Saturday, September 30

Our 7 Favorite Literary Coffee Shops

La Closerie des Lilas, Paris
"Writers and coffee go together like espresso and steamed milk. Everywhere you look, there's a writer plugging away on their laptop in a cafe, usually with a steaming cup of joe by their side. Caffeine stimulates the brain and increases productivity—something I know because I drank three cups of coffee before writing this blog post—but that's not the only reason why writers huddle in coffeehouses. Cafes all over the world have long been hubs for writing communities, like the Beats or the Lost Generation, to discuss ideas, read poetry, and of course, write. Many of these historical sites are still around, serving coffee and tea to the next generation of young writers in Paris, New York, and Rome, who, like their bohemian forebears, are looking for a cheap place to hang out that's not their apartment. Here are seven of our favorite literary cafes from around the globe. ..."
The New York Public Library

2010 September: Espresso, April: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World, 2013 May: Coffeehouse, 2015 June: Barista, 2015 August: Coffee Connections at Peddler in SoHo, 2015 November: The Case for Bad Coffee, 2016 January: 101 Places to Find Great Coffee in New York (2014), 2017 June: How Cold Brew Changed the Coffee Business.

Charles Mingus - Blues & Roots (1960)

Wikipedia - "Blues & Roots is an album by Charles Mingus, recorded in 1959 and released in 1960. It has been reissued twice as a CD, first by Atlantic Records, and then again by Rhino Entertainment in 1998. Mingus explained the birth of this record in the album's liner notes: 'This record is unusual—it presents only one part of my musical world, the blues. A year ago, Nesuhi Ertegün suggested that I record an entire blues album in the style of Haitian Fight Song (in Atlantic LP 1260), because some people, particularly critics, were saying I didn't swing enough. He wanted to give them a barrage of soul music: churchy, blues, swinging, earthy. I thought it over. I was born swinging and clapped my hands in church as a little boy, but I've grown up and I like to do things other than just swing. But blues can do more than just swing. So I agreed.' ..."
YouTube: Blues & Roots (Full Album) 1:12:41

2015 August: "Meditations On Integration" - Filmed in Belgium on April 19 1964., 2016 February: XXL’s A Great Day in Hip Hop: 16 Years Later (2014), 2017 May: Mingus at the Bohemia (1955)

Dubcast Vol.05 (Mixed by Bent Back Sounds)

"For the fifth installment of our Dubcast series, we’ve collaborated with fellow Brooklynite and label head Bent Backs Sound. Passionate about the 80’s era of reggae, Bent Backs Sound has collected records for over 10 years before becoming a label in its own right. The first part of this dubcast pays tribute to some of the artists and labels who influenced the sound via a fine vinyl selection. The second part of the dubcast serves as a Bent Backs Records showcase, showing off some killer exclusive dubplates and leaking unreleased tracks freshly out of the dub factory."
Brooklyn Radio (Mixcloud)

Friday, September 29

Terry Riley On Tape Loops

"In this video, via castlelizard, composer and performer Terry Riley discusses his 1950-1960 experiments with reel to reel recorders and tape loops. Riley’s tape looping was an important aspect of his 1963 work Music For The Gift and later recordings, like his 1969 release, A Rainbow In Curved Air. The influence of Riley’s tape loop pieces can be seen in Brian Eno’s early ambient albums, Robert Fripp’s Frippertronics and directly and indirectly in the work of many other looping artists. The video is from Doug Aitken’s Station to Station project."
Synthtopia (Video)
The Birth of Loop - A Short History of Looping Music (Video)
Early tape loop experiments with Eno, Fripp, Terry Riley, and Pauline Oliveros (Video)

Tape Echo on 2 Machines, from: David Keane: Tape Music Composition, 1980

2010 Sepember: Sampling, 2011 Sepember: Frippertronics, 2012 January: Loop, 2012 May: Tape loops
December 2007: Terry Riley, March 2010: In C, December 2010: Terry Riley & Gyan Riley, April 2011: Terry Riley - Shri Camel: Morning Corona, Terry Riley rare footage, live in the 70s, 2014 March: Kronos Quartet Plays Terry Riley: Salome Dances for Peace (1989), 2014 June: Solo piano works, Moscow Conservatory. April 18th, 2000, A Rainbow in Curved Air (1969), 2017 August: “A Particular Glow” – On Loving Terry Riley.

View of the World from 9th Avenue - Saul Steinberg

Wikipedia - "View of the World from 9th Avenue (sometimes A Parochial New Yorker's View of the World, A New Yorker's View of the World or simply View of the World) is a 1976 illustration by Saul Steinberg that served as the cover of the March 29, 1976, edition of The New Yorker. The work presents the view from Manhattan of the rest of the world showing Manhattan as the center of the world. ... The work has been imitated and printed without authorization in a variety of ways. The Columbia parody led to a ruling by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. in favor of Steinberg because of copyright violations by Columbia Pictures. The work is regarded as one of the greatest magazine covers of recent generations and is studied by art students around the world. ..."
W - Saul Steinberg

The Mind of John McPhee

"When you call John McPhee on the phone, he is instantly John McPhee. McPhee is now 86 years old, and each of those years seems to be filed away inside of him, loaded with information, ready to access. I was calling to arrange a visit to Princeton, N.J., where McPhee lives and teaches writing. He was going to give me driving directions. He asked where I was coming from. I told him the name of my town, about 100 miles away. ... McPhee has built a career on such small detonations of knowledge. His mind is pure curiosity: It aspires to flow into every last corner of the world, especially the places most of us overlook. Literature has always sought transcendence in purportedly trivial subjects — 'a world in a grain of sand,' as Blake put it — but few have ever pushed the impulse further than McPhee. ..."
NY Times
W - John McPhee
The Paris Review: John McPhee, The Art of Nonfiction No. 3

Thursday, September 28

Mumbo Jumbo - Ishmael Reed (1972)

Wikipedia - "Mumbo Jumbo is a 1972 novel by African-American author Ishmael Reed. Literary critic Harold Bloom cited the novel as one of the 500 most important books in the Western canon. Mumbo Jumbo has remained in print for 45 years, since its first edition, and has been published in French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and British editions, with a Chinese translation currently in production. Set in 1920s New York City, the novel depicts the elderly Harlem houngan PaPa LaBas and his companion Black Herman racing against the Wallflower Order, an international conspiracy dedicated to monotheism and control, as they attempt to root out the cause of and deal with the "Jes Grew" virus, a personification of ragtime, jazz, polytheism, and freedom. ... Historical, social, and political events mingle freely with fictional inventions. ..."
Wormholes through History / Ishmael Reed and the Psychic Epidemic
Guardian - Mumbo Jumbo: a dazzling classic finally gets the recognition it deserves
fractious fiction

Scanner - The Great Crater (2017)

"Over the last twenty give years Robin Rimbaud – Scanner has traversed the experimental terrain between sound, space and image, connecting a bewilderingly diverse array of genres – a partial list would include sound design, film scores, computer music, avant garde, contemporary composition, large-scale multimedia performances, product design, architecture, fashion design, rock music and jazz.With a catalogue busy with commissions, soundtracks and studio releases it’s extremely rare to find a new studio recording, so The Great Crater stands out by measure of this. Invited by the label Glacial Movements to create a new album he focused on the tale of strange circles appearing in Antarctica. ..."
Glacial Movements (Audio)
Igloo Magazing (Video)
amazon, iTunes

Johnny Cash - Highway 61 Revisited & The Man Comes Around

"This is my edit of Johnny's reading of Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited and his own song The Man Comes Around. Both songs were in a 2003 movie The Hunted, starring Benicio Del Toro and Tommy Lee Jones."
YouTube: Highway 61 Revisited & The Man Comes Around

2012 November: Ain't No Grave, 2011 October: Hurt, 2013 May: 4 Classic Sun Records, 2014 April: Ridin' The Rails The Great American Train Story (1974)

Wednesday, September 27

Fred Herzog Modern Color

"Fred Herzog is known for his unusual use of colour in the fifties and sixties, a time when art photography was almost exclusively associated with black and white imagery. The Canadian photographer, who once said: 'I wanted to show the world the way it is', obsessively documented Vancouver, mainly focusing on working class people, and their connections to the city around them. He worked almost exclusively with Kodachrome slide film for over 50 years, and only in the past decade has technology allowed him to make archival pigment prints that match the exceptional colour and intensity of the Kodachrome slide. In this respect, his photographs can be seen as a pre-figuration of the New Colour photographers of the seventies. Now, highlights of his wonderful work can be enjoyed in a new book entitled Fred Herzog Modern Color, which brings together over 230 images, many never before reproduced, and featuring essays by acclaimed authors David Campany and Hans-Michael Koetzle. ..."
Pioneer Fred Herzog's delicious colour street photographs of 1950s & '60s Vancouver
Book review: Modern Color by Fred Herzog
vimeo: Fred Herzog Modern Color

An introduction to Conny Plank in 10 records

"Conny Plank was the producer who shaped Germany’s electronic music sound like no other, influencing the development of ambient, new wave, hip-hop, house and techno in the process. With a new documentary about his life and work out this month, we scratch the surface of Conny Plank’s prolific output, from Kraftwerk to Eno and beyond. Among the unreleased items in producer-engineer Conny Plank’s archive is a Marlene Dietrich big-band session which, legend has it, Plank engineered in Hamburg in the mid-1960s. Another is several hours of collaborative work he recorded with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Cologne a decade later, which Plank’s estate has said it is preparing for release. Of the two items, it is the Stockhausen that would seem to sit most comfortably among the main body of Plank’s output. Then again, it may be that Plank’s radical experimentalism is the reason the Dietrich has never seen the light of day. ..."
The Vinyl Factory (Video)
W - Conny Plank

"Playground Twist" - Siouxsie and the Banshees (1979)

Wikipedia - "'Playground Twist' is a song by English post-punk band Siouxsie and the Banshees. It was released in 1979 by record Polydor as the sole single from the band's second album, Join Hands (1979). ... NME's Roy Carr hailed the single and wrote: 'If Ingmar Bergman produced records, they might sound like this. The listener is immediately engulfed in a maelstrom of whirling sound punctuated by the ominous tolling of church bells, phased guitars, thundering percussion, a surreal alto sax and the wail of Siouxsie's voice. It demands to be played repeatedly at the threshold-of-pain volume to elicit its full nightmarish quality'. ..."
YouTube: Playground Twist, The Staircase

2017 April: "Hong Kong Garden" / "Voices (On The Air)" (1978)

Tuesday, September 26

The Vietnam War Is Not Over

Marines marching in Danang, Vietnam, March 15, 1965
"'The Vietnam War' Ken Burns says in a recent interview, 'was the most important event in American history since World War II.' But, he explains, it’s also an event that tore the United States apart, a war whose wounds have not yet healed, a war we often try to forget. In the very first interview of this ten-part, eighteen-hour documentary, 'The Vietnam War,' author Karl Marlantes describes how 'coming home from the war was close to as traumatic as the war itself.' For years, he continues, no one really wanted to talk about what had happened. 'It’s like living in a family with an alcoholic father — shh, we don’t talk about that.' With their new documentary, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick suggest that we not only do need to talk about the war, especially the terrible divisions it left behind, but that together we can begin to overcome them. In addition to recounting the bloody history of the Vietnam War, their documentary seeks to facilitate a kind of collective therapy, where all sides, Americans and Vietnamese, the North and the South, GIs and antiwar activists, can finally begin to work towards closure. ..."
Washington Post: When Ike Was Asked to Nuke Vietnam
Jacobin: The Forgotten Interventions
America’s amnesia
amazon: Misalliance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and the Fate of South Vietnam, Hell No: The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Peace Movement by Tom Hayden
New Yorker: Ken Burns’s American Canon
New Republic: The Insidious Ideology of Ken Burns’s The Vietnam War
Guardian: Hell No review: celebration of Vietnam protests can inform resistance to Trump by Tom Hayden
Guardian - Ken Burns: How Vietnam War sowed the seeds of a divided America
New Yorker: The Vietnam War Is Still Killing People

2017 September: Give Peace a Chance

Street View of '80s NYC

"In the '80s, you could run scared through Times Square beneath a marquee for the movie 'Running Scared,' which stood right next to a store called 'Video Peeps.' You can now get a glimpse of Gotham's grittier days through an interactive map that collected hundreds of thousands of digitized archival photos organized by address. Map co-creator Jeremy Lechtzin told DNAinfo New York that he and geocode partner Brandon Liu came up with an algorithm to organize the more than 800,000 images and arrange them as seamlessly as possible for Google Street View-like effect. ..."
Stroll Through Gritty '80s NYC With This Interactive Map

The Story Behind Devo’s Iconic Cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction”

In 1977, the band Devo—five misfits from Ohio with a love of performance art—took Mick Jagger’s classic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and mutated it beyond recognition.
"One afternoon in 1978, Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale—the two prime architects of the band Devo—were fidgeting in Peter Rudge’s office, near the Warwick Hotel, in Manhattan, with Mick Jagger. Rudge was the Rolling Stones’ manager, and Devo had recorded an odd cover of the band’s hit '(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction' — so odd that their label said they needed Jagger’s blessing to release it. Mothersbaugh put the tape in a boom box and pressed Play. As the sounds of the cover filled the room, Jagger sat stone-faced. What he was hearing didn’t sound much like the 'Satisfaction' he’d written. Keith Richards’s iconic riff was gone, and the original melody was nowhere to be found. Was this a homage, Mick must have wondered, or were they mocking him? ... For thirty seconds or so, the men sat in silence, listening to the weird robo-funk coming from the boom box. Then something changed. ..."
New Yorker (Video)
W - “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

2009 December: Devo, 2011 September: We Are Devo!, 2015 February: Mark Mothersbaugh's Synth Collection

Monday, September 25

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA

Detail from a mural by the Oaxacan artist collective Tlacolulokos at the main branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, from a show, “Visualizing Language: Oaxaca in L.A.”
"I guess there’s a God. During one of the meanest passages in American national politics within living memory, we’re getting a huge, historically corrective, morale-raising cultural event, one that lasts four months and hits on many of the major social topics of the day: racism, sexism, aggressive nationalism. True, the hugeness of the thing is a problem, and the contents are uneven. But it’s a gift, worth a trip to puzzle over and savor. And if the timing is right, that’s semi-accidental. The event, called 'Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA,' is the latest of three successive multi-venue extravaganzas in and around this city, spaced several years apart, and bankrolled by the Getty Foundation. The first was an overview of art in Southern California from 1945 to 1980; the second was devoted to architecture and design. ..."
NY Times: A Head-Spinning,Hope-Inspiring Showcase of Art
Economist - Pacific Standard Time LA/LA: 1,100 artists from 45 countries
LA Weekly - How to See All of PST: LA/LA in 14 Days (Part I) (Video)
LA Times - From Donald Duck to Donald Trump, an unprecedented look at Latin American art holds up a mirror to the U.S.
LACMC: Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA at LACMA (Video)

A secret alley behind a street in Hell’s Kitchen

Clinton Court
"Is there anything quite as enchanting as coming across a quiet hidden courtyard in the middle of a dense Manhattan neighborhood? It’s especially magical when the courtyard is just a quick walk from the hustle and bustle of Times Square. That was my reaction when I took a walk through tiny Clinton Court in Hell’s Kitchen. This secret space is about halfway down the busy tenement block between 9th and 10th Avenues. It’s accessible through a long slender walkway behind a heavy iron door, which you can find to the right of the residence at 422 West 46th Street. The door is locked, of course. But it’s worth the trip if you can catch a glimpse of the courtyard from the street through the door. ..."
Ephemeral New York

Rivers and Tides: Working With Time - Fred Frith (2001)

"Rivers and Tides: Working With Time is Fred Frith's score to a film by Thomas Riedelsheimer about the 'land art works' of Andy Goldsworthy. Goldsworthy is preoccupied with the natural processes of water, beaches, and tides, and these elements are used extensively in his art. After viewing the film, Frith not only took his cues from the sounds of nature (the actual sound of water recurs throughout), but composed music that uncannily echoes the processes involved as well. Anyone who has spent time at the shore will recognize these elements: the repetition of waves on the beach, the inexorability of the tides, and a sense of time that can be so slowed as to be almost static. All of that is reflected beautifully in Frith's score, principally through piano, violin, and soprano sax. As with any large body of water, the music is mostly serene but can have some discord at times as well, as heard in 'Part III.' with its martial drumbeat and generally noisier demeanor. Rivers and Tides demonstrates that Frith is not only a skewed pop genius and fearless improviser, but a remarkably empathetic soundtrack composer as well."
W - Rivers and Tides (soundtrack)
YouTube: Rivers and Tides: Part I. —, Part VI (Rivers and Tides {Working with time, 2003), Part II. —, Part III. —, Part VII. —

2007 November: Andy Goldsworthy: Roof, 2012 March: Rivers and Tides, 2012 June: Andy Goldsworthy 1987 Grizedale

Sunday, September 24

SEE IT: Chuck Close gives first video tour of his subway art

"Next stop, an underground Close encounter. Acclaimed artist Chuck Close gives his first personal, on-camera tour of his 12 subway mosaics on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with RealClear Life. On view since January, the ceramic 'Subway Portraits' at the 86th St. Q train station include composer Philip Glass, photographer Cindy Sherman and Close’s ex-wife Sienna Shields. ... The dozen mosaics, 10 of which tower over 9 feet tall, are the largest public art works Close has made. It’s the first time the artist has worked with tiles. There are two self-portraits, along with one of late musician Lou Reed. 'Let’s roll down and look at Lou,' says Close, who’s used a motorized wheelchair since a spinal artery collapse in 1988 left him severely paralyzed. ..."
NY Daily News
What Does Chuck Close Have Against Public Art?
Legendary Painter Chuck Close on Public Art, Diversity and His Ex-Wife (Video)

2008 August: Chuck Close, 2015 September: Chuck Close: Red Yellow Blue, 2016 July: The Mysterious Metamorphosis of Chuck Close

Fellini Satyricon - Federico Fellini (1969)

Wikipedia - "Fellini Satyricon, or simply Satyricon, is a 1969 Italian fantasy drama film written and directed by Federico Fellini and loosely based on Petronius's work Satyricon, written during the reign of the emperor Nero and set in imperial Rome. The film is divided into nine episodes, following the scholar Encolpius and his friend Ascyltus as they try to win the heart of the young boy Gitón, whom they both love, within the film's depiction of a surreal and dreamlike Roman landscape and culture. ... Petronius's original text survives only in fragments. While recuperating from a debilitating illness in 1967, Fellini reread Petronius and was fascinated by the missing parts, the large gaps between one episode and the next. The text's fragmentary nature encouraged him to go beyond the traditional approach of recreating the past in film: the key to a visionary cinematic adaptation lay in narrative techniques of the dream state that exploited the dream's imminent qualities of mystery, enigma, immorality, outlandishness, and contradiction. ..."
NY Times: Fellini Satyricon By Vincent Canby (March 1970)
Guardian - From the archive, 10 September 1970: Fellini and a half
Roger Ebert
YouTube: Satyricon Official Trailer #1, Three Reasons: Fellini Satyricon

2017 March: Roma (1972)

City Lights Journal

"The very image of the counterculture, the City Lights Bookstore opened its doors on Columbus Avenue in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood in 1953. At first, under the name of the Pocket Bookshop, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin sold only paperbacks and magazines; the name was changed in 1955 when the famous Pocket Poets Series began with Ferlinghetti’s own Pictures of the Gone World. The series and the bookshop flourish to this day. In 1956, a few months after the famous Six Gallery reading, Ferlinghetti published Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, causing a firestorm of controversy when he was arrested and tried for the sale of obscene material in 1957. Ferlinghetti was acquitted, and the powerful little book of poems has since sold over a million copies. The poem itself was a watershed work for the New American Poetry, and is still contemporary in its angry protest. ..."
From a Secret Location

Saturday, September 23

Explore Parts Unknown

"Explore Parts Unknown is a mobile-first immersive guide featuring original stories and video, premium photography, and engaging interactives. Inspired by the Emmy-winning CNN Original Series Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, we’re recreating Bourdain’s journeys and diving deeper into the places, people, and stories he’s encountered. Explore Parts Unknown is an editorial partnership between CNN and Roads & Kingdoms—an independent media company focused on food, politics, and travel based in New York and Barcelona. Together, we have built a digital universe for the Bourdain super-fan to learn what he knows, go where he went, eat what he ate, and see what he saw. Born from Bourdain’s contagious passion for culture, food, travel, and adventure, Explore Parts Unknown highlights our shared obsessions: authentic food, culture, people, travel."
Explore Parts Unknown - Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (Video)

2013 August: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Robert Fripp & Brian Eno - The Essential Fripp & Eno (1994)

"This compilation of the recorded collaborations between guitarist Robert Fripp and producer/conceptualist/musician Brian Eno is taken from two album-length recordings made for the Island subsidiary Antilles in 1974 and 1975, No Pussyfooting and Evening Star, with an unreleased 1979 session added on. 'The Heavenly Music Corporation' and 'Swastika Girls,' totaling 39 minutes, make up the whole of No Pussyfooting. Both of these pieces are slowly evolving reel-to-reel tape experiences that are hypnotic and remain revelatory decades later. 'Wind on Water"'and 'Evening Star' account for half of the latter album's first side; they are easily the two most beautiful and 'melodic' cuts issued by the pair. The remaining 22 minutes are the previously unissued, four-part 'Healthy Colours.' These cuts are radically different from their predecessors -- they're more rhythmic, employing digital drum loops, a plethora of dynamic samples, and a wider array of sound effects and treatments. ..."
Jazz Rock Fusion Guitar
allmusic (Audio)
DailyMotion: Evening Star
YouTube: Wind On Water, 1. Healthy Colours I 2. Healthy Colours II 3. Healthy Colours III 4. Healthy Colours IV

The Unvanquished - William Faulkner (1938)

Wikipedia - "The Unvanquished is a 1938 novel by the American author William Faulkner, set in Yoknapatawpha County. It tells the story of the Sartoris family, who first appeared in the novel Sartoris (or Flags in the Dust). The Unvanquished takes place before that story, and is set during the American Civil War. Principal characters are Bayard Sartoris, John Sartoris (Marse John, Father), Granny, Ringo (Morengo), Ab Snopes, Cousin Drusilla, Aunt Jenny, Louvinia, and the lieutenant (a Yankee soldier). Although The Unvanquished was first published as a whole in 1938, it consists of seven short stories which were originally published separately in The Saturday Evening Post, except where noted. ... The Unvanquished is told in seven episodes—sometimes immediately following one another, other times separated by months or years—spanning the years 1862 to 1873. The book begins with Bayard Sartoris and his slave friend Ringo playing in the dirt on the Sartoris plantation. ..."
Gogol's Overcoat - Faulkner Friday: The Unvanquished (1938)
Google - A Reader's Guide to William Faulkner: The Novels

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, 2016 April: Absalom, Absalom!! (1936), 2016 May: The Sound and the Fury (1929), 2016 October: The Snopes Trilogy (1940, 1957, 1959), 2016 December: Light in August (1932), 2017 February: As I Lay Dying (1930), 2017 June: The Wild Palms (1939), 2017 August: Sanctuary (1931)

Friday, September 22

Access denied: wheelchair metro maps versus everyone else's

Just nine out of 303 metro stations in Paris are fully accessible.
"The metro can be the quickest way to get around many big cities. Unless you’re in a wheelchair. Although it has invested recently in improving accessibility, the London Underground – the world’s oldest metro, opened in 1863 – still only has 71 out 270 tube stations accessible by wheelchair or mobility scooter from street to platform. Given that 21 of those require ramps and staff assistance to board trains, the number of fully accessible stations – which people in wheelchairs can use independently – is just 50. ..."
Guardian - Accessing cities with a disability: what have your experiences been?

Thursday, September 21

Mithkal Alzghair

"When we see a Syrian body today, it’s usually emerging from rubble, bloodied and stripped, or worse, already dead. If Syrians are not represented as victims of war, they appear as refugees in foreign lands, awkwardly juxtaposed with locals or aid workers. Beyond the tragic photograph, what do we ever learn about their bodies, or their lives? And why do we get a front seat to their agony? As if they haven’t lost enough, in a flash, they perpetually lose control over their own image. In Displacement, a double-bill dance performance staged at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London this July, choreographer and dancer Mithkal Alzghair put the audience face to face with a moving Syrian body, and gave it the space to speak for itself. The moving, and at times unsettling, performance was part of London’s Shubbak Festival—a multidisciplinary, biannual arts festival that emerged in the expectant Arab Spring moment of 2011 with a vision to bring the most exciting Arab artwork to an international audience. ..."
Guernica - Mithkal Alzghair: Dancing Displacement
Learning How to Live with Exile (Video)
Writing about dance
vimeo: Mithkal Alzghair 8 Videos
YouTube: Déplacement

Artists on Political Art

Carrie Mae Weems
"To coincide with the November issue of Artforum on art and politics, presents artists Carrie Mae Weems, Matthew Weinstein, Marilyn Minter, Hans Haacke, Nadia Ayari, Nancy Chunn, and Vitaly Komar as they discuss political art."

Wednesday, September 20

An Ode to Acts of Kindness on the New York City Subway

"For many New Yorkers, their subway line is a second home. They see their neighbors on the same route; they know which car will be closest to their exit; and they have favorite spots for the ride. Andre Wagner, who has been taking photographs in the subway since 2013 and whose book,'Here for the Ride,' will be published this week, likes to stand in front of the doors. 'I can see everything in the car that way,' he said. With a background in social work, he was interested in capturing acts of kindness, among other things, in the confined spaces. I wanted to witness those acts of humanity happening in this very public space,' he said. 'People giving up their seats to a mother and child or helping hold the door for someone running to catch the train.' ...”
NY Times

2017 August: Capturing Love, the Brooklyn Way

Soul Exorcism Redux - James Chance & The Contortions (2007)

"Recorded in June of 1980, Soul Exorcism proves that jazz, funk, experimental, and new wave make quite an intoxicating mix when perfected. James Chance sums up the proceedings perfectly in the liner notes, where he states that the music perfectly reveals the essence and soul of New York City (even though it was recorded in Rotterdam). Backed up by a stellar backing band, which Chance himself calls one of the most volatile units he's worked with, the Contortions simply shine. Like most other Contortions recordings, cacophony rears its head from time to time, but that's what the band uses to paint different moods and textures: it's not used haphazardly. ... [In 2007 the Roir label reissued the album as Soul Exorcism Redux. Three tracks from a 1987 demo session were added to the end of the track list along with new art work.]"
amazon, iTubes
YouTube: Soul Exorcism Redux 

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), 2017 April: Contort Yourself / (Tropical) Heatwave full 12” (1979), 2017 May: Filmed by Libin+Cameron: James White & The Blacks (1980 Live Performance Hurrah NightClub), 2017 August: Live Aux Bains Douches - Paris 1980.

Give Peace a Chance

College students in Boston march against the Vietnam war, October 16, 1965.
"Say what you will about the Vietnam War, it had a great soundtrack. Feature and documentary filmmakers have, of course, long appreciated this—cue 'The End' by the Doors for the unforgettable opening sequence of 1979’s Apocalypse Now, and, about a decade later, Bob Dylan’s 'A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall' for a long, wet, and ominous combat patrol sequence in HBO’s documentary, Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (1987). Ken Burns’s twenty-ninth historical documentary, The Vietnam War (2017), co-directed with longtime associate Lynn Novick, falls within this tradition of depicting the war. ... If Burns tends to gravitate toward lighter topics, the Vietnam War is decidedly not one of them. So it was with some trepidation that I sat down to binge-watch the eighteen hours of The Vietnam War. Despite an occasional and, to my ears, strained suggestion that the war was in some ways the product of good intentions gone awry, this series is Burns at his bleakest. Unfortunately, this perspective is applied somewhat indiscriminately, to include antiwar protesters as well as policymakers. ..."

Tuesday, September 19

The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick?

"To better understand one of the most heated U.S. policy debates, we created a tournament to judge which of these nations has the best health system: Canada, Britain, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, France, Australia and the U.S.. 'Medicare for all,' or 'single-payer,' is becoming a rallying cry for Democrats. This is often accompanied by calls to match the health care coverage of 'the rest of the world.' But this overlooks a crucial fact: The 'rest of the world' is not all alike. The commonality is universal coverage, but wealthy nations have taken varying approaches to it, some relying heavily on the government (as with single-payer); some relying more on private insurers; others in between. Experts don’t agree on which is best; a lot depends on perspective. But we thought it would be fun to stage a small tournament. We selected eight countries, representing a range of health care systems, and established a bracket by randomly assigning seeds. ..."
NY Times

Parcel of Rogues - Steeleye Span (1973)

"Parcel of Rogues is the group's first real rock album, featuring a sound clearly rooted in modern sensibilities, with the guitars turned up very loud for the first time. The singing is still modeled on traditional patterns, and is quite beautiful (especially 'One Misty Moisty Morning' and 'Allison Gross'), but the resonances and undertones of electric guitars are everywhere -- the result is a record that, in some ways, recalls Fairport Convention's Liege & Lief (the record that led indirectly to the spawning of Steeleye Span in the first place), with some very flashy playing by Bob Johnson on some of the breaks. ... A lot of the time it works -- the ominous and dazzling 'Cam Ye O'er Frae France' would not have succeeded half as well without amplification, and every fan of the group should hear this track at least once. ..."
W - Parcel of Rogues
amazon, iTunes, Spotify
YouTube: Parcel of Rogues 39:12

Philosophy As a Way of Life - The New York Public Library

The School of Athens (Scuola di Atene) by Raphael
"Philosophy, as it is practiced today, is abstract, theoretical, and detached from life, just one academic subject among others. In the Greco-Roman world, it was something quite different, argues the French philosopher Pierre Hadot. Philosophy then was a way of life. Not merely a subject of study, philosophy was considered an art of living, a practice aimed at relieving suffering and shaping and remaking the self according to an ideal of wisdom; 'Such is the lesson of ancient philosophy: an invitation to each human being to transform himself. Philosophy is a conversion, a transformation of one's way of being and living, and a quest for wisdom.' It is the practice of what Hadot calls "spiritual exercises" that brings about self-transformation and makes philosophy a way of life. ..."
The New York Public Library

Monday, September 18

Pina Bausch Company: ‘This Is Theater, and These Are Humans’

Pina Bausch in “Café Müller” in Lisbon, 2008.
"What does a dance company do when its sole choreographer and leader, a figure as charismatic and intense as Pina Bausch, dies, leaving her dancers without a clear path forward? This was the situation faced by Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch in the summer of 2009, when Bausch succumbed to cancer, just days after her diagnosis. The dancers, on tour in Poland, made the decision to perform that night, and the next, and then another week, another year. Eight years and three artistic directors later, they’re still at it. For the next two weeks, they will be at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, performing a double bill of archetypal Bausch’s works from the 1970s, 'Café Müller' (1978) and 'The Rite of Spring' (1975). These were included in the company’s first season at the Brooklyn Academy, their introduction to the New York audience, back in 1984. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: The Ghosts and Rites of Pina Bausch
Sadler's Wells

tumblr: Pina Bausch: 1972-1988, 1988-2009, Pina Bausch: Costumes, Video, Sourcebook - Etc.

PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project (2016)

"On 2011's Mercury Prize-winning Let England Shake, PJ Harvey connected World War I bloodbaths with the 21st century world in harrowing, moving ways. Its follow-up, The Hope Six Demolition Project, feels like a companion piece with a wider focus and more urgent mood. For this project -- which also includes the 2015 book of poetry The Hollow of the Hand and a film -- Harvey and her Shake collaborator, war photographer Seamus Murphy, emphasized documentation: The pair spent years researching in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, D.C.; later, Harvey was literally transparent about the recording process, making Hope Six at a recording studio behind one-way glass for public audiences at London’s Somerset House. Befitting its origins, the album's sound is blunt and raw, mixing rock, blues, jazz, spirituals, and field recordings into the musical equivalent of photojournalism. Indeed, The Hope Six Demolition Project often resembles a collection of dispatches. ..."
W - The Hope Six Demolition Project
Guardian: The Hope Six Demolition Project review – potent, beautiful songs and minor lyrical missteps (Video)
The Atlantic: P.J. Harvey vs. Humankind
YouTube: The Community Of Hope, The Hope Six Demolition Project (Album Trailer), The Wheel, The Orange Monkey

2009 November: PJ Harvey, 2011 May: Let England Shake, 2013 May: Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, 2013 July: White Chalk (2007), 2014 July: LSO St Luke's in London (2005), 2015 March: Who Will Love Me Now (1996), 2016 January: Rid of Me (Big Day Out festival...Sydney, 2001).

Vicki Anderson - Message From The Soul Sisters (George T Refix)

"One of James Brown's Soul Sisters. According to Mr. Brown's autobiography, Vicki Anderson was the best female singer he had in his revue. She Joined Brown in 1965 replacing Anna King and she held her position there until she was replaced by Marva Whitney 3 years after in 1968. But she re-joined after Marva departed in 1969 for further three years until Lyn Collins took over. She disapeared after she left Brown for a while and resurfaced in 1975 with a single, featuring a cover of Rufus & Chaka Khan Hit Once You Get Started and Bobby Womack's Stop On By on Browns I-Dentify label, but this single failed to do any damage, and after this, Vicki never showed any signs to do studio work but she was regulary appearing in James Brown Funky People revue in the late 80s, and again with Bobby Byrd in the early 90s."
Soundcloud: Message From The Soul Sisters (George T Refix)
YouTube: message from the soul sisters

2016 September: Vicki Anderson: Mother Popcorn - The Anthology

Sunday, September 17

Harry Dean Stanton (July 14, 1926 – September 15, 2017)

Wikipedia - "Harry Dean Stanton (July 14, 1926 – September 15, 2017) was an American actor, musician, and singer. Stanton's career spanned more than sixty years, during which he appeared in the films Cool Hand Luke (1967), Kelly's Heroes (1970), Dillinger (1973), The Godfather Part II (1974), Alien (1979), Escape from New York (1981), Christine (1983), Repo Man (1984), Paris, Texas (1984), Pretty in Pink (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Wild at Heart (1990), The Straight Story (1999), The Green Mile (1999), Alpha Dog (2006), Inland Empire (2006), Lucky (2017), and others. ... His breakthrough part came with the lead role in director Wim Wenders' film Paris, Texas (1984). Playwright Sam Shepard, the movie's screenwriter, had spotted Stanton at a bar in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1983 while both were attending a film festival in that city, and the two fell into conversation. 'I was telling him I was sick of the roles I was playing,' Stanton recalled in a 1986 interview. 'I told him I wanted to play something of some beauty or sensitivity. I had no inkling he was considering me for the lead in his movie.' ..."
NY Times: Harry Dean Stanton, Character Actor Who Became a Star, Dies at 91
Guardian: Harry Dean Stanton, cult American actor, dies aged 91 (Video)
Variety: Whose Final Starring Role Might Be His Best
Rolling Stone - Harry Dean Stanton: 10 Essential Movies (Video)

2012 March: Paris, Texas (1984), 2014 August: Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction

Fela Power Show: Batch 4 (2011)

"Fela Power Show: Batch 4 is the concluding, eight-disc chapter in Knitting Factory Records' 26-disc reissue program of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti albums and early singles. It starts on the 1979/80 cusp of the dissolution of Afrika 70 and the formation of Egypt 80, when Kuti made the landmark Vagabonds In Power (1979), Coffin For Head Of State (1980) and Original Sufferhead (1981). It finishes with three late masterpieces—Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense (1986), Beasts Of No Nation (1989) and Underground System (1992). Kuti did not record as prolifically during the years covered by Batch 4 as he did during his 1970s' purple period: political campaigning occupied much of his time during the first half of the 1980s, he served a 20 month prison sentence on trumped up currency smuggling charges mid-decade, and he continued to be arrested, beaten up and jailed with odious frequency right up until his death in 1997. But his music remained as rich as ever. ..."
Part 21 - Final Fela Kuti Masterpieces Reissued
YouTube: Power Show - Live in Berlin - 1978

Emma Allen

"The New Yorker is known for its probing investigative reporting, deep-dive profiles and Pulitzer-winning criticism. But increasingly people are reading it for a few laughs. As the magazine expands its internet presence, the amount of original humor it produces has grown, with comic essays and cartoons often making up about a third of its most popular articles online. In some ways, that’s a return to the roots of the magazine, which began as a Jazz Age humor publication that championed James Thurber, Robert Benchley and Charles Addams, and helped define comedy for decades. 'With The New Yorker,' Russell Baker wrote, 'American humor began to master the arts of understatement, to refine the crudities of old-fashioned burlesque into satire, to treasure subtlety and wit.' As the new cartoon editor of the magazine, Emma Allen, 29, has become a steward of this tradition. ..."
NY Times: At The New Yorker, the Cartoonists Draw, but the Vision Is Hers
New Yorker: Adrian Tomine’s New York
Drawn and Quarterly

Saturday, September 16

Bob Dylan – Black Diamond Bay – May 25, 1976 Salt Lake City

"Up on the white veranda
She wears a necktie and a Panama hat
Her passport shows a face
From another time and place
She looks nothin’ like that
And all the remnants of her recent past
Are scattered in the wild wind
She walks across the marble floor
Where a voice from the gambling room is callin’ her to come on in
She smiles, walks the other way
As the last ship sails and the moon fades away
From Black Diamond Bay ..."
DailyMotion: Black Diamond Bay – May 25, 1976 Salt Lake City

Boujeloud - Master Musicians of Joujouka (2008)

"Second of two records recorded in Joujouka, in the Rif mountains of Morocco by Frank Rynne, after the touching day-to-day life music, this second release is about the (almost pagan) ritual of Boujeloud. It was produced under the direction of Mohamed Hamri. The group on this CD includes veteran Joujouka musician Mujehid Mujdoubi (1893-1997). The production records the music of Boujeloud or Pan, the ancient deity still recognized in the small Moroccan village of Joujouka."
Sub Rosa
W - Boujeloud, Master Musicians of Joujouka
Slate: The Master Musicians of Joujouka Brian Jones 40th Anniversary Festival 2008 (Video)
YouTube: JOUJOUKA INTERZONE - Master Musicians of Joujouka trailer HD, Master Musicians of Joujouka interview, Boujeloud and Brian Jones Joujouka very Stoned
YouTube: Master Musicians of Joujouka

2015 December: Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka (1971)

Heldon – Heldon II: Allez-Teia (1992)

"Allez Teia, originally released in 1975, was Heldon's second album. It is rightly considered an early, trance-inducing, electronic masterpiece. It is the only album in the Heldon cannon to feature acoustic guitar. Overall, I'd say that this is the most trippy and spacey Heldon material, it basically begs for you to break out the bong! It features the trademark 70s Heldon/Pinhas instrumental sound: waves of fuzz-tone, post Frippian guitars, ARP and VCS3 synthesizers, tape loops and mellotron, all building towards a monstrously delirious denouement. A absolutely stone(d) classic of the progressive rock scene of the 70s – searing, instrumental spacemusic, bridging electronics and psychedelic guitar in a legendary fashion."
Cuneiform Records (Audio)
Swan Fungus
YouTube: In Wake Of King Fripp

Friday, September 15

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

The main branch (now formally called the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building) of the New York Public Library.
"The main branch of the New York Public Library — the Beaux-Arts landmark at Fifth Avenue and 42 Street with the stone lions — opened its doors to a ravenous population on May 24, 1911. More than 50,000 souls are said to have flowed through its marble grandeur, inaugurating what has been an intimate, mutually sustaining union between the public and its library. In his magnificent new documentary 'Ex Libris: The New York Public Library,' Frederick Wiseman takes his camera into those same halls as well as into more humble city branches. He sweeps into atriums and down corridors, pauses in reading and meeting rooms, and lays bare this complex, glorious organism that is the democratic ideal incarnate. ..."
NY Times: We the (Library-Card Carrying) People of ‘Ex Libris’
Vanity Fair: Frederick Wiseman on his Latest Film, Ex Libris, and His 50-Plus-Year Career
Roger Ebert
New Yorker: Frederick Wiseman’s Utopian Vision of Libraries in “Ex Libris” (Richard Brody)
W - Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

2015 August: The New York Public Library, 2015 August: Underground New York Public Library, 2016 January: Lifting the Veil on the New York Public Library’s Erotica Collection, 2016 March: 11 Essential Feminist Books: A New Reading List by The New York Public Library, 2017 September: Get NYPL Digital Collections Tab for Your Browser

Meet the New Interactive Sky Chart!

"At long last, I’m proud to announce the release of Sky & Telescope’s much-loved Interactive Sky Chart! We worked with Chris Peat ( to make a number of changes — the vast majority of them under the hood — so that you’ll have a reliable sky chart that you can take with you into the night. The biggest development is that we’ve moved the code base that runs the Interactive Sky Chart from a Java-based platform to an HTML5 platform. We made the move because Java was never supported on iPhones or iPads, and some browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox, have also stopped supporting the software plugin. The new version of the Interactive Sky Chart runs natively in the browser, no plugin required. What that means for you, the user, is that there won’t be any more hoops to jump through just to get the sky chart to work. And when you call up the Interactive Sky Chart on your mobile device, it’ll work there too. ..."
Sky & Telescope