Monday, December 31

Arthur Russell - The World Of Arthur Russell (2004)

"There appears to be a typo on the usually on-point Soul Jazz label, in that an 'S' is missing from the title of their attempted overview of the enigmatic New York scene cellist Arthur Russell. If anything, there were many musical 'worlds' for Iowa-born Arthur Russell, and he floated between them effortlessly in a way that, up until death from AIDS in 1992, no one else had. There was the world of Indian master-musician Ali Akbar Khan, in which Arthur used his cello to trance-inducing effect. There was the world where his cello shadowed the beat-poet Allen Ginsburg at readings, as well as the world of The Kitchen, where he premiered his peculiar minimal compositions while also rubbing elbows with composers like John Cage, Rhys Chatham, and Philip Glass. He was in the rock world, too, nearly joining the Talking Heads and forming the short-lived Flying Hearts with ex-Modern Lover Ernie Brooks. He even briefly produced quirky tracks in the rap world, frustrating young rapper Mark Sinclair who would one day go on to make it as the meat-headed action hero Vin Diesel. ..."
Sounds of the Universe (Audio)
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: The world of Arthur Russell (Full album) 1:13:13

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

Manhole covers that left their mark on New York

"To get a sense of modern, massive New York City, you have to look up and take in the scope of the bridges, apartment towers, and skyscrapers. But to uncover the city’s past, it helps to look down. That’s where you’ll find manhole covers not stamped 'Con Edison' or 'Made in India' but embossed with a local manufacturer’s name and signature design motif. Instead of cookie cutter lids that all look alike, these covers turn a utilitarian object into something sublime. One of my favorites is the one at the top of the page by J.B. and J.M. Cornell, a manufacturer of specialty and ornamental ironwork since 1828, according to The address on the cover is that of the company; the cover itself was spotted in Brooklyn Heights. (Patented 1845!) The cover likely had glass over the holes at one time, allowing light through. ..."
Ephemeral New York

Sunday, December 30

Latin Underground Revolution: Swinging Boogaloo, Guaguanco, Salsa & Latin Funk from New York City 1967-1978

"A cooking collection of rare Latin soul tracks from the end of the 60s – and a few great salsa numbers from the 70s underground too. The cover shot is from a Louie Ramirez album from the boogaloo years. It is with great pride and excitement that we bring you Latin Underground Revolution: Swinging Boogaloo, Guaguanco, Salsa & Latin Funk from New York City 1967-1978 triple-45 box set. We have compiled an exciting mix of hard to find dance floor delights showcasing three different eras of latin music in NYC throughout the late 1960s & 1970s."
Holland Tunnel Dive
Discogs (Video)
Rocafort Records (Audio)
YouTube: 107th Street Stickball Team - Let Me Do My Thing

Saturday, December 29

Atlantic City - Louis Malle (1980)

Wikipedia - "Atlantic City is a 1980 French-Canadian romantic crime film directed by Louis Malle. Filmed in late 1979, it was released in France and Germany in 1980 and in the United States in 1981. The script was written by John Guare. It stars Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon, Kate Reid, Robert Joy, Hollis McLaren, Michel Piccoli, and Al Waxman. ... Sally (Susan Sarandon) is a young waitress in an Atlantic City casino who has dreams of becoming a blackjack dealer in Monte Carlo. Sally's estranged husband Dave (Robert Joy) returns to her one day with the intention of selling a large amount of cocaine that he had stolen in Philadelphia and meets Lou (Burt Lancaster), an aging former gangster who lives in Sally's apartment building and runs numbers in poor areas of the city; he also acts as a caretaker for Grace (Kate Reid), a seemingly bedridden aging beauty. Dave convinces Lou to sell the cocaine for him, but as Lou sells the first batch, Dave is attacked and killed by the mobsters from whom he had stolen the drugs. ..."
Roger Ebert
YouTube: Atlantic City original trailer

32 North Kentucky Avenue, Atlantic City, New Jersey. W - Club Harlem


Johannes Hevelius, Prodromus Astronomia, volume III: Firmamentum Sobiescianum, sive Uranographia, table QQ: Orion, 1690.
Wikipedia - "A constellation is a group of stars that forms an imaginary outline or pattern on the celestial sphere, typically representing an animal, mythological person or creature, a god, or an inanimate object. The origins of the earliest constellations likely go back to prehistory. People used them to relate stories of their beliefs, experiences, creation, or mythology. Different cultures and countries adopted their own constellations, some of which lasted into the early 20th century before today's constellations were internationally recognized. Adoption of constellations has changed significantly over time. Many have changed in size or shape. Some became popular, only to drop into obscurity. Others were limited to single cultures or nations. The 48 traditional Western constellations are Greek. ..."
Decatur Area Astronomy Club
W - IAU designated constellations
Stellarium is a free open source

Friday, December 28

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 - Black Times (2017)

"During his lifetime, Fela Kuti, the godfather of Afrobeat, was a cultural icon and one of the leading voices of unrest during the Civil War in Nigeria. He’s the country’s most famous musician, and perhaps its most popular child, too. Now, Seun Kuti, Fela’s youngest son, has emerged to carry his father’s legacy. He’s the current leader of Fela’s old band, Egypt 80, a group that changed its name from Africa 70 after Fela sensed a need to educate his audience on Egypt’s contributions to the world. While it’d make sense for the child of a celebrity to run from such parental weight, Seun has embraced it fully, tying his identity to his father’s. ... Seun’s philosophy is mostly aligned with his father’s because the current political situation in Nigeria reflects the fight Fela engaged in during the 1960s and ‘70s. ..."
On “Black Times,” Afrobeat Artist Seun Kuti Extends His Father’s Legacy (Audio)
Seun Kuti's 'Black Times' Is About "Knowing Who You Are As A Motherland Person In This World Today" (Video/Audio)
Discogs (Video)
amazon, iTunes
YouTube: Black Times (Live on KEXP)
YouTube: Black Times (Full Album) 1:01:10

The Economy Is Leaving Young People Behind

"Then the Great Recession hit, wiping out trillions of dollars in middle-class wealth, young people weren’t spared. They graduated into the weakest labor market since the 1930s, lost homes that many had just purchased, and accumulated an ever-growing pile of student debt that could not be discharged despite their financial distress. Things have gotten somewhat better since the depths of the recession, but young people are still worse off than they were decades ago. Their diminished economic position is apparent across a range of metrics. First, here is median net worth for young families. I included both the net worth concept used by the Federal Reserve and a modified net worth concept that excludes vehicles. Insofar as vehicles are rapidly depreciating consumer durables, many argue that they should not be counted as assets for these purposes. ..."

Macondo Mix: Pharoah’s World

"Hailing from Rome, Florence based, Simona Faraone is one of the first women to have undertaken the DJ career in Italy and Europe. Refined digger of cutting-edge sounds, she started a long and respected militancy in the Italian underground scene in 1987, with a background deeply rooted in the African-American music and an eclectic, original style. As an activist in the Italian club culture, she’s seen the birth and partaken in almost all the electronic music movements: from the seminal house and techno-rave, across the progressive detour, until the manifold forms of contemporary electronica. ... Her very own project of 'Phonographic Editions From Tomorrow’s World' called New Interplanetary Melodies was born in 2016 paying tribute to the unique and visionary approach of Sun Ra. It’s an experimental, free, transversal, and contaminated imprint which aims at promoting the sound of brilliant unconventional music producers and musicians, to create a parallel dimension in the world of modern independent sounds. ..."
Musica Macondo (Audio)

Thursday, December 27

Dakota War of 1862

Wikipedia - "The Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux Uprising, the Dakota Uprising, the Sioux Outbreak of 1862, the Dakota Conflict, the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862 or Little Crow's War, was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of Dakota (also known as the eastern 'Sioux'). It began on August 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota, four years after its admission as a state. Throughout the late 1850s in the lead-up to the war, treaty violations by the United States and late or unfair annuity payments by Indian agents caused increasing hunger and hardship among the Dakota. ... A military tribunal quickly tried the men, sentencing 303 to death for their crimes. President Lincoln would later commute the sentence of 264 of them. The mass hanging of 38 Dakota men was conducted on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota; it was the largest mass execution in United States history. ..."
W - Dakota War of 1862
The Dakota Sioux Execution Was The Largest In U.S. History — But America Has Forgotten It
YouTube: DAKOTA 38 - Full Movie

1904 painting "Attack on New Ulm" by Anton Gag

2011 July: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee - Dee Brown, 2012 September: The Ghost Dance, 2016 September: A History and Future of Resistance, 2016 November: Dakota Access Pipeline protests, 2016 December: Police Violence Against Native Americans Goes Far Beyond Standing Rock, 2016 December: Dakota Protesters Say Belle Fourche Oil Spill 'Validates Struggle', 2017 January: A Murky Legal Mess at Standing Rock, 2017 January: Trump's Move On Keystone XL, Dakota Access Outrages Activists, 2017 February: Army veterans return to Standing Rock to form a human shield against police, 2017 February: Standing Rock is burning – but our resistance isn't over, 2017 March: Dakota Access pipeline could open next week after activists face final court loss, 2017 April: The Conflicts Along 1,172 Miles of the Dakota Access Pipeline, 2017 May: 'Those are our Eiffel Towers, our pyramids': Why Standing Rock is about much more than oil, 2017 June: Dakota pipeline protesters won a small victory in court. We must fight on, 2018 February: PHOTOS: Since Standing Rock, 56 Bills Have Been Introduced in 30 States to Restrict Protests

John Prine - Everybody (1972)

"While out sailing on the ocean
While out sailing on the sea
I bumped into the Savior
And He said pardon me
I said 'Jesus you look tired'
He said 'Jesus so do you,
Sit down son
'Cause I got some fat to chew'"
YouTube: Everybody

2010 February: John Prine, 2011 October: John Prine - 1, 2012 May: Diamonds in the Rough., 2013 September: Sweet Revenge (1973), 2016 February: "Souvenirs" - John Prine & Steve Goodman (1973)

Wednesday, December 26

Poet Among Painters by James Schuyler

Frank O'Hara
"I first met Frank O'Hara at a party at John Myers' after a Larry Rivers opening: de Kooning and Nell Blaine were there, arguing about whether it is deleterious for an artist to do commercial work. I was most impressed by the company I was suddenly keeping. A very young-looking man came up and introduced himself (I had already read a poem by Frank in Accent, the exquisitely witty 'Three Penny Opera,' written either at Harvard or at Michigan.) He asked me if I had read Janet Flanner that week in the New Yorker, who had just disclosed the scandal of Gide's wife burning all his letters to her. 'I never liked Gide,' Frank said, 'but I didn't realize he was a complete shit.' This was rich stuff, and we talked a long time; or rather, as was so often the case, he talked and I listened. His conversation was self-propelling and one idea, or anecdote, or bon mot was fuel to his own fire, inspiring him verbally to blaze ahead, that curious voice rising and falling, full of invisible italics, the strong pianist's hands gesturing with the invariable cigarette. ..."
This Recording
PennSound - USA: Poetry Films by Robert O. Moore, 1966 (Video)

Washington Square - Henry James (1880)

Wikipedia - "Washington Square is a short novel by Henry James. Originally published in 1880 as a serial in Cornhill Magazine and Harper's New Monthly Magazine, it is a structurally simple tragicomedy that recounts the conflict between a dull but sweet daughter and her brilliant, unemotional father. The plot of the novel is based upon a true story told to James by his close friend, British actress Fanny Kemble. The book is often compared with Jane Austen's work for the clarity and grace of its prose and its intense focus on family relationships. James was not a great fan of Washington Square. He tried to read it over for inclusion in the New York Edition of his fiction (1907–1909) but found that he could not, so the novel was not included. Readers, though, have sufficiently enjoyed the book to make it one of the more popular of James' works. ..."
NY Times: Discussing ‘Washington Square,’ by Henry James
Henry James and Washington Square
Henry James’s (and Later William Wyler’s) Washington Square
[PDF] Washington Square

Frank M. Ingalls, New York City: Washington Square Park and arch, Double-decker buses visible, ca. 1901-1930.

2018 January: The Bostonians (1886), 2018 September: The Golden Bowl (1904)

Tuesday, December 25

"Habibi Funk 004 Mix" by Jannis of Jakarta Records (Mix of Arabic 70s & 80s vinyl)

"In the last couple of month I had the privilege to be able to travel a lot for DJ gigs and in order to find Fadoul's family (the fruits of this labour can be found here. I spent some time in Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan. This mix is some of the music I found, a few trades are in there too. It's quite a colorful range. Disco from Algeria and Morocco, a James Brown cover from Egypt, a modern soul meets reggae hybrid from Tunisia, a new Fadoul track that the internet doesn't seem to know of yet and some other great bits and pieces. Come along to another journey to the funky side of the arab world....."
Soundcloud (Audio)
okay africa (Audio)
YouTube: "Habibi Funk 004 Mix"


Wikipedia - "Tex-Mex (from Texan and Mexican) is a fusion of Mexican and American cuisines, deriving from the culinary creations of the Tejano people living in Texas. It has spread from border states such as Texas and others in the Southwestern United States to the rest of the country as well as Canada. Tex-Mex is most popular in Texas and neighboring areas, especially nearby states in both the US and Mexico. ... Some ingredients are common in Mexican cuisine, but other ingredients not typically used in Mexico are often added. Tex-Mex cuisine is characterized by its heavy use of shredded cheese, meat (particularly beef, pork and chicken), beans, peppers and spices, in addition to flour tortillas. Dishes such as Texas-style chili con carne, nachos, cripsy tacos, and fajitas, are all Tex-Mex inventions. ..."
What's the Difference Between Tex-Mex and Mexican Food?
YouTube: How the World's Most Authentic Tex-Mex is Made — Cooking in America

Sunday, December 23

Alistair MacLeod

Wikipedia - "Alistair MacLeod, OC FRSC (July 20, 1936 – April 20, 2014) was a Canadian novelist, short story writer and academic. His powerful and moving stories vividly evoke the beauty of Cape Breton Island's rugged landscape and the resilient character of many of its inhabitants, the descendants of Scottish immigrants, who are haunted by ancestral memories and who struggle to reconcile the past and the present. MacLeod has been praised for his verbal precision, his lyric intensity and his use of simple, direct language that seems rooted in an oral tradition. ... In 2000, MacLeod's two books of short stories, The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1976) and As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories (1986), were re-published in the volume Island: The Collected Stories. MacLeod compared his fiction writing to playing an accordion. ..."
Alistair MacLeod Interviewed

2011 June: The Lost Salt Gift of Blood - Alistair MacLeod, 2016 February: Island (2001), 2016 October: Alistair MacLeod - No Great Mischief (1999)

New label Zel Zele launches with holy grail Turkish jazz-funk 7″

"London-based DJs Debora Ipekel and Ece Duzgit are launching new label Zel Zele with the release of Ümit Aksu Orkestrası’s 1975 orchestral jazz-funk roller ‘Bermuda Şeytan Ücgeni’ on a limited 7″, backed with a psychedelic ode to Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge, ‘Boğaziçi Köprüsü’. Bringing together a selection of Turkey’s most talented musicians under the guidance of pianist, arranger and songwriter Ümit Aksu, both tracks make experimental use of an FBT brand synthesizer, brought to Turkey from Italy by Aksu’s son. Moving from Blaxploitation soundtrack to Sun Ra-esque synth wig-out, you can hear ‘Bermuda Şeytan Ücgeni’ below. According to Debora and Ece, Zel Zele will continue to release genre and era-hopping music 'that knows no borders, race, gender or genre… bringing the old and the new, from the dustiest of crates to fresh music, with its non linear sound.' Ümit Aksu Orkestrası’s ‘Bermuda Şeytan Ücgeni’ is released on 7″ on 19th October. Pre-order a copy here and check out the striking, original 1975 artwork below."
Vinyl Factory (Audio)
Bermuda Şeytan Üçgeni by Ümit Aksu Orkestrası (Audio)
Soundcloud: Zel Zele Mixtape #1 – Grup Ses 37:26

Saturday, December 22

You? Me? Us? - Richard Thompson (1996)

"... In anyone else’s hands, You? Me? Us? would be an epic bring-down. Even Thompson risks overplaying his hand by splitting this 19-track double CD into separate amplified ('Voltage Enhanced') and acoustic ('Nude') discs. The division of mood seems arbitrary in places. ... Of the two versions of 'Razor Dance,' the hot splatter of blood and tears on the electric take better suits the song’s deceptively exuberant chorus and sense of mounting crisis. But there is both good sense and emotional resolution, however fragile, in Thompson’s programming, and his singing and playing — supported by a small top-drawer cast, including the great British stand-up bassist Danny Thompson (no relation), drummer Pete Thomas of Elvis Costello’s Attractions and an old Fairport Convention band mate of Thompson’s, guitarist Simon Nicol — are uniformly marvelous. ..."
Rolling Stone
W - You? Me? Us?
amazon, iTunes
YouTube - The Ghost of You Walks, Cold Kisses, Dark Hand Over My Heart, Baby Don't Know What To Do With Herself, She Cut Off Her Long Silken Hair
YouTube: You? Me? Us? 19 videos

2011 July: Shoot Out the Lights - Richard and Linda Thompson, 2012 February: I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight, 2014 March: Videowest 81, 2015 October: Richard & Linda Thompson - Rafferty's Folly (1980), 2015 December: Rumor and Sigh (1991), 2016 March: Hand of Kindness (1983)

The 2018 Progressive Honor Roll

From left: Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib. Illustration by Louisa Bertman.
"Progressives were on the march in 2018. They weren’t just resisting Trump; they were outlining the alternative to Trumpism. They weren’t just winning the battle of ideas by moving Medicare for All and Fight for $15 proposals into the mainstream; they were winning battles at the ballot box as well. The fight for the future is far from over, but 2018 offered signs that it can and will be won. The Nation’s 2018 Progressive Honor Roll recognizes the dissidents and the strategists, the veteran campaigners and the next-gen leaders who are charting the course. ..."
The Nation

Friday, December 21

Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape

J.M.W. Turner, Wolf's Hope, Eyemouth (c. 1835)
"... J.M.W. Turner traveled widely throughout Britain and Europe, capturing the wonders of the world including the rivers of France, the Alps of Switzerland, and the canals of Venice. He began his career as a topographical draughtsman, for which attention to detail and accuracy were paramount. His style evolved in order to capture the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere. Turner’s late oil paintings and watercolors verge on abstraction and are often erroneously thought to have inspired the French Impressionists: for all his travels, his paintings were little known outside of England. Critics of Turner’s day were largely uncomplimentary. ... John Constable endeavored to capture the essence of nature in his landscapes, inspired by the countryside around East Bergholt. Writing to his close friend John Fisher, he related: 'Still I should paint my own places best; painting is with me but another word for feeling, and I associate ‘my careless boyhood’ with all that lies on the banks of the Stour; those scenes made me a painter, and I am grateful….' ..."
The Clark
Art History News

John Constable, The Wheat Field, 1816

November 2007: J. M. W. Turner, 2009 April: Turner & Italy, 2011 June: J. M. W. Turner - 1, 2014 June: In Which We Find His Theory Of Color Implausible, 2014 September: The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free, 2015 May: Mr. Turner (2014), 2018 November: The Slave Ship (1840), 2008 July: John Constable, 2014 November: The Hay Wain, 2009 October: Hay in Art, 2010 March: Van Gogh Museum, 2010 May: Why preserve Van Gogh's palette?, 2012 April: Van Gogh Up Close, 2015 May: Van Gogh and Nature, 2016 January: Van Gogh's Bedrooms, 2016 November: Wheat Fields - Van Gogh series. 

Cedric 'Im' Brooks And The Divine Light - From Mento To Reggae To Third World Music (1973)

" First time on CD for this rare vintage session from saxophonist extraordinaire Cedric ‘im’ Brooks recorded in 1973 at Randy’s Studio, 17 North Parade, Kingston, Jamaica and produced by the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica plus three tracks added to the original ten track vinyl produced by Clive Chin. The songs selected trace the development from mento, through JA R&B, ska, rocksteady and reggae. A fascinating album. ..."
Holland Tunnel Dive
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Satta Massa Gana, Let's Do Rock Steady, Steaming, Schooling The Duke, Put It On

Thursday, December 20

Meet Henry Darger, the Most Famous of Outsider Artists, Who Died in Obscurity, Leaving Behind Hundreds of Unseen Fantasy Illustrations and a 15,000-Page Novel

"In his cheeky invention of a character called Marvin Pontiac, an obscure West African-born bluesman, the avant-garde composer and saxophonist John Lurie created 'a wry and purposeful sendup of the ways in which critics canonize and worship the disenfranchised and bedeviled,' Amanda Petrusich writes at The New Yorker. Lurie's satire shows how the critical fetish for outsider artists has a persistent emphasis: a hyperfocus on 'misshapen yet pervasive ideas' about class, race, education, and ability as markers of primitive authenticity. The term 'outsider art' can sound patronizing and even predatory, laden with assumptions about who does and who does not deserve inclusion and agency in the art world. Outsider art gets collected, exhibited, catalogued, and sold, usually accompanied by a semi-mythology about the artist’s fringe circumstances. ..."
Open Culture (Video)
W - Henry Darger
Salon - "Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal" by John M. MacGregor
On Henry Darger’s 15,000-Page Novel
amazon: Henry Darger

“Untitled” (mid 20th century), watercolor, pencil, carbon tracing, and collage on pierced paper, 24 x 106 1/2 in.

The End of Europe? - Thomas L. Friedman

Yellow Vest protesters clashed with the police in Paris on Saturday.
"PARIS — Ever since World War II, the liberal global order that has spread more freedom and prosperity around the world than at any other time in history has been held up by two pillars: the United States of America and the United Nations of Europe, now known as the European Union. Both of these centers of free markets, free people and free ideas are being shaken today by rural and beyond-the-suburbs insurgencies of largely white working-poor and anxious middle classes, which have not generally benefited from the surges in globalization, immigration and technology that have lifted superstar cities like London, Paris and San Francisco and their multicultural populations. ..."
NY Times

2018 December: Paris Burning, 2018 December: Yellow vests movement

Travelers of Al-Andalus, Part II: Abu Hamid Al-Garnati’s World of Wonders

"Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman ibn Suleiman ibn Rabi al-Qaysi, known more conveniently to posterity as Abu Hamid Al-Garnati and so named after his hometown of Granada ('Garnata'), sailed, caravanned, traded and trekked from the Arab West to the northern- and easternmost reaches of the Islamic world and beyond. Born in the year 1080 under the last of the Zirid kings, he was a merchant and a scholar who, in a 90-year lifetime, wrote on a variety of subjects in two works following the literary tradition called kutub al-‘aja’ib in Arabic, or 'books of wonder'—a genre that he helped to define. As one might expect from the name, a 'book of wonders' is not only what one sees and hears on one’s travels, but also what one could not have possibly seen because it did not then nor did it ever exist. At the same time, these 'wonders'—of legendary places, mythical people and wholly imagined events—make for good reading. ..."
Aramco World

2016 March: Travelers of Al-Andalus, Part VI: The Double Lives of Ibn al-Khatib, 2017 April: Travelers of Al-Andalus, Part I: The Travel Writer

Wednesday, December 19

Makaya McCraven – Universal Beings (2018)

"Jazz drummer Makaya McCraven could not possibly have predicted that the release date of his new album, Universal Beings, would coincide with a week of domestic terrorist acts fueled by racism, anti-semitism, and anti-immigration hysteria. Though his album’s 'all-encompassing message of unity, peace & power' would be welcome at any time, it is particularly transformative at this moment as a reminder of our shared humanity and the need to bridge cultural divides. The double CD is divided into four distinct sections, organized around recording sessions in New York, Chicago, London and Los Angeles. Makaya, who was born in Paris, France to expat American jazz drummer Stephen McCraven and Hungarian singer Agnes Zsigmondi, sought other globally-minded musicians for these four ensembles. ..."
Black Grooves (Video/Audio)
Makaya McCraven's Utopian Vision of Jazz Could Change the World (Video/Audio)
amazon, spotify
Mondria An Jazz: Makaya McCraven Boiler Room London Live Set (Video)

Newen Afrobeat

"Meet Newen Afrobeat, one of the first Chilean Afrobeat ensembles. Formed in 2009, they have a firm foothold in the Latin American response to the style created by Fela Kuti and brought to the continent with the arrival of West African slaves. The union of the African tradition with Chilean musical heritage is reflected in the band name. ‘Newen’ is taken from Mapudungan, – the language of one of the main indigenous communities in Chile, the Mapuche people. It means the force or spirit that manifests itself within every person. Their music represents Afrobeat with an extra potency. Formed of close to 20 musicians, Fela Kuti’s famous warcry 'Music is the weapon' resonates in their every rhythm. ..."
Música Macondo (Audio/Video)
W - Newen Afrobeat
Discogs (Video)
amazon: Newen Afrobeat
YouTube: Newen Afrobeat feat. Seun Kuti & Cheick Tidiane Seck - Opposite People (Fela Kuti)(Live)
YouTube: Newen Afrobeat - Full Album 56:57, Newen Plays Fela 25:48

Tuesday, December 18

Iraq’s Post-ISIS Campaign of Revenge

Watch “The Backstory”: Ben Taub on the future of Iraq, following the Islamic State’s defeat in Mosul. (Audio)
"A September morning in Baghdad. Traffic halted at checkpoints and roadblocks as bureaucrats filed behind blast walls and the temperature climbed to a hundred and fifteen degrees. At the Central Criminal Court, a guard ran his baton along the bars of a small cell holding dozens of terrorism suspects awaiting trial. They were crammed on a wooden bench and on the floor, a sweaty tangle of limbs and dejected expressions. Many were sick or injured—covered in scabies, their joints twisted and their bones cracked. Iraqi prisons have a uniform code—different colors for pretrial suspects, convicts, and those on death row—but several who had not yet seen a judge or a lawyer were already dressed as if they had been sentenced to death. Down the hall, the aroma of Nescafé and cigarettes filled a windowless room, where defense lawyers sat on couches, balancing stacks of paper on their laps. Most were staring at their phones; others sat in silence, arms crossed, eyes closed. In terrorism cases, lawyers are usually denied access to their clients until the hearing begins. ..."
New Yorker (Audio)
YouTube: Iraq’s Post-ISIS Campaign of Revenge | The Backstory | The New Yorker (Video)

Thousands of men and boys have been convicted of ISIS affiliation, and hundreds have been hanged. But these cases make up only a small fraction of the detainees. Thousands of families have been sent to camps in the desert, cast out from society.

2018 July: NY Times: Caliphate (Audio), 2014 August: The Islamic State, 2014 September: How ISIS Works, 2015 February: The Political Scene: The Evolution of Islamic Extremism, 2015 May: Zakaria: How ISIS shook the world, 2015 August: ISIS Blows Up Ancient Temple at Syria’s Palmyra Ruins, 2015 November: Times Insider: Reporting Europe's Refugee Crisis, 2015 November: Three Teams of Coordinated Attackers Carried Out Assault on Paris, Officials Say; Hollande Blames ISIS, 2015 November: The French Emergency, 2015 December: A Brief History of ISIS, 2015 December: U.S. Seeks to Avoid Ground War Welcomed by Islamic State, 2016 January: Ramadi, Reclaimed by Iraq, Is in Ruins After ISIS Fight, 2016 February: Syrian Officer Gave a View of War. ISIS Came, and Silence Followed., 2016 March: Brussels Survivors Say Blasts Instantly Evoked Paris Attacks, 2016 April: America Can’t Do Much About ISIS, 2016 June: What the Islamic State Has Won and Lost, 2016 July: ISIS: The Cornened Beast, 2016 October: Archaeological Victims of ISIS Rise Again, as Replicas in Rome, 2016 December: Battle Over Aleppo Is Over, Russia Says, as Evacuation Deal Reached, 2017 January: Eternal Sites: From Bamiyan to Palmyra, 2017 February: Tour a City Torn in Half by ISIS, 2017 March: Engulfed in Battle, Mosul Civilians Run for Their Lives, 2017 May: Aleppo After the Fall, 2017 July: Iraqi forces declare victory over Islamic State in Mosul after grueling battle, 2017 July: The Living and the Dead, 2017 October: ISIS Fighters, Having Pledged to Fight or Die, Surrender en Masse, 2018 August: After ISIS, Iraq Is Still Broken, 2018 September: Fight to Retake Last ISIS Territory in Syria Begins

A Rorschach of Extended Abstraction - Szymon Kaliski

"There are drones, and they are varied, and amid those drones are drones that are something else in disguise. Sometimes that something else is a trick of the ear, a figment surfacing in the sonic Rorschach test of extended abstraction. Sometimes it’s something buried just below the surface. If ambient music inherently explores the liminal, presenting a still surface that suggests untold action underneath, then a track like Szymon Kaliski’s superb '2018-12-13' plays with the ear by introducing elements hinting at a more formal music that never comes into focus. ... Track originally posted at More from Kaliski, who is from Poznań, Poland, at"
disquiet (Video/Audio)
Szymon Kaliski

Monday, December 17

The Physical and Spiritual Art of Capoeira

Mestre Lua Santana playing at Permangolinha, the three-day retreat run by Mestre Cobra Mansa.
"VALENÇA, Brazil — The white-bearded, dreadlocked master and his bushy-haired student face off in an open-sided compound set amid cacao trees and coffee bushes. The two are in constant motion, swinging back and forth in what is called the ginga — the fundamental movement of the Brazilian combat game capoeira. At times, the way they feint and kick, and roll under and over and around each other, looks like choreographed dance. But then one side does something the other is not expecting, and it becomes clear that this is a game of strategy, not a planned dance. Mestre Cobra Mansa’s ginga transforms into the movement of a staggering drunk, then a marionette whose puppeteer has suddenly let the string go slack. Then he’s in a handstand. From there, a leg strikes out like a lightning bolt, stopping just short of hitting his opponent’s face. ..."
NY Times

Capoeira instruments at Kilombo Tenondé.

2014 June: Capoeira

Castles as Coffins

Cape Coast Castle—Cape Coast. 1653 Sweden, 1665 Britain, 2004–05 and 2017, emele wood and enamel, 45″ x 133″ x 88″.
"The artist makes coffins. But these aren’t your standard-issue pine boxes—they are red snappers, Spalding basketballs, giant shoes. In the Ghanaian tradition of abeduu adekai (roughly translated, 'receptacles of proverbs'), the dead are honored via figurative coffins that reflect the lives of those interred. A street vendor might be buried in a soda bottle, a gynecologist in a casket shaped like a uterus. In 2004, Joe veered from his typical fare and created thirteen large-scale models of the still-standing slave castles and forts on the coast of Ghana. These buildings served as processing centers for the more than six million people enslaved and sent to the Americas and the Caribbean between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. Seven of Joe’s sculptures are on view until February 24 at the American Folk Art Museum, in New York, for the exhibition 'Gates of No Return,' named for the doors through which countless souls passed on their entry into forced servitude. 'Nobody would be buried in a slave castle coffin,' Joe has said, but these miniatures signify death just the same, looming as reminders of the millions of lives lost to and the histories decimated by the slave trade. ..."
The Paris Review
Folk Art Museum - Paa Joe: Gates of No Return
W - Paa Joe
YouTube: Fantasy Coffins | Paa Joe Ashong // 60 Second Docs, Ghana's Coffin Art: Paa Joe Waits For Your Last Dream...

Eric Rohmer - Nadja à Paris (1964), André Breton - Nadja (1928)

"Occasionally, unintentionally, triggered by a smell or an old tune, my mind drifts to that time when Paris didn’t resemble the USA at all, when life on the street and screen was similar and our days appeared like the films of the nouvelle vague. There was something breezy about reasons then, why you did this or that, no clear motivation or Hollywood endings. Of course there were American films around but many were quite good, nothing like the bang-bang violence we now dump all over the globe. Those films didn’t crush or overwhelm others in quantity (a reason why they were so admired) and you could also see French, Italian, Polish, Czech, or Russian films any time. There was a cinematheque, which for students was one franc. Most of us were poor and so we worried about three essentials—a room, the student restaurant, and a subway card. ..."
NYBooks (Video)
W - Nadja
[PDF]Andre Breton – Nadja
amazon: Nadja André Breton

2010 February: Eric Rohmer, 2018 April: A Cinematic Journey Through Paris, As Seen Through the Lens of Legendary Filmmaker Éric Rohmer: Watch Rohmer in Paris

Sunday, December 16

The Solace of Birds in Winter

On the wing after a snowfall in Nevsehir, Turkey, last week.
"In the search for comfort in the face of so many 21st-century dangers — to democracy in the age of fake news, to the natural world in the age of climate change — I don’t normally think of winter as offering much in the way of consolation. Many of the most interesting creatures have gone to ground now. The cheery chipmunks are asleep in their tunnels beneath my house. The queen bumblebees have made themselves a little sleeping chamber deep in the soil of my garden. Somewhere nearby, the resident rat snake is also sleeping underground, and, at the park, the snapping turtles and bullfrogs have settled themselves into the mud at the bottom of the lake. All the loveliest insects are gone now, too. The honeybees are huddled up in their hives, vibrating their wings to keep warm and feeding on the honey they’ve stored for just this reason. The monarch butterflies have long since migrated to their Mexican wintering grounds. My flower beds are nothing but a jumble of dried stems and matted clumps, a collection of dead vegetation I’ve left undisturbed for my tiniest neighbors to shelter in. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: Let Your Winter Garden Go Wild (Margaret Renkl - Feb. 10, 2018)

Hugh Mundell – The Blessed Youth (2007)

"Hugh Mundell was born in East Kingston, Jamaica, on the 14th July 1962, and shot dead there on October 14, 1983 while sitting in a car with a very young Junior Reid. Mundell was extremely young when he recorded his first tune for producer Joe Gibbs, the unreleased 'Where Is Natty Dread'. However, his recording career really took off when his precocious talent impressed Horace Swaby better known as Augustus Pablo. The latter produced the blessed youth’s first single release 'Africa Must Be Free' in 1975. ... The (now defunct) French label Makasound has unleashed a great Hugh Mundell set rightfully called 'The Blessed Youth'. This compilation cd culls all the tracks from the “Time & Place” and 'Blackman’s Foundation' albums – although some are actually the rare extended versions & deejay cuts of the album tracks – with the solid album opener 'Rastafari Tradition' lifted from Augustus Pablo’s 'Earth’s Rightful Ruler'. ..."
Reggae Vibes (Audio)
YouTube: The Blessed Youth Compilation [Full Album]

2010 September: Hugh Mundell, 2015 June: Hugh Mundell & Augustus Pablo - Jah Will Provide + Hungry (Dub Version), 2015 August: Africa Must Be Free By 1983 + Dub (1978)

Your Groove • DeForrest Brown, Jr. on Kevin Beasley and Underground Resistance

"The rigged sound of Techno is a language, dense with sentiment and context. In October, as part of its ongoing 'Posthuman' series, Performance Space New York hosted 'Man Machine,' a conversation between the Detroit-based electronic music collective Underground Resistance and artist Kevin Beasley. Founded in 1989 by Jeff Mills and 'Mad Mike' Banks, later joined by Robert Hood, Underground Resistance was militant in its rejection of 'programming by mediocre mainstream music and public institutions.' Now they are the inheritors and protectors of the 'original' techno sound. They were anti–status quo, citing Detroit radio personality Electrifying Mojo’s eclectic song selections as a starting point for the voracious techno sound. Mojo’s programs introduced inner-city Detroit to a broad spectrum of music, weaving entire narratives connecting the B-52s to Kraftwerk to Prince. Techno is more than the sum of its mechanical processes; like any machine, it also includes an operator, an inspired soul spurring it into motion. At Performance Space, Underground Resistance was represented by label manager Cornelius Harris and DJs Mark Flash and John Collins. ..."
Guggenheim: Kevin Beasley
Whitney - Kevin Beasley: A view of a landscape
twitter - DeForrest Brown, Jr. | Speaker Music
Kepla & DeForrest Brown Jr. reunite for The Wages Of Being Black Is Death on PTP, premiere “Black Icarus, Or Uncle Tom” (Audio)

Saturday, December 15

Neruda - Pablo Larraín (2016)

Wikipedia - "Neruda is a 2016 internationally co-produced biographical drama film directed by Pablo Larraín. Mixing history and fiction, the film shows the dramatic events of the brutal suppression of Communists in Chile in 1948 and how the poet Pablo Neruda had to go on the run, eventually escaping on horseback over the Andes. After winning the 1946 election with the support of the Communists, Chile's president turns against them, bans the party and orders mass arrests. The senator Pablo Neruda, former ambassador and well-known poet, speaks out forcefully against the repression. Warned that he is in danger, with his wife Delia he takes the road through the mountains to Argentina, but they are turned back at the frontier and have to go into hiding. A keen young policeman, Óscar Peluchonneau, is appointed to lead the hunt for the fugitives. ..."
Guardian - Fast, loose and lyrical: Pablo Larraín's Neruda anti-biopic
NY Times: Why the Movie ‘Neruda’ Is an ‘Anti-Bio’
YouTube: Neruda Official Trailer 1 - Gael García Bernal Movie, NERUDA Interview with Gael García Bernal & Pablo Larraín

February 2009: Pablo Neruda, 2011 November: 100 Love Sonnets, 2015 November: The Body Politic: The battle over Pablo Neruda’s corpse, 2015 December: In Chile, Where Pablo Neruda Lived and Loved, 2016 May: Windows that Open Inward - Pablo Neruda. Milton Rogovin, Photographing., 2018 March: What We Can Learn from Neruda’s Poetry of Resistanc, 2018 July: Poet of the People: The partisan world of Pablo Neruda

Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today

"Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today examines how the internet has radically changed the field of art, especially in its production, distribution, and reception. The exhibition comprises a broad range of works across a variety of mediums—including painting, performance, photography, sculpture, video, and web-based projects—that all investigate the extensive effects of the internet on artistic practice and contemporary culture. Themes explored in the exhibition include emergent ideas of the body and notions of human enhancement; the internet as a site of both surveillance and resistance; the circulation and control of images and information; possibilities for new subjectivities, communities, and virtual worlds; and new economies of visibility initiated by social media. ..."
Institute of Contemporary Art / Boston
Brooklyn Rail
Yale Books: Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today
YouTube: Art in the Age of the Internet at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston | Connecting Point, Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today