Saturday, February 29

To Take On the Coronavirus, Go Medieval on It

"There are two ways to fight epidemics: the medieval and the modern. The modern way is to surrender to the power of the pathogens: Acknowledge that they are unstoppable and to try to soften the blow with 20th-century inventions, including new vaccines, antibiotics, hospital ventilators and thermal cameras searching for people with fevers. The medieval way, inherited from the era of the Black Death, is brutal: Close the borders, quarantine the ships, pen terrified citizens up inside their poisoned cities. For the first time in more than a century, the world has chosen to confront a new and terrifying virus with the iron fist instead of the latex glove. At least for a while, it worked, and it might still serve a purpose. ..."
NY Times
Guardian - How to protect yourself against coronavirus
W - Coronavirus
WIRED - Ask the Know-It-Alls: What Is a Coronavirus?
NY Times - Coronavirus
Guardian - Coronavirus outbreak
****New Yorker: Quarantine Cooking: Finding Relief from Coronavirus Anxiety in the Kitchen
*****NY Times: Here Comes the Coronavirus Pandemic

Say It Is So: Baseball’s Disgrace

Fans’ mementos adorning the grave of Chicago White Sox player “Shoeless” Joe Jackson at Woodlawn Memorial Park, Greenville, South Carolina, 2003
"... He summarily banished eight Chicago players, including at least one who was only minimally involved in the plot, if at all, the all-time great 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson. Not only had Jackson declined to play poorly during the series; he hit a sterling .375 while setting a record for most base hits that would stand until 1964; and he played flawlessly in the outfield. But he knew about what was going on when one of the complicit players threw $5,000 on his bed, so he was done. ... The scandals did not end. More discovered over the last thirty years have resulted in harsh penalties assessed on specific players. The great hitter Pete Rose’s betting on baseball, exposed in 1989, was peanuts compared to the offenses of either the Black Sox or the 1951 Giants. While managing the Cincinnati Reds at the end of the 1980s, Rose, the all-time major league leader in hits, placed wagers on baseball games—but never against his own team, which would have been deeply suspicious. ..."

Friday, February 28

For Decades, Cartographers Have Been Hiding Covert Illustrations Inside of Switzerland’s Official Maps

03 A reclining woman, hidden for almost sixty years in the municipality of Egg
"The first three dimensions—length, height, and depth—are included on all topographical maps. The 'fourth dimension,' or time, is also available on the website of the Swiss Federal Office of Topography (Swisstopo). In the 'Journey Through Time,'  a timeline displays 175 years of the country’s cartographic history, advancing in increments of 5-10 years. Over the course of two minutes, Switzerland is drawn and redrawn with increasing precision: inky shapes take on hard edges, blues and browns appear after the turn of the century, and in 2016, the letters drop their serifs. ..."
Eye On Design

04 A spider appears over an ice field on the Eiger mountain

Thursday, February 27

The Primaries Are Just Dumb

"How fitting that Twitter — a social media platform apparently built for bickering — co-sponsored a political debate on Tuesday night that often descended into an unintelligible screaming match among too many candidates whose differences belie a vast common ground. Any one of the candidates in the Democratic race would be among the most progressive leaders ever elected to the White House, so common sense suggests that a few contenders bow out, to clarify the choice and ensure that a consensus nominee can emerge. That would be welcome. But disarray has a way of keeping even the slimmest of hopes alive. ..."
NY Times
NY Times: The Best Case for Each Candidate

Wednesday, February 26

Motherless Brooklyn - Edward Norton (2019)

"Motherless Brooklyn is a 2019 American neo-noir crime film written, produced and directed by Edward Norton, based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Jonathan Lethem. Set in New York City in 1957, the film follows a private investigator with Tourette syndrome, who is determined to solve the murder of his mentor. Along with Norton, the film also stars Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones, Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe. A passion project of Norton's ever since he read Lethem's novel in 1999, the film took nearly 20 years to go into production. Although the book is set in contemporary times, Norton felt the plot and dialogue lent themselves more to a noir setting — moving it to the 1950s, with many added plot points inspired by The Power Broker. Other members of the cast joined by February 2018, and principal photography began that same month. ..."
NY Times - ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ Review: Edward Norton Fights the Power Broker
Vanity Fair: Edward Norton Finds Real Emotion in the Pastiche of Motherless Brooklyn
The Atlantic: Motherless Brooklyn Is a Passion Project Without Heart
LA Times: Edward Norton’s 1950s noir ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ unravels a muddled New York conspiracy

Tuesday, February 25

A Tribute to NASA’s Katherine Johnson (RIP): Learn About the Extraordinary Mathematician Who Broke Through America’s Race & Gender Barriers

"We don't call it a tragedy when a renowned person dies after the century mark, especially if that person is brilliant NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who passed away yesterday at the venerable age of 101. Her death is a great historical loss, but by almost any measure we would consider reaching such a finish line a triumphant end to an already heroic life. A prodigy and pioneer, Johnson joined the all-black 'human computing' section at NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, in 1953. She would go on to calculate the launch windows and return trajectories for Alan Shepard’s first spaceflight, John Glenn’s first trip into orbit, and the Apollo Lunar Module’s first return from the Moon. ..."
Open Culture (Video)
W - Katherine Johnson
NY Times: Katherine Johnson Dies at 101; Mathematician Broke Barriers at NASA
YouTube: Former NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson dies

Clarissa Oakes - Patrick O'Brian (1992)

"Clarissa Oakes (titled The Truelove in the United States) is the fifteenth historical novel in the Aubrey-Maturin series by British author Patrick O'Brian, first published in 1992. The story is set during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. ... Glad that the penal colony is behind him, Captain Aubrey discovers a stowaway prisoner aboard near Norfolk Island. He deals with her before he allows the cutter from the governor at New South Wales to deliver his new orders to handle a political situation on a Pacific island. En route, Maturin learns the key to finding the high level agent giving British information to the French, while Aubrey addresses the unhappy crew of Surprise. One reviewer finds this novel a pure joy to read as it shares unmistakably original insights into the mysteries of the world. ..."
The Patrick O'Brian Mapping Project - Clarissa Oakes (5663 Nautical Miles)

2009 September: Patrick O'Brian, 2013 July: Harbors and High Seas - Dean King and John B. Hattendorf, 2015 October: HMS Surprise (1973), 2016 May: Post Captain (1972), 2019 February: Aubrey–Maturin series, 2019 February: Cooking with Patrick O’Brian By Valerie Stivers, 2019 June: Desolation Island (1978)

Monday, February 24

No Show Museum

"The No Show Museum is an art museum, established in Zurich, Switzerland in 2015, devoted to nothing and its various manifestations throughout the history of art. It claims to be the first of its kind. Founded by Swiss conceptual artist and curator Andreas Heusser, the museum's collection today includes around 500 works and documents from over 150 international artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The museum's collection is freely accessible online and displays works, documents, and artifacts from conceptual art, minimalist art, performance art, and painting, as well as from photography, literature, theatre, film, and music...."
No Show Museum (Video)
On Being Present Where You Wish to Disappear

A printmaker’s New York in shadows and light

Dock Workers Under the Brooklyn Bridge, 1916-1918
"Martin Lewis’ masterful etchings—which offer shadowy, poetic glimpses of 1920s and 1930s New York—have been featured on Ephemeral New York many times before. But just when I’d given up on finding new examples of the way he illuminates the darker (and sometimes darkly humorous) edges of the cityscape, I came across the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s digitized collection—which includes a trove of Lewis’ etchings. ..."
Ephemeral New York

Derricks, 1927

Sunday, February 23

Inventing Impressionism - 2

Degas, Dance Foyer of the Opera at rue le Peletier (1872)
"Here are some chairs I noticed. An empty chair at the natural optical centre of Degas’s Dance Foyer of the Opera at rue le Peletier (1872), occupied by a fan and a puddle of white cloth. It is waiting – and the viewer is waiting, subliminally – for its occupant to return and claim the fan. It is reserved. Someone has bagged it. Not a circumstance you often see painted, though common enough in real life. Nor is the violinist playing. He is pausing, his bow at rest on his trouser leg. Degas has painted a pause. A thing that hasn’t been painted before. In the same picture, a dancer to the right, in the foreground, is sitting on another chair, her legs stiffly out front – ungainly yet graceful, resting. The upright back of the chair is invisible because it is under her unmanageably stiff tulle skirt, lifting the skirt up and slightly out of alignment. All her fatigue is there in the mistake, the carelessness of her plonking down."
New Statesman: How the impressionists found a new way of capturing the remarkable in everyday life
Guardian: Inventing Impressionism review – a superb exhibition in every respect
The National Gallery: Inventing Impressionism
YouTube: Inventing Impressionism | The National Gallery, London

The Galettes, 1882, Claude Monet.

Impressionism: Art and Modernity

La Grenouillère, Claude Monet, 1869
"In 1874, a group of artists called the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, etc. organized an exhibition in Paris that launched the movement called Impressionism. Its founding members included Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro, among others. The group was unified only by its independence from the official annual Salon, for which a jury of artists from the Académie des Beaux-Arts selected artworks and awarded medals. The independent artists, despite their diverse approaches to painting, appeared to contemporaries as a group. While conservative critics panned their work for its unfinished, sketchlike appearance, more progressive writers praised it for its depiction of modern life. Edmond Duranty, for example, in his 1876 essay La Nouvelle Peinture (The New Painting), wrote of their depiction of contemporary subject matter in a suitably innovative style as a revolution in painting. The exhibiting collective avoided choosing a title that would imply a unified movement or school, although some of them subsequently adopted the name by which they would eventually be known, the Impressionists. Their work is recognized today for its modernity, embodied in its rejection of established styles, its incorporation of new technology and ideas, and its depiction of modern life. ..."
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Garden at Argenteuil, Edouard Manet, 1874

The Age of Impressionism

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Venice, the Doge's Palace, 1881
"Showcasing the Clark's renowned holdings of French Impressionist paintings, this exhibition features seventy-three works of art, including works by Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley. Also represented are Pierre Bonnard, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jéan-Leon Gérôme, Jean-François Millet, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, among others. The MFAH exhibition tells not only the story of Sterling and Francine Clark's devotion and passion for collecting but also of painting in nineteenth-century France, including the Orientalist works of Gérôme, Barbizon paintings of Corot and Théodore Rousseau, Impressionist masterpieces of Degas, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, and Sisley, and Early Modern output of Bonnard and Lautrec. Portraits, landscapes, marines, still lifes, and scenes of everyday life by twenty-five artists, spanning seventy years, are on view."
The Clark
YouTube: The Age of Impressionism

Camille Pissarro, The River Oise near Pontoise, 1873

Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting

Pont Boieldieu in Rouen, Rainy Weather, 1896, Camille Pissarro
"This extraordinary gathering of paintings reveals the story of Monet, Renoir, Degas, Manet, Pissarro, and their visionary art dealer and champion, Paul Durand-Ruel. The artists now known as the Impressionists once struggled to introduce their new style of painting to critics and the public. With Durand-Ruel, they forged an identity and moved from the margins to international fame. Recaptured in this exhibition are the often forgotten setbacks and breakthrough triumphs of Impressionism. Monet’s visions of graceful poplar trees, Renoir’s joyous dance paintings, and Pissarro’s luminous cityscapes showcase the talent recognized by Durand-Ruel. Durand-Ruel secured Impressionism’s place in history through tireless promotion across Europe and the United States—enthusiastic Americans ensured its success."
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art: Featured Artists
NY Times: Paul Durand-Ruel, the Paris Dealer Who Put Impressionism on the Map
WSJ: ‘Durand-Ruel’ Impressionism Show Tours Paris, London, Philadelphia
YouTube: Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand Ruel at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy

"Presented as a companion to the major exhibition Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, which investigates Impressionist artists’ expressive use of contemporary fashion in depictions of public life, this exhibition focuses on the private side of apparel—and the lack thereof. Featuring more than 120 drawings and prints, as well as select paintings, photographs, and materials from the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, Undressed explores the connotations of informal dress and undress in intimate, personal situations."
The Art Institute of Chicago

Barbizon through Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark

Camille Corot, Road by the Water, c. 1865–70.
"The international tour of French nineteenth-century paintings from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute made its ninth stop at the Shanghai Museum. The Clark’s world tour has drawn more than 1.6 million visitors since it began in October 2010. Open to the public from September 18–December 1, 2013, the exhibition in Shanghai features seventy-three paintings, including works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, and Camille Pissarro, as well as those by Pierre Bonnard, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Paul Gauguin, Jean-François Millet, Alfred Sisley, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Jean-Léon Gérôme. Visit the Masterpiece Gallery to view the works included in the exhibition."
The Clark
The Clark: Slideshows
amazon: Great French Paintings from the Clark: Barbizon through Impressionism

Saturday, February 22

How Mexico’s Muralists Lit a Fire Under U.S. Artists

Zapatistas, Clemente Orozco’s 1931 painting of the Mexican peasant guerrillas
"From floated proposal to finished product, 'Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945' at the Whitney Museum of American Art represents a decade of hard thought and labor, and the effort has paid off. The show is stupendous, and complicated, and lands right on time. Just by existing it accomplishes three vital things. ... Judging by the story told here, we should be actively inviting our southern neighbor northward to enrich our cultural soil. That story, a hemispheric one, begins in Mexico in the 1920s. After 10 years of civil war and revolution, that country’s new constitutional government turned to art to invent and broadcast a unifying national self-image, one that emphasized both its deep roots in indigenous, pre-Hispanic culture and the heroisms of its recent revolutionary struggles. ..."
NY Times
Whitney - Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945 (Video)
amazon: Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945

Eitaro Ishigaki’s Soldiers of the People’s Front (The Zero Hour), circa 1936-37.

Explore the Winter Hexagon Tonight

Stellarium, with additions
"With the February dark of the Moon upon us, we have a fine opportunity to enjoy some winter sights. Perhaps most appealing for naked-eye observers is an impressive collection of stellar luminaries. Face south at nightfall, and no fewer than seven stars of first magnitude or brighter can be taken in with a single view. Most are included in the Winter Hexagon, as shown in the chart above. ... Deep-Sky Delights. Within the expansive confines of the Hexagon are some of the season’s finest deep-sky treasures, including the Orion Nebula, which I wrote about here. And of course, near the center of the figure is Betelgeuse, the much talked about variable star that has recently hit a new low and is, for the moment, slightly too faint to count as first magnitude. ..."
Sky & Telescope

The brightest star in the night sky is Sirius, in Canis Major. Nearby is the lovely open cluster, M41.

Friday, February 21

A Woman Drinking with Two Men - Pieter de Hooch (1658)

"There is mystery in this room. One of the figures has her back to us, so we can’t see the expression on her face. But since the man behind the table seems to be using two clay pipes as a pretend violin and bow, and his companion gestures as though conducting a duet, she may be singing. Scenes left open to different interpretations are characteristic of seventeenth-century Dutch painting, and depictions of musical gatherings were especially ambiguous – they can represent innocent entertainments or something more salacious. We can’t be sure if what we see here is a musical gathering, however, let alone whether or not it is an innocent one. But we do feel as though we are in a real space. De Hooch has used the black and white floor tiles to help create this illusion: their lines and sizes help our eye to understand where the figures, furniture, walls and windows are in relation both to us and to each other."
National Gallery
W - A Woman Drinking with Two Men
W - Pieter de Hooch

Thursday, February 20

The Total Anti-Totalist Robert Stone

"Not far from 76-year-old novelist Robert Stone’s Upper East Side apartment is a model-toy shop. Its shelves are filled with miniature weaponized planes and ships that run the gamut of technological advancement through the United States’ various 20th-century wars. Throughout Stone’s long career as a premiere voice of American reason and delirium, his novels have brought many of those conflicts home in hallucinogenic, lightning-quick prose, in precise, haunting episodes, and in characters who appear like survivalists extended to the end of their tethers. Whether transporting Vietnam to drug-fueled Southern California in his classic 1974 novel Dog Soldiers or taking readers into the dark revolution of a Central American nation teetering on the brink in his 1981 novel A Flag for Sunrise, Stone is a writer with a preternatural ability to transform a location into a geo-political snare trap through which very few pass without a lot of pain or bloodshed. ..."

2013 September: Outerbridge Reach (1993), 2015 January: Robert Stone (August 21, 1937 – January 10, 2015), 2017 March: Damascus Gate (1998)

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