Sunday, April 22

The Many Languages (and Foods) of Jackson Heights

Roosevelt Avenue’s street vendors can provide you with everything from fruits and vegetables to a new case for your cellphone.
"Tania Mattos Jose is an organizer with Queens Neighborhoods United, which works to promote sustainable development without displacement in Corona, Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. Mattos is an unabashed cheerleader for the neighborhood where she grew up — and hopes that visitors arrive with an eye toward honoring its residents, their culture, and the community they’ve built. Myself and my family migrated from Bolivia to Miami to Jackson Heights, and I’ve lived in the neighborhood for thirty years now. My aunts lived here, so we lived in their one room — me, my brother, my dad, and my mom — we stayed there for a few months so we could get on our feet and get an apartment. What I love is that it’s a very tight-knit community. Even though there are so many cultures and languages and people from different countries, for the essential things that matter to people, we overlap each other. ...'
WNYC: Land of 167 Languages (Video)
Jackson Heights: Unearthing the People’s Struggle
W - Jackson Heights, Queens
W - In Jackson Heights
NT Times: Jackson Heights Through the Eyes of Frederick Wiseman

An image from Frederick Wiseman’s documentary “In Jackson Heights”

Le Spectrum de Montréal

"The Spectrum (French: Le Spectrum de Montréal) was a concert hall, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, that closed on August 5, 2007. Opened on October 17, 1982, as the Alouette Theatre, it was briefly renamed Club Montreal before receiving its popular name. The Spectrum had a capacity of about 1200 and had a 'cabaret' setup with table service. A unique effect was the wall mounted lighting which included hundreds of small lightbulbs. The last show was performed by Michel Rivard, the only performer to have played over one hundred concerts at the venue. The block on which the building stands was slated to be torn down and rebuilt as a combined shopping centre and office complex. The Spectrum had been owned by Équipe Spectra which owns other venues in Montreal. On February 17, 2008, the borough of Ville Marie voted to proceed with demolition plans and on October 18, 2008, almost 26 years to the day from when it first opened, the Spectrum was torn down." (New Order, 1984; Fela Kuti, 1989)

2013 October: Montreal Metro, 2014 July: Montreal, tales of gentrification in a bohemian city, 2016 August: Montreal-style bagel, 2016 August: Montreal-style bagel, 2017 April: St-Henri, the 26th of August - Shannon Walsh (2011), 2017 May: A family affair: St-Viateur Bagel celebrates 60 years, 2017 August: Saint Catherine Street / Underground City, Montreal, 2018 February: Counter Intelligence: Montréal

Seven and a Half Short Notes on Sandy Denny

"... 1) I just finished the recent Sandy Denny biography. I was very disappointed by it. In the end, she dies. In the bio that I want to read, she’s now living in a cottage in Wales and drinking only on Thursdays. 2) In 1968, Sandy Denny joined Fairport Convention, a new British band modeled on the sound of the Byrds and on American folk rock. She was twenty-one and had spent time at university and worked briefly as a nurse but was happier staying out all night at folk clubs. Fairport had already recorded an album and were modestly successful, but Sandy upped their game exponentially, not just with a voice that could stop time with a whisper but with original songs as rich and strong as the traditional ballads the band were exploring. The three albums she recorded with them in 1968 and 1969 are breathtakingly beautiful and mysterious, digging deep into British traditions and dragging them into an ecstatic and electric future. When she left to go off on her own in late 1969, first with her own group, Fotheringay, then solo, she was at the top of her game and was lost. ..."
The Paris Review

2009 March: Sandy Denny, 2013 January: "A Sailor’s Life" - Fairport Convention, 2013 May: The North Star Grassman and the Ravens, 2018 March: Like an Old Fashioned Waltz (1974)

Saturday, April 21

Friction: The Making Of Television’s Marquee Moon

"THE ELUSIVE FOUNDING FATHERS of New York punk– they literally built the CBGB stage in 1973 – Television were the last of the first wave of bands to actually record an album. But they more than met the heavy expectations piled upon them by delivering a masterpiece, Marquee Moon. Now a regular on any Greatest Albums lists, Marquee Moon failed even to scratch the US Billboard Top 200 on release in February 1977, although it hit No. 28 in the UK. It is a defining artifact of New York punk, yet has little to do with its peers. Influences are there to be spotted – shards of Nuggets-style garage, moves copped from the sharpest Brit-invasion groups – but Tom Verlaine’s barked, sneered and whispered lyrics have a tense, abstruse poetry and lend a cool, questing, nocturnal urban intellectual bent to the album. However it’s the long, free-jazz inflected guitar duels, duets, gangfights and trade-offs between Verlaine and the group’s co-founder Richard Lloyd that truly set Television apart, and became their signature. Marquee Moon is a record that seemed to come rising out of nowhere. ..."
Damien Love
Episode 9: MARQUEE MOON (Audio)
W - Marquee Moon
YouTube: Marquee Moon (1977) - Full Album, Marquee Moon (Live At CBGB, New York City, NY 04/17/75)

2007 November: Tom Verlaine, 2010 March: Tom Verlaine - 1, 2011 October: Warm and Cool,  2012 December: Words from the Front, 2013 July: Flash Light, 2013 October: See No Evil, 2014 October: Dreamtime (1981), 2015 January: Adventure (1978), 2015 October: Tom Verlaine (1979), 2017 June: Little Johnny Jewel part 1 & 2 (1975)

Welcome to the New World - Michael Sloan

"Two brothers, Jamil and Ammar, fled Syria in 2012, with their wives and children. After four years waiting in Jordan, they finally received a visa and traveled to the United States as refugees. They arrived on Nov. 8, 2016, which happened to be Election Day. It was, of course, a loaded moment. In effect, the brothers and their families landed in one country and woke up the next morning in another. Since then, I have been reporting their stories and creating a 'true comic' about their lives in America. I went to their mosques, schools and job-training programs. I was also there when Ammar’s family received a frightening death threat, which ultimately forced them to flee their town. Today the illustrator, Michael Sloan, and I bring you the final installment in their story. — Jake Halpern
NY Times
NY Times: Welcome to the New World - The true story of a Syrian family’s journey to America.

Friday, April 20

The Death and Life of Great American Cities - Jane Jacobs (1961)

"The Death and Life of Great American Cities is a 1961 book by writer and activist Jane Jacobs. The book is a critique of 1950s urban planning policy, which it holds responsible for the decline of many city neighborhoods in the United States. Going against the modernist planning dogma of the era, it proposes a newfound appreciation for organic urban vibrancy in the United States. Reserving her most vitriolic criticism for the 'rationalist' planners (specifically Robert Moses) of the 1950s and 1960s, Jacobs argued that modernist urban planning rejects the city, because it rejects human beings living in a community characterized by layered complexity and seeming chaos. The modernist planners used deductive reasoning to find principles by which to plan cities. Among these policies she considered urban renewal the most violent, and separation of uses (i.e., residential, industrial, commercial) the most prevalent. These policies, she claimed, destroy communities and innovative economies by creating isolated, unnatural urban spaces. In their place Jacobs advocated 'four generators of diversity' that 'create effective economic pools of use': mixed primary uses, activating streets at different times of the day; short blocks, allowing high pedestrian permeability; buildings of various ages and states of repair; density. ..."
W - The Death and Life of Great American Cities
NY Times: Neighbors Are Needed (Nov. 5, 1961)
The Atlantic: The Prophecies of Jane Jacobs
Celebrating Jane Jacobs
An Illustrated Guide to Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006): Why Neo-Cons loved communitarian urbanist Jane Jacobs
Happy 100th, Jane! We’re still with you on the sidewalk
[PDF] The Death and Life of Great American Cities
YouTube: Remembering Jane Jacobs

Hero Worship - W.S. Di Piero

Dueling Warriors, ca. 530 BCE. Glazed ceramic.
"We usually think of the Greek gods as figures, as human embodiments, but to the Greek mind the gods were also, above all, states or conditions of being. Poseidon is god of the sea, yes, but he’s really the ungovernable force of natural disturbances — he is tempests and earthquakes. Virginal, woodland-rover Artemis punished the youthful hunter Actaeon (by turning him into a stag that his hounds turned on and killed) not simply because he’d seen her bathing naked but because his trespassing violated virgin wilderness. The gods meddled constantly in human affairs but remained awesomely remote as beings. Greek heroes, though, were closer to the human scheme of things because Herakles, Achilles, Odysseus, and Helen were mortals or semi-mortals; they were implicated in historical time, in the human order and its travails. They’re active presences in our consciousness because we recognize in their tasks, conflicts, and journeys analogies to our own existence and because they possess mortal attributes: Herakles, strength and stamina; Achilles, peerless violent valor; Odysseus, cunning. Theirs are among the oldest stories, and they never get old. The stories are illustrated and elucidated in the San Diego Museum of Art’s Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece. ..."
San Diego Reader
NY Times: Those Greek Heroes, Sometimes Behaving Badly
amazon: Art’s Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece

2016 March: W.S. Di Piero, 2016 December: Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008, Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful, 2017 March: March of time: 20th Century icons from an old art museum in Buffalo are at the Museum of Art, May 2017: In from the cold, 2017 July: Turner set free: Nature as roughhouse theater by W.S. Di Piero, 2017 August: Big Black Sun by W.S. Di Piero

‘Einstein on the Beach’ Manuscript Goes to the Morgan Library in New York

‘Einstein on the Beach’ Manuscript Goes to the Morgan Library in New York
"An original score for Einstein on the Beach (1976), the transformative opera work by Robert Wilson and Philip Glass, is going to New York’s Morgan Library & Museum by way of a gift from the estate of the late collector and philanthropist Paul F. Walter. ... In a statement, Colin B. Bailey, the Morgan’s director, said, 'Many have said that the true starting point of contemporary opera was 1976 with the production of Einstein on the Beach in Avignon'—the site of the work’s premiere in France before further performances in Europe and a storied two-night run that same year at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The announcement of the news acknowledged ways in which Einstein on the Beach 'broke a host of operatic conventions,' which is one way to put it. Another way is to just cite these words from a typically mesmerizing part of the four-plus-hour work, uttered some 43 times by a wonderfully inscrutable character named 'Witness'. ..."
YouTube: Einstein On The Beach - Act 3. Scene 1. Trial. Prison. ("Prematurely air-conditioned supermarket")

2009 November: Philip Glass, 2010 April: Satyagraha, 2010 May: Koyaanisqatsi, 2010 July: The CIVIL warS, 2010 November: Akhenaten, 2011 January: Landscape with Philip Glass (1975), 2011 May: Einstein on the Beach: The Changing Image of Opera (1985), 2011 August: Philip Glass Ensemble - "Train/Spaceship", 2011 December: The Satyagraha protest, 2011 December: Glassworks, 2015 June: THE EARTH MOVES. A documentary about Einstein on the Beach, 2015 December: Composing Myself: Philip Glass (2015)
2008 April: Robert Wilson, 2010 January: Einstein on the Beach, 2010 July: The CIVIL warS, 2011 May: Einstein on the Beach: The Changing Image of Opera , 2011 August: Stations (1982), 2012 February: Absolute Wilson, 2012 August: Einstein on the Blog: Christopher Knowles’ Typings, 2013 March: The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin, 2013 April: Death, Destruction and Detroit, 2013 October: crickets audio recording slowed way down, 2013 October: Beached, 2014 January: The Louvre invites Robert Wilson - Living Rooms, 2014 November: The Old Woman - Robert Wilson, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe, 2015 May: Watermill Quintet: Robert Wilson Curates New Performances, 2015 June: THE EARTH MOVES. A documentary about Einstein on the Beach., 2018 March:Video 50 (1978)

Thursday, April 19

Savant - Artificial Dance 'The Neo-Realist (At Risk)' (1983/2015)

"Fans of Brian Eno & David Byrne's 'My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts' will enjoy this album as it is a revelatory document of tape spliced funk, fourth-world foraging and nonconformist musical ethos. The reference to Byrne/Eno is apposite...there are similarities in construction and the use of narrative snippets but this music shines in its own light...not borrowed glory. It has great rhythm, layered textures and drama which make for detailed and discerning listening... One to savour. RVNG Intl. revisit Kerry Leimer's incredible Savant releases, compiling the group's sole LP and 12" with hard-to-find compilation cuts and three unreleased tracks. Overlapping dates with last year's solo collection A Period of Review (Original Recordings: 1975 - 1983), this album surveys Leimer at the desk again, but this time cutting up and patching together source material from a gang of like-minded local musicians from Seattle who were just as unconcerned with commercial success and social status as Kerry himself. ..."
Holland Tunnel Dive
YouTube: The Neo-Realist, Knowledge And Action, Using Words, Shadow In Deceit

The Postcolonial Moment

Sanlé Sory, courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery, New York
"Burkina Faso is a landlocked country, closer to the desert than the ocean. Its cities are freighted with dust, beaten into submission by the harsh sun, red, hard-packed earth, potholed, black-tarred roads, and sturdy but uninspired greenery, buildings, modern and traditional, crowding each other, all of it shrouded in a layer of fast change, the wider ambitioms of the region, and deep melancholy. Ibrahima Sanlé Sory first began taking photographs here in the late 1950s, documenting highway wrecks near his hometown of Bobo-Dioulasso, in what was the new nation of Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso. He risked crashes every day riding around on a motorbike chasing photos. He also made a name for himself photographing the country’s emerging music scene and illustrating record sleeves. But he didn’t truly find his voice until 1960, the same year Upper Volta gained its independence from France, when he opened Volta Photo, his portrait studio. ..."
New Republic
W - Burkina Faso

Work Rest and Play - Madness EP (1980)

Wikipedia - "Work Rest and Play is an EP by British ska/pop band Madness. ... The EP was headlined by the song 'Night Boat to Cairo', from the band's debut album One Step Beyond. The EP's success was largely down to 'Night Boat to Cairo', which headlined the set and had an accompanying music video. The fourth song, 'Don't Quote Me On That', was a commentary on press coverage which had tried to paint the band as racists who supported the National Front. Some of the band's shows had been disrupted by skinhead violence and, in a 1979 NME interview, Madness member Chas Smash was quoted as saying 'We don't care if people are in the NF as long as they're having a good time.' This was quoted to add to the speculation that Madness was a racist band supporting the National Front, although the band members denied those allegations. ..."
W - Night Boat to Cairo
YouTube: Night Boat to Cairo, Deceives the Eye, My Girl

Wednesday, April 18

Think big, be free, have sex … 10 reasons to be an existentialist

De Beauvoir and Sarte on a Paris street after their release from police custody, June 1970. They were arrested for selling a newspaper advocating the overthrow of the French government.
"I was a teenage existentialist. I became one at 16 after spending birthday money from my granny on Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea. It was the cover that attracted me, with its Dalí painting of a dripping watch and sickly green rock formation, plus a blurb describing it as 'a novel of the alienation of personality and the mystery of being'. I didn’t know what was mysterious about being, or what alienation meant – although I was a perfect example of it at the time. I just guessed that it would be my kind of book. Indeed it was: I bonded at once with its protagonist Antoine Roquentin, who drifts around his provincial seaside town staring at tree trunks and beach pebbles, feeling physical disgust at their sheer blobbish reality, and making scornful remarks about the bourgeoisie. The book inspired me: I played truant from school and tried drifting around my own provincial town of Reading. I even went to a park and tried to see the Being of a Tree. I didn’t quite glimpse it, but I did decide that I wanted to study philosophy, and especially this strange philosophy of Sartre’s, which I learned was 'existentialism'. No one can be completely sure what existentialism is, since its own chief thinkers disagreed about its tenets and many of them denied being existentialists at all. Among the few exceptions were the two most famous, Sartre and his companion Simone de Beauvoir, who accepted the label mainly because they grew tired of telling people not to call them it. ..."

Albert Camus

Kendrick Lamar and the Shell Game of 'Respect'

"Here’s one among the many provocative questions raised by Kendrick Lamar’s Damn winning the Pulitzer Prize for Music: Is Damn the best work of rap or pop ever made? The Pulitzers, whose only stated criteria is 'for distinguished musical composition by an American' in the eligible timeframe, have previously only awarded classical and jazz artists. By making an exception for Lamar, the Pulitzers could be seen as saying that he is, well, the exception. That only Lamar’s blazingly intricate 14-track reckoning with vice and Geraldo Rivera can compete with rarefied types like Caroline Shaw (winner in 2013), Wynton Marsalis (1997), or Aaron Copland (1945). That the rest of pop—not to mention the rest of hip-hop—remains of an unmentionable tier, except maybe for Bob Dylan, who won a special citation from the Pulitzers in 2008. This is a dubious and snobbish thought, yes—but it’s a result of the inevitably thorny logic that always goes along with artistic awards-giving. ..."
The Atlantic

2015 December: To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), 2016 March: When the Lights Shut Off: Kendrick Lamar and the Decline of the Black Blues Narrative by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah (2013), 2016 March: Who gets to say how black people see themselves? - Marlon James, 2016 March: untitled unmastered (EP - 2016), 2016 July: BET Awards 2016: Watch Beyoncé Perform “Freedom” with Kendrick Lamar, 2017 April: Damn. (2017)

Jeddah’s Historical Al Balad Neighbourhood

"Sami Nawar, who’s leading a project to restore buildings in Jeddah’s Al Balad area, stands on the roof of Naseef House, a tall building right in the middle of the neighbourhood. ‘It will start soon, just listen,’ he says. It is just before sunset and the weather, pressingly hot and humid all through the day, is becoming more agreeable. There is even a slight wind from the west, coming from Jeddah’s Red Sea coast. On the other side, to the east, is the age-old road leading to Mecca. Suddenly, ‘it’ begins. The unmistakable sound that is heard five times a day across Saudi Arabia: the voices of muezzins, many at once, calling people to prayer. ‘You can hear the sound coming from all directions up here, and you can see everywhere,’ says Nawar. Surrounding Naseef House on all sides are white buildings, several storeys high, with elaborate hand-carved wooden shutters and balconies. Some are painted bright green or blue, others are naturally brown. The houses were built between the 16th and early 20th centuries, during which Jeddah grew from a small fishing settlement to a fortified wall city, largely thanks to its position as an important port on the Indian Ocean trade route and the gateway to Mecca. ..."
W - Al-Balad, Jeddah
Ten Things to do in Al-Balad Historical District, Jeddah
YouTube: Al Balad District Jeddah, Al-balad-Jeddah

Tuesday, April 17

On Tax Day, Reread Thoreau’s ‘Civil Disobedience’

Protesters on tax day last year.
"There must have been a lot of Abu Ghraib-inspired loitering in post offices that year. The first time I had to turn in a tax return after seeing those photos of Iraqi prisoners of war being tortured by United States Army reservists, I stood in front of a mail box for 45 minutes, hesitating to contribute to the federal coffers and envying the folk singer Pete Seeger. Mr. Seeger’s wife, Toshi, used to cover their tax return with a blank sheet of paper so he saw only the one line he had to sign and not the amount of money he was sending to Washington to pay for wars he disapproved of. I played Al Capone in an eighth grade re-enactment of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. So of course I mailed my tax return. I slunk home and figured I had two choices: I could cheer up, or I could reread Thoreau. Henry David Thoreau delivered a lecture on 'resistance to civil government' that would acquire the post-mortem title 'Civil Disobedience.' ..."
NY Times

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

Sonny Rollins Quartet - Tenor Madness (1956)

"At a time when he was a member of the legendary Clifford Brown/Max Roach sextet, Sonny Rollins was still the apple fallen not too far from the tree of Miles Davis. Tenor Madness was the recording that, once and for all, established Newk as one of the premier tenor saxophonists, an accolade that in retrospect, has continued through six full decades and gives an indication why a young Rollins was so well liked, as his fluency, whimsical nature, and solid construct of melodies and solos gave him the title of the next Coleman Hawkins or Lester Young of mainstream jazz. With the team of pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones, staples of that era's Miles Davis combos, Rollins has all the rhythmic ammunition to cut loose, be free, and extrapolate on themes as only he could, and still can. ... A recording that should stand proudly alongside Saxophone Colossus as some of the best work of Sonny Rollins in his early years, it's also a testament to the validity, vibrancy, and depth of modern jazz in the post-World War era. It belongs on everybody's shelf. ..."
W - Tenor Madness
YouTube: Tenor Madness 35:25

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

Monday, April 16

Betting on the Berkshires

"... However, after agreeing to visit North Adams, a former manufacturing town of brick industrial buildings ringed by rolling green hills in Berkshire County, to discuss a possible consulting role, she found it impossible to leave. ... Such is the attraction of Berkshire County, more commonly known as the Berkshires, a destination that mixes bucolic landscapes, organic farms, hiking trails and ski hills with a bevy of top-tier cultural attractions. Stretching across the western edge of Massachusetts, the county is roughly equidistant from New York and Boston, with most towns about a two-and-a-half- or three-hour drive from either city. ... The northern part of the county, though, is in the midst of a significant transformation. In North Adams, the enormous Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, or MASS MoCA, inhabits a series of 19th-century industrial buildings once occupied by the Sprague Electric Company. The museum roughly doubled in size last year by expanding into previously shuttered structures on its 16-acre campus to offer expansive, long-term exhibitions of artists like James Turrell, Jenny Holzer, Laurie Anderson and Louise Bourgeois. ..." Renata D.
NY Times
Clark Art Institute

Clark Art Institute

Six Shows to Get You Cultured This Spring

Marie Orensanz, “Limitada,” from ‘Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985‘ at the Brooklyn Museum
"The opening of 'Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985' at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles last September was a revelation: finally, a thoughtful, scholarly exhibition with real popular appeal that focused on a period of cultural history that was almost completely unrecorded in conservative, mainstream surveys. Just up at the Brooklyn Museum — its only East Coast venue — the show includes more than 260 works by more than 120 artists from 15 countries that underwent tremendous political upheaval in the mid-twentieth century. Those contexts — of American military interventions; dictatorships in Brazil, Chile, and elsewhere; and the rise of Black Power movements around the world — inspired artists like Anna Maria Maiolino and Victoria Santa Cruz, two of the most compelling artists in the show, to radicalize modern art to political ends. During our own moment of political turmoil, this is a timely and important exhibition. ..."

Sunday, April 15

Captured - Clayton Patterson (2008)

"CAPTURED is the story of one man's commitment to chronicling the legendary Lower East Side, and the individuals who define it. Since the early 1980s Clayton Patterson has been fully dedicated to documenting the final era of this historic and eclectic neighborhood long known for its humble streets, revolutionary minds and creative influence. He has obsessively recorded its many faces: from drag to hardcore, heroin to homelessness, political chaos to gentrification. CAPTURED profiles Patterson's odyssey from voyeur to provocateur, and from activist to renegade archivist. This fast-paced documentary includes Patterson's rare and renowned footage of the Tompkins Square police riots, and provides a close-up look at a fascinating character and chapter of urban culture. ..."
Patterson (Video), YouTube: CAPTURED TRAILER Clayton Patterson
W - Tompkins Square Park riot (1988)
Fight the Power: The 1988 Tompkins Square Park Police Riot
Tompkins Square Park Riot of 1988
Brooklyn Rail - Rebel with a Lens: Neighborhood Preservation in the Darkroom of Clayton Patterson
Tillou Fine Art
Clayton Patterson: shoot to thrill
NY Times - Melee in Tompkins Sq. Park: Violence and Its Provocation
NO!art: Tompkins Square Park Police Riot August 1988

Stan Mack: Inside Tompkins Square Park, 1988

2014 Octboer: Captured: A Film/Video History of the Lower East Side

History Doesn’t Go In a Straight Line - An interview with Noam Chomsky

"Throughout his illustrious career, one of Noam Chomsky’s chief preoccupations has been questioning — and urging us to question — the assumptions and norms that govern our society. Following a talk on power, ideology, and US foreign policy last weekend at the New School in New York City, freelance Italian journalist Tommaso Segantini sat down with the eighty-six-year-old to discuss some of the same themes, including how they relate to processes of social change. For radicals, progress requires puncturing the bubble of inevitability: austerity, for instance, 'is a policy decision undertaken by the designers for their own purposes.' It is not implemented, Chomsky says, 'because of any economic laws.' American capitalism also benefits from ideological obfuscation: despite its association with free markets, capitalism is shot through with subsidies for some of the most powerful private actors. This bubble needs popping too. In addition to discussing the prospects for radical change, Chomsky comments on the eurozone crisis, whether Syriza could’ve avoided submitting to Greece’s creditors, and the significance of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders. ..."

2011 January: Peak Oil and a Changing Climate, 2015 May: The Limits of Discourse As Demonstrated by Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky, 2015 October: Electing the President of an Empire, 2015 December: Noam Chomsky on Paris attacks, 2016 December: Chomsky: Humanity Faces Real and Imminent Threats to Our Survival, 2017 April: Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power (2016), 2017 July: Noam Chomsky: Neoliberalism Is Destroying Our Democracy, 2017 October: Noam Chomsky Diagnoses the Trump Era

Benjamin Lew & Steven Brown - Douzième Journée : Le Verbe, La Parure, L’Amour (1982)

"A photographer, writer and poet of the analog synth, Benjamin Lew used to work as a mixer of exotic cocktails in a bar which was haunted by Tuxedomoon’s sax-player, and by the rest of the American Lost Generation of early Eighties Brussels. The encounter gave birth to one of these discreet but unforgettable minor miracles which take place sometimes... The fact that the title of the resulting album is taken from a book (by ethnographer Marcel Griaule) on the cosmogony of the Dogon people of West Africa points to the magical and radically alien dimension of this music."
Crammed Discs
YouTube: De L'Autre Côté Du Fleuve, Il, Les Quitta A L'Aube, L'ile, L'hotel, Bamako Ou Ailleurs

2017 July: Made to Measure, Vol. 1 (1984), 2017 July: Minimal Compact - Lowlands Flight (1987)

Saturday, April 14

American Air Strikes in Syria Do Nothing to Further Justice for the Victims of the Attack on Douma

Douma, Syria, March 30, 2018.
"UPDATE: Friday night’s US and allied air strikes against three apparent military sites in Syria were the inevitable denouement of a week’s worth of threats, taunts, bullying, and more threats. There is still a huge amount of information we don’t know: Were there casualties? Who were they? Were any of them civilians? Are the Pentagon reports of what installations were hit, what buildings destroyed, etc., accurate? That’s only the beginning—what we don’t know about what happened. The broader set of things we don’t know all involve what comes next. The Pentagon spokeswoman and the general speaking for the Joint Chiefs of Staff said this was a 'one shot' deal, and now it’s over. In fact we don’t know whether it’s over. Because the danger of all military actions—even those that might attempt and even those that succeed at being narrowly targeted, focused, and without 'collateral' casualties, can and often do have consequences that go far beyond intention. ..."
The Nation
W - 2018 bombing of Damascus and Homs
NY Times: Trump’s Syria Strikes Show What’s Wrong With U.S. Foreign Policy
The Atlantic: The Unconstitutional Strike on Syria
Aljazeera: Syria strikes: All the latest updates (Video)
Telegraph: Syria airstrikes: Allies declare success, as UN rejects Russian bid to condemn attack - latest news (Video)
NBC: Democrats blast Trump for not seeking congressional approval for Syria strikes (Video)
Don't let Trump use US missiles to cause more death and destruction in #Syria. ...
NY Times - In a Syrian Town, People Started Shouting: ‘Chemicals! Chemicals!’, April 11, 2018 (Video)
YouTube: Syria air strikes: Latest updates- BBC News

Trump announces strikes on Syria following suspected chemical weapons attack by Assad forces

Giovanni Boldini - Crossing the Street (1873–75)

"Boldini’s view of a busy street captures the rapid pace of city life in Paris. As figures hurry along in different directions, an elegantly dressed—and unaccompanied—woman crosses the cobbled street, attracting the attention of a man in a carriage. In her haste, she has raised her skirt and exposed her petticoat, adding to her allure. The painting is dated twice, perhaps indicating that the artist finished or reworked it two years after he began."
The Clark
W - Giovanni Boldini
Giovanni Boldini
YouTube: The Complete Works HD

Conversation at the Cafe, 1877

Friday, April 13

Yankees–Red Sox rivalry
Wikipedia - "The Yankees–Red Sox rivalry is a Major League Baseball (MLB) rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The two teams have competed in MLB's American League (AL) for over 100 seasons and have since developed one of the fiercest rivalries in American sports. In 1919, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold star player Babe Ruth to the Yankees, which was followed by an 86-year period in which the Red Sox did not win a World Series. This led to the popularization of a superstition known as the 'Curse of the Bambino', which was one of the most well-known aspects of the rivalry. The rivalry is often a heated subject of conversation, especially in the home region of both teams, the Northeastern United States. ... The Yankees–Red Sox match-up is regarded by some sports journalists as the greatest rivalry in sports. Games between the two teams often generate considerable interest and receive extensive media coverage, including being broadcast on national television. National carriers of Major League Baseball coverage, including Fox/FS1, ESPN and MLB Network carry most of the games in the rivalry across the nation by default, regardless of team standings or playoff implications. Yankees–Red Sox games are some of the most-watched MLB games each season. Outside of baseball, the rivalry between the two teams has led to violence between fans, along with attention from politicians and other athletes. ..."
30 Most Intense Moments in the Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry - April 2012 (Video)
NY Times: A Brawl Erupts, and the Red Sox-Yankees Rivalry Catches Fire (Video)
1973 Brawl Ignited Yankee-Red Sox Rivalry
NY Times: The Antiseptic Truth About the Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry (Aug. 2017)
YouTube: Red Sox-Yankees Fight

Tyler Austin, center, rushed the Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly after being hit by a pitch during the seventh inning. Austin and Kelly were both ejected, as was Phil Nevin, the Yankees’ third-base coach.

Slow Awakening - r beny

"This lovely video by r beny is a single musical object put to subtle use. The ambient track, bearing one of beny’s trademark naturalist titles, 'Western Sycamore,' moves from slowly undulating formless pads to gentle streams of soft percussive tones. The latter are loops of notes rotating through with the momentum of a slow awakening. The note patterns don’t just lend contrast to the track’s longer tones. They give them shape, revealing the pads as akin to a string section that goes at its own pace. Throughout we see, on occasion, sometimes more than others, beny’s hand enter the frame to turn a knob or hit a button, not so much playing an instrument, in the broadly understood sense of the term, as coaxing something along. This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at r beny’s YouTube channel. More from r beny, aka San Francisco Bay Area resident Austin Cairns, at,, and"
Disquiet (Video)

2017 October: Lightbath’s Percussive Reverberations, 2018 February: The Actions Within - r beny, 2018 March: Cartographic Misdirection - r beny

Thursday, April 12

The Lurchingly Uneven Portraits of Paul Cézanne

Self-Portrait with Bowler Hat, from 1885-86.
"When things fall apart, you can see what they’re made of. 'Cézanne: Portraits,' a retrospective of some sixty portraits by Paul Cézanne, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is the most instructive show of the artist I’ve ever seen, because it’s so lurchingly uneven. Wonderments consort with clunkers, often on the same canvas: credible figure and woozy ground, or vice versa. Portraiture was the genre most resistant to Cézanne’s struggle—the inception of 'difficulty' as a notorious feature of modern art, needing specialist explanation—toward new ways of transposing the world’s three dimensions into the two of painting. There are about a hundred and sixty portraits among the thousand or so paintings that he made between around 1860 and his death, of pneumonia, in 1906. They lack the knitted density of his landscapes and figure groups and the stunning integrity of his greatest works, the still-lifes with apples like succulent cannonballs. ..."
New Yorker
NGA: Cézanne Portraits
Guardian - Cézanne unmasked: the shattering portraits that blew Picasso and the Paris avant garde away
YouTube: Cézanne Portraits: Alastair Sooke goes behind the scenes

2011 August: Paul Cézanne, 2014 November: Cézanne: Landscape into Art, 2015 March: Madame Cézanne, 2017 June: Portraits by Cézanne, 2017 November: Inside Paul Cézanne’s Studio

Defunkt - Avoid the Funk: A Defunkt Anthology (1988)

"This is a serviceable look back at the first part of Defunkt's illustrious career, and though the label should have included more music, there's no arguing with the quality of the content. Included are 'Make Them Dance,' the lead track from the band's debut album and still perhaps the creepiest song they've ever recorded; live versions of 'Strangling Me With Your Love' and 'In the Good Times' that squash the original studio versions like grapes; an extended 12" single mix of 'Razor's Edge' (bandleader Joe Bowie's harrowing personal account of heroin addiction); and a great live version of Defunkt's self-titled theme song. The collection's title track is a sweaty, full-speed-ahead funk explosion, and the band's take on the O'Jays' 'For the Love of Money' is lots of fun as well. These alternate takes and live versions will be enough to attract fans who already own the studio versions, and taken altogether this collection offers a useful overview for newcomers as well. Recommended, though paying full price for a program this brief is a bit painful."
W - Defunkt
YouTube: Avoid The Funk... A Defunkt Anthology ( Full Album )

2017 May: Defunkt/Thermonuclear Sweat (2005)

Wednesday, April 11

The End of Impeachment - Elizabeth Drew

"The worst thing that could happen to the power of the Congress to impeach a president and remove him from office appears to be happening now. If it hasn’t already occurred. It’s become politicized—in a way that robs what should be a solemn process of its seriousness, even its legitimacy. Impeachment may have already become defunct as an effective instrument for dealing with a crooked or out-of-control president. This is as constitutionally serious as one political party’s efforts to prevent a significant number of the other’s voters from casting a ballot in elections, which has in fact defined the outcome of races in some states. Each form of getting around the rules is a subversion of the basics of the American democratic system. ..."
New Republic
W - Impeachment in the United States
NY Times: The Law Is Coming, Mr. Trump
NY Times: It’s Mueller, Not Trump, Who Is Draining the Swamp
NY Times: How the Impeachment Process Works (May 17, 2017)

2018 March: Can Donald Trump Be Impeached?

How Democracy Became the Enemy

"Hungary had a horrendous 20th century of lost territory and freedom, but Budapest, a handsome city set on a broad sweep of the Danube, suggests its wounds have healed. Trams hum along boulevards lined with elegant cafes and clogged with the cars German companies manufacture here. The country has escaped what Milan Kundera, the Czech writer, called the 'kidnapped West,' the great swath of Europe yielded to the Soviet empire after World War II, and has returned to the Western family. Or so it seems, until you notice the posters of a smiling Hungarian-American Jew, his arms around opposition politicians who brandish wire-cutters and have cut through a fence. The man in question is George Soros, the billionaire investor and philanthropist. He’s not on any ballot, but his international renown and funding of liberal causes has made him the chosen symbol, for Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his right-wing Fidesz party, of all they loathe: international speculators, sappers of nation and Christendom, facilitators of mass migration. As a young man, Orban fought against Bolshevism. Western liberal democracy was the Promised Land. Now it has morphed into the enemy. The West is the site of European cultural suicide, the place where family, church, nation and traditional notions of marriage and gender go to die. ..."
NY Times
Eurozine: What happened in Hungary

In 2015, dozens of refugee families, mostly from Syria, camped underneath the Keleti train station in central Budapest.

Semiotext(e) SF (1989)

"For more than a decade Semiotext(e), the most consistently unpredictable intellectual journal in America, has published (once every year or so) out of a liberated zone in Philosophy Hall, Columbia University. Over the last couple of years Autonomedia, a highly competent cell of America's anarchic independent guerrilla press, has operated out of Brooklyn, N.Y., publishing new European political theory. Together Semiotext(e) and Autonomedia have put out an anthology of new science fiction. Edited by Peter Lamborn Wilson (with an assist from Rudy Rucker), the anthology is designed with a mind to print work too experimental and/or radical to get published by mainstream SF outlets, a useful goal and one Wilson, a shaker and mover of the alternative press scene, is uniquely qualified to pull off. The main problem with the anthology, for all its virtues, is that other distracting concerns undermine Wilson's best efforts. One is the concern with jamming in 'big names', the other is the controversiality criterion Wilson makes so much of in his selections. ..."
Street Tech
Socialist Jazz
Space Canon
W - Semiotext(e) SF

Tuesday, April 10

Orientalism - Edward W. Said (1978)

The Snake Charmer, Jean-Léon Gérôme (1880)
Wikipedia - "Orientalism is a 1978 book by Edward W. Said, about the cultural representations that are the bases of Orientalism, defined as the West's patronizing representations of 'The East'—the societies and peoples who inhabit the places of Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East. According to Said, orientalism (the Western scholarship about the Eastern World) is inextricably tied to the imperialist societies who produced it, which makes much Orientalist work inherently political and servile to power. According to Said, in the Middle East, the social, economic, and cultural practices of the ruling Arab élites indicate they are imperial satraps who have internalized the romanticized 'Arab Culture' created by French, British and, later, American Orientalists; the examples include critical analyses of the colonial literature of Joseph Conrad, which conflates a people, a time, and a place into a narrative of incident and adventure in an exotic land. The critical application of post-structuralism in the scholarship of Orientalism influenced the development of literary theory, cultural criticism, and the field of Middle Eastern studies, especially regarding how academics practice their intellectual enquiry when examining, describing, and explaining the Middle East. The scope of Said's scholarship established Orientalism as a foundation text in the field of post-colonial culture studies, which examines the denotations and connotations of Orientalism, and the history of a country's post-colonial period. ..."
W - Orientalism
Counterpunch: Orientalism by Edward Said (August 5, 2003)
The Atlantic: The Roots of Muslim Rage
NYBooks: Orientalism: An Exchange, Edward W. Said and Oleg Grabar, reply by Bernard Lewis
Guardian - The 100 best nonfiction books: No 8 – Orientalism by Edward Said (1978)
New Yorker: A French Novelist Confronts Orientalism
Guardian: Compass by Mathias Énard review – a dreamlike study of Orientalism
NY Times: A Prize-Winning French Novel About the Western Obsession With the East
[PDF] Chapter 1 of Orientalism
amazon: Orientalism - Edward W. Said, Compass - Mathias Énard
YouTube: Edward Said On Orientalism 40:13, Orientalism: How the West views the rest of the world

Convulsionists of Tangier (1837–38), Eugène Delacroix

Léon Cogniet - L’Expédition d’Egypte Sous les Ordres de Bonaparte (1835)

Monday, April 9

King's Death Gave Birth to Hip-Hop

"... Ostensibly, Raekwon’s words foreshadow the coming song, or reflect on the four minutes of bluesy, foot-stomping brilliance that just unfolded in 'Rosa Parks.' But they also serve as a guiding ethos for hip-hop, which was enjoying a banner year in 1998. Danger. Style. Funky beats and aural violence. Spines tingled from provocation, not the least of which was mine, then a 10-year-old boy listening to a hip-hop album with intent for the first time. ... The answer can be found in the nascence of hip-hop. The question of the birth of hip-hop is a contentious one—as are all questions concerning the geneses of art forms—and full of rich debate on cultural touchstones, waves of influences, geography, visual art and dance, and stories of intrepid pioneers. Most of these debates locate the distinct emergence of the form in the mid-to-late-’70s. But a closer look reveals that the seeds of the art were sown by and during the civil-rights movement. ..."
The Atlantic (Spotify)
W - Rosa Parks

Sneakers Jazz Band - Live at White Crow (2016)

"In March 1984, some of Vermont’s most talented jazz musicians began meeting every Tuesday night at a Winooski watering hole called Sneakers. The place was small and the pay wasn’t great, but they showed up anyway. For these musicians, it was an opportunity to sharpen their chops and play with some of the most accomplished jazz musicians in the area. These guys played in more lucrative bands the rest of the time, but Tuesday night at Sneakers was the night to play the music they wanted to play. The roster of musicians sometimes included nationally-known jazz artists who were touring in the area. Their presence, along with the skills of the regular players, contributed to the feeling that Tuesday night at Sneakers was something special. ..."
Club Metronome
Seven Days: Sneakers Jazz Band Reunite
‘For the love of the music’ Sneakers Jazz Band celebrates release of 1989 recording
amazon, Spotify
Sneakers Bistro - Winooski VT