Sunday, March 31

Jonny Go Figure

As a reggae guy it’s very important to have 7s because, especially when you play big tunes at a reggae dance, 9 out of 10 times someone is going to ask you to play it back, to pull it up.
"'I’m sorry I didn’t pretty this up for you guys,' Jonny Go Figure says, walking into the center of his Flatbush, Brooklyn living room which is littered with records. 'I know it looks like a clusterfuck in here, but this is just how it is. And I know where everything is.' Jonny closes his eyes and thinks of a record he hasn’t played in a while before digging into a stack and pulling out reggae breakbeat LP by Paul Nice and DJ Wisdom called Beef Patty Breaks. He explains the history of the album cover, which features an iconic image of model Sintra Arunte-Bronte in a wet, red Jamaica t-shirt. Jonny can pick random hidden records from his collection and throw facts at you all day, but never in a condescending way. He began DJing at age 4 after his father, who was also a DJ, gave him vinyl to play with. He easily rattles off history, producers and connections behind the music in the same way others might talk about their favorite sci-fi worlds. Now in his 30s, Jonny Go Figure’s deep appreciation for the underground, producers, one hit wonders, underdogs and canonical knowledge of reggae has put him in deep with New York’s varied reggae community. ..."

The Mighty Diamonds – Africa. I got to DJ for The Mighty Diamonds a few weeks back, which was cool because they’re one of my favorite groups. Harmonies, harmonies, harmonies.

Bagels Weren't Always Soft

"Today it’s a breakfast staple, but as recently as 1960, The New York Times had to define it for readers—as 'an unsweetened doughnut with rigor mortis.' That’s right, this episode is all about the bagel, that shiny, ring-shaped, surprisingly dense bread that makes the perfect platform for cream cheese and lox. Where did it come from? Can you get a decent bagel outside New York City? And what does it have in common with the folding ping-pong table? Come get your hot, fresh bagel science and history here! Though the bagel is most closely associated with the American Jewish community, its actual origins in eastern Europe have become the stuff of myth. Competing tales offer explanations as to how, as early as the 1600s, Jews in Poland came to relish the bagel at childbirths, celebrations, and funerals. ..."
The Atlantic (Audio)
The Atlantic: The Secret History of Bagels

2014 November: Bagel, 2016 February: Bialy, 2016 August: Montreal-style bagel, 2017 May: A family affair: St-Viateur Bagel celebrates 60 years

James Baldwin Might Have Been Most at Home in Istanbul

"You spend your whole life being told some place is home, only to get there and realize you don’t really belong. For me, it happened the summer after I turned eight. My mom and I boarded a plane from Canada to England, our first time in Europe. We stayed overnight at a hotel near London’s Hyde Park: its lobby floors a polished wood, the terrifying taxidermy head of a wild cat affixed to the wall. I’d never been in a hotel like this. My parents—immigrants, frugal—generally favored off-the-highway establishments, with buzzy neon signs, and wood-paneled rooms that open directly onto a parking lot. I remember how different the taxidermy hotel was, how there were fresh flowers near the elevators, how Mom and I ordered room service for dinner. A splurge. My hamburger arrived hidden under a metal warming dome, and I remember thinking: this burger costs five times as much as a Big Mac, but does it taste five times as good? ..."

2017 May: I Am Not Your Negro - Raoul Peck (2019)

Saturday, March 30

Clemente to Marden to Kiefer: It’s the All-Eighties Art-Stars

"Art lovers in New York and baseball fans everywhere get weird in October. For the former, it is the season of undulled appetite, when an unleashed flood of new objects and images temporarily scintillates with interest and promise. For the latter, it is the ferociously accelerating climax to long languorous months of foreplay. What, then, of those of us for whom both art and baseball are chronic passions? Pity us! Each addiction being, in its own way, total, we are besides ourselves. A tendency is noted around dinner tables to discuss the aesthetics of baseball at very great length, as the sane and the innocent tiptoe from the room. Another tendency suggests itself as a heretofore neglected possibility: view the world of October art through the lambent October mists of baseball. A method for such madness happens to be ready-made in a brilliant little book of several years back by poet Charles North, Lineups (reprinted in his Leap Year, Kulchur Foundation, 1978). ..."
amazon: Complete Lineups by Charles North

A Maid in Bedlam - John Renbourn Group (1977)

"A Maid in Bedlam is credited to the John Renbourn Group, not to John Renbourn alone, and that is an important distinction, since this is not another album of Renbourn's acoustic guitar stylings. It really is the work of a group, consisting of Renbourn on guitar and vocals, his Pentangle partner Jacqui McShee on vocals, Tony Roberts on vocals and wind instruments, Sue Draheim on vocals and fiddle, and Keshav Sathe on tabla and finger cymbals. The song list consists of traditional British folk music dating back to the Renaissance, with three instrumentals mixed in with the vocal numbers and one -- the concluding hymn 'Talk About Suffering' -- an a cappella performance. The most familiar number to contemporary listeners is likely to be 'John Barleycorn,' if only because of the Traffic recording, and the Renbourn Group is careful to present a different arrangement with an altered time signature. The arrangements are traditional, with the singers giving the words a madrigal feel. It's true that the tabla is not a traditional British instrument, but as Sathe plays it, it resembles a bodhran enough to get by. Thus, A Maid in Bedlam works as a collection of music that inspired the members of Pentangle in their contemporary folk-rock, played by some members of that band and their associates. ..."
W - A Maid in Bedlam
YouTube: A Maid In Bedlam 10 videos

2011 September: Faro Annie, 2012 November: John Renbourn - Sir John Alot, 2013 May: The Lady and the Unicorn, 2014 February: Bert &; John (1966), 2014 October: The Hermit (1976), 2015 March: John Renbourn: ceaseless explorer of song – appreciation., 2015 November: The Attic Tapes - John Renbourn (2015), 2016 November: Cruel Sister (1970) - Pentangle, 2016 December: Lost Sessions (1973), 2017 October: The Black Balloon (1979)

Friday, March 29

Agnès Varda, Influential French New Wave Filmmaker, Is Dead at 90

"Agnès Varda, a groundbreaking French filmmaker who was closely associated with the New Wave — although her reimagining of filmmaking conventions actually predated the work of Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut and others identified with that movement — died on Friday morning at her home in Paris. She was 90. Her death, from breast cancer, was confirmed by a spokeswoman for her production company, Ciné-Tamaris. In recent years, Ms. Varda had focused her directorial skills on nonfiction work that used her life and career as a foundation for philosophical ruminations and visual playfulness. 'The Gleaners and I,' a 2000 documentary in which she used the themes of collecting, harvesting and recycling to reflect on her own work, is considered by some to be her masterpiece. ..."
NY Times
NPR: Director Agnes Varda, A Giant Of French Cinema, Dies At 90 (Video)
The Atlantic: The Indefatigable Spirit of Agnès Varda
W - Agnès Varda
NY Times - 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, 2017 August: Agnès Varda on her life and work - Artforum, 2017 October: Agnès Varda’s Ecological Conscience, 2018 March: Faces Places - Agnès Varda and JR (2017), 2018 July: Vagabond (1985)

Thursday, March 28

How College Basketball’s Cinderella Became a Blue Blood

"There were few surprises during the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. The Sweet 16 features 14 of the field’s top 16 seeds, including no. 1 seed Gonzaga, which advanced to the second weekend for the fifth consecutive year. The Bulldogs are at home in the company of traditional power programs like Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky, but that wasn’t the case 20 years ago, when the Jesuit university from Spokane, Washington, first captured the nation’s imagination during a surprise run to the Elite Eight. Since 1999, Gonzaga has become a March Madness mainstay, rising from a mid-major to a bona fide blue blood. During that span, the Bulldogs have reached 10 Sweet 16s, three Elite Eights, and one Final Four and have as many first-team All-Americans as UCLA or Michigan State. ..."
The Ringer
The Ringer: The Entire NCAA Tournament Field Now Has the Blueprint to Stop Duke

2019 March: A Handy Guide for Filling Out Your March Madness Bracket

Tintype Portraits of Old-Time Musicians from Appalachia

“Aviva and Roy.”
"Lisa Elmaleh traded her Brooklyn apartment in 2012 for a wood cabin with no running water — but a 'quite lovely' outhouse — on the outskirts of Paw Paw, West Virginia. Urban anonymity was soon replaced by small-town intimacy as she pursued her project of photographing traditional string musicians in Appalachia using, appropriately enough, traditional photographic processes. She had decided to move there the very day she had done tintypes of Sam Herrmann and her husband, Joe, a couple dedicated to keeping old-time music alive. Paw Paw may not have Brooklyn’s hipster cachet, but it also 'has everything that Brooklyn doesn’t' she added. ..."
NY Times
YouTube: Tintype Portraits of Old-Time Musicians from Appalachia

“Hogslop String Band.”

A Bathroom of One’s Own

Edgar Degas, La Toilette, c. 1884-1886
"The door of my childhood bedroom didn’t have a lock on it, so I spent a lot of time in the bathroom. Every human wants privacy, but no one more so than a teenage girl. Though I ostensibly shared the bathroom with my little brother, I claimed it as my domain. I spent hours reading on the tiled floor, my body bracketed between the sink and the door. In my memory, it’s a slightly steamy, always warm, watery place—but I never spent that much time in the bath. If I wasn’t reading or sulking after a fight with my parents, I was performing those charmless beauty rituals teenage girls are so fond of—shoving my A-cup breasts together in the mirror trying to make cleavage magically appear; waxing my legs with an at-home sugaring kit I’d surreptitiously tipped into the family shopping cart; dyeing the tips of my hair hot pink. ..."
The Paris Review

Wednesday, March 27

ISIS Caliphate Crumbles as Last Village in Syria Falls

A discarded Islamic State flag in Baghuz, eastern Syria, on Monday.
"A four-year military operation to flush the Islamic State from its territory in Iraq and Syria ended on Saturday as the last village held by the terrorist group was retaken, erasing a militant theocracy that once spanned two countries. Cornered in Baghuz, Syria, the last 1.5-square-mile remnant of the group’s territory in the region, the remaining militants waged a surprisingly fierce defense and kept the American-backed coalition at bay for months. They detonated car bombs and hurled explosives from drones. Suicide bombers ran across the front line under cover of darkness to attack the sleeping quarters of the coalition. In the last weeks, the militants’ families fled for their lives, their black-clad wives streaming into the desert by the tens of thousands. Some of them defiantly chanted Islamic State slogans and lobbed fistfuls of dirt at reporters. But after a grueling campaign, the last speck of land was finally wrested from the Islamic State. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: Opinion - ISIS Is Like a Chronic Disease
NY Times: ISIS Lost Its Last Territory in Syria. But the Attacks Continue.
NY Times: Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

Coalition forces searching for ISIS fighters in the days before the battle to recapture the last ISIS-held territory.

2018 July: NY Times: Caliphate (Audio), 2014 August: The Islamic State, 2014 September: How ISIS Works, 2015 February: The Political Scene: The Evolution of Islamic Extremism, 2015 May: Zakaria: How ISIS shook the world, 2015 August: ISIS Blows Up Ancient Temple at Syria’s Palmyra Ruins, 2015 November: Times Insider: Reporting Europe's Refugee Crisis, 2015 November: Three Teams of Coordinated Attackers Carried Out Assault on Paris, Officials Say; Hollande Blames ISIS, 2015 November: The French Emergency, 2015 December: A Brief History of ISIS, 2015 December: U.S. Seeks to Avoid Ground War Welcomed by Islamic State, 2016 January: Ramadi, Reclaimed by Iraq, Is in Ruins After ISIS Fight, 2016 February: Syrian Officer Gave a View of War. ISIS Came, and Silence Followed., 2016 March: Brussels Survivors Say Blasts Instantly Evoked Paris Attacks, 2016 April: America Can’t Do Much About ISIS, 2016 June: What the Islamic State Has Won and Lost, 2016 July: ISIS: The Cornened Beast, 2016 October: Archaeological Victims of ISIS Rise Again, as Replicas in Rome, 2016 December: Battle Over Aleppo Is Over, Russia Says, as Evacuation Deal Reached, 2017 January: Eternal Sites: From Bamiyan to Palmyra, 2017 February: Tour a City Torn in Half by ISIS, 2017 March: Engulfed in Battle, Mosul Civilians Run for Their Lives, 2017 May: Aleppo After the Fall, 2017 July: Iraqi forces declare victory over Islamic State in Mosul after grueling battle, 2017 July: The Living and the Dead, 2017 October: ISIS Fighters, Having Pledged to Fight or Die, Surrender en Masse, 2018 August: After ISIS, Iraq Is Still Broken, 2018 September: Fight to Retake Last ISIS Territory in Syria Begins, 2018 December: Iraq’s Post-ISIS Campaign of Revenge

Hear Electronic Ladyland, a Mixtape Featuring 55 Tracks from 35 Pioneering Women in Electronic Music

"Given that we've previously featured two documentaries on electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshirean introduction to four other female composers who pioneered electronic music (Daphne Oram, Laurie Spiegel, Éliane Radigue & Pauline Oliveros), and seven hours of electronic music made by women between 1938 and 2014, no loyal Open Culture reader could claim ignorance on the theme of this new mixtape, Electronic Ladyland. It comes from the French musical project Arandel, whose members remain anonymous and could therefore be of any gender, but who, in these 45 minutes (made of 55 different tracks by 35 female composers), display a mastery of the field. ..."
Open Culture (Audio)

2014 February: Women And Their Machines: A Think-piece About Female Pioneerism in Electronic Music, 2016 June: Meet Four Women Who Pioneered Electronic Music: Daphne Oram, Laurie Spiegel, Éliane Radigue & Pauline Oliveros


Wikipedia - "RRRecords (pronounced 'Triple R Records', based in Lowell, Massachusetts) is a used and new record shop. RRRecords is distinguished as being the first American record label to specifically publish underground noise music in the early 1980s, and published the first American vinyl by Merzbow, Masonna, The Hanatarash, Violent Onsen Geisha, and many more artists who have subsequently become well known in the world of noise music. In its first 20 years, RRR has issued hundreds of releases. The label's owner, Ron Lessard, is a tireless supporter of new artists, and created several sub-labels and series to specifically highlight unknown and underground musicians. One of the most popular of the RRR sub-labels is the Recycled Music series, which consists of used cassette tapes of pop and rock music that have been taped over with new music by a noise band. ..."
Ron Lessard Is a Noise Music Hero (Video)
Radio Black Forest (Video)
RRR Records

Tuesday, March 26

Thomas Hardy's Wessex

Locations in Wessex, from The Wessex of Thomas Hardy by Bertram Windle, 1902, based on correspondence with Hardy.
Wikipedia - "The English author Thomas Hardy set all of his major novels in the south and southwest of England. He named the area 'Wessex' after the medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom that existed in this part of that country prior to the unification of England by Æthelstan. Although the places that appear in his novels actually exist, in many cases he gave the place a fictional name. For example, Hardy's home town of Dorchester is called Casterbridge in his books, notably in The Mayor of Casterbridge. In an 1895 preface to the novel Far From the Madding Crowd he described Wessex as 'a merely realistic dream country'. The actual definition of 'Hardy's Wessex' varied widely throughout Hardy's career, and was not definitively settled until after he retired from writing novels. ..."
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.
Where is Thomas Hardy's Wessex?
Hardy's Wessex
Independent: Too little has changed since Thomas Hardy wrote about sexual assault

Far From the Madding Crowd - 1895

2014 March: Tess (1979)

Monday, March 25

Desolation and isolation on the East River in 1909

"Social realist painter George Bellows completed 'Bridge, Blackwell’s Island,' in 1909, which is also the year of the opening of the Queensboro Bridge, as this span over the East River was called at the time. Like the East River waterfront, Blackwell’s Island (today’s Roosevelt Island) was to Bellows a place on the margin—where refuse, industry, and those who were edged out by 20th century urban life were relegated. This look at the bridge almost devoid of people seems to say something about the desolation and isolation of the contemporary city. Smokestacks belch, a tugboat speeds through the choppy river, a lone man not much bigger than a speck is tending to something on the dock—and four children shrouded in darkness peer across the water—perhaps contemplating the modern metropolis they’re part of."
Ephemeral New York

Sunday, March 24

The Hum of the City: La Monte Young and the Birth of NYC Drone

"For the last 20 years, passersby on Church Street, just south of the triangle now occupied by the Tribeca Grand Hotel, may have noticed a magenta glow coming from a third-floor loft window. Ring the buzzer, ascend the stairs, and you will find yourself at The Dream House, an electronic sound and light installation. Maintained by composer La Monte Young and artist Marian Zazeela, it realizes an idea Young conceived 50 years ago of a building in which single tones would be sustained around the clock. Young – a teenage jazz saxophone prodigy who turned to the avant-garde and became virtually synonymous with drone music – is elusive; he hardly ever gives concerts and his music is rarely performed by anyone other than himself or ensembles of his own making. He has only a handful of officially released recordings to his name, all of which are out of print and command large sums on the collectors’ market (and his own website). ..."
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)
I went to see La Monte Young playing in his New York loft, and you should do the same
[PDF] La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela at the Dream House

Just about the only picture you can legitimately take of the Dream House.

2009 May: La Monte Young, 2010 January: Just intonation, 2014 August: The Well-Tuned Piano - La Monte Young (1987)

Poem on the Page: A Collection of Broadsides

 Richard Brautigan. Five Poems.
"Broadsides proliferated during the small press and mimeograph era as a logical offshoot of poets assuming control of their means of publication. When technology evolved from typewriter, stencil, and mimeo machine to moveable type and sophisticated printing, broadsides provided a site for innovation with design and materials that might not be appropriate for an entire pamphlet or book; thus, they occupy a very specific place within literary and print culture. Poem on the Page: A Collection of Broadsides includes approximately 500 broadsides from a diverse range of poets, printers, designers, and publishers. It is a unique document of a particular aspect of the small press movement as well as a valuable resource for research into the intersection of poetry and printing. See below for a list of some of the poets, writers, printers, typographers, and publishers included in the collection. ..."
Granary Books

MADONJAZZ From the Vaults vol 23: Deep, Exotic & Modal Jazz Sounds

"MADONJAZZ From the Vaults Vol. 23; Deep, Exotic & Modal Jazz Sounds: An 1hr set with music from Dollar Brand, Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra, Bill Lee, Cossi Anatz, Don 'Sugar Cane' Harris and many more. Recorded live at a London venue in 2016. Enjoy..."
Mixcloud (Audio)

Saturday, March 23

Mueller Finds No Trump-Russia Conspiracy, but Stops Short of Exonerating President on Obstruction

"The investigation led by Robert S. Mueller III found no evidence that President Trump or any of his aides coordinated with the Russian government’s 2016 election interference, according to a summary of the special counsel’s key findings made public on Sunday by Attorney General William P. Barr. Mr. Mueller, who spent nearly two years investigating Moscow’s determined effort to sabotage the last presidential election, found no conspiracy 'despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign,' Mr. Barr wrote in a letter to lawmakers. Mr. Mueller’s team drew no conclusions about whether Mr. Trump illegally obstructed justice, Mr. Barr said, so he made his own decision. The attorney general and his deputy, Rod J. Rosenstein, determined that the special counsel’s investigators had insufficient evidence to establish that the president committed that offense. ..."
***NY Times
***NY Times: Read Attorney General William Barr’s Summary of the Mueller Report
NY Times: As Mueller Report Lands, Prosecutorial Focus Moves to New York
NY Times: Mueller Delivers Report on Trump-Russia Investigation to Attorney General (Video)
FT: Robert Mueller delivers report on Donald Trump-Russia investigation (Video)
NY Times: For Trump and the System, a Turning Point and a Test (Video)
NY Times: Opinion - The Meaning of the Mueller Report
NY Times: Special Edition: Listen to ‘The Daily’ (Audio)
Guardian: What does the Mueller report mean for Trump? The key questions answered

The Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble - Drum Dance to the Motherland (2018 )

"A definitive vinyl remaster of vibraphonist Khan Jama's 1972 album in a sextet of vibes, marimba, drums, African percussion, glockenspiel, guitar, bass, and live sound effects, a legendary album fusing free jazz, black psychedelia, and early dub elements, a truly unique album from an artist with a profound perspective applying a wide rhythmic spectrum to free jazz. Eremite presents the definitive vinyl edition of the most legendary private press underground jazz album of the 1970s. There's not another record on the planet that sounds even remotely like vibraphonist Khan Jamal's eccentric, one-of-a-kind masterpiece, Drum Dance to the Motherland. In its improbable fusion of free jazz expressionism, black psychedelia, and full-on dub production techniques, Drum Dance remains a bracingly powerful outsider statement forty-five years after it was recorded live at the Catacombs Club in Philadelphia, 1972. ..."
Holland Tunnel Dive
Pitchfork (Audio)
YouTube: drum dance to the motherland

Thursday, March 21

Listening to Paintings in the Silence of the Studio

Jack Whitten in his studio (1989).
"Art is the record of a process both material and intellectual, so it’s surprising how few of its practitioners have left thorough written accounts of their efforts. Maybe that’s because the doing and the thinking are more loosely related than one would imagine—sometimes coordinated, but often out of sync. Even with the greatest artists, ideas can be well ahead of practice, as I was recently reminded when rereading Eugène Delacroix’s journals: He often seemed to be working out on the page what he would achieve on the canvas only years later. Yet such written reflections should be precious to anyone who hopes to better understand the process of art. When artists examine their own motives and chronicle their own struggles, they uncover something essential: art as a means to self-awareness. Last year saw the publication of a book that could well turn out to be a future classic of art writing. Jack Whitten’s Notes From the Woodshed was released just a few months after the painter’s death in New York at the age of 78. ..."
The Nation

2016 January: Jack Whitten: Five Decades of Painting, 2018 July: Who Are You, Jack Whitten? By Jack Whitten

For Sale: A Historical Map of the Imagination

Beware the "Greate Whirlpoole."
"The journey begins with a stormy sea. There, waves lash the shore and tritons ride piscine steeds, while a wooden ship and an unfortunate soul are half-sunk nearby, in a white whirlpool. At first glance, things aren’t much better on land. The shore is rocky and steep. A note beneath a darkened castle cautions: 'No landing here.' Werewolves snarl from a cliff, and a pair of dragons claw toward Castle Warlock, a fortress bordered by the yellow-orange Valley of Fire and the inky-black Witch Woods, where a quartet with pointy hats soars on broomsticks.... But this nightmarish menagerie is just one corner of a map by Bernard Sleigh, a British author and illustrator. Printed in 1917, An Ancient Mappe of Fairyland, Newly Discovered and Set Forth beckons viewers to tromp through an imagined landscape populated by creatures and characters from ancient myths, Arthurian legends, folklore, and more contemporary nursery rhymes. It’s a whimsical scene, produced at a time when wonder was sorely needed. ..."
Atlas Obscura
W - Bernard Sleigh

Chicago's Democratic socialists on brink of transforming city's politics

"Democratic socialist Rossana Rodriguez never thought she would run for office, let alone win. But the Chicago educator and community activist may be poised to do just that after forcing a runoff in her 33rd ward aldermanic race against incumbent Deb Mell last month, making her one of six democratic socialists who could potentially join city council this year. That shock number of openly declared socialists set to join Chicago politics comes at a time when socialism is increasingly visible in national US politics, led by the socialist senator Bernie Sanders running for president and socialist New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez becoming one the most high-profile politicians in the House of Representatives. ..."

Wednesday, March 20

The World between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East

"For over three centuries, the territories and trading networks of the Middle East were contested between the Roman and Parthian Empires (ca. 100 B.C.–A.D. 250), yet across the region life was not defined by these two superpowers alone. Local cultural and religious traditions flourished, and sculptures, wall paintings, jewelry, and other objects reveal how ancient identities were expressed through art. Featuring 190 works from museums in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, this exhibition follows a journey along the great incense and silk routes that connected cities in southwestern Arabia, Nabataea, Judaea, Syria, and Mesopotamia, making the region a center of global trade. Several of the archaeological sites featured, including Palmyra, Dura-Europos, and Hatra, have been damaged in recent years by deliberate destruction and looting, and the exhibition also examines these events and responses to them. ..."
Metropolitan Museum of Art (Video/Audio)
NY Times: See Ancient Trade Route Treasures at the Met

Tuesday, March 19

Ennio Morricone Plays Chess

Collage with modified images.
"Ennio Morricone is responsible for some of the most recognizable soundtracks in cinema. He’s been the go-to composer for Sergio Leone, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Brian De Palma, and many others. He’s especially renowned for his spaghetti western themes, which helped establish the mood of the genre. In 2007, Morricone received an Academy Honorary Award, and in 2016, he won an Academy Award for Best Original Score, for The Hateful Eight. Here, he discusses one of his other great passions: chess. ..."
The Paris Review
Independent - Ennio Morricone: They shoot, he scores
Guardian - 'A Fistful of Dollars? It's my worst ever score'
YouTube: Dance of the Chess Game - Il Segreto Del Sahara (1987)

2009 November: Ennio Morricone, 2014 June: Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, 2015 June: The Big Gundown - John Zorn plays Ennio Morricone (1985), 2016 July: Once Upon a Time in America - Sergio Leone (1984)

Wganda Kenya

"Wganda Kenya are one of Colombia’s most innovatory live ensembles and a key proponent in bringing the boundless energy of Afrobeat to the streets and dance halls of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Between the 1970s and the late 1980s, Wganda Kenya formed part of a small collection of pioneering Afro-Colombian bands that ruled the airwaves in Northern cities like Cartagena and Barranquilla. Along with sister group Afrosound they were put together in the 1970s by Discos Fuentes, the famous Medellín-based label (often described as Colombia’s version of ‘Motown’ for it’s instrumental role in introducing the nation to its popular Afro-rhythm genres of Cumbia, merengue, porro, fandango and salsa.) ... A title that itself invokes an African heritage, their music combines the furious rhythms inherited from the Fela Kuti albums that were arriving in Colombia’s coastal regions at the time with a large spoonful of 70s funk and their own electric, Latin flavour. ..."
Musica Macondo (Audio)
The Best of Wganda Kenya (Audio)
Colombia! the Golden Age of Discos Fuentes. the Powerhouse of Colombian Music 1960-76 (Audio)
YouTube: Soundway presents Colombia! (The Golden Age of Discos Fuentes. The Powerhouse of Colombian Music 1960-76) 20 videos

Monday, March 18

A Handy Guide for Filling Out Your March Madness Bracket

"Nobody picks a perfect NCAA tournament bracket, so there is no perfect advice for filling one out. If we at The Ringer could predict how every wayward bounce will play out over the next three weeks, we’d pursue more profitable enterprises than dispensing tips to the masses. But just because no advice is perfect doesn’t mean that all pieces of advice are equally flawed. March Madness has inspired a whole set of bracket tips and tricks, but only some of them pass statistical muster. Before completing your selections this week, learn which ideas to take to heart—and which to dismiss as unsubstantiated myth. ..."
The Ringer
The Ringer: 2019 NCAA Tournament Bracket Breakdown: Best Matchups, Story Lines, and Scenarios
FiveThirtyEight: Your Guide To The 2019 NCAA Men’s Tournament
ESPN - NCAA tournament 2019: Bracket winners and losers (Video)
SI: Best Bets for 2019 NCAA Tournament's First-Round Games (Video)

FiveThirtyEight: 2019 March Madness Predictions
SI: 2019 NCAA Tournament Bracket Breakdown: A Region-by-Region Guide
March Madness 2019: An idiot's guide to filling out your bracket (Video)
ESPN: 2019 NCAA Tournament Bracket Projections - Joe Lunardi's guide for all 68 teams
SI: The Top 50 Players in College Basketball This Season

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Peonies (c. 1880)

"Renoir once told a friend 'painting flowers rests my brain. . . . I place my colors and experiment with values boldly, without worrying about spoiling a canvas.' In this still life, vibrant reds and pinks stand out against the dark background and cast blue shadows across the white tablecloth. Using thin washes and strokes of thicker paint, the artist has captured the peonies’ sumptuous colors and the delicate textures of their petals and leaves."
The Clark

2010 February: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 2010 July: Late Renoir, 2012 February: Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting, 2012 September: Renoir: Between Bohemia and Bourgeoisie, 2014 December: Dance at Le moulin de la Galette (1876), 2015 June: Dance at Bougival (1883), 2015 December: Luncheon of the Boating Party (1880-81)

Sunday, March 17

Lester Young - March 15, 1959

"Lester Young died unexpectedly of a heart attack in the early hours of Sunday, March 15, 1959 in the Alvin Hotel on 52nd and Broadway where he had been living for the past year, just across from the Birdland jazz club. Young was just 49, and despite ongoing health problems, he was performing regularly — but he’d begun experiencing severe stomach pain in Paris after spending seven weeks abroad, and rushed back to New York where he died almost immediately upon his return. Dave Gelly details Young’s final hours very thoroughly in his biography Being Prez: The Life and Music of Lester Young, if you’re looking to learn more. It was an event that shook the jazz world; according to critic Leonard Feather, at Young’s funeral, held the following Thursday, March 19, Young’s longtime friend and collaborator Billie Holiday told him, 'I’ll be the next one to go.' ..."
The 1959 Project (Video)
W - Pork pie hat
How to make a pork pie hat. (Video)

2017 July: In Washington (1956), 2018 August: The Jazz Giants '56 (1956)

Furrier Store Sign, Harlem, New York City - Walker Evans

"January 1939. Finnish Harlem (aka Finntown) was a vibrant community in the 1920s to 1940s like Little Syria in Lower Manhattan and Little Caughnawaga in Brooklyn. There were about 9000 Finns between 120th and 130th Sts from Madison to Fifth Ave. By the 1940s-50s, 40,000 Finns mostly lived in Sunset Park (Brooklyn). Pictured is a Finnish deli sign on 5th Ave. The building on the left is at 127th St. Still standing today are the Finnish Progressive Society Hall (15 W 126th St), now the Pilgrim Cathedral of Harlem, and the Finnish Workers Educational Alliance Building (2056 5th Ave)."
Met Museum

2011 June: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, 2011 May: A Revolutionary Project: Cuba from Walker Evans to Now, 2013 June: Cotton Tenants: Three Families, 2014 May: “Walker Evans and Robert Frank – An Essay on Influence by Tod Papageorge” (1981), 2014 October: Walker Evans: The Magazine Work, 2014 December: Walker Evans: Decade by Decade, 2015 August: Walker Evans: A Life's Work, 2015 October: Walker Evans’ “lineup of faces” on the subway, 2016 June: Walker Evans: Labor Anonymous

Saturday, March 16

Prince Valiant

Wikipedia - "Prince Valiant in the Days of King Arthur, or simply Prince Valiant, is an American comic strip created by Hal Foster in 1937. It is an epic adventure that has told a continuous story during its entire history, and the full stretch of that story now totals more than 4000 Sunday strips. Currently, the strip appears weekly in more than 300 American newspapers, according to its distributor, King Features Syndicate. HRH Edward, the Duke of Windsor, called Prince Valiant the 'greatest contribution to English literature in the past hundred years'. Generally regarded by comics historians as one of the most impressive visual creations ever syndicated, the strip is noted for its realistically rendered panoramas and the intelligent, sometimes humorous, narrative. The format does not employ word balloons. Instead, the story is narrated in captions positioned at the bottom or sides of panels. Events depicted are taken from various time periods, from the late Roman Empire to the High Middle Ages, with a few brief scenes from modern times (commenting on the 'manuscript'). ..."
The Coloring of the Prince Valiant Series Published By Fantagraphics
8 Things You Might Not Know About Prince Valiant
The Atlantic: Prince Valiant’s England
The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion
amazon: Hal Foster

Geneva Skeen - Dream State (2019)

"The Form of the Longform Abstract - Say what you will about the mix of nostalgia, fossil-fuel products, and subpar sound quality that is employed with some finger-pointing regularity to characterize the resurgence of the tape cassette as a 21st-century conveyance of music from recording artist to listener, one positive service has certainly been accomplished: the rise of long-form compositions. It seems more common today than it has been since the heights of the progressive rock era for commercially released albums to contain suite-length pieces, symphony-dimensioned (horizontally if not vertically) explorations longer than extended 12″s, longer than medleys, longer than the attention span attributed (malignly) to a generation raised amid screens. Geneva Skeen’s many-layered collage of a new album, Dream State, on the label Crystalline Morphologies, is such a recording. ..."
disquiet (Audio)
DREAM STATE by Geneva Skeen (Audio)
Soundcloud (Audio)

Friday, March 15

The Good, Bad, and Ugly Public Transit Seat Covers of the World

When CityLab asked followers on Twitter to choose their favorite examples of public transit seat coverings from around the world, a deluge of replies rolled in, many of which expressed affection for patterns that would make a minimalist shudder.
"In the 1930s, the London Underground referred to the potentially nauseating effect of a loudly designed fabric on a seat in a moving subway car as 'dazzle.' Even if you haven’t felt the uncontrollable urge to vomit from the sight of a wild seat pattern, you have an idea of which ones have such potential. It can’t be easy creating a good textile for public transit. Bus, train, and subway seats must do far more than look attractive. They have to stay fresh-looking as thousands of people sit on them daily, all the while trying to deter or mask the attentions of vandals. With all these boxes to tick, it’s no wonder that so many of the fabrics used on public transit are, quite frankly, pretty damned weird. Often the textiles chosen—usually, but not exclusively moquette—have an eye-grating brightness and busyness that would make the average person faint (or at least laugh) if they saw the same pattern used for a shirt or curtains. ..."
Guardian - Sitting pretty: London transport fabrics over the decades – in pictures
Celebrating Britain’s Transport Textile

Sample of moquette as used on trolleybuses and trams, 1930–1949

Jack Kerouac’s “Beat Paintings:” Now Gathered in One Book and Exhibition for the First Time

"Most of us enter Jack Kerouac's world through his 1959 novel On the Road. Those of us who explore it more deeply thereafter may find much more than we expected to: Kerouac's inner life came out not just in his formidable body of written work, but in spoken-word jazz albums, fantasy baseball materials, and even paintings. Though Kerouac has now been gone for nearly half a century, it wasn't until just last year that his works of visual art were brought together: Kerouac: Beat Painting did it in book form, and the Museo Maga near Milan put on an exhibition of the more than 80 pieces it could find, beginning with his first self-portrait, drawn at the age of nine. ..."
Open Culture

2009 November: Another Side of Kerouac: The Dharma Bum as Sports Nut, 2010 July: Kerouac's Copies of Floating Bear, 2011 March: Jack Kerouac on The Steve Allen Show, 2013 September: On the Road - Jack Kerouac, 2014 May: “Walker Evans and Robert Frank – An Essay on Influence by Tod Papageorge” (1981), 2015 March: Pull My Daisy (1959), 2015 December: Hear All Three of Jack Kerouac’s Spoken, 2016 July: Mexico City Blues (1959), 2017 February: The Jack Kerouac Collection (1990), 2017 May: The Subterraneans (1958), 2017 June: The Town and the City (1950), 2018 January: Big Sur (1962), 2018 March: A Slightly Embarrassing Love for Jack Kerouac

Thursday, March 14

Brian Eno: Taking Manhattan (By Strategy)

"It could be argued that Brian Eno is the most consistently creative figure in rock history, someone whose innovation rate over the decades eclipses even that of his shape-shifting collaborators David Bowie and David Byrne. From his disruptive presence in Roxy Music to his alternately quirky and contemplative solo albums, from inventing ambient music to his recent explorations in 'generative music,' it’s a career that has, well, careered, zigzagging from extreme to extreme between pop and antipop, between febrile rhythm and near-immobile tranquility. Then consider his panoply of partnerships with other artists – Devo, Talking Heads, U2 and John Cale, to name just a few – as producer or collaborator/catalyst. Eno is also a musical philosopher, someone whose interviews, critical writings and sundry musings about sound, art and culture deserve to be compiled into a book. ..."
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)

Brazilian Soul, Funk and Jazz on Vinyl

"Thank you all once again for supporting us here on Patreon. Here is the premiere for the latest episode Brazilian Soul, Funk and Jazz on Vinyl. Pirulito-Batucada No.1, Arthur Verocai-Presente Grego ( 03:30 ) Pedro Santos-Ritual Negro ( 05:50 ) Gal Costa-Pontos De Luz ( 07:46 ) Tim maia-O Caminho Do Bem ( 10:23 ) Renata Lu-Faz Tanto Tempo ( 16:24 ) Rosa Maria-Deixa Não Deixa ( 18:44 ) Evinha-Esperar Pra Ver ( 21:16 ) Elza Soares-Mas Que Nada ( 23:15 ) Som Tres-Tanga ( 25:35 ) Toni Tornado-O Jornaleiro ( 27:35 ) Banda Black Rio-Maria Fumaça ( 29:29 ) Antonio Carlos Jocafi - Se Quiser Valer ( 31:50 ) Marcos Valle-Estrelar ( 34:16 ) João Luiz-Super Mulher ( 39:12 ) Arthur Verocai-Sylvia ( 42:25 ) Célia Vaz & Wanda Sá Zanzibar ( 45:18 ) Gal Costa-Relance ( 50:41 ) Lincoln Olivetti & Robson Jorge-Jorgeia Corisco ( 55:08 ) Antonio Carlos E Jocafi-Quem Vem Lá ( 59:05 )
YouTube: Brazilian Soul, Funk and Jazz on Vinyl 1:02:13
Soundcloud (Audio) 1:01:59