Saturday, April 30

Spotlight (2015)

"'The city flourishes when its great institutions work together,' says the cardinal to the newspaper editor during a friendly chat in the rectory. The city in question is Boston. The cardinal is Bernard F. Law and the editor, newly arrived at The Boston Globe from The Miami Herald, is Martin Baron. He politely dissents from the cardinal’s vision of civic harmony, arguing that the paper should stand alone. Their conversation, which takes place early in 'Spotlight,' sets up the film’s central conflict. Encouraged by Baron, a small group of reporters at The Globe will spend the next eight months (and the next two hours) digging into the role of the Boston archdiocese in covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests. ... When institutions convinced of their own greatness work together, what usually happens is that the truth is buried and the innocent suffer. Breaking that pattern of collaboration is not easy. Challenging deeply entrenched, widely respected authority can be very scary. ..."
NY Times (Video)
NPR: Film Shines A 'Spotlight' On Boston's Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal (Video)
W - Spotlight
YouTube: Spotlight Official Trailer #1

Professor Wouassa - Dangerous Koko (2011)

"Debut album by Swiss-based afro-beat band Professor Wouassa. Features Duke Amayo, Chico Mann, Black Cracker, Korbo, Thais Diarra, Didier Awadi, Alina Amuri, Luthor… In the humid slums of the city of Lausanne, Switzerland, Professor Wouassa develops a singular musical genre with roots in the African continent. These six sorcerers don't shy away from mixing afrobeat, high-life and ethio-jazz to their background of 60's soul, old funk and hip-hop. ..."
afrobeat, afrofunk, afrojazz, afrorock, african boogie, african hiphop
YouTube: Dangerous Koko! - full album

Reginald Marsh, "Tattoo and Haircut," 1932

"Of the foremost realists of the 1930s, Reginald Marsh was fascinated by public behavior and the exciting commotion of New York. Tattoo and Haircut portrays a busy scene of people below the massive structure of the El on the Bowery, then an area notorious as a skid row. Rendered in Marsh’s gently satirical style are several city types: a derelict on crutches, loitering men conversing or smoking cigarettes, a chic woman walking by herself. Marsh used an egg tempera medium to fill every inch of the composition with details, from architectural elements to signs and text. Introduced to the artist by the muralist Thomas Hart Benton, the medium suited Marsh’s keen skills as a draftsman. Here he added successive films of tempera in muted colors, using its mottled, uneven surface to emphasize the grimy nature of this world. His technique thus reinforces his presentation of the subject: cacophonous, dilapidated, and dim, yet vibrantly alive."
The Art Institute of Chicago
W - Reginald Marsh

Friday, April 29

Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection

"Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection offers new perspectives on one of art’s oldest genres. Drawn entirely from the Museum’s holdings, the more than two hundred works in the exhibition show changing approaches to portraiture from the early 1900s until today. Bringing iconic works together with lesser-known examples and recent acquisitions in a range of mediums, the exhibition unfolds in eleven thematic sections on the sixth and seventh floors. Some of these groupings concentrate on focused periods of time, while others span the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to forge links between the past and the present. This sense of connection is one of portraiture’s most important aims, whether memorializing famous individuals long gone or calling to mind loved ones near at hand. ..."
Whitney (Video)
NY Times: Picturing America in the Selfie Age, at the Whitney

"Texas Flood" - Larry Davis (1958)

Wikipedia - "'Texas Flood' (sometimes called 'Stormin' in Texas' or 'Flood Down in Texas') is a blues song recorded by Larry Davis in 1958. It is considered a blues standard and has been recorded by several artists, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, who made it part of his repertoire. 'Texas Flood' is a slow-tempo twelve-bar blues notated in 12/8 time in the key of A♭. It was written by Davis in California in 1955 and is credited to Davis and Duke Records arranger/trumpeter Joe Scott. Nominally about a flood in Texas, Davis used it as a metaphor for his relationship problems:
Well I'm leavin' you baby, Lord I'm goin' back home to stay (2×)
Well where there's no floods or tornadoes, baby the sun shines every day
Although Davis later became a guitar player, for 'Texas Flood' Fenton Robinson provided the distinctive guitar parts, with Davis on vocals and bass, James Booker on piano, David Dean on tenor saxophone, and an unknown drummer. The song was Davis' first single as a leader and became a regional hit. ..."
W - Larry Davis
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: "Texas Flood", Fenton Robinson ~ "Texas Flood"(Electric Chicago Blues 1974), "Texas Flood" - Stevie Ray Vaughan & Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan - "Texas Flood"

Painting With Light: Art and Photography

John Atkinson Grimshaw "London, Pall Mall and St. James Street", c.1880s
"Painting With Light: Art and Photography from the pre-Raphaelites to the Modern Age, will exhibit at Tate Britain from the 11th May to 25th September. This is a concept we can fully support as an idea for an exhibition, getting under the skin on the relationship between British painters and photographers. Focussing on a period of 75 years, the exhibition is set to bring close to 200 pieces of work and a great way of presenting different collections and mediums the Tate has and can bring together. ..."
Interview: Painting with Light, Tate Britain, London

Thursday, April 28

Sun Song - Sun Ra (1956)

"This essential title is also available under the moniker of Sun Song (1956). Regardless of name, this long-player contains some of Sun Ra's most complex, yet accessible efforts. Ra had been an active performer since the late 1940s, recording with his various combos or 'Arkestra(s)' as Ra dubbed them. ... Ra's highly arithmetical approach to bop was initially discounted by noted jazz critic Nat Hentoff as 'repetitious,' with phrases 'built merely on riffs with little development.' In retrospect, however, it is obvious there is much more going on here. Among the musical innovations woven into the up-tempo 'Brainville' and 'Transition,' are advanced time signatures coupled with harmonic scales based on Ra's mathematical equations. ... Ra's original LP jacket comments can be found within the liner notes of the Sun Song compact disc. This is noteworthy as one of the rare occasions that Sun Ra sought to explain not only his influences, but his methods of composition and modes of execution as well. ..."
W - Jazz by Sun Ra
YouTube: Sun Ra - Sun Song [Full Album]

Simple Headphone Mind - Stereolab / Nurse With Wound (EP - 1997)

Wikipedia - "Simple Headphone Mind is the second collaboration between Stereolab and Nurse With Wound. As with their first release, Crumb Duck, Stereolab recorded the basic track and then handed it over to Steven Stapleton to do with as he pleased. Unlike with Crumb Duck, listeners can hear the original Stereolab recording, as it was issued under the title The Long Hair Of Death on a split single with Yo La Tengo; this version was also featured on Stereolab's Aluminum Tunes compilation album. Again, as with Crumb Duck, the release was a limited edition. ..."
YouTube: Simple Headphone Mind, Trippin ' With the Birds

Wednesday, April 27

Why is modern poetry so bad? (2013)

ONE MORE LOOK AT ALABAMA - October 1984 conference
"Friday morning, America’s great poets will wake up to find that someone has TP-ed their trees and scrawled 'COWARD' on the door. A 6,000-word jeremiad about the pathetic state of contemporary poetry appears in the July issue of Harper’s magazine, which hits bookstores Friday. In 'Poetry Slam, or, The Decline of American Verse,' Mark Edmundson, an English professor at the University of Virginia, upbraids our bards for being 'oblique, equivocal, painfully self-questioning . . . timid, small, in retreat . . . ever more private, idiosyncratic, and withdrawn.' That’s just for starters. ... Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Charles Simic, Frank Bidart, Robert Hass, Robert Pinsky — they’re all brought into Edmundson’s office for a dressing down. Their poems 'are good in their ways,' he concedes. ..."
Washington Post
[PDF] Poetry Slam or, The Decline of American Verse - Mark Edmundson
In Every Generation: A Response to Mark Edmundson
Slate: Who Are You Calling Opaque?
The Atlantic: Literature Is Dead (According to Straight, White Guys, At Least)
A Brief Reply to ‘Poetry Slam’ by Mark Edmundson
Poetry Daily Critique
W - Poetry Slam

"The Old New World" - Alexey Zakharov

"Here’s an amazing short film titled 'The Old New World' by photographer and animator Alexey Zakharov of Moscow, Russia. Zakharov found old photos of US cities from the early 1900s and brought them to life. The photos show New York, Boston, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore between 1900 and 1940, and were obtained from the website Shorpy. It’s a 'photo-based animation project' that offers a 'travel back in time with a little steampunk time machine,' Zakharov says. 'The main part of this video was made with camera projection based on photos.'”
This Animation Was Created Using Old Photos from the Early 1900s (Video)

Mike Kelley, More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages of Sin, 1987

"More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid is a chaotic assemblage of handmade dolls and blankets that Mike Kelley found in thrift stores. Kelley does not designate to whom more 'love hours' are owed, but simply puts forward the condition of loving something too much, or of receiving too little in return—like the cast-off items that make up the sculpture. The title also conjures associations of guilt: when parents and relatives create these toys and blankets, are the countless hours of stitching, knitting, and crocheting a kind of penance, and for what? Do we expect children to repay the time and love lavished on them? ..."
Welcome to Mike Kelley University
LA Times - Mike Kelley: A game-changer for the art world
W - Mike Kelley

Tuesday, April 26

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse

Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil – Pierre-August Renior 1873
"Renoir painted Monet painting his garden in 1873. The two pictures hang next to each other at the start of this exhibition. With their abundance of red dahlias and creamy clouds, their blue-shuttered houses and soft summer light, each painting looks remarkably like the other – except that where Renoir portrays his friend, Monet is nose-deep in the blossoms. 'Perhaps I owe it to flowers,' he said, 'that I became a painter.' This startling statement appears in large letters in the opening gallery, as well it might, for there is no doubting whose show this is. Gardens and Monet are such a heady, coffer-filling combination that it would be extraordinary if the Royal Academy stinted on Monet’s visions of the gardens he created at Argenteuil, Vétheuil and Giverny, but what’s marvellous is the way these paintings are planted at intervals all the way through the show until they build to a grand finale at the end – a spectacular vision of water lilies, and of modern art. ..."
Guardian - Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse review – ravishing visions
Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse (Video)
Telegraph: Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, Royal Academy, review: 'sensual and physical'
amazon: Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse

Giant Single: The Profile Records Rap Anthology (2012)

"Profile released a stack of R&B, freestyle, punk, rock, and reggae records, but scholars of '80s and '90s rap see Steve Plotnicki and Cory Robbins' venture as a crucial source with a rep as indisputable as that of any other rap label. For evidence, check Ego Trip's compulsory Book of Rap Lists, where roughly half of the 31 tracks compiled here made the authors' collaborative year-based charts. Giant Single is a long-overdue two-disc compilation that covers Profile's rap output, from Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde's 'Genius Rap' (featuring future label executive Andre Harrell) to Camp Lo's 'Luchini (aka This Is It)' -- two buoyant party anthems separated by 15 years. ... Still, Giant Single is a crucial part of hip-hop history. Testimonials from 16 hip-hop figures, along with sharp liner notes from Dan Charnas (onetime Profile employee and author of The Big Payback), only add value."
NPR: A 'Giant Anthology' Of Profile Records, Rap's Early Champion (Video)
YouTube: Giant Single: Profile Records Rap Anthology (31 Video)

Fela Kuti - Shuffering and Shmiling (1977)

"After the 1977 police attack on Fela's Kalakuta Republic, where his mother and about 80 members of his entourage and band were injured and arrested, he set out to light a fire underneath the authority figures and his various other enemies that were causing him and, in his eyes, the people of Nigeria to suffer in the form of harassment, oppression, and economic devastation. Shuffering and Shmiling is one of those comments. While continuing along in his tradition of savvy instrumental innovation, Shuffering and Shmiling plays out with the same intensity and voracious soloing that mark other great Africa 70 performances like Confusion, Gentleman, and No Agreement; but the point of departure here is the outward remarks he makes on a touchy topic: religion. ..."
W - "Shuffering and Shmiling"
Lyrics: Shuffering and Shmiling (Fela Kuti and Afrika 70)
The Afro Beat
YouTube: Shuffering and Shmiling

Monday, April 25

News from Babel (1983-1986)

Wikipedia - "News from Babel were an English avant-rock group founded in 1983 by Chris Cutler, Lindsay Cooper, Zeena Parkins and Dagmar Krause. They made two studio albums with several guest musicians (including Robert Wyatt) and disbanded in 1986. In the wake of English avant-rock group Henry Cow (1968–1978), Art Bears (1978–1981), a song-oriented group, was formed by three of Henry Cow's members, drummer Chris Cutler, multi-instrumentalist Fred Frith and singer Dagmar Krause. In Art Bears' wake, News from Babel emerged in 1983, comprising Cutler, Krause, Henry Cow woodwind player Lindsay Cooper, and United States harpist Zeena Parkins. It was Parkins's first 'rock group' and the first time she had recorded with her harp. This new group followed the song-oriented approach of Art Bears, but with a different musical emphasis. Cooper composed the music and Cutler wrote the song texts. ..."
W - Work Resumed on the Tower
W - Letters Home
W - Complete
YouTube: Sirens and Silences / Work Resumed on the Tower, Letters Home , Contraries (7 inch single, Rē Records)
YouTube: Forlì, 23 novembre 2014, Dragon at the Core (Live)

December 2009: Lindsay Cooper, 2010 February: Art Bears, 2011 April: Rags (1980)/The Golddiggers (1983), 2012 July: The Art Box - Art Bears, 2012 November: David Thomas And The Pedestrians - Variations On A Theme, 2013 March: The Last Nightingale, 2013 October: Art Bears Songbook - 2010-09-19 - Rock In Opposition Festival, 2014 April: Lindsay Cooper, 1951-2013, 2015 February: Oh Moscow (1991), 2015 April: Rarities Volumes 1 & 2 (2014), 2015 May: Music For Other Occasions (1986)
2010 January: Dagmar Krause,, 2012 July: Supply and Demand: Songs by Brecht / Weill & Eisler, 2013 February: Tank Battles: The Songs of Hanns Eisler, 2015 March: "The Ballad of Bougeois Welfare", "The Ballad of The Sackslingers", "Pavel's Prison Song", Etc..
2011 January: Zeena Parkins, 2012 December: Fred Frith, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins / sound. at REDCAT, 2014 October: Janene Higgins & Zeena Parkins (2000), 2012 October: Ikue Mori, 2015 March: Phantom Orchard: Zeena Parkins and Ikue Mori.

Galleries Scramble Amid Brooklyn’s Gentrification

“Whisper or Shout: Artists in the Social Sphere,” BRIC House in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
"ART has always been used to sugarcoat economic power moves. In Manhattan, the arrival of galleries can help make real estate hot, and for a while, art gains from the cachet. In Brooklyn, gentrification seems to have the opposite effect: It kills off the art that helped inspire it. Not long ago, a wave of start-up art spaces was building in Dumbo and Williamsburg, only to die down once property values rose, a dynamic that may now be underway in Bushwick. Whatever the case there, in a once rent-friendly borough, galleries and artists alike are scrambling, a reality that tends to promote resourcefulness in exhibition options and to give at least some art being shown and produced a political edge. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: From Caged Dolls to a Floating Pool, Art to See in the Galleries

The 1969 Bob Dylan-Johnny Cash Sessions: 12 Rare Recordings

"Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash had formed a mutual admiration society even before they met in the early 1960s. 'Of course, I knew of him before he ever heard of me,' Dylan wrote shortly after Cash’s death in 2003. 'In ’55 or ’56, 'I Walk the Line’ played all summer on the radio, and it was different than anything else you had ever heard. The record sounded like a voice from the middle of the Earth. It was so powerful and moving.' When the young Dylan arrived on the scene in 1962, Cash was impressed. ..."
Open Culture (Video)
YouTube: Johnny Cash Bob Dylan Studio Outtakes, Nashville TN 2-17-1969 54:42

Sunday, April 24

A Marcel Duchamp Collection

The Non-Dada, 1922
"A rare collection of works and matter by Marcel Duchamp, amassed by a single collector over a period of 40 years, including original editioned objects and prints, collaborative designs, catalogues, readymades, archival materials and ephemera, dating from 1917-1968."
LA Louver (Video)
Guardian - Ed Ruscha on Marcel Duchamp: 'He was a guiding light'
LA Louver: John Cage first met Marcel Duchamp in the 1940s. (Video)
W - Marcel Duchamp
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Zoot Suit

Dancing couple in the 1940's
Wikipedia - "A zoot suit (occasionally spelled zuit suit is a men's suit with high-waisted, wide-legged, tight-cuffed, pegged trousers, and a long coat with wide lapels and wide padded shoulders. This style of clothing became popular among the African-American, Chicano, Filipino American, and Italian American communities during the 1940s. In Britain the "Edwardian-look" suits with velvet lapels worn by Teddy Boys is said to be a derivative of the zoot suit. Zoot Suits were first associated with African American in urban communities such as Harlem , Chicago , and Detroit but it was made popular by Jazz Musicians in the 1940s. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word zoot probably comes from a reduplication of suit. ..."
W - Zoot Suit Riots
W - Zoot Suit (play)
PBS: Zoot Suit Culture
L.A. in the Zoot Suit Era
YouTube: The Zoot Suit Riots, Zoot suit fiebre latina LP, Zoot Suit. El Pachuco, Edward James Olmos

1970's Algerian Proto-Raï Underground

"Every bit the people's music as much as punk or hip-hop, raï has been flourishing for decades, even after post-colonial Marxist governments pushed it underground. Sublime Frequencies' vinyl-only compilation celebrates some of the best raï from Algeria's darker cultural years. There are any number of reasons why certain bands and singers fall into obscurity-- it's not always due to lack of impact, importance, or even something as practical as distribution. Sometimes they disappear because they're made to disappear. In the case of raï, Algeria's vibrant hybrid of Middle Eastern and European folk, its subject matter and party vibe often made the music a target in post-colonial Algeria, with former FLN fighter and later the nation's Marxist leader Houari Boumédienne not as huge a fan of free speech as he was of suppressing it. ..."
RootsWorld (Video)
YouTube: 1970's Algerian Proto -Rai Underground (1970)

2011 February: Raï, 2012 February: An Intro To Rebel Hip-Hop Of The Arab Revolutions

Saturday, April 23

Come Away With ESG (1982)

"It might have taken two decades, but the true genius of New York's early-'80s music scene is finally being acknowledged by a much younger generation of fans. And right in the middle of this revolutionary intersection of punk, disco, rap and soul were four sisters: Marie, Valerie, Renee, and Lorraine 'Sweet L' Scroggins, and their seminal mini-funk outfit, ESG. Recorded live and raw in a small studio located above Radio City Music Hall, the band's debut album, Come Away With ESG is a lasting document of their unique brand of minimal funk that would influence subsequent post-punk, hip-hop, and dance music acts. Stripped down to the most basic of drum beats and rudimentary basslines, 'Come Away' confirms the notion that the real rhythm is what happens between the beats. ..."
W - Come Away With ESG
Paste Magazine
YouTube: Come Away With ESG (FULL ALBUM, 1983)

2011 April: ESG

Henry Wiggen - fictional baseball player, 1954-1979

"... [Henry] Wiggen describes growing up in a small town in upstate New York, where he worshipped two pitchers: his widowed father, the star of the local semipro team; and Sad Sam Yale, the star of the Mammoths. We watch as Wiggen is signed by the Mammoths, groomed in their minor leagues and then brought up to pitch on the same staff as Yale, his aging hero. Wiggen goes through the same sort of transformation with his girl-next-door-turned-girlfriend-turned-fiancée, Holly Webster. Soon we see what the well-educated Holly sees: Wiggen's bad grammar doesn't suffocate his native intelligence and decency. Wiggen's roommate and best friend is Perry Simpson, a young black infielder who must cross a barrier only recently broken by Jackie Robinson. At spring training, Wiggen brings food back to the barracks in which they are bunking because the restaurants won't serve his buddy. ..."
ESPN - Henry Wiggen is still bringing the heat
Mark Harris remembered
W - Henry Wiggen
W - Mark Harris (author)
Diamonds In The Rough – Mark Harris
amazon: Mark Harris

History of Salsa Dancing!

"... On this joyous day, I hereby present you a project upon which I’ve been working for several weeks now, collecting info, piecing the puzzle together… History of Salsa dancing. I did my best, trying to cover the topic as fully as I can, but I’m certain that there is more to be discovered and said on the topic… Also, I tried to keep the descriptions rather short; if you want more info regarding a specific dance, just google it; I got much of the info doing just that. They say that a picture is worth a 1000 words… ... Well, let’s get to it! *presented in chronological order, both in the text and the diagram (bottom to top until salsa, as all styles came to exist roughly at the same time). **yep, it’s quite a long one, no doubt, as I tried my best to trace the evolution of Salsa, spanning almost 500 years of cultural history. We also have to remember that most of the time the various dance forms coexisted in Cuba, effecting one another. ..."
Che's Music Blog (Video)

2011 December: The History of Salsa From Africa to New York, 2012 April: Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy - Robert Farris Thompson, 2014 October: Fania at Fifty

Friday, April 22

Absalom, Absalom!! - William Faulkner (1936)

Wikipedia - "Absalom, Absalom!! is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, first published in 1936. Taking place before, during, and after the Civil War, it is a story about three families of the American South, with a focus on the life of Thomas Sutpen. Absalom, Absalom! details the rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen, a white man born into poverty in West Virginia who comes to Mississippi with the complementary aims of gaining wealth and becoming a powerful family patriarch. The story is told entirely in flashbacks narrated mostly by Quentin Compson to his roommate at Harvard University, Shreve, who frequently contributes his own suggestions and surmises. The narration of Rosa Coldfield, and Quentin's father and grandfather, are also included and re-interpreted by Shreve and Quentin, with the total events of the story unfolding in nonchronological order and often with differing details. This results in a peeling-back-the-onion revelation of the true story of the Sutpens. ..."
NY Times: How William Faulkner Tackled Race — and Freed the South From Itself
The Nation:  Ragged, Unkempt, Strange: On William Faulkner
amazon: Absalom, Absalom! The Corrected Text

2011 September: Southern Gothic, 2014 February: William Faulkner, 2015 October: William Faulkner Draws Maps of Yoknapatawpha County, the Fictional Home of His Great Novels, 2015 November: Interviews William Faulkner, The Art of Fiction No. 12.

This Is Dub Clash (2013 / The Clashification of Dub (2011)

"A great collection of dub material from The Clash, who explored this genre very deeply from 1980 onwards with Mikey Dread, who as Bill Price put it, added 'Genuine Jamaican dub' to the Clash's music. This CD collects material from Sandinista! and Super Black Market Clash along with a few songs no longer in print. The songs are all remixes (apart from track 14) of other songs that you will be familiar with, but in case you don't know which songs they are remixes of, here's the list. ... A great CD that collects together the best of the band's musical exploration into dub, along with some interesting rarities. I do think the versions of Bankrobber - Robber Dub and Justice Tonight / Kick It Over from Black Market Clash would have been better though. ..."
This Is Dub Clash
YouTube: Justice Tonight / kick it over, The Magnificent Dance, The Escapades Of Futura Dub, Robber Dub, The cool out, Radio One (reprise)

"The title of this disc has it exactly backwards: this album represents not the Clash-ification of dub, but rather the dubification of the Clash. Swiss neo-reggae stars Dub Spencer and Trance Hill take 12 classic Clash songs and reinterpret them as dubwise instrumental reggae; it's the kind of project that is liable to either succeed wildly or fall flat on its face. These guys have been doing stuff like this for a while now, and their taste and experience show. The most interesting problem for an album like this one lies in the fact that although the Clash experimented heavily with reggae throughout their career (covering Junior Murvin and Willi Williams while also writing apocalyptic reggae originals like 'Guns of Brixton' and 'Bankrobber'), most of their music had little or nothing to do with reggae. ..."
allmusic (Video)
YouTube: Bankrobber, Guns Of Brixton, London Calling, Magnificent Seven, Rock The Casbah, Armagideon Time, Police and Thieves, The Call Up, This Is England, Rock The Casbah, Train In Vain, Should I Stay Or Should I Go
amazon: The Clashification of Dub

Stephen Jonas - Exercises for Ear (1968)

"First published by Ferry Press in 1968, long out of print, Stephen Jonas’ Exercises for Ear was rescued in 1994 when Talisman House republished the complete book in Stephen Jonas, Selected Poems. Over the years I’ve wanted to extend the discussion of Exercises for Ear that I began in my introduction to that Selected, to look more closely at particulars, not-so particulars, local, not-so local, and to jump into the mix anywhere I choose—amidst characters and dramas of a tawdry, highbrow late 50s through mid-60s milieu—to listen to songs of Boston gone. To begin, these are not poems in a traditional sense. Gerrit Lansing has called them etudes. They are bits and pieces—some complete units, others trail off—snippets of conversations, tongue-in-cheek shouts, persona poems, rants, quick snapshots of Boston above and below ground. If anything, they are a marvelous whole, yet individually they’re more like riffs a sax player is rehearsing on the Esplanade with his case open for coins. No two alike. Melodies of hustlers, junkies, lovers, hipsters and not so hip—sneaky peeks, steamy manhole covers. ..."
“A Formal Rack/-et”: On Stephen Jonas’ Exercises for Ear (Soundcloud)
Poetry Foundation
amazon - Selected Poems: Stephen Jonas

Thursday, April 21

Diane Williams

"The very short stories of Diane Williams have been aptly called 'folk tales that hammer like a nail gun,' and these forty new ones are sharper than ever. They are unsettling, yes, frequently revelatory, and more often than not downright funny. Not a single moment here is what you might expect. While there is immense pleasure to be found in Williams’s spot-on observations about how we behave in our highest and lowest moments, the heart of the drama beats in the language of American short fiction’s grand master, whose originality, precision, and power bring the familiar into startling and enchanted relief. ..."
The McSweeney's Store
LA Times - “Beauty, Love and Vanity Itself”: An Interview with Diane Williams
Harpers ($)
Diane Williams: Avant-Garde Master of Miniature Fiction
P&W Magazine (Video)
Diane Williams: Two Stories and an Interview

America Can’t Do Much About ISIS

"In 2003, David Petraeus, then a division commander in Iraq, famously asked 'tell me how this ends?' in reference to the conflict just starting there. It was a good question then, and it’s a good question now. The war against the Islamic State gets a lot of attention, much of it focused on the immediate: Is the war going better or worse this month than last month? Is the Islamic State gaining ground or losing it? Are U.S. air strikes killing more Islamic State leaders or fewer? But these things only matter if they contribute to an ultimate end to the conflict on terms the United States can live with. Will they? In fact, we have a lot of evidence on wars like this and how they typically end. But it’s not a very encouraging story. The Islamic State threat is likely to persist, in one form or another, for a long time. ..."
The Atlantic

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., 2016 March: Brussels Survivors Say Blasts Instantly Evoked Paris Attacks.

Tubman replacing Jackson on the $20, Hamilton spared

"Harriet Tubman will bump Andrew Jackson from the front of the $20 bill while Alexander Hamilton will stay put on the $10 — a historic move that gives a woman prime placement on U.S. currency and quells a controversy kicked up by Hamilton super-fans. ... [Treasury Secretary Jack] Lew rolled out sweeping changes that will put a new cast of historic figures onto various bills that have remained largely static for decades. Leaders of the women’s suffrage movement will make their way onto the back of the $10 bill, while civil rights era leaders and other important moments in American history will be incorporated into the $5 bill. Jackson will be kicked to the back of the $20 bill. ..."
NY Times: Harriet Tubman Ousts Andrew Jackson in Change for a $20 (Video)
Washington Post (Video)
w - Harriet Tubman

Wednesday, April 20

Brooklyn - John Crowley (2015)

Wikipedia - "Brooklyn is a 2015 Irish-British-Canadian drama directed by John Crowley and written by Nick Hornby, based on Colm Tóibín's novel of the same name. The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, and Julie Walters. Set in 1951 and 1952, the film tells the story of a young Irish woman's immigration to Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within them for her. ... Eilis lives at an Irish boarding house where she dines each night with the landlady and her fellow residents, all young women. She also has a job at a department store but is shy and quiet when interacting with customers, earning the gentle scolding of Miss Fortini, her supervisor. Her letters from her sister, back in Ireland, give her homesickness. ..."
The Atlantic - Brooklyn: A Personal Tale of Immigration
Guardian - Brooklyn review – this fairytale of New York casts a spell
Roger Ebert
YouTube: Brooklyn Official Trailer #1

Straight Ahead - Oliver Nelson With Eric Dolphy (1961)

"A very interesting quintet set, Straight Ahead matches together Oliver Nelson (on alto and tenor) and Eric Dolphy (tripling on alto, flute, and bass clarinet). With the assistance of pianist Richard Wyands, bassist George Duvivier, and drummer Roy Haynes, the two reedmen battle it out on six compositions (five of Nelson's originals plus Milt Jackson's 'Ralph's New Blues.' Although none of Nelson's tunes caught on, this is a pretty memorable date. It certainly took a lot of courage for Oliver Nelson to share the front line with the colorful Eric Dolphy, but his own strong musical personality holds its own on this straight-ahead date."
Oliver Nelson with Eric Dolphy Straight Ahead (1961) Esquire
YouTube: Straight Ahead, Six And Four, Mama Lou, 111-44, Images, Ralph's New Blues

2013 August: Out to Lunch! (1964), 2014 October: Outward Bound (1960), 2015 November: Eric Dolphy His Life and Art, 2016 February: Outward Bound (1960)

Dub Specialist - Dub store special (1974)

"Dub Specialist is a name used for a series of dub LP releases from Studio One throughout the 70s. These limited edition albums were mixed down by a number of engineers over the decade, including Sylvan Morris, Syd Bucknor & Overton 'Scientist' Brown, all under the auspices of legendary producer, sound system pioneer and music entrepeneur, Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd. The series ended when Dodd left Brentford Road for the USA at the end of the decade, but the tunes have found new life with there rerelease by labels like the US's Heartbeat & the UK's SoulJazz."
YouTube: Dub store special 36:24

Tuesday, April 19

Stéphane Mallarmé - Encrypted

"At the dawn of modernism, in the late nineteenth century, the activity of avant-garde artists often resembled rival expeditions into uncharted polar regions. The goal was to discover novel spheres of expression: the unspoken word, the unpainted image, the unheard sound. Arguably, the Amundsen of fin-de-siècle art—the first to plant a flag at an outer extreme of artistic possibility—was the French poet Stéphane Mallarmé. Upon his death, in 1898, he left behind a body of work so inscrutable that it still causes literature students to fall to their knees in despair. ..."
New Yorker: Encrypted
Jacket2: Stephane Mallarmé, 'UN COUP DE DÉS' @ EPC Library
Guardian: The Poems in Verse by Stéphane Mallarmé, translated by Peter Manson - review
Mallarmé gets a life - London Review of Books
Poetry Foundation

The idea of the cassette: A gallery with musings

Andy Sawyer - Signs of Use
"In a recent essay for a museum show about music and objects, I made the following rash assertion: 'The poor old cassette – cheap, plastic, fragile— enjoys none of the romance associated with vinyl culture.' In retrospect this was a silly thing to say; at the least, I wish I’d said it differently. It’s a different kind of romance, and it certainly isn’t creating anything like the unlikely resurgence in sales of vinyl that’s occurred in the last couple of years. But it was flat wrong of me to imply that nobody cares about the idea of the cassette. I brooded about this for a few weeks and started collecting links and images relating to the various ways that the idea of the cassette persists. ..."

2015 August: Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture - Thurston Moore (2005), 2015 September: OP Magazine / Tape Op, 2015 December: Cassette culture

Seward Park 100 Years Ago: Esther Johnston's Lower East Side

"One hundred years ago this coming May Day, a woman from a small town in Indiana named Esther Johnston began her first day of work at the Seward Park Library on the Lower East Side—her term at Seward lasted from 1916-1921. She eventually became the head of The New York Public Library's Circulation Department until her retirement in 1951. Yet, despite her triumphs in the upper echelons of library administration, the Lower East Side must have taken a strong hold on her. In September of 1966 she wrote an article for the Bulletin of the New York Public Library entitled "A Square Mile of New York" which recounted her experiences as a librarian on the old East Side. In 1966 it had been a full fifty years since Ms. Johnston had begun work at the Seward Park Library. ..."
New York Public Library

Monday, April 18

Carl De Keyzer

"... His latest book, 'Cuba, La Lucha' captures Cuba in a state of flux, as the country starts to open up to foreign tourism and investment, and relations with the United States start to thaw. ... Through views of crumbling buildings, once can imagine the splendour of a bygone and glorious era, as well as an ambitious population ready to open a new chapter in its history. Carl De Keyzer captures the ambivalence of a changing country, torn between the desire to preserve its traditions and the desire to improve its economy. He seizes images of the end of a bankrupt Utopia, which has plunged its population into a deep identity conflict, divided by the lure of dazzling economic growth promised by the market and fears of consumerist excesses on its traditional culture. ..."
In pictures: Carl De Keyzer captures the decline of Cuban ...
Roberto Polo Gallery
Visionary of History, Carl De Keyzer Photographs Document Cuba's Struggle to Survive
Carl De Keyzer

Sleeps with Angels - Neil Young (1994)

Wikipedia - "Sleeps with Angels is the twenty-first studio album by Canadian musician Neil Young, released on August 16, 1994, on Reprise. The album was conceived as a conscious attempt to recapture some of the atmospheric experiments Young and Crazy Horse played around with in the After the Gold Rush era. Although the majority of the album was recorded before the fact, Young created the title track after the death of Kurt Cobain, who quoted him in his suicide note. As a result, Sleeps with Angels ended up more than reminiscent of Tonight's the Night; the album is practically a (more sober) 1990s update of the former record, down to the use of the old-school black Reprise label found on original vinyl pressings of Tonight's the Night and the CD version of Sleeps with Angels. ..."
YouTube: Change Your Mind (Live at Farm Aid 1994), Change Your Mind - 10/02/94 - Shoreline Amphitheatre, My Heart, Prime Of Life, Driveby - 10/02/94 - Shoreline Amphitheatre, Sleeps With Angels, Train of Love - 11/06/93 - Shoreline Amphitheatre, Piece of Crap

2008 February: Neil Young, 2010 April: Neil Young - 1, 2010 April: Neil Young - 2, 2010 May: Neil Young - 3, 2010 October: Neil Young's Sound, 2012 January: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, 2012 June: Like A Hurricane, 2012 July: Greendale, 2013 April: Thoughts On An Artist / Three Compilations, 2013 August: Heart of Gold, 2014 March: Dead Man (1995), 2014 August: Ragged Glory - Neil Young + Crazy Horse (1990), 2014 November: Broken Arrow (1996), 2015 January: Rust Never Sleeps (1979), 2015 January: Neil Young the Ultimate Guide, 2015 March: Old Black, 2015 September: Zuma (1975), 2016 January: On the Beach (1973).

Jerome Myers, "The Mission Tent," 1912

"... Twenty two years earlier, in 1912, a major event had taken place in Jerome Myers' life. The occasion was when the Metropolitan Museum of Art first decided to make a first purchase of a painting of his titled The Mission Tent. Here is a quote from the Metropolitan Museum Bulletin in June 1913 talking about their purchase: 'Jerome Myers for several years has been showing New Yorkers the artistic possibilities of what is perhaps the unique part of the city's scenes. He has discovered these subjects for himself and treats them in his own way. It is never the exciting moments of street life that move him, only the daily happenings, the usual things that all may see. Boys and girls playing in the square, the crowd at a recreation pier, an organ-grinder followed by a troop of dancing children, old people whom the night freshness lures to the park-bench or the wharf, a religious festival in Little Italy—these are his favorite themes and he renders them with loving sincerity and a profound appreciation of their significance.' ... "
Project Gutenberg

Sunday, April 17

The Poet Idolized by a New Generation of Feminists

"ON A RECENT SUNDAY afternoon, ­Eileen Myles came to meet me in the East Village on a white bicycle with brown leather handlebars. We chose as our destination Saint Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, a historic portal of downtown Manhattan a few blocks from the rent-subsidized apartment where she has lived for nearly 40 years. Since 1966, the church has housed the Poetry Project, which began as a government-­funded attempt to address the teenage hippie runaway problem by offering free creative writing workshops, and which Myles discovered when she made her way to New York from Boston in 1974, then in her mid-20s, and not yet out as a lesbian. There, she found the poets drinking and smoking cigarettes around long tables in the church’s back rooms, at seminars run by Alice Notley and Ted Berrigan. Allen Ginsberg came to readings, the group’s leaders were heroes and the East Village felt, to Myles, like the center of anti-institutional American poetry. ..."
NY Times
The “Resurgent Popularity” of Eileen Myles

2008 June: Eileen Myles, 2010 August: Inferno, 2015 February: “A Thrashing, Generous Intelligence”: Eileen Myles’s Inferno chosen for Slate/Whiting Second Novel List, 2015 August: The Women of the Avant-Garde

Architecture of Language 1979-1982 - Pere Ubu

"Like many bands during the 70s, Pere Ubu arrived out of a novel palette of influences, non-musical as much as musical. As a group they sound just as interested in scatty, disordered sounding improvisation in jazz as much as were the bizarre ideas behind the creation of certain modernist literature. Points of reference include Miles Davis; playwright Alfred Jarry (their name is a direct reference to central character of the same name); "typical high-school stuff", as their singer David Thomas puts it, like Terry Riley's In C. ... This is most clear on this quartet of albums, released on the 4 LP boxset Architecture of Language 1979-1982, which can be easily blocked off as one segment of Pere Ubu's lifespan. ..."
The Quietus
Pere Ubu released ‘Architecture Of Language 1979-1982′ box set (Video)
Graded on a Curve: Pere Ubu, Architecture of Language 1979-1982
Louder Than War (Video)
juno: Architecture Of Language 1979-1982 (Video)

2008 April: Pere Ubu, 2010 July: Pere Ubu - 1, 2012 November: David Thomas And The Pedestrians - Variations On A Theme, 2013 February: Dub Housing, 2014 September: Carnival of Souls (2014), 2015 June: Street Waves / My Dark Ages (1976), 2016 January: Live at the Longhorn: April 1, 1978, 2016 February: Cloudland (1989).

In Which We Cook By The Recipes Of Paul Cézanne

Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1882–1885
"... In spring of 1859, Paul Cézanne fell in love for the first time. Unfortunately the woman in question, whose name was Justine, was already involved with a classmate. He wrote, 'What fantasies I built, as mad as can be, but you see it’s like this: I said to myself if she didn’t despise me we should go to Paris together, there I should become an artist, we should be happy.' She never took notice of him. To make himself forget the girl, he spent all his time at the Free School of Drawing. While there, you were forbidden to ever go to the bathroom. Cézanne disdained the nude models, and at first he shied away from depicting the human form at all. He was far from the best of the group. ..."
This Recording

2011 August: Paul Cézanne, 2015 March: Madame Cézanne

Saturday, April 16

Algerian Chronicles - Albert Camus (2013)

"... When the Algerian war for independence broke out in 1954, Camus was devastated. For years he had voiced strong criticism of French colonial policy in Algeria, and was forced to leave the country in 1940 after the authorities shut down the newspaper where he had published his most critical articles. He considered himself Algerian. ... When even such modest proposals were scuttled by hard-line French settlers and the French government, power among Arabs shifted to the independence movement, which had concluded that only violence could make the French budge. The bloody war that ensued lasted eight years; terrorism and brutal repression — including the torture of militants by the French Army — reinforced each other in a deadly cycle. Even a regime change in France, with Charles de Gaulle returning as president of the Fifth Republic in 1958, could not stop the bleeding for another four years. ..."
NY Times: The Postcolonial
NYB - Camus & Algeria: The Moral Question
New Republic: What Camus Understood About the Middle East
Harvard: Algerian Chronicles (Video)
France24: Special show for the 100th anniversary of Albert Camus’ birth (Video)

2011 October: Albert Camus on Nihilism, 2014 November: Albert Camus: Soccer Goalie, 2015 May: LISTEN: New Cave And Ellis Soundtrack, 2016 April: Anarchism and Friedrich Nietzsche.

Wondem - Dexter Story (2015)

"Wondem is Dexter Story's second album as a solo artist. His first, 2012's Seasons, was a gem that highlighted his take on global soul and reflected his lifelong participation in L.A.'s sprawling, interconnected, independent music scene. A singer, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and arranger, he is a founding member of the Life Force Trio, as is his co-producer here, Carlos Niño. The lineup on Wondem features a host of their regular musical partners, including Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Mark de Clive-Lowe. The album was inspired by East African, North African, and Caribbean music, all sifted through modern L.A. soul, funk, and jazz. Story is everywhere, singing, playing keyboards, percussion, guitars, basses, etc. His arrangements are easy on the ears; they cordially invite the listener into his brand of global fusion on their own terms. ..."
NPR - Review: Dexter Story, 'Wondem' (Spotify)
Wondem (Video)
YouTube: Lalibela (Official Video 8mm version - Live), Eastern Prayer (ft Nia Andrews)
YouTube: Wondem (Full Album)

Paul Strand

Wikipedia - "Paul Strand (October 16, 1890 – March 31, 1976) was an American photographer and filmmaker who, along with fellow modernist photographers like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, helped establish photography as an art form in the 20th century. His diverse body of work, spanning six decades, covers numerous genres and subjects throughout the Americas, Europe, and Africa. Strand was born in New York City to Bohemian parents. In his late teens, he was a student of renowned documentary photographer Lewis Hine at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. ... Over the next few decades, Strand worked in motion pictures as well as still photography. His first film was Manhatta (1921), also known as New York the Magnificent, a silent film showing the day-to-day life of New York City made with painter/photographer Charles Sheeler. ..."
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
New Yorker: Paul Strand’s Sense of Things
Lumiere Gallery
V&A: Paul Strand – an introduction (Video)
YouTube: Paul Strand 22:19

Friday, April 15

Tellus #25 - Site-Less Sounds (1991)

"TELLUS issue #25 looks like a continuation from previous endeavors, namely #9 ‘Music With Memory’, 1985 (especially for the Brenda Hutchinson‘s interviews collage ‘Interlude from Voices Of Reason’) and #18 ‘Experimental Theater’, 1987, which included impressive readings on gender issues by Spalding Gray and Jerri Allyn, amongst others. Tellus #25 ‘Site-Less Sounds’ is a theater of voices with all contributions based on reading, sound poetry and language, as well as extended use of recording studio facilities (including Studio Pass on tracks #1 & 6). The works on this CD mingle semantics with politics, mirroring racial, political and gender issues with semantics/phonetics. Language is considered the tool of oppression itself (via media overload, political blabber and daily prejudices) and the means of liberation at the same time, providing composers and the people use it as a weapon. ..."
[PDF] Tellus 25#
UbuWeb: Tellus #25 - Site-Less Sounds (Video)

2009 September: Tellus Audio Cassette Magazing, 2010 May: Tellus #16 - Tango, 2010 June: Tellus #12 - Dance (1986), 2010 June: Tellus #10: All Guitars! (1985), 2010 August: Tellus #13 - Power Electronics (1986), 2011 March: Tellus #15: The Improvisors (1985), 2013 July: Tellus #23 - The Voices of Paul Bowles (1989), 2014 June: Tellus #26 - Jewel Box (1992).

The Band — Don’t Do It (1976)

"... Of course, what I REALLY love writing about is how Music A informs Music B and how exploring A and B allows you see both differently. So, it’s within that framework that we revisit [Marvin] Gaye. He was one of the benchmark R&B singers of the 20th century, with enough pop sensibility to crossover, and enough gospel in his voice that you knew he meant business. And yet, he also occupies an interesting niche in rock history. As it happens, an obscure-ish 1964 Marvin Gaye single was the first song heard in The Last Waltz, and the final song ever played by the original Band. When Robbie Robertson says, 'We’re gonna do one more song and that’s it,' that was it. ..."
Adios Lounge (Video - Winterland, San Francisco, November 25, 1976)
song mango
W - Baby Don't You Do It
YouTube: Don't Do It (live 12/28-12/31/71, the Academy of Music, NYC)

2009 July: The Band, 2011 June: Music from Big Pink, 2011 September: The Last Waltz, 2012 December: King Harvest 2012 January: Rare Concert Footage of The Band, 1970, 2015 January: Stage Fright (1970), 2015 October: The Band (1969), 2015 December: The Band With The Hawks - The Silver Dome 1989.