Wednesday, October 31

The Insult - Ziad Doueiri (2018)


Wikipedia - "The Insult (Arabic: قضية رقم ٢٣‎, translit. Qadiyya raqm 23, lit. 'Case No. 23', French: L'insulte) is a 2017 Lebanese drama film directed by Ziad Doueiri and co-written by Doueiri and Joelle Touma. It was screened in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival. At Venice, Kamel El Basha won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor. It was selected as the Lebanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for the Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards. Tony Hanna is a Lebanese Christian and devoted member of the Christian Party, with a pregnant wife, Shirine. Not wanting workers near his property when Shirine is there, Tony discovers contractors modifying the gutter on his balcony. ..."
Wikipedia
NY Times: In ‘The Insult,’ the Dispute Is Personal. And Political. by A.O. Scott
Roger Ebert
Film Comment
amazon
YouTube: THE INSULT (2018) - Official HD Trailer - A film by Ziad Doueiri

Tuesday, October 30

Just A Simple Soul - Bert Jansch


"... From his 1965 iconic debut album, Bert’s peerless musicality, songwriting and interpretation of traditional song has held generation after generation spellbound and inspired musicians in all genres. Just A Simple Soul (Out on 26th October) – named after the closing track on his 1998 album Toy Balloon – is the first collection of Jansch’s entire solo career, with insightful liner notes by Bernard Butler (Suede) who compiled this selection with the Bert Jansch Estate. ... Presented chronologically the collection begins by drawing from his prolific 1960s period, during which he released six albums between 1965 and 1969. His self-titled debut, sometimes referred to as The Blue Album, is listed at #3 in NME’s Best Folk Albums Of All Time, and this collection plucks three tracks including the harrowing ‘Needle Of Death’; about the tragic passing of Bert’s friend, folk singer Buck Polly. ..."
Folk Radio
amazon
YouTube: Just A Simple Soul, Reynardine (live), Needle of Death, Blackwaterside (Live Norwegian TV '73)

April 2010: Bert Jansch, 2011 October: Bert Jansch (November 1943 – October 2011), 2011 September: Faro Annie,  2011 April: Cruel Sister (1970) - Pentangle, 2014 February: Bert & John (1966)

Democrats, Don’t Take Native American Voters for Granted



A polling station on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Fort Yates, North Dakota in 2016.
"Ahead of the midterm elections, the state of North Dakota is using one of the most restrictive voter identification laws in the country to engage in that most American of traditions: excluding and discriminating against indigenous people. Thanks to the state’s Republican Party, all who want to take part in the democratic process must have a residential address on their identification cards. However, many tribal citizens in North Dakota don’t have residential addresses or postal service. There are five federally recognized tribes in the state, with five reservations. More than 31,000 indigenous people live in North Dakota, and around 60 percent of that population lives on reservations. ..."
NY Times

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, 2017 February: Standing Rock is burning – but our resistance isn't over, 2017 March: Dakota Access pipeline could open next week after activists face final court loss, 2017 April: The Conflicts Along 1,172 Miles of the Dakota Access Pipeline, 2017 May: 'Those are our Eiffel Towers, our pyramids': Why Standing Rock is about much more than oil, 2017 June: Dakota pipeline protesters won a small victory in court. We must fight on, 2018 February: PHOTOS: Since Standing Rock, 56 Bills Have Been Introduced in 30 States to Restrict Protests, 2018 November: Dennis J. Banks, Naawakamig (1937-2017), 2018 April: The Next Standing Rock? A Pipeline Battle Looms in Oregon

Monday, October 29

Dawson City: Frozen Time - Bill Morrison (2016)


"Bill Morrison’s films straddle film history and avant-garde expressionism, mining the wealth of silent film history and exploring the abstract beauty of decaying nitrate film, a particularly volatile medium that breaks down over time. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016) celebrates the 'Dawson Film Find' of 1978, thousands of reels of film buried in the permafrost, and tells the history of the Yukon town. Founded in the 1890s Gold Rush, it grew from a muddy collection of buildings to a bustling city of 40,000 at its peak, and back down to a town of under 1000 inhabitants by the 1970s. Morrison frames the documentary with the discovery of the buried trove of silent films. Dawson City was the end of the line for film distribution and the studios wouldn’t pay the freight to return prints that were essentially worthless by time they reached the Yukon, so the films were stored and finally buried in an old civic swimming pool. Decades later, they were unearthed during a redevelopment project. ..."
Stream On Demand
W - Dawson City: Frozen Time
NY Times: In ‘Dawson City: Frozen Time,’ Early Movies Lost and Found
amazon
YouTube: Dawson City: Frozen Time – Official Trailer, Music out of time in "Dawson City: Frozen Time" (in stereo), Dawson City: Frozen Time | Clip: Gymnasium Movie Theater | NYFF54

2012 June: Bill Morrison, 2015 October: Decasia (2002), 2017 December: The Miners' Hymns (2011), 2018 January: The Dockworker's Dream (2016)

A Fate Worse Than Slavery, Unearthed in Sugar Land


Prints depicting enslaved people producing sugar in Antigua, 1823
"The blood-drenched history that gave the city of Sugar Land, Tex., its name showed its face earlier this year, when a school construction crew discovered the remains of 95 African-Americans whose unmarked graves date back more than a century. The dead — some of whom may have been born in slavery — are victims of the infamous convict leasing system that arose after Emancipation. Southerners sought to replace slave labor by jailing African-Americans on trumped-up charges and turning them over to, among others, sugar cane plantations in the region once known as the Sugar Bowl of Texas. A bitter debate has erupted in Sugar Land, a fast-growing suburb southwest of Houston. Sugar Land officials, who want to move the remains to a nearby cemetery, are at odds with members of a city-appointed task force who rightly argue that a historical find of this magnitude should be memorialized on the spot where it was discovered. ..."
NY Times
W - Sugarcane

A display at the Sugar Land Heritage Museum and Visitor Center. At center, convicts harvesting sugar cane circa 1900.

Sunday, October 28

Tunde Williams-Lekan Animashaun - Mr. Bigmouth-Low Profile


"Baritone saxophonist Lekan Animashaun and trumpeter Tunde Williams were the heart and soul of the Afrika 70 horn section in Fela Kuti's legendary Afrobeat band. As long time Fela colleagues, it is only fitting that these high profile players were able to make their own albums as leaders with the Afrika 70 group, reissued here on this import CD. Animashaun's 'Low Profile' and Williams' 'Mr. Big Mouth' have all the trademarks of classic Afrobeat -- pulsating march-like grooves, layered percussion, and great, catchy horn riffs. The only thing missing is Fela's booming baritone vocals. With facsimiles of the original cover art and an essay by esteemed Fela biographer Michael Veal, this is a most necessary purchase for Fela devotees. If you picked up all the Fela MCA reissues as I have (if you haven't, hurry up they are starting to go OOP), and you can't get enough Afrika 70, then this disc is for you. ...."
Holland Tunnel Dive
Discogs
amazon
YouTube: Tunde Williams - The Beginning, Tunde Williams - Mr Big Mouth, Lekan Animashaun - Low Profile, Lekan Animashaun - Serere (Do Right)

Noah Purifoy - Tilton Gallery


“Access,” from 1993, mixed media assemblage.
"In the rough, dexterous assemblages of the Los Angeles artist Noah Purifoy (1917–2004), a Duchampian embrace of found objects fused with a political activism that went out of the gallery and extended to a decade in California government. He was the subject of an impassioned posthumous retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2015; his expansive Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum, with more than 100 sculptures made from junk materials, draws pilgrims to the Mojave Desert. Yet there has never been a Purifoy exhibition on the East Coast before this very welcome outing at Tilton, which includes a baker’s dozen of his later, mostly wall-mounted constructions. ..."
NY Times: What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week
Jacktilton Gallery
Noah Purifoy Foundation

Saturday, October 27

The Death of FilmStruck Is a Dark Day in the History of Movies


"On a Friday dominated by the dramatic arrest of a domestic terrorism suspect, it might seem trivial to care about the summary execution of FilmStruck, the 2-year-old classic film streaming service, which curated films from the archives of Warner Bros. and the Criterion Collection, along with art-house distributors like Kino and Flicker Alley. WarnerMedia, formed when AT&T received approval to acquire Time Warner Inc. in June, announced Friday that FilmStruck will be shutting down at the end of November, a victim of corporate impatience with 'niche services' that included already-shuttered production service Super Deluxe and the Korean film site DramaFever. The strangled corporate newspeak of the memo announcing the closure, with its reference to the 'learnings' to be gleaned from the FilmStruck experiment, engenders the same kind of helpless rage as he tortured syntax of Donald Trump’s tweets—it’s so painfully revealing of the kind of grandiose carelessness that is the hallmark of power right now. ..."
Slate
How to Get the Most Out of the Criterion Collection Before It Leaves Hulu
Vanity Fair: FilmStruck, the Cinephile’s Answer to Netflix, Is Shutting Down

Friday, October 26

The Myth of Whiteness in Classical Sculpture


Researchers demonstrate the process of applying color to the Treu Head, from a Roman sculpture of a goddess, made in the second century A.D. Ancient sculptures were often painted with vibrant hair colors and skin tones.
"Mark Abbe was ambushed by color in 2000, while working on an archeological dig in the ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias, in present-day Turkey. At the time, he was a graduate student at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, and, like most people, he thought of Greek and Roman statues as objects of pure white marble. The gods, heroes, and nymphs displayed in museums look that way, as do neoclassical monuments and statuary, from the Jefferson Memorial to the Caesar perched outside his palace in Las Vegas. Aphrodisias was home to a thriving cadre of high-end artists until the seventh century A.D., when an earthquake caused it to fall into ruin. In 1961, archeologists began systematically excavating the city, storing thousands of sculptural fragments in depots. ..."
New Yorker (Audio)

Mission of Burma - Vs. (1982)


Wikipedia - "Vs. is the debut studio full-length album by American post-punk band Mission of Burma, following their 1981 EP, Signals, Calls, and Marches. It was released in October 1982 by record label Ace of Hearts. It is the only full-length studio album the band released during the 1980s – and until 2004, as soon afterward they disbanded due to guitarist Roger Miller's worsening tinnitus. Whereas 1981's Signals, Calls, and Marches was notable for its accessible and organized qualities, Vs. saw Mission of Burma make a deliberate effort to record the chaos and noise that characterized their live performances. The songs on the album feature a greater presence of band member Martin Swope's electronic and tape sound effects than with the band's previous recordings. Mission of Burma guitarist Roger Miller considered Vs. to be the band's best recording, and among the greatest rock and roll albums ever made. ..."
Wikipedia
Discogs
YouTube: Mission of Burma- VS. Full Album 11 videos

The Halibut Hook Revival


This early halibut hook from the Tlingit tribe Xootsnoowú (fortress of brown bears) was collected in Angoon, Alaska, by John J. McLean in 1882, and is now in the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The figural element on the 28-centimeter-long hook depicts an unknown being eating, or spiritually connecting to, a halibut.
"Jonathan Rowan lowers his handmade wooden halibut hook into the tranquil early-morning water off Klawock, Alaska, and urges it to go down and fight: 'Weidei yei jindagut,' he says in the Tlingit language. From his skiff, the tribal leader, who is joined by two friends, watches the V-shaped hook about as long as his forearm slowly sink and hopes the imagery he carved on the seafloor-facing arm—a beaver perched on a chewed stick—entices a halibut. Rowan, a master carver, is acting on an omen. The previous morning, the hook had fallen off a cup hook in the ceiling of his workshop and landed between him and his friends as they were having coffee and discussing where to fish. ..."
Hakai Magazine (Audio)

Thursday, October 25

15 Influential Political Art Pieces


Ai Weiwei - With Flowers from 2013
"What is political art? Is it different than the art itself and could it be the art beside the politics, as we know the political truth is the ruling mechanism over all aspects of humanity. From its beginnings, art is inseparable from the societies and throughout its history authors always reflected the present moment bringing the artistic truth to the general public. For Plato and Aristotle, mimesis – the act of artistic creation is inseparable from the notion of real world, in which art represents or rather disputes the various models of beauty, truth, and the good within the societal reality. Hence, position of the art sphere is semi-autonomous, as it is independent field of creation freed from the rules, function and norms, but on the other hand, art world is deeply connected and dependent from artistic production, ways of curating and display as well as socio-economical conditions and political context. ..."
WIDEWALLS

Vladimir Tatlin - The Monument to the Third International from 1917

Two Sevens Clash - Culture (1976)


"One of the masterpieces of the roots era, no album better defines its time and place than Two Sevens Clash, which encompasses both the religious fervor of its day and the rich sounds of contemporary Jamaica. Avowed Rastafarians, Culture had formed in 1976, and cut two singles before beginning work on their debut album with producers the Mighty Two (aka Joe Gibbs and Errol Thompson). Their second single, 'Two Sevens Clash,' would title the album and provide its focal point. The song swept across the island like a wildfire, its power fed by the apocalyptic fever that held the island in its clutches throughout late 1976 and into 1977. (Rastafarians believed the apocalypse would begin when the two sevens clashed, with July 7, 1977, when the four sevens clashed, the most fearsome date of concern.) However, the song itself was fearless, celebrating the impending apocalypse, while simultaneously reminding listeners of a series of prophesies by Marcus Garvey and twinning them to the island's current state. For those of true faith, the end of the world did not spell doom, but release from the misery of life into the eternal and heavenly arms of Jah. Thus, Clash is filled with a sense of joy mixed with deep spirituality, and a belief that historical injustice was soon to be righted. ..."
allmusic
W - Two Sevens Clash
Discogs (Video)
Genius (Audio)
amazon
YouTube: Two Sevens Clash 1977 FULL ALBUM

Wednesday, October 24

2nd Ave Deli Sign


"Now and then, the lost artifacts of vanished New York will resurface. I heard from a painter who recently moved his studio into a former woodshop's space in the East Village. In the backyard, under piles of junk, he unearthed the double-sided neon sign of the old Second Avenue Deli. Opened in 1954, the deli (and the sign) stood on the southeast corner of Second Avenue and East 10th Street until 2006, when it closed due to a rent dispute with the building's new owner. ... As I wrote in my book, Vanishing New York, 'Today, the Second Avenue Deli’s Yiddish Walk of Fame remains, out of context and rapidly fading.' ..."
Jeremiah's Vanishing New York
W - Second Avenue Deli
2nd Ave Deli

Native America


"At the intersection of Native knowledge and modern scholarship is a new vision of America and its people. Native America is a four-part PBS series that challenges everything we thought we knew about the Americas before and since contact with Europe. It travels through 15,000-years to showcase massive cities, unique systems of science, art, and writing, and 100 million people connected by social networks and spiritual beliefs spanning two continents. The series reveals some of the most advanced cultures in human history and the Native American people who created it and whose legacy continues, unbroken, to this day. ..."
PBS: Native America - About (Video)
PBS: Native America (Video)
PBS: Native America - Interactive Map

Tuesday, October 23

Lou Reed at The Ritz (07-16-1986)


"On July 16, 1986, Lou Reed played the first of two sold out show at The Ritz! Billed as 'The New York Original Comes Home,' Reed treated the crowd to some classic songs including 'Sweet Jane,' 'Walk On The Wild Side,' and many tracks from his fourteenth solo album 'Mistrial,' which was released the previous month. Thanks to St. Pauli Girl for putting on this concert series!"
The McKenzie Tapes (Audio)
YouTube: Full Concert - 07/16/86 - Ritz (OFFICIAL) 2:12:32

2010 August: Heroin, 2011 June: All Tomorrow's Parties - The Velvet Underground, 2011 June: The Velvet Underground, 2012 November: Songs for Drella - Lou Reed and John Cale, 2013 October: Lou Reed (1942 - 2013), 2014 June: The Bells (1979), 2014 August: New York (1989), 2015 June: Capitol Theatre Passaic, NJ 9/25/1984, 2015 October: The Blue Mask (1982), 2016 March: New Sensations (1984), 2016 May: Coney Island Baby (1976), 2017 March: Celebrating Lou Reed: 1942–2013, 2017 November: Watch Footage of the Velvet Underground Composing..., 2018 February: Street Hassle (1978)

Tiny Spaces: The Home Studios of Technopolis


"Live in New York long enough and you’ll hear someone, somewhere bemoaning the lack of exciting music scenes like the ones they fondly remember. This sentiment is both completely misguided and weirdly sort of true, and it’s the beautiful thing about attempting to keep up with a city that often feels defined by the art it produces. Even as one scene balloons globally, another ferments locally, waiting in the wings for its moment to explode. It would be unfair to characterize all the artists playing the Technopolis party as part of a unified scene. ... To better understand how they work, photographer William Mebane visited the workspaces of Ital, Aurora Halal, Max McFerren and Umfang – just a few of the artists playing Saturday night’s party in an attempt to tap into their relentless musical spirits. ..."
Red Bull Music Academy Daily

Monday, October 22

Benjamin Lew - Nebka (1995)


"A 'nebka' is described in the booklet accompanying this unique release as a 'dune formed by the wind around an obstacle in the desert.' As on his past albums, much of the music here retains the character of a travelogue, particularly one devoted to roving Northern Africa. The short tracks are like evocative snapshots taken perhaps randomly but always with an eye attuned to local color while still deeply infused with a Western aesthetic. Lew is rarely overt in his borrowings from this or that culture; more often references to folk cultures exist as a heady tinge to his own brand of music which seems to have developed from such sources as Brian Eno and Erik Satie. For every dash of ambient style, there is an offsetting spice of a darker flavor or of a quirky, non-idiomatic minimalism. ... Treading a path strewn with potential pitfalls, Lew manages to navigate far away from both 'cultural imperialism' and new age trappings and produces an exceptional, one of a kind offering. Nebka is a superb, finely crafted, and, in the end, luxuriant album."
allmusic
Discogs (Video)
Bandcamp (Audio)
amazon, iTunes
YouTube: Nebka, Comme Tout Embue, Tout Danse, Ces Lignes Tremblees et l'Absence de Couleurs Vives, Partout Du Sable, Hommes Assis Devant Un Mur Chaulé

Existential Comics


"Philosophy wouldn’t exactly seem like the kind of subject matter that lends itself well to comics, let alone comics will millions of readers. But that’s exactly what Corey Mohler has managed to do over at Existential Comics. Corey, a software developer, sees himself as a philosophy popularizer and has done an incredible job—you’ve probably already seen his wildly popular posts 'The Germans play Monopoly' or 'World Cup Philosophy: Germany vs France.' Or since you’re reading this site—perhaps you’ve seen his Stoicism inspired fare. We reached out to Corey to get his thoughts on existentialism, Stoicism, the difference between the two and how philosophy has changed his life. ..."
Existentialism & Stoicism: An Interview With Comic Artist Corey Mohler
Existential Comics
Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophers
W - Existential Comics
twitter
(YouTube: Monty Python Football)

Sunday, October 21

Afro-Atlantic Histories


Dalton Paula, Zeferina, 2018. João de Deus Nascimento, 2018.
"In the most violent and uncertain times of its recent history, Brazil is revisiting the origins of its racial frictions: the slave trade. 'Histórias afro-atlânticas' (Afro-Atlantic Histories) is a massive, 380-work survey of African, Latin American, and European art from the past five centuries, chronicling the largest diaspora in modern history. Nearly half of all Africans captured by slave traders were brought to Brazil, from the time the Portuguese arrived, in the sixteenth century, all the way through the nineteenth century. The show is a sequel to 'Histórias mestiças' (Mestizo Histories), staged four years ago at the Instituto Tomie Ohtake, the cultural center that is also cohosting the current exhibition. Its scope is far-reaching, with pieces by colonial-era Dutch master Albert Eckhout and modern greats Théodore Géricault and Paul Cézanne, as well as contemporary art-world darlings Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, and Hank Willis Thomas. A fully illustrated catalogue and companion reader will help sharpen our perspective on it all."
ARTFORUM
NY Times: Brazil Enthralls With an Art Show of Afro-Atlantic History
Afro-Atlantic Histories by Juliana Dos Santos
e-flux: MASP - Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand

José Alves de Olinda, a Brazilian artist, created “Eshus’s Barge,” from wood, vegetal fiber and metal, at the Tomie Ohtake Institute. Figures of two dozen Yoruban divinities, armed, have taken charge of a miniature slave ship.

A Cultural History of the Baseball Card


"In a garage roughly 3,000 miles from where I’m writing this, there’s a long, white cardboard container filled with hundreds of cardboard rectangles—all the baseball cards I amassed as a child. I don’t think about that container very often these days, but somewhere in my mind lies the assumption—childish but still deeply held—that decades from now I’ll be able to sell the contents of that box for a modest fortune. Baseball cards, it strikes me now, were my first taste of capitalism. Sure, individual cards held sentimental value to me, but I also was conditioned to see my collection’s worth in monetary terms. It was a portfolio with training wheels. The series of historical events that led to the existence of this cardboard box—one of countless such boxes in countless garages—was catalyzed by a man named Sy Berger, who passed away last weekend. ..."
The Atlantic
W - Baseball card
amazon: The Comic Book Story of Baseball, The Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball 2nd Edition

1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #144

The House Springsteen Built: An Oral History of the Stone Pony


"It’s Memorial Day Weekend, 1976, and nearly 1,000 people pack a tiny club in Asbury Park, N.J., to watch a local band and a local legend named Bruce Springsteen, share their mix of rock and soul with a wider world that had all but written off this struggling seaside city for good. Fast forward to this past summer: More than 4,000 crowd the club’s lot three nights in a row to see another local band return home. The crunch of guitars and pounding punk rock reverberate off the nearby luxury condominiums that are signs of the city’s rising economic fortunes. Since it opened in 1974, the club, the Stone Pony, has been the beating heart of Asbury Park, a beacon for musicians and fans alike. But its survival, much like that of its host city, has been a constant battle, a story of resilience and revival, of sold-out shows and shuttered windows. Here is the renowned club’s history, as told by the owners, musicians, staff and fans who have called its dark black interior and low-slung stage home. ..."
NY Times (Video)
W - The Stone Pony

Saturday, October 20

Andrei Rublev - Andrei Tarkovsky (1966)


Wikipedia - "Andrei Rublev (Russian: Андрей Рублёв) is a 1966 Soviet biographical historical drama film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and co-written with Andrei Konchalovsky. The film is loosely based on the life of Andrei Rublev, the 15th-century Russian icon painter. The film features Anatoly Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolai Sergeyev, Nikolai Burlyayev and Tarkovsky's wife Irma Raush. Savva Yamshchikov, a famous Russian restorer and art historian, was a scientific consultant of the film. Andrei Rublev is set against the background of 15th-century Russia. Although the film is only loosely based on the life of Andrei Rublev, it seeks to depict a realistic portrait of medieval Russia. Tarkovsky sought to create a film that shows the artist as 'a world-historic figure' and 'Christianity as an axiom of Russia’s historical identity' during a turbulent period of Russian history that ultimately resulted in the Tsardom of Russia. The film's themes include artistic freedom, religion, political ambiguity, autodidacticism, and the making of art under a repressive regime. Because of this, it was not released domestically in the officially atheist Soviet Union for years after it was completed, except for a single 1966 screening in Moscow. ... Even more since being restored to its original version, Andrei Rublev has come to be regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, and has often been ranked highly in both the Sight & Sound critics' and directors' polls. ..."
Wikipedia
Voice: The Secret of “Andrei Rublev”
senses of cinema - The Passion According to Andrei: Andrei Rublev
amazon
YouTube: Andrei Rublev | Trailer | Opens August 24

Bring Back Cortázar


"Sometimes I think the only thing we did in school was read Julio Cortázar. I remember taking tests on 'The Night Face Up' in each of my last three years of school, and countless were the times we read 'Axolotl' and 'The Continuity of Parks,' two short stories that the teachers considered ideal for filling out an hour and a half of class. This is not a complaint, since we were happy reading Cortázar: we recited the characteristics of the fantasy genre with automatic joy, and we repeated in chorus that for Cortázar the short story wins by knockout and the novel by points, and that there was a male reader and a female reader and all of that. The tastes of my generation were shaped by Cortázar’s stories, and not even the xeroxed tests could divest his literature of that air of permanent contemporaneity. ..."
The Paris Review

2011 November: Blow-Up (1966) - Michelangelo Antonioni, 2016 March: Cronopios and Famas (1969), 2017 October: Julio Cortázar, The Art of Fiction No. 83

Friday, October 19

The Magdalen Reading - Rogier van der Weyden (c. 1435–1438)


Rogier van der Weyden, The Magdalen Reading. c. 1435–1438
Wikipedia - "The Magdalen Reading is one of three surviving fragments of a large mid-15th-century oil-on-panel altarpiece by the Early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden. The panel, originally oak, was completed some time between 1435 and 1438 and has been in the National Gallery, London since 1860. It shows a woman with the pale skin, high cheek bones and oval eyelids typical of the idealised portraits of noble women of the period. She is identifiable as the Magdalen from the jar of ointment placed in the foreground, which is her traditional attribute in Christian art. She is presented as completely absorbed in her reading, a model of the contemplative life, repentant and absolved of past sins. ... The background of the painting had been overpainted with a thick layer of brown paint. A cleaning between 1955 and 1956 revealed the figure standing behind the Magdalene and the kneeling figure with its bare foot protruding in front of her, with a landscape visible through a window. ..."
Wikipedia
Virgin and Child with Saints by Rogier van der Weyden

Various - Ghana Soundz (2009)


"Ghana Soundz was the first ever Soundway compilation and became recognised worldwide due to the licensing of the Oscar Sulley track, ‘Bukom Mashie’ to the soundtrack of Hollywood blockbuster, ‘Last King of Scotland’. Pounding rhythms, blaring horns and pumping vocals – the music is a document of a time forgotten when flares and Cuban heels strutted the streets and night-spots of Accra, the sizzlingly hot and humid capital of Ghana. Influenced as much by traditional rhythms and local highlife as by the music of Fela Kuti, James Brown and Santana, these tunes had almost become extinct – until now! Ghana Soundz was the first of three collections of rare afro-beat, afro-funk and afro-fusion that Miles Cleret painstakingly travelled the length and breadth of Ghana to assemble, the third compilation to be released late 2009."
soundwayrecords (Audio)
Discogs
amazon
YouTube: Afro-beat Funk & Fusion in 1970's Ghana - Heaven, Make It Fast, Make It Slow - Rob, Honey and the Bees Band - Psychedelic Woman, the african brothers - self reliance, 3rd Generation Band - Because of Money, Oscar Sulley & The Uhuru Dance Band - Bukom Mashie

Thursday, October 18

French Quarter


Wikipedia - "The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré ('Old Square') or Vieux Carré Historic District, is the oldest section of the City of New Orleans. Founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, New Orleans developed around the Vieux Carré, the city's central square. Today, the district is commonly known as the French Quarter, or simply 'the Quarter,' a reflection of the diminished French influence after the Louisiana Purchase. Most extant historical buildings were constructed in the late 1700s, during a period of Spanish rule, or during the early 1800s, after U.S. annexation and statehood. The district is a National Historic Landmark, and numerous contributing buildings have received separate designations of significance. The French Quarter is a prime destination for tourists and local residents. Compared to other areas of the city, the Quarter experienced relatively light flood damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The district was protected by its distance from breached levees and the strength and height of the nearest river levees and flood walls. ..."
Wikipedia
Things to Do in the French Quarter | A Self-Guided Tour (Video)
YouTube: Welcome to The French Quarter!

Protect the Right to Vote in Your Community


Voters wait in line to cast their ballots in Austin, Texas, March, 2016.
"This week’s Take Action Now focuses on stopping the Trump administration from bullying immigrants for using crucial public programs, making phone calls to get out the vote for the midterms, and volunteering to protect the right to vote in your community. Take Action Now gives you three meaningful actions you can take each week, whatever your schedule. Sign up here to get actions like these in your inbox every Tuesday. While families remain separated and children are forced to represent themselves in court, the Trump administration continues to think of new ways to harm immigrants. ..."
The Nation
NY Times: Are You a Democratic Socialist?

The Young Funs: How the NHL’s New Generation of Superstars Is Changing Hockey’s Unwritten Rules


"Late in the third period of a free-wheeling, high-flying tilt between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Chicago Blackhawks this season, Leafs forward Auston Matthews needled the Chicago-centric United Center crowd. Twenty-two seconds earlier, Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane had tied the game, 5-5, sending the notoriously loud building into its typical 'Chelsea Dagger'–blaring hysterics. But with 1:02 left on the clock, Matthews responded with his second goal of the night. As the home crowd went silent, he cupped his hand up to his ear and wiggled his fingers, like Hulk Hogan on skates or Phil Kessel in college. The move was low-key audacious, harmlessly obnoxious, and just plain great. ..."
The Ringer (Video)

Wednesday, October 17

Fela Kuti live in England, 1984 Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense


"Best of them all was Wally Badarou's Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense. It adopted a markedly different aesthetic to the one Kuti typically used, and it was a triumph. The album was recorded shortly after Kuti had been released from jail, where he'd served 20 months on the smuggling charges (son Femi had kept Egypt 80 rehearsed during the incarceration). Badarou's production is richer and more burnished than was the norm for Kuti. Indeed, it's almost orchestral. The sound is smoother, the beat more chilled, and the arrangement denser, with layers of keyboards, a serpentine horn chart, and the backup choir placed well forward in the mix. In the lyric for the title track, Kuti tells the oyinbos (white men) to stop foisting sham versions of democracy on Africa, allowing 'democratic' rulers to line their own pockets at the expense of the people, just so long as foreign-owned multi-nationals are permitted to strip the continent of its natural resources for a pittance. ..."
All About Jazz
YouTube: Fela Kuti live in England, 1984 Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense

Seven Square Miles


Seven-square-mile views of Manhattan; Chaganbulage Administrative Village in Inner Mongolia; Venice, Italy; and farms in Plymouth, Washington
"Spending time looking at the varying and beautiful images of our planet from above in Google Earth, zooming in and out at dizzying rates, I thought it would be interesting to compare all of these vistas at a fixed scale—to see what New York City, Venice, or the Grand Canyon would look like from the same virtual height. So, the following images are snapshots from Google Earth, all rectangles of the same size and scale, approximately three and a half miles (5.6 kilometers) wide by two miles (3.2 kilometers) tall—showing seven square miles (18.1 square kilometers, or 4,480 acres) of the surface of our planet in each view. ..."
The Atlantic

Tuesday, October 16

Everything Is Connected: Art and Conspiracy


"For the last fifty years, artists have explored the hidden operations of power and the symbiotic suspicion between the government and its citizens that haunts Western democracies. Everything Is Connected: Art and Conspiracy is the first major exhibition to tackle this perennially provocative topic. It traces the simultaneous development of two kinds of art about conspiracy. The first half of the exhibition comprises works by artists who hew strictly to the public record, uncovering hidden webs of deceit—from the shell corporations used by New York's largest private landlord, interconnected networks encompassing politicians, businessmen, and arms dealers. In the second part, other artists dive headlong into the fever dreams of the disaffected, creating fantastical works that nevertheless uncover uncomfortable truths in an age of information overload and weakened trust in institutions. ..."
Metropolitan Museum of Art (Video)
Guardian - Everything is connected: new exhibition on art and conspiracy
Connecting the Dots in the Met Breuer’s Show About Conspiracy Theories
amazon
YouTube: Everything is Connected: Art and Conspiracy


Against Everything: Thoreau Trailer Park


"... This excerpt is taken from his concluding essay 'Thoreau Trailer Park - The Meaning of Life, Part IV', in which Greif reflects on Thoreau, public parks, and the Occupy Movement. It is hard to remember what Thoreau said because it is all so disturbing. It is easier on us to think of a thin man who erected a cabin with his own hands on the shores of a lovely pond. Thoreau deliberately didn’t build his cabin from scratch. He hacked a free timber frame from someone else’s trees, got friends to help him raise it, and recycled the rest from a laborer’s bivouac, buying cheap, for boards and roof, 'the shanty of James Collins, an Irishman who worked on the Fitchburg Railroad.' This was philosophical, with all its shortcuts and offenses. ..."
Verso

2009 April: Henry David Thoreau, 2012 September: Walden, 2015 March: A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), 2017 March: Civil Disobedience (1849), 2017 April: The Maine Woods (1864), 2017 June: This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal, 2017 July: Pond Scum - Henry David Thoreau’s moral myopia. By Kathryn Schulz, 2017 July: Walden, a Game, 2017 October: Walden Wasn’t Thoreau’s Masterpiece, 2017 December: Walden on the Rocks - Ariel Dorfman, 2018 March: A Map of Radical Bewilderment, 2018 April: On Tax Day, Reread Thoreau’s ‘Civil Disobedience’

Monday, October 15

Bloomsday Explained


"'Bloomsday,' the James Joyce scholar Robert Nicholson once quipped, 'has as much to do with Joyce as Christmas has to do with Jesus.' The celebrations of Ulysses every June 16—the date on which the novel is set—attract extreme ends of the spectrum of literary enthusiasm. Academics and professionals mingle with obsessives and cranks, plus those simply along for the ride. The event can be stately and meticulous or raucous and chaotic—or, somehow, all of the above. A telling instance came a few years ago, when the Irish Arts Center arranged a Bloomsday picnic in New York’s Bryant Park, under the rueful shadow of the Gertrude Stein statue. (Stein disliked Joyce.) Aspiring Broadway types were enlisted to circulate in period costume before bursting into popular songs from 1900-era Ireland. I spoke to one of the performers, a young Irish actor who had recently moved to New York. Had she read Ulysses? ..."
The Paris Review
Exploring The Dublin of James Joyce: A Guide Map

2011 March: Passages from James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" (1965-67), 2010 March: Ulysses Seen, 2013 February: ULYSSES “SEEN” is moving to Dublin!, 2013: Dubliners, 2014 May: The Dead (1987 film), 2014 May: “Have I Ever Left It?” by Mark O'Connell, 2014 July: Digital Dubliners, 2014 September: Read "Ulysses Seen", A Graphic Novel Adaptation of James Joyce’s Classic, 2015 January: The Mapping Dubliners Project, 2015 February: Davy Byrne’s, 2016 January: Port and Docks, 2016 February: Hear James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake Read Unabridged & Set to Music By 17 Different Artists, 2016 April: Nassau Street, 2016 May: Stephen’s Green, 2016 October: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), 2016 November: Skerries, 2017 January: Walking Ulysses | Joyce's Dublin Today

The Roches Are Back (Kind of) With a New, Posthumous Solo Album From a Dearly Departed Sister


"If you don’t know The Roches, you really need to stop what you’re doing and listen to, say, 'Hammond Song.' The Roches were three sisters from what they described as 'deepest New Jersey' who learned to sing harmony in the back of their parents’ car on the New Jersey Turnpike and then grew up to sing songs that were so clear and sure and so not like other songs in the early ’80s in New York City. The first Roches album was born of failure: Maggie and Terre Roche had gone to England to record as a duo. They’d gotten a record deal thanks to one of their mentors, Paul Simon, who they sang backup for on There Goes Rhymin’ Simon. Record companies wanted a certain kind of album from two women in the early ’80s—i.e., something with an equal amount of power chords and frizzed-out hair—and when the Roches did not appear to be delivering, they were called back from England. ..."
Vogue (Video)
W - The Roches