A Guide to the Extensive Musical Legacy of Mills College

Ana Roxane, Pauline Oliveros, Gregg Kowalsky, Holly Herndon

“When he started teaching at Mills College in the late 1990s, Fred Frith already had an extensive resume. He had founded British avant-rock pioneers Henry Cow and collaborated with legends such as Richard Thompson, Brian Eno, and John Zorn. Yet he still found himself intimidated by Mills’ status as a breeding ground for inventive and influential experimental musicians. As he later told the L.A. Times, ‘When I first got here, I was a little overwhelmed by the history.’ It’s hard to blame him. The musical legacy of Mills College is dauntingly vast. Just listing all the artists who have passed through as students and professors—figures as diverse as Terry Riley, Laurie Anderson, Phil Lesh, and Joanna Newsom—could take days. ...”

The composer Robert Ashley in 1970. Through the ’70s Ashley was a guiding presence at Mills.

Capitol Police Told to Hold Back on Riot Response on Jan. 6, Report Finds

The report offers the most devastating account to date of the lapses and miscalculations around the most violent attack on the Capitol in two centuries.

“The Capitol Police had clearer advance warnings about the Jan. 6 attack than were previously known, including the potential for violence in which ‘Congress itself is the target.’ But officers were instructed by their leaders not to use their most aggressive tactics to hold off the mob, according to a scathing new report by the agency’s internal investigator. In a 104-page document, the inspector general, Michael A. Bolton, criticized the way the Capitol Police prepared for and responded to the mob violence on Jan. 6. The report was reviewed by The New York Times and will be the subject of a Capitol Hill hearing on Thursday. Mr. Bolton found that the agency’s leaders failed to adequately prepare despite explicit warnings that pro-Trump extremists posed a threat to law enforcement and civilians and that the police used defective protective equipment. ...”

The 104-page report is one of the most searing portraits yet of the lapses and miscalculations around the most violent attack on the Capitol in two centuries.

Burn! - Gillo Pontecorvo (1969)

Burn! (Italian: Queimada) is a 1969 Italian war drama film directed by Gillo Pontecorvo and starring Marlon Brando, Evaristo Márquez and Renato Salvatori. The music was composed by Ennio Morricone. The fictional story focuses on the creation of a tropical republic in the Caribbean, and the events that follow it. Brando plays an agent of the British government, named after the American filibuster William Walker, who manipulates a slave revolt to serve the interests of the sugar trade. The screenwriters also drew on the experiences of intelligence agent Edward Lansdale, who served the United States government in the Philippines and Indochina in the 1950s through 60s....”

Barney Wilen - La Note Bleue (1987)

“... Barney Wilen remains steadfastly among my favourite tenor players. Lyrical, musical, romantic, swinging, entirely unlike the hard biting aggression of New York, or the huge breathy tone of the tenor founding fathers. He remains a distinctive voice that over decades continues to delight. I can put on ‘Jazz sur Scene’ and I cross The Channel to the Left Bank and fifty years in just the first few notes, and he has never lost that voice, because it is authentically his own..His first major appearance in the late Fifties, not even out of his teens, were the European tours of Art Blakey and Miles Davis. This record reprises many songs of that era, with compositions of Monk, Duke Jordan and Bennie Golson mixed with his own. For twenty years Wilen took his saxophone into rock and world music. We find him here back in his roots in long-term collaboration with Alain Jean-Marie, both delicate and swinging in the manner of McCoy Tyner, and Philippe Petit,  shades of Jim Hall and Kenny Burrell. He doesn’t grandstand, but gives space to other members of the ensemble as equals. ...”

Jack Delano's Color Photos of Chicago's Rail Yards in the 1940s

A view of part of the South Water Street freight depot of the Illinois Central Railroad and buildings in downtown Chicago on May 1, 1943

“Jack Delano was one of the photographers who worked in Roy Stryker’s Farm Security Administration photography program in the early 1940s, traveling the American countryside, photographing people and places with the stated goal of ‘introducing America to Americans.’ In 1942 and ’43, Delano spent time in the rail yards of Chicago, documenting the busy freight hub and the countless workers who kept the trains running 24 hours a day. Some of his most striking images were made on Kodachrome color transparencies, wonderfully preserved in the Library of Congress today. Collected below, a handful of images from Chicago as it was some 75 years ago. ...”

Marcus Glitteris on Curating “Home Grown” at Village Works with: Optimo NYC, Marina Reiter, BC1, Nora Timbila, A. Candela & More

“Lower East Side native Marcus Glitteris is not only an intriguing self-taught artist but a passionate curator, as well.  Largely influenced by New York City’s Downtown club scene, he teems with the energy that permeated it. Earlier this week, I stopped by Home Grown, an exhibit he curated at Village Works in the East Village, and posed a few questions to him. Can you tell us something about your vision in curating this exhibit? Its main focus is to showcase the varied works of a wide range of artists who live or have lived on Manhattan’s Lower East Side or East Village. And what about this wonderful space? Village Works is the name of this new gallery. Designated specifically as a space to showcase NYC artists, it sells rare art books, as well as art. My friend, Joe Sheridan, is the creative director here. We know each other from the night life scene, but since, Joe has since ventured into the the artist community and invited me to curate here. This space used to be an architectural firm. ...”

​Dubcast Vol.14 (Blind Prophet Returns)

“Dub-Stuy’s Dubcast returns! To celebrate the release of his first full length EP ‘Clash’, Portland producer Blind Prophet brings us a fresh mix of roots favorites and exclusive dubs, combining sound system heat with bass music from around the globe. ...”

Lost Generation

“The Lost Generation was the social generational cohort that came of age during World War I. ‘Lost’ in this context refers to the ‘disoriented, wandering, directionless’ spirit of many of the war's survivors in the early postwar period. The term is also particularly used to refer to a group of American expatriate writers living in Paris during the 1920s. Gertrude Stein is credited with coining the term, and it was subsequently popularized by Ernest Hemingway who used it in the epigraph for his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises: ‘You are all a lost generation’. ... One of the themes that commonly appears in the authors' works is decadence and the frivolous lifestyle of the wealthy. Both Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald touched on this theme throughout the novels The Sun Also Rises and The Great Gatsby. Another theme commonly found in the works of these authors was the death of the American dream, which is exhibited throughout many of their novels. ... Notable figures of the Lost Generation include F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Jean Rhys and Sylvia Beach. ...”

The ideology hiding in SimCity’s black box

City simulators like SimCity are serious games — the kind that gets coverage well beyond the video game press. The kind of game that appears in school curriculums. The kind of game your non-gaming uncle has probably spent hundreds of hours in. On the surface, they appear to be exactly what they say: a simulation of a city. But any simulation is only as good as the model it’s built on, and the model underpinning SimCity has quite the history. In the video above, I unboxed the secret ideology hiding in the formula that built SimCity, and how that’s reflected in one of the most popular gaming series of all time. ...”

2010 April: SimCity

A Walking Tour In Southern France - Literature by Ezra Pound

“Rummaging through his papers in 1958, Ezra Pound came across a cache of notebooks dating back to the summer of 1912, when as a young man he had walked the troubadour landscape of southern France. Pound had been fascinated with the poetry of medieval Provence since his college days. His experiments with the complex lyric forms of Amaut Daniel, Bertran de Born, and others were included in his earliest books of poems; his scholarly pursuits in the field found their way into The Spirit of Romance (1910); and the troubadour mystique was to become a resonant motif of the Cantos. In the course of transcribing and emending the text of ‘Walking Tour 1912,’ editor Richard Sieburth retraced Pound’s footsteps along the roads to the troubadour castles. ...”

2020 April: The Cantos

David Johansen - David Johansen (1978)

David Johansen's self-titled solo debut bears a closer resemblance to his work with the New York Dolls than any of his subsequent recordings, but the former Dolls singer cleverly crafted an album that played to his former band's strengths while establishing an identity of his own and delivering a set of tight but powerful hard rock. ... Johansen's songs are more straightforward and less campy than his Dolls tunes; while ‘Funky But Chic’ would have done his old glam buddies proud (’Mama says I look fruity, but in jeans I feel rotten’), the celebration of the fair sex in ‘Girls’ and ‘I'm a Lover’ cuts his former sexual ambiguity to the quick, and the tough rock & roll good times of ‘Cool Metro’ and the girl-trouble commiseration of ‘Pain In My Heart’ show Johansen could move into more conventional lyrical territory without losing his swagger or street smarts along the way. And while the Dolls didn't leave Johansen much room for slow songs where he could wear his heart on his sleeve, ‘Donna’ and ‘Frenchette’ allow him to do just that, and remarkably well. ...”

How to Make Stunning Croissants at Home

“Does anything in the baking realm rival a fresh croissant, the way its burnished shell shatters, then yields to the silky, bready, layered interior? Simply, the answer is no. A pastry as miraculous as a croissant is, predictably, tricky to make at home. There is the lamination — the process of rolling and flattening butter into thin sheets between layers of dough — and the rolling and folding of that butter-layered dough, a technique called a ‘turn.’ In professional settings, machines called slab rollers in temperature-controlled rooms laminate the dough quickly and effectively, producing light, flaky, uniform croissants. Home bakers, however, must complete these tasks by hand, making it harder, slower and much more variable. ...”

Seine - Île de la Cité

“The Seine is a 775-kilometre-long (482 mi) river in northern France. Its drainage basin is in the Paris Basin (a geological relative lowland) covering most of northern France. It rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre (and Honfleur on the left bank). ... Over 60 percent of its length, as far as Burgundy, is negotiable by large barges and most tour boats, and nearly its whole length is available for recreational boating; excursion boats offer sightseeing tours of the river banks in the capital city, Paris. ...”

“The Île de la Cité is one of two remaining natural river islands in the Seine within the city of Paris (the other being the Île Saint-Louis). It is the center of Paris and the location where the medieval city was refounded. The western end of the islet has held a palace since Merovingian times, and its eastern end since the same period has been consecrated to religion, especially after the 10th-century construction of a cathedral preceding today's Notre-Dame. ...”

Discover the Night: International Dark Sky Week is Here!

“If you live in the United States or Europe, chances are you’re among 99% of the population that experiences skyglow, the brightening of the night sky due to street and house lights. Skyglow — and other detrimental effects of light pollution — hides the Milky Way from 60% of Europeans and a whopping 80% of Americans.This state of affairs concerns the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), an organization with a mission to excite us about all things astronomical, and in so doing raise our awareness of the detriments of light pollution. Light pollution doesn’t only impede our enjoyment of the night skies — its effects are widespread, impacting humans’ circadian rhythms and sleeping patterns, the habits of nocturnal creatures, even the growth patterns of trees. ...”

Live from Studio S2 - Hania Rani (2021)

“Hania Rani is an award-winning pianist, composer and musician who, was born in Gdansk and splits her life between Warsaw, where she makes her home, and Berlin where she studied and often works. The motivation to make the recording of the live performances which became the release ‘Live from Studio S2’ came from the invitation from the Berlinale Film Festival. Rani confirms: ‘In the beginning of February 2021, I was asked to record a live set as a part of EFM sessions, which are the part of the Festival. I thought that bringing back my piano and equipment to the hall where I recorded my live session videos for my debut album 'Esja' would be a nice idea and the right cinematic choice. This time, I wanted to use not only an upright piano, but also a grand piano and some other keyboards including a Prophet 08 synthesizer and a Roland stage piano.’ ...”

A Cyclist on the English Landscape

Sluice Lane

“A year ago, as a travel photographer grounded by the pandemic, I started bringing a camera and tripod with me on my morning bicycle rides, shooting them as though they were magazine assignments. It started out as just something to do — a challenge to try to see the familiar through fresh eyes. Soon it blossomed into a celebration of traveling at home. I live in a faded seaside town called St. Leonards-on-Sea, in Sussex, on the south coast of England. If you’ve not heard of it, you’re in good company. It’s not on anybody’s list of celebrated English beauty spots. Indeed, most of my riding is across flat coastal marsh or down-at-the-heel seafront promenades. ...”

NY Times

A crescent moon and a flock of sheep, along a country lane near the village of Brede.

The Moment of Impressionism

 Camille Pissarro, The River Oise near Pointoise (1873)

“Théodore Duret, one of Impressionism’s most impassioned champions, wrote in his famous brochure of 1878, Les Peintres impressionnistes: The impressionists didn’t come into being by themselves, they didn’t shoot up like mushrooms. They are the product of a regular evolution of the modern French school. Natura non facit saltus any more in painting than in other things. The impressionist descend from the naturalist painters, their fathers are Corot, Courbet, and Manet. It’s to these three masters that the art of painting owes the simplest procedures of facture and that spontaneous touch, proceeding by large lines and by the mass, which alone brave the passage of time. ...”

Claude Monet, Parc Monceau (1876)

John Ashbery’s Music Library: A Playlist

“During the more than thirty years that the American poet John Ashbery (1927-2017) served as an art critic for New York Herald Tribune, Art News, Newsweek, New York and other publications, the highest compliment he gave to a work of art was that it achieved ‘the condition of music.’ ...  Ashbery was not a trained musician, but he had a musician’s ear, which he developed further by listening.  He first heard songs on Sundays, accompanying his grandparents to the famous St. Paul’s Church in Rochester (which had a great organ) or the more modest St. John’s in nearby Sodus where the Ashbery family lived on a fruit farm.  His first exposure to classical music was through movies. ...”

A Study of New York City’s Belgian Block Heritage

“Belgian block streets are still found in every corner of New York, sometimes paving an entire street or other times, only being revealed by some pavement which has worn off, revealing the roadbeds of the past. These streets are found both inside and outside of designated historic districts. In historic districts, these historic pavers are protected as part of the sense of place just as much as the architecture. Historic neighborhoods like SoHo, TriBeCa, the Gansevoort Market and DUMBO are just a few places around town where these types of streets characterize the look and feel of the place. Although protected features in historic districts, many of these stones are being eroded from the streets. ...”

Ephemeral New York: A downtown alley’s Belgian block paving stones

Nicola Cruz

 “An interest in ancestral Latin American cosmology has always run right through the music of Ecuadorian music producer Nicola Cruz. His creative process involves an attentive, careful search for the living roots and rituals that are part of South American identity—its Andean and African origins in particular—valuing its rhythms, its oral traditions, its instruments and the energy they transmit. His first record, Prender el Alma (2015) explored the development of the consciousness and spirituality, and how they connect with music. In Siku, his most recent production, Cruz continues this exploration, expanding his vision towards new stories and other cultures as sources of inspiration. A crucial aspect on this journey is his collaboration with other artists from around the world. ...”

'A parallel universe': the rickety pleasures of America's backroads - in pictures

“From rundown churches to shuttered stores, this road trip across America offered up countless visual gems – as long as you opened your eyes to them. ... Gas station, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, 2013. Ruins often provide an uncanny meditation on time and the ephemeral nature of life. ... Shingle clad, double-wing house, West Fulton, NY, 2016. There’s a bittersweet ambiance to rounding a bend and suddenly coming upon a tilting old wooden church or shuttered general store on a lonely stretch of road. ...”

Parting Shot By Mikhail Horowitz

“... For well over a century now, baseball and the month of April have been happily intertwined. After a punishing winter, in which we paid court to cardiac arrest by shoveling immovable mounds of snow, or slogged through slush to free a Civic entombed in a dolmen of ice, we suddenly joy, one day, to the Eternal Return of Spring: a vee of Canadian geese heading north and a flock of Baltimore Orioles heading south. Yes, in this fourth month, which brings to mind the timeless cycles of the natural world—the budding of trees, the melting of streams—it is well to consider the timelessness of baseball, too. ...”

Roberto Musci, Giovanni Venosta ‎– Messages & Portraits (1990)

“In the late 80s these globetrotting Milanese composers joined forces to produce two acclaimed & prescient records made in equal parts from their own performances and ethnic field recordings, a little in the manner of Eno/Byrne's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts -but rather more evolved. Messages & Portraits combines the vinyl albums on one CD. GIOVANNI VENOSTA. Born Udine, Italy, 1961. ... He also plays electric piano with the afro-beat group Mamud Band and teaches a 3-year degree course of Music for Images at the Civic School in Milan. He has made numerous solo recordings, film soundtrack & band recordings on a variety of labels. ...”

2012 April: Roberto Musci, 2016 December: Tower Of Silence (1983-87)

The Wizard of Lies - Barry Levinson (2017)

 “Over and over again in The Wizard of Lies, the director Barry Levinson pushes his camera as close as he can to Bernie Madoff’s face, searching for flickers of emotion. As played by Robert De Niro, Madoff is taciturn and even-tempered—at least, after he reveals his part in the largest financial fraud in American history. It’s this devastating sense of calm and acceptance that fascinates Levinson most in his exploration of Madoff’s life, which almost entirely focuses on his experiences after he admitted to running a decades-long Ponzi scheme in 2008 and was turned over to the police by his children. Surely, there has to be remorse or, at the very least, anger about how things fell apart? ...”

Remembering the Commune

“From the very first days of its short-lived existence in 1871, exactly 150 years ago today, the revolutionary Commune of Paris has occupied a central place in the radical imagination of the international left. For the Communards themselves, the revolution did not end, but rather began at the city’s limits. In their perception, the founding of the Commune in Paris was but a first step towards the building of the Universal Republic: a Commune of Communes encompassing the entire globe and uniting all peoples in a confederacy of liberatory democracies. ROAR places itself firmly in this tradition. Our first print issue, ‘Revive la Commune!‘, was entirely dedicated to the revival of the commune in the 21st century, both in spirit and in practice. ...”

2017 March: Paris Commune 1871

French troops assaulting a barricade during the Paris Commune.

How Bob Marley Came to Make Exodus, His Transcendent Album, After Surviving an Assassination Attempt in 1976

“’The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?,’ said Bob Marley after a 1976 assassination attempt at his home in Jamaica in which Marley, his wife Rita, manager Don Taylor, and employee Louis Griffiths were all shot and, incredibly, all survived. Which people, exactly, did he mean? Was it Edward Seaga’s Jamaican Labour Party, whose hired gunmen supposedly carried out the attack? Was it, as some even conspiratorially alleged, Michael Manley’s People’s National Party, attempting to turn Marley into a martyr?Marley had, despite his efforts to the contrary, been closely identified with the PNP, and his performance at the Smile Jamaica Concert, scheduled for two days later, was widely seen as an endorsement of Manley’s politics. ...”

A blue morning in front of the new Penn Station

“George Bellows clearly had a fascination with the construction of Penn Station. Blue Morning, from 1909, is the last of four paintings Bellow completed from 1907 to 1909 chronicling the development of this stunning transportation hub. ‘Undertaken by the Pennsylvania Railroad and designed by architectural firm McKim, Mead, & White, Pennsylvania Station (more commonly known as Penn Station) was an enormously ambitious project that helped transform New York into a thriving, modern, commuter metropolis,’ states the National Gallery of Art. ...”

Ten Months After George Floyd’s Death, Minneapolis Residents Are at War Over Policing

“The sacred intersection where George Floyd died beneath the knee of a police officer has seen such an increase in violence that food delivery drivers are afraid to venture there. There have been gun battles, with bloodied shooting victims dragged to ambulances because of barricades keeping the police and emergency vehicles away. ... Residents all over town still complain of officers using excessive force, like during a recent confrontation in which a white officer appeared to wind up and punch a Black teenager. And officers accuse some community members of antagonizing them, like in a recent dispute over a homeless encampment that erupted into a melee with punches and pepper spray. ...”

Sonny Rollins - Our Man In Jazz (1962)

“... Sonny Rollins has never seemed to attach the same weight to his albums as Davis or, say, John Coltrane did. Since the beginning of his career, Rollins’ albums have frequently had a tossed-off quality, like they were made as obligations, because that’s what you do—you make records, then go out on the road to support them. This doesn’t make them disposable, by any means. ... Our Man in Jazz, originally released in 1963, is one of those live albums. Recorded in late July 1962 at the Village Gate, it finds Rollins joined by Don Cherry, who had recently left Ornette Coleman’s quartet, on pocket trumpet; they’re backed by the saxophonist’s bassist of choice, Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Billy Higgins, also a veteran of the Coleman band as well as about a million hard bop sessions for Blue Note and other labels. ...”

Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’: A Game-Changing Science-Fiction Classic

“Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner’s path to stardom and cultism has hardly been a bump-free ride. Heavily disputed upon its release, often criticized as an occasionally senseless portrayal of a future with a shallow storyline and abundance of plot holes semi-efficiently covered up by admittedly wonderful visuals, this science-fiction masterpiece is still regarded as a strong polarizing factor in discussions among filmlovers, but its status has quite immeasurably improved since its debut in North American theaters back in 1982. Many people had a change of heart regarding its value. ... But the bottom line is this: whatever a person’s opinion on the qualities or inadequacies of Blade Runner might be—and there are solid arguments convincingly stated from both camps—it’s impossible for a reasonable, art-loving individual not to appreciate Ridley Scott’s movie’s originality, vision and gigantic influence it wielded on films made in the years after the iconic Rick Deckard returned to his retirement. ...”

2017 November: Blade Runner (1982)