Sunday, April 23

Henry David Thoreau - The Maine Woods (1864)

"Henry David Thoreau was so emotionally attached to his home in Concord that he found it almost impossible to leave. In fact after 1837 he did so only for short periods--thirteen days on the Concord and Merrimack rivers, some visits to Cape Cod, three trips to the Maine woods, several months in Staten Island and in Minnesota. He was never alone on these excursions; always went with a friend or relative. He was one of the earliest climbers to the heights of Mount Katahdin, but that was a bold exception and he probably did not achieve the highest peak. The canoe trip of 325 miles he writes about in 'The Allegash and East Branch' in The Maine Woods was his most ambitious trip--and a hard one--but the book shows that for all Thoreau's enthusiasm for the wilderness he was sometimes lost and confused in the deep woods. The experience convinced him that he would never be able to live there on his own. The Maine woods were wilderness, but Thoreau emphasizes their proximity: they are only a matter of hours from easily accessible Bangor. ... - Paul Theroux - January, 2004"
Princeton University Press
NY Times: Tracking Thoreau Through Maine’s ‘Grim and Wild’ Land
The Maine Woods - an annotated edition

2009 April: Henry David Thoreau, 2012 September: Walden, 2015 March: A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), 2017 March: Civil Disobedience (1849)

Protesters Block, Demand Removal of a Painting of Emmett Till at the Whitney Biennial

Dana Schutz, Open Casket (2016)
"On Friday, the 2017 Whitney Biennial opened to the public and protesters showed up to physically block and voice their objections to Open Casket (2016), a painting of Emmett Till by Dana Schutz. According to protesters Parker Bright and Pastiche Lumumba —New York-based artists who went to the Whitney on opening day independently, meeting there for the first time — a white artist should not be permitted to use and profit from the image of a black man killed in a racially motivated crime. ... The Open Casket protesters said the response from museum visitors on Friday was largely positive. No guards interfered. Despite a few critiques of their blockage as an act of censorship — they were, after all, preventing the work from being clearly viewed — the protesters maintain that any conversation should not center on the painting itself, but rather on its content and the implications of who made it. ..."
New Yorker: Why Dana Schutz Painted Emmett Till (April 10, 2017)
NY Times: White Artist’s Painting of Emmett Till at Whitney Biennial Draws Protests
Hyperallergic: In Fake Letter, “Dana Schutz” Demands Removal of Controversial Painting from Whitney Biennial

Alton Ellis ‎– Rise And Fall / Earl Sixteen - Make Up Your Mind

"Taken from the recently reissued 'Many Moods Of Alton Ellis' album and produced by Earl 'Heptone' Morgan this is roots flavoured Alton with some great Heptones harmonies on a cut to Earl 16's 'The World Has Just Begun'. Second side features Earl himself on a treatment of the wicked rhythm used for Junior Delgado's 'Don't Study Wrong'."
Dub Vendor
Podomatic (Video)
YouTube: Alton Ellis ‎– Rise And Fall, Earl Sixteen - Make Up Your Mind

Saturday, April 22

James White And The Blacks - Contort Yourself / (Tropical) Heatwave full 12” (1979)

"Consult your average pop-culture oriented magazine these days and you'll see bands slogging through three musical styles being hyped. Unless those magazines are wallowing in electro and the Strokes or are so advanced they're already promoting the big Dietrich Buxtehude revival, those three styles would be: No Wave, JazzFunkPunk, and DiscoPunk. The father of fusing jazz, funk, disco, punk and noise into hyperkinetic, literate, menacing, danceable music, the man with three better band names on his resume than you, the sax maniac himself, is none other than - drum roll please - James Chance. ... By the turn of the decade, as James White and the Blacks, Chance and some Contortions had even managed to elevate disco without denigrating their funk. Today alive and well in New York, James Chance is a huge hero for anyone interested in anarchic music."
ZE Records (Video)
YouTube: Contort Yourself / (Tropical) Heatwave full 12”

2009 December: James Chance, 2011 December: No New York, 2014 July: No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980, 2014 July: Bush Tetras, 2015 January: Buy - James Chance and the Contortions (1979), 2015 July: James White And The Blacks - Off White (1979), 2015 October: Pat Place, 2016 January: Lost Chance (1981), 2017 January: Twist Your Soul: The Definitive Collection (2010).

How Liberals Fell In Love With The West Wing

"In the history of prestige tv, few dramas have had quite the cultural staying power of Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing. Set during the two terms of fictional Democratic President and Nobel Laureate in Economics Josiah 'Jed' Bartlet (Martin Sheen) the show depicts the inner workings of a sympathetic liberal administration grappling with the daily exigencies of governing. ... Nearly the same, of course, might be said for other glossy political dramas such as Netflix’s House of Cards or Scandal. But The West Wing aspires to more than simply visual verisimilitude. Breaking with the cynicism or amoralism characteristic of many dramas about politics, it offers a vision of political institutions which is ultimately affirmative and approving. ..."
Current Affairs

2014 September: A Definitive Ranking of Every Character on 'The West Wing'

Friday, April 21

Slug's Saloon

Wikipedia - "Slug's Saloon was a jazz club at 242 East 3rd Street, between Avenue B and C in Manhattan's Lower East Side, operating from the mid-1960s to 1972. The location, in what was then a run-down part of New York City, first hosted a Ukrainian restaurant and bar, and later a bar that served as a meeting point for drug dealers. ... The interior of the club was longer than it was wide and the bandstand all the way in the back. It could fit 75 people but often held twice that. The bar was on the left side as one entered the venue. The wooden sign that hung outside the venue was carved by James Jackson. During the mid-1960s it slowly started attracting regular jazz performances, developing a reputation as a musician's bar. ..."
Inside Slugs’ Saloon, Jazz’s Most Notorious Nightclub
NYBooks (Video)
Slugs Saloon (Video)
‘It Was a Joint’: Jazz Musicians Remember Slugs’ in the Far East

St-Henri, the 26th of August - Shannon Walsh (2011)

"There have always been attempts to contemplate human being by focusing on the bits of life contained within recordings of certain times and spaces. In 1962, several Canadian filmmakers of the direct cinema group announced À St-Henri le 5 Septembre, a documentary film that recorded a day on a street in St-Henri, Montreal, on the 5th of September. ... St-Henri is a typical suburban location, only a little outdated. ... The date is August 26th in St-Henri. To the people living in it, it is not just a date. Through that day, the past and the future reveal themselves and I, you and we share the day together. This film conveys this simple message in the most beautiful way, in a glittering ode to life itself."
DMZ Docs (Video)
Art Threat (Video)
Parabola Films (Video)
YouTube: St-Henri, the 26th of August - Trailer
W - St-Henri
Why Montreal's St-Henri Is The New And Improved Plateau
St. Henri – A Gentrification in Progress

2013 October: Montreal Metro, 2014 July: Montreal, tales of gentrification in a bohemian city, 2016 August: Montreal-style bagel

Cigars of the Pharaoh (1934)

Wikipedia - "Cigars of the Pharaoh (French: Les Cigares du Pharaon) is the fourth volume of The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. Commissioned by the conservative Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle for its children's supplement Le Petit Vingtième, it was serialised weekly from December 1932 to February 1934 before being published in a collected volume by Casterman in 1934. The story tells of young Belgian reporter Tintin and his dog Snowy, who are travelling in Egypt when they discover a pharaoh's tomb filled with dead Egyptologists and boxes of cigars. Pursuing the mystery of these cigars, they travel across Arabia and India, and reveal the secrets of an international drug smuggling enterprise. ..."
Cigars of the Pharaoh
Cigars of the Pharaoh
DailyMotion: Cigars of the Pharaoh 46:18

2008 May: Georges Remi, 1907-1983, 2010 July: The Adventures of Tintin: Breaking Free, 2011 December: Prisoners of the Sun, 2012 January: Tintin: the Complete Companion, 2012 December: Snowy, 2015 August: The Black Island (1937), 2015 September: King Ottokar's Sceptre (1938), 2015 December: Red Rackham's Treasure (1943), 2016 July: Captain Haddock.

Thursday, April 20

Travelers of Al-Andalus, Part I: The Travel Writer

"According to later chroniclers, if they can be believed, the adventure of Ibn Jubayr, one of the most illustrious rahhala, or travelers, from Al-Andalus to destinations throughout the Mediterranean and farther east, began in the year 1183 with a repugnant challenge. To name him in full, Abu al-Husayn Muhammad ibn Ahmad Ibn Jubayr al-Kinani served as secretary in the palace of Granada’s governor, Abu Said Osman, son of the first Almohad caliph, Abd al-Mu’min. As the story goes, at one point while dictating a letter, the prince coerced him to drink seven cups of wine, forbidden to Muslims. In exchange, the prince granted him seven cups of gold dinars. To seek expiation of his sin—and perhaps to make a hasty exit from the court—this otherwise most pious Muslim scholar set out to fulfill one of the five pillars of Islam by making the long pilgrimage to Makkah. ..."
Aramco World

2016 March: Travelers of Al-Andalus, Part VI: The Double Lives of Ibn al-Khatib

Bad as Me - Tom Waits (2011)

"Bad as Me is Tom Waits' first collection of new material in seven years. He and Kathleen Brennan -- wife, co-songwriter, and production partner -- have, at the latter's insistence, come up with a tight-knit collection of short tunes, the longest is just over four minutes. This is a quick, insistent, and woolly aural road trip full of compelling stops and starts. While he's kept his sonic experimentation -- especially with percussion tracks -- Waits has returned to blues, rockabilly, rhythm & blues, and jazz as source material. Instead of sprawl and squall, we get chug and choogle. ... Bad as Me is an aural portrait of all the places he's traveled as a recording artist, which is, in and of itself, illuminating and thoroughly enjoyable."
W - Bad as Me
NY Times: A Grizzled Troubadour Dusts Off His Bowler
Guardian - Tom Waits: 'I look like hell but I'm going to see where it gets me'
YouTube: Bad As Me (Live)
YouTube: Bad As Me full album 54:29

2012 July: Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards, 2013 March: Burma Shave, 2013 May: "Ol' '55", 2013 July: The Heart of Saturday Night (1974), 2014 January: Blood Money, 2014 March: Telephone call from Istanbul (1987), 2014 November: Rain Dogs (1985), 2015 February: Mule Variations (1999), 2015 April: Swordfishtrombones (1983), 2015 July: Alice (2002), 2015 September: Tom Waits On The Tube Live UK TV 1985, 2015 December: Franks Wild Years (1987), 2016 January: "Bad as Me" (2011), 2016 April: 'It's perfect madness', 2016 May: Real Gone (2002), 2016 October: Tom Waits Sings and Tells Stories in "Tom Waits: A Day in Vienna", a 1979, 2017 January: Bone Machine (1992).

Botticelli and the Search for the Divine

"Perhaps more than any other painter, Sandro Botticelli (about 1445–1510) exemplifies the artistic achievement of Renaissance Florence in the 15th century. Botticelli and the Search for the Divine, organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary and Italy’s Metamorfosi Associazione Culturale, explores the dramatic changes in the artist’s style and subject matter—from poetic depictions of classical gods and goddesses to austere sacred themes—reflecting the shifting political and religious climate of Florence during his lifetime. At the height of his career, Botticelli was supported by the powerful Medici family, headed by Lorenzo the Magnificent. ..."
MFA: Botticelli and the Search for the Divine

Wednesday, April 19

Blow-Up - Michelangelo Antonioni (1966)

Wikipedia - "Blowup, or Blow-Up, is a 1966 British-Italian film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni about a fashion photographer, played by David Hemmings, who believes he has unwittingly captured a murder on film. It was Antonioni's first entirely English-language film. The film also stars Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, John Castle, Jane Birkin, Tsai Chin and Gillian Hills as well as sixties model Veruschka. ... Bosley Crowther, film critic of The New York Times, called it a 'fascinating picture, which has something real to say about the matter of personal involvement and emotional commitment in a jazzed-up, media-hooked-in world so cluttered with synthetic stimulations that natural feelings are overwhelmed'. ..."
Roger Ebert
Guardian - My favourite film: Blow-Up
Criterion (Video)
Guardian - 'Debauchery all night': the Guardian's original review of Blow-Up (Video)
Vanity Fair - Photos: Antonioni’s Blow-Up and Swinging 1960s London
YouTube: Blow-Up Trailer 1966 Extended Version, Tennis, Modernism and Post-Modernism | An Analysis of Blow-Up

2011 September: Red Desert (1964), 2014 December: The Passenger (1975)

Winter in America - Gil Scott-Heron / Brian Jackson (1974)

Wikipedia "Winter in America is a studio album by American vocalist Gil Scott-Heron and keyboardist Brian Jackson, released in May 1974 on Strata-East Records. They recorded the album during September to October 1973 at D&B Sound Studio in Silver Spring, Maryland. While Jackson's piano-based arrangements were rooted in jazz and the blues, their stripped-down production for the album resulted in a reliance on more traditional African and R&B sounds. The subject matter on Winter in America deals with the African-American community and inner city in the 1970s. ... After the decline of popularity in traditional jazz forms during the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power movement, black pride and Afrocentric sentiment by many black Americans emerged. ..."
The Quietus - Cold Comfort: Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson's Winter In America (Video)
Revive Music
amazon, iTunes
YouTube: Winter in America (1974) (Full Album)

2017 January: Pieces of a Man (1971)

Boston’s “Hogmosh” of Neighborhoods, as Mapped by Bostonians

"Putting a neighborhood on a map is harder than it sounds. If you live in a neighborhood with a name, you probably think you know its boundaries. But do your neighbors agree? Does the local government? Probably not. While neighborhoods have roots in concrete things like topography, physical barriers, and architecture, they’re also reflections of the people and communities that reside in them. That leaves their precise location open to interpretation. ... The size of the resulting neighborhood discrepancies—and the degree to which people care about them—varies among cities. In a place like Boston, both of these factors tend toward the more extreme end of the spectrum. The city’s previous mayor described the neighborhood boundaries as a 'hogmosh of undefined lines,' a situation made more volatile by Bostonians’ attitudes toward their home turf. ..."
National Geographic
Mapping Greater Boston's neighborhoods
Neighborhoods as seen by the people

2010 February: Brattle Theatre, 2010 July: Café Pamplona, 2010 June: The Real Paper, 2012 June: John Lincoln Wright, 2012 October: Goodbye, alt-weeklies, 2013 February: House of Poesy: At the Grolier Poetry Book Shop, 2013 June: Arnold Arboretum (Harvard University - Jamaica Plain), 2013 March: Orson Welles Cinema, 2016 February: Club Passim, 2016 December: Boston busing desegregation 1974-1988

Tuesday, April 18

Cape Breton fiddling

Angus Chisholm 78 rpm Cape Breton Fiddle Record
Wikipedia - "Cape Breton fiddling is a regional violin style which falls within the Celtic music idiom. Cape Breton Island's fiddle music was brought to North America by Scottish immigrants during the Highland Clearances. These Scottish immigrants were primarily from Gaelic-speaking regions in the Scottish Highlands and the Outer Hebrides. Although fiddling has changed considerably since this time in Scotland, it is widely held that the tradition of Scottish fiddle music has been better preserved in Cape Breton. ... Cape Breton playing is highly accented, characterized by driven up-bowing. The tunes of other music origins (Irish, Canadian, French-Canadian, etc.) sound quite different when performed by Cape Breton players. The strong downbeat pulse is driven by the fiddler's heel into the floor. The pattern tends to be heel-and-toe on reels, the heel on strathspeys. ..."
The Cape Breton Musical Heritage Series
The Amazing Music of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
YouTube: Angus Chisholm - Cape Breton Fiddle, Angus Chisholm - Rodeo, A.A Gillis Johnnie Cope - Cape Breton, Donald MacLellan - Strathspey & Reel Cape Breton, W.H (Bill) Lamey - Scottish Reels, Alick Gillis - Go To The De'il And Shake Yourself, Margaree's Fancy, Villeneuve & Bouchard - Set du Lac St-Jean, Willie Kennedy traditional Cape Breton Fiddle (Live), Fiddler Robbie Fraser at the Red Shoe in Mabou N.S. (Live), Cape Breton Fiddle | John MacDougall (Live)

2015 October: History of the Acadians, 2012 February: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, 2012 December: Vanishing Cape Breton Fiddler, 2011 June: The Lost Salt Gift of Blood - Alistair MacLeod, 2016 February: Island (2001), 2016 October: Alistair MacLeod - No Great Mischief (1999), October: Nova Scotia Lighthouse

My East in Venice

Drawing of Venice from an account of a journey from Venice to Palestine, Mount Sinai and Egypt. From the collection of the British Library.
"Searching the Shatat. When you get to the train station, turn left and you’ll find it. Directions in Venice are always convoluted, and directions given by a relative in Jaffa about a place in Venice create an even greater web. But that’s all my uncle told me about how I could find some family members in the city. When I arrived at Venezia Santa Lucia train station, I went straight instead. I was drawn to the water, where the sunlight glistened like small fires. There, I could hear the ghosts of the Nakba—catastrophe—the mass exodus of Palestinians that occurred during the creation of Israel between 1947 and 1948. Some drowned, some were killed, some found refuge in places I’ll never discover. ..."

Siouxsie and the Banshees - "Hong Kong Garden" / "Voices (On The Air)" (1978)

Wikipedia - "'Hong Kong Garden' is a song by the English rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees. It was released as the debut non-album single by the band in 1978 by Polydor Records. The single quickly hit number 7 in the UK Singles Chart. In March 2005, Q placed it in its list of the '100 Greatest Guitar Tracks Ever' and British writer Colin Larkin qualified it as 'sublime'. The instrumental first version, called 'People Phobia', was composed by guitarist John McKay in 1977. The first time the band heard it, they were on a tour bus. The song was named after the Hong Kong Garden Chinese take-away in Chislehurst High Street. Siouxsie was quoted as explaining the lyrics with reference to the racist activities of skinheads visiting the take-away. ..."
Guardian - Old music: Siouxsie and the Banshees – Hong Kong Garden (Video)
allmusic (Video)
Genius (Video)
YouTube: "Hong Kong Garden", "Hong Kong Garden" (Live), Voices (On The Air)

Monday, April 17

Frock Flicks Guide to Merchant-Ivory Historical Films

"In the frock flicks pantheon, few lights shine brighter than the films of Merchant Ivory Productions. Typified by A Room With a View, these historical costume movies were often adaptions of Edwardian novels, showcasing some kind of disillusionment with love and/or society. Their heyday for frock flicks was about 1985 to 1995, although the pair of producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory made films together starting in 1963, with their frequent collaborator, screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. ... While the company made nearly 50 films, not all of them qualify as historical costume movies for our purposes. But plenty do, so it’s time to collect them all together in the ultimate guide to Merchant-Ivory films right here. ..."
Frock Flicks (Video)
The Film Comment Podcast: Merchant-Ivory and Howards End (Video)
W - Merchant Ivory Productions
Vanity Fair: Take a Journey to the Past with Merchant Ivory Mastermind James Ivory

Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond - Michael Nyman (1972)

"The book; Experimental Music Cage and Beyond (Nyman, 1999) was written by Michael Nyman in 1974 with a second edition appearing in 1999. Nyman is a composer directly influenced by, and practicing within the culture of late twentieth century minimalist music. Nyman’s career is laden with examples of working with filmmakers on soundtracks [especially Peter Greenaway] to create a symbiosis of moving image and music. He has also composed a huge repertoire of music for strings and more recently, operas. Nyman’s work is audibly influenced by the canonistic nature of baroque music. ..."
Concerning Temporality in Music
[PDF] Cambridge University Press - Experimental Music Cage and Beyond
[PDF] LOC - Experimental Music Cage and Beyond

2008 April: Michael Nyman, 2010 August: Decay Music, 2010 December: After Extra Time, 2011 August: Michael Nyman Band, 2011 December: The Draughtsman's Contract - Peter Greenaway, 2012 March: Time Lapse, 2013 July: Composer in Progress, In Concert (2010), 2015 September: An Eye for Optical Theory (Live at Studio Halle, 2010), 2016 January: Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds.

Illustrator Adolphe Barreaux Hard-Boiled Hollywood Heaven by Jim Linderman

"Robert Leslie Bellem did the words. Adolphe Barreaux did the art. Decades before Harvey Pekar wrote stories for others to illustrate, Bellem did the same, but his were goofy crime tales told in the Hollywood hills. Bellem was the auteur of the pulps...this one issue of Hollywood Detective is edited by Bellem, contains four articles by Bellem AND a 'Dan Turner in Pictures' cartoon done by the two. It's nuts...but it works if you care to immerse yourself in one man's odd vision of fictional crime (supported by another man's vision of the scene.) ..."
W - Dan Turner
The Thrilling Detective Web Guy
(Dan Turner) Hollywood Detective

Sunday, April 16

The Refugee King of Greece

“No risk, no life,” a teenage migrant told me, before jumping on a freight train.
"In the village of Ritsona, 50 miles north of Athens, razor wire dissects vineyards on a hillside. Inside the perimeter, crumbling concrete buildings and open fields, long abandoned by the Greek military, are now home to 700 refugees — some of the 50,000 or so trapped in limbo in this debt-ridden country since Europe slammed its borders closed a year ago. ... Ritsona is one of dozens of camps administered by the Greek government and aid agencies throughout the country. Refugees and migrants used to spend just a few days in the camps before traveling elsewhere in Europe, but in March 2016, the European Union put an end to that. All those who arrive in Greece are now indefinitely contained or sent back to Turkey. Conditions in the camps are unpleasant at best. ..."
NY Times

The Complete Reprise Sessions - Gram Parsons (2006)

"Truth be told, Reprise's 1990 single-disc two-fer of Gram Parsons' two solo albums -- 1973's G.P. and 1974's Grievous Angel -- was for most intents and purposes as close to The Complete Reprise Sessions as Rhino's triple-disc set of the same name. Parsons only recorded two full solo albums before his death in 1973, never living to see the release of the second one, and he didn't leave too much behind in the vaults, which were plundered in 1976 for Sleepless Nights and, in addition to an appealingly shambling, laconic, and lazy 1970 jam by the Flying Burrito Brothers, also contained three outtakes from the Grievous Angel sessions: 'Brand New Heartache,' 'Sleepless Nights,' and 'The Angels Rejoiced Last Night,' all included here. These were the only fully formed songs that didn't make the album, and the other outtakes were simply alternate takes of songs that did appear on the two albums. ..."
W - The Complete Reprise Sessions
No Depression
amazon, iTunes
YouTube: The Complete Reprise Sessions

2008 March: Gram Parsons, 2011 March: Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris. Liberty Hall, Texas, 1973, 2012 May: Sweetheart of the Rodeo, 2013 January: Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel, 2013 September: Flying Burrito Brothers - Live At The Avalon Ballroom 1969, 2014 February: The Gilded Palace of Sin - The Flying Burrito Brothers (1969), 2014 March: Burrito Deluxe - The Flying Burrito Brothers (1970), 2014 May: GP (1973), 2014 September: Grievous Angel (1974), 2015 October: Top 10 Gram Parsons Songs, 2016 November: Death of Gram Parsons, 2017 March: Sleepless Nights (1976)

The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology - Mary Ann Caws

"In 1951 Robert Motherwell published a collection of writings called The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology. Conceived as a sequel to that volume, Surrealist Painters and Poets: An Anthology does for Surrealism what Motherwell's book did for Dadaism. The concept and contents were discussed with Robert Motherwell and met with his enthusiastic approval. The essays, manifestos, poems, and texts in this anthology offer a composite picture of the Surrealists — their convictions, styles, and spirit — from the movement's beginnings in France just after World War I to its second flowering in America after World War II. ..."
Innovative Fiction Magazine
Google: The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology

Saturday, April 15

Kamasi Washington - Harmony of Difference (EP - 2017)

"By the time the Trump administration moved its war games into high gear this week, Kamasi Washington, the tenor saxophonist, had already issued a counterstatement. He posted 'Truth,' a 14-minute strafe of consonance, plurality and positivism, on his YouTube channel on Wednesday. If you’ve been to the Whitney Biennial, you may have already seen it; 'Truth' is the last and longest piece from Harmony of Difference, Mr. Washington’s multimedia suite, on display there through June 11. There are two chords in the whole tune; you won’t hear knotty questions being posed or conflicts being parsed. It’s macro-musical pacifism — a liberation theology for fearsome times. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO ..."
NY Times: The Playlist: Kamasi Washington Releases a Blast of ‘Truth’
YouTube: Truth 14:15

2015 December: The Epic - Kamasi Washington (2015), 2016 December: Throttle Elevator Music featuring Kamasi Washington (2016)

ABC No Rio

Wikipedia - "ABC No Rio is a social center located at 156 Rivington Street on New York City's Lower East Side that was founded in 1980. It features an art gallery space, a zine library, a darkroom, a silkscreening studio, and public computer lab. In addition, ABC No Rio plays host to a number of radical projects in New York City, including weekly hardcore punk matinees and the NYC Food Not Bombs collective. ABC No Rio seeks to be a community center for the Lower East Side, sponsoring projects and benefits for the community, as well as a center of radical activism in New York City, promoting do it yourself volunteerism, art and activism, without giving-in or selling-out to corporate sponsors. ..."
ABC No Rio
NY Times: ABC No Rio Gears Up for a Razing and a Brand-New Home
98Bowery - The Book: ABC No Rio Dinero: The Story of a Lower East Side Art Gallery (1985)
"This Is Hardcore Not ABC No Rio!" - Looking Back on 25 Years of DIY Punk in New York City (Video)

The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter - Incredible String Band (1968)

"The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter stands as the Incredible String Band's undisputed classic among critics and musicians alike -- ask Robert Plant, who touted its influence on Led Zeppelin's first album and general direction. Recorded and released in 1968, the album hit number five on the U.K. album charts, and was nominated for a Grammy in the U.S. It was produced by Joe Boyd, and engineered by John Wood using 24-track technology. Robin Williamson, Mike Heron, and Licorice McKechnie also utilized the talents of Dolly Collins (vocals, flute, organ, and piano), and David Snell (harp). Williamson and Heron employed a vast array of instruments on these songs including sitar, gimbri, pan pipe, oud, chahanai, mandolin, guitars, Hammond B-3, dulcimer, harpsichord, pan pipes, oud, water harp, and harmonica. The songs were much more freeform and experimental. ... The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter is the most ambitious, focused, and brilliantly executed record in ISB’s catalog."
W - The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter
Genius (Video)
YouTube: The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (Full Album) 50:13

2008 August: Incredible String Band, 2012 April: Troubled Voyage In Calm Weather - The Early Years of the Incredible String Band, 2014 April: The 5000 Spirits or Layers of the Onion (1967)

Friday, April 14

Music of the revolution: The Arab Spring soundtrack

"Where, today, is that revolutionary hope which filled the streets in 2011? In such desperate times of destruction, we turn to those who create. We look to those people who find the space in their hearts to create labours of love - yes, creativity and love are acts of revolution in an age of carnage and hatred. We look to the artists. We look to the musicians. We look to all those for whom resistance to the brutal savagery of violence comes by forging a new cultural heritage. It is a culture of resistance. It is culture as resistance. The beat of the Spring goes on..."
The New Arab (Video)
Islamic Voices: Music of the Arab Spring (Video)

2011 February: Raï, 2011 November: The Battle of Algiers (1957), 2012 February: An Intro To Rebel Hip-Hop Of The Arab Revolutions, 2013 March: Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of North African Literature, 2017 March: Algeria’s New Imprint

Michael Brownstein

"Michael Brownstein is a poet, a novelist, and an activist. Often associated with Beat writing and both the New York School and a second generation of New York School poets, Brownstein moved to New York City in 1965 and quickly became part of the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church. In his poetry and prose, Brownstein draws on shamanic and indigenous healing practices from South America as well as non-Western wisdom and mystic traditions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. He has published numerous collections of poetry, including Behind the Wheel (1967); Highway to the Sky (1969), which won a Frank O’Hara Poetry Award; 3 American Tantrums (1970); Strange Days Ahead (1975); and Oracle Night: A Love Poem (1982). ..."
Poetry Foundation
Poetry Foundation: April 1978
THE ENDLESS BOOKSHELF : simply messing about in books - 27-28 February 2011, ‘ a language of the mermaids ’

TV Slim (1916-1969)

"Oscar 'TV Slim' Wills's hilarious tale of a sad sack named 'Flat Foot Sam' briefly made him a bankable name in 1957. Sam's ongoing saga lasted longer than Slim's minute or two in the spotlight, but that didn't stop him from recording throughout the 1960s. Influenced by DeFord Bailey and both Sonny Boy Williamsons on harp and Guitar Slim on axe while living in Houston, Wills sold one of his early compositions, 'Dolly Bee,' to Don Robey for Junior Parker's use on Duke Records before getting the itch to record himself. To that end, he set up Speed Records, his own label and source for the great majority of his output over the next dozen years. The first version of 'Flat Foot Sam' came out on a tiny Shreveport logo, Cliff Records, in 1957. ..."
YouTube: Flatfoot Sam (1957), To Prove My Love (1958), Don't Reach Across My Plate (1959), Juvenile Delinquent, Hold Me Close To Your Heart, Gravy round your steak, Darling Remember (1957), Can't be satisfied, You Won't Treat Me Right (1968), Love bounce

Thursday, April 13

Diamonds Are Forever: Artists And Writers on Baseball

"A young lawyer I know, asked what it was like arguing before the Supreme Court for the first time, answered: 'Like playing in the World Series.' Baseball is America's language, even its glue. Or as the poet Donald Hall puts it in an introduction to this book: 'It is by baseball, and not by other American sports, that our memories bronze themselves. . . . By baseball we join hands with the long line of forefathers and with the dead.' Diamonds Are Forever, an elegant collection of text and artwork edited by Peter H. Gordon, a curator at the New York State Museum, with the assistance of Sydney Waller and Paul Weinman, is the color catalogue of a traveling exhibit. ... There is something to every taste in Diamonds Are Forever, with its excerpts from 55 writers ranging from Woody Allen to Ernest Hemingway to Carl Sandburg and works by 90 artists, including Andy Warhol, Jacob Lawrence and Elaine de Kooning. ..."
NY Times

Clyde Sinder, Minor League, 1946

From Paris With Love (L.U.V.) - New York Dolls

"This is yet another release of the New York Dolls' legendary Paris radio concert. Featuring 11 of their glam rock anthems in all their sweat-soaked glory, this album previews the sort of venom and energy that punk rock would later make its own. Fans of the band are advised to get this if they have not run across this concert on album before; it is one of the cornerstones of a New York Dolls collection. The New York Dolls created punk rock before there was a term for it. Building on the Rolling Stones' dirty rock & roll, Mick Jagger's androgyny, girl group pop, the Stooges' anarchic noise, and the glam rock of David Bowie and T. Rex, the New York Dolls created a new form of hard rock that presaged both punk rock and heavy metal. Their drug-fueled, shambolic performances influenced a generation of musicians in New York and London, who all went on to form punk bands. And although they self-destructed... "
amazon, iTunes
YouTube: From Paris With Love (L.U.V.) 13 videos

2015 June: New York Dolls (1973), 2016 February: David Johansen (1977), 2016 September: Too Much Too Soon - New York Dolls (1973), 2016 October: The David Johansen Group Live (2004)

From Stage to Page: Unpacking a Shelf of New Dance Publications

Melissa Toogood channels Pam Tanowitz’s choreography in Dance Ink.
"First, a bit of autobiography. Years ago I set out to write, to teach, perhaps to become a literary critic. Tortured by the need to sit still, I took dance classes to break up days at my desk, and was pointed toward dance journalism by a teacher who liked my reviews. Ditching grad school in English literature to write for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the alternative press, I decided to read all the dance books in the Vancouver Public Library: about eighty the day I counted them. 'Piece of cake,' I said to myself, figuring that when I was done I'd be ready to dive in to dance criticism. That was in another country, and another century. Now there are probably eight thousand dance books written in English, and so many piled up in my apartment that I've considered replacing my queen-size bed with a single to make more room for shelves. ..."
amazon: Trisha Brown: Choreography as Visual Art, Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer in California and New York, 1955-1972, Flowers Cracking Concrete: Eiko & Koma’s Asian/American Choreographies, Dance & Politics: Moving Beyond Boundaries
Dance Ink, Vol. 8, No. 2

Wednesday, April 12

The Baby Boomer War

New recruits for the Vietnam War being sworn in, in St. Paul, Minn.
"Of all the tropes about the Vietnam War, one stands out far above the rest in American memory: It was the baby boomers’ war. By the spring of 1967, most American soldiers being killed in combat had been born in 1946 or after. To understand the war, we have to understand what motivated that generation of Americans not only to protest but also to fight, and later to seek some sort of closure. Wars are far easier to initiate than to conclude. And for those who serve, the memories endure long after the fighting stops. ... Those born after the boomers may find it quaint to read about a president asking citizens to sacrifice, to 'pay any price.' Nonetheless, their parents or grandparents, the baby boomers, will most likely remember a brief shining moment of energized promise and of unfulfilled dreams. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: Vietnam '67

2008 August: Vietnam War Era Ephamera Collection, 2010 June: Flower power, 2011 September: Dispatches (1977) - Michael Herr, 2014 March: "Draft Dodger Rag" - Phil Ochs (1965), 2013 August: The Making of a Counter Culture - Theodore Roszak, 2014 May: Robert Dodge: Vietnam 40 Years Later, 2015 April: Last Days in Vietnam, 2015 May: Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence, 2015 June: The Weather Underground (2003), 2015 July: Ramparts, 2015 October: 1001 Ways to Beat the Draft - Tuli Kupferberg and Robert Bashlow (1966), 2016 February: The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, 2016 February: 1965-1975: Another Vietnam, 2016 June: Michael Herr, 1940–2016

France Rebels

LA France Insoumise march for the Sixth Republic in Paris, France on March 18, 2017.
"Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s campaign for the French presidency has exploded in recent weeks — reaching third, within touching distance of the second round in some polls. In addition to sending jitters through the financial markets, the success has transformed the French election, offering a left alternative to the battle between the establishment and the far right. But what are the politics of the campaign? And what is behind its success? The movement behind it, France Insoumise ('Rebellious France'), borrows from the Latin American and Spanish populist experience, most prominently exemplified by Podemos. Raquel Garrido, one of its national spokespeople, is a long-time comrade of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, having cofounded the Left Front with him in 2008. In this interview, translated by David Broder, she speaks to journalist Cole Stangler about the campaign and its aspirations for a Sixth Republic. ..."

2017 February: France, Without a Struggle, Is at a Loss

Pachucos: Not Just Mexican-American Males or Juvenile Delinquents

Zoot suit rioters celebrate after being acquitted, October 26, 1944.
"In partnership with the Vincent Price Art Museum: The mission of the Vincent Price Art Museum is to serve as a unique educational resource through the exhibition, interpretation, collection, and preservation of works in all media. 'Tastemakers & Earthshakers: Notes from Los Angeles Youth Culture, 1943 – 2016' is a multimedia exhibition that traverses eight decades of style, art, and music, and presents vignettes that consider youth culture as a social class, distinct issues associated with young people, principles of social organization, and the emergence of subcultural groups. Citing the 1943 Zoot Suit Riots as a seminal moment in the history of Los Angeles, the exhibition emphasizes a recirculation of shared experiences across time, reflecting recurrent and ongoing struggles and triumphs. ..."

2016 April: Zoot Suit

Tuesday, April 11

(Abandoned) Desire - Bob Dylan (1975)

"(Abandoned) Desire is the latest Bob Dylan release on Scorpio which features the quadrophonic edit of the album, several rare live performances and several outtakes including a never before heard variation of 'Joey.' Disc one contains the quadrophonic needle drop for Desire.  The label uses a very nice copy of the LP.  Only faint surface noise can be occasionally be heard. For a time in the mid-seventies many high profile LPs were release quadrophonic as well as the standard stereo and mono formats. This early attempt at an upgrade over stereo failed for many reasons.  But just as mono and stereo mixes might have discernible differences, it is the same with quadrophonic. ..."
Collectors Music Reviews
[PDF] Abandoned Desire booklet - DylanStubs
YouTube: Abandoned Desire (Desire Sessions, Edited) 1:26:57

1941: Chicago's South Side

"In the early decades of the 20th century, millions of African-Americans began leaving the rural South for the urban North in a mass exodus known as the Great Migration. For many fleeing the disenfranchisement, segregation, and racist violence of the Jim Crow South, the industrial hub of Chicago, with growing opportunities in the meatpacking and railroad businesses, offered the best prospects for self-determination. New arrivals encountered territorial resistance from entrenched white ethnic groups, particularly Irish-Americans. That, combined with racist housing covenants, led to the de facto segregation of African-Americans into a narrow strip of run-down neighborhoods on the city’s South Side which came to be called the 'Black Belt.' Despite these obstacles, African-Americans managed to shape the South Side into one of the urban capitals of black America. In the spring of 1941, Farm Security Administration photographer Edwin Rosskam visited the Black Belt, wandering the streets and photographing generations of black Chicagans."
New Yorker: The Uprooted
Twelve Million Black Voices - Richard Wright
Easter Sunday in Black Chicago, 1941: Russell Lee, Edwin Rosskam, & the Farm Security Administration

The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years 1868-1936 - Murray Bookchin (1977)

"The first of two volumes, this is a rich overview of Spanish anarcho-syndicalism from the time a disciple of Bakunin set up the Spanish branch of the First International as an anti-Marxist faction. Spain is known as the heartland of European anarchism, and Bookchin--after a lively mapping of agriculture, industry, and politics--maintains that this is not simply because of 'atavism'; the Spanish anarchists' love of 'direct action' embraced an enthusiasm for technology and morality. In the 19th century, the anarchists' mass base consisted largely of agrarian or marginal immigrant workers; later the CNT labor federation became the key anarchist center, with a million members by the eve of the Civil War. ..."
Kirkus Reviews
[PDF] The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years 1868-1936

2014 September: Anarchism in America (1983), 2015 August: The Prophet Farmed: Murray Bookchin on Bernie Sanders, 2016 October: Why Bernie Was Right, 2015 October: The Ecology of Freedom (1982), 2016 July: Murray Bookchin’s New Life, 2017 January: Reason, creativity and freedom: the communalist model - Eleanor Finley, 2017 February: Socialism’s Return.

Monday, April 10

The Conflicts Along 1,172 Miles of the Dakota Access Pipeline

"The 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline could begin transporting oil as early as Monday, after an appeals court refused an emergency order from two American Indian tribes to prevent its operations. The Department of the Army approved the construction of pipeline in early February to allow it to cross under Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, which has been the center of protests for months.The pipeline was originally projected to be in service by October 2016, but because of legal disputes about water safety, Native American lands and eminent domain, the project has been delayed until now."
NY Times

The Atlantic: Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Burn Their Camp Ahead of Evacuation (Feb. 22, 2017)
"... Treaties – in the case of DAPL, a series of mid-19th century treaties between the United States and the Great Sioux Nation collectively known as the Fort Laramie Treaties – are enshrined in the US constitution as the supreme law of the land, though the American government has too often treated those treaties as worth less than the paper on which they are written. We have seen in the short time since Donald Trump became president that civil society can use the tools of protest and resistance to change the path of American history in the face of injustice. ..."
Guardian - We can resist the Dakota pipeline through a powerful tool: divestment (April 2017)
Guardian - The western idea of private property is flawed. Indigenous peoples have it right

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

Frederick Wiseman: The Filmmaker Who Shows Us Ourselves

"One of the most important and original filmmakers working today, Frederick Wiseman has been making documentaries for 50 years. His movies are about specific places — institutions, organizations, cities and communities: the New York neighborhood of Jackson Heights; the coastal town of Belfast, Me.; the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind; American Ballet Theater; the National Gallery in London. What interests Mr. Wiseman is how these institutions reflect the larger society and what they reveal about human behavior. His documentaries can be long. The three- and four-hour running times might seem forbidding, but there is rarely a dull moment, in spite of the absence of conventional narrative. Very quickly, you find yourself absorbed in patterns and details as meaning emerges mosaic-like, surfacing moment by moment, encounter by encounter, in bodies and faces alone and in groups. ..."
NY Times (Video)
W - Frederick Wiseman
Zipporah Films
The Paris Review - Frederick Wiseman: The Tawdry Gruesomeness of Reality
An Interview With Frederick Wiseman
NY Times: Framing the Viewers, and the Viewed (Video)
NY Times: Jackson Heights Through the Eyes of Frederick Wiseman
New Yorker: Finding the American Ideal in Queens

Zuzu Bollin

“Two 78s in the early ‘50s and a 1989 rediscovery album don’t add up to much of a recorded legacy. But Zuzu Bollin’s contribution to the Texas blues legacy shouldn’t be overlooked – his T-Bone Walker-influenced sound typified postwar Lone Star blues guitar. Born A.D. Bollin, Zuzu listened to everyone from Blind Lemon Jefferson and Leroy Carr (on records) to Joe Turner and Count Basie. He picked up his nickname while in the band of Texan E.X. Brooks; seems he had a sweet tooth for a brand of ginger snap cookies called ZuZus. Bollin formed his own combo in 1949, featuring young saxist David 'Fathead’ Newman. After a stint with Percy Mayfield’s band, Bollin resumed playing around Dallas. In late 1951, he made his recording debut for Bob Sutton’s Torch logo. …”
Spotify, Grooveshark, YouTube: Texas Bluesman (1989)
YouTube: Headlight Blues, Why Don’t You Eat Where You Slept Last Night, Kidney Stew Blues, Stavin’ Chain, Cry, Cry, Cry, Blues In the Dark, Record Release 89 (LIVE), HOW DO YOU WANT YOUR ROLLIN' DONE