Wednesday, January 31

Ingram Marshall's Fog Tropes Reissued

"Arc Light Editions, the reissue label curated by The Wire's Jennifer Lucy Allan, have announced the details of their second release, following last year's first ever vinyl pressing of Arthur Russell's Another Thought album. Released on 12th April, it will be a vinyl reissue of American composer Ingram Marshall's 1984 release Fog Tropes/Gradual Requiem, originally released through Foster Reed's New Albion label and not repressed on vinyl since. The two pieces it gathers, 1981's Fog Tropes and 1980's Gradual Requiem, are among Marshall's best-known, drawing together environmental field recordings, brass instruments and voice into extended, exquisitely slow-to-unfold musical movements. You can listen to clips from its six tracks via the embed below. ..."
The Quietus (Audio)
W - Ingram Marshall
YouTube: Fog Tropes, Gradual Requiem
YouTube: Fog Tropes (Live)

Americans - Smithsonian

Likenesses of American Indians have been used to sell everything from cigars to station wagons.
"Festooned with a colorful collection of movie posters, magazine spreads, supermarket products, college merchandise and more, the towering walls of the 3,000-square-foot gallery space at the heart of the National Museum of the American Indian’s new 'Americans' exhibition are initially downright overwhelming. Here, a sporty yellow Indian-make motorbike; there, a bullet box from the Savage Arms gun company. Here, an ad for Columbia Pictures’ The Great Sioux Massacre; there, scale models of the U.S. military’s Chinook, Kiowa and Apache Longbow helicopters. It’s a dizzying blizzard of pop cultural artifacts with nothing at all in common—save for their reliance on Native American imagery. ..."
Smithsonian: Probing the Paradoxes of Native Americans in Pop Culture (Video)
Americans - Smithsonian (Video)

Hollywood milked the cowboys-and-Indians genre for all it was worth.

Slapp Happy - Ça Va (1998)

"Released in 1998, Slapp Happy's Ça Va was the first album issued by the trio of Dagmar Krause, Peter Blegvad, and Anthony Moore since the mid-'70s collaboration with Henry Cow, Desperate Straights. The arty instrumentation and arrangements of the early days -- which ranged from a rather twisted version of British folk-pop to avant cabaret to (in collaboration with Henry Cow) confrontational art rock and even pure sonic experimentation -- are gone, replaced by a more commercial blend of pop music sounds, including looped samples. Nearly everything is played by Blegvad and Moore, whose vocals sound as engaging as they ever have, with Blegvad the literate and somewhat eccentric transatlantic singer/songwriter and Moore mining moodier John Cale-styled pop/rock territory. ..."
allmusic (Audio)
W - Ça Va
YouTube: Scarred for Life, Working At The Ministry (Montage), Coralie, Silent The Voice, Powerful Stuff

2013 January: Desperate Straights - Slapp Happy / Henry Cow, 2015 May: Acnalbasac Noom - Slapp Happy and Faust (1973)

Tuesday, January 30

Hipster Culture and Instagram Are Responsible for a Good Thing

Jason Coatney works on the Spotify mural.
"Some punk kids have no dreams at all. Paul Lindahl was a skater and a drummer in a band when he found himself dreaming of painting advertisements. 'There was a paint production company in Portland, Oregon,' he said. 'I was like, oh my God, that’s amazing. Big-format murals, I want to do that.' Before the advent of low-cost vinyl plotters, large-format hand-painted murals were the norm for advertisements in cities across America. Mural painting was a trade passed on through a system of informal apprenticeship, much like plumbing or tattooing. By the mid-1990s, when Mr. Lindahl started dreaming, opportunities for new painters were few and far between. Hand-painted ads had become a niche product, an expensive last resort in landmark districts with strict signage laws. ..."
NY Times

Hunting for the Lost River of Paris

"La Seine, immortalized by artists and adored by lovers dangling their feet over the quay, harbours a dark secret. Under the fifth and thirteenth arrondissements grumbles la Bièvre, the Seine’s younger sibling who was banished to the netherworld exactly one hundred and one years ago. Starting thirty-three kilometers away in the Yvelines and feeding into the Seine at Gare d’Austerlitz, the Bièvre was once a vibrant river that attracted people way back in the Neolithic period. It was eventually named after the beavers that lived on its banks (derived from the Gaul bèbros). In the beginning, the Bièvre followed the course that the Seine follows now. ..."
Messy Nessy Chic

2007 July: Paris Walking Tours, 2011 February: La Seine, 2016 June: Crowds Are Out, Crates Are In as Louvre Takes Flood Precautions, 2017 November: Paris Wants to Build a Few Garden Bridges

Cleveland Indians Will Remove 'Chief Wahoo' From Uniforms In 2019

"The Cleveland Indians will be removing 'Chief Wahoo,' the bright red caricature of a Native American the team uses as a logo, from players' caps and uniforms starting in 2019. The divisive logo, which has been publicly protested as a racist and offensive image for decades, will remain on official merchandise available for purchase by fans. 'The team must maintain a retail presence so that MLB and the Indians can keep ownership of the trademark,' the Associated Press reports. The Indians announced the change on Monday. The team name — which has also been criticized as offensive — will not be changing. ..."

Monday, January 29

DJ LEXIS: Digging Is His Sanctuary

"Montreal-based collector Alexis Charpentier is nothing if not eclectic. He’s equally comfortable digging for fusion jazz records in Serbia as he is vibing to Quebec hip-hop. With a voracious appetite for musical knowledge, DJ Lexis’ collection spans genre and medium to create the best collection in the world—for him, anyway. Lexis has said that he wouldn’t trade his 10,000-plus albums for anyone else’s, not even those of his biggest influence, Gilles Peterson. Each album holds a special memory, personal history or intrinsic magic that’s a result of an intense dig or memorable moment with a friend. Yet Lexis will be the first to say that he doesn’t only collect for himself. He’s traveled the world to dig for vinyl and spin, exposing an untold number of ears to obscure Canadian sounds and unique mixes. ..."
Dust & Grooves (Audio)
LEXIS (Founder of Music Is My Sanctuary) (Audio)
Discogs - Crate Diggers Montreal Spotlight: DJ Lexis (Video)

Either/Or - Søren Kierkegaard (1843)

Wikipedia - "Either/Or (Danish: Enten – Eller) is the first published work of the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. Appearing in two volumes in 1843 under the pseudonymous editorship of Victor Eremita (Latin for "victorious hermit"), it outlines a theory of human existence, marked by the distinction between an essentially hedonistic, aesthetic mode of life and the ethical life, which is predicated upon commitment. Either/Or portrays two life views. Each life view is written and represented by a fictional pseudonymous author, with the prose of the work reflecting and depending on the life view being discussed. For example, the aesthetic life view is written in short essay form, with poetic imagery and allusions, discussing aesthetic topics such as music, seduction, drama, and beauty. The ethical life view is written as two long letters, with a more argumentative and restrained prose, discussing moral responsibility, critical reflection, and marriage. The views of the book are not neatly summarized, but are expressed as lived experiences embodied by the pseudonymous authors. ..."

2011 July: Søren Kierkegaard, 2013 April: Repetition (1843), 2013 December: The Quotable Kierkegaard, 2014 October: Fear and Trembling - Søren Kierkegaard (1843), 2014 December: The Dark Knight of Faith - Existential Comics, 2015 July: I still love Kierkegaard, 2015 October: The Concept of Anxiety (1844), 2016 October: Cruel intentions, 2017 July: Søren Kierkegaard Newsletter

Women’s Marches: Art in Action

"At this dangerous moment in history, our actions will determine our very survival. As artists, we use our pens, our pencils, our brushes, and our ideas to cast a light on darkness and combat the forces that are driving us towards a precipice. Curated by Andrea Arroyo, Steve Brodner, and Peter Kuper, OppArt features artistic dispatches from the front lines of resistance—check back each day as a diverse set of artists take aim and draw."
The Nation

Sunday, January 28

I Called Him Morgan (2017)

"In February 1972, in the midst of a blizzard, the jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan died after being shot in a Manhattan nightclub by his common-law wife, Helen. The shooting was tragic and traumatic for those who were there — one of Morgan’s band mates stayed away from New York for many years after — but for the rest of the world, it has the qualities of a sad, strange, faded tabloid story. 'I Called Him Morgan,' a suave and poignant documentary by Kasper Collin, dusts off the details of Morgan’s life and death and brushes away the sensationalism, too. This is not a lurid true-crime tale of jealousy and drug addiction, but a delicate human drama about love, ambition and the glories of music. Edged with blues and graced with that elusive quality called swing, the film makes generous and judicious use of Morgan’s recordings. The scarcity of film clips and audio of Morgan’s voice is made up for by vivid black-and-white photographs and immortal tracks from the Blue Note catalog. There are fewer pictures of Helen Morgan, who didn’t like to be photographed. ..."
NY Times: ‘I Called Him Morgan,’ a Jazz Tale of Talent and Tragedy (Video)
I Called Him Morgan (Video)
W - I Called Him Morgan
YouTube: I Called Him Morgan - Trailer

The Snooty Bookshop: Thirty Literary Postcards by Tom Gauld

"Tom Gauld (Mooncop, You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, Goliath) has created countless iconic strips for the Guardian over the course of his illustrious career. A master of condensing grand, highbrow themes into one-to-eight panel comics, Gauld’s weekly Guardian strips embody his trademark British humor, while simultaneously opening comics to an audience unfamiliar with the artistry that cartooning has to offer. Funny but serious, the Guardian comics allow Gauld to put his impressive knowledge of history, literature, and pop culture on full display—his impeccable timing, and distinctive visual style setting him apart from the rest. ... Witty and beautifully drawn, Gauld’s collection will make you chuckle at least thirty times, guaranteed."
Drawn & Quarterly
Tom Gauld

2017 October: Baking With Kafka (2017)

Tension in the Mist - A device-duet in layers by Joseph Branciforte

"This short test run by a composer based in Brooklyn by the name of Joseph Branciforte combines two devices toward layered, fragile effect. One is a synthesizer that provides for patching by cables to produce various sounds, patterns, and textures. The other, into which the synthesizer’s signals flow, is a delay pedal, which lends a sense of spaciousness that is in direct contrast to the tiny footprint of the actual boxes. ... This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally published to Branciforte’s YouTube channel. More from Branciforte at,, and Branciforte did me the honor recently of adding to a track I’d recorded as part of a Disquiet Junto project.
disquiet (Video)
Soundcloud: Joseph Branciforte (Audio)
Joseph Branciforte (Video)
Berklee (Video)

Saturday, January 27

Memories of Underdevelopment - Tomás Gutiérrez Alea (1968)

Wikipedia - "Memories of Underdevelopment ... is a 1968 Cuban film. Directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, the story is based on a novel by Edmundo Desnoes entitled Inconsolable Memories (Inconsolable Memorias). It was Alea's fifth film, and probably his most famous worldwide. The film gathered several awards at international film festivals.Sergio, a wealthy bourgeois aspiring writer, decides to stay in Cuba even though his wife and friends flee to Miami. Sergio looks back over the changes in Cuba, from the Cuban Revolution to the missile crisis, the effect of living in an underdeveloped country, and his relations with his girlfriends Elena and Hanna. Memories of Underdevelopment is a complex character study of alienation during the turmoil of social changes. ..."
W - Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
NY Times: Outside Cuba’s Revolution, Looking In
NY Times: 'Memories,' Cuban Film, Draws a Bead on Alienation
YouTube: Memories of Underdevelopment 1:34

Shango - Peter King (1974)

"Shango by Peter King is an album loaded with history. Originally recorded in 1974 in a Camden studio session funded by money from a TV soundtrack recorded by King a few years earlier, it remained unreleased for close to 30 years despite King releasing five albums in the years that followed, the band touring America, Europe and Japan and King establishing himself in the West as one of Nigeria s finest multiinstrumentalist. It finally saw release in 2002 by which point King had returned to his homeland to found the Peter King College of Music and continue his lifelong dedication to seeing how far I can go with Highlife fusion. Musically the album is equally loaded. Headed by King, who wrote and played saxophone and flute, the band included David Williams on bass, Paul Edoh on congas, James Menin on drums, Arthur Simon on guitar, Mike Falana on trumpet and Humphrey Okoh-Turner on alto sax. Together they fused funk, jazz and afrobeat and added hard-hitting vocal messages including calls for freedom in Africa album closer Watusi is about the struggle for freedom and democracy in Angola during the 1970s and references to African history and the Yoruba religion. ..."
Holland Tunnel Dive
W - Peter King
Soundcloud: Shango
YouTube: Shango, Go Go's Feast, Mr Lonely Wolf, Prisoner Of Law, Freedom Dance

Poetry Reading Flyers of the Mimeograph Revolution

"Hello! I'm Sluggo. Just Wanted to Let You Know," for a reading by Clark Coolidge and Larry Fagin at The New York Studio School
"Poetry reading flyers are transitory by nature — quickly printed, locally distributed, easily discarded and thus frequently overlooked by scholars and curators when researching and documenting literary activities. They appear from time to time as fleeting one-offs in archives and collections, yet when viewed in the context of a large group these seemingly ephemeral objects take on significance as primary documents. Through close observation of this collection of poetry reading flyers, one gains insight into considerations of the development and representation of literary communities and affiliations of poets, the interplay of visual image, text and design, and the evolution of printing technology. A great many of the flyers appeared during the flowering of the mimeo revolution, an extraordinarily rich period of literary activity which was in part characterized by a profusion of poetry readings, performances, and publications documented by the flyers. This collection includes flyers from the mid-sixties to the present with a focus on the seventies, and embraces a range of poets and national venues with particular attention to activity in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. ..."
Granary Books

For a benefit "Brunch / Reading with Margaret Randall" at La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley, February 2, n.d. Flyer. 8-1/2 x 11 inches.

Friday, January 26

Trump Ordered Mueller Firing Last June

"President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive. The West Wing confrontation marks the first time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel. Mr. Mueller learned about the episode in recent months as his investigators interviewed current and former senior White House officials in his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice. Amid the first wave of news media reports that Mr. Mueller was examining a possible obstruction case, the president began to argue that Mr. Mueller had three conflicts of interest that disqualified him from overseeing the investigation, two of the people said. ..."
NY Times (Video)
Washington Post: Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say (Video)
CNN: 5 things Trump's attempted firing of Robert Mueller teaches us (Video)

The Junction

"Broadway Junction is a place from which parting is the objective. Bed-Stuy, East New York, Brownsville, and Bushwick collide beneath the multilevel edifice of concrete and steel, where the A, C, J, Z, and L trains intersect. A woman sells churros, performers jump through hoops, and men and women preach about repentance while commuters cut through angular tunnels with a learned precision and speed. Planes descend overhead toward JFK, while in the distance, Manhattan looks like a hazy exaggerated version of itself. Even when standing still, everyone, and everything, is in motion, always on the way. Photos by Will DeNatale."

Jon Gibson by Britton Powell

"Whether you’re drawing a straight line or zig-zagging through the history of American Minimalist music, there is one person you’re bound to meet. Jon Gibson is a New York-based composer and performer with an encyclopedic list of collaborators, including Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Arthur Russell, and Terry Riley. Gibson’s own work evokes a sense of uncharted exoticism that invites the listener to spin the compass and follow. His phrasing and textures float like smoke in the air—boundless, serpentine, and weightless. Arriving at Gibson’s loft in Tribeca feels like entering the territory of his imagination. Sheet music covered with arpeggios line almost every surface, echoing the rhythmically patterned geometries of Gibson’s own visual art. Golden gongs bask in the window’s light, Tibetan tapestries drape the walls, and sculptures of dragonflies hang from the ceiling, slowly spinning. Seeing all this, you immediately feel that Gibson’s home is a safe haven from the city below. ..."
BOMB (Video)

2017 October: In Good Company (1992)

Thursday, January 25

We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite (1960)

Wikipedia - "We Insist! (subtitled Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite) is a jazz album released on Candid Records in 1960. It contains a suite which composer and drummer Max Roach and lyricist Oscar Brown had begun to develop in 1959 with a view to its performance in 1963 on the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. The cover references the sit-in movement of the Civil Rights Movement. The Penguin Guide to Jazz awarded the album one of its rare crown accolades, in addition to featuring it as part of its Core Collection. The music consists of five selections concerning the Emancipation Proclamation and the growing African independence movements of the 1950s. Only Roach and vocalist Abbey Lincoln perform on all five tracks, and one track features a guest appearance by saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. We Insist! is an avant-garde jazz album and a vocal-instrumental suite on themes related to the Civil Rights Movement. ... Brown and Roach began collaborating in 1959 on a longer piece that they planned to perform at the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1963. However, the urgency of civil rights issues steered them towards a new project in 1960, the album that would become the Freedom Now Suite. ..."
Liner Notes — We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite, by Nat Hentoff
amazon, iTunes
YouTube: We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite(Video)

Edward Hopper - Seven A.M. (1948)

"In her diary entry for September 22, 1948, Josephine Hopper recorded the completion of her husband Edward’s most recent painting: 'E. has done this canvas in 16 days. I find on looking back he stretched it on Labor Day Sept. 6. This [is] a very short time.' The painting she describes, Seven A.M., depicts an anonymous storefront cast in the oblique, eerie shadows and cool light of early morning. If the fullness of summer is suggested by the lush foliage at the left, the mood is decidedly off-season and desolate. The store’s shelves stand empty, and the few odd products displayed in the window provide no evidence of the store’s function. A clock on the wall confirms the time given in the title, and indeed the painting seems to depict a specific moment and place. Yet a series of Hopper’s preparatory sketches reveal that he experimented with significant compositional variations, depicting a figure in the second-story window. He even considered setting the painting at another time of day. Josephine Hopper described the storefront as a 'blind pig,' a front for some illicit operation, perhaps alluding to the painting’s forbidding overtones."

2008 July: Edward Hopper, 2010 October: Finding Nighthawks, 2010 December: Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time, 2012 Wednesday: Through Edward Hopper's eyes: in search of an artist's seaside inspiration, 2013 July: Hopper Drawing, 2014 May: INTERVIEW: “An Interview with Edward Hopper, June 17, 1959″., 2014 September: How Edward Hopper “Storyboarded” His Iconic Painting Nighthawks, 2015 February: Edward Hopper's New York: A Walking Tour, 2015 September: Edward Hopper life and works, 2016 May: "Night Windows," 1928, 2016 July: Sunday (1926), 2016 September: Drug Store (1927)

The Deep Blue Moods (Chance, Zorn, Ribot) at The Cooler, NYC 9.28.95

"James Chance, Robert Aaron, AJ Mantas, Ron Miller, Richard Dworkin, John Zorn, and Marc Ribot, performing Ain't Nobodies Business If I Do, Yesterdays, Leave My Girl Alone (with Luther Thomas and Judy Taylor). Filmed by Rich Spezialo. September 28, 1995 at The Cooler in NYC."
YouTube: The Deep Blue Moods (Chance, Zorn, Ribot) at The Cooler, NYC 9.28.95 (Video)
W - The Cooler (night club)

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, 2017 September: Soul Exorcism Redux - James Chance & The Contortions (2007)

Wednesday, January 24

Ursula K. Le Guin, Acclaimed for Her Fantasy Fiction, Is Dead at 88

"Ursula K. Le Guin, the immensely popular author who brought literary depth and a tough-minded feminist sensibility to science fiction and fantasy with books like 'The Left Hand of Darkness' and the Earthsea series, died on Monday at her home in Portland, Ore. She was 88. Her son, Theo Downes-Le Guin, confirmed the death. He did not specify a cause but said she had been in poor health for several months. Ms. Le Guin embraced the standard themes of her chosen genres: sorcery and dragons, spaceships and planetary conflict. But even when her protagonists are male, they avoid the macho posturing of so many science fiction and fantasy heroes. The conflicts they face are typically rooted in a clash of cultures and resolved more by conciliation and self-sacrifice than by swordplay or space battles. Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. ..."
NY Times
Guardian - Ursula K Le Guin, by Margaret Atwood: ‘One of the literary greats of the 20th century’

2015 October: Ursula Le Guin

When Something Is Wrong with My Baby - Sam & Dave (1967)

Wikipedia - "'When Something Is Wrong with My Baby' is a classic hit song, a soul ballad, written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, recorded in Memphis and sung by Sam & Dave, and first released in 1967 by Stax Records. ... The song was covered by: Otis Redding & Carla Thomas in 1967; by Charlie Rich in 1967; Sonny James in 1976; Hall & Oates with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick of the Temptations at their Apollo Theatre concert in New York City 1985; Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville as a Top Five duet in 1990 - from the Triple Platinum album Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind, and again by Patti LaBelle and Travis Tritt in 1994 and by Frankie Miller in 1994. It has also been covered by the Dutch singer Herman Brood. Guy Sebastian sung the song in a duet with Jimmy Barnes and original Stax band Booker T. & the MG's in Sydney during the Memphis Tour Concert (Friday, 7 March 2008). ..."
YouTube: When Something Is Wrong with My Baby (Video)

Water Ice Found Exposed in Martian Cliffs

Thick bands of ice (blue) have been spotted in steep cliff faces.
"Thick sheets of water ice, some barely buried beneath the surface and likely more than 100 meters thick, have been spotted on several Martian cliff faces. Geologists hoping to study the past climate history of Mars — and visionaries planning future visits by astronauts — got some great news with the discovery that exposures of water ice have been spotted on cliff faces. The widely scattered outcrops, seven in the southern hemisphere and one in the north, lie at latitudes of 55° to 58° — far from the planet's polar caps of water (and carbon-dioxide) ice. Colin Dundas (U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff) led the team that made the discovery using two instruments aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. First, detailed images from the spacecraft's HiRISE camera revealed banded layers in the scarps' steep faces that had a bluer color than their surroundings. Then near-infrared maps from the CRISM spectrometer confirmed that the layers were strongly enriched in water ice. ..."
Sky & Telescope
Science: Ice cliffs spotted on Mars
Washington Post: 'A fantastic find': Mars hides thick sheets of ice just below the surface (Video)

Tuesday, January 23

The 14 pieces of software that shaped modern music

Max (1986)
"We’re at the stage in history where using music software isn’t so much an option as it is a necessity. Sure, there are always going to be some contrarian sorts who take it upon themselves to record to dictaphone tape and pen their sheet music on rolls of dried human flesh, but nowadays they’re in the minority. If you’re going to be recording music, chances are you’re going to need some software to do it, and there are plenty of options. It wasn’t always this way – back in the early ’80s, when the MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) protocol was in its infancy, computers were still glorified word processors, and while some brave souls were attempting to generate experimental sounds (Max Mathews, please stand up), most of us were simply stuck waiting half an hour just to load a copy of 3D Monster Maze, only to be met by a read error at line 348. Over time, however, music software blossomed, and transitioned from fiddly time wasters, doomed to the forgotten directories on an Commodore Amiga cover disk, to the plethora of usable and sturdy apps we have available to use today. ..." (2016)

2012 January: Dr. T's Music Software, 2013 January: The 30th Anniversary Of MIDI: A Protocol Three Decades On, 2017 December: Instrumental Instruments: Atari ST

Communication: Gail Bichler

"For the fourth in our six-part series in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen, Design Matters, the New York Times Magazine design director Gail Bichler discusses taking risks, the tactility of print, and creating a record of history. All designers – whether they are producing everyday, practical tools or bespoke, high-end products – work with the same basic elements and needs. What do they need to communicate? What materials are they going to use? How is their design going to look, feel, and function? ..."
frieze (Video)

The Fate of the Party

Italian Communist Party (PCI) offices in Venice.
"At one point in time, the Italian Communist Party (PCI) was the largest communist party in the Western world, hitting 2.3 million members in 1947 and capturing nearly a third of the vote in the 1970s. Born out of a split, led by Antonio Gramsci and Amadeo Bordiga, from the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), the party underwent a clandestine period during the Mussolini regime; played a historic role in the antifascist Resistance; and won the inscription of its values into Italy’s postwar constitution, which states that 'Italy is a democratic republic founded on labor.' Yet its institutional legacy reflects little of the party’s original radicalism. Its 1990s transformation into the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) was the beginning of multiple splits and rebrandings which ultimately ended in today’s Democratic Party (PD), the center-left party led by Matteo Renzi and committed to liberalizing Italy’s labor relations. What accounts for this trajectory? ..."
W - Antonio Gramsci
W - Italian Communist Party
W - Amadeo Bordiga

2013 July: Gramsci Monument

Monday, January 22

Monday used to be laundry day in New York City

"I’d seen this 1900 image of sheets, shirts, and undergarments hanging between rows of New York tenements before. But I never noticed the caption, 'A Monday’s Washing.' Was Monday the city’s official laundry day? Apparently it was a traditional day to do the hard work of washing clothes, as this excerpt from Tyler Anbinder’s book about the city’s notorious 19th century slum, Five Points, explains. 'Hard wash-days—typically Mondays—provided some of the most unpleasant memories for tenement housewives such as those in Five Points,' wrote Anbinder. 'They first made numerous trips up and down the stairs to haul water up from the yard. Then they heated the water on the stove and set to work scrubbing.. ..."
Ephemeral New York
A Fine Line: The Art of the Clothesline
W - Laundry

#18: Semina 4

"In the Spring of 2003, my wife and I had recently separated and the ink had dried on the sale of our house. Alone, I retreated into a small one-bedroom apartment nestled in the center of a triangle involving all my points of interest: a cigar store, a library and a bar. It was a time to regroup and to collect my thoughts, not to collect Burroughs. Instead, flush with cash, I proceeded to shuttle my way between the aforementioned landmarks and to go on an epic Burroughs buying spree that I have yet to duplicate since. Seemingly every day a package containing some Burroughs rarity arrived in the mailroom. Items I previously never dreamed of being able to add to my library. Items I thought I would only be able to fondle at book fairs and in institutions. ..."
NY Times: A Return Trip to a Faraway Place Called Underground
From a Secret Location: Semina
Seminal and Impenetrable
amazon: Semina Culture: Wallace Berman & His Circle

40 Years On: Pere Ubu’s The Modern Dance Revisited

"In a December 1975 interview with Jane Scott of The Plain Dealer, a heavyset, wild-haired Cleveland singer known as Crocus Behemoth declared, 'We're putting out the hits of the next psychedelic era. If a melody fits in, fine. If not, we don't feel we have to use one. We're a bit ahead of our time, but that's the fun of it.' Mr. Behemoth was referring to his new band, Pere Ubu. Although they were yet to play their first show, they were already a familiar proposition in the nascent Midwest punk scene. Three months earlier, Cleveland proto-punk heroes Rocket From the Tombs self-imploded, leaving behind a trail of half-finished songs and tales of self-destruction and farce-filled gigs. Of its classic line-up - which Lester Bangs once called 'the original legendary underground rock band' - Gene O'Connor and Johnny Madansky formed Frankenstein, before settling on the name The Dead Boys. ..."
The Quietus
Punk 77
Fire Records (Video)

2008 April: Pere Ubu, 2010 July: Pere Ubu - 1, 2012 November: David Thomas And The Pedestrians - Variations On A Theme, 2013 February: Dub Housing, 2014 September: Carnival of Souls (2014), 2015 June: Street Waves / My Dark Ages (1976), 2016 January: Live at the Longhorn: April 1, 1978, 2016 February: Cloudland (1989), 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), 2017 June: Allen Ravenstine, 2017 August: Two First Singles (1975-76)

Sunday, January 21

2018 Women's March

Ginger Naglee from Olney, Maryland, reacts during the Women's March on Washington.
Wikipedia - "The 2018 Women's March held on January 20, 2018, on the anniversary of 2017 Women's March, was a reprise protest march with coordinated mass rallies, attracting hundreds of thousands of participants, in hundreds of cities, towns and suburbs in the United States, with sister rallies in Canada, Britain, Japan, Italy and other countries. Some of the largest rallies in the United States were held in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Dallas, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, and Atlanta. By 2018, Women's March U.S., along with protesting President Trump and his administration’s policies on 'immigration, healthcare, racial divides' and other issues, new themes gained momentum including 'Power to the Polls'. Power to the Polls carries a new message with a focus on increasing voter participation through new voter registrations, encouraging more women, as 'strong advocates for women’s rights', to run for office. ..."
Womens March (Video)
NPR - Women's March On Washington: 'We Are A Part Of America, So We Need To Be Out Here'

Rebekkah Logan, 20, of Corvallis, Ore.
Voices From the Women’s March - "On the first anniversary of the Women’s March, thousands gathered in major metropolitan areas and small towns around the globe. From Cheyenne, Wyo., to Pikeville, Ky., to Washington to Rome, people marched for women’s rights on Saturday. Eight photographers went to rallies for The New York Times and asked marchers what their hopes were for 2018. ..."
NY Times
NY TIMES: Women’s March 2.0 (Video)

2017 January: Women’s March Highlights as Huge Crowds Protest Trump: ‘We’re Not Going Away’

Ann Annie Makes Tape Loops Blossom

"If you follow Ann Annie’s music, then you may recognize the little tape cassette to the left of the deck in the new performance video 'Blossom.' Just over a week ago, a couple dismembered Maxell tape cassettes — also pink in accent color — were visible in one of Annie’s Instagram photos, with a 'feelin loopy' caption. Today the music that resulted has appeared. The product of that whimsy is now evident in this footage, almost seven minutes of exceptional sonic transformation, as the tape loop is mixed with dense oscillations, all of which is shifted, looped, glitched, and warped. There are terse bell tones and effluent white noise, lens-flare grace notes and ecstatic birdsong to 'Blossom,' which true to its name expands as it proceeds — what starts as loose and gentle gets more chaotic and rambunctious as time passes. ..."
disquiet (Video)

Big Sur - Jack Kerouac (1962)

Wikipedia - "Big Sur is a 1962 novel by Jack Kerouac. It recounts the events surrounding Kerouac's (here known by the name of his fictional alter-ego Jack Duluoz) three brief sojourns to a cabin in Bixby Canyon, Big Sur, owned by Kerouac's friend and Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The novel departs from Kerouac's previous fictionalized autobiographical series in that the character Duluoz is shown as a popular, published author. The Subterraneans also mentions Kerouac's (Leo Percepied) status as an author, and in fact even mentions how some of the bohemians of New York are beginning to talk in slang derived from his writing. Kerouac's previous novels are restricted to depicting Kerouac's days as a bohemian traveller. ..."
NY Times: A Turn in the Road for the King of the Beats (1962)
NY Times: A Writer Who’s Beat in Search of a Refuge
YouTube: BIG SUR Trailer (Jack Kerouac's Book Adaptation)

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), 2017 June: The Town and the City (1950)

Saturday, January 20

Joy Division - She's Lost Control (1979)

"... Listen to the nervy horror of She’s Lost Control now, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that it’s been cursed by some crooked finger of fate. It all seems spookily predestined that Curtis would write the lyrics when, in his nine-to-five job at the Department of Disabled Services in Manchester, he witnessed a young woman collapse with an epileptic fit. Later he’d learn that she died of a seizure; and eventually he’d be diagnosed with the condition himself. But even without the foreshadowing, She’s Lost Control would still sound starkand stern, like the last waltz at the death disco, coiled around Peter Hook’s rumbling bass. Curtis goes way beyond physical trauma lyrically too, turning the sight of jerking, flailing limbs into a cerebral crisis. Lost control means lost dignity, and the longer the song goes on, his voice becomes less steady, too: 'She’s clinging to the nearest passer by / She’s lost control / And she gave away the secrets of her past,' he barks. ..."
Guardian - Joy Division: 10 of the Best
W - She's Lost Control
How to Play She’s Lost Control by Joy Division (Video)
YouTube: She's Lost Control (Live)

2008 March: Ian Curtis, 2009 August: Factory: Manchester From Joy Division To Happy Mondays, 2010 November: Love Will Tear Us Apart, 2012 February: An Ideal for Living EP, 2012 May: Unknown Pleasures, 2013 May: "Atmosphere"/ "Dead Souls", 2016 December: John Peel Session (1979), 2017 July: Closer (1980)

The Second Lives of Pussy Hats

"One year ago, people at Women’s Marches across the country and around the world donned pink headgear to protest an administration headed by a man who, by his own account, thought he had a right to grab anything he wanted. We asked readers what they’ve done with their pussy hats since. Nicole Cesare of Philadelphia stashes hers in a 'go bag' along with pens, a notebook and snacks in case she needs to rush to a protest. Whitney Logan of Fairway, Kan., puts hers on when she makes phone calls to her senators and representatives: 'It gives me courage,' she said. Emily Kilbourn, in Bethlehem, Connecticut, wears hers when she’s going somewhere she knows she’ll run into conservatives: 'Amazing what a smile, wave, and a tip of the pussy hat will do!' For some readers, they’ve become complicated objects, representative of an unserious sort of activism, unsuited to the times. ..."
NY Times

American Landscape: An Exploration of Art & Humanity

American Landscape #34
"Using orange as a color representative of fear, Mousa’s mixed-media American Landscape Series takes up the fraught politics of LGBTQ rights in America. He employs the color’s long association with post-9/11 security threats – Code Orange (emergency code), even though in Europe and America prior to 9/11, orange had very positive connotations, like warmth, sweetness, and high energy. In Buddhism, orange is the color of illumination, indicating strength and wisdom. Mousa, however, uses it to add a disquieting sense of alarm to his work. Applied with scratchy, frantic marks, the color connotes both fire and blood. It lends urgency to an issue that’s intensely personal for Mousa, a gay man subject to right-wing, pro-family ideologies that compromise the queer community’s civil rights. The panels feature same sex figures linking hands – in pairs, rows, and even formations that build up the stars and stripes of the American flag. Combining them with other potent signifiers of American culture, the series provides important commentary on civil rights in the United States."
Nabil Mousa
NY Times: Arab and Coming Out in Art That Speaks Up

Friday, January 19

INTERVIEW: Jason Lutes Talks the Final Days of “Berlin”

"Following a devastating defeat in World War I, Germany embarked on what its citizens hoped would be a golden model of human achievement. However, the Weimar Republic incarnation of the country’s history was bedeviled by economic imbalance, social and racial strife, and radicalized factions that demonized their foes rather than striving to understand them. As even the most cursory knowledge of history tells us, this chaos paved the way for the horrific events of the Holocaust and World War II. For nearly twenty years, cartoonist Jason Lutes has been examining that tumultuous era of German society in the pages of 'Berlin.' At the center of the comic’s ensemble cast stand journalist Kurt Severing, hard-headed and serious, and artist Marthe Maller, affable and spirited. Around them revolve desperate children, Jewish businessmen, communist laborers, art students, National Socialist hardliners, Black jazz musicians and more. The intended trilogy of books is nearly complete — with 'Berlin' vol. 1 'City of Stone' and vol. 2 'City of Smoke' both published by Drawn and Quarterly. ..."
INTERVIEW: Jason Lutes Talks the Final Days of “Berlin”
LitHub: The American Artist Who’s Been Drawing Interwar Berlin for 23 Years
Quarterly Conversation
W - Berlin (comics)
amazon: Jason Lutes


Wikipedia - "A BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato) is a type of bacon sandwich. The standard BLT is made up of four ingredients: bacon, lettuce, tomato, and bread. The BLT evolved from the tea sandwiches served at a similar time to the club sandwich, although it is unclear when the name BLT became the norm. While there are variations on the BLT, the essential ingredients are bacon, tomatoes and lettuce, on a slice of bread. The quantity and quality of the ingredients are matters of personal preference. The bacon can be well cooked or tender, but as it 'carries' the other flavours, chefs recommend using higher quality meat; in particular, chef Edward Lee states 'Your general supermarket bacon is not going to cut the mustard.' ..."
YouTube: BLT - Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato

Nigeria Special Volume 2 & Afrobeat Compilation Reviewed

"In recent years, world music has become less, well, worldly. The creeping influence of the sounds of the Sahara have found their way to America’s West Coast, and to California in particular, scattered out over the underground landscape like seeds falling and floating off a particularly beautiful, and enviably fertile, flower. The burgeoning African hip-hop scene, too, has gone full circle: the bubbling flows and garish styles its impressionable, youthful rappers learnt from MTV imports, and then melded with their own instruments to create something wonderfully unique, are now impacting on the next generation of rappers and producers in America and Europe. Now Africa is firmly in the spotlight, good documents of its musical history (as well as those of the Caribbean islands and other areas of particular potency with a broadly African base) are needed; compilations that are well researched and unpatronising, expansive without being hopelessly scattered. And that’s where Soundway Records come in. ..."
The Quietus (Video)
Discogs (Video)
Discogs (Video)
Nigeria Special, Vol. 2: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970-6
YouTube: Nigeria Afrobeat Special, Nigeria Special Vol. 2, Fela Kuti Interview

Thursday, January 18

Meet the Puerto Ricans Who Fled to New York After Maria

Juan Miranda
"The Hurricane Service Center was set up by NYC Emergency Management in October of 2017 for displaced residents of Florida, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. I had gone there because I needed help: I’d been living with my grandmother in the northern coastal Puerto Rican town of Arecibo and went through Maria with her when it made a direct hit on the town; though the house suffered no damages, our daily lives became limited to setting up whatever receptacle we could find to gather rainwater and seeking whatever food was available in the small grocery stores nearby. As a video editor and filmmaker working in a small company in the south of the island, I couldn’t work without an internet connection, let alone power or generators. Eventually I decided to leave for New York City, where my brother lives. But the reality is that there is nothing minor about this crisis, for anyone. Some island residents lost homes, belongings, family, and friends, while others lost their jobs. ..."

John Carter ‎– Castles Of Ghana (1986)

"John Carter, a not-so-well-known clarinetist, creates in the ’80 a series of albums, 5 to be precise, that summarize the history of afroamerican music. Those lp’s are obviously not a scientific effort to classify and organize the musical experience of black people in United States, all the elements are nevertheless present and finely mixed. Avantgarde, swing, blues, minimalism, dixie marches share the same ground and justappose and interwine each other homogenously. Each of the five chapters deals with a different historical moments, from Africa to deportation, from the fields to the urban migrations in America. Castles of Ghana is the second part of the series, the title itself invokes dark dungeons where men were gathered and lately deported to cotton fiels and hard labor. The music is never relaxed, it goes from hectic to humble, sad and obscure to ironic, almost playful, with an wry irony disdainful of the oppressors. Altough the disc stands by itself, the listening of all 5 chapters, chronologically or not, is an engaging and imageful sham of a barbarity and of one of its painful but most sublime aftermath: jazz."
YouTube: Castles of Ghana, Theme Of Desperation, Conversations, The Fallen Prince

The Bostonians - Henry James (1886)

Wikipedia - "The Bostonians is a novel by Henry James, first published as a serial in The Century Magazine in 1885–1886 and then as a book in 1886. This bittersweet tragicomedy centres on an odd triangle of characters: Basil Ransom, a political conservative from Mississippi; Olive Chancellor, Ransom's cousin and a Boston feminist; and Verena Tarrant, a pretty, young protégée of Olive's in the feminist movement. The storyline concerns the struggle between Ransom and Olive for Verena's allegiance and affection, though the novel also includes a wide panorama of political activists, newspaper people, and quirky eccentrics. ... Unlike much of James' work, The Bostonians deals with explicitly political themes: feminism and the general role of women in society. James was at best ambivalent about the feminist movement, and the early chapters harshly satirise Olive and her fellow ideologues. Another theme in the book, much discussed recently, is Olive's possible lesbian attraction to Verena. ..."
Guardian: The end of innocence
The Allantic

Wednesday, January 17

Grounding the currents of Indigenous resistance

"Indigenous peoples across the Americas have been rising up for 500 years, presenting multivalent forms of resistance to colonial violence, femicide, epistemicide and ecocide. The many faces and instances of this resistance do not register within leftist discourse and practice, and, in fact, are often invisibilized. As Indigenous women who have actively participated in and led community resistance to colonial violence, our response to the question 'Why don’t the poor rise up?' is to share our own stories and the stories of our people here not as the answer to this question but as the context for our own question: 'When will the left listen?' This article was written at the onset of the fourth anniversary of the Idle No More movement and in the eighth month of the Indigenous-led action and encampment to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on sacred ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. ..."
ROAR (Video)
11 Indigenous resistance movements you need to know
W - Indigenous peoples
Unsettling America - Decolonization in Theory & Practice
Indigenous Resistance: The Big Picture behind Pipeline Protests
Indigenous Resistance to New Colonialism
500 Years of Indigenous Resistance: The Anti-Colonial Struggle in Canada (Video)
8 Musicians Highlighting Indigenous Resistance With a 2016 Spin (Video)