Wednesday, December 31

New Year, Old Memories, in Times Square

"What does it say about New Year’s Eve that we mark the end of a year with mass consumption of an elixir that induces forgetting? Is it a ritual act of disdain for the past or fear of the future? Think of all the list-making at year’s end. Is it just so we’ll remember something of 2014 after we wake up on the other side? ... It is Burning Man, Fourth of July fireworks, the last day of school and a full-contact Black Friday sale-a-bration all wrapped up in one. Only New York would think that’s a good idea."
NY Times (19 Photo)

Ken Schles

View from 224 Avenue B
"Ken Schles is the author of Invisible City (1988; reprint 2014), The Geometry of Innocence (2001), A New History of Photography: The World Outside and the Pictures In Our Heads (2007), Oculus (2011) and Night Walk (2014). His books have been exhibited by The Museum of Modern Art, noted by the New York Times Book Review, cited in histories of the medium (Parr/Badger, Auer & Auer, 10x10 American Photobooks) and issued by some of the foremost publishers of our time (Steidl, Hatje Cantz, Twelvetrees Press). They're considered 'intellectual milestones in photography' (Süddeutsche Zeitung), 'hellishly brilliant' (The New Yorker), notable by New York Times and a favorite of the photographer Robert Frank."
Ken Schles
NY Times: The East Village, in the 1980s and Looking Back (14 Photo)

In This Week's Voice: The Year in Protests

"As we began to look back on 2014 for our last issue of this year, we found it awfully hard to see past the demonstrators. All of December has seemed like one long protest, with thousands clogging New York's streets (and bridges) night after night. Most came out to decry a grand jury decision that cleared an NYPD officer in the death of a man whose only crime appeared to be selling untaxed cigarettes. (Some came out to decry the protests.) The fate of 43-year-old Staten Island resident Eric Garner twinned to that of Michael Brown, a young man from a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. ... At least not right away. View this week's photo-essay feature story, The Year in Protests."
Voice: NYC Protests (Photo)

Tuesday, December 30

Great Dismal Swamp maroons

Slave Hunt, Dismal Swamp, Virginia by Thomas Moran, 1862
Wikipedia - "The Great Dismal Swamp maroons were freed and escaped slaves who inhabited the marshlands of the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia and North Carolina. Although conditions were harsh, research suggests that thousands lived there between about 1700 and the 1860s. Harriett Beecher Stowe told the maroon people's story in her 1856 novel Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp. The most significant research on the settlements began in 2002 with a project by Dan Sayers of American University." (flapjax at midnite)
NY Times: Life in the Swamp
Slaves of the Great Dismal Swamp
NPR: Fleeing To Dismal Swamp, Slaves And Outcasts Found Freedom (Video)

Johanna's Visions - Melbourne 1966 - Bob Dylan

"Lights flicker from the opposite loft,
in this room the heat pipes just coughed,
the country music plays soft,
but there's nothing really nothing to turn off,
just Louise & her lover so entwined
& these vision of Johanna
that conquer my mind."
YouTube: Johanna's Visions - Melbourne 1966

The Dark Knight of Faith - Existential Comics

"At first glance, and perhaps even at second and third glances, it may seem strange to place the names of Søren Kierkegaard and Bruce Wayne in the same sentence. However, Christopher Nolan’s recent trilogy of Batman films—Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012)—explore many of the same themes as the work of the Danish, existentialist philosopher. Nolan’s hero confronts fear, dread, loss, and isolation, human experiences that are among Kierkegaard’s deepest concerns."
The Knight of Faith and The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight of Faith - Existential Comics

2011 July: Søren Kierkegaard, 2013 April: Repetition (1843), 2013 December: The Quotable Kierkegaard, 2014 October: Fear and Trembling - Søren Kierkegaard (1843), 2014 January: Existential Comics.

Monday, December 29

The Crucible - Arthur Miller (1953)

Wikipedia - "The Crucible is a 1953 play by the American Arthur Miller. It is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693. Miller wrote the play as an allegory of McCarthyism, when the U.S. government blacklisted accused communists. Miller himself was questioned by the House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 and convicted of 'contempt of Congress' for refusing to identify others present at meetings he had attended. The play was first performed at the Martin Beck Theater on Broadway on January 22, 1953, starring E.G. Marshall, Beatrice Straight and Madeleine Sherwood."
New Yorker: WHY I WROTE “THE CRUCIBLE” By Arthur Miller
Dramatizing History in Arthur Miller's "The Crucible"
Fear as Governance: Arthur Miller's The Crucible
YouTube: Salem, MA (1991): Crucible & Trials, The Crucible

2011 April: The Misfits (1961), 2012 June: Before Air-Conditioning (1998)

An Anthology of Concrete Poetry

"Primary Information has published several projects with materials by writers and artists who are well-represented in the Sackner Archive, including their most recent project, the republishing of An Anthology of Concrete Poetry, the first comprehensive American anthology focusing on the international movement which began in the early 50s. Edited by Emmett Williams and originally published in 1967 by Something Else Press, this seminal book has been out of print for four decades."
amazon: An Anthology of Concrete Poetry
An interview with Emmett Williams - Colophon Page
The Wall Street Journal Talks to Primary Information About Traditions of Artist Publishing, Anthology of Concrete Poetry Reprint
W - Emmett Williams

Sunday, December 28

Charlie Parker - The Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings 1944-1948

"Words can hardly describe the revolutionary effect of these seminal recordings -- collected here on eight full-length CDs, with a comprehensive 93-page booklet with original essays, photos, and detailed discographical information -- when first released. Charlie Parker's vision, spectacular technique, and style helped to transform the world of jazz in the 1940s, and it has never been the same. As with the efforts of creative visionaries, his early innovations were at first resisted by some as too radical, but with time, Bird became universally recognized for the genius he was. It is impossible to imagine any serious collection of 20th century music not containing at least some of the tracks collected on this splendid compilation. ..."
Culture Vulture
MusicSense Disc 1
YouTube: Quasimodo [Take A], buzzy [Take A]

2011 July: Charlie Parker and Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, et al 1950, 2012 July: The Charlie Parker Story, 2014 May: Afro-Cuban jazz.

The Founding Fathers narrated by Chuck D

"This goes out to Kool Herc.............this goes out to the Cold Crush IV.....out to the Crash Crew, Sha-Rock, the 9 Crew, the Cassanova's & so many many more who were the ORIGINALS of what WE know what Hip Hop became but WE must also acknowledge that though Hip Hop is now credited with being started in the Bronx or more affectionately known to her natives as the BX, all of US MUST also acknowledge that Herc didn't create ANYTHING in particluar in the craft got honed & codified in the Bronx aka UPTOWN! This doc comes out with lil known FACTS about how a whole series of events occured for it to go down how it did. Why not learn a lil something while ya make money from it eh?"
Black Afrika
YouTube: The Founding Fathers narrated by Chuck D

Rise and Fall of the American Kiddie Ride

"On a recent Sunday afternoon in my neighborhood in Queens, I stopped to watch a mother, father, and their young child. The parents, in church suits with the mildly stoned look of the truly exhausted, leaned against each other. But their kid? Their kid was euphoric—rapturous, even—because she was riding a coin-operated pink dinosaur that slowly rocked back and forth while playing a chiptune version of 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'.”
YouTube: Vintage Baby Duck Kiddy Ride, 1950's Bally Space Ship rocket ride kiddie ride, Kiddie Ride (Quick Silver Horse), Kids riding the Bally Model T coin operated kiddie ride, Dino the Dinosaur Coin Operated Kiddie Ride

Saturday, December 27

Demolished: The End of Chicago's Public Housing

"... Before Chicago built projects like the ones where Tiffany lived, the city’s poor lived in privately owned tenements in often terrible conditions. The tenements were teeming, with people living anywhere they could find space — in basements without light, alongside livestock, in tiny rooms with nothing but a bed and chicken-wire 'walls'.”
NPR - Demolished: The End of Chicago's Public Housing
W - Robert Taylor Homes
TIME: The End of Cabrini-Green
Harpers: The Last Tower - The decline and fall of public housing

The Jam - Live At Bingley Hall, Birmingham, England 1982

"The Jam. Live At Bingley Hall, Birmingham, England 1982. 01. Strangetown 02. Carnation 03. Town Called Malice 04. Happy Together 05. Boy About Town 06. Ghosts 07. Just Who Is The Five O'Clock Hero 08. Thats Entertainment 09. Tales From The Riverbank 10. Precious 11. Running On The Spot 12. Move On Up 13. In The Crowd 14. Private Hell 15. Pretty Green 16. Trans Global Express 17. The Gift 18. Circus 19. Pity Poor Alfie / Fever 20. Funeral Pyre 21. The Butterfly Collector 22. When You're Young"
YouTube: Live At Bingley Hall, Birmingham, England 1982 FULL CONCERT

2009 March: The Jam, 2011 December: Down in the Tube Station at Midnight, 2012 November: "Going Underground", 2013 January: In the City, 2013 February: This Is the Modern World, 2013 July: All Mod Cons, 2013 November: Setting Sons, 2014 January: Sound Affects (1980).

La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club

Wikipedia - "La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club (La MaMa E.T.C.) is an off-off Broadway theatre founded in 1961 by Ellen Stewart, and named in reference to her. Located on Manhattan's Lower East Side, the theatre grew out of Stewart's tiny basement boutique for her fashion designs; the boutique's space acted as a theatre for fledgling playwrights at night. La MaMa has evolved during its over fifty-year history into a world-renowned cultural institution. In its earliest days, La MaMa was a theatre dedicated to the playwright, encouraging young playwrights and primarily producing new plays, including works by Paul Foster, Jean-Claude van Itallie, Lanford Wilson, Sam Shepard, Adrienne Kennedy, Harvey Fierstein, and Rochelle Owens. La MaMa also acted as an international ambassador for off-off Broadway playwriting by touring downtown playwriting abroad during the 1960s."
La MaMa
NY Times: Ellen Stewart, Off Off Broadway Pioneer, Dies at 91
YouTube: Women in Theatre: Ellen Stewart 26:47

Friday, December 26

The Year in Pictures, 2014

Italian sailors rescued 109 African migrants from a rubber boat in the sea between Italy and Libya in October.
"How close are you willing to get? That’s the question posed by the most potent photographs of 2014: How close? We founder in the shallows amid the constant nano-buzz of a modern culture. But with just one powerful still photograph — emphasis on still — you need to stop, stare, then drown in the image, tumble into its pure moment. And so many of those moments in 2014 where the ink seemed to bleed, where the pixels seemed to pulse with extra force, focused on the millions of people seeking some kind of refuge — in places like Myanmar, Syria and South Sudan, in Ukraine, Istanbul and Caracas. There were those displaced by violence, and others who sought shelter by embracing the very violence itself."
NY Times

20 Ways to Make People Fall in Love With Your Instagram: A Guide for Libraries and Other Cultural Institutions

"I recently attended the annual MCN conference in Dallas, TX, where lots of digitally-minded museum, library, and cultural people get together to learn from and about each other. While there, I gave an Ignite talk. Ignite is a specific style of talk where there are 20 slides, and each advances automatically after 15 seconds. The format forces you to get down to the nitty-gritty of what is important in your presentation, and makes for some exciting deliveries. My talk, naturally, was about something I am really passionate about: Instagram. Having co-managed the NYPL Instagram account (along with Billy Parrott, Managing Librarian, Art and Picture Collection) for the past 18 months, I shared my insights in a talk titled 'Your Instagram Doesn’t Have to Suck.' But it’s really Twenty Ways to Make People Fall in Love With Your Instagram."
Instagram: NYPL
YouTube: MCN2014: Ignite Morgan Holzer

Night Train to Lisbon (2013)

Wikipedia - "Night Train to Lisbon is a philosophical novel by Swiss writer Pascal Mercier. It recounts the travels of Swiss Classics instructor Raimund Gregorius as he explores the life of Amadeu de Prado, a Portuguese doctor, during António de Oliveira Salazar's right-wing dictatorship in Portugal. Prado is a serious thinker whose active mind becomes evident in a series of his notes collected and read by Gregorius. ... Raimund Gregorius is a teacher at a Swiss gymnasium in modern day Bern, expert in ancient languages (Greek, Latin and Hebrew). He encounters a mysterious woman, which leads him to find an intriguing book. To understand its author, Amadeu de Prado, he abandons his teaching position and goes to Lisbon, where he investigates Prado and Prado's associates. Amadeu de Prado was a doctor who lived during the Salazar Dictatorship, which began in 1928 and ended in 1974. Prado had a strong interest in literature and, because of this awareness, begins questioning the world, the experiences he knows, and the words contained in conversation and written thought. He writes these ideas in a series of notes and journal entries which his sister, Adriana, edits and publishes."
Nighttrain to Lisbon
YouTube: Nighttrain to Lisbon Trailer - HD

Thursday, December 25

Hymns of St. Bridget & Other Writings, by Bill Berkson and Frank O’Hara

"... Bill Berkson’s and Frank O’Hara’s Hymns of St. Bridget was inspired by a crooked steeple of St. Bridget’s Roman Catholic church in New York City. It was located across the street from O’Hara’s apartment on East 49th near Avenue A. ... These poems to a crooked New York steeple that embodies a name of some continuity and depth reflect an unconscious, buoyant freedom of association and word exhilaration with maximum image impact. Forget memory; think energy. Like urban experience these poems are to be lived in, read and enjoyed, not remembered or studied. They are to be committed to the heart’s strange accordion sack of word romance instead."
i said ok wow
The Owl Press
PennSound: Poetry in 1960 — A Symposium

2008 January: Frank O'Hara, 2010 February: USA: Poetry, 2010 October: Stones: Larry Rivers and Frank O’Hara,  2011 October: City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara - Brad Gooch, 2012 December: USA: Poetry, Frank O'Hara (1966), 2013 June: A Visual Footnote to O’Hara’s “The Day Lady Died”: New World Writing and The Poets of Ghana, 2013 March: Happy Birthday, Frank O’Hara: The Beloved Poet Reads His “Metaphysical Poem”, 2014 June: Remembering Frank O’Hara’s Apartments, 2014 August: Lunch Poems (1964), 2014 November: In Which The Elements of Disbelief Are Very Strong In The Morning.

Mikey and Nicky - Elaine May (1976)

Wikipedia - "Mikey and Nicky is a 1976 film written and directed by Elaine May. Originally intended as a summer 1976 release, then moved to Christmas 1976 due to editing problems, Mikey and Nicky was released in New York City on December 21, 1976. ... When Nicky calls Mikey yet again to bail him out of trouble—this time a contract on his life for money he stole from his mob boss—Mikey, as always, shows up to help. Overcoming the obstacles of Nicky's paranoia and blind fear, Mikey gets him out of the hotel where he has holed up, and starts to help him plan his escape, but Nicky keeps changing the plan, and a hit man is hot on their trail. As they try to make their escape, the two friends have to confront issues of betrayal, regret, and the value of friendship versus self-preservation."
Wednesday Editor’s Pick: Mikey and Nicky (1976)
NY Times
New Yorker - DVD of the Week: Mikey and Nicky
YouTube: Trailer VHS Rip, scene from "Mikey & Nicky", Mikey and Nicky

2008 September: John Cassavetes, 2010 December: Shadows (1959), 2011 June: A Woman Under the Influence (1974), 2012 February: His Life and Work, 2012 July: A Constant Forge, 2013 June: Minnie and Moskowitz, 2013 July: BAM: Cassavetes - Jul 6—Jul 31, 2013

Keith Jarrett - The Köln Concert (1975)

"... Nothing on this program was considered before he sat down to play. All of the gestures, intricate droning harmonies, skittering and shimmering melodic lines, and whoops and sighs from the man are spontaneous. Although it was one continuous concert, the piece is divided into four sections, largely because it had to be divided for double LP. But from the moment Jarrett blushes his opening chords and begins meditating on harmonic invention, melodic figure construction, glissando combinations, and occasional ostinato phrasing, music changed. For some listeners it changed forever in that moment. For others it was a momentary flush of excitement, but it was change, something so sorely needed and begged for by the record-buying public. Jarrett's intimate meditation on the inner workings of not only his pianism, but also the instrument itself and the nature of sound and how it stacks up against silence, involved listeners in its search for beauty, truth, and meaning."
W - The Köln Concert (1975)
YouTube: THE KÖLN CONCERT - complete

Wednesday, December 24

Paper Trail

A Concert of Dance Nos. 14, 15, 16, by Robert Morris. Judson Dance Theater, 1964
"Three years ago, PPP Editions published a limited-edition book called 100 Fanzines / 10 Years of British Punk 1976–1985. I have a copy and keep intending to give it to any number of friends who know more about the Clash, the Mo-dettes, or Attila the Stockbroker than I do, but I haven’t yet handed it over. I certainly wasn’t a fixture of the Thatcher-era punk scene, but I nonetheless feel nostalgic when I look through the book. ... The very notion of ephemera is curious: objects of little value that weren’t meant to be preserved but whose vulnerability, I imagine, appealed to someone. Political buttons, business cards, seed packets, and train timetables—scrappy artifacts that otherwise would have been lost to the dustheap."
The Paris Review
MoMA: Please Come to the Show, Part 2

This Is Not a Vermeer ™

"I wanted a Vermeer. I knew this would not be easy. Johannes Vermeer, that seventeenth-century Dutch 'master of light,' produced only 35 known paintings, which today are among the most valuable objects in the world. Art historians reserve a certain adjective for precisely these types of cultish obsessions, which are not beyond value, but rather are, as they say, priceless — that is, without price, simply because the marketplace has not publicly accessed numerative value."
Medium - Part 1, Uber for Art Forgeries - Part 2

2009 September: Vermeer's Masterpiece, The Milkmaid, 2011 February: Vermeer: Master of Light, 2013 October: Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis.

A Cultural History of the Baseball Card

Baseball cards from 1910
"In a garage roughly 3,000 miles from where I’m writing this, there’s a long, white cardboard container filled with hundreds of cardboard rectangles—all the baseball cards I amassed as a child. I don’t think about that container very often these days, but somewhere in my mind lies the assumption—childish but still deeply held—that decades from now I’ll be able to sell the contents of that box for a modest fortune. Baseball cards, it strikes me now, were my first taste of capitalism. Sure, individual cards held sentimental value to me, but I also was conditioned to see my collection’s worth in monetary terms. It was a portfolio with training wheels. The series of historical events that led to the existence of this cardboard box—one of countless such boxes in countless garages—was catalyzed by a man named Sy Berger, who passed away last weekend."

Tuesday, December 23

Miles of Steam Pipes Snake Beneath New York

"First developed in the 1880s, New York City’s steam system is the largest in the world. No other urban steam system comes close. Today, 105 miles of steam pipe run beneath the streets of the city, delivering steam to 2,000 buildings for heating and cooling. Steam also sterilizes hospital equipment, presses clothes, and cleans restaurant dishes and cutlery. This episode of 'Living City,' a video series about New York’s infrastructure, looks at the history of the city’s steam system and explores how a technology that eliminated chimneys from the skyline in the early 20th century is helping reduce carbon emissions and provide a cleaner source of energy for New York in the 21st."
NY Times
W - New York City steam system
Slate: What’s That Thing? City Steam Edition
[PDF] Steam Distribution System

Battle of Hastings Street: Raw Detroit Blues & R&B from Joe's Record Shop 1953-1954

"My father, the late Joe Von Battle, was an important mid-century recorder and producer of blues and gospel music in Detroit, from 1945 until 1967. He owned the legendary Joe’s Record Shop, at 3530 Hastings Street, which, after the demolition of the Black Bottom community in the early 1960s, was relocated to 12th Street on Detroit’s West Side. Over the years he recorded legendary artists such as John Lee Hooker, Little Willie John, Johnnie Bassett, the Violinaires, the Serenaders, Little Sammy Bryant, Little Sonny, Jackie Wilson, Sonny Boy Williamson, and many, many others in his studio in the back of the shop, including a classic called The Hucklebuck by Paul Williams. He even recorded a Civil Rights song 'The Alabama Bus', by Brother will Hairston (backed by Washboard Willie), an obscure but significant Blues chronicle of the Alabama Bus Boycott."
Marsha Music
Ace Records
amazon: Battle of Hastings Street: Raw Detroit Blues & R&B from Joe's Record Shop 1953-1954
YouTube: Marsha Music: Detroit's Black Bottom, Lafayette Park & Joe Von Battle
YouTube: Please Don't Think I'm Nosey - Eddie Kirkland, Dealing With The Devil - Eddie Burns, Vacation Blues Johnny Howard, Time For My Lovin' To Be Done - Eddie Kirkland, Hello Miss Jessie Lee - Eddie Burns, I Stayed Down - Johnny Wright, JB Boogie - Joe Weaver & his Blue Notes, Joe Weaver with the Don Juans - Baby I Love You So, Eddie Kirkland - Mistreated Woman, No Shoes - Eddie Kirkland

Monday, December 22

Dance at Le moulin de la Galette - Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1876)

Wikipedia - "Bal du moulin de la Galette (commonly known as Dance at Le moulin de la Galette) is an 1876 painting by French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. It is housed at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris and is one of Impressionism's most celebrated masterpieces. The painting depicts a typical Sunday afternoon at Moulin de la Galette in the district of Montmartre in Paris. In the late 19th century, working class Parisians would dress up and spend time there dancing, drinking, and eating galettes into the evening. Like other works of Renoir's early maturity, Bal du moulin de la Galette is a typically Impressionist snapshot of real life. It shows a richness of form, a fluidity of brush stroke, and a flickering light."
Musée d'Orsay
KhanAcademy (Video)

2010 February: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 2010 July: Late Renoir, 2012 February: Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting, 2012 September: Renoir: Between Bohemia and Bourgeoisie.

American Hustle (2013)

Wikipedia - "American Hustle is a 2013 American crime comedy-drama film directed by David O. Russell, from a screenplay co-written by Eric Warren Singer and Russell, loosely based on the FBI ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams as two con artists who are forced by an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) to set up an elaborate sting operation on corrupt politicians, including the mayor of Camden, New Jersey (Jeremy Renner). Jennifer Lawrence plays the unpredictable wife of Bale's character."
NY Times: Big Hair, Bad Scams, Motormouths (Video)
New Yorker: Grand Scam
YouTube: Official Trailer, Official TRAILER 1

A Fine Selection Of Independent Disco, Modern Soul and Boogie 1978-82

"It's fatal when a DJ tries to 'educate' their punters. It's not what you're there for. They've paid money for a good time, not to bask in the glory of your knowledge. It's fatal when a compilation tries desperately to hoodwink its listeners, clings to obscurantism and forgets to get people moving. Is this the compilation of the year? Quite possibly - certainly the collection that will put the most joy in your life, the most added urgency to your tarting up of a Saturday afternoon, the best gliding grace to your wee-smalls fumbling & stumbling later on. Those lovely Soul Jazz folks have put this comp together to accompany the equally well-appointed and lavishly covetable book DISCO: An Encyclopaedic Guide To The Cover Art Of Disco Records."
The Quietus
YouTube: Disco Sample Mix

Sunday, December 21

‘Funk, God, Jazz & Medicine,’ Black Heritage in Brooklyn

“Funk, God, Jazz, and Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn” project
"New York City so knows how to lose — and save, and lose again — its history. Among notable rescues of the past several decades were material remains of the vanished 19th-century African-American village of Weeksville in Brooklyn, snatched from the jaws of 1960s urban renewal. Once in parts of what are now Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights, the village is currently getting fresh and needed attention in an art project organized by the Weeksville Heritage Center and Creative Time called 'Funk, God, Jazz & Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn,' which runs Friday through Sunday."
NY Times: Time-Traveling to a Corner of Brooklyn’s Past
Creative Time (Video)
vimeo: BK Live 9/25/14: Black Radical Brooklyn

Spools Out's Out: Tristan Bath's Top Tapes Of 2014

Threes and Will & Huerequeque - Blue Thirteen
"As the year comes to a close, the world’s dedicated sect of tapeheads can proudly pat itself on the back. The format’s somehow become a burgeoning force to be reckoned with. Well, nearly. Last month at London’s Independent Label Market in Spitalfields, I was pleased to be met with sight of dozens of noble tapes stacked alongside the heaps of hastily shifting vinyl, with heavyweight labels like Drag City offering high grade doses of plastic - including Bitchin’ Bajas’ monumental double cassette tape, nonetheless still priced under a tenner. And it’s not just indies. Disney - the world’s second biggest entertainment company - saw fit to put out their first cassette tape in over a decade this year in the form of that Guardians Of The Galaxy mixtape. Though more gimmick than sea change, it still represents a small, vital turning point."
The Quietus (Video)

2013 December: Spool's Out: 2013's Best Tapes Reviewed, 2014 January: Spool's Out: A Cassette Reviews Column For January, 2014 March: Spools Out 3: A Cassette Reviews Column For March.

Susan Te Kahurangi King: ‘Drawings From Many Worlds’

An untitled 1965 work.
"Since the early 1960s, the New Zealand artist Susan Te Kahurangi King, 63, has been reworking Looney Tunes characters like a rogue animator, abstracting, distorting and disassembling them in surreal and psychedelic landscapes. A small installation of her drawings was the undisputed hit of this year’s Outsider Art Fair. She is now making her gallery debut, with a bigger presentation, organized (like her art fair display) by the independent curator Chris Byrne."
NY Times
Explosive Drawing: Susan King’s Mash-ups, Strange Landscapes, and Other Worlds
The Many Worlds of Susan Te Kahurangi King
YouTube: Susan Te Kahurangi King "Drawings from Many Worlds" Curated by Chris Byrne at ANDREW EDLIN, susanking sundayarts 2009 ep29

Saturday, December 20

White Horse Tavern

Wikipedia - "The White Horse Tavern, located in New York City's borough of Manhattan at Hudson Street and 11th Street, is known for its 1950s and 1960s Bohemian culture. It is one of the few major gathering-places for writers and artists from this period in Greenwich Village (although the surrounding neighborhood is, more properly, the West Village) that remains open. The bar opened in 1880 but was known more as a longshoremen's bar than a literary center until Dylan Thomas and other writers began frequenting it in the early 1950s. Due to its literary fame, in the past few decades the White Horse has become a popular destination among tourists. ... Another of the White Horse's famous patrons is Jack Kerouac, who was bounced from the establishment more than once. Because of this someone scrawled on the bathroom wall: 'JACK GO HOME!' At that time, Kerouac was staying in an apartment in the building located on the NW corner of West 11th St."
The White Horse Tavern | Academy of American Poets
YouTube: Attitude Adjustment Hour- "White Horse Tavern, NYC"

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (1965)

"Even after his death, Paul Butterfield's music didn't receive the accolades that were so deserved. Outputting styles adopted from Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters among other blues greats, Butterfield became one of the first white singers to rekindle blues music through the course of the mid-'60s. His debut album, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, saw him teaming up with guitarists Elvin Bishop and Mike Bloomfield, with Jerome Arnold on bass, Sam Lay on drums, and Mark Naftalin playing organ. The result was a wonderfully messy and boisterous display of American-styled blues, with intensity and pure passion derived from every bent note. In front of all these instruments is Butterfield's harmonica, beautifully dictating a mood and a genuine feel that is no longer existent, even in today's blues music."
W - The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
YouTube: Our Love Is Drifting, Blues with a Feeling, SHAKE YOUR MONEY-MAKER, Got My Mojo Working, BORN IN CHICAGO - Live at The Newport Folk Festival, Mellow Down Easy, Our Love Is Drifting, Screamin', Look Over Yonders Wall

Friday, December 19

William S. Burroughs - The Dub Spencer & Trance Hill (2014)

"... When intoxicating, rock-infused dub meets the spirit of William S. Burroughs. The Dub Spencer & Trance Hill fellows conjure up the spirit of the highly influential beat poet, novelist, essayist, painter and spoken word performer, and mix it beautifully with their unique and exhilarating deep dub blend. The connection between Burroughs’ word currents and Dub Spencer’s playing works so naturally it feels like Burroughs was right there in studio with the band. These two entities intensify each other in a holy union. It’s a perfect match. Heavy weight basslines flow smoothly as solid yet elastic foundations, tightly united with sumptuous, dynamic layers of drums that push forward like mighty engines. Spacey guitars saw and inflame; magnetizing shades of organ, keyboards and melodica provide a vintage spark, and electronic shades twist and swirl."
Igloo (Video)
YouTube: In Dub (Selected by Dub Spencer & Trance Hill)

Thursday, December 18

U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba, Erasing a Last Trace of Cold War Hostility

"President Obama on Wednesday ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba and the opening of an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century as he vowed to 'cut loose the shackles of the past' and sweep aside one of the last vestiges of the Cold War. The surprise announcement came at the end of 18 months of secret talks that produced a prisoner swap negotiated with the help of Pope Francis and concluded by a telephone call between Mr. Obama and President Raúl Castro. The historic deal broke an enduring stalemate between two countries divided by just 90 miles of water but oceans of mistrust and hostility dating from the days of Theodore Roosevelt’s charge up San Juan Hill and the nuclear brinkmanship of the Cuban missile crisis."
NY Times (Video)
NY Times: Mistrust Erodes Relations Between U.S. and Cuba
NY Times: As Havana Celebrates Historic Shift, Economic and Political Hopes Rise (Video)
ESPN: The future of Cuban ballplayers (Video)

Mark Dion

Theatrum Mundi, Armarium, 2001
"Since the early 1990s, Mark Dion has examined the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. Appropriating archaeological and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, the artist creates works that address distinctions between objective scientific methods and subjective influences. By locating the roots of environmental politics and public policy in the construction of knowledge about nature, Dion questions the authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society."
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (Video)
W - Mark Dion
art21 - SEGMENT: Mark Dion in "Ecology" (Video)
MASS/MoCA - Mark Dion: The Octagon Room
YouTube: MIA Artist in Residence, Tanya Bonakdar, NYC (March 2013), Walkthrough, Mark Dion, Mark Dion Lecture 1:12:08

Wednesday, December 17

Darren Waterston: Uncertain Beauty

"Painter Darren Waterston's installation Filthy Lucre -- the centerpiece of Uncertain Beauty -- is a contemporary re-imagining of James McNeill Whistler's 1876 decorative masterpiece Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room. Waterston became fascinated with The Peacock Room both for its unrivaled union of painting and architecture and for its dramatic story of patronage and artistic ego. The original -- the dining room of the London home of shipping magnate Frederick Leyland -- was designed to showcase Leyland's collection of Asian ceramics, with Whistler's painting La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine (1863-64) featured over the mantel."
MASS/MoCA (Video)
Darren Waterston
YouTube: Artist Talk: Darren Waterston’s "Filthy Lucre"

Billy Bragg - Don't Try This at Home (1991)

"After dipping his toes in the notion of using backing musicians on Talking With the Taxman About Poetry, Billy Bragg finally dove in headfirst with Worker's Playtime, but Don't Try This at Home was where Bragg first began to sound completely comfortable with the notion of a full band. With Johnny Marr (who helped produce two tracks), Peter Buck, Michael Stipe, and Kirsty MacColl on hand to give the sessions a taste of star power, Don't Try This at Home sounds full but uncluttered; the arrangements (most complete with -- gasp! -- drums) flesh out Bragg's melodies, giving them greater strength in the process, and Billy's craggy vocals wrap around the melodies with significantly more flexibility than on previous recordings. ..."
W - Don't Try This at Home
YouTube: Tank Park Salute, Accident Waiting To Happen, Sexuality, Moving the Goalposts, Cindy of a Thousand Lives, Body of Water

2011 November: Billy Bragg, 2012 November: Strange Things Happen (Live on The Tube 1984), 2012 December: The Internationale, 2013 May: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions, 2014 June: Tooth & Nail (2013), 2014 September: Peel Session.

The Ides of March (2011)

Wikipedia - "The Ides of March is a 2011 American political drama film directed by George Clooney from a screenplay written by Clooney, along with Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon. The film is an adaptation of Willimon's 2008 play Farragut North. ... Stephen Meyers is the junior campaign manager for Mike Morris, Governor of Pennsylvania and a Democratic presidential candidate, competing against Arkansas Senator Ted Pullman in the Democratic primary. Both campaigns are attempting to secure the endorsement of North Carolina Democratic Senator Franklin Thompson, who controls 356 convention delegates, enough to clinch the nomination for either candidate."
NY Times
YouTube: The Ides of March Trailer 2011

Tuesday, December 16

Lennon or McCartney

Wikipedia - "Lennon–McCartney (also written Lennon/McCartney and occasionally known as McCartney–Lennon) was the rock music songwriting partnership between English musicians John Lennon (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) and Paul McCartney (born 18 June 1942) of the Beatles. It is one of the best known and most successful musical collaborations in history. Between 1962 and 1969, the partnership published approximately 180 jointly credited songs, of which the vast majority were recorded by the Beatles, forming the bulk of their catalogue. Unlike many songwriting partnerships that comprise separate lyricist and composer, both Lennon and McCartney wrote words and music. Sometimes, especially early on, they would collaborate extensively when writing songs, working 'nose to nose and eyeball to eyeball'. Later, it became more common for one of the two credited authors to write all or most of a song with limited input from the other."
Atlantic: The Power of Two
Main composer of the Beatles songs
YouTube: Lennon or McCartney

Anne-Marie Albiach

Wikipedia - "Anne-Marie Albiach (9 August 1937 – 4 November 2012) was a contemporary French poet and translator. Anne-Marie Albiach's poetry is characterized by, among other things, an inventive use of spacing on the printed page. With Claude Royet-Journoud and Michel Couturier, she co-edited the magazine Siécle a mains, where she first published her translation of Louis Zukofsky's 'A-9'. Today, Albiach is associated in France with poets Claude Royet-Journoud and Emmanuel Hocquard, all three being, at various times, translated and published by the American poets Keith Waldrop and Rosmarie Waldrop via Burning Deck, their influential small press."
Poetry Foundation
Jacket2: Aleatory displacement
amazon: Anne-Marie Albiach
[PDF] Two Poems: - Shearsman Books

Angela Davis: ‘There is an unbroken line of police violence in the US that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery’

"'There is an unbroken line of police violence in the United States that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery, the aftermath of slavery, the development of the Ku Klux Klan,' says Angela Davis. 'There is so much history of this racist violence that simply to bring one person to justice is not going to disturb the whole racist edifice.' I had asked the professor, activist, feminist and revolutionary, the woman whom Richard Nixon called a terrorist and whom Ronald Reagan tried to fire as a professor, if she was angered by the failure of a grand jury to indict a white police officer for shooting dead an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this year."

2011 September: The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, 2013 February: Angela Davis.

Monday, December 15

The Passenger - Michelangelo Antonioni (1975)

Wikipedia - "The Passenger ... is a 1975 film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. Written by Antonioni and Peter Wollen, the film is about a British-American journalist, David Locke (Jack Nicholson) who assumes the identity of a dead businessman while working on a documentary in Chad, unaware that he is impersonating an arms dealer with connections to the rebels in the current civil war. Co-starring Maria Schneider, The Passenger was the final film in Antonioni's three-picture deal with producer Carlo Ponti and MGM, after Blowup and Zabriskie Point, and competed for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. ..."
Roger Ebert
NY Times: Antonioni's Characters Escape Into Ambiguity and Live (Your View Here) Ever After
Diary Of A Screenwriter
Other Voices
YouTube: The Passenger (1975) | Original Film Trailer

2011 September: Red Desert (1964), 2011 November: Blow-Up (1966)

Trisha Donnelly

"The Serpentine comprises two galleries situated on either side of The Serpentine lake in the heart of the Royal Park of Kensington Gardens in central London. The Serpentine Gallery and the newly opened Serpentine Sackler Gallery, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, present world-renowned exhibitions of art, architecture and design throughout the year."
Trisha Donnelly | Serpentine Galleries
W - Trisha Donnelly
Telegraph - Trisha Donnelly, Serpentine Gallery, review: 'a calculated non-event'
Culture Whisper

Sonny Boy Williamson - King Biscuit Time

Wikipedia - "King Biscuit Time is the longest-running daily American radio broadcast in history. The program is broadcast each weekday from KFFA in Helena, Arkansas, and has won the George Foster Peabody Award for broadcasting excellence. The first broadcast of King Biscuit Time was on November 21, 1941 on KFFA in Helena, and featured the African-American blues artists Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) and Robert Lockwood, Jr. Williamson and Lockwood played live in the studio and were the key musicians in the original studio band, the King Biscuit Entertainers. Other musicians who joined the original band were Pinetop Perkins on piano and James Peck Curtis on drums. Williamson left the program in 1947 but returned for a stint in 1965 just prior to his death."
YouTube: Sonny Boy Williamson II-King Biscuit Time (Full Album)

Sunday, December 14

72 Hours in Detroit

"Forget for once Madonna, Eminem and Iggy Pop. Detroit, formerly known as Motor City, is a broken metropolis that nevertheless can still lay claim to being the epicenter of American black music. The Motown sound, funk and techno were all born in what was formerly the richest city in the US. Today, however, the city is bankrupt, and the majority of its largely black population is living in poverty. Diving into the city's musical history is a lot like being transported to a parallel dimension of hopeful projections. For many, Detroit's music and art scenes remain a unique opportunity for urban cultural renewal—albeit one not without the potential pitfall of a revitalization that excludes black communities."
72 hours in Detroit (Video)

2012 September: Andrew Moore: 'Detroit Disassembled', 2013 July: Motor City's Burning - Detroit from Motown to the Stooges, 2013 August: Detropia (2012), 2014 April: Detroit: Evolution of a City.

Doug Sahm and Band (1973)

"Doug Sahm began his solo career in 1972, after the Sir Douglas Quintet finished its contract with Smash/Mercury and after Atlantic Records co-owner/producer Jerry Wexler convinced him to sign to his label. Wexler gave the Texas maverick the chance to cut a star-studded, big-budget album, shuffling him off to New York where Wexler and Arif Mardin helmed a series of sessions with an ever-revolving cast of musicians featuring Bob Dylan, Dr. John, David 'Fathead' Newman, David Bromberg, and Flaco Jimenez, in addition to such Sir Doug stalwarts as Augie Meyers and the rhythm section of bassist Jack Barber and drummer George Rains. This group cut a lot of material, which was whittled down to the 12-track album Doug Sahm and Band, released in early 1973."
W - Doug Sahm
Doug Sahm & Bob Dylan: Amigos de Musica
William Henry Prince
Grooveshark: Wallflower
YouTube: Is anybody going to San Antone, Faded love, Poison love, Dealer's Blues, Don't Turn Around, I Get Off

Walker Evans: Decade by Decade

"Is there anyone left who would not instantly recognise the terse black-and-white pictures of rural poverty in the US that American photographer Walker Evans made during the Great Depression of the 1930s? The photographs that Walker Evans (1903-1975) made on assignment from the Farm Security Administration have become some of the most iconic images in photographic history. Walker Evans documented America’s day-to-day life ‘with the nuance of a poet and the precision of a surgeon’ (in the words of the Metropolitan Museum) and his immaculate, documentary style found many imitators. He photographed workers on their way to the factory, subway commuters, roadside signposts, wooden churches, and village shops. He also wrote about them. Evans’ reception was long determined by the prominence of this early work."
Huis Marseille

2011 June: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, 2011 May: A Revolutionary Project: Cuba from Walker Evans to Now, 2013 June: Cotton Tenants: Three Families, 2014 May: “Walker Evans and Robert Frank – An Essay on Influence by Tod Papageorge” (1981), 2014 October: Walker Evans: The Magazine Work.

Saturday, December 13

How to Raise Hell in Three Steps: on RUN-D.M.C, Parliament, Blackness and Revolution

"In 1987, in a small Southwestern Pennsylvania steel town, I was the only black kid I knew. I was also the only kid with a copy of Run-D.M.C.’s Raising Hell. At the time those two facts seemed to be very much connected. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, being the only black kid in middle school is a little like having a disease that you don’t want to talk about and don’t want anyone else to talk about either. You feel ashamed. You feel guilty. When you get to the three or four paragraphs in your social studies book about slavery, you try to look so deeply engrossed in taking notes that you don’t even notice how many kids are stealing glances at you. And you don’t even take notes."
How to Raise Hell in Three Steps: on RUN-D.M.C, Parliament, Blackness and Revolution (Video)
“Fuck tha Police” in Historical Context (Video)
Killer Mike Discusses Police Militarization, Ferguson on CNN (Video)
When the People Cheer: How Hip-Hop Failed Black America

Claude Monet - The Argenteuil Bridge

The Argenteuil Bridge, 1874
"In 1874, the year of the first Impressionist exhibition, Claude Monet painted the Argenteuil Bridge seven times, and the railway bridge which spans the Seine upstream from the village, four times. This shows how attached the artist was to the motif, using the flowing river as a counterpoint for the geometrical mass of the bridge and its piles reflected in the water. Here the foreground is filled with sailboats at their mooring. The effects of light on the masts and on the roofs of the houses on the bank in the background are an opportunity for the play of complementary colours (orange and blue) which accentuate the glittering light. The Argenteuil Bridge exhibits great variety in treatment: the still firm outlines of the solid or structured elements, such as the sailboats and the bridge, a smooth, even texture for the water in the foreground, and choppy brushstrokes capturing the reflections in the middle ground."
Musée d'Orsay
smarthistory (Video)
National Gallery of Art
The railway bridge at Argenteuil