Saturday, June 30

What It Costs to Be Smuggled Across the U.S. Border

Mr. Cruz crossed into Guatemala legally with his national identity card.
"MATAMOROS, Mexico — Shortly before dawn one Sunday last August, a driver in an S.U.V. picked up Christopher Cruz at a stash house in this border city near the Gulf of Mexico. The 22-year-old from El Salvador was glad to leave the one-story building, where smugglers kept bundles of cocaine and marijuana alongside their human cargo, but he was anxious about what lay ahead. The driver deposited Mr. Cruz at an illegal crossing point on the edge of the Rio Grande. A smuggler took a smartphone photograph to confirm his identity and sent it using WhatsApp to a driver waiting to pick him up on the other side of the frontier when — if — he made it across. The nearly 2,000-mile trip had already cost Mr. Cruz’s family more than $6,000 and brought him within sight of Brownsville, Tex. The remaining 500 miles to Houston — terrain prowled by the United States Border Patrol as well as the state and local police — would set them back another $6,500. It was an almost inconceivable amount of money for someone who earned just a few dollars a day picking coffee beans back home. But he wasn’t weighing the benefits of a higher-paying job. He was fleeing violence and what he said was near-certain death at the hands of local gangs. ..."
NY Times

"Habibi Funk 001 Mix" by Jannis of Jakarta Records (Mix of Arabic 60s & 70s)

"Thru the "Sawtuha" project and Blitz The Ambassador playing quite some shows in Morocco I've had the pleasure to travel North Africa quite frequently lately and whenever possible I did some record shopping. This is a selection of some of the finds, music from the 60s and 70s from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Some known, some not yet. Here is the tracklist: 01. Assa'd Khoury - Al Gaba 02. Sabah - Dek El Kaff 03. Karim Shourhy & Andrea Rayder - Take Me Back To Cairo 04. Fadoul - Sid Redad (Papa's Got A Brand New Bag)* 05. Ziad Rahbani - Intro Instrumental 2 06. Sharifa Fadel - Mawal El Ashak 07. Salah Ragab and The Cairo Jazz Band - Egypt Strut 08. Golden Hands - Take Me Back 09. Elias Rahbani & His Orchestra - Moonlight Melody 10. Mahmoud Megri - Tefham 11. Elias Rahbani - Dance Of Maria 12. Abdou El Omari - Rajaat Laayoun ..."
YouTube: "Habibi Funk 001 Mix"
Soundcloud: "Habibi Funk 001 Mix"

2017 June: Ahmed Malek and Other Treasures From Habibi Funk’s North African Crate - Digging Expeditions, 2017 July: Lebanon: Various artists - Jakarta Radio 010 Mix, 2017 December: From the Counter: Beirut

Friday, June 29

Private Gestural Language, Unfolding Poetically

Trisha Brown Dance Company, with Dai Jian, center, Elena Demyanenko, left, and Tamara Riewe, in “Foray Forêt” at Dance Theater Workshop.
"About halfway through Trisha Brown’s 'Foray Forêt,' two men and a woman suddenly run from different corners of the stage toward the center and simultaneously jump and collide, legs splitting in the air. The woman is spun around, midflight, as if caught in a revolving door, while the men rush seamlessly offstage. It’s a moment, seen on Wednesday night when the Trisha Brown Dance Company began a two-week engagement at Dance Theater Workshop, that sums up a great deal about Ms. Brown’s work and its effects. It is unexpected, virtuosic, funny, arbitrary, subtle, detailed, poetic. It shows how movement uninflected by personal drama or emotional content can resonate with both of those by virtue of juxtaposition and association. And it reveals, too, that while Ms. Brown’s slippery, silky style can look so casual as to feel pedestrian, it’s full of precise intention. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: Trisha Brown: Simplicity Within Complexity By Anna Kisselgoff
Trisha Brown Company - Foray Foret
vimeo: Foray Forêt (1990), performed in 1993, Workshopshowing Trisha Brown Repertoire: Foray Forêt

2008 May: Trisha Brown, 2010 December: “A Walk Across the Rooftops”, 2011 January: Trisha Brown - Floor of the Forest (1970), 2011 March: Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, New York 1970s, 2012 February: Dance/Draw, 2016 January: Dance, Valiant & Molecular, 2016 February: Set and Reset (1983), Newark (1987), Present Tense (2003), 2017 March: Trisha Brown, Choreographer and Pillar of American Postmodern Dance, Dies at 80, 2017 April: From Stage to Page: Unpacking a Shelf of New Dance Publications, 2017 June: Accumulated Vision: Trisha Brown and the Visual Arts By Susan Rosenberg

Tarot Mythology: The Surprising Origins of the World's Most Misunderstood Cards

A selection of trump cards (top row) and pip cards (bottom row) from the first edition of the Rider-Waite deck, circa 1909.
"The Empress. The Hanged Man. The Chariot. Judgment. With their centuries-old iconography blending a mix of ancient symbols, religious allegories, and historic events, tarot cards can seem purposefully opaque. To outsiders and skeptics, occult practices like card reading have little relevance in our modern world. But a closer look at these miniature masterpieces reveals that the power of these cards isn’t endowed from some mystical source—it comes from the ability of their small, static images to illuminate our most complex dilemmas and desires. Contrary to what the uninitiated might think, the meaning of divination cards changes over time, shaped by each era’s culture and the needs of individual users. This is partly why these decks can be so puzzling to outsiders, as most of them reference allegories or events familiar to people many centuries ago. Caitlín Matthews, who teaches courses on cartomancy, or divination with cards, says that before the 18th century, the imagery on these cards was accessible to a much broader population. But in contrast to these historic decks, Matthews finds most modern decks harder to engage with. ..."
Collectors Weekly

Thursday, June 28

’77 Music Club

"After Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize, the Washington Post blubbered that 'Kids aren’t starting garage bands' anymore, and 'Electric guitar sales are down 30 percent over the past decade!' Rock and Roll is not dead, former Rolling Stone writer Marc Weingarten declared, but it 'continues to lose traction with anyone under 40,' and 'it seems unmoored from its commitment to social engagement, especially among the young….' But to Carly Jordan and Carrie Courogen, both 26, rock and roll, particularly that music created three to five decades ago, still resonates. Their podcast, ’77 Music Club, is an homage to the music from roughly 1965 to 1985, with ’77 chosen as the name 'because 1977 is our favorite year in music history, period,' said Carly. I met them at former Television guitarist Richard Lloyd’s show at Bowery Electric, where they were singing along to the classic Television song, 'See No Evil', from Television’s debut album, 'Marquee Moon', often considered one of the greatest 'punk' albums of all time. ..."
Quiet Lunch (Video)

Recycled Funk Episode 14 (Live @ APT 2.9.04)

"If you lived in NYC in the early 2000’s and were part of the 'in-crowd', chances are you experienced a night or two, or twelve at APT. For several years APT was 'the' spot to be at on any night of the week. An indiscreet black door at 419 W.13th st. with no name or address. If you were lucky enough to get it, it might change your life. It did for me… The two nights that really put APT on the map where Monday and Wednesday nights. Every week Bobbito Garcia aka Cucumber Slice held court on Monday’s with his 'Waffles & Falafel’s' party (they actually sold waffles at the party). On Wednesday nights the almighty Rich Medina reigned supreme with his 'Lil Ricky’s Rib Shack'. Ad the that the likes of supremely talented DJ’s, Akalepse, Emskee & Monk One, who graced the decks on the upper level, and you were in for a musical treat all night long on either floor. ..."
Brooklyn Radio (Audio)
mixcloud (Audio)

Wednesday, June 27

Iraq's First Archeologist

Hormuzd Rassam
"When Hormuzd Rassam went to work in January of 1846 as an assistant to Austen Henry Layard, Rassam was 19 years old and eager to help the man who had come from England to dig out a buried palace near Rassam’s home town of Mosul. Six years earlier, while en route to visit an uncle in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Layard had passed through Mosul, in northern Iraq and then under Ottoman control. There Layard met the British vice-consul for Mosul, Christian Rassam, who showed his guest around the area. The men got along well. Of all he saw, Layard wrote, nothing intrigued him more than the two great sets of mounds called Nabi Younis and Koyunjik that lay across the Tigris river from Mosul, on its east bank, said to be the ruins of ancient Assyrian Nineveh. Days later and a few kilometers downriver, Layard saw the towering cone of Assyrian Nimrud, 'and the impression that it made upon me was one never to be forgotten.' The scenes were so compelling, he wrote, that 'my thought ran constantly upon the possibility of exploring with the spade those great ruins.' ..."
Aramco World
W - Hormuzd Rassam
BBC: The men who uncovered Assyria

This artist’s depiction of the grand entrance to a four-chambered temple built by Ashurnasirpal II at the northwest part of Nimrud was excavated under Layard and Rassam in 1846. It shows the human-headed lions that today stand on display in London (next); the artist also showed the palace in the vivid colors that may have resembled its original condition.

The Death of a Once Great City

"New York has been my home for more than forty years, from the year after the city’s supposed nadir in 1975, when it nearly went bankrupt. I have seen all the periods of boom and bust since, almost all of them related to the 'paper economy' of finance and real estate speculation that took over the city long before it did the rest of the nation. But I have never seen what is going on now: the systematic, wholesale transformation of New York into a reserve of the obscenely wealthy and the barely here—a place increasingly devoid of the idiosyncrasy, the complexity, the opportunity, and the roiling excitement that make a city great. As New York enters the third decade of the twenty-first century, it is in imminent danger of becoming something it has never been before: unremarkable. It is approaching a state where it is no longer a significant cultural entity but the world’s largest gated community, with a few cupcake shops here and there. For the first time in its history, New York is, well, boring. ..."

Tuesday, June 26

2018 FIFA World Cup

Wikipedia - "The 2018 FIFA World Cup is the 21st FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men's national teams of the member associations of FIFA. It is currently ongoing in Russia starting from 14 June and will end with the final match on 15 July 2018. Russia was awarded the hosting rights on 2 December 2010. This is the first World Cup to be held in Eastern Europe, and the eleventh time that it has been held in Europe. For the first time the tournament takes place on two continents – Europe and Asia. All but one of the stadium venues are in European Russia in order to keep travel time manageable. ... Of the 32 teams, 20 make back-to-back appearances following the last tournament in 2014, including defending champions Germany, while both Iceland and Panama make their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup. ... The English Football Association and others raised concerns of bribery on the part of the Russian team and corruption from FIFA members. They claimed that four members of the executive committee had requested bribes to vote for England, and Sepp Blatter had said that it had already been arranged before the vote that Russia would win. The 2014 Garcia Report, an internal investigation led by Michael J. Garcia, was withheld from public release by Hans-Joachim Eckert, FIFA's head of adjudication on ethical matters. ..."

Ambient Framework - Anna Martinova

"A slowly undulating sine wave of an undercurrent. Synthesized strings that echo to infinity. And lots of sonic space in between. That combination, that provisioning of an audio environment, is the elegant framework of the track 'Noir' by Amsterdam-based Dusha. That distinct combination alone could provide a gentle, soothing — yet still potent with drama — background listen. Martiova, however, doesn’t stop there. She eventually insinuates the space with a soft melody, efficiently in that it doesn’t so much intrude as emerge, like a slowly cycling carousel coming out of the receding mist. ... Track originally posted at More on the proposed school at More from Martinova at and"
Disquiet (Audio)

Lonnie Liston Smith & the Cosmic Echoes - Astral Traveling (1973)

"Lonnie Liston Smith was familiar to Bob Thiele through his role as the pianist in Pharoah Sanders’ group, but it wasn’t until Lonnie had become a member of Miles Davis’ band that Thiele decided it was time to sign him to his own deal. By this time Lonnie had been on the scene for the best part of a decade playing with Art Blakey and Roland Kirk. He had come into his own with Sanders but there was nothing in jazz to compare with being in the piano seat for Davis’ group. For his Flying Dutchman debut Lonnie went into the studio with George Barron on saxophone, Cecil McBee on bass and a host of percussionists including two Indian players. The sound was atypical of his later recordings in that it was a largely acoustic set – featuring electric piano but no synths – but it fitted in with Lonnie’s cosmic jazz philosophy. The title track set the scene for an album with a mellow, spacey feel that today would be called spiritual jazz. The album was an immediate success and led to a long term contract with Flying Dutchman. -Dean Rudland ..."
Holland Tunnel Dive
YouTube: Astral Traveling (1973) full album

Monday, June 25

Flags in the Dust - William Faulkner (1973)

Wikipedia - "Flags in the Dust is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, completed in 1927. His publisher heavily edited the manuscript with Faulkner's reluctant consent, removing about 40,000 words in the process. That version was published as Sartoris in 1929. Faulkner's original manuscript of Flags in the Dust was published in 1973, and Sartoris was subsequently taken out of print. ... In the autumn or winter of 1926, William Faulkner, twenty-nine, began work on the first of his novels about Yoknapatawpha County. Sherwood Anderson had told him some time before that he should write about his native Mississippi, and now Faulkner took that advice: he used his own land, and peopled it with men and women who were partly drawn from real life, and partly depicted as they should have been in some ideal mythopoeic structure. A year later, on September 29, 1927, the new novel was completed. It was 596 pages long in transcript, and he called it Flags in the Dust. ..."
[PDF] Flags in the Dust

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). 2017 September: The Unvanquished (1938), 2017 October: 20 Pieces of Writing Advice from William Faulkner, 2017 November: Yoknapatawpha County, 2018 February: Go Down, Moses (1942)

Sunday, June 24

The British jazz explosion: meet the musicians rewriting the rulebook

"Every so often, British jazz pops its head above the parapet, gets a Mercury nomination, and has a noodle on telly to remind everyone that it’s still there, like it’s always been, parping away from mainstream view. For many of us, jazz has seemed like something other people listened to. But in the past few years, the genre has had a serious overhaul. When Kendrick Lamar released his landmark album To Pimp a Butterfly in 2015, one of its most extraordinary aspects was its liberal use of jazz, which dovetailed with hip-hop and opened it up for a new generation. Not only did it immediately feel more accessible but, played by the likes of strikingly cosmic characters such as Thundercat and Kamasi Washington, it looked commandingly cool. In the UK, a new and thrilling jazz movement has evolved. ..."
Guardian (Audio)

A City at the Crossroads Examines Migration, Through Art

“Theater of the Sun,” a mixed-media installation by Fallen Fruit, is among the works presented at Manifesta 12 in Palermo, Sicily. Human interaction with nature is one of the event’s central themes.
"PALERMO, Sicily — Political art and world politics seldom dovetail in real time, but as the twelfth edition of the Manifesta contemporary art biennial approached, its host city of Palermo found itself walking its talk. Titled 'A Planetary Garden: Cultivating Coexistence,' the exhibition, which opened June 16, takes migration as one of its themes. And days before the international art crowd descended on the Sicilian capital, Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, closed the country’s ports to rescue boats — including the Aquarius, a ship looking to dock in Italy with 629 migrants aboard. Resisting the national announcement, Palermo’s mayor, Leoluca Orlando, offered to open the local port to the vessel, but the Italian Coast Guard declined to escort it in and the migrants were rerouted to Spain. Mr. Orlando, who often personally greeted migrants who arrived in Palermo’s harbor before Mr. Salvini’s decision, is famous for fighting the Sicilian mafia in multiple terms as mayor since the 1980s. ..."
NY Times

“Pteridophilia” by the Chinese artist Zheng Bo, also emerges from the foliage at the botanical garden.

The Essential Guide to Soca

"The musical engine driving today’s Caribbean Carnival celebrations from Barbados to St. Vincent, soca began its life as an experiment in 1970s Trinidad & Tobago. Seeking to create a musical unity between his twin-island republic’s East Indian and African populations, Trinidadian music icon Lord Shorty inserted the dholak and dhantal into the Afro-Creole rhythm of calypso on 1973’s 'Indrani,' sketching out a new hybrid sound he first dubbed 'the soul of calypso.' Other calypsonians would follow Shorty’s lead, putting aside the pointed political commentary of Trinidad’s original musical export to turn up the party vibes. It would be a decade, however, before soca crystallized into its modern form, incorporating – and then digitizing – the sounds of the street-level brass brands and iron-beating rhythm sections heard at Carnival time to create a sound specially geared for masqueraders to 'chip' and jump up to. ..."
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)
W - Soca music
How Soca Is Absorbing Afrobeats To Create A New Subgenre (Video)

Saturday, June 23

Borough Hall Ceiling Collapse Shows How Badly Subway Is Deteriorating

"Back in January, the city’s Department of Transportation prepared a list of 'priority' subway stations that ought to be renovated. At the time, a few members of the MTA Board, including DOT commissioner Polly Trottenberg, were opposing an MTA project originating from Governor Cuomo’s office called the Enhanced Station Initiative (ESI). There were several points of contention, including a failure to propose installing elevators or finding other ways to make stations accessible, but Trottenberg and others also complained that the MTA wasn’t clear on how it had chosen the 33 stations for the $1 billion project. So, DOT prepared their own list and compared it with the stations chosen by the MTA. There was almost no overlap between the two lists. Yet, Borough Hall was on neither of them. This is worth revisiting now, because the ceiling at Borough Hall collapsed this afternoon. A giant pile of roof stuff fell onto the Manhattan-bound platform a couple of hours before the evening rush hour. ..."

Matt "Guitar" Murphy

Wikipedia - "Matthew Tyler Murphy (December 29, 1929 – June 15, 2018), known as Matt 'Guitar' Murphy, was an American blues guitarist. He was associated with The Blues Brothers and Howlin' Wolf. Murphy was born in Sunflower, Mississippi, and was educated in Memphis, Tennessee, where his father worked at the Peabody Hotel. Murphy learned to play guitar when he was a child.In 1948, Murphy moved to Chicago, where he joined the Howlin' Wolf Band, which at the time featured Little Junior Parker. In 1952, Murphy recorded with Little Junior Parker and Ike Turner, resulting in the release, 'You’re My Angel'/'Bad Women, Bad Whiskey'(Modern 864), credited to Little Junior Parker and the Blue Flames. Murphy worked a lot with Memphis Slim, including on his debut album At the Gate of Horn (1959). ..."
YouTube: Matt Murphy - Murphy's Boogie 1963 (live), Memphis Slim & Matt Murphy - Matt's Guitar Blues, I'm lost without you - Memphis Slim, Matt ''Guitar'' Murphy ~ ''Born Under A Bad Sign''&''Going Down'' Live 1986, Matt ''Guitar'' Murphy ~ ''Low Down And Dirty'' & ''Blue Walls'' 1990

Friday, June 22

How Nietzsche Explains Turkey

"In 1989, a small Islamist party called Refah, or 'Welfare,' holds a conference titled 'National Consciousness.' In the crowd are mustached men with lean faces; many of them are old, wearing skullcaps Muslims use during prayer. Soon, a tall, thin young man dressed in a well-tailored suit rises to speak. 'May the peace of God be upon all believers,' he says. His polite bearing, however, belies his firm message. He invokes the ur-enemies of Turkishness— 'Agop,' the Greeks, and 'Jacques' and 'Hans,' a reference to the Europeans. They distribute birth control to the villages, corrupt the youth, and scoop up Turkey’s national wealth, he claims, adding that Turkey’s bureaucrats, farmers, widowers, and orphans are all forced to pay them interest, 'that which will facilitate the reign of the Jew.' Meanwhile, the ruling class lies around on nude beaches, sips fancy alcohol, and gawks at exotic dancers from the far corners of the earth, he says. All the evil, theft, and corruption in the country, the man says, can be traced to a mentality of surrender to the West. But Turkey’s true heirs will eventually take their country back. ... In the years to come, the young man, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, would be elected mayor of Istanbul, prime minister of Turkey, and, in 2014, president. ..."
The Atlantic
NYBooks: Will Turkey’s Voters Give Erdoğan the Imperial Presidency He Seeks?

2016 February: The Feminist, Democratic Leftists Our Military Is Obliterating -  Debbie Bookchin, 2016 May: Turkey’s Authoritarian Turn, 2016 July: How Turkey Came to This, 2017 March: As repression deepens, Turkish artists and intellectuals fear the worst, 2017 July: A Long March for Justice in Turkey, 2017 July: Radical Municipalism: The Future We Deserve, 2017 September: Istanbul: Memories and the City - Orhan Pamuk, 2018 January: Turkey’s State of Emergency, 2018 April: The Unlikely New Hero of Turkeys, 2018 June: How My Father’s Ideas Helped the Kurds Create a New Democracy

Horace Silver Quintet - Song for My Father (1962)

"One of Blue Note's greatest mainstream hard bop dates, Song for My Father is Horace Silver's signature LP and the peak of a discography already studded with classics. Silver was always a master at balancing jumping rhythms with complex harmonies for a unique blend of earthiness and sophistication, and Song for My Father has perhaps the most sophisticated air of all his albums. Part of the reason is the faintly exotic tint that comes from Silver's flowering fascination with rhythms and modes from overseas -- the bossa nova beat of the classic 'Song for My Father,' for example, or the Eastern-flavored theme of 'Calcutta Cutie,' or the tropical-sounding rhythms of 'Que Pasa?' Subtle touches like these alter Silver's core sound just enough to bring out its hidden class, which is why the album has become such a favorite source of upscale ambience. Song for My Father was actually far less focused in its origins than the typical Silver project; it dates from the period when Silver was disbanding his classic quintet and assembling a new group, and it features performances from both bands. ..."
W - Song for My Father
YouTube: Recorded live in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 1968. Song for My Father

Thursday, June 21

Separating Migrant Families Is Barbaric. It’s Also What the U.S. Has Been Doing to People of Color for Hundreds of Years.

Woman and child on auction block, 1800s
"Like most of you reading this, I am deeply appalled at what I see happening right now in the United States — immigrant children being snatched away from their parents and sent to separate detention centers, often locked in cages with strangers, with no real idea of when they’ll ever be reunited with their families. It’s an abomination. But I often see two troubling responses to this crisis that show just how aloof and asleep millions of Americans are right now. The first is a statement that goes something like this: This is not the America I know and love. The second is a question, rooted in the same ignorance, that goes something like this: How could this ever happen in the United States? What’s happening right now in our country is, without question, a human rights catastrophe. Yet every deeply entrenched mechanism used in these policies and the spirit fueling this catastrophe are as American as Facebook and Disneyland. Let me break it down. At least five troubling factors are at play here. All five were fully and completely present before this current crisis ever began. They set the tone and created the culture in which something so heinous could ever take place. ..."
The Intercept
The Atlantic: Watch the U.S. Turn Away Asylum Seekers at the Border (Video)

The Byrds - The Original Singles: 1965–1967, Volume 1

Wikipedia - "The Original Singles: 1965–1967, Volume 1 is a compilation album by American rock 'n' roll band The Byrds. Originally released in 1980, it offered, for the first time, all of the mono single versions of the Byrds' singles released between 1965 and early 1967. The tracks on the album are laid out chronologically by release date of the single, and features the A-side first, then the B-side. For example, the Byrds' first single was 'Mr. Tambourine Man' with 'I Knew I'd Want You' on the B-side. The next single was 'All I Really Want to Do' with 'I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better' on the B-side, and so forth. ..."
YouTube: Columbia 45 RPM Records - 1965 - 1967 1:08:56

There’s More Than One Way to Strike the Boss

"Sorting the Mail" by Reginald Marsh at the Ariel Rios Federal Building, Washington, D.C.
"Last month, bus drivers in Okayama, Japan began an unusual work action. They didn’t walk off the job or stop driving their bus routes, and they continued to pick up passengers as normal. But, in a subversive twist, they covered their fare collection boxes and refused to take money from those who boarded. Riders would still get where they needed, but the company would not profit from the trip — with the drivers unilaterally imposing free fares for all. In the United States, teachers on the picket line this spring have set a high bar for militancy, showcasing the importance of the conventional strike. Whether in West Virginia or Oklahoma, North Carolina or Kentucky, these red-state teachers have provided an inspiring example of how working people can use well-planned collective actions to demand respect and win gains previously considered out of reach. There is no doubt that if the US labor movement is to reverse its declining fortunes, it must revive the strike as a feared and frequently deployed tactic. ..."

Wednesday, June 20

Photos: A Tent City for Detained Children in Texas

"Twenty miles outside of El Paso, Texas, along the U.S.-Mexico border, sits the Tornillo Port of Entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility which was selected by the Trump administration to be the first site for temporary housing for the overflow of unaccompanied minors and the children of detained migrant parents, under the new 'zero-tolerance' policy. A quickly erected tent city inside the facility is currently set up with 450 beds, according to NBC reporting, but is built for expansion. At the moment, it is unclear how many children are being held in Tornillo, but Reuters photographer Mike Blake was able to photograph several dozen teenage boys moving between tents yesterday as he flew over. Via NPR, the reporter John Sepulvado attempted to have a look inside the new tent city, but officials asked him to leave. He spoke with Texas State Representative Mary Gonzalez, who had toured the facility, saying that the tents were air-conditioned and she 'felt the kids were at least safe.' The extended weather forecast for Tornillo predicts high temperatures up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit. For further coverage in the Atlantic, see also 'Audio: Hear the Voices of Children Detained at the Border' and 'The Outrage Over Family Separation Is Exactly What Stephen Miller Wants.'"
The Atlantic

History Refused to Die

Thornton Dial, “History Refused to Die” (2004)
"This exhibition presents thirty paintings, sculptures, drawings, and quilts by self-taught contemporary African American artists to celebrate the 2014 gift to The Metropolitan Museum of Art of works of art from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. The artists represented by this generous donation all hail from the American South. History Refused to Die features the mixed-media art of Thornton Dial (1928–2016)—whose monumental assemblage from 2004 provides the exhibition's title—and a selection of the renowned quilts from Gee's Bend, Alabama, by quilters such as Annie Mae Young (1928–2012), Lucy Mingo (born 1931), Loretta Pettway (born 1942), and additional members of the extended Pettway family. Among other accomplished artists to be featured are Nellie Mae Rowe (1900–1982), Lonnie Holley (born 1950), and Ronald Lockett (1965–1988). ..."
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Exhibition Objects
NY Times: At the Met, a Riveting Testament to Those Once Neglected

Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing (1968)

"While many texts are readily available chronicling the Black Power Movement, the same cannot be said for its 'aesthetic and spiritual sister,' the Black Arts Movement. Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing is a rare exception that documents and captures the social and cultural turmoil of the period. Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal, co-editors and contributors to this volume, saw Black Fire as a manifesto to bring about change in Black thought and action, generated from a Black aesthetic. Often considered the seminal work from the Black Arts Movement, Black Fire is a rich anthology and an extraordinary source document, presenting 178 selections of poetry, essays, short stories and plays from cultural critics, literary artists and political leaders. Many of the contributors became prominent, nationally and internationally. Others receded into the cultural landscape, even before Black Fire's first publication in 1968. Included in this groundbreaking volume are the essays of John Henrik Clarke, Kwame Ture (Stokely Charmichael), Harold Cruse and A.B. Spellman; the poetry of Askia Toure, Sonia Sanchez, Gaston Neal, Stanley Crouch, Calvin C. Hernton, and suprisingly Sun Ra; the fiction of Julia Fields and drama from Ed Bullins. Sixty-three additional contributors round out this comprehensive work."
Africa World
ChickenBones: A Journal - Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing

Tuesday, June 19

Afro-Soultet - Afrodesia (2011)

"Afrodesia is the lone album by the Afro-Soultet, which may or may not have been officially released by Banyon sometime between 1968 and 1971 (no one still breathing can remember the exact date). What we do know is that Johnny Kitchen (aka Jack Millman) licensed the record to Banyon's Betty Chiappetta (Vee-Jay Records), and the record received a test pressing. The Afro-Soultet originally hailed from Texas and recorded several albums under the name Afro-Blues Quintet +1, who had previously recorded three albums and seven 45s. After some personnel changes, the band relocated to L.A., where Millman caught them playing the Living Room. ... Afrodesia is a true lost classic and belongs in any soul or Latin jazz collection, as well as in any serious groove digger's crate. ..."
YouTube: Afrodesia, Afro Revolt, Mozamba, Chocolate Drop, Soul Rockin'

Monday, June 18

Searching for Soul: Soul Funk & Jazz Rarities from Michigan 1968-1980

"Alcohol is a killer vice, and Robert Jay knows it. When the Detroit funk legend wrote the infectious 'Alcohol' in 1969, he was hungover and mad as hell. Yet Jay’s blues-funked 'Alcohol' became one of the most beloved, and nearly impossible-to-find sides in the funk music canon. While a few 7-inch singles can still be located, California’s Luv N’ Haight, a Ubiquity Records offshoot, just made the process much easier. With the release of this insane comp, jazz, funk, and breakbeat lovers finally have access to some of the rarest grooves from Michigan’s funk underground. Jay’s 'Alcohol' is featured, as is the Detroit Sex Machine’s 'Rap it Together.' Many songs are from rhythm sections overshadowed by Motown; yet some here were more skilled than the Funk Brothers and Parliament. ..."
Holland Tunnel Dive
YouTube: Searching for Soul: Soul Funk & Jazz Rarities from Michigan 1968-1980 49:28

Taking it to the Streets

Pick-up soccer on 61st St.
"Energized by freedom from schoolwork and drawn out of homes by the streetside squeals (and text messages) of friends, Brooklyn’s children, in the summer months, bound down stoops and dash onto pavement, with soccer balls, checkerboards, and pool toys in tow. On a recent weekend, I patrolled the borough’s blocks, on the lookout for kids doing what they do best."

Florian Fricke – 1981 interview by Sandy Robertson

"Here’s an interview from the September 26th 1981 issue of a music magazine called Sounds by Sandy Robertson. There is no abundance of interviews with him so this is great! Below the photo scans is the transcribed interview. Original scans are from John Hubbard’s blog enso-on-com – Florian Fricke 1981 interview (archived link to waybackmachine as the original post and site are down). ..."
Sanjin Đumišić (Video)

Sunday, June 17

Experience the Mystical Music of Hildegard Von Bingen: The First Known Composer in History (1098 – 1179)

"The German abbess, visionary, mystic poet, composer, and healer Hildegard von Bingen 'has become a symbol to disparate groups,' writes Brian Wise at WQXR, including 'feminists and theologians, musicologists and new-age medicine practitioners. Her chants have been set to techno rhythms; her writings on nutrition have yielded countless cookbooks (even though she never left behind a single recipe.)' She did leave behind an astounding body of work that has made her improbably popular for a 12th century nun, with a lively presence on Facebook and her own Twitter account, @MysticHildy ('very into technology, love to travel'). Her fame rests not only on the beauty of her work, but on her extraordinary life story and the fact that she is the first composer to whose work we can put a name. ..."
Open Culture (Video)
W - Hildegard Von Bingen

Wire at Maxwell's (06-12-1987)

"On June 12, 1987, Wire played at Maxwell's! At this gig, the band debuted several songs that would appear on their 1988 album 'A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck.' The balance of the set mostly consisted of songs from 1987's 'The Ideal Copy.' Unfortunately, no tracks from 'Pink Flag,' 'Chairs Missing,' or '154.' Nevertheless, this tape sounds really great! Set list: Intro. Silk Skin Paws. Advantage in Height. Come Back In Two Halves. Cheeking Tongues. Madman's Honey. Ahead. Kidney Bingos. Over Theirs. Still Shows. A Serious of Snakes. It's A Boy. Ambitious. Drill I. A Vivid Riot Of Red. Drill II."
The McKenzie Tapes (Audio)

2009 January: Wire, 2012 January: On the Box 1979., 2013 September: Chairs Missing (1978), 2014 June: 154 (1979), 2014 July: Document And Eyewitness (1979-1980), 2015 April: The Ideal Copies: Graham Lewis Of Wire's Favourite Albums, 2015 July: Pink Flag (1977), 2015 December: The Peel Sessions Album (1989), “Dot Dash”, "Options R" (1978), 2017 June: Outdoor Miner / Practice Makes Perfect (1979), 2017 November: Live at the Roxy, London.

Saturday, June 16

Nine literary cafés to visit in Italy

Caffè Florian, Venezia
"Although it opened in France, the first literary café in Europe was the endeavor of an Italian man: young Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, from Sicily, opened Le Café Procope in Paris in 1686. The Procope was located opposite the Comédie Française theater, which had been built only a few years earlier, and soon became one of the centers of the Ville Lumière’s political life, as well as a favorite meeting point for intellectuals of the Enlightenment and leading figures of the French Revolution, from Marat to Danton, from Robespierre to Diderot, from D’Alembert to Mirabeau. Italy’s own tradition of literary cafés – where the cultural and social destiny of the Old Continent was written – began in the 18th century. That is when cafés provided a jolt of caffeine to the revolutions of the century, and became intellectuals’ and patriots’ tribunes, schools, theaters, libraries, political headquarters, and literary salons. ..."
Italian Ways

Why African and Caribbean sounds are dominating British music right now

"About five years ago, the British media sent itself into a frenzy when it was announced that Cockney – a derided but traditional London dialect – was entering its final days, to be replaced by Multicultural London English (MLE). Today, MLE is the sound of the city’s youth, a vocal mix of the capital’s past and diverse present. It’s not just slipping in some slang, but the effortless and subconscious meshing of West Indian, African, and South Asian sounds to make a hybrid, homegrown voice. Predictably, the music coming out of the city has begun to tell the same story. Over the past year, the British charts have become dominated by songs with a West African and Caribbean flavour. It’s not quite the Afrobeats sound rising from West Africa and going global, nor is it bashment, even if it owes some of its melodies and rhythms to sounds hailing from Jamaica. ..."
Dazed Digital (Audio)

Friday, June 15

How My Father’s Ideas Helped the Kurds Create a New Democracy - Debbie Bookchin

Kurdish women of the Kobani canton in Rojava marching in a demonstration calling for the release of the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, Syria, 2015
"One mild spring day in Vermont in April 2004, my father, the historian and philosopher Murray Bookchin, was chatting with me, as we did almost daily. ... My father, eighty-three years old at the time, had spent six decades writing hundreds of articles and twenty-four books articulating an anticapitalist vision of an ecological, democratic, egalitarian society that would eliminate the domination of human by human, and bring humanity into harmony with the natural world, a body of ideas he called 'social ecology.' Although his work was well-known within anarchist and libertarian left circles, his was hardly a household name. Unexpectedly, that week, he had received a letter from an intermediary writing on behalf of the jailed Kurdish activist Abdullah Öcalan, head of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). As its co-founder, sole theoretician, and undisputed leader, Öcalan had a larger-than-life reputation—but nothing about his ideology seemed in any way to resemble my father’s. ..."

2016 February: The Feminist, Democratic Leftists Our Military Is Obliterating - Debbie Bookchin, 2016 May: Turkey’s Authoritarian Turn, 2016 July: How Turkey Came to This, 2017 March: As repression deepens, Turkish artists and intellectuals fear the worst, 2017 July: mRadical Municipalism: The Future We Deserve, 2018 May: Bookchin: living legacy of an American revolutionary
2014 September: Anarchism in America (1983), 2015 August: The Prophet Farmed: Murray Bookchin on Bernie Sanders, 2016 October: Why Bernie Was Right, 2015 October: The Ecology of Freedom (1982), 2016 July: Murray Bookchin’s New Life, 2017 January: Reason, creativity and freedom: the communalist model - Eleanor Finley, 2017 February: Socialism’s Return, 2017 April: The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years 1868-1936 (1977).

Which New York City Borough Would Win an All-Out Civil War?

"New York City is a miracle. Somehow, 8.5 million people of every possible race, religion, political affiliation, economic class, and temperament live practically stacked on top of each other in relative peace. The murder rate is at its lowest ebb in decades. The ugly riots in Crown Heights in 1991 seem like a thing of a distant past; apocalyptic visions of the city a la The Warriors or Escape from New York are wildly outdated. So it seems safe to let your mind wander and imagine a scenario where the city turns on itself in an all-out civil war—not divided along class or racial lines, but something simpler: If the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island squared off in an epic fight to the death, which borough would come out alive? I put this entirely 100 percent hypothetical question to dozens of grizzled New Yorkers, reporters, conflict strategists, and historians, and they all had extremely strident opinions on it. But before we begin, let’s go over the ground rules. ..."

Thursday, June 14

Jules Feiffer in Context

"Jules Feiffer was born in the Bronx in 1929, and recently told the Voice he had hated it. Rather than accept that he was a nebbishy kid from the outer boroughs, he preferred to believe he 'had been kidnapped by these Jewish people who claimed I was one of them, when I knew that I was like Freddie Bartholomew [a London-born child actor who became famous for his role as Little Lord Fauntleroy in a 1936 movie]. I wanted to return to my real home in Sussex or Surrey, some country house outside of London.' It’s a tale Feiffer has told many times, but it is also the sort of ur-story that helps explain the monologues he wrote for all the neurotic, self-absorbed, self-indulgent characters who populate his eight decades of comic strips, plays, and movies — people who are just not happy with their lot in life and don’t mind telling you so. ..."
W - Jules Feiffer
The Atlantic: A Conversation With Jules Feiffer
amazon - Jules Feiffer

Gunnar Smoliansky // Diary

"Gunnar Smoliansky is a major Swedish photographer. He has devoted himself to photography since the early 1950s. Smoliansky has been an independent artist since the 1970s. Gunnar Smoliansky works exclusively in black and white and throughout his career, he has transformed his photographed motifs into completed photos in the darkroom. Stockholm is the main focus of Smoliansky’s photographic world, particularly the areas of Södermalm and Saltsjö-Boo. From a geographic point of view, the photographs of Gunnar Smoliansky are quite restricted in range. This has not, however, kept him from being regarded as one of the great world photographers. ..."
A Life in Grayscale: Gunnar Smoliansky

Wednesday, June 13

Key Brixton Tracks: The Clash’s “Guns of Brixton”

"Brixton in South London is known as a defiant kind of place – all the more proud of itself in light of the slings and arrows of outrageous slander by outsiders. If there is one song that captures this spirit above all, and also doubles up as a useful soundtrack and shorthand for the area’s 1981 riots in TV clip show histories, it is The Clash’s 'The Guns of Brixton.' Both Mick Jones and Paul Simonon were from Brixton – and although it was often West London that came to be associated with the band, the Simonon-penned 'Guns' captures the band’s hit-and-miss, but always enthusiastic journey from straight-up, three-chord punk into the outer limits of Caribbean-influenced dub and experimental parts beyond. In fact, it’s an early peak in the journey – and perhaps not surprising that Simonon was behind it – the Clash’s bassist was always immersed in the ska, rocksteady and reggae of the South London he had grown up in. ..."
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)
Red Bull Music Academy Daily: The Brixton Riots and Music (Video)

Chosen Waves 013: Ann Annie – Modular Field Trip Ep. 1

"... The last years have been quite a bit of a journey for all of us here (both metaphorically and literally speaking), so it’s only fitting that our first post after the break is one about a journey as well. When I first saw one of Ann Annie’s Field Trip videos I was totally captivated (actually I should say hypnotised) by it. It’s such a simple, yet powerful idea and taking the synthesizer(s) out into the landscape is the perfect extension of Ann Annie’s musical approach. Episode 1 dates back to April 2017, but it’s a very interesting one on many levels, and definitely worth watching again in case you already saw it. The whole field trip idea was initially intended to be just an experiment, but it turned out much better than imagined (as Ann Annie tells me before starting the interview), so more of these were made in the months that followed (and can be seen on Youtube here). ..."
Horizontal Pitch (Video)
Soundcloud: Ann Annie
YouTube: Ann Annie

Tuesday, June 12

The Acoustic City

"How does sound shape urban life? What do soundscapes reveal about the experience of modernity? This innovative essay collection explores a series of critical themes including the diversity of urban soundscapes; acoustic flânerie and different ways of listening to the city; the emergence of specific associations between place, music, and sound; and the acoustic ecology of architecture, landscape and urban design. The collection and accompanying CD will be of interest to a wide range of disciplines including architecture, cultural studies, geography, musicology, and urban sociology."
The Acoustic City
Acoustic ecology: the undetectable sounds of the city

White Heat Can’t Melt Black Steel: Public Enemy's Nation Of Millions Revisited

"Writing about the past is a free hit. You don’t have to risk anything. You know how it turns out. At any rate, you used to think so. Lately, I’ve been unable to read books or watch documentaries about recent European and American history with the same dispassionate fascination I once did. The comfortable sense I had that its worst horrors were safely in the past, its best lessons well learned in the present, has dissolved into vapour, into anxiety – into, often as not, dread. Yet at least, when it comes to the past, popular culture, popular music, remain solid enough. When, for instance, I settle down to begin one of these anniversary pieces, I invariably have a clear picture in my mind of what my subject is, what it stands for, where it fits. This will invariably alter in the writing, as it should; but I know where to begin, and I will discover where to end. Not here, though. Not with this one. For so many reasons. And those reasons are intimately and intricately connected both with the greatness and the significance of the work at hand, and with the grotesque and straight-up terrifying state of things. In particular, the state of the nation of millions.

 It’s a damn shame that Public Enemy’s second album still matters so much. Or at least that it still matters so much in the way that it does. ..."
The Quietus

Monday, June 11

The Accidental Avant-Gardist

The Album (detail), by Édouard Vuillard, 1895.
"The last time I was in Paris I went to pay a call on a writer I admire. Like Balzac, Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Isadora Duncan, Gertrude Stein, and dozens of other luminaries, Raymond Roussel keeps a permanent address at 8, Boulevard de Ménilmontant, in the Cemitière du Père Lachaise, one of art’s most famous final resting places. But you won’t find flocks of tourists reverently camped out at his grave. No one lights candles for him or leaves him flowers, messages, metro tickets, smooth stones, or any other tokens of gratitude for the strange poems and even stranger novels he left to posterity. Not for Roussel’s tomb, as for Wilde’s, a recently installed glass case to protect the marble from the red lipstick of his fans. The day I visited him, it was gray and rainy and cold. There were few people in the normally well-frequented cemetery. ..."
Laphams Quarterly
Raymond Roussel – Impressions d’Afrique, 1910 Impressions of Africa
Raymond Roussel’s “Impressions of Africa”
Raymond Roussel approached the commercial illustrator Henri Zo
[PDF] Project MUSE

Raymond Roussel approached the commercial illustrator Henri Zo

We Are Getting Bad: The Sound of Phase One; Children of Jah 1977-79

"The HOLY GRAIL of reggae music. Full title - Sound Of Phase One - We Are Getting Bad. 2003 reggae/ragga compilation from one of the smallest but more revered labels to emerge in Jamaica during the late 1970's. What this label lacked in quantity it more than made up for in quality. Features 18 grooves including two previously unreleased DJ cuts, 'The Sons Of Man' & 'Gena'. Quality Late 70s Roots from Roy Francis. Roy Francis, who now runs the Mixing Lab label, created and ran the independent Phase 1 label in the 1970s. This is a compilation from the good folks at Motion Records, a reggae revive label that I don't think is around anymore which is disappointing. For their brief period of operation, Motion gave the reggae massive some excellent reissues, We Are Getting Bad included. My Phase 1 introduction came via Blood and Fire's Children of Jah 1977-79, an instant classic that presented a valuable collection of tracks not widely known at the time. ..."
Holland Tunnel Dive
allmusic: We Are Getting Bad: The Sound of Phase One
The Sound Of Phase One (Video)
amazon: Children of Jah 1977-79, We Are Getting Bad: The Sound of Phase One
YouTube: Untouchables - Sea Of Love (Extended), Children of Jah - Album 1:05:04