Saturday, December 31

Roberto Musci - Tower Of Silence (1983-87)


"Music From Memory has revealed some details of a forthcoming compilation showcasing the work of Roberto Musci. The Amsterdam label says the double-LP, titled Tower Of Silence, will be its second-to-last release of 2016. Pencilled in to hit shops in late September, it features some of Musci's solo material as well as his lauded collaborative work with fellow Italian Giovanni Venosta. ... Music From Memory says Musci 'travelled extensively across Asia and Africa between 1974 and 1985 to study music.' During this time he 'made many field recordings and collected many instruments, which he would then combine with synthesizers and electronics back in Italy.' ..."
Resident Advisor (Video)
Music From Memory
Soundcloud
YouTube: Tamatave, Claudia, Wilhelm R And Me

2012 April: Roberto Musci

Sunset Song - Terence Davies (2016)


"Sunset Song, about a rural Scottish girl growing to womanhood in the years before World War I, is one of the great director Terence Davies' best films: an example of old school and new school mentalities coming together to create a challenging and unique experience. The movie feels as if it could have been made in the 1940s, were there no such thing as censorship. There's frank sex and violence, and the movie doesn't shy away from the nastier aspects of life in that time and place. But there's never a feeling that Davies is rubbing our noses in suffering, because the film displays so much empathy for its characters and such awareness of the social, political and historical forces that hover beyond the edges of their consciousness. ..."
Roger Ebert
Wikipedia
NY Times: ‘Sunset Song’ Shows a Woman’s True Grit (Video)
YouTube: Sunset Song

Jim Jarmusch Lists His Favorite Poets: Dante, William Carlos Williams, Arthur Rimbaud, John Ashbery & More


"When it comes to American indie director Jim Jarmusch, we tend to think right away of the importance of music in his films, what with his collaborations with Neil Young, Tom Waits, and Iggy Pop. (Jarmusch is himself a musician who has released two studio albums and three EPs under the moniker Sqürl.) But Jarmusch’s most recent film, Paterson, is an ode to poetry, drawn from his own love of New York School poets like Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery. ..."
Open Culture

2014 October: Captured: A Film/Video History of the Lower East Side, 2016 October: An Immersive Audio Tour of the East Village’s Famed Poetry Scene, Narrated by Jim Jarmusch

Friday, December 30

Detroit Industry Murals - Diego Rivera (1932-33)


Detroit Industry, South Wall (detail)
Wikipedia - "The Detroit Industry Murals are a series of frescoes by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera, consisting of twenty-seven panels depicting industry at the Ford Motor Company. Together they surround the Rivera Court in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Painted between 1932 and 1933, they were considered by Rivera to be his most successful work. On April 23, 2014, the Detroit Industry Murals were given National Historic Landmark Status. The two main panels on the North and South walls depict laborers working at Ford Motor Company's River Rouge Plant. Other panels depict advances made in various scientific fields, such as medicine and new technology. The series of murals, taken as a whole, represents the idea that all actions and ideas are one. ..."
Wikipedia
WSJ: When the Motor City Was a Symbol of Strength
Rivera, Detroit Industry Murals
The Detroit Industry Murals by Diego Rivera at the Detroit Institute of Arts--Introduction and Index
YouTube: Rivera Court - Detroit Institute of Arts

2008 April: Frida Kahlo, 2008 May: Diego Rivera, 2013 April: Frida Kahlo’s Wardrobe unlocked and on display after nearly 60 years, 2015 April: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit

Paul Bowles & the Music of Morocco


Paul Bowles on the roof of the Palais Jamai in Fes, Morocco, 1947
"In the late 1950s, the last remaining muezzin in Tangier who delivered the Muslim call to prayer with strength of voice alone decided to begin using a modern amplifier. His final call to prayer before doing so would be the last unplugged recitation in Tangier’s history, a milestone not lost on the American writer and resident of the city, Paul Bowles. According to Josh Shoemake’s literary history of Tangier, Bowles stationed himself at a café near the muezzin’s mosque and set up a tape recorder to capture the event. ... Tape recorders were not widely available at the time, but Bowles had one for a much larger sonic project that coalesced almost thirty years of interest in Moroccan music. He first visited the country in 1931 while studying music theory and composition with Aaron Copland, and was bowled over by the Arabic music he heard. ..."
Guernica

2007 November: The Authorized Paul Bowles Web Site, 2010 February: Paul Bowles (1910-1999), 2011: January: Halfmoon (1996), 2013 July: Tellus #23 - The Voices of Paul Bowles, 2014 January: Let It Come Down: the Life of Paul Bowles (1998), 2014 March: The Sheltering Sky (1949), 2015 January: Things Gone & Things Still Here, 2015 October: The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles – a cautionary tale for tourists, 2015 November: The Rolling Stone Interview (May 23, 1974), 2016 June: Let It Come Down (1952).

A Literary Map of Paris’ Left Bank


"The San Francisco Chronicle has created a literary map of Paris online called The Literary Left Bank. The interactive map plots book stores and the historic homes and cafes frequented by authors onto a Google Map. Check it out: 'There is no doubt that the Latin Quarter, the student district centered around the venerable University of Paris (founded in the 12th century), has lost much of its bohemian allure as real estate prices have risen. But as the accompanying interactive map of the Left Bank shows, there is still a thriving literary culture in the city’s 5th and 6th arrondissements. San Francisco Book Co. and Berkeley Books of Paris fit nicely into that tradition, keeping alive the rich history of Americans and other foreigners contributing to the literary life of Paris.' ..."
Galley Cat
SF Chronicle: The Literary City
Two bookstores with Bay Area roots thrive in Paris
The Literary Right Bank

2012 December: Shakespeare and Company, 2016 January: What It's Like to Live Inside the Legendary Paris Bookstore Shakespeare & Co., 2016 September: Shakespeare and Company, Paris - A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart

Thursday, December 29

Billie Holiday - Banned From New York City – Live 1948 to 1957


"Wonderful live work from the second chapter of Billie Holiday's career – that stretch when she was barred from performing in most New York clubs, due to the loss of her cabaret card – which actually seemed to lead to a wider range of exposure in venues across the country! The overstuffed 2CD set brings together a number of very well-recorded live dates from cities that include Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston – plus work from a show in Brussels, and a TV appearance on Steve Allen's early Tonight Show – some material that's only been out partially before, mixed with other tracks that are seeing the light of day for the first time ever. ... 2CD set features a whopping 42 tracks, with lots of notes – and titles include a number of Holiday standards, plus some lesser-known gems too."
Dusty Groove
Billie Holiday in Los Angeles: the blues were brewing
amazon
YouTube: Banned From New York City – Live 1948 to 1957

2010 April: Billie Holiday, 2014 December: "Strange Fruit" (1939), 2014 November: A Harlem Throwback to the Era of Billie Holiday, 2015 February: The Hunting of Billie Holiday, 2015 June: "Fine and Mellow" (1957)

Guinness


Wikipedia - "Guinness (/ˈɡɪns/) is an Irish dry stout produced by Diageo that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness (1725–1803) at St. James's Gate, Dublin. Guinness is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide. It is brewed in almost 50 countries and is available in over 120. ... A feature of the product is the burnt flavour that is derived from roasted unmalted barley, although this is a relatively modern development, not becoming part of the grist until the mid-20th century. For many years a portion of aged brew was blended with freshly brewed beer to give a sharp lactic flavour. ..."
Wikipedia
NY Times: Great Times in Beer History - The Rise of Guinness and How It Became an Icon
12 things you didn't know about Guinness
Guinness
YouTube: Guinness

Throttle Elevator Music featuring Kamasi Washington (2016)


"Cross Coltrane with The Clash and it would resemble the departure point Throttle Elevator Music leaps from. Tenor Saxophonist Kamasi Washington takes the lead and raises the bar of instrumental intensity on 16 original compositions ranging from shorter punk minded 45 second flurries to thematic uptempo romps, and rounding out with a few expansionary journeys. Kamasi’s melodic tonality melds nicely into the electric undercurrent laid down by punk drummer/guitarist Mike Hughes, Wide Hive Player’s bassist/keyboardist/composer Matt Montgomery, and Wide Hive Players composer/engineer/producer Gregory Howe."
Wide Hive
amazon
YouTube: Throttle Elevator Music IV 11 videos

2015 December: The Epic - Kamasi Washington (2015)

Wednesday, December 28

The Growing Charm of Dada


Francis Picabia, The Lovers (After the Rain), 1925
"During World War I, Zurich, the largest city in neutral Switzerland, was a refuge for artists, writers, intellectuals, pacifists, and dodgers of military service from various countries. A handful of these decided in 1916 to create a new kind of evening entertainment. They called it Cabaret Voltaire and established it at Spiegelgasse 1, not far from the room that was occupied by an occasional visitor to the cabaret, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. The group, which became known as Dadaists, consisted of three Germans (Hugo Ball, Richard Huelsenbeck, Emmy Hennings), one Alsatian (Hans Arp), two Romanians (Marcel Janco and Tristan Tzara), and the Swiss Sophie Taeuber. They were soon joined by Walter Serner, an Austrian born in Bohemia. The youngest, Tzara, was twenty; Hennings was the oldest at thirty-one. All were united in their loathing of the war. ..."
NYBooks
Open Culture: Hear the Experimental Music of the Dada Movement: Avant-Garde Sounds from a Century Ago (Video)
From Revolutionary to Normative: A Secret History of Dada and Surrealism in American Music
UbuWeb: Dada for Now (Video)

New RAE BK Exhibit, All Systems Go, to Launch New Years Eve with DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery


"NYC’s prolific RAE BK will join forces with the legendary DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery on New Year’s Eve for an unprecented event. A brief interview with RAE BK about his new exhibit  and its New Years Eve launch follows: This sure seems like a fun way to spend New Years Eve! What spurred you to do this? After everything that has gone on with this Presidential Election in the US, I decided the best way to bring in a 2017 is with a bang.  I hope it’s a way to at least turn the page for an evening for those who attend. The name of the exhibition is All Systems Go and it centers around the comparison of discarded objects and human beings. ..."
Street Art NYC

Francis Bebey - Psychedelic Sanza 1982-1984


"The incredible 'Psychedelic Sanza 1982-1984' is a beautifully dreamy follow-up to Born Bad's much-loved Francis Bebey showcase, 'African Electronic Music 1975-1982'. Celebrating the uniquely affective timbre of the sanza, or African thumb piano, this compilation shifts focus from pop-wise anthems such as 'New Track' or 'Coffee Cola', onto the Cameroonian polymath's more stripped, rhythm-driven, and atmospheric workouts. And it's every bit as hypnotic, transcendent as that last sentence implies. Bebey's vocals are still key, but this time they're mostly used as rhythmelodic texture in chant and spectral vibings, moving further from Western styles and scales to a looser, more spacious mixture of African tradition and Western musical conventions resonating with John Hassell and Brian Eno's 4th world explorations. ..."
boomkat
Soundcloud: Noisey
amazon
YouTube: Psychedelic Sanza 1982 - 1984 57:07

Tuesday, December 27

The Rooms They Left Behind


B. 1913 JOSEPH MEDICINE CROW
"... The historian and anthropologist — one of the last living people to have spoken with anyone present before the Battle of the Little Bighorn — kept a second office in the garage of his home on the Crow Indian Reservation. The items and archives inside track both the history of the Crow Tribe of Montana and the life of Medicine Crow himself. Portraits on the left depict Crow warriors and leaders, including Bull Chief, Medicine Crow’s great-grandfather, believed to have been born in 1825. A single bare bulb hangs over the desk. ..."
NY Times

Dawn Of the Cycads: The Complete Ace of Heart's Recordings (1983-1987)


"For the first time ever, all of the band's 3 recordings for Ace of Hearts (Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, Magnetic Flip and Beat of the Mesozoic) are reissued in their entirety and in the order in which they were originally heard when they were first issued. In the the words of Erik Lindgren, the remastering done here, 'sonically makes the Sonic Geology package irrelevant.' The package comes with a 20 page booklet of notes and photos and there is a huge wealth of totally cool CDRom material - 175 photos, art files, set-lists, dioramas, letters, documents and more. Additionally, there are two studio tracks and seven live tracks, none of which have ever been heard before, for over 45' of bonus material. ..."
Cuneiform Records (Video)
[PDF] THE COMPLETE ACE OF HEARTS RECORDINGS
Discogs
YouTube: Ptoccata, The Beat Of The Mesozoic, Part I, Theme From Rocky & Bullwinkle

2011 April: Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, 2009 March: Mission Of Burma, 2009 October: Mission Of Burma - 1, 2012 December: Escaping An Uncertain Fate: Mission Of Burma Interviewed

Can We Criticize Foucault?


"Since his death in 1984, Michel Foucault’s work has become a touchstone for the academic left worldwide. But in a provocative new book published in Belgium last month, a team of scholars led by sociologist Daniel Zamora raises probing questions about Foucault’s relationship with the neoliberal revolution that was just getting started in his last years. In an interview this month with the new French journal Ballast, Zamora discusses the book’s fascinating findings and what they mean for radical thought today. Below is the text of the interview, translated from French by Seth Ackerman. ..."
Jacobin
Jacobin: Foucault’s Responsibility
LARB: Searching for Foucault in an Age of Inequality
amazon: Foucault and Neoliberalism

2014 March: Semiotext(e), 2014 November: What Is Schizo-Culture? A Classic Conversation with William S. Burroughs, 2016 April: Anarchism and Friedrich Nietzsche

Monday, December 26

Yes Lawd! (2016)


"As temping as it may be to just let that exclamation suffice as your sole introduction to NxWorries, we should go a little deeper. The men at the heart of this LP — soul styler Anderson .Paak and loop beast Knxwledge — make an exceedingly clean pair, even as they deal almost entirely in the gritty: vocals that sound lived in for a couple of lifetimes; beats that kick up dust as they bump; and an 18-track set that plays like a mixtape merging skits, songs, and snippets into a package of fluid groove and rough-cut rap 'n' soul gems. You may have heard these two out in the world, on their own or sprinkling some of their musical gold dust on someone else's songs, but this is what happens when .Paak and Knx get home, lay back, light up, and let it go. ..."
NxWorries (Video)
Pitchfork
W - Yes Lawd!
YouTube: Suede, What More Can I Say, Lyk Dis, Kutless
YouTube: Yes Lawd! 19 videos

The Port Huron Statement, 1962


Wikipedia - "The Port Huron Statement is a 1962 political manifesto of the North American student activist movement Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). It was written primarily by Tom Hayden, a University of Michigan student and then the Field Secretary of SDS, with help from 58 other SDS members, and completed on June 15, 1962, at a United Auto Workers retreat in Port Huron, Michigan (now Lakeport State Park), for the group’s first national convention. A few years later, however, the SDS shifted away from labor unions and more towards the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). ..."
Wikipedia
Dissent: The Port Huron Statement at Fifty
NYU: The Port Huron Statement @ 50 (Video)
NY Times: The Port Huron Statement at 50
amazon: The Port Huron Statement: The Vision Call of the 1960s Revolution by Tom Hayden, A New Insurgency: The Port Huron Statement and Its Times, The Port Huron Statement: Sources and Legacies of the New Left's Founding Manifesto
YouTube: PORT HURON STATEMENT

Live at CBGB's (1976)


"This is it, the classic double LP from CBGB's that was instrumental in putting national focus on the "new wave," a brilliant handle comparing the next generation of garage and underground rockers to French cinema. ... Annie Golden put a voice to the highly experimental pop of the Shirts, and Capitol Records snapped them up along with Willy 'Mink' DeVille. The Shirts' 'Operetico' is still novel today. They, the Tuff Darts, and DeVille get three songs each of the 16 spots available, and there are two each for Laughing Dogs and Manster, while Sun, the Miamis, and Stuart's Hammer are fortunate with the inclusion of one track each. ... Until that time, one of the ultimate hate songs, 'Slash,' has Robert Gordon belt out the immortal line 'I'd rather slash my wrist and cut my throat than spend the night with you,' concluding this pioneering compilation. It was a historic moment in rock & roll, and this document is a time capsule treasure of the musical movement as it was evolving."
allmusic (Video)
BLOG TO COMM
Discogs
amazon
YouTube: Tuff Darts - Slash, Mink DeVille - Let Me Dream If I Want To (Amphetamine Blues); Change It Comes; Cadillac Moon, Tuff Darts - All For The Love Of Rock n Roll, The Shirts - Operetico, Poe - The Shirts, Willy DeVille Live interview at the CBGB

Sunday, December 25

James Schuyle - “December”


"... Schuyler’s poem is also one of the best 'Christmas in New York' poems that I can think of, as it captures so vividly the distinctive feeling of a wintry December dusk in the city. Here is 'December' by James Schuyler, which appeared in his first book, Freely Espousing (1969).  You can also hear Schuyler read the poem himself in this audio recording at PennSound. May you all enjoy that 'calm secret exultation of the spirit that tastes like Sealtest eggnog' too — happy holidays!"
Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets

Saturday, December 24

Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008


Reginald Marsh, Wooden Horses, 1936
"When I made my first trip to Coney Island in August, my mission was to ride the Cyclone, but my Brooklyn friend Belinda hates roller coasters. She wanted to ride the Wonder Wheel instead. I rode a Ferris wheel once in the 1960s in South Jersey when my high school girlfriend promised make-out time, but when our chair paused at the top I was so petrified I couldn’t speak, let alone enjoy amore. So no Wonder Wheel for me. No Cyclone, either, because it’s no fun to go alone. ... Later, in a crush of other bodies, we danced to a boardwalk band covering the Isley Brothers’ 'Shout' and Gary U.S. Bonds’s 'Quarter to Three,' songs I’d danced to with the Jersey girlfriend. I didn’t need that coincidence to feel overcome. Coney Island was designed to overcome. It stirs up a passionate energy just this side of anarchy. ..."
Passionate energy just this side of anarchy at San Diego Museum of Art - W.S. Di Piero
Coney Island : Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008 Photography Exhibition Opens at the Brooklyn Museum New York
Art History News
Brooklyn Museum
NY Times: An American Dreamland, From the Beginning
amazon

2009 April: Coney Island, 2010 July: Nathan's Famous, 2011 March: "An Underground Movement: Designers, Builders, Riders", Owen Smith, 2013 August: Donna Dennis: Coney Night Maze, 2013 October: Last Days of Summer at Coney Island, 2014 July: Coney Island - Directors: Steve Siegel and Phil Buehler (1973), 2015 May: The Case for Riding the Subway to the Last Stop, 2016 March: W.S. Di Piero.

Dancehall


Jamaican Street Artist Takes on Europe
Wikipedia - "Dancehall is a genre of Jamaican popular music that originated in the late 1970s. Initially dancehall was a more sparse version of reggae than the roots style, which had dominated much of the 1970s. Two of the biggest stars of the early dancehall era were Yellowman and Eek-a-Mouse. Dancehall brought a new generation of producers, including Linval Thompson, Gussie Clarke and Jah Thomas. ... Dancehall is named after Jamaican dance halls in which popular Jamaican recordings were played by local sound systems. They began in the late 1940s among people from the inner city of Kingston such as Trench Town, Rose Town and Denham Town, Jamaicans who were not able to participate in dances uptown. ..."
Wikipedia
Where to start with Jamaican dancehall (Video)
New Yorker: Rhythm Revival
Soundcloud (Video)
Radio Stations (Video)
YouTube: Dancehall 2 The Rise Of Jamaican Dancehall Culture - 111 early b history of jamaica, 112 papa san money a fe circle, 211 barry brown tourist season, 208 professor nuts ina de bus, 209 errol scorcher roach in de corner

Friday, December 23

Mapping the Shadows of New York City: Every Building, Every Block


"The Struggle for Light and Air in America’s Largest City. You’re looking at a map of all of the shadows produced by thousands of buildings in New York City over the course of one day. This inverted view tells the story of the city’s skyline at the ground level. From the long westward winter shadows cast on the Hudson from One World Trade ... … to the unusually bright, sun-dappled street corners of Midtown Manhattan in spring ... to the dark vein of Broadway’s ridgeline ... to the summertime shadows that form crosses in Madison Square Park ... to the interlocking patterns cast by Stuyvesant Town’s towers in the park design. ..."
NY Times

Open and Close - Fela Kuti (1971)


"Open and Close: This song is teaching its listeners how to move Fela’s Afrobeat song called Open & Close – a dance choreography with a lot of African vitality. Swegbe and Pako: Sung in ‘broken-English’ is about good and bad—competence and its opposite—incompetence. ... Gbagada Gbagada Gbogodo Gbogodo: Is another Folk song recounting the war gallantry of the Egbas against the colonial forces and their agents on the coasts of West Africa. The Egba war with the British colonial force was led by Abudi, a renowned Egba war general. Fela starts the song by calling on his listeners to please help him sing this folk song, Gbagada Gbagada Gbogodo Gbogodo, a tale of pandemonium caused by attacking colonial British forces. Proudly, the people went to war against the colonial British force and their coastal African allies. ..."
Fela Kuti (Video)
allmusic
W - Open and Close
Soundcloud: Open and Close (Will Magid Remix)
amazon, iTunes
YouTube: Open And Close/ Suegbe And Pako / Gbagada Gbogodo 36:45

Poem on the Page: A Collection of Broadsides


Imamu Ameer Baraka (LeRoi Jones). Answers in Progress. Jihad Productions, 1969
"Broadsides proliferated during the small press and mimeograph era as a logical offshoot of poets assuming control of their means of publication. When technology evolved from typewriter, stencil, and mimeo machine to moveable type and sophisticated printing, broadsides provided a site for innovation with design and materials that might not be appropriate for an entire pamphlet or book; thus, they occupy a very specific place within literary and print culture. Poem on the Page: A Collection of Broadsides includes approximately 500 broadsides from a diverse range of poets, printers, designers, and publishers. It is a unique document of a particular aspect of the small press movement as well as a valuable resource for research into the intersection of poetry and printing. ..."
Granary Books

Thursday, December 22

The Gaslight Cafe


Wikipedia - "The Gaslight Cafe was a coffeehouse in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. Also known as The Village Gaslight, it opened in 1958 and became notable as a venue for folk music and other musical acts. It closed in 1971. The Gaslight was originally a 'basket house' where unpaid performers would pass around a basket at the end of each set and hope to be paid. Opened in 1958 by John Mitchell, the Gaslight showcased beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso but later became a folk-music club. ..."
Wikipedia
AL ARONOWITZ remembers the Gaslight
Upstairs/Downstairs: A Night Out on MacDougal Street
Guardian - Greenwich Village: what remains of New York's beat generation haunts?
Bob Dylan: GASLIGHT CAFÉ
YouTube: Dylan in New York: The Gaslight, Village Gate, Big Fat Pussy Cat, and more, JOHN BRENT'S BIBLE LAND 1961 GREENWICH VILLAGE STORY (Live), Bob Dylan & Dave Van Ronk, Ramblin' Jack Elliott - Cocaine, Dave Van Ronk "Hang me, Oh Hang Me", Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys - Gaslight Cafe, NY 1966, Pony Blues · Son House, Bob Dylan - Barbara Allen (1962 Gaslight Cafe)

Hot & Bothered Podcast #9: A Holiday Gift for Climate Wonks, with Kevin Ummel


Map for “Carboniferous” in “Nonstop Metropolis: A New York Atlas”, 2016.
"Just in time for a season of holiday excess, Daniel spends the ninth episode of Hot & Bothered indulging in some heavy data wonkery, while Kate gets the week off. First, he touches on fears among scientists that the Trump administration could actually erase or conceal key climate data. Daniel’s colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania are helping lead an effort to safeguard this valuable material through their #datarefuge campaign (see links below). Next is Daniel’s feature interview with Kevin Ummel, which reveals why the rich have such high carbon footprints, just what kinds of consumption really drive carbon emissions, how urban density does (and doesn’t) make a difference, and what all this means for developing ethical climate policies, like a properly designed carbon tax. ..."
Dissent (Video)
Citizens' Climate Lobby
WRI

2016 October: Nonstop Metropolis: A New York Atlas

“Key to the Highway” (1940)


Big Bill Broonzy
Wikipedia - “‘Key to the Highway’ is a blues standard first recorded by blues pianist Charlie Segar in 1940. The song was also recorded by Jazz Gillum and Big Bill Broonzy in 1940–41, and it was later a R&B record chart success for Little Walter in 1958. … Musically, however, there are differences in the recorded versions. Charlie Segar’s original 'Key to the Highway’ was performed as a mid-tempo twelve-bar blues. When Jazz Gillum recorded it later that year with Broonzy on guitar, he used an eight-bar blues arrangement (May 9, 1940 Bluebird B 8529). In two different interviews, Gillum gave conflicting stories about who wrote the song: in one, he claimed sole authorship, in another he 'specified Broonzy as the real author’. ...”
Wikipedia
... keep on living ...
YouTube: Charles Segar, Big Bill Broonzy, Jazz Gillum, Little Walter, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Derek & the Dominos

Wednesday, December 21

Dancing Barefoot - Patti Smith (1979)


"... Like the poet she is, Smith's lyrics infer more than they outwardly say, but in her own mysterious way, 'Here I go and I don't know why/I spin so ceaselessly/Till I lose my sense of gravity' says as much about the overpowering feeling of being caught up in the undertow of desire as anyone ever has in pop music, and Ivan Kral wrapped up Smith's remarkable lyric in a simple but utterly unforgettable melody that made the words all the more powerful. ..."
allmusic
W - "Dancing Barefoot"
Genius (Video)
YouTube: Dancing Barefoot - 1979- CBGB's (Live), 5-4-3-2-1 - 5/11/1979 - Capitol Theatre
YouTube: Dancing Barefoot

Blackbird - Pierre Maurel (2016)


"What would happen if our government banned self-publishing? I mean, it’s easy to imagine a world where the government attempts to restrict or censor internet content—in part because we currently live in that world—but printed works? Come on now. So when French Parliament outlaws self-publishing in Pierre Maurel’s dystopian Blackbird, it’s a reminder of a time—at least in the U.S.—when published material was actually thought to be a weapon of influence. Think the 1973 Supreme Court ruling on obscenity that lead to censorship of underground comics, or the era of The Comics Code Authority. The printer mightier than the sword, as it were. ..."
The Comics Journal
Avoid the Future
amazon

Bachar Mar-Khalifé - Ya Balad (2015)


"... On his third album, Ya Balad, Bachar Mar-Khalifé sings lovelorn songs in Arabic to the homeland that he feels separated from. On this teaser track, Kyrie Eleison, which was originally composed for Hicham Ayouch’s film Fièvres, Mar-Khalifé, who is nicknamed The Saint, implores God to spare humankind: 'Leave us alone!' Describing his struggles with his faith, he says: 'I tick all the boxes for being a believer, but I do not love God.' But despite this, he implores the creator for an end to all religious controversies. - John Doran"
Guardian
Infine (Video)
Rhythm & Booze (Video)
YouTube: Bachar Mar-Khalifé - Ya Balad (Full Album)

Tuesday, December 20

The Cuba Libre Story


Camp Liberation Army (1895)
"Cuba - the island where dreams clash. It was the gateway to the New World, the port of call for the American underworld, a crossroads for drug smuggeling. It has brought us cigars, sugar and rum. And a Socialist Revolution: Cuba stands for schools for everybody, and an eternal struggle for freedom. Cuba may seem synonymous with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, but its history was shaped by adventurer Christopher Columbus, freedom fighter José Martí, Dictator Fulgenico Batista, Mafia Boss Meyer Lansky and many others. ..."
LOOKS
Shadow and Act
NY Times - Decades in the Making: Fidel Castro’s Obituary
vimeo: Cuba, l’histoire secrète / The Cuba Libre Story #1

2015 August: ¡Cuba, Cuba! 65 Years of Photography, 2016 May: The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball (1999), 2016 November: Fidel Castro (1926–2016)

Wallace Berman - American Aleph


"Untitled (Multi-color Shuffle, A-4 Neil Young)," 1969, Verifax collage with acrylic.
"Kohn Gallery is pleased to present Wallace Berman—American Aleph, the artist’s first comprehensive Los Angeles retrospective in almost four decades. Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Berman’s accidental death at age 50, the exhibition surveys the entire oeuvre of this seminal American artist from the late 1940s until 1976. Berman has been long heralded as one of the most significant and influential artists to emerge in Southern California. Spiritually inclined, yet steeped in popular culture and the political events of the day, he conducted reconnaissance far beyond the borders of Southern California, mining the American psyche and broadcasting his ideas through mysterious letters, publications, and multi-layered art works. ..."
Kohn Gallery
Artsy
artbook
W - Wallace Berman
NY Times: A Return Trip to a Faraway Place Called Underground
Wallace Berman 1926-1976
YouTube: All is Personal : The Art of Wallace Berman, Aleph (1966)

A Brief History of Seven Killings - Marlon James


"How to describe Marlon James’s monumental new novel 'A Brief History of Seven Killings'? It’s like a Tarantino remake of 'The Harder They Come' but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner, with maybe a little creative boost from some primo ganja. It’s epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex. It’s also raw, dense, violent, scalding, darkly comic, exhilarating and exhausting — a testament to Mr. James’s vaulting ambition and prodigious talent. 'Brief History' uses the story of the 1976 assassination attempt on Marley as a kind of trampoline, bouncing off that terrible event into a multilayered, choral inquiry into Jamaican politics and poverty, into race and class, and into the volatile relationship between the United States and the Caribbean. ..."
NY Times: Jamaica via a Sea of Voices
W - A Brief History of Seven Killings
amazon

Monday, December 19

Thad Jones: The Magnificent Thad Jones (1956)


"... 1956, the list of names coming through Blue Note’s door, this was a time of giants, Miles, Monk, Powell, Nichols, Burrell, Silver, Blakey, Donaldson, Dorham, Mobley, Morgan, Rollins. Amidst this galaxy, Thad Jones recorded two titles for the label, at Van Gelder’s Hackensack home. Thad’s trumpet, remember, it’s just a pipe and some valves, has a purity of tone and expressiveness that draws you to listen. ... Billy Mitchell’s tenor is firm, polished, his phrasing bluesy, not unlike Lou Donaldson’s alto but in the lower tenor register. On April in Paris he slips between the sheets, full-on boudoir sax. Here and on other tracks he weaves skilfully through the charts. ..."
LondonJazzCollector (Video)
NY Times: Be-Bop's Generous Romantic (May 28, 1994)
Blue Note
W - The Magnificent Thad Jones (1956)
amazon
YouTube: April in Paris, Billie-Doo, If I Love Again, If Someone Had Told, Thedia, I've Got a Crush on You, Something to Remember You By

Sky & Telescope 2017 Observing Calendar


"The Sky & Telescope 2017 Observing Calendar combines gorgeous astrophotography and special monthly sky scenes that illustrate the positions of the Moon and bright planets. It also highlights important sky events each month, including solar and lunar eclipses, meteor showers, conjunctions, and occultations of bright stars by the Moon. ... The calendar features images of galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters, as well as gorgeous photos of the Sun and Earth. The Hubble and other space telescopes produced some of these photos, while others were captured by amateur and professional astrophotographers."
Sky & Telescope

John Renbourn - Lost Sessions (1973)


"In 1973, shortly after the breakup of the legendary Pentangle, co-lead guitarist John Renbourn recorded a full album's worth of songs for a solo project. He abandoned the set, instead releasing an entirely different collection of songs as THE HERMIT later that year. The abandoned songs, previously available only via underground tape-trading networks, surfaced several years later as THE LOST SESSIONS. These nine songs aren't bad at all, though they show Renbourn exploring a slightly poppier direction that isn't always right for his playing style. ... Not the very best starting place, but Renbourn's fans will be very happy to hear these LOST SESSIONS."
allmusic
amazon
YouTube: Lost Sessions (full album)

2011 September: Faro Annie, 2012 November: John Renbourn - Sir John Alot, 2013 May: The Lady and the Unicorn, 2014 February: Bert &; John (1966), 2014 October: The Hermit (1976), 2015 March: John Renbourn: ceaseless explorer of song – appreciation., 2015 November: The Attic Tapes - John Renbourn (2015), 2016 November: Cruel Sister (1970) - Pentangle

Sunday, December 18

Sticky Notes Bearing Election Hopes and Fears Removed from Subway


Thousands of sticky messages of anger, outrage and hope were posted on subway station walls after the presidential election.
"The thousands of sticky notes lining a subway station wall in Manhattan bearing messages about the 2016 presidential race came down on Friday, marking the end of one of the most significant public expressions of emotion in response to the election results. But the notes will not be forgotten. A trove of them will be preserved by the New-York Historical Society, officials said. The notes were part of a spontaneous public art forum that began after an election that jolted the country, especially in areas like New York that generally sided against President-elect Donald J. Trump. The first notes went up in the tunnel linking the 1/2/3 and F train platforms at 14th Street in Manhattan, and soon spread to Union Square and other subway stations in the city and beyond, including Boston, San Francisco and Toronto. ..."
NY Times
WBUR - 'Just Share Something Positive': Post-Election Subway Art Project Moves Online
Hopeful Post-It Notes Appear On 'Walls Of Empathy' At Three SF BART Stations, Post-Election
Toronto And New York Subway Stations Covered In Notes Protesting Donald Trump (Video)

Our Kind of Traitor (2016)


Wikipedia - "Our Kind of Traitor is a 2016 British spy thriller film directed by Susanna White and written by Hossein Amini, adapted from John le Carré's novel of the same name. Starring Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Damian Lewis, and Alicia von Rittberg, the film was released in the United Kingdom on 13 May 2016 by Lionsgate. As part of a plan to launder billions of dollars in London, 'the Prince' – the head of the Russian Mafia – creates a new bank and has its financial oligarchs sign over their accounts to him. The first oligarch to do so is murdered alongside his family by a blue-eyed assassin. ..."
Wikipedia
NY Times: A Professor Drawn to the Mob in ‘Our Kind of Traitor’ (Video)
John le Carré
YouTube: Our Kind of Traitor Official Trailer #1

All of Wes Anderson’s Cinematic Commercials: Watch His Spots for Prada, American Express, H&M & More


"They say a filmmaker qualifies as an auteur if you can identify their work from any given shot. That might strike even cinephiles as a difficult task unless the filmmaker in question is Wes Anderson, who for twenty years’ worth of feature films now has defined and refined a cinematic style increasingly unique to him and his host of regular collaborators. What qualities constitute the unmistakably Andersonian? Vibrant colors, especially red and yellow. Old buildings. Uniforms. The sounds of the British InvasionPerfect symmetry. ..."
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, 2015 July: Books in the Films of Wes Anderson: A Supercut for Bibliophiles, 2015 November: Moonrise Kingdom (2012), 2015 December: Chapter 8: "The Grand Budapest Hotel", 2016 June: Here's pretty much every song used in a Wes Anderson film, 2016 November: Watch Come Together, Wes Anderson’s New Short Film.....

Saturday, December 17

Rothko: Dark Palette


Black in Deep Red, 1957
"Mark Rothko was a great artist with highfalutin aims, which he summarized, in 1956, as 'tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.' That’s a lot to claim for fuzzy rectangles on paper or canvas. But at least the 'and so on' holds true. No other painter can occasion feelings so intense, so directly. His pictures are emphatically objects. They are in scale with a viewer’s body, but their color and brushwork have a disembodying effect. You may endorse the artist’s terms for this flustering tension, at a risk of tipping sensation into sentimentality. But his best work will unsettle even a skeptic’s rational ken. The drama persists, though with diminished power, in 'Rothko: Dark Palette,' at the Pace gallery (on view through Jan. 7), a show that is long on doom. ..."
New Yorker: The Dark Final Years of Mark Rothko
NY Times: Mark Rothko’s Dark Palette Illuminated
PACE
“Neither Flesh nor Fleshless”

Unsettled Scores - Various Artists (1994-1995)


"The idea came from Forever Einstein's Chuck Vrtacek: to put together an album of Cuneiform Records artists interpreting tunes from their label mates. Since the label had a pretty stable roster by 1994-1995, with most of them sharing some common musical aesthetics, the project has the possibility of being interesting. And it is. Unsettled Scores is not a compilation album or a label sampler. ... Other renderers/renderees include Forever Einstein, The Muffins, Piero Milesi, David Borden, Birdsongs of the Mezosoic, Phil Miller, Henry Kaiser, U Totem, Virgil Moorefield, and Forrest Fang. Any fan of the Cuneiform roster will find something to like in here, but Univers Zéro aficionados will be particularly delighted."
allmusic
Cuneiform Records (Video)
Amazon
Progarchives
YouTube: Onde Crépusculaire, Kit Watkins, Coco Roussel - Hobart Got Burned

Was (Not Was) - (The Woodwork) Squeaks (1987)


"Put out by ZE a year after Was (Not Was) made the hop to Geffen for their second album, (The Woodwork) Squeaks is a six-track grab bag LP of cuts taken from numerous 7" and 12" singles, originally issued from 1980 to 1982. Upon release, cynics might've seen it is an opportunistic move on the part of ZE when, in truth, it was a necessary and helpful one. The worst aspect of the group's self-titled 1981 album was that it failed to include the nonsensical disco-funk of 'Wheel Me Out,' the group's creative apex. ...  ZE's 2004 reissue of this release is drastically different and uses all of the extra space allowed by the compact disc format to compile more rarities."
allmusic (Video)
Discogs
YouTube: Spy In The House Of Love - TOPPOP
YouTube: (The Woodwork) Squeaks 10 videos

Friday, December 16

Talking blues


Wikipedia - "Talking blues is a form of folk music and country music. It is characterized by rhythmic speech or near-speech where the melody is free, but the rhythm is strict. Christopher Allen Bouchillon, billed as 'The Talking Comedian of the South,' is credited with creating the 'talking blues' form with the song 'Talking Blues,' recorded for Columbia Records in Atlanta in 1926, from which the style gets its name. ... A talking blues typically consists of a repetitive guitar line utilizing a three chord progression which, although it is called a 'blues', is not actually a twelve bar blues. The vocals are sung in a rhythmic, flat tone, very near to a speaking voice, and take the form of rhyming couplets. ..."
Wikipedia
JOHN GREENWAY -- OBVIOUS SOURCE OF DYLAN'S TALKING BLUES (Video)
Folk Archivist (Video)
YouTube: Chris Bouchillon - Talking Blues (1926), Mean Talking Blues - Woody Guthrie, Mean Talkin Blues ~ Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan - Talkin' John Birch Society Blues, Bob Dylan - Talkin' World War III Blues (March 10th 1964)

Brian Eno - The Ship (2016)


"There aren't many artists who, with 40-plus years of record-making under their belts, still see each record as a way to challenge their own paradigms with something new and different. For Brian Eno, however, this kind of challenge is core to his identity as a musician. The Ship, Eno’s newest release and his sixth on Warp, somehow manages to feel distinct from all the work he’s done. He describes this divergence as a desire 'to make a record of songs that didn’t rely on the normal underpinnings of rhythmic structure and chord progressions but which allowed voices to exist in their own space and time, like events in a landscape.' The Ship is broken into four tracks that more or less flow into one fluid 48-minute suite of music. ..."
Pitchfork
W - The Ship
Brian Eno on Kanye West, David Bowie and His Immersive LP 'The Ship'
Guardian
amazon, Spotify
YouTube: The Ship, Fickle Sun (iii) I’m Set Free

DADA Companion


Johannes Baader, Collage A, Sous-titre: Gutenberggedenkblatt, 1919.
"Subversive and irreverent, Dada, more than any other movement, has shaken society's notions of art and cultural production. Fiercely anti-authoritarian and anti-hierarchical, Dada questioned the myth of originality, of the artist as genius suggesting instead that everybody should be an artist and that almost anything could be art. Surrealism, Constructivism, Lettrism, Situationism, Fluxus, Pop and OpArt, Conceptual Art and Minimalism: most twentieth-century art movements after 1923 have roots to Dada. Dada works still have a radicality and freshness that attracts today's culture jammers and disrupters of life as usual. Emerging during the crisis period of the First world war, Dada's strategies of critiquing the dominant culture have been used by radical groups ever since. ..."
DADA Companion

Thursday, December 15

Battle Over Aleppo Is Over, Russia Says, as Evacuation Deal Reached


A member of Syria’s government forces in Aleppo.
"BEIRUT, Lebanon — Russia declared on Tuesday that the four-year battle over Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, was over, as the last remaining rebel fighters agreed to turn over their territory to the Syrian government. While pro-government forces were moving in, United Nations officials said they were receiving multiple reports of execution-style killings. The deal was announced just as civilians inside the rebel enclave said they had lost hope. They had spent days huddled in abandoned apartments under heavy shelling, as those with a record of opposing the government said they were bracing for arrest, conscription or death. ..."
NY Times: Battle Over Aleppo Is Over, Russia Says, as Evacuation Deal Reached
NY Times: Aleppo Evacuation Effort Restarts, and Assad Calls It History in the Making (Video)

2014 August: The Islamic State, 2014 September: How ISIS Works, 2015 February: The Political Scene: The Evolution of Islamic Extremism, 2015 May: Zakaria: How ISIS shook the world, 2015 August: ISIS Blows Up Ancient Temple at Syria’s Palmyra Ruins, 2015 November: Times Insider: Reporting Europe's Refugee Crisis, 2015 November: Three Teams of Coordinated Attackers Carried Out Assault on Paris, Officials Say; Hollande Blames ISIS, 2015 November: The French Emergency, 2015 December: A Brief History of ISIS, 2015 December: U.S. Seeks to Avoid Ground War Welcomed by Islamic State, 2016 January: Ramadi, Reclaimed by Iraq, Is in Ruins After ISIS Fight, 2016 February: Syrian Officer Gave a View of War. ISIS Came, and Silence Followed., 2016 March: Brussels Survivors Say Blasts Instantly Evoked Paris Attacks, 2016 April: America Can’t Do Much About ISIS, 2016 June: What the Islamic State Has Won and Lost, 2016 July: ISIS: The Cornened Beast, 2016 October: Archaeological Victims of ISIS Rise Again, as Replicas in Rome.

Marcel Broodthaers


La Conquête de l'espace, 1975
Wikipedia - "Marcel Broodthaers (28 January 1924 – 28 January 1976) was a Belgian poet, filmmaker and artist with a highly literate and often witty approach to creating art works. Broodthaers was born in Brussels, Belgium, where he was associated with the Groupe Surréaliste-revolutionnaire from 1945 and dabbled in journalism, film, and poetry. After spending 20 years in poverty as a struggling poet, at the end of 1963 he decided to become an artist and began to make objects. He performed the symbolic act of embedding fifty unsold copies of his book of poems Pense-Bête in plaster, creating his first art object. ..."
Wikipedia
MoMA - Marcel Broodthaers: A Retrospective (Video)
NY Times: ‘Marcel Broodthaers,’ a Knot of Riddles in a MoMA Retrospective
New Yorker: Marcel Broodthaers’s Brussels, and Mine
artnet (Video)
YouTube: Fridericianum: Marcel Broodthaers, A Voyage on the North Sea (Marcel Broodthaers, 1974), Major Works at MICHAEL WERNER