Tuesday, May 31

Punk 1976-78

"Starting with the impact of the Sex Pistols in 1976, the exhibition explores punk’s early days in the capital and reveals how its remarkable influence spread across music, fashion, print and graphic styles nationwide. Showcasing a range of fanzines, flyers, recordings and record sleeves from the British Library’s collections alongside rare material from the archives held at Liverpool John Moores University, including items from England's Dreaming: The Jon Savage Archive, it celebrates the enduring influence of punk as a radical musical, artistic and political movement."
British Library
British Library - Punk 1976-78 at the British Library: a new 40th anniversary exhibition exploring the formative years of this musical phenomenon
Guardian - Happy Birthday Punk: the British Library celebrates 40 years of anarchy and innovation
Punk 1976-78: Sex Pistols and the rise of punk rock documented at the British Library
Punk London

Lawrence Ferlinghetti - "Baseball Canto" (1972)

"Watching baseball, sitting in the sun, reading Ezra Pound. Lawrence Ferlinghetti wants an Hispanic or African American [not 'Chicano' per se] member of the San Francisco Giants to hit a hole through the Anglo-Saxon epic. He sees Willie Mays flee around the bases as if being chased by the United Fruit Company. The entire panoply of political consequences of his love of the American Other are played out in front of him on the diamond, the nation's traditional (and Irish coplike ump-dominated) game. It's a schticky performance, as so many Ferlinghetti's performances are, but the 'revolution round the loaded white bases, / in this last of the great Anglo-Saxon epics, / in the territorio libre of Baseball,' is certainly affecting. ..."
Jacket2 - The territorio libre of baseball
Cosmic Baseball - Lawrence Ferlinghetti: "Baseball Canto"
YouTube: Lawrence Ferlinghetti - "Baseball Canto"

2010 November: The Wrong Side, 2015 April: The literary Coney Island

John Cohen: Here and Gone, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie & the 1960s

"John Cohen was a founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers, one of the American folk revival's most authentic and respected musical groups. In the 1960s he made a series of photographs of the last years of Woody Guthrie's life, and early portraits of Bob Dylan on his arrival in New York, depicting two titans of American music at opposite ends of their careers. In the process, Cohen portrayed one of the great moments of American folk music history. ... In 1970, Dylan requested Cohen make another set of color photographs of him with a camera that could take photographs from a block away. He was portrayed walking unrecognized on the streets of the city and at a farm in upstate New York. The photographs were used in Dylan's album Self Portrait."
art book
Old Time Party (Video)

Monday, May 30

For an Alicia Keys Video, Choreographing Spontaneity

"How do you plan a spontaneous-looking dance party? That was one task facing the choreographer Celia Rowlson-Hall on the Brooklyn set of the music video for 'In Common,' the nonchalantly danceable new single from Alicia Keys. Directed by Pierre Debusschere in high-definition black and white, the video features about a dozen dancers for whom the term 'backup' doesn’t apply. They are front and center. As Ms. Keys sings from her perch on a free-standing fire escape, intimate duets, seductive solos and euphoric jam sessions unfold on an abstracted city street below. ... The formidable Niv Acosta, best known in the New York downtown dance and theater scene, floats toward the camera, vogueing with a sultry stare. ..."
NY Times (Video)
Celia Rowlson Hall (Video)
Celia Rowlson Hall - Choreography - (Video)
Pierre Debusschere (Video)
Niv Acosta
vimeo: Celia Rowlson Hall

Jah Shaka - Jah Shaka Presents the Positive Message (2009)

"American reggae fans tend to know Jah Shaka, if at all, as the producer under whose name a series of excellent instrumental dub albums were released in the 1970s. But in England he's known for operating one of the most successful and longest-lived traditional reggae sound systems -- a mobile, open-air, DJ-driven dance party -- in the country. This disc is a compilation of roots reggae tracks selected by Jah Shaka, as if for a sound system dance, and it demonstrates what has set him apart from his peers: not only an unrelenting focus on roots-and-culture material (to the strict exclusion of dancehall vulgarity, or 'slackness') but a deep knowledge of reggae history that never devolves into mere cleverness or snobbery. ... Jah Shaka's particular genius seems to be for creating dance sets that simultaneously promote enthusiastic skanking and thoughtful introspection."
allmusic (Video)
YouTube: The Positive Message (Album)

Tom Waits - Real Gone (2002)

"18th proper studio album from the gruff-voiced singer/songwriter serves marks a departure from 2002's Alice and Blood Money, with an emphasis on mouth-made percussion. Avant-garde guitarist Marc Ribot guests for the first time since 1999's Mule Variations, while other notable contributors include Primus' Les Claypool and Brain Manita, and Waits' son Casey. Tom Waits sings with his eyes closed, face squished tight, arms jerking, elbows popping, his entire body curled small and fetal around the microphone stand. Waits' mouth is barely open, but his ears are perked high, perfectly straight, craning skyward, stretching out: Tom Waits is channeling frequencies that the rest of us cannot hear. ..."
allmusic (Video)
W - Real Gone
YouTube: Make It Rain (Letterman 09.09.04)
YouTube: Real Gone (full album)

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

Sunday, May 29

The Met Breuer

"After a year and a half of anticipation, the revered Metropolitan Museum of Art has finally taken over the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Marcel Breuer building on Madison Avenue, promising to broaden and deepen its involvement with modern and contemporary art. Rebranded as the Met Breuer — with the subtlest sprucing up by architects Beyer Blinder Belle — this move is the first step of a plan that will include a $600 million new wing in the Met’s Fifth Avenue building as well. For those who wondered if the Met would challenge the Museum of Modern Art or the downtown Whitney, the two opening shows at the Met Breuer feel more like a toe in the water of contemporary art than the expected plunge. ..."
NY Times: At the Met Breuer, Thinking Inside the Box
W - Met Breuer
NY Times: A Look at the Met Breuer Before the Doors Open
Guardian: The Met Breuer review – museum's new outpost has an uncertain start
ARTFORUM: The Met Breuer (Video)

John Sloan, "Roof, Summer Night," 1906

"... Roof, Summer Night and Night Windows from the New York City Life series reflect Sloan's close observations of apartment dwellers. A number of etchings in this exhibition will evoke a wry smile as Sloan's commentaries on modern life are often humorous and satirical. This exhibition also examines the technical aspects of John Sloan's etchings throughout his career. Etching is a technique in which a design is chemically eroded into the plate. The artist scratches lines into a layer of emulsion on a copper plate using a needle. The plate is bathed in acid, which bites into the plate where the lines have been drawn. The plate is inked and an impression is made. Sloan taught himself etching, a technique employed by artists since the sixteenth century, by studying one of several 'how-to' manuals available in the 1880s. ..."
John Sloan's Etchings: Imagination, Invention, and a Passion for "Needling In"

A Huge Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music (1920-2007) Featuring John Cage, Sun Ra, Captain Beefheart & More

"If you’ve taken any introductory course or even read any introductory books on music, you’ll almost certainly have heard it described as 'organized sound.' Fair enough, but then what do you call disorganized sound? Why, noise of course. And all this makes perfect sense until your first encounter with the seemingly paradoxical but robust and ever-expanding tradition of noise music. ..."
Open Culture (Video)

Saturday, May 28

Inside the Thorny Art Gallery Ecosystem

"What does an art gallery do for an artist? People buy art for a number of reasons, and art galleries are judicious about who a work of art sells to and how that can elevate an artist’s profile. This short film explains how the tricky business of buying and dealing artwork has evolved over time and changed with technology. It’s the second in a series of short films from Artsy and UBS, titled 'The Art Market (in Four Parts),' that aims to make sense of the unregulated art world—you can watch the first one, on art auctions, here. The films were directed by Oscar Boyson, and can be seen on Artsy as well as on UBS's online art portal."
The Atlantic (Video)

Lou Reed - Coney Island Baby (1976)

"It takes the better part of an hour to ride the F train from the East Village to Coney Island, but it feels much longer. Because you're not just traveling through the boroughs but back through the decades as well, to a place where it's 1953 all the time-- a fairground fantasia that looks as if it's about to be swallowed by the imposing, endless expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. Coney Island feels like the last stop before the edge of the world. It's our collective vision of impending death, writ large in Ferris-wheel lights and cotton candy: One last flash of childhood nostalgia before we disappear into the void. ..."
allmusic (Video)
W - Coney Island Baby
YouTube: Coney Island Baby (Live), Coney Island Baby (Live 29.10.1976), Kicks - '76, She's My Best Friend Live 1976, A Gift
YouTube: Crazy Feeling, Charley's Girl, Ooohhh Baby, Nobody's Business

2010 August: Heroin, 2011 June: All Tomorrow's Parties - The Velvet Underground, 2011 June: The Velvet Underground, 2012 November: Songs for Drella - Lou Reed and John Cale, 2013 October: Lou Reed (1942 - 2013), 2014 June: The Bells (1979), 2014 August: New York (1989), 2015 June: Capitol Theatre Passaic, NJ 9/25/1984, 2015 October: The Blue Mask (1982), 2016 March: New Sensations (1984).

#TBT – DJ Eleven – Soul 1

Bobby Womack
"TBT this week to Eleven’s smooth as silk “Soul 1” mixtape that’s been around for quite some time now. It still sounds great to this day primarily because of the classic nature of so much of the tracklist. Blended with ease as he’s well known for doing, Eleven drops essentials from Bobby Womack, Sade, Mary J. Blige, Lonnie Liston Smith, Outkast and more like it’s nothing. Late spring soulful vibes are always very real and this mix is well worth the revisit to tap right into that mindset. Stream and download are below. ..."
The Rub (Video)

Friday, May 27

Renata Davis

"I am Renata Davis and I am an animator and I recently received my BFA in animation from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. I grew up in Burlington, VT but I currently spend my time in Boston, MA. I use a variety of different styles and techniques in my animation work. I work in both traditional and digital media, focusing on a handmade feel. I have screened work locally in Boston as well as internationally. When I'm not working on films I enjoy making comics and writing poetry. ..."
Renata Davis
vimeo: Renata Davis
tumblr: Renata Davis

Moses Smith - Girl Across The Street (1968)

"Looking through my records, and I checked my copy of Moses Smith. According to Johnny Manship it is very difficult to tell the original from the boot. I always though mine was a boot, although it could be original, I bought it on the way to Wigan form someones box. Anyway, JM says that the original has LW BF A in the runout, as has mine. But he says the record dips 1/3 inch from the centre. Mine certainly dips, but more like 1/2 " from the centre. Can anyone confirm the original, and if it is, approximate value."
Soul Source
YouTube: Girl Across The Street

2012 October: Northern Soul, 2012 December: The obsession that is Northern Soul, 2013 November: Poor-Man's Speed: Coming of Age in Wigan's Anarchic Northern Soul Scene, 2014 May: Northern Soul: Keeping The Faith - The Culture Show, 2014 September: Sam Dees - Lonely for You Baby.

Neanderthals built mysterious cave structures 175,000 years ago

"Mysterious structures found deep inside a French cave are the work of Neanderthal builders who lived in the region more than 100,000 years before modern humans set foot in Europe. The extraordinary constructions are made from nearly 400 stalagmites that have been yanked from the ground and stacked on top of one another to produce rudimentary walls on the damp cave floor. The most prominent formations are two ringed walls, built four layers deep in places, which appear to have been propped up with stalagmites wedged in place as vertical stays. The largest of the walls is nearly seven metres across and, where intact, stands up to 40cm high. ..."
Guardian (Video)

Thursday, May 26

Gilbert Sorrentino - A View from the Ridge (2006)

Splendide-Hôtel (1982)
"If you get on the downtown Fourth Avenue Local (that's the R train to Brooklyn newcomers) in midtown, you'll cross under the East River, turn in roughly the opposite direction from hipster-infested Williamsburg, skirt the edge of writer-heavy Park Slope, and eventually arrive at the Eighty-sixth Street station, in the heart of the guaranteed literary-mystique-free white ethnic enclave of Bay Ridge. Which I did one sultry August afternoon in return-of-the-native fashion, walking past the location of the now extinct record store where I bought my first 45s ('He's a Rebel' and 'Monster Mash'), the still flourishing Leemark Lanes, where I bowled unironically and unalone, and the car lots and body shops for which the neighborhood is justly famed, to arrive at the not quite accurately named Bridgeview Diner, an establishment featuring several acres of faux marble and silvered mirrors, to share coffee and conversation with another native son, the novelist Gilbert Sorrentino. ..."

2012 January: Gilbert Sorrentino, 2015 April: The Orangery (1978), 2015 December: An Introduction to Novelist Gilbert Sorrentino’s Bay Ridge.

Some Blues But Not the Kind That's Blue - Sun Ra and his Arkestra (1977)

"Fantastic. Another rare Saturn release makes its way into the digital realm. This time, it's Some Blues But Not the Kind That's Blue, a nice 1977 date that's heavy on standards. Aside from the two Sun Ra tunes (one of which had been unreleased prior to this), this is a pretty inside date with some major statements from Ra on piano and John Gilmore on tenor. Everyone gets a bit of solo room, and the flutes and bass clarinet add some really nice colors, especially on 'My Favorite Things,' a song so closely identified with the John Coltrane Quartet that this version is almost startling in its contrast to Coltrane's myriad versions. Aside from the title track and the two earlier bonus takes of 'I'll Get By,' there is no bass player present, the low end falling mostly to Ra's piano. ... Although the Arkestra is notorious for its outside playing and cacophonous tendencies, this album shows they could play it straight as well as anyone in the game. Wonderful stuff."
allmusic (Video)
W - Some Blues But Not the Kind That's Blue
Sun Ra Sunday
YouTube: Amen, Meni Many Amens, Saturn, Make Another Mistake, Some Blues But Not the Kind That's Blue, I'll Get By, Nature Boy, Outer Reach Intense Energy (Bonus Track)

Turkey’s Authoritarian Turn

"Last week, the deal between Turkey and the European Union meant to address the refugee crisis came into effect. Under the agreement, refugees who arrive in Greece may be sent back to Turkey, who, despite its policy of only granting refugee status to Europeans, will receive $3.3 billion in aid and the 'unfreezing' of its EU membership bid. The deal’s ratification implies that Europe will turn a blind eye to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ongoing offensive against the Kurds and their allies within the country. ..."

2016 February: The Feminist, Democratic Leftists Our Military Is Obliterating -  Debbie Bookchin

Wednesday, May 25

Which Rock Star Will Historians of the Future Remember?

"... But envisioning this process with rock music is harder. Almost anything can be labeled 'rock': Metallica, ABBA, Mannheim Steamroller, a haircut, a muffler. If you’re a successful tax lawyer who owns a hot tub, clients will refer to you as a 'rock-star C.P.A.' when describing your business to less-hip neighbors. The defining music of the first half of the 20th century was jazz; the defining music of the second half of the 20th century was rock, but with an ideology and saturation far more pervasive. Only television surpasses its influence. And pretty much from the moment it came into being, people who liked rock insisted it was dying. The critic Richard Meltzer supposedly claimed that rock was already dead in 1968. ..."
NY Times

Stephen’s Green

"St Stephen’s Green, known informally as Stephen’s Green or simply the Green, is a public park located in the heart of Dublin. Historically, that stretch of land which would eventually become St Stephen’s Green began its life as a marshy plot. The website for Ireland’s Office of Public Works notes that the 'name St Stephen’s Green originates from a church called St Stephen’s in that area in the thirteenth century' and that the area originally was used by the citizens of the city of Dublin to graze their livestock. ... In The Joycean Way, Bidwell and Heffer explain that the 'central portion was planted and lots… were distributed among some of the city’s more prosperous citizens. [The citizens] were not required to build, and for some time much of the south and east side was retained in agriculture and grazing' as it had been prior to its creation (140). ..."
Mapping Dubliners Project

2011 March: Passages from James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" (1965-67), 2010 March: Ulysses Seen, 2013 February: ULYSSES “SEEN” is moving to Dublin!, 2013: Dubliners, 2014 May: The Dead (1987 film), 2014 May: “Have I Ever Left It?” by Mark O'Connell, 2014 July: Digital Dubliners, 2014 September: Read "Ulysses Seen", A Graphic Novel Adaptation of James Joyce’s Classic, 2015 January: The Mapping Dubliners Project, 2015 February: Davy Byrne’s, 2016 January: Port and Docks, 2016 February: Hear James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake Read Unabridged & Set to Music By 17 Different Artists, 2016 April: Nassau Street.

BSA Images Of The Week: 05.22.16

"No time to talk, you’ve been running to the streets to see new pieces and peaches like a new D*Face in Soho, Rubin’s solo show in the Bronx, the Brooklyn-themed pop up at Doyle’s Auction house in Manhattan, Swoon and Shep and Swizz at Pearly’s in LA, the Social Sticker club collabo melee with Roycer and Buttsup at a bar in Williamsburg, and the growing collection of rocking new Coney Art Walls. Also, Post-It Wars in corporate agency-land Manhattan. Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 1Penemy, BG 183 Tats Cru, Bio, Bristol, Daze, D*Face, Eric Haze, Goms, Nicer, Nova, Pegasus, POE, Stikki Peaches, Thiago Gomez, and Word to Mother."
Brooklyn Street Art (Video)

Tuesday, May 24

The Hypnotic Clamor of Morocco

Moroccan musicians, 1959
"In 1931, a twenty-one-year-old American composer in Paris named Paul Bowles visited Morocco at the suggestion of Gertrude Stein. His travel companion was his composition teacher, Aaron Copland. They rented a home in Tangier, where Bowles, a composer of svelte, jazzy music in the Poulenc mould, wrote one of his first scores, an impressionistic piano piece called 'Tamamar,' after a village in the Atlas mountains. Copland was unsettled by the clamor of drums during wedding season, and thought Tangier a 'madhouse,' but Bowles was enraptured. He collected 78s of local music, just as he had collected old blues recordings back home, and sent copies to Béla Bartók. ..."
NYBooks (Video)
Music of Morocco: Recorded by Paul Bowles, 1959 (Video)
Paul Bowles in Morocco: The Lost Recordings (Video)
Pitchfork (Video)
YouTube: Si Mohammed Bel Hassan Soudani – Fulani Iresa (Marrakech), An unidentified ensemble - Gnaoua Chorus (Essaouira), Maalem Mohammed Rhiata and ensemble, from the region of Taounate - Taqtoqa Jabaliya (Fez), Maalem Abdeslam Sarsi el Mahet - Aiyowa d’Moulay Abdeslam Rhaita Solo (Arcila), Maalem Mohammed Rhiata and ensemble, from the region of Taounate - Taqtoqa Jabaliya (Fez), Rais Mahamad ben Mohammed and ensemble - Aouada Trio (Tamanar), Maallem Ahmed and ensemble - Ahmeilou (Tafraout), Maallem Ahmed Gacha and ensemble - Albazaoua Women’s Chorus (Ait Ourir)

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).


"The Full Set contains the complete range of 314 matt-finished colors. The system consists of 34 vivid hues (saturated colors), 100 tints (clean, light colors), 47 shades (dark, deep colors), 114 pastels (muted, or soft colors) and 17 grays from dark to light, plus black and white. Note that the Full Set has 114 pastels compared to 36 in the Standard Set. Pastels comprise the majority of colors we see around us and therefore form an important part in the study and application of color in art and design."

Monday, May 23

"Twenty-something" - Pet Shop Boys (2016)

"... A shot from the dark, a lightning bolt, a rattle of the cage: a great single can feel like all of those, and the Pet Shop Boys know that. They have plenty of them in the tank, after all, and their new one, 'Twenty-something', is full of their trademarks: a nagging, electronic riff, a proper narrative, oceans of melancholy just around the corner, and that vocal of Neil Tennant’s, unwithered by the years, simultaneously vulnerable and strong. The Pet Shop Boys’ singles, at their best, are like perfect short stories, giving quick glimpses into lives, appearing then disappearing, but lingering bright and long in the mind. ..."
Guardian: Pet Shop Boys' new video proves they're the ultimate singles band (Video)
YouTube: Twenty-something

2008 September: Pet Shop Boys, 2010 November: Pet Shop Boys - 1985-1989, 2011 January: Behaviour, 2011 May: Very, 2011 December: Bilingual, 2012 March: "Always on My Mind", 2012 August: Nightlife, 2012 September: "Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can't Take My Eyes off You)", 2012 December: Release, 2013 March: Pandemonium Tour, 2013 November: Leaving, 2014 April: Introspective (1988), 2014 August: Go West, 2015 January: "So Hard"(1990), 2015 February: "I'm with Stupid" (2006), 2015 July: Thursday EP (2014).

Barbizon through Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Marie-Thérèse Durand-Ruel Sewing, 1882
"The international tour of French nineteenth-century paintings from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute made its ninth stop at the Shanghai Museum. The Clark’s world tour has drawn more than 1.6 million visitors since it began in October 2010. Open to the public from September 18–December 1, 2013, the exhibition in Shanghai features seventy-three paintings, including works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, and Camille Pissarro, as well as those by Pierre Bonnard, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Paul Gauguin, Jean-François Millet, Alfred Sisley, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Jean-Léon Gérôme. Visit the Masterpiece Gallery to view the works included in the exhibition."
The Clark
The Clark: Slideshows
amazon: Great French Paintings from the Clark: Barbizon through Impressionism

2015 October: The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Spool's Out: Tape Reviews For April With Tristan Bath

Sketch for Winter VI: Other States - Danny Paul Grody
"From Polish underground techno to music made just using wine glasses - it can only be Tristan Bath's monthly exploration into the world of cassettes. TALsounds - the solo project of Chicago-based artist Natalie Chami - recorded an exclusive live session for Spool’s Out. We broadcast the thing a few weeks ago on the Spool’s Out radio show on London’s Resonance FM. The episode can still be streamed in full above. ..."
The Quietus (Video)
The Quietus: Spool’s Out with Tristan Bath: The Top 20 Tapes Of 2015 (Video)
The Quietus: Features

2013 December: Spool's Out: 2013's Best Tapes Reviewed, 2014 January: Spool's Out: A Cassette Reviews Column For January, 2014 March: Spools Out 3: A Cassette Reviews Column For March, 2014 December: Spools Out's Out: Tristan Bath's Top Tapes Of 2014.

Sunday, May 22

The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball - Roberto Gonzlez Echevarria (1999)

"... Baseball has been a source of pride for generations in Cuba, its love affair with the game almost as long and rich as that of the United States. Cuba's main exports once were sugar and major league ballplayers. But after Fidel Castro's takeover in 1959, Cuban baseball plummeted into virtual irrelevance, with only the occasional recent defector (such as the Yankees' Orlando Hernndez) reminding the world of the baseball talent and history Cuba retains, hidden beneath Castro's protective dome. Roberto Gonzlez Echevarria ventures inside that bubble with his history of Cuban baseball, The Pride of Havana. ..."
NY Times: Where Have You Gone, Martin Dihigo?
NY Times: The Pride of Havana - A History of Cuban Baseball By ROBERTO GONZÁLEZ ECHEVARRÍA

Sonny Rollins Plus 4 (1956)

"1956, Sonny Rollins was spiritually and physically rejuvenated. And on Sonny Rollins Plus 4, he's clearly inspired by Max Roach and Clifford Brown's depth of spirit. Multi-dimensional re-arrangements of popular songs were a Brown-Roach trademark. ... 'I Feel a Song Coming On' creates tension by alternating a vamp figure with a swinging release. Rollins takes an immense solo, contrasting chanting figures and foghorn-like long tones with Parker-ish elisions, and Brown answers with buzzing figures and daring harmonic extensions. ... On 'Valse Hot,' there's an early example of a successful jazz waltz as Rollins offers up one of his most charming themes.  ..."
W - Sonny Rollins Plus 4
LondonJazzCollector (Video)
YouTube: Sonny Rollins Plus 4 32:30

2012 September: The Singular Sound of Sonny Rollins, 2012 December: Village Vanguard, 2015 September: Rollins Plays for Bird (1957), 2016 February: Saxophone Colossus (1956).

Renée Cox

River Queen
Wikipedia - "Renée Cox (born 1960 in Jamaica) is a Jamaican-American artist, photographer, lecturer, political activist and curator. Her work is considered part of the feminist art movement in the United States. Cox currently lives and works out of New York. ... Renée Cox is known for her bold, politically motivated self-portraits. The photographs often play upon and subvert classical art historical images. Cox is famous for her two alter-egos Yo Mama and Raje, both bold, black women who are out to right the injustices of sexism and racism. As a student at Syracuse University Cox majored in Film Studies, but after graduating decided to devote her energy to still photography. She began as an Assistant Fashion Editor at Glamour Magazine and then moved to Paris to pursue a career as a fashion photographer. ..."
Renée Cox (Video)
Brooklyn Museum
Renee Cox: Challenging Stereotypes and Empowering Minorities Through Art
Fear of a Black God – Renee Cox’s Yo Mama’s Last Supper
YouTube: Renee Cox - Photographer, Political Activist & Curator 1:29:24

Saturday, May 21

The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner (1929)

"Two months ago, I started reading The Sound & The Fury by William Faulkner. And when I say reading, I mean hacking through its dense prose, line by disjointed line, progressing about two pages per day. I'm now about 150 pages in. But Faulkner's classic tale of a Southern family is a difficult book to end all difficult books. I didn't realize this when I started all those weeks ago. All I knew was that it had somehow wriggled free from my English Lit syllabus, and never came into my orbit since then. My progress has, however, been massively helped by a new edition from the Folio Society, which sees the first part of the book laid out in 14 different colors that represent different time zones in the narrative. ..."
NY Times: Benjy’s Red-Letter Days - ‘The Sound and the Fury’ in 14 Colors
Folio Society: The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
W - The Sound & The Fury
Guardian - Sarah Churchwell: rereading The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Sound and the Fury: Commentary
amazon - The Sound and the Fury: The Corrected Text
YouTube: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, p. 1 of 7 (audio book)

2011 September: Southern Gothic, 2014 February: William Faulkner, 2015 October: William Faulkner Draws Maps of Yoknapatawpha County, the Fictional Home of His Great Novels, 2015 November: Interviews William Faulkner, The Art of Fiction No. 12, 2016 April: Absalom, Absalom!! (1936).

The inside story of when Run‑DMC met Aerosmith and changed music forever

"It’s 1986. Rap music is explosive and on the rise but still misunderstood and barely represented in the mainstream. The leading innovators are Run-DMC, a trio from Queens who sport black leather jackets and unlaced Adidas sneakers. Two albums into their career, Joseph 'Run' Simmons, Darryl 'DMC' McDaniels and Jason 'Jam Master Jay' Mizell are already minor stars and musical revolutionaries. For their third album, producer Rick Rubin, a 22-year-old white kid from New York University, comes up with a crazy idea: He recruits Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, the leaders of the down-and-out arena-rock group Aerosmith, to collaborate with Run-DMC on a new version of their 1970s staple 'Walk This Way.' The rappers hate the idea. The rockers, struggling with drugs and low record sales, don’t know what to make of Rubin’s pitch. ..."
Washington Post (Video)
YouTube: RUN-DMC - Walk This Way

2014 October: Watch Rick Rubin Return to His NYU Dorm Room, 2015 October: "Classic (Better Than I've Ever Been)" - DJ Premier, Rakim, Nas & Krs-One (2007)

New Arabic Fiction: 5 Contemporary Short Stories

"On his last visit to Cairo, the German translator Hartmut Fähndrich was despondent about the lack of interest in contemporary Arabic writing, and he offered this interesting explanation of Western reluctance to engage with Arabic literature: 'I think [readers] fear that it will destroy The Thousand and One Nights image they have in their minds.' ... Another possible reason for Western lack of interest in Arabic literature is the perception that, as a culturally foreign backwater, economically and intellectually inferior, the Arab world can solicit only a political or anthropological interest, not a purely literary one. Books that do not pander to this preconception by presenting an exoticized or oversimplified pro-democracy perspective on Arab life are therefore ignored. ... –Youssef Rahka"
Literary Hub
Literary Hub: Arabic Fiction

Friday, May 20

Edward Hopper, "Night Windows," 1928

"At the New York School of Art, where Hopper was enrolled from 1900 to 1905, his teacher Robert Henri told his students: 'Low art is just telling things; as, There is the night. High art gives the feel of the night. The latter is nearer reality although the former is a copy.' Night Windows is one among many of Hopper's paintings that show how thoroughly he had absorbed this precept. Returning to the United States in 1907 from his first trip to Paris, Hopper found it 'a chaos of ugliness'; nevertheless, it was the contemporary American city that he was to make his particular theme. He did not perceive New York astir with human activity, like Henri, admire the dynamism of its traffic and skyscrapers, like Marin, or distill its structures into abstract patterns, like the Precisionists. ..."
—from An Invitation to See: 150 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, by Helen M. Franc
An Analysis of Edward Hopper
Edward Hopper’s Paintings With Humorous Connotations – “Night Windows” (1928), “Conference at Night” (1949) and “Room in New York” (1932)

Rapping, deconstructed: the best rhymers of all time

"There's a line in the first verse of MF Doom's track 'Beef Rapp' that encapsulates everything I love about rappers who create complex rhyming patterns in their songs. It goes like this: Whether it is animal, vegetable, or mineral / It's a miracle how he get so lyrical / And proceed to move the crowd like a old Negro spiritual. Not only is MF Doom talking about how he's a great rhymer, he's showing you. I spoke with Martin Connor, a writer and music theorist who analyzes the rhyming patterns, beats, and rhythmic techniques of some of the greatest rappers, to figure out just how rhyming in rap music has evolved.
Vox (Video)
Logic, Growing Pains, Rap Analysis (Video)
Spotify: The Prose of Rhyming in Rap (Video)

Emmett Williams

Hello Out There..., 1989
Wikipedia - "Emmett Williams (4 April 1925 – 14 February 2007) was an American poet and visual artist. He was married to British visual artist Ann Nöel. Williams was born in Greenville, South Carolina, grew up in Virginia, and lived in Europe from 1949 to 1966. Williams studied poetry with John Crowe Ransom at Kenyon College, anthropology at the University of Paris, and worked as an assistant to the ethnologist Paul Radin in Switzerland. As an artist and poet, Emmett Williams collaborated with Daniel Spoerri and German poet Claus Bremer in the Darmstadt circle of concrete poetry from 1957 to 1959. ..."
Emmett Williams
amazon: Emmett Williams

Thursday, May 19

Scaling the Heights: A Walk from the Base of Fort Tryon Park to W. 187th Street

"A walk along the high grounds of Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters south to Washington Heights equals any stroll in more publicized parts of New York City. Not that this area remains much of a secret these days. The motivation for my most recent stroll was prompted by a story published in The New York Times on March 28, 2014 titled 'Downtown Food Goes North.' The story suggests that Upper Manhattan, until recently, was a culinary wasteland, with nothing contemporary (i.e. local, artisan, farm-to-market) to eat. ..."
Walking Off the Big Apple
W - Fort Tryon Park

The greatest electronic albums of the 1950s and 1960s

"... Experiments with recorded electronic music actually date back to the 1940s (hell, depending on how you define “electronic music”, they date back to the 1880s). As early as the mid-1950s, predominantly electronic LPs were already being pressed, marketed and sold to a willing (if slightly confused) public. Half a century down the line, many of these records still sound fantastic. Some are fascinating relics with plenty to say to the contemporary listener; others sound impossibly ahead of their time. ..."
The Vinyl Factory (Video)
YouTube: The greatest electronic albums of the 1950s and 1960s

Hear the Music of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Played by the Experimental Band, Xiu Xiu: A Free Stream of Their New Album

"Last year, Colin Marshall highlighted for you the music of Xiu Xiu, the experimental post-punk band, which has traveled the world, playing their own interpretation of the music Angelo Badalamenti wrote for David Lynch’s early 1990s series, Twin Peaks. Our original post featured some of those live performances, and now comes a studio recording of those Twin Peaks interpretations. We’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you that you can stream the new album–called Plays the Music of Twin Peaks— free online. Just click play above. ..."
Open Culture (Video)

2008 September: Twin Peaks, 2010 March: Twin Peaks: How Laura Palmer's death marked the rebirth of TV drama, 2011 October: Twin Peaks: The Last Days, 2014 October: Welcome to Twin Peaks, 2015 June: David Lynch: ‘I’ve always loved Laura Palmer’, 2015 July: Twin Peaks Maps 2014 September: David Lynch: The Unified Field, 2014 December: David Lynch’s Bad Thoughts - J. Hoberman, 2015 March: Lumière and Company (1995), 2015 April: David Lynch Creates a Very Surreal Plug for Transcendental Meditation, 2015 December: What Is “Lynchian”?.

Wednesday, May 18

'Blonde on Blonde' at 50: Celebrating Bob Dylan's Greatest Masterpiece

"Happy 50th birthday to Blonde on Blonde, the most mysterious, majestic and seductive of Bob Dylan albums – not to mention the greatest. Recorded fast with Nashville session cats who were used to grinding out country hits, Blonde on Blonde has a slick studio polish that makes it sound totally unlike any of his other albums, with sparkling piano frills and a soulful shitkicker groove. Yet the glossy surface just makes the songs more haunting. Released on May 16th, 1966, Blonde on Blonde remains the pinnacle of Dylan's genius – he never sounded lonelier than in 'Visions of Johanna,' funnier than in 'I Want You,' more desperate than in 'Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again.' ... Blonde on Blonde is full of that 'not around' chill – Dylan mixes up the Texas medicine and the railroad gin for a whole album of high-lonesome late-night dread, blues hallucinations and his bitchiest wit. ..."
Rolling Stone
Looking back on Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, the record that changed Nashville
50 years ago, Bob Dylan made history, and The Washington Post missed it.
Esquire: Devils in the Details: 50 Years of Pet Sounds and Blonde on Blonde
Blonde on Blonde: The Record That Can't Be Set Straight
Rolling Stone: Inside Bob Dylan's 'Blonde on Blonde': Rock's First Great Double Album
BBC: Bob Dylan and the Manchester Free Trade Hall 'Judas' show
Bob Dylan's BLONDE ON BLONDE (1966) cover photo by Jerry Schatzberg
Dylan's Blonde on Blonde Turns 50: Here's a Track by Track Breakdown (Video)

2010 August: Blonde on Blonde (1966), 2013 July: Bob Dylan ‘Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands’ | Classic Tracks, 2014 December: "Johanna's Visions" - Melbourne 1966, 2015 June: The "Blonde On Blonde" Missing Pictures, 2015 April: "Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)" (1966), 2015 November: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965–1966

Post Captain - Patrick O'Brian (1972)

Wikipedia - "Post Captain is the second historical novel in the Aubrey–Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian, first published in 1972. It features the characters of Captain Jack Aubrey and naval surgeon Stephen Maturin in the early 19th century and is set in the Napoleonic Wars. During the brief Peace of Amiens, Aubrey and Maturin live in a country house allowing both of them to meet the women they eventually will marry. Then their life is turned upside down when Aubrey loses his money due to decisions of the prize court and a dishonest prize-agent. When the war begins afresh, Aubrey has a command, seeing action while gaining fewer prizes yet succeeding in his military goals. The emotions of his love life interfere with his ways at sea. ..."
NY Times: Patrick O'Brian's Ship Comes In
Out of his element: Patrick O’Brian’s Post Captain
The Paris Review: Patrick O’Brian, The Art of Fiction No. 142
Post Captain - The Patrick O'Brian Mapping Project

2009 September: Patrick O'Brian, 2013 July: Harbors and High Seas - Dean King and John B. Hattendorf, 2015 October: HMS Surprise (1973)

Stephen Powers Puts the Writing on the Wall

The three framed pictures above, with allusions to both advertising and sign painting.
"When the muralist and painter Stephen Powers was 15, his father left the family. The following year, in a fit of restlessness, Powers took to spraying 'ESPO' on the rooftops in his West Philadelphia neighborhood. He liked the shape of the letters, though he had not yet decided what they meant. It was 1984, and his brother Larry, ten years older than him and now the man of the house, had one rule and it came down like a decree from the pope: Powers could get into any kind of trouble he wanted to out on the street, 'But if you’re sloppy enough that the trouble comes home,' Powers remembers Larry telling him, 'Then you’re not doing it right, and I’m going to kick your ass.' Powers went along with Larry’s rule until he accidentally discovered a loophole. ..."
Testifying on the Walls: A Street Artist’s Urban Love Letters
W - Stephen Powers
Steve Powers: From Coney Island to Proverb King
vimeo: A Love Letter For You

Tuesday, May 17

Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession - Joe Mansfield

"Joe Mansfield's 200-page Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession coffee-table book features 75 drum machines from the author's personal collection, with more than 200 photos by Award Winning photographer Gary Land and Foreword by Dave Tompkins. It all started with one machine. The location was Boston, Mass. The year was 1986. The 'beat box' in question was the TR-808. Almost three decades later, Mansfield's obsession with drum machines has finally spilled out of his home and climate-controlled storage space into the world at large. ..."
Get On Down
Slate: Select-a-Rhythm
The Wire
YouTube: Beat Box : A Drum Machine Obsession, Record Store Day Edition With DJ LayZBoy, Roland TR 808, Oberheim DMX, TR 909, etc.
YouTube: Talking Heads - Psycho Killer, Boogie Down Productions- South Bronx, The way you move - Outkast Ft Sleepy Brown, Schoolly D- PSK, What Does It Mean?, Michael Jackson - Bad, Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight, R.E.M. - Everybody Hurts

The Other America - Michael Harrington (1962)

Wikipedia - "The Other America is Michael Harrington's (1928 - 1989) best known, and likely most influential book. Harrington was an American democratic socialist, writer, political activist, political theorist, professor of political science, radio commentator and founding member of the Democratic Socialists of America. Harrington believed that American Socialists could support certain Democratic Party candidates, including candidates for President. The book was a study of poverty in the United States, published in 1962 by Macmillan. It found a small but emerging audience in an America that was developing a greater self-awareness after the struggles of WWII and the Korean War. ..."
50 Years Later: Poverty and The Other America
NY Times - Michael Harrington: Warrior on Poverty
Seeing What No One Else Could See


"FOTR this week is Brooklyn’s own, DJ A.Vee. He’s also our guest this Saturday at The Bell House for the April edition of The Rub. A.Vee’s been grinding through the club and mixtape circuit for what seems like forever and his history has him tied to such industry icons such as DJ Jazzy Jeff and Prince Paul. He’s spent time as a resident on Shade45 and DJ’d all over the world. And this Saturday he touches down in the front room for what’s sure to be a very special (and purple) edition of The Rub. You definitely don’t want to miss it."
The Rub (Video)

Monday, May 16

Unearthing the Secrets of New York’s Mass Graves

"Over a million people are buried in the city’s potter’s field on Hart Island. A New York Times investigation uncovers some of their stories and the failings of the system that put them there. Twice a week or so, loaded with bodies boxed in pine, a New York City morgue truck passes through a tall chain-link gate and onto a ferry that has no paying passengers. Its destination is Hart Island, an uninhabited strip of land off the coast of the Bronx in Long Island Sound, where overgrown 19th-century ruins give way to mass graves gouged out by bulldozers and the only pallbearers are jail inmates paid 50 cents an hour. There, divergent life stories come to the same anonymous end. ..."
NY Times
W - Hart Island
Hart Island Project
NPR: Relatives Of Deceased Push For More Access To NYC Potter's Field
YouTube: This Is Hart Island (Video)

Floyd Jones

Floyd Jones, Homesick James, 1979
Wikipedis - "Floyd Jones (July 21, 1917 – December 19, 1989) was an American blues singer, guitarist and songwriter, who is significant as one of the first of the new generation of electric blues artists to record in Chicago after World War II. ... Notably for a blues artist of his era, several of his songs have economic or social themes, such as 'Stockyard Blues' (which refers to a strike at the Union Stock Yards), 'Hard Times' and 'Schooldays'. ... In Chicago, Jones took up the electric guitar and was one of the numerous musicians playing on Maxwell Street and in nonunion venues in the late 1940s who played an important role in the development of the postwar Chicago blues. This group included Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers, both of whom went on to become mainstays of the Muddy Waters band, and Snooky Pryor, Jones's cousin Moody Jones and the mandolin player Johnny Young. ..."
American Music
Blues from the Streets of ‘The Other America’
YouTube: Dark Road, Stockyard Blues, Floyd Jones and Eddie Taylor- Hard Times, WALTER HORTON & FLOYD JONES - TALK ABOUT YOUR DADDY, Early Morning, On The Road Again, Playhouse, Big World, Schooldays on my Mind, Skinny mama, On The Road Again

Ethiopia’s Boom Times

"Ethiopia has a new nickname: 'The African Lion.' Like China ('The Asian Dragon'), Ethiopia’s economy is growing: 10 percent annually from 2003 to 2014. But the moniker also has less savory connotations. Ethiopia’s economic expansion is taking place against a backdrop of privatization, immiseration, and incursions on democratic rights. On the one hand, the government has undertaken huge infrastructure projects, like the construction of the two largest dams in Africa (funded in part by foreign investment). On the other, it sells locally owned land to large multinational corporations at low prices and exiles or imprisons journalists critical of the deals. ..."
NY Times: Ethiopia, Long Mired in Poverty, Rides an Economic Boom (March 2015)
YouTube: Building boom offers hope to Ethiopia's economic growth (2014), Ethiopia Construction Boom (2014)

Sunday, May 15

Roberto Burle Marx

Walking on the roof garden of the Safra Bank in the Rua Consolaçao in Sao Paolo (1982)
Wikipedia - "Roberto Burle Marx (August 4, 1909 – June 4, 1994) was a Brazilian landscape architect (as well as a painter, print maker, ecologist, naturalist, artist and musician) whose designs of parks and gardens made him world famous. He is accredited with having introduced modernist landscape architecture to Brazil. He was known as a modern nature artist and a public urban space designer. His work had a great influence on tropical garden design in the 20th century. Water gardens were a popular theme in his work. He was deftly able to transfer traditional artistic expressions such as graphic design, tapestry and folk art into his landscape designs. He also designed fabrics, jewellery and stage sets. He was one of the first people to call for the conservation of Brazil's rainforests. More than 50 plants bear his name. He amassed a substantial collection of plants at his home, including more than 500 philodendrons. ..."
Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist
NY Times: Revisiting the Constructed Edens of Roberto Burle Marx
NY Times: A Revolutionary Garden Designer Finally Gets a Retrospective (Slide)