Thursday, May 25
"As the Syrian civil war turns in favor of the regime, a nation adjusts to a new reality — and a complicated new picture of the conflict emerges. One morning in mid-December, a group of soldiers banged on the door of a house in eastern Aleppo. A male voice responded from inside: 'Who are you?' A soldier answered: 'We’re the Syrian Arab Army. It’s O.K., you can come out. They’re all gone.' The door opened. A middle-aged man appeared. He had a gaunt, distinguished face, but his clothes were threadbare and his teeth looked brown and rotted. At the soldiers’ encouragement, he stepped hesitantly forward into the street. He explained to them, a little apologetically, that he had not crossed his threshold in four and a half years. ..."
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, 2016 July: ISIS: The Cornened Beast, 2016 October: Archaeological Victims of ISIS Rise Again, as Replicas in Rome, 2016 December: Battle Over Aleppo Is Over, Russia Says, as Evacuation Deal Reached, 2017 January: Eternal Sites: From Bamiyan to Palmyra, 2017 February: Tour a City Torn in Half by ISIS, 2017 March: Engulfed in Battle, Mosul Civilians Run for Their Lives.
Detail of a firescreen by Edgar Brandt in wrought iron and gilding, from around 1925.
"The first major museum exhibition to focus on American taste during the creative explosion of the 1920s, The Jazz Age is a multi-media experience of more than 400 examples of interior design, industrial design, decorative art, jewelry, fashion, and architecture, as well as related music and film. Giving full expression to the decade’s diversity and dynamism, The Jazz Age defines the American spirit of the period. During the 1920s, the influences that fueled design’s burst of innovation, exoticism, and modernity were manifold and flowed back and forth across the Atlantic. Jazz music, a uniquely American art form, also found a ready audience in Europe. An apt metaphor for the decade’s embrace of urbanity and experimentation, jazz captured the pulse and rich mixture of cultures and rhythms that brought a new beat to contemporary life. ..."
VOGUE - See How They Roared: A Pair of Exhibitions at the Cooper Hewitt Celebrates the Style and Dash of the Jazz Age
NY Times: Unnamed, Art Deco Steps Out With Plenty of Company in ‘The Jazz Age’
"Those with a casual interest in dub may find that this recently discovered album sounds a bit raw -- but for aficionados of the genre, it's a treasure trove. It finds a young King Tubby (who would later become dub's most famous and celebrated practitioner) flexing his chops and experimenting with techniques that he would later hone to a razor sharpness: the wholesale dropouts with throbbing echo that are in full effect on 'Joe'; tastefully selected scraps of vocals that float all over the place on 'Kingston Dub Town' (a brilliant and strangely tender dub version of the Lord Creator hit 'Kingston Town'); the reductions of backing tracks down to a dry and spare minimum, only to suddenly flower into echo-drenched blooms of sound -- all of these are techniques that Tubby either pioneered or perfected, and it's fascinating to hear them being applied to these late rocksteady and early reggae classics before he was fully in control of them. ..."
YouTube: Sound System International Dub LP 43:04
Wednesday, May 24
The Lemon Ice King of Corona, 108 Street, 2003
"Steidl has just published Landscape as Longing, a book of photographs by Frank Gohlke and Joel Sternfeld made in Queens neighborhoods in New York between 2003 and 2004. The title immediately evokes the idea of desire and expectation tinged with nostalgia, and seems to suggest a definition and a method: landscape as a form of wistful anticipation. Gohlke and Sternfeld’s book is not, contrary to what one might expect, a celebration of multiethnic and multicultural Queens, and if there is a hint of journalism it is only in the style which occasionally draws on documentary photography. The views are captured with sober precision, with no aestheticization, if not for the fact that the whole is bathed in the same summer light. There is nothing excessive about them, either: Gohlke and Sternfeld’s Queens is a rather sad looking suburb, filled with parking lots, empty streets, garish store fronts, and highways; it’s an amalgam, devoid of coherence or cohesion, of industrial zones, no-man’s lands, natural areas, and residential lots. ..."
"Eddie & Ernie were the Phoenix-based soul duo of Eddie Campbell and Ernie Johnson, issuing about 15 singles between 1963 and 1971. To make matters a little confusing, some of the singles were credited to Ernie & Eddie, the New Bloods, or Ernie & Ed. There were also 1967 solo releases by Campbell and Johnson. ... They were good soul singers, though, often recording their own material, sometimes sounding a little like Memphis or Alabama deep soul singers with a slightly less avowedly church-like overlay, sometimes going into more minor melodies and downbeat subject matter than most such soul performers did. Eddie & Ernie, like so many soul singers, did some time in gospel groups as youngsters before hooking up as a duo. ..."
W - Eddie & Ernie
YouTube: Outcast, We try harder, I Can't Do It, I'm a Young Man, Bullets Don't Have Eyes, Listen, I'm Gonna Always Love You, It's A Weak Man That Cries, The Cat (Eastern), Thanks For Yesterday, Lost friends, I Can't Do It (I Just Can't Leave You), Bullets Don't Have Eyes
Sundial, vol. 2, no. 1 (Winter 1968).
"SUN — the magazine and the press (never 'Sun Press' or 'Sun Books” or 'Sun magazine') — emerged from the collapse of Sundial, a literary magazine started at Columbia University by undergraduate Lawrence Susskind in 1966. (The sundial at the center of 116th Street, which runs through the campus, offered its name as a hub of activity.) Sundial was funded by the Protestant Episcopal Office in Earl Hall, and featured dynamic graphic design and an eclectic approach that opened its pages not only to Columbia students but to anybody connected to the school. ..."
from a secret location
You Publish Too Much!: A Room 220 Interview with Bill Zavatsky
W - Bill Zavatsky
[PDF] Sundial/SUN, 1966 – 1983, compiled by Bill Zavatsky
Tuesday, May 23
Ample Hills’ It Came From Gowanus with munchies topping (left) and Van Leeuwen’s strawberry with sprinkles
"On a recent Sunday at Van Leeuwen in Cobble Hill, coffee, chocolate, and Earl Grey tea ice creams filled the dipping cabinet in gradated shades of beige. A fifteen-minute walk away in Gowanus, Ample Hills Creamery was stocked with tubs of The Munchies, a pretzel-flavored scoop layered with potato chips, crackers, and M&Ms; and the store’s exclusive dark chocolate, orange brownie, hazelnut crack cookie, and white chocolate pearlfilled signature, It Came From Gowanus. ..."
2014 August: Ice Cream
"... Before about mid-September 1973 I didn’t have much interest in polyrhythmic music. I didn’t really get it. That all changed one Autumn day when I walked into Stern’s Record Shop off Tottenham Court Road in London. For reasons I’ve long forgotten, I left the store with an album that was to change my life dramatically. It was AFRODISIAC by Fela Ransome-Kuti (as he was then known) and his band The Africa 70. I remember the first time I listened and how dazzled I was by the groove and the rhythmic complexity, and by the raw, harsh sounds of the brass, like Mack trucks hurtling across highways with their horns blaring. Everything I thought I knew about music at that point was up in the air again. The sheer force and drive of this wild Nigerian stuff blew my mind. My friend Robert Wyatt called it ‘Jazz from another planet’ – and suddenly I thought I understood the point of jazz, until then an almost alien music to me.” – Brian Eno
YouTube: Thoughts On Fela
Wikipedia - "Crawdaddy was an American rock music magazine launched in 1966. It was created by Paul Williams, a Swarthmore College student at the time, in response to the increasing sophistication and cultural influence of popular music. The magazine was named after the Crawdaddy Club in London and published occasionally during its early years with an exclamation point, as Crawdaddy!. According to The New York Times, Crawdaddy was 'the first magazine to take rock and roll seriously', while the magazine's rival Rolling Stone acknowledged it as 'the first serious publication devoted to rock & roll news and criticism'. ... The magazine spawned the career of numerous rock and other writers. Early contributors included Jon Landau, Sandy Pearlman, Richard Meltzer and Peter Knobler. ..."
NPR: Remembering Paul Williams, Founder Of Rock Magazine 'Crawdaddy!'
Crawdaddy Magazine 1966-1968
Monday, May 22
"On May 15, the Dakota Access Pipeline is scheduled to start delivering oil. The indigenous community of Standing Rock, North Dakota, has protested the pipeline for two years since its re-routing. Media coverage has largely portrayed the protest as an environmental movement and discussion of indigenous religion is rare. However, while environmental protection is a central and connected issue, discussions of Standing Rock that do not include an understanding of Native American religious traditions are missing important context. Over 5,000 years ago, the inhabitants of a village along the Green River, Kentucky, practiced the Cult of the River Keepers. Skeletons show evidence of auditory exostoses, a growth of cartilaginous tissue on ear bones that is found in humans who are repeatedly exposed to cold water – suggesting they frequently performed religious ceremonies in the river. ... Understood in its religious context, the Standing Rock Sioux are not anti-industry protestors, but practitioners of religious elements that may predate Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by centuries."
Guardian: The Dakota pipeline is already leaking. Why wait for a big spill to act?
2011 July: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee - Dee Brown, 2012 September: The Ghost Dance, 2016 September: A History and Future of Resistance, 2016 November: Dakota Access Pipeline protests, 2016 December: Police Violence Against Native Americans Goes Far Beyond Standing Rock, 2016 December: Dakota Protesters Say Belle Fourche Oil Spill 'Validates Struggle', 2017 January: A Murky Legal Mess at Standing Rock, 2017 January: Trump's Move On Keystone XL, Dakota Access Outrages Activists, 2017 February: Army veterans return to Standing Rock to form a human shield against police, 2017 February: Standing Rock is burning – but our resistance isn't over, 2017 March: Dakota Access pipeline could open next week after activists face final court loss, 2017 April: The Conflicts Along 1,172 Miles of the Dakota Access Pipeline
"It had an early incarnation on Hudson Street. And even past its heyday, it lingered on as a popular neighborhood bar until the taxman shut its doors in 1996 (left, during last call). But the Lion Head’s glory days as a legendary Greenwich Village watering hole was during the 1960s. That’s when the downstairs bar at 59 Christopher Street equally attracted literary types and longshoremen, and drinkers could rub elbows with writers, newspaper reporters, Irish folk singers, politicians, and a pre-fame Jessica Lange, who waited tables. Pete Hamill, a writer at the New York Post in the mid-1960s, recalled the energy and excitement there in his wonderful 1994 memoir, A Drinking Life. 'In the beginning, the Head had a square three-sided bar, with dart boards on several walls and no jukebox,' he writes. 'I don’t think many New York bars ever had such a glorious mixture of newspapermen, painters, musicians, seamen, ex-communists, priests and nuns, athletes, stockbrokers, politicians, and folksingers, bound together in the leveling democracy of drink.' ..."
Ephemeral New York
NY Times: Years After Last Call, Keeping a Bar’s History Alive
Lion’s Head roared - Greenwich Village saloon was home to many Irish and other rogues
NY Daily News: LAST CALL FOR LION'S HEAD BAR IN VILLAGE (Video)
"Without greatly altering his approach, Rod Stewart perfected his blend of hard rock, folk, and blues on his masterpiece, Every Picture Tells a Story. Marginally a harder-rocking album than Gasoline Alley -- the Faces blister on the Temptations cover '(I Know I'm) Losing You,' and the acoustic title track goes into hyper-drive with Mick Waller's primitive drumming -- the great triumph of Every Picture Tells a Story lies in its content. Every song on the album, whether it's a cover or original, is a gem, combining to form a romantic, earthy portrait of a young man joyously celebrating his young life. Of course, 'Maggie May' -- the ornate, ringing ode about a seduction from an older woman -- is the centerpiece, but each song, whether it's the devilishly witty title track or the unbearably poignant 'Mandolin Wind,' has the same appeal. ..."
W - Every Picture Tells a Story
vimeo: Maggie May (Live)
YouTube: Every Picture Tells a Story 8 videos
2016 November: Gasoline Alley (1970)
Sunday, May 21
"Fliers and posters were the social media of the pre-internet era on the Lower East Side, covering walls and other surfaces with general announcements, political communiqués and personal manifestoes. Affixed with sticky wheat paste and nearly impossible to scrape away, they were a scourge to some, but to others they were a code that could be used to trace the neighborhood’s rich political discourse. ... Now, reproductions of more than 100 of those images are on display in a storefront museum on Avenue C, artifacts of a rebellious time when that neighborhood was the setting for contentious battles over development and homelessness, police conduct and control of its central public space, Tompkins Square Park, in the East Village. ..."
2010 March: ACT UP New York, 2015 Auguat: Art as Activism: Graphic Art from the Merrill C. Berman Collection, 2016 October: How Posters Work, 2017 January: See Red Women's Workshop - Feminist Posters 1974–1990, 2017 April: Make Art Not War: Political Protest Posters from the Twentieth Century
Wikipedia - "Joe Bussard (born Joseph E. Bussard, Jr., July 11, 1936 in Frederick, Maryland, United States) is an American collector of 78-rpm records. Bussard maintains a collection of more than 15,000 records, primarily of American folk, gospel, and blues from the 1920s and 1930s, believed to be one of the largest (and best quality) in the world. ... From 1956 until 1970, he ran the last 78 rpm record label, Fonotone, which was dedicated to the release of new recordings of old-time music. ... Bussard currently produces a weekly music program, Country Classics, for Georgia Tech's radio station, WREK Atlanta. He has radio programs on three other stations: WPAQ-AM 740 in Mount Airy, North Carolina, WELD-AM 690 in Fisher, West Virginia, and WTHU-AM 1450 in Thurmont, Maryland. ..."
Soundcloud: Joe Bussard's Country Classics: Banjo Episode, Joe Bussard's Country Classics on WPAQ - October 31, 2015
YouTube: Joe Bussard's Country Classics 27 Video
"Cora was one unique voice in cello playing, that is for sure. The big flaw of this record resides in the occasional repetitions of Cora (that shrieking cello which sounds too sonically 'pwetentious' to my ears), but there are plenty of beautiful moments. Cora lacked a certain 'cerebral' tendency that makes cello music sometimes sound lameass, as found in Joelle Leandre's playing, and he paired easily folk-like melodies with astonishing sounds removed from the tonal focus, as well as the standard distortion employed by professional cellists - despite the apparent lack of logic in some moments that are too disjointed, this is a great solo cello album, almost as good as Reijseger's Colla Parte. - Moritat"
Rate Your Music
YouTube: Gumption In Limbo 43:57
2010 June: Tom Cora, 2012 February: Fred Frith & Tom Cora, 2012 April: The Ex + Tom Cora
Saturday, May 20
"Who We Are. 05401PLUS is a monthly print magazine advocating on behalf of the new ecological, aesthetic and socio-political consciousness in the Champlain Bio-Region. Essays, reportage, satires, essays on current social, political, and cultural issues, book, film,and art reviews, poetry, short fiction, and art are welcome. While we are focusing on the local scene, we welcome any subject matter that has bearing on our expanding world view. ..."
"05401 is committed to promoting an integrative, multidiciplinary dialogue in the public realm. We try to make professional language accessible, and to make everyday language intelligible. We celebrate the sacred and the profane, the serious and the funny, the ecstatic and the catatonic. 05401 invites, welcomes contributions to our ongoing dialogue in architecture, planning, food and sex. We welcome suggestions for additional topics. ... 05401 is edited by Louis Mannie Lionni. Our contributors have included Alan Broughton, Andy Simon, Anna Blackmer, Annie Lionni and Pippo Lionni, Barbara Zucker and Gina Zucker, Ben Sachs Hamilton, Bob Tieger, Brian Tokar, Bud Lawrence, Carl Rothfels, Carla Schwartz, Carolyn Bates ..."
05401 : Issues
05401PLUS Magazine Takes Long View of Burlington
Genese Grill in her studio
Wikipedia - "Salah Ragab (Arabic: صلاح رجب) was an Egyptian drummer and musician credited with founding Egyptian jazz. A Major in the Egyptian Army through the 1960s, he first attempted to form a jazz band in 1964, with American saxophonist Mac X. Spears. Together with Hartmut Geerken and Edu Vizvari, he founded one of the first Egyptian jazz big bands. ... On this recording the band consists of five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones, piano, bass, drums and percussion and various other oriental instruments. ... Salah Ragab accompanied the great band leader and composer Sun Ra on a Tour in Egypt, Greece, France and Spain in 1984. ..."
Soundcloud: A Tribute To Sun Ra, Egypt Strut
YouTube: Salah Ragab and the Cairo Jazz Band Presents Egyptian Jazz (1968-73) 40:40
"'Bagel!' chimed the voice at the other end of the phone line, by way of greeting. I had called St-Viateur Bagel on Monday morning looking for owner Joe Morena, but even before I found him I had found my lede. I mean, what else is there to say? On Sunday, St-Viateur will celebrate 60 years of bagels with a block party taking over the street that bears its name. All proceeds will go to the Foundation of the Stars. That’s a lot of years, and a lot of bagels — a lot of bagels made, and a lot of bagels eaten, by you, me and everyone we know. ..."
Montreal Gazette (Video)
2014 November: Bagel, 2016 February: Bialy, 2016 August: Montreal-style bagel
Friday, May 19
"The first book to appear in English by the acclaimed Belgian artist Dominique Goblet, Pretending Is Lying is a memoir unlike any other. In a series of dazzling fragments—skipping through time, and from raw, slashing color to delicate black and white—Goblet examines the most important relationships in her life: with her partner, Guy Marc; with her daughter, Nikita; and with her parents. The result is an unnerving comedy of paternal dysfunction, an achingly ambivalent love story (with asides on Thomas Pynchon and the Beach Boys), and a searing account of childhood trauma—a dizzying, unforgettable view of a life in progress and a tour de force of the art of comics."
NY Times: A Belgian Artist’s Graphic Memoir Looks at the Sometimes Tortured Course of Love
NPR: With A Photographer's Eye, A French Cartoonist Interrogates Truth
Pretending Is Lying is a Mystifying, Satisfying Hidden Gem
"The guitarist Marc Ribot has played in just about every conceivable setting in New York City. But through his involvement in punk bands, funk and soul groups, film scoring, the noise community, session work with rootsy singer-songwriters, South American and Caribbean folkloric projects, the contemporary classical scene and all the other experiments, he's also long held a love of jazz, from its hairiest to most clean-shaven expressions. Ribot has created bands dedicated to Albert Ayler and John Coltrane, saxophonists whose grounding in strong melody powered their fully liberated solo flights. He played in Allen Toussaint's Bright Mississippi band, which adapted the earliest New Orleans jazz. And he tours with a trio which gives him access to his full palette. ..."
NPR: Live At The Village Vanguard - Marc Ribot Trio
YouTube: Fat Man Blues (Live)
2011 February: Selling Water By the Side of the River - Evan Lurie, 2012 September: Marc Ribot, 2013 February: Silent Movies, 2013 November: The Nearness Of You, 2014 January: Full Concert Jazz in Marciac (2010), 2014 May: Gig Alert: Marc Ribot Trio, 2014 September: Marc Ribot Trio with Mary Halvorson at The Stone, 2015 September: Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos - The Prosthetic Cubans (1998), 2015 November: Marc Ribot Ceramic Dog (2014), 2016 February: Musical Improvisation in the Marlene Dumas Exhibition (2015).
"The press photos from Standing Rock Sioux Reservation show a chilling reversal of an old Western movie cliché. A vulnerable encampment is gathered at the foot of a hill, while above, a mass of armed warriors stands silhouetted against a leaden sky. The reversal? It’s the Native Americans — defending their water supply and sacred sites against the intrusion of a commercial pipeline — who are peacefully occupying the lower ground, while gathered above is the armed might of U.S. government law enforcement. Direct Action, L.A. Kauffman’s survey of (mostly) American protest movements over the past 45 years, doesn’t reach all the way up to Standing Rock, the activist confrontation that has claimed headlines and seized the sympathetic attention of the liberal public in recent months. ..."
New Mexican's Weekly Magazine
ALTERNET: In 1971 the People Didn't Just March on Washington—They Shut It Down
Thursday, May 18
Clothes left out to dry overnight are frozen due to extremely low temperatures, Belgrade, Serbia, Jan. 23, 2017.
"Around 1,500 migrants who have fled war and poverty in their countries in hopes of reaching Western Europe have found temporary shelter in an abandoned warehouse in central Belgrade, the Serbian capital. Men and boys from countries like Afghanistan or Pakistan have occupied the decrepit complex as they wait for an opportunity to move on toward neighboring EU nations Hungary or Croatia. Several thousand migrants have remained stranded in Serbia since nations along the so-called Balkan route officially closed last March. The influx has been reduced, but hundreds of migrants still cross illegally into Serbia from Bulgaria or Macedonia on a daily basis before moving on, seeking the help of smugglers to cross the heavily guarded EU borders. ..."
W - European migrant crisis
Anatomy of a Refugee Wave: Forced Migration on the Balkan Route as Two Processes
Closed Balkan route means lucrative times for human traffickers
Guardian: Tens of thousands migrate through Balkans since route declared shut (August 2016)
This map shows how much the refugee crisis is dividing Europe (Video)
2015 September: Traveling in Europe’s River of Migrants, 2017 April: The Refugee King of Greece
Richard Diebenkorn, Seawall (1957), oil on canvas
"As I write here in San Francisco in August, the cold, hard-blowing fog in my Haight-Ashbury neighborhood astonishes out-of-towners. The unprepared (or reckless) wear tank tops and shorts and hug their goose bumps, but they’re grooving on it, because it’s San Francisco. We who live and shiver here know that soon, maybe, Indian summer will be upon us in September, the air will soften, the fog will keep its distance, and the city will more sensibly be a place where people might want to take the air. If you do visit, and if you have an interest, three exhibitions are drawing big crowds. The splashiest, and intellectually the most probing, is an ample exhibition at the de Young, in Golden Gate Park, of work Richard Diebenkorn produced while living in Berkeley from 1953 to 1966. ... The Berkeley years were an explosive, exploratory time for Diebenkorn: having absorbed the precedents of Abstract Expressionism, especially the work of de Kooning and Gorky, he’d developed a swinging, propulsive way of painting. He sheeted overlays of angular planes aroused by jumpy marks and calligraphic play. His deep, complex color had a steady lyrical hum. ..."
San Diego Reader
Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years 1953–1956 (Video)
Beyond Belief: 100 Years of the Spiritual in Modern Art: Highlights from SFMOMA’s Collection (Video)
Impressionists on the Water
2016 March: W.S. Di Piero, 2016 December: Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008, Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful, 2017 March: March of time: 20th Century icons from an old art museum in Buffalo are at the Museum of Art.
"Olson reads 3rd letter on Georges, unwritten sent to actor, Sterling Hayden's footage of schooner racing and while at home at 28 Fort Square, Gloucester. Hayden raced the Gertrude L. Thebaud under Capt. Ben Pine in 1938. Excerpt from Polis is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place by Henry Ferrini and Ken Riaf."
YouTube: Gloucester HarborWalk #: Charles Olson 3rd Letter on Georges, unwritten to Schooner Footage
Gloucester HarborWalk (Video)
2009 January: Charles Olson, 2009 April: Rockport Harbor, 2010 September: Charles Olson: The Art of Poetry No. 12, 2011 July: Charles Olson: February 21, 1957, 2012 April: A Trip to Charles Olson’s Gloucester, 2012 June: In Which We Lather Our Sensibilities At Length, 2013 January: Mass.Charles Olson, 2013 May: The Maximus Poems, 2013 November: A Guide to The Maximus Poems of Charles Olson , 2015 March: "In Cold Hell, in Thicket" (1950), 2017 May: The Collected Poems of Charles Olson edited by George Butterick.
Wednesday, May 17
James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing this month.
"President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting. 'I hope you can let this go,' the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. The documentation of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. Late Tuesday, Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, demanded that the F.B.I. turn over all 'memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings' of discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey. ..."
NY Times (Video)
NY Times: What Is Obstruction of Justice? An Often Murky Crime, Explained
NY Times: Five Contradictions in the White House’s Story About Comey’s Firing
NY Times: The Opinion Pages | Can Donald Trump Be Trusted With State Secrets?
"While much of the Fleshtones' back catalog has been collecting dust for decades in the United States, the rock & roll archivists at Australia's Raven Records have thankfully stepped up and begun reissuing the cream of the band's early output for I.R.S. Records, first with the excellent compilation It's Super Rock Time!: The I.R.S. Years 1980-1985, followed by a two-fer CD featuring the albums Hexbreaker! and Speed Connection: Live in Paris 85 in their entirety. Raven now completes the job with a third CD that features the band's first EP, the five-song Up-Front from 1980, and their first full-length album, 1982's Roman Gods. ..."
W - Up-Front (EP), W - Roman Gods
W - The Fleshtones
YouTube: Roman Gods (Live), I Was a Teenage Zombie, Beautiful Light
YouTube: Roman Gods...Plus (Full Album) 1:19:07
"By the time Robert Wyatt made 1997's Shleep-- his first album in six years-- he was something of a British institution: a magnificent, one-of-a-kind singer who'd become mostly known for memorable cameos on other people's records. The popular perception of him seemed to be his wheelchair and long white beard, without much between them. Shleep, though, re-established Wyatt as the center of attention, and became the foundation of his career's third act, documented (along with parts of the first two) by the second new batch of re-releases of his discography. Shleep reintroduced a long-absent sense of playfulness and joy into Wyatt's work. ..."
W - Shleep
YouTube: Shleep 54:14
2010 November: Robert Wyatt, 2011 October: Sea Song, 2012 October: Comicopera, 2013 March: The Last Nightingale, 2013 September: Solar Flares Burn for You (2003), 2014 March: Cuckooland (2003), 2014 October: Robert Wyatt Story (BBC Four, 2001), 2014 December: Different Every Time (2014), 2016 March: Interviews (2014), 2016 June: Dondestan (Revisited)(1998), 2016 September: Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard (1975), 2017 January: '68 (2013).
Tuesday, May 16
Supporters of Jean-Luc Melenchon, the head of the political movement “France Unsubjugated.”
"PARIS — France’s presidential election this year was exceptional: because of Emmanuel Macron’s victory, because of the presence of a representative of the far right in the second round, because of the first-round elimination of the two main parties on the right and the left. And also because of the strong showing of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the head of the political movement 'France Unsubjugated.' Mr. Mélenchon, who also had the support of the French Communist Party, or P.C.F., obtained 19.5 percent of the first-round vote, though he came in fourth and couldn’t participate in the runoff. By refusing to give Mr. Macron (in Mr. Mélenchon’s eyes a contemptible neoliberal) an unequivocal endorsement, though at the same time declaring that Marine Le Pen must be opposed, Mr. Mélenchon aroused multiple controversies and raised questions about what exactly he stood for. ..."
Jacobin: Lessons From the French Election
Washington Post: 4 key lessons from France’s presidential election
2017 February: France, Without a Struggle, Is at a Loss, 2017 April: France Rebels, 2017 April: How the Election Split France, 2017 May: As French Elections Nears, So Does a Step Into the Unknown
Wikipedia - "The Watts Prophets are a group of musicians and poets from Watts, California, United States. Like their contemporaries The Last Poets, the group combined elements of jazz music and spoken-word performance, making the trio one that is often seen as a forerunner of contemporary hip-hop music. Formed in 1967, the group comprised Richard Dedeaux, Father Amde Hamilton (born Anthony Hamilton), and Otis O'Solomon (also billed as Otis O'Solomon Smith) (O'Solomon removed the 'Smith' from his name in the 1970s). Hamilton, O'Solomon, and Dedeaux first met and collaborated at the Watts Writers Workshop, an organization created by Budd Schulberg in the wake of the Watts Riots, as the Civil Rights Movement was beginning to take a new cultural turn. Fusing music with jazz and funk roots with a rapid-fire, spoken-word sound, they created a sound that gave them a considerable local following. ..."
Guardian - 'The rebellion came': Watts Prophet Otis O'Solomon on race, revolution and rap
YouTube: The Black Voices: On The Street In Watts 20 Video
"I am a freak for the American road trip. And I’m not alone, as some of this country’s best writers have taken a shot at describing that quintessentially American experience. 'There is no such knowledge of the nation as comes of traveling in it, of seeing eye to eye its vast extent, its various and teeming wealth, and, above all, its purpose-full people,' the newspaper editor Samuel Bowles wrote 150 years ago in Across the Continent, arguably the first true American road-trip book. ..."
W - Samuel Bowles (journalist)
Monday, May 15
"The youngest poet of the immediate Spicer circle, Robin Blaser gained his own experience of mimeography as an assistant in 1955 for the Pound Newsletter produced by the English Department at the University of California at Berkeley. Blaser was devoted to his friend and mentor Jack Spicer and edited his collected books, appending a long, well-argued essay on Spicer’s work. ... After his first two books were published by Open Space, Blaser left Berkeley to teach at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver (or more correctly Burnaby), British Columbia, where he started The Pacific Nation. The first issue included poems and an essay (semi-autobiographical and theoretical) by Blaser, one poem by Jack Spicer, a Blaser translation of a letter of Artaud’s on Nerval, Michael McClure’s The Moon Is the Number 18, an early John Button drawing, and the first printing of the first five chapters of Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America."
From A Secret Location
[PDF] Robin Blaser - New Star Books
November 2007: EPC, November 2009: Robin Blaser (1925 - 2009), March 2010: The Moth Poem, Les Chimeres, 2011 February: The Holy Forest, 2011 July: "Image-Nation 21 (territory", 2010 April: Manroot and Acts, 2015 January: 'Absolutely temporary': Spicer, Burgess, and the ephemerality of coterie, 2015 March: San Francisco Renaissance, 2016 March: The Astonishment Tapes: Talks on Poetry and Autobiography with Robin Blaser and Friends
Wikipedia - "The Radiators from Space, also known as The Radiators, The Radiators Plan 9, and The Trouble Pilgrims, are an Irish punk rock band. They have been described as Ireland's first punk band. The band formed in 1976 in Dublin, and consisted of Philip Chevron, Pete Holidai, Steve Rapid (Steve Averill), Jimmy Crashe and Mark Megaray. They were one of the earliest punk rock bands. They signed to Chiswick Records and released the album TV Tube Heart in 1977. Their first single "Television Screen" was the first and only punk record to make the Irish top 20, and featured on the Long Shots, Dead Certs And Odds On Favourites (Chiswick Chartbusters Volume Two) sampler Compilation album (1978: Chiswick). ..."
YouTube: Television Screen, Enemies, Roxy girl, Sunday World, Joe Strummer - Trouble Pilgrim, Love detective, Prison Bars, Let's Talk About The Weather, Blitzin' At The Ritz (Live), Try And Stop Me
Vincent van Gogh, The Sower
"Seeking an order beyond physical appearances, going beyond physical realities to come closer to the mysteries of existence, experimenting with the suppression of the self in an indissoluble union with the cosmos… It was the mystical experience above all else that inspired the Symbolist artists of the late 19th century who, reacting against the cult of science and naturalism, chose to evoke emotion and mystery. The landscape, therefore, seemed to these artists to offer the best setting for their quest, the perfect place for contemplation and the expression of inner feelings. ..."
Musée d'Orsay (Video)
Musée d'Orsay - Introduction
Sunday, May 14
Slim Harpo in the studio
Wikipedia - "'I'm a King Bee' is a swamp blues song that has been performed and recorded by numerous blues and other artists. ... Written by Slim Harpo (using his real name, James Moore), the song was recorded in March 1957.The recording features a spare arrangement and instrumentation typical of J. D. Miller's production approach. Accompanying Slim Harpo were Gabriel 'Guitar Gable' Perrodin on guitar, John 'Fats' Perrodin on bass, and Clarence 'Jockey' Etienne on drums. ... English rock band the Rolling Stones recorded 'I'm a King Bee' for their 1964 debut album. It has been identified as an early important song for the Rolling Stones, although it was not released as a single. The band's arrangement generally follows Slim Harpo's, but includes a slide-guitar break by Brian Jones. ..."
Independent: Why Slim Harpo remains king bee of the blues
YouTube: Slim Harpo, Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, Grateful Dead, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry (Aerosmith)
2013 March: Slim Harpo
"A few years ago, William Helmreich, a sociology professor at CUNY, wrote a book called 'The New York Nobody Knows.' Helmreich had spent four years walking every block in the five boroughs—that’s a hundred and twenty thousand blocks and six thousand miles. He had produced a street-level biography of the whole city. I read it and found it fascinating. Eventually, I met Helmreich, and we walked around the Bronx together. Three things were immediately clear: he loved New York, he loved people, and the people of New York loved him. ..."
New Yorker: The City So Nice They Walked It Twice (July 29, 2015)
New Yorker: The Men Walking Every Block in New York City (Video)
"This absorbing compendium is an essential addition to the library of the armchair traveler and flâneur alike. Lavishly illustrated with 800 color photographs, this fact-packed treasury leads the reader on a scavenger hunt through the streets of Paris, pointing out overlooked architectural details and structures that once served a useful everyday purpose but whose functions have been obscured by the passage of time. ... Organized by subject—fountains and wells; centuries-old shop signs; vestiges of wars and ancient Egypt; hotels of legend; civic measurement devices; traces of rites and superstitions; remarkable trees; sundials and meridians; equestrian Paris; romantic ruins; unusual tombs, stairways, and passageways; religious relics; mosaics; public barometers and thermometers; and more—this delightful guide deepens the reader’s knowledge and appreciation of Paris through the centuries. ..."
The Little Bookroom
Paris: our Top 10 Curiosities
2013 October: Flâneur, 2017 January: Lessons in Flânerie: The Fine Art of People-Watching in Paris
Saturday, May 13
"Film Forum began in 1970 as an alternative screening space for independent films, with 50 folding chairs, one projector and a $19,000 annual budget. Karen Cooper became director in 1972 and under her leadership, Film Forum moved downtown to the Vandam Theater in 1975. In 1980, Cooper led the construction of a twin cinema on Watts Street. In 1989, when the Watts Street cinema was demolished by developers, Film Forum’s current Houston Street cinema was built at a cost of $3.2 million. ... We present two distinct, complementary film programs – NYC theatrical premieres of American independents and foreign art films, programmed by Cooper and Mike Maggiore; and, since 1987, repertory selections including foreign and American classics, genre works, festivals and directors’ retrospectives, programmed by Bruce Goldstein. ..."
W - Film Forum
The 1928 Negro National League champion St. Louis Stars
Wikipedia - "The Negro National League (NNL) was one of the several Negro leagues which were established during the period in the United States in which organized baseball was segregated. Led by Rube Foster, owner and manager of the Chicago American Giants, the NNL was established on February 13, 1920 by a coalition of team owners at a meeting in a Kansas City YMCA. The new league was the first African-American baseball circuit to achieve stability and last more than one season. ... The war between the two leagues came to an end in 1924, when they agreed to respect each other's contracts and arranged for the Colored World Series between their champions. ... The NNL survived controversies over umpiring, scheduling, and what some perceived as league president Rube Foster's disproportionate influence and favoritism toward his own team. ... The NNL finally fell apart in 1931 under the economic stress of the Great Depression. ..."
The Negro National League is Founded
the founding of the negro national league, 1920
Rube Foster - The Negro National League
YouTube: Negro League History, Negro Baseball League
Fans waiting in line to enter an unidentified stadium for a Negro League game.
Wikipedia - "The Subterraneans is a 1958 novella by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. It is a semi-fictional account of his short romance with a black woman named Alene Lee (1931-1991) in New York's Greenwich Village, 1953. In the novella, Kerouac moved the story to San Francisco and renamed Alene Lee 'Mardou Fox'. She is described as a carefree spirit who frequents the jazz clubs and bars of the budding Beat scene of San Francisco. Other well-known personalities and friends from the author's life also appear thinly disguised in the novel. The character Frank Carmody is based on William S. Burroughs, and Adam Moorad on Allen Ginsberg. Even Gore Vidal appears as successful novelist Arial Lavalina. Kerouac's alter ego is named Leo Percepied, and his long-time rival Neal Cassady is mentioned only in passing as Leroy. ..."
NY Times: The Subterraneans (February 23, 1956)
NY Times: 'Subterraneans':Kerouac's World of the Beatniks on View (July 7, 1960)
Archive: The Subterraneans (1960)
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).
Friday, May 12
"On Tuesday, when Donald Trump abruptly dismissed the F.B.I. director, James Comey, his Administration insisted that he was merely following the recommendation of his Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, the two most senior officials in the Justice Department. ... In a three-page memorandum attached to Comey’s termination letter, the Deputy Attorney General, Rod J. Rosenstein, cited concern for the F.B.I.’s 'reputation and credibility.' He said that the director had defied Justice Department policies and traditions and overstepped his authority in the way he handled the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. ... In the aftermath of Comey’s firing, Democrats and some Republicans in Congress have proposed a far more credible explanation for Trump’s action, accusing the President of trying to halt the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible collusion with his campaign. Some of those legislators, as well as many critics in the press, have said that Trump has ignited a constitutional crisis, and they called for the appointment of an independent prosecutor to carry out the Russia investigation. ..."
New Yorker: Donald Trump’s Firing of James Comey Is an Attack on American Democracy
NY Times: Trump Warns Comey and Says He May Cancel Press Briefings (Video)
NY Times: The Events That Led Up to Comey’s Firing,
and How the White House’s Story Changed
NY Times: The Opinion Pages | The Trump-Russia Nexus
New Yorker: In Trump, Echoes of Nixon’s Constitutional Crisis
Richard Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre - By Jonathan Schell (November 12, 1973)
"Sixteen months ago, five men (in case anyone hasn’t heard) were caught in the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee carrying wiretapping equipment. Whom could they have been working for? The country awaited evidence. In one man’s pocket were consecutively numbered hundred-dollar bills that were soon traced to the Committee to Re-elect the President. In another man’s pockets was a notebook that contained the entry 'W.House.' One of the men turned out to be the chief of security for the Committee. It became known that a Committee counsel had planned their action. Could it have been the Committee to Re-elect the President that the men were working for? The President said he thought not. The F.B.I. thought not. The Criminal Division of the Justice Department thought not. And the public thought not. Six months passed. The men were indicted and convicted. ..."
"Modern Harmonic are to reissue a rare Sun Ra/John Cage recording documenting the pair’s historic encounter in June 1986, when they were brought together for a one-off concert at Sideshows By The Sea in Coney Island. Meltdown Records recorded it and released an LP of unedited concert segments the following year. Much sought after by collectors, a copy of the original LP is currently up for sale on discogs at a price just shy of £90. Described as 'full of dissonant electronics, astral flourishes, vocal experimentations and, as you’d expect from Cage, moments of profound silence', John Cage Meets Sun Ra has been remastered and expanded to a double LP for this reissue, adding 25 minutes of material to capture the full concert, as opposed to the original album’s edited version. Jazz writer and The Wire contributor Howard Mandel was in the audience and saw it happen. He contributes sleevenotes to the new edition."
Cage, John Meets Sun Ra - The Complete Concert - CD (Video)
YouTube: John Cage Meets Sun Ra - A Modern Harmonic Industrial Film Short, John Cage Meets Sun Ra - June 8th 1986 - CD or 2LP Clear Vinyl
Wikipedia - "'Caroline, No' is a song written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher. It marked Wilson's solo debut when released as a single in March 1966, peaking at number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100. ... Wilson compared the song to the music of Glenn Miller and the song 'Hey Girl' (1963) as recorded by Freddie Scott, claiming that 'Caroline, No' wasn't written about anyone in specific. On another occasion, he credited the song's inspiration to an unrequited love interest from high school who happened to be named Carol. Asher had also been acquainted with a different girl named Carol; they had recently broken up when the song was written. After Wilson produced his recording, he sped it up by one semi-tone to make his voice sound younger. When the song reappeared on Pet Sounds, he added recordings of his two dogs barking and a passing train, which close the LP. ..."
YouTube: "Caroline, No", "Caroline, No" (a cappella)
2010 July: Pet Sounds, 2013 October: The Pet Sounds Sessions, 2016 July: Enter Brian Wilson’s Creative Process While Making The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds 50 Years Ago: A Fly-on-the Wall View