Wednesday, February 10

Cristina Iglesias: Tres Aguas

"Toledo stands above the fast flowing waters of the River Tagus. Its waters were drawn up by the first communities into their fountains, cisterns and baths, and so the settlement flourished. ... The three sculptural works that make up the project bring water to the fore; it courses through channels and travels back into the ground after animating the surfaces of the works so they come to resemble the overgrown bed of some ancient river. Visitors are taken on a journey through the city as they visit each work, from a mudéjar water tower to the city's main public space and then onto a hidden location within a convent, a place not normally open for visitors. Conceived as a journey into the heart of the city, Iglesias' project aligns the hard materials of architecture and the fluidity of water to deliver a sequence of large-scale sculptural works that bring the river back into the body of this historic city."
YouTube: Guided Tour for Tres Aguas, Toledo

"'If I Needed You" - Townes Van Zandt (1972)

Wikipedia - "'If I Needed You' is a song written by Townes Van Zandt and performed on his 1972 album The Late Great Townes Van Zandt. It was covered 9 years later by American country music artists Emmylou Harris and Don Williams as a duet, and was released in September 1981 as the first single from Harris' album Cimarron. ... Townes Van Zandt's 'If I Needed You' was not only covered by Emmylou Harris and Don Williams, but also by Andrew Bird on Hands of Glory, Guy Clark on Songs and Stories, Lyle Lovett on Step Inside This House, and others. The song was also recorded by Doc Watson for his record Then and Now. On his record Live at the Old Quarter, Townes introduces the song 'If I Needed You' by saying, 'This was recorded by Doc Watson, and it really blew my mind, you know…' ..."
YouTube: If I Needed You

2014 March: Heartworn Highways - James Szalapski (1975), 2014 September: The 10 Best Townes Van Zandt Songs, 2015 January: Solo Sessions (Jan 17, 1995), 2015 September: Townes Van Zandt & Nanci Griffith - "Tecumseh Valley," 1993.

Tuesday, February 9

L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E - Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein

Wikipedia - "The Language poets (or L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, after the magazine of that name) are an avant garde group or tendency in United States poetry that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The poets included: Leslie Scalapino, Stephen Rodefer, Bruce Andrews, Charles Bernstein, Ron Silliman, Barrett Watten, Lyn Hejinian, Bob Perelman, Rae Armantrout, Carla Harryman, Clark Coolidge, Hannah Weiner, Susan Howe, and Tina Darragh. Language poetry emphasizes the reader's role in bringing meaning out of a work. It played down expression, seeing the poem as a construction in and of language itself. In developing their poetics, members of the Language school took as their starting point the emphasis on method evident in the modernist tradition, particularly as represented by Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and Louis Zukofsky. Language poetry is an example of poetic postmodernism. Its immediate postmodern precursors were the New American poets, a term including the New York School, the Objectivist poets, the Black Mountain School, the Beat poets, and the San Francisco Renaissance. ..."
L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Magazine: (Ed.) Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein
BOMB: Charles Bernstein by Jay Sanders
Poetry Previews
Poetry Foundation: Language poetry

Bernie and the Millennials

"On Tuesday night, Alexandra Schwartz, a critic at the New Yorker, posted a piece criticizing the young supporters of Bernie Sanders. Ordinarily, I’d be mildly irritated by an article titled 'Should Millennials Get Over Bernie Sanders?' In this instance, I’m grateful. It clarifies the dividing line between Sanders’s supporters in the electorate and the liberal journalists who can’t abide them. First, some context. Exit polls from Iowa, according to Vox, show that 'Sanders absolutely dominated young adult voters, in a way that even Barack Obama couldn’t in 2008.' Eighty-four percent of voters under thirty, and 58 percent of voters between thirty and forty-four, cast their ballots for Sanders. ..."

The Cuban Money Crisis (March 2015)

"The currency crisis starts about 75 feet into Cuba. I land in the late afternoon and, after clearing customs, step into the busy arrivals hall of Havana’s airport looking for help. I ask a woman in a gray, military-like uniform where I can change money. 'Follow me,' she says. But she doesn’t turn left, toward the airport’s exchange kiosk. Called cadecas, these government-run currency shops are the only legal way, along with banks, to swap your foreign money for Cuba’s tourist tender, the CUC. Instead, my guide turns right and only comes clean when we reach a quiet area at the top of an escalator. ..."
Bloomberg Business

2009 April: Chelsea Visits Havana, 2011 June: Robert Farris Thompson, 2012 September: Where Is Cuba Going?, 2012 November: Carlos Garaicoa, 2013 August: Cuba 2012 (BBC Documentary), 2014 November: U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba, Erasing a Last Trace of Cold War Hostility, 2015 February: A Day In the Life of Havana, 2015 August: ¡Cuba, Cuba! 65 Years of Photography.

Monday, February 8

Cyanotypes: Photography's Blue Period

"Invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842, cyanotypes are photographs with a distinctive Prussian blue tonality produced by treating paper with an iron-salt solution. The treated paper can be developed using only the sun, which made cyanotypes a favored technique among amateur photographers through the turn of the twentieth century. Cyanotypes: Photography's Blue Period will trace the rise of these 'blueprint photographs' beginning with the botanical photogenic drawings printed by Anna Atkins in the 1850s. The exhibition will also feature contemporary artists who have recently revived the process manipulating the medium to varied expressive effects. ..."
Worcester Art (Video)
NY Times: Cyanotype, Photography’s Blue Period, Is Making a Comeback (Photo)

Truth Is Fragmentary - Gabrielle Bell (2014)

"... An anomaly to both of these observations, cartoonist Gabrielle Bell’s gift makes both forms not only palatable but frequently delightful. Bell’s new compilation from Uncivilized Books, Truth Is Fragmentary, focuses on her travels to Sweden, France, Switzerland, Norway and Colombia, plus three Julys of daily diaries and a few other autobiographical works. The graphic novel’s cover, showing the cartoonist stressed-out in an airport waiting area, isn’t a great indication of the content within. That’s not to say Bell isn’t neurotic or fully open about her stressors and anxieties, but the book and its protagonist don’t come off as perpetually whiny. ..."
The Comics Journal
amazon: Truth is Fragmentary: Travelogues & Diaries

2011 September: Gabrielle Bell, 2012 August: The Voyeurs

"Souvenirs" - John Prine & Steve Goodman (1973)

"All the snow has turned to water,
Christmas days have come and gone.
Broken toys and faded colours are all that's left to linger on.
I hate graveyards and old oawn shops,
For they always bring me tears.
I can't forgive the way they robbed me of my childhood souvenirs."
YouTube: Souvenirs

2010 February: John Prine, 2011 October: John Prine - 1, 2012 May: Diamonds in the Rough., 2013 September: Sweet Revenge (1973).

Sunday, February 7

The Mixtape 28 — The sound of independence-era Africa

Bembeya Jazz National
"For many of the African countries that declared independence from colonial rule in the 1950s and 60s, the post-independence era was characterised by a radical restructuring of social and political life. In some nations such as Guinea, political self-realisation went hand-in-hand with cultural renaissance — with music firmly at the heart of the project. Guinea, led by Sékou Touré, was emblematic of the approach adopted by many of the predominantly left-wing governments of the continent. Musical traditions that had often been marginalised by the colonial powers were now boosted to help shape the political climate of the self-rule era. This mixtape has been put together by Tocantins, a record collector and occasional DJ based in London, whose interests focus on the popular musics of West Africa and Latin America. ..."
The Calvert Journal (Soundcloud)

The Garden of Earthly Delights - Hieronymus Bosch (1490 - 1510)

Wikipedia - "The Garden of Earthly Delights is the modern title given to a triptych painted by the Early Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch, housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid since 1939.  ... The triptych is painted in oil on oak and is formed from a square middle panel flanked by two other oak rectangular wings that close over the center as shutters. The outer wings, when folded, show a grisaille painting of the earth during the biblical narrative of Creation. The three scenes of the inner triptych are probably (but not necessarily) intended to be read chronologically from left to right. The left panel depicts God presenting Eve to Adam, the central panel is a broad panorama of socially engaged nude figures, fantastical animals, oversized fruit and hybrid stone formations. The right panel is a hellscape and portrays the torments of damnation. ..."
The Garden of Earthly Delights by Jheronimus Bosch an online interactive adventure (Video)
Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights
15 Things You Should Know About Bosch’s 'The Garden of Earthly Delights'

2011 November: Hieronymus Bosch

Ahmad Jamal Trio - "Darn That Dream" (1959)

"The beatmaking community/culture shares a number of similarities to the jazz community of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Both communities/cultures were comprised of what I like to call 'anonymous heroes,' acclaimed musicians not necessarily known by the general public or even the broader musical scene, yet fervently respected among their peers. ... With 'Darn That Dream,' presented for MusicStudy, you truly hear what makes the Ahmad Jamal trio so unique. Jamal's piano is airy and roomy, his phrasing—spaced well as usual—glides more than it rumbles. But the impact of each of his notes are strong still the same. Crosby's bass is steady, swinging in time to the various ghost notes that Jamal plays. And Fournier's drums shuffle along with a perched subtlety, occasionally rapping the snare with a punch and a light jab. ..." Standing in the background around the piano: Hank Jones, Ben Webster, George Duvivier, Papa Jo Jones, Nat Hentoff, and Harold Ashby.
BeatTips MusicStudy: Ahmad Jamal Trio - "Darn That Dream"
YouTube: Darn That Dream

Saturday, February 6

Store Front II - James and Karla Murray

"James and Karla Murray have been capturing impeccable photographs from the streets of New York City since the 1990s; Store Front II chronicles their continued efforts to document a little-known but vitally important cross-section of New York’s 'Mom and Pop' economy. The Murrays’ penetrating photographs are only half the story, though. In the course of their travels throughout the city’s boroughs the Murrays have taken great care to document the stories behind the scenery. Their copious background texts, gleaned largely from interviews with the stores’ owners and employees, bring wonderful color and nuance to the importance of these unique one-off establishments. The Murrays have rendered the out of the way bodegas, candy shops and record stores just as faithfully as the historically important institutions and well known restaurants, bars and cafes. ..."
Gingko Press
City Lab: Photographing New York's Endangered Mom and Pop Stores
A Friendly Photographic Reminder That CBGB Is Now a Boutique Outlet
Guardian: Closing down: the couple chronicling New York's disappearing storefronts

2014 April: Store Front - The Disappearing Face of New York

"Alternative Ulster" - Stiff Little Fingers (1979)

"On Friday night, Belfast's Ulster Hall played host to one of the most unconventional and radically influential voices of peace in Northern Ireland. Stiff Little Fingers, the band that epitomised punk's anti-sectarian message, took to the stage - and were mobbed as they thrashed out their most famous song: 'Alternative Ulster', written during the Troubles and a rejection of the tribal and sectarian labels hung upon the people of Ulster from birth. ... Twenty-four hours earlier, the domination of tribal politics had been made concrete and clear. Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein, the party that thrived and evolved through the violent campaign of the Provisional IRA, were triumphant. ..."
Guardian: Alternative Ulster will have to wait
Alternative Ulster - Lyrics
YouTube: Alternative Ulster (Live)
YouTube: Alternative Ulster, 78 RPM

Chronixx - Here Comes Trouble (2014)

"... While holding a copy of Chronixx's current EP Dread and Terrible, an enthusiastic [Jimmy] Fallon told his audience he'd heard the upbeat Rasta anthem 'Here Comes Trouble' while vacationing in Jamaica at Goldeneye Resort and Hotel owned by Island Records founder-turned-hotel-and-rum magnate Chris Blackwell. (Earlier this year, Chronixx signed a publishing deal with Blackwell's Blue Mountain Publishing). Fallon inquired about the artist and subsequently booked him to perform on the show, four days ahead of the artist's free concert on July 26 as part of Central Park's annual SummerStage series, produced by the City Parks Foundation. ..."
Reggaeville (Video - Dub)
YouTube: Dread And Terrible [ FULL ALBUM ]

Friday, February 5

Mississippi History - Maude Schuyler Clay (1975)

"Maude Schuyler Clay started her color portrait series 'Mississippi History' in 1975 when she came upon her first Rolleiflex 2¼ camera. At the time, she was living and working in New York and paid frequent visits to her native Mississippi Delta whose landscape and people continued to inspire her. Over the next twenty-five years, the project, which began as 'The Mississippians,' evolved into an homage to Julia Margaret Cameron. A definitive pioneer of the art of photography, Cameron lived in Victorian England and began her photographic experiments in 1863, after receiving the gift of a camera. The expressive, allegorical portraits of her friends and family as well as her artful approach to capturing the essence of light are the driving forces behind Clay’s nostalgic recollection of carefree moments of family life and play in Mississippi in the 1980s and ’90s."
Steidl Verlag
New Yorker: Mississippi History By Richard Ford

An Anna Blume - Kurt Schwitters (1919)

The Cathedral: 8 lithographs by Kurt Schwitters. 1920 (Die Silbergäule 41-42) lithograph and collage.
Wikipedia - "An Anna Blume ('To Anna Flower' also translated as 'To Eve Blossom') is a poem written by the German artist Kurt Schwitters in 1919. It has been described as a parody of a love poem, an emblem of the chaos and madness of the era, and as a harbinger of a new poetic language. Originally published in Herwarth Walden's Der Sturm magazine in August 1919, the poem made Schwitters famous almost overnight. The poem was parodied in newspapers and magazines, and strongly polarized public opinion. Whilst Schwitters was never an official member of Berlin Dada, he was closely linked to many members of the group, in particular Raoul Hausmann and Hans Arp, and the poem is written in a dadaist style, using multiple perspectives, fragments of found text, and absurdist elements to mirror the fragmentation of the narrator's emotional state in the throes of love, or of Germany's political, military and economic collapse after the First World War. ..."
Colin Morton: The Merzbook: Kurt Schwitters Poems

2009 April: Kurt Schwitters, 2009 August: Primiti Too Taa: Kurt Schwitters

Thursday, February 4

Buddy Esquire: King of the Hip Hop Flyer

"Known as the 'King of the Flyer,' Buddy Esquire was the premier show flyer artist in the Bronx during the earliest days of hip hop. Combining influences ranging from Bronx Art Deco architecture to superhero comics and Japanese anime, and teaching himself the fundamentals of lettering and graphic design, Esquire created a new artistic style, which has been often borrowed but rarely credited today. ... Esquire’s flyers advertised the earliest performances of legends like Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, the Cold Crush Brothers, Spoonie Gee and the Treacherous Three. Edited by Johan Kugelberg, Buddy Esquire: King of the Hip Hop Flyer reveals one of the key sources for hip hop’s visual language, presenting a catalogue raisonné of Esquire’s flyers, visual art and hand-painted clothing. Also featured are never-before-seen photographs of Esquire, his crew and the street art and hip hop culture of the late 1970s and early 80s."
NPR: Remembering Buddy Esquire, The King Of Hip-Hop Flyers
Remembering Buddy Esquire, the King of the Hip-Hop Flyer
Cornell: Hip Hop Party and Event Flyers

The (Kind Of) Complete Woodstock: Paul Butterfield Blues Band

"It’s six o’clock Monday morning. The sun is up and the kids are clearing out, going back to their jobs, schools, worried parents. Some are just wiped out from a long weekend of too much music, rain, and dope, and too little food. Regardless, the crowd is clearing out, which is a goddamned shame because the Paul Butterfield Blues Band is about to kick some ass. Paul Butterfield was no blue-eyed blues wannabee. ... The first incarnation of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band included a couple of Howlin’ Wolf’s guys, Bishop, Butterfield, and guitar legend Mike Bloomfield. By 1969 Butterfield was the only original member, so it was a new Butterfield Blues Band that played Woodstock — no Elvin Bishop or Mike Bloomfield, but future saxophone superstar David Sanborn was in the brass section. ..."
The (Kind Of) Complete Woodstock: Paul Butterfield Blues Band
The Woodstock Years
YouTube: Everything's Gonna Be Alright, Morning Sunrise, Drifting Blues

2014 January: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (1965), 2015 July: East-West (1966), 2015 November: Complete Albums 1965-1980

Mainlines, Blood Feasts, And Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader (2003)

"As one of the few music critics to register on the cultural radar, Lester Bangs left a formidable legacy when he died in 1982. He helped build up and tear down the rock canon. He helped romanticize and vilify the notion of rock-star attitude. He helped music fans search out new ways of listening. He also helped usher in ceaseless waves of bad writing by acolytes who glommed on to his diaristic gonzo style–'speedflight wordsperm bullshit,' he calls it in an early essay gathered in the Bangs anthology Mainlines, Blood Feasts, And Bad Taste – without recognizing that diaristic gonzo style should serve as a means more than an end. ..."
Project MUSE
rain taxi

2008 August: Lester Bangs, 2010 April: Creem, 2012 November: Astral Weeks by Lester Bangs

Wednesday, February 3

The Letter - Cosa Brava (2012)

"'Cosa Brava is about storytelling. I don't think about it too much. It just turned out that way. Some of the stories have words and some don't, but they share a sense of scenes glimpsed in passing. Torn photos, fragments of movies, distant shouts. One of my earliest memories is of a long drive north, as our family moved away from London to start a new life in the Yorkshire dales. I remember the smell of the car, and passing our broken down removals lorry in the middle of night. I was four years old, and sometimes it feels like I've been on the road ever since. I need to travel, and now my life depends on it, so there's never a shortage of stories. The musicians of Cosa Brava are fellow nomads and experienced collaborators, and some of the best storytellers around, so my stories also become their stories. It's been an exhilarating journey, and I still have no idea where we're going. In the end it doesn't seem very important.' Fred Frith, February 2012, Liner Notes"
W - The Letter
YouTube: The Letter / Round Dance - San Francisco, 8/14/11, Drowning - San Francisco, 8/14/11
YouTube: Soul of the Machine, Nobody Told Me, The Wedding, Common Sense, Jitters, Slings and Arrows, Emigrants

John Sloan - Gloucester Days

Red Paint Mill, 1914
"One of this country’s most important artists of the early 20th century and a highly respected teacher, John Sloan (1871-1951) spent five summers—1914 through 1918—living and working on Cape Ann. During that time he created nearly 300 finished oil paintings, using Gloucester’s rugged landscape as a backdrop to experiment with color and explore ideas about form, texture and light. Arguably the most productive period of his career, the body of work that Sloan created during this time continues to astonish and delight viewers a century after it was completed. The Cape Ann Museum is proud to have five major works by John Sloan in its permanent collection."
Art History News
Cape Ann Museum
Art Up Close: 'John Sloan Gloucester Days' At The Cape Ann Museum (Photo)
John Sloan's 'Gloucester Days' exhibit at The Cape Ann Museum
John Sloan Gloucester Days: Growing Progressive Arts Community on Cape Ann

2009 April: Rockport Harbor

Hear James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake Read Unabridged & Set to Music By 17 Different Artists

"If you want a guide through James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake—the modernist author’s 'wordiest aria,' writes Kirkus Reviews, 'and surely the strangest ever sung in any language'—you’d be hard pressed find a better one than novelist Anthony Burgess. Not only did Burgess turn his study of Joyce to very good account in creating his own polyglot language in A Clockwork Orange, but he has 'tastefully selected the more readable portions' of Joyce’s final novel in an abridged version, A Shorter Finnegans Wake. ..."
Open Culture (Video)

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.

Tuesday, February 2


"New Left Books was launched by New Left Review in 1970, and took as its logo the Tatlin Tower—a planned monument to the Third International. Focusing initially on translating works of European political and social theory, economics and philosophy, the list during that decade included Theodor Adorno, Louis Althusser, Walter Benjamin, Lucio Colletti, Henri Lefebvre, Georg Lukács, Ernest Mandel, Herbert Marcuse, Jean-Paul Sartre and Max Weber, as well as major original works by Perry Anderson, Terry Eagleton, Tom Nairn and Raymond Williams. ... Verso—the left-hand page—was launched as a paperback imprint at the end of the seventies. ..."
Verso - About
Verso - Blogs

 The Feminist, Democratic Leftists Our Military Is Obliterating -  Debbie Bookchin

A man holds a child in Nusaybin, Turkey, Thursday, December 24, 2015. Security forces have killed 183 Kurdish rebels in a week in southeast Turkey, news agencies reported.
"Right now, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is undertaking a massive assault on Kurdish communities in southeastern Turkey in an effort to wipe out the only truly democratic movement in the Middle East. In December, he unleashed a force of 10,000 soldiers, armed with tanks and mortars, who have cut water and electricity supplies, imposed draconian curfews, and razed buildings; they are following shoot-to-kill orders against local residents who venture from their homes to seek food, first aid, or alternative shelter. Already more than 200 Kurdish defenders, and 198 civilians, including children, teenagers, and the elderly, have been murdered. In photos, the areas under siege look like war zones, comparable in destruction to Syria and Bosnia. ..."
The Nation
Bookchin: living legacy of an American revolutionary

Else Marie Pade

Wikipedia - "Else Marie Pade (2 December 1924 – 18 January 2016) was a Danish composer. Pade was born in Aarhus, and was educated as a pianist at the Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium (Royal Danish Academy of Music) in Copenhagen. She studied composition first with Vagn Holmboe, and later with Jan Maegaard, from whom she learned twelve-tone technique. In 1954, she became the first Danish composer of electronic and concrete music (Bruland 2001). She worked with Pierre Schaeffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen, as well as Pierre Boulez. Pade was active in the resistance during the Second World War, and was interned at the Frøslev prison camp from 1944 till the end of the war. ..."
Else Marie Pade, Denmark's "Grandmother of Electronic Music," Is Dead at 91 (Video)
Listen: Else Marie Pade & Jacob Kirkegaard (Video)
YouTube: fordømmelse (1962), Etude I (1962), Illustrationer: Himmelrummet, Illustrationer: Kong Vinter, Danish Queen of Electro Music RIP

Monday, February 1

Downtown music

Wikipedia - "Downtown music is a subdivision of American music, closely related to experimental music. The scene the term describes began in 1960, when Yoko Ono—one of the Fluxus artists, at that time still seven years away from meeting John Lennon—opened her loft at 112 Chambers Street to be used as a performance space for a series curated by La Monte Young and Richard Maxfield. Prior to this, most classical music performances in New York City occurred 'uptown' around the areas that the Juilliard School at Lincoln Center and Columbia University would soon occupy. Ono's gesture led to a new performance tradition of informal performances in nontraditional venues such as lofts and converted industrial spaces, involving music much more experimental than that of the more conventional modern classical series Uptown. ..."
Part I: New Music Downtown, 1971-87
NY Times: Where Are America's Young Composers?
[PDF] Pluralism, Minor Deviations, and Radical Change. The Challenge to Experimental Music in Downtown New York, 1971

Paris DJs Soundsystem presents The Afrofunk International & Tropical Grooves Experience (5CDs boxset, Paris DJs, 2016)

"5 conceptual compilations with various strands of groovy, funky, psychedelic and moving afrofunk, afrobeat, ethio-jazz, highlife, afrojazz, afrosoul, Carribean Funk and other Tropical Grooves from all over the world. All new & exclusive tracks from the best Afro bands today hand-picked by the Paris DJs Soundsystem gang of curators."
ParisDJs (Video)
Soundcloud: ParisDJs

‘Downton Abbey’ Season 6, Episode 5: Bloody, Bloody Downton

Viewers left petrified as Lord Grantham vomited blood in Downton Abbey
"I’m telling you, Abbots, when Lord Grantham staggered to his feet and started vomiting geysers of blood all over that exquisitely assembled dinner table, I fully expected some foreign life form to come bursting out of his chest. The long-absent Michael Gregson, perhaps, or the unquiet spirit of Kemal Pamuk or, heaven help us, Reanimated Isis. I mean, who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him? There he lay on his ruined rug, gasping to his beloved (seriously splattered) Cora, 'If this is it, just know I have loved you very, very much.' And for all we knew, Abbots, this really was it. Wouldn’t that have been squarely within the Fellowes m.o.? Whenever the narrative battery shows signs of stalling, he clamps on a pair of jumper cables and shocks the thing back into life. It happened with Mr. Bates’ arrest, Matthew’s death-by-car, Anna’s rape, Sybil’s pre-eclampsia. 'Downton' never scruples to draw blood. ..."
NY Times
'Oh my God' Downton Abbey's gruesome bloodbath hailed as most dramatic scene EVER

2012 March: Downton Abbey, 2013 February: Downton Abbey 3, 2015 January: ‘Downton Abbey’ and History: A Look Back, Recap: Rumble With Lord G!, 2015 February: Recap: Prayers for Lord G’s Truest, Furriest Love, 2015 February: Recap: The Crawleys Should Have Sent Their Regrets, 2015 February: Recap: Yes, It’s Called the Hornby Hotel, 2015 March: Recap: In the Finale, Mary Meets Mr. Handsome, 2016 January: Downton Abbey Returns for a Feel-Good Final Season, 2016 January: ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 6, Episode 3 Recap: So Nice to See Him Again? .

Sunday, January 31

Breaking the Chain Letter: An Essay on Downtown Music - Kyle Gann

"1. What Is 'Downtown' Music? I have been much identified with what is called 'Downtown' music. In fact, I have been accused of unnecessarily exacerbating tensions between 'Uptown' and 'Downtown' composers. I have been accused of drawing a dichotomy between them that doesn't really exist; or else used to, but does no longer. In this article I would like to define what I consider Downtown music, and defend my allegation that deep and pervasive differences between Uptown and Downtown music still exist. In fact, I perceive a deep bias against Downtown music on the part of the Uptown classical/academic establishment, one which I will document below. I will argue, further, that Downtown composers are victims of widespread discrimination. ..."
Kyle Gann

2009 November: Kyle Gann, 2011 July: Music Downtown

101 Places to Find Great Coffee in New York (2014)

"The number of serious coffee shops in New York has exploded. Good drinks can be found all over the city — even in parts of town that were coffee deserts not long ago. Enter your address to find the shops closest to you."
NY Times
28 Outstanding Coffee Shops in New York City
The 10 Best Coffee Shops in NYC
10 Hottest Coffee Shops in NYC
The best coffee shops in New York
"Good" Coffee Shops in New York City

2010 September: Espresso, April: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World, 2013 May: Coffeehouse, 2015 June: Barista, 2015 August: Coffee Connections at Peddler in SoHo, 2015 November: The Case for Bad Coffee.

Ptah, The El Daoud - Alice Coltrane & Pharoah Sanders (1970)

"Sometimes written off as an also-ran to her more famous husband, Alice Coltrane's work of the late '60s and early '70s shows that she was a strong composer and performer in her own right, with a unique ability to impregnate her music with spirituality and gentleness without losing its edges or depth. Ptah, The El Daoud is a truly great album, and listeners who surrender themselves to it emerge on the other side of its 46 minutes transformed. ... Pharoah Sanders, who at times with John Coltrane seemed like a magnetic force of entropy, pulling him toward increasing levels of chaos, shows all of the innovation and spiritual energy here that he is known for, with none of the screeching. Overlooked and buried for years in obscurity, this album deserves to be embraced for the gem it is."
W - Ptah, The El Daoud
YouTube: Ptah, the el Daoud - Alice Coltrane & Pharoah Sanders - Full Album

Saturday, January 30

Van Gogh's Bedrooms

Bedroom in Arles, 1889
"Vincent van Gogh’s bedroom in Arles is arguably the most famous chambre in the history of art. It also held special significance for the artist, who created three distinct paintings of this intimate space from 1888 to 1889. This exhibition—presented only at the Art Institute of Chicago—brings together all three versions of The Bedroom for the first time in North America, offering a pioneering and in-depth study of their making and meaning to Van Gogh in his relentless quest for home. Van Gogh painted his first Bedroom just after moving into his beloved 'Yellow House' in Arles, France, in 1888. He was so enamored with the work, now in the collection of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, that after water damage threatened its stability, he became determined to preserve the composition by painting a second version while at an asylum in Saint-Rémy in 1889. ..."
The Art Institute of Chicago
Musee d'Orsay
W - Bedroom in Arles
Van Gogh Museum (Video)
YouTube: Research in progress: Discoloration of Van Gogh's 'Bedroom', Vincent van Gogh, The Bedroom, 1889 

2010 March: Van Gogh Museum, 2010 May: Why preserve Van Gogh's palette?, 2012 April: Van Gogh Up Close, 2015 May: Van Gogh and Nature.

Knoel Scott Interview

"You may not know Knoel Scott but you'll want to. He was part of an epic jazz dynasty that was the Arkestra, Sun Ra's celestial musical machine, in the '70's and '80's, just after KS had finished an impressive academic career. In the '80's, Scott worked with Ola Daru and Jack McDuff among others. After a stint in the Harlem Club scene, Scott was recruited back by Ra, assisting the master himself and band leader/sax-man Marshall Allen. As of late, he's been active in the Philadelphia music scene as well as still touring where he met up with writer Alexander McLean recently at at his studio club in London on September 21st for these series of video interviews below (totally 40 minutes) where he speaks about his work with Ra, the Harlem All-Stars, his BeBop and Beyond project, the creative process and the late, one of a kind singer Leon Thomas. At the end, you even get to see some of the show and hear Scott work some of his aural magic."
Perfect Sound Forever: Knoel Scott (Video)
SUN RA & ME: saxophonist Knoel Scott tells SJF about his time with the legendary bandleader.

Hard Rain - Bob Dylan (1976)

"... Because the actions of American heroes are not allowed to be random, why becomes as important as what. This is particularly true when Dylan fails. To say then that Hard Rain is Dylan's least accessible, most chaotic and contemptuous album since Self Portrait is not enough. It doesn't explain why Dylan has made an album which demystifies the Rolling Thunder Revue instead of memorializing it. The album is an enigma. There is no discernible reason why it's not a double set. Consisting of nine songs (four of which come from Dylan's TV special), Hard Rain ignores many of the songs most strongly associated with the Revue ('Just like a Woman,' 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door' and 'Sara,' among others). It's atrociously recorded. ..."
Rolling Stone
W - Hard Rain
Warehouse Eyes
dylan tube: Hard Rain 53:36

Friday, January 29

Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners

"The poet John Wieners lived, from the early nineteen-seventies until his death, in 2002, at the age of sixty-eight, at 44 Joy Street, in Boston, on the back slope of Beacon Hill, where disembowelled couches and gooseneck lamps are abandoned curbside on the first of every month. A few blocks over, and a world away, Robert Lowell spent his childhood at 91 Revere Street; up the hill was the site of the house where Henry Adams had grown up 'under the shadow of the Boston statehouse.' Wieners was part of a small enclave of dropouts and artists in that part of Boston, now replaced by medical students and first-year associates. New York poets ran a thriving mid-century avant-garde, led by Frank O’Hara; San Francisco had the Beats. ... The power of Wieners’s poems, as the new collection Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners (Wave Books), edited by Joshua Beckman, Robert Dewhurst, and CAConrad, demonstrates, is partly anthropological, which is not a failing; poetry has a special way—a brilliant way—of doing anthropology. It takes in the social world through the senses and processes it through the emotions. ..."
New Yorker
A Queer Excess: the Supplication of John Wieners
Jacket2: The hurts of wanting the impossible

2008 July: John Wieners, 2009 December: John Wieners - 1, 2011 May: John Wieners: June 21, 1959, 2012 May: Behind the State Capitol: Or Cincinnati Pike, 2012 August: John Wieners - 707 Scott Street, 2013 January: Mass: John Wieners, 2013 October: Measure (1957-1962), 2015 November: Stars Seen in Person: Selected Journals of John Wieners (2015).

Donald Trump’s Twitter Insults: The Complete List (So Far)

"In the seven months since declaring his candidacy for president, Donald Trump has used Twitter to lob insults at presidential candidates, journalists, news organizations, nations, a Neil Young song and even a lectern in the Oval Office. We know this because we’ve read, tagged and quoted them all. Below, a directory of sorts, with links to the original tweets. Insults within the last two weeks are highlighted."
NY Times
NY Times: Introducing the Upshot’s Encyclopedia of Donald Trump’s Twitter Insults

2016 January: Donald Trump and the Joys of Toy Fascism, 2016 January: Sanders Is Not Trump

Collettivo FX Tour Italy, “Behind Every Madman There’s a Village”

"Mad men. Not the sexy selectively nostalgic program about advertising on TV. We speak of the real guys who go mad. It could be illness. Madness may have been inflicted upon you by life or incredible circumstance. It could just be the sight of Sophia Loren again, reminding you that she hasn’t called you for last 50 years. For reasons known and mysterious these are the men who are so idiosyncratic and eccentric in their tastes and behaviors that we are not sophisticated enough to appreciate them fully. Sometimes we say that these men have gone mad, but possibly we are the mad ones. These are the fellas whom the Italian Street Art collective named Collettivo FX decided to paint in towns across their country late last fall. ..."
Brooklyn Street Art

Thursday, January 28

Listen & Watch Hip-Hop Develop From 1989-2015 on Billboard's Chart

Notorious B.I.G. in Brooklyn
"Put on your headphones and prepare for major nostalgia. Billboard partnered with to create an audio timeline of the most popular tracks in rap since 1989, as told by Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart data. Listen to and watch the sound of hip-hop develop as different artists, labels and entire regions rise and fall, from the heyday of Public Enemy to viral sensations ignited by Soulja Boy. Experience the full chart here: "
billboard (Video)
The Most Successful Labels in Hip-Hop: A Detailed Analysis (Video)

Laura Poitras: Astro Noise

"Laura Poitras: Astro Noise is the first solo museum exhibition by artist, filmmaker, and journalist Laura Poitras. This immersive installation of new work builds on topics important to Poitras, including mass surveillance, the war on terror, the U.S. drone program, Guantánamo Bay Prison, occupation, and torture. Some of these issues have been investigated in her films, including CITIZENFOUR, which won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Documentary, and in her reporting, which was awarded a 2014 Pulitzer Prize. For the exhibition, Poitras is creating an interrelated series of installations in the Whitney’s eighth-floor Hurst Family Galleries. The exhibition expands on her project to document post–9/11 America, engaging visitors in formats outside her non-fiction filmmaking. ..."
NY Times: Laura Poitras Prepares ‘Astro Noise’ for the Whitney Museum
Vogue: Oscar-Winning Documentarian Laura Poitras Is Emerging—Carefully—Into the Spotlight
W - Laura Poitras

2015 October: CITIZENFOUR (2014)

Ooh Wee Pretty Baby! - Long John Hunter (1999)

"Long John Hunter is a musician who defies easy categorization. Although generally classified as a Texas blues guitarist, his approach incorporates other musical elements into the mix, as convincingly illustrated by the tracks on Ooh Wee Pretty Baby! Much of this can be explained by the fact that Long John developed his distinctive sound in relative isolation - not even in Texas, but across the border in Mexico, of all places. Born in Louisiana in 1931 to itinerant sharecropping parents, Hunter spent his teenage years in Arkansas before an eventual move to southeast Texas. During the early 1950s, he attended a B.B. King concert at the insistence of some friends, an event that he identifies as the inspiration for him to pick up the guitar and become a professional musician. ..."
Record Fiend
YouTube: Ooh Wee Pretty Baby!

Wednesday, January 27

The Society of Mind - Marvin Minsky (1986)

Wikiedia - "The Society of Mind is both the title of a 1986 book and the name of a theory of natural intelligence as written and developed by Marvin Minsky. In his book of the same name, Minsky constructs a model of human intelligence step by step, built up from the interactions of simple parts called agents, which are themselves mindless. He describes the postulated interactions as constituting a 'society of mind', hence the title. The work, which first appeared in 1986, was the first comprehensive description of Minsky's 'society of mind' theory, which he began developing in the early 1970s. ... He develops theories about how processes such as language, memory, and learning work, and also covers concepts such as consciousness, the sense of self, and free will; because of this, many view The Society of Mind as a work of philosophy. ..."
The Society of Mind: Written by Marvin Minsky. Formatted for the web by Dylan Holmes. (Video)
[PDF] Society of Mind
YouTube: Marvin Minsky: Mind As Society (excerpt) - Thinking Allowed DVD w/ Jeffrey Mishlove, Interview with Marvin Minsky, Kurzweil Interviews Minsky: Is Singularity Near?

John Sloan, “The Hell Hole,” 1917

Etching and aquatint.
"... Built in the 19th century, the Golden Swan stood until 1928, when the structure was demolished as part of the building of the Sixth Avenue Subway. The longtime proprietor, Thomas Wallace, is widely accepted to be O’Neill’s inspiration for the proprietor of the bar in 'The Iceman Cometh,' the most famous off-Broadway revival of which was itself produced in Greenwich Village. ... Since then the bar has become somewhat of a neighborhood legend, occupying space not on the corner of West 4th and 6th, but in the pages of New York Times local and human interest columns. Even in absentia, the institution evokes the rough and romanticized history of Village Bohemia, with its dark dives where geniuses tortured themselves into producing masterworks. ..."
Golden Swan Garden, the Hell Hole, and “The Iceman Cometh”
Seeing the City: Sloan's New York
Slumming and Black-and-tan Saloons: Racial Intermingling and the Challenging of Color Lines
Art Collection

Notorious Village dive bar the Golden Swan

The Rolling Stones (EP)

Wikipedia - "The Rolling Stones is the debut EP released by The Rolling Stones in January 1964. It was released both to capitalise on their first Top 20 hit 'I Wanna Be Your Man' and to test the commercial appeal of the band before their UK label Decca Records would commit to letting them record an album. The Rolling Stones includes four songs recorded at two separate sessions in August and November 1963. The Rolling Stones features R&B covers of some of the band's favorite artists, and some recent American hits. Impact Sound is officially listed as the EP's producer. Eric Easton is possibly involved, Andrew Loog Oldham produced the opening track 'Bye Bye Johnny'. Despite the rawness of the production, the EP reached no. 1 in the UK EP charts in February 1964, having entered the chart the week after its release. ..."
YouTube: 00:00-02:09 Bye bye Johnny 02:09-04:42 Money 04:42-07:24 You Better move on 07:24-09:30 Poison Ivy

2015 August: Exile on Main Street (1972), 2015 October: "Let's Spend the Night Together" / "Ruby Tuesday" (1967), 2015 December: Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka (1971), 2016 January: Some Girls (1978)

Tuesday, January 26

Counter Currents: Josh MacPhee on the Diggers

"Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Hippie Modernism, the ongoing series Counter Currents invites a range of individuals and collectives—from writer Geoff Manaugh and artist Dread Scott to and Experimental Jetset—to share how countercultural artists and designers of the 1960s and ’70s have influenced their work and thinking today. Here designer, artist, and archivist Josh MacPhee links the ethos of the San Francisco Diggers with his own experiences in DIY publishing and punk activism decades later. ..."

Invisible Hits: The Miracle of The B52's, Live in the Early Days

"Close to four decades after forming, the B52's remain one of the strangest and most radical American rock bands to achieve widespread acceptance. There are myriad reasons why a band as weird and wonderful as this managed to sneak its way into the pop mainstream, but one of them is that from the very beginning, the B52's were an undeniably great live act. ..."
Pitchfork (Video)
The B-52's Stream Unearthed 1979 Live Album (Video)
YouTube: The B-52´s live in Atlanta - 1978, 11/07/80 - Capitol Theatre, Live In Dortmund 1983 | Full Concert, Rock in Rio 1985, Live At Max's Kansas City 1977/05/28 (Late), 1978 WSAI 94.1 FM Chicago

2008 October: The B-52's, 2012 October: The B-52's -1, 2013 May: "Private Idaho", "Give Me Back My Man", 2014 August: "Rock Lobster".

A Shelter’s Icy Reception (March 31, 2015)

An entrance to the BRC, on Clay Street.
"On a recent Saturday afternoon, 50 people gathered inside the Church of the Ascension’s parish hall in Greenpoint. Some came with friends. Some, lacking energy, moved at a leaden pace. Volunteers waited at the door to help the elderly up the three steps. Every Saturday, the church hosts a lunch for the neighborhood’s homeless. That Saturday, beef chili over rice, soup, and cake were served. The group, mostly men, are middle-aged or slightly older. They keep to themselves or speak quietly to one another in Polish, in huddles of two or three. The air feels warm and smells slightly stale. ..."

Monday, January 25

Outsider Art Fair: The director’s cut

James Edward Deeds Jr., Home Sweet Home / Anchor [261/262], 1908-1987.
"‘This year’s Outsider Art Fair will feature 64 exhibitors, the greatest number in our 24-year history,’ says the fair’s director, Rebecca Hoffman. Twenty-four first-time exhibitors will be showing at the fair’s new venue, the Metropolitan Pavilion, in 2016, and here, Hoffman identifies the artists she’s particularly excited to present. ... At Hirschl & Adler, James Edward Deeds Jr.’s Home Sweet Home displays the innocence that became typical of his works: delicately executed crayon and pencil drawings that return to motifs including vehicles, animals, people, buildings and formal gardens. The State Hospital paper on which he worked is the only indication of a less than tranquil life. ..."
Outsider Art Fair 2016
NY Times: At the Outsider Art Fair, the Creative Impulse Is in Its Raw Glory

Music for a New Society - John Cale (1982)

"The aural chaos and intense paranoia of John Cale's 'comeback' albums Sabotage/Live and Honi Soit seemingly left him with very few places left to go, short of setting back-issues of Soldier of Fortune to music. 1982's Music for a New Society was, from a musical standpoint, a remarkable about-face, sounding calm, spare, and spectral where his last few albums had been all rant and rage; the arrangements were dominated by Cale's open, languid keyboard patterns, and there was far more aural 'white space' in their framings than he had permitted himself since The Academy in Peril. ... Spare, understated, and perhaps a masterpiece."
The Quietus: John Cale, M:FANS/Music For A New Society
W - Music for a New Society
Q&A: John Cale On Memorializing Lou Reed & Re-Making Music For A New Society (Video)
John Cale Reworks Music for a New Society as M:FANS, Reissues Original Album
YouTube: Close Watch (Official Video), Close Watch, Back To The End (M:FANS), Thoughtless Kind (M:FANS), Prelude (M:FANS)

2012 November: Songs for Drella - Lou Reed and John Cale

Bernd and Hilla Becher

Water Towers, 1972-95
"In June 1966, the German artist Hilla Becher, who has died aged 81, set off, together with her husband Bernd and their two-year-old son Max, to south Wales in a VW camper, towing an old caravan fitted out as a darkroom. They were there on a six-month British Council bursary to photograph the coalmines’ winding towers and processing plants. Whatever initial reservations the Welsh miners may have had about this unusual German family were overcome when they saw how determined and thorough Hilla and Bernd were with their photography. They used large-format plate cameras, and where necessary, ladders or even scaffolding to construct suitable vantage points from which to photograph. ..."
Guardian - Lost world: Bernd and Hilla Becher's legendary industrial photographs
W - Bernd and Hilla Becher
Fraenkel Gallery
YouTube: Bernd and Hilla Becher, 4 Decades [excerpt]