Friday, June 30

Matisse: The Joy of Things - Claire Messud

Vase of Flowers, 1924
"Daily, I slice bread with my maternal grandmother’s bread knife. Neither beautiful nor valuable—its handle scored white melamine, its wide serrations still sharp—it connects me to my mother’s hands (that used this knife) and to my grandmother’s hands (smaller than my mother’s, arthritic already when I was born); to my grandmother’s kitchen, beloved in my childhood; and to the long-ago morning light that filtered through the sunroom into that kitchen, in a long-sold house, in a far-off city. All this is present when I take it up and tackle a loaf. No other knife will do. Matisse, unsurprisingly, had similar feelings about the objects of his daily life. They delighted, inspired, or confounded him, in their humble ordinariness and in all that they evoked: a chocolate pot, a green glass vase, a pewter jug, embroidered hanging cloths (haitis) from North Africa, masks and figurines from sub-Saharan Africa, a brazier, a marquetry coffee table, a low-slung chair. ..."

2011 December: Gauguin Tahiti, 2012 May: Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia, 2014 May: Gauguin: Metamorphoses, 2015 April: Van Gogh, Manet, and Matisse: The Art of the Flower, 2016 April: Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, 2017 May: Matisse in the Studio.

"Teenage Kicks" - The Undertones (1978)

Wikipedia - "'Teenage Kicks' was the debut single for Northern Irish punk rock/new wave band The Undertones. Written in the summer of 1977 by the band's principal songwriter, John O'Neill, the song was recorded on 16 June 1978 and initially released that September upon independent Belfast record label Good Vibrations, before the band—at the time unobligated to any record label—signed to Sire Records on 2 October 1978. Sire Records subsequently obtained all copyrights to the material released upon the Teenage Kicks EP and the song was re-released as a standard vinyl single upon Sire's own label on 14 October that year, reaching number 31 in the UK Singles Chart two weeks after its release. ..."
YouTube: "Teenage Kicks"

A Parable for the Distance Between Language and Truth

The Parable of the Blind, 1568
"In 1951, the writer Gert Hofmann, who was then twenty years old, fled the German Democratic Republic for West Germany. Ten years later, he left Germany altogether and found work teaching literature at universities in the United States and Europe. He also started writing radio plays. He was prolific, writing some thirty plays in as many years. Hofmann’s plays, produced mainly by West German public broadcasters, focus on the grim realities of Nazi Germany, the Second World War, and its aftermath. They are formally wide-ranging and often hinge on the murky relationship between language and reality. ... He continued writing for radio, sometimes transforming those plays into prose and sometimes adapting prose for radio, exploring the interplay of narrative and dialogue. His slim comic novel Der Blindensturz, first published in Germany in 1985, and translated into English by Christopher Middleton, in 1989, as 'The Parable of the Blind,' reads like the culmination of this work. It is told solely through dialogue and sets the reader adrift amid unreliable accounts. ..."
New Yorker

2010 May: Peasant, 2011 March: "The Harvesters", Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 2012 February: The Mill and the Cross - Lech Majewski, 2012 December: The Lord of Misrule and the Feast of Fools., 2013 July: Netherlandish Proverbs, 2014 August: Children's Games (1560), 2016 May: The Hunters in the Snow (1565).

Thursday, June 29

James Blood Ulmer solo live @ Skopje Jazz Festival 2015

"... What followed for four consecutive nights was a firm confirmation of the festival's direction to build a strong program characterized by diversity and maverick artists rather than associate itself with an image of a typical jazz festival and a strict cast of profiles each year. The honor of opening the festival belonged to guitarist James Blood Ulmer and his unique take on the blues. In his hands the blues became simultaneously avant-garde and traditional. Well-versed in the harmolodic approach, the songs sounded far from the played—to -death kind of approach to the blues. Sang with a sly, husky, raw voice, the songs sparkled with many little ideas and harmonies, and he only referenced the blues along the way. The overall feeling was of warmth and as he was strumming his bright yellow guitar waves of warmth and feel-good feelings seemed to spread all over the hall. ..."
All About Jazz
YouTube: solo live @ Skopje Jazz Festival 2015

2015 November: Prime Time (1981), 2016 September: Black Rock (1982), 2017 May: Are You Glad to Be in America? (1980)

The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene, 1974-1984

"First, let’s get the nostalgia out of the way. Sure, the bands were great, and if you were lucky enough to play in one, the clothes were great too. But if the young, wild, and barely employed could afford to live, make art, and party hard between Canal and 14th Streets in the mid- to late-seventies, it was for the same socio-economic reasons that govern affordability, or the lack of it, anywhere. Except for a few oases like the Ukrainian enclave around East 6th Street, the area that spawned the Downtown scene was blighted by poverty, unemployment, drugs, prostitution, homelessness, arson, and street crime; or it was simply bleak. New York City itself seemed a place without a future, battered by blackouts, riots, serial killings, and the onset of AIDS. The migration of industrial jobs to low-wage regions of the South and the subsequent flight of its middle and working classes eroded the city’s tax base and, coupled with the collapse of the financial markets, catapulted it toward bankruptcy. ..."
Brooklyn Rail
ArtForum: Scene Spirit
NY Times: The Downtown Scene, When It Was Still Dirty
Austin Chronicle

Ahmed Malek and Other Treasures From Habibi Funk’s North African Crate - Digging Expeditions

Jannis Stuertz of Habibi Funk Records
"Though Algerian composer Ahmed Malek was an established musician in his country—he passed away in 2008—and also the long-time conductor of the Algerian Television Orchestra, his music had largely been condemned to obscurity. Getting it back on wax has taken a bit of persistence. On May 14th, the Berlin-based imprint Habibi Funk will release Musique Original De Films, a collection of Malek’s film music. Written during the ’70s, the music has stylistic parallels to popular soundtracks of the era, particularly the work of Italian composer and spaghetti-western maestro Ennio Morricone. Yet it is also very much a product of North Africa. The songs are moody and slightly melancholy, but also surprisingly groovy. They fuse Arabic melodies and jazz harmonies with Latin-style rhythms and the odd scrap of psychedelia. ..."
Handcamp (Audio)
Habibi 003: Ahmed Malek by Musique Originale De Films (Audio)
Soundcloud: Men Awel Deqiqa, Ebda' Men Gedid, Sah
YouTube: La ville, Maya, Halla, La Silence Des Cendres

Wednesday, June 28

White Material - Claire Denis (2009)

"... Denis’ most recent feature, White Material (2009), continues the director’s preoccupation with sound. Sparse in dialogue (save for explanatory purposes), the film also has a very spare musical soundtrack save for its theme, composed by long-time musical collaborator Stuart Staples from Tindersticks. Instead, the film relies heavily on diegetic sound to explore and imply moods and feelings, and most importantly to enhance the difficult and complex processes of the creation of the self. In White Material Denis follows the personal journey of Maria Vial (Isabelle Huppert), a coffee plantation boss in an unnamed French-African colony during the last days of colonial rule. As the film unfolds, we witness Maria’s struggle to retain her belief that while the country may not be her true home, she is accepted there. ..."
senses of cinema
Slant Magazine
Criterion - Video
Roger Ebert
NY Times: The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century. So Far.
YouTube: White Material | trailer

2009 September: Claire Denis, 2013 October: Claire Denis Dialogue with Eric Hynes

Their Satanic Majesties Request - Rolling Stones (1967)

Wikipedia - "Their Satanic Majesties Request is the sixth British and eighth American studio album by the Rolling Stones, released in December 1967 by Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States. Recording sessions saw the band experimenting widely with a psychedelic sound in the studio, incorporating unconventional instruments, sound effects, string arrangements, and African rhythms. The album's title is a play on the 'Her Britannic Majesty requests and requires ...' text that appears inside a British passport. ... Following the album's release, the Rolling Stones abandoned their psychedelic style for a stripped-down return to their roots in blues music. ... The Stones experimented with many new instruments and sound effects during the sessions, including Mellotron, theremin, short wave radio static, and string arrangements by John Paul Jones. ..."
11 East 14th Street
Psyched Master
amazon: Their Satanic Majesties Request
YouTube: Sing This All Together, Citadel, In Another Land (Original Single Mono Version), 2000 Man, Sing This All Together (See What Happens), She's A Rainbow (Original Single Mono Version), The Lantern (Original Single Mono Version), Gomper, 2000 Light Years From Home (Original Single Mono Version), On With The Show
YouTube: Psychedelic-2000 light years from home (Live), In Another Land - Clips taken from Kenneth Anger's "Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome", Acid In The Grass Brian on Harp 1967
YouTube: Sing This All Together - Satanic sessions, Majesties Honky Tonk (instrumental 1967), The Lantern (instrumental 1967), She's A Rainbow (instrumental 1967) Nicky Hopkins, In Another Land (instrumental 1967 v1), Child Of The Moon (instrumental v2) Nicky Hopkins, 2000 Light Years (instrumental v1)

2015 August: Exile on Main Street (1972), 2015 October: "Let's Spend the Night Together" / "Ruby Tuesday" (1967), 2015 December: Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka (1971), 2016 January: Some Girls (1978), 2016 January: The Rolling Stones (EP), 2016 March: Five by Five (EP - 1964), 2016 May: "The Rolling Stones: Charlie Is My Darling — Ireland 1965", 2016 December: Singles Collection: The London Years (1989)

Tuesday, June 27

Saving Queens’ Secret Wetlands

Asters grow around the old reservoir.
"One early-March afternoon in 2007, Rob Jett climbed through a hole in a chain-link fence and thought he had entered a lost world. He and two fellow bird-watchers rappelled into a dense swamp forest of birch and sweetgum, mosses and lichens. They were standing in ankle-deep water in the west basin of the 160-year-old Ridgewood Reservoir, the last vestige of Brooklyn’s old waterworks, smack on the border of Brooklyn and Queens. Inside this wilderness, the sounds of the city faded away above the reservoir’s stone levees. ... Jett, 61, had never seen a place like it, even though he had grown up only two miles away and for years had been writing about bird-watching throughout the city. The reservoir was once important to the growth of Brooklyn as it became one of the largest cities in the country. ..."
Following Hook Creek Through Ghost Towns and Wetlands
The Nature Conservancy: New York - Protecting Wetlands and Marshes
NY Times: Come On In, the Swamp Is Fine; Wetland Beauty Restored, Just Off Flatbush Avenue (Aug. 24, 2000)
[PDF] Wetlands Strategy

Kensinger Hook Creek. Located just across Rockaway Boulevard.

The CIA Reads French Theory: On the Intellectual Labor of Dismantling the Cultural Left

"It is often presumed that intellectuals have little or no political power. Perched in a privileged ivory tower, disconnected from the real world, embroiled in meaningless academic debates over specialized minutia, or floating in the abstruse clouds of high-minded theory, intellectuals are frequently portrayed as not only cut off from political reality but as incapable of having any meaningful impact on it. The Central Intelligence Agency thinks otherwise. ... For in an intriguing research paper written in 1985, and recently released with minor redactions through the Freedom of Information Act, the CIA reveals that its operatives have been studying the complex, international trend-setting French theory affiliated with the names of Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan and Roland Barthes. ..."
The Philosophical Salon

2010 March: Roland Barthes, 2011 June: Gaston Bachelard, 2012 October: Hervé Guibert, 2014 March: Semiotext(e), 2014 November: What Is Schizo-Culture? A Classic Conversation with William S. Burroughs, 2016 December: Can We Criticize Foucault?

Monday, June 26

Gonzo journalism

Wikipedia - "Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism that is written without claims of objectivity, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first-person narrative. The word 'gonzo' is believed to have been first used in 1970 to describe an article by Hunter S. Thompson, who later popularized the style. It is an energetic first-person participatory writing style in which the author is a protagonist, and it draws its power from a combination of social critique and self-satire. It has since been applied to other subjective artistic endeavors. Gonzo journalism involves an approach to accuracy that concerns the reporting of personal experiences and emotions, in contrast to traditional journalism, which favors a detached style and relies on facts or quotations that can be verified by third parties. Gonzo journalism disregards the strictly-edited product favored by newspaper media and strives for a more personal approach; the personality of a piece is as important as the event or actual subject of the piece. Use of sarcasm, humor, exaggeration, and profanity is common. ..."
Open Culture - How Hunter S. Thompson Gave Birth to Gonzo Journalism: Short Film Revisits Thompson’s Seminal 1970 Piece on the Kentucky Derby (Video)
The Atlantic - Before Gonzo: Hunter S. Thompson's Early, Underrated Journalism Career
Guardian: Why gonzo journalism is crucial to our understanding of cities and their tribes

The "Gonzo fist", characterized by two thumbs and four fingers holding a peyote button, was originally used in Hunter S. Thompson's 1970 campaign for sheriff of Aspen, Colorado.

"I Need Your Loving" - Donald Gardner & Dee Dee Ford (1962)

Wikipedia - "Donald Gardner (born May 9, 1931) is an American rhythm and blues singer, songwriter, and drummer. His records included the 1962 pop hit 'I Need Your Loving', with Dee Dee Ford. ... When the Sonotones played at the Smalls Paradise club in Harlem, New York, they were heard by blues performer Arthur Crudup, who recommended them to the Fire record label owner Bobby Robinson. He produced a song written by Gardner, 'I Need Your Loving' (also known as 'Need Your Lovin'), a 'gospel-drenched', call-and-response number in the mold of Ike & Tina Turner, and the song became their biggest hit, rising to number 4 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1962 and number 20 on the pop chart. ..."
YouTube: "I Need Your Loving"

Painter Among Poets: The Collaborative Art of George Schneeman

Rita Hayworth's Theory (with Ron Padgett)
"Painter Among Poets: The Collaborative Art of George Schneeman is the first retrospective presentation of the wide range of artworks that Schneeman has created with poets over the past thirty-five years. It not only investigates Schneeman's enthusiasm for free-wheeling collaboration, but also considers his work as part of the remarkable modernist tradition of poet/painter collaboration. Always open to spontaneity and engagement, Schneeman encourages poets to contribute visual elements in order to create surprising works that neither artist nor poet could have done alone. Painter Among Poets offers a behind-the-scenes look at the high-wire process of collaboration as an outgrowth of Schneeman's friendship with poets Bill Berkson, Ted Berrigan, Michael Brownstein, Tom Clark, Edwin Denby, Larry Fagin, Dick Gallup, Allen Ginsberg, Ted Greenwald, Steve Katz, Lewis MacAdams, Alice Notley, Ron Padgett, Harris Schiff, Peter Schjeldahl, Tom Veitch, Anne Waldman, Lewis Warsh, and many others. ..." - Ron Padgett
Granary Books
George Schneeman: Collages
[PDF] A Painter and His Poets: The Art of George Schneeman - Poets House

Sunday, June 25

Bob Dylan Plays First Live Performance of “Hurricane,” His Song Defending Rubin “Hurricane” Carter (RIP) in 1975

"This weekend, Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter passed away. He was 76. An American middleweight boxer, Carter was tried and convicted twice (once 1967, again in 1976) for homicides that took place in Paterson, New Jersey in 1966 -- despite the fact that there were no finger prints or eyewitnesses connecting him to the crime. (Both convictions were later overturned when courts found that the trials were tainted by prosecutorial misconduct.) ... He's backed by Scarlet Rivera on violin, Rob Stoner on bass, and Howie Wyeth on drums. It was apparently Dylan's first live performance of the eight minute song. ..."
Open Culture (Video)
W - “Hurricane”
NY Daily - ‘Hurricane’: For Bob Dylan, Rubin Carter fight was personal
“Hurricane” (Written by: Bob Dylan and Jacques Levy)

Stephen Shore

Bridge Street, Mexico, Maine, July 30, 1974
Wikipedia - "Stephen Shore (born October 8, 1947) is an American photographer known for his images of banal scenes and objects in the United States, and for his pioneering use of color in art photography. ...  He began to use a 35 mm camera three years later and made his first color photographs. At ten he received a copy of Walker Evans's book, American Photographs, which influenced him greatly. His career began at fourteen, when he presented his photographs to Edward Steichen, then curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Recognizing Shore's talent, Steichen bought three. At seventeen, Shore met Andy Warhol and began to frequent Warhol's studio, the Factory, photographing Warhol and the creative people that surrounded him. ..."
Stephen Shore
Guardian - Shady character: how Stephen Shore taught America to see in living colour
Honestly WTF
SF MoMA - Stephen Shore: Taking photographs that “feel like seeing” (Video)

Sonar Senghor - Lost Africa (1957) / Rare African Swing Vol. 1

"Purely on historical grounds, this album from the 1950s is an interesting document, as it was one of the first recordings to expose the tribal music of Western Africa to a European and North American audience. Academic considerations aside, this collection of songs associated with ritualistic dances is worthwhile listening, consisting solely of the Sonar Senghor troupe's high-spirited vocals and chants, with no backup instrumentation save simple (yet varied) percussion. The stark production is, if anything, an asset. Music this direct and elemental doesn't need polish, and the songs can be heard not just as folkloric rituals, but as enjoyable performances in their own right."
YouTube: Bonomiollo, Sougnou Mbtaye, Sindhio, Dianka Bi

"Rare African Swing Vol. 1 album for sale by Various Artists was released May 24, 2013 on the Mondotone label. Rare African Swing Vol. 1 CD music contains a single disc with 20 songs."
amazon, iTunes, Spotify
YouTube: Rare African Swing Vol. 1 20 songs · 51:04

Saturday, June 24

The Town and the City - Jack Kerouac (1950)

Wikipedia - "The Town and the City is a novel by Jack Kerouac, published by Harcourt Brace in 1950. This was the first major work published by Kerouac, who later became famous for his second novel On the Road (1957). Like all of Jack Kerouac's major works, The Town and the City is essentially an autobiographical novel, though less directly so than most of his other works. The Town and the City was written in a conventional manner over a period of years, and much more novelistic license was taken with this work than after Kerouac's adoption of quickly written 'spontaneous prose'. ..."
Pseudo-Intellectual Reviews
NY Times: Of Growth and Decay (March 1950)
Retracing Jack Kerouac
YouTube: by Jack Kerouac recited by Allen Ginsberg, Coleman Hawkins, "Body and Soul" from Kerouac, 4) 'The Town And The City' - Jack Kerouac Jazz and Prose

2009 November: Another Side of Kerouac: The Dharma Bum as Sports Nut, 2010 July: Kerouac's Copies of Floating Bear, 2011 March: Jack Kerouac on The Steve Allen Show, 2013 September: On the Road - Jack Kerouac, 2014 May: “Walker Evans and Robert Frank – An Essay on Influence by Tod Papageorge” (1981), 2015 March: Pull My Daisy (1959), 2015 December: Hear All Three of Jack Kerouac’s Spoken, 2016 July: Mexico City Blues (1959), 2017 February: The Jack Kerouac Collection (1990), 2017 May: The Subterraneans (1958)


Wikipedia - "The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was an early packet switching network and the first network to implement the protocol suite TCP/IP. Both technologies became the technical foundation of the Internet. ARPANET was initially funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States Department of Defense. The packet switching methodology employed in the ARPANET was based on concepts and designs by Americans Leonard Kleinrock, Paul Baran, Lawrence Roberts and British scientist Donald Davies. ..."
Historical Maps of Computer Networks
Internet History 1962 to 1992
YouTube: A Visual History of Human Knowledge | Manuel Lima | TED Talks

During Prohibition, Harlem Night Clubs Kept the Party Going

"Prohibition may have put a damper on alcohol sales in much of the United States in the 1920s and early ’30s, but it didn’t stop the party up in Harlem. The map above, created in 1932, shows a thriving nightlife centered on New York jazz venues like the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom. The map is filled with caricatures of famous musicians and dubious denizens of the nighttime scene, as well as helpful tips for partygoers. 'It’s pretty fantastic,' says Melissa Barton, curator of drama and prose for the Collection of American Literature at Yale University’s Beinecke Library. 'It’s just packed with details.' ..."
National Geographic
Gather Out of Star-Dust: The Harlem Renaissance & the Beinecke Library
A Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance in Maps, Manuscripts, and Art
Yale Books
YouTube: Earl "Snake Hips" Tucker

2009 February: Harlem Renaissance, 2010 August: A Nightclub Map of Harlem, 2010 October: Apollo Theater, 2014 May: History of Harlem, 2014 November: A Harlem Throwback to the Era of Billie Holiday, 2015 February: A Nightclub Map of Harlem

Friday, June 23

Allen Ravenstine

Wikipedia - "Allen Ravenstine (born May 9, 1950) is an American keyboard player, most recognized for his work in the experimental rock group Pere Ubu. In 1991, he quit music to become a commercial airline pilot. Allen Ravenstine was born on May 9, 1950. ... He met visual artist Bob Bensick, who was experimenting with sending distortion into oscillators and out a stereo system. Eventually, they discovered a way to attach lights and have them work in conjunction with the sounds being produced and decided to stage art shows. The act was short lived as Ravenstine moved out of the area and lost contact with Bensick. Soon after, Ravenstine purchased his first synthesizer, an ElectroComp EML 200, and began associating with the garage band Rocket from the Tombs and recording their performances. ..."
‘Terminal Drive’: Pere Ubu’s Allen Ravenstine’s legendary long lost electronic composition found (Video)
Furious: Allen Ravenstine 1, 2, 3, 4
Blue Jet Music
City Desk / Farm Report - Robert Wheeler & Allen Ravenstine
Allen Ravenstine "Terminal Drive" CD
Allen Ravenstine + Robert Wheeler On EML Modular Synthesizers (Video)
iTunes, Spotify, amazon
YouTube: City Desk - Farm Report

EML 101

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), 2016 April: Architecture of Language 1979-1982, 2016 November: The Modern Dance (1978), 2016 December: Don't Expect Art (1980), 2017 January: New Picnic Time (1979)

Marsden Hartley's Maine

Lobster Fishermen, (1940-41)
"This exhibition explores Marsden Hartley's complex, sometimes contradictory, and visually arresting relationship with his native state—from the lush Post-Impressionist inland landscapes with which he launched his career, to the later roughly rendered paintings of Maine's rugged coastal terrain, its hardy inhabitants, and the magisterial Mount Katahdin. Hartley's renowned abstract German series, New Mexico recollections, and Nova Scotia period have been celebrated in previous exhibitions, but Marsden Hartley's Maine illuminates Maine as a critical factor in understanding the artist's high place in American art history. Maine served as an essential slate upon which he pursued new ideas and theories. It was a lifelong source of inspiration intertwined with his personal history, cultural milieu, and desire to create a regional expression of American modernism. ..."
Metropolitan Museum of Art (Video)
NY Times: ‘Marsden Hartley’s Maine,’ His Muse, First and Last

Thursday, June 22

Did Gerard de Nerval walk his pet lobster through Paris?

"Legend has it that the 19th-century French Romantic poet Gérard de Nerval (1808-1855) had a pet lobster named Thibault that he took on walks in the Palais Royal gardens of Paris, using a blue silk ribbon as a leash. When asked why he did this, he replied: Why should a lobster be any more ridiculous than a dog? Or a cat, or a gazelle, or a lion, or any other animal that one chooses to take for a walk? I have a liking for lobsters. They are peaceful, serious creatures. ... In other words, the lobster that Nerval walked was a symbolic lobster, not a real one. Nerval, [Mark] Dery notes, was 'a fervent scholar of the occult,' and lobsters have special significance in some occult sources, such as Tarot cards. For instance, the Moon card shows a lobster crawling out of a pool onto dry land, up a path guarded by two dogs (or a dog and a wolf) toward the full moon. The lobster, in this setting, could be interpreted as a symbol of the animal self struggling toward enlightenment. ..."
Harpers - Nerval: A Man and His Lobster
New Yorker: Lobsters and Lies
Nerval's Lobster By Mark Dery
Gérard de Nerval – the man who walked lobsters – fallen stars
The Man Who Loved Lobster

2007 December: Gerard De Nerval, 2010 March: Robin Blaser - Les Chimeres, 2016 June: Voyage to the Orient (1851), 2017 March: Selected Writings of Gerard De Nerval (1957)

Los Angeles - X (1980)

"By the late '70s, punk rock and hardcore were infiltrating the Los Angeles music scene. Such bands as Black Flag, the Germs, and, especially, X were the leaders of the pack, prompting an avalanche of copycat bands and eventually signing record contracts themselves. X's debut, Los Angeles, is considered by many to be one of punk's all-time finest recordings, and with good reason. Most punk bands used their musical inability to create their own style, but X actually consisted of some truly gifted musicians, including rockabilly guitarist Billy Zoom, bassist John Doe, and frontwoman Exene Cervenka, who, with Doe, penned poetic lyrics and perfected sweet yet biting vocal harmonies. ... Although they utilize elements of punk's frenzy and electricity, they also add country, ballads, and rockabilly to the mix."
W - Los Angeles
amazon, iTumes
YouTube: Los Angeles (music video - Live), Your Phone's Off The Hook - Live 1980 Rare!
YouTube: Los Angeles (Full Album) 32:04

An Upper West Side Art Nouveau–like subway sign

"You don’t have to be a typeface nerd to appreciate loveliness the letters and numerals affixed to plaques and signs in the city’s earliest subway stations. My favorite is the '96' at the Broadway and 96th Street station. Opened in 1904 as part of the original IRT line, it looks like the numerals were created by hand, not a printing press. Thanks to the rosettes, green coloring, and what look like two tulips framing the numerals, this plaque across from the platform also looks like a rare examples of the naturalistic Art Nouveau design style—which swept Europe in the early 20th century but didn’t make much of an impression in New York, save for some building facades."
Ephemeral New York
W - 96th Street (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)

Wednesday, June 21

Olivier Assayas - Summer Hours (2009)

"In a literal, almost banal sense, Olivier Assayas’s 'Summer Hours' is a movie about an inheritance. Hélène Berthier (Edith Scob), a silver-haired matriarch enthroned among her children and grandchildren at the beginning of the film, leaves behind a charming country house and a cherished art collection, and her heirs, as is normal, must figure out what to do with it all after her death. Hélène’s eldest son, Frédéric (Charles Berling), wants to keep everything as it is, so that the next generation can gather at the old place and appreciate Grandma’s stuff. But Frédéric’s sister, Adrienne (Juliette Binoche), and their younger brother, Jérémie (Jérémie Renier), who live abroad (she in the United States, he in China with his wife and three children), would rather sell the house and most of what is in it, donating the best of the paintings, pieces of furniture and sundry knickknacks to the Musée d’Orsay. ..."
NY Times - Sorting Out an Inheritance: Three Siblings Dissect the Stuff of Life
Film Comment
Criterion (Video)
W - Summer Hours
NY Times: The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century. So Far.

Outdoor Miner / Practice Makes Perfect - Wire (1979)

Wikipedia - "'Outdoor Miner' is a song written by Colin Newman and Graham Lewis, and performed by the English post-punk band Wire. ... The song is based on Graham Lewis's fascination with the Serpentine leaf miner insect and details the life cycle of the insect. EMI recognised that the song could potentially be a hit single, but were concerned that it was too short, measuring only 1 minute 45 seconds. Unusually the label asked the band to make a longer version for the single. The band added an additional verse and chorus, and a piano solo played by producer Mike Thorne, pushing the length to 2 minutes 51 seconds. EMI were confident that the song could become a hit and commercial breakthrough for the band. ..."
Perfect Pop | Outdoor Miner By Wire
YouTube: Outdoor Miner, Practice Makes Perfect

2009 January: Wire, 2012 January: On the Box 1979., 2013 September: Chairs Missing (1978), 2014 June: 154 (1979), 2014 July: Document And Eyewitness (1979-1980), 2015 April: The Ideal Copies: Graham Lewis Of Wire's Favourite Albums, 2015 July: Pink Flag (1977), 2015 December: The Peel Sessions Album (1989), “Dot Dash”, "Options R" (1978).

Portraits by Cézanne

Boy in a Red Waistcoat (1888-1890)
"Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) painted almost 200 portraits during his career, including 26 of himself and 29 of his wife, Hortense Fiquet. The exhibition will explore the special pictorial and thematic characteristics of Cézanne's portraiture, including his creation of complementary pairs and multiple versions of the same subject. The chronological development of Cézanne's portraiture will be considered, with an examination of the changes that occurred with respect to his style and method, and his understanding of resemblance and identity. The exhibition will also discuss the extent to which particular sitters inflected the characteristics and development of his practise. ..."
Musée d'Orsay (Video)
Musée d'Orsay: For a detailed presentation

2011 August: Paul Cézanne, 2014 November: Cézanne: Landscape into Art, 2015 March: Madame Cézanne

Tuesday, June 20

The Underside Of Power - Algiers (2017)

"We named Algiers a Band To Watch back in 2015 on the strength of their self-titled debut. The politically-minded gospel-punks, now a quartet following the addition of former Bloc Party drummer Matt Tong, are returning in June with a new album called The Underside Of Power, produced by Portishead’s Adrian Utley and Ali Chant, mixed by Randall Dunn of Sunn O))), and featuring post-production by the Men’s Ben Greenberg. Dunn and Greenberg both have cameos in the Henry Busby-directed video for the title track, which follows the band as they organize an anti-fascist resistance movement from their dimly-lit underground bunker. ..."
NPR: Algiers Shows Us 'The Underside Of Power'
YouTube: The Underside of Power, Cleveland, Full Performance (Live on KEXP). Recorded June 19, 2015. 27:55

Fighting for the Immigrants of Little Pakistan

"Tahira Khan was helping her son get ready for school, in Midwood, Brooklyn, when she heard a knock on the door. She opened it to find two immigration agents, who held up a photograph of her husband, Shahid Ali Khan, and asked where he was. Khan, who worked as a day laborer, was on his way to a construction site. The officers told Tahira to call him, and then one of them got on the phone and ordered him to come home. Outside the building, several other officers were waiting with a van. When Khan arrived, they handcuffed him, locked a chain around his waist, and pressed him into the back seat. They took him to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office at 26 Federal Plaza, in downtown Manhattan. That evening, immigration agents left him at a detention center in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where he was given an inmate uniform and placed in a dormitory with dozens of other men. ..."
New Yorker
New Yorker: Rebuilding Little Pakistan (Video)

Sussan Deyhim & Richard Horowitz - Desert Equations (1986)

"Electro-Persian excursion by ethno-techno duo consisting of Iranian vocalist Sussan Deyhim and US electronic music composer Richard Horowitz. A groundbreaking album, dominated by Sussan Deyhim’s sublime voice surging from behind virtual dunes and electronic oases, which prompted writer Paul Bowles to wonder: 'Was this composed under the influence of Majoun ?'... and which convinced filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci to entrust most of the soundtrack music for his 'Sheltering Sky' movie to Richard Horowitz. Since 'Desert Equations', Sussan Deyhim has worked with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Bill Laswell, Jah Wobble, Bobby McFerrin, Adrian Sherwood and Ornette Coleman. She has released the acclaimed 'Madman Of God' (Crammed, 2000) an album based on classic Persian Sufi poetry."
YouTube: Sussan Deyhim & Richard Horowitz - Desert Equations 8 videos

Monday, June 19

Neil Young - "River Of Pride" / "White Line" (1975)

"... After years of rumors, reports of the elusive Chrome Dreams acetate surfacing were finally confirmed in the early 90s. Not surprisingly, two bootleg CDs soon followed, one sporting the complete acetate (plus, oddly enough, some uncredited, unrelated live 1977 tracks) and another featuring the unreleased CD tracks intermingled with live versions of the songs that were the same as the released versions (the big news with this second boot was the inclusion of a previously uncirculated studio outtake from the same era: 'River of Pride,' an early version of 'White Line,' a song that showed up in a few 75/76 setlists and was eventually released on Freedom 12 years later). ..."
sixty to zero
YouTube: River Of Pride (Outtake 1977), White Line (Acoustic, Live: 1976), Neil Young & Crazy Horse - White Line(Live 1975)

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), 2016 April: Sleeps with Angels (1994), 2016 November: Eldorado (EP - 1989), Long May You Run - The Stills-Young Band (1976).

Bird Sounds

"Different species of birds make different sounds. However, the sounds are so quick and compressed that it can be tough to pick out what is what. So Kyle McDonald, Manny Tan, and Yotam Mann created a 'fingerprint' for each bird song and used machine learning to classify. Through the visual browser, you can play sounds and search for bird types. Similar sounds are closer to each other."
Visual collection of bird sounds
A.I. Experiments: Bird Sounds (Audio)
Bird Sounds (Audio)
YouTube: Nightingale & Canary - Bird sounds visualized by Andy Thomas, Bird Sounds Visualised HD

In Which When James Agee Woke He Was Almost Home

"from Memoir by ROBERT FITZGERALD. Under one strain and another James Agee’s marriage was now breaking up. I remember the summer day in 1937 when at his suggestion we met in Central Park for lunch and the new young woman in her summer dress appeared. It seems to me that there were months of indecisions and revisions and colloquies over the parting with Via, which was yet not to be a parting, etc., which at length would be accomplished as cruelly required by the laws of New York. Laceration could not have been more prolonged. In the torments of liberty all of Jim’s friends took part. At Old Field Point on the north shore of Long Island, where the Wilder Hobsons had somehow rented a bishop’s boathouse that summers, a number of us attained liberation from the pudor of mixed bathing without bathing suits: a mixed pleasure, to tell the truth. ..."
this recording

2011 June: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, 2013 June: Cotton Tenants: Three Families

Sunday, June 18

Rhythm & Power: Salsa in New York

"The story of New York salsa—an up-tempo performance of percussive Latin music and Afro-Caribbean-infused dance—is one of cultural fusion, artistry, and skilled marketing. Rhythm & Power: Salsa in New York illuminates salsa as a social movement from the 1960s to the present, exploring how immigrant and migrant communities in New York City—most notably from Cuba and Puerto Rico—nurtured and developed salsa, growing it from a local movement playing out in the city’s streets and clubs into a global phenomenon. The exhibition also looks at the role of record companies and stores in supporting and promoting the movement, and salsa’s often-overlooked ties to activism in the city. Rhythm & Power features dance costumes and musical instruments from some of salsa’s leading figures, as well as audio and video that bring the sounds and movement of salsa to life."
Museum of the City of New York: Illuminating salsa as a social movement from the 1960s to today.
A Visual History of Salsa in New York
NY Times - ‘Rhythm & Power’: A Little Bling, a Little Politics, a Lot of Salsa
NY Post: How New Yorkers’ obsession with Cuba gave rise to salsa

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, 2016 April: History of Salsa Dancing!

Behold! A Comics Round Up For June

Gabrielle Bell - Everything Is Flammable
"This column is somewhat overdue. Can I blame the voluminous nature of the books reviewed here? Not entirely, perhaps, but there has been some exceptional work released recently, and frequently in the form of thick graphic novels, adding substantially to reading time. The sheer quality of the books I’ve seen recently is encouraging, as are the production values, making these a pleasure to hold as well as read. The comics festival season is underway once again, and ELCAF starting today and running this weekend (June 16 - 18) looks set to be this month's highlight with great talent from the UK and worldwide at the Round Chapel in Hackney. ..."
The Quietus

Billy "Red" Love

"There is not a whole lot of tangible information to convey about pianist Billy 'Red' Love, who signed to record for fledgling producer Sam Phillips in 1951. Phillips passed off an early Love performance, 'Juiced,' to Chess as the latest effort by Jackie Brenston (then red-hot as a result of 'Rocket 88'). Love's own debut record, 'Drop Top,' came out on Chess and reportedly did fairly well regionally, but after a 1952 Chess encore, 'My Teddy Bear Baby,' Chess dropped him. He stuck around Sun through 1954, working sessions behind Rufus Thomas and Willie Nix and recording a wealth of unissued sides of his own. ..."
Black Cat Rockabilly
YouTube: Gee I Wish, Juiced, Drop Top, Harts Bread Boogie, BLUES LEAVE ME ALONE, A Dream, You're Gonna Cry, The Sun Years

Saturday, June 17

Brakhage: When Light Meets Life

Pages from Jane’s scrapbook including a photograph of the Brakhage children, 1958-1967.
"To describe the thinking behind his films, Stan Brakhage often quoted a saying attributed to the ninth-century Irish theologian John Scotus Erigena: 'All things that are, are light.' He got the line from Ezra Pound, and his attachment to it was one of the few constant principles connecting the hundreds of experimental films he made between 1952 and 2003. Brakhage’s movies could last anywhere from eight seconds (1967’s Eye Myth) to more than four hours (1965’s The Art of Vision, a longer version of his early Dog Star Man); they could be intimate records of his family life or abstractions made by painting, scratching, or collaging directly onto the film stock itself. ..."
Voices from the Beinecke Library: Brakhage Scrapbooks

Jane Wodening Brakhage, Eighteen Pages from her Scrapbooks, (1958-1967)

2009 April:Stan Brakhage, 2011 December: Burial Path/The Process/The Machine of Eden, 2012 August: The Dante Quartet (1987) - Stan Brakhage, 2016 July: Gnir Rednow (1960) - Joseph Cornell / Stan Brakhage.

Frantz - François Ozon (2016)

"Can carefully constructed lies heal the emotional wounds of war? That unsettling question goes to the heart of 'Frantz,' François Ozon’s sleek, somber adaptation of Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 antiwar film, 'Broken Lullaby,' set in Germany and France in the aftermath of World War I. I won’t reveal the lie that propels the story except to say that it’s a whopper: a big one invented to comfort the aggrieved at a moment when the Great War seemed to have undermined the sanity of a world thrown into chaos by mass slaughter. For an antiwar film, 'Frantz' is low-key. It doesn’t rub your face in gore or stir your adrenaline; there are no battle scenes, and only fleeting images of ruined cities and wounded soldiers; and a mood of bitterness, despair and exhaustion prevails. The movie even goes out of its way to evoke the cultural similarity of two warring nations, geographical neighbors, who appreciated the same music and art. ..."
NY Times
W - Frantz
Telegraph - Frantz review: François Ozon's gripping homage to Hitchcock
YouTube: FRANTZ Trailer | Festival 2016

Talking Heads - Performance (1979)

"This 1979 Talking Heads tour, promoting the release of their Fear Of Music album, would be the last to feature the stripped down quartet lineup and the first to gain them significantly more exposure in America. They had established themselves in Europe, but outside of college radio or the New England and California regions, America was just catching on to what an intriguing and captivating live band they were. These excerpts are from their appearance at Boston's prestigious Berklee School of Music, which was one of the wildest and most memorable performances on this breakthrough tour. ... The new songs had increasingly funny, yet even more thought-provoking lyrics. The overt awkwardness that frontman David Byrne often displayed onstage was just beginning to be perceived as the uninhibited expression that it really was, with many now dancing to it. His unusual vocal affectations were engaging and the music was clearly beginning to resonate more deeply, particularly in a live context. ..."
YouTube: Performance 1:10:29

2008 September: Talking Heads, 2011 June: Talking Heads: 77, 2011 August: More Songs About Buildings and Food, 2011 October: Fear of Music, 2012 January: Remain in Light, 2012 April: Speaking in Tongues, 2012 June: Live in Rome 1980, 2014 December: "Road To Nowhere" (1985), 2015 May: And She Was (1985), 2011 August: David Byrne: How Architecture Helped Music Evolve, 2012 January: The Knee Plays, 2015 October: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts - Brian Eno / David Byrne (1981), 2016 August: Fear Of Music: Amazing Early Talking Heads Doc From 1979.