Monday, February 29

Bialy


Wikipedia - "Bialy (Yiddish: ביאלי‎), a Yiddish word short for bialystoker kuchen (Yiddish: ביאליסטאקער קוכען‎), from Białystok, a city in Poland, is a small roll that is a traditional dish in Polish and Polish Ashkenazi cuisine. A traditional bialy, or cebularz as it is known in Poland, has a diameter of up to 15 cm (6 inches) and is a chewy yeast roll similar to a bagel. Unlike a bagel, which is boiled before baking, a bialy is simply baked, and instead of a hole in the middle it has a depression. Before baking, this depression is filled with diced onions and other ingredients, including (depending on the recipe) garlic, poppy seeds, or bread crumbs. ..."
Wikipedia
Everything You Need To Know About The Bialy (Including A Recipe)
Inside New York's Cult of the Bialy
Bialy History - Brooklyn Bialy Recipe
NY Times: The Bialy Eaters: The Story of a Bread and a Lost World By Mimi Sheraton
amazon
YouTube: NY Bialy, How The Oldest Bialy Bakery in the U.S. Makes Their Bialys

2014 November: Bagel

The 90 Minute Guide: Fela Kuti


"Few musical artists of the 20th Century have a biography as incredible as Fela Kuti’s. The Nigerian bandleader and pioneer of Afrobeat was born to politically progressive parents, attended university in London, started a highlife band in the ’60s which evolved into Africa 70, and recorded some early sessions in Los Angeles before having to split the country in a matter of days. In the ensuing years, Kuti would soon start a commune in Nigeria he dubbed the Kalakuta Republic, learn to play saxophone (and quite well at that) and increasingly compose funkier and more expansive Afrobeat tracks with lyrics detailing political and social strife in West Africa. One of his songs resulted in the burning and brutal attack on the Kalakuta Republic, and in return, Kuti sent a replica of his mother’s coffin to the Head of State. ..."
Treble (Video)

Don't You Be Afraid To Lie By Me: The Strange World Of... Bert Jansch


"A messy thatch of black hair and sideburns gazing back at the camera, a beehived girl on the floor... the cover of It Don't Bother Me, Bert Jansch's second solo LP, shows that '60s folk music wasn't averse to myth-making. He had chops, though, did Bert. ... The next five years before his debut album arrived were of Leonard Cohen-grade legend: squatting in squalor with The Incredible String Band's Robin Williamson, busking and playing through Britain and Europe with a girlfriend he married because she was too young to get a passport (they divorced pretty quickly), being deported from Tangiers back home on the way to Marrakech to make music (less mythically, he had contracted dysentery), and returning to a booze-and-weed fuggy flat chock-full of folk musicians, albeit in less exotic environs between Cricklewood and Kilburn. ..."
The Quietus (Video)

April 2010: Bert Jansch, 2011 October: Bert Jansch (November 1943 – October 2011), 2014 February: Bert Jansch / John Renbourn - Bert & John (1966), 2014 May: L.A. Turnaround (1974)

Sunday, February 28

Gregory Crewdson: Cathedral of the Pines


The Motel, 2014
"Gagosian New York is pleased to present new photographs by Gregory Crewdson. Cathedral of the Pines (2013–14) was made during three productions in and around the rural town of Becket, Massachusetts. In images that recall nineteenth-century American and European paintings, Crewdson photographed figures in the surrounding forests, including the actual trail from which the series takes its title. Interior scenes charged with ambiguous narratives probe tensions between art, life, connection and separation, intimacy and isolation. The series comprises thirty-one digital pigment prints, each measuring 45 × 58 inches framed. In Woman at Sink, a woman pauses from her household upkeep, lost in thought. ..."
Gagosian
State: For Photographers, Living Life Is a Constant State of Preproduction
NY Times: Alone, in a Crowd, With Gregory Crewdson
Interview: Gregory Crewdson, Mystery in Everyday Life

The Travelling Record Man


"The bulky title of this disc was sparked by its documentation of recordings assembled by Joe Bihari of Modern Records on scouting trips through the South for talent between 1948 and 1953. ... Just two of the names on this 24-track anthology are famous: Howlin' Wolf, represented by an audition acetate of 'Riding in the Moonlight' (first issued in 1991), and Elmore James, whose two cuts appeared on an Ace box set in 1993. ... This is raw, Southern, just-post-World War II blues, caught in its transition from its rural roots to something more electric and citified. ... The fidelity is imperfect, as many of the tracks were taken from acetates or 78s, but has been cleaned up considerably by modern technology."
allmusic
Ace Records
Blues On Stage
Spotify
YouTube: Baby Face Turner - Blue Serenade, Drifting Slim - My Sweet Woman, Charley Booker - No Ridin' Blues, Howling Wolf - Riding In The Moonlight, Smokey Hogg - I'm Gonna Find Your Trick, Cairo Blues - Lil' Son Jackson, Joe Hill Louis - Good Morning Little Angel, Tiny Webb - Tiny's Down Home, Sunny Blair - Please Send My Baby Back Home, Elmore James - My Baby's Gone, Calvin Frazer - Rock house, Willie Nix - Lonesome Bedroom Blues, Rambling On My Mind - Robert Johnson

American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986


"This 2-disc DVD set from the National Film Preservation Foundation and Image Entertainment covers an era of filmmaking that is almost lost to authentic recall; an era when individual artists were able to make films of grace, daring and complexity on non-existent budgets, working mostly in 16mm, making up the rules as they went along and obeying no one’s authority but their own. The recent collapse of 16mm as a distribution, exhibition and production medium makes this DVD collection all the more compelling. Without it, many if not all of these films would completely vanish from our collective memory, as if they had never even existed. And that would be a great loss. For here, in an immaculate collection, are 26 films by a widely disparate gallery of artists, from Andy Warhol to Ron Rice, now available on DVD for the first time. ..."
Senses of Cinema
W - Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986 (2008)
Slant
amazon
YouTube: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986 - 1/2, 2/2

Saturday, February 27

David Johansen - David Johansen (1977)


"David Johansen's self-titled solo debut bears a closer resemblance to his work with the New York Dolls than any of his subsequent recordings, but the former Dolls singer cleverly crafted an album that played to his former band's strengths while establishing an identity of his own and delivering a set of tight but powerful hard rock. Where the Dolls were frequently sloppy and poorly focused (if often gloriously so), David Johansen rocks with a cleaner but equally emphatic guitar attack (courtesy Johnny Rao and Thomas Trask), while Johansen's vocals are noticeably more powerful and sharper than his earlier music. ..."
allmusic
W - David Johansen
Robert Christgau
“David Johansen” Might be the Perfect Album
YouTube: Girls (Live)
YouTube: Funky But Chic, Donna, Lonely Tenement, Frenchette, Cool Metro, Pain In My Heart, Not That Much, I'm A Lover

2012 January: The David Johansen Group Live, 2015 June: New York Dolls (1973)

A Bruised San Bernardino Shows Cultural Stirrings


"... Three years before the Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino that took the lives of 14 people and wounded more than 20, Mr. Delgado, who teaches at California State University, San Bernardino, began collaborating with a photographer and fellow professor, Thomas McGovern, to document this city’s scrappy allure. Their work, which has included exhibitions, a book and a public art project, is leading an effort outside traditional cultural institutions to reinvigorate and redefine the city through the arts — a movement that has drawn support from many quarters: from longtime residents, from political, cultural and religious leaders and from young art activists. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: slideshow

Kenward Elmslie - Nite Soil (2000)


"Kenward Elmslie's way with words cuts a singular path through a polymath variety of forms. Jukebox hitlet sung by Nat King Cole. Ahead-of-their-time lingo works: The Champ, poem, City Junket, play. 'Balloons for Cartoons' by Joe Brainard is pureed anthropological tales of fantasy drinking establishments: 26 Bars. Quirky surreal poetry mosaics (Routine Disruptions) that prompted Michael Silverblatt, host of NPR's Book Worm program to finger Kenward as 'Hands down, my favorite contemporary poet.' Elmslie's verbal swath includes The Grass Harp (Broadway cult-fave musical) and annum 2000, Postcards on Parade, composed by Steven Taylor, a concept musical that deconstructs musicals. "
Granary Books
Small Press Distribution
amazon: Nite Soil
Jacket2
amazon: Blast From The Past: Stories, Posems, Song Lyrics & Remebrances

April 2008: Kenward Elmslie, PENNSOUND, Jacket #7, Wikipedia, 2011 February: Kenward Elmslie's poem songs

Friday, February 26

Hip-Hop: A Cultural Odyssey


Wikipedia - "Hip-Hop: A Cultural Odyssey is a coffee-table book published by Aria Multimedia Entertainment. It is a 420-page, leather-bound tribute to Hip Hop that showcases the roots, birth, evolution, and global impact of hip hop culture over the past four decades. The book consists of 30 original essays on the evolution of Hip Hop Culture; 40 original, individual profiles of influential game changers, from Kurtis Blow to will.i.am; playlists of the singles and albums essential to each of Hip Hop's past four decades; and 154 interviews with the most influential DJs, MCs, Producers, Graffiti Writers, B-boys, and B-girls of the culture. ... Featured game changers within the book include Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem, Run-DMC, Outkast, Queen Latifah, will.i.am, Sean Combs, 50 Cent, Will Smith, Missy Elliott, Native Tongues, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., and two dozen others. ..."
Wikipedia
Book Review: Hip Hop, A Cultural Odyssey (Video)
vimeo: Hip Hop A Cultural Odyssey…Know Your History!
YouTube: Hip-Hop: A Cultural Odyssey Exhibit & Book virtual tour

The Charterhouse of Parma - Stendhal (1839)


Wikipedia - "The Charterhouse of Parma (French: La Chartreuse de Parme) is a novel by Stendhal published in 1839. The Charterhouse of Parma chronicles the adventures of the young Italian nobleman Fabrice del Dongo from his birth in 1798 to his death. Fabrice spends his early years in his family’s castle on Lake Como, while most of the rest of the novel is set in a fictionalized Parma (both locations are in modern-day Italy). The book begins with the French army sweeping into Milan and stirring up the sleepy region of Lombardy, which was allied with Austria. Fabrice grows up surrounded by intrigues and alliances for and against the French — his father the Marchese comically fancies himself a spy for the Viennese. It is broadly hinted at that Fabrice may have actually been fathered by a visiting French lieutenant. The novel's early section describes Fabrice's rather quixotic effort to join Napoleon when the latter returns to France in March 1815 (the Hundred Days). Fabrice at seventeen is idealistic, rather naive, and speaks poor French. ..."
Wikipedia
NY Times: After Waterloo
NY Times: The Charterhouse of Parma
By STENDHAL. Translated by RICHARD HOWARD.

New Criterion: Howard’s rendering

Thursday, February 25

The Middle Eastern And African Playlist by John Doran


The Trilogy Tapes - Carl Gari & Abdullah Miniawy
"Two years ago, those fine folk over at Guardian Music commissioned me to compile a regular playlist of tracks, videos and mixes from the Middle East and North Africa. The initial reservations about the idea were actually from me because I didn’t have any specialist knowledge of the region, musical or otherwise. However, thanks to exposure to a number of very different artists over the last decade and a half such as Omar Souleyman, Islam Chipsy, Oum Kalthoum, Konono Nº1, Tamikrest, Sadat & Alaa 50, I was persuaded that an unbridled enthusiasm for learning and digging would hopefully make up for my inexperience. ..."
The Quietus (Video)

Normandy Then and Now


The discovery that Edith Piaf spent part of her childhood in Bernay touched a vintage postcard of a street in an ordinary Normandy town with some much needed last century glamour.
"Shamelessly obsessed with Normandy, we are discovering fascinating corners of this delightful region by following a bundle of bewitching vintage postcards. Led by these carte postale, unearthed in brocantes from Le Tréport to Cherbourg, Alençon to Vernon, our travels are uncovering lots of: hidden histories, awesome art, brilliant brocante, amazing architecture, etc. Happily we are not alone! Normandy Then and Now has over 50,000 page views (and growing) every month. Our readers like to get involved and are a great source of ideas and knowledge. One of the many attractions of Normandy are the wonderful flea market brocante sales and shops that let everyone bring little bits of Normandy home. ..."
Normandy Then and Now

The Individuals


"Hoboken in the early 80s as recalled through the mist by Glenn Morrow. What success the Individuals had I attribute to being the first young musician to walk through the door of a brand new club in Hoboken New Jersey in the summer of 1977. I was surprised that a corner bar near my apartment wanted to have live original rock music. Hoboken was a ghost town in those days, plagued by arson, crime and poverty, as was New York City. So called 'urban blight' was in full effect before the age of gentrification. I had moved there to be near NYU where I was finishing college, renting six rooms for $65 a month on the top floor of a railroad apartment building. The shot and beer joint called Maxwell’s originally catered to the factory workers at the Maxwell Coffee plant that was directly across the street from where I lived. ..."
Bar/None Records
The Individuals - Aquamarine E.P. (1981)
The Individuals - Fields/Aquamarine
amazon: Fields & Aqua Marine, iTunes, Spotify
YouTube: Walk By Your House (live at Hurrahs)
YouTube: Dancing With My Eighty Wives, My three sons revolve around the earth, Can't Get Started, Jackie Said, "So"

Wednesday, February 24

Set and Reset (1983), Newark (1987), Present Tense (2003) - Trisha Brown


Set and Reset (1983)
"Trisha Brown, stricken with an illness that can't be evaded, is permanently retired from the stage and from choreography. Her works for proscenium theaters are also about to be retired by her company, which will continue as a project-based organization rather than one that tours established repertory. The valedictory New York City program of three Brown dances, performed in late January at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, represented much more than themselves: they stood for over 100 dance works in a more than half-century-long theatrical career by a brainy — and unemphatically witty — iconoclast, whose performing environments of choice ranged from opera houses, such as this one, to the surfaces of buildings, and whose achievements ranged from the choreography and direction of operas and classic song cycles to such postmodern experiments as a dance for urban living in the form of gestures relayed among performers positioned on Lower Manhattan rooftops. ..."
Impressions of The Trisha Brown Dance Company
BAM: The Trisha Brown Dance Company (Video)
NY Times - Review: From Trisha Brown, Three Last Dances (Maybe) in Brooklyn
YouTube: Set and Reset: Trisha Brown’s Postmodern Masterpiece

2008 May: Trisha Brown, 2010 December: "A Walk Across the Rooftops", 2011 January: Trisha Brown - Floor of the Forest (1970), 2011 March: Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, New York 1970s, 2012 February: Dance/Draw, 2016 January: Dance, Valiant & Molecular.

The Dance of 1000 Faces


"I can’t count how many times I was on the verge to write about David Shillinglaw‘s art and than I stopped myself. Or rather, the more I delved into his work the more I found myself ‘lost’ in an endless play of mental associations and enjoyable abstract wanderings. It all started with The Dance of 1000 Faces, a book that ‘celebrates the artwork and adventures of David Shillinglaw‘ from 2010 to 2012. His journal drawings, wall murals and paintings look immediately joyful and funny. The artist creates an universe of faces with multiplied eyes and broad grins, complex labyrinths of lines and marks. An overall joyful chaos emanates from every work. ..."
Observatory Mansions
amazon
via com it (Video)

Saxophone Colossus - Sonny Rollins (1956)


"Bass drum. High hat. A primal, hollow beat in triple succession. The sequence repeats, increasingly accentuated with quick rim shot bursts and precision hits to the tom. Then, stage set, the sax leaps in. A bright Caribbean calypso melody, its refrain only twelve notes long. Its vibrancy and simplicity give it an instantaneous appeal—fitting, given the song's roots in a nursery rhyme native to the Virgin Islands. ... Saxophone Colossus was cut just four days before the death of Clifford Brown, in whose outfit [Sonny] Rollins, following stints with Davis, Bud Powell, and Thelonious Monk, had been playing until that point, and whose co-leader, Max Roach, is the one delivering that memorable drum intro on 'St. Thomas' (George Morrow, the Brown/Roach bassist, will get a mention in a moment). ..."
All About Jazz
W - Saxophone Colossus
YouTube: Saxophone Colossus (Complete Album)

2012 September: The Singular Sound of Sonny Rollins, 2012 December: Village Vanguard, 2015 September: Rollins Plays for Bird (1957)

Tuesday, February 23

The Ghosts of Highway 20 - Lucinda Williams (2016)


"Lucinda Williams's second double album in two years is another fruitful collaboration with soundscaping guitarists Greg Leisz and Bill Frissell. But there's a noticeable shift  between this album and the last,  and not just because The Ghosts of Highway 20 is a concept album while 2014's Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone (only loosely organized around a poem by Williams's late father) is not. The difference is in the songs, which return Williams to an expressively melancholic mode most thought she'd abandoned since finding the most steady romantic partner of her life  in producer Tom Overby. Which is to say they're heavy, both for their conceptually focused lyrics — evocations of “rundown motels and faded billboards” along the titular southern Interstate— and lumbering, lengthy, soul-draining composition. ..."
Slant
NPR
Pitchfork
YouTube: Lucinda Williams on 'The Ghosts of Highway 20' 10:03
YouTube: The Ghosts of Highway 20 (Live), When I Look At The World, If There’s A Heaven
YouTube: The Ghosts of Highway 20 (Full)
01 - Dust 02 - House Of Earth 03 - I Know All About It 04 - Place In My Heart 05 - Death Came 06 - Doors Of Heaven 07 - Louisiana Story 08 - Ghosts Of Highway 20 09 - Bitter Memory 10 - Factory 11 - Can't Close The Door On Love 12 - If My Love Could Kill 13 - If There's A Heaven 14 - Faith & Grace

2008 January: Lucinda Williams, 2010 May: Lucinda Williams - 1, 2011 March: Blessed, 2011 November: Austin, Texas, 1989, 2012 May: World Without Tears, 2012 October: Honky Tonk Women: The Changing Role of Women, 2013 January: "Can`t Let Go", "Pineola", "Changed the Locks", 2013 June: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, 2013 August: Essence (2001), 2015 November: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert.

Island - Alistair MacLeod (2001)


"Alistair MacLeod's is the most compact of literary careers. Over the last 33 years he has published 16 short stories, initially in literary journals and subsequently gathered in two modest collections, 'The Lost Salt Gift of Blood' (1976) and 'As Birds Bring Forth the Sun' (1986). In 1999, he published his first novel, 'No Great Mischief.' All of MacLeod's fiction, short and long, deals with life in Nova Scotia -- New Scotland -- on the eastern Canadian seaboard. His particular region is Cape Breton Island. The people in his stories are miners, fishermen, loggers, crofters, their wives and offspring. Historically, MacLeod's people are poised on a cusp. Their ancestors as far as the seventh generation followed the same hard path: they hauled nets, quarried the earth, felled trees, plowed and grazed the ungrateful, winter-blasted soil. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: "The Boat" (1968)
W - Island
Guardian: The isle is full of noises
amazon

2011 June: The Lost Salt Gift of Blood - Alistair MacLeod

The Legacy of Malcolm X


"Racial segregation was not the law in the postwar North, but it was the reality. In virtually all aspects of life, Northern blacks encountered racism and segregation. Blacks who left the South found themselves forced to live in huge urban ghettos and educate their children in inferior schools. Skilled or professional jobs were reserved for whites. Blacks were constantly subject to white authority, especially police harassment. ... In the first years of the civil rights struggle, the most significant organizational expression of this new movement was the Nation of Islam. By the late 1950s, the group’s membership reached an estimated one hundred thousand, with Malcolm X as its most prominent member. ..."
Jacobin: The Legacy of Malcolm X
Aljazeera
Malcolm X on Democracy Now!: Watch Speeches, Interviews with Activists & Biographer Manning Marable (Video)
The Atlantic: The Legacy of Malcolm X
Smithsonian: Why Malcolm X Still Speaks Truth to Power
On This Day In History 1965: Malcolm X Assassinated

2008 August: Malcolm X, 2012 August: Malcolm X at Oxford, 1964

Monday, February 22

West Oakland - 1940s and ’50s


"Seventh Street blossomed in the post-World-War-II era because of its proximity to Oakland’s waterfront, where workers had migrated from around the country to work in the naval shipyards during the war. Sailors and soldiers stationed at the military bases along the bay settled in West Oakland after the war, including a large number of African Americans from the South who brought with them the blues sounds from states like Louisiana and Texas. West Oakland also was the terminus of the transcontinental railroad and the West Coast headquarters of the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first national black union. Read more of this entry or explore the people, places, clubs, and topics of 7th Street below."
Virtual Oakland Blues & Jazz
Oakland's legendary blues district getting a walk of fame
DEATH OF THE BLUES IN OAKLAND (Video), amazon: Blues City: A Walk in Oakland by Ishmael Reed
Saunders King on Charlie Christian and Early Electric Guitar (Video)
YouTube: Saunders King And His Rhythm - Swingin' (1946), SK Blues part 1&2 - Saunders King (1942), Mary Williams And Big Joe Williams - Oakland Blues, Oakland blues - Mississippi Johnny Waters, Lowell Fulson - Blue Shadows (1950), Let's Live Right - Lowell Fulson, Don't Talk Back · Big Mama Thorton

‘Downton Abbey’ Season 6, Episode 8: Lady Mary, That Skinny You-Know-What


"This recap contains spoilers for Sunday’s episode of 'Downton Abbey.' Oh, Abbots. It seems love and marriage do go together like a horse and carriage. That at least was the conveyance last seen carrying Lady Mary Crawley and Henry Talbot into the Vale of Marital Bliss. For some reason, that old-fashioned spectacle translated for Lord G as 'a new couple in a new world,' but all I could see, Abbots, was the past dragging behind them like tin cans. And a trail that looks an awful lot like blood. Some of it was Mary’s. ..."
NY Times

2012 March: Downton Abbey, 2013 February: Downton Abbey 3, 2015 January: ‘Downton Abbey’ and History: A Look Back, Recap: Rumble With Lord G!, 2015 February: Recap: Prayers for Lord G’s Truest, Furriest Love, 2015 February: Recap: The Crawleys Should Have Sent Their Regrets, 2015 February: Recap: Yes, It’s Called the Hornby Hotel, 2015 March: Recap: In the Finale, Mary Meets Mr. Handsome, 2016 January: Downton Abbey Returns for a Feel-Good Final Season, 2016 January: ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 6, Episode 3 Recap: So Nice to See Him Again? , 2016 February: ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 6, Episode 5: Bloody, Bloody Downton.

Patti Smith’s Eternal Flame


"'No matter what anybody thinks about any of them,' said Patti Smith, 'every record I’ve done has been done with the same amount of care, anguish, pain, suffering, and joy. We never threw a record together. Each record was done really seriously, as if our life depended on it.' In 1975, when Smith released her astonishing first album, Horses, she became the first member of the nascent CBGB crew to make it to vinyl, helping set a global revolution in motion. Her sinuous, searing poetry—first unleashed on the influential. independent single 'Hey Joe' / 'Piss Factory,' which actually predates the album—didn’t fit any simple definition of 'punk,' but its defiant outsider attitude sure did. ..."
cuepoint

Sunday, February 21

Telling the Story of Slavery


"Discussing the legacy of slavery in America is still a complex and difficult conversation to have. How do we confront this horrible and defining period of our shared history? This is a film about a place that is attempting to do just that: The Whitney Plantation. It’s a former plantation, founded in 1752 and located in Louisiana along the historic River Road, which winds down the Mississippi toward New Orleans. John Cummings, a lawyer who founded the museum, spent sixteen years planning and over eight million dollars of his own money to restore this site, which honors the memory of those who were enslaved on plantations and whose labor helped build this country. The Whitney Plantation is not a place designed to make people feel guilt, or to make people feel shame. It is a site of memory, a place that that exists to further the necessary dialogue about race in America."
New Yorker (Video)
Whitney Plantation
Photo Gallery - Whitney Plantation
NY Times: Building the First Slavery Museum in America

2012 April: Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy - Robert Farris Thompson, 2013 September: Slave Capitalism, 2014 April: 12 Years a Slave, 2015 March: The Life Of A Slave From Cradle To The Tomb, 2015 July: The Atlantic Slave Trade in Two Minutes.

In Which Jean Cocteau Gives Elan To This Milieu


"The first thing Jean Marais noticed about Jean Cocteau was that he kept a scarf knotted so tightly around his neck he could barely imagine how blood got to the man's brain. Marais was a mimbo of 24, an aspiring actor. (He was born when Cocteau himself was 24.) A procurer had selected Marais for Cocteau, who hoped to find an unknown star to feature in his adaptation of Oedipus the King. Marais approached Cocteau for the audition at the man's opium den in the Hotel Castille. Cocteau was unimpressively, disgustingly clad in a bathrobe dotted with cigarette holes and various other fluids. His hands were ghastly pale because he kept his shirtsleeves buttoned so tightly. Marais was not one for detail; furthermore he would take any suitable work. ..."
This Recording

2009 March: Jean Cocteau

This Place


Nick Waplington
"This Place explores the complexity of Israel and the West Bank, as place and metaphor, through the eyes of twelve internationally acclaimed photographers. Featuring more than 600 photographs by Frédéric Brenner, Wendy Ewald, Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Gilles Peress, Fazal Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall, and Nick Waplington, This Place offers not a single, monolithic vision, but rather an intricate and fragmented portrait, alive to all the rifts and paradoxes of this important and much contested place. Between 2009 and 2012, the twelve artists spent extended periods in Israel and the West Bank, free to approach their subjects as they chose. ..."
Brooklyn Museum
NY Times: Capturing Human Moments Amid Chaos in Israel and the West Bank

Saturday, February 20

Maximum Joy


"Bristol, England-based post-punk band Maximum Joy were formed in 1979 by trumpeter and saxophonist Tony Wrafter -- following the breakup of his previous band Glaxo Babies -- and vocalist and clarinetist Janine Rainforth. Bassist Dan Catsis and drummer Charlie Llewellin, both of whom were also in Glaxo Babies, eventually joined up, as did former Pop Group guitarist John Waddington. There were some lineup changes during the band's short existence, including the addition of a young Nellee Hooper. Signed to the Y label, Maximum Joy issued a trio of 12" and 7" singles, highlighted by 'Stretch,' prior to recording Station MXJY (1982), their lone album, with Adrian Sherwood. ..."
allmusic
W - Maximum Joy
Maximum Joy - Next
Spotify
YouTube: Stretch, Why Can't We Live Together, Building Bridges, White & Green Place (extraterrestrial mix), In The Air, "In The Air" Dub, Simmer till Done (7" version), Funk Rock Inspirations, Silent Street & Silent Dub, John Peel 12th September 1981, Kid Jensen

2010 August: 99 Records

George Bellows - North River (1908)


"... While the pastoral hills had been landscaped, the railroad still ran through (the train tunnel would be built by relief workers during the Depression). Civic groups decried the intrusion of industry and rail travel on nature, but Bellows manages a harmony reminiscent of modern artists, and even photographers. John Pfahl’s late-nineteen-eighties series of smoke from Bethlehem Steel’s smokestacks raises the same question that Bellows does: What is a cloud? [George] Bellows’s 'North River,' painted in 1908, looks down past the snow-covered bench on the hills of Riverside Park, past working piers and ships exhaling steam as they work along the white-watered, steel-blue river. ..."
New Yorker: "Go See Bellows" By Robert Sullivan
Telegraph - An American Experiment, at National Gallery, Seven magazine review
mystudios

Outward Bound - Eric Dolphy (1960)


"The follow-up album to Outward Bound, Eric Dolphy's second effort for the Prestige/New Jazz label (and later remastered by Rudy Van Gelder) was equally praised and vilified for many reasons. At a time when the 'anti-jazz' tag was being tossed around, Dolphy's nonlinear, harshly harmonic music gave some critics grist for the grinding mill. A second or third listen to Dolphy's music reveals an unrepentant shadowy side, but also depth and purpose that were unprecedented and remain singularly unique. The usage of bassist George Duvivier and cellist Ron Carter (an idea borrowed from Dolphy's days with Chico Hamilton) gives the music its overcast color base, in many ways equally stunning and uninviting. Dolphy's ideas must be fully embraced, taken to heart, and accepted before listening. The music reveals the depth of his thought processes while also expressing his bare-bones sensitive and kind nature. ..."
allmusic
W - Outward Bound
YouTube: Out There (1960) [Full Album]

2013 August: Out to Lunch! (1964), 2014 October: Outward Bound (1960), 2015 November: Eric Dolphy His Life and Art

Friday, February 19

Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture (2014)


"The subject matter of 'Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture' could not be more far-reaching unless its author, Hisham D. Aidi, had unearthed data about youth culture and musical influences on other planets. As far as Earth goes, his highly original and ambitious book has got it covered. 'Rebel Music' exhibits a breathtaking familiarity with different forms of radicalizing music and the widely different ways it is understood in different cultures, with a special emphasis on Islamic youth. Mr. Aidi starts his book simply in the South Bronx, an epicenter of young Muslims’ hip-hop obsession. ..."
NY Times
NPR: 'Rebel Music': When Hip-Hop Met Islam (Video)
New Texts Out Now: Hisham Aidi, Rebel Music (Listen)
[PDF] ALH Online Review, Series
PBS: Take a tour of Muslim youth culture through ‘Rebel Music’ (Video)
Hisham Aidi’s ‘Rebel Music’ Remixes Race, Faith, and Geography
amazon
vimeo: “Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture” with Hisham Aidi (Fall 2015)
YouTube: Rebel Music

2014 September: Claude McKay and Gnawa Music

Grand Central is filled with acorns and oak leaves


"Even when you’re rush through Grand Central Terminal, it’s impossible not to glance up and notice its breathtaking treasures, like the beautiful light fixtures, clocks, and painted or tiled ceilings. But there’s a decorative theme running through the station that’s a little more subtle and easy to miss: acorns and oak leaves. An acorn tops the iconic brass clock above the information booth. Marble garlands of oak leaves and acorns decorate the original 1913 water fountains. They’re also on the ceiling, chandeliers, and staircases. So what’s with all the harvest images? It’s a Vanderbilt thing. The Vanderbilt heirs financed the construction of the terminal, and the family crest is all about acorns and oaks leaves. ..."
Ephemeral New York

2010 December: Grand Central Terminal, 2014 February: The New York Transit Museum: Grand by Design

Glen Brown & Tommy McCook - Horny Dub (1976)


"One of the Holy Grails of reggae collectors. The torturous story goes that this album, produced by Glen Brown and featuring the legendary Tommy McCook blowing sax across a great selection of Brown's early rhythms and beautifully mixed with that full fat reverberated sound by King Tubby, first crept out in Jamaica as early as 1974 on a Micron white label in minute quantity apparently entitled The Sannic Sounds and credited to Tommy McCook and The Pantomine All Stars. ..."
Dub Vendor
YouTube: Horny Dub [Glen Brown Meets Tommy McCook At Cross Roads Caledonia Place - 1976]

2012 October: Tommy McCook, 2013 April: Blazing Horns/Tenor in Roots

Thursday, February 18

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution


"Change was coming to America and the fault lines could no longer be ignored—cities were burning, Vietnam was exploding, and disputes raged over equality and civil rights. A new revolutionary culture was emerging and it sought to drastically transform the system. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change. THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it."
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (Video)
PBS - The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (Video)
Mother Jones: This New Film Will Change the Way You Think About the Black Panthers (Video)
Washington Post: Fifty years later, America still can’t understand the Black Panthers (Video)
The most radical thing the Black Panthers did was give kids free breakfast
Ex-Black Panther Leader Elaine Brown Slams Stanley Nelson’s ‘Condemnable’ Documentary
[PDF] The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

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

Jonas Mekas


Wikipedia - "Jonas Mekas (Lithuanian: [ˈjonɐs ˈmækɐs]; born December 24, 1922) is a Lithuanian-American filmmaker, poet and artist who has often been called 'the godfather of American avant-garde cinema.' His work has been exhibited in museums and festivals worldwide. ... In 1954, together with his brother Adolfas Mekas, he founded Film Culture, and in 1958, began writing his 'Movie Journal' column for The Village Voice. In 1962, he co-founded Film-Makers' Cooperative and the Filmmakers' Cinematheque in 1964, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives, one of the world’s largest and most important repositories of avant-garde film. He was part of the New American Cinema, with, in particular, fellow film-maker Lionel Rogosin. He was a close collaborator with artists such as Andy Warhol, Nico, Allen Ginsberg, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Salvador Dalí, and fellow Lithuanian George Maciunas. ..."
Wikipedia
Jonas Mekas (Video)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Experimental Film Pioneer Jonas Mekas on the Early Days of New York's Avant-Garde
Senses of Cinema - Jonas Mekas
Guardian - Jonas Mekas: the man who inspired Andy Warhol to make films (Video)
Jonas Mekas's anthology film archives (Video)
YouTube: Salvador Dali, Happenings, Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania, Bed-In John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Cinema Is Not 100 Years Old, As I was Moving Ahead, Occasionally I saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty, An American Film Director at Work: Martin Scorsese, A Walk (1990) 58:19
YouTube: Jonas Mekas - In Focus - The Artist's Studio 23:03

Midnight Radio. Written by Ehud Lavski. Art by Yael Nathan.


"It’s a prospect that would intrigue any die-hard, adventurous music lover: There’s this mysterious, staticky, barely audible radio station playing the best songs ever each midnight, but no one in town knows 'a goddamned thing' about it, not even the handful of other people who have heard it. That’s the situation facing the unnamed heroine of Midnight Radio a sexy, noir-tinged comic written by Ehud Lavski and drawn by Yael Nathan. The short story is currently featured at both of their respective Tumblrs and is a reminder of a time in the not-so-distant past when radio, in its wild, pre-Clear Channel days, held sway over its loyal audience and seemed to wield some potent, intangible magic power over listeners. ..."
Read This: A haunting little comic about a mysterious radio station
EL Comics: Midnight Radio

Wednesday, February 17

Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964


"In his 2004 memoir, Chronicles, Volume One, Bob Dylan writes of encountering Mike Seeger in the early 1960s in Greenwich Village, and being left spellbound by the effortless mastery the folk legend exhibited in his interpretations of a dizzying array of traditional American song forms. ... The 47 songs collected on The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 allow us to witness how Dylan went about doing just that. Representing the fruits of his first two publishing contracts (with Leeds Music and with M. Witmark & Sons), the set reveals a much subtler and more fascinating journey than the popular shorthand myth of Dylan's shifting cleanly from folk apprentice to political firebrand to poetic rock'n'roller. ..."
Pitchfork
W - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964
allmusic
vimeo: “The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964”
YouTube: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (The Bootleg Series Vol. 9)

Lillipution Art on Electric Poles: Patrick Picou Harrington in Albany


"These quiet bits of visual punctuation on telephone poles in Albany caught our eye recently and we thought immediately of fairies, pixies, and sprites. Who else would care enough to adorn wooden telephone poles along a non-descript strip of sidewalk in the Delaware Avenue section of the New York State capital? Each assembly is a collage, an individually drilled collection of wood pieces painted and glued and arranged according to its own eclectic sense of order. Some are geometric, others organic in form, they strike you as a form of city folk art because of their handmade and idiosyncratic nature, but they not quite 'crafty'. Themes are surreal and unfixed, or scientifically diagrammatic, or campy reassemblies of 60s pop sci-fi and hair-salon motifs. Certainly the pieces are outside – You may not refer to them 'outsider art' however. ..."
Brooklyn Street Art

The Merchant of Four Seasons - Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1971)


Wikipedia - "The Merchant of Four Seasons (German: Händler der vier Jahreszeiten) is a 1971 West German film written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, starring Hans Hirschmüller (de) and Irm Hermann. The plot follows the life of a fruit-peddler, living in 1950s West Germany, who is driven over the edge by an uncaring society. The title derives from the French expression for a fruit and vegetable seller, 'un marchand des quatre-saisons'. The film explores issues of class prejudices, domestic violence, infidelity, family discord, depression and self-destructive behavior. ..."
Wikipedia
Criterion: Eric Rentschler on The Merchant of Four Seasons (Video)
Slant
Senses of Cinema
YouTube: The Merchant of Four Seasons - Trailer

2014 May: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 2014 June: Effi Briest (1974), 2014 July: Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), 2014 September: A Little Chaos: A Short Crime Film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Enfant Terrible of New German Cinema, 2014 October: Lola - (1981 BRD Trilogy), 2014 October: The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979 BRD Trilogy), 2014 December: Veronika Voss (1982 - BRD Trilogy), 2015 January: Digital Anthology: Rainer Werner Fassbinder - $0.99.

Tuesday, February 16

Unpublished Black History


Martin Luther King Jr.
"Revealing moments in black history, with unpublished photos from The New York Times’s archives. We’ll add images daily in February. Read the introduction. Join us for candid conversations about race, updates on this project, and the Race/Related newsletter."
NY Times
WNYC: New York Times unveils lost snapshots of black history

Chasing Lost Time: The Life of C.K. Scott Moncrieff: Soldier, Spy and Translator


"Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s Englishing of Proust — widely and immediately agreed to be one of the greatest literary translations of all time — very nearly didn’t happen. Scott Moncrieff only suggested the project to his publisher after they rejected a collection of satirical squibs in verse (sample: ‘Sir Philip Sassoon is the Member for Hythe;/ He is opulent, generous, swarthy and lithe.’). Like any good hack, he had another suggestion up his sleeve: there was this character Proust just starting to be published — making a bit of noise in France. ... His sort-of mentor Edmund Gosse agreed: ‘Since you told me you were translating Proust I have not felt happy. Not here, O son of Apollo, are haunts meet for thee.’ Ah, hindsight. Translating Proust wasn’t all CK did in his astoundingly busy life. ..."
Soldier, poet, lover, spy: just the man to translate Proust
Guardian
Telegraph
W - Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff
amazon
vimeo: Jean Findlay, “Chasing Lost Time: The Life of C.K. Scott Moncrieff: Soldier, Spy, and Translator” 42:11

2008 June: Marcel Proust, 2011 October: How Proust Can Change Your Life, 2012 April: Marcel Proust - À la recherche du temps perdu, 2013 February: Marcel Proust and Swann's Way: 100th Anniversary, 2013 May: A Century of Proust, 2013 August: Paintings in Proust - Eric Karpeles, 2013 October: On Reading Proust, 2015 September: "Paintings in Proust" - View of the Piazza del Popolo, Giovanni Battista Piranes, 2015 September: In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way: A Graphic Novel, 2016 January: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (1919).

God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson (2016)


"Alligator Records is proud to announce the first quarter 2016 release of God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson. The album (to be issued on CD and vinyl) features newly recorded versions of the iconic slide guitarist/vocalist's most seminal material. Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Cowboy Junkies, The Blind Boys Of Alabama, Sinéad O'Connor, Luther Dickinson, Maria McKee, and Rickie Lee Jones all deliver deeply moving interpretations of Johnson's otherworldly 'gospel blues' music. ... Blind Willie Johnson recorded a total of 30 songs between 1927 and 1930 for Columbia, leaving behind a priceless legacy of the unforgettable music he created by marrying the raw, gospel fervor of his voice with the steely blues fire of his guitar. ...""
Alligator
Alligator (Video)
amazon
W - "God Don't Never Change"
YouTube: Blind Willie Johnson - God Don't Never Change

Monday, February 15

Syrian Officer Gave a View of War. ISIS Came, and Silence Followed.


"BEIRUT, Lebanon — Ours was an unusual, sometimes operatic, correspondence that unfolded over more than a year. Abu al-Majd, a Syrian police officer who was being deployed more and more often like a soldier, texted at all hours, sending news from the front lines and grumbling about boring, sunbaked patrols, his complaints sometimes punctuated by expressions of terror, pride or doubt. For us, it was a critical window into the raging war in Syria that we were too often forced to follow from afar. For him, it seemed, as much as anything, about having a connection to people who lived outside the claustrophobia of war, yet cared about what he was going through. On May 19 last year, Abu al-Majd sent a pair of snapshots. One showed him in fatigues, smoking a water pipe and starting to smile, as if a friend had just walked in; two cups of Turkish coffee, still foamy, stood on a table. ..."
NY Times

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.

Cloudland - Pere Ubu (1989)


"In a press handout that accompanied the original release of Pere Ubu's Cloudland, David Thomas quipped 'We'd never been asked to write a pop record before. I guess it never occurred to anyone.' Given the sonic Dadaism of much of Pere Ubu's work, what's most startling is not that it took so long for someone to suggest they make a pop record but that they were able to comply so successfully. Stephen Hague, who had previously worked with the Pet Shop Boys, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and New Order, produced these sessions, and Cloudland boasts a glossy surface that was unprecedented for Pere Ubu's work; the drums sounded crisp and tight, the songs included traditional melodies and melodic keyboard lines, Allen Ravenstine's noisy punctuations were pushed to the back of the mix, and the harmonies sounded as if they were performed by actual professionals. ..."
allmusic
W - Cloudland
UbuProjex
DROWNED IN SOUND
YouTube: Breath (Live)
YouTube: Breath & Race The Sun & Cry & Why Go Alone, Waiting For Mary & Ice Cream Truck & Bus Called Happiness & Monday Night, Love Love Love & Lost Nation Road & Fire & Nevada!, The Wire & Flat & The Waltz & Pushin'

2008 April: Pere Ubu, 2010 July: Pere Ubu - 1, 2012 November: David Thomas And The Pedestrians - Variations On A Theme, 2013 February: Dub Housing, 2014 September: Carnival of Souls (2014), 2015 June: Street Waves / My Dark Ages (1976), 2016 January: Live at the Longhorn: April 1, 1978.

Denécheau Jâse Musette - Amour Java (2016)


"You can find here track previews from artist Denécheau Jâse Musette new album Amour Java, released 15.01.2016 and containing 16 tracks. Listening online to Denécheau Jâse Musette - Amour Java track previews is free and does not require registration. If other releases and albums by Denécheau Jâse Musette, are available here, those previews can also be listened to free online. Additionally, you can subscribe to all new albums by Denécheau Jâse Musette and thus not miss a release."
Muzoic
Soundcloud
YouTube: Jâse Musette (Live), Il est trop tard, Jâse Musette
YouTube: Amour Java, Java d'un soir, La novaraise, Valse parisienne, Get Out Under the Moon / Viens sur mon épaule, Ah ! Les papouilles javanaises

Sunday, February 14

Maggot Brain - Funkadelic (1971)


Wikipedia - "Maggot Brain is the third studio album by the American funk band Funkadelic, released in 1971 on Westbound Records. It was the last album that featured the original Funkadelic lineup; shortly after Maggot Brain was recorded, Tawl Ross, Eddie Hazel, Billy Nelson, and Tiki Fulwood left the band for various reasons. The album incorporates musical elements of psychedelic music, rock, gospel, and soul, with significant variation between each track. ..."
Wikipedia
"'Maggot Brain' is a song by the band Funkadelic. It appears as the lead track on their 1971 album of the same name. The original recording of the song, over ten minutes long, features little more than a spoken introduction and a much-praised extended guitar solo by Eddie Hazel. ... According to legend, George Clinton, under the influence of LSD, told Eddie Hazel during the recording session to imagine he had been told his mother was dead, but then learned that it was not true. The result was the 10-minute guitar solo for which Hazel is most fondly remembered by many music critics and fans. Though several other musicians began the track playing, Clinton soon realized how powerful Hazel's solo was and faded them out so that the focus would be on Hazel's guitar. Critics have described the solo as 'lengthy, mind-melting' and 'an emotional apocalypse of sound.' The entire track was recorded in one take. The solo is mostly played in a pentatonic minor scale in the key of E minor over another guitar track of a simple arpeggio. Hazel's solo was played through a fuzzbox and a Crybaby Wah wah pedal; some sections of the song utilize a delay effect. ..."
W - Maggot Brain
allmusic
Pitchfork
Spotify
YouTube: Maggot Brain - Houston 1978 (Live)
YouTube: Maggot Brain (full album)

2009 January: George Clinton, 2010 December: Mothership Connection - Houston 1976, 2011 October: Funkadelic - One Nation Under A Groove, 2011 October: "Do Fries Go With That Shake?", 2012 August: Tales Of Dr. Funkenstein – The Story Of George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic, 2015 July: Playing The (Baker's) Dozens: George Clinton's Favourite Albums, 2015 August: Chocolate City (1975).