Tuesday, January 17

Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful

Moravia, 1966 - Art Institute of Chicago
"Nationality Doubtful, the title of an intensely beautiful exhibition of Josef Koudelka’s photographs at the Getty Center, refers to a peculiar fact of the Czech photographer’s life. Born in 1938 in a small town in Moravia, he moved to Prague to study aeronautical engineering, but by the late 1950s photography was occupying more of his time. By the 1960s he was working for theater companies in Prague while pursuing a project that would occupy him for years: he began traveling Eastern Europe, spending time in over 80 Roma villages and encampments. Photography and itinerancy, or the photographing of itinerancy, took over his life. He was back in Prague in 1968 when Soviet-led Warsaw Pact armies entered the city. It was one of those moments when history happens to an artist, and Koudelka brought all his powers to documenting the invasion. ..."
Koudelka was into enormity By W.S. Di Piero
The J. Paul Getty Museum
The Art Institute of Chicago (Video)
vimeo: Nationality Doubtful

2016 March: W.S. Di Piero, 2016 December: Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008.

The Other Colombia

January 2016, Putumayo. In this part of the Amazonian jungle, people use the river to travel. The local economy is based on cattle breeding and coca production, which is illegal. In the area, the FARC promotes training in cattle breeding. But the peasants don’t give up coca production, which is seen as the more lucrative opportunity in this isolated place.
"There is a Colombia left out, ignored. To meet her, you often need to take muddy tracks deformed by mule hooves or travel for hours on a tiny little rowboat. This Colombia doesn’t know the effects of the growth. It’s still waiting for the next visit of a health brigade or schoolteacher. But this Colombia isn’t only poverty and misery. It is also the liveliness, ingenuity, and passion of those who learned to survive and construct a world far from anywhere. You can meet it in the course of a vallenato refrain, on the rhythms of cumbia, or when you let yourself drive to the incredible stories of a local ranchera song. This is the other Colombia: out of the cities, removed from the centers of decision-making, living in the countryside at the pace of the harvest, the rainy period, and the moon’s cycle. She is built on community ties, looking at consumer society and its middle class with alternating desire and disgust. ..."

Monday, January 16

The Evolution of Dr. King

The National Civil Rights Museum
"Virtually every Democratic Party politician, black or white, claims the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Conveniently forgotten is the fact that in the final years of his life, before his assassination in 1968, King broke with Democratic President Lyndon Johnson over the Vietnam War and the administration’s failure to enforce civil rights legislation in the South. That’s something no Democrats of national stature have been willing to do today. ..."
Graphic essay: What the Civil Rights Movement can teach us about surviving Trump
The National Civil Rights Museum (Video)

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

The Disintegration Loops - William Basinski (2002-2003)

Wikipedia - "The Disintegration Loops is a series of four albums by American avant-garde composer William Basinski released in 2002 and 2003. All tracks have the same form of ambient music fragments played in a tape loop that slowly deteriorates as it passes by the tape head, increasingly producing noises and cracks in the music as the theme progresses. The recording coincided with the 9/11 attacks and the album covers and accompanying videos feature a still skyline of New York City with smoke and dust rising from the World Trade Center site. ..."
New Yorker: Looped In
Pitchfork: The Disintegration Loops I-IV
The Disintegration Loops by William Basinski (Video)
YouTube: The Disintegration Loops, Disintegration Loops 6 (D|p 6), Disintegration Loops 5 (D|p 5)


Wikipedia - "The Palladium (originally called the Academy of Music was a concert hall (and later a nightclub) in New York City. It was located on the south side of East 14th Street, between Irving Place and Third Avenue. ... Thousands of bands played shows at the Palladium, including many UK punk and new wave acts who made their New York debuts there, including The Clash, The Boomtown Rats, The Fall, Graham Parker & The Rumour, Rockpile, U2, The Undertones and Roxy Music. American punk bands The Ramones, Blondie, and The Cramps also played there in the late seventies. ... New York proto-punk musicians, The Patti Smith Group, John Cale, and Television, all played there at a show on New Year's Eve 1976. ..."
Ephemeral New York: A 1960s downtown rock club with an 1860s name
'People Loved It Loud': Rockers Recall Academy of Music and Palladium

Sunday, January 15

Groove & Grind: Rare Soul, ‘63-’73

"Few eras of pop music inspire as much intense, all-consuming devotion as the golden age of soul, roughly defined as the mid ’60s through the mid ’70s. For the faithful, just appreciating the classics isn’t enough: the most committed trawl through forgotten 45s in search of the ultimate lost groove or beat or wail. ... Multiply that by the fact that few copies of these forgotten records were ever pressed — they were often released through small regional labels, and there obviously wasn’t much demand for non-hits — and the search for hidden treasure can overwhelm before it’s even begun. Thankfully, RockBeat Records has done would-be cratediggers a favor, compiling over 100 overlooked tracks on the 4-CD set Groove & Grind: Rare Soul, ‘63-’73. ..."
Rebeat (Video)
Astonishing Collection of Rare Soul Singles (Video)

Robert Duncan's notes on Ron Silliman's 'Opening'

"In 1974, John Taggart asked Ron Silliman to write an essay for an issue of Maps (#6 - special Robert Duncan issue on the work of Duncan. Silliman chose to do a close reading of the first poems of Duncan’s Opening of the Field (1960) in which he suggested that Duncan set them out as an argument from which to mount the large, unnamed lifework that was initiated with these poems. Silliman reproduced the text of the Maps essay on his blog on December 6, 2010, a few hours before he presented on Duncan as part of the 1960 symposium at the Kelly Writers House. ... The pages views as a whole, also with Duncan's markings, are available as a PDF. ..."
Jacket2: On Robert Duncan, 'The Opening of the Field'

2008 March: Robert Duncan, 1919-1988, 2011 May: Robert Duncan: May 18, 1959, 2012 January: Ten Poems, 1940 to 1980, 2013 May: An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle

Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1847)

Illustrated by Sir John Gilbert
Wikipedia - "Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie is an epic poem by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, written in English and published in 1847. The poem follows an Acadian girl named Evangeline and her search for her lost love Gabriel, set during the time of the Expulsion of the Acadians. The idea for the poem came from Longfellow's friend, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Longfellow used dactylic hexameter, imitating Greek and Latin classics, though the choice was criticized. It became Longfellow's most famous work in his lifetime and remains one of his most popular and enduring works. The poem had a powerful effect in defining both Acadian history and identity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. ..."
W - Expulsion of the Acadians
Explanatory maps of Saint Croix & Acadia: Acadian Deportation, Migration, and Resettlement
Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie

2015 October: History of the Acadians

Saturday, January 14

A Murky Legal Mess at Standing Rock

The protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline are not over. Protesters plant a flag on Turtle Hill. Jan, 7
"In early September, Allisha LaBarge, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, travelled from Hibbing, Minnesota, to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, in North Dakota, where she began living in a tepee and taking part in protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is meant to transport oil eleven hundred and seventy miles to Illinois. LaBarge, who is thirty-four, joined the protest camps, she said, because she believed that the pipeline, which some Native Americans call 'the black snake,' would pollute the Missouri River, violate treaty rights, and harm lands and burial grounds sacred to the Sioux. ..."
New Yorker
These Striking Images Prove the Fight for Standing Rock Is Far From Over
Standing Rock 2017: The Fight is Not Over
Columbia Journalism Review: Two journalists—father and daughter—on covering Standing Rock
‘Standing Rock Is Everywhere:’ An Interview with Judith LeBlanc of the Native Organizers Alliance (SoundCloud)
YouTube: Police Brutality and Arrests Continue. Rezistance Unit's taking down barricade at Standing Rock

2011 July: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee - Dee Brown, 2012 September: The Ghost Dance, 2016 September: A History and Future of Resistance, 2016 November: Dakota Access Pipeline protests, 2016 December: Police Violence Against Native Americans Goes Far Beyond Standing Rock, 2016 December: Dakota Protesters Say Belle Fourche Oil Spill 'Validates Struggle'

Robert Wyatt - '68 (2013)

"Cuneiform has delivered a Holy Grail with Robert Wyatt's '68. Of its four recordings, half were thought lost or not to have existed. After their second whirlwind tour of the U.S.A. with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the exhausted members of Soft Machine went their separate ways. Wyatt remained in California, then went to New York in the fall as a guest of the Experience. He was granted access to the TTG and Record Plant studios in off hours. ... The sound on '68 is excellent; it was painstakingly cleaned up and remastered from original sources, making this a must for any Wyatt, SM, or prog head. The booklet also contains a lengthy interview with Wyatt by Aymeric Leroy with comments from Hopper. All killer, no filler."
W - '68
Cuneiform Records (Video)
Cuneiform Records: Chelsa
YouTube: soft machine -moon in june (live), Soft Machine - Moon In June (Peel Sessions), Rivmic Melodies [excerpt], R.Wyatt/J.Hendrix(bass) - Slow walkin' talk

2010 November: Robert Wyatt, 2011 October: Sea Song, 2012 October: Comicopera, 2013 March: The Last Nightingale, 2013 September: Solar Flares Burn for You (2003), 2014 March: Cuckooland (2003), 2014 October: Robert Wyatt Story (BBC Four, 2001), 2014 December: Different Every Time (2014), 2016 March: Interviews (2014), 2016 June: Dondestan (Revisited)(1998), 2016 September: Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard (1975).

Mexique (1900–1950)

"Since its independence won from the Spanish monarchy in 1821, Mexico has never ceased to assert its willingness for change and its spirit of modernity. With painting, sculpture, architecture, urbanism, music, literature, film and the applied arts the country has forged its identity. The exhibition, which was desired by the highest French and Mexican authorities, is the largest event dedicated to Mexican art since 1953. Offering a panorama of famous artists such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Rufino Tamayo, the exhibition tour is a testament to the vibrant artistic creativity of the country throughout the twentieth century."
Grand Palais (Video)
Paula's Passport

Friday, January 13

Bob Dylan ‎– 50th Anniversary Collection 1964

"Another Christmas present arrived from Bob Dylan in the form of the third limited-release collection of copyright busters. This time, nine LPs cover the extraneous material, filling in the holes around the one album he recorded in 1964, and the performances already available on various Bootleg Series. This stuff has long been documented, and one wonders if the producers merely follow the lead of certain websites. A single visit to the studio in June was the source for Another Side Of Bob Dylan, and two sides’ worth of outtakes from it form the centerpiece of this set. Two incomplete, forced takes of 'Black Crow Blues', both on the guitar, demonstrate why the one on the album has piano. ..."
Everybodys Dummy
Audio: 2014 - "50th Anniversary Collection 1964"
YouTube: Spanish Harlem Incident [Alternate Take] (1964 Outtake), I Don't Believe You [Take 1], Black Crow Blues [Alternate Take], I Shall Be Free [Take 2], It Ain't Me, Babe [Alternate Take], Ballad In Plain D [Alternate Take], Denise (1964 Outtake)

In on the Joke

"Is Trump still a joke? It’s been two months since the election, and the mind still reels. We may never be able to handle the cognitive dissonance of Donald Trump, commander-in-chief, and Donald Trump, patron saint of talentless celebrities. The new president is a dangerous demagogue who fires up arenas with a hatefully catty speaking style that somehow evokes both Mussolini and your rambling Aunt Irene. This inescapable weirdness isn’t going to change when Trump takes office. Like prisoners huddled around the bulletin board on a demonic cruise ship, we’ll be forced to check the president’s cheerful Twitter posts to learn what horrors the new day will bring. ..."

2016 January: Donald Trump and the Joys of Toy Fascism, 2016 January: Sanders Is Not Trump, 2016 January: Donald Trump’s Twitter Insults: The Complete List (So Far), 2016 April: Lost in TRUMPLANDIA, 2016 November: Scenes From Anti-Trump Protests, 2016 November: Rust Belt, 2016 November: Autocracy: Rules for Survival, 2016 November: Rally in Brooklyn Park Condemns Swastikas and ‘Go Trump’ Graffiti, 2016 December: The Democratic Party Has Failed—We Need a Radical Vision to Defeat Trumpism, 2016 December: An Alt-Right Makeover Shrouds the Swastikas, 2016 December: Sticky Notes Bearing Election Hopes and Fears Removed from Subway

Jah Observer: Backstage at the Notting Hill Carnival

"For more than 30 years, the family sound system Jah Observer has remained a bastion of roots and culture at the Notting Hill carnival even as the event changed with the gentrification of the city of London. In 2010, the owner, Spiderman, decided to return to Jamaica. The year before I got a chance to follow him and his family throughout the duration of their Notting Hill carnival marathon. It’s night time and the streets of Ladbroke Grove are empty. The calm before the storm on a friday night, as more than 800,000 people are expected to hit the streets over two days as they have done for decades on the August bank holiday, the last sunday and monday of the month. It’s drizzling. This is where the deal is going down. ..."
YouTube: notting hill carnival, the mighty jah observer

Thursday, January 12

Nat Hentoff (1925-2017)

Mr. Hentoff with the clarinetist Edmond Hall in 1948 at the Savoy, a club in Boston.
"When Nat Hentoff died on Saturday at age 91, one of his sons broke the news on Twitter. ... He might also have been amused—if grimly so—by the fact that many of his obituaries devoted more space to his latter-day career as a civil libertarian than to the writings about jazz with which he made his journalistic name. Sad to say, that makes perfect sense. Not only had the music that Mr. Hentoff loved best (he died listening to the records of Billie Holiday) ceased to be central to the American cultural conversation by the time of his death, but he was a First Amendment absolutist who lived to see free speech under siege in his native land, which explains why his impassioned writings about it should now loom so large in memory. ..."
WSJ - Nat Hentoff (1925-2017): A Link to Jazz’s Founding Fathers (Video)
NY Times: Nat Hentoff, Journalist and Social Commentator, Dies at 91
The Atlantic - Track of the Day: ‘Freedom Day’ (Video)
YouTube: Nat Hentoff on Free Speech, Jazz, and FIRE, Nat Hentoff: A Civil Libertarian Takes on Obama and the World, Nat Hentoff - Journalistic Integrity & The Minority View, The Pleasures of Being Out of Step: Notes on the Life of Nat Hentoff ($)

2015 June: "Fine and Mellow" - Billie Holiday (1957), 2016 February: Ahmad Jamal Trio - "Darn That Dream" (1959), 2016 April: Sun Song - Sun Ra (1956)

East Village Map

"For over a half-century, the East Village has been the locus of bohemian and avant-garde culture in New York City. This illustrated map spotlights the writers, artists, musicians, actors, entrepreneurs and political leaders who have helped define new directions in American fine arts and popular culture. Featuring caricature portraits and accurate renderings of buildings and streets, this pictorial map makes for an entertaining and educational poster. The back of the map provides addresses and an easy-to-use walking tour of the neighborhood. ... The East Village Map is much more than an attractive wall poster. It also contains a well-researched walking-tour guide to the neighborhood's historic sites. ..."
Ephemera Press

2015 June: Queens Jazz Trail Map

Resident Visitor: Laurie Spiegel's Machine Music

"Probably the most remarkable thing about Laurie Spiegel is that a piece of music she made could be the first sound of human origin to be heard by extraterrestrial lifeforms. If aliens exist, of course. And assuming they have ears. Spiegel's computer realization of a composition conceived back in the early 17th Century by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler is the opening cut on the Golden Record, a disc that accompanied both Voyager probes on their journey across the solar system and out into the great interstellar beyond in 1977. ..."
Pitchfork (Video)

2011 May: Laurie Spiegel, 2012 November: Laurie Spiegel - The Expanding Universe, 2014 February: The Interstellar Contract, 2015 September: Resident Visitor: Laurie Spiegel's Machine Music, 2015 October: Laurie Spiegel: Grassroots Technologist, 2016 June: Meet Four Women Who Pioneered Electronic Music: Daphne Oram, Laurie Spiegel, Éliane Radigue & Pauline Oliveros

Wednesday, January 11

Nicolas Jaar - Sirens (2016)

"There are only about 45 seconds left on Nicolas Jaar’s new album Sirens when something astounding happens. Heralded by a selection of drums and birdcall synths, a gospel cry arrives, shrouded in distortion and punctuated by sharp arrhythmic drumming. The most useful words to describe this are the silliest and most hyperbolic: awesome, transcendent, timeless or more accurately, out-of-time. It begs for pretension, for the vocabulary of divinity and 'high art,' for references to religious philosophers and poets of the West that you barely remember from college, Milton and Kierkegaard, Eliot and Blake. And though there are many similarly striking moments on Sirens, this one stands out for its brevity and particular beauty. It is a moment thoroughly earned by the album that precedes it, and in less than a minute, it’s gone. ..."
W - Sirens
Nicolas Jaar: Take A Look Outside
YouTube: Sirens (Full Album 2016)

2013 September: Nicolas Jaar, 2014 January: Other People, 2015 May: Nicolas Jaar Soundtracks Short Film About Police Brutality and #BlackLivesMatter, 2015 July: Space Is Only Noise (2010), 2015 August: Boiler Room NYC DJ Set at Clown & Sunset Takeove, 2015 September: Work It (Bluewave edit), 2015 October: Darkside EP - Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington (2011). 2012 January: The Color of Pomegranates (1968) - Sergei Parajanov, 2015 November: Nicolas Jaar - Soundtrack, The Color of Pomegranates (2015)

A Brief Survey of the Great American Novel(s)

"On this date in 1868, novelist John William DeForest coined the now inescapable term 'the great American novel' in the title of an essay in The Nation. Now, don’t forget that in 1868, just a few years after the end of the Civil War, 'America' was still an uncertain concept for many—though actually, in 2017 we might assert the same thing, which should give you a hint as to why the term 'great American novel' is so problematic. ... In the nearly 150 years since the essay was written, the argument over the Great American Novel—what it is, what it should be, do we have one, do we need one, why so many white men—has gone on and on. ..."
Literary Hub

The Honeycombs - "Have I the Right?" (1964)

Wikipedia - "'Have I the Right?' was the début single and biggest hit of British band The Honeycombs. ... Howard and Blaikley were impressed by the group's lead vocalist, Dennis D'Ell, and the fact that they had a female drummer, Ann (‘Honey’) Lantree. ... Conspicuous in "Have I the Right?" is the prominent part of the drums that carry the song. Their effect was enhanced by having the members of the group stamp their feet on the wooden stairs to the studio. Meek recorded the sound with five microphones he had fixed to the banisters with bicycle clips. For the finishing touch someone beat a tambourine directly onto a microphone. The recording was somewhat speeded up, reportedly to the disappointment of Dennis D'Ell, who regretted that he could not reproduce this sound on stage. ..."
W - The Honeycombs
The Honeycombs fan site
The Honeycombs fan site: Honey Lantree
allmusic: Honey Lantree
YouTube: Have I the Right?

Tuesday, January 10

Joanna Neborsky - Novels In Three Lines, Daniil Kharms

"In September 2010 I featured illustrator Joanna Neborsky's adaptation of Fénéon's Novels In Three Lines. Joanna has since worked her magic for deadpan Russian absurdist Daniil Kharms: 'Daniil Kharms (1905–1942) wore a hat to protect his ideas from being seen. He smoked a pipe to appear English (he was Russian). He wrote twenty children's books. This is not one of them. 'This short story from 1936 is illustrated in twenty collaged pages. Available in English and Italian editions. English translation courtesy Matvei Yankelevich and The Overlook Press.' ..."
Tumbling Old Women
Joanna Neborsky (Video)
Joanna Neborsky: Etc. (Video)
amazon: Illustrated Three-Line Novels: Felix Feneon, A Proust Questionnaire: Discover Your Truest Self--in 30 Simple Questions
YouTube: Light In The Attic Presents: The Shaggs "Philosophy Of The World" (Joanna Neborsky)

2011 March: Joanna Neborsky, 2012 August: On Cataloguing Flaubert

The Art of Painting - Johannes Vermeer (1665–1668)

Wikipedia - "The Art of Painting, also known as The Allegory of Painting, or Painter in his Studio, is a 17th-century oil on canvas painting by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. It is owned by the Austrian Republic and is on display in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. This illusionistic painting is one of Vermeer's most famous. In 1868 Thoré-Bürger, known today for his rediscovery of the work of painter Johannes Vermeer, regarded this painting as his most interesting. ... Many art historians think that it is an allegory of painting, hence the alternative title of the painting. Its composition and iconography make it the most complex Vermeer work of all. ..."
Johannes Vermeer's influence and inspiration
Critical Assessments: The Art of Painting
YouTube: The Art of Painting, 1666-69

2009 September: Vermeer's Masterpiece, The Milkmaid, 2011 February: Vermeer: Master of Light, 2013 October: Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis, 2015 December: This Is Not a Vermeer ™.

Poetry and Politics in Iran

"In 1965, after a trip through China and Japan, the Iranian modernist Sohrab Sepehri found his voice. It could be heard in a new poem he had written, called 'The Sound of Water’s Footsteps.' Sepehri puzzles over his identity as a writer, as a Muslim, as a widely travelled painter, and as a man from Kashan, where, in the seventh century, according to legend, Arab invaders intent on spreading Islam subdued the poet’s home town by throwing scorpions over the walls. Sepehri muses on the space race and 'the idea of smelling a flower on another planet,' and he writes in free verse, inspired by Nima Yushij, a kind of Ezra Pound figure in the history of modern Persian poetry, who was inspired by the poetic notions of French Symbolists. Reflecting on a country with centuries of bumpy foreign contact, he draws out figures of confusion and displacement. ..."
New Yorker
W - Ferdowsi
NPR - Abolqasem Ferdowsi: The Poet Who Rescued Iran (Video)
Life of Ferdowsi
Persian Language & Literature
YouTube: Iran, Ferdowsi The Great Iranian Poet. Shahnameh

Monday, January 9

Guernica (2016)

"Sandbags, rifles and the fatigues of the militia have been familiar sights once more in the hills and valleys of the Basque country this autumn and are only now being cleared away, almost 80 years after the start of the Spanish civil war. But this time it was all make-believe. The life of George Steer, the British reporter who brought the horror of the bombing of Guernica in 1937 to the public in both Britain and America, has inspired a major English-language film, due out next year. Called Gernika, using the Basque spelling, it will be the first to depict the terrible events of 26 April on the big screen and it has been welcomed by the people of the region, many of whom have taken part as extras. ..."
Guardian: Reporter who told world of Guernica atrocity and inspired Picasso is hero of new film
Independent - Gernika: New film pays homage to civilian suffering over town that was brutally bombed during Spanish Civil War
W - Bombing of Guernica
W - Guernica (Picasso)
YouTube: Guernica Trailer

2011 July: Spanish Civil War - 75 Year, 18 July, 2011 August: Down and Out in Paris and London, 2012 March: 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother), 2012 June: "The Spanish Earth", Written and Narrated by Ernest Hemingway, 2013 January: The Real George Orwell, 2015 August: Songs of the Spanish Civil War, 2016 September: George Orwell - Homage to Catalonia (1938)

The Edge Becomes the Center - DW Gibson (2015)

"If you live in a city and every year, more and more Americans do you ve seen firsthand how gentrification has transformed our surroundings, altering the way cities look, feel, cost, and even smell.  ... The Edge Becomes the Center captures the stories of the many kinds of people brokers, buyers, sellers, renters, landlords, artists, contractors, politicians, and everyone in between who are shaping and being shaped by the new New York City. In this extraordinary oral history, DW Gibson takes gentrification out of the op-ed columns and textbooks and brings it to life, showing us what urban change looks and feels like by exposing us to the voices of the people living through it. Drawing on the plainspoken, casually authoritative tradition of Jane Jacobs and Studs Terkel, The Edge Becomes the Center is an inviting and essential portrait of the way we live now. ..."
Indie Bound
‘I Put in White Tenants’: The Grim, Racist (and Likely Illegal) Methods of One Brooklyn Landlord By DW Gibson
Yes, It’s Illegal for Landlords to Discriminate. And Yes, They Still Do It. By DW Gibson
NY Times: ‘The Edge Becomes the Center’ Explores the Rubble of Rebuilding
The Paris Review - Meet Your New Neighbors: An Interview with DW Gibson
Winner of the 2015 Brooklyn Eagle Literary Prize
Tracking Evictions and Rent Stabilization in NYC

At Huerto Roma Verde in Mexico City: Where Ecological Awareness Meets Public Art

"While exploring the streets of Mexico City earlier this month, I meandered into Huerto Roma Verde, a huge urban community garden — largely constructed with salvaged materials — in the South Roma colony. Committed to ecological awareness and sustainable consumption, it features a range of workshops and activities for folks of all ages. It is also rich and varied not only in its offerings and produce, but in its public art, as well. Here is a small sampling..."
Street Art NYC

Sunday, January 8

John Berger 1926-2017

"I first rang John Berger more than a year ago – I had been given his number by his publisher to arrange a date to meet him in Paris. I mentioned that November was a busy month, to which he responded in a warm, conspiratorial tone: that was good – because he would be away throughout the month and could not say when next he would be free. The sense was – charming, if not helpful in professional terms – that we would agree not to meet unless or until it suited us. The clear subtext was: let the bosses go hang. I put the phone down – amused but then anxious that I had missed my opportunity to meet the great man – storyteller, art critic, artist.  ..."
New Yorker - Postscript: John Berger, 1926-2017
The Paris Review (Video 30:02)
NY Times: John Berger, Provocative Art Critic, Dies at 90
YouTube: John Berger, John Berger on Ways of Seeing, being an artist, and Marxism (2011) - Newsnight archives

2008 May: John Berger, 2010 November: Ways of Seeing - 1972 BBC four-part television series

Separate Cinema: 100 Years of Black Poster Art

"A new book from film poster collector John Duke Kisch presents 100 years of black film posters, charting the evolution of African-American cinema and changing attitudes towards race… Separate Cinema: The First 100 Years of Black Poster Art presents a compelling visual history of the representation of African-Americans in film, from early productions perpetuating racist stereotypes, to ground breaking films by black directors and contemporary releases such as Steve McQueen’s Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave. The book features hundreds of film posters from Europe, Asia and the US, which were sourced from Kisch’s Separate Cinema Archive – a collection of more than 35,000 posters from 30 countries. ..."
Creative Review
The History Of Black Cinema In Vintage Hollywood Posters

Saturday, January 7

John Ashbery - New Collages (2017)

“Salle d’Attente” (2016)
"The poet John Ashbery starts many of the collages in his new show at his longtime gallery, Tibor de Nagy, with a found postcard or a color reproduction of an old master painting like Andrea Mantegna’s 1497 'Parnassus.' Atop these politely cropped images, he affixes some small figure cut out of an incongruously different source, a comic strip like 'Popeye' or a vintage Coca-Cola advertisement. He places this figure where it will reinforce rather than disrupt the original composition, so that even as he is shading, psychologizing or interpreting the painting he’s chosen, he’s also letting it shine as it is. ..."
NY Times: What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week
Tibor de Nagy Gallery
In John Ashbery’s Collages, Life Is a Mixed-Media Affair

The Jam: Absolute Beginners EP (1981)

"This EP is more officially called The Jam, but it is record company Polydor putting two different singles and their B-sides together in one volume. ... Paul Weller and company, whether they sound more punk or new wave, consistently have something interesting going on. Inspired by the Colin MacInnes mod subculture novel of the same name, 'Absolute Beginners' features the line, 'I need the strength to get what I want,' which plays right into both the novel and The Jam’s ongoing themes of speaking up for the underclasses and those who are on the outskirts of mainstream society. ... 'Funeral Pyre' deals more directly with those in power who work against those below them. In the age of Thatcher, where the power of trade unions and other workers’ benefits programs were greatly reduced, the government presented their policies as being 'for the good of Great Britain.' ..."
Persephone Magazine (Video)
Post Punk Monk
YouTube: Absolute Beginners (Live), Funeral Pyre (Live), Tales From The Riverbank (Live)

2009 March: The Jam, 2012 November: "Going Underground", 2013 January: In the City, 2013 February: This Is the Modern World, 2013 July: All Mod Cons, 2013 November: Setting Sons, 2014 January: Sound Affects (1980), 2014 December: Live At Bingley Hall, Birmingham, England 1982, 2015 March: "Town Called Malice" / "Precious", 2015 July: The Gift (1982), 2015 September: "Strange Town" / "The Butterfly Collector" (1979), 2016 April: "Down In The Tube Station At Midnight" (1979).

Jackie Opel - Cry Me A River / Eternal Love (1964)

Wikipedia - "Born Dalton Sinclair Bishop in Chapman Lane, Bridgetown, Barbados in 1937, Jackie Opel was a popular singer who possessed a rich, powerful voice with a high octave range. He was known as the 'Jackie Wilson of Jamaica' and was also a gifted dancer. In the early 1960s, he was discovered by Byron Lee, the band master of the Dragonaires, who brought him to Jamaica. His styles included ska, R&B, soul, gospel and calypso. He is credited with inventing spouge music, a fusion of ska, calypso, and R&B music. ..."
The Jackie Opel Story
YouTube: Cry Me A River, Lonely Tear

Friday, January 6

John Sonsini

“Byron and Ramiro” (2008)
"John Sonsini is best known for his portraits of Latino laborers, at once highly personal depictions and references to the politics of immigration. Sonsini pays the men, whom he recruits from hiring posts, an hourly rate to pose as themselves, wearing their own clothing and taking their own postures and expressions, sometimes supplementing the scenes with props suitcases, backpacks, sports equipment, guitars, and other narrative elements. The thick paint, lively brushwork, and distorted drawing all recall Alice Neel’s portraits, which were also grounded in the relationship between painter and subject. ..."
The Sensations of Presence
Brooklyn Rail
An Interview with Artist John Sonsini
W - John Sonsini

Marcel Odenbach

Im Kreise drehen (Turning Circles), 2009, digital video, color, sound, 15 minutes 51 seconds.
"Though it is tempting to call Marcel Odenbach a pioneer, this designation might imply that his work is done. Born in 1953, he is not only a forefather of video art and a cofounder, with Ulrike Rosenbach and Klaus vom Bruch, of the 1970s producer group ATV, he is also—still—a protagonist of political art. For his generation in West Germany, addressing the political through art meant working through the complex process of dealing with the country’s Nazi past. ... The exhibition promises to illuminate new facets of Odenbach’s investigations into the exploitation of history in contemporary ideological battles, which remains as pressing as ever in the era of Trump and populist right-wing movements looming all over Europe."
Anton Kern Gallery
Marcel Odenbach: Large-scale Collage - Anton Kern Gallery
Galerie Gisela Capitain
W - Marcel Odenbach
vimeo: “Turning Circles” 2009, “Men Stories” 2005, “Disturbed Places” 2007, “In stillen Teichen lauern Krokodile (In Still Waters Crocodiles Lurk)” 2004/2004

Rodney Crowell - "It Ain't Over Yet (feat. Rosanne Cash & John Paul White)"

"They may just be three songwriting heavyweights sitting in an empty house, but that’s all you need with a song like this. Rodney Crowell’s new tune 'It Ain’t Over Yet' features stirring performances by John Paul White and Rosanne Cash. A standout from his new album, 'It Ain’t Over Yet' evokes the same kind of autobiographical lyrics that endeared him to many in the 1980s and beyond. The feature performance by Cash is particularly poignant, since the two shared a 13-year marriage and a whole lot of success together. Much of 'It Ain’t Over Yet' seems to reference how the hard feelings of time soften with age. Or, as Crowell puts it, things look a bit different through 'watery eyes.' ..."
Wide Open Country (Video)

Thursday, January 5

From a Secret Location

Kenneth Patchen, An Astonished Eye Looks Out of the Air, 1945
"About: From Book to Web by Steve Clay. In 1996, Rodney Phillips and I began curating the exhibition, 'A Secret Location on the Lower East Side,' which took place at the New York Public Library from January 24 – July 25, 1998, followed by a book of the same title published by NYPL and Granary Books. We had the fond hope to someday significantly broaden our view beyond the New York City / San Francisco / New American Poetry vortex — to focus on developments further afield, from Cleveland to Kathmandu. For fifteen years, I’ve envisioned a second volume of the Secret Location book, though always accompanied by the nagging sense that a printed book would never be able to contain it all. With considerable resistance on my part, the notion of a website became the inevitable solution. ..."
About: From a Secret Location
From a Secret Location

2012 April: A Secret Location on the Lower East Side, 2015 June: Small Press / Mimeograph Revolution, 1940s–1970s

50 Years Behind the Lens

"As a boy, walking along the docks near his home in Olso, Norway, Tor Eigeland watched ships and sailors from around the globe, and he dreamed of adventure. At home, 'curled up in a cozy chair, I devoured everything from Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky to Ibsen and Hemingway,' he recalls. Soon he was 'desperate to smell the tropical world and see palm trees. I knew there was a lot more out there, and I wanted to see it.' It didn’t take long. In the summer of 1947, at age 16, Eigeland convinced his skeptical parents to allow him and a friend to take a sabbatical from school to work aboard a merchant ship. The M/V Tricolor took the pair down the coast of Europe, across northern Africa, through the Suez Canal, along the Arabian Peninsula and on to India, the Philippines and China, ending in Shanghai. ..."
AramcoWorld (Video)

Pauline Oliveros - Deep Listening (1988)

"On this project, released by the progressive San Francisco label New Albion, accordionist Pauline Oliveros has teamed up with trombonist Stuart Dempster and vocalist Panaiotis to produce a remarkable album of atmospheric space music. The recording took place inside a huge cistern at an army fort, an acoustic space characterized by tremendous reverberation. The unlikely instruments -- primarily accordion, trombone, didjeridu, and voice -- produce sustained tones that are subtly modulated by the extraordinary acoustics, making it often seem as if there were more instruments present, or as if this music has been electronically processed -- neither of which is the case. All the music was improvised on site, with the musicians banging on metal pipes and found objects on the final track. The effect is remarkable, immersing the listener in a hypnotic field of shifting resonance, in a truly profound experience of deep listening."
W - Deep Listening Band
YouTube: Pauline Oliveros, Stuart Dempster, Panaiotis ‎– Deep Listening (Full Album)

2016 June: Meet Four Women Who Pioneered Electronic Music: Daphne Oram, Laurie Spiegel, Éliane Radigue & Pauline Oliveros

Wednesday, January 4

Anita Malfatti: 100 Years of Modern Art

Sao Vincente, 1942
"Having left Brazil in 1910 to study in Berlin and New York, Anita Malfatti gained notoriety when she returned to São Paulo seven years later on account of an exhibition of her Expressionist- and Cubist-inspired paintings. ... This exhibition commemorates that inaugural year for modernism in Brazil and will display works representative of Malfatti’s full artistic trajectory, from her portraits and landscapes of the teens to paintings that evoke the return to order of the 1920s, and even examples of her reliance, much later, on regional themes. The overview will provide a rare opportunity to assess Malfatti’s shifting visual language as well as her important contributions to the country’s aesthetic debates. — Kaira M. Cabañas"
W - Anita Malfatti
Between Exhibitions: Anita Malfatti and the Shifting Ground of Modernism
YouTube: Anita Malfatti obras

Lessons in Flânerie: The Fine Art of People-Watching in Paris

"Whether spending time with good friends or enjoying a solitary meal, much of Parisian life takes place in the capital’s ubiquitous cafés. Photo: Peter Turnley"
"'Une place, madame?' Seated on one of the mismatched chairs at the café La Bourse ou La Vie ('the money or your life'), his yellow suspenders holding in a roll of flesh, my interrogator peers at me through round-rimmed spectacles, waves me past, and turns back toward his companions. He is telling a story, ostensibly to them, but from the bombastic way his voice echoes off the yellow ceiling, he clearly wants me to hear it too. It’s a folk tale, drawn from the works of the 17th-century fabulist Jean de La Fontaine, of a heron that refuses to eat anything but the finest food. The man spreads his arms in imitation of the bird—nearly knocking one hapless diner off his feet—and begins to chirp wildly. Then he stops. He has spotted someone he knows, driving down Rue Vivienne. On this balmy June afternoon, the café doors are wide open; nothing separates us from the pavement and street outside. ..."
National Geographic Society
Revolutionary Walking, or The Art of the Flânerie
amazon: Walks Through Lost Paris: A Journey Into the Heart of Historic Paris

2013 October: Flâneur

The Raincoats (1979)

"Picking the 'best' Raincoats is more an intellectual exercise than it is a work of thoughtful criticism. So, to make it easy for the benighted, all three studio releases are absolutely essential. Their live cassette is wonderful, but not the ideal entry point. Better yet, start with their debut, a soaring, daring, avant-garde-influenced folk-punk record. Don't let the words 'avant-garde' scare you off; the Raincoats are not harsh or unapproachable. In fact, this music, even at its most dissonant, is stunning and captivating. There's a great cover of the Kinks' 'Lola' that's so skewed and obtuse, Ray Davies probably never dreamed it could sound this way. Reissued by Geffen on CD with extra tracks in 1995."
allmusic (Video)
W - The Raincoats
The Quietus - Post-Punk Distilled: The Raincoats' Debut Album 30 Years On
Drowned In Sound
YouTube: Fairytale in the Supermarket - directed by Gina Birch
YouTube: The Raincoats (full album)

2015 July: Odyshape (1981)

Tuesday, January 3

Second Avenue Subway

"Finally. The Second Avenue subway opened in New York City on Sunday, with thousands of riders flooding into its polished stations to witness a piece of history nearly a century in the making. They descended beneath the streets of the Upper East Side of Manhattan to board Q trains bound for Coney Island in Brooklyn. They cheered. Their eyes filled with tears. They snapped selfies in front of colorful mosaics lining the walls of the stations. It was the first day of 2017, and it felt like a new day for a city that for so long struggled to build this sorely needed subway line. In a rare display of unbridled optimism from hardened New Yorkers, they arrived with huge grins and wide eyes, taking in the bells and whistles at three new stations. ..."
NY Times: As Second Avenue Subway Opens, a Train Delay Ends in (Happy) Tears
W - Second Avenue Subway
NY Times: Highlights From the Opening of the Second Avenue Subway (Video)
NY Times: Art Underground: A First Look at the Second Avenue Subway (Video)
MTA Maps

Bone Machine - Tom Waits (1992)

"Perhaps Tom Waits' most cohesive album, Bone Machine is a morbid, sinister nightmare, one that applied the quirks of his experimental '80s classics to stunningly evocative -- and often harrowing -- effect. In keeping with the title's grotesque image of the human body, Bone Machine is obsessed with decay and mortality, the ease with which earthly existence can be destroyed. The arrangements are accordingly stripped of all excess flesh; the very few, often non-traditional instruments float in distinct separation over the clanking junkyard percussion that dominates the record. It's a chilling, primal sound made all the more otherworldly (or, perhaps, underworldly) by Waits' raspy falsetto and often-distorted roars and growls. ..."
W - Bone Machine
Quarantining The Past: Tom Waits's 'Bone Machine'
YouTube: Earth Died Screaming
YouTube: Bone Machine (Full Album)

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

See Red Women's Workshop - Feminist Posters 1974–1990

"Founded in 1974, See Red Women’s Workshop grew out of a shared desire to combat sexist images of women and to create positive and challenging alternatives. Women from different backgrounds came together to make posters and calendars that tackled issues of sexuality, identity and oppression. With humour and bold graphics, they expressed the personal experiences of women as well as their role in wider struggles for change. Written by See Red members, detailing the group’s history, See Red Women’s Workshop Feminist Posters 1974-1990 features all of their original screenprints, alongside posters commissioned for radical groups and campaigns. ..."
Girls are Powerful: the feminist posters of See Red Women’s Workshop
artbooks: See Red Women's Workshop - Feminist Posters 1974–1990

Monday, January 2

A Visit to William S. Burroughs at the Beat Hotel in Summer, 1958

Extracts from a Journal, 1958 by Gael Turnbull. Vacationing in Paris in the summer of 1958, the Scottish poet Gael Turnbull kept a journal documenting his visits to William Burroughs and Gregory Corso at the Beat Hotel. Excerpts from the journal were published in 1962 in Mica #5, a poetry magazine featuring Charles Bukowski, Ian Hamilton Finlay, and others. ..."
Reality Studio

2009 May: Cut-up technique - 1, 2010 March: Cut-up technique, 2010 December: The Evolution of the Cut-Up Technique in My Own Mag, 2012 August: The Nova Trilogy, 2014 February: William Burroughs at 100, 2014 September: The Ticket That Exploded, 2014 November: What Is Schizo-Culture? A Classic Conversation with William S. Burroughs, 2015 June: The Electronic Revolution (1971), 2015 August: Cut-Ups: William S. Burroughs 1914 – 2014, 2015 December: Destroy All Rational Thought, 2016 January: Commissioner of Sewers: A 1991 Profile of Beat Writer William S. Burroughs, 2016 June: Nothing Here Now But The Recordings (1981), 2016 September: # 1 – A Descriptive Catalogue of the William S. Burroughs Archive, 2016 December: #6 – Call Me Burroughs LP.

No Wave Cinema

Downtown '81
Wikipedia - "No wave cinema was a Colab-sponsored boom (1976–1985) in underground filmmaking on the Lower East Side of New York City. Its name, much like its cousin no wave music, was a stripped-down style of guerrilla filmmaking that emphasized mood and texture above other concerns. This brief movement, also known as New Cinema (after a short-lived screening room on St. Mark’s Place run by several filmmakers on the scene), had a significant impact on both underground film, spawning the Cinema of Transgression (Scott B and Beth B, Richard Kern, Nick Zedd, Tessa Hughes-Freeland and others) and a new generation of independent filmmaking in New York (Jim Jarmusch, Tom DiCillo, Steve Buscemi, and Vincent Gallo). ..."
No Wave Cinema - The New Elder Statesmen
The Refined Sloppiness of a No Wave Cinema Gem
No Wave and Independent Film (Video)
vimeo: Amos Poe: Pioneer of No Wave Cinema

2013 October: Blank City