Wednesday, February 19

The Woman Behind Elizabeth Warren’s Foreign Policy

Scrutiny: Warren attends a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in 2018. She joined the committee in 2016.
"Foreign policy is arguably where US presidents are able to have the largest impact. Yet presidential candidates typically treat it as secondary to their domestic agenda. Elizabeth Warren is no exception; her main 2020 pitch is that she would take on the big banks and impose new regulations to save capitalism from itself. Still, while it has received less attention, she has rolled out a foreign policy vision that aligns with her domestic promises of 'big, structural change.' It’s ambitious, bold, and progressive: It would end the 'endless wars' since 9/11, prioritize fighting climate change, and aim to stamp out transnational corruption and kleptocracy. And like Warren’s entire platform, it’s the product of a team of wonks who believe deeply in their candidate, convened by an earnest expert who reports directly to Warren. ..."
The Nation

2019 December: Fighting Words - Elizabeth Warren, 2020 January: Elizabeth Warren’s Smart Answer on ‘Electability’, 2020 January: The Democrats' Best Choices for President

‘In Italy I Kept Meeting Guys’: The Black Women Who Travel for Love

"Italy, a country known for its language of love and for its men who publicly shower overtures on women like a centuries-old art form, is often associated with romantic encounters of the kind portrayed in the movies, from 'Roman Holiday' to 'The Lizzie McGuire Movie.' So some black women ask, why shouldn’t it be the same for them? Latrese Williams is one such black traveler. When Ms. Williams goes out in Chicago or pretty much anywhere else in the United States, she said, she often feels ignored by men who seem to barely register her existence. But when she walks into a room in Italy, all eyes are on her — and to her, that’s a good thing. These polar reactions occur, she said, because she is black. ..."
NY Times
NY Times - When the Monkey Chants Are for You: A Soccer Star’s View of Racist Abuse

Tuesday, February 18

Harry Mathews’s Drifts and Returns

"There are two ways, at least, into 'Cool gales shall fan the glade,' the last poem Harry Mathews completed and the first one included in Harry Mathews Collected Poems: 1946–2016. One is to read it as a twilight soliloquy: a wandering rumination on a long life richly lived, filled with loves and lusts and leisure and loss, shaped by many wandering ruminations before this one. Another is to read it as an experiment on a French fixed form from the fourteenth century called the sestina, with the supplemental rule that the words concluding each line, instead of merely repeating in spiraling permutation, add a letter and rearrange themselves into new words with every stanza: at becomes fat becomes fast becomes feast. These two ways are not mutually exclusive, I don’t think; perhaps, to hear Harry Mathews in the poem as I hear him, it is necessary to travel both at once. ..."
The Paris Review
LitHub: Few Were As Devoted to Poetry and Friendship as Harry Mathews

2017 February: Harry Mathews, 2019 July: Redux: Sulfurous Coils of Red and Green

The French Rural Revolution 1789-1793

Les Vendéens demandent à Cathelineau de prendre la tête de l’insurrection, Jules Gabriel Hubert-Sauzeau, 1900.
"When Louis XVI failed to reconcile the Estates General during the séance royale of June 23, 1789, the expectations for reform held by a large part of French rural communities, as captured in the cahiers de doléances, faced possible demise. Early on in the French Revolution then, the interests of the countryside and the capital would diverge, in many ways creating two separate revolutions. On June 28, days after the séance royale, 104 members of the local assembly of the Barony of Thodure near Lyon – made up primarily of male landowners – gathered to reflect on the situation. Before the fiscal crisis, these men had pushed for tax equality and the liberalization of certain feudal obligations; as a privileged few opposed these reforms, deepening turmoil demanded recasting the situation and advancing innovative solutions. ..."
Age of Revolutions
W - Great Fear

Peasants Burning Castles During the Great Fear of 1789

2014 February: French Revolution Digital Archive, 2015 July: A Guide to the French Revolution, 2016 April: Vigée Le Brun: Woman Artist in Revolutionary France, 2017 March: Paris Commune 1871, 2018 February: Flash Mob: Revolution, Lightning, and the People’s Will

Monday, February 17

“Hugs and kisses” on a Murray Hill manhole cover

"New York City’s old manhole covers have an artistry all their own. Some feature glass bubbles that looks like jewels in the right light. Others are decorated with stars or similar emblems, and almost all have the name of the designer or foundry on them, advertisements for their work. But what to make of this manhole cover spotted in front of East 35th Street near Fifth Avenue? Jordan Wouk, a manhole cover enthusiast, noticed it on the way to the Morgan Library recently. It lacks an identifying name, contains a single starfish-like star, and the Xs and Os decorating the lid were a mystery. The message I got was “hugs and kisses,” says Mr. Wouk. ..."
Ephemeral New York

2013 May: Manhole cover, 2015 March: Manhole covers that left their mark on the city

100 Historic Black Women Guitarists and Bassists You Need To Know

"Last February, we published '50 Historic Black Women Guitarists and Bassists You Needs to Know' to showcase the influences that black, indigenous, and Afro-identifying women musicians have had on music history. For 2020, we updated the list to 100 black women guitarists, because we should constantly be celebrating the innovation, resilience, and talent of black music communities. For this particular list, we choose to focus on black women guitarists and bassists from prior to 1999. We did this specifically to showcase the legends—many of whom unfortunately have been overlooked, dismissed, or forgotten—that should be recognized as pillars of music history.  ..."
She Shreds (Video)

Gail Muldrow

Sunday, February 16

The Guerrilla Car Washers of N.Y.C.

"On a record-breaking 68-degree January day, New Yorkers were unnerved, enjoying the weather and wary of what it meant. But for the guerrilla carwash guys of Upper Manhattan, it was only good news. As of 11 a.m. that Saturday, there were at least six carwashes set up on Ninth Avenue from 201st Street to 207th, with numerous Fords, BMWs and a Toyota already soaped up, and more were waiting. For as long as anyone can remember, there has been a thriving cottage industry, operating out of vans and without conveyor belts, mechanized brushes or complicated hydraulic systems, along an industrial stretch near the Harlem River in Inwood. ... The car washers are there every day of the year, rain or shine, and a full-service wash, inside and out, will run you $20. ...."
NY Times

A Brief Introduction to the Art of Ancient Assyrian Kings

"From the 800s to the 600s B.C., the kings of Assyria built grand palaces in their capital cities, located in the land we know today as Iraq. Inside these palaces were some of the most remarkable works of sculpture to survive from the ancient world. These sculptures took the form of reliefs carved onto gypsum or limestone panels and affixed to interior walls. The reliefs, which were originally painted, stood about two meters (six feet) high and covered the lower portion of palace walls; the wall space above was decorated with painted plaster and glazed bricks. Thanks to a generous loan from the British Museum, thirteen Assyrian palace reliefs are on view through 2022 at the Getty Villa in the exhibition Assyria: Palace Art of Ancient Iraq. Here is a short how-to guide for understanding the imagery and narrative techniques of Assyrian palace art, which is rather different from the Greek and Roman art found throughout the rest of the Villa. ..."
Getty - Assyria: Palace Art of Ancient Iraq
Khan Academy: The palace decoration of Ashurbanipal, Lamassu from the citadel of Sargon II

Battle with a Camel Rider. From the Central Palace of Tiglath-pileser III at Kalhu (Nimrud), 728 B.C.

Saturday, February 15

Anthony Braxton: Ghost Trance Music

"Plenty of musicians claim a wide-ranging set of artistic influences. But few can conceive of a stylistic retinue as dizzyingly diverse as the one that inspires saxophonist and composer Anthony Braxton. When he accepted the NEA’s bestowal of 'Jazz Master' status, back in 2014, he gave a speech in which he cited the saxophonist Paul Desmond (best known for his work with Dave Brubeck), as well as the University of Michigan marching band and John Philip Sousa. Later in the same talk, Braxton described 'taking classes on the great music of the Native Americans – their ghost dance music, for instance.' Nor is this atypical assortment of references a recent thing. The jazz and classical visionary dedicated portions of For Alto, his 1969 solo saxophone recording, to musicians as distinct as the Zen-influenced classical music philosopher John Cage and the free jazz pioneer Cecil Taylor. ..."
Red Bull Music Academy (Video/Audio)
NY Times: Anthony Braxton Composes Together Past, Present and Future (Audio)
Rolling Stone - Anthony Braxton’s Big Ideas: Why ‘Forces in Motion’ Is an Essential American Music Book (Video)
W - Anthony Braxton, W - Anthony Braxton discography
YouTube: Ghost Trance Music Nos. 169 and 199
YouTube: Ghost Trance Music 7 videos

Anthony Braxton at The Banff Centre in 1984.

Friday, February 14

Eliane Radigue - Transamorem - Transmortem (1974)

"There are a number of significant omissions in Eliane Radigue's discography, as the sole available medium in the '60s and '70s (vinyl) could not contain her long-form drone works without ruining them by carving them up into multiple parts. Consequently, this extended epic of ultra-minimalism is just now getting a formal release despite being premiered in 1974. While its immediate impact is blunted considerably by the 37 years of drone/electronic music evolution that followed it, patient listening reveals a visionary and enveloping work that is unexpectedly timeless. Transamorem-Transmortem is a single 77-minute piece that was originally intended as an installation, but was debuted at The Kitchen in the spring of 1974. ..."
Brainwashed (Audio)
Important Records
Tiny Mix Tapes
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Transamorem Transmortem 1:07:05

2018 May: Trilogie de la Mort (1988-1993), 2018 October: The Deeply Meditative Electronic Music of Avant-Garde Composer Eliane Radigue, 2019 February: Adnos I-III, 2019 May: Occam Ocean, Vol. 1 (2017), 2019 December: Songs Of Milarepa (1992)

The Soccer Politics of Morocco (2018)

The “ultra” fans of Raja Casablanca lighting torches at a game in the Mohammed V stadium, Morocco, November 25, 2018
"Casablanca, Morocco—On that glorious night, they stood on their seats for almost the entire game, arms aloft, shouting, cheering, booing and, most of all, singing. Lyrical chants filled the air that chilly November evening. There was a sea of green—their team’s color—on their shirts and on the flags they waved. Artistic graffiti decorated the stadium. The fans shared an immense love for and loyalty to the Raja Athletic Club of Casablanca (RCA). They sang and sang until the final whistle, savoring every word of songs that expressed the passion in their hearts. Raja was facing AS Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup final, one of Africa’s major soccer tournaments. It was hard to focus on the action on the field because the supporters captured most of our attention in the stadium. ..."
NYBooks - World Cup 2018: Morocco’s Glimpse of the Possible
NY Times: In Morocco, an Imported Team for the World Cup
W - Morocco national football team
Guardian: Morocco football team

Young Raja supporters in the streets of Derb Sultan, a district of Casablanca, on game day, Morocco, November 25, 2018

2019 July: Yes We Can—Football and Nationalism, 2019 July: Sport, history and politics at the African Cup of Nations, 2019 August: Beyond game day

Thursday, February 13

Your Guide to Sunset Park: Sweeping Views in South Brooklyn

The sidewalks along Sunset Park’s Eighth Avenue are a maze of nameless produce stands.
"While Sunset Park owes its name to a 25-acre hilltop park with panoramic harbor views, the neighborhood’s early history was anchored five avenues downhill, on its industrial waterfront. From the end of the nineteenth century, Sunset Park’s ports served as a docking zone for arriving cargo ships, while nearby factories produced a range of goods from military supplies to clothing. The neighborhood remains working-class and immigrant, though the faces have changed: Once known as 'Finn Town' and 'Little Norway,' Sunset Park is now majority Latino, with significant Puerto Rican, Dominican, Ecuadorian, and Mexican communities. The second largest ethnic group is Chinese, a 30,000-plus population concentrated along Eighth Avenue in Brooklyn’s Chinatown. ..."
The Atlantic: Sunset Park is New York's Vantage Point
NY Times - Sunset Park, Brooklyn: Not Quite Trendy
Residents Overwhelmingly Support Proposed Sunset Park Historic Districts at LPC Hearing
W - Sunset Park, Brooklyn

For stargazers, the Big Dipper is a celestial compass, clock, calendar and ruler. Here’s how to use it.

A night scene captured in Achada do Gamo, Dark Sky Alqueva Mértola, shows the silhouette of a skywatcher who is trying to show us where to find Polaris, the North Star, in the Big Dipper.
"At one time or another, most of us have probably used a Swiss Army Knife. An excellent everyday tool, it's really just a glorified pocket or penknife; a tool incorporating several blades and other appliances such as scissors and screwdrivers. And ascending the northeast sky on February evenings is what we might call the 'Swiss Army Knife of the sky': the Big Dipper. It is not an official constellation in itself; rather, it's a prominent grouping of stars (called an asterism) that forms a different type of star pattern within a recognized constellation — in this case, Ursa Major, the great bear. ..."
Space (Video)
Doorstep Astronomy: See the Big Dipper
W - Big Dipper

From northern latitudes, use the Big Dipper to point the way to Polaris and the north celestial pole. Currently, the Big Dipper can be seen at its highest in the northern sky late in the evening, with its bowl overturned.

President Bernie Sanders?

"Senator Bernie Sanders — the septuagenarian Jewish democratic socialist who wants to remake the American health care system, end public college tuition and give workers partial ownership stakes in the companies they work for — has officially emerged, at least for now, as the Democratic Party’s front-runner in the race for president. Anyone who remembered Mr. Sanders’s improbable insurgency in the 2016 Democratic primary and the breadth of his support knew better than to write him off entirely. But four months after a heart attack seemed to endanger his candidacy, his continued momentum is spurring a more serious reckoning with the possibility of his nomination. ..."
NY Times

Wednesday, February 12

The Enduring Vision of Chinatown

"The first time I saw Chinatown, I was about as far as you can get from Los Angeles—sitting by myself in an old movie house in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This was in the early 1970s, before the era of the multiplex, and movies would arrive in a cluster, spreading across the Cape’s beach towns like sea spray off Nantucket Sound. I was about to turn 13: I did not know anything about Southern California, either its history or its prevailing myths. I had not yet given much thought to water, nor to the conventions of the hard-boiled mystery. I liked crime fiction, though, and I remember the prurient shock of watching as the film’s director, Roman Polanski, who had a cameo as a gangster, sliced open the nose of the detective hero, J.J. Gittes, played by Jack Nicholson. ..."
New Republic
The ultimate ‘Chinatown’ filming location map of Los Angeles

2014 July: Chinatown - Roman Polanski (1974)

Closer to the Code

"Each year, my listening seems to get a little closer to the source. This habit, this tendency, goes back to my earliest music explorations. Enamored of a given album in my teens and early 20s, I’d track down music by the individual players on it. In part this pursuit was to expand my horizons, but in part, especially I recognize in retrospect, this was to narrow them; I had the sense that if I gained a comprehension of the individual player’s sound, I’d better understand their contribution to the initial album that seeded my interest. Fast forward to 2020, and much of my listening is to sketches, to rough drafts, to works-in-progress that people post to SoundCloud and, increasingly, to YouTube of the most inchoate of musical inventions. In the case of this video, it is Nathan Wheeler documenting his participation in a coding circle. ..."
disquiet (Video)
Soundcloud (Audio)
Bandcamp (Audio)

Tuesday, February 11

Identify Any Tree in New York City With this Map

"Though we may like to think that we know the secrets of the blocks we live on, we may be missing far more information than we realize. Can you name, for example, the number of trees that line your block? What about each kind of tree that grows on your block? Sure, you may know what the tree outside your window looks like, but what kind of tree is it? What kind of trees are on either side of it? If you live within the bounds of New York City, this tree map has all your answers. Using the last tree census data (yes, there’s a tree census) from 2005, Brooklyn-based web developer Jill Hubley created an incredibly detailed map of all of the street trees in New York City. In theory, each tree on every street in the five boroughs is represented. ..."
Atlas Obscura
Open Culture - Behold the New York City Street Tree Map: An Interactive Map That Catalogues the 700,000 Trees Shading the Streets of New York City
New York City Street Tree Map
YouTube: NYC Street Tree Map

A birds-eye view of street trees in a section of Bed-Stuy.

Monday, February 10

Edith Halpert and the Rise of American Art

Jacob Lawrence, The Music Lesson, from the Harlem series, 1943.
"It’s not a good sign when you step into an art exhibition and immediately begin to reinstall it in your head. But don’t hold that against 'Edith Halpert and the Rise of American Art,' a crowded, enthralling exhibition at the Jewish Museum with a fascinating back story that is rarely told on this scale. It recounts the life of a long-running influential art gallery and, by extension, of the person who willed it into existence. That person, Edith Gregor Halpert (1900-1970), was a formidable, feisty and sometimes manipulative self-starter with an ecumenical eye, a passion for art and an inborn instinct for sales and promotion. Halpert was central to establishing the market for between-the-wars American art and thought that everyone should own art. ..."
NY Times
Edith Halpert and the Rise of American Art (Video/Audio)
FT - Edith Halpert: American art’s invisible visionary
Yale Books: Edith Halpert, the Downtown Gallery, and the Rise of American Art (Video)

Jordi Savall: Hespèrion XXI ‎– Orient - Occident (2006)

"AliaVox's Orient-Occident 1200-1700 is unique in Jordi Savall's recorded output in that, despite the title, it has no correspondence whatsoever with any specific historical or musicological program. Rather, like the 'East meets West' albums pairing violinist Yehudi Menhuin with sitar player Ravi Shankar, Orient-Occident 1200-1700 brings Savall and ace Hespèrion XXI percussionist Pedro Estevan into the orbit of Greek santur player Dimitris Psonis, Israeli oud player Yair Dalal, Moroccan oudist Driss El Maloumi, and three Afghan traditional musicians -- Osman Ahrman, Khaled Arman, and Siar Hashimi. The result is not like a typical crossover experiment so much as it is a trans-Mediterranean stew of closely related styles. Played by this group, on this combination of instruments, dances from the Italian trecento, Sephardic romances, Persian classical music, and thirteenth century Spanish dances all sound like they are cut from the same cloth. ..."
allmusic (Audio)
YouTube: Orient/Occident (Jordi Savall - Hespreion XXI) 14 videos

Sunday, February 9

Rembrandt's J'Accuse - Peter Greenaway (2008)

"Peter Greenaway comes on like Oliver Stone transformed into a wry art scholar in Rembrandt’s J’Accuse, his self-described 'investigation' of the Dutch master’s 1642 painting The Night Watch, which he posits as a theatrically calculated 'indictment by image' of a murder within a prominent Amsterdam citizen militia. Greenaway—whose prosecutorial head is present in a modestly-sized video frame in the lower center of the screen, nearly as often as his voice narrates the conspiracy theory—sniffs that most people are 'visually illiterate' in the age of the written text, then attempts to scrape away the centuries by contextualizing Night Watch in its political and social epoch, with some of the same DV sleight-of-effects that stuffed his Tulse Luper Suitcases trilogy but with a lighter touch and a clearer through line. Sequentially dissecting 31 mysteries he spies on the giant canvas he scrutinizes with a coroner’s exactitude, Greenaway credits Rembrandt with tactics ranging from gay innuendo (a captain’s shadowed hand falling just above his lieutenant’s erect, crotch-level blade) to outrage at child prostitution, all in the service of pointing to the militia officer’s officially accidental death as a premeditated coup in the service of Anglo-friendly families’ financial interest in the Crown Jewels of fractious England. ..."
W - Rembrandt's J'Accuse W - The Night Watch
Peter Greenway, Rembrandt’s J’Accuse
ARTFORUM: Watch and Learn
YouTube: Peter Greenaway's Rembrandt's J'Accuse, "Most People are Visually Illiterate" - Rembrandt's J'Accuse

Rembrandt - The Night Watch (1642)

Hanging trees and hollering ghosts: the unsettling art of the American deep south

The porch of artist Emmer Sewell.
"The quilters of Gee’s Bend make art out of recycled cloth. Lonnie Holley crafts sculptures out of car tyres and other human detritus. Self-taught luthier Freeman Vines carves guitars out of wood that came from a 'hanging tree' once used to lynch black men. The 'yard shows' of Dinah Young and Joe Minter are permanent exhibitions of their art – a cacophony of 'scrap-iron elegies'. Almost all of this art comes from Alabama, and it all features in We Will Walk, Turner Contemporary’s groundbreaking new exhibition of African-American art from the southern state and its surroundings. ..."
We Will Walk

Otherworldly … Eagle, 1988, by Ralph Griffin.

Saturday, February 8

How Detective Fiction Took Hold of Los Angeles

"... Other cities experienced booms, whose migrants settled gradually and came from neighboring regions, but Los Angeles, the most advertised city in America, experienced constant booms, drawing migrants from all corners of the country, and at such an incredible rate, that each boom, to accommodate the influx, inflicted destructive erasures on self and city. If the city ever knew what it was, it kept forgetting. ... Los Angeles had always been home to America’s largest nonindigenous population, and perhaps for that reason, it could be argued, was America’s most American city, but the combined impact of alienated migrants and the Great Depression initiated a peculiar strain of isolation that cast a cloud over the city once promised to be Eden on earth. Short on work, dislodged from their families, their communities, their traditions, Angelenos of the thirties were uncommonly lonely. Exiles all, they were, in addition, geographically isolated from one another by a sprawling metropolis built nonsensically on a scramble of unnumbered streets and boulevards. ..."
The 20 essential L.A. crime books
What Is a Hard-Boiled Novel?
L.A. Noir: 11 Must-Read Mysteries Set in Los Angeles

Best Bob Marley Songs: 20 Essential Legend-Defining Tracks

"Poster icon, inspirational figure, messenger for Rastafarianism, eternally young hero… Bob Marley (born 6 February 1945; died 11 May 1981) was all those things and more. Musically, however, he truly delivered, and the best Bob Marley songs range from spiritual ballads to political statements, sexy serenades to declarations of love. These 20 songs reveal exactly why. Think we’ve missed any of your best Bob Marley songs? Let us know in the comments section, below. Listen to the best Bob Marley songs on Apple Music and Spotify, and scroll down for our 20 best Bob Marley songs. ..."
udiscover (Video)

2010 November: Bob Marley and the Wailers, 2011 May: Bob Marley & the Wailers Live 1973 - 1975, 2011 July: Tuff Gong Studios 1980, 2012 March: Bob Marley: Live in Santa Barbara, 2012 August: Marley, 2013 March: Bob Marley & The Wailers - Live Forever: The Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA, 2016 February: "I Shot the Sheriff" / "Stir It Up" - Bob Marley and the Wailers (1973)

Friday, February 7

Native American Hand Talkers Fight to Keep Sign Language Alive

Detail of portrait of Shoshoni Chief Tendoi Demonstrating Sign Language.
"In early September 1930, the Blackfeet Nation of Montana hosted a historic Indian Sign Language Grand Council, gathering leaders of a dozen North American Nations and language groups. The three-day council held was organized by Hugh L. Scott, a 77-year-old U.S. Army General who had spent a good portion of his career in the American West, where he observed and learned what users called Hand Talk, and what is today more broadly known as Plains Indian Sign Language (PISL). With $5,000 in federal funding, Scott filmed the proceedings and hoped to produce a film dictionary of more than 1,300 signs. He died before he could finish the project. Scott’s films disappeared into the National Archives. Recently rediscovered, they are an important resource for those looking to revitalize PISL. Among them is Ron Garritson, who identifies himself as being of Choctaw and European heritage. He was raised in Billings, Montana, near the Crow Nation. ..."
VOA (Video)
A Sign Language of the Plains Indians – Part 1
North American languages map before European contact
W - Plains Indian Sign Language
Fighting to Save Indigenous Sign Languages

2011 July: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee - Dee Brown, 2012 September: The Ghost Dance, 2016 September: A History and Future of Resistance, 2016 November: Dakota Access Pipeline protests, 2016 December: Police Violence Against Native Americans Goes Far Beyond Standing Rock, 2016 December: Dakota Protesters Say Belle Fourche Oil Spill 'Validates Struggle', 2017 January: A Murky Legal Mess at Standing Rock, 2017 January: Trump's Move On Keystone XL, Dakota Access Outrages Activists, 2017 February: Army veterans return to Standing Rock to form a human shield against police, 2017 February: Standing Rock is burning – but our resistance isn't over, 2017 March: Dakota Access pipeline could open next week after activists face final court loss, 2017 April: The Conflicts Along 1,172 Miles of the Dakota Access Pipeline, 2017 May: 'Those are our Eiffel Towers, our pyramids': Why Standing Rock is about much more than oil, 2017 June: Dakota pipeline protesters won a small victory in court. We must fight on, 2018 February: PHOTOS: Since Standing Rock, 56 Bills Have Been Introduced in 30 States to Restrict Protests, 2018 November: Dennis J. Banks, Naawakamig (1937-2017), 2018 April: The Next Standing Rock? A Pipeline Battle Looms in Oregon, 2018 October: Democrats, Don’t Take Native American Voters for Granted

Thursday, February 6

'A pretence of justice': the global press on Trump's acquittal

"The international media were scathing in their verdict on Donald Trump’s acquittal in his Senate trial, portraying it as a bitter charade that would allow the president to continue his onslaught on American democracy – with potential global consequences. Germany’s Die Zeit said the outcome of the impeachment process was 'a triumph for Trump – not just over the Democrats, but over democracy'. The end of this 'historic yet absurd process' had made abundantly clear 'how seriously damaged the US political system now is', the paper said. ... France’s Libération said the curtain had fallen 'not before time' on a process that for the past fortnight had 'offered the American public, and the world, a desperate spectacle. A hollow pretence of justice, without testimony or an ounce of impartiality, it ended as expected – in the president’s acquittal.' ... In Australia, the Age warned of the wider consequences of the acquittal. 'Even taking into account Trump’s positives, his negatives – corruption, his reliance on lying, the numerous sexual assault allegations, his disregard for the spirit and letter of the law – are destructive for constitutional democracy,' it said. ... In the Netherlands, De Volkskrant’s Washington correspondent agreed, saying the outcome of the impeachment process was never in doubt: 'If it has made one thing very clear, it’s that he has the undivided support of his party – and that if he wins in November, he will be accountable only to himself.' ... Spain’s El País said this had been the most partisan impeachment process ever, with only a heroic Mitt Romney breaking party lines. ..."
Guardian: Trump impeachment
NY Times: What Will Finally Defeat Donald Trump?
NY Times: In Private, Republicans Admit They Acquitted Trump Out of Fear
NY Times: Trump Impeachment Results: How Democrats and Republicans Voted (Video)

Wednesday, February 5

The 50 Best Chess Singles Of All Time

"How can anyone select the Top 50 best Chess Records singles and not upset at least a few devotees? Eliminating singles from among hundreds of worthy candidates from the entire Chess roster is bound to draw fire from fans. Honestly, you could easily find 50 legitimate classics solely from among the company’s biggest stars – Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Etta James. But owners Leonard and Phil Chess always thought broadly and looked to widen their music’s appeal. That’s clear from their history, which began with a focus on blues and jazz, moved to rock’n’roll and then to soul music as they reacted to changing public tastes while simultaneously advancing those tastes with groundbreaking releases. ..."
udiscover (Video)

Local Hero - Bill Forsyth (1983)

"IMDb, the movie site, says nothing about blubbing. No warning to keep the tissues at the ready. In fact, Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero (1983) is often described as a comedy. Quirky, wry, gentle. Those are the other words most commonly used. Weepy, no. And the storyline does not hint at the emotional turbulence you might soon be experiencing. So maybe it’s just me being a big sissy. Wouldn’t be the first time I lost the plot. Crackpot Texan oil magnate Felix Happer (Burt Lancaster) gets the idea that a small Scottish fishing village would be a marvellous acquisition for his so-rich-it-makes-you-sick company, Knox Oil and Gas, so he sends an executive gopher named MacIntyre (because that sounds Scottish, yeah – played by Peter Riegert) to close the deal and get the pipeline pencilled in. ..."
Guardian - The film that makes me cry: Local Hero
W - Local Hero
NY Times (1983)
YouTube: A Film In Three Minutes, Happer is a Motherfucker, Moments from Local Hero: The Lab

2014 July: Sweet Smell of Success (1957), 2018 December: 1900 - Bernardo Bertolucci (1976), 2018 December: Atlantic City - Louis Malle (1980)

Tuesday, February 4

Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence - 1

"Following in the footsteps of nineteenth-century artists who celebrated the out-of-doors as a place of leisure, renewal, and inspiration, this exhibition explores horticultural developments that reshaped the landscape of France and grounded innovative movements—artistic and green—in an era that gave rise to Naturalism, Impressionism, and Art Nouveau. As shiploads of exotic botanical specimens arrived from abroad and local nurserymen pursued hybridization, the availability and variety of plants and flowers grew exponentially, as did the interest in them. The opening up of formerly royal properties and the transformation of Paris during the Second Empire into a city of tree-lined boulevards and parks introduced public green spaces to be enjoyed as open-air salons, while suburbanites and country-house dwellers were prompted to cultivate their own flower gardens. ... The important role of parks and gardens in French life during this period is richly illustrated by paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, illustrated books, and objects in The Met collection by artists extending from Camille Corot to Henri Matisse, many of whom were gardeners themselves. ..."
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Exhibition Galleries
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Related Videos (Video)
Habitually Chic
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence


Claude Monet, Impression, soleil levant, 1872
"Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement characterized by relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles. Impressionism originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s. The Impressionists faced harsh opposition from the conventional art community in France. The name of the style derives from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy to coin the term in a satirical review published in the Parisian newspaper Le Charivari. The development of Impressionism in the visual arts was soon followed by analogous styles in other media that became known as impressionist music and impressionist literature. ..."

Luncheon at the Boating Lake, Renoir, 1880-1

The Barbizon School: French Painters of Nature

Léon Richet, Les Arbres à Barbizon
"In early nineteenth-century France, landscape painting was narrowly circumscribed by an aesthetic code upheld by the conservative French Academy. Painters and sculptors were rigorously trained in the Neoclassical tradition to emulate artists of the Renaissance and classical antiquity. In the hierarchy of historical subjects recognized by the Academy, pure landscape painting was not a privilege. At best, artists could hope to paint an idealized nature inspired by ancient poetry. The grand classicizing subjects of the seventeenth-century painters Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain presented other acceptable models."
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
W - Barbizon school
Barbizon School of Landscape Painting
YouTube: Barbizon: The Cradle of Impressionism

Charles-Francois Daubigny, Cottages at Barbizon: Evening 1817 - 1878

Les Nabis

Maurice Denis, September Evening (Women Sitting on the Terrace), 1891
"Les Nabis (French pronunciation: ​[le nabi]) was a group of young French artists active in Paris from 1888 until 1900, who played a large part in the transition from impressionism and academic art to abstract art, symbolism and the other early movements of modernism. The members included Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Paul Ranson, Édouard Vuillard, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Félix Vallotton, and Paul Sérusier. Most were students at the Académie Julian in Paris in the late 1880s. The artists shared a common admiration for Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne and a determination to renew the art of painting, but varied greatly in their individual styles. They believed that a work of art was not a depiction of nature, but a synthesis of metaphors and symbols created by the artist. In 1900, the artists held their final exhibit, and went their separate ways. ..."
The Radiant Paintings of Les Nabis, the Movement Started by Bonnard and Vuillard
Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Nabis and Decorative Painting
The Nabis 101
Musée d'Orsay: Nabis and decoration. Bonnard, Vuillard, Maurice Denis... (Video)
YouTube: les nabis 26 videos

Les Nabis at Stephane Natanson’s house in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, south-east of Paris, c. 1898. Lying, from left: Felix Valloton, Édouard Vuillard, Stephane Natanson, Marthe Mellot, Thadée Natanson and Misia Natanson. Standing: Cipa (half-brother of Misia Natanson).

Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity

Left. Albert Bartholomé. In the Conservatory, c. 1881. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Right. Summer dress worn by Madame Bartholomé in the painting In the Conservatory, French, 1880. Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
"Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity presents a revealing look at the role of fashion in the works of the Impressionists and their contemporaries. Some eighty major figure paintings, seen in concert with period costumes, accessories, fashion plates, photographs, and popular prints, highlight the vital relationship between fashion and art during the pivotal years, from the mid-1860s to the mid-1880s, when Paris emerged as the style capital of the world. With the rise of the department store, the advent of ready-made wear, and the proliferation of fashion magazines, those at the forefront of the avant-garde — from Manet, Monet, and Renoir to Baudelaire, Mallarmé, and Zola — turned a fresh eye to contemporary dress, embracing la mode as the harbinger of la modernité."
Metropolitan Museum
amazon: Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity
NYT: The Cross-Dressing of Art and Couture
NYT: The Fashion Show From the Belle Époque
YouTube: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity

Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism

"A scion of a Protestant upper-middle-class family from Montpellier in southern France, Frédéric Bazille (1841–1870) seemed destined for a career in medicine. In 1862 he traveled to Paris, ostensibly to pursue his medical studies, though he also enrolled as a student in the studio of the painter Charles Gleyre. It was there that he met fellow artists Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley, even sharing studio space with both Monet and Renoir at times. He soon became part of a dynamic circle of avant-garde artists and writers that included Édouard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour, Émile Zola, and Zacharie Astruc. Like his friends, Bazille created paintings inspired by contemporary life that challenged the aesthetic conventions of the day and helped to lay the groundwork of impressionism. Unfortunately, Bazille was killed in battle during the Franco-Prussian War, just prior to his 29th birthday, bringing his promising career to an abrupt and tragic end. ..."
NGA (Audio)
Chong reviews Frederic Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism