Saturday, July 4

Seeing Paradise From Behind a Dashboard


The Westbury Drive-In opened in 1953 and expanded to three screens by the late 1970s. Eight years after this picture was taken in 1990, the drive-in closed.
"I was probably 4 years old when we first went to the drive-in; this would have been in the late 1960s and my brother Eric was a year and a month younger than me. I vaguely remember being told earlier that day that we were going to the movies that night and spending that whole day antsy and excited, waiting for evening to fall, not really knowing what to expect. Drive-ins are relatively rare now, their numbers nothing like their peak at just over 4,000 across the country in the late 1950s. They flourished until the ’80s, before being undone by the rise of indoor shopping malls and multiplex theaters, and have declined steadily until today, where there are about 300 left. But the closures are less frequent, and there are even new ones opening. ..."
NY Times

Lights from the projection booth illuminated the night sky in 1993 at the Westbury Drive-In, in Westbury, N.Y.

2010 July: Drive-in theater, 2020 May: At the Drive-In: Thrills, Chills, Popcorn and Hand Sanitizer

‘Bass Culture’ And ‘In Dub’: Linton Kwesi Johnson’s Dub Poetry


Linton Kwesi Johnson
"People in the streets protesting racism. A feeling that black lives are regarded as worthless. A lack of prospects and deep division. While this scene describes the United States in the summer of 2020, it was also England 40 years earlier, emerging from the 70s in a fractured, fretful state. Young people marched across London, taking a stand against fascism. Unemployment was soaring. The annual celebration of Caribbean culture that was the Notting Hill Carnival collapsed into rioting in 1976. The following year a right wing rally was met with 4,000 counter-demonstrators at the Battle Of Lewisham, and two years later, an anti-Nazi riot erupted in the London suburb of Southall. While punk rock attempted to capture the sense of chaos and disenfranchisement, another artist, one who was walking an uncharted route in music, was arguably far better at expressing it. That artist was Linton Kwesi Johnson. ..."
udiscover (Video)

Friday, July 3

July 2020: Welcome Jupiter & Saturn


"This month's Sky Tour astronomy podcast provides a fun and informative guide to what's visible in the nighttime sky. Host Kelly Beatty offers you some valuable tips for getting the best views when you head outside to look up at the nighttime sky. For example, did you know that your eyes take at least 30 minutes to fully adjust to darkness? The Moon is full on July 4-5, and that night there'll be a lunar eclipse. Will you get to see it? What might you see? Check our this month's Sky Tour to find out. ..."
Sky & Telescope (Audio)

Don McCullin The Stillness of Life


"... In Somerset, ‘Don McCullin. The Stillness of Life’ is a focused presentation of over 60 landscape photographs, mapping Sir Don McCullin CBE’s intimate relationship with the local landscape of Somerset and continued passion for global travel since the 60s. Regarded as one of the most accomplished war photographers of recent times, McCullin has spent the last six decades travelling to remote locations and witnessing harrowing scenes of conflict and destruction. Often referring to the British countryside as his greatest salvation, McCullin demonstrates the full mastery of his medium with stark black and white images resonating with human emotion. This personal survey depicts scenes from across the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia, revealing McCullin’s innermost feelings through powerful compositions of wild heavens, haunting vistas and meditative still lifes. ..."
Hauser & Wirth
W - Don McCullin
‘I’ve earned my reputation out of other people’s downfall’ – an interview with Don McCullin
YouTube: Don McCullin: The Stillness of Life

Thursday, July 2

A Guide to Brooklyn’s Coolest Neighborhoods


Fort Greene, Brownstone Brooklyn
"When most tourists think of New York they picture the distinctive landmarks of Manhattan. But if you want to experience life the way the cool kids live it, Brooklyn should feature heavily on your trip itinerary. ... Most visitors don’t explore much past the famous pizza restaurants of Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s after they exit the Brooklyn Bridge. If you venture farther south and away from the waterfront park (which is wonderful but increasingly crowded with tourists taking photographs) you’ll find brownstone-lined streets named after fruits, unselfconscious neighborhood establishments and blossom trees streaming pink petals like confetti. ..."
The Culture Trip

New Day Rising - Hüsker Dü (1985)


"For New Day Rising, the follow-up to their breakthrough double-album Zen Arcade, Hüsker Dü replaced concept with conciseness, concentrating on individual songs delivered as scalding post-hardcore pop. New Day Rising is not only a more vicious and relentless record than Zen Arcade, it's more melodic. Bob Mould and Grant Hart have written tightly crafted, melodic pop songs that don't compromise Hüsker's volcanic, unchecked power. Mould and Hart's songs owe a great deal to '60s pop, as the verses and choruses ebb and flow with immediately catchy hooks. Occasionally, the razor-thin production and waves of noise mean that it takes a little bit of effort to pick out the melodies, but more often the furious noise and melodies fuse together to create an overwhelming sonic force. ..."
allmusic (Audio)
The (Second) Best Album of All Time Turns 35
W - New Day Rising
Discogs (Video)
amazon
YouTube: New Day Rising (Full Album) 41:30

2009 May: Hüsker Dü, 2014 July: Zen Arcade (1984)

Wednesday, July 1

'Take The Ring' And Journey To Twin Peaks In This New Mini-Doc


"Twin Peaks is many things: a wacky, charming portrait of a small town, an alluring yet disturbing murder mystery, a spooky tale of supernatural forces, a deeply moving tragedy, and a profound spiritual and psychological exploration. Above all, it is a feeling, a mood, an atmosphere, difficult to sum up in words. I created my video series Journey Through Twin Peaks to explore this wonderful and strange world, discovering how the magic works without losing it. As in any good mystery, we must begin by investigating the who, what, where, when and most importantly, WHY of Journey Through Twin Peaks…
Welcome to Twin Peaks (Video)

2020 April: Twin Peaks: Go Down the Rabbit Hole.

40 Years of Experimental Dub Label On-U Sound Records: Nine Essential LPs


"By the time he was 21, Adrian Sherwood had already made several attempts at launching a record label. Sherwood—then a young London producer and DJ working with reggae and post-punk bands—co-founded Carib Gems, a label created to distribute Jamaican recordings locally, followed by Hitrun, through which he began to release some of his own productions. Then came 4D Records, briefly. It wasn’t until his fourth try, On-U Sound, which he co-founded with Kishi Yamamoto in 1980, that Sherwood ended up parlaying his love of reggae and dub into what he calls his 'life journey.' ..."
bandcamp (Audio)

Tuesday, June 30

Jean-Pierre Melville: Who does that for anyone?


The ruins of Studio Jenner, June 30th, 1967.
"... Yet [Jean-Pierre] Melville did not merely lift the name, he made it his own. In his 13 films, Melville created an austere, sombre aesthetic: even his colour films appear to be in black and white. His protagonists, whether resistants, gangsters or priests, are solitary ‘men without women’, in the words of Volker Schlöndorff, who worked as his assistant in the early 1960s. Driven by duty, they move inexorably towards their fate, which is often death. Paris is usually their home, and it’s depicted as if it were always night, a city of slick cabarets, backroom poker games and garages where you can get a makeover for a newly stolen car – or a gun. In their fleeting appearances, even the city’s monuments acquire a desolate air. In the words of the director Philippe Labro, Melville’s films are suffused with ‘solitude, violence, mystery, a passion for risk and the aftertaste of the unpredictable and the inevitable’. Melville was a loner and a curmudgeon, with more than a touch of Bartleby. ..."
London Review of Books
[PDF] One Hundred Years Of Jean-Pierre Melville
Cinemois by Jean Pierre Melville
Guardian - Jean-Pierre Melville: cinematic poet of the lowlife and criminal
Movie Poster of the Week: Jean-Pierre Melville in Posters
W - Magnet of Doom, Surrender to the Void, Criterion ($), YouTube: L'aîné des Ferchaux

2015 January: Le Cercle Rouge (1970), 2017 June: Jean-Pierre Melville’s Cinema of Resistance, 2017 November: Un Flic (1972), 2018 November: Two Men in Manhattan (1959)

The Dancing Devils of Djibouti - Groupe RTD (2020)


"In comparison to its neighbors on the Horn of Africa -- Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia -- or those on the nearby Arabian Peninsula, the Republic of Djibouti is small. With under a million people spread out over 9,000 square miles, it is perhaps best known by outsiders for the foreign military bases strategically located at its eponymous capital city, a port located just where the Gulf of Aden meets the Red Sea. Less prominent in the international mindset is a sense of the oft-overlooked local music scene. This unfamiliarity has a post-colonial aspect that overlaps with the roadblocks imposed upon the music industries by the authoritarian national government, which has long kept a tight grip on recording albums for extranational export. Djibouti gained its independence in 1977 after nearly a century of French occupation as French Somaliland. No album has been recorded in Djibouti for circulation outside of the state thus far until now. ..."
Groupe RTD Showcase Intercontinental Flows on 'The Dancing Devils of Djibouti' (Audio)
bandcamp (Audio)
amazon
YouTube: Asma Omar - Buuraha U Dheer (The Highest Mountains)

Monday, June 29

1903 Tour de France


"The 1903 Tour de France was the first cycling race set up and sponsored by the newspaper L'Auto, ancestor of the current daily, L'Équipe. It ran from 1 to 19 July in six stages over 2,428 km (1,509 mi), and was won by Maurice Garin. The race was invented to boost the circulation of L'Auto, after its circulation started to plummet from competition with the long-standing Le Vélo. Originally scheduled to start in June, the race was postponed one month, and the prize money was increased, after a disappointing level of applications from competitors. The 1903 Tour de France was the first stage road race, and compared to modern Grand Tours, it had relatively few stages, but each was much longer than those raced today. The cyclists did not have to compete in all six stages, although this was necessary to qualify for the general classification. ..."
Wikipedia
1903 Tour de France
YouTube: Can We Ride And Survive A Stage Of The 1903 Tour de France?, Grand Départ de Montgeron 1903, Tour de France 1903 départ devant le café “Au Réveil Matin” à Montgeron

2008 July: Tour de France 2008, 2009 July: Tour de France 2009, 2010 July: Tour de France 2010,  2011 July: Tour de France 2011, 2012 July: 2012 Tour de France, 2015 July: 2015 Tour de France, 2015 July: Tour de France 2015: Team Time Trial Win Bolsters American’s Shot at Podium, 2015 July: Tour de France: Chris Froome completes historic British win, 2016 July: 2016 Tour de France, 2017 July: 2017 Tour de France, 2018 May: 2018 Giro d'Italia, 2019 July: 2018 Tour de France, 2019 June: 2019 Tour de France

The brick beauty of a 1902 East Side power plant


"Walk along the East River Greenway on the Upper East Side—the breezy riverside path beside the FDR Drive—and you’ll pass hospital buildings, apartment residences, and parks. But a remnant of a different New York appears as you approach 74th Street. It’s a dirty red brick and stone fortress, a massive edifice with enormous Romanesque arched windows, the rare building that comes off as hulking and massive while also graceful and elegant. This citadel could be a former factory or armory. But it’s actually a power plant—something of a companion to a similar power station built across Manhattan at roughly the same time on 11th Avenue and 59th Street. ..."
Ephemeral New York

East River, 1934 - Jara Henry Valenta

The Color that Changed the Course of Art


Still Life, 17th century, Paul Liegeois.
"True blue, royal blue, ultramarine: During the Renaissance, these were all names for the most prized of all pigments, lazurite, derived from the semiprecious mineral lapis lazuli. Mined and processed since the sixth century almost exclusively in Afghanistan, and imported to European markets through Venice, it was worth more than five times its weight in gold. It was used sparingly, often reserved for the richest patrons by the most prosperous artists. Look at this sumptuous still life, for example, painted in mid-17th-century Paris by Paul Liegeois, featuring his signature royal blue drapery. He achieved the effect with thin glazes of ultramarine oil paint applied over a layer that was highlighted with white lead. When light penetrates the thin blue glaze, the white reflects it back, intensifying a deep blue hue. ..."
the iris

The Seine at Charenton, 1874, Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin.

Sunday, June 28

RIO / Avant-Prog


"One the one hand, the acute humour and the artistic imprint of the great Frank Zappa and on the other hand the ideology of rock-in-opposition (RIO) that imbued many bands with the philosophy of artistic expression unharnessed by trends or grey suits’ orders, are two factors that rendered avant-prog as the most pure prog subgenre of the 80s and triumphed over plenty musical works. The genealogical tree of the main British representatives of RIO, namely the great Henry Cow, supplied us with new groups and personal careers that we are about to talk. First and most important is Art Bears, the band of Fred Frith and Chris Cutler who after releasing two splendid albums, delivered in 1981 their third and also their last LP The World As It Is Today. The song titles hint a direct attack to capitalism (consider The Song Of Investment Capital Overseas, The Song Of The Monopolists, Freedom, Democracy) and with regard to music the listener is immersed in experimental, dark, avant-garde uncompromising stuff, spiked with plentiful jazz elements. ..."
Progressive rock in the 80s (Video)
RIO/AVANT-PROG: A Progressive Rock Sub-genre
allmusic

Astor Piazzolla - Quinteto Tango Nuevo - live in Utrecht (1984)


"The iconic concerto in Utrecht, October, 27th, 1984, when the master of the bandoneon Astor Piazzolla performed on his artistic pinnacle, with his Quinteto Tango Nuevo; completed by Fernando Suárez Paz (violin), Pablo Ziegler (piano), Oscar Lopez Ruiz (guitar), and Hector Console (bass). Recorded for a live audience in the Vredenburg Music Hall, Utrecht, Netherlands. ..."
YouTube: Astor Piazzolla - Quinteto Tango Nuevo (1984) 10 videos

008 March: Astor Piazzolla, 2010 September: Astor Piazzolla Remixed, 2011 February: Adios Nonino, 2011 April: Milonga del angel, 2014 May: Live at The Montreal Jazz Festival (1986), 2015 June: Libertango (1972), 2019 December: The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night (1989)

Saturday, June 27

2018 Infinity Award: Applied — Alexandra Bell


"Alexandra Bell is a multidisciplinary artist who investigates the complexities of narrative, information consumption, and perception. Utilizing various media, she deconstructs language and imagery to explore the tension between marginal experiences and dominant histories. Through investigative research, she considers the ways media frameworks construct memory and inform discursive practices around race, politics, and culture. In her current series, Counternarratives, Bell edits New York Times articles, altering headlines, changing images, and redacting text to reveal oppressive patterns in news reportage and society at large. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA PS1, We Buy Gold, Koenig & Clinton Gallery, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Atlanta Contemporary, and Usdan Gallery. Bell holds a BA in interdisciplinary studies in the humanities from the University of Chicago and an MS in journalism from Columbia University. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York."
YouTube: 2018 Infinity Award: Applied — Alexandra Bell 8:50
Alexandra Bell: Public Work
W - Alexandra Bell

The Swish Machine: 70 Step Basketball Trickshot


"The Swish Machine is a 70-step, yard-size trick shot that starts and ends with basketball hoops. Between them, sports equipment, toys, tools, yard gear, and household goods create a wide variety of outdoor chain reactions that took a month to build and another month to successfully work. And it took a little over 100 times for each step to finally come together as planned. YouTuber Creezy created and captured it all in one rather astounding continuous take, despite the elements (wind!) and any traditional Rube Goldberg Machine fails. ..."
The Swish Machine, a 70-step basketball trick shot Rube Goldberg Machine
YouTube: The Swish Machine: 70 Step Basketball Trickshot

Friday, June 26

Duke Ellington: Bundle of Blues (1933), Symphony in Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life (1935), Black & Tan (1929)


"Edward 'Duke' Ellington with his bandmembers always dressed so simply & elegantly, never falling victims to the hipness of passing fashion & going for the classic. For the one-reel Bundle of Blues (1933) they have a stage setting that is as streamlined & tasteful as as their physical baring. Ellington's was the orchestra that represented the height of good taste in image as well as sound. As the film begins we're hearing 'Lightnin' which blends right into 'Rockin' in Rhythm' which includes a Joe Nanton trumbone solo, followed in quick order by an instrumentalizing 'Stormy Weather' which Duke calls 'a haunting melody.' It's a great song performed by great musicians. Then, stepping out from a curtain, Ivie Anderson appears, to provide the purist of pure interpretation to the lyrics. Most of us know Lena's version best & think of it as her song, but Ivie Anderson was one of the greatest blues singers of her generation. ..."
Weird Wild Realm, Weird Wild Realm - 1
W - Symphony in Black, W - Black and Tan (film)
Discogs
YouTube: Bundle Of Blues, Symphony In Black - A Rhapsody of Negro Life, Black & Tan

2011 November: Duke Ellington - "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)", 1943, 2011 September: "Take the A Train" - Duke Ellington, 2015 January: Home Movies of Duke Ellington Playing Baseball (And How Baseball Coined the Word “Jazz”), 2017 November: Secret Music: On Duke Ellington’s The Queen’s Suite.

Feedback Light as a Fjærlett


"This beautiful instrument from Norway feeds back through spring reverb, and then lets the player adjust the audio with a 10-band graphic equalizer. It was created by Kristoffer Gard Osen, who is based in Oslo. The resulting sounds range from ethereal drones to industrial clanging, and the drones have a metallic vibe while the clanging has a rich resonance. Which is to say, this instrument isn’t about either/or; it’s about the varieties of sound in between. The name of the instrument is Fjærlett, which apparently is Norwegian for feather, or feathery. Which is to say, as Osen has noted, 'You have to play it as light as a feather.' While this video serves as a product announcement by a small, one-person company, I’m sharing it based on the beauty of the sounds made during the performance. Video originally posted a youtube.com. More on the Fjærlett at tilde-elektriske.com."
disquiet (Video)
FJÆRLETT: Spring reverb audio feedback instrument of the gods (Video)

Thursday, June 25

Cryptanalysis


Close-up of the rotors in a Fialka cipher machine
"Cryptanalysis (from the Greek kryptós, 'hidden', and analýein, 'to loosen' or 'to untie') is the study of analyzing information systems in order to study the hidden aspects of the systems. Cryptanalysis is used to breach cryptographic security systems and gain access to the contents of encrypted messages, even if the cryptographic key is unknown. In addition to mathematical analysis of cryptographic algorithms, cryptanalysis includes the study of side-channel attacks that do not target weaknesses in the cryptographic algorithms themselves, but instead exploit weaknesses in their implementation. ... Cryptanalysis has coevolved together with cryptography, and the contest can be traced through the history of cryptography—new ciphers being designed to replace old broken designs, and new cryptanalytic techniques invented to crack the improved schemes. In practice, they are viewed as two sides of the same coin: secure cryptography requires design against possible cryptanalysis. ..."
Wikipedia, W - History of cryptography
W - Martin and Mitchell defection, W - List of cryptographers
Glenn’s Computer Museum
YouTube: What is Cryptography - Introduction to Cryptography - Lesson 1, Introduction to Cryptographic Keys and Certificates, Cryptography Lesson #1 - Block Ciphers

(Left) William Martin and Bernon Mitchell (Center) tell Moscow press why they defected

2015 April: The Imitation Game (2014), 2016 August: Cryptography - Neal Stephenson (1999)

Wednesday, June 24

The Italian Cafe Where New Yorkers Sample La Dolce Vita


Al Pacino coming out of the original Caffé Dante in 2010, with the owner, Mario Flotta Sr., inside at the espresso machine.
"You don’t need to have been born in New York, or even to have lived here very long, to be a real New Yorker. All it takes is a certain passion for this improbable, impossible, mythic city — especially when it’s hurting. Since the pandemic hit, Linden Pride and Nathalie Hudson, the Australian owners of Dante, the acclaimed cafe and cocktail bar on Macdougal Street, have sent roughly 4,000 meals to help feed hard-pressed staff at New York hospitals, all of them paid for by Dante itself with the help of contributions from its patrons. ... Finally, by 2013, they were married and settled in the West Village, and in 2015, they bought the old Caffé Dante — a long-cherished Italian coffeehouse that dates to 1915. ..."
NY Times
Caffé Dante

The bar at Dante has a black oak top and matching stools. In the foreground are the banquettes where Italian ladies once met for afternoon coffee.

Bad Diet & Bad Hair Destroy Human Civilization - Aline Kominsky-Crumb and R. Crumb


NYBooks...

2008 August: Robert Crumb, 2010 October: Comics No. 1, 2011 October: Pioneers of Country Music Trading Cards, 2012 August: R. Crumb: The Complete Record Cover Collection, 2015 May: R. Crumb Describes How He Dropped LSD in the 60s & Instantly Discovered His Artistic Style, 2015 June: Heroes of the Blues Boxed Trading Card Set by R. Crumb, 2018 March: Aline Kominsky-Crumb, 2019 March:R. Crumb’s Portraits of Aline and Others, 2020 January: Survey: Robert Crumb & 78 rpm records

Tuesday, June 23

15 Essential Black Liberation Jazz Tracks


In the 1960s and ’70s, jazz musicians including Sun Ra, seen here performing at South Street Seaport, created music that tapped into black consciousness.
"In the late 1960s, as black Americans fought for equal rights, music started to reflect their calls to action. Nina Simone wondered what real freedom felt like, and James Brown encouraged black people to proudly proclaim their race. Jazz musicians including Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra and John Coltrane also sought transcendence with their art, and through shrieking horns and deconstructed rhythms, they set forth a new wave of energy music. ..."
NY Times (Video)

Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra, ‘The Call’ (1978)

Can’t Look Away: Musicians, Writers, and More Reflect on 30 Years of Uncle Tupelo’s ‘No Depression’


"On June 21, 1990, alt-country pioneers Uncle Tupelo (Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy, and Mike Heidorn) released their iconic debut album, No Depression. Over the years, the record has been critically hailed as a significant musical mile marker for both its celebration of what came before it (the band was as comfortable tipping its hat to The Carter Family and Lead Belly as it was to The Replacements and The Ramones), as well as for what came after it (in the aftermath of Uncle Tupelo’s breakup, Farrar went on to form Son Volt and Tweedy started Wilco). As part of our celebration of the 30th anniversary of this genre-coalescing touchstone (our interview with Tweedy and Farrar can be found here), we talked to artists, producers, journalists, and other music industry players to get their memories and insights on this iconic roots music touchstone. ..."
No Depression
W - Uncle Tupelo
YouTube: Lounge Ax, Chicago Il. 11/8/92 1:14:46,

2011 July: Uncle Tupelo, 2012 December: No Depression, 2013 August: March 16–20, 1992, 2014 January: Still Feel Gone - Uncle Tupelo (1991), 2015 June: There Was a Time: The History of Uncle Tupelo

Monday, June 22

Printing Techniques: Mimeo


"If the letterpress represents the magazine or book as high art, the mimeograph machine epitomizes lo-fi production. The master of the mimeograph machine must first of all be a master of the stencil. The stencil is a floppy wax sheet backed by carbon paper and a stiff card, bound together at the top. Text and illustrations were either typed into the stencil with a typewriter or cut with a stylus. In Recollections of My Life as a Woman, Diane Di Prima remembered the frustrations of the stenciling process. … Floating Bear embodied this element to the fullest. In terms of format, the Bear was no frills. The layout is simple. It is all typewritten text with no illustrations. ..."
RealityStudio
RealityStudio: The Great Mimeograph Revolution
Poems in Street, Coffeehouse, and Print—The Mid-1960s
W - Mimeo Revolution

2014 April: A Secret Location on the Lower East Side

The roots album that never got made


"The Saamaka Maroons of Suriname are descendants of people who had been enslaved in West and Central Africa and carried across the Atlantic before running away from plantation slavery at the turn of the eighteenth century. By the middle of the twentieth, about a third belonged to mainline Christian denominations. The rest didn’t, and a more or less easy peace had grown up between the two groups as Christians incorporated an ever-growing variety of older beliefs and practices into their daily lives. When, in the 1970s and 1980s, Rastafarianism made its first inroads into Saamaka society, pushback was fierce. 'They were worse than Christians,' one non-Christian Saamaka man later recalled: Rastas brought with them a unitary new god from parts unknown, they didn’t keep their hair neat in braids and twists, they didn’t hunt game, and rather than raise crops to eat, they planted a mind-altering drug to smoke and sell. Rastas were chased out of village after village. ..."
Africa is a Country (Video)
Suriname History Background (Video)
W - History of Suriname

What the White Horse Tavern meant in the 1950s


"The rough edges are long gone from the White Horse Tavern, the corner bar at Hudson and West 11th Streets that’s been serving drinks (not always under that name) since 1880. Originally this dark, old school bar (above, in 1961) catered to longshoremen and locals. Today, it’s spiffed up for a sidewalk cafe kind of crowd. But for a moment in time in the 1950s, this saloon with the white horse heads in the windows became a place for writers. These writers, mostly young men, gathered in the wood-paneled back room to talk books, culture, and politics with others from across the political spectrum. The White Horse’s postwar literary crowd were drawn to Dylan Thomas (right), the Welsh poet who became a regular, reportedly because it reminded him of the bars in Wales. ..."
Ephemeral New York

2014 December: White Horse Tavern, 2019 June: The Wonderful World of the White Horse

Sunday, June 21

Pain and Glory - Pedro Almodóvar (2019)


"Every so often in Pedro Almodóvar’s sublime 'Pain and Glory,' Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas) closes his eyes and drifts away. A celebrated Spanish filmmaker, Salvador has lost his bearings. He’s gravely depressed, and his body seems to have permanently surrendered to his maladies, to his bad back, migraines, asthma and fits of terrifying, mysterious choking. When a friend offers him some heroin to smoke, Salvador readily lights up and disappears. His nagging pains suddenly give way to images from his childhood, idylls that brighten the screen like beacons in a fog. A story of memory and creation, youth and its loss, 'Pain and Glory' circles around the idea of art as self-creation. ..."
NY Times - ‘Pain and Glory’ Review: Almodóvar’s Dazzling Art of Self-Creation (Video)
W - Pain and Glory
Guardian - Pain and Glory – bittersweet perfection from Pedro Almodóvar (Video)
amazon
YouTube: Pain and Glory

Dreaming On Bob Dylan’s Mythic ‘Basement Tapes’


"... The Basement Tapes are a myth. They’re one of those stories that serious music fans, the type of fan that most people would call a collector, and others might call crazy, get lost in. As the myth has been told and retold since the late ‘60s, Bob Dylan, then one of the greatest, if not the greatest, rock stars in the world, had a motorcycle accident. After recovering from his accident in the seclusion of an 11-room house in upstate New York, Dylan called up his band, a handful of musicians who had been known as The Hawks when they backed Canadian rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins, and they joined him, soon renting houses not far from where Dylan was residing, one of which came to be known as Big Pink. Over the summer, in the basement of Big Pink, they recorded over 100 tracks, including some new Bob Dylan compositions that remain some of his best. ..."
Days of the Crazy-Wild (Video)
Guardian - Bob Dylan’s back pages: the truth behind the Basement Tapes

2014 December: Jeff Bridges narrates Bob Dylan's road to Big Pink and 'Basement Tapes'

Young Rembrandt


Rembrandt, Self-portrait wearing a soft cap, c. 1633
"The Young Rembrandt exhibition charts the astonishing transformation of the Dutch master Rembrandt. Spanning the years 1624 to 1634, it traces how a young and unremarkable artist from Leiden became the superstar of 17th-century Amsterdam and one of the greatest artists of all time. Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, simply known as Rembrandt, was born in 1606. There was nothing particularly promising about his work when he qualified as a painter around 1624/5. But during the subsequent decade – working in painting, printmaking and drawing – he was relentless in his efforts to improve. By looking over Rembrandt’s shoulder as he learns from his mistakes and as he experiments with new techniques and subjects, we can follow the steps by which he established himself as an extraordinary talent. ..."
Ashmolean Museum (Video)

Map of Leiden adapted from Pieter Bast, Lugduni, 1600

2020 February: Rembrandt's J'Accuse - Peter Greenaway (2008), 2020 April: Dutch Golden Age Art Wasn’t All About White People. Here’s the Proof.

Saturday, June 20

A Brief History of the Policing of Black Music


"Billie Holiday died handcuffed to her hospital bed because her drug addiction had been criminalized. A Black FBI informant posed as a suitor, hunted her, fell in love with her even, and turned her in for heroin possession, not for hurting anyone, or violence, or for singing too beautiful and true a song but because she was self-medicating against the siege of being a famous Black woman in America, a woman who carried the weight of the nation’s entire soul in her music. For as long as Black music has been popular, crossover, coveted by white listeners and dissected by white critics, it has also been criminalized by white police at all levels of law enforcement. A micro-archive of the criminalization of Black music and police presence within the music, focused on jazz music and improvised forms, shows why we now cry and chant unapologetically for abolition. ..."
LitHub (Video)
Billie Holiday: A Complex Woman, A Jazz Legend (Video)
Independent - Billie Holiday: The wild lady of jazz who adored England (Video)

2010 April: Billie Holiday, 2014 December: "Strange Fruit" (1939), 2014 November: A Harlem Throwback to the Era of Billie Holiday, 2015 February: The Hunting of Billie Holiday, 2015 June: "Fine and Mellow" (1957), 2016 December: Banned From New York City – Live 1948 to 1957

Casting Out


The anchor rope at the bow of the Marilyn Jean IV.
"Growing up in Sheepshead Bay, I was fascinated by the small group of men who fished in the waters off the southern tip of Brooklyn. I would often see their boats docked at the piers and wondered what it was like out on the open water. I live in Clinton Hill now, but when I return to my old neighborhood, I still see those fishermen. So on a recent Saturday, I purchased a ticket to ride aboard the Marilyn Jean IV, a 70-foot boat that takes passengers out on twice-daily fishing trips in the Atlantic. We cast off from the bay and set out on the ocean. The din of the city fell away; Brooklyn turned into a mere speck on the horizon. These are the images of an afternoon aboard the boat. ..."
BKLYNR (August 15, 2013)
15 Things to Know About Sheepshead Bay
forgotten new york
W - Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn