Wednesday, May 25

Which Rock Star Will Historians of the Future Remember?

"... But envisioning this process with rock music is harder. Almost anything can be labeled 'rock': Metallica, ABBA, Mannheim Steamroller, a haircut, a muffler. If you’re a successful tax lawyer who owns a hot tub, clients will refer to you as a 'rock-star C.P.A.' when describing your business to less-hip neighbors. The defining music of the first half of the 20th century was jazz; the defining music of the second half of the 20th century was rock, but with an ideology and saturation far more pervasive. Only television surpasses its influence. And pretty much from the moment it came into being, people who liked rock insisted it was dying. The critic Richard Meltzer supposedly claimed that rock was already dead in 1968. ..."
NY Times

Stephen’s Green

"St Stephen’s Green, known informally as Stephen’s Green or simply the Green, is a public park located in the heart of Dublin. Historically, that stretch of land which would eventually become St Stephen’s Green began its life as a marshy plot. The website for Ireland’s Office of Public Works notes that the 'name St Stephen’s Green originates from a church called St Stephen’s in that area in the thirteenth century' and that the area originally was used by the citizens of the city of Dublin to graze their livestock. ... In The Joycean Way, Bidwell and Heffer explain that the 'central portion was planted and lots… were distributed among some of the city’s more prosperous citizens. [The citizens] were not required to build, and for some time much of the south and east side was retained in agriculture and grazing' as it had been prior to its creation (140). ..."
Mapping Dubliners Project

2011 March: Passages from James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" (1965-67), 2010 March: Ulysses Seen, 2013 February: ULYSSES “SEEN” is moving to Dublin!, 2013: Dubliners, 2014 May: The Dead (1987 film), 2014 May: “Have I Ever Left It?” by Mark O'Connell, 2014 July: Digital Dubliners, 2014 September: Read "Ulysses Seen", A Graphic Novel Adaptation of James Joyce’s Classic, 2015 January: The Mapping Dubliners Project, 2015 February: Davy Byrne’s, 2016 January: Port and Docks, 2016 February: Hear James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake Read Unabridged & Set to Music By 17 Different Artists, 2016 April: Nassau Street.

BSA Images Of The Week: 05.22.16

"No time to talk, you’ve been running to the streets to see new pieces and peaches like a new D*Face in Soho, Rubin’s solo show in the Bronx, the Brooklyn-themed pop up at Doyle’s Auction house in Manhattan, Swoon and Shep and Swizz at Pearly’s in LA, the Social Sticker club collabo melee with Roycer and Buttsup at a bar in Williamsburg, and the growing collection of rocking new Coney Art Walls. Also, Post-It Wars in corporate agency-land Manhattan. Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 1Penemy, BG 183 Tats Cru, Bio, Bristol, Daze, D*Face, Eric Haze, Goms, Nicer, Nova, Pegasus, POE, Stikki Peaches, Thiago Gomez, and Word to Mother."
Brooklyn Street Art (Video)

Tuesday, May 24

The Hypnotic Clamor of Morocco

Moroccan musicians, 1959
"In 1931, a twenty-one-year-old American composer in Paris named Paul Bowles visited Morocco at the suggestion of Gertrude Stein. His travel companion was his composition teacher, Aaron Copland. They rented a home in Tangier, where Bowles, a composer of svelte, jazzy music in the Poulenc mould, wrote one of his first scores, an impressionistic piano piece called 'Tamamar,' after a village in the Atlas mountains. Copland was unsettled by the clamor of drums during wedding season, and thought Tangier a 'madhouse,' but Bowles was enraptured. He collected 78s of local music, just as he had collected old blues recordings back home, and sent copies to Béla Bartók. ..."
NYBooks (Video)
Music of Morocco: Recorded by Paul Bowles, 1959 (Video)
Paul Bowles in Morocco: The Lost Recordings (Video)
Pitchfork (Video)
YouTube: Si Mohammed Bel Hassan Soudani – Fulani Iresa (Marrakech), An unidentified ensemble - Gnaoua Chorus (Essaouira), Maalem Mohammed Rhiata and ensemble, from the region of Taounate - Taqtoqa Jabaliya (Fez), Maalem Abdeslam Sarsi el Mahet - Aiyowa d’Moulay Abdeslam Rhaita Solo (Arcila), Maalem Mohammed Rhiata and ensemble, from the region of Taounate - Taqtoqa Jabaliya (Fez), Rais Mahamad ben Mohammed and ensemble - Aouada Trio (Tamanar), Maallem Ahmed and ensemble - Ahmeilou (Tafraout), Maallem Ahmed Gacha and ensemble - Albazaoua Women’s Chorus (Ait Ourir)

2007 November: The Authorized Paul Bowles Web Site, 2010 February: Paul Bowles (1910-1999), 2011: January: Halfmoon (1996), 2013 July: Tellus #23 - The Voices of Paul Bowles, 2014 January: Let It Come Down: the Life of Paul Bowles (1998), 2014 March: The Sheltering Sky (1949), 2015 January: Things Gone & Things Still Here, 2015 October: The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles – a cautionary tale for tourists, 2015 November: The Rolling Stone Interview (May 23, 1974).


"The Full Set contains the complete range of 314 matt-finished colors. The system consists of 34 vivid hues (saturated colors), 100 tints (clean, light colors), 47 shades (dark, deep colors), 114 pastels (muted, or soft colors) and 17 grays from dark to light, plus black and white. Note that the Full Set has 114 pastels compared to 36 in the Standard Set. Pastels comprise the majority of colors we see around us and therefore form an important part in the study and application of color in art and design."

Monday, May 23

"Twenty-something" - Pet Shop Boys (2016)

"... A shot from the dark, a lightning bolt, a rattle of the cage: a great single can feel like all of those, and the Pet Shop Boys know that. They have plenty of them in the tank, after all, and their new one, 'Twenty-something', is full of their trademarks: a nagging, electronic riff, a proper narrative, oceans of melancholy just around the corner, and that vocal of Neil Tennant’s, unwithered by the years, simultaneously vulnerable and strong. The Pet Shop Boys’ singles, at their best, are like perfect short stories, giving quick glimpses into lives, appearing then disappearing, but lingering bright and long in the mind. ..."
Guardian: Pet Shop Boys' new video proves they're the ultimate singles band (Video)
YouTube: Twenty-something

2008 September: Pet Shop Boys, 2010 November: Pet Shop Boys - 1985-1989, 2011 January: Behaviour, 2011 May: Very, 2011 December: Bilingual, 2012 March: "Always on My Mind", 2012 August: Nightlife, 2012 September: "Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can't Take My Eyes off You)", 2012 December: Release, 2013 March: Pandemonium Tour, 2013 November: Leaving, 2014 April: Introspective (1988), 2014 August: Go West, 2015 January: "So Hard"(1990), 2015 February: "I'm with Stupid" (2006), 2015 July: Thursday EP (2014).

Barbizon through Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Marie-Thérèse Durand-Ruel Sewing, 1882
"The international tour of French nineteenth-century paintings from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute made its ninth stop at the Shanghai Museum. The Clark’s world tour has drawn more than 1.6 million visitors since it began in October 2010. Open to the public from September 18–December 1, 2013, the exhibition in Shanghai features seventy-three paintings, including works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, and Camille Pissarro, as well as those by Pierre Bonnard, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Paul Gauguin, Jean-François Millet, Alfred Sisley, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Jean-Léon Gérôme. Visit the Masterpiece Gallery to view the works included in the exhibition."
The Clark
The Clark: Slideshows
amazon: Great French Paintings from the Clark: Barbizon through Impressionism

2015 October: The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Spool's Out: Tape Reviews For April With Tristan Bath

Sketch for Winter VI: Other States - Danny Paul Grody
"From Polish underground techno to music made just using wine glasses - it can only be Tristan Bath's monthly exploration into the world of cassettes. TALsounds - the solo project of Chicago-based artist Natalie Chami - recorded an exclusive live session for Spool’s Out. We broadcast the thing a few weeks ago on the Spool’s Out radio show on London’s Resonance FM. The episode can still be streamed in full above. ..."
The Quietus (Video)
The Quietus: Spool’s Out with Tristan Bath: The Top 20 Tapes Of 2015 (Video)
The Quietus: Features

2013 December: Spool's Out: 2013's Best Tapes Reviewed, 2014 January: Spool's Out: A Cassette Reviews Column For January, 2014 March: Spools Out 3: A Cassette Reviews Column For March, 2014 December: Spools Out's Out: Tristan Bath's Top Tapes Of 2014.

Sunday, May 22

The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball - Roberto Gonzlez Echevarria (1999)

"... Baseball has been a source of pride for generations in Cuba, its love affair with the game almost as long and rich as that of the United States. Cuba's main exports once were sugar and major league ballplayers. But after Fidel Castro's takeover in 1959, Cuban baseball plummeted into virtual irrelevance, with only the occasional recent defector (such as the Yankees' Orlando Hernndez) reminding the world of the baseball talent and history Cuba retains, hidden beneath Castro's protective dome. Roberto Gonzlez Echevarria ventures inside that bubble with his history of Cuban baseball, The Pride of Havana. ..."
NY Times: Where Have You Gone, Martin Dihigo?
NY Times: The Pride of Havana - A History of Cuban Baseball By ROBERTO GONZÁLEZ ECHEVARRÍA

Sonny Rollins Plus 4 (1956)

"1956, Sonny Rollins was spiritually and physically rejuvenated. And on Sonny Rollins Plus 4, he's clearly inspired by Max Roach and Clifford Brown's depth of spirit. Multi-dimensional re-arrangements of popular songs were a Brown-Roach trademark. ... 'I Feel a Song Coming On' creates tension by alternating a vamp figure with a swinging release. Rollins takes an immense solo, contrasting chanting figures and foghorn-like long tones with Parker-ish elisions, and Brown answers with buzzing figures and daring harmonic extensions. ... On 'Valse Hot,' there's an early example of a successful jazz waltz as Rollins offers up one of his most charming themes.  ..."
W - Sonny Rollins Plus 4
LondonJazzCollector (Video)
YouTube: Sonny Rollins Plus 4 32:30

2012 September: The Singular Sound of Sonny Rollins, 2012 December: Village Vanguard, 2015 September: Rollins Plays for Bird (1957), 2016 February: Saxophone Colossus (1956).

Renée Cox

River Queen
Wikipedia - "Renée Cox (born 1960 in Jamaica) is a Jamaican-American artist, photographer, lecturer, political activist and curator. Her work is considered part of the feminist art movement in the United States. Cox currently lives and works out of New York. ... Renée Cox is known for her bold, politically motivated self-portraits. The photographs often play upon and subvert classical art historical images. Cox is famous for her two alter-egos Yo Mama and Raje, both bold, black women who are out to right the injustices of sexism and racism. As a student at Syracuse University Cox majored in Film Studies, but after graduating decided to devote her energy to still photography. She began as an Assistant Fashion Editor at Glamour Magazine and then moved to Paris to pursue a career as a fashion photographer. ..."
Renée Cox (Video)
Brooklyn Museum
Renee Cox: Challenging Stereotypes and Empowering Minorities Through Art
Fear of a Black God – Renee Cox’s Yo Mama’s Last Supper
YouTube: Renee Cox - Photographer, Political Activist & Curator 1:29:24

Saturday, May 21

The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner (1929)

"Two months ago, I started reading The Sound & The Fury by William Faulkner. And when I say reading, I mean hacking through its dense prose, line by disjointed line, progressing about two pages per day. I'm now about 150 pages in. But Faulkner's classic tale of a Southern family is a difficult book to end all difficult books. I didn't realize this when I started all those weeks ago. All I knew was that it had somehow wriggled free from my English Lit syllabus, and never came into my orbit since then. My progress has, however, been massively helped by a new edition from the Folio Society, which sees the first part of the book laid out in 14 different colors that represent different time zones in the narrative. ..."
NY Times: Benjy’s Red-Letter Days - ‘The Sound and the Fury’ in 14 Colors
Folio Society: The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
W - The Sound & The Fury
Guardian - Sarah Churchwell: rereading The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Sound and the Fury: Commentary
amazon - The Sound and the Fury: The Corrected Text
YouTube: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, p. 1 of 7 (audio book)

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).

The inside story of when Run‑DMC met Aerosmith and changed music forever

"It’s 1986. Rap music is explosive and on the rise but still misunderstood and barely represented in the mainstream. The leading innovators are Run-DMC, a trio from Queens who sport black leather jackets and unlaced Adidas sneakers. Two albums into their career, Joseph 'Run' Simmons, Darryl 'DMC' McDaniels and Jason 'Jam Master Jay' Mizell are already minor stars and musical revolutionaries. For their third album, producer Rick Rubin, a 22-year-old white kid from New York University, comes up with a crazy idea: He recruits Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, the leaders of the down-and-out arena-rock group Aerosmith, to collaborate with Run-DMC on a new version of their 1970s staple 'Walk This Way.' The rappers hate the idea. The rockers, struggling with drugs and low record sales, don’t know what to make of Rubin’s pitch. ..."
Washington Post (Video)
YouTube: RUN-DMC - Walk This Way

2014 October: Watch Rick Rubin Return to His NYU Dorm Room, 2015 October: "Classic (Better Than I've Ever Been)" - DJ Premier, Rakim, Nas & Krs-One (2007)

New Arabic Fiction: 5 Contemporary Short Stories

"On his last visit to Cairo, the German translator Hartmut Fähndrich was despondent about the lack of interest in contemporary Arabic writing, and he offered this interesting explanation of Western reluctance to engage with Arabic literature: 'I think [readers] fear that it will destroy The Thousand and One Nights image they have in their minds.' ... Another possible reason for Western lack of interest in Arabic literature is the perception that, as a culturally foreign backwater, economically and intellectually inferior, the Arab world can solicit only a political or anthropological interest, not a purely literary one. Books that do not pander to this preconception by presenting an exoticized or oversimplified pro-democracy perspective on Arab life are therefore ignored. ... –Youssef Rahka"
Literary Hub
Literary Hub: Arabic Fiction

Friday, May 20

Edward Hopper, "Night Windows," 1928

"At the New York School of Art, where Hopper was enrolled from 1900 to 1905, his teacher Robert Henri told his students: 'Low art is just telling things; as, There is the night. High art gives the feel of the night. The latter is nearer reality although the former is a copy.' Night Windows is one among many of Hopper's paintings that show how thoroughly he had absorbed this precept. Returning to the United States in 1907 from his first trip to Paris, Hopper found it 'a chaos of ugliness'; nevertheless, it was the contemporary American city that he was to make his particular theme. He did not perceive New York astir with human activity, like Henri, admire the dynamism of its traffic and skyscrapers, like Marin, or distill its structures into abstract patterns, like the Precisionists. ..."
—from An Invitation to See: 150 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, by Helen M. Franc
An Analysis of Edward Hopper
Edward Hopper’s Paintings With Humorous Connotations – “Night Windows” (1928), “Conference at Night” (1949) and “Room in New York” (1932)

Rapping, deconstructed: the best rhymers of all time

"There's a line in the first verse of MF Doom's track 'Beef Rapp' that encapsulates everything I love about rappers who create complex rhyming patterns in their songs. It goes like this: Whether it is animal, vegetable, or mineral / It's a miracle how he get so lyrical / And proceed to move the crowd like a old Negro spiritual. Not only is MF Doom talking about how he's a great rhymer, he's showing you. I spoke with Martin Connor, a writer and music theorist who analyzes the rhyming patterns, beats, and rhythmic techniques of some of the greatest rappers, to figure out just how rhyming in rap music has evolved.
Vox (Video)
Logic, Growing Pains, Rap Analysis (Video)
Spotify: The Prose of Rhyming in Rap (Video)

Emmett Williams

Hello Out There..., 1989
Wikipedia - "Emmett Williams (4 April 1925 – 14 February 2007) was an American poet and visual artist. He was married to British visual artist Ann Nöel. Williams was born in Greenville, South Carolina, grew up in Virginia, and lived in Europe from 1949 to 1966. Williams studied poetry with John Crowe Ransom at Kenyon College, anthropology at the University of Paris, and worked as an assistant to the ethnologist Paul Radin in Switzerland. As an artist and poet, Emmett Williams collaborated with Daniel Spoerri and German poet Claus Bremer in the Darmstadt circle of concrete poetry from 1957 to 1959. ..."
Emmett Williams
amazon: Emmett Williams

Thursday, May 19

Scaling the Heights: A Walk from the Base of Fort Tryon Park to W. 187th Street

"A walk along the high grounds of Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters south to Washington Heights equals any stroll in more publicized parts of New York City. Not that this area remains much of a secret these days. The motivation for my most recent stroll was prompted by a story published in The New York Times on March 28, 2014 titled 'Downtown Food Goes North.' The story suggests that Upper Manhattan, until recently, was a culinary wasteland, with nothing contemporary (i.e. local, artisan, farm-to-market) to eat. ..."
Walking Off the Big Apple
W - Fort Tryon Park

The greatest electronic albums of the 1950s and 1960s

"... Experiments with recorded electronic music actually date back to the 1940s (hell, depending on how you define “electronic music”, they date back to the 1880s). As early as the mid-1950s, predominantly electronic LPs were already being pressed, marketed and sold to a willing (if slightly confused) public. Half a century down the line, many of these records still sound fantastic. Some are fascinating relics with plenty to say to the contemporary listener; others sound impossibly ahead of their time. ..."
The Vinyl Factory (Video)
YouTube: The greatest electronic albums of the 1950s and 1960s

Hear the Music of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Played by the Experimental Band, Xiu Xiu: A Free Stream of Their New Album

"Last year, Colin Marshall highlighted for you the music of Xiu Xiu, the experimental post-punk band, which has traveled the world, playing their own interpretation of the music Angelo Badalamenti wrote for David Lynch’s early 1990s series, Twin Peaks. Our original post featured some of those live performances, and now comes a studio recording of those Twin Peaks interpretations. We’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you that you can stream the new album–called Plays the Music of Twin Peaks— free online. Just click play above. ..."
Open Culture (Video)

2008 September: Twin Peaks, 2010 March: Twin Peaks: How Laura Palmer's death marked the rebirth of TV drama, 2011 October: Twin Peaks: The Last Days, 2014 October: Welcome to Twin Peaks, 2015 June: David Lynch: ‘I’ve always loved Laura Palmer’, 2015 July: Twin Peaks Maps 2014 September: David Lynch: The Unified Field, 2014 December: David Lynch’s Bad Thoughts - J. Hoberman, 2015 March: Lumière and Company (1995), 2015 April: David Lynch Creates a Very Surreal Plug for Transcendental Meditation, 2015 December: What Is “Lynchian”?.

Wednesday, May 18

'Blonde on Blonde' at 50: Celebrating Bob Dylan's Greatest Masterpiece

"Happy 50th birthday to Blonde on Blonde, the most mysterious, majestic and seductive of Bob Dylan albums – not to mention the greatest. Recorded fast with Nashville session cats who were used to grinding out country hits, Blonde on Blonde has a slick studio polish that makes it sound totally unlike any of his other albums, with sparkling piano frills and a soulful shitkicker groove. Yet the glossy surface just makes the songs more haunting. Released on May 16th, 1966, Blonde on Blonde remains the pinnacle of Dylan's genius – he never sounded lonelier than in 'Visions of Johanna,' funnier than in 'I Want You,' more desperate than in 'Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again.' ... Blonde on Blonde is full of that 'not around' chill – Dylan mixes up the Texas medicine and the railroad gin for a whole album of high-lonesome late-night dread, blues hallucinations and his bitchiest wit. ..."
Rolling Stone
Looking back on Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, the record that changed Nashville
50 years ago, Bob Dylan made history, and The Washington Post missed it.
Esquire: Devils in the Details: 50 Years of Pet Sounds and Blonde on Blonde
Blonde on Blonde: The Record That Can't Be Set Straight
Rolling Stone: Inside Bob Dylan's 'Blonde on Blonde': Rock's First Great Double Album
BBC: Bob Dylan and the Manchester Free Trade Hall 'Judas' show
Bob Dylan's BLONDE ON BLONDE (1966) cover photo by Jerry Schatzberg
Dylan's Blonde on Blonde Turns 50: Here's a Track by Track Breakdown (Video)

2010 August: Blonde on Blonde (1966), 2013 July: Bob Dylan ‘Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands’ | Classic Tracks, 2014 December: "Johanna's Visions" - Melbourne 1966, 2015 June: The "Blonde On Blonde" Missing Pictures, 2015 April: "Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)" (1966), 2015 November: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965–1966

Post Captain - Patrick O'Brian (1972)

Wikipedia - "Post Captain is the second historical novel in the Aubrey–Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian, first published in 1972. It features the characters of Captain Jack Aubrey and naval surgeon Stephen Maturin in the early 19th century and is set in the Napoleonic Wars. During the brief Peace of Amiens, Aubrey and Maturin live in a country house allowing both of them to meet the women they eventually will marry. Then their life is turned upside down when Aubrey loses his money due to decisions of the prize court and a dishonest prize-agent. When the war begins afresh, Aubrey has a command, seeing action while gaining fewer prizes yet succeeding in his military goals. The emotions of his love life interfere with his ways at sea. ..."
NY Times: Patrick O'Brian's Ship Comes In
Out of his element: Patrick O’Brian’s Post Captain
The Paris Review: Patrick O’Brian, The Art of Fiction No. 142
Post Captain - The Patrick O'Brian Mapping Project

2009 September: Patrick O'Brian, 2013 July: Harbors and High Seas - Dean King and John B. Hattendorf, 2015 October: HMS Surprise (1973)

Stephen Powers Puts the Writing on the Wall

The three framed pictures above, with allusions to both advertising and sign painting.
"When the muralist and painter Stephen Powers was 15, his father left the family. The following year, in a fit of restlessness, Powers took to spraying 'ESPO' on the rooftops in his West Philadelphia neighborhood. He liked the shape of the letters, though he had not yet decided what they meant. It was 1984, and his brother Larry, ten years older than him and now the man of the house, had one rule and it came down like a decree from the pope: Powers could get into any kind of trouble he wanted to out on the street, 'But if you’re sloppy enough that the trouble comes home,' Powers remembers Larry telling him, 'Then you’re not doing it right, and I’m going to kick your ass.' Powers went along with Larry’s rule until he accidentally discovered a loophole. ..."
Testifying on the Walls: A Street Artist’s Urban Love Letters
W - Stephen Powers
Steve Powers: From Coney Island to Proverb King
vimeo: A Love Letter For You

Tuesday, May 17

Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession - Joe Mansfield

"Joe Mansfield's 200-page Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession coffee-table book features 75 drum machines from the author's personal collection, with more than 200 photos by Award Winning photographer Gary Land and Foreword by Dave Tompkins. It all started with one machine. The location was Boston, Mass. The year was 1986. The 'beat box' in question was the TR-808. Almost three decades later, Mansfield's obsession with drum machines has finally spilled out of his home and climate-controlled storage space into the world at large. ..."
Get On Down
Slate: Select-a-Rhythm
The Wire
YouTube: Beat Box : A Drum Machine Obsession, Record Store Day Edition With DJ LayZBoy, Roland TR 808, Oberheim DMX, TR 909, etc.
YouTube: Talking Heads - Psycho Killer, Boogie Down Productions- South Bronx, The way you move - Outkast Ft Sleepy Brown, Schoolly D- PSK, What Does It Mean?, Michael Jackson - Bad, Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight, R.E.M. - Everybody Hurts

The Other America - Michael Harrington (1962)

Wikipedia - "The Other America is Michael Harrington's (1928 - 1989) best known, and likely most influential book. Harrington was an American democratic socialist, writer, political activist, political theorist, professor of political science, radio commentator and founding member of the Democratic Socialists of America. Harrington believed that American Socialists could support certain Democratic Party candidates, including candidates for President. The book was a study of poverty in the United States, published in 1962 by Macmillan. It found a small but emerging audience in an America that was developing a greater self-awareness after the struggles of WWII and the Korean War. ..."
50 Years Later: Poverty and The Other America
NY Times - Michael Harrington: Warrior on Poverty
Seeing What No One Else Could See


"FOTR this week is Brooklyn’s own, DJ A.Vee. He’s also our guest this Saturday at The Bell House for the April edition of The Rub. A.Vee’s been grinding through the club and mixtape circuit for what seems like forever and his history has him tied to such industry icons such as DJ Jazzy Jeff and Prince Paul. He’s spent time as a resident on Shade45 and DJ’d all over the world. And this Saturday he touches down in the front room for what’s sure to be a very special (and purple) edition of The Rub. You definitely don’t want to miss it."
The Rub (Video)

Monday, May 16

Unearthing the Secrets of New York’s Mass Graves

"Over a million people are buried in the city’s potter’s field on Hart Island. A New York Times investigation uncovers some of their stories and the failings of the system that put them there. Twice a week or so, loaded with bodies boxed in pine, a New York City morgue truck passes through a tall chain-link gate and onto a ferry that has no paying passengers. Its destination is Hart Island, an uninhabited strip of land off the coast of the Bronx in Long Island Sound, where overgrown 19th-century ruins give way to mass graves gouged out by bulldozers and the only pallbearers are jail inmates paid 50 cents an hour. There, divergent life stories come to the same anonymous end. ..."
NY Times
W - Hart Island
Hart Island Project
NPR: Relatives Of Deceased Push For More Access To NYC Potter's Field
YouTube: This Is Hart Island (Video)

Floyd Jones

Floyd Jones, Homesick James, 1979
Wikipedis - "Floyd Jones (July 21, 1917 – December 19, 1989) was an American blues singer, guitarist and songwriter, who is significant as one of the first of the new generation of electric blues artists to record in Chicago after World War II. ... Notably for a blues artist of his era, several of his songs have economic or social themes, such as 'Stockyard Blues' (which refers to a strike at the Union Stock Yards), 'Hard Times' and 'Schooldays'. ... In Chicago, Jones took up the electric guitar and was one of the numerous musicians playing on Maxwell Street and in nonunion venues in the late 1940s who played an important role in the development of the postwar Chicago blues. This group included Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers, both of whom went on to become mainstays of the Muddy Waters band, and Snooky Pryor, Jones's cousin Moody Jones and the mandolin player Johnny Young. ..."
American Music
Blues from the Streets of ‘The Other America’
YouTube: Dark Road, Stockyard Blues, Floyd Jones and Eddie Taylor- Hard Times, WALTER HORTON & FLOYD JONES - TALK ABOUT YOUR DADDY, Early Morning, On The Road Again, Playhouse, Big World, Schooldays on my Mind, Skinny mama, On The Road Again

Ethiopia’s Boom Times

"Ethiopia has a new nickname: 'The African Lion.' Like China ('The Asian Dragon'), Ethiopia’s economy is growing: 10 percent annually from 2003 to 2014. But the moniker also has less savory connotations. Ethiopia’s economic expansion is taking place against a backdrop of privatization, immiseration, and incursions on democratic rights. On the one hand, the government has undertaken huge infrastructure projects, like the construction of the two largest dams in Africa (funded in part by foreign investment). On the other, it sells locally owned land to large multinational corporations at low prices and exiles or imprisons journalists critical of the deals. ..."
NY Times: Ethiopia, Long Mired in Poverty, Rides an Economic Boom (March 2015)
YouTube: Building boom offers hope to Ethiopia's economic growth (2014), Ethiopia Construction Boom (2014)

Sunday, May 15

Roberto Burle Marx

Walking on the roof garden of the Safra Bank in the Rua Consolaçao in Sao Paolo (1982)
Wikipedia - "Roberto Burle Marx (August 4, 1909 – June 4, 1994) was a Brazilian landscape architect (as well as a painter, print maker, ecologist, naturalist, artist and musician) whose designs of parks and gardens made him world famous. He is accredited with having introduced modernist landscape architecture to Brazil. He was known as a modern nature artist and a public urban space designer. His work had a great influence on tropical garden design in the 20th century. Water gardens were a popular theme in his work. He was deftly able to transfer traditional artistic expressions such as graphic design, tapestry and folk art into his landscape designs. He also designed fabrics, jewellery and stage sets. He was one of the first people to call for the conservation of Brazil's rainforests. More than 50 plants bear his name. He amassed a substantial collection of plants at his home, including more than 500 philodendrons. ..."
Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist
NY Times: Revisiting the Constructed Edens of Roberto Burle Marx
NY Times: A Revolutionary Garden Designer Finally Gets a Retrospective (Slide)

Slim Smith - Born to Love (1979)

"Slim Smith was blessed with one of the most haunting voices in Jamaica -- soft, but with astounding power, yet shot through with an astonishing vulnerability that added to the emotional impact of every song he sang. He took the Techniques to fame, then did the same with the Uniques, while at the same time also recording as a solo artist (although usually backed by members of his current group). Born to Love focuses on the rocksteady era and compiles some of Smith's best-loved solo songs from the age, along with a number of rarer offerings. A clutch of these tracks are covers, mostly Motown and R&B hits, but each is reborn in Smith's hands. All are produced by Coxsone Dodd, whose upbeat, perky arrangements are often at odds with the actual mood of the song, but the singer's emotion is so palpable that it matters not. ..."
W - Slim Smith
YouTube: Born To Love, I've Got Your Number, You Don't Care, Rougher Yet/Rougher Version, I'll be around, Never Let Go b/w The Soul Vendors - Version, Happy Times, The New Boss, Keep That Light, Do you love me

Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World

Fragmentary Colossal Head of a Youth, Greek, Hellenistic period, 2nd century B.C.Marble.
"The conquests of Alexander the Great transformed the ancient world, making trade and cultural exchange possible across great distances. Alexander's retinue of court artists and extensive artistic patronage provided a model for his successors, the Hellenistic kings, who came to rule over much of his empire. For the first time in the United States, a major international loan exhibition will focus on the astonishing wealth, outstanding artistry, and technical achievements of the Hellenistic period—the three centuries between Alexander's death, in 323 B.C., and the establishment of the Roman Empire, in the first century B.C. This exhibition will bring together some 264 artworks that were created through the patronage of the royal courts of the Hellenistic kingdoms, with an emphasis on the ancient city of Pergamon. ..."
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Press
WSJ: Mass Invasion of Greek Art Comes to the New York Met
NewYorker: A Show About the Hellenistic One Per Cent
NY Times: Reaching Peak Greek at the Met Museum

Saturday, May 14

Fela Ransome Kuti & His Koola Lobitos - Highlife-Jazz And Afro-Soul (1963-1969)

"Before Afrobeat, there was Highlife-Jazz and Afro-Soul. Highlife music, originally from Ghana and widely popular across West Africa, dominated the music scene in Lagos when Fela Kuti returned to the newly independent Nigeria in 1963. Fela had been studying trumpet at Trinity College of Music in London where he met drummer Tony Allen, who also joined him in new group Koola Lobitos as they sought to mix things up by introducing the sounds they had heard in the capital's jazz clubs. The music of Fela Kuti has never been easy for beginners to know where to start – later groups Africa '70 and Egypt '80 released more than 50 albums – and this set of early recordings with Koola Lobitos represents a largely unknown, or at least unheard, period of his career. ..."
The Quietus
Soundcloud: It's Highlife Time, I Know Your Feeling
YouTube: Highlife - Jazz and Afro- Soul (1963-1969)

Molly Crabapple

Displaced Syrians at a camp south of the Turkish border.
"Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer living in New York. Her memoir Drawing Blood was published by HarperCollins in December 2015. Her work has been described as 'God’s own circus posters,' by Rolling Stone, but beneath the lavishly detailed surface, it engages injustice and rebellion. Because of Molly’s 2013 solo exhibition, Shell Game, a series of large-scale paintings about the revolutions of 2011, she was called 'an emblem of the way that art could break out of the gilded gallery' by The New Republic. ..."
Molly Crabapple | About
Molly Crabapple
Vanity Fair - From Pussy Riot to Snowden: the Dissident Fetish
Guernica: Up in Arms
amazon: Molly Crabapple
VICE: Taking Drawing Lessons from Artist and Journalist Molly Crabapple (Video)

Friday, May 13

John Ashbery with Jarrett Earnest

Late for School, c. 1948. Collage, 12 1/2 × 8 inches.
"For half a century John Ashbery has remained a solid contender for the title of 'greatest living poet.' For much of that time he also wrote art criticism, first for ARTnews, and the Paris edition of the New York Herald-Tribune, New York and Newsweek. He is a central link between French and American ideas and aesthetics, publishing lyrical and authoritative translations of the French avant-garde including Stéphane Mallarmé, Arthur Rimbaud, Raymond Roussel, and Giorgio de Chirico. Last year he published the collection of poems Breezeway and his newest, Commotion of the Birds, will be out this fall. He met with Jarrett Earnest to discuss some aspects of his life and work. ..."
Brooklyn Rail

All-Transistor Radio

"If you're the type of person who spends hours on YouTube trawling through rare recordings, you may have happened upon Magic Transistor, an incredible resource for music nerds that's appallingly underpublicized. I stumbled across it while searching for the Willie Mitchell sample that GZA used in 'Liquid Swords.' That led me to YouTube user page for a guy named Ben Ruhe, the founder of Magic Transistor. His playlists were jaw-dropping. There were only six of them at the time (there are now many more), each with upwards of 100 songs, most from rare vinyl rips that listeners could have only dreamed of hearing before YouTube. Ruhe's playlists led me to the Magic Transistor website, a seemingly-infinite internet radio player. It's a straightforward, four-station radio that plays hundreds of these wonderful relics of music history every day. ..."
VICE: Magic Transistor Is the Best and Weirdest Thing to Ever Happen to Internet Radio
All-Transistor Radio - Magic Transistor (Video)

The Birth of the Bronx's Universal Hip Hop Museum

"The old, shuttered Bronx Borough Courthouse was once something like the Goree Island of New York City: A point of no return for many black and Latino youth who, throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, were detained in its chambers before being sent off to feed the beast of mass incarceration. The young and restless Bronx denizens who were able to evade the courthouse’s rapture would go on to birth the streets-based culture of hip hop—a lifestyle of art, dance, and music that continues to hold tremendous social and artistic influence today. ..."
CityLab (Video)
Universal Hip Hop Museum (Video)
Hip-Hop Museum Coming To The Old Bronx Courthouse?
YouTube: Universal Hip Hop Museum

Thursday, May 12

The Guermantes Way - Marcel Proust (1920-21)

Wikipedia - "The Narrator's family has moved to an apartment connected with the Guermantes residence. Françoise befriends a fellow tenant, the tailor Jupien and his niece. The Narrator is fascinated by the Guermantes and their life, and is awed by their social circle while attending another Berma performance. He begins staking out the street where Mme de Guermantes walks every day, to her evident annoyance. He decides to visit her nephew Saint-Loup at his military base, to ask to be introduced to her. After noting the landscape and his state of mind while sleeping, the Narrator meets and attends dinners with Saint-Loup's fellow officers, where they discuss the Dreyfus Affair and the art of military strategy. ... Saint-Loup visits on leave, and they have lunch and attend a recital with his actress mistress: Rachel, the Jewish prostitute, toward whom the unsuspecting Saint-Loup is crazed with jealousy. ..."
W - Volume Three: The Guermantes Way
The Guermantes Way | The two-minute 'Guermantes'
Reading Proust for Fun
Proust Reader
Behold the Stars

2008 June: Marcel Proust, 2011 October: How Proust Can Change Your Life, 2012 April: Marcel Proust - À la recherche du temps perdu, 2013 February: Marcel Proust and Swann's Way: 100th Anniversary, 2013 May: A Century of Proust, 2013 August: Paintings in Proust - Eric Karpeles, 2013 October: On Reading Proust, 2015 September: "Paintings in Proust" - View of the Piazza del Popolo, Giovanni Battista Piranes, 2015 September: In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way: A Graphic Novel, 2016 January: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (1919), 2016 February: Chasing Lost Time: The Life of C.K. Scott Moncrieff: Soldier, Spy and Translator.

The Hunters in the Snow - Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1565)

Wikipedia - "The Hunters in the Snow (Dutch: Jagers in de Sneeuw), also known as The Return of the Hunters, is a 1565 oil-on-wood painting by Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Northern Renaissance work is one of a series of works, five of which still survive, that depict different times of the year. ... The painting shows a wintry scene in which three hunters are returning from an expedition accompanied by their dogs. By appearances the outing was not successful; the hunters appear to trudge wearily, and the dogs appear downtrodden and miserable. ... The landscape itself is a flat-bottomed valley (a river meanders through it) with jagged peaks visible on the far side. A watermill is seen with its wheel frozen stiff. In the distance, figures ice skate, play hockey with modern style sticks and curl on a frozen lake; they are rendered as silhouettes. ..."
Bruegel’s Hunters in the Snow, 1565
Visual Arts
Don Gray
YouTube: Bruegel, Hunters in the Snow (Winter)(Video)

2010 May: Peasant, 2011 March: "The Harvesters", Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 2012 February: The Mill and the Cross - Lech Majewski, 2012 December: The Lord of Misrule and the Feast of Fools., 2013 July: Netherlandish Proverbs, 2014 August: Children's Games (1560).

The Chintz Age: Tales of Love and Loss for a New New York - Ed Hamilton (2015)

"In seven stories and a novella, Hamilton takes on NYC gentrification and the clash of cultures that ensues, as his characters are forced to confront their own obsolescence in the face of a rapidly surging capitalist juggernaut. Gentrification has been going on for a long time, maybe for as long as there have been cities. In the past, gentrification was almost an organic phenomenon, with creative/alternative lifestyle types moving into poor neighborhoods for the cheap rent; then, when the creatives had 'improved' the neighborhoods to a certain degree, they, in their turn, were replaced by more affluent homeowners. ... This is the story told by The Chintz Age.
Powerhouse Arena
Living with Legends (Video)
WIPs Conversation: Ed Hamilton on his work in progress
Ed Hamilton: “A Bowery Romance”
YouTube: A book talk with author Ed Hamilton

Wednesday, May 11

4 Hours of Charles Bukowski’s Riotous Readings and Rants

"An old man sits alone, ranting in a nasally monotonous drone. He breaks into rueful laughter, threats of violence, mockery, maudlin lament…. An angry drunken uncle crying out into the wilderness of a Tuesday night bender? A tough guy left behind in the world, unable to stomach its restrictions and blithe hypocrisies? A mad poet on his way to the grave? An everyman rambler whose seen-it-all candor and hardass sense of humor command the common people’s ear? All of the above was beloved novelist, raconteur, poet, and trenchant essayist Charles Bukowski. It’s easy to caricature Bukowski for his lifelong romance with booze, a dominant theme in nearly all of his autobiographically-inspired poems and stories. ..."
Open Culture (Video)

2012 December: Three Interpretations of Charles Bukowski’s Melancholy Poem “Nirvana”, 2014 December: Dostoyevsky Got a Reprieve from the Czar’s Firing Squad and Then Saved Charles Bukowski’s Life

The Animals

Wikipedia - "The Animals were an English band of the 1960s, formed in Newcastle upon Tyne, during the early part of the decade. The band moved to London upon finding fame in 1964. The Animals were known for their gritty, bluesy sound and deep-voiced frontman Eric Burdon, as exemplified by their signature song and transatlantic No. 1 hit single, 'The House of the Rising Sun', as well as by hits such as 'We Gotta Get out of This Place', 'It's My Life', 'I'm Crying' and 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood'. The band balanced tough, rock-edged pop singles against rhythm and blues-oriented album material. They were known in the US as part of the British Invasion. ..."
W - The Animals discography
YouTube: The House of the Rising Sun, Please Don´t Let Me Be Misunderstood, It's My Life, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, See See Rider, DON´T BRING ME DOWN, I'm Crying, Inside Looking Out, When I Was Young, Sky Pilot, San Franciscan Nights

Tuesday, May 10

Touring the East Village’s Incubator of Experimentation

"Seen head-on, behind the scaffolding, Performance Space 122 looks about the same as it has for years: that red-brick facade overlooking First Avenue, those hulking metal gates guarding the door. But stroll a few yards up the sidewalk, peek around the edge of the building, and the scruffiness gives way to a gleaming new exterior. Its sleekness betrays no hint of the gentrifying neighborhood’s tatty, crime-ridden past or the creative experiments that have gone on there since 1980, when PS122 opened at the corner of East Ninth Street. What began as a squat in an old public school building would become a stage for people like Spalding Gray and Meredith Monk, for Eric Bogosian and the preglobal Blue Man Group. ..."
NY Times
PS122 Mobile Walking Tour (Video)
Lower East Side History Month
Under the Radar (Video)

The Cultural Revolution: A People's History, 1962-1976 by Frank Dikötter

Teenage Red Guards brandishing copies of Mao’s Little Red Book in 1968 Beijing.
"'To rebel is justified,' the Great Helmsman intoned. He named his teenage followers Red Guards, and it was they who packed Tiananmen Square, waving copies of the Little Red Book filled with his sayings as they stood in their millions for a brief sight of him. Like their western contemporaries who encountered the Beatles, they told each other that their lives were changed. But Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution also had a darker side. It was necessary to destroy the bourgeois past, and this involved the wholesale looting of shrines, the destruction of books and parchment, the smashing of ornaments and the pillaging of homes belonging to the wealthy."
NY Times

1976-1978 CBGB's House Photographer

"Seminal New York music venue CBGB (country, bluegrass and blues, since you asked) opened in 1973 at the meeting of Bowery and Bleecker Street, and was run by Hilly Kristal. During the late '70s, CBGB was the epicenter of the punk and new wave music scenes. David Godlis was its primary documenter. Here he talks exclusively to Retronaut about his photographs. ... But in the most unlikely of all places — in the slumping New York City’s infamous Bowery, among the skid row bums on loser’s lane, far away from the Upper East Side and Upper West Side of Manhattan — a group of like-minded musicians and artists had their sights set on the future. In a small, dingy club, they would rewrite the past and set a template for the last quarter century in music, fashion, art, literature and film. ..."
17 Awesome Photos That Captured CBGB’s Iconic 1970s Punk Scene
Guardian - Picture this: rock stars at New York’s punk mecca CBGB – in pictures

2009 April: CBGB, 2011 January: CBGB's the roots of punk documentary, 2013 September: CBGB's Final Show With Patti Smith - 15 October 2006

Monday, May 9

Paris Vagabond - Jean-Paul Clébert

"Jean-Paul Clébert was a boy from a respectable middle-class family who ran away from school, joined the French Resistance, and never looked back. Making his way to Paris at the end of World War II, Clébert took to living on the streets, and in Paris Vagabond, a so-called 'aleatory novel' assembled out of sketches he jotted down at the time, he tells what it was like. His 'gallery of faces and cityscapes on the road to extinction' is an astonishing depiction of a world apart—a Paris, long since vanished, of the poor, the criminal, and the outcast—and a no less astonishing feat of literary improvisation: Its long looping breathless sentences, streetwise, profane, lyrical, incantatory, are an adventure in their own right. Praised on publication by the great novelist and poet Blaise Cendrars and embraced by the young Situationists as a kind of manual for living off the grid, Paris Vagabond — here published with the starkly striking photographs of Clébert’s friend Patrice Molinard — is a raw and celebratory evocation of the life of a city and the underside of life."
NYRB Classics (Click to enlarge image)
NY Times: ‘Paris Vagabond,’ by Jean-Paul Clébert By Edmund White
W - Jean-Paul Clébert