and unusual assemblages, revealing the devotion with which artists, collectors, scholars, and hoarders have created sanctuaries for endangered images and artifacts. In surveying varied techniques of display, the exhibition also reflects on the function and responsibility of museums within multiple economies of desire. ..."
New Museum
NY Times: ‘The Keeper’ Reveals the Passion for Collecting
At The New Museum, The Keeper is a Haven for Historians, Hoarders, and Humanity
“The Keeper” Sleeper: The New Museum Displays the Harrowing “Sketchbook from Auschwitz”

William Forsythe - Solo (1997)

"Shot in black-and-white, Solo features an electric solo performance by choreographer William Forsythe, beginning with a close-up on the balletic movements of his feet, scanning up his frame, and then finally zooming out to capture his frenetic movements across a starkly lit stage. The dance is accompanied by an atonal violin composition by Thom Willems and occasional directions from an off-camera male voice, both of which contribute to the film's gloomy, paranoid atmosphere. Solo premiered at the 1997 Whitney Biennial and is considered a landmark in Forsythe's artistic career. Choreography/Performance: William Forsythe; Music: Thom Willems, in collaboration with Maxime Franke; Director: Thomas Lovell Balogh; Camera: Jess Hall, Courtesy of The Forsythe Company."
UbuWeb (Video)

Miriodor ‎– Jongleries Élastiques (1996)

"For their fourth album (fifth if you count the cassette that came out between the first and second), Miriodor has again pulled out a long list of surprises. Their sound is rooted in the chamber rock one might associate with bands like Univers Zero and Henry Cow (circa Western Culture), with touches of folk and other elements. In fact this is a hard band to pin down because each of their releases have been so different, and this latest is no exception. There are wild mood swings and time changes, odd angularities and dissonant incongruities that together make for some great listening. ..."
allmusic (Video)
YouTube: The Little Ship's Terrible Wreck, Igor, l'ours a moto

2014 July: Cobra Fakir

Thursday, July 21

10 Classics of Campaign Literature

"Campaign writing has a bit of sports journalism about it—from the vivid depictions of victory and defeat, to the martial perseveration on strategy, and the almost sabermetric obsession with numbers ranging from delegate counts to polling. There is a similarity between explicating the perfect Belichick or Lombardi play and the strategic machinations of a Karl Rove or David Axelrod. The best of political journalism has an appreciation for the well-executed play even if, maybe especially if, it comes from the other side. Though the questions of politics (too often dismissed as matters of mere opinion) cut to the core of the fundamental values by which we define ourselves—questions of what is fair, what is equal, what is free—the greatest accounts of campaigns and elections still offer something of the trans-ideological. ..."
Literary Hub

Hüsker Dü - "Makes No Sense At All" / "Love Is All Around" (1985)

Wikipedia - "'Makes No Sense At All' is a song by Hüsker Dü from the album Flip Your Wig. The song was the only single from the album. The release of the single, along with the flip side track 'Love Is All Around'—the theme song to The Mary Tyler Moore Show—demonstrated Hüsker Dü's continued move away from their hardcore punk roots to a more melodic synthesis of pop and punk. In a review on Allmusic, the song is called 'perhaps the group's greatest fusion of punk and pop...Mould had, quite simply, written one of his best melodies, capable of containing the furious energy of his guitar style while still offering a potent melodic hook that made the most of the band's psychedelic undertow.' ..."
YouTube: "Makes No Sense At All", "Love Is All Around"

2014 July: Zen Arcade (1984)

Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968

Wikipedia - "Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era is a groundbreaking compilation album of American psychedelic and garage rock singles released in the mid-to-late 1960s. It was assembled by Jac Holzman, founder of Elektra Records, and Lenny Kaye, later lead guitarist for the Patti Smith Group. The original double album was released on LP by Elektra in 1972 with liner notes by Kaye that contained one of the first uses of the term 'punk rock'. It was reissued with a new cover design by Sire Records in 1976 and expanded into four-CD box set by Rhino Records in 1998. ..."
No. 50: ‘Nuggets: Original Artyfacts’ (Video)
YouTube: Nuggets Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era CD 1, CD 2

Wednesday, July 20

Court and Cosmos

"One of the most productive periods in the history of the region from Iran to Anatolia corresponds to the rule of the Seljuqs and their immediate successors, from 1038 to 1307. The Seljuqs were a Turkic dynasty of Central Asian nomadic origin that in short time conquered a vast territory in West Asia stretching from present-day Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. The lands controlled by the Seljuqs were not a unified empire, but controlled by various branches of the Seljuqs and their successor dynasties (Rum Seljuqs, Artuqids, Zangids, and others). Under Seljuq rule, the exchange and synthesis of diverse traditions—including Turkmen, Perso-Arabo-Islamic, Byzantine, Armenian, Crusader, and other Christian cultures—accompanied economic prosperity, advances in science and technology, and a great flowering of culture within the realm. ..."
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Video)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Court and Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs

Entre Lajeunesse et la sagesse - Kate & Anna McGarrigle (1980)

Wikipedia - "Entre Lajeunesse et la sagesse is the fourth album by Kate & Anna McGarrigle, released in 1980. Consisting entirely of songs in French, the album was originally released with the title French Record and was given the new subtitle of Entre Lajeunesse et la sagesse (the title of its first track) when it was re-released on CD in 2003. The album title is a pun: Lajeunesse is a street name in Montreal, Quebec but, since la jeunesse means youth and la sagesse means wisdom, the title can also be interpreted as 'between youth and wisdom'. It is considered by many fans, even those who don't speak French, to be one of the duo's best albums. ..."
YouTube: Complainte pour Ste. Catherine, Excursion a Venise, Naufragee Du Tendre, Parlez-Nous à Boire, Entre Lajeunesse et la sagesse

2008 July: Kate and Anna McGarrigle, 2010 January: Kate McGarrigle 1946 – 2010, 2012 April: Kate and Anna McGarrigle, 2014 August: "Goin Back to Harlan".

Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective, 1999–2016

"Tom Sachs pays tribute to a defining icon of street culture—the boom box—by transforming our glass entryway, the Rubin Pavilion, into a living sound system that hovers between art and science, the functional and the mythological. Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective, 1999–2016 features eighteen works that highlight the artist’s ability to inventively transform ordinary, everyday materials into art. With wit and ingenuity, he creates boom box sculptures that play music and activate the space, turning it into an immersive sound environment. The work is programmed with playlists that go on sequentially throughout our public hours. ..."
Brooklyn Museum
Tom Sachs
YouTube: Tom Sachs Boombox Retrospective Exhibit

Tuesday, July 19

Gunslinger - Ed Dorn

Wikipedia - "Gunslinger is the title of a long poem in six parts by Ed Dorn. The gunslinger is a long form political poem about a demigod cowboy, a saloon madam, and a talking horse named Claude Levi-Strauss, who travel the Southwest in search of Howard Hughes. The conversation stream of the poem is constantly interrupted. Dorn mixes the jargon of drug addicts, Westerners, and others to reflect the jumble of American speech. He seems to intentionally frustrate the reader; syntax is ambiguous, punctuation is sparse, and puns, homonyms, and nonsense words become an integral part of conversation. ..."
Google - Gunslinger
EPC: On Ed Dorn's Gunslinger
Google - "Art Rising to Clarity: Edward Dorn's Compleat Slinger" by William J. Lockwood
Chicago Poetry - "INTERVIEW WITH ED DORN" by Effie Mihopoulos
gary brower gunslinger in new mexico: for ed dorn (1929-1999)
Ed Dorn and the politics of the New American Poetry

2007 December: Edward Dorn, 1929-1999, 2011 April: The North Atlantic Turbine, 2012 September: Fulcrum Press, 2014 September: Tom Clark - Edward Dorn (1929-1999), 2015 November: The Collected Poems 1956 - 1974, 2015 December: Recollections of Gran Apachería (1974), 2016 April: By the Sound (1965).


Wikipedia - "Gelato (Italian pronunciation: [dʒeˈlaːto]; plural: gelati [dʒeˈlaːti]) is the Italian word for ice cream, commonly used, in English, for ice cream made in an Italian style. Gelato is made with a base of milk, cream, and sugar, and flavored with fruit and nut purees and other flavorings. It is generally lower in fat, but higher in sugar, than other styles of ice cream. ... The history of gelato is rife with myths and very little evidence to substantiate them. Some say it dates back to frozen desserts in Sicily, ancient Rome and Egypt made from snow and ice brought down from mountaintops and preserved below ground. Later, in 1686 the Sicilian fisherman Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli perfected the first ice cream machine. However, the popularity of gelato among larger shares of the population only increased in the 1920s–1930s in the northern Italian city of Varese, where the first gelato cart was developed. ..."
NPR: Why Scream For Gelato Instead Of Ice Cream? Here's The Scoop
What's the Difference Between Gelato and Ice Cream?
YouTube: How to make Italian Gelato

Muddy Waters - The Complete Aristocrat & Chess Singles A's & B's: 1947-1962

"Muddy Waters brought a Son House-like Delta country-blues style north with him from Mississippi to Chicago in 1943, intent on making a living from music. Switching from acoustic to electric guitar in order to be better heard in the Chicago clubs and bars, Waters gradually assembled one of the greatest ongoing bands in the history of blues, and in the process, Waters and his band assembled the very template for classic Chicago blues. ..."
Black Grooves
YouTube: Muddy Waters 1948 Aristocrat Recordings, Gypsy Woman, Hard Day Blues

Monday, July 18

Photographers in Focus: Ethan Sprague

"'I like to work with nutcases, people who don't conform,' says Milan-born filmmaker Alex Grazioli, who found the oddball photographer and subject of Ethan Sprague: The Camera and the Cage through yet another unorthodox character. Grazioli, who splits his time between New York City and London, was working on a feature documentary about Abel Ferrara, and after sharing a slice at Gotham’s famed Joe’s Pizza, Ferrara suggested they go watch some basketball down the street. Grazioli was struck by the in-your-face nature of the games at the courts on the corner of West 4th Street and 6th Avenue, where a fence barely separates players from passersby and onlookers. ..."
W - West Fourth Street Courts
amazon: Pick-Up Game: A Full Day of Full Court
The Cage (Street Basketball NYC) (Video)

Marvin Gaye - "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" (1971)

Wikipedia - "'Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)', often shortened to 'Inner City Blues', is a song by Marvin Gaye, released as the third and final single from and the climactic song of his 1971 landmark album, What's Going On. Written by Gaye and James Nyx Jr., the song depicts the ghettos and bleak economic situations of inner-city America, and the emotional effects these have on inhabitants. ... The song was recorded in a mellow funk style with Gaye playing piano. Several of the Funk Brothers also contributed, including Eddie 'Bongo' Brown, and bassist Bob Babbitt. ..."
YouTube: Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)

1984 (For the Love of Big Brother) - Eurythmics (1982)

"Wikipedia - "1984 (For the Love of Big Brother) is a soundtrack album by Eurythmics, containing music recorded by the group for director Michael Radford's colour remake film version of George Orwell's classic dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Virgin Films produced the film for release in its namesake year, and commissioned Eurythmics to write a soundtrack."
Wikipedia, W - Big Brother (Nineteen Eighty-Four), W - Nineteen Eighty-Four, Wikiquote - 1984
Philip Coppens
amazon: 1984 for the Love of Big Brother
YouTube: Sexcrime, Ministry Of Love, Doubleplusgood, Julia
YouTube: George Orwell 1984 trailer, Winston's Walk Home, Great Speech from 1984 'Nineteen Eighty Four' by Michael Radford

Sunday, July 17

How Turkey Came to This

"On Friday, a coup attempt by elements of the Turkish military—the longtime adversaries of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s demagogic (but democratically elected) president—plunged Turkey into uncertainty and violence. Details were still sketchy and evolving this evening, with the president, and even much of Turkey’s increasingly repressed opposition, speaking out against the attack on the country’s civilian government, which has been overthrown at other times over the past 65 years. By early Saturday morning in Turkey, the government was claiming that the coup attempt had been foiled, even as reports of violence continued to proliferate. ..."
NY Times: As Turkey Coup Unfolded, ‘the Whole Night Felt Like Doomsday’ (Video)
Guardian - Turkey coup attempt: Erdoğan demands US arrest exiled cleric Gülen amid crackdown on army – as it happened (Video)
CNN: Turkey coup attempt: Erdogan rounds up suspected plotters (Video)

2016 February: The Feminist, Democratic Leftists Our Military Is Obliterating -  Debbie Bookchin, 2016 May: Turkey’s Authoritarian Turn

Munma - Cadavre Exquis (feat. Jad Atoui)

"... Beirut based composer Jawad Nawfal has produced one of this year's best electronic LPs in Three Voices which came out on Ruptured, the label he co-runs, last month. The titular three voices belong to a group of spoken word artists that Nawfal commissioned specifically for the piece before building sound beds round each recording. Collaborating with vocalists while recording dubstep and with rappers for hip hop tracks in the past, he's no stranger to working with the human voice, but he is especially respectful of the spoken word element of these tracks, turning in an impressive collection of stark, minimal, dubbed out frameworks. - John Doran"
The Quietus
Munma 'Three Voices' (Soundcloud)
Soundcloud: Munma - Cadavre Exquis (feat. Jad Atoui) [Three Voices, 2016]

Want to Work in 18 Miles of Books? First, the Quiz

Fred Bass, 88
"As Jennifer Lobaugh arrived at the Strand Book Store to apply for a job this spring, she remembered feeling jittery. It wasn’t only because she badly wanted a job at the fabled bookstore in Greenwich Village, her first in New York City, but also because at the end of the application, there was a quiz — a book quiz. ... The Strand is the undisputed king of the city’s independent bookstores, a giant in an ever-shrinking field. It moves 2.5 million books a year and has around 200 employees. While its competitors have closed by the dozens, it has survived on castaways — from publishers, reviewers, the public and even other booksellers. ..."
NY Times

2013 July: Strand Book Store

Saturday, July 16

Enter Brian Wilson’s Creative Process While Making The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds 50 Years Ago: A Fly-on-the Wall View

"Fifty years on, you can read all you want about the Beach Boys’ 1966 masterpiece Pet Sounds (and here’s two books that are great), but to really appreciate the intricate nature of the arrangements, you have to turn to the multi-tracks themselves. Working with session players that could pick up the ideas tumbling from his head (and hurriedly transcribe them), Brian Wilson created a sonic tapestry at L.A.‘s Gold Star Studios that still sounds fresh and, as the years go by, otherworldly. ... Pet Sounds continues to reveal secrets and treasures the more you listen to it–as this series of YouTube mini-docs from user Behind the Sounds reveals. ..."
Open Culture (Video)
Rolling Stone - Beach Boys' 'Pet Sounds': 15 Things You Didn't Know (Video)
Vox: The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds came out 50 years ago. It still feels fresh today. (Video)
The Beach Boys Finally Confirm Those Legends About ‘Pet Sounds’
50 Years Ago Today, The Beach Boys' 'Pet Sounds' Brought Love To The World (Spotify)

2010 July: Pet Sounds, 2013 October: The Pet Sounds Sessions

Sammy Baloji & Filip De Boeck — Urban Now: City Life in Congo

[Dominique Malaquais] work focuses on intersections between emergent urban cultures, global, late capitalist market forces and political and economic violence in African cities.
"This exhibition by photographer Sammy Baloji and anthropologist Filip De Boeck offers an exploration of different urban sites in Congo, through the media of photography and video. Focusing upon the 'urban now', a moment suspended between the broken dreams of a colonial past and the promises of neoliberal futures, the exhibition offers an artistic and ethnographic investigation of what living – and living together – might mean in Congo’s urban worlds. As elsewhere on the African continent, Congo’s cities increasingly imagine new futures for themselves. ..."
Kinshasa’s fluxes and rhythms
U Chicago: “Poverty” and the Politics of Syncopation
YouTube: Sammy Baloji's Urban Now at WIELS

Unconventional, Part 1: Ed Sanders and the Liberal Puritan

"In anticipation of the Republican and Democratic national conventions later this summer, Nathan Gelgud, a correspondent for the Daily, will be posting a regular weekly comic about the writers, artists, and demonstrators who attended the contested 1968 DNC. Catch up with Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5."
The Paris Review

Friday, July 15

Ballet 422

"Justin Peck is not a lonely guy. He has a girlfriend, close colleagues, a loving family. But you wouldn’t necessarily know this from watching him in 'Ballet 422,' the documentary that chronicles his third piece of choreography for New York City Ballet from creation to performance. ... There he is alone in the dance studio, working through a step; alone on the subway platform, heading home to his Upper West Side apartment; alone at his computer, reviewing videotape of the day’s rehearsal. You don’t see him eat or socialize; you rarely even see him sit down. And while this existence may seem ascetic, it actually turns out to be realistic, Mr. Peck said in a recent interview. When he is working on a new dance, everything else falls away. ..."
NY Times - The Camera Is On: Now Go Create
Ballet 422 (Video)
NPR: 'Ballet 422' Is A Dance Documentary Long On Art, Not Drama
YouTube: Ballet 422 Official Trailer 1 (2014) - Documentary HD

Jamaiel Shabaka cut his teeth with legend Sun Ra before recording the mysterious reggae LP The Land of the Rising Sun

"It was a record. It’s always a record. A few months ago, while on a visit to the best unsung record shop in Los Angeles, Mono Records, owner John pulled an intriguing LP off his oh-so-coveted shelf of not-yet-priced acquisitions. He wanted to show me a reggae record he didn’t know anything about, lost—but not so lost, as I would soon discover—in a huge collection of radical jazz he had just purchased. Credited to one Jamaiel Shabaka, it sounded both heavy and definitely different. Its intricate artwork read Land of the Rising Sun, and its back-sleeve notes only added to the mystery: Recorded and mixed at studios such as Hit City West (L.A.), Channel One and Music Mountain (Jamaica), engineered by four different people including legendary singer/producer Sugar Minott. ..."
Wax Poetics
YouTube: I Am That I Am 12"

Memorial Album - Clifford Brown (1956)

"Like swing guitarist Charlie Christian, Clifford Brown was incredibly influential for someone who died so young. The Fats Navarro-minded trumpeter was only 25 when a car accident claimed his life in 1956, but his influence remained long after his death -- Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Woody Shaw, Donald Byrd, and Carmell Jones were among the many trumpet titans who were heavily influenced by Brown. In the early to mid-'50s, Brown kept getting more and more exciting; those who found him impressive in 1952 found even more reason to be impressed in 1955. That means that when it comes to Brown's dates, excellent doesn't necessarily mean essential. ... Casual listeners would be better off starting out with some of Brown's recordings with Max Roach; nonetheless, seasoned fans will find this to be a treasure chest."
W - Memorial Album
YouTube: Memorial Album (Full Album)

2015 April: Clifford Brown and Max Roach (1955)

Thursday, July 14

Mad Men Restaurants: 10 Places Don Draper Dined in New York

Everett Shinn - "The Pool Room" (1903)
"Maybe it’s the impending arrival of July. Or perhaps it’s the recent arrival of a hard-won set of vintage Toots Shor’s glasses that showed up at my home yesterday. I can’t quite tell, but both leave me missing Mad Men. Television’s most stylish show typically returns each July, but, as we all know, negotiations between creator Matthew Weiner and the suits at AMC have stalled the season 5 premiere until 2012. Grrr! ... The Oak Room Bar. Location: 10 Central Park South at 59th Street, New York, New York. The Dish: Don learns the extent of boss Roger Sterling’s marital discord over drinks at the legendary Oak Room Bar in the fabled Plaza Hotel in this premiere-season episode. Recently refurbished, the stunning views of Central Park, the original murals by Everett Shinn, and the original oak bar remain intact, as does the classic New York feel. ..."
Mad Men Restaurants: 10 Places Don Draper Dined in New York

2013 January: Mad Men, 2013 September: ‘Mad Men’s’ Split Season 7: You’re Killing Me, AMC, 2015 May: Life After Don Draper

Esoteric Impressions of Degas – Other Worldly Photographs

1895 or 1896 - Gelatin dry-plate negative
"In 1999, 104 years after the Impressionist painter Edgar Degas used a camera to create forty or so photographs, they went on public display. Degas, we learn, saw these works as experiments and explorations of a medium new to the world in general, and to the artist in particular. He never showed them publicly and only a select, inner circle of friends, were permitted to see them. Contrast this to the fact that Degas was one of the primary forces and one of the best known painters who pioneered the creation of 19th century French revolution in art, called the Impressionist movement and whose shows attracted crowds from all over Europe. ..."
Esoteric Impressions of Degas – Other Worldly Photographs

From Alger to Antananarivo – A selection of 78rpm records from Africa

Zineb Bent Sigya – Rahe Khsm Rah (Algeria)
"This selection of 26 songs taken from my 78rpm record collection was created for the Paris Music Library. It is a subjective and modest journey through Africa’s sound heritage. It doesn’t aim at offering an exhaustive overview of the various forms of music that have been recorded on the African continent before the vinyl era. I recommend to listeners willing to discover more to plunge into the essential Opika Pende set released in 2011 by Dust to Digital, or the numerous compilations published by the Yazoo and Frémeaux & Associés labels and available at the Paris Music Library. This selection is based on recordings made between the 1930s and 1960s. ..."
Ceints de Bakélite (MixCloud)

Wednesday, July 13

The Mysterious Metamorphosis of Chuck Close

"A couple of weeks ago, I went to visit Chuck Close at his beach house on Long Island. The drive there always reminds me of an escape to the Hamptons in reverse. From the aristocratic brownstones of Park Slope, you work your way steadily down the socioeconomic ladder, past the towering Soviet-­style apartment complexes of Coney Island, through strips of pawn shops and gimcrack hotels that give way to rowhouses fronted with plaster statuary, until at last the journey comes to an end at the sun-­beaten waterfront of Long Beach, a haven for cops and firefighters looking to blow off summer steam, where you pay for access to the sand amid a throng of rented umbrellas and creatine-­engorged pectorals, all of which vanish at sundown into a surfeit of bwomp-­bwomping nightclubs along the strip. ..."
NY Times

2008 August: Chuck Close, 2015 September: Chuck Close: Red Yellow Blue

BET Awards 2016: Watch Beyoncé Perform “Freedom” with Kendrick Lamar

"Beyoncé gave a surprise performance at tonight's BET Awards, performing 'Freedom' from her latest album Lemonade to kick off the night's ceremonies. Kendrick Lamar rose up from beneath the floor to perform his verse. See the full performance here and below. ..."
Pitchfork (Video)
YouTube: Beyoncé & Kendrick Lamar - Freedom

2015 December: To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), 2016 March: When the Lights Shut Off: Kendrick Lamar and the Decline of the Black Blues Narrative by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah (2013), 2016 March: Who gets to say how black people see themselves? - Marlon James, 2016 March: untitled unmastered (EP - 2016).

Fela Kuti - Roforofo Fight (1972)

"It's true that Fela Kuti's early-'70s records tend to blur together with their similar groupings of four lengthy Afro-funk-jazz cuts. In their defense, it must be said that while few artists can pull off similar approaches time after time and continue to make it sound fresh, Kuti is one of them. Each of the four songs on the 1972 album Roforofo Fight clocks in at 12 to 17 minutes, and there's a slight slide toward more '70s-sounding rhythms in the happy-feet beats of the title track and the varied yet rock-solid drums in 'Go Slow.' ... The James Brown influence is strongly heard in the lean, nervous guitar strums of 'Question Jam Answer,' and the horns cook in a way that they might have had Brown been more inclined to let his bands go into improvisational jams."
A Way with Words: roforofo fight
W - Roforofo Fight
YouTube: Roforofo Fight 58:52

Tuesday, July 12

Murray Bookchin’s New Life

"Murray Bookchin spent fifty years articulating a new emancipatory project, one that would place ecology and the creative human subject at the center of a new vision of socialism. Here is a thinker, who in the early sixties, declared climate change as one of the defining problems of the age. Bookchin saw the environmental crisis as capitalism’s gravedigger. ... In the seventies and eighties, Bookchin suggested an environmentalism obsessed with scarcity, austerity, and the defense of 'pure nature' would get nowhere. The future lay with an urban social ecology that addressed people’s concerns for a better life and could articulate this in the form of a new republican vision of politics and a new ecological vision of the city. ..."

2014 September: Anarchism in America (1983), 2015 August: The Prophet Farmed: Murray Bookchin on Bernie Sanders, 2015 October: Post-Scarcity Anarchism (1971), 2015 October: The Ecology of Freedom (1982).

The Journey from Syria, Part Three

"In the second episode of 'The Journey,' Aboud Shalhoub and his brother Amer set off from Athens for the Macedonian border. Amer had not come to meet Aboud in Greece alone, as expected, but in the company of a young Syrian mother named Fadwa and her two daughters. Fadwa sought to build a life in Sweden, while Amer and Aboud were determined to reach the Netherlands. But in the Balkans, it was best to travel as a group. About a hundred Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis, and Afghans decided to walk together. With little assurance about the journey ahead, at least there was safety in numbers. ..."
New Yorker (Video)

2016 June: The Journey from Syria, Part One, 2016 June: Part Two

Yes, The Infield Shift Works. Probably.

"The infield shift is this decade’s defining baseball tactic, the most salient on-field signal that we aren’t in the aughts anymore. But, strange as it sounds, we still don’t know how well — or even whether — the shift actually works. Our best evidence that the shift is worth doing is, well, that it’s so frequently done. Presumably, front offices wouldn’t advocate shifting — often over the objections of coaches and players — unless they thought it was wise. That’s not nothing; teams are stocked with smart people who have access to better data than we do. But it would be nice not to have to appeal to authority to make a case for the shift. ..."

Sunday, July 10

From Iran to Harlem: Fighting Discrimination With Street Art

Franco "The Great" of Harlem poses next to his masterpiece on Frederick Douglass and 123rd Street.
"On a recent summer day in East Harlem, Alexander Keto stood on a ladder above a group of sixth graders playing basketball, aerosol can in hand. Keto is spray-painting turquoise blue paint on P.S. 7’s brick exterior. The wall turns into an image of a West African woman up to her waist in water, her three children playing beside her. It’s a striking visual that stands over two stories tall next to the busy intersection of Lexington Avenue and 120th Street. ..."

Dyke & the Blazers

"Dyke & the Blazers were one of the first acts -- possibly the first notable act -- to play funk other than James Brown. Indeed, they often sounded like a sort of junior version of Brown and the JB's, playing songs in which the rhythms and riffs mattered more than the tune. Similarly, vocalist Dyke Christian sang/grunted words that mattered more for the feeling and rhythm than the content. Their best-known track, 'Funky Broadway,' was covered for a bigger hit by Wilson Pickett, though Dyke & the Blazers got a few more R&B hits before Dyke was shot to death in 1971. ..."
W - Dyke & the Blazers
Ace Records (Video)
amazon: Dyke & the Blazers
YouTube: You Are My Sunshine, Funky Broadway, We Got More Soul, Let A Woman Be A Woman, Shotgun Slim, Uhh, The Wrong House, Runaway People (long version), Let's Do It Together, Black Boy, It's Your Thing, Runaway People, So Sharp

Aurora at Your Fingertips

"Seeing a great aurora ranks right up there with witnessing a total eclipse of the Sun. Auroraphiles travel thousands of miles and spend thousand dollars to join tours in frozen locales ringing the Arctic Circle in hopes of shivering under one of nature's grandest spectacles. The rest of us wait it out, hoping the next big aurora will find us neither asleep nor staring up at clouds. To anticipate the next great display, you'll need a forecast and three data points: the Kp index, a measure of the degree of disturbance in Earth's magnetic field; the Bz, or direction of the solar magnetic field in the vicinity of Earth, and a visual forecast model that shows the extent of the auroral oval. ..."
Sky and Telescope
W - Aurora (Video)

Saturday, July 9

Tony Allen - Secret Agent (2008)

"It's no surprise that Tony Allen's new album does nothing to dim his reputation as one of the world's greatest drummers. He's the personification of subtlety, leading from the back and carefully pushing and prodding the music, but doing this so cleverly that half the time people don't even notice he's there. He's certainly a man whose four limbs operate independently, setting up cross- and counter-rhythms that add extra levels of texture and complexity to the music. ... It's largely Afrocentric, and definitely political, in the best tradition of Allen's late employer, Fela Kuti. Allen himself contributes vocals to the opening and closing tracks, showing he's more than a drummer, even if his voice is low-key. That he plays so well is remarkable. That he does it like this when he's almost 70 is amazing."
YouTube: Secret Agent [Full Album]

ISIS: The Cornened Beast

"Just when Muslims around the world thought that ISIS was in retreat and that it was safe to celebrate the end of Ramadan, the group has struck back with a devastating series of bombings in four Muslim countries. Claiming more than three hundred lives, most of them Muslim, during the final days of the month-long fast, the attacks in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia have created pandemonium. But they also raise new questions about the ability of the jihadist group to execute lethal terrorist attacks, even as its power appears to be waning in Iraq and Syria. ..."

2014 August: The Islamic State, 2014 September: How ISIS Works, 2015 February: The Political Scene: The Evolution of Islamic Extremism, 2015 May: Zakaria: How ISIS shook the world, 2015 August: ISIS Blows Up Ancient Temple at Syria’s Palmyra Ruins, 2015 November: Times Insider: Reporting Europe's Refugee Crisis, 2015 November: Three Teams of Coordinated Attackers Carried Out Assault on Paris, Officials Say; Hollande Blames ISIS, 2015 November: The French Emergency, 2015 December: A Brief History of ISIS, 2015 December: U.S. Seeks to Avoid Ground War Welcomed by Islamic State, 2016 January: Ramadi, Reclaimed by Iraq, Is in Ruins After ISIS Fight, 2016 February: Syrian Officer Gave a View of War. ISIS Came, and Silence Followed., 2016 March: Brussels Survivors Say Blasts Instantly Evoked Paris Attacks, 2016 April: America Can’t Do Much About ISIS, 2016 June: What the Islamic State Has Won and Lost.

Kronos Quartet: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

"Sunny Yang joined Kronos Quartet in June 2013. Now, just five months later, the cellist she says she's learned quite a few new works — not just a handful, but about 70 pieces. That degree of dedication to contemporary composers, coupled with an insane concert schedule, has propelled Kronos Quartet forward over the past four decades. If they wanted, the musicians — who also include founder David Harrington and longtime members John Sherba and Hank Dutt — could reminisce over more than 800 new works and arrangements they've commissioned in 40 years. But instead, the new-music train pushes ever onward to new territories. They remain a living, breathing world-heritage site for music. ..."
YouTube: Kronos Quartet: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert "Aheym", "Lullaby", "Last Kind Words"

2011 September: 30 years - Kronos Quartet, 2014 March: Kronos Quartet Plays Terry Riley: Salome Dances for Peace (1989), 2014 September: Inside the Quartet

Friday, July 8

Edward Hopper - Sunday (1926)

"Sunday is characteristic of Hopper's vision of twentieth-century America. At first commonplace, his art has unexpected resonance, showing the significant rather than the beautiful. The interplay between particular and generalized components, an ongoing aspect of Hopper's work, contributes to the work's vitality, making it at once familiar and unfamiliar. Hopper’s art conveys the realities of the human condition genuinely and truthfully. ... During 1926, the same time in which Sunday was executed, America was experiencing the early effects of the Great Depression. This work illustrates the national anxiety and disillusionment of the later part of the decade. Hopper’s characteristic style reveals the essential isolation of the individual, the troubled relationships and tensions within the environment. Sunday depicts a spare street scene. ..."
Phillips Collection
Edward Hopper
Edward Hopper’s Three Paintings – “Sunday” (1926), “Pennsylvania Coal Town” (1947) and “Cape Cod Morning” (1950): Servants and Ghosts of Material Civilization

2008 July: Edward Hopper, 2010 October: Finding Nighthawks, 2010 December: Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time, 2012 Wednesday: Through Edward Hopper's eyes: in search of an artist's seaside inspiration, 2013 July: Hopper Drawing, 2014 May: INTERVIEW: “An Interview with Edward Hopper, June 17, 1959″., 2014 September: How Edward Hopper “Storyboarded” His Iconic Painting Nighthawks, 2015 February: Edward Hopper's New York: A Walking Tour, 2015 September: Edward Hopper life and works, 2016 May: "Night Windows," 1928.

Elodie Lauten - Orchestre Modern (EP - 1981)

"Elodie Lauten was born in 1950 in Paris, France, the daughter of jazz musician Errol Parker. In her early twenties, she moved to New York City and soon befriended Allan Ginsberg. She later composed a setting of his poems entitled Walking in New York. Through Ginsberg, Lauten also became close friends with Arthur Russell. They played on each others records and sometimes performed together as The Singing Tractors. Check out the song In the Light of the Miracle for amazing record of their collaboration. A couple of her early piano-based records from the 1980’s have been recently reissued, but Orchestre Modern is from 1981, right before she shifted her focus from songwriting to composition. Co-produced by Alan Vega, this self-released EP finds Lauten in experimental rock band mode on side 1, ending with my favorite track, a french/english hybrid mystery titled Chase/Détective Privé. The disc concludes on side two with an extended reggae jam called Mister Pip, which is mindblowingly great."
YouTube: Jesus, Puerto-Rican Boxing Champion, Chase/Détective Privé, Mister Pip

2010 July: Elodie Lauten, 2013 February: Piano Works Revisited

Edwin Starr - "War" (1969)

Wikipedia - "'War' is a counterculture-era soul song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Motown label in 1969. Whitfield first produced the song – a blatant anti-Vietnam War protest – with The Temptations as the original vocalists. After Motown began receiving repeated requests to release 'War' as a single, Whitfield re-recorded the song with Edwin Starr as the vocalist, with the label deciding to withhold the Temptations' version from single release so as not to alienate their more conservative fans. ..."
YouTube: War, Live TV Performance, War (acapella)

Thursday, July 7

Mildred Pierce - Kate Winslet (Miniseries - Todd Haynes, 2011)

"Fidelity may be a buttress of marriage, but it is sometimes a burden on film adaptations. And 'Mildred Pierce,' a beautifully made mini-series that begins Sunday on HBO and stars Kate Winslet, proves the point. It’s a five-part drama that is loyally, unwaveringly true to James M. Cain’s 1941 novel and somehow not nearly as satisfying as the 1945 film noir that took shameless liberties with plot, characters and settings. The Hollywood version compressed the Depression-era drama into a soapy 1940s murder mystery. ..."
NY Times: A Mother’s Love, Unrequited
New Yorker: This Woman’s Work
Is HBO's 'Mildred Pierce' a masterpiece?
Salon: “Mildred Pierce” is a quiet, heartbreaking masterpiece
W - Mildred Pierce (Miniseries - Todd Haynes, 2011)
W - Mildred Pierce, James M. Caine
YouTube: Mildred Pierce Trailer #1 (HBO), Trailer #2 (HBO)

2016 April: Carol (2015), 2016 April: Far from Heaven - Todd Haynes (2002)