Thursday, August 31

I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery.

The Old Plantation (Slaves Dancing on a South Carolina Plantation), ca. 1785-1795
"Up until about a year ago, I worked at a historic site in the South that included an old house and a nearby plantation. My job was to lead tours and tell guests about the people who made plantations possible: the slaves. The site I worked at most frequently had more than 100 enslaved workers associated with it— 27 people serving the household alone, outnumbering the home's three white residents by a factor of nine. Yet many guests who visited the house and took the tour reacted with hostility to hearing a presentation that focused more on the slaves than on the owners. ..."
Vox (Video)

Too Much Pressure - The Selecter (1979)

Wikipedia - "Too Much Pressure is the first album by British ska band The Selecter. After the band's official formation in 1979 in Coventry, following the release of a song entitled 'The Selecter' by an unofficial incarnation of the band, the band's hit single 'On My Radio' prompted their labels 2 Tone and Chrysalis to ask the band to record their debut album. ... The album contains original material, mostly composed by band founder and guitarist Neol Davies, as well as numerous ska and reggae cover versions, in a similar fashion to the Specials' debut album. ... Critical reception to Too Much Pressure was positive. Robert Christgau of The Village Voice awarded the album a score of 'A-', advising listeners to 'play loud.' He commented how, 'except for songwriter-guitarist Neol Davies, these two-toners are black, reassuring in a movement that calls up fears of folkie patronization. Lead singer's a woman, too, a refreshing piece of progress no matter how self-consciously progressive its motives.' ..."
The Hackskeptic's View (Video)
amazon, Spotify, iTunes
YouTube: Too Much Pressure (Live), On My Radio (Live), Missing Words (Live), Murder (Live)


Wikipedia - "Marseille, also known as Marseilles, is a city in France. The capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Marseille, on France's south coast, is the country's second largest city, after Paris, with a population of 852,516 in 2012, and an area of 241 km2 (93 sq mi), the 3rd-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris and Lyon. Known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Massalia (Greek: Μασσαλία, Massalía), Marseille was the most important trading centre in the region and the main commercial port of the French Republic. Marseille is now France's largest city on the Mediterranean coast and the largest port for commerce, freight and cruise ships. ..."
Lonely Planet
YouTube: Marseille

2014 April: Night Walk in Marseille

Wednesday, August 30

Visions of Johanna - Bob Dylan (1966)

Wikipedia - "'Visions of Johanna' is a song written and performed by Bob Dylan on his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde. Dylan first recorded the song in New York City in November 1965, under the working title of 'Freeze Out', but was dissatisfied with the results. When the Blonde on Blonde recording sessions moved to Nashville in February 1966, Dylan attempted the composition again with different musicians, and decided to release this performance. All the alternate versions of the song have been officially released, but some only on a limited edition collectors set: many of them are November 1965 or later 1966 studio outtakes, and two others live performances from his 1966 world tour. Several critics have acclaimed 'Visions of Johanna' as one of Dylan's highest achievements in writing, praising the allusiveness and subtlety of the language. ..."
Guardian: Watch the video for Bob Dylan's Visions of Johanna (Video)
"Visions of Johanna"
YouTube: Visions Of Johanna (Belfast 6 May 66)

Capturing Love, the Brooklyn Way

"'One of the things that I noticed quickly,' the photographer Andre Wagner said of moving to Bushwick, Brooklyn, from Omaha in 2012, is 'how you can see the affection of people out in public because so many things happen on the streets.' Mr. Wagner drew upon his background in social work when he started taking photos. 'Living in Brooklyn, I see a lot of that family interaction, which I’m really interested in capturing.' He took these photos in April, roaming between Downtown Brooklyn, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg and Bushwick. Mr. Wagner is also interested in the way different people come together on New York City subways and buses. ..."
NY Times (Video)
NY Times: Sunday Best in Harlem and Brooklyn
Meet Andre D. Wagner, The Photographer Documenting The Poetic Side Of New York City (Video)
Andre D. Wagner

Something Wild - Jonathan Demme (1986)

Wikipedia - "Something Wild is a 1986 American action comedy film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Melanie Griffith, Jeff Daniels and Ray Liotta. It was screened out of competition at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. This film has some elements of a road movie, and it has acquired a cult status. In New York City, Charlie Driggs (Jeff Daniels) is a seemingly conventional banker whose wife has left him. In a café, a brunette (Melanie Griffith) who calls herself Lulu spots him leaving without paying. After a teasing confrontation, the two leave in a car that, Lulu says, she acquired from a divorce. They embark on a bizarre adventure, including crashing and abandoning the car, stealing from a liquor store and leaving a diner without paying. ..."
Roger Ebert
NY Times: Something Genre Crossing, Something Bold
YouTube: Something Wild - Official Trailer, Something Wild clip

Tuesday, August 29

Soccer in Sun and Shadow - Eduardo Galeano (1993)

"Eduardo Galeano — the famous Uruguayan writer, journalist, and political activist — passed away Monday at the age of 74. He was most widely celebrated (and defamed) for his incisive critiques of Western imperialism and capitalism, as well as his lilting, graceful prose. ... Soccer fans will know him as the author of El fútbol a sol y sombra, or Soccer in Sun and Shadow. The book offers a cultural history of the beautiful game, using his trademark poignant verse to shape history and politics and economics and personal experience into a sort of paper sculpture— beautiful, unexpected, and somewhat transient. There’s a lot of darkness in the story Galeano tells—the 'shadow' in the book title, as it were—yet he unfurls and shares his joy and love for the sport throughout. Football, for Galeano, was an intimate and indelible part of life— and more often than not, it represented the better parts of it. Galeano was more than a fan; he was a pilgrim, telling a story that was equal parts hard labor sentence, passionate love affair and fleeting moment of rapture. ..."
Guardian - Eduardo Galeano: Uruguayan whose writing got right to the heart of football
Under the Sun

2015 April: Eduardo Galeano (3 September 1940 – 13 April 2015)

Judson Dance Theater

"Performance of Yvonne Rainer's The Mind is a Muscle: Trio A, Judson Memorial Church, Greenwich Village, New York, 1966
Wikipedia - "Judson Dance Theater was a collective of dancers, composers, and visual artists who performed at the Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, Manhattan New York City between 1962 and 1964. It grew out of a composition class taught by Robert Dunn, a musician who had studied with John Cage. The artists involved were avant garde experimentalists who rejected the confines of Modern dance practice and theory, inventing as they did the precepts of Postmodern dance. ... The first Judson concert took place on July 6, 1962, with works created by Steve Paxton, Fred Herko, David Gordon, Alex and Deborah Hay, Yvonne Rainer, Elaine Summers, William Davis, and Ruth Emerson. ..."
ARTFORUM: Judson Memorial Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
The First Concert of Dance at the Judson Dance Theater
[PDF] Judson Church: Dance, an essay by George Jackson

Program for Fantastic Gardens, Judson Dance Theater, 1964. Design: Carol Summers.

Monday, August 28

Steeped in controversy: Tea guru in the fight of a lifetime

A hand-carved door on David Lee Hoffman's property.
"David Lee Hoffman will not show me his tea cave. The Lagunitas cave where Hoffman, owner of the Phoenix Collection, is aging tens of thousands of pounds of tea is well-known in the industry. 'All in This Tea,' Les Blank’s 2007 documentary about Hoffman, pictures him loading boxes into it. Marin County, which has been suing Hoffman for more than a decade to bring his 2-acre estate to code, has listed the cave in its extensive complaints. Yet Hoffman still treats it as a secret. 'It’s not open to the public,' he tells me. That may be because most of the teas stored at the Last Resort, his home and 'ecological research center' in the Lagunitas hills, are puers, a genre of Chinese tea equivalent to cult Cabs or single-malt scotches. Hoffman is one of the most storied tea vendors in the United States, and his puers may be worth millions of dollars, albeit to a minuscule cadre of collectors. ..."
Steeped in controversy: Tea guru in the fight of a lifetime
Inside Druid Heights, a Marin County counter-culture landmark
Act Now: Save The Last Resort - A Working Model of Sustainability in Marin County, CA (Video)
W - All in This Tea
True Films (Video)
YouTube: All In This Tea (Bullfrog Films clip)

2013 April: Les Blank

5 Cassette Players Walk into an Aphex Twin Cover

"The past week or so have been big news in Aphex Twin land, from the opening of his own digital superstore, at, packed with extra tracks and candid bits of liner notes, to a headlining gig at a Japanese music festival, and the subsequent inevitable price spike for a commemorative tape of the concert. Lost in the tumult was this little video cover of 'Rhubarb,' the third track from the Selected Ambient Works Volume 2 album. In the video it’s being performed on the Crudman — well, on a quintet of Crudmen. The Crudman is an ingenious hack of a Walkman. ..."
disquiet (Video)

How Mushrooms Became Magic

"If you were an American scientist interested in hallucinogens, the 1950s and 1960s were a great time to be working. Drugs like LSD and psilocybin—the active ingredient in magic mushrooms—were legal and researchers could acquire them easily. With federal funding, they ran more than a hundred studies to see if these chemicals could treat psychiatric disorders. That heyday ended in 1970, when Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act. It completely banned the use, sale, and transport of psychedelics—and stifled research into them. ... For Slot, that was a shame. He tried magic mushrooms as a young adult, and credits them with pushing him into science. ..."
The Atlantic

Sunday, August 27

Balcony Seats to the City

A newly arrived immigrant eats noodles on the fire escape in New York City.
"Even in quickly evolving New York City, there’s something romantic about slowing down, stepping out of the fast currents of foot traffic, and looking up. Few neighborhoods will disappoint. Look up high, especially in Manhattan, and you can see the built history of the big city play out in the architectural details and ornamental facades of buildings, awnings and balconies standing out like grooves in record, ready to reveal the story of each block. Within the skyscraper canyons of Midtown, you can spot the pinnacles of great towers, and the cranes of greater towers in the making. But look a little lower, around the corners and in the alleyways, and you’ll see a structure with a romantic connection to an older New York City, zig-zagging down towards the streets. ..."
CURBED (Video)

Paul Violi Archive

Flyer for Paul Violi reading at 98 Greene Street Loft, May 8, [197?].
"The Paul Violi archive offers the opportunity to explore the life and work of poet and small press publisher Paul Violi. It is particularly strong in its illumination of the poet's creative process, especially as viewed through the lens of his unique relationship with fellow poets Tony Towle and Charles North. ... Paul Violi was born on July 20, 1944 in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Greenlawn, Long Island. He spent time at St. Mark's Poetry project and was an active part of the New York poetry world. Violi was the Poetry Project’s interim Director (1977) and also served on its advisory board (1978–1981). In spring 1970, he took a workshop at the Poetry Project with Tony Towle where he also met Charles North. The three developed a unique, supportive and creative relationship that lasted until Violi’s death in 2011. ..."
Granary Books
W - Paul Violi
Paul Violi
Poetry Foundation
NY Times: Paul Violi, a Poet Both Wry and Sly, Dies at 66

Le Mellotron presents Paris DJs X Todd Simon

"4 years ago Paris DJs invited Le Mellotron to cook up two mixes exploring the link between Jazz and Hip Hop. 2 years ago Le Mellotron hosted an exclusive Paris DJs mix of Latino Funk & Hispanic Jerk covers on their site. Last year Le Mellotron invited Paris DJs on their former boat on the Seine in the center of Paris for a 3 hours takeover where founders Djouls, Loik Dury & Grant Phabao were there deejaying 45s and some of their own productions. Following up on what has now become a tradition, this summer on monday, june 22nd, Le Mellotron are glad to invite again Paris DJs, for a 2 hours DJ set with special guest Todd Simon, coming straight from Los Angeles and bringing a box of 45s for a super fun set blending jazz, afrobeat, upbeat-jamaican and off the radar funk!! ..."
ParisDJ (Audio)
ParisDJ: Le Mellotron - From Jazz To Hip Hop (Audio)
ParisDJ: Le Mellotron - From Jazz To Hip Hop, PT. 2 (Audio)
ParisDJ: Le Mellotron (Audio)

Saturday, August 26

RIP Village Voice 1955-2017

"Without it, if you are a New Yorker of a certain age, chances are you would have never found your first apartment. Never discovered your favorite punk band, spouted your first post-Structuralist literary jargon, bought that unfortunate futon sofa, discovered Sam Shepard or charted the perfidies of New York’s elected officials. Never made your own hummus or known exactly what the performance artist Karen Finley did with yams that caused such an uproar over at the National Endowment for the Arts. The Village Voice, the left-leaning independent weekly New York City newspaper, announced on Tuesday that it will end print publication. The exact date of the last print edition has not yet been finalized, according to a spokeswoman. ..."
NY Times: After 62 Years and Many Battles, Village Voice Will End Print Publication
Esquire: Generations of Village Voice Writers Reflect on the Paper Leaving the Honor Boxes
NPR: New Yorkers Mourn End Of An Era As 'Village Voice' Ceases Print Edition
NPR: Former Village Voice Editors And Writers Remember Its Outsized Impact On Music
It Takes a Village: A ‘Village Voice’ Reading List
W - Village Voice
Google - The Village Voice

Village Voice: The Shaggs, Music Downtown - Kyle Gann, The Voice Lays Off J Hoberman, John Wilcock: New York Years, 1954-1971 (Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall), Love Goes to Buildings On Fire: Five Years in New York City That Changed Music Forever, The Essential Ellen Willis, Ocean of Sound - David Toop (1995), Tom Johnson - The Voice of New Music: New York City 1972–1982, 50 Years After Dylan Played Forest Hills, Al Kooper Recalls 1965's Electric Summer, St. Mark’s Place: It’s Party Time in the East Village!, Mark Alan Stamaty, Gem Spa, Village Voice NYC Albums , Jonas Mekas, J. Hoberman, The Quad Cinema's Facelift Caps Off a New Golden Age of NYC Cinema, Damn. - Kendrick Lamar (2017), Jeremiah Moss Was Here

March selection - Ceints de Bakélite

"It’s been long time since I haven’t posted anything on the blog, even though I have bought some great 78s in the past months. Instead of writing a long article as usual, I decided this time to share with you a selection of recordings from my collection. I only wrote a very short description for each track. Instrumental Zourna (Turkey). An hypnotic track from Turkey featuring a Zurna solo with a drum accompaniment. A record from the late 20’s or early 30’s on the British branch of Columbia. Its central label features a sticker from the now-disappeared shop of Léon Nichanian, that used to sell Armenian, Greek and Turkish records in Paris’ Belleville neighbourhood. ..."
Ceints de Bakélite (soundcloud)

Friday, August 25

The City So Nice They Can’t Stop Making Movies About It By A.O. Scott

Filming “Taxi Driver” on the streets of New York.
"According to City Hall, on any given day there are around 120 film and television projects in production in New York. About 12,000 permits are issued a year, resulting in the intermittent irritation of non-industry-connected residents as we try to park our cars or push our strollers. We might complain, but really we wouldn’t want it any other way. Trailers, craft service tables and production assistants policing sidewalks with clipboards and walkie-talkies have long been fixtures of New York life. They are also the building blocks of a virtual city, a second metropolis extracted from and existing alongside the real one. For natives, transplants and tourists alike, it can be hard to tell where the actual New York leaves off and its cinematic doppelgänger begins. And it would be downright impossible to pick just one movie that sums up the experience of the city. Still, it might be interesting to try. ..."
NY Times
One Film, One New York (Video)

Miles of Aisles - Joni Mitchell (1974)

"Miles of Aisles is a four-sided live album with a greatest-hits feel to it that collects 18 numbers from Mitchell's successful concert tour of last winter. It's a strong album of her best songs performed mostly informally, backed on sides one and four by reedman Tom Scott and his band — an interesting album because it displays an occasional awkwardness that provides a glimpse into the artist's mercurial character. Although she constantly maintains a stunning professional control over her own performance, much of the pleasure of this record comes from the new band arrangements of songs we've heard often (one or two of which I've heard to death). Even 'Woodstock,' which is now something of a hoary hippy anthem, gets a clever revitalization through Robben Ford's biting guitar work that constructs a personality of its own as the concert builds. ..."
Rolling Stone
W - Miles of Aisles
YouTube: Miles of Aisles 18 videos

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), 2017 February: Hejira (1976)

Remembering Red Vienna

"When it comes to progressive urban planning and municipal administration, 'Red Vienna' (1919–1934) remains a common reference point. Best known for its housing programs, this radical municipal project also entailed comprehensive social improvements that included health care, education, child care, and cultural reform efforts. Red Vienna represents a historically specific, social-democratic response to social and political questions that remain relevant today: the distribution of wealth, access to infrastructure, and the reorganization of reproductive labor. Against the backdrop of contemporary challenges to left, urban politics — the struggle for the right to housing, for public reinvestment, and against the rising right — we should look back on this sweeping interwar project to draw out the possibilities and limits of progressive urban politics within a conservative state. ..."
W - Red Vienna
MIT: The Architecture of Red Vienna, 1919–1934
Weimar: Red Vienna
YouTube: Vienna Karl Marx-Hof, between 1927 and 1930

Thursday, August 24

Frederick Wiseman’s - National Gallery (2014)

"Though 'Interstellar' pounds the eardrums mercilessly with Hans Zimmer’s overbearing music, the noisiest movie coming out this week is Frederick Wiseman’s 'National Gallery,' which opened on Wednesday at Film Forum. The documentary is about the London museum of the title, and is set almost entirely within its confines. The three-hour-long film has no musical score and no apparent added sound effects. What it does have is a lot of of talking, much of which takes place in the presence of masterworks on display. A lot of that talk is a distraction and an annoyance on the order of construction noise—and yet that superfluous and distracting vocal drone is the canny intellectual underpinning of Wiseman’s movie. ..."
New Yorker (By Richard Brody)
NY Times: Framing the Viewers, and the Viewed
Guardian: National Gallery (Video)
PBS (Video)
National Gallery London
W - National Gallery
YouTube: NATIONAL GALLERY Official US trailer, Top 10 Paintings at the National Gallery London, London: The National Gallery & Gift Shop

The UVA Class the White Supremacists Didn’t Take

"In 2001 Richard Spencer received his B.A. from the University of Virginia. Jason Kessler graduated in 2009. My cousin Julian Bond, the erudite, firebrand civil rights icon, taught at the school from 1992 through 2012. He traveled from D.C. to Charlottesville for twenty years, educated nearly five thousand students. Julian’s class, The History of the Civil Rights Movement, was an elective. It seems almost a certainty that neither Spencer nor Kessler would have taken it. Perhaps back then Kessler, the organizer of Charlottesville’s Unite the Right rally, and Spencer, at the time not yet a Nazi, were already steeping hate like tea and crafting a new society on the Lawn. Or dreaming of a purely white nation as they passed UVA’s Rotunda — all while Julian opened volume after volume of his life and the lives of others he had known. Julian would have spoken about SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which he helped organize. ..."

The return of the KLF: pop's greatest provocateurs take on a post-truth world

"So why exactly did the KLF set £1m on fire? It’s been a burning question for 23 years, as pop’s greatest provocateurs chose to let rumour, conjecture and myth around the publicity stunt – held on the Scottish island of Jura and ending their career on 23 August 1994 – swirl about unanswered for two decades. Until now. The project formed by Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty in 1987, which has lain dormant in a self-imposed moratorium of 23 years, returned at 00.23am on the morning of Wednesday 23 August. As Drummond and Cauty drove into a backstreet of Liverpool in an ice-cream van to begin three days of events, their first new work – a trilogy of dystopian fiction, an 'end of days story', called 2023: A Trilogy – simultaneously dropped online. Yet this is not a book for those looking for straightforward answers, and is as abstruse as the KLF themselves, who have published it under their other moniker, the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu. ..."
Guardian - GoogleByte v Beyon-Say: an exclusive extract from the KLF's chilling novel about the world in 2023
amazon: 2023 by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu.
BBC: The KLF return 23 years after bowing out of the music industry (Video)
2009 May: The KLF, 2011 June: Justified & Ancient, 2013 May: "3 a.m. Eternal", 2013 November: "America: What Time Is Love?" / "What Time Is Love?", 2017 March: Embrace The Contradictions: The Strange World Of... The KLF

Wednesday, August 23

Fela Kuti - Ikoyi Blindness / Kalakuta Show (1976)

"A two-for-one set, Ikoyi Blindness was a middle-of-the-pack release in a sea of mid-'70s Fela Kuti records that featured two songs and about a half-hour's worth of music. The rhythms were a little tighter and more highlife-influenced than they had been on albums from earlier in the decade. 'Ikoyi Blindness' itself was pretty typical of Kuti's efforts from the period, both in its structure, which built up to a call-and-response vocal, and in its taut two-chord melodic base. 'Gba Mi Leti Ki N'Dolowo (Slap Me Make I Get Money)' is a little more interesting due to its choppier rhythms, more vibrant percussion, stuttering low guitar riff, and extended haunting electric keyboard lines. By the time of 1976's Kalakuta Show, Kuti's releases were starting to seem not so much like records as ongoing installments in one long jam documenting the state of mind of Nigeria's leading contemporary musician and ideological/political dissenter. ..."
afrobeat, afrofunk, afrojazz, afrorock, african boogie, african hiphop ...
YouTube: Ikoyi Blindness, Gba Mi Leti Ki N'Dolowo, Kalakuta Show, Dont Make Garan Garan

New York’s Oldest Subway Cars, Beautiful Symbols of a Sad Decline

Though now a symbol of the New York City subway system’s state of disrepair, the R32 cars are genuinely a marvel of mid-twentieth-century engineering.
"In 1964, the New York City Transit Authority introduced the shiny, stainless-steel R32 subway car. 'There was a very special inaugural trip that took place on today’s Metro-North line into Grand Central Terminal, welcoming the trains into New York,' James Giovan, an educator at the New York Transit Museum, told me recently. The R32s were dubbed Brightliners. By 1965, six hundred had been built. With their brilliant corrugated bodies, they bore little resemblance to other cars. They were praised for having the clearest intercom system. Their plastic benches marked the end of gritty rattan-wicker seats. ..."
New Yorker

Resisting Gentrification, Rezoning and Displacement in East Harlem with The Harlem Art Collective at the Guerrilla Gallery

"A range of artworks and writings — by members of the Harlem Art Collective aka HART and the East Harlem community — on the theme No Rezoning, No Displacement, No Gentrification have made their way onto the Guerrilla Gallery on East 116th Street. The image pictured above — painted by Kristy McCarthy aka DGale and Zerk Oer — features a color-coded map with median prices of real estate sales and incomes of East Harlem residents, illustrating how increasingly difficult it is for working-class folks to afford to live in their own community. Several more images follow..."
Street Art NYC

Tuesday, August 22

World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Turiya Alice Coltrane (2017)

"Ashrams, physically speaking, are not easy to reach. Traditionally set at some remove, they are expanses of nature and silence and deliberate living that involve meditation, yoga, and communal meals. They instill a pleasant buzz. To visit the Sai Anantam Ashram, which Alice Coltrane founded and directed from 1983 until her death a decade ago, required a winding and mountainous Southern California drive; one could easily miss the gate. When you approached the entrance, as Franya J. Berkman wrote in her 2010 book Monument Eternal, the music of Coltrane and her devotees floated up from speakers set beside the dirt driveway. Coltrane’s rare ashram tapes have long been mythical. In the mid-1970s—after a rich musical life steeped in Detroit churches and bebop piano, as an accompanist to her husband John and over a decade composing her own visionary cosmic jazz—Coltrane began to retreat from public and secular life. ..."
Pitchfork (Audio)
NPR (Spotify or Apple Music)
Luaka Bop (Audio)
YouTube: Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda

2015 December: Maleem Mahmoud Ghania With Pharaoh Sanders - The Trance Of Seven Colors (1994), 2016 January: Ptah, The El Daoud - Alice Coltrane & Pharoah Sanders (1970), 2016 November: Tauhid (1967), 2017 May: The Pharoah Sanders Story: In the Beginning 1963-1964

Pere Ubu & Peter Laughner - Two First Singles (1975-76)

"Pere Ubu emerged from the urban wastelands of mid-'70s Cleveland to impact the American underground for generations to follow; led by hulking frontman David Thomas, whose absurdist warble and rapturously demented lyrics remained the band's creative focus throughout their long, convoluted career, Ubu's protean art punk sound harnessed self-destructing melodies, scattershot rhythms, and industrial-strength dissonance to capture the angst and chaos of their times with both apocalyptic fervor and surprising humanity. Named in honor of Alfred Jarry's surrealist play Ubu Roi, Pere Ubu was formed in the autumn of…"
YouTube: Two First Singles 1975-76
First Single A - 30 Seconds Over Tokyo 6:21 B - Heart Of Darkness 4:44 Second Single A - Final Solution 4:38 B - Cloud 149 2:32

2008 April: Pere Ubu, 2010 July: Pere Ubu - 1, 2012 November: David Thomas And The Pedestrians - Variations On A Theme, 2013 February: Dub Housing, 2014 September: Carnival of Souls (2014), 2015 June: Street Waves / My Dark Ages (1976), 2016 January: Live at the Longhorn: April 1, 1978, 2016 February: Cloudland (1989), 2016 April: Architecture of Language 1979-1982, 2016 November: The Modern Dance (1978), 2016 December: Don't Expect Art (1980), 2017 January: New Picnic Time (1979), 2017 June: Allen Ravenstine

Agnès Varda on her life and work - Artforum

"Agnès Varda discusses her life and work, from her films—which helped launch the French New Wave—to her photography, sculptures, and installations, on view at Blum & Poe in New York from March 2 to April 15, 2017." 16:25

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), Plaisir d’amour en Iran (1976), 2017 April: Agnès Varda’s Art of Being There, 2017 April: AGNÈS VARDA with Alexandra Juhasz.

Monday, August 21

The Ground on Which I Stand, a Speech on Black Theatre and Performance - August Wilson (1992)

"I wish to make it clear from the outset, however, that I do not have a mandate to speak for anyone. There are many intelligent blacks working in the American theatre who speak in loud and articulate voices. It would be the greatest of presumptions to say I speak for them. I speak only myself and those who may think as I do. In one guise, the ground I stand on has been pioneered by the Greek dramatists—by Euripides, Aeschylus and Sophocles—by William Shakespeare, by Shaw and Ibsen, and by the American dramatists Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. In another guise, the ground that I stand on has been pioneered by my grandfather, by Nat Turner, by Denmark Vesey, by Martin Delaney, Marcus Garvey and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. ..."
Princeton University McCarter Theatre
PBS: The Ground on Which I Stand (Video) 2:30
YouTube: The Ground on Which I Stand ($)

2017 July: Fences (2016)

When the South Held the Keys - An interview with Matt Karp

Henry Clay speaking on the Compromise of 1850 in the Senate, ca. 1855.
"In the years before the New Deal, the ex-Confederate states were, as Seth Ackerman put it, 'a desperately poor, single-crop farm region with a per capita income roughly half the national average and a third the level of the Northeast.' And its ruling class was no exception — few would make the mistake of calling the postbellum elite 'cosmopolitan.' When history is read backwards, the continuities between the postwar and pre-war ruling classes of the Southern states are magnified and exaggerated.  ... But Princeton historian and Jacobin contributing editor Matt Karp’s new book This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy makes clear that this is a mistake. ..."
Dissent - Booked: When Slaveholders Controlled the Government, with Matthew Karp

Augustus Pablo - In Fine Style (2003)

"London's Pressure Sounds label followed up their El Rocker's compilation (an excellent introduction to the musical vision of Augustus Pablo) with this set of rare 7" and 12" sides from the Jamaican innovator. Songs are grouped by rhythm, with multiple versions of seven Pablo productions making up the 17 tracks here. Because of this, In Fine Style may not be the recommended entry point for beginners. Collectors, however, will be greatly rewarded, and novices willing to dive in will experience firsthand the art of the version. Deejays Jah Levi (aka singer Hugh Mundell) and Jah Iny appear on a couple of tracks, but the remainder of the set is given over to Pablo's excursions on piano, organ, clavinet, xylophone, and his trademark melodica. ... It's an essential chapter, both in Pablo's story, and in the history of reggae."
YouTube: In Fine Style 55:03

Sunday, August 20

The Playa Provides: A Journey of Starting Over at Burning Man

"I arrived at Burning Man with a suitcase of costumes and a backpack stuffed with my whole life. I had just left New York for good, and for the next 8 days, the desert was my new home. With tens of thousands of feathered & leathered creatures strutting and fire-spewing art cars crawling, The Playa, the dry lake basin that holds the annual festival, was a maze of disorient and fantasy. The temptation to lose myself to the desert nights, to become a dot in the LED glitterscape, was strong. But this wasn’t my first rave, and I was here for so much more than just the party. I was on the mend and I was on my own for the first time. I was here to reclaim my life on my terms. I just happened to be doing it one of the world’s most legendary gatherings. I had a lot to learn. The day I left Brooklyn was the day I started over. I woke up in a hungover daze; the night before was my 'goodbye, forever' party, which involved too many drinks to count followed by 3 a.m. tacos, a late night cry precluding a fitful sleep. ..."
The Medium
indiegogo (vimeo) 2:29
YouTube: Burning Man: A Journey Through The Playa 27:55
YouTube: Deep Tunes for Deep Playa (Vol 6) 1:29:29

amazing Burning Man in photography

2007 November: Burning Man, 2009 August: Burning Man - 1, 2013 January: Timelapse-icus Maximus 2012 "A Burning Man for Ants", 2016 October: A Brief History of Who Ruined Burning Man

Two Prince Street relics on a pre-SoHo building

"SoHo’s cast-iron commercial buildings have long been repurposed into expensive lofts and boutiques. But hiding in plain site on the handsome, two-story brick and iron building between Greene Street and Wooster Place are two relics, nods to the neighborhood’s late 19th and 20th century manufacturing past. These metal signs, advertising the services of a lithographer and engraver as well as an office supplies seller, flank the ends of 120-125 Prince Street, actually two separate buildings constructed in 1892-1893 with a common facade. 'Stationery, Office Supplies, Paper, and Twine” states the one on the right. Twine? To wrap packages in an era before masking tape. ..."
Ephemeral New York
W - Pearl Street (Manhattan)

What's In My Bag? Paul Weller

"Paul Weller is a British guitarist, singer and songwriter nicknamed The Modfather, a founding member of The Jam and Syle Council, and a successful solo artist. The Jam formed in 1972 with Paul Weller and his school friends, guitarist Steve Brookes, bassist Bruce Foxton, and drummer Rick Buckler. When Brookes left the band shortly after its formation, they decided to remain a three-piece. At the time their debut album, In the City (Polydor, 1977), was released Weller was just 19 years old. With their third album, 1978's All Mod Cons (Polydor), Weller's songwriting took a huge leap forward, demonstrating that he was not limited to writing punk songs. ..."
Amoeba (Video)

2009 March: The Jam, 2012 November: "Going Underground", 2013 January: In the City, 2013 February: This Is the Modern World, 2013 July: All Mod Cons, 2013 November: Setting Sons, 2014 January: Sound Affects (1980), 2014 December: Live At Bingley Hall, Birmingham, England 1982, 2015 March: "Town Called Malice" / "Precious", 2015 July: The Gift (1982), 2015 September: "Strange Town" / "The Butterfly Collector" (1979), 2016 April: "Down In The Tube Station At Midnight" (1979), 2017 January: Absolute Beginners EP (1981), 2017 March: David Watts / "A" Bomb In Wardour Street (1978).

Saturday, August 19

Woods Hole

Wikipedia - "Woods Hole is a census-designated place in the town of Falmouth in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States. It lies at the extreme southwest corner of Cape Cod, near Martha's Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands. The population was 781 at the 2010 census. It is the site of several famous marine science institutions, including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory, the Woods Hole Research Center, NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (which started the Woods Hole scientific community in 1871), the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, a USGS coastal and marine geology center, and the home campus of the Sea Education Association. ..." Brad. Woods Hole, May 3-12, 1975.
W - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, a village on Cape Cod
YouTube: Drawbridge at Woods Hole Cape Cod Massachusetts

Jane Fay Baker, Winter Parking: Woods Hole, Woodcut

"I Can't Stand Myself (When You Touch Me)" - James Brown (1967)

Wikipedia - "'I Can't Stand Myself (When You Touch Me)', also known as 'I Can't Stand It', is a song written and recorded by James Brown in 1967. It is the most successful of the handful of recordings he made with The Dapps, a band of white musicians led by Beau Dollar. The single release of the song, on which its tempo was mechanically sped up, rose to #4 on the Billboard R&B chart and #28 on the Pop chart. The single's B-side, 'There Was a Time', also charted. 'I Can't Stand Myself (When You Touch Me)' was included on the 1968 album I Can't Stand Myself When You Touch Me, where it was labeled 'Pt. 1'. A 'Pt. 2', which appeared later in the album, never received a single release. ...  James Chance and the Contortions covered the song on the 1978 No Wave compilation album No New York. ..."
YouTube: I Can't Stand Myself (When You Touch Me) (Parts 1&2), James Chance & the Contortions - I Can't Stand Myself

Socialism: As American As Apple Pie

"... In the early 1900s, socialists led the movements for women's suffrage, child labor laws, consumer protection laws and the progressive income tax. In 1916, Victor Berger, a socialist congressman from Milwaukee, sponsored the first bill to create 'old age pensions.' The bill didn't get very far, but two decades later, in the midst of the Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt persuaded Congress to enact Social Security. Even then, some critics denounced it as un-American. But today, most Americans, even conservatives, believe that Social Security is a good idea. What had once seemed radical has become common sense. Much of FDR's other New Deal legislation -- the minimum wage, workers' right to form unions and public works programs to create jobs for the unemployed -- was first espoused by American socialists. ..."
CNN: What is democratic socialism, American-style?
thenib (Graph)

Friday, August 18

Sprawl trilogy

Wikipedia - "The Sprawl trilogy (also known as the Neuromancer, Cyberspace, or Matrix trilogy) is William Gibson's first set of novels, composed of Neuromancer (1984), Count Zero (1986), and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988). The novels are all set in the same fictional future, and are subtly interlinked by shared characters and themes (which are not always readily apparent). The Sprawl trilogy shares this setting with Gibson's short stories 'Johnny Mnemonic', 'New Rose Hotel', and 'Burning Chrome', and events and characters from the stories appear in or are mentioned at points in the trilogy. The novels are set in a near-future world dominated by corporations and ubiquitous technology, after a limited World War III. ...  Some of the novels' action takes place in The Sprawl, an urban environment that extends along much of the east coast of the US. The story arc which frames the trilogy is the development of an artificial intelligence which steadily removes its hardwired limitations to become something else. ..."
W - Neuromancer, W - Count Zero, W - Mona Lisa Overdrive
amazon: Sprawl Trilogy Book Series

2011 July: William Gibson, 2015 May: Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology - edited by Bruce Sterling (1986), 2015 July: A Global Neuromancer, 2016 May: The Difference Engine - William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (1990)

Brion Gysin - Unseen Collaborator

Night in Marrakech, 1968
"October Gallery, London is pleased to present Unseen Collaborator, a solo exhibition of works by the artist Brion Gysin. The exhibition will feature several unseen paintings 1950-1985, including his Sahara phase, Marrakech crowd scenes, permutations and cutups, calligraphy and grid pieces, an architectural photograph, and a Dreamachine. Neo-calligrapher, master of line, multimedia revolutionary and cultural historian, Gysin’s experiences in New York, Tangier, Paris and London influenced his seminal artistic productions. William S. Burroughs called Gysin, ‘the only man I truly respect’. ..."
October Gallery
Wall Street International

Thursday, August 17

Three Stones for Jean Genet told Patti Smith (2013)

"In April of 2013, American singer Patti Smith travels to the grave of French writer Jean Genet in Larache, Morocco. She brings him three stones, which she collected for him over 30 years ago. ... In this particular moment there was no plan for a film, the situation seemed to private to me. But I wanted to document our little discovery tour in some way and packed Christoph Schlingensief's 16mm Bolex camera, which had been given into my custody shortly before. Patti Smith was friends with Christoph Schlingensief and I knew she would like this reference. There were also a few rolls of old black and white material left. On a sunny day, after Patti Smith's concert in Tanger, we gave her a tour through town and to the beach-café at Cape Spartel, to places that linked us through Paul Bowles, whom the three of us knew well and admired. On the second day we went to Larache. At the grave of Jean Genet we did only a few shots. ..."
YouTube: Three Stones for Jean Genet told Patti Smith

Jùjú music

Wikipedia - "Jùjú is a style of Nigerian popular music, derived from traditional Yoruba percussion. The name comes from a Yoruba word 'juju' or 'jiju' meaning 'throwing' or 'something being thrown.' Juju music did not derive its name from juju, which 'is a form of magic and the use of magic objects or witchcraft common in West Africa, Haiti, Cuba and other South American nations.' It evolved in the 1920s in urban clubs across the countries, and was believed to have been created by AbdulRafiu Babatunde King, popularly known as Tunde King. The first jùjú recordings were by Tunde King and Ojoge Daniel from the same era of the 1920s when Tunde King pioneered it. The lead and predominant instrument of Jùjú is the Iya Ilu, talking drum. ... Afro-juju is a style of Nigerian popular music, a mixture of Jùjú music and Afrobeat. Its most famous exponent was Shina Peters, who was so popular that the press called the phenomenon 'Shinamania'. Afro-juju's peak of popularity came in the early 1990s. ..."
King Sunny Ade Interview by Jason Gross (June 1998)
Sparkling Prince of Juju Music Called Ludare

Jonas Mekas talks about Movie Journal

"New York–based filmmaker Jonas Mekas talks about his Village Voice column Movie Journal, which covered avant-garde cinema during the 1960s and ’70s. To read Amy Taubin’s piece on Mekas and his column, pick up the April 2017 issue of Artforum, or read it online here."

2014 May: Anthology Film Archives, 2014 October: Captured: A Film/Video History of the Lower East Side, 2016 February: Jonas Mekas, 2017 July: Patti Smith Sang Some Lou Reed at a Gala For Anthology Film Archives’ Expansion

Wednesday, August 16

Charlottesville’s Faces of Hate

A counter-protester walks through a cloud of tear gas.
"The neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched and brawled in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend wore their whiteness like a shield. It was proudly evident in their uncovered faces and their arms outstretched in Hitler salutes. It was displayed on their bare skin, which flaunted tattoos of swastikas and Confederate flags. Mark Peterson’s photographs capture the baleful scene, illuminating the protesters’ faces and eyes, some of which are joyful in their hate. They bludgeon and stamp on counter-protesters, who scramble and care for the fallen, including Heather Heyer, struck and killed by a white supremacist’s car. ..."
New Republic
New Yorker: Making America White Again By Toni Morrison (November 21, 2016)
NY Times: Why Confederate Monuments Must Fall
NY Times: What Jewish Children Learned From Charlottesville