Wednesday, March 4

Madame Cézanne

Paul Cézanne, Madame Cézanne in a Red Armchair. About 1877.
"This exhibition of paintings, drawings, and watercolors by Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906) traces his lifelong attachment to Hortense Fiquet (French, 1850–1922), his wife, the mother of his only son, and his most painted model. Featuring twenty-five of the artist's twenty-nine known portraits of Hortense, including Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory (1891) and Madame Cézanne in a Red Dress (1888–90), both from the Metropolitan Museum's collection, the exhibition explores the profound impact she had on Cézanne's portrait practice."
Metropolitan Museum of Art (Video)
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Exhibition Objects
NY Times: Take My Wife. S’il Vous Plaît.
amazon: Madame Cézanne

Manhole covers that left their mark on the city

"Looking up at New York’s buildings isn’t the only way to get a sense of the city’s past. Cast your eyes down on the sidewalk and street, and you’ll start seeing an incredible variety of manhole covers—many from the 19th and early 20th centuries. These iron lids serve a utilitarian purpose. But the men who made them at Ironworks across the city imbued them with a sense of pride and craftsmanship. Jacob Mark created his signature covers with colored glass, which look like glistening jewels. The one at top of the page was discovered in Tribeca. ..."
Ephemeral New York
Ephemeral New York: Manhole covers that left their mark on the city
Ephemeral New York: The most beautiful manhole covers in Manhattan
Ephemeral New York: More old-school city manhole covers
Ephemeral New York: What a 19th century manhole cover has to say

System and Vision

Type 42 (Anonymous), Ursula Andress 37–22–35, 1960s–1970s
"David Zwirner is pleased to present the group exhibition System and Vision, organized in collaboration with Delmes & Zander in Berlin and Cologne. It includes artists whose unique ideas developed outside the circuit of art world institutions, often with limited interaction with other peers. Each offers a highly individualistic, authentic, and imaginative practice that roughly falls into one of four identifiable areas commonly absent from mainstream art-historical narratives: pseudo-science, science fiction, eroticism, and the occult. ..."
David Zwirner
Paris Photo

Tuesday, March 3

Lydia Davis

Wikipedia - "Lydia Davis (born July 15, 1947) is an American writer noted for her short stories. Davis is also a novelist, essayist, and translator from French and other languages, and has produced several new translations of French literary classics, including Proust's Swann’s Way and Flaubert's Madame Bovary.  Davis' stories are acclaimed for their brevity and humour. Many are only one or two sentences. Davis has compared these shorter stories to skyscrapers in the sense that they are surrounded by an imposing blank expanse. Some of her stories are considered poetry or somewhere between philosophy, poetry and short story. ... Davis has also translated Proust, Flaubert, Blanchot, Foucault, Michel Leiris, Pierre Jean Jouve and other French writers, as well as the Dutch writer A.L. Snijders."
New Yorker: Long Story Short
NPR: Lydia Davis' New Collection Has Stories Shorter Than This Headline (Video)
Atlantic: Lydia Davis’s Very Short Stories
amazon: Lydia Davis

Wes Anderson’s Cinematic Influences: Video Series Reveals His Roots in Truffaut, Welles, Scorsese & More

"Matt Zoller Seitz is easily one of the finest film critics working today. Over the years, he has done quite a lot of work unpacking the dense visual world of filmmaker Wes Anderson, culminating in a gorgeous coffee table book called, aptly, The Wes Anderson Collection. Today you can explore a series of video essays that delve into the filmmaker’s work. Zoller Seitz argues that Anderson’s distinctive look is not merely empty aesthetics. Instead, he asserts that there is substance to Anderson’s style."
Open Culture (Video)

2013 November: Wes Anderson Honors Fellini in a Delightful New Short Film, 2013 November: Rushmore (1998), 2013 Decemher: Hotel Chevalier (2007), 2014 March: Wes Anderson Collection, 2014 April: The Perfect Symmetry of Wes Anderson’s Movies, 2014 July: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), 2014 August: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), 2014 December: Welcome to Union Glacier (2013), 2015 January: Inhabiting Wes Anderson’s Universe.

The Filming Locations of The Naked City

"...The Lower East Side & Williamsburg Bridge. Location: Norfolk St. & Rivington St. No neighborhood shines more in The Naked City than the Lower East Side, its Jewish heritage on display in nearly every shot. We’ll start at the corner of Norfolk and Rivington. Note the corner soda fountain, offering Borden’s ice cream. Today, it’s Tiny’s Giant Sandwich (quite good!)."
Part 1: The Lower East Side & Williamsburg Bridge, Part 2: Times Square, Chelsea, Soho and Wall Street

2012 April: The Naked City - Jules Dassin

Monday, March 2

Recap: In the Finale, Mary Meets Mr. Handsome

"Season 5, Episode 9. Oh, Abbots. It can’t be over, can it? Another season, gone as quickly as a grouse flying over Brancaster Castle. So let us keep sorrow at bay by reminding ourselves: We’ve finally pulled abreast. Oh, sure, those viewers in Britain got their usual three-month head start on us (just as the Brits used to get first crack at the latest Dickens installment). Viewers in the United States who were too impatient to wait for the weekly drip of revelation snapped up their DVDs and sometimes blurted out key plot developments over a few too many Manhattans. They had us in their spoiler-alert grip, Abbots, but no longer. Democracy reigns."
NY Times: Recap: In the Finale, Mary Meets Mr. Handsome

2012 March: Downton Abbey, 2013 February: Downton Abbey 3, 2015 January: ‘Downton Abbey’ and History: A Look Back, Recap: Rumble With Lord G!, 2015 February: Recap: Prayers for Lord G’s Truest, Furriest Love, 2015 February: Recap: The Crawleys Should Have Sent Their Regrets, 2015 February: Recap: Yes, It’s Called the Hornby Hotel.

Rare Early ’70s Sun Ra and June Tyson Recording I Roam The Cosmos Presented As 24-Bit iTunes Release

"... Known for their acceptance of avant-garde forms in jazz and beyond, it was in 1966 and 1967 that the Sun Ra Arkestra would become residents at the club, playing every Monday and coming back a handful of times after their residency had ended. 1972 was the year Slug’s would end and it’s a great historical document to get an unreleased Ra recording from this venue and the year they closed operations. This set deviated from the main system of live shows Sun Ra was giving to the world in the early ’70s, showcasing June Tyson and Ra in a cosmo-drama call and response performance for the entire concert. More of a play, the Arkestra is backing the two in their vocal voyage and considering the wealth of live and studio material from Sun Ra available to the public, it’s beautiful to experience brand new music from the mysterious creator with such clarity and quality."
Sound Colour Vibration
YouTube: I Roam The Cosmos 51:18

Sunday, March 1

The Life Of A Slave From Cradle To The Tomb

The grounds include slave quarters, a mule barn, an African-American church founded by freed slaves and sugar kettles, where they used to boil the cane to make sugar. Some buildings have been brought in from other historic sites.
"The section of Louisiana's serpentine River Road that tracks along the Mississippi between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is known as 'Plantation Alley.' The restored antebellum mansions along the route draw hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. The newest attraction aims to give visitors a realistic look at life in the pre-Civil War South. Don't expect hoop skirts and mint juleps, but stark relics that tell the story of a dark period in American history, through the eyes of the enslaved. From the entrance, Whitney Plantation in Wallace, La., resembles the other plantations, with majestic oaks framing the front walk to the French-Creole style 'big house'."
NPR: New Museum (Video)
NY Times: Building the First Slavery Museum in America
The house that slavery built gets a new home in Smithsonian

PJ Harvey - Who Will Love Me Now (1996)

"In the forest lives a monster
he has done terrible things
so in the wood it's hiding
And this is the song he sings

Who will love me now
Who will ever love me?
Who will say to me
You are my desire
I'll set you free"
YouTube: Who Will Love Me Now

2009 November: PJ Harvey, 2011 May: Let England Shake, 2013 May: Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, 2013 July: White Chalk (2007), 2014 July: LSO St Luke's in London (2005).

Historic Places LA

"Historic Places LA is the first online information and management system specifically created to inventory, map and help protect the City of Los Angeles’ significant historic resources. It showcases the city's diversity of historic resources, including architecturally significant buildings and places of social importance, as well as historic districts, bridges, parks, and streetscapes."
Historic Places LA
Getty and city of L.A. launch website mapping historic places

2014 July: Downtown Los Angeles

Saturday, February 28

"I'm with Stupid" - Pet Shop Boys (2006)

Wikipedia - "'I'm with Stupid' is a song by British synthpop band Pet Shop Boys and is featured on their 2006 album, Fundamental. It was released 8 May 2006 as the lead single from the album in the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Union (see 2006 in British music). It became the duo's 21st Top 10 single in the UK, peaking at #8. Though ostensibly about a romantic relationship with a man perceived by the public as a "moron", the song has been acknowledged as being, on another level, about Tony Blair's beleaguered relationship with George W. Bush."
YouTube: I'm with Stupid, I'm With Stupid (Official Live Video), I m With Stupid PSB Video Extended Remix 1, The Resurrectionist, The Resurrectionist (Extended Mix)

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

Black Panther Newspapers

"The UC Berkeley Social Activism Sound Recording Project is a partnership between the UC Berkeley Library, the Pacifica Foundation, and other private and institutional sources. The intent of the project is to gather, catalog, and make accessible primary source media resources related to social activism and activist movements in California in the 1960's and 1970's. Some recordings have been slightly edited for purposes of sound quality and continuity."
UC Berkeley
Black Panther Newspapers
PBS Interview with Angela Davis (1998)
Diva: Black Panther Newspaper

2011 December: Black Panther Party, 2014 July: Black Panthers (Agnès Varda, 1968 doc.), 2015 January: The Black Panthers Revisited.

Thursday, February 26

The dangers of digital: Brian Eno on technology and modern music

"Digital technology has enhanced music production, recording and distribution in ways unimaginable just a few decades ago, but are we losing something more essential in the process? Chris May talks to ambient pioneer and friend of technology Brian Eno about the dangers of digital dependence in modern music. ... Eno was speaking on the eve of the release of Knitting Factory Records’ Fela: Vinyl Box Set 3, which he compiled. He has been an Afrobeat devotee since 1973, when he chanced on Fela Kuti’s album Afrodisiac. I had asked Eno if he thought it was possible to retain the human touch, so explicit in Kuti’s Afrobeat recordings, while using sophisticated, digital studio-technology. ..."
The dangers of digital: Brian Eno on technology and modern music (Video)
Brian Eno curates new Fela Kuti vinyl box set (Video)
W - Noble savage
YouTube: Guitarra de Lata ciega Liberiana - Musico Liberiano ciego toca su guitarra de lata al mundo

Davy Byrne’s

"Most Joyce enthusiasts, and even  many non-enthusiasts, recognize Davy Byrne’s as the place where Bloom ate a cheese sandwich and drank a glass of burgundy in Ulysses. Many a Bloomsday pilgrim has stopped into the pub over the years to experience a moment in the life of Leopold Bloom, and literary pub crawls  (including the excellent one I experienced in the summer of 2014, linked) highlight the premises as a staple in Dublin’s literary scene. Perhaps less noted is the pub’s appearance in Dubliners. It appears only once, and briefly, but it resonates in Joyce’s weblike world as an intersection of person, place, and theme."
Mapping Dubliners Project
Davy Byrne’s
Dublin Pub Crawl

2011 March: Passages from James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" (1965-67), 2010 March: Ulysses Seen, 2013 February: ULYSSES “SEEN” is moving to Dublin!, 2013: Dubliners, 2014 May: The Dead (1987 film), 2014 May: “Have I Ever Left It?” by Mark O'Connell, 2014 July: Digital Dubliners, 2014 September: Read "Ulysses Seen", A Graphic Novel Adaptation of James Joyce’s Classic, 2015 January: The Mapping Dubliners Project.

"Epistrophy" - Thelonious Monk / Kenny Clarke (1941)

Wikipedia - "'Epistrophy' is a jazz standard composed by Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke in 1941. It has been called 'the first classic, modern jazz composition.' It was first recorded later that year, under the title 'Fly Right,' by a big band led by Cootie Williams. Its 'A' section is based on a pattern of alternating chords a semitone apart. The title 'Epistrophy' is not a word in any dictionary. However, the word 'epistrophe' is defined by Merriam-Webster as 'the repetition of a word or expression at the end of successive phrases, clauses, sentences, or verses especially for rhetorical or poetic effect.' It is therefore likely that Monk coined the word to mean the use of repeated sounds at the end of a musical line. This corresponds to the term 'BeBop' which refers not only to the new style of jazz Monk and others helped to create at Minton's Playhouse in Harlem, but to the imitative onomatopoeia of the two-note phrase so often repeated at the end of a 1940s bebop musical line, in which the 'bop' is five tones down from the 'be.'"
YouTube: "Epistrophy"

2012 September: Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser, 2013 August: Five Spot Café, 2014 February: Thelonious Monk - Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1, Vol. 2.

Wednesday, February 25

Pablo Power’s Solo Exhibit, A Circle Unbroken: Tributes in Pattern, at Tribeca’s No Romance Galleries through Today

"A Circle Unbroken: Tributes in Pattern, Pablo Power’s solo exhibit at No Romance Galleries, is a splendid poetic homage to life’s cycles and patterns. Reflecting Power’s vast experience with both graffiti and the streets, the multi-media images presented here fuse a dreamlike beauty with a rich rawness."
Street Art NYC

The man who made Monet: how impressionism was saved from obscurity

Monet - Sunrise (1872)
"It is one of the ironies of impressionism, the quintessential French movement, that it had its beginning and its end not in Paris but in London. It is another irony that the key figure in the movement was not a painter but, that most maligned of species, a dealer. In 1871, having fled the Franco-Prussian war, Claude Monet was living in London. It was in January that year that the landscapist Charles-François Daubigny took him along to the inaptly named German Gallery on New Bond Street and introduced him to the proprietor, another French expat, named Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922). Whether or not the gallerist believed Daubigny’s words of introduction – 'This artist will surpass us all' – he liked Monet’s work well enough to buy numerous canvases and, a few days later, paintings by his fellow artist-refugee Camille Pissarro, too. ..."

Fred Frith - Gravity (1980)

Wikipedia - "Gravity is a 1980 solo album by English guitarist, composer and improviser Fred Frith from Henry Cow and Art Bears. It was Frith's second solo album and his first since the demise of Henry Cow in 1978. ...
Gravity was recorded in Sweden, the United States and Switzerland and featured Frith with Swedish Rock in Opposition group Samla Mammas Manna on one side of the LP, and Frith with United States progressive rock group The Muffins on the other side. Additional musicians included Marc Hollander from Aksak Maboul and Chris Cutler from Henry Cow. Gravity has been described as an avant-garde "dance" record that draws on rhythm and dance from folk music across the world. ..."
YouTube: Gravity (1980) [Full Album]

Tuesday, February 24

40 maps that explain the internet

"The internet increasingly pervades our lives, delivering information to us no matter where we are. It takes a complex system of cables, servers, towers, and other infrastructure, developed over decades, to allow us to stay in touch with our friends and family so effortlessly. Here are 40 maps that will help you better understand the internet — where it came from, how it works, and how it's used by people around the world.

7 Rock Album Covers Designed by Iconic Artists: Warhol, Rauschenberg, Dalí, Richter, Mapplethorpe & More

"The art of the album cover is ground we cover here often enough, from the jazz deco creations of album art inventor Alex Steinweiss to the bawdy burlesques of underground comix legend R. Crumb. We could add to these American references the iconic covers of European graphic artists like Peter Saville of Joy Divisions’ Unknown Pleasures and Storm Thorgerson of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. These names represent just a small sampling of the many renowned designers who have given popular music its distinctive look over the decades, and without whom the experience of record shopping—perhaps itself a bygone art—would be a dreary one. Though these creative personalities work in a primarily commercial vein, there’s no reason not to call their products fine art. ..."
Open Culture

Monday, February 23

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema

"... I've made sixteen of these 'Los Angeles, the City in Cinema' video essays so far, some exploring visions of Los Angeles' future, some of its present, and some of its past. ... If you have any suggestions of Los Angeles movies to consider next, please don't hesitate to let me know. Every fiction film also inadvertently documents the place in which its story happens: its built environment, its social environment, or even just the way people think about it. That goes for movies new and old, mainstream and obscure, respectable and schlocky, appealing and unappealing — all the qualities, in other words, of the city itself."
Alien Nation (Graham Baker, 1988), Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982), Brother (Takeshi Kitano, 2000), The Crimson Kimono (Samuel Fuller, 1959), Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011), The Driver (Walter Hill, 1978), Her (Spike Jonze, 2013), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (John Cassavetes, 1978), Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955), The Limey (Steven Soderbergh, 1999), Model Shop (Jacques Demy, 1969), Night of the Comet (Thom Eberhardt, 1984), Repo Man (Alex Cox, 1984), Southland Tales (Richard Kelly, 2006), Strange Days (Kathryn Bigelow, 1995), Timecode (Mike Figgis, 2000)
boingboing (Video)
vimeo: The City in Cinema
Colin Marshall
Colin Marshall - Category Archives: Los Angeles

Every Breaking Wave - A Film By Aoife McArdle

"Whilst U2’s involvement in this long-form music video from Northern Irish writer/director/photographer Aoife McArdle will almost certainly steal most of the headlines, strip away their participation in this project (and even their music) and you’d still be left with a powerful and assertive piece of filmmaking tackling themes of love and conflict. Taking its audience back to the streets of Northern Ireland in the early 1980’s, McArdle’s 13-minute film throws its viewers into the violent conflicts of the time, with its high-energy tempo and passionate-performances making it a short you don’t dare take your eyes off for one-second."
Short of the Week
vimeo: Every Breaking Wave (Short film)

'The Media Doesn’t Care What Happens Here'

"The favelas of Complexo do Alemão, one of the largest urban slums in Brazil, spill across 700 hilly acres in the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro, not far from the city’s international airport. Bounded on three sides by bustling highways and on the fourth by a forested ridge, Alemão can no longer grow outward, and so it has grown upward instead, in increasingly unstable conglomerations of quadruple-decker concrete boxes. 'The grandfather builds the first floor, the son the second, the grandson the third and the great-grandson the fourth,' residents like to say. Rebar sprouts from the rooftops, awaiting the installation of the next story and the next generation that will occupy it."
NY Times

Thursday, February 19

‘Drowned in a sea of salt’ Blake Morrison on the literature of the east coast

‘The most abandoned spot in the entire region’ WG Sebald visited Shingle Street in Suffolk
"Sixty-two years ago today, the combination of a severe storm and high spring tide brought catastrophe to the east coast of England, as the water rose to six metres above sea level and overwhelmed the land. The Dutch had it even worse, with the loss of 1,800 lives – they called it the Watersnoodramp, the 'flood disaster'. But Suffolk and Essex suffered badly, too, with 307 deaths in all, including 38 at Felixstowe, 37 in Jaywick, and 58 on Canvey Island. A couple of documentaries appeared around the time of the 60th anniversary of the flood but compared with the commemoration of the 2004 Asian tsunami the coverage was modest. There wasn’t the footage; the only survivors with memories of the event were past pension age, and the loss of life was on a smaller scale. But perhaps another factor explains the neglect: resignation to the idea that the North Sea is destined to wreak havoc periodically and that nothing can be done to prevent it."
Guardian (Video)

2011 July: The Rings of Saturn - W.G. Sebald

Spider Martin’s Photographs of the Selma March Get a Broader View

"When Spider Martin, a young photographer for The Birmingham News, stepped onto the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on March 7, 1965, he knew exactly what to do. ... Today, everyone knows the score from that day in Selma, known as Bloody Sunday, thanks in part to Mr. Martin’s powerful images of the police beating back peaceful civil rights marchers, which were blasted around the world via The Associated Press. And now, Mr. Martin — one of the few photojournalists present in Selma over the whole of the weekslong course of events there — may be about to get better known, too. The Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas in Austin has acquired Mr. Martin’s archive, including more than 1,000 images shot in and around Selma, many existing only on negatives that have been kept in a bank box for decades, virtually unseen."
NY Times

Down in Washington Square: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection

"Called 'The Mayor of MacDougal Street,' Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002) was a leading figure in the Greenwich Village music scene for more than four decades. He epitomized the urban 'folksinger' — apprenticing through immersion in the music revival’s New York City epicenter of Washington Square Park. Drawing from and developing a wide repertoire of songs, guitar techniques, and performing skills, he mentored younger musicians and songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Jack Hardy, Suzanne Vega, Christine Lavin, and many others. Down in Washington Square includes 16 never-before-released recordings coupled with tracks from the Smithsonian Folkways archive, spanning early live recordings made in 1958 (one year before his first Folkways album) to his final studio recordings in 2001, just months before his death."
Smithsonian Folkways
Dave Van Ronk at Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY, 1974 (Spotify)

Tuesday, February 17

Women of the Avant-garde 1920-1940

"The exhibition Women of the Avant-garde 1920-1940 presents an exciting but hitherto under-illuminated chapter in the history of art to the public. Works by eight of the most prominent women avant-garde artists of the inter-war years, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Claude Cahun, Sonia Delaunay, Germaine Dulac, Florence Henri, Hannah Höch, Katarzyna Kobro and Dora Maar reveal the story of a network of striking artists who were pioneers and driving forces in the avant-garde movements that flourished in Europe in those years. The exhibition presents around 200 works of painting, photography, collage, design, film, and sculpture. ... The women of the avant-garde took part in redefining art and at the same time they challenged the notion of what women can, may and should do. Unlike the male artists, the women had no historical status in the academies and artists’ groups that were the natural platforms for men in the art world. The women had to make their own way, and independence, openness and mobility are recurring features in all eight biographies."
ARTBOOK: Women of the Avant-Garde 1920–1940
Poetry Foundation: The Women of the Avant-Garde, (Sound), part 2 (Sound)

Funky Ghetto Getdown!

"This upload features tracks from Marvin Gaye, Edwin Starr, Earnest Jackson, Willie Hutch, Curtis Mayfield and more. SoulSistas And SoulBruthas! As we approach the heart of election season here in the USA, I'm reminded of how SOUL and FUNK music back in the day was so influenced by what was going down politically. The economics and every day experiences of the 'hood' were expressed as much in the music as was LOVE or having a good time. Not sure if that exists too much any more. Here's a selection of tunes loosely based on this theme. Some serious tunes here, but a real sense of joy in the quality of the musical expression as well."
Mixcloud (Video)

Monday, February 16

Edward Hopper's New York: A Walking Tour

"Does this stretch of Seventh Avenue look familiar to you? If you’re an Edward Hopper fan, there’s a good chance the answer is yes; the street served as inspiration for Early Sunday Morning. Check out this video in which Whitney curator Carter Foster visits sites in downtown New York that inspired Hopper’s most iconic paintings. See the works in person in Hopper Drawing, on view through Sunday."
Whitney Museum (Video)

2008 July: Edward Hopper, 2010 October: Finding Nighthawks, 2010 December: Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time, 2012 Wednesday: Through Edward Hopper's eyes: in search of an artist's seaside inspiration, 2013 July: Hopper Drawing, 2014 May: INTERVIEW: “An Interview with Edward Hopper, June 17, 1959″., 2014 September: How Edward Hopper “Storyboarded” His Iconic Painting Nighthawks.

Sophia Dawson

"Sophia Dawson, born February 25, 1988, is a talented and self-motivated African American woman. She is a Brooklyn based artist who discovered her gift while painting a portrait of her father as she studied at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music, Art and Performing Arts. At that very young age of sixteen, she witnessed that her work moved and touched people from all walks of life. Sophia soon participated in Groundswell Community Mural Project, a non-profit arts organization, as a teen volunteer. In their afterschool program she had the opportunity to direct her artistic skills towards bringing about social change through designing and creating large-scale murals. The mural projects she participated in transformed various spaces throughout the borough."

Zombie - Fela Kuti (1976)

Wikipedia - "Zombie is a studio album by Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti. It was released in Nigeria by Coconut Records in 1976, and in the United Kingdom by Creole Records in 1977. The album criticised the Nigerian government; and it is thought to have resulted in the murder of Kuti's mother Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, and the destruction of his commune by the military. ... The album was a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. The album was a smash hit with the people and infuriated the government, setting off a vicious attack against the Kalakuta Republic (a commune that Fela had established in Nigeria), during which one thousand soldiers attacked the commune."
YouTube: Zombie, Mr. Follow Follow, Observation Is No Crime, Mistake (Live At The Berlin Jazz Festival - 1978)

Sunday, February 15

John Wesley Harding - Bob Dylan (1967)

Wikipedia - "John Wesley Harding is the eighth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on December 27, 1967 by Columbia Records. Produced by Bob Johnston, the album marked Dylan's return to acoustic music and traditional roots, after three albums of electric rock music. John Wesley Harding shares many stylistic threads with, and was recorded around the same time as, the prolific series of home recording sessions with The Band, partly released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes. ... Most of the songs on John Wesley Harding have pared-down lyrics. Though the style remains evocative, continuing Dylan's strong use of bold imagery, the wild, intoxicating surreality that seemed to flow in a stream-of-consciousness fashion has been tamed into something earthier and more crisp."
Rolling Stone: John Wesley Harding, February 24, 1968
47 Years Ago: Bob Dylan’s ‘John Wesley Harding’ Album Released
Revisiting Dylan’s ‘John Wesley Harding’
amazon, Spotify
YouTube: John Wesley Harding Full Album

The Dust & Grooves DJ Residency at Donna. Brooklyn, NY. January 2015

"Following the success of our book launch parties across the globe, we’re very happy to team-up with DONNA to host our first Vinyl Residency for the month of January. A month long weekly DJ residency (Thursdays in January) curated by Dust & Grooves, that will bridge the gap between nerdy record collectors, their collections and the dance floor. Each evening is themed by genre, era, global region. Donna is an intimate cafe during morning and early afternoon, a nationally ranked cocktail bar and club in the evening to late night hours. With minimal, South American themed architecture, high ceilings and support of a Klipsch sound system, the music can be heard clearly – and felt."
Dust & Grooves (Video)

From Syria, an Atlas of a Country in Ruins

"Recent satellite image analysis by Unitar-Unosat, an agency of the United Nations, reveals vast devastation in cities across Syria from the civil war that started nearly four years ago. The four cities below are among those analyzed by the agency, which examined images taken before and during the conflict."
NY Times

Friday, February 13

A Nightclub Map of Harlem

"Numbers gambling formed part of the rhythm of Harlem’s street life. A map of arrests for playing the numbers in 1925 features almost every corner on Fifth, Lenox, Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Those arrests generally took place in the morning, when players seeking to place bets on their way to work and before before the publication of the daily number at 10 a.m. created a flurry of activity.  By all accounts, making such arrests would not have been difficult: the New York Age reported that runners and collectors followed 'a regular schedule each morning, picking up their collections and there is nothing clandestine or hidden in their movements,' as they walked 'boldly and openly along, picking up the slips with the money from the players on the streets.'”
Digital Harlem Blog
Putting Harlem on the Map (2012 revision)
"Go late!": A Night-Club Map of Harlem
A 1932 Illustrated Map of Harlem’s Night Clubs: From the Cotton Club to the Savoy Ballroom
Full size image here

2015 May: History of Harlem

The Usual Suspects (1995)

Wikipedia - "The Usual Suspects is a 1995 German-American neo-noir[3] crime thriller film directed by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie. It stars Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del Toro, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, Pete Postlethwaite and Kevin Spacey. The film follows the interrogation of Roger 'Verbal' Kint, a small-time con man who is one of only two survivors of a massacre and fire on a ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles. He tells an interrogator a convoluted story about events that led him and four other criminals to the boat and of a mysterious mob boss known as Keyser Söze who commissioned their work."
YouTube: The Usual Suspects (1995) - Original Trailer

Five years of the sun in three minutes

"On February 11, 2010, NASA launched its Solar Dynamics Observatory -- a spacecraft equipped with sensors, cameras and telescopes all with one mission: an in-depth examination of the star at the centre of our solar system -- the sun. ... Solar flares, coronal mass ejections, sunspots, eruptions; the imaging equipment on the observatory has allowed researchers to see how these evolve and what causes them. Photographs in different wavelengths have allowed researchers to study the sun's plasma, temperatures, magnetic fields and activity, and atmosphere and corona."
YouTube: NASA | SDO: Year 5

Thursday, February 12

A Day In the Life of Havana

"It's seldom that we get a view from inside Cuba. Here's a short film by photographer Jason Row about the city of Havana – it's beautiful old buildings, absurdly preserved American car fleet from the late fifties, the crushing poverty, and the eerie calm of living under the boot heel of a great slobbering pig dictator whose every breath is an insult to all Cubans everywhere. Why those poor sorry dimwits haven't walked into the dictator's house and eliminated him is far beyond my own comprehension or even my interest. People who are ruled by blathering psuedo-communist retards are truly beneath contempt. How's that for some travel commentary? To hell with Havana. Let's take Cuba and put up a Marriott. How difficult could it be? They have four soldiers riding in a 1959 Ford. Their guns are rusted shut."
YouTube: A day in the life of Havana (May 9, 2011)

Guillaume Apollinaire - Alcools (1913)

"Alcools, first published in 1913 and one of the few indispensable books of twentieth- century poetry, provides a key to the century's history and consciousness. Champion of 'cubism,' Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) fashions in verse the sonic equivalent of what Picasso accomplishes in his cubist works: simultaneity. Apollinaire has been so influential that without him there would have been no New York School of poetry and no Beat Movement. This new translation reveals his complex, beautiful, and wholly contemporary poetry. Printed with the original French on facing pages, this is the only version of this seminal work of French Modernism currently available in the United States."
Reviewed by Marjorie Perloff
W - Alcools
BBC: Alcools. The Essay, Paris 1913 Episode 3 of 5 (Video)
Poets: "Zone"

Wednesday, February 11

Tom Waits - Mule Variations (1999)

"... So Mule Variations delivers what fans want, in terms of both songs and sonics. But that also explains why it sounds terrific on initial spins, only to reveal itself as slightly dissatisfying with subsequent plays. All of Waits' Island records felt like fully conceived albums with genuine themes. Mule Variations, in contrast, is a collection of moments, and while each of those moments is very good (some even bordering on excellent), ultimately the whole doesn't equal the sum of its parts. While that may seem like nitpicking, some may have wanted a masterpiece after five years, and Mule Variations falls short of that mark. Nevertheless, this is a hell of a record by any other standard."
W - Mule Variations
Spotify, tumblr: #mule variations
YouTube: Hold On, What's He Building?, Chocolate Jesus, House Where Nobody Lives
YouTube: TheEWFX29 - Mule Variations (1999)

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).

At the Museum of London, the City That Sherlock Holmes Knew

John O’Connor’s “From Pentonville Road Looking West: Evening”
"A riveting exhibition here at the Museum of London has capitalized on the full-blown Sherlockmania that seems to have seized the Western world, judging by a new spate of movies, television shows and books. Unexpectedly, the show, 'Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die,' which has drawn record numbers to the museum and continues until April 12, does not focus on the stories about Holmes or his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, though an opening section shows some early notebooks and illustrations as well as a rare portrait of the author in his 30s."
NY Times
Design Decoded and Sherlock Holmes
The Mystery of 221B Baker Street
Sherlock Holmes brought to life at The Museum of London (Video)
W - Sherlock Holmes

Tuesday, February 10

Violette - Martin Provost (2013)

"Nearly every character in Violette, Martin Provost's scholastically dense biographical study of landmark French writer Violette LeDuc, makes a point somewhere in the film to criticize its protagonist at length, bemoaning her appearance, her immaturity, her writing skill, her insistence on being. Among the literary circuit of 1940s Paris into which she's bullishly inserted herself, LeDuc is a literal piece of work, a project and process constantly in need of redrafting. She's not merely a creator of texts, but a text herself: Her sexual voracity, self-abasing neurosis, and stubborn commitment to impossible ideals provide the raw material for literary heavyweights like Jean Genet (Jacques Bonnaffé) and, in particular, Simone de Beauvoir (Sandrine Kiberlain) to shape their own New Woman, a bodily reflection of their own existentialist agendas."
“A World of Noise and Fury:” Martin Provost’s Violette (Video)
NY Times: A Difficult Woman, With a Past Worth Writing About
Sound, fury and écriture féminine in Violette (2013): a review
W - Violette
ARTFORUM: Trailer for Martin Provost’s Violette, 2013

“A Thrashing, Generous Intelligence”: Eileen Myles’s Inferno chosen for Slate/Whiting Second Novel List

"The poet Eileen Myles is, of course, also an accomplished writer of fiction, and her recent novel Inferno has just been named one of the five books on the Slate/Whiting Second Novel List.  In a glowing review of the book on Slate, Sasha Weiss hails Myles’s coming-of-age novel for capturing something essential about the experience of being a young and hungry writer in a New York that no longer exists. ..."
Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets (Video)
Slate: The Yearning of Artists
Inferno (A Poet's Novel) - Eileen Myles
vimeo: Eileen Myles reads an excerpt from INFERNO (a poet's novel)

2010 August: Inferno

Monday, February 9

One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North

Panel No. 1 "During World War I, there was a great migration north by southern African Americans" 1940-41
"In 1941, Jacob Lawrence, then just 23 years old, completed a series of 60 small tempera paintings with text captions about the Great Migration, the multi-decade mass movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North that started around 1915. Within months of its making, the series entered the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and the Phillips Memorial Gallery (today The Phillips Collection), with each institution acquiring half of the panels. Lawrence’s work is now an icon in both collections, a landmark in the history of modern art, and a key example of the way that history painting was radically reimagined in the modern era."
NY Times: Reassembling a History Told in Paint
YouTube: Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series returns to MoMA

Inside the Dial Tone-Inspired Sound Art Exhibits of Aura Satz

Sketch for 'Dial Tone Operator', 2014
"The dial tone, that curious electronic sound of latent communication, is the subject of two ongoing telephonic sound art pieces by Aura Satz. The first piece is currently showing at the Hayward Gallery's Mirrorcity exihibition, which features work by London-based artists who are influenced by sci-fi, new speculative philosophies, and the internet age. Satz's installation is called Dial Tone Operator (listen to an excerpt here) and explores the dial tone as "spatialized binaural music" while referencing the time back in the 1950s when female telephone operators were replaced by this expectant signal. ..."
the creators project (Video)
Listen: Dial Tone Drone with Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Spiegel, Aura Satz (Video)
DIAL TONE OPERATOR & DIAL TONE DRONE: Sound Installation & Telephone Composition

WNYU - 89.1 FM New York

Wikipedia - "WNYU-FM (89.1 FM) is a college radio station owned and operated by New York University. Until 2004, it served lower Manhattan and surrounding areas, but thanks to a new booster, it now broadcasts to the tri-state region. ... WNYU has been home to Plastic Tales from the Marshmallow Dimension as well as the legendary New Afternoon Show since 1980, when programmer Sal LoCurto flipped the format from progressive rock to new wave, creating a U.S. launching pad for an entire new generation of music including The Human League, Heaven 17, R.E.M., Public Image Limited as well as NYC and Hoboken acts such as The dB's, The Fleshtones, The Bongos, Liquid Liquid, KONK, ESG, The Individuals and The Bush Tetras. ..."
WNYU-FM - Listen Live
YouTube: Popular WNYU-FM Videos

Sunday, February 8

Filling the Ice House (1934) - Harry Gottlieb

Filling the Ice House, 1934
"As workers like these knew well, it was cold, hard work filling the icehouses of upstate New York. In January 1934, artist Harry Gottlieb signed on with the PWAP and looked for American workers he could paint near his home in the artists' colony of Woodstock, New York. He found these men harvesting ice off lakes and streams as local men had done every winter since the early 1800s. They sawed the thick layer of natural ice into long strips and then cut off large blocks. As Gottlieb's painting shows, the red-faced workers dressed in warm coats used long hooks and wooden ramps to maneuver the slick, heavy ice into large commercial icehouses where they neatly stacked the blocks. Straw or sawdust packing minimized melting in warm weather. Throughout the year icehouses along the Hudson River stored ice that was shipped by train to New York City. Families and grocers put the ice into insulated iceboxes that kept food from spoiling. Artificial freezing dominated ice production after World War I, and then electric refrigerators became popular. When Gottlieb documented the natural ice business it was gradually melting away."
American Art
W - Harry Gottlieb

Dean Smith (February 28, 1931 – February 7, 2015)

Wikiedia - "Dean Edwards Smith (February 28, 1931 – February 7, 2015) was an American head coach of men's college basketball. Originally from Emporia, Kansas, Smith has been called a 'coaching legend' by the Basketball Hall of Fame. Smith is best known for his 36-year coaching tenure at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Smith coached from 1961 to 1997 and retired with 879 victories, which was the NCAA Division I men's basketball record at that time. Smith has the 9th highest winning percentage of any men's college basketball coach (77.6%). During his tenure as head coach, North Carolina won two national championships and appeared in 11 Final Fours."
SI: Dean Smith, legendary North Carolina basketball coach, dies at 83
Dean Smith Quotes
Photo gallery: Dean Smith and Michael Jordan through the years
ESPN: Dean Smith was a true gentleman (Video)
YouTube: Carolina Basketball - Dean Smith Tribute, Michael Jordan Talks about Carolina Tar Heel Basketball, Dean Smith - Sportscentury

"Death Letter Blues" - Son House

Wikipedia - "'Death Letter', also known as 'Death Letter Blues', is the signature song of the Delta blues musician Son House. It is structured upon House's earlier recording 'My Black Mama, Part 2' from 1930. House's 1965 performance was on a metal-bodied National resonator guitar using a copper slide. One commentator noted that it is 'one of the most anguished and emotionally stunning laments in the Delta blues œuvre.' Lyrically, the song is about a man who learns of the death of the woman he loves through a letter delivered to him early in the morning. The narrator later views her body on the cooling board at the morgue, attends her funeral, and returns to his home in a state of depression. House's lyrics draw from traditional sources."
Google - "Death Letter Blues"
YouTube: "Death Letter Blues" (Live), Death Letter Blues - 1967 (Live)