Tuesday, September 30

Money - Henry Hills (1985)

"Money (1985) is an historical document of the early days of 'language poetry' and the downtown improvised music scene. A manic collage film from the mid-80s when it still seemed that Reaganism of the soul could be defeated. Filmed primarily on the streets of Manhattan for the ambient sounds and movements and occasional pedestrian interaction to create a rich tapestry of swirling colors and juxtaposed architectural spaces in deep focus and present the intense urban overflowing energy that is experience living here. ..."
Henry Hills
PennSound: Money

2012 May: Henry Hills

The Anarchist Movement in Barre

Italian-American stone cutter monument
"For a few years prior to World War I, Barre was a center for anarchist ferment in the United States. It was a time of rapid growth for Barre village and town, with the population increasing by 73 percent between 1890 and 1900, and another 27 percent from 1900 to 1910. Barre’s expanding granite industry fueled this population boom, composed largely of foreign-born skilled stone-cutters and quarrymen from Scotland, Spain, and especially northern Italy, making it Vermont’s preeminent melting pot, blue-collar community. By 1914, almost one-quarter of the town’s population was Italian. ..."
Vermont Historical Society (Video)
Times Argus: Luigi Galleani and the anarchists of Barre
YouTube: The Unconquered and the Unconquerable, Barre's undergoing a tremendous transformation
W - Socialist Labor Party Hall
[PDF] Italian Anarchism as a Transnational Movement, 1885–1915
Historic French and Italian Newspapers in Vermont

Wayne Thiebaud Acquavella Galleries

'Yo-Yos', 1963
"... Wayne Thiebaud is one of the most celebrated artists working today. Best known for painting everyday objects from gumball machines to bakeshop windows, Thiebaud uses tactile brushwork, saturated colors and luminous light for a range of subjects he describes as 'people, places and things.' Although associated with Pop art of the 1960s, Thiebaud depicts subjects that reflect a nostalgia and reverence for American culture that sets him apart from the stark commercialism of Warhol and his contemporaries. Thiebaud takes a formal approach to issues of color, light, composition and space, stating that his only intention when he paints is to 'get the painting to a point of resolution'.”
Acquavella Galleries
New American Paintings
amazon: Wayne Thiebaud: A Retrospective

2012 November: Wayne Thiebaud

Monday, September 29

The Slits - Live in Cincinnati and San Francisco 1980

"... The Slits' aggressive and confrontational sound was most definitely their own: the foundation was a stuttering, stumbling rhythm pounded out with grim determination by Palmolive and accentuated by Tessa's thudding, reverberating bass; choppy guitar chords on maximum fuzz (and always ever-so-slightly off-key) scratched through the racket at irregular intervals like jagged shards of cut glass; and undulating over the whole live, solid mass came Ari's signature wobbly, screeching wails and yelps."
YouTube: Live in Cincinnati and San Francisco 1980 44:04

2010 October: Ari Up (17 January 1962 – 20 October 2010), 2012 July: Subatomic Sound System meets Lee Scratch Perry & Ari Up of the Slits (7″ vinyl)

Sam Dees - Lonely for You Baby

"... Being a proper Northern album there has to be rarities and there's none rarer than Sam Dees' 'Lonely For You Baby'. Released on SSS, this was Sam's first single and the throbbing beater's a world away from the melancholy ballads for which Sam became famous, but it's no less soulful."
Sam Dees
YouTube: Lonely for You Baby

2012 October: Northern Soul, 2012 December: The obsession that is Northern Soul, 2013 November: Poor-Man's Speed: Coming of Age in Wigan's Anarchic Northern Soul Scene, 2014 May: Northern Soul: Keeping The Faith - The Culture Show.

How Edward Hopper “Storyboarded” His Iconic Painting Nighthawks

"Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (1942) doesn’t just evoke a certain stripe of mid-century, after-hours, big-city American loneliness; it has more or less come to stand for the feeling itself. But as with most images that passed so fully into the realm of iconhood, we all too easily forget that the painting didn’t simply emerge complete, ready to embed itself in the zeitgeist. Robin Cembalest at ARTnews has a post on how Edward Hopper 'storyboarded' Nighthawks, finding and sketching out models for those three melancholic customers (one of whom you can see in an early rendering above), that wholesome young attendant in white, and the all-night diner (which you can see come together in chalk on paper below) in which they find refuge."
Open Culture

2008 July: Edward Hopper, 2010 October: Finding Nighthawks, 2010 December: Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time, 2012 Wednesday: Through Edward Hopper's eyes: in search of an artist's seaside inspiration, 2013 July: Hopper Drawing, 2014 May: INTERVIEW: “An Interview with Edward Hopper, June 17, 1959″.

Sunday, September 28


Thomas Hart Benton, "Bootleggers," 1927
Wikipedia - "Rum-running, or bootlegging, is the illegal business of transporting (smuggling) alcoholic beverages where such transportation is forbidden by law. Smuggling is usually done to circumvent taxation or prohibition laws within a particular jurisdiction. The term rum-running is more commonly applied to smuggling over water; bootlegging is applied to smuggling over land."
Prohibition, 1920 - Vermont Historical Society (Video)
Bootleggers and Speakeasies (Video)
PBS - Prohibition: Unintended Consequences
YouTube: Rumrunners, Moonshiners, and Bootleggers 1:30:59

A Museum Is in Aspen, but Not of It

"The trend in boutique museum building reached a chilly, sun-gilded peak a few years ago and has leveled out, at least in the United States. These days we mostly get unsexy makeovers and add-ons, and the critical conversation has moved on. Still, celebrity commissions appear. A Renzo Piano-designed satellite for the Whitney Museum of American Art is underway in Lower Manhattan. And last month, a new home for the Aspen Art Museum designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, winner of the 2014 Pritzker Prize, made its debut here."
NY Times

Saturday, September 27

The Ticket That Exploded - William S. Burroughs

Wikipedia - "The Ticket That Exploded is a novel by William S. Burroughs first published in 1962 by Olympia Press and later published in the United States by Grove Press in 1967. It is the second book in a trilogy created using the cut-up technique, often referred to as The Nova Trilogy. The novel follows The Soft Machine and precedes Nova Express in an anarchic tale concerning mind control by psychic, electronic, sexual, pharmaceutical, subliminal, and other means. Passages from the previous book and even from this book show up in rearranged form and are often repeated. This work is significant for fans of Burroughs, in that it describes his idea of language as a virus and his philosophy of the cut-up technique."
Reality Studio: Burroughs, Berrigan, and The Ticket That Exploded
NY Times: June 16, 1967 - Cutting-Up

2009 May: Cut-up technique - 1, 2010 March: Cut-up technique, 2010 December: The Evolution of the Cut-Up Technique in My Own Mag, 2012 August: The Nova Trilogy, 2014 February: William Burroughs at 100.

The Last Saturday: A New Graphic Novel by Chris Ware Now Being Serialized at The Guardian

"Thought you might like a heads up that The Guardian has started publishing on its web site The Last Saturday, 'a brand new graphic novella by the award-winning cartoonist Chris Ware, tracing the lives of six individuals from Sandy Port, Michigan.' It will be published in weekly episodes, with a new installment appearing on this page every Saturday.  The innovative comic book artist, known for his graphic novels Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth and Building Stories, will be getting some good support from the , which should make it quite the visual experience."
Open Culture

2012 December: "Building Stories"

Friday, September 26

BAM: Retro Metro

The Warriors
"Stepping into a train car in New York City can do more than just get you to your destination, it can serve as a way for you to see how the identity of the city is transforming before your very eyes. We all know that NYC has been the inspiration for many great works of cinema and through these snapshots in time, we are able to see how the city has evolved. From street cars to graffiti canvases, the NYC subway has a long history, one that has been captured on film for many decades. From September 26th to October 5th, you can personally see how the NYC subway system has evolved by checking out the newest film series by BAM titled Retro Metro. 16 films, each showcasing a different era of the NYC subway will be shown."
Retro Metro: BAM is Hosting A Film Series About NYC Subway History
WNYC: BAM's 'Retro Metro': Subway History Through Film (Video)
"Retro Metro" and the Golden Age of NYC Graffiti
BAM: Retro Metro

2010 August: The Warriors

Inside the Quartet

"Founded 40 years ago, the Kronos Quartet has broken the boundaries of what string quartets do, commissioning hundreds of new works that have brought jazz, tango, experimental and world music into the genre. The string quartet, based in San Francisco, has released 57 albums, sold more than 2.5 million of those recordings and has become a mentor to several generations of quartets that have followed in its innovative wake. One day earlier this year at a studio in downtown Manhattan, the members — David Harrington and John Sherba, violinists; Hank Dutt, violist; and Sunny Yang, cellist — were game for an experiment: to create a video that would serve as a new way to explain the special mystery of how a quartet communicates."
NY Times (Video)
NY Times: Hurricane Sandy Blows Through Brooklyn Again - Laurie Anderson’s ‘Landfall’ at BAM (Video)
NY Times: The Kronos Quartet as a Dot Cloud (Video)
W - Kronos Quartet discography

2011 September: 30 years - Kronos Quartet, 2014 March: Kronos Quartet Plays Terry Riley: Salome Dances for Peace (1989)

Dear Nemesis, Nicole Eisenman 1993–2013

"Dear Nemesis, Nicole Eisenman 1993–2013 is the most expansive mid-career survey of this major American artist to date. Over 120 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures represent Eisenman’s sprawling 20-year output. A painter consistently drawn to figures and faces, Eisenman’s canvases overflow with pathos and humor, tenderness and violence. An early focus on drawing, evident in murals and installations, evolved into large, narrative paintings clustered with bodies—and heads. Often abstracted into planes of color, Eisenman’s heads laugh, cry, kiss, and bend into the glow of cell phones."
NY Times: A Career of Toasting Rebellions
Dear Nemesis: Figurative painting is alive and well in CAM's survey of Nicole Eisenman's midcareer work
YouTube: Dear Nemesis, Nicole Eisenman 1993–2013

Thursday, September 25

"Baby, Please Don't Go"

Big Joe Williams
Wikipedia - "'Baby, Please Don't Go' is a classic blues song which has been called 'one of the most played, arranged, and rearranged pieces in blues history'. It was popularized by Delta blues musician Big Joe Williams, who recorded the first of several versions of the song in 1935. Its roots have been traced back to nineteenth-century American songs, which deal with themes of bondage and imprisonment. 'Baby, Please Don't Go' became an early blues standard with recordings by several blues musicians. After World War II, it was adapted by Chicago blues as well as rhythm and blues artists. ... Big Joe Williams recorded 'Baby, Please Don't Go' October 31, 1935 in Chicago during his first session for Lester Melrose and Bluebird Records. It is an ensemble piece with Williams on vocal and guitar accompanied by Dad Tracy on one-string fiddle and Chasey 'Kokomo' Collins on washboard, who are listed as 'Joe Williams' Washboard Blues Singers' on the single."
"Baby Please Don't Go (Origins of a Blues)" by Max Haymes
YouTube: "Baby Please Don't Go" - Big Joe Williams (1935), John Lee Hooker, Big Bill Broonzy, Fred Mcdowell, Muddy Waters, Mance Lipscomb (Live), Lightnin' Hopkins (Live), Rose Mitchell, Big Maybelle, Jo Ann Henderson, Bob Dylan, Them (Live)

The New York Review of Books

"With a worldwide circulation of over 135,000, The New York Review of Books has established itself, in Esquire‘s words, as 'the premier literary-intellectual magazine in the English language.' The New York Review began during the New York publishing strike of 1963, when its founding editors, Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein, and their friends, decided to create a new kind of magazine—one in which the most interesting and qualified minds of our time would discuss current books and issues in depth. Just as importantly, it was determined that the Review should be an independent publication; it began life as an independent editorial voice and it remains independent today."
The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books: Blog
W - The New York Review of Books
amazon: [Kindle Edition]

I Work the Street. Joan Colom, photographs 1957-2010

"The most acclaimed chronicler of Catalan culture, Joan Colom (born 1921) is one of the most important Spanish photographers of the second half of the twentieth century. This book presents more than 500 photographs spanning the whole of his career. It includes his best-known images of the 1950s and 60s, taken somewhat clandestinely in the red-light district of Barcelona's famous Barrio Chino--black-and-white portrayals of the city's street life and underworld that have since become iconic. Also included is a less familiar side of Colom's career--his reportage of the 1990s, in which he began to use color, surveyed here for the first time."
W - Joan Colom
Laurence Miller Gallery
vimeo: 15:53

Wednesday, September 24

Marc Ribot Trio with Mary Halvorson at The Stone

"... The Trio consists of Marc Ribot on guitar, Henry Grimes on upright bass and occasionally violin, and Chad Taylor on drums. I saw them a few times back in November at the Village Vanguard (see my review/video/etc. here), and after those stellar performances I was really looking forward to seeing them in the Stone with a group of good friends. I was expecting them to mix things up a bit since they had invited special guests each night: guitarist Mary Halvorson on Friday and keyboardist Cooper-Moore on Saturday."
Concert Manic!
YouTube: Marc Ribot Trio with Mary Halvorson at The Stone Pt 1, Pt 2, Pt3, Pt4

2011 February: Selling Water By the Side of the River - Evan Lurie, 2012 September: Marc Ribot, 2013 February: Silent Movies, 2013 November: The Nearness Of You, 2014 January: Full Concert Jazz in Marciac (2010), 2014 May: Gig Alert: Marc Ribot Trio.

One painter’s dreamy scenes of New York at play

Rockaway Beach, 1901
"Though he spent much of his life in his beloved Paris, Alfred Henry Maurer was a New Yorker from beginning to end. Born in the city in 1868, he was the son of a German immigrant who worked as a talented lithographer for Currier and Ives. After studying with William Merritt Chase, Maurer took off for Paris, the center of the art world at the time, where he worked in a mostly realist style, depicting beautiful women and cafe life in the city of light. ..."
Ephemeral New York
Ephemeral New York: A lovely day in Brooklyn’s Tompkins Park in 1887
W - William Merritt Chase
William Merritt Chase
YouTube: William Merritt Chase

The Payback - James Brown (1973)

"Originally released in 1973 as a sprawling two-LP set, The Payback was one of James Brown's most ambitious albums of the 1970's, and also one of his best, with Brown and his band (which in 1974 still included Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, St. Clair Pinckney, Jimmy Nolen and Jabo Starks) relentlessly exploring the outer possibilities of the James Brown groove. Stretching eight cuts out over the space of nearly 73 minutes, The Payback is long on extended rhythmic jamming, and by this time Brown and his band had become such a potent and nearly telepathic combination that the musicians were able pull out lengthy solos while still maintaining some of the most hypnotic funk to be found anywhere, and on the album's best songs -- the jazzy 'Time Is Running Out Fast', the relentless 'Shoot Your Shot', the tight-wound 'Mind Power', and the bitter revenge fantasy of the title cut -- the tough, sinuous rhythms and the precise interplay between the players is nothing short of a wonder to behold. ..."
W - The Payback
W - The Payback (Song)
Head Heritage
YouTube: The Payback album 1:26:35
YouTube: Payback 1974 Live At The Midnight Special

Tuesday, September 23

Eugène Guillevic

Wikipedia - "Eugène Guillevic (Carnac, Morbihan, France, August 5, 1907 Carnac – March 19, 1997 Paris) was one of the better known French poets of the second half of the 20th century. Professionally, he went under just the single name 'Guillevic'. ... He was a pre-war friend of Jean Follain, who introduced him to the 'Sagesse' group. Then he belonged to the 'School of Rochefort'. He was a practicing Catholic for about thirty years. He became a communist sympathizer during the Spanish Civil War, and in 1942 joined the Communist Party when he joined with Paul Éluard, and participated in the publications of the underground press (Pierre Seghers, Jean Lescure). His poetry is concise, straightforward as rock, rough and generous, but still suggestive. His poetry is also characterized by its rejection of metaphors, in that he prefers comparisons which he considered less misleading."
Justice - The Man Closing Up
Silence in the writings of Guillevic and Beckett

Prose and Kahn

"In the Spring of 1952, twenty-four-year-old newspaper reporter Roger Kahn, traveling with the Brooklyn Dodgers for the first time, decided to pay Jackie Robinson a surprise visit at the Sir John Hotel in Miami Beach. Kahn was convinced that the integration of baseball was still the most important sports story of the time, and wanted to solicit the All-Star second baseman’s thoughts on the state of integration, six years after his historic 1947 breakthrough, for a Sunday feature in the New York Herald Tribune. Though Robinson had established himself as one of the game’s best players and biggest gate attractions, he and his black teammates were, Kahn was dismayed to learn, still considered second-class citizens in south Florida. While the Dodger clubhouse had become, by this time, a model for progressive attitudes towards race, black and white ballplayers still had to go separate ways when the games were over."
Prose and Kahn
amazon: Rickey & Robinson: The True, Untold Story of the Integration of Baseball

2009 September: Jackie Robinson, 2010 January: Baseball color line, 2010 February: New York Cubans, 2010 June: Red Barber.

Monday, September 22

Disco Purgatorio - Photographer Antonio La Grotta

"The Italian photographer Antonio La Grotta has done what some intrepid ruin pornographer ought to have done years ago: he’s taken pictures of Italy’s abandoned discotheques. In the boom times of the eighties, these discos sprang up across the Italian countryside, shrines to saturnalia and synthesizers. Now there are purgatories where once there were infernos. La Grotta describes these edifices as 'fake marble temples adorned with Greek statues made of gypsum, futuristic spaces of gigantic size, large enough to contain the dreams of success, money, fun …' ”
The Paris Review (Video)
Antonio La Grotta
Slate: The Crumbling and Abandoned Remains of Italy’s Once-Grand Discotheques

Sunday, September 21

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

"THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY chronicles the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of the most prominent and influential family in American politics. It is the first time in a major documentary television series that their individual stories have been interwoven into a single narrative This seven-part, fourteen hour film follows the Roosevelts for more than a century, from Theodore’s birth in 1858 to Eleanor’s death in 1962."
PBS - The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (Video)
PBS (Videos)
NY Times: White House Photo Ops, Old School
W - The Roosevelts (film)
LA Times
The Roosevelts: Even When Imperfect and Overreaching, Ken Burns Is Still Titanic
YouTube: Intro (Video)

Nefés - Pina Bausch (2003)

Princesses call the shots, while men fetch, carry and manipulate them to fulfil their fantasy
"Pina Bausch fell in love with Turkey four years ago, and out of that love has come 'Nefés,' which her Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch performed on Saturday night as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. It is a dark piece, though Ms. Bausch’s sly humor and audacious visual imagination are in full play in this nearly three-hour modern-dance work. The fabled ancient city of Istanbul, gaudy and hectic, may have been the piece’s inspiration, but for all its humor, 'Nefés' is imbued with a meditative sadness. (Its title is the Turkish word for 'breath.') 'Nefés' sprawls out in a series of solos, duets and group processionals. The piece opens with a direct reference to Turkish culture, in a scene-setting tableau in which a man wrapped in a white bath towel comically cries: 'He is me! That’s me in the hamam!' over a succession of prone bodies."
NY Times
Tanztheater Wuppertal: Néfés
Review: Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch - Nefés - Sadler's Wells
the arts desk
Istanbul in Paris: "Nefés" by Pina Bausch
Sadlers Wells: Nefés (Video)

2008 May: Pina Bausch, 2009 June: Pina Bausch 1940-2009, 2012 August: Pina Bausch Costumes.

Saturday, September 20

Rebel Architecture

"Rebel Architecture is a six-part documentary series profiling architects who are using design as a form of activism and resistance to tackle the world's urban, environmental and social crises. The series follows architects from Vietnam, Nigeria, Spain, Pakistan, Israel/Occupied West Bank and Brazil who believe architecture can do more than iconic towers and luxury flats - turning away from elite 'starchitecture' to design for the majority."
Aj Jazeera (Video)

Read "Ulysses Seen", A Graphic Novel Adaptation of James Joyce’s Classic

"You’ve started reading Ulysses, James Joyce’s modernist classic, and never quite made it the whole way through. Sound familiar? You’re in good company. So here’s another approach. Start reading Ulysses Seen, the graphic novel adaptation of Joyce’s tome. The artist behind Ulysses Seen is Rob Berry, and he’s devoted to using 'the visual aid of the graphic novel' to 'foster understanding of public domain literary masterworks.' He’s clear to point out that Ulysses Seen isn’t meant to replace Ulysses. Rather it’s meant to be a visual companion to the original work. It uses the comic narrative to 'cut through jungles of unfamiliar references' and to help readers 'appreciate the subtlety and artistry' of Joyce’s text."
Open Culture
“Comics Become the Purest Language for Recounting Memory”: We Celebrate Bloomsday with Ulysses “Seen” Creator Rob Berry - Part 1, Part 2

2011 March: Passages from James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" (1965-67), 2010 March: Ulysses Seen, 2013 February: ULYSSES “SEEN” is moving to Dublin!, 2013: Dubliners, 2014 May: The Dead (1987 film), 2014 May: “Have I Ever Left It?” by Mark O'Connell, 2014 July: Digital Dubliners.

Stanley Kubrick’s Photos of New York Life in the 40s

"... In fact Kubrick’s special skill behind the camera and his ability to create visual intrigue were evident long before he was a Hollywood icon. Even at the age of 17, Kubrick was an immense talent. In 1945, for $25, he sold a photograph to Look magazine of a broken-hearted newsvendor reacting to the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A few months later Kubrick joined Look’s staff to become the youngest staff photographer in the magazine’s history. He continued to work for Look until 1950 when he left to pursue filmmaking. It was during this period that Kubrick’s respected—and often-imitated—style first became apparent. His photographs are vintage Kubrick: a complex blend of composition, drama, light and mystery."
Twisted Sifter

2008 August: Stanley Kubrick, 2010 September: 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2011 February: A Stanley Kubrick Odyssey - A Tribute, 2011 April: Killer's Kiss (1955), 2011 December: Chicago (1949), 2012 October: Dr. Strangelove (1965), 2013 April: LACMA, 2014 January: Day of the Fight (1951).

Friday, September 19

Object of Interest: The Vocoder

"The vocoder—part military technology, part musical instrument—has had quite a history. In our new Object of Interest video, we explore the vocoder in settings ranging from the Second World War to Kraftwerk parties, featuring interviews with Laurie Anderson, Cozmo D, Dave Tompkins, and Frank Gentges."
New Yorker (Video) 11:23
W - Vocoder
NPR - The Vocoder: From Speech-Scrambling To Robot Rock (Video)
Wendy Carlos Vocoder Q&A
The History of the Vocoder: From Spy Agent to Lead Singer (Video)
How to Wreck a Nice Beach (Video)
The 50 Greatest Vocoder Songs (Video)

David Lynch: The Unified Field

Woman with Screaming Head, 1968, Acrylic on canvas.
"In 1967 as an advanced painting student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia (PAFA), David Lynch made a hybrid work of art that brought together painting, sculpture, sound, film, and installation. Six Men Getting Sick (1967) expanded Lynch’s practice and opened him up to the possibilities of filmmaking. He went on to become internationally renowned as a film director but never stopped working as a visual artist. Lynch has maintained a devoted studio practice, developing a parallel body of painting, prints, photography, and drawing that deserves to be better known. In many ways his identity as an American artist brings together all aspects of his creative life into a unified field of subjects and concerns."
PAFA - David Lynch: The Unified Field (Video)
NY Times: Forever Wild at Heart
YouTube: David Lynch at PAFA Exhibition Walk-Through, David Lynch in Philadelphia - September 10, 2014

Maps: Crusades (1095–1291)

"In the 7th century AD, a Muslim Jihad had spread out of Arabia across the Mediterranean world, conquering about half of the Christian world, including the holy city of Jerusalem. The early Muslim rulers of this vast empire were relatively tolerant of Christianity and Judaism, which were seen as other Abrahamic faiths, preferable to Paganism under Islamic law. The Christians and Jews were thus given permission to practice their religion as long as they paid the Jizya, a special tax levied on non-Muslims. From the 7th to the 9th centuries, the Christian world was comparably weak and unable to recuperate any of the territories lost to the Muslims. However, by the 10th Century, the Christians began to recuperate and reclaim these lands."
The Crusades in the Holy Land
MetMuseum: The Crusades (1095–1291)
The Crusades - Introduction

Thursday, September 18

Dreamtime - Tom Verlaine (1981)

"Tom Verlaine's second album as a solo artist after disbanding Television is not groundbreaking or innovative as much as it is consistent. What is distinctive about Dreamtime, aside from its thick guitar fortifications, firm stance, and unwillingness to modify a sound he believed in, are the issues surrounding the making of these recordings. The first session was marred by the usage of poor quality reel-to-reel tapes, barely yielding only half an album. Other songs had to be re-recorded with different players, due to the original band's unavailability. There's also a strong connection with Patti Smith, who Verlaine toured with when leading Television. ... Not so much a set of tidy, trimmed concepts when one listens closely, as it is a vision of an artist laying it all out from the bottom of his heart. Many would easily admit Dreamtime is Tom Verlaine's shining hour."
W - Dreamtime
Another Spin: Tom Verlaine – “Dreamtime” (Video)
Johnny Bacardi's Off the Record
YouTube: Always, Penetration (Live), Without a word, A future in noise, Mary Marie, There's A Reason, The Blue Robe, Mr. Blur, Fragile, Down on the Farm

2007 November: Tom Verlaine, 2010 March: Tom Verlaine - 1, 2011 October: Warm and Cool, 2012 Nov: Little Johnny Jewel, 2012 December: Words from the Front, 2013 July: Flash Light, 2013 October: See No Evil.

Tour Guide

"‘Join the Army! Travel to exotic, distant lands, meet exciting, unusual people, and then kill them.’ It’s an old joke that’s only half joking. It’s no accident that Western culture’s first bit of travel writing is The Odyssey. Travel and war go together by necessity. My time in service led me to Germany, Kuwait and Iraq. I’ve got friends who, courtesy of the Marine Corps, saw Kenya, the Mediterranean, Thailand, Australia and Serbia. The promise of travel, at least, proved true. I never even saw combat, but I did go to Baghdad and see the much-photographed Swords of Qādisīyah. I didn’t take any pictures there, though. I still had romantic notions of war, and I didn’t want to come back to America with any photos that would let my friends and family mistake my deployment for tourism."

This app turns the NYC subway system into an art gallery

"I should be working on something else right now. I should be doing writing that I really need to finish ASAP, writing that could bring me some considerable upside both in money and reputation. But then Jordan Seiler and the heavy projects (as Re+Public) and Subway Art Blog went and released their awesome and eagerly anticipated new app: NO AD. So I’ve become momentarily distracted, and you should be too. Go download NO AD right now (for Android or iPhone), especially if you live in New York City."
vandalog (Video)

Wednesday, September 17

How ISIS Works

"The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has a detailed structure that encompasses many functions and jurisdictions, according to ISIS documents seized by Iraqi forces and seen by American officials and Hashim Alhashimi, an Iraqi researcher. Many of its leaders are former officers from Saddam Hussein’s long-disbanded army who augmented their military training with terrorist techniques during years of fighting American troops."
NY Times

2014 August: The Islamic State

Johnny Shines, Robert Nighthawk, & Others - Drop Down Mama

"Some of the earliest blues ever recorded by the legendary Chess Records – material by a variety of artists caught at the very start of the 50s! The names here aren't as big as those of the stars who would firmly put Chess on the map later in the decade – but the work is a great indication that the Chess brothers were on the right track even in these early days – picking some of the finest talents of the underground, and setting their work to wax!"
dusty groove
YouTube: Robert Nighthawk - Drop Down Mama, Johnny Shines - So Glad I Found You, Robert Nighthawk - Sweet Black Angels, Robert Nighthawk - Anna Lee, Big Boy Spires - One Of These Days, Floyd Jones - You Can’t Live Long, Big Boy Spires - Murmur Low, Johnny Shines - Joliet Blues, Robert Nighthawk - Jackson Gal Blues, Robert Nighthawk - Return Mail Blues, Floyd Jones - Dark Road

Tuesday, September 16

Claude McKay and Gnawa Music

"... These kinds of Gnawa music shows can now be seen regularly in New York City, if not always with the fire-eating—in Times Square, at music spots in Harlem, Latin clubs in Queens, impromptu jam sessions in Central Park. The Gnawa are a Sufi order in Morocco who identify with the descendants of formerly enslaved West Africans. Their music is believed to heal people possessed by jinn, or spirits. The rise of this music, which began, in the nineteen-fifties, as a marginalized Sufi practice but has become arguably the most popular music emerging from the region today, is a question that nettles scholars and ordinary North Africans alike: How did Gnawa music become our national music? Of the myriad Sufi orders that use faith healing, and of the countless North African genres known for polyrhythmic syncopation, why has this one grabbed Western listeners?"
New Yorker
NPR - 'Rebel Music': When Hip-Hop Met Islam (Video)
NY Times: Music Mix: Spirituality and Protest

Home - Delaney & Bonnie (1969)

Wikipedia - "Home is the first album by husband-and-wife singers Delaney & Bonnie, released on the Stax label (catalog no. STS-2026). Most of the album was recorded in 1969 at Stax Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, and features many of Stax's house musicians, including Donald 'Duck' Dunn, Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, and Isaac Hayes. The album's cover photo shows Delaney and Bonnie with Delaney's grandfather, John Bramlett, in front of the log cabin in Pontotoc, Mississippi where Delaney grew up."
amazon: Home
YouTube: It's Been A Long Time Coming, A Right Now Love, My Baby Specializes, Everybody Loves A Winner, Things Get Better, Just Plain Beautiful, Hard To Say Goodbye, Pour Your Love On Me, Piece Of My Heart

2010 August: Derek and the Dominos, 2010 September: Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, 2014 February: Delaney & Bonnie & Friends: Copenhagen December 10, 1969.

Scratch-Off Art on Subway Platforms

"To subway riders feeling impatient, restless or a little destructive, the print advertisements lining the walls of a station can make irresistible targets. Kevin Shea Adams, a photographer, began taking iPhone shots of ads in various states of decay and modification about four years ago. When layered on top of one another, the ads produce collage like art, as strips are peeled away to reveal underlying images. 'They’re participatory, they’re public, they’re sort of chaotic and random,' he says. Because Adams commutes between Bushwick and Greenpoint, most of the stations he has frequented are in Brooklyn, where they tend to be less well maintained. 'The ads are very tactile,' he says. 'When you’re standing waiting for a train, bored out of your mind, you just want to pull them.' - Julie Bosman"
NY Times

Monday, September 15

Grievous Angel - Gram Parsons (1974)

"Gram Parsons fondness for drugs and high living are said to have been catching up with him while he was recording Grievous Angel, and sadly he wouldn't live long enough to see it reach record stores, dying from a drug overdose in the fall of 1973. This album is a less ambitious and unified set than his solo debut, but that's to say that G.P. was a great album while Grievous Angel was instead a very, very good one. ... Grievous Angel may not have been the finest work of his career, but one would be hard pressed to name an artist who made an album this strong only a few weeks before their death -- or at any time of their life, for that matter."
W - Grievous Angel
The Return Of The Grievous Angel: The Story Behind The Song
vimeo: Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris - Return Of The Grievous Angel #1 (Alternate)
YouTube: Return Of The Grievous Angel, In My Hour Of Darkness, That's All It Took, Love Hurts, Hearts on Fire, I Can't Dance, Brass Buttons, $1000 Wedding, Las Vegas

2008 March: Gram Parsons, 2011 March: Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris. Liberty Hall, Texas, 1973, 2012 May: Sweetheart of the Rodeo, 2013 January: Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel, 2013 September: Flying Burrito Brothers - Live At The Avalon Ballroom 1969, 2014 February: The Gilded Palace of Sin - The Flying Burrito Brothers (1969), 2014 March: Burrito Deluxe - The Flying Burrito Brothers (1970), 2014 May: GP (1973).

Contiguous Spaces

Macetas Genaro, an event by Genaro López.
"In Mexico City, there are a surprising number of institutions dedicated to contemporary art. There are several national museums with more or less international programming and reviews, as well as a network of museums and art spaces related to the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico which, to varying extent and purpose, produce, exhibit and disseminate diverse works and discourses under the umbrella notion of contemporary art."
Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Sunday, September 14

The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free

Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus, 1839
"The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free is the first exhibition devoted to the extraordinary work J.M.W. Turner created between 1835 and his death in 1851. Bringing together spectacular works from the UK and abroad, this exhibition celebrates Turner’s astonishing creative flowering in these later years when he produced many of his finest pictures but was also controversial and unjustly misunderstood. Highlights of the exhibition include such important pictures as Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus and Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino, rarely reunited since first exhibited together in 1839; The Wreck Buoy 1849; and magnificent watercolours like Heidelberg: Sunset c.1840 and the seldom-seen Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland c.1837."
Tate (Video)
Guardian: Turner's abstract works demonstrate his confidence in his viewers
Telegraph: Late Turner: Painting Set Free, review: 'Don't let's get too sentimental about Turner' (Video)
YouTube: First Look: The EY Exhibition: Late Turner

2014 May: Ruin Lust

Pascal Comelade – September Song (2000)

"... Pascal Comelade is a french musician who’s sweetening my vicarious living lately, and for the improvement of yours, I’d like to share this about 20-minute album that serves perfectly as the soundtrack to your daily morning set-up. The First track (featuring Robert Wyatt), ‘September Song’ shall immediately grab your repeat-a-hundred-times balls unless Robert Wyatt’s mawkish, twangy vocals impose too much disturbance upon you; For my part Robert Wyatt’s singing and his music are, more often than not, depressing, however he’s in a quite cheerful shape in here, and it’s indeed dulcet when his voice duets with tender low-tone one of the other (well, guessing from the credits this could be also Wyatt himself)."
YouTube: September Song, L'Italiano

2014 June: Pascal Comelade

Saturday, September 13

A Definitive Ranking of Every Character on 'The West Wing'

"As of this month, The West Wing is 15 years old. We'll pause as you absorb how long you've been without Jed Bartlet and his merry band in your life. Doesn't it feel like just yesterday we all fell in love with Aaron Sorkin's bastion of liberal idealism wrapped up in fast-paced dialogue usually said while walking? ... But what those shows lack that The West Wing had in spades was a collection of well-written, heart-infused characters. These were the kind of people you wanted to know in your own life. They could make you feel inspired about politics in our nation's worst moments of cynicism. Simply put, it was one of the best TV ensembles ever."
TheWire (Video)
W - The West Wing
WIRED Summer Binge-Watching Guide: The West Wing (Video)

Four Female Punk Bands That Changed Women’s Role in Rock

Siouxie Sioux
"Today I am pleased to bring you samplings of a handful of my favorite bands. It so happens they are all mostly-female or female-fronted punk bands. This fact to me seems almost incidental to my enjoyment—these are all fantastic musicians, songwriters, and/or personalities. And yet their commonalities are highly remarkable all the same. Punk introduced aggressive, all-female bands like The Slits and frontwomen like Siouxie Sioux who never had to play vulnerable objects, desperate seductresses, jilted lovers, femme fatales, etc. and yet still manifested their power in their sexuality as well as in their fierce intelligence and fury. In the late ’70s, women strode out in front as leaders in punk scenes in the UK and US, and helped to change the gender politics of rock and roll."
Open Culture (Video)
W - All-female band
Women of the punk era
[PDF] Rip “Her” To Shreds: How the Women of 1970s
We Are the Grrls: Women in Music Before, During, and After Riot Grrl
[PDF] The History of Rock Music: 1989-1994

2009 November: Riot Grrrl, 2010 October: Ari Up (17 January 1962 – 20 October 2010), 2013 February: Women in Punk, 2013 July: Grrrl, Collected

Erik Kwakkel

6. Drawings on a collection of books from the Pillone collection (Christie's)
"I am a book historian at Leiden University, The Netherlands, where I study medieval manuscripts – books from before the invention of print. My research and teaching is hands-on, with real objects on the table. A good day for me is having medieval dirt on my hands. I am also directing a project on twelfth-century manuscript culture: 'Turning Over a New Leaf: Manuscript Innovation in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance'. If you want to know more about my work, check out my research profile or my project’s website. Also, if you are interested in watching some lectures I gave, some of them are available here."
Erik Kwakkel

Friday, September 12

Tom Clark - Edward Dorn (1929-1999)

Stripped bare by drought and grasshoppers. Grant County, North Dakota: July 1936
"... Ed was born and grew up in Eastern Illinois, on the banks of the river Embarrass (a tributary of the Wabash). He never knew his father. His mother was of French-Canadian ancestry, his maternal grandfather a half-Indian Quebecois railroad man ('master pipefitter in the age of steam'). He attended a one-room school, and while in high school played billiards with the local undertaker for a dime a point. 'Brought up off and on during / the intensity of depression nomadism,' he followed the wandering work-searches of his several 'exodus relatives' down 'bleak grit avenues' of a childhood whose anxious, difficult instruction, though he was always shy of speaking of it, never ceased to underlie and complicate the moral and historical vision of his work."
Jacket# Nine
Tom Clark - Edward Dorn: On the Debt My Mother Owed to Sears Roebuck

2007 December: Edward Dorn, 1929-1999, 2011 February: Slinger, 2011 April: The North Atlantic Turbine, 2012 September: Fulcrum Press.

The 10 Best Townes Van Zandt Songs

"Townes Van Zandt, the elegant Texas troubadour who authored some of the finest songs ever written over the course of his 52 troubled years, was always quick to make it known that he was very much in on the cruel joke of his destiny. During a checkered, if frequently brilliant, recording career — often derailed by label concerns, production difficulties and Townes’ own recalcitrance — he produced a handful of outstanding albums possessing gallows humor titles like The Late Great Townes Van Zandt. Johnny Cash once famously bragged in song about shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die. Townes seemed committed to a similar experiment on his own physical being, drinking with such masochistic abandon and candid reportage that he made himself a veritable art project of personal desiccation — he would carefully record the minutes as all of us watched him die a Kafkan death."
stereogum (Video)
W - Townes Van Zandt

2014 March: Heartworn Highways - James Szalapski (1975)

Thursday, September 11

Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals

"Born in 1932 and raised near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in a steelworker family, Michals was a pioneer in the 1960s when he broke away from established traditions of documentary and fine art photography. Rather than respecting the primacy of the photographic print, Michals added handwritten messages and poems to the paper surface. Instead of accepting the widely recognized dominance of a powerful single image, so respected by masters like Ansel Adams or Henri Cartier-Bresson, Michals created sequences of multiple images to convey visual stories. He has always considered himself to be a storyteller. Inspired by Surrealist painter Réné Magritte, Michals experimented with double and triple exposures to expand the meaning and interpretation of his subject."
Carnegie Museum of Art
Duane Michals: The StoryTeller (vimeo)

2011 October: Duane Michals, 2014 May:The Last Sentimentalist: A Q. & A. with Duane Michals

Wednesday, September 10

Billy Bragg - Peel Session

"Because Bragg started his career as a solo act, these live-in-the-studio radio transcriptions don't offer anything you can't find on Back to Basics. But fanatics will enjoy the occasional lyric deviations, and 'A13 Trunk Road to the Sea' (a rewrite of 'Route 66' with British directions) is a keeper."
W - The Peel Sessions Album (Billy Bragg album)
Billy Bragg: The Complete Peel Sessions (1983-2001) FIVE CD SET!
YouTube: Peel Session 1991, Peel Session 1983, Greetings To The New Brunette (Peel Session), A Lover Sings
YouTube: All you Fascists (are bound to lose)

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)

America a Prophecy

"... This groundbreaking anthology from the early 1970s takes such an approach in presenting the poetry of the North American continent, from pre-Columbian times to the present. It includes many recognized poets of the period, though appearing here in often unexpected contexts, and others who have been overlooked but whose contributions to the development of poetry are revolutionary. Starting from their own moment, the editors have read back into the more distant past and selected from broad American traditions works that had thitherto been considered outside the realm of poetry proper: the native poetry of the American continent, African-American sermons, blues and gospels, and the sacred, often innovative poetry of such radical religious groups as the Shakers."
Seven Words for Jerome Rothenberg by Peter Middleton
Jacket2: Helen Vendler on "America: A Prophecy," ed. Rothenberg & Quasha, with Rothenberg's reply