Thursday, March 31

A Southpaw in Havana

W: 1999 Baltimore Orioles – Cuban national baseball team exhibition series
"In 1947, the soon-to-be dynastic Brooklyn Dodgers moved their spring training camp to Havana, Cuba. As a venue, it made good sense—Havana offered warm winter weather and stellar baseball facilities. But what made Havana most attractive was its isolation; Jackie Robinson, recently promoted from the minors, was just weeks away from breaking American professional baseball’s color barrier, and Branch Rickey, the team’s president and general manager, sought to shield the outfielder from untoward attention as he trained with the team. ... Last Sunday, nearly 70 springs and an embargo later, when Barack Obama, the No. 42 of American presidential politics, boarded Air Force One for his historic sojourn to Cuba, he did so with two guests of honor—Rachel and Sharon Robinson, the widow and daughter of Jackie. The symbolism wasn’t subtle: The Robinsons and the Obamas embody the cause and effect of the effacing of generations-old biases. Or, failing all of that, the United States and Cuba share a historic love of baseball. ..."
The Atlantic: A Southpaw in Havana
NY Times: This Cuban Defector Changed Baseball. Nobody Remembers.
CNN: Obama engages in baseball diplomacy in Cuba (Video)
W - Baseball in Cuba
PBS: Stealing Home
ESPN: "Cuba has to budge"
Vanity Fair: Commie Ball: A Journey to the End of a Revolution (2008)
The Economist: Cuban baseball crisis
The Atlantic: Cuban Baseball (1984)
Inside MLB's Cuban Pipeline: It's High-Risk, High-Reward (2014)
The New Golden Age of Cuban Baseball in MLB
W - Cuban League
amazon: The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball, Smoke: The Romance and Lore of Cuban Baseball, A History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006, Havana Hardball, Pitching Around Fidel, The Quality of Home Runs: The Passion, Politics, and Language of Cuban Baseball

Lucy Knisley

Wikipedia - "Lucy Knisley (born January 11, 1985) is an American comic artist and musician. Her work is often autobiographical, and food is a common theme. Knisley's drawn travel journal French Milk was published through Simon & Schuster in October 2008. It received positive reviews in several publications, such as USA Today and Comics critic Douglas Wolk described it as 'a keenly observed letter back home... the pleasure Knisley takes in food and company is infectious.' Knisley holds a BFA ('07) from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While there, she contributed to and edited the comics section of the school newspaper, FNews. Knisley holds an MFA ('09) from the Center for Cartoon Studies. ..."
Lucy Knisley
Travel and art blog for comic artist Lucy Knisley (Video)
amazon: Lucy Knisley

Passoa's Trunk - 13+ ways of looking at a poem

"When Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa (1888 - 1935) passed away, he left a trunk containing some 25,426 items — a vast collection of poems, fragments, letters, journals. These pieces were ascribed to a variety of writers — Bernardo Soares, Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis, and Álvaro de Campos among them — for Pessoa had created a number of assumed identities over the course of his literary career. To adapt a comment by American critic and poet John Hollander, if Pessoa had never existed the World Wide Web would have invented him — for this fluid, hypertextual medium is so suitable to one who expressed himself through such a variety of personalities. This web site, 'Pessoa's Trunk,' is an attempt to apply the tools of the web to the appreciation of Pessoa's writing and life. —Marc Weidenbaum"
disquiet - "Autopsicografia" By Fernando Pessoa
disquiet - "Autopsicografia" ii By Fernando Pessoa
disquiet - "Tudo quanto"

2008 March: Fernando Pessoa, 2012 October: The Book of Disquiet, 2012 November: Fernando Pessoa and Co.: Selected Poems, 2014 May: Aspects by Fernando Pessoa.

Wednesday, March 30

Asphalt Archaeology

"Every so often, a loose object kicked or dropped or tossed behind a boundary of construction barrels becomes trapped in soft asphalt and, like an insect in amber, preserved in time. These objects, made and lost by humans, flattened and twisted by their urban environment, exist as fossilized remains of everyday life. An observant pedestrian darting across a road can sometimes notice such a fossil just breaching the surface. Here are a collection of objects discovered around the city — no excavation required."
Street-level archaeology
W - Asphalt

One Street Portrait a Day: Artist Mel Waters Celebrates Black History in San Francisco

Dr. James E. West by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016.
"'There are some beautiful people out there that have left the world better off. I’m glad I could share some of them over Black History Month, one portrait at a time,' says Mel Waters when talking about his piece-a-day project in San Francisco’s Mission District in February. Funded from his own pocket, the 34 year old artist devised the project for himself and executed it on city walls (and one delivery truck) to pay tribute to famous African Americans during Black History Month. ..."
Brooklyn Street Art

Film Works 1986-1990 - John Zorn

"Film Works 1986-1990 opens with John Zorn's first film score, White and Lazy. In just under ten minutes comes small capsules of instrumental punk, rockabilly, dark ambient, nightclub jazz, until 'End Title,' with vocals by Arto Lindsay, and soloing by Robert Quine (of Lou Reed's band), who Zorn regards as 'a punk guitar genius.' The other musicians on these first six tracks are bassist Melvin Gibbs, reeds player Ned Rothenberg, harpist Carol Emanuel, keyboardist David Weinstein, and drummer Anton Fier. Next on the CD comes the music for The Golden Boat, a 1990 Raul Ruiz film. ..."
W - Film Works 1986-1990
YouTube: End Titles, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Seduction, Going To Dinner, Mexico

2009 March: John Zorn, 2010 August: Spillane,  2011 October: Filmworks Anthology : 20 Years of Soundtrack Music, 2012 September: Marc Ribot, 2013 January: Bar Kokhba and Masada, 2013 September: Masada String Trio Sala, 2014 January: Full Concert Jazz in Marciac (2010), 2014 March: "Extraits de Book Of Angels" @ Jazz in Marciac 2008, 2015 June: The Big Gundown - John Zorn plays Ennio Morricone (1985), News for Lulu (1988).

Tuesday, March 29

Steinski - What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective

"One of the most unlikely heroes of hip-hop has to be former ad man Steinski, who catapulted himself to street-level fame by entering a Tommy Boy remix contest in 1983 and delivering (with recording studio vet Double Dee) one of the best mastermixes of all time. No matter that this was hardly an 'on the fly' turntablist piece worthy of Grandmaster Flash; basically, it came about from boxes of records, turntables, tape machines, and a dozen hours of studio time. The original 'Lesson' (aka 'The Payoff Mix') was a dizzying trip that took in dozens of track snippets interspersed with all manner of movie dialogue and cartoon samples. ... From there, Double Dee & Steinski or Steinski solo took on everything from the history of hip-hop, jazz, and Sugar Hill to two of the most deadly serious moments in American history, JFK's assassination ('The Motorcade Sped On') and the events of 9/11 ('Number Three on Flight Eleven'). ... Rap music has rarely gotten more virtuosic and creative than it does here."
W - Double Dee and Steinski
NPR: Steinski Gives A Sampling History Lesson (Video)
YouTube: What Does It All Mean? - 1983-2006 Retrospective

Ireland’s Unfinished Revolution

"There is no consensus among Ireland’s historians about whether the events of 1916-23 constitute a revolution, or how the revolution should be regarded. Fianna Fáil, for a long time the most successful political party in the republic, pushed a narrative that used the 1916 Rising to legitimize the contemporary state. Its telling is narrow and nationalist, tying leader Pádraig Pearse and his contemporaries to the conservative Catholicism of the twentieth century. Their rivals among the Irish bourgeoisie, Fine Gael, contain many partisans of the Home Rule movement’s constitutional nationalism. Less critical of British rule in Ireland, they tend to downplay or even discredit the 1916 Rising as a tragic misadventure. ..."
W - Irish revolutionary period
W - Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence – A Brief Overview
amazon: Ireland's Unfinished Revolution: An Oral History, Curious Journey: Oral History of Ireland's Unfinished Revolution
YouTube: Daily life continues: Exploring Ireland's History 1912-1923, Irish Lives in War and Revolution: Exploring Ireland's History 1912-1923, Motivations to fight in WWI: Exploring Ireland's History 1912-1923

Monday, March 28

Confusion - Fela Kuti (1975)

Wikipedia - "Confusion is a studio album by Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti and his band the Africa 70. It was arranged, composed, and produced by Kuti, and released in 1975 by EMI. He recorded the album after choosing to emphasize his African heritage and nationalism in his music. Confusion is a commentary on the confused state of post-colonial Lagos and its lack of infrastructure and proper leadership at the time. Kuti's pidgin English lyrics depict difficult conditions in the city, including a frenetic, multilingual trading market and inextricable traffic jams in Lagos' major intersections. Confusion is a one-song Afrobeat album that begins with an entirely instrumental first half, which features free form interplay between Kuti's electric piano and drummer Tony Allen. It leads to an extended mid-tempo section with Allen's polyrhythms and tenor saxophone by Kuti, who subsequently delivers call-and-response vocal passages. ..."
Confusion (1974) by Fela Kuti (Video)

Spring comes to brownstone Brooklyn in 1949

"This is Brooklyn just four years after the end of World War II.  In 1949, when Brooklyn on the north side of Prospect Park was still a collection of working-class and middle-income neighborhoods and urban decay had yet to take hold, a Life photographer went out and took some photos. In a Life spread titled 'Spring Comes to Brooklyn,' Ralph Morse captured street life in the neighborhoods located in the shadow of the Williamsburgh Bank Tower.  ... This part of Brooklyn would change dramatically in the next few decades. And of course, the brownstones of Brooklyn would then become some of the most sought-after housing in the entire city. But here is Brooklyn before all that, depicted by a very talented photographer in one moment in time. Many more photos are available to scroll through at the Life archives."
Ephemeral New York

Images Take Flight: Feather Art in Mexico and Europe 1400–1700

"In a 16th-century triptych of the crucifixion at the Musée National de la Renaissance, north of Paris, Christ has wings. In fact the whole piece is made of feathers. The veil over the Virgin Mary is a brilliant blue, possibly from the lovely cotinga; the clothing on Saint John is bright green, either from a parrot or the quetzal; and the blood dripping from Christ’s wounds has hues of a red macaw or hummingbird. How feathers of Central American birds found their way into this biblical scene goes back to the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521, and the transformation of indigenous feather art into a colonial export from New Spain. Images Take Flight: Feather Art in Mexico and Europe 1400–1700, published by Hirmer Verlag and distributed by University of Chicago Press, is the first thorough study of Mesoamerican feather mosaics from this era of change. ..."
Plumage of the Saints: Aztec Feather Art in the Age of Colonialism
University of Chicago Press

Sunday, March 27

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered (EP - 2016)

"'I made To Pimp a Butterfly for you,' raps Kendrick Lamar on the opening cut from untitled unmastered. It's tempting to read a lot into those words; in fact, it's tempting to delve deeply into everything about his latest release. Because when the promotionally frugal, preeminent thinking-person's rapper of a generation lets forth a largely unexpected collection of demos into a click economy of hot takes and broadcasted enthusiasm, the friction of opposites is enough to spark the kind of hopes that see meaning in everything. No other rapper has taken up so much real estate in the past 12 months while releasing so little music and sharing as little about themselves as Kendrick. TPAB—a Grammy-winning ride of densely knotted rhymes, tangled ideas, and deep sounds—positioned Kendrick Lamar as a reluctant messiah figure, and its dialogues with self and manifestations of God resisted quick-and-easy unpacking. ..."
W - untitled unmastered
Here’s Everything We Know About Kendrick Lamar’s 'untitled unmastered.' (Video)
Titling the Untitled: Deciphering Kendrick Lamar’s Latest Project

2015 December: To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), 2016 March: When the Lights Shut Off: Kendrick Lamar and the Decline of the Black Blues Narrative by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah (2013), 2016 March: Who gets to say how black people see themselves? - Marlon James

Various Artists - Swamp Blues

"An instant classic when it was released as a double LP in the U.K. in 1970 by Mike Vernon's legendary Blue Horizon Records, Swamp Blues isn't technically an Excello Records product, but all of the veteran blues artists included in the set have strong ties to the Louisiana label. Vernon recorded everything included here in Baton Rouge over the course of four hot summer August days in 1970, and ended up breaking the two resulting LPs into a 12-song band set and followed it with a 12-song set that featured these blues artists working solo (in this CD reissue, obviously, the solo sides simply follow the band sides with no break in between). Not as loose and bayou atmospheric as Jay Miller's famous Excello productions, these tracks still have that swamp something going for them, and the whole collection is a wonderful testament to Excello's stable of blues artists. ..."
allmusic (Video)
Ace Records (Video)
YouTube: Arthur (Guitar) Kelley - "How can I stay (when all I have is gone)", Cold Black Mare · Clarence Edwards, Showers of Rain - Henry Gray

Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit: A Bouquet for Flatbush - Paul Blackburn (1960)

"... Perhaps the first volume to present [Paul] Blackburn consistently in his most characteristic mode is his third one, Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit, published by LeRoi Jones’s Totem Press in 1960. Written in 1958 and 1959 after Blackburn’s return to New York and his separation from his wife, this small group of poems offers the poet’s gently ironic and sometimes mildly elegiac notations of city life. Blackburn alludes to the works of such poets as Yeats, Pound, Whitman, and Ferlinghetti, by direct quotation, by reference to their works, and by the poetic stances taken. ..."
Poetry Foundation
Horseman, Pass By
Slow Dreams of Pleasure

2008 August: Paul Blackburn, 2012 November: Yankee go home (PoemTalk #59), 2013 January: Cronopios and Famas - Julio Cortazar (Paul Blackburn), 2013 August: Paul Blackburn and Das Rhinegold, 2015 May: The Grinding Down, 2015 August: The Cities (1967).

Saturday, March 26

Accordion Store’s Departure Signals End of Manhattan’s Music Row

"For decades, musicians from around the world flocked to a segment of West 48th Street in Manhattan that was known as Music Row. Both sides of the block, just off Times Square, were lined with shops that sold and repaired guitars, drums, keyboards and other instruments. But the music finally died there in December when the last holdout, Alex Carozza, packed up his accordion store and 50 years of memories and moved off the block. Now, all that is left of Music Row are the signs and awnings that beckoned to virtuosos and neophytes alike. The block is haunted by empty buildings and the occasional tourist straining for some echo of its harmonious past. Where once there were Manny’s and Rudy’s and New York Woodwind and Brass, Frank Wolf Drummers Supplies and We Buy Guitars, now there are demolition crews, 'for rent' notices and a construction office for the glass tower going up around the corner. ..."
NY Times
NY Post: NYC’s famous Music Row is about to be a ghost town
The last master of 'Music Row' readies to close shop (Video)
5 Independent Music Shops in NYC That Have Beaten the Odds (January 07, 2015)
YouTube: New York City's Last Accordion Repairman

Stromboli - Roberto Rossellini (1950)

Wikipedia - "Stromboli, also known as Stromboli, Land of God (Italian: Stromboli, terra di Dio), is a 1950 Italian-American film directed by Roberto Rossellini and featuring Ingrid Bergman. The drama is considered a classic example of Italian neorealism. Bergman plays Karin, a displaced Lithuanian in Italy, who escapes the internment camp by marrying an Italian POW fisherman (Mario Vitale), whom she met in the camp on the other side of the barbed wire. He promises her a great life in his home island of Stromboli, a volcanic island located between the mainland of Italy and Sicily. She soon discovers that his home island is very harsh and barren, not at all what she expected, and the people, very traditional and conservative, show hostility and disdain towards this strange, foreign woman. Adding to her difficulties, Karin speaks little Italian. She becomes increasingly despondent and eventually wants to escape the volcano island. ..."
Criterion: Ingrid Bergman’s Stromboli Home Movies (Video)
Criterion - “Ti amo”: An Exchange of Letters
Criterion: Modern Marriage on Stromboli
NY Times
Volcano Girl By Fred Camper
YouTube: Stromboli | 1950 | Scene, Stromboli | 1950

2009 May: Roberto Rossellini, 2010 March: Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy, 2016 March: Journey to Italy (1954)

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco (2002)

"When former photographer Sam Jones signed on to document the creation of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, he had no way of knowing the band was about to lose two of its members and be dropped by its label. Looking back a decade later, neither event turned out to be such a Bravo Foxtrot Delta—Wilco has persevered, releasing a new album every two to three years like clockwork, and few lament the loss of guitarist Jay Bennett or drummer Ken Coomer from the lineup of what’s really always been Jeff Tweedy And Friends. At the time, however, it seemed as if the very future of indie rock was at stake, and I Am Trying To Break Your Heart now functions beautifully as a time capsule from the period right before record labels’ dominance began to crumble in the face of digital self-distribution. ..."
AV Club: A documentary about Wilco found the band—and the music world—on the brink
W - I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco
YouTube: Official Trailer
veoh: I Am Trying to Break Your Heart 1:32:22

2011 July: A.M. - Wilco, 2011 September: Being There - Wilco, 2011 July: Uncle Tupelo, 2012 December: No Depression, 2013 August: March 16–20, 1992, 2014 January: Still Feel Gone - Uncle Tupelo (1991).

Friday, March 25

Travelers of Al-Andalus, Part VI: The Double Lives of Ibn al-Khatib

"Some travelers look forward to packing their cases and hitting the road, but for those forced out of their hometowns and away from their mother countries against their will, travel has an entirely different meaning—one of separation, loss, and an often desperate act of survival. For Muhammad ibn Abdallah al-Salmani, born in the town of Loja near Granada in the year 1313, travel abroad meant more than mere exile. An accomplished poet and minister in the Nasrid court of Granada during its heyday, when the Alhambra palace was getting its most brilliant finishing touches, he and his sovereign, King Muhammad v, were obligated to flee for their lives to Morocco, to the safety of the court of the Merinid Sultan, when the king’s half-brother launched a palace coup in the year 1359. ..."
Aramco World

2016 March: Gnawa music, 2015 March: Habibi funk: Listen to this rare vinyl mix of incredible Arab songs from the 60s/70s, 2014 September: Claude McKay and Gnawa Music, 2014 August: The Aesthetes: Expats of Tangier, Morocco, 2013 September: Kassidat: Raw 45s from Morocco, 2013 March: Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of North African Literature, 2012 November: An Intro To Rebel Hip-Hop Of The Arab Revolutions, 2010 May: The Master Musicians of Jajouka.

2007 November: The Authorized Paul Bowles Web Site, 2010 February: Paul Bowles (1910-1999), 2011: January: Halfmoon (1996), 2013 July: Tellus #23 - The Voices of Paul Bowles, 2014 January: Let It Come Down: the Life of Paul Bowles (1998), 2014 March: The Sheltering Sky (1949), 2015 January: Things Gone & Things Still Here, 2015 October: The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles – a cautionary tale for tourists, 2015 November: The Rolling Stone Interview (May 23, 1974).

American Hustle - Alexandra Starr

"Most nights during the early summer of 2011, Chukwuemeka Ene would slip out the back door of a bungalow in Jackson, Mississippi, and make his way to a nearby convenience store. He didn’t mind the Deep South’s steamy heat; it reminded him of the climate in his hometown of Enugu, Nigeria. Ene was seventeen years old, but at six feet three inches tall, he might easily have been mistaken for a man in his twenties. This was particularly true when his broad features took on a brooding expression — and in Jackson, he wasn’t smiling much. Back at the house, two younger Nigerian boys were waiting for him to return with the three loaves of white bread he ritually procured during these expeditions. The boys slept together on the floor of the living room, with one pillow shared among them. Formal meals were limited mostly to sporadic drive-throughs at fast-food restaurants. ..."

2011 June: American Basketball Association, 2012 July: Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC, 2012 November: Your Guide to the Brooklyn Nets, 2013 March: March Madness 2013, 2013 October: Rucker Park, 2014 January: History of the high five, 2015 February: Dean Smith (February 28, 1931 – February 7, 2015), 2015 June: Basketball’s Obtuse Triangle, 2015 September: Joint Ventures: How sneakers became high fashion and big business, 2015 October: Loose Balls - Terry Pluto (2007), 2015 November: The Sounds of Memphis, 2015 December: Welcome to Smarter Basketball, 2015 December: New York, New York: Julius Erving, the Nets-Knicks Feud, and America’s Bicentennial, 2016 January: The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams (1994), 2016 January: A Long Hardwood Journey.

Garry Shandling

Wikipedia - "Garry Emmanuel Shandling (November 29, 1949  – March 24, 2016) was an American comedian, actor, writer, producer and director. He was best known for his work in It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Larry Sanders Show. Shandling began his career writing for sitcoms such as Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter. He made a successful stand-up performance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and became a frequent guest-host on the show. Shandling was for a time considered the leading contender to replace Carson (other hopefuls were Joan Rivers, David Letterman and David Brenner). In 1986 he created It's Garry Shandling's Show, for the pay cable channel Showtime. It was nominated for four Emmy Awards (including one for Shandling) and lasted until 1990. His second show, The Larry Sanders Show, which began airing on HBO in 1992, was even more successful. ..."
W - Garry Shandling
W - The Larry Sanders Show
Hey Now! 15 Things You Should Know About 'The Larry Sanders Show' (Video)

Thursday, March 24

The Battle for Picasso’s Multi-Billion-Dollar Empire

"'I had a papa who painted,' Maya Widmaier-Picasso once said when she exhibited some of her father’s paintings, drawings, and watercolors that she inherited after he died, in 1973. Her papa was Pablo Picasso. Her mother was Marie-Thérèse Walter, whom Picasso met one evening in 1927, when she was 17 and he was 45. Nine years before, Picasso had married Olga Khokhlova, one of Diaghilev’s dancers, with whom he had a son, Paulo, but the marriage was collapsing. Maya’s mother later confided that Picasso had seen her leaving the Paris Métro and said, 'You have an interesting face. I would like to do a portrait of you.' She had no idea who Picasso was, so he took her to a bookstore to show her a book about himself. Maya’s parents had split up when she was about eight, but she spent a great deal of time with her father. ..."
Vanity Fair
W - Pablo Picasso
YouTube: The Secret life Of Pablo Picasso---SCULPTURE PAINTING & LOVE Full Documentary

The New Old Masters

A self-portrait of the artist (JACOB COLLINS, COURTESY OF THE ARTIST)
"The Lake Shore Limited comes up fast in Freedom Tunnel, racing up Manhattan from Pennsylvania Station along the old trackways of the Hudson River Railroad toward the Empire Connection, then on to Spuyten Duyvil and points north and west—Albany and Chicago. At 72nd Street, the passenger train appears momentarily through a chain-link fence, under the ruins of the elevated West Side Highway, before returning underground, entering a tunnel that runs more than two miles beneath Riverside Park to 123rd Street. Robert Moses covered over the Hudson River tracks in the 1930s with a public works project twice as expensive as the Hoover Dam, but he never imagined the massive graffiti gallery that would go up inside it, an epic blight to those who glimpse it through train windows. ..."
City Journal
W - Jacob Collins

In a Free State - V.S. Naipaul (1971)

Wikipedia - "In a Free State is a novel by V.S. Naipaul published in 1971. It won that year's Booker Prize. The plot consists of a framing narrative and three short stories, the last one also titled In a Free State. The work is symphonic, with different movements working towards an overriding theme. It is not too clearly spelled out what that theme is. However, there is an important aspect relating to the price of freedom, with analogies between the three situations. ... The story is set in an African Great Lakes state that has recently acquired independence. The King, although liked by the Colonials, is weak, and is on the run while the President is poised to take absolute power. The level of violence in urban centres of the country is rising and there are rumours of violence in the countryside. ..."
NY TImes: Where Is the Enemy?
Guardian: Looking back at the Booker: VS Naipaul

2012 February: V. S. Naipaul, 2013 February: A Bend in the River (1979), 2015 July: Guerrillas (1975).

Wednesday, March 23

Brussels Survivors Say Blasts Instantly Evoked Paris Attacks

"BRUSSELS — Simon O’Connor, a European Commission official, had parked his car and was about to walk toward the departure terminal, en route to Rome for work. Salomé Corbo, an actress from Montreal, was at the Air Canada counter, about to check her luggage. Elouan Preaud and his wife, Angelina Centeno, were having breakfast, waiting to board an American Airlines flight to her native Colombia. Then came the blasts. The first one tore through the check-in area at Brussels Airport just before 8 a.m. on Tuesday. Another followed, seconds later, near a Starbucks. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: What Happened at Each Location in the Brussels Attacks
NY Times: A Blurry Photo Hints at ISIS Tradecraft (Video)

2014 August: The Islamic State, 2014 September: How ISIS Works, 2015 February: The Political Scene: The Evolution of Islamic Extremism, 2015 May: Zakaria: How ISIS shook the world, 2015 August: ISIS Blows Up Ancient Temple at Syria’s Palmyra Ruins, 2015 November: Times Insider: Reporting Europe's Refugee Crisis, 2015 November: Three Teams of Coordinated Attackers Carried Out Assault on Paris, Officials Say; Hollande Blames ISIS, 2015 November: The French Emergency, 2015 December: A Brief History of ISIS, 2015 December: U.S. Seeks to Avoid Ground War Welcomed by Islamic State, 2016 January: Ramadi, Reclaimed by Iraq, Is in Ruins After ISIS Fight, 2016 February: Syrian Officer Gave a View of War. ISIS Came, and Silence Followed..

Five by Five - The Rolling Stones (EP - 1964)

Wikipedia - "Five by Five is the second EP by The Rolling Stones and was released in 1964. Captured during a prolific spurt of recording activity at Chess Studios in Chicago that June, Five By Five was released that August in the UK shortly after their debut album, The Rolling Stones, had appeared. The title of Five by Five is a play on words—five tracks recorded by the five members of the band. Because Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were still honing their songwriting skills, only 'Empty Heart' and '2120 South Michigan Avenue' were credited to 'Nanker Phelge,' a pseudonym for band-written compositions. The rest of the EP is composed of R&B covers from some of their favorite artists. ..."
W - "2120 South Michigan Avenue"
The British Invasion Soldier That Didn’t Make It: The 1960s EP (Part 2)
YouTube: If You Need Me, Empty Heart, 2120 South Michigan Avenue, Confessin` The Blues, Around And Around (Live)

2015 August: Exile on Main Street (1972), 2015 October: "Let's Spend the Night Together" / "Ruby Tuesday" (1967), 2015 December: Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka (1971), 2016 January: Some Girls (1978), 2016 January: The Rolling Stones (EP)

Tommy McCook & Prophets: Death Trap (1976)

"One of the nicest instrumentals I've heard. Love the flute on this one. Any vocal cuts to this? Seems very unlikely a rhythm would be produced for an instrumental only. There's an excellent I Roy cut I've heard, War and Friction, but again unlikely it would be made just for a DJ cut. One more thing, I've heard a stepper cut to this with overdubbed drums. Again, very nice, anyone know the story behind this one? -richmrpa"
Blood and Fire
YouTube: Tommy McCook & Prophets: Death Trap, Death trap + version 1975 Vivian Jackson

2012 October: Tommy McCook, 2013 April: Blazing Horns/Tenor in Roots, 2016 February: Glen Brown & Tommy McCook - Horny Dub (1976)

Tuesday, March 22

The View from the Street - James Guida

Tommy Guerrero at San Pasqual High School banks, Escondido, California, late 1980s.
"It’s hard to think of a sport, if it’s a sport, less given to being judged and competitively framed than skateboarding. Skating is, among other things, a marriage of chaos and discernment. Tricks—whether a Slappy, No Comply, or Caballerial, a backside Smith grind, switch Tre flip, Madonna, Indy Nosebone, or McTwist—are exactly defined, and there’s a shared world of aesthetics, but tastes vary widely, and it’s understood that the most interesting skaters will always find ways to undo expectations. Among branches of skating, 'street' is particularly open-ended, when not outright illegal, for its use of business premises and public street furniture: ramps, curbs, stairs, benches, walls, gaps, handrails, manholes, fire hydrants, trash cans, empty fountains, bicycle stands, picnic tables, cellar doors, parking barriers, lingering roadside construction material—it’s a never-ending quest to see what’s fun and possible on the surfaces of urban life. How to grade an activity that seems born not to be contained? ..."
The New York Review of Books
New Yorker: Thirty Years of Skating
By James Guida

Skateboarding Behinde the Scenes By James Guida
The Tao of Skateboarding (Video)
30th anniversary interviews (Video)
Urban Skateboarding: A Working Bibliography [Updated]
W - Skateboarding

Black Ball - Jules Tygiel and John Thorn (Essay)

Roy Campanella - Baltimore Elite Giants
"Jules Tygiel, already famous for having written Baseball’s Great Experiment (Oxford University Press, 1983), wrote this sweeping history of the African American experience in baseball in 1988, for the late lamented Total Baseball, in which it was published with minor updates in each of seven succeeding editions. In that same year Jules and I collaborated on 'Jackie Robinson’s Signing: The Real Story,' which has been reprinted at Our Game. Other scholars have made notable contributions in this field, both narrower and deeper, but for one who would grasp the great story of black ball in broad strokes, this is, in my humble estimation, the best essay ever written. ...”
Our Game - Black Ball, 1, Black Ball, 2, Black Ball, 3, Black Ball, 4, Black Ball, 5

Michelle Detorie

The Sin in Wilderness.
"My work explores gender, nature, interspecies friendships and relationships, power dynamics, the wonderful, and the mundane. Most of my creative research has been in the areas of emancipatory social projects, feminist poetics, creating new resources in literary interventions against state violence and war, and visual/digital/intermedia poetry. I am invested in pursuing an activist poetics that is deeply engaged with linking the political project of community building with expressive language. I’m attracted to liveliness, experiments in syntax and form, writing that involves visual and spatial elements, and politically motivated writing. I am also is interested in presenting text as multi-dimensional, plastic, playful, concrete, mutable, improvised, cooperative, collaborative, and interactive. More than anything, I am motivated by the brilliance and munificence of my peers, and by the writing and art of those who seek to create community and political change through radical critique, innovation, activism, generosity, and optimism."
Michelle Detorie
The Sin in Wilderness. An erased book. Source text: The Singing Wilderness by Sigurd F. Olson

Monday, March 21

Rolling Thunder Revue

Wikipedia - "The Rolling Thunder Revue was a concert tour by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan with a traveling caravan of musicians, including Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Bob Neuwirth assembled the backing musicians, including T-Bone Burnett, Mick Ronson, David Mansfield, Steven Soles, and from the Desire sessions, violinist Scarlet Rivera, bassist Rob Stoner, and drummer Howie Wyeth. The tour included 57 concerts in two legs—the first in the American northeast and Canada in the fall of 1975, and the second in the American south and southwest in the spring of 1976. The prevailing theory of why Dylan chose 'Rolling Thunder' as the tour name was that it was named after the Native American shaman Rolling Thunder. ..."
W - Renaldo and Clara
40 Years Ago: Bob Dylan Begins His Rolling Thunder Revue (Video)
amazon - Bob Dylan Live 1975 (The Bootleg Series Volume 5)
Guardian: Bob Dylan and the Rolling Thunder Revue – in pictures
Renaldo and Clara (1978 - Video)
NY Times: 'Renaldo and Clara,' Film by Bob Dylan:Rolling Thunder
Renaldo and Clara: a synopsis
vimeo: Romance in Durango
YouTube: Tangled Up In Blue, Sara

Up From Liberalism

"Decades before Tony Blair and Bill Clinton took power, Anthony Crosland posited another third way. Crosland, a British Labour politician, gazed upon the welfare state his party had swiftly built after World War II — the crown jewel of which was the National Health Service — and effectively pronounced socialists’ work complete. Even if further reforms were needed to loosen up Britain’s famously rigid class system, Crosland wrote in 1956, the welfare-state-plus-full-employment mix was so widely accepted that 'the Conservatives now fight elections largely on policies which 20 years ago were associated with the Left, and repudiated by the Right.' In this changed environment, Crosland held, socialists should let go of their traditional commitment to socializing the means of production and focus on the present. ..."
It’s Their Party - Jacobin
Atari Democrats - Jacobin
Up From Liberalism - WINTER 2016 | ISSUE 20 - Jacobin ($)

Sunday, March 20

Cuba on the Edge of Change

A weathered barber shop in Old Havana.
"Cuba at times can feel like a nation abandoned. The aching disrepair of its cities, the untamed foliage of its countryside, the orphaned coastlines — a half-century of isolation has wrapped the country in decay. Yet few places in the world brim with as much life as Cuba, a contrast drawn sharper amid its faded grandeur. They wait, coiled with anticipation. For web pages to download. For tourists to hurry up and buy something. For a flag to be raised. Cubans know how to wait. Yet, after decades of Communist rule, they are less prepared to handle the feeling of opportunity now permeating the island, and their government’s resistance to letting them seize it. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: Obama Visits Cuba
NY Times: Obama Hopes Cuba Visit Can Be Harbinger of Political Change (Video)
NY Times - Cuba’s Message to Its People: Be on Your Best Behavior for Obama

2009 April: Chelsea Visits Havana, 2011 June: Robert Farris Thompson, 2012 September: Where Is Cuba Going?, 2012 November: Carlos Garaicoa, 2013 August: Cuba 2012 (BBC Documentary), 2014 November: U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba, Erasing a Last Trace of Cold War Hostility, 2015 February: A Day In the Life of Havana, 2015 August: ¡Cuba, Cuba! 65 Years of Photography, 2016 February: The Cuban Money Crisis (March 2015).

Make a Joyful Noise - Mother Earth (1969)

"Make a Joyful Noise is the follow-up to 1968's Living With the Animals. This time out, Mother Earth neatly divided their joint appreciations for rural and urban American music: à la the thematic 'City Side' and 'Country Side.' The City Side is an R&B workout, powered by a robust horn section and the vocals of Rev. Ron Stallings on burning soul cuts such as 'Stop That Train,' Tracy Nelson's killer performance on Naomi Neville's cooker 'What Are You Trying to Do,' and sultry read of Little Willie John's babymaker 'Need Your Love So Bad.' The Country Side is more subdued, adorned by steel guitars and Powell St. John's quavering vocals on 'I'll Be Moving On' and the strange 'The Fly.' Nelson's version of Doug Sahm's 'I Wanna Be Your Mama Again' is her blues-country gospel version of Hank Williams' honky tonk nugget 'You Win Again' (with a fine fiddle solo by Johnny Gimble). Some of the guest stars on this set include Boz Scaggs, Hargus Robins, Ben Keith, D.J. Fontana, and Pete Drake. Make a Joyful Noise remains an overlooked classic from the Warner Brothers catalog that finally saw CD issue in 2004 by Wounded Bird."
20 Albums Rolling Stone Loved in the Sixties That You've Never Heard
The Rising Storm
YouTube: Stop the Train, What Are You Trying to Do, I Need Your Love So Bad, Soul of the Man, Blues for the Road, You Win Again, Come on and See, Then I'll Be Moving On, The Fly, I Wanna Be Your Mama Again, Wait, Wait, Wait

Making Museums Moral Again - Holland Cotter

Activists outside the Louvre Museum, protesting its ties to oil companies during climate-policy negotiations in December in Paris.
"In the past, when people wondered how to live moral lives, they could look to the saints, or take their questions to church. Today, some of us might instead turn our attention to art and the institutions that house it. That’s what several dozen artists did, for a related but different reason, last December during the United Nations climate talks in Paris. One afternoon, in a week when crucial policy negotiations were underway, hundreds of environmental activists gathered outside the Louvre to protest the museum’s sponsorship ties to two of the world’s largest oil companies. Among the demonstrators were members of politically minded art collectives like Occupy Museums and Not an Alternative, from the United States, and Liberate Tate, from England. Carrying open black umbrellas that spelled out the phrase 'Fossil Free Culture,' most of them stayed in the plaza around the museum’s glass pyramid, singing and reading position statements. ..."
NY Times
NY Times - Museums: A Special Section

Saturday, March 19

W.S. Di Piero

"W.S. Di Piero was born in 1945 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and earned degrees from St. Joseph’s College and San Francisco State College. ... Di Piero’s poetry is known for its gritty realism. Populated with characters and settings reminiscent of the South Philadelphia neighborhood of his boyhood and the Italian-American working-class families he grew up with, Di Piero’s poetry frequently makes use of colloquial language and diction—what poet Philip Levine described as 'our American voices in all their glory and banality.' ..."
Poetry Foundation
W - W.S. Di Piero
A McSweeney’s Books Q&A With W.S. Di Piero, Author of the New Poetry Collection, TOMBO.
Poets: Smoke
Poetry Foundation: What’s Left
Google: The Restorers
Google: Shadows Burning
Google: The Dog Star
YouTube: Exhibitionist, Johnny One Note

John Sloan, “Hanging Clothes,” 1920

"John Sloan's tiny print of a New York woman hanging clothes out to dry is no mere scribble nor intended primarily as an illustration of contemporary life. It is like all true art an allegory of its own making. This image, an etching from around 1920, would have required an acid bath and then washing in water. The prints, like the garments, must then be hung to dry; indoors, of course, but this is allegory. Like clothes in the wash, it is inside out. It resembles external nature but depicts the inside of the artist's mind. Besides, hanging is common in art not only for the drying of prints but for the exhibition of paintings. Few artists would miss that connotation in the title. Four hundred years earlier Albrecht Dürer depicted the same process in an etching but with an angel holding a 'print' of Christ, as I have explained in its own entry. ... Sloan presents himself as a woman; Dürer as an angel, male but looking female. Watch out for similarities like these (left) because they can help make sense of art."

The Megan Kelso Interview

"Watergate Sue"
"Megan Kelso and I first met about seven years ago, through a mutual friend who knew we were both cartoonists. I was excited to meet her, since a woman who draws comics is a relative rarity, but a little trepidatious about being introduced to someone solely on the basis of shared job description. To my relief, we got along easily, and on that occasion comics took a back seat to less obsessive conversational topics. It was only later, and over time, that the obsession would heat up. ..."
The Comics Journal
W - Megan Kelso
Megan Kelso talks turkey about the Times
NY Times: I. Watergate Sue: Epilogue (pdf format)
How Comic-Book Artist Megan Kelso Makes It Work
Alternative Comics

Friday, March 18

"The Dark End of the Street" - James Carr (1967)

Wikipedia - "'The Dark End of the Street' is a 1967 soul song written by songwriters Dan Penn and Chips Moman and first recorded by James Carr. The song was co-written by Penn, a professional songwriter and producer, and Moman, a former session guitarist at Phil Spector's Gold Star Studio, and also the owner of American Sound Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. ... In the summer of 1966, while a DJ convention was being held in Memphis, Penn and Moman were cheating while playing cards with Florida DJ Don Schroeder, and decided to write the song while on a break. Penn said of the song 'We were always wanting to come up with the best cheatin’ song. Ever.' ..."
BEHIND THE SONG: “The Dark End Of The Street”
YouTube: James Carr, Percy Sledge, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Richard and Linda Thompson, Aretha Franklin, Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, Billy Bragg, Prince Buster, The Commitments

The most charming building on East 13th Street

"Every time I pass the lilliputian walkup at 17 East 13th Street, with 'Erskine Press' faded on the facade, I imagine the 1920s Greenwich Village of Edmund Wilson, Djuna Barnes, and e.e. cummings. Constructed in 1911 (Erskine Press had been operating out of a building across the street since 1895), the little walkup has amazingly escaped the wrecking ball. It’s an emblem of the long-gone Greenwich Village of print shops, small publishers, struggling artists and writers, and a literary culture. I’m not sure when Erskine Press moved out. But since then, the building has changed hands over last four or five decades—getting a new paint job and undergoing minor changes yet ultimately looking very Jazz Age. ..."
Ephemeral New York

2009 May: Washington Square Park, 2010 January: Judson Memorial Church, 2011 February: Greenwich Village, 2011 July: East Village, Manhattan, 2012 July: MacDougal Street, 2013 August: The Village: 400 Years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Rogues, a History of Greenwich Village, 2014 August: South Village, 2014 October: Houston Street, 2015 September: Folk City: New York and the Folk Music Revival, 2016 January: Chumley's, 2016 March: 25 Radical Things to Do in Greenwich Village

Thursday, March 17

Invaders Of The Heart - Jah Wobble (1982)

"In the early eighties a lot of new wave bands were recorded live and transmitted by Dutch radio. I recorded some of them on cassette tape. Including two concerts of Jah Wobble. It is not his best period, the music is a kind of improvisation jazz funk. The first concert was in Vera, Groningen, the Netherlands on November 21st 1982, the second on Pandora's Music Box festival in de Doelen, Rotterdam, September 3rd 1983. I removed the worst drop-outs and the clicks generated by the fridge. Live in Holland (1982-1983, UK) ..."
Wiel's Time Capsule
YouTube: Invaders Of The Heart (Decadent Disco Mix)

2011 February: Plight & Premonition, 2011 June: Persian Love, 2013 October: Flux + Mutability - David Sylvian and Holger Czukay (1989) , 2014 June: Holger Czukay - Der Osten Ist Rot, Rome Remains Rome (1984/7).

Paris Street Style - Zoe de las Cases

"It looks like the coloring book craze isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. I keep seeing new coloring books popping up. One book that caught my eye was Paris Street Style by Zoe de las Cases. I was drawn to this coloring book because of the subject matter, fashion. It’s the perfect subject for coloring. There are no rules on how to color a dress or pair of shoes. Each coloring page is a fresh canvas. As usual, I’m going to share a few pictures from the book. When it comes to craft books, you need to see if the content appeals to you. I could go on and on about a craft book but if you don’t find the content appealing, my words mean nothing. ..."
Zakka Life
YouTube: The Colouring Book: Adult Colouring Book Review, Book Stacks Amber

The playlist – Middle Eastern and North African: Acid Arab, Ballake Sissoko and more

"... Mali: Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal - Diaboro (live session). Master kora player Ballaké Sissoko lives in a partially secluded house of red laterite bricks in the Ntomikorobougou, or 'old tamarind', neighbourhood of Bamako, under the shadow of the Koulouba Hill. And this is worth mentioning, as this serene location – specifically his roof terrace – is where he recorded his new album, Musique Du Nuit, with French cellist Vincent Segal. And as this clip shows, the music has been suffused with domestic and street noise, creating the kind of intimate and welcoming sound that would be impossible to achieve in the studio. ..."
Guardian (Video)

Wednesday, March 16

Suffragette (2015)

Wikipedia - "Suffragette is a 2015 British historical period drama film directed by Sarah Gavron and written by Abi Morgan. ... In 1912, Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) is a 24-year-old laundress. While delivering a package one day, she is caught up in a suffragette riot involving smashing windows, where she recognizes one of her co-workers, Violet Miller (Anne-Marie Duff). Later, Alice Haughton (Romola Garai), the wife of an MP, encourages the women from the laundry to speak out to parliament and give testimony in order to secure the right to vote. Violet is the one who offers to testify; however, she is beaten by her abusive husband and subsequently Maud is the one who testifies. Maud is energized by her testimony and goes with Violet and other women to see if women have been given the right to vote. ..."
W - Suffragette
Guardian: My great-grandmother, Emmeline Pankhurst, would still be fighting for equality today
Guardian: Suffragette reminds us why it's a lie that feminists need men's approval
NY Times: In ‘Suffragette,’ Feminist Insight That’s About More Than the Vote (Video)
New Statesman: What did the suffragette movement in Britain really look like?
YouTube: Trailer #1, Trailer #1