Saturday, January 20

Joy Division - She's Lost Control (1979)

"... Listen to the nervy horror of She’s Lost Control now, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that it’s been cursed by some crooked finger of fate. It all seems spookily predestined that Curtis would write the lyrics when, in his nine-to-five job at the Department of Disabled Services in Manchester, he witnessed a young woman collapse with an epileptic fit. Later he’d learn that she died of a seizure; and eventually he’d be diagnosed with the condition himself. But even without the foreshadowing, She’s Lost Control would still sound starkand stern, like the last waltz at the death disco, coiled around Peter Hook’s rumbling bass. Curtis goes way beyond physical trauma lyrically too, turning the sight of jerking, flailing limbs into a cerebral crisis. Lost control means lost dignity, and the longer the song goes on, his voice becomes less steady, too: 'She’s clinging to the nearest passer by / She’s lost control / And she gave away the secrets of her past,' he barks. ..."
Guardian - Joy Division: 10 of the Best
W - She's Lost Control
How to Play She’s Lost Control by Joy Division (Video)
YouTube: She's Lost Control (Live)

2008 March: Ian Curtis, 2009 August: Factory: Manchester From Joy Division To Happy Mondays, 2010 November: Love Will Tear Us Apart, 2012 February: An Ideal for Living EP, 2012 May: Unknown Pleasures, 2013 May: "Atmosphere"/ "Dead Souls", 2016 December: John Peel Session (1979), 2017 July: Closer (1980)

The Second Lives of Pussy Hats

"One year ago, people at Women’s Marches across the country and around the world donned pink headgear to protest an administration headed by a man who, by his own account, thought he had a right to grab anything he wanted. We asked readers what they’ve done with their pussy hats since. Nicole Cesare of Philadelphia stashes hers in a 'go bag' along with pens, a notebook and snacks in case she needs to rush to a protest. Whitney Logan of Fairway, Kan., puts hers on when she makes phone calls to her senators and representatives: 'It gives me courage,' she said. Emily Kilbourn, in Bethlehem, Connecticut, wears hers when she’s going somewhere she knows she’ll run into conservatives: 'Amazing what a smile, wave, and a tip of the pussy hat will do!' For some readers, they’ve become complicated objects, representative of an unserious sort of activism, unsuited to the times. ..."
NY Times

American Landscape: An Exploration of Art & Humanity

American Landscape #34
"Using orange as a color representative of fear, Mousa’s mixed-media American Landscape Series takes up the fraught politics of LGBTQ rights in America. He employs the color’s long association with post-9/11 security threats – Code Orange (emergency code), even though in Europe and America prior to 9/11, orange had very positive connotations, like warmth, sweetness, and high energy. In Buddhism, orange is the color of illumination, indicating strength and wisdom. Mousa, however, uses it to add a disquieting sense of alarm to his work. Applied with scratchy, frantic marks, the color connotes both fire and blood. It lends urgency to an issue that’s intensely personal for Mousa, a gay man subject to right-wing, pro-family ideologies that compromise the queer community’s civil rights. The panels feature same sex figures linking hands – in pairs, rows, and even formations that build up the stars and stripes of the American flag. Combining them with other potent signifiers of American culture, the series provides important commentary on civil rights in the United States."
Nabil Mousa
NY Times: Arab and Coming Out in Art That Speaks Up

Friday, January 19

INTERVIEW: Jason Lutes Talks the Final Days of “Berlin”

"Following a devastating defeat in World War I, Germany embarked on what its citizens hoped would be a golden model of human achievement. However, the Weimar Republic incarnation of the country’s history was bedeviled by economic imbalance, social and racial strife, and radicalized factions that demonized their foes rather than striving to understand them. As even the most cursory knowledge of history tells us, this chaos paved the way for the horrific events of the Holocaust and World War II. For nearly twenty years, cartoonist Jason Lutes has been examining that tumultuous era of German society in the pages of 'Berlin.' At the center of the comic’s ensemble cast stand journalist Kurt Severing, hard-headed and serious, and artist Marthe Maller, affable and spirited. Around them revolve desperate children, Jewish businessmen, communist laborers, art students, National Socialist hardliners, Black jazz musicians and more. The intended trilogy of books is nearly complete — with 'Berlin' vol. 1 'City of Stone' and vol. 2 'City of Smoke' both published by Drawn and Quarterly. ..."
INTERVIEW: Jason Lutes Talks the Final Days of “Berlin”
LitHub: The American Artist Who’s Been Drawing Interwar Berlin for 23 Years
Quarterly Conversation
W - Berlin (comics)
amazon: Jason Lutes


Wikipedia - "A BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato) is a type of bacon sandwich. The standard BLT is made up of four ingredients: bacon, lettuce, tomato, and bread. The BLT evolved from the tea sandwiches served at a similar time to the club sandwich, although it is unclear when the name BLT became the norm. While there are variations on the BLT, the essential ingredients are bacon, tomatoes and lettuce, on a slice of bread. The quantity and quality of the ingredients are matters of personal preference. The bacon can be well cooked or tender, but as it 'carries' the other flavours, chefs recommend using higher quality meat; in particular, chef Edward Lee states 'Your general supermarket bacon is not going to cut the mustard.' ..."
YouTube: BLT - Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato

Nigeria Special Volume 2 & Afrobeat Compilation Reviewed

"In recent years, world music has become less, well, worldly. The creeping influence of the sounds of the Sahara have found their way to America’s West Coast, and to California in particular, scattered out over the underground landscape like seeds falling and floating off a particularly beautiful, and enviably fertile, flower. The burgeoning African hip-hop scene, too, has gone full circle: the bubbling flows and garish styles its impressionable, youthful rappers learnt from MTV imports, and then melded with their own instruments to create something wonderfully unique, are now impacting on the next generation of rappers and producers in America and Europe. Now Africa is firmly in the spotlight, good documents of its musical history (as well as those of the Caribbean islands and other areas of particular potency with a broadly African base) are needed; compilations that are well researched and unpatronising, expansive without being hopelessly scattered. And that’s where Soundway Records come in. ..."
The Quietus (Video)
Discogs (Video)
Discogs (Video)
Nigeria Special, Vol. 2: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970-6
YouTube: Nigeria Afrobeat Special, Nigeria Special Vol. 2, Fela Kuti Interview

Thursday, January 18

Meet the Puerto Ricans Who Fled to New York After Maria

Juan Miranda
"The Hurricane Service Center was set up by NYC Emergency Management in October of 2017 for displaced residents of Florida, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. I had gone there because I needed help: I’d been living with my grandmother in the northern coastal Puerto Rican town of Arecibo and went through Maria with her when it made a direct hit on the town; though the house suffered no damages, our daily lives became limited to setting up whatever receptacle we could find to gather rainwater and seeking whatever food was available in the small grocery stores nearby. As a video editor and filmmaker working in a small company in the south of the island, I couldn’t work without an internet connection, let alone power or generators. Eventually I decided to leave for New York City, where my brother lives. But the reality is that there is nothing minor about this crisis, for anyone. Some island residents lost homes, belongings, family, and friends, while others lost their jobs. ..."

John Carter ‎– Castles Of Ghana (1986)

"John Carter, a not-so-well-known clarinetist, creates in the ’80 a series of albums, 5 to be precise, that summarize the history of afroamerican music. Those lp’s are obviously not a scientific effort to classify and organize the musical experience of black people in United States, all the elements are nevertheless present and finely mixed. Avantgarde, swing, blues, minimalism, dixie marches share the same ground and justappose and interwine each other homogenously. Each of the five chapters deals with a different historical moments, from Africa to deportation, from the fields to the urban migrations in America. Castles of Ghana is the second part of the series, the title itself invokes dark dungeons where men were gathered and lately deported to cotton fiels and hard labor. The music is never relaxed, it goes from hectic to humble, sad and obscure to ironic, almost playful, with an wry irony disdainful of the oppressors. Altough the disc stands by itself, the listening of all 5 chapters, chronologically or not, is an engaging and imageful sham of a barbarity and of one of its painful but most sublime aftermath: jazz."
YouTube: Castles of Ghana, Theme Of Desperation, Conversations, The Fallen Prince

The Bostonians - Henry James (1886)

Wikipedia - "The Bostonians is a novel by Henry James, first published as a serial in The Century Magazine in 1885–1886 and then as a book in 1886. This bittersweet tragicomedy centres on an odd triangle of characters: Basil Ransom, a political conservative from Mississippi; Olive Chancellor, Ransom's cousin and a Boston feminist; and Verena Tarrant, a pretty, young protégée of Olive's in the feminist movement. The storyline concerns the struggle between Ransom and Olive for Verena's allegiance and affection, though the novel also includes a wide panorama of political activists, newspaper people, and quirky eccentrics. ... Unlike much of James' work, The Bostonians deals with explicitly political themes: feminism and the general role of women in society. James was at best ambivalent about the feminist movement, and the early chapters harshly satirise Olive and her fellow ideologues. Another theme in the book, much discussed recently, is Olive's possible lesbian attraction to Verena. ..."
Guardian: The end of innocence
The Allantic

Wednesday, January 17

Grounding the currents of Indigenous resistance

"Indigenous peoples across the Americas have been rising up for 500 years, presenting multivalent forms of resistance to colonial violence, femicide, epistemicide and ecocide. The many faces and instances of this resistance do not register within leftist discourse and practice, and, in fact, are often invisibilized. As Indigenous women who have actively participated in and led community resistance to colonial violence, our response to the question 'Why don’t the poor rise up?' is to share our own stories and the stories of our people here not as the answer to this question but as the context for our own question: 'When will the left listen?' This article was written at the onset of the fourth anniversary of the Idle No More movement and in the eighth month of the Indigenous-led action and encampment to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on sacred ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. ..."
ROAR (Video)
11 Indigenous resistance movements you need to know
W - Indigenous peoples
Unsettling America - Decolonization in Theory & Practice
Indigenous Resistance: The Big Picture behind Pipeline Protests
Indigenous Resistance to New Colonialism
500 Years of Indigenous Resistance: The Anti-Colonial Struggle in Canada (Video)
8 Musicians Highlighting Indigenous Resistance With a 2016 Spin (Video)

Music With Memory - David Behrman (2018)

"Alga Marghen return to David Behrman’s pioneering electronic experiments with this astonishing collection of live recordings marrying microprocessors with violin, sax and electrified Mbira between 1986-1989, all previously unpublished on any format. While Behrman’s name is synonymous with 20th century avant garde sonics - often checked in the same breath as John Cage, or alongside peers Gordon Mumma, Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier - it may be difficult for curious neeks to grasp his wide-reaching, exploratory practice, which is where you can consider this LP a seductive and ear-dilating portal to his freely improvised, beautifully mercurial world. Music With Memory was realised at the behest of John Driscoll and Mathias Osterwold, who conceived the phrase to describe the mixture of then newly available, portable 'microprocessors', or computers equipped with memory, with 'real' musicians, namely Takehisa Kosugi (Violin) and Werner Durand (Soprano Saxophone) respectively, at their concerts held at Eiszeit-Kino in Kreuzberg, Berlin, 1986. ..."
boomkat (Audio)
Soundcloud: Music With Memory (Excerpt 3)
YouTube: Music With Memory (Excerpt 1), Music With Memory (Excerpt 2)

2010 October: Roulette TV: David Behrman, 2012 January: The Siren Orchestra, 2014 May: On the Other Ocean/Figure in a Clearing (1977). 2015 June: Wave Train

Turkey’s State of Emergency

"Politics always involves a tension between laws and leadership, accountability and action. Emergencies occur, the ship of state needs to negotiate the storms of unexpected events; there is a need to act. For those who believe in the priority of rights as an ideal of politics, this can be a problem. The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben mused on this in his State of Exception, arguing that sovereignty and constitutions are unstable partners, with the sovereign always longing to slip the constitutional net. I was reminded of this during my recent trip to Ankara as part of a European socialist delegation in order to witness the trial of the two leaders of the mainly Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP in Turkish), Selahatin Demirtas and Figen Yuksegdag. The prosecutors have asked for a 142-year sentence for each of them. It is likely that their request will be granted. There is currently a 'state of emergency' in Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has developed a peculiar form of national Islam, an unprecedented combination of Atatürk and the Muslim Brotherhood. ..."
The Nation
The Nation: In Turkey, Repression of the Kurdish Language Is Back, With No End in Sight

2016 February: The Feminist, Democratic Leftists Our Military Is Obliterating -  Debbie Bookchin, 2016 May: Turkey’s Authoritarian Turn, 2016 July: How Turkey Came to This, 2017 March: As repression deepens, Turkish artists and intellectuals fear the worst, 2017 July: A Long March for Justice in Turkey, 2017 July: Radical Municipalism: The Future We Deserve, 2017 September: Istanbul: Memories and the City - Orhan Pamuk

Tuesday, January 16

Fine Arts Work Center

Frank Gardner - Provincetown Morning
Wikipedia - "The Fine Arts Work Center is a non-profit enterprise devoted to encouraging the growth and development of emerging visual artists and writers through residency programs, to the propagation of aesthetic values and experience, and to the restoration of the year-round vitality of the historic art colony of Provincetown, Massachusetts. The Work Center was founded in 1968 by a group of American artists and writers to support promising individuals in the early stages of their creative careers. The Work Center, whose founders included Stanley Kunitz, Robert Motherwell, Myron Stout and Jack Tworkov, annually offers ten writers and ten visual artists seven-month residencies, including a work area and a monthly stipend. ..."
W - Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Provincetown Arts Magazine
W - P'town
Google: Provincetown, Mass.
Provincetown History: The Art Colony, A Brief History

Fine Arts Work Center

1959: The Year that Changed Jazz

"1959. It was a pivotal year for jazz. Musicians started breaking away from bebop, exploring new, experimental forms. And four absolutely canonical LPs were recorded that year:Kind of Blue by Miles Davis; Time Out by Dave Brubeck; Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus; and The Shape of Jazz to Come by Ornette Coleman. 1959 also found America on the cusp of great social and political upheaval. Integration, Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis -- they were all coming around the bend, and sometimes figures like Mingus and Coleman commented musically on these events. This transformative period gets nicely covered by the recent BBC documentary, 1959: The Year that Changed Jazz. The outtake above focuses on Ornette Coleman and his innovative work as a free jazz musician. If it whets your appetite, you can dive into the full program on YouTube. The documentary featuring interviews with Brubeck, Coleman, Lou Reed, and Herbie Hancock is available runs roughly 60 minutes. ..."
Open Culture (Video)

Towards Anarchitecture: Gordon Matta-Clark and Le Corbusier

Window Blowout 1976. Photograph mounted on board.
"Gordon Matta-Clark (1943–1978), who trained originally as an architect, is best known for his spectacular ‘building cuts’. These have often been seen as an outright rejection of the architectural profession. The collaborative project Anarchitecture (1974), however, demonstrates how the language of modernism, particularly the polemical and epigrammatic Towards a New Architecture by the French modernist artist and architect Le Corbusier, was very much part of his raw material. ..."
NY Times - Back in the Bronx: Gordon Matta-Clark, Rogue Sculptor
Bronx Museum - Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect
amazon: Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect
vimeo: Anarchitecture, the Architecture

Monday, January 15

Restoring King

"Every year, in January and April, we commemorate the extraordinary career of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. But there is probably no figure in recent American history whose memory is more distorted, whose message is more bowdlerized, whose powerful words are more drained of content than King. A few years ago, in preparation for a public lecture on 1968, I reread the most important book on King and his politics to come out in the last decade: Thomas F. Jackson’s From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King Jr and the Struggle for Economic Justice. Jackson, a former researcher with the King Papers project at Stanford, has read King’s every last sermon, speech, book, article, and letter. What Jackson finds is that from the beginning of his ministry, King was far more radical, especially on matters of labor, poverty, and economic justice, than we remember. In media accounts, King was quickly labeled the “Apostle of Non-Violence” and, by the mid 1960s, portrayed as the antithesis to Malcolm X. ..."
The Dawn
NY Times: Will America Choose King’s Dream or Trump’s Nightmare?

2008 January: Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Luther King Jr. - 1, 2013 August: The March at 50 , 2015 January: Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March by Stephen Somerstein, 2015 February: Spider Martin’s Photographs of the Selma March Get a Broader View, 2015 March: Revisiting Selma, 2015 December: Atlanta: Darker Than Blue, 2016 February: Unpublished Black History, 2018 January: The Evolution of Dr. King

William Basinski ‎- The Garden Of Brokenness (2005)

"The sustain pedal was one of the greatest discoveries of my life. I still remember the first few times I ever sat at a piano, holding it down and letting the notes vibrate against each other until they faded to imperceptibility. And then doing it again. Incredibly, the sound of felt hammers on metal strings can be used to express almost any emotion you could name. In 1979, when he first recorded the piano loops used on The Garden of Brokenness, William Basinski says he was attempting capture 'mono no aware,' a Japanese concept whose closest English translation is 'the sadness of things.' 'Things' could be taken two ways, of course-- it may refer to the general state of being alive, or to literal, physical objects. Either way, these sad, slow piano loops are the kind of sounds that poke around in your guts looking for sensitive spots to nestle into. ..."
YouTube: The Garden of Brokenness

2017 January: The Disintegration Loops (2002-2003), 2017 October: Watermusic II (2003)

The loveliness of New York’s skinny brownstones

"A single-family brownstone has been a New Yorker’s dream home since these “brown stone front” row houses (often made of brick with brown sandstone covering the facade) began appearing on city blocks by the middle of the 19th century. Because building lots during the brownstone era typically measured 25 by 100 feet, the average home came in at about 20 feet across, which allowed for a spacious parlor floor with two or three wide windows with decorative touches spanning each floor. But thanks to profit-driven developers who decided to squeeze two brownstones into one lot, the cityscape of today contains a fair number of slender, narrow, skinny brownstones. The top photo shows one in Gramercy with the same iron balconies and cornice as its wider counterparts. The second photo shows two compressed-looking brownstones on West 30th Street. ..."
Ephemeral New York

2014 April: Brownstone, 2015 May: Park Slope and the Story of Brownstone Brooklyn

Sunday, January 14

Alice Neel, Uptown

Mercedes Arroyo, 1952
"Known for her portraits of family, friends, writers, poets, artists, students, singers, salesmen, activists, and more, Alice Neel created forthright, intimate, and, at times, humorous paintings that quietly engaged with political and social issues. In Alice Neel, Uptown, writer and curator Hilton Als brings together a body of paintings and works on paper of African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, and other people of color for the first time. Highlighting the innate diversity of Neel’s approach, the selection looks at those whose portraits are often left out of the art-historical canon and how this extraordinary painter captured them; 'what fascinated her was the breadth of humanity that she encountered,' Als writes. ..."
David Zwirner
The Atlantic: How Alice Neel’s Sharp, Compassionate Eye Painted Harlem
[PDF] David Zwirner

2010 October: Alice Neel, 2012 September: Alice Neel: Late Portraits and Still Lifes

Swoop And Cross – Stories Of Disintegration (2018)

"... Up first is this pastoral and nostalgic beauty from Swoop And Cross, aka London based Portuguese composer/musician, Ruben Vale. Like a soundtrack to a melancholic and romantic silent film from long past, the tracks on Stories Of Disintegration wind their way into your subconscious, softly easing you into a state of memory and longing. As though you are watching your life on rewind…and waiting to hear what happens in the music. The languid and dreamy piano motifs are counter balanced by more rhythmic electronic flourishes, and together they form this very contemplative set of sounds. ... Each lidded box is collaged on the cover with unique Japanese prints of temples and gardens, torn, punched and holed, leaving parts of the original album cover showing. Most boxes have a spinning wheel on the cover as well, and each comes with a wraparound stamped obi strip. Each box is then edge stamped, and comes inside with fragments of photos and texts from the originally included librettos and booklets. ..."
Time Released Sound (Audio)
disquiet (Audio)
Soundcloud: Swoop And Cross "Stories Of Disintegration" St. No
YouTube: #Gonzervatory Application - Swoop and Cross

Bill Morrison - The Dockworker's Dream (2016)

"There is a magical new film by Bill Morrison, who has has garnered love and accolades for his films that use archival footage to tell new stories. His work has been shown around the world, recently as part of a mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Along with his use of found footage, Bill Morrison often teams up with modern composers. He's made films using music by Philip Glass, Harry Partch, Vijay Iyer and Bill Frisell which gives you an idea of his reach into both the world of classical, avant-garde and jazz. For his new film, The Dockworker's Dream, Bill Morrison did something a bit different, by teaming up Kurt Wagner of the dreamy, country-tinged band Lambchop for music that is both instrumental and vocal. The film is a reflective black and white journey from port to factory that includes a wedding and a hunt. ..."
NPR - Archival Filmmaker Bill Morrison Meets Lambchop: Watch Their Film (Video)
YouTube: The Dockworker's Dream

2012 June: Bill Morrison, 2015 October: Decasia (2002), 2017 December: The Miners' Hymns (2011)

Saturday, January 13


Miguel Piñero of the Nuyorican literary movement and poet Sandra Maria Esteves on the train in New York City in 1977.
Wikipedia - "Nuyorican is a portmanteau of the terms 'New York' and 'Puerto Rican' and refers to the members or culture of the Puerto Rican diaspora located in or around New York City, or of their descendants (especially those raised or still living in the New York area). This term could be used for Puerto Ricans living in other areas in the Northeast outside New York State. The term is also used by Boricuas (Puerto Ricans from Puerto Rico) to differentiate those of Puerto Rican descent from the Puerto Rico-born. The term Nuyorican is also sometimes used to refer to the Spanish spoken by New York Puerto Ricans. ... Ethnic enclaves centered on Puerto Ricans include Spanish Harlem, Manhattan; Williamsburg, Brooklyn; and the South Bronx. ... Nuyorican itself dates at least from 1975, the date of the first public sessions of the Nuyorican Poets Café. ..."
W - Nuyorican Movement
Becoming “Nuyorican” (Video)
W - Nuyorican Poets Café
Nuyorican Poets Cafe

The exterior walls are painted by a local artist "Chico" who has done neighborhood murals for decades. Above the entry doorway hangs Diana Gitesha Hernandez's acrylic painting.

Chaos Is This College Basketball Season’s Only Constant

"This college basketball season is drunk. I know that gets said every year around this point in January, but that’s only because the sentiment always rings true. The entire sport’s landscape feels fuzzy: Unranked teams are beating top-10 teams so often that it’s no longer even surprising; all the blueblood programs are worse than expected; there were no undefeated teams left by New Year’s Day; and four teams — Arizona, Florida, Texas A&M, and Notre Dame — have fallen to unranked status after previously cracking the top five of the AP poll. The SEC and Pac-12 are shitshows, the Big East and Big 12 are bloodbaths, the ACC might be the fourth-best conference in America, and the Big Ten is a thing that also exists. Plus, Wisconsin and Iowa State stink, Auburn and Arizona State don’t, Buzz Williams has hair, and J.P. Macura doesn’t wear sleeves on the court. ..."
The Ringer

2012 July: Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC, 2013 March: March Madness 2013, 2014 January: History of the high five, 2015 February: Dean Smith (February 28, 1931 – February 7, 2015), 2015 September: Joint Ventures: How sneakers became high fashion and big business, 2015 December: Welcome to Smarter Basketball, 2016 January: The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams (1994), 2016 January: A Long Hardwood Journey, 2016 March: American Hustle - Alexandra Starr, 2016 July: Photographers in Focus: Ethan Sprague, 2016 November: 2016–17 College Basketball, 2017 November: 2017-18 College Basketball

Bootsy Collins - What's In My Bag?

"Bootsy Collins is a legendary funk and R&B bassist with a musical legacy spanning four decades. Born in Cincinnati, Collins began his musical career with The Pacemakers, members of which later served as James Brown's backing group under the name The J.B.'s. After moving to Detroit in the '70s, he was introduced to George Clinton and joined Funkadelic. In 1976, Collins and several other members of the Parliament Funkadelic collective formed Bootsy's Rubber Band and recorded five albums together. In the '80s Collins recorded both as a solo artist and with Bootsy's Rubber Band. He has collaborated with Bill Laswell, Fatboy Slim, Deee-Lite, and Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads. His most recent release is 2011's The Funk Capital of the World, which features appearances by Chuck D, Snoop Dogg, George Clinton and Bernie Worrell."
Amoeba Music (Video)

2009 July: Bootsy Collins, 2012 April: Ahh...The Name Is Bootsy, Baby!, 2009 January: George Clinton, 2010 December: Mothership Connection - Houston 1976, 2011 October: Funkadelic - One Nation Under A Groove, 2011 October: "Do Fries Go With That Shake?", 2012 August: Tales Of Dr. Funkenstein – The Story Of George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic, 2015 July: Playing The (Baker's) Dozens: George Clinton's Favourite Albums, 2015 August: Chocolate City (1975), 2016 February: Maggot Brain - Funkadelic (1971), 2016 June: P-Funk All Stars - Urban Dancefloor Guerillas (1983), 2017 March: Up for the Down Stroke - Parliament (1974)

Friday, January 12

Found Memories - Julia Murat (2011)

"'If bread doesn’t breathe, it gets stiff,' says Madalena (Sônia Guedes), an elderly woman in the fictitious Brazilian village of Jotuombo, whose daily grind involves kneading dough and baking rolls before sunrise. She’s talking to Rita (Lisa Fávero), a young photographer who happens upon the village, and indeed, before Rita’s arrival, Madalena and her neighbors were living a rather airless and rigid existence. The first narrative feature from native Brazilian Julia Murat, Found Memories has all the makings of a turn-this-town-upside-down banality, its plucky drifter softening the crusty locals with her fresh breath of vitality. But Murat holds the reins on blatant convention about as tightly as she does the gaze of her static camera, which, like Rita, is most often a curious visitor of a sleepy haven forgotten by time. ..."
NY Times: A Dying Village Gets a Curious Visitor
NPR: 'Found Memories' Revealed With Grace And Patience
W - Found Memories
MUBI: Found Memories
YouTube: Interview with Julia Murat in New York - Director of Found Memories


A Reading in the Salon of Mme Geoffrin, 1755
Wikipedia - "A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, 'either to please or to educate' (Latin: aut delectare aut prodesse). Salons, commonly associated with French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries, were carried on until as recently as the 1940s in urban settings. The salon was an Italian invention of the 16th century, which flourished in France throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. The salon continued to flourish in Italy throughout the 19th century. In 16th-century Italy, some brilliant circles formed in the smaller courts which resembled salons, often galvanized by the presence of a beautiful and educated patroness such as Isabella d'Este or Elisabetta Gonzaga. ..."
Salon Culture: Network of Ideas
The History and Meaning of Salons
A Renaissance of Salon Culture
Women's Involvement in the French Salons (Early 18th Century)
Getty Center - Comic Art: The Paris Salon in Caricature
[PDF] Shaping the Public Sphere: English Coffeehouses and French Salons and the Age of the Enlightenment

In New York, Drawing Flood Maps Is a ‘Game of Inches’

The Edgewater Park community in the Bronx has had among the most flood insurance claims in New York City in recent years.
"With its 520 miles of coastline and thousands of acres of waterfront development, New York has more residents living in high-risk flood zones than any other city in the country. Hurricane Sandy, the devastating October 2012 storm, did $19 billion in damage to the city, and the pace of development along the water has only increased. Now, after a year in which hurricanes ravaged Houston and the Caribbean, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is substantially redrawing New York’s flood maps for the first time in three decades. It is a painstaking process that will affect tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people, determining how and where buildings can be constructed and the cost of flood insurance on everything from modest bungalows to luxury skyscrapers. New York will be the first major metropolis to be remapped taking into account the realities of climate change, like rising sea levels and increasingly powerful storms. ..."
NY Times

Saturday, January 6

15 Wildest Claims From Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury’

"Michael Wolff’s exposé 'Fire and Fury' hit bookstands today after just an excerpt of it prompted panicked, angry tweets and legal threats from President Donald Trump. The publisher, Henry Holt, responded by moving up the publishing date to today, but good luck finding a copy: It’s sold out and backordered in Los Angeles, and in Washington, D.C., bookstores that stayed open past midnight rapidly ran out of their copies. But it is available on Kindle if you’re impatient, and I certainly was. Here are some of the gossipy, tell-all book’s juiciest pieces of internecine strife and bad language. ..."
New Yorker: Michael Wolff’s Withering Portrait of President Donald Trump
LA Times - Op-Ed Why believe Michael Wolff? Because, for now, this stuff is too good not to
New Republic: Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury Is a Gift to Donald Trump
Guardian - Michael Wolff's explosive book on Trump: the key revelations (Video)
LitHub: Everything You Need to Know About Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury
The Hill: Who is ‘Fire and Fury’ author Michael Wolff? (Video)

Drawing heavily on quotes from Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon, Michael Wolff’s new book describes a dysfunctional and bitterly divided White House. (New Yorker)

The Lake Studies: 1-16 - Lar Duggan (2001)

"If there were an award for best under-recorded jazz artist in Burlington, it would be a toss-up between two long-time regulars on the local scene — James Harvey and Lar Duggan. Harvey recently released his first solo album, and Duggan has just come out with the second in a professional career that has so far spanned 40 years. It’s noteworthy when a pianist of Duggan’s high caliber decides to put out a new album, but his recent release isn’t exactly new. It was recorded before his first album, which was released more than 20 years ago, and features the same title and much of the same material as his first release. Confused yet? Duggan’s sort-of-new collection is mainly a solo piano outing, The Lake Studies: 1-16, recorded by Charles Eller and self-released on Duggan’s own Aerie label. ..." (Anna B.)
Seven Days - Water Music: Navigating the lake-inspired latest from Burlington pianist Lar Duggan
Soundcloud (Audio)
Bandcamp (Audio)
YouTube: Lake Study No.17, from his suite "The Lake Studies"

The Age of Graffiti - Jane Stern

An abandoned pier in Philadelphia.
"In Danbury, Connecticut, off Interstate 84, there is an overpass festooned with graffiti scribbles. They have been there for three decades. No one has thought to erase them and, as far as I can tell, no one has added to them. The graffiti is of the basest kind. There is little attempt at artwork, design, or display. It is simply the names of yesterday’s rock-and-roll bands spray painted in black in adolescent calligraphy: the Who, Kiss, Commander Cody, Mountain. I drive under this overpass at least once a week. This is the route to all the big-box stores, supermarkets, and a dozen places that sell cheap cell-phone plans. Exit 7 is not the autumn-leaf splashed Connecticut seen on calendars. It is where you go to load up on paper towels and laundry detergent. ..."
The Paris Review

Friday, January 5

Brian Eno - Mistaken Memories Of Mediaeval Manhattan (1980-81)

"The first ambient film, at least in the Brian Eno sense of the term, although one can think of other examples prior to this, not least Andy Warhol’s Empire (1964) which is possibly alluded to in a sequence showing the Empire State Building in the distance. Eno filmed several static views of New York and its drifting cloudscape from his thirteenth-floor apartment in 1980–81. The low-grade equipment (and NTSC video) give the images a hazy, impressionistic quality. Lack of a tripod meant filming with the camera lying on its side so the tape had to be re-viewed with a television monitor also turned on its side. The assembled videos were later screened in galleries with music from some of the Ambient series of albums, and also two unique pieces. ..."
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Discogs (Video)
UbuWeb (Video)

Introducing the Librarian Action Figure: The Caped Crusader Who Fights Against Anti-Intellectualism, Ignorance & Censorship Everywhere

"We've featured action figures that pay tribute to some cultural icons like Edvard Munch, Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo. But now comes a new action figure that honors a less appreciated cultural force--all of the great librarians, those crusaders for the printed and electronic word, who 'keep it all organized for us and let us know about the best of it.' Standing almost four inches tall and made of hard vinyl, the librarian action figure is based on Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl. She has 'a removable cape that symbolizes how much of a hero a librarian really is.' The action figure should come in handy in your own fights again anti-intellectualism, censorship and ignorance. Enjoy!
Open Culture
W - Nancy Pearl

Musicians Backstage in the 1970s: The Photos

Aston 'Family Man' Barrett and Bob Marley of The Wailers playing guitar and keyboards backstage at the Odeon, Birmingham, United Kingdom, July 18, 1975.
"It was the post-Beatles decade—years of soul and rock and disco and punk. The 1970s was the era that fully embraced the change of the '60s counterculture, a time when artists waged their own protests against wars, social injustice, and the rapidly shifting American Dream. Some of the greatest names in contemporary music reached their zenith in the '70s. Here's what was happening behind the scenes."

Thursday, January 4

The Case for the Subway

"Long before it became an archaic, filthy, profligate symbol of everything wrong with our broken cities, New York’s subway was a marvel — a mad feat of engineering and an audacious gamble on a preposterously ambitious vision. 'The effect it is to have on the city of New York is something larger than any mind can realize,' said William Gaynor, the New York mayor who set in motion the primary phase of its construction. A public-works project of this scale had never before been undertaken in the United States, and even now, more than a century later, it is hard to fully appreciate what it did for the city and, really, the nation. Before the subway, it was by no means a foregone conclusion that New York would become the greatest city on earth. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants fleeing poverty and persecution were arriving on its doorstep every year, but most of them were effectively marooned, herded into dark, squalid tenements in disease-ridden slums. The five boroughs had recently been joined as one city, but the farms and villages of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens might as well have been on the other side of the planet from Manhattan’s teeming streets. ..."
NY Times

Nyege Nyege: East Africa's new wave

"Electronic music is booming in East Africa, and a small collective based in Kampala is at the heart of it all. Aaron Coultate travelled to Uganda to hear their story. When she first walked into the Tilapia nightclub, Hibo Elmi had been living in Kampala for about a year. Her childhood had taken her across East Africa. Elmi's parents left Somalia during the early-1990s civil war, and she lived in Kenya and Ethiopia before arriving in Uganda's capital. ... In hope of finding a more welcoming environment, the sisters set out to explore Kampala's party scene. By this point, in 2013, Tilapia was already one of Kampala's best late-night spots, attracting a Pan-African crowd. ... This outsider spirit applied to both Boutiq Electroniq's crowd and its music. While many Kampala club nights are soundtracked by commercial dancehall, reggae or hip-hop, at Boutiq Electroniq you'd hear music from across Africa that didn't get much airtime in clubs—kuduro, tarraxinha, balani, coupé-décalé, soukous—plus Western electronic music like house, techno and grime. ..."
Resident Advisor (Audio)
24 Things to Know Before You Go to Kampala
W - Kampala
Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Tapes are blazing trails for East African outsider music (Audio)
Independent - Nyege Nyege Festival review: The irresistible urge to dance
Nyege Nyege Tapes
Soundcloud: Nyege Nyege Tapes
YouTube: Nyege Nyege Music

Major League Baseball's Statcast Can Break Sabermetrics

"... That’s what Joe Inzerillo—the executive vice president and chief technology officer of MLB Advanced Media—said in a league press release announcing baseball’s revolutionary new player-tracking system, Statcast. It hasn’t quite been a decade since that quote; it hasn’t quite, in fact, been three years. But route efficiency, the metric in question, has already disappeared. Using a combination of cameras and radar to track the ball in every position it reaches as well as every player on the field at all times, offering a theoretically perfect or at least perfectible view of every game played in every major-league season, Statcast offers nearly limitless possibilities for baseball analysis by producing an incredible amount of raw data, some of which is packaged into specific metrics designed by a team of people at MLBAM. ..."
Deadspin (Video)

Wednesday, January 3

Podcast 523: Scanner

"It's a challenging task trying to condense a career like that of Robin Rimbaud's into a digestible introduction. For close to 30 years now, Rimbaud has been a major force in sonic art, crafting experimental sound pieces that connect a beguiling array of genres for concerts, installations, and recordings. His commissioned pieces include campaign work for Nike Hyperfuse, Chanel, and Stella McCartney, as well as scores for the UK Olympics' The Big Dance in Trafalgar Square, the re-opening of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the world’s first ever Virtual Reality ballet with the Dutch National Ballet, and collaborations with Bryan Ferry, Wayne McGregor, Merce Cunningham, Mike Kelley, Miroslaw Balka, Torres, Michael Nyman, Carsten Nicolai, Steve McQueen, Laurie Anderson, and Hussein Chalayan, amongst many others. ..."
xlr8r (Audio)

2012 October: Scanner, 2015 December: Robin Rimbaud (Scanner), 2017 September: The Great Crater (2017)

Social Ecology: Communalism against Climate Chaos - Brian Tokar

"Since the 1960s, the theory and praxis of social ecology have helped guide efforts to articulate a radical, counter-systemic ecological outlook with a goal of transforming society’s relationship to non-human nature. For many decades, social ecologists have articulated a fundamental ecological critique of capitalism and the state, and proposed an alternative vision of empowered human communities organized confederally in pursuit of a more harmonious relationship to the wider natural world. Social ecology helped shape the New Left and anti-nuclear movements in the 1960s and 1970s, the emergence of Green politics in many countries, the alter-globalization movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s, and most recently the struggle for democratic autonomy by Kurdish communities in Turkey and Syria, along with the resurgence of new municipal movements around the world — from Barcelona en Comú to Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi. ..."

2014 September: Anarchism in America (1983), 2015 August: The Prophet Farmed: Murray Bookchin on Bernie Sanders, 2016 October: Why Bernie Was Right, 2015 October: The Ecology of Freedom (1982), 2016 July: Murray Bookchin’s New Life, 2017 January: Reason, creativity and freedom: the communalist model - Eleanor Finley, 2017 February: Socialism’s Return, 2017 April: The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years 1868-1936 (1977), 2017 December: Anarchist Collectives: Workers' Self-Management in the Spanish Revolution, 1936–1939.

The hymn of journals, poetic and public

"With today’s ubiquitous social media and all that sharing entails, the idea of poetry that delves into the personal and utilizes actual journals would command an especially astute and unique precision — one that Stacy Szymaszek’s Journal of Ugly Sites & Other Journals deftly delivers, reminding us of the raw power of the poetic personal / personal poetic, and how uncommon poetry with this kind of depth is nowadays. Reading this book reminds me that the current Facebook-Twitter-Instagram environment is no match for the curated and hymn-phonic id, as extrapolated through an artistic lens of a writer in high command of a journal she renders and crops into a poetic-nonfiction narrative. This is not 'confessional' poetry, with all that connotes, of Plath et al. This is not even under the tired moniker of 'personal' poetry. Despite the fact that Szymaszek has indeed pulled from her journals, it does not feel like 'mining' journals 'for material.' It is something more chiseled. ..."

Tuesday, January 2

Onyx Collective’s New York City Jazz Odyssey

Onyx Collective, outside Warsaw, December 8, 2017 (L to R) Austin Williamson, Julian Soto, Jack Gulielmetti, Isaiah Barr, Julius Rodriguez, Nick Hakim, Felix Pastorius
"There used to be a club on 51st Street and Lexington Avenue owned by a Japanese gentleman who would greet music fans at the door. The club, which closed last week, was called Somethin’ Jazz, and in 2014 it was the place to see Onyx Collective, at the time a fresh-faced ensemble of young musicians making a name for themselves. You could catch the group on a Saturday night or maybe a Wednesday, depending on the month. Onyx performances were known for being experimental — the group could play an evening of free-form jazz or something soulful laced with soothing vocals, but no one set or lineup was the same. One night they could be a bebop trio, and the next they might blossom into a six-headed funk-soul colossus. With each performance, the group transformed the seemingly conventional space into something new and exciting. The crowds they drew were often an unusual assortment of folks — downtown art types, hip-hop heads from the outer boroughs, hype beasts, straightlaced jazz dudes. In other words, a variety of people not typically found at a jazz spot on the east side of midtown. ..."
Voice (Video)
ONYX Collective Is Injecting Jazz Cool Into N.Y.C.’s Downtown Scene
Lower East Suite Part Two (Audio)
YouTube: 'Fruit Stand', "East River", "Color Images", 'Snake Charmer', The Mask, Steam Rooms,

How Not to Impeach

"WORCESTER, Mass. — With Democratic control of Congress after 2018 increasingly plausible, those who most intensely seek the impeachment of President Trump are organizing, agitating — and conducting a veritable clinic in how not to exercise one of the Constitution’s most solemn powers. Investigations are still underway, but 58 House Democrats have already voted to consider impeaching Mr. Trump. Tom Steyer, a Democratic megadonor, is running a multipronged campaign calling for Mr. Trump’s impeachment on grounds ranging from his North Korea policy to allegations of obstruction of justice. It is true that impeachment is a political rather than a criminal device, but not like this. It requires the kind of political judgment concerned with the public good, not with gaining electoral advantage. The prudent path forward lies somewhere between 'fiat justitia, ruat caelum' and 'Vox populi, vox Dei' — 'let justice be done though the heavens fall' on one hand and 'the voice of the people is the voice of God' on the other. ..."
NY Times

The 2017 Jacobin Mixtape

"Let’s not kid ourselves: 2017 was a weird year. Since Inauguration Day, things have been kind of a blur at your neighborhood socialist magazine. As the first year of the Trump presidency, 2017 brought an endless onslaught of awful delivered from on high. But it also brought a groundswell of popular resistance, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time. And no, we’re not talking about the tuxedoed cadre of #TheResistance, bunkered at their year-end office parties, giddily recapping twelve months of subtweets and talk-show zingers. We’re talking about the thousands of ordinary people who stood up to Trump and his noxious coalition this year. We’re talking about those who flooded airports in defense of Muslim travelers, who braved alt-right violence in Charlottesville and Boston, who put their careers on the line to expose sexual violence in American workplaces. And, yes, we’re talking about whatever hero of socialist labor sent a box of rank shit to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s new Washington digs, just in time for Christmas. For our part in 2017, we think we did a pretty good job. ..."