Sunday, April 30

Revolution - The Beatles (1968)

Wikipedia - "'Revolution' is a song by the Beatles, written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. ... Inspired by political protests in early 1968, Lennon's lyrics expressed doubt in regard to some of the tactics. When the single version was released in August, the political left viewed it as betraying their cause. ... Politically, the release of 'Revolution' prompted immediate responses from the New Left and counterculture press. Ramparts branded it a 'betrayal', and the New Left Review said the song was 'a lamentable petty bourgeois cry of fear'. The far left contrasted 'Revolution' with a song by the Rolling Stones that was inspired by similar events and released around the same time: 'Street Fighting Man' was perceived to be more supportive of their cause. Others on the left praised the Beatles for rejecting radicalism and advocating 'pacifist idealism'. The song's apparent scepticism about revolution caused Lennon to become the target of a few minority Trotskyist, Leninist and in particular Maoist groups. ..."
Rolling Stone: 13. 'Revolution', Main Writer: Lennon, Recorded: July 10 and 11, 1968
Genius (Video)
YouTube: Revolution

2009 September: John Lennon - Live in New York City (Madison Square Garden 1972), 2014 January: Michael Rakowitz - The Breakup, 2014 April: "Jealous Guy" (1971), 2014 May: Mind Games (1973), 2014 July: Out of the Blue, 2014 December: Double Fantasy - John Lennon/Yoko Ono (1980), 2015 August: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), 2016 October: "Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)" (1970), 2017 January: Cold Turkey - John Lennon (1969).

Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power - Noam Chomsky (2016)

"If you've just seen Michael Moore's movie and are wondering how in the world the United States got diverted into the slow lane to hell, go watch Noam Chomsky's movie. If you've just seen Noam Chomsky's movie and are wondering whether the human species is really worth saving, go see Michael Moore's movie. If you haven't seen either of these movies, please tell me that you haven't been watching presidential debates. As either of these movies would be glad to point out to you, that's not how you change anything. 'Filmed over four years, these are his last long-form documentary interviews," Chomsky's film, Requiem for the American Dream, says of him at the start, rather offensively. Why? ..."
Noam Chomsky Wants You to Wake Up From the American Dream
NY Times: Noam Chomsky Focuses on Financial Inequality in ‘Requiem for the American Dream’

2011 January: Peak Oil and a Changing Climate, 2015 May: The Limits of Discourse As Demonstrated by Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky, 2015 October: Electing the President of an Empire, 2015 December: Noam Chomsky on Paris attacks, 2016 December: Chomsky: Humanity Faces Real and Imminent Threats to Our Survival

Fulcrum Press (1965-74)

Wikipedia - "Fulcrum Press (1965-74) was founded in London in the mid-1960s by medical student Stuart Montgomery (born 1938, in Rhodesia) and his wife Deirdre. Montgomery later became an eminent psychiatrist and expert in depression. Earning a reputation as the premier small press of the late '60s to early '70s, Fulcrum published major American and British poets in the modernist and the avant-garde traditions in carefully designed books on good paper. The Fulcrum Press made a significant contribution to the British Poetry Revival and was one of the best known little presses of the period, recognized for publishing the works of Modernist poets including Ezra Pound, Basil Bunting, Allen Ginsberg and Roy Fisher. ..."
[PDF] The Fall of Fulcrum
FULCRUM: an anthology of poetry and aesthetics
Jacket Magazine: Past, present and future

Saturday, April 29

Orange Crate Art - Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks (1995)

"With his snowy white hair, neat moustache and spectacles that sit low on his nose, Van Dyke Parks may look like a kindly shoemaker from a fairytale but don't mistake him for a soft touch. Between songs at the Borderline in London, the 70-year-old mocks rock critics who apply words such as 'smarmy, quirky, idiosyncratic: adjectives that have lost their special charm to me'. When we meet in an empty hotel dining room the next day, he peers over his glasses and says: 'Inevitably you will want to use the word eccentric in your writing. If you run out of quirky.' Parks falls prey to such reductive shorthand because his career defies categorisation. He is best known for co-writing the Beach Boys' ill-fated Smile with Brian Wilson in 1966, an album that wasn't completed for another 38 years. ..."
Guardian - Van Dyke Parks: 'I was victimised by Brian Wilson's buffoonery'
W - Orange Crate Art
Orange Crate Art (Video)
NY Times: ‘Smile’ and Other Difficulties
Genius (Video)
YouTube: Van Dyke Parks --- Orange crate art (Live), Sail away (Live)
YouTube: Orange Crate Art 12 Video

2012 July: Van Dyke Parks, 2015 December: Moonlighting: Live at the Ash Grove (1998), 2016 November: Song Cycle (1967), 2017 March: Jump! (1984), 2010 July: Pet Sounds, 2013 October: The Pet Sounds Sessions, 2014 June: Smiley Smile: Best Album Ever, 2016 July: Enter Brian Wilson’s Creative Process While Making The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds 50 Years Ago: A Fly-on-the Wall View

Le Joli Mai - Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme (1962)

"'Le Joli Mai,' the 1962 documentary that just ended its run at Film Forum and opens Friday in Los Angeles, offers a wide spectrum of in-the-street interviews with residents of Paris and its suburbs that take off from, and conclude with, the question of happiness. The discussions join that idea closely with the political events of the time. That’s why the movie, by Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme, could use some footnotes; many of the events to which it refers are likely unfamiliar to many American viewers (and, I confess, were largely unfamiliar to me before I did some research on the period a decade ago). The notion of asking people about happiness had already played a crucial role in documentary history, in the 1960 film 'Chronicle of a Summer,' by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin, in which the filmmakers pose the same question to Parisians chosen at random, as well as to a select cast of friends and acquaintances. ..."
New Yorker: Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme’s “Le Joli Mai”
W - Le Joli Mai
YouTube: Le Joli Mai - Trailer

The Star Diaries - Stanislaw Lem (1971)

"I wrote Star Diaries, stories that contain stories, in the course of 48 years. At first they were quite improbable because of their purely grotesque and humorous character. With time this grotesque started to be accompanied by cognitive concepts related to theology and answers to the question: what would human beings do if there were no limits to genes' composition? This idea was assisted by an array of most bizarre skeletons. As literary critics pointed out I turned from 'pure inventions of Münchausen' to more serious concepts related to Swift's Gulliver and Voltaire, albeit still in a grotesque form. ..."
Lem's Opinion
W - The Star Diaries
Literature / The Star Diaries
The Seventh Voyage - Stanislaw Lem
The Twenty-Fifth Voyage (fragment) - Stanislaw Lem
A Look Inside the 22nd Voyage - Stanislaw Lem

2011 June: Stanisław Lem, 2017 March: Pilot Pirx (1979-1982)

Friday, April 28

Your Complete Guide to Rewatching "Twin Peaks"

Twin Peaks: An Access Guide by David Lynch and Mark Frost (1991)
"'Twin Peaks' returns with new episodes on May 21 on Showtime, with much of the original cast returning, but the exact details of the story remain under wraps. The series still looms impossibly large in the TV imagination. Many modern murder mysteries — or quirky small-town shows, or oddball cop shows — still feel like pilgrimages toward the altar of David Lynch and Mark Frost, the show’s creators. Investigations into the murders of teenage girls somehow become dream-trance voyages into the uncanny. This guide is mostly for returning viewers, but it is still vague about certain plot points — spoiler-free is not quite right, but it is at least spoiler-light. Even if you’ve never seen the show, you might be more familiar with some of its plots and stories than you realize — a lot of 'Twin Peaks' ideas are pervasive in pop culture. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: ‘Twin Peaks’ Season 1, Episode 1: Wrapped in Plastic
NY Times: ‘Twin Peaks’ Season 1, Episodes 2-7: ‘Isn’t It Too Dreamy?’
Twin Peaks – complete guide to the books (April 15, 2017)

2008 September: Twin Peaks, 2010 March: Twin Peaks: How Laura Palmer's death marked the rebirth of TV drama, 2011 October: Twin Peaks: The Last Days, 2014 October: Welcome to Twin Peaks, 2015 June: David Lynch: ‘I’ve always loved Laura Palmer’, 2015 July: Twin Peaks Maps, 2016 May: Hear the Music of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Played..., September: Twin Peaks Tarot Cards For The Magician Who Longs To See Through The Darkness Of Future Past, 2014 September: David Lynch: The Unified Field, 2014 December: David Lynch’s Bad Thoughts - J. Hoberman, 2015 March: Lumière and Company (1995), 2015 April: David Lynch Creates a Very Surreal Plug for Transcendental Meditation, 2015 December: What Is “Lynchian”?, 2017 March: Anatomy of a Fascinating Disaster: Fire Walk With Me, 2017 April: Trading Card Set of the Week – Twin Peaks (Star Pics, 1991).

10 Galleries to Visit Now on the Lower East Side

Lisa Alvarado’s bannerlike paintings at Bridget Donahue.
"New York City neighborhoods change; that’s life. And one that has changed drastically is the swath of real estate between 14th Street and Canal Street, east of the Bowery, known as the Lower East Side. Its northernmost section, the East Village, was psychedelia central in the 1960s, and in the early 1980s a hot, if short-lived, art gallery scene. The whole area, with a history of ethnic diversity and radical politics, had been 'Loisaida' to its largely working-class, Spanish-speaking residents. The 1980s art scene lasted just long enough to get the gentrification ball rolling and significantly alter the landscape, not least its ethnic mix. But after a lull, galleries are back, farther south, and lots of them. And a few historical traces of the rich culture of Loisaida hang on. ..."
NY Times: Lower East Side
NY Times: 10 Galleries to Visit Now in Brooklyn
NY Times: 10 Galleries to Visit Now in Chelsea
NY Times: 6 Galleries to Visit Now in TriBeCa, SoHo and the West Village
NY Times: 11 Galleries to Visit Now on the Upper East Side and in Harlem
NY Times: 47 Galleries That Bring You the Art of Now

Lula Reed

Wikipedia - "Lula Reed (born Lula Marietta McCleland or McClelland, 21 March 1926 – 21 June 2008) was an American rhythm and blues and gospel singer who recorded in the 1950s and 1960s. She had two R&B hits in 1952 as vocalist with pianist and bandleader Sonny Thompson, and later recorded with guitarist Freddy King. She was occasionally credited as Lulu Reed. ... Credited as vocalist on Thompson's records, she made her recording debut for King Records in Cincinnati in late 1951, on the song 'I'll Drown in My Tears' written by Henry Glover. ..."
BlackCat Rockabilly
YouTube: SICK AND TIRED, Puddentane, JEALOUS LOVE, Lulu Reed & Freddy King - You Can't Hide, What makes you so cold, Troubles on your mind, Lula Reed & Sonny Thompson - I'll Drown In My Own Tears, You gotta have green, KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING, SAY HEY PRETTY BABY, Take your time, Ain't No Cotton Pickin' Chicken

Thursday, April 27

Damn. - Kendrick Lamar (2017)

"At first glance, Damn, the fourth and latest opus from Kendrick Lamar, doesn’t seem as much of a group effort as his previous works. Compared to his last album, 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly, it has a fraction of the featured guest artists and a shorter run time. But a look at the 14 one-word-titled songs that comprise Damn (officially styled, along with the song titles, in all caps and with an emphatic period at the end) doesn’t tell the whole story. Beneath the surface, there’s a cavalcade of trusted collaborators (his TDE camp, Thundercat, Kamasi Washington), well-known names (9th Wonder, U2, James Blake, Greg Kurstin, Don Cheadle), and a sprinkling of fresh faces (Zacari, Bekon, Kaytranada, the Internet’s Steve Lacy). Let’s walk through the village it took to make Damn. It’s difficult to put together an accurate timeline without knowing all the facts about when, exactly, Kendrick broke ground on Damn. ..."
Slate: A Comprehensive Guide to How Kendrick Lamar Made Damn (Video)
W - Damn
NY Times: Kendrick Lamar’s Anxiety Leads to Joy and Jabs on New Album (Video)
NY Times: A Deep Dig on Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole’s Hip-Hop’s Values
"Wackiness, lamentation, the gnashing of teeth have become the spiritual condition of America, regardless of whether your candidate won or lost the last presidential election. The man sitting atop the throne seems possessed by dementia or mania or both, and it seems communicable to his most rabid detractors and dissipated supporters. Never has reactionary victory been so bereft of giddy triumphalism or trickle-down whoo-ha. Amiri Baraka once said that rhythm and blues would always be the accurate reflection of the emotional condition of Black America. Hiphop is but the latest streaking comet in the metamorphic and meteoric continuum of rhythm and blues, the latest measuring stick and black mirror for all of America's entropy. The truths spoken by hiphop's prophets are thus democratically applicable to all living under the reign of Mein Trumpf. Rap has long had a messianic streak running through its ministry's veins, at least as far back as the days of Melle Mel. Who can the more-woke-than-napping masses call on but a rap-Jesus like Kendrick Lamar when the truth they see marching upon them is that cast with four horsemen? ..."
VOICE: Kendrick Lamar's "DAMN" Is the Soundtrack to the Resistance
GENIUS (Video)
Sounwave Explains Every Song He Helped Produce On Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN.
YouTube: HUMBLE., DNA., 10 BEST Kendrick Lamar Songs on DAMN.

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, 2016 March: untitled unmastered (EP - 2016), 2016 July: BET Awards 2016: Watch Beyoncé Perform “Freedom” with Kendrick Lamar.

 The Policy Weapon Climate Activists Need

A coal-fired power plant in Holcomb, Kansas, in 2007.
"We’re running out of time on climate change. As Donald Trump and Big Oil’s other friends in Washington do their utmost to keep global temperatures climbing, our window for preserving civilization is closing fast. Yes, solar, wind, batteries, and energy efficiency are plummeting in cost and grabbing market share the world over, but this clean-energy transformation is not proceeding anywhere near fast enough to prevent catastrophic climate disruption. The science is clear on what’s most needed: We must leave the vast majority of Earth’s remaining reserves of oil, coal, and gas unburned and underground. But those reserves are the basis of the stock prices of some of the richest, most powerful companies in history. And those companies give every indication that they plan to keep burning them, science and humanity be damned. ..."
The Nation

AGNÈS VARDA with Alexandra Juhasz

Agnès Varda, Autoportrait mosaique, 1949/2012
"Sitting together in the often bustling offices of Blum & Poe, New York, Dr. Alexandra Juhasz met with Agnès Varda, grande dame of feminist film, to discuss Varda’s current exhibition of video installation, photography, and sculpture—her first in New York. Highlighting works spanning more than six decades, the show is a rare amalgam of various epochs of the prolific artist’s lifetime, each embodying an ever-evolving and ever-intimate investigation of image. Varda, in her new role as a 'young visual artist,' elaborates on her continued celebration and interrogation of cinema and its many expansions: to walls, photos, sculptures, Skype, and iPhones. ..."
Brooklyn Rail

August 2010: Agnès Varda, May 2011: The Beaches of Agnès, 2011 December: Interview - Agnès Varda, 2013 February: The Gleaners and I (2000), 2013 September: Cinévardaphoto (2004), 2014 July: Black Panthers (1968 doc.), 2014 October: Art on Screen: A Conversation with Agnès Varda, 2015 September: Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962), Plaisir d’amour en Iran (1976), 2017 April: Agnès Varda’s Art of Being There.

Wednesday, April 26

Sun Ra Arkestra Under the Direction of Marshall Allen – Babylon Live (2014)

Marshall Allen
"If the recording Babylon is any indication, the second century of Sun Ra's music will be as entertaining as the first hundred years. Recorded live at Istanbul's Babylon Club in 2014, the full effect of Sun Ra's Arkestra is captured in all its glory with this CD and bonus DVD recording. The Arkestra has been under the direction of nonagenarian Marshall Allen since Sun Ra's death in 1993. Allen, an alto saxophonist and sideman to Ra since the 1950s, has been the keeper of the interstellar flame and face of the Arkestra. His efforts have recruited the amazing talents of Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra pianist Farid Barron and singer Tara Middleton, who fills in for the departed June Tyson. ..."
All About Jazz
London Jazz News
Guardian - Sun Ra Arkestra/Marshall Allen: Babylon Live review – otherwordly space-jazz (Video) 1:39:30
YouTube: The Sun Ra Arkestra - Marshall Allen I Babylon Interview 15:56

Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy - Jules Tygiel (1983)

"It's true, what the historian Jules Tygiel points out in his rich, intelligent cultural history, Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy - professional baseball's experience since 1947 has certainly represented the considerable degree of racial desegregation that America has achieved since World War II. But whether baseball's achievements were actually a cause of larger black gains, or simply reflected forces unleashed during the war that made their effects felt everywhere, is another question - probably of the chicken-egg variety. Mr. Tygiel, who teaches history at San Francisco State University, does not insist that Branch Rickey, who was the general manager and part owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Jackie Robinson, whom Rickey signed up to play for his team, showed America how to integrate its black people. ..."
NY Times
Kirkus Reviews
Project MUSE
YouTube: Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy

2009 September: Jackie Robinson, 2014 October: How Brooklyn Has Changed on Screen, 2016 March: Black Ball - Jules Tygiel and John Thorn (Essay), 2016 April: The Unsanitized Story of Jackie Robinson, 2017 April: Baseball color line

The Clash - Rock the Casbah / Long Time Jerk (1982)

Wikipedia - "'Rock the Casbah' is a song by the English punk rock band The Clash, released in 1982. ...  'Rock the Casbah' was musically written by the band's drummer Topper Headon, based on a piano part that he had been toying with. Finding himself in the studio without his three bandmates, Headon progressively taped the drum, piano and bass parts, recording the bulk of the song's musical instrumentation himself. This origin makes 'Rock the Casbah' different from the majority of Clash songs, which tended to originate with music written by the Strummer-Jones songwriting partnership.  ..."
Genius (Video)
Urban Dictionary
YouTube: Rock the Casbah, Long Time Jerk

Tuesday, April 25

Volkswagen Type 2

Wikipedia - "The Volkswagen Type 2, known officially (depending on body type) as the Transporter, Kombi or Microbus, or, informally, as the Bus (US) or Camper (UK), is a forward control panel van introduced in 1950 by the German automaker Volkswagen as its second car model. Following – and initially deriving from Volkswagen's first model, the Type 1 (Beetle) – it was given the factory designation Type 2. ... Like the Beetle, the van has received numerous nicknames worldwide, including the 'microbus', 'minibus', and, because of its popularity during the counterculture movement of the 1960s, Hippie van/wagon, and still remains iconic for many hippies today. ..."
The Birth Of The VW Bus: From First Sketch To Production
Vintage Bus Import
amazon: How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot
vimeo: The Bus - trailer ($)
YouTube: History of the VW Bus, VW Split Window Bus at Idle and Driving

Mag City - Gary Lenhart, Gregory Masters, and Michael Scholnick, New York

"Mag City was a party in print. It was started to give a form to a literary scene that existed in the East Village, disenchanted with mainstream values. In the mid-’70s this neighborhood provided for a confluence of young artists, poets, musicians. The workshops led by Ted Berrigan and Alice Notley at The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church were where the third generation of New York School poets began to develop. Everyone attended the Monday and Wednesday night readings at the Project and would then convene in various bars afterward—Les Mykta, Grassroots, Orchidia, El Centro. Most of the poets worked part-time jobs or worked a few months and took off a few months. We wanted to be ready for the poem. We lived for poetry and were grateful to have discovered there were others like us out there whose priorities were complementary. ..."
From a Secret Location
MIMEO MIMEO: Hot Times in the City
NYPL: Mag City records 1977-1985

The Infinite Worlds of Arthur Russell

"At first, Charles Arthur Russell was just Charley. Growing up in Iowa during the Fifties and Sixties, Charley vacationed in the Midwest and Mexico with his parents and two sisters. As a teenager, Charley decided he wanted to be called Arthur. When he moved to Northern California in 1968 and found his way into a Buddhist commune, he was renamed Jigmé. It didn't last. But he settled on Arthur when he moved to New York in 1973 at twenty-two, bringing all his places and names with him. Before dying of AIDS-related illnesses in 1992, at forty, Russell checked off many boxes, usually at the same time. But his vision of small and large ensemble work with the unspecified duration of a Buddhist mantra and the hubcap glow of a Beach Boys single was no easy sell — at least, not until his records were reissued in the early 21st century. Now people move to New York because of Arthur. ..."

2015 November: Love Of Life Orchestra ‎– Extended Niceties EP (1980), 2015 September: Arthur Russell, 2017 January: Instrumentals (2007)

Monday, April 24

How the Election Split France

"Two outsiders, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, advanced in France’s presidential election on Sunday, setting up a runoff that could decide the future of the European Union. Election results are as of 4 a.m. Paris time. The two winners will rely on starkly different bases of support in the runoff on May 7. Ms. Le Pen captured areas with high unemployment and low wages, where she campaigned on pledges to stop immigration and renegotiate France’s relationship with the European Union. Mr. Macron dominated in economically dynamic areas and large cities, like Paris and Bordeaux, where his pro-business and socially progressive platform resonated with educated voters. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen Advance in French Election (Video)

"The Mélenchon campaign has breathed new life into the French left in recent weeks, soaring to a competitive position in the polls and drawing tens of thousands to rallies. But after his narrow defeat today, questions still linger. What does Mélenchon represent? What can the origins of his France Insoumise [Rebellious France] tell us about its politics? And where is it likely to go next? Grégory Bekhtari, a member of the radical left formation Ensemble!, which supported the Mélenchon campaign, explores these questions beginning with Mélenchon’s 2008 departure from the Socialist Party (PS). ..."
Jacobin: The Meaning of France Insoumise
Jacobin: Another World Is Possible With Jean-Luc Mélenchon
Jacobin: A New Beginning
Jacobin: An Earthquake in the Making
2017 February: France, Without a Struggle, Is at a Loss, 2017 April: France Rebels

A Thousand Clowns - Herb Gardner (1965)

Wikipedia - "A Thousand Clowns is a 1965 film adaptation of a 1962 play by Herb Gardner, directed by Fred Coe. It tells the story of an eccentric comedy writer who is forced to conform to society to retain legal custody of his nephew. Jason Robards starred in both the original Broadway version and in the film. Martin Balsam won an Academy Award for his supporting performance in the movie. Unemployed television writer Murray Burns (Jason Robards) lives in a cluttered New York City studio apartment with his 12-year-old nephew, Nick (Barry Gordon). Murray has been unemployed for five months after quitting his previous job writing jokes for a children's television show called Chuckles the Chipmunk. Nick, the illegitimate son of Murray's sister, was left with Murray seven years earlier. When Nick writes a school essay on the benefits of unemployment insurance, his school requests that New York State send social workers to investigate his living conditions. ..."
NY Times - 'A Thousand Clowns' Opens:Jason Robards Repeats His Success of Stage
Let Us Now Praise Herb Gardner, Author of A Thousand Clowns
YouTube: How to answer a phone, The Story of Nick, Chuckles The Clown, That's My Baby
YouTube: A Thousand Clowns 2:00:00

Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup

Wikipedia - "“Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup (August 24, 1905 – March 28, 1974) was an American Delta blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is best known outside blues circles for writing songs such as ’That’s All Right’ (1946), ’My Baby Left Me’ and 'So Glad You’re Mine’, later covered by Elvis Presley and dozens of other artists. Arthur Crudup was born in Forest, Mississippi.  For a time he lived and worked throughout the South and Midwest as a   migrant worker. He and his family returned to Mississippi in 1926. He  sang gospel, then began his career as a blues singer around Clarksdale, Mississippi. As a member of the Harmonizing Four, he visited Chicago in 1939. Crudup stayed in Chicago to work as a solo musician, but barely made a living as a street singer. ..."
The Mississippi Blues Trail
YouTube: Mean Ol’ Frisco Blues, My Baby Left Me, That’s All Right, So Glad You’re Mine, Rock me Mama, I’m gonna dig myself a hole, Death Valley Blues, My Mama Don’t Allow, Hey Mama Everything’s All Right, Standing At My Window, She’s Gone, Gonna Be Some Changes Made, Just Like A Spider, Dust My Broom, Hand Me Down My Walking Cane

Sunday, April 23

Henry David Thoreau - The Maine Woods (1864)

"Henry David Thoreau was so emotionally attached to his home in Concord that he found it almost impossible to leave. In fact after 1837 he did so only for short periods--thirteen days on the Concord and Merrimack rivers, some visits to Cape Cod, three trips to the Maine woods, several months in Staten Island and in Minnesota. He was never alone on these excursions; always went with a friend or relative. He was one of the earliest climbers to the heights of Mount Katahdin, but that was a bold exception and he probably did not achieve the highest peak. The canoe trip of 325 miles he writes about in 'The Allegash and East Branch' in The Maine Woods was his most ambitious trip--and a hard one--but the book shows that for all Thoreau's enthusiasm for the wilderness he was sometimes lost and confused in the deep woods. The experience convinced him that he would never be able to live there on his own. The Maine woods were wilderness, but Thoreau emphasizes their proximity: they are only a matter of hours from easily accessible Bangor. ... - Paul Theroux - January, 2004"
Princeton University Press
NY Times: Tracking Thoreau Through Maine’s ‘Grim and Wild’ Land
The Maine Woods - an annotated edition

2009 April: Henry David Thoreau, 2012 September: Walden, 2015 March: A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), 2017 March: Civil Disobedience (1849)

Protesters Block, Demand Removal of a Painting of Emmett Till at the Whitney Biennial

Dana Schutz, Open Casket (2016)
"On Friday, the 2017 Whitney Biennial opened to the public and protesters showed up to physically block and voice their objections to Open Casket (2016), a painting of Emmett Till by Dana Schutz. According to protesters Parker Bright and Pastiche Lumumba —New York-based artists who went to the Whitney on opening day independently, meeting there for the first time — a white artist should not be permitted to use and profit from the image of a black man killed in a racially motivated crime. ... The Open Casket protesters said the response from museum visitors on Friday was largely positive. No guards interfered. Despite a few critiques of their blockage as an act of censorship — they were, after all, preventing the work from being clearly viewed — the protesters maintain that any conversation should not center on the painting itself, but rather on its content and the implications of who made it. ..."
New Yorker: Why Dana Schutz Painted Emmett Till (April 10, 2017)
NY Times: White Artist’s Painting of Emmett Till at Whitney Biennial Draws Protests
Hyperallergic: In Fake Letter, “Dana Schutz” Demands Removal of Controversial Painting from Whitney Biennial

Alton Ellis ‎– Rise And Fall / Earl Sixteen - Make Up Your Mind

"Taken from the recently reissued 'Many Moods Of Alton Ellis' album and produced by Earl 'Heptone' Morgan this is roots flavoured Alton with some great Heptones harmonies on a cut to Earl 16's 'The World Has Just Begun'. Second side features Earl himself on a treatment of the wicked rhythm used for Junior Delgado's 'Don't Study Wrong'."
Dub Vendor
Podomatic (Video)
YouTube: Alton Ellis ‎– Rise And Fall, Earl Sixteen - Make Up Your Mind

Saturday, April 22

James White And The Blacks - Contort Yourself / (Tropical) Heatwave full 12” (1979)

"Consult your average pop-culture oriented magazine these days and you'll see bands slogging through three musical styles being hyped. Unless those magazines are wallowing in electro and the Strokes or are so advanced they're already promoting the big Dietrich Buxtehude revival, those three styles would be: No Wave, JazzFunkPunk, and DiscoPunk. The father of fusing jazz, funk, disco, punk and noise into hyperkinetic, literate, menacing, danceable music, the man with three better band names on his resume than you, the sax maniac himself, is none other than - drum roll please - James Chance. ... By the turn of the decade, as James White and the Blacks, Chance and some Contortions had even managed to elevate disco without denigrating their funk. Today alive and well in New York, James Chance is a huge hero for anyone interested in anarchic music."
ZE Records (Video)
YouTube: Contort Yourself / (Tropical) Heatwave full 12”

2009 December: James Chance, 2011 December: No New York, 2014 July: No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980, 2014 July: Bush Tetras, 2015 January: Buy - James Chance and the Contortions (1979), 2015 July: James White And The Blacks - Off White (1979), 2015 October: Pat Place, 2016 January: Lost Chance (1981), 2017 January: Twist Your Soul: The Definitive Collection (2010).

How Liberals Fell In Love With The West Wing

"In the history of prestige tv, few dramas have had quite the cultural staying power of Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing. Set during the two terms of fictional Democratic President and Nobel Laureate in Economics Josiah 'Jed' Bartlet (Martin Sheen) the show depicts the inner workings of a sympathetic liberal administration grappling with the daily exigencies of governing. ... Nearly the same, of course, might be said for other glossy political dramas such as Netflix’s House of Cards or Scandal. But The West Wing aspires to more than simply visual verisimilitude. Breaking with the cynicism or amoralism characteristic of many dramas about politics, it offers a vision of political institutions which is ultimately affirmative and approving. ..."
Current Affairs

2014 September: A Definitive Ranking of Every Character on 'The West Wing'

Friday, April 21

Slug's Saloon

Wikipedia - "Slug's Saloon was a jazz club at 242 East 3rd Street, between Avenue B and C in Manhattan's Lower East Side, operating from the mid-1960s to 1972. The location, in what was then a run-down part of New York City, first hosted a Ukrainian restaurant and bar, and later a bar that served as a meeting point for drug dealers. ... The interior of the club was longer than it was wide and the bandstand all the way in the back. It could fit 75 people but often held twice that. The bar was on the left side as one entered the venue. The wooden sign that hung outside the venue was carved by James Jackson. During the mid-1960s it slowly started attracting regular jazz performances, developing a reputation as a musician's bar. ..."
Inside Slugs’ Saloon, Jazz’s Most Notorious Nightclub
NYBooks (Video)
Slugs Saloon (Video)
‘It Was a Joint’: Jazz Musicians Remember Slugs’ in the Far East

St-Henri, the 26th of August - Shannon Walsh (2011)

"There have always been attempts to contemplate human being by focusing on the bits of life contained within recordings of certain times and spaces. In 1962, several Canadian filmmakers of the direct cinema group announced À St-Henri le 5 Septembre, a documentary film that recorded a day on a street in St-Henri, Montreal, on the 5th of September. ... St-Henri is a typical suburban location, only a little outdated. ... The date is August 26th in St-Henri. To the people living in it, it is not just a date. Through that day, the past and the future reveal themselves and I, you and we share the day together. This film conveys this simple message in the most beautiful way, in a glittering ode to life itself."
DMZ Docs (Video)
Art Threat (Video)
Parabola Films (Video)
YouTube: St-Henri, the 26th of August - Trailer
W - St-Henri
Why Montreal's St-Henri Is The New And Improved Plateau
St. Henri – A Gentrification in Progress

2013 October: Montreal Metro, 2014 July: Montreal, tales of gentrification in a bohemian city, 2016 August: Montreal-style bagel

Cigars of the Pharaoh (1934)

Wikipedia - "Cigars of the Pharaoh (French: Les Cigares du Pharaon) is the fourth volume of The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. Commissioned by the conservative Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle for its children's supplement Le Petit Vingtième, it was serialised weekly from December 1932 to February 1934 before being published in a collected volume by Casterman in 1934. The story tells of young Belgian reporter Tintin and his dog Snowy, who are travelling in Egypt when they discover a pharaoh's tomb filled with dead Egyptologists and boxes of cigars. Pursuing the mystery of these cigars, they travel across Arabia and India, and reveal the secrets of an international drug smuggling enterprise. ..."
Cigars of the Pharaoh
Cigars of the Pharaoh
DailyMotion: Cigars of the Pharaoh 46:18

2008 May: Georges Remi, 1907-1983, 2010 July: The Adventures of Tintin: Breaking Free, 2011 December: Prisoners of the Sun, 2012 January: Tintin: the Complete Companion, 2012 December: Snowy, 2015 August: The Black Island (1937), 2015 September: King Ottokar's Sceptre (1938), 2015 December: Red Rackham's Treasure (1943), 2016 July: Captain Haddock.

Thursday, April 20

Travelers of Al-Andalus, Part I: The Travel Writer

"According to later chroniclers, if they can be believed, the adventure of Ibn Jubayr, one of the most illustrious rahhala, or travelers, from Al-Andalus to destinations throughout the Mediterranean and farther east, began in the year 1183 with a repugnant challenge. To name him in full, Abu al-Husayn Muhammad ibn Ahmad Ibn Jubayr al-Kinani served as secretary in the palace of Granada’s governor, Abu Said Osman, son of the first Almohad caliph, Abd al-Mu’min. As the story goes, at one point while dictating a letter, the prince coerced him to drink seven cups of wine, forbidden to Muslims. In exchange, the prince granted him seven cups of gold dinars. To seek expiation of his sin—and perhaps to make a hasty exit from the court—this otherwise most pious Muslim scholar set out to fulfill one of the five pillars of Islam by making the long pilgrimage to Makkah. ..."
Aramco World

2016 March: Travelers of Al-Andalus, Part VI: The Double Lives of Ibn al-Khatib

Bad as Me - Tom Waits (2011)

"Bad as Me is Tom Waits' first collection of new material in seven years. He and Kathleen Brennan -- wife, co-songwriter, and production partner -- have, at the latter's insistence, come up with a tight-knit collection of short tunes, the longest is just over four minutes. This is a quick, insistent, and woolly aural road trip full of compelling stops and starts. While he's kept his sonic experimentation -- especially with percussion tracks -- Waits has returned to blues, rockabilly, rhythm & blues, and jazz as source material. Instead of sprawl and squall, we get chug and choogle. ... Bad as Me is an aural portrait of all the places he's traveled as a recording artist, which is, in and of itself, illuminating and thoroughly enjoyable."
W - Bad as Me
NY Times: A Grizzled Troubadour Dusts Off His Bowler
Guardian - Tom Waits: 'I look like hell but I'm going to see where it gets me'
YouTube: Bad As Me (Live)
YouTube: Bad As Me full album 54:29

2012 July: Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards, 2013 March: Burma Shave, 2013 May: "Ol' '55", 2013 July: The Heart of Saturday Night (1974), 2014 January: Blood Money, 2014 March: Telephone call from Istanbul (1987), 2014 November: Rain Dogs (1985), 2015 February: Mule Variations (1999), 2015 April: Swordfishtrombones (1983), 2015 July: Alice (2002), 2015 September: Tom Waits On The Tube Live UK TV 1985, 2015 December: Franks Wild Years (1987), 2016 January: "Bad as Me" (2011), 2016 April: 'It's perfect madness', 2016 May: Real Gone (2002), 2016 October: Tom Waits Sings and Tells Stories in "Tom Waits: A Day in Vienna", a 1979, 2017 January: Bone Machine (1992).

Botticelli and the Search for the Divine

"Perhaps more than any other painter, Sandro Botticelli (about 1445–1510) exemplifies the artistic achievement of Renaissance Florence in the 15th century. Botticelli and the Search for the Divine, organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary and Italy’s Metamorfosi Associazione Culturale, explores the dramatic changes in the artist’s style and subject matter—from poetic depictions of classical gods and goddesses to austere sacred themes—reflecting the shifting political and religious climate of Florence during his lifetime. At the height of his career, Botticelli was supported by the powerful Medici family, headed by Lorenzo the Magnificent. ..."
MFA: Botticelli and the Search for the Divine

Wednesday, April 19

Blow-Up - Michelangelo Antonioni (1966)

Wikipedia - "Blowup, or Blow-Up, is a 1966 British-Italian film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni about a fashion photographer, played by David Hemmings, who believes he has unwittingly captured a murder on film. It was Antonioni's first entirely English-language film. The film also stars Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, John Castle, Jane Birkin, Tsai Chin and Gillian Hills as well as sixties model Veruschka. ... Bosley Crowther, film critic of The New York Times, called it a 'fascinating picture, which has something real to say about the matter of personal involvement and emotional commitment in a jazzed-up, media-hooked-in world so cluttered with synthetic stimulations that natural feelings are overwhelmed'. ..."
Roger Ebert
Guardian - My favourite film: Blow-Up
Criterion (Video)
Guardian - 'Debauchery all night': the Guardian's original review of Blow-Up (Video)
Vanity Fair - Photos: Antonioni’s Blow-Up and Swinging 1960s London
YouTube: Blow-Up Trailer 1966 Extended Version, Tennis, Modernism and Post-Modernism | An Analysis of Blow-Up

2011 September: Red Desert (1964), 2014 December: The Passenger (1975)

Winter in America - Gil Scott-Heron / Brian Jackson (1974)

Wikipedia "Winter in America is a studio album by American vocalist Gil Scott-Heron and keyboardist Brian Jackson, released in May 1974 on Strata-East Records. They recorded the album during September to October 1973 at D&B Sound Studio in Silver Spring, Maryland. While Jackson's piano-based arrangements were rooted in jazz and the blues, their stripped-down production for the album resulted in a reliance on more traditional African and R&B sounds. The subject matter on Winter in America deals with the African-American community and inner city in the 1970s. ... After the decline of popularity in traditional jazz forms during the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power movement, black pride and Afrocentric sentiment by many black Americans emerged. ..."
The Quietus - Cold Comfort: Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson's Winter In America (Video)
Revive Music
amazon, iTunes
YouTube: Winter in America (1974) (Full Album)

2017 January: Pieces of a Man (1971)

Boston’s “Hogmosh” of Neighborhoods, as Mapped by Bostonians

"Putting a neighborhood on a map is harder than it sounds. If you live in a neighborhood with a name, you probably think you know its boundaries. But do your neighbors agree? Does the local government? Probably not. While neighborhoods have roots in concrete things like topography, physical barriers, and architecture, they’re also reflections of the people and communities that reside in them. That leaves their precise location open to interpretation. ... The size of the resulting neighborhood discrepancies—and the degree to which people care about them—varies among cities. In a place like Boston, both of these factors tend toward the more extreme end of the spectrum. The city’s previous mayor described the neighborhood boundaries as a 'hogmosh of undefined lines,' a situation made more volatile by Bostonians’ attitudes toward their home turf. ..."
National Geographic
Mapping Greater Boston's neighborhoods
Neighborhoods as seen by the people

2010 February: Brattle Theatre, 2010 July: Café Pamplona, 2010 June: The Real Paper, 2012 June: John Lincoln Wright, 2012 October: Goodbye, alt-weeklies, 2013 February: House of Poesy: At the Grolier Poetry Book Shop, 2013 June: Arnold Arboretum (Harvard University - Jamaica Plain), 2013 March: Orson Welles Cinema, 2016 February: Club Passim, 2016 December: Boston busing desegregation 1974-1988