Saturday, October 21

In Paris, Passion Battles the Decline of Stamp Collecting

Buying and selling at the stamps and postcards market in Paris.
"PARIS — There is a rundown shop in my neighborhood near the Rue des Martyrs that never seems to close. When I peer through the window late at night, I usually see a small group of older men bent over a long table, picking up and moving around thousands of tiny bits of colored paper with their tiny tweezers. At first, I wondered whether the place might be a front for a bookie joint or a money-laundering operation. Not at all. It is very respectable. It goes by the name Action Philatélie — Action Philately — and has been in business for as long as anyone can remember. It is dedicated to the buying, selling, researching, sorting, evaluating and classifying of postage stamps. ..."
NY Times

2007 November: Literary Stamps, 2008 May: Penny Black, 2009 January: Mail art, 2009 September: Cuba Stamp, 2009 September: First day of issue, 2009 November: Airmail stamp, 2009 DecArtistamp, 2010 January: Zeppelin mail, 2010 February: Miniature sheet, 2011 August: Artistamp, 2014 March: First day of issue

Hear 4+ Hours of Jazz Noir: A Soundtrack for Strolling Under Street Lights on Foggy Nights

"Nowadays few crowds seem less likely to harbor criminal intent than the ones gathered to listen to jazz, but seventy, eighty years ago, American culture certainly didn't see it that way. Back then, jazz accompanied the life of urban outsiders: those who dabbled in forbidden substances and forbidden activities, those influenced by the alien morality of Europe or even farther-away lands, those belonging to feared and mistreated social groups. That image stuck as much or even more firmly to jazz musicians as it did to jazz listeners, and when a new cinematic genre arose specifically to tell stories of urban outsiders — the lowlifes, the anti heroes, the femmes fatales — jazz provided the ideal soundtrack. ..."
Open Culture (Spotify, Video)
amazon: Jazz Noir
YouTube: Jazz Noir [part 1], [part 2], [part 3]

2009 January: Film noir, 2014 February: Crime Jazz: How Miles Davis, Count Basie & Other Jazz Legends Provided the Soundtrack for Noir Films & TV, 2014 June: The 5 Essential Rules of Film Noir, 2015 August: Infographic explains “film noir” and finds the most noir film of them all, 2017 September: John Zorn - Naked City (1990).

Bob Dylan - The Bromberg Sessions / Series Of Dreams (The Best Of The 1989-1993 Sessions & Lives)

"New video today from the 90's. This is another great compilation from the blog A Thounsand Highways and includes the best of the years 1989 to 1993, with rare performances, studio sessions and more. Also, the first part includes the very rare Bromberg Sessions. Before Good As I Been To You, Bob worked with long-time partner David Bromberg (they first met in 1970 for Self-Portrait) to record a new album. The sessions didn't come to fruition and Bob went on his way. However, thanks to the Bootleg Series Vol.8, we had a preview of how great those sessions were. For now, only three other songs circulate, and they are just perfect. A rare treasure and certainly one of the holy grail of Dylan's career. 1989 to 1993 also offered classic performances, like the 60th anniversary celebration of country legend Willie Nelson, the Supper Club shows in November 1993, and other rare outtakes from Oh Mercy and Under The Red Sky. This is a must-have for any fan of the Bard. Hope you will like it as much as I do. - Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands"
YouTube: The Bromberg Sessions / Series Of Dreams 2:52:38

Friday, October 20

Vermont International Film Festival

"VTIFF was born from the anti-nuclear movement in the 1985, making it the world’s oldest environmental and human rights film festival, although its focus today has broadened to embrace a wide spectrum of social issues and a focus on independent art-house cinema. Founded by two longtime peace and social justice activists, George and Sonia Cullinen, the inspiration for the festival came from the success of their 1981 film, From Washington to Moscow, which documented a Walk for Peace between two rural towns — Washington and Moscow, Vermont. ... VTIFF grew out of this vision. The first Vermont International Film Festival was held in 1985 at Marlboro College in southern Vermont. About one hundred people attended the inaugural event. Now based primarily in Burlington, VTIFF also present showcases in other parts of Vermont. Past festival guests have included such activist artists as actor Danny Glover, Bread & Puppet Theater founder Peter Schumann, and historian and playwright Howard Zinn, among others."

Agnès Varda’s Ecological Conscience

Jules Breton, The Recall of the Gleaners, 1859.
"'Existence isn’t a solitary matter,' says the shepherd to the wanderer in Agnès Varda’s 1985 film, Vagabond. This vision of collectivity, the belief that we are all in it together, recurs throughout Varda’s films, from her early, proto–New Wave La Pointe Courte (1954) to her acclaimed Cléo from 5 to 7 (1961) to her most recent film, Faces Places (2017), made in collaboration with the young French street artist JR. (Filmmaking isn’t a solitary matter, either.) 'This movie is about togetherness,' she told New York Magazine. Watching Faces Places, I couldn’t help thinking about Varda’s 2000 film, The Gleaners & I. Both are road-trip movies in which Varda interviews the kinds of people we don’t often see in movies—farmers, miners, dockworkers, and their wives. ..."
The Paris Review

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

Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs

"Raghubir Singh (1942–1999) was a pioneer of color street photography who worked and published prolifically from the late 1960s until his death in 1999 at age 56. Born into an aristocratic family in Rajasthan, he lived in Hong Kong, Paris, London, and New York—but his eye was perpetually drawn back to his native India. This retrospective exhibition will situate Singh's photographic work at the intersection of Western modernism and traditional South Asian modes of picturing the world. It will feature 85 photographs by Singh in counterpoint with works by his contemporaries—friends, collaborators, fellow travelers—as well as examples of the Indian court painting styles that inspired him. ..."
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Exhibition Objects
CNN - "Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs" at the Met Breuer

Thursday, October 19

Les Filles du feu - Gérard de Nerval (1854)

Wikipedia - "Les Filles du feu (English: The Daughters of Fire) is a collection of short prose works, poetry and a play published by the French poet Gérard de Nerval in January 1854, a year before his death. During 1853, Nerval had suffered three nervous breakdowns and spent five months in an asylum. He saw Les Filles du feu as an opportunity to show the public, his friends and his father that he was sane, though except for the introduction all of the pieces in Les Filles du feu had been published previously: 'Angélique' in Les Faux Saulniers (1850), 'Sylvie' in La Revue des Deux Mondes (1853), and 'Émilie', 'Jemmy', 'Isis' and 'Octavie' in diverse reviews. The precise meaning of the title, which Nerval chose just before publication, is uncertain. ..."

2007 December: Gerard De Nerval, 2010 March: Robin Blaser - Les Chimeres, 2016 June: Voyage to the Orient (1851), 2017 March: Selected Writings of Gerard De Nerval (1957), 2017 June: Did Gerard de Nerval walk his pet lobster through Paris?

The Black Balloon - John Renbourn (1979)

"The Black Balloon is one of John Renbourn's instrumental guitar albums. He gives a classical feel to the tracks on the first side, taking 'The English Dance'1979) at an appropriately quick speed and displaying some fast, intricate playing on 'Bourée I and II.' The lengthy medley of 'The Mist Covered Mountains of Home,' 'The Orphan,' and 'Tarboulton' introduces his frequent supporting musician Tony Roberts on flute, with Stuart Gordon adding tabla on the final section for a sound reminiscent of the John Renbourn Group projects. The second side contains two long tracks, 'The Pelican' and "The Black Balloon," each of which finds Renbourn adding to his textured acoustic work with some overdubbed electric guitar playing, and Roberts again sits in on the title tune. For those who have followed Renbourn to this point, the album will seem like a continuation of one of the paths he enjoys following in British folk music."
W - The Black Balloon
YouTube: The Black Balloon (full album) 37:32

2011 September: Faro Annie, 2012 November: John Renbourn - Sir John Alot, 2013 May: The Lady and the Unicorn, 2014 February: Bert &; John (1966), 2014 October: The Hermit (1976), 2015 March: John Renbourn: ceaseless explorer of song – appreciation., 2015 November: The Attic Tapes - John Renbourn (2015), 2016 November: Cruel Sister (1970) - Pentangle, 2016 December: Lost Sessions (1973)

Lightbath’s Percussive Reverberations

Forgiveness | Ambient Eurorack Modular Synthesizer | Chance, Plonk, Rainmaker, Rings, T-Wrex, Clouds
"In her interview as part of the Sound + Process podcast, Emily Sprague mentioned two musicians as inspirations for her, one of them being Lightbath, aka Bryan Noll. She was speaking in particular about Lightbath’s videos, in the context of videos with a certain aesthetic that she found comforting if rare — which is to say, not all 4/4, not techno, not noisey, not songy, not purely noodling; instead: soft, ambient, and ever so slightly melodic. She doesn’t specifically say those things; that’s an aesthetic triangulation on my part based on what Sprague’s music often sounds like, and what Lightbath and the other musician whose videos she mentioned, R Beny, are generally up to. ... Track originally posted at More from Lightbath/Noll at and"
disquiet (Video)

Wednesday, October 18

Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series

"In 1941, Jacob Lawrence, then just 23 years old, completed a series of 60 small tempera paintings with text captions about the Great Migration, the mass movement of black Americans from the rural South to the urban North that began in 1915–16. Within months of its making, the Migration Series was divided between The Museum of Modern Art (even-numbered panels) and the Phillips Memorial Gallery (odd-numbered panels). The work has since become a landmark in the history of African American art, a monument in the collections of both institutions and a crucial example of the way in which history painting was radically reimagined in the modern era. ..."
Phillips Collection

2015 February: One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North

Popol Vuh - Sei Still, Wisse Ich Bin (1981)

"Recorded in 1980 and produced by Klaus Schulze, Sei Still, Wisse ICH BIN ("Be quiet, I am") is one of Popol Vuh's sacred music offerings. Like Hosianna Mantra nearly a decade before, this set is regal in its solemnity and in its intensity. Utilizing the Chorensemble der Bayerischen Staatsoper and the soprano saxophone stylings of Chris Karrer, Popol Vuh -- down to a three-piece with vocalist Renate Knaup fronting the choir, Fricke on piano and voice, and guitarist Daniel Fichelscher holding down the drum chair as well, this is a huge recording . Schulze's immediate mix, which brings the vocals into complete balance with the undulating, mantra-like instrumentation, is nothing less than stunning; from Tibetan-style prayer chants to Eastern Orthodox choral scales, from thundering bass drums and cymbals to snaky, elusive, sparse electric guitar lines and Fricke's trademark shimmering piano, each of this album's seven selections is its own kind of masterpiece. It is the perfect marriage of world music utilized in rock & roll fashion, and of both being placed at the service of the Sacred. It is nothing less than awe-inspiring."
W - Sei Still, Wisse Ich Bin
YouTube: Sei still, wisse ich bin FULL ALBUM

2008 August: Popol Vuh, 2010 December: Aguirre, the Wrath of God, 2011 May: Abschied (1972), 2013 May: Fitzcarraldo - Werner Herzog, 2913 September: Hosianna Mantra (1972), 2014 April: Revisited & Remixed 1970-1999 (2011), 2014 August: Letzte Tage-Letzte Nächte (1976), 2014 May: Agape-Agape (1983), 2016 July: Die Nacht Der Seele - Tantric Songs (1979), 2016 November: Das Hohelied Salomos (1975)

20 Pieces of Writing Advice from William Faulkner

"William Faulkner is one of the best writers America has ever produced, with a distinctive voice and a relentless intelligence that earned him a Nobel Prize in literature at age 52—not to mention two Pulitzer prizes, two National Book Awards, and the undying love of many readers. He’s one of those writers you can read again and again without really understanding how he’s done what he’s done; he has that magic. But that doesn’t keep anyone from trying to learn from him. Though he didn’t much care for interviews, he has shared his expertise in a few; he also served as the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Virginia in 1957 and 1958, and some of his pedagogical conversations with students there have since been made public. Faulkner was born 120 years ago today in New Albany, Mississippi; to celebrate his birthday and to better learn from his work, find below some of his best advice on craft, character, and the writer’s life. ..."

2011 September: Southern Gothic, 2014 February: William Faulkner, 2015 October: William Faulkner Draws Maps of Yoknapatawpha County, the Fictional Home of His Great Novels, 2015 November: Interviews William Faulkner, The Art of Fiction No. 12, 2016 April: Absalom, Absalom!! (1936), 2016 May: The Sound and the Fury (1929), 2016 October: The Snopes Trilogy (1940, 1957, 1959), 2016 December: Light in August (1932), 2017 February: As I Lay Dying (1930), 2017 June: The Wild Palms (1939), 2017 August: Sanctuary (1931). 2017 September: The Unvanquished (1938)

Tuesday, October 17

What Sewing Samplers Tell Us About Women’s Lives from the 17th to 19th Centuries

Sampler with framing border (1830)
"There are rare records of women’s voices in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially ordinary middle and lower class women. An exhibition at the University of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum is approaching sewing samplers as documents of these overlooked lives, as the objects are sometimes the sole trace of a woman’s name, or existence. Created to demonstrate stitching skills, both for employment and as a future homemaker, they range from alphabets in thread that proved literacy, to dense embroidery that showed off needlework talents. Sampled Lives: Samplers from the Fitzwilliam Museum features more than 100 examples of samplers from the 17th to early 20th century, most of which are rarely on view due to their fragility and sensitivity to light. ..."
Sampled Lives: Samplers from the Fitzwilliam Museum
What is a Sampler?
V&A: A History of Samplers
Hidden Messages: Symbolism in Seventeenth Century Samplers
Towards an Identity

White work band sampler (1660), inscribed "Elizabeth Potter"

Joni Mitchell: Fear of a Female Genius

"... Some people think that when a woman takes her husband’s last name it is necessarily an act of submission or even self-erasure. Joni Mitchell retaining Chuck’s last name for decades after their divorce has always struck me as a defiant, deliciously cruel act of revenge. In the 50 years since, she spread her wings and took that surname to heights and places it never would have reached had it been ball-and-chained to a husband: the hills of Laurel Canyon, The Dick Cavett Show, a window overlooking a newly paved Hawaiian parking lot, the Grammys, Miles Davis’s apartment, Charles Mingus’s deathbed, Matala, MTV, the Rolling Thunder Revue, and the top of a recent NPR list of greatest albums ever made by women. Over a singular career that has spanned many different cultural eras, she explored—in public, to an almost unprecedented degree—exactly what it meant to be female and free, in full acknowledgement of all its injustice and joy. ..." (Kate M.)
The Ringer

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

Monday, October 16

The History of 452 Greenwich Street

"Tom Miller, who writes about the history of Manhattan buildings at Daytonian in Manhattan, has allowed Tribeca Citizen to create a database of his Tribeca posts. ... Around 1819, Alexander Thompson completed construction of a house at the southwest corner of Greenwich and Desbrosses Streets. The prim, Federal-style dwelling was two-and-a-half stories tall and faced in Flemish bond red brick. Incised brownstone lintels were an added touch. An especially pleasing recessed, arched doorway at the southern end of the structure was fully paneled and, possibly, included a stylish fanlight. The architect’s attention to this feature is more remarkable because it appears that it originally provided access to the rear yard and not to the house proper. ..."
Tribeca Citizen
The Alexander Thompson House - 452 Greenwich Street

2017 July: Seeking New York: The Stories Behind the Historic Architecture of Manhattan

Endless - Luca D'Alberto (2017)

"On 2nd June !K7 records' newly created contemporary classical imprint 7K! will release ‘Endless’ – the new album played entirely by Luca D’Alberto – the Italian composer who counts Wim and Donata Wenders, Peter Lindbergh and Lars Von Trier’s Zentropa as fans. Driven by pristine piano and rich strings, ‘Endless’ is sonically opulent with vivid, wonder-evoking pieces conveying wintry, widescreen panoramas and a propulsive arpeggio-fueled energy. Luca composed, arranged and played all instruments on ‘Endless’ himself – the violin, viola, violectra, cello and piano. It was produced by Martyn Heyne (who has worked with Nils Frahm, Lubomir Melnyk, Peter Broderick, Tiny Ruins and The National), with additional production by the lauded DJ/musician Henrik Schwarz."
Lucad Alberto (Audio)
Luca D’Alberto ~ Endless (Video)
YouTube: Endless (Official Music Video), "Her Dreams" (live)

La Ciénaga - Lucrecia Martel (2001)

"As Lucrecia Martel demonstrates in La Ciénaga (The Swamp), there is more twisted banal horror and caustic humour to be discovered in the forms of personal narrative than found within the boundaries of the horror genre itself. La Ciénaga is a horror film in a way, though it is as inscrutable as the work of Claire Denis, as biting as that of Luis Buñuel, and as rich and unmistakably stamped with an undercurrent of discomfort as Martel’s own films La Niña Santa (The Holy Girl, 2004) and La Mujer sin Cabeza (The Headless Woman, 2008). Loosely plotted, La Ciénaga observes a somewhat wealthy extended family spending a summer cramped together in an isolated, wet, decaying mansion in a provincial town in the provinces. ..."
senses of cinema
W - La Ciénaga
Roger Ebert
Submerged in Sound: Lucrecia Martel’s La Cienaga
YouTube: New Argentine Cinema and Lucrecia Martel’s La Ciénaga

Sunday, October 15

All 139 the Clash Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best

"The Clash were principled. They wrote real songs. They were goofy. They went to the edge and beyond. And they did what they did, made the world come to them, and felt guilty about it. They recorded the equivalent of nine records in six years, including two or three of the greatest rock-and-roll records ever, and possibly the greatest album of all time (London Calling) along the way. After the demise of the Sex Pistols, they remained the reigning aesthetic embodiment of an authentic, radical art movement rife with provocations and contradictions. And they had Top 40 hits. ..."
Vulture (Video)

Noam Chomsky Diagnoses the Trump Era

"... There is a diversionary process under way, perhaps just a natural result of the propensities of the figure at center stage and those doing the work behind the curtains. At one level, Trump’s antics ensure that attention is focused on him, and it makes little difference how. Who even remembers the charge that millions of illegal immigrants voted for Clinton, depriving the pathetic little man of his Grand Victory? Or the accusation that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower? The claims themselves don’t really matter. It’s enough that attention is diverted from what is happening in the background. ..."
The Nation

2011 January: Peak Oil and a Changing Climate, 2015 May: The Limits of Discourse As Demonstrated by Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky, 2015 October: Electing the President of an Empire, 2015 December: Noam Chomsky on Paris attacks, 2016 December: Chomsky: Humanity Faces Real and Imminent Threats to Our Survival, 2017 April: Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power (2016), 2017 July: Noam Chomsky: Neoliberalism Is Destroying Our Democracy

Patty [Oldenburg] Mucha Archive: New York City Art World in the Sixties & Seventies

Photograph by Robert McElroy of Patty in the Claes Oldenburg 1960 Happening "Circus: Ironworks & Fotodeath" at the Reuben Gallery.
"The Patty Mucha Archive features correspondence, manuscripts, artworks, documents and ephemera from a wild index of artists, poets, dancers and performers active in the era of Pop Art, Happenings, E.A.T., Yippies and Punk including: Olga Adorno, David Bradshaw, Joe Brainard, Gregory Corso, Jean Dupuy, Bob Dylan, Kenward Elmslie, Deborah Hay, Richard Hell, Jasper Johns, Ray Johnson, Ruth Kligman, Billy Klüver, Frosty Myers, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Clarice Rivers, Larry Rivers, Lucas Samaras, Carolee Schneemann and Andy Warhol to name a few. ..."
Granary Books

Saturday, October 14

Stellar Splendor: An Extraordinary Encounter

Skalnate Pleso Atlas of the Heavens
"There are different experiences of awe or great wonder in astronomy. The most staggering and momentous, I believe, comes during a total eclipse of the Sun. But the most peacefully (yet still stirringly) wondrous is the sight of a clear, dark sky filled with stars. Perhaps the best sky of this sort was one I observed 40 years ago this September. Across most of the contiguous United States, the least cloudy time of year runs from about late August through mid-October. Strong cold fronts move through frequently but briefly, temporarily pushing away clouds and haze. ... But some of the clearest and therefore most star-crowded nights I’ve experienced occurred in September or early October. Take a look at our October all-sky map on page 42 (October 2017 issue). ..."
Sky & Telescope

A Question of Degree / Former Airline - Wire (1979)

"... Even at their punkiest there was always something different about Wire. Their 1977 debut (Pink Flag) still sounds surprisingly fresh and minimal today (yep, I just listened to it), but it's from their 2nd album (Chairs Missing) that things really start to get interesting. Songs are deconstructed and reconstructed in wierd and wonderful ways. Jagged, Dissonant and Swirling guitar work-outs rub shoulders with shimmering pop songs of breath-taking beauty. 'A Question of Degree' is a single put out in 1978 between 'Chairs Missing' and the 3rd (and even better) album '154'. It is one of Wire's many moments of pop inspiration with an off-kilter center that leaves you feeling slightly queasy. Like much of Wire's output, it's similar to a David Lynch movie - misleadingly normal on the outside, but with an unsettling and slightly uneasy world view once you scratch below the surface. If only all pop music were like this. 'Former Airline' is experimental, abrasive, repetitive, and not for the faint of heart. - Smelsch"
Rate Your Music
Pinkflag: A Question Of Degree / Former Airline
YouTube: A Question of Degree, Former Airline

 2009 January: Wire, 2012 January: On the Box 1979., 2013 September: Chairs Missing (1978), 2014 June: 154 (1979), 2014 July: Document And Eyewitness (1979-1980), 2015 April: The Ideal Copies: Graham Lewis Of Wire's Favourite Albums, 2015 July: Pink Flag (1977), 2015 December: The Peel Sessions Album (1989), “Dot Dash”, "Options R" (1978), 2017 June: Outdoor Miner / Practice Makes Perfect (1979).

The Flint Militants

Workers keep a calendar during the Flint Sit-Down Strike.
"On February 8, 1937, John L. Lewis, leader of the fledgling Committee of Industrial Organizations (CIO), met with Frank Murphy, the newly elected governor of Michigan. Just over a month earlier — and just two days before Murphy started his term — hundreds of autoworkers had seized two General Motors (GM) plants in Flint, paralyzing the massive corporation’s production line. The workers’ new tactic — the sit-down strike — was threatening to fundamentally change the balance of power between workers and management. Recognizing what was at stake, GM cut the heat to the occupied plants, hoping the cold would break the sit-downers’ morale. But the strikers were determined to stay. They sent Murphy a defiant telegram in response to rumors that he might mobilize the National Guard to evict them, announcing that they would be pulled out dead before they walked out on their own. ..."
W - Flint sit-down strike
Flint Sit-Down Strike (1936-1937) (Video)
The Flint sit-down strike, 1936-1937 - Jeremy Brecher

Friday, October 13

Spirited Things: Sacred Arts of the Black Atlantic - Fleming Museum

"This fall the Fleming Museum of Art presents the exhibition Spirited Things: Sacred Arts of the Black Atlantic, drawn from the Sacred Arts of the Black Atlantic Collection (SABA) at Duke University. This collection is the product of 35 years of ethnographic research by J. Lorand Matory, Lawrence Richardson Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Director of the SABA Project at Duke University, and James Marsh Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont. The exhibition will include sacred objects from the Yoruba religion of West Africa, as well as Haitian Vodou, Cuban Santería, Brazilian Candomblé, and Caribbean Spiritism, faiths that emerged from the practices of enslaved Africans who blended their ancestral cultures with that of their captors. ..."
UVM - Fleming Museum
Art Review: 'Spirited Things: Sacred Arts of the Black Atlantic,' Fleming Museum
vimeo: On View: The Fleming Museum Presents Spirited Things

Sun Ra ‎– The Mike Huckaby Reel-To-Reel Edits Vol. 1

"Jazz is a process as much as a sound, one in which melodic variation and real-time interaction are paramount. It's also deep in the mix of all kinds of Detroit music—Berry Gordy opened and shut a jazz record shop before founding Motown, whose players laid down world-changing R&B as a break from their real jobs playing jazz in clubs. The Stooges and MC5 were as inspired by 'Trane and Ornette as by the Stones and Who. George Clinton took notes on the spaceways Sun Ra navigated. And Detroit dance music simply doesn't exist without fusion and astral jazz, as everything from UR's 'Jupiter Jazz' to Innerzone Orchestra's Programmed has made clear. Nevertheless, the mixing of jazz with dance beats tends to be a pretty iffy proposition—jazz rhythm tends to be looser than house or techno, their basslines generally serve very different sorts of functions, most dance producers are simply not ace improvisers, etc. That's one reason Detroit vet Mike Huckaby's new series of jazz re-edits is intriguing. ..."
Resident Advisor
Soundcloud: The Antique Blacks (Mike Huckaby Reel To Reel Edit)
YouTube: UFO (Mike Huckaby Reel-To-Reel Edits)

The Wretched of the Earth - Frantz Fanon (1961)

""A distinguished psychiatrist from Martinique who took part in the Algerian Nationalist Movement, Frantz Fanon was one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history. Fanon’s masterwork is a classic alongside Edward Said’s Orientalism or The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and it is now available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers. The Wretched of the Earth is a brilliant analysis of the psychology of the colonized and their path to liberation. ... Fanon’s analysis, a veritable handbook of social reorganization for leaders of emerging nations, has been reflected all too clearly in the corruption and violence that has plagued present-day Africa. The Wretched of the Earth has had a major impact on civil rights, anticolonialism, and black consciousness movements around the world, and this bold new translation by Richard Philcox reaffirms it as a landmark. ..."
Grove Atlantic
W - The Wretched of the Earth
[PDF] Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
Jean-Paul Sartre 1961 - Preface to Frantz Fanon’s “Wretched of the Earth”

Thursday, October 12

Catalonia: Past and Future - Luke Stobart

In Saint Julia de Ramis, police move in on crowds attempting to participate in the October 1 Catalan referendum vote.
"The battle around the October 1 independence referendum — called by the Catalan parliament but banned by Spain’s highest court — has become one of the most dramatic European developments in years. As result of attacks on polling stations that were occupied by citizens to guarantee the vote would take place, around nine hundred people were injured by police — including many elderly people and a man likely to lose an eye after being shot using a banned rubber bullet. In Catalonia the violence led to mass participation in a general strike two days later that managed to shut down most public transport, farms, docks, smaller shops, and the public sector — albeit helped in the last case by the Catalan government subsidizing lost pay. This was a political strike of the kind not seen since the struggles against the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. ..."

2017 October: Catalonia Leaders Seek to Make Independence Referendum Binding

Degas, Danse, Dessin. A Tribute to Degas with Paul Valéry

Edgar Degas, Seated Dancer
"On the centenary of his death, the Musée d'Orsay pays tribute to Edgar Degas (1834-1917) with an exhibition based around the little known work by the writer, poet and thinker, Paul Valéry (1871-1945). The friendship between Degas and Valéry lasting more than twenty years resulted in an essay published by Editions Vollard in 1937, Degas Danse Dessin. Both intimate and universal, it conveys a poetic, fragmentary image of the painter’s personality and his art, and a kind of meditation on the creative process. ..."
Musée d'Orsay
Poetry Foundation: Paul Valéry
[PDF] Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty

Jon Gibson - In Good Company (1992)

"Jon Gibson is probably one of the most important performers in Minimalist music. He primarily plays saxophone and clarinet, plus occasional flute. He played in the premieres Terry Riley's 'In C,' Steve Reich's 'Drumming,' was a founding member of Philip Glass' ensemble, and so premiered a whole lot of his early work, and has worked and recorded with LaMonte Young, Frederic Rzewski, Alvin Curran, and pretty much every major American Minimalistish composer who needed a reed player. As a composer he's somewhat less known, though his work is really up there with all of those guys. ..."
Incessant Noise (Video)
YouTube: In Good Company

Wednesday, October 11

John Coltrane Quartet - Live at the Village Vanguard (1962)

"This set documents the four-night stand by John Coltrane (sax) and his quintet at the Village Vanguard in New York City, November 1 -- 5, 1961. Although these are not newly discovered tapes -- as the majority of the selections have turned up on no less than five separate releases -- their restoration is significant in assessing motifs in Coltrane's [read: multi-show] live appearances. Coltrane is accompanied by an all-star ensemble of Eric Dolphy (alto sax/bass clarinet), Garvin Bushell (oboe/contrabassoon), Ahmed Abdul-Malik (oud), McCoy Tyner (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass), Reggie Workman (bass), Elvin Jones (drums), and Roy Haynes (drums). Their presence is as equally vital as Coltrane's -- inspiring as well as informing the dimensions of improvisation. ... The highly recommended box set also includes a nine-panel fold out poster, 48-page liner notes booklet -- with a complete discography for the included material -- and other ephemera, such as rarely published photographs."
W - Live at the Village Vanguard
YouTube: Live at the Village Vanguard 36:32

2011 November: John Coltrane Quartet, Live at Jazz Casual, 1963, 2012 March: John Coltrane 1960 - 1965, 2012 September: "Naima" (1959), 2012 October: Blue Train (1957), 2013 April: The World According to John Coltrane, 2013 November: A Love Supreme (1965), 2014 July: New Photos of John Coltrane Rediscovered 50 Years After They Were Shot, 2014 November: Coltrane’s Free Jazz Wasn’t Just “A Lot of Noise”, 2015 February: Lush Life (1958), 2015 May: An Animated John Coltrane Explains His True Reason for Being: “I Want to Be a Force for Real Good”, 2015 July: Afro Blue Impressions (2013), 2015 September: Impressions of Coltrane, 2015 December: Giant Steps (1960), 2016 January: Crescent (1964), 2016 April: The Church of Saint John Coltrane, 2016 July: Soultrane (1958), 2016 December: Dakar (1957), 2017 July: The John Coltrane Record That Made Modern Music.

The sadness of Saturn

An ultraviolet image of Saturn's rings. Ringlets shown in turquoise have a greater concentration of frozen water than those shown in red.
"If you live in a city and go outside every so often, there’s a decent chance that you might have, unknowingly, walked straight past someone who believes that you have personally laid eyes on Satan. The devil of Christian mythology — the one with the goat’s horns and the woman’s breasts, the adversary of God and humanity, the stinking and shuddering principle of evil — you have seen him, and again you didn’t even know it. You have seen the devil glimmer faintly in the night sky. You drew pictures of him as a child, or made papier-mâché idols, while your teachers grinned down on you. You have seen gorgeous photographs of the deceiver, the iridescent storms swirling infinitely deep on his surface, his crown of rings, his delicate lollipop bands — and maybe, with impossible eyes, he looked back at you. ..."
The Outline

2017 September: Cassini Flies Toward a Fiery Death on Saturn

The Lounge Lizards - Lounge Lizards (1981)

"One might be forgiven for mistaking the Lounge Lizards' debut album for a traditional jazz release at a glance, what with the two Thelonious Monk covers and the participation of producer Teo Macero (who had previously worked with such heavyweights as Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and Ella Fitzgerald, to name just a few). No, while there's definitely great respect shown here for the jazz tradition, the members are obviously coming at it from different backgrounds -- most especially guitarist Arto Lindsay, whose occasional atonal string scraping owes far more to his experience in New York City's no wave scene than to quote unquote traditional jazz. In fact, the two aforementioned Monk covers seem a strange choice when you actually hear the band, which has more in common with sonic experimentalists like Ornette Coleman or Sun Ra. That's not to say that this is too experimental; saxophonist and lead Lizard John Lurie knows when to blow noise and when to blow melody, and ex-Feelies drummer Anton Fier manages to infuse a good rock feel into the drum parts even when he's playing incredibly complex rhythms. ..."
W - Lounge Lizards
YouTube: Lounge Lizards 40:32

2012 July: The Lounge Lizards

Tuesday, October 10

ISIS Fighters, Having Pledged to Fight or Die, Surrender en Masse

Displaced people arrived at a security screening center in Dibis, Iraq. Islamic State militants fled there with their families after their defeat in Hawija, the group’s last major urban stronghold in the country.
"DIBIS, Iraq — The prisoners were taken to a waiting room in groups of four, and were told to stand facing the concrete wall, their noses almost touching it, their hands bound behind their backs. More than a thousand prisoners determined to be Islamic State fighters passed through that room last week after they fled their crumbling Iraqi stronghold of Hawija. Instead of the martyrdom they had boasted was their only acceptable fate, they had voluntarily ended up here in the interrogation center of the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq. For an extremist group that has made its reputation on its ferociousness, with fighters who would always choose suicide over surrender, the fall of Hawija has been a notable turning point. The group has suffered a string of humiliating defeats in Iraq and Syria, but the number of its shock troops who turned themselves in at the center in Dibis was unusually large, more than 1,000 since last Sunday, according to Kurdish intelligence officials. ..."
NY Times (Video)

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, 2017 May: Aleppo After the Fall, 2017 July: Iraqi forces declare victory over Islamic State in Mosul after grueling battle, 2017 July: The Living and the Dead.

Pascal Comelade ‎– Detail Monochrome (1982)

"Pascal Comelade was born in Montpellier, France. After living for several years in Barcelona, he made his first album, Fluences, influenced by electronic music and by the group Heldon. Subsequently, his music has become more acoustic and is characterised by the sounds of toy instruments, used as solo-instruments and as an integral part of the sound of his group, the Bel Canto Orquestra. In 2007 he did a Take-Away Show acoustic video session shot by Vincent Moon. He has collaborated with many singers and musicians from diverse genres of music including Robert Wyatt, Dani, Faust, Christophe Miossec, Toti Soler, Jac Berrocal, Pierre Bastien and P.J. Harvey to mention just a few."
Further Beyond Musicology
YouTube: Detail Monochrome 37:18

2014 June: Pascal Comelade, 2014 September: September Song (2000), 2014 November: El pianista del antifaz (2013), 2015 April: L'argot Du Bruit (1998), 2015 June: La Catedral D'Escuradents.

Clever Literary Coffee Poster

"Food illustrator Gianluca Biscalchin has combined two of our loves – coffee and books – into one fun illustration. Called Literary Coffee, it shows famous authors like Bram Stroker, Jane Austen, and William Shakespeare as cups of hot java (or other drinks). While many of these you'll know right off the bat, some you may have to look up to really get the inside joke."
Gianluca Biscalchin's website

Monday, October 9

Execution Still Haunts Village, 50 Years After Che Guevara’s Death

The laundry room at the hospital where Che Guevara’s body was displayed to the world. It has been turned into a memorial.
"LA HIGUERA, Bolivia — Irma Rosales, tired after decades of tending her tiny store, sat back one morning with a box full of photos and remembered the stranger who was shot in the local schoolhouse 50 years ago. His hair was long and greasy, she said; his clothes so dirty that they might have belonged to a mechanic. And he said nothing, she recalled, when she brought him a bowl of soup not long before the bullets rang out. Che Guevara was dead. Monday marks a half-century since the execution of Guevara, the peripatetic Argentine doctor, named Ernesto at birth, who led guerrilla fighters from Cuba to Congo. He stymied the United States during the Bay of Pigs invasion, lectured at a United Nations lectern and preached a new world order dominated by those once marginalized by superpowers. His towering life was overshadowed only by the myth that emerged with his death. ..."
NY Times

2010 March: Che, 2010 December: Che Guevara in popular culture, 2012 September: The Motorcycle Diaries, 2015 August: ¡Cuba, Cuba! 65 Years of Photography, 2016 September: Che - Steven Soderbergh (2008)

Sings Reign Rebuilder - Set Fire to Flames (2001)

Wikipedia - "Sings Reign Rebuilder is the debut album of the Canadian band Set Fire to Flames. It was released by Alien8 Recordings, FatCat Records in 2001. An underlying concept in the work is the lyingdyingwonderbody, which consist of spoken word passages dealing with theoretical and political concepts that concern global climate and love. The album was recorded in a century old house (either named or later dubbed 15 Ontario) apparently bound for destruction. From the liner notes: 'your bulldozers and wrecking ball can make match-sticks out of the rickety staircase and crookt/creaking floorboards---but they can't erase the recording that was made here.' As such, several sounds usually edited out of the recording process, including creaking floors, paper shuffling and outside noises, were left intact on the final album. ..."
allmusic (Audio)
YouTube: Sings Reign Rebuilder [Full Album] 1:13:33

One Sky By Women Who Draw

"On August 13, 2017, at precisely 12:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, 88 artists all over the world stopped what they were doing, looked up, and drew the sky. What each artist saw was unique to the time, the weather, and the place. The locations ranged from Tel Aviv to Brooklyn, Buenos Aires to rural Georgia. Some saw different hues of blue. Some saw black, pink, or gray. Some saw stars or clouds or fog or rain. Here it was summer. There it was night. In one place a fire left a heavy brown haze. Whatever sky the artist saw, they captured it on paper in their own unique style. They were, at that exact moment, separate skies. But when we view these drawings together, they become one far-stretching, simultaneous world view. They become a portrait of one shared sky. —Wendy MacNaughton and Julia Rothman, co-founders of Women Who Draw
One Sky By Women Who Draw

Sunday, October 8

How Bernstein shook up the status quo with ‘On the Waterfront’

"In his autobiography A Life (1988), director Elia Kazan outlined the reasons 'On the Waterfront' (1954), universally regarded as his greatest film, was a success. ... Curiously, Kazan failed to mention Leonard Bernstein’s music, the only score that the American composer-conductor ever wrote specifically for a film. 'On the Waterfront' received 12 Academy Award nominations, including one for its score; it won eight Oscars, including best picture, director, screenplay, cinematography, and of course, actor. ... With its tortured history, however, 'On the Waterfront' was a surprising Oscar winner, and remains a polarizing film in some quarters to this day. Many viewed the film’s subject — corruption on the East Coast docks — as Kazan’s allegorical response to his naming names during the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings in 1952. Because of Kazan’s pariah status, Brando and Bernstein initially refused to work with him on 'Waterfront.' As newcomers, Eva Marie Saint (as Edie Doyle, Terry’s love interest) and Rod Steiger (as Charley, Terry’s brother, and underling of corrupt union boss Johnny Friendly, played by Lee J. Cobb) presumably were in no position to object to Kazan’s politics. ..."
Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Audio)
Leonard Bernstein - On the Waterfront
On The Morality Of 'On The Waterfront' (Video)
LA PHIL: On the Waterfront (complete film with live orchestra)
W - Leonard Bernstein
YouTube: Symphonic Suite from 'On the Waterfront' 19:41

2015 January: On the Waterfront - Elia Kazan (1954)

Interview with Lucy R. Lippard

"Lucy R. Lippard interviewed at her summer home in Maine. Lippard discusses the emergence of Conceptual Art and the related exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum’s Sackler Center for Feminist Art. For more, read Lippard’s 500 Words."
vimeo: Interview with Lucy R. Lippard

2012 October: Materializing "Six Years": Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art

K Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas - The Blue Album (1976)

"Out of the Afrobeat/Highlife capital of the USA – Minneapolis, MN – come two reissues of mid-1970s Ghanian music. Of course, I’m joking in regards to Minneapolis, but in all seriousness, Secret Stash has become a reissue label to look for. Not content to focus on any one genre, they’ve also tackled Peruvian, Persian, and even porno groove titles to name a few. Secret Stash’s output is primarily deluxe vinyl (along with deluxe packaging) and digital only with the one exception being the first Peña which saw the label’s only CD release. K Frimpong And His Cubano Fiestas’ self-titled album and The Blue Album, aptly titled due to the shading on the album cover, were back-to-back titles issued in 1976 (The Blue Album) and 1977 (self-titled). ..."
REVIVE (Video)
YouTube: The Blue Album 37:46

Saturday, October 7

Walden Wasn’t Thoreau’s Masterpiece

"In late 1849, two years after Henry David Thoreau left Walden Pond—where he had lived for two years, two months, and two days in a cabin that he had built himself—he began the process of completely reorienting his life again. His hermit-style interlude at the pond had attracted quite a bit of attention in his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts. 'Living alone on the pond in ostentatious simplicity, right in sight of a main road,' his latest biographer, Laura Dassow Walls, writes, 'he became a spectacle,' admired by some and belittled by others. Thoreau’s subsequent life change was less conspicuous. Yet it engaged him in a quest more enlightening and relevant today than the proud asceticism he flaunted throughout Walden, a book that has never ceased to inspire reverence or provoke contempt. ..."
The Atlantic (Audio)

2009 April: Henry David Thoreau, 2012 September: Walden, 2015 March: A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), 2017 March: Civil Disobedience (1849), 2017 April: The Maine Woods (1864), 2017 June: This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal, 2017 July: Pond Scum - Henry David Thoreau’s moral myopia. By Kathryn Schulz, 2017 July: Walden, a Game

L'Avventura - Michelangelo Antonioni (1960)

Wikipedia - "L'Avventura (English: The Adventure) is a 1960 Italian film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and starring Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, and Lea Massari. Developed from a story by Antonioni, the film is about a young woman's disappearance during a boating trip in the Mediterranean. Her lover and her best friend, during the subsequent search for her, become attracted to each other. The film is noted for its careful pacing, which puts a focus on visual composition and character development, as well as for its unusual narrative structure. According to an Antonioni obituary, the film 'systematically subverted the filmic codes, practices and structures in currency at its time.' Filmed on location in Rome, the Aeolian Islands, and Sicily in 1959 under difficult financial and physical conditions, L'Avventura made Monica Vitti an international star. ... L'Avventura influenced the visual language of cinema, changing how subsequent films looked, and has been named by some critics as one of the best ever made. However, it has been criticized by others for its seemingly uneventful plot and slow pacing, along with the existentialist themes. Youngblood has stated that 'very few films in the history of cinema have broken the standard rules of cinematic grammar so elegantly, so subtly, as this film.' Jonathan Rosenbaum has called it a masterpiece. ..."
NY Times - 'L'Avventura':Film by Michelangelo Antonioni Opens (April 5, 1961)
Roger Ebert
MUBI: L'Avventura (Video)
YouTube: Three Reasons: L'avventura, DEAR ANTONIONI... : from a letter by Roland Barthes (1997)

2011 September: Red Desert (1964), 2014 December: The Passenger (1975), 2017 April: Blow-Up (1966)

Enter the The Cornell Hip Hop Archive: A Vast Digital Collection of Hip Hop Photos, Posters & More

"The music and the culture of hip-hop are inseparable from the Bronx, Queens, Harlem, and Brooklyn, NY. And now that the form is a global culture that exists in online spaces as much as it does where people meet and shake hands, its documentary history may be more valuable than ever. Hip-Hop began, unquestionably, as a regional phenomenon, and its formal qualities always bear the traces of its matrix, a confluence of African-American, Caribbean, and Latin American socio-cultural experiences and creative streams, meeting with new consumer audio technology and a drive toward countercultural experiments that took hold all over New York amidst the urban decay of the 70s. We know the story in broad strokes. Now we can immerse ourselves in the daily life, so to speak, of early hip hop, thanks to a partial digitization of Cornell University’s vast hip hop collection. The physical collection, housed in Ithaca New York, contains 'hundreds of party and event flyers ca. 1977-1985; thousands of early vinyl recordings, cassettes and CDs; film and video; record label press packets and publicity; black books, photography, magazines, books, clothing, and more.' ...”
Open Culture
The Cornell Hip Hop Collection