Saturday, December 20, 2008

a winter favorite from Robert Louis Stevenson: A Lodging for the Night: a Story of Francis Villon
The air was raw and pointed, but not far below freezing; and the flakes were large, damp, and adhesive. The whole city was sheeted up. An army might have marched from end to end and not a footfall given the alarm. If there were any belated birds in heaven, they saw the island like a large white patch, and the bridges like slim white spars, on the black ground of the river. High up overhead the snow settled among the tracery of the cathedral towers. Many a niche was drifted full; many a statue wore a long white bonnet on its grotesque or sainted head. The gargoyles had been transformed into great false noses, drooping towards the point. The crockets were like upright pillows swollen on one side. In the intervals of the wind, there was a dull sound of dripping about the precincts of the church.

The cemetery of St John had taken its own share of the snow. All the graves were decently covered; tall white housetops stood around in grave array; worthy burghers were long ago in bed, benightcapped like their domiciles; there was no light in all the neighbourhood but a little peep from a lamp that hung swinging in the church choir, and tossed the shadows to and fro in time to its oscillations. The clock was hard on ten when the patrol went by with halberds and a lantern, beating their hands; and they saw nothing suspicious about the cemetery of St John.

...there was a small house...Yet there was a small house, backed up against the cemetery wall, which was still awake, and awake to evil purpose, in that snoring district. There was not much to betray it from without; only a stream of warm vapour from the chimney top, a patch where the snow melted on the roof, and a few half-obliterated footprints at the door. But within, behind the shuttered windows, Master Francis Villon the poet, and some of the thievish crew with whom he consorted, were keeping the night alive and passing round the bottle.
Isola di Rifiuti on Villon, Mayer, Bunting, Pound, & c.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

interview with Christopher Plummer
Then THE SILENT PARTNER came along several years later with Darryl Duke directing. He was a very talented director. And that script was written by our friend who is now a very big Hollywood director - Curtis Hanson. He was a very young guy then and had written a script - a really fascinating script. My wife’s idea was to put me in a Chanel dress in the last scene - that was Elaine’s idea - and I took it to Darryl and he said, “Oh, god, I don’t think our friend the writer is going to like that” but he said, “I love it” and finally I think we won both of them over. It did work. It was a great idea...
Glenn Greenwald
What's most striking is not that we have zero intention of prosecuting the serious crimes committed by our leading establishment figures. It's that we don't even recognize them as crimes -- or even serious transgressions -- at all. To the contrary, we still demand that those who are culpable be treated as dignified, respectable, serious and inherently good leaders. Real outrage is never generated by the crimes and outrages they have undertaken, but only when they are not given their proper respectful due as leading American elites. Hence:

An Iraqi citizen throws his shoes at an American President who -- all based on false pretenses -- invaded, occupied and obliterated his country; set up prisons where his fellow citizens were encaged without trials and subjected to brutal treatment; slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and displaced millions more. And the outrage is predominantly directed at the disrespect, irreverence and the "ingratitude" displayed by the shoe-thrower, not the murderous and inhumane acts of the dignified American leader.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Danto on The Paintings of Giorgio Morandi
In contemplating the achievement of Morandi's paintings, I can't help thinking of Jane Austen's wry characterization of her novels in a letter to her nephew James Edward Austen, also a writer: "What should I do with your strong, manly, spirited Sketches, full of Variety & Glow?--How could I possibly join them on to the little bit (two Inches wide) of Ivory on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour?"

this year, have a A Doo Wop Christmas

Monday, December 15, 2008

confirmation for below in the helpful Tim Lawrence Liner notes for the Masters at Work Tenth Anniversary Collection--
Searching for an alternative to clubland's regulation rhythm, the Brooklyn beats supremo turned to his now huge record collection and picked out a rare jazz sessions drummer record. "The artist was Shelly Manne and the record featured four drummers -- Louis Bellson, Willie Bobo, Paul Humphrey and Shelly Manne himself," says Gonzalez, revealing his source for the first time. "It was recorded on Phillips."

Ever resourceful, Gonzalez used his street sense to dissect his favourite part of the record. "There was this track where two drummers were playing different rhythms at the same time, one out of the left speaker, the other out of the right speaker," he explains, "so I pulled one of the jacks out of the back of the mixer and recorded the side I wanted." A complementary section was lifted from another track on the album, before Gonzalez got busy with his own beat box...

YouTube - Christian Prommer Drumlesson - Nervous Track by MASTERS AT WORK

great live-instruments version of the record that turned me on to House Music when I heard it on a bargain bin mix in '91 or so--
YouTube - Nu Yorican Soul - Nervous Track (Horny Mix) though with the sadly not-on-youtube (Yellow) Mix, which instead of a sax had a weird off-kilter Morricone/Dylan harmonica...
...the original drum break (about two minutes in) was taken, I remember reading somewhere, was from the recording of a Drum Battle with Louis Bellson & Shelly Manne

which might be on this


Record snow hits Nanaimo

With 33 centimetres of fresh snow overnight Saturday, the 36 centimetres on the ground Sunday set a daily record in Nanaimo. The
pileup beat the Dec. 14 record of 19.8 centimetres in 2000.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

video of Felipe Luciano , (left, in Newark in 1970) the poet/activist heard on the album below, introducing Palmieri at a Central Park concert in 1972...

Playing for the toughest of crowds imaginable–the inmates of New York’s notorious Sing-Sing prison–Palmieri and band tore through an ambitious and aggressive set of funky salsa tunes that had the guards dancing in their towers. The prisoners responded with riotous enthusiasm to the music, whose gritty sound came out of the poverty of the Barrio, in South East Harlem, in the Bronx, and other places where bad breaks abounded. This, after all, was THEIR music, and anybody familiar with the condition of America and its prisons in the early 70s (remember Attica!) can understand why the aggressive rhythms of Palmieri resonated so deeply with the incarcerated audience at Sing-Sing...

Michael Boughn and Victor Coleman
will be reading from their most recent works,
Wednesday December 17th at 7pm
at This Ain’t The Rosedale Library
in their new Kensington Market digs
at 86 Nassau Street
with overture and intermission music
provided by bass player Aaron Lumley

YouTube - L'AGE D'OR 1930

big dump of snow in Nanaimo! here's two snowy watercolours from Thomas Bewick's apprentice Robert Johnson, via The Bewick Society

(click to enlarge)