Friday, May 31

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City


"Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, directed by the gifted journalist and documentarian Matt Tyrnauer, tells the story of a David-and-Goliath fight over urban planning that took place more than 50 years ago. Yet the movie just about pulses with contemporary resonance. It has moments of uncanny overlap with this week’s election, and it explores the scope and meaning of that overly familiar thing — the city — in ways that will box open your thinking. It’s a finely woven tapestry that feels as relevant and alive as the place you live. It’s also got great sparks of conflict. The movie, which kicked off the seventh DOC NYC film festival last night, features two nearly mythological antagonists. In one corner is Robert Moses, the scabrous New York power broker and construction czar who, in the years after World War II, transformed the city by gutting its poorer sections and erecting miles of concrete-slab housing projects and snaking superhighways. In the other corner is Jane Jacobs, activist and author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), who led an uprising against Moses’ dehumanized dream of a paved-over utopia. ..."
Variety
Vanity Fair: The Woman Who Saved New York City from Superhighway Hell
NPR: City Planning As A Contact Sport In 'Citizen Jane: Battle For The City' (Audio)
Altimeter (Video)
amazon
YouTube: Citizen Jane: Battle for the City Official Trailer

2018 April: The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), 2019 May: Jane Jacobs Walk

Yussef Kamaal - Black Focus (2016)


"Yussef Kamaal is the South London duo of drummer/percussionist Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams (Henry Wu) on Rhodes piano and synth. The former is best known for his work as kit man for cosmic Afrobeat ensemble United Vibrations. The latter is also a producer whose dubplates have garnered wide-ranging critical notice. Gilles Peterson signed them to Brownswood based on witnessing a 20-minute live set. The music on Black Focus is a seamless weave of spiritual jazz funk, broken beat, and global sounds, but it's also more and less. The duo enlisted a who's-who of South London all-stars to assist in various spots: Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, trumpeter Yelfris Valdes, bassists Tom Driessler and Kareem Dayes, and guitarist Mansur Brown. ..."
allmusic (Audio)
Album Review: Yussef Kamaal – Black Focus [Brownswood Recordings, 4th November 2016] (Video)
YouTube: Henry Wu presents The Yussef Kamaal Trio Boiler Room London Live Set 14:17, Calligraphy // Brownswood Basement Session
YouTube: Black Focus 47:42

Thursday, May 30

Mexican Muralism: Art as a Vehicle for Change and Rebellion


"No other movement proposed and produced art for the people quite like Mexican muralism, entwined with its nation's history, culture and tradition with such dedication and vision. Spurred by the Mexican Revolution and succeeding civil war, it sought to reunify the country, but also educate the common man through powerful messages of cultural identity, solidarity, oppression, resistance and progress. Although it started as a government-backed program, it evolved into a fiercely independent movement that intersected art and politics. It also liberated art from the confines of museums and galleries, bringing it into the public space and making it available to all. ..."
PROHBTD


The Hal of Gnawa: James Holden, Floating Points, Vessel, and Biosphere in Morocco


"In Moroccan Gnawa ritual, songs are more than sound. They animate as spirits, who rise up and possess the body of a listener, piloting them into trance. Western musicians have long mapped patterns of migration to Morocco in search of ways to elevate their own practice. In the ’60s and ’70s, Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page and jazz pianist Randy Weston, among others, initiated collaborations with the Gnawa. And in late March of this year, 14 kilometers outside the southern city of Marrakech, James Holden, Floating Points, Vessel, and Biosphere coupled with legendary Gnawa masters Mahmoud Guinia and Mohamed Kouyou for a weeklong residency, set to culminate in two performances beamed live via Boiler Room’s inaugural broadcast from North Africa. No predecessor has ever come trailing so many wires. ..."
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)

2016 March: Gnawa music, 2015 March: Habibi funk: Listen to this rare vinyl mix of incredible Arab songs from the 60s/70s, 2014 September: Claude McKay and Gnawa Music, 2014 August: The Aesthetes: Expats of Tangier, Morocco, 2013 September: Kassidat: Raw 45s from Morocco, 2013 March: Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of North African Literature, 2012 November: An Intro To Rebel Hip-Hop Of The Arab Revolutions, 2010 May: The Master Musicians of Jajouka.

Wednesday, May 29

The History of the Lunch Box


Gunsmoke - 1959
"Considering what passed for children’s fashion in the 1970s when I started elementary school—patterned polyester pants with coordinating turtlenecks—it’s no surprise that picking out new clothes was not my favorite part of back-to-school shopping. Instead, I considered my most important September decision to be choosing the right lunch box. ... Mickey Mouse was the first popular character to grace the front of a lunch box, in 1935. But the lunch box as personal statement really took off in the 1950s, along with television. According to Whole Pop, executives at a Nashville company called Aladdin realized they could sell more of their relatively indestructible lunch boxes if they decorated them with the fleeting icons of popular culture; even if that Hopalong Cassidy lunch box was barely scratched, the kid whose newest fancy was the Lone Ranger would want to trade in his pail for the latest model. ..."
Smithsonian
Smithsonian: Lunch Box

Cup of coffee


"A 'cup of coffee' is a North American sports idiom for a short time spent by a minor league player at the major league level. The idea behind the term is that the player was only in the big leagues long enough to have a cup of coffee before being returned to the minors. ... One well-known variant of the cup of coffee is the September call-up, in which major-league clubs call up additional players to the big leagues from the minors on September 1, when rosters expand from 25 players to 40. This is by definition a cup of coffee, because September is the last month of the baseball season. ..."
Wikipedia
SABR: A Short Cup of Coffee
The Cup Of Coffee Club: The Ballplayers Who Got Only One Game
One game in the bigs: 10 short baseball careers

Tuesday, May 28

Dancehall: Raising the Voices of the Dead


Chris Wayne performing with Sugar Minnott’s Youth Promotion soundsystem, Jamaica, 1985
"When I was living in Kingston, Jamaica, a few years ago, the caretaker of our building died. For the purposes of this essay, I’m going to call him Mr. A. Mr. A was a helpful older man who was always willing to help fix whatever was broken. In fact, again for the purposes of this essay, the word fix isn’t quite right. He’d resurrect them, bring them back to life. You never knew which things he’d be able to resurrect, though, until he was halfway through—when it became clear his powers would either prevail or had failed him. Though a fluorescent light proved to permanently flicker, whenever Mr. A played around with the stove it worked, even after I’d spent hours with no luck. One weekend, Mr. A was supposed to be away, but sadly, he didn’t end up going anywhere. The effects of the tropical climate eventually made his death obvious. ..."
NYBooks (Video)

King Jammy’s soundsystem on the move, Jamaica, 1985

2016 December: Dancehall, 2018 August: The Roots of Dub, 2018 September: From Roots to Dancehall

Monday, May 27

‘I’m Weird, but I Get Results’: Have You Met This Wizard on the Subway?


Devin Person, 33, works at Squarespace in Manhattan. He also works as a self-proclaimed professional wizard.
"In New York, a city where anyone can be anything, Devin Person is a self-proclaimed professional wizard. On a Sunday afternoon in his Brooklyn neighborhood, Greenpoint, Mr. Person — looking more Merlin than Harry Potter, with his plush robe and scraggly white beard — led about three dozen people in meditation. He encouraged them to 'sample the flavors and energy of each cloud formation as if you were walking around Costco’s different free sample stations,' to float 'like Michael Phelps diving into the pool' and to wear a smile 'like the sun on the Raisin Bran box.' As a modern 'wizard,' Mr. Person, 33, holds group sessions, like the recent meditation and Wizarding Hour in Greenpoint. ... He generally charges $150 for a one-on-one meeting, or $400 to $500 to create a ritual, but sometimes offers services pro bono. ..."
NY Times

Mr. Person wearing his wizarding hat and robe on the subway. Some commuters chat with him about “deep, interesting things — their dreams, their wishes,” according to one rider. Others feign indifference.

Socialism and the Democracy Deficit


"Socialism, the political economy that for a century dared not speak its name in American domestic politics, is enjoying a return to prominence it hasn’t experienced since the early twentieth century. On the one hand, self-identified 'democratic socialists' such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have won considerable public approval and support, particularly from younger people. On the other hand, nervous defenders of plutocracy like President Trump have gone out of their way to renew warnings of a socialist threat to American freedom not heard much since the end of the Cold War. 'America will never be a socialist country,' Trump vowed during this year’s State of the Union address, as though the new Democratic House majority were about to make Kim Jong Un the honorary chair of the Democratic National Committee. ..."
New Republic (Audio)
New Republic: The Socialist Network (Audio)
New Republic: Reclaiming the Future (Audio)
New Republic: Socialism in No Country
New Republic: Socialism

Citizen socialist: Eugene V. Debs addresses a crowd in Chicago in 1922.

Max Richter - The Blue Notebooks (2004)


"On February 15th, 2003, the world said no to war. Humanity linked up in what the New York Times called a 'global daisy chain' of peaceful demonstrations against the US invasion of Iraq. It was the single largest anti-war protest in history, with up to 30 million people demonstrating worldwide. Max Richter was among those who took to the streets that day. About a week later he made his second album, The Blue Notebooks. It was recorded in only three hours, with a string quintet and the actress Tilda Swinton reading from texts by Franz Kafka and the Nobel Prize-winning poet Czesław Miłosz 'for a token fee.' When the LP came out a year later, in March 2004, the killing of four Blackwater contractors in Fallujah sparked a renewed period of bloody violence. Quiet protest is the beating heart of The Blue Notebooks, which has now been reissued on its 15th anniversary with additional material. ..."
Max Richter - The Blue Notebooks (15 Years Edition)
Max Richter Shares a Jlin Remix From His Imminent Blue Notebooks Reissue (Video)
W - The Blue Notebooks
YouTube: On The Nature Of Daylight (Entropy)(Live), 10 Hours of On the Nature of Daylight (Entropy) 10:07:04
YouTube:Richter: The Blue Notebooks 1 / 18

Sunday, May 26

Francis Ponge (1899 - 1988)


Francis Jean Gaston Alfred Ponge (French: [pɔ̃ʒ]; 27 March 1899 – 6 August 1988) was a French essayist and poet. Influenced by surrealism, he developed a form of prose poem, minutely examining everyday objects. … In his later years Ponge was a recluse, living at his country house. He died in Le Bar-sur-Loup at the age of 89. … In his work, Le parti pris des choses (often translated The Voice of Things), he meticulously described common things such as oranges, potatoes and cigarettes in a poetic voice, but with a personal style and paragraph form (prose poem) much like an essay. Ponge avoided appeals to emotion and symbolism, and instead sought to minutely recreate the world of experience of everyday objects. He described his own works as ‘a description-definition-literary artwork’ which avoided both the drabness of a dictionary and the inadequacy of poetry. His principal aim was to avoid stereotypical thinking. …”
Wikipedia
Poetry Foundation

"Le parti pris des choses is a collection of 32 short to medium-length prose poems by French poet and essayist Francis Ponge first published in 1942 (see 1942 in poetry). The title is often translated into English as The Voice of Things, The Way Things Are, or The Nature of Things (perhaps to echo Lucretius, though the book's philosophical underpinnings are more often associated with phenomenology). ... As a writer, he joined the Surrealist movement for a short time during the 1930s; this also had political ramifications, influencing him to join the Communist Party. However, his most notable works were to come later in his life. He fought in both World Wars, and it was after his stint in the army in World War II that he decided to leave the Communist Party. It was at this time, in 1942, that he joined the French Resistance and also published what is considered his most famous work, Le parti pris des choses. This text was in fact written over the span of 15 years, from 1924 to 1939. After his publication of Le parti pris des choses, Ponge was not unnoticed in the literary world. He was praised heavily by literary heavyweights Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre in the early 1960s. ..."
W - Le parti pris des choses

"How do you set out translate knowing that so much will be lost in translation? And must not this 'Sofia Coppola dilemma' grow exponentially when the subject is poetry. Recently, Jonathan Larson soldiered through this task of sorting through what he calls 'dissensions and alliances in the tribe of words' in Francis Ponge’s volume of poetry entitled, Nioque of the Early-Spring. Stumbled upon by coincidence/fate, Larson found himself traveling with the book of French poetry literally close to his heart, and has now translated its musical structure into English. Originally written in the 1950s but with relevance to the French Radicals of ‘68 (and perhaps ‘18), Ponge created poetry in a style that (to my mind) recalls William Carlos Williams’s imagist evocations of the things of everyday life. ..."
Jonathan Larson On His Translation Of The Poetry Of Francis Ponge
Two Poems by Francis Ponge
LitHub
Jacket2: Francis Ponge translated by John Ashbery 
The Paris Review: Soap By Dan Piepenbring, the complete review - Soap
Jacket2: Three pebbles
Google - Dreaming the Miracle: Three French Prose Poets
SCRIBD: Francis Ponge - The Voice of Things
Ponge: Taking the Side of Things
Joshua Corey on "Trying to Translate Ponge"
amazon: Francis Ponge
amazon: Dreaming the Miracle: Three French Prose Poets: Max Jacob, Jean Follain, Francis Ponge

Saturday, May 25

Dada Africa, Non-Western Sources and Influences


Left: Raoul Hausmann, People are Angels and Live in Heaven. Right: Sophie Taeuber, Arp Abstract Motif
"Dada, a prolific and subversive art movement, first emerged in Zurich during the First World War, and then spread to centres such as Berlin, Paris and New York. Through their new works – sound poems, collage, performance – the Dada artists question Western society struggling with the first World War, while appropriating the cultural and artistic forms of non-western cultures such as Africa, Oceania and America. The Musée de l’Orangerie is presenting an exhibition on these exchanges with African, American Indian and Asian works alongside those of the Dadaists - Hanna Höch, Jean Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Marcel Janco, Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, Raoul Haussmann, Man Ray and Picabia, among others. ..."
Musée de l'Orangerie
The Dadaists’ Fevered Dreams of Africa
The African Cultures that Shaped Western Art
Academia: Dada Africa: Non-Western Sources and Influences
amazon: Dada Africa

Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889-1943), Composition verticale – horizontale, 1916

2016: DADA Companion, 2016: The Growing Charm of Dada, 2009 February: Charles Baudelaire, 2012 December: Impressionism and Fashion, 2017: How Baudelaire Revolutionized Modern Literature, 2017: The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology - Mary Ann Caws, 2018 May: Europe After the Rain: Watch the Vintage Documentary on the Two Great Art Movements, Dada & Surrealism (1978)

A Conservative Impulse in the New Rock Underground


"August 18, 1975: Arabian swelter, and with the air-conditioning broken, CBGB resembled some abattoir of a kitchen in which a bucket of ice is placed in front of a fan to cool the room off. To no avail of course, and the heat had perspiration glissading down the curve of one’s back, yeah, and the cruel heat also burned away any sense of glamour. After all, CBGB’s Bowery and Bleecker location is not the garden spot of lower Manhattan, and the bar itself is an uneasy oasis. On the left, where the couples are, tables; on the right, where the stragglers, drinkers, and the love-seekers are, a long bar; between the two, a high double-backed ladder, which, when the room is really crowded, offers the best view. ... Now consider the assembly-line presentation of bands with resonant names like Movies, Tuff Darts, Blondie, Stagger Lee, the Heartbreakers, Mike de Ville, Dancer, the Shirts, Bananas, Talking Heads, Johnny’s Dance Band, and Television; consider that some nights as many as six bands perform, and it isn’t hard to comprehend someone declining to sit through a long evening. ..."
Voice

Friday, May 24

How Data (and Some Breathtaking Soccer) Brought Liverpool to the Cusp of Glory


"Jürgen Klopp was in his third week as Liverpool’s manager, in November 2015, when the team’s director of research, Ian Graham, arrived at his office carrying computer printouts. Graham wanted to show Klopp, whom he hadn’t yet met, what his work could do. Then he hoped to persuade Klopp to actually use it. Graham spread out his papers on the table in front of him. He began talking about a game that Borussia Dortmund, the German club that Klopp coached before joining Liverpool, had played the previous season. He noted that Dortmund had numerous chances against the lightly regarded Mainz, a smaller club that would end up finishing in 11th place. Yet Klopp’s team lost, 2-0. Graham was starting to explain what his printouts showed when Klopp’s face lit up. 'Ah, you saw that game,' he said. 'It was crazy. We killed them. You saw it!' ..."
NY Times

100 Greatest Bob Dylan Songs


"As Bob Dylan turns 75, he shows no signs of slowing down. The American icon is gearing up for a summer tour with longtime friend Mavis Staples and has just released Fallen Angels, his 37th LP and second straight Sinatra-inspired album of American Songbook classics. For generations to come, other artists will be turning to Dylan’s own catalog for inspiration. From the Sixties protest anthems that made him a star through to his noirish Nineties masterpieces and beyond, no other contemporary songwriter has produced such a vast and profound body of work: songs that feel at once awesomely ancient and fiercely modern. Here, with commentary from Bono, Mick Jagger, Lenny Kravitz, Lucinda Williams, Sheryl Crow and other famous fans, are Dylan’s 100 greatest songs – just the tip of the iceberg for an artist of his stature. ..."
Rolling Stone (Video)

The New German Anti-Semitism


Sigmount Königsberg, the Anti-Semitism Commissioner for the Jewish Community of Berlin.
"One of Wenzel Michalski’s early recollections of growing up in southern Germany in the 1970s was of his father, Franz, giving him some advice: “Don’t tell anyone that you’re Jewish.” Franz and his mother and his little brother had survived the Holocaust by traveling across swaths of Eastern and Central Europe to hide from the Gestapo, and after the war, his experiences back in Germany suggested that, though the Nazis had been defeated, the anti-Semitism that was intrinsic to their ideology had not. This became clear to Franz when his teachers in Berlin cast stealthily malicious glances at him when Jewish characters — such as Shylock in 'The Merchant of Venice' — came up in literature. 'Eh, Michalski, this exactly pertains to you,' he recalls one teacher telling him through a clenched smile. Many years later, when he worked as an animal-feed trader in Hamburg, he didn’t tell friends that he was Jewish and held his tongue when he heard them make anti-Semitic comments. And so Franz told his son Wenzel that things would go easier for him if he remained quiet about being Jewish. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: The Prophet of Germany’s New Right (Oct. 10, 2017)

A monument to Jewish victims of the Holocaust outside the Old Jewish Cemetery in Berlin.

Thursday, May 23

Sonny Rollins - Freedom Suite (1958)


"Nowadays, the place of Freedom Suite in the pantheon of influential musical statements of black consciousness is safe and secured. Back then, it was a bold stroke from a successful, innovative jazz artist who allegedly had trouble finding a decent apartment in New York City due to white racism. The message is hard to overlook. In the original sleeve notes, a statement from Sonny Rollins is included:
America is deeply rooted in Negro culture: its colloquialisms, its humor, its music. How ironic that the Negro, who more than any other people can claim America’s culture as its own, is being persecuted and repressed, that the Negro, who has exemplified the humanities in his very existence, is being rewarded with inhumanity.
The image of Sonny Rollins on the front cover might be explained as the visual companion to his written words. Rollins, half-naked, cast in shadows, with a hurt, yet defiant countenance, looks purported to resemble a slave. It connects with the parts of the suite that bear an eerie resemblance to chain gang songs. ..."
Flophouse Magazine (Audio)
W - Freedom Suite
Discogs
amazon
YouTube: Freedom Suite ( Full Album ) 41:22

2012 September: The Singular Sound of Sonny Rollins, 2012 December: Village Vanguard, 2015 September: Rollins Plays for Bird (1957), 2016 February: Saxophone Colossus (1956), 2016 May: Plus 4 (1956), 2017 June: Inside Sonny Rollins’s Jazz Archive, Headed Home to Harlem, 2018 April: Tenor Madness (1956), 2017 May: Moving Out (1954), 2018 November: The Bridge (1962), 2019 March: Newk's Time (1959)

Emily Sprague


"... The process eclipses the need for a final product. You get that sense from watching the videos that document Emily A. Sprague’s own evolving modular setup. Take a clip like 'Modular ‘Piano’ Music ~ Eurorack Ambient': A metal box brimming with knobs, tangled wires, and multi-colored LEDs sits on a desk, spilling forth a soft, burbling sequence of tones. The sound is too organized to scan as totally random, but it’s too random to be properly composed. Every now and then, Sprague briefly enters the frame to twist a knob, though the effect on the sound is often imperceptible. The sound (the 'patch') could conceivably keep doing what it’s doing until the power grid goes down, and it’s so pleasant you could listen for almost as long. Like Eno said of ambient music, it’s the perfect combination of ignorable and interesting, and much of its generative magic would be lost in the translation to a finished recording. ..."
Pitchfork (Audio)
bandcamp: Water Memory (Audio)
You Can Make Anything Into Music: An Interview With Emily Sprague
Soundcloud (Audio)
YouTube: Emily Sprague

Mayor and ‘Foreign Minister’: How Bernie Sanders Brought the Cold War to Burlington


Mr. Sanders campaigned for governor in 1986.
"BURLINGTON, Vt. — For Daniel Ortega, the president of Nicaragua, the summer of 1985 was to be a moment of extraordinary triumph. In July, on the sixth anniversary of the Sandinista revolution, Mr. Ortega would address a crowd of hundreds of thousands with a message of defiance for his political nemesis, Ronald Reagan, and the Contra militias waging war on him with support from Washington. Amid the festivities, Mr. Ortega would also meet with the mayor of Burlington, Vt. Bernie Sanders, then 43, journeyed for 14 hours to reach Nicaragua — switching planes in Boston, Miami and San Salvador — and made a truncated tour of the violence-stricken country before the grand event in Managua. Aspects of the trip might have unsettled another visitor. A reporter who traveled with Mr. Sanders wrote of strict limits on the taking of photographs. ..."
NY Times

Wednesday, May 22

Redux: Summer Surprised Us


"This week at The Paris Review, we’re preparing for our summer softball season and thinking about baseball and the great outdoors. Read Donald Hall’s Art of Poetry interview, as well as Tony Sanders’s poem 'The Warning Track' and Kelli Jo Ford’s short story 'Hybrid Vigor.' If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, and poems, why not subscribe to read the entire archive? You’ll also get four new issues of the quarterly delivered straight to your door. ..."
Paris Review

National liberation skirt


Wikipedia - "A national liberation skirt (Dutch: nationale bevrijdingsrok) or national celebration skirt (Dutch: nationale feestrok) is a style of skirt, handmade of patchwork and embroidery, in celebration of Dutch Liberation Day on 5 May 1945. The style was invented by resistance fighter and feminist Mies Boissevain-van Lennep. The feestrok has been described as 'a female mode of political expression ... [which] explicitly linked gender to the reconstruction of a ravaged country and the general striving for breakthrough and social renewal.' Boissevain-van Lennep had been imprisoned in 1943 for her involvement with the Dutch resistance to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II. Soon after, a scarf was smuggled into her cell that had been constructed of textile patches of personal significance—including a piece of her first ballgown and pieces from her children's clothing. ..."
Wikipedia
Liberation skirts: how post-war upcycling became a symbol of female solidarity

Songs From the Sun Ra Cosmos - The Barrence Whitfield Soul Savage Arkestra (2019)


"Garage & soul screamer Barrence Whitfield channels the Saturnian ruler of the omniverse with a soul-tripping exploration of Sun Ra favorites—from the explosive “Nuclear War” to the shimmering exotica of 'Love In Outer Space' to the Funkadelicized 'Everything Is Space.' Since the 70s, lucky concert goers have witnessed the adrenaline mainlined madness that is a Barrence Whitfield performance. That brand of madness has been captured on hundreds of feet of magnetic tape and mutated into this studio recording over 25 years in the making–which somehow manages to be at times mellow, and at others completely explosive. Barrence Whitfield has channeled the late Sun Ra and delivers what we can best assume Sun Ra would sound like if he had amphetamines kicking up his synaptic dopamine and norepinephrine concentrations in his striatum!"
sundazed
A retro-afrofuturist tribute to Sun Ra: rock and soul act Barrence Whitfield and the Savages (Audio)
bandcamp (Audio)
YouTube: Songs From the Sun Ra Cosmos 9 video

Monday, May 20

Jane Jacobs Walk


"Who was Jane Jacobs? Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building. She had no formal training as a planner, and yet her 1961 treatise, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, introduced ground-breaking ideas about how cities function, evolve and fail, that now seem like common sense to generations of architects, planners, politicians and activists. Jacobs saw cities as integrated systems that had their own logic and dynamism which would change over time according to how they were used. With an eye for detail, she wrote eloquently about sidewalks, parks, retail design and self-organization. She promoted higher density in cities, short blocks, local economies and mixed uses. Jacobs helped derail the car-centred approach to urban planning in both New York and Toronto, invigorating neighborhood activism by helping stop the expansion of expressways and roads. ..."
Jane Jacobs Walk - Who was Jane Jacobs?
Jane Jacobs Walk
An Illustrated Guide to Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs, born 100 years ago today! Celebrate with a weekend walk.
[PDF] 10 Tips for Jane Jacobs Walk Participants
YouTube: Create a Google Map for your Jane Jacobs Walk, Jane Jacobs on urban design of Toronto & Montreal circa 1969

2018 April: The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961)

Arthur Russell - Another Thought (1994)


"During his lifetime, the classically trained composer, cellist and disco artist Arthur Russell studied and performed with a wide variety of musicians and artists such as Ali Akbar Khan, Allen Ginsberg, John Hammond, David Byrne, Rhys Chatham, Jon Gibson, Peter Gordon, Jerry Harrison, Garret List, Frank Pagano, Andy Paley, Leni Pickett, and Peter Zummo. As a solo act in the 1980’s, Arthur Russell produced successes such as 'In the Light of the Miracle' and the album 'World of Echo' which incorporated many of his ideas for pop, dance and classical music for both solo voice and cello format. When Arthur Russell died in 1992 at the age of 40, the Village Voice wrote: 'his songs were so personal that it seems as though he simply vanished into his music.' The re-release of 'Another Thought' by Orange Mountain Music is a celebration of this collection of Arthur Russell songs and tribute to a great musical innovator. ..."
Holland Tunnel Dive
YouTube: Byrne, Glass, Ginsberg on Arthur Russell 'Another Thought' EPK
YouTube: Another Thought [full album] 14 videos

2015 November: Love Of Life Orchestra ‎– Extended Niceties EP (1980), 2015 September: Arthur Russell, 2017 January: Instrumentals (2007), 2017 April: The Infinite Worlds of Arthur Russell, 2018 December: The World Of Arthur Russell (2004)

How New York City Became the Epicenter of Jazz


A nighttime look at 52nd Street, former hotbed of jazz, circa 1948.
"Jazz has gone global. Just like your job, your mortgage and the cost of gas at the pump, the music now responds to global forces. As a jazz critic, I now need to pay attention to the talent coming out of New Zealand, Indonesia, Lebanon, Chile, and other places previously outside my purview. Almost every major city on the planet now has homegrown talent worthy of a worldwide audience. Yet one thing hasn’t changed on the jazz scene: New York still sits on top of the heap. Great jazz artists often don’t come from Manhattan, but they struggle to build a reputation and gain career traction if they don’t come to Manhattan. ..."
Observer (Video)

American jazz band leader and composer, Duke Ellington.

Collected Stories of William Faulkner (1950)


"Forty two short stories which reveal a much broader scope of matter and manner than the average reader expects of William Faulkner. An interesting editorial approach breaks the stories into six groups. The first, The Country, includes a number of stories set in his familiar back country area of the Deep South, regional in both character and characters. Read Shingles for the Lord for the characteristic twists of sardonic humor, the unsentimental but understanding study of the poor whites. The Village raises the level of social standing, and A Rose for Emily is a gem of perceptive handling of small town attitudes. Personally, I found The Wilderness with its very stylized Indian and frontier tales the least interesting group of the lot. The last three sections, The Wasteland with its war stories (read Victory), The Middle Ground, and Beyond show some very different facets of Faulkner, a kind of sophistication, and surprising variety of mood and tempo. An important book in the Faulkner picture, and for short story enthusiasts, it offers rich fare."
Kirkus Reviews
W - Collected Stories of William Faulkner
[PDF] NY Times: The Dark, Bright World of Faulkner (1950)
amazon

2011 September: Southern Gothic, 2014 February: William Faulkner, 2015 October: William Faulkner Draws Maps of Yoknapatawpha County, the Fictional Home of His Great Novels, 2015 November: Interviews William Faulkner, The Art of Fiction No. 12, 2016 April: Absalom, Absalom!! (1936), 2016 May: The Sound and the Fury (1929), 2016 October: The Snopes Trilogy (1940, 1957, 1959), 2016 December: Light in August (1932), 2017 February: As I Lay Dying (1930), 2017 June: The Wild Palms (1939), 2017 August: Sanctuary (1931). 2017 September: The Unvanquished (1938), 2017 October: 20 Pieces of Writing Advice from William Faulkner, 2017 November: Yoknapatawpha County, 2018 February: Go Down, Moses (1942), 2018 June: Flags in the Dust (1973)

Sunday, May 19

“I stand behind DIY as an ethos and a sound”: Interpreting Carla dal Forno


"Inspired by the spare instrumentation of post-punk and revelling in ideas of voyeurism and ambiguity, Carla dal Forno’s song craft invites varied interpretation. From Blackest Ever Black to her own Kallista Records, dal Forno tells James Hammond about the independent spirit that underpins her work. Steeped in a love of post-punk, the tradition of home studio recording, and an exploration of alluring sonorities, Carla dal Forno’s solo releases (in tandem with her excellent NTS radio show) evoke an obfuscated soundworld that lets her voice move as deftly through the shadows, as it does into the foreground. ..."
Vinyl Factory (Audio)
Boiler Room: DJ Set - Carla dal Forno (Video) 46:13
Pitchfork (Audio)
Soundcloud: Carla dal Forno (Audio)
Discogs (Video)

"The Paranoid Style in American Politics" - Richard J. Hofstadter (1964)


"'The Paranoid Style in American Politics' is an essay by American historian Richard J. Hofstadter, first published in Harper's Magazine in November 1964; it served as the title essay of a book by the author in the same year. Published soon after Senator Barry Goldwater had won the Republican presidential nomination over the more moderate Nelson A. Rockefeller, Hofstadter's article explores the influence of conspiracy theory and "movements of suspicious discontent" throughout American history. The essay was adapted from a Herbert Spencer Lecture that Hofstadter delivered at Oxford University on November 21, 1963. An abridged version was first published in the November 1964 issue of Harper's Magazine, and was published as the titular essay in the book The Paranoid Style in American Politics, and Other Essays (1964). ..."
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Harpers: "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" By Richard Hofstadter (November 1964)
NY Times: The Paranoid Style - Paul Krugman (Oct. 9, 2006)
New Republic: Trump’s Cult of Personality Takes Paranoia to the Next Level (Jan. 26, 2018)