Tuesday, February 28

Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) - The Kinks (1969)


"Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) extends the British-oriented themes of Village Green Preservation Society, telling the story of a London man's decision to move to Australia during the aftermath of World War II. It's a detailed and loving song cycle, capturing the minutiae of suburban life, the numbing effect of bureaucracy, and the horrors of war. On paper, Arthur sounds like a pretentious mess, but Ray Davies' lyrics and insights have rarely been so graceful or deftly executed, and the music is remarkable. An edgier and harder-rocking affair than Village Green, Arthur is as multi-layered musically as it is lyrically. ... The music makes the words cut deeper, and the songs never stray too far from the album's subject, making Arthur one of the most effective concept albums in rock history, as well as one of the best and most influential British pop records of its era."
allmusic
W - Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
Classic Rock Review
amazon
YouTube: Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) (Full Album)

2012 February: The Kinks, 2013 July: "Sunny Afternoon", 2015 August: Village Green Preservation Society (1968), 2015 December: "Waterloo Sunset" (1967), 2016 June: "Dead End Street" / "Big Black Smoke" (1966)

Hotel Ambos Mundos


Wikipedia - "The Hotel Ambos Mundos (Spanish pronunciation: [oˈtel ˈambos ˈmundos], Both Worlds Hotel) is a hotel of square form with five floors, built with an eclectic set of characteristics of 20th-century style architecture. It was built in 1924 on a site that previously had been occupied by an old family house on the corner of Calle Obispo and Mercaderes (Bishop and Merchants Streets) in La Habana Vieja (Old Havana), Cuba. It is a frequent tourist destination because it was home to the popular writer Ernest Hemingway for seven years in the 1930s. From colonial times the zone of Old Havana in which the building is now sited was populated by a diverse collection of family houses. ..."
Wikipedia
Hotel Ambos Mundos
YouTube: Hotel Ambos Mundos Havana Cuba where Hemingway lived years at room 511

Monday, February 27

Robert Farris Thompson: Canons of the Cool


"A bottle of Cinzano, a can of hairspray, a menorah, a machete and a broken jukebox are devotional objects adorning the altar of a vodun ('voodoo') temple on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. The temple is situated in the compound of André Pierre, vodun priest and painter, alongside a ditch on the road to Cap-Haïtien. ... Robert Farris Thompson and I have come down to Haiti on a 10:30 a.m. flight from New York to pass the weekend with André Pierre and with Madame Nerva, a vodun priestess. Thompson is an art historian, a tenured professor at Yale and master of Timothy Dwight College there. ..."
Rolling Stone
W - Robert Farris Thompson
Aesthetic of the Cool - Dr. Robert Farris Thompson in conversation with Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims
Aesthetic of the Cool: Afro-Atlantic Art and Music - CAA Reviews
[PDF] Flash of the spirit - Robert Farris Thompson
amazon: Robert Farris Thompson
YouTube: Speaks: Daughters of the Dust

2014 April: Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy

Six Stories of Stunning Passports From Countries That No Longer Exist


"British Palestine. The USSR. The Free State of Fiume. History is rife with states that simply didn’t make it: ones, thanks to the precariousness of politics, that eventually switched names, changed hands, or disappeared altogether. Tom Topol has been collecting passports for 14 years, and runs the website passport-collector.com, a repository of travel documents through the ages. Topol first became fascinated by old passports after a chance encounter with some at a flea market in Kyoto, Japan. 'Today our passports are uniform,' he says, 'but look at an old passport [from the] 19th century—at that time they were really some kind of art.' He has spent last decade and a half learning everything he can about the politics and geography of historical passports, as well as digging into the stories of individual booklets and their bearers. ..."
Atlas Obscura

Kate Bingaman-Burt


"Her work orbits around the objects in our lives: the things we buy, the things we discard, and the collectivity and social interaction that can arise from cycles of consumption. Via illustrations, daily documentation, publications, events, large-scale participatory projects, client work, and a full-time role as educator, Kate’s work invites a dialogue about contemporary forms of exchange. ..."
Kate Bingaman-Burt
The Great Discontent
amazon

Sunday, February 26

Standing Rock is burning – but our resistance isn't over


Tents set ablaze at North Dakota pipeline protest campsite
"... The majority of the few hundred remaining protesters marched out, arm in arm ahead of the North Dakota authorities’ Wednesday eviction deadline. An estimated one hundred others refused the state’s order, choosing to remain in camp and face certain arrest in order to defend land and water promised to the Oceti Sakowin, or Great Sioux Nation, in the long-broken Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. On these hallowed grounds, history tends to repeat itself. In 1890, police murdered Sitting Bull on the Standing Rock reservation out of suspicion that he was preparing to lead the Ghost Dance movement in an uprising. ... The first whirlwind month of Donald Trump’s presidency has brought the injustices of racism, capitalism, and patriarchy long festering beneath the surface of American society out into the open. The eviction of Oceti Sakowin from their treaty lands forces us to confront another foundational injustice, one rarely if ever discussed in contemporary politics – colonialism. ..."
Guardian (Video)
Guardian: Police remove last Standing Rock protesters in military-style takeover
Guardian: Police make arrests at Standing Rock in push to evict remaining activists (Video)
livestream: Cam 1 - Eviction of Main #NoDAPL Camp (Video)

2011 July: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee - Dee Brown, 2012 September: The Ghost Dance, 2016 September: A History and Future of Resistance, 2016 November: Dakota Access Pipeline protests, 2016 December: Police Violence Against Native Americans Goes Far Beyond Standing Rock, 2016 December: Dakota Protesters Say Belle Fourche Oil Spill 'Validates Struggle', 2017 January: A Murky Legal Mess at Standing Rock, 2017 January: Trump's Move On Keystone XL, Dakota Access Outrages Activists, 2017 February: Army veterans return to Standing Rock to form a human shield against police

Charlotte Brooks


"Charlotte Brooks is a photojournalist who worked for Look magazine from 1951 until 1971. As a sociologist with a camera, she liked to document changes in American life, including politics, health and science, education, families, urban and suburban issues, entertainment, racial conflicts, and women's roles. Her biography is a story of defying the odds, because she achieved her objectives at a time when her gender, religious background, and sexual preference presented her with extra challenges. The only long-term woman staff photographer in the magazine's nearly thirty-five year run, Brooks came to feel accepted as 'one of the guys.' She covered the same kinds of issues as the men photographers, while most of her contemporary female colleagues were confined to soft news and the women's pages. ..."
The Library of Congress
W - Charlotte Brooks
NY Times: Charlotte Brooks, a Photographer for Look Magazine, Dies at 95
The Library of Congress: Image Sampler

Lucinda Williams, "Passionate Kisses" (1988)


"After recording a pair of acoustic blues albums for Folkways, Lucinda Williams found her rightful audience with her eponymous 1988 Rough Trade debut. It contained this hoarse-voiced pop-rock anthem about not only wanting but deserving a comfortable bed, bath, and emotional beyond. Williams was broke and turning 40 when Mary Chapin Carpenter softened the song's edges, added a stirring guitar arrangement and took 'Passionate Kisses' close to the top of the Billboard country chart in 1993, winning Grammys for both herself and its author."
Rolling Stone
W - "Passionate Kisses"
YouTube: "Passionate Kisses"

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, 2016 February: The Ghosts of Highway 20 (2016).

Saturday, February 25

Kenward Elmslie / Videos


"Kenward Elmslie (1929- ) is a poet, editor and librettist who has facilitated numerous collaborations and connections among members of what is known as the New York School of Poets. The grandchild of Joseph Pulitzer, Elmslie received his undergraduate degree from Harvard before moving to New York City. Among other pursuits, he edited Z Magazine, which published works by poets such as John Ashbery and Elmslie’s longtime partner Joe Brainard, and corresponded with innumerable artists, writers and thinkers including Lucia Berlin and Maxine Chernoff. ... As the catalyst for this short film project, Elmslie hoped to illustrate the artistic spirit of and collaborations among American writers, poets and artists from the late 50s to today."
vimeo: Kenward Elmslie / Videos
Jeff Jackson presents … Please welcome back to the world … Kenward Elmslie The Orchid Stories (1973/2016)
Jacket2: Joe Brainard feature Kenward Elmslie in conversation with Kristin Prevallet

April 2008: Kenward Elmslie, PENNSOUND, Jacket #7, Wikipedia, 2011 February: Kenward Elmslie's poem songs, 2016 February: Nite Soil (2000), 2008 February: Joe Brainard, 2010 November: I Remember, 2011 October: A State of the Flowers Report, 2011 November: Joe Brainard: A Retrospective, 2012 March: Bolinas Journal, 2012 September: I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard by Matt Wolf (2012), 2014 November: Joe Brainard - Tibor de Nagy Gallery

Charlie Parker - Bird in Boston · Live at the Hi-Hat 1953-1954


"For over two decades, the Hi-Hat Club occupied a choice location among the jazz clubs of Boston’s South End district, at the corner of Columbus and Massachusetts Avenue. After the end of World War II, lesser luminaries took over the band-stand, and after a while entertainment practically stopped altogether. Dave Coleman, a jazz promoter, had taken over management of the club in 1949. Through Coleman’s personal initiative, the Hi-Hat enjoyed its most successful years, and by 1951 it was the only club featuring a consistent policy of presenting modern jazz. Between 1953 and 1954 Charlie Parker made several visits to Boston, where he was often hired to play as a 'single' at the Hi-Hat, backed by local musicians. ..."
Fresh Sound Records
Discogs
amazon: Bird in Boston. Charlie Parker Quintet & Sextet. Live at the Hi-Hat 1953-1954, Bird At The Hi Hat
YouTube: New Bird. Hi Hat Broadcasts 1953 40:10, Bird at the Hi-Hat 13 videos

2011 July: Charlie Parker and Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, et al 1950, 2012 July: The Charlie Parker Story, 2014 May: Afro-Cuban jazz, 2014 December: The Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings 1944-1948

Songs of Love and Hate - Leonard Cohen (1971)


"Songs of Love and Hate is one of Leonard Cohen's most emotionally intense albums -- which, given the nature of Cohen's body of work, is no small statement. While the title Songs of Love and Hate sums up the album's themes accurately enough, it's hardly as simple as that description might lead you to expect -- in these eight songs, 'love' encompasses the physical ('Last Year's Man'), the emotional ('Famous Blue Raincoat'), and the spiritual ('Joan of Arc'), and the contempt in songs like 'Dress Rehearsal Rag' and 'Avalanche' is the sort of venom that can only come from someone who once cared very deeply. The sound of the album is clean and uncluttered, and for the most part the music stays out of the way of the lyrics, which dominate the songs. ..."
allmusic
W - Songs of Love and Hate
#295: Leonard Cohen
SONGS OF LOVE AND HATE - March 1971
YouTube: Songs of Love and Hate 44:13

2008 September: Leonard Cohen, 2009 November: Ladies and Gentlemen... Mr. Leonard Cohen, 2011 June: I'm Your Man, 2012 May: Old Ideas, 2013 February: "Dance Me To The End of Love", 2016 November: The Words and Work of Leonard Cohen

Friday, February 24

 Socialism’s Return


Norman Thomas in Milwaukee, 1932.
"For the American left, 2016 proved to be a year with a cruel twist ending. In the first few months, a self-
described democratic socialist by the name of Bernie Sanders mounted a surprisingly successful primary challenge to the Democratic Party’s presumed and eventual presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. By the end of 2016, however, not only had Sanders lost the primary race, but Clinton had been defeated in the general election by a billionaire who dressed his xenophobic and plutocratic ambitions in the garb of class resentment. But the apparent strength of the left wasn’t entirely an illusion. Even as late as November, the Sanders campaign had racked up a set of important victories. The Cold War had helped to entrench the idea of socialism as antithetical to the American political tradition, and Sanders had gone a long way toward smashing that ideological consensus. ..."
The Nation
Jacobin: The Rise and Fall of the Socialist Party of America
W - Daniel Bell
W - Irving Howe
W - James Weinstein

2016 January: Sanders Is Not Trump, 2016 February: Bernie and the Millennials, 2016 April: Bernie Sanders and the History of American Socialism, 2014 September: Anarchism in America (1983), 2015 August: The Prophet Farmed: Murray Bookchin on Bernie Sanders, 2016 October: Why Bernie Was Right, 2015 October: The Ecology of Freedom (1982), 2016 July: Murray Bookchin’s New Life, 2017 January: Reason, creativity and freedom: the communalist model - Eleanor Finley.

Border Crossings


"Border Crossings is a quarterly cultural magazine edited and published in Winnipeg. A local, international magazine, it is now in its 36th year of continuous publication. Edited by Meeka Walsh, it investigates contemporary culture through a combination of articles, reviews, interviews and portfolios of photographs and drawings. More curated than edited, Border Crossings occupies a vital place in the geographic centre of the North American continent. The magazine is committed to Northrop Frye’s sense that the centre is where you are, and so we take Winnipeg as the place from which we begin looking at the culture and art of the world. The art world is also an art whirled. ..."
Border Crossings
W - Border Crossings
facebook, Twitter

In Our Time - Ernest Hemingway (1925)


Wikipedia - "In Our Time is Ernest Hemingway's first collection of short stories, published in 1925 by Boni & Liveright, New York. Its title is derived from the English Book of Common Prayer, "Give peace in our time, O Lord". The collection's publication history was complex. It began with six prose vignettes commissioned by Ezra Pound for a 1923 edition of The Little Review; Hemingway added twelve more and in 1924 compiled the in our time edition (with a lower-case title), which was printed in Paris. To these were added fourteen short stories for the 1925 edition, including 'Indian Camp' and 'Big Two-Hearted River', two of his best-known Nick Adams stories. He composed 'On the Quai at Smyrna' for the 1930 edition. The stories' themes – of alienation, loss, grief, separation – continue the work Hemingway began with the vignettes, which include descriptions of acts of war, bullfighting and current events. ..."
Wikipedia
NY Times: Preludes to a Mood (Oct. 18, 1925)
Guardian - May Reading group: a critical look at In Our Time and A Moveable Feast
amazon
[PDF] In our time - University of Victoria

2012 June: "The Spanish Earth", Written and Narrated by Ernest Hemingway, 2014 November: Lost Generation, 2015 September: Ernest Hemingway: Between Two Wars

Thursday, February 23

Bicentenary Blues: San Francisco 1976 - Patti Smith


"She'd been a New Yorker since moving to the city in 1967, aged 21. She had a child that she gave up for adoption, met and started a relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe - with whom she shared a room at the infamous Chelsea Hotel for some time - and she discovered the work of French symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud. She appeared in Warhol Superstar Jackie Curtis's play Femme Fatale with Wayne County, and - for one night only - in Cowboy Mouth which she co-wrote with Sam Shepherd. ... Two months later, on February 15th 1976, the group played at the Boarding House in San Francisco - a performance which was broadcast live on FM radio. This CD captures this concert in its entirety and illustrates perfectly the strange power of this pioneering band and its dynamic, talented and foresighted lead singer and main songwriter. ..."
ForcedExposure
amazon
iTunes, Spotify
Juno: Bicentenary Blues

Tour a City Torn in Half by ISIS


"Last month the Iraqi government recovered the eastern part of Mosul, a major victory against the Islamic State. A reporter toured the divided city."
NY Times (Video)
The Nation: ‘Oh, ISIS. They Really Don’t Like It When Women Make Problems for Them.’

2014 August: The Islamic State, 2014 September: How ISIS Works, 2015 February: The Political Scene: The Evolution of Islamic Extremism, 2015 May: Zakaria: How ISIS shook the world, 2015 August: ISIS Blows Up Ancient Temple at Syria’s Palmyra Ruins, 2015 November: Times Insider: Reporting Europe's Refugee Crisis, 2015 November: Three Teams of Coordinated Attackers Carried Out Assault on Paris, Officials Say; Hollande Blames ISIS, 2015 November: The French Emergency, 2015 December: A Brief History of ISIS, 2015 December: U.S. Seeks to Avoid Ground War Welcomed by Islamic State, 2016 January: Ramadi, Reclaimed by Iraq, Is in Ruins After ISIS Fight, 2016 February: Syrian Officer Gave a View of War. ISIS Came, and Silence Followed., 2016 March: Brussels Survivors Say Blasts Instantly Evoked Paris Attacks, 2016 April: America Can’t Do Much About ISIS, 2016 June: What the Islamic State Has Won and Lost, 2016 July: ISIS: The Cornened Beast, 2016 October: Archaeological Victims of ISIS Rise Again, as Replicas in Rome, 2016 December: Battle Over Aleppo Is Over, Russia Says, as Evacuation Deal Reached, 2017 January: Eternal Sites: From Bamiyan to Palmyra.

Chicago/London Underground - “A Night Walking Through Mirrors” (2017)


"Cornetist Rob Mazurek and drummer Chad Taylor have been the sole constants in the revolving constellation of groups that have borne the name Chicago Underground going back nearly two decades, when the Chicago Underground Quartet dropped Playground for Delmark in 1998. Back then, the combo cleaved toward an inside-out strain of post-bop, but in the years since—in duo, trio, and quartet configurations–its music has embraced a fierce sense of freedom, even within hypnotic, circular forms. These days, Mazurek and Taylor work most often as a duo, where meticulously deployed electronics usually provide a muscular skeleton for the hornman’s powerful yet lyric improvisation. ..."
Bandcamp (Video)
Cuneiform Records
Soundcloud: Chicago / London Underground, "Boss Redux" (excerpt)
amazon
YouTube: Boss Redux [Teaser]

Wednesday, February 22

Collected French Translations: Poetry - John Ashbery (2014)


"In a 1956 letter to Kenneth Koch, John Ashbery wrote: 'I hate all modern French poetry, except for Raymond Roussel', specifying: 'I do like my own wildly inaccurate translations of some of the 20th-century ones, but not the originals'. The editors of this book rather solemnly gloss this as Ashbery musing on 'his own hard work', and his 'difficulties in building a canon for his own new poetic journeys'. They may be right, but the comment is also funny and provocative, taking a dandy-esque line on the tired debates (tired even then and comprehensively exhausted now) about accuracy and fidelity in translation. ... Though several poets may be familiar – Reverdy, Breton, Supervielle, Eluard – others, such as Daumal, Ganzo, Lubin, Blanchard, Roche, will not. ..."
Guardian: Collected French Translations: Poetry by John Ashbery – review
Bookfurum
BOMB: John Ashbery by Adam Fitzgerald
amazon

John Ashbery (right) and Pierre Martory stroll along the Seine in Paris, 1958

United States of America - United States of America (1968)


"The invaluable Sundazed label reissues this 1968 psych-pop masterpiece, adding 10 tracks worth of audition tapes, B-sides, and alternate takes. The United States of America was never immortalized by Pepsi commercials or Time-Life 20-disc retrospectives: The band barely lasted two years, released only one album (which Columbia's marketing department sat on its hands to promote), and ended up a cult favorite that would later be speculated as a phantom influence for the Krautrock sound. But 36 years after its release, USA's self-titled album still stands above the work of most of their Monterey-era, psych-rock peers, and this long-awaited reissue tacks on 10 tracks' worth of audition tapes, B-sides, and alternate takes. ..."
Pitchfork
W - United States of America
Dusted
One album wonders: The United States of America's The United States of America (Video)
YouTube: The United States of America- The United States of America 1968 Album Completo + Bonus 1:07:35

Ingrid Bergman — In Her Own Words (2015)


"Ingrid Bergman, whose personal life could seem more electrifying than her movies, had the kind of towering self-possession that is a requisite for immortal stars, but also for modern women. ...  Bergman’s voluminous personal archives have been a valuable resource for assorted popular biographies and academic studies, enriching the historical record of her films, family and loves. As its title indicates, 'Ingrid Bergman — In Her Own Words' tells yet another version of that life, through its subject’s words and pictures, embellishing them with written and on-camera reminiscences from both intimates and acquaintances. ..."
NY Times: Here’s Looking at ‘Ingrid Bergman — In Her Own Words’
Slant
amazon
YouTube: Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words Official Trailer 1 1:39

2016 March: Journey to Italy - Roberto Rossellini (1954), 2016 March: Stromboli - Roberto Rossellini (1950)

Tuesday, February 21

Firsthand Account: The Assassination of Malcolm X


"The civil rights leader Malcolm X was killed Feb. 21, 1965, at a rally in New York City. Hear from a witness and visit the site of the assassination — in the past, present and in 360 video."
NY Times (Video)
NY Times: Malcolm X
Recalling The Assassination Of Malcolm X
YouTube: WITNESSED: THE ASSASSINATION OF MALCOLM X (2015)

2008 August: Malcolm X, 2012 August: Malcolm X at Oxford, 1964, 2016 February: The Legacy of Malcolm X

Wire - “Dot Dash”, "Options R" (1978)


"Through the three distinct stages of their career, Wire has never been known to give much thought to their singles. Their records from the mid-80s and early-00s should probably be heard in 'best of' compilations to avoid the occasional missteps and their three flawless albums from the 70s are so densely packed and perfectly constructed that listening to individual cuts seems somewhat odd. But one single sticks out in Wire’s discography, both because it’s one of the best tracks from their first incarnation and because it’s only appeared in one or two places over their entire forty-year span. ..."
1978: Wire - “Dot Dash”
(Discography): Dot Dash
Discogs
YouTube: Dot Dash (1978), Options R

2009 January: Wire, 2012 January: On the Box 1979., 2013 September: Chairs Missing (1978), 2014 June: 154 (1979), 2014 July: Document And Eyewitness (1979-1980), 2015 April: The Ideal Copies: Graham Lewis Of Wire's Favourite Albums, 2015 July: Pink Flag (1977), 2015 December: The Peel Sessions Album (1989).

A Spell to Bind Donald Trump and All Those Who Abet Him: February 24th Mass Ritual


"This document has been making the rounds in a number of magical groups both secretive and public. It was allegedly created by a member of a private magical order who wishes to remain anonymous. I make no claims about its efficacy, and several people have noted it can be viewed as more of a mass art/consciousness-raising project (similar to the 1967 exorcism and levitation of the Pentagon), than an actual magical working. But many are clearly taking it very seriously. I have been receiving a number of suggestions and variants for this ritual, and have posted some of them at the end. ..." (Tinker Greene)
Extra Newsfeed

Monday, February 20

William Kentridge: Thick Time


A film still from The Refusal of Time
"South African artist William Kentridge (b.1955, Johannesburg) is renowned for his animated expressionist drawings and films exploring time, the history of colonialism and the aspirations and failures of revolutionary politics. In this major exhibition of six large-scale installations by the artist, music and drama are ruptured by revolution, exile and scientific advancement. Highlights include the film work Second-hand Reading (2013), installation O Sentimental Machine (2015) and The Refusal of Time (2012), an immersive work created with composer Philip Miller, projection designer Catherine Meyburgh, choreographer Dada Masilo, scientist Peter Galison and collaborators from around the world."
Whitechapel Gallery (Video)
Guardian: William Kentridge review – love and propaganda on a trip through the stars
artbook - William Kentridge: Thick Time
William Kentridge at London’s Whitechapel Gallery
amazon
UbuWeb: William Kentridge (b. 1955)

2009 November: William Kentridge, 2011 April: The Insolent Eye: Jarry in Art, 2013 August: Stereoscope (1999), 2015 October: “More Sweetly Play the Dance” (2015), 2016 December: NAI010 (2016)

How New York City Gets Its Electricity


"When you turn on a light or charge your phone, the electricity coming from the outlet may well have traveled hundreds of miles across the power grid that blankets most of North America — the world’s largest machine, and one of its most eccentric. Your household power may have been generated by Niagara Falls, or by a natural-gas-fired plant on a barge floating off the Brooklyn shore. But the kilowatt-hour produced down the block probably costs more than the one produced at the Canadian border. Moreover, a surprising portion of the system is idle except for the hottest days of the year, when already bottlenecked transmission lines into the New York City area reach their physical limit. ..."
NY Times
YouTube: NEW YORK 101: How New York City Gets Its Electricity

Sunday, February 19

The Encyclopedia of Reggae: The Golden Age of Roots Reggae


"We recently spoke with Mike Alleyne, author of The Encyclopedia of Reggae: The Golden Age of Roots Reggae, an indispensable book for reggae, dub and world music fans. Alleyne is currently at work on a book about Jimi Hendrix, which he describes as 'a reference book for interested fans who aren’t necessarily total fanatics' and will have an encyclopedic structure covering key records, musicians, labels and other associated people and places in Hendrix’s career, also including posthumous releases. He hopes to have it out in 2017 which will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first Jimi Hendrix Experience album. Here's what Mike had to say about the golden age of reggae. ..."
Mike Alleyne, author of "The Encyclopedia of Reggae..."
amazon

Other Places (Chicago, Michigan, Ohio, Rhode Island, Iowa, and Beyond)


The Actualist Anthology, edited by Morty Sklar and Darrell Gray, 1977
"The literary climate in the Midwest began to heat up in 1958 when The Chicago Review, as its Spring number, presented an issue devoted to the San Francisco Renaissance. This included a chapter from the then-unpublished Naked Lunch by the notorious William S. Burroughs, as well as work by Duncan, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, McClure, and others. Editors Irving Rosenthal and Paul Carroll gathered and published more such 'Beat' material in the Autumn 1958 issue. As they prepared the Winter issue, the Chicago Daily News published an article entitled 'Filthy Writing on the Midway'; as a consequence, that issue was suppressed by a cowardly administration, galvanizing and energizing the literary underground. ..."
from a secret location

10th Anniversary Edition of Love Is Hell - Matt Groening


"It's the 10th Anniversary Edition of Love Is Hell! A book that's been in the making for a solid decade! This medium-sized guide is now available to the public with extra bonus fun-pages never-before-included in previous volumes of the same name! Slightly less scrawny than the original Love Is Hell, this behemoth-style handbook is jam-packed with all the info YOU need to keep your love-fight burnin'! Frankly written and profusely illustrated by famed cartoonist and merchandising monarch Matt Groening, Love Is Hell is the answer to all your Quandaries de l'Amour, or, as we say in American, Love Quandaries. ..."
amazon

2015 March: Life in Hell

Saturday, February 18

Breathing Free


Edward Laning and assistants work on his Ellis Island mural.
"Two days before the Fourth of July, Judge Marilyn Go walked into the ceremonial courtroom of the Theodore Roosevelt Federal Courthouse in downtown Brooklyn. She was there to grant citizenship to the 267 people seated and waiting. In front of her were faces of all ages and colors. The greatest numbers were from China, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Bangladesh, India, and South Korea, though there are also immigrants from Nepal, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Guyana, Israel, and Liberia; in all, over 50 countries were represented. Here was a microcosm of the global poor — a cross section of nations wracked by civil war and poverty. ... On August 25, 1937, the artist Edward Laning was dismayed to read in the New York Herald Tribune that his mural would not stay on the walls. 'That Big Mural Won’t Stay Put Even If Pasted,' said the headline. New Yorkers had long been anticipating the completion of the work, due to be installed at Ellis Island, but because of a new adhesive being used, the surface of the mural was 'bulging out in tiny ripples and large bubbles which had to be pricked and ripped and then pasted back more firmly.' This was not welcome news, as delays had already drawn out the project for four years. ..."
BKLYNR
W - Edward Laning

A detail from Laning’s The Role of the Immigrant in the Industrial Development of America.

Fela Kuti - He Miss Road (1975)


"He Miss Road was produced by none other than Ginger Baker, who was a semi-regular jamming partner of Fela Kuti's as well as a close friend. And the tunes Fela wrote for this platter are wild, cosmic, sexy as hell, and deeply saturated in funk à la James Brown. The B-3 solo at the beginning of the title track is simply a device for inviting the band in. The B-3 is way up in the mix, supercharged. The echo effects Baker used on the organ and the horns add a nice touch and create a different textural quality, one that is spacious, to be sure, but still rooted in the shamanic repetition as the riff goes on forever no matter what instruments enter or leave the mix. ... This is one of Fela's cookers, an album from his most creative period, and it reigns among the best in his extensive catalog."
allmusic
TAIS Awards
Discogs
YouTube: He Miss Road (Full Album)

Friday, February 17

Agnès Varda - Plaisir d’amour en Iran (1976)


"How to talk about love while staring at the mosque or talk about architecture when in bed. This short is a sort of a variation on the relationship between Pomme and Ali Darius from Agnès Varda’s One Sings The Other Doesn’t. Made at a time when Iran had a seemingly revolving door for incoming European directors and bottomless funding for their projects, Plaisir d’amour en Iran is a short, sort of love story between a handsome Iranian (Ali Raffi) and a visiting French woman (Valérie Mairesse). The film was shot at the Shah Masjed in romantic Esfehan."
blejz
Portrait of a Vagabond: An Appreciation of Agnès Varda
The Left Bank Revisited: Marker, Resnais, Varda
UbuWeb: 35mm, Starring: Valérie Mairesse, Ali Raffi   6 min

August 2010: Agnès Varda, May 2011: The Beaches of Agnès, 2011 December: Interview - Agnès Varda, 2013 February: The Gleaners and I (2000), 2013 September: Cinévardaphoto (2004), 2014 July: Black Panthers (1968 doc.), 2014 October: Art on Screen: A Conversation with Agnès Varda, 2015 September: Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962).

Cranky, Creative, and Controversial: Recalling artists' collectives of the late ’50s and early ’60s.


Bob Thompson, "Announcement for opening at Delancey Street Museum," 1959
"When I arrived in New York City after college, I moved into a tiny, one-bedroom apartment at Seventeenth Street and Third Avenue. It had a fire escape that was perfect for the burglar who climbed up it a few months later. Since I worked at Esquire then, uptown on Madison Avenue, I described my new home to friends as a cozy, downtown abode, walking distance from Greenwich Village. It took me several years and several moves to discover that downtown was an elusive word, whose meaning depended on whom you talked to, and where you lived. My home on Seventeenth Street was followed by one on Pearl Street with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge and followed later by a loft in a Centennial building in SoHo, where three massive front windows gave me a view of the cast-iron buildings across the street. ..."
Guernica
Illegal Living

2017 January: Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965

Zeena Parkins - Mouth=Maul=Betrayer (1996)


"Part of the Radical Jewish Culture series put out by John Zorn's Tzadik label, Zeena Parkins' Mouth Equals Maul Equals Betrayer perhaps more than any other album lives up to the name of the series. This work is aggressive, energetic, intellectually complex, challenging, and highly structured. At times it reads like the soundtrack to a classic gangster film of the '40s -- the music is often not a stylistic match for that time period, but the feeling of violence and darkness is communicated throughout. Indeed, this is a labor of Parkins' Gangster Band, the ensemble consisting of her sisters and several other supporting musicians, as well as it is a thematic work about gangsters themselves. ... This music exists on the edge of contemporary composition, but everywhere it stretches, it grasps and holds on solidly to what Parkins was trying to achieve, making the striving all the more triumphant."
allmusic (Video)
Discogs, amazon
YouTube: Lucky, Hod

2011 January: Zeena Parkins, 2012 December: Fred Frith, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins / sound. at REDCAT, 2014 October: Janene Higgins & Zeena Parkins (2000), 2012 October: Ikue Mori, 2015 March: Phantom Orchard: Zeena Parkins and Ikue Mori, 2016 April: News from Babel (1983-1986), 2016 May: Something Out There (1987).

Thursday, February 16

Lee Lozano: Private Book 1


"Before her self-imposed exile from the art world, Lee Lozano (1930–99) was a highly regarded painter who defined a generation of American artists infusing conceptualism with a new intensity. A prolific writer and documenter of both her art and her relationships, the public and private, Lozano kept a series of personal journals from 1968 to 1972 while living in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. Eleven of these private books survive, containing notes on her work, detailed interactions with artist friends and commentary on the alienations of gender politics, as well as philosophical queries into art’s role in society and humorous asides from daily life. ..."
ArtBook
NY Times: Lee Lozano, Surely Defiant, Drops In
W - Lee Lozano
Lee Lozano, Lee Lozano: Notebooks 1967–70
Lee Lozano: Dropout Piece
Lee Lozano’s Decide to Boycott Women (Re-performed)
amazon: Private Book 1
YouTube: Tools at HAUSER & WIRTH

A Season in Hell - Arthur Rimbaud (Robert Wyatt, Carl Prekopp, Elizabeth Purnell, 2009)


"A Season in Hell is an abridged radio reworking of French poet Arthur Rimbaud's intense masterpiece of spiritual disillusionment, narrated by Carl Prekopp with a soundscape by Bristol composer Elizabeth Purnell and poems sung by Robert Wyatt. ... Here, producer Sara Davies gives a fascinating account of the journey from the idea of turning the work into radio, through various artistic twists and turns, to the version listeners will hear on Saturday. About thirty years ago I was in a bar in a small Mexican town where a French actor gave a thoroughly eccentric performance of some of Rimbaud's poetry to a musical accompaniment. ..."
BBC
YouTube: A Season in Hell - Robert Wyatt, Carl Prekopp, Elizabeth Purnell 30:10
YouTube: A Season in Hell - Robert Wyatt, Carl Prekopp, Elizabeth Purnell 56:25

2008 May: Arthur Rimbaud, 2010 November: Arthur Rimbaud - 1, 2012 October: Patti Smith: Poem about Arthur Rimbaud (Subtitulado), 2012 December: Writers’ Houses Gives You a Virtual Tour of Famous Authors’ Homes, 2013 August: Arthur Rimbaud Documentary, 2013 November: julian peters comics - The Drunken Boat by Arthur Rimbaud, 2014 June: In Which We Begin To Roar With Laughter At Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud, 2015 May: Illuminations - Arthur Rimbaud (John Ashbery - 1875), 2016 March: Rimbaud in New York, 2016 December: The Photography of Poet Arthur Rimbaud (1883).

Hidden Gems in Common Deep-Sky Objects


"Many of the deep-sky objects we point our telescopes toward have pleasant surprises, some in plain sight, others hidden and more challenging. Let me introduce you to a few. As kids, we'd take our allowance and buy these boxes of Cracker Jack filled with caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts. I never much cared for the molasses-flavored popcorn, but the peanuts were tasty. Both took a backseat to the paper-wrapped prize at the bottom of the box. Sometimes I'd fish out the prize before even bothering with the goodies, tearing it open to get something cool like a plastic T-rex, whistle, or even a magnifying glass. Deep-sky objects are like that. You might seek out a galaxy and discover an unexpected double star in the same field of view. A star cluster may include a striking asterism or an appealing red star. But you've got to rifle through the popcorn and peanuts first to find the prize. I've selected eight of my favorites, all well-placed in the evening sky this month. ..."
Sky & Telescope

Wednesday, February 15

Balthazar - Lawrence Durrell (1958)


Wikipedia - "Balthazar, published in 1958, is the second volume in The Alexandria Quartet series by British author Lawrence Durrell. Set in Alexandria, Egypt around World War II, the four novels tell essentially the same story from different points of view and come to a conclusion in Clea. Balthazar is the first novel in the series that presents a competing narrator, Balthazar, who writes back to the narrating Darley in his 'great interlinear.' ... The book begins with the Narrator living on a remote Greek island with Nessim's illegitimate daughter from Melissa (now either four or six years old – marking the time that has elapsed since the events of Justine); however the tone is very dark and opposed to the light and airy reminiscence of Prospero's Cell – Durrell's travelogue-memoir of his life on Corfu. The prolonged nature-pieces, which are a highlight of Durrell's prose, still intervene between straight linear narrative – but are uniformly of askesis and alone-ness – and have a more pronounced 'prose-painting' feel to them pre-figuring Clea. ..."
Wikipedia
NY Times: Alexandria Revisited (August 21, 1958)
Pseudo-Intellectual Reviews

2011 December: The Alexandria Quartet - Lawrence Durrell, 2013 September: Villa that inspired Lawrence Durrell faces demolition, as Egypt allows heritage to crumble, 2014 August: Prospero’s Cell (1945), 2015 April: Bitter Lemons (1953–1956), 2015 May: Caesar's Vast Ghost: Aspects of Provence, 2016 July: Reflections on a Marine Venus (1953), 2016 September: The Greek Islands, 2016 October: Justine (1957)

Charles Alston


The Family, 1955
Wikipedia - "Charles Henry Alston (November 28, 1907 – April 27, 1977) was an African-American painter, sculptor, illustrator, muralist and teacher who lived and worked in the New York City neighborhood of Harlem. Alston was active in the Harlem Renaissance; Alston was the first African-American supervisor for the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project. Alston designed and painted murals at the Harlem Hospital and the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building. In 1990 Alston's bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. became the first image of an African American displayed at the White House. ..."
Wikipedia
artnet
CIVIL RIGHTS ERA AFRICAN AMERICAN ART: SPIRAL GROUP
Whitney: The Family, 1955

Sun Ra Arkestra Boiler Room London Live Set


"The half-century reign of afrofuturism pioneer and cosmic jazzologist Sun Ra has undoubtedly shaped music's modern-day climate – from jazz, soul and hip hop, all the way to techno. Now, his legacy lives on through his 'Intergalactic Arkestra'. With 30+ musicians altogether, the Arkestra trained and toured with Sun Ra until the very end of his life in 1993 – and continue to play his revolutionary music to this day under the direction of alto-saxophonist and longtime Sun Ra collaborator, Marshall Allen. We had the honour of live broadcasting a small arrangement of the original Sun Ra Arkestra, directed by Marshall Allen at the Union Chapel in Islington, London."
Boiler Room (Video)
Soundcloud: Sun Ra Arkestra Boiler Room London Live Set 1:42:23
YouTube: Sun Ra Arkestra Boiler Room London Live Set 1:42:23

Tuesday, February 14

Joni Mitchell - Hejira (1976)


"Joni Mitchell's Hejira is the last in an astonishingly long run of top-notch studio albums dating back to her debut. ... But by and large, this release is the most overtly jazz-oriented of her career up to this point -- hip and cool, but never smug or icy. 'Blue Motel Room' in particular is a prototypic slow jazz-club combo number, appropriately smooth, smoky, and languorous. 'Coyote,' 'Black Crow,' and the title track are by contrast energetically restless fast-tempo selections. The rest of the songs here cleverly explore variants on mid- to slow-tempo approaches. None of these cuts are traditionally tuneful in the manner of Mitchell's older folk efforts; the effect here is one of subtle rolls and ridges on a green meadow rather than the outgoing beauty of a flower garden. ... Performances are excellent, with special kudos reserved for Jaco Pastorius' melodic bass playing on 'Refuge of the Roads' and the title cut. This excellent album is a rewarding listen."
allmusic
W - Hejira
Desert island albums #1: Joni Mitchell — Hejira (1976)
YouTube: Coyote (The Band - 1976)
YouTube: Hejira full album

2015 July: Blue (1970), 2015 Novemer: 40 Years On: Joni Mitchell's The Hissing Of Summer Lawns Revisited, 2016 August: On For the Roses (1972), 2016 November: Court and Spark (1974)

France, Without a Struggle, Is at a Loss


In Chartres, France, people holding blackboards showing the most important election issues for them, including health, peace, education and unity.
"PARIS — It’s unprecedented: In the course of a few months, French voters, the media and polls have knocked several of the biggest contenders out of the presidential race. First, it was Cécile Duflot, the main leader of the Greens, who was defeated in her party’s primary. Then came Nicolas Sarkozy, a former head of state, and Alain Juppé, a former prime minister who for months had been a heavy favorite — both eliminated in the primary for the right and center-right. After that it was the president of France himself, the Socialist François Hollande, whose unpopularity led him to renounce even running. Finally, out went Manuel Valls, until very recently France’s prime minister. He lost the left-wing primary. ..."
NY Times
The Nation: Lyon, the Capital of a Europe in Crisis

Big Joe Williams (October 16, 1903 – December 17, 1982)


Wikipedia - "Joseph Lee 'Big Joe' Williams (October 16, 1903 – December 17, 1982) was an American Delta blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, notable for the distinctive sound of his nine-string guitar. ... Born in Oktibbeha County, a few miles west of Crawford, Mississippi, Williams as a youth began wandering across the United States busking and playing in stores, bars, alleys and work camps. In the early 1920s he worked in the Rabbit Foot Minstrels revue. He recorded with the Birmingham Jug Band in 1930 for Okeh Records. In 1934, he was in St. Louis, Missouri, where he met the record producer Lester Melrose, who signed him to Bluebird Records in 1935. He stayed with Bluebird for ten years, recording such blues hits as 'Baby, Please Don't Go' (1935) and 'Crawlin' King Snake' (1941), both of which were later covered by many other musicians. ..."
Wikipedia
Me and Big Joe Williams by Michael Bloomfield
allmusic
Discogs
amazon: Blues on Highway 49 (Video)
YouTube: Baby Please Don't Go, She Left Me A Mule To Ride, Big Joe Williams pt 1, pt 2

2014 September: "Baby, Please Don't Go", 2016 February: West Oakland - 1940s and ’50s

Monday, February 13

Army veterans return to Standing Rock to form a human shield against police


A permit has been granted for the oil pipeline to cross the Missouri river, following Donald Trump’s executive order.
"US veterans are returning to Standing Rock and pledging to shield indigenous activists from attacks by a militarized police force, another sign that the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline is far from over. Army veterans from across the country have arrived in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, or are currently en route after the news that Donald Trump’s administration has allowed the oil corporation to finish drilling across the Missouri river. The growing group of military veterans could make it harder for police and government officials to try to remove hundreds of activists who remain camped near the construction site and, some hope, could limit use of excessive force by law enforcement during demonstrations. ..."
Guardian - Army veterans return to Standing Rock to form a human shield against police
Guardian - Standing Rock chairman looks to history as divisions emerge among activists (Video)
Guardian - Revealed: FBI terrorism taskforce investigating Standing Rock activists

2016 September: A History and Future of Resistance, 2016 November: Dakota Access Pipeline protests, 2016 December: Police Violence Against Native Americans Goes Far Beyond Standing Rock, 2016 December: Dakota Protesters Say Belle Fourche Oil Spill 'Validates Struggle', 2017 January: A Murky Legal Mess at Standing Rock, 2017 January: Trump's Move On Keystone XL, Dakota Access Outrages Activists