Sunday, September 30

Photographer Alex Harsley Created An Artists’ Hub In the East Village—And Now He’s Trying To Save It


"All the roads in Alex Harsley’s life have led him to photography (many of these roads he traversed as a young man keen on tearing up the streets of New York on his sweet motorcycle). Specifically, what he calls 'information photography.' ... He gestures to a photograph on the wall near him, where a man and woman stand under streetlamps on a New York night. Two drops of blue from the streetlights—almost like splashes of paint—stand out from the yellow and black hues of the photo. This is a signature technique of Harsley, who’s spent much of his life experimenting with the ultraviolet spectrum by pulling different colors out and plopping them where they normally wouldn’t be seen. But Harsley is fixated on a different detail at the moment. ..."
Bedford + Bowery
GoFundMe - Keep the 4th St Photo Gallery Open! (Video)
vimeo: Alex Harsley - East Village photographer

Céleste Albaret


Wikipedia - "Céleste Albaret (née Gineste, 17 May 1891 – 25 April 1984) was a country girl who moved to Paris in 1913 when she married the taxi driver Odilon Albaret. The most regular of Odilon Albaret's regular clients was the celebrated novelist and critic, Marcel Proust. Lonely and bored in the grand city, and at her husband's suggestion, Albaret began to run errands for Proust. Before very long she became his secretary and housekeeper. During the final decade of Proust's life his health declined and he became progressively more withdrawn, even while working with continuing intensity on his writing: she became his nurse and 'the writer’s most trusted conduit to the world beyond his reclusive, cork-lined bedroom'. Marcel Proust died in 1922 and Albaret moved on to run a small Paris hotel, together with her husband and daughter. Odilon Albaret died in 1960, by which time the hotel had been sold and Albaret had become the caretaker-guide at a museum at Montfort-l'Amaury, on the western edge of Paris. In the early 1970s she was persuaded by the Laffont publishing company that she should disclose what she could concerning the private life of Marcel Proust, who was still an iconic literary figure among the intellectual classes. ..."
Wikipedia
NYRB: Monsieur Proust by Céleste Albaret, foreword by André Aciman, translated from the French by Barbara Bray

2008 June: Marcel Proust, 2011 October: How Proust Can Change Your Life, 2012 April: Marcel Proust - À la recherche du temps perdu, 2013 February: Marcel Proust and Swann's Way: 100th Anniversary, 2013 May: A Century of Proust, 2013 August: Paintings in Proust - Eric Karpeles, 2013 October: On Reading Proust, 2015 September: "Paintings in Proust" - View of the Piazza del Popolo, Giovanni Battista Piranes, 2015 September: In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way: A Graphic Novel, 2016 January: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (1919), 2016 February: Chasing Lost Time: The Life of C.K. Scott Moncrieff: Soldier, Spy and Translator, 2016 May: The Guermantes Way (1920-21), 2016 August: Marcel Proust’s Search for Lost Time — Patrick Alexander, 2016 October: My Strange Friend Marcel Proust, 2017 March: Sodom and Gomorrah (1921-1922), 2017 August: Letters To His Neighbor by Marcel Proust; translated by Lydia Davis, October: Proust's À la recherche – a novel big enough for the world, 2017 October: Proust Fans Eagerly Await Trove of Letters Going Online, 2017 December: The Prisoner / The Fugitive (1923-1925), 2018 May: Time Regained (1927)

Saturday, September 29

From Roots to Dancehall


"The death of Bob Marley in 1981 is often conceived as a line of demarcation, signalling the end of roots reggae and the dawning of dancehall. But Jamaican music has never been as simple as that. Dig a little deeper and you will find that the shift happened significantly earlier, with the deejays of western Kingston being the major catalysts of change. For much of the last fifty years, Jamaican popular music has been typified by transformation. Most readers will be familiar with the ska/rock steady/reggae axis that was at the music’s core before dancehall’s advent. In fact, the island’s earliest recordings featured mento — an indigenous folk form — and during the late 1950s, a Jamaican form of rhythm and blues gained favour, which gave way to ska as the independence movement gathered steam. Then, after the pared-down rock steady dominated, in late 1968, reggae came storming in as a fast-paced dance style with a shuffling organ. ..."
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)

The Absence Of Alice Coltrane – Reflections On Spiritual Eternal


"Getting over yourself is a lifelong job; you really have to keep at it, and most of us never manage. You might struggle, too, to work out what the difference is – practically speaking – between getting over yourself and just sitting down and being quiet. (You’d be in good company, and would perhaps make an excellent nun.) The fear, perhaps, is how do you get over yourself without making yourself disappear? There's no doubt that Alice Coltrane got over herself. She had help (though that might not be the right way to put it) when she was widowed aged 29 with four children to look after, her beloved husband killed by cancer. Grief can do amazing, terrible and bottomlessly strange things to you. In the period following John Coltrane's death, the harp that he'd ordered a few months previously arrived and Alice began to play it. She also entered into what she described as her tapas – a period of spiritual cleansing – where she fasted, deprived herself of sleep, meditated, hallucinated, and was admitted to hospital after purposefully burning herself during 'examinations' to see her body's further reactions to extremity. ..."
The Quietus

Friday, September 28

Senate Panel Approves Kavanaugh, but Flake Wants F.B.I. Investigation Before Final Vote


"The Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Friday to advance Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate, but in a dramatic reversal, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona said he would not support final confirmation until the F.B.I. investigates accusations of sexual assault leveled against Judge Kavanaugh. The decision put a cloud over what Republicans expected to be a triumphant day, but they still had reason to be optimistic: Despite adamant Democratic opposition, they were still able to muscle the nomination through committee with an 11-to-10 vote and send it to the full Senate with a favorable recommendation. Mr. Flake, an Arizona Republican, had announced Friday morning that he would vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, less than 24 hours after a remarkable public hearing with a woman accusing him of sexual assault. But after nearly an hour of hushed negotiations with Democratic senators in an anteroom to the chamber on Friday, Mr. Flake, who is retiring at the end of the term, chose a different course. His decision threw the nomination into uncertainty just moments before the panel was set to vote. ..."
NY Times (Video)
****facebook: Samuel L has some words for Kavanaugh (Video)
NY Times: A Bitter Nominee, Questions of Neutrality, and a Damaged Supreme Court (Video)
The Atlantic: Kavanaugh’s Fate Will Have a Massive Ripple Effect
NY Times: Two Voices Pierce Washington: ‘I Am Terrified.’ ‘I Am Innocent.’
CNN: Frustrated Trump turns optimistic on Kavanaugh (Video)
CNN: Ford '100%' certain of assault claim; Kavanaugh says 'I am innocent' (Video)
NY Times: Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford Square Off in Emotional Hearing With Court in Balance (Video)
The Atlantic: The 17 Most Striking Moments From the Kavanaugh Hearing
The Atlantic: Once Christine Blasey Ford's Humanity Was on Display, It Was All Over
The Atlantic: What's in It for Christine Blasey Ford?
The Atlantic: Lindsey Graham’s Furious Defense of Brett Kavanaugh
New Republic: Brett Kavanaugh Disqualified Himself From the Supreme Court
WSJ: Kavanaugh: “If I Had Done That, It Would Have Been the Talk of Campus.” (Video)

Spaccanapoli - Vesuvio (As featured in The Sopranos)


"Vesuvio is a volcano mountain in Naples. This song is by the European group 'Spaccanapoli' The pictures are all from Deviant Art web site. This song was used in the Sopranos to describe the affair that was about to happen between Carmella and Furio. I think the words fit that situation perfectly. And I was captivated by this song when I heard it on there and it took me a long time to find out who it was by and what it was about. The lyrics for this song in both Napoli and English translation are as follows...."
YouTube: Vesuvio By Spaccanapoli (Napoli and English translated lyrics)

The Golden Bowl - Henry James (1904)


Wikipedia - "The Golden Bowl is a 1904 novel by Henry James. Set in England, this complex, intense study of marriage and adultery completes what some critics have called the "major phase" of James' career. The Golden Bowl explores the tangle of interrelationships between a father and daughter and their respective spouses. The novel focuses deeply and almost exclusively on the consciousness of the central characters, with sometimes obsessive detail but also with powerful insight. ... The Golden Bowl's intense focus on these four characters gives the novel both its tremendous power and its peculiar feeling of claustrophobia. While the book delves deeply and often brilliantly into the consciousness of Amerigo and Maggie, some critics think it loses momentum in a maze of over-analysis. ..."
Wikipedia
Literary Corner Cafe
NYBooks: Cracking ‘The Golden Bowl’
On Bookes
[PDF] Gutenberg - The Golden Bowl
amazon

The Rise of West Coast Democrats


"In July, Jeff Merkley, the junior senator from Oregon, traveled to Iowa. The trip was his third in twelve months—a sign, political commentators said, that he was preparing to launch a presidential bid. Nobody from the West Coast has ever won the Democratic presidential nomination. But two years from now, at least six will likely be competing for it: a mayor, a governor, at least two senators, even a few business executives. Tom Steyer, a venture capitalist from San Francisco, has already spent $40 million on a national ad campaign calling for President Trump’s impeachment and has held town halls in Iowa and New Hampshire. ..."
New Republic

Wednesday, September 26

Material - The Road to the Western Lands (1998)


"This generous remix album delivers five versions of 'The Western Land' and two of the title tracks from Material's Seven Souls album, which was originally released on the Virgin label in 1989 and was reissued by Triloka in 1997. (Tracks one and seven are duplicated on the full album.) All of the remixes are radical departures from the album tracks on which they're based, and you might never guess that all the 'Western Land' mixes are based on the same original version if it wasn't for the wisps of William Burroughs' laconic spoken-word vocals fluttering in and out of all of them. There are lots of big names here, including Talvin Singh (who weighs in with an attractively funky, if unexciting, selection), DJ Olive and DJ Soul Slinger (who gets more radical with the source material, messes around more with Burroughs' voice and creates extremely intricate rhythms, to compelling effect). Spring Heel Jack take a sort of ambient approach, with frankly boring results. But Bill Laswell's ten-minute excursion on 'Seven Souls' is a revelation. Recommended with minor reservations."
allmusic
W - Seven Souls (album)
W - The Western Lands - William S. Burroughs (1987)
NY Times: Joe the Dead Seeks Immortality
amazon
YouTube: Material + William S. Burroughs ۞ Seven Souls, the western lands, Deliver

2009 May: Cut-up technique - 1, 2010 March: Cut-up technique, 2010 December: The Evolution of the Cut-Up Technique in My Own Mag, 2014 February: William Burroughs at 100, 2014 September: The Ticket That Exploded, 2014 November: What Is Schizo-Culture? A Classic Conversation with William S. Burroughs, 2015 June: The Electronic Revolution (1971), 2015 August: Cut-Ups: William S. Burroughs 1914 – 2014, 2015 December: Destroy All Rational Thought, 2016 January: Commissioner of Sewers: A 1991 Profile of Beat Writer William S. Burroughs, 2016 June: Nothing Here Now But The Recordings (1981), 2016 September: # 1 – A Descriptive Catalogue of the William S. Burroughs Archive, 2016 December: #6 – Call Me Burroughs LP, 2017 January: A Visit to William S. Burroughs at the Beat Hotel in Summer, 1958, 2017 December: The Nova Trilogy (The Cut-up Trilogy)

Tuesday, September 25

A Responsible Freedom: Patti Smith on ‘Little Women’ - Patti Smith


"Perhaps no other book provided a greater guide, as I set out on my youthful path, than Louisa May Alcott’s most beloved novel, Little Women. I was a wiry daydreamer, just ten years old. Life was already presenting challenges for an awkward tomboy growing up in the gender-defined 1950s. Uninterested in preordained activities, I would take off on my blue bicycle, to a secluded place in the woods, and read the books I had checked out, often over and over again, from the local library. I could hardly be found without book in hand and sacrificed sleep and hours at play to enter wholeheartedly each of their unique worlds. Many wonderful books captured my imagination, but in Little Women something extraordinary happened. I recognized myself, as if in a mirror, the lanky headstrong girl, who raced on foot, ripped her skirts climbing trees, spoke in common slang, and denounced social pretensions. ..."
The Paris Review
W - Little Women

Distortion


Wikipedia - "Distortion and overdrive are forms of audio signal processing used to alter the sound of amplified electric musical instruments, usually by increasing their gain, producing a 'fuzzy', 'growling', or 'gritty' tone. Distortion is most commonly used with the electric guitar, but may also be used with other electric instruments such as bass guitar, electric piano, and Hammond organ. Guitarists playing electric blues originally obtained an overdriven sound by turning up their vacuum tube-powered guitar amplifiers to high volumes, which caused the signal to distort. While overdriven tube amps are still used to obtain overdrive in the 2010s, especially in genres like blues and rockabilly, a number of other ways to produce distortion have been developed since the 1960s, such as distortion effect pedals. The growling tone of distorted electric guitar is a key part of many genres, including blues and many rock music genres, notably hard rock, punk rock, hardcore punk, acid rock, and heavy metal music. ..."
Wikipedia
YouTube: A Brief History of Electric Guitar Distortion 9:15

Monday, September 24

From ’80s Street Art to Graphic Novels. And Back.


Richard McGuire in his Tribeca studio with new posters in the style of his 1979-82 Ixnae Nix works.
"It’s hard to imagine many people becoming emotional over a nondescript alley in downtown New York. But the illustrator and graphic novelist Richard McGuire sounded downright wistful as he gazed out the back window of his fifth-floor studio at Cortlandt Alley — which once led to the Mudd Club, a much-mythologized dawn-of-the-’80s nightspot. Yet he wasn’t feeling nostalgic for his time onstage there, playing bass with his band Liquid Liquid. Rather he was focused on the alley itself, where he had once spent many late nights furtively looking over his shoulder for passing police cars as he wheatpasted handmade posters of his alien-like Ixnae Nix character onto the walls. ..."
NY Times
Alden Projects - Richard McGuire: Art for the Street – 1978-1982

Ixnae Nix amid downtown’s “babel of competing images,” in 1979.

Geraldo Pino & The Heartbeats – Afro Soco Soul Live (1972)


"2018 CD re-issue of 1972 album on Oom Dooby Dochas of Geraldo Pino's super rare afro-funk album 'Afro Soco Soul Live'. One of the hidden heroes of African popular music, singer, guitarist and band leader from Sierra Leone, Geraldo 'Pine' Pino had a major influence on the burgeoning afrobeat/soul/funk scene in West Africa during the '60s and '70s. 'Afro Soco Soul Live' is a live album at the top of the game, stretching out for heavy Afro-funk jams! ..."
Holland Tunnel
Discogs
Merlins Nose Records (Audio)
YouTube: Geraldo Pino - Afro Soco Soul Live (Full) 36:50

Gerry Mulligan Quartet - Pacific Jazz Records (1952)


"This was the 10" LP that launched the Pacific Jazz label. In fact, producer Dick Bock originally started his label specifically to record the popular Gerry Mulligan Quartet. Baritonist Mulligan, trumpeter Chet Baker, bassist Bob Whitlock, and drummer Chico Hamilton made for a classic team, as can be heard on the eight numbers that comprise this album. All of the music has since been reissued many times, but they are still worth hearing, particularly such performances as 'Soft Shoe,' 'Aren't You Glad You're You,' 'Bernie's Tune,' 'Walkin' Shoes,' and 'Nights at the Turntable.' Classic music."
allmusic
Discogs
W - Gerry Mulligan Quartet Volume 1
YouTube: Gerry Mulligan Quartet 23:40

Sunday, September 23

Fairfield Porter – "Mystery that is Essential to Reality"


Bear Island with Spruces, 1974
"Fairfield Porter has been on my mind recently which led me to finding some interesting articles, books and links related to Porter’s paintings that I’d like to share. A recurring theme that often reverberates back and forth inside my head is the notion about painting nature the way you find it. To find the underlying abstract structure of the painting through what is seen rather than imposing a notion of what’s the best order. Of course this doesn’t mean mindless inventory and copy of details but rather looking past the unessential to get to that best line of poetry which captures this particular moment and the experience of looking. The key is keeping it real, that the truthful interaction with nature is often far more inventive, surprising and fresh than repeating ideas of what you think a painting’s proper subject is or should look like. One of my biggest attractions to Fairfield Porter is this honesty before his motif as well as his background parallel-track tunes playing from the ethers of Bonnard, Vuillard, Velázquez and Tiepolo. ..."
Painting Perceptions
W - Fairfield Porter

Spruce & Birch, 1964

In The Weeds


"Take the B31 bus to the last stop at the end of Gerritsen Avenue, and you’ll arrive at what locals call 'the Point,' a sandy strip of unguarded shoreline at the southern tip of Brooklyn’s 900-acre Marine Park. This land was originally intended to be one of New York City’s largest and most ambitious public spaces, with grand designs that included a 100,000-seat stadium, nine swimming pools, and enough recreational facilities to cover 1,800 acres of parkland. But the project was sidelined by the Great Depression and drastically scaled back by the time it resumed in the late 1940s. Mountains of garbage were transferred to the site and covered with topsoil to fill in 1,000 acres of swampy marshland, but in some areas, the work stopped there. Today, large sections of the park remain undeveloped. As a result, the westernmost banks of Gerritsen Creek boast a degree of wildness that you wouldn’t expect to find within the city limits. ..."
BKLYNR
W - Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn

Saturday, September 22

R.L. Burnside - Mississippi Hill Country Blues


"Culled from early ’80s sessions originally recorded in the Netherlands, this compilation features Burnside-currently being touted as an icon in alternative rock circles-singing in that riveting, blues-drenched style accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. The final three tracks were recorded near Coldwater, Miss., in 1967 and carry the same mesmerizing rhythmic drive and deep blue spirit of the Delta that typifies Burnside’s work to this day."
JazzTimes
W - Hill country blues
North Mississippi Hill Country Blues: It's NOT the Delta Blues! (Video)
amazon
YouTube: Mississippi Hill Country Blues - Full Album 56:29

Jakarta Records x Habibi Funk (Jannis & Malte) • DJ Sets • Le Mellotron


"Pas peu fier de recevoir les boss du label allemand Jakarta Records et Habibi Funk au studio ! Diggers invétérés, en constante recherche de perles musicales, Jannis et Malte sont arrivés avec quelques sacs à disques, des oldies et des fraicheurs du label. Un panel assez large, à l'image de Jakarta et Habibi Funk, mais 100% quali. Le Mellotron is all about people and music. In the beginning it was a blog that quickly takes the shape of a webradio gathering a growing community of music curators and lovers. Located in a bar just steps from Place de la Republique, in the heart of Paris, Le Mellotron beats day after day to the rhythm of the city, its people and streets. We strongly believe in a an emerging parisian musical scene, moved by its curiosity, able to capture and transform its worldwide influences. LeMellotron will be its amplifier."
Le Mellotron (Video/Audio)

Friday, September 21

The Village Voice (1955–2018)


"The destruction of the Village Voice — in the spirit of the paper itself, let’s not mince words about the nature of its ending—may not have been a surprise, but it was still a shock to the system. I myself was a latecomer to the publication, first hired as a pinch-hitter art critic in 2014, and then bumped up to art columnist in 2016. At that time, a new owner promised a new era, vowing to make the Voice great again, and we who worked there believed him. Few of us trusted the self-proclaimed savior, but we did somehow, perhaps a bit dumbly, have faith that the phoenix would inevitably rise from the ashes as it had before—this time, with great enough force and vitality that the city would have its beloved and reviled weekly back on the streets. And for a while, it did. The Voice was a cultural necessity for decades, a breeding ground for generations of passionate and relentless journalists, critics, and writers, where they could hone their chops, flex their intellects, dig deep and deeper still into acts both heroic and criminal, whether civic or aesthetic. As its title promised, it produced a raucous and joyful chorus that remains a standard by which writerly courage is still measured. ..."
ARTFORUM
The Voice and Its Village

Alexander Cockburn leads an editorial meeting in the Voice offices.

2018 September: Last Rites for the Village Voice, a Bohemian Who Stayed On Too Long

The Hieronymus Bosch Demon Bird Was Spotted Riding the New York City Subway the Other Day…


"To me, the great promise of homeschooling is that one day your child might, on their own initiative, ride the New York City subways dressed in a homemade, needlefelted costume modeled on the ice-skating bird messenger from Hieronymus Bosch’s The Temptation of St. Anthony. ... Even the tiniest creature produced by this method is a labor intensive proposition, wherein loose woolen fibers are soaked, soaped, and jabbed with a needle until they come together in a rough mat, suitable for shaping into the whimsical—or demonic—figure of its creator’s choosing. Stimson matched her full-head bird mask to the one in the painting by equipping it with gloves, a blanket cloak, long velvet ears, and a leafless twig emerging from the spout of its hand-painted funnel hat. ..."
Open Culture
Hieronymus Bosch: The Temptation of Saint Anthony (Lisbon, and Kansas City)
W - Triptych of the Temptation of St. Anthony

Hieronymus Bosch (c 1450–1516), The Temptation of Saint Anthony (Lisbon) (left wing, detail)

Thursday, September 20

The Plot to Subvert an Election: Unraveling the Russia Story So Far


"On an October afternoon before the 2016 election, a huge banner was unfurled from the Manhattan Bridge in New York City: Vladimir V. Putin against a Russian-flag background, and the unlikely word 'Peacemaker' below. It was a daredevil happy birthday to the Russian president, who was turning 64. In November, shortly after Donald J. Trump eked out a victory that Moscow had worked to assist, an even bigger banner appeared, this time on the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington: the face of President Barack Obama and 'Goodbye Murderer' in big red letters. Police never identified who had hung the banners, but there were clues. The earliest promoters of the images on Twitter were American-sounding accounts, including @LeroyLovesUSA, later exposed as Russian fakes operated from St. Petersburg to influence American voters. The Kremlin, it appeared, had reached onto United States soil in New York and Washington. The banners may well have been intended as visual victory laps for the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history. For many Americans, the Trump-Russia story as it has been voluminously reported over the past two years is a confusing tangle of unfamiliar names and cyberjargon, further obscured by the shout-fest of partisan politics. ..."
NY Times (Video)
NY Times: A Timeline Showing the Full Scale of Russia’s - Unprecedented Interference in the 2016 Election, and Its Aftermath
NY Times: Collecting the Details of the Russia Investigation in One Place

Houston Chronicle: Russian online trolls organized a protest of an Islamic center in Houston in 2016. ("A Houston protest, organized by Russian trolls" - Feb. 20, 2018)

Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, Resina, Shida Shahabi - The Sea At The End Of Her String (2018)


"‘The Sea at The End of Her String’ is a seven-track EP that highlights three adventurous, hugely talented female artists from the current roster of FatCat’s pioneering 130701 imprint. Featuring seven exclusive new tracks, the EP is available both digitally and in a limited edition, one-time-only vinyl pressing of 300 copies to be sold alongside a short, triple-bill UK tour. Both tour and EP feature the same three artists – French pianist / composer Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, Polish cellist Resina and Swedish-Iranian pianist Shida Shahabi. The EP’s title is taken from a line in Sylvia Plath’s poem, ‘Three Women’ and, whilst taken somewhat out of context, is used here to indicate both the instrumental rooting of the three artists’ music (bound to the resonating strings of the piano or cello) and to offer some suggestion of the fluidity and vastness it either draws from or expresses. ..."
fat cat records
Soundcloud: Emilie Levienaise - Farrouch - Layers Of Sentiments (Audio)
YouTube: Époques; Morphee; A Trace Of Salt

Wednesday, September 19

Neo-noir


Wikipedia - "Neo-noir is a modern or contemporary motion picture rendition of film noir. The term film noir (popularised by two French critics, namely, Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton, in 1955) was applied to crime movies of the 1940s and 1950s, most produced in the United States. It meant dark movie, indicating a sense of something sinister and shadowy, but also expressing a style of cinematography. The film noir genre includes stylish Hollywood crime dramas, often with a twisted dark wit. Neo-noir has a similar style but with updated themes, content, style, visual elements or media. Neo-noir, as the term suggests, is contemporary noir. The film directors knowingly refer to 'classic noir' in the use of tilted camera angles, interplay of light and shadows, unbalanced framing; blurring of the lines between good and bad and right and wrong, and a motif of revenge, paranoia, and alienation, among other sensibilities. ..."
Wikipedia
W - List of neo-noir titles
10 Great European Neo-Noir Films
Independent: The ten greatest neo-noir films
10 Neo-Noir Films That Should Be Essential Viewing

Meet the Cultural Illuminati Guarding France’s Most Sacrosanct Asset: The French Language


The Institut de France, home to the Académie Française, situated in Paris’s Sixth Arrondissement. Opposite, the Académie’s meeting room.
"When you’re known as 'the immortals,' as are the 40 members of the Académie Française, it’s hard to take yourselves lightly. Over the course of five centuries, 732 of them have walked the earth and reigned as the guardians of France’s most sacrosanct asset: its language. A linguistic secret service, if you like, they project an almost priestly aura when they don their habits verts—long black cloaks embroidered with leafy-green botanical motifs—accessorized with elaborate ceremonial swords. Drawn from the arts and academia as well as the clergy and government, the Académie is considered to include the nation’s finest minds, and is revered accordingly. It is, after all, the most exclusive club in France. ... Inside their temple-like palace on the left bank of the Seine, opposite the Louvre, in the majestic coupole-topped chamber where they convene, a good portion of the numbered fauteuils have sat vacant for long stretches (six were unoccupied in 2017) while the Académie goes through its laborious election process. In May, it chose its fifth living female immortal, and the ninth ever. ..."
Vanity Fair
W - Académie française

Philologist and newly elected Académie member Barbara Cassin at her Paris apartment.

Tuesday, September 18

Radiant and Radical: 20 Years of Defining the Soul of Black Art


Elizabeth Catlett’s 1968 mahogany sculpture “Black Unity” and Faith Ringgold’s 1967 painting “American People Series #18: The Flag Is Bleeding” in the new Brooklyn Museum exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.”
"It will be a happy day when racial harmony rules in this land. But that day’s not coming any time soon. Who could have guessed in the 1960s, when civil rights became law, that a new century would bring white supremacy tiki torching out of the closet and turn the idea that black lives matter, so beyond obvious, into a desperate battle cry? Actually, African-Americans could have seen such things coming. No citizens know the national narrative, and its implacable racism, better than they do. And no artists have responded to that history-that-won’t-go-away more powerfully than black artists. More than 60 of them appear in the passionate show called 'Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power' now at the Brooklyn Museum, in a display filling two floors of special exhibition space with work that functioned, in its time, as seismic detector, political persuader and defensive weapon. ..."
NY Times
Brooklyn Museum - Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power
Tate - Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power (Video)

Benny Andrews, Did the Bear Sit Under a Tree? 1969

Monday, September 17

My Journey with Jazz


The saxophonist Alan Braufman and the pianist Cooper-Moore reunited recently to play at National Sawdust, in Brooklyn.
"The first jazz album I bought was John Coltrane’s 'Interstellar Space.' At the time (I was a teen-ager), I knew almost nothing about jazz, beyond typically clichéd impressions that it was contemplative, grownup music, and people always seemed to be romantically snapping their fingers, ecstatically bopping their heads. ... In the seventies, young musicians enthralled by the new, collaborative possibilities of 'free jazz' and avant-garde experimentation began moving to New York, where rents were cheap, loft spaces abundant, and zoning codes rarely enforced. In 1973, the pianist Gene Ashton (now known as Cooper-Moore) and some other musicians found a four-story building at 501 Canal Street, on the west side of Manhattan. The saxophonist Alan Braufman, a friend from Berklee College of Music, in Boston, soon joined him. On Friday nights, they would set up some folding chairs and open the doors to anyone who wanted to come, listen, and join their excursions. ..."
New Yorker
NY Times: Coming of Age in the Loft Jazz Scene
The Quietus: Alan Braufman (Video)
Bandcamp (Audio)
YouTube: "Valley of Search" (Live In The Greene Space), Alan Braufman "Valley of Search" full album 43:10

Charles-François Daubigny (15 February 1817 – 19 February 1878)


The Bridge between Persan and Beaumont-sur-Oise, 1867
Wikipedia - "Charles-François Daubigny (15 February 1817 – 19 February 1878) was one of the painters of the Barbizon school, and is considered an important precursor of Impressionism. Daubigny was born in Paris, into a family of painters and was taught the art by his father Edmond François Daubigny and his uncle, miniaturist Pierre Daubigny. Initially Daubigny painted in a traditional style, but this changed after 1843 when he settled in Barbizon to work outside in nature. Even more important was his meeting with Camille Corot in 1852 in Optevoz (Isère). On his famous boat Botin, which he had turned into a studio, he painted along the Seine and Oise, often in the region around Auvers. From 1852 onward he came under the influence of Gustave Courbet. In 1866 Daubigny visited England, eventually returning because of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870. In London he met Claude Monet, and together they left for the Netherlands. Back in Auvers, he met Paul Cézanne, another important Impressionist. It is assumed that these younger painters were influenced by Daubigny. ..."
Wikipedia
The Clark: The Bridge between Persan and Beaumont-sur-Oise, 1867, The Clark: The Creek, 1863

The Creek, 1863

Sunday, September 16

Songs of Resistance 1942-2018 - Marc Ribot


"Like many other Americans, guitarist Marc Ribot had a visceral reaction the night Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. Almost immediately he began studying history's political songs to interact with the present, selecting what he thought would work right now. The result of that sojourn of study, writing, arranging, and recording is Songs of Resistance 1942-2018. He reworked classic songs and wrote new ones. He enlisted a stellar cast of collaborators including Fay Victor, Justin Vivian Bond, Meshell Ndegeocello, Sam Amidon, Steve Earle, Tift Merritt, Tom Waits, Syd Straw, and Ohene Cornelius. Profits from the recording will be donated to the Indivisible Project. The union of jazz saxophones and anthemic rock on the traditional 'We Are Soldiers in the Army' is a rousing entry point with Victor's voice taming the squall and improv intensity, holding the melody amid the sonic maelstrom.
allmusic
Open Culture: Tom Waits Releases a Timely Cover of the Italian Anti-Fascist Anthem “Bella Ciao,” His First New Song in Two Years
Songs Of Resistance 1942 - 2018 (Audio)
amazon
YouTube: "Bella Ciao (Goodbye Beautiful)" (feat. Tom Waits), "Srinivas" (feat. Steve Earle & Tift Merritt), "The Big Fool", "John Brown" (feat. Fay Victor), "Rata de dos Patas" (feat. Ohene Cornelius), "How To Walk In Freedom" (feat. Sam Amidon & Fay Victor)

La Musique Perdue: This Map Offers An Interactive History Of Record Stores In Paris


"Vinyl is in the midst of a major resurgence. It seems that in every corner of musical fandom you’ll find audiophiles discovering, rediscovering, and generally geeking out over the rich, lush, layered sound of music pressed to plastic. The pinnacle of such devotion is Record Store Day. Founded in 2007 by some Baltimore record shop owners, the day for all things vinyl is now celebrated the world over, with overnight lines forming for limited edition releases. To commemorate the day, and acknowledge his own enduring love of old records, Paris-based Thomas Henry–he of the most adorable mini-chairs street marketing campaign for his Paris bar–took it upon himself to create an interactive ode to Paris’ bygone record stores with Disquaires de Paris, or Record Stores of Paris. By using a timeline slider, the site charts where a Parisian might have procured their phonographs, and provides information such as the store’s opening and closing dates, as well images of the illustrated records sleeves, stickers or stamps such stores would have given to patrons. ..."
Fast Company
Disquaires de Paris
Documenting the Disappearing Record Stores of Paris

Saturday, September 15

Paul Manafort Agrees to Cooperate With Special Counsel; Pleads Guilty to Reduced Charges


"WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort agreed on Friday to tell all he knows to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as part of a plea deal that could shape the final stages of the inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The deal was a surrender by Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, who had vowed for months to prove his innocence in a case stemming from his work as a political consultant in Ukraine. And it was a decisive triumph for Mr. Mueller, who now has a cooperating witness who was at the center of the Trump campaign during a crucial period in 2016 and has detailed insight into another target of federal prosecutors, the network of lobbyists and influence brokers seeking to help foreign interests in Washington. Mr. Manafort’s decision, announced at a federal court hearing in Washington in which he pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges, was likely to unsettle Mr. Trump, who had praised Mr. Manafort for standing up to prosecutors’ pressure and had hinted that he might pardon him. ..."
NY Times (Video)
NY Times: Opinion - This Is Not the End of Trump
NY Times: Opinion - Welcome to the President’s Rat Pack, Paul Manafort
[PDF] NY Times: Read the court documents.
NY Times: How a Ukrainian Hairdresser Became a Front for Paul Manafort

Friday, September 14

Isle of Dogs - Wes Anderson (2018)


Wikipedia - "Isle of Dogs (Japanese: 犬ヶ島 Hepburn: Inugashima) is a 2018 stop-motion animated science-fiction comedy-drama film written, produced and directed by Wes Anderson. Set in a dystopian near-future Japan, the story follows a young boy searching for his dog after the species is banished to an island following the outbreak of a canine flu. ... In a dystopian near-future Japan, an influenza virus spreads throughout the canine population, with a risk of crossing to humans. The 6-term authoritarian mayor of Megasaki City, Kenji Kobayashi, signs a decree banishing all dogs to Trash Island, despite a scientist named Professor Watanabe insisting he is close to finding a cure for the dog flu. ..."
Wikipedia
NY Times: Wes Anderson’s Bleakly Beautiful ‘Isle of Dogs’ (Video)
amazon
YouTube: Isle of Dogs Official Trailer #1

2013 November: Wes Anderson Honors Fellini in a Delightful New Short Film, 2013 November: Rushmore (1998), 2013 Decemher: Hotel Chevalier (2007), 2014 March: Wes Anderson Collection, 2014 April: The Perfect Symmetry of Wes Anderson’s Movies, 2014 July: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), 2014 August: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), 2014 December: Welcome to Union Glacier (2013), 2015 January: Inhabiting Wes Anderson’s Universe, 2015 July: Books in the Films of Wes Anderson: A Supercut for Bibliophiles, 2015 November: Moonrise Kingdom (2012), 2015 December: Chapter 8: "The Grand Budapest Hotel", 2016 June: Here's pretty much every song used in a Wes Anderson film, 2016 November: Watch Come Together, Wes Anderson’s New Short Film...., 2016 December: All of Wes Anderson’s Cinematic Commercials: Watch His Spots for Prada, American Express, H&M & More

“It Really Comes Down to Empowering the Working Class”


"On the heels of democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s unexpected victory against a ten-term incumbent in the recent Bronx and Queens Democratic primary, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi swore that socialism is not ascendant. It was kind of like a realtor informing you that the house isn’t haunted; the only reason to bring it up is because there have been sightings, the stairs creak at night. This September, New York voters will have a chance to nominate another member of Democratic Socialists of America for political office. In Brooklyn, twenty-seven-year-old Julia Salazar is running for New York State Senate on a platform of single-payer health care, housing as a human right, protecting public schools from privatization, expanding collective bargaining rights, and ending mass incarceration and deportations. ..."
Jacobin