Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Mothership Touches Down in Brooklyn


PFunk and George Clinton want to funk you up: The Mothership set down at Metrotech Commons in Downtown Brooklyn Thursday afternoon for a little transfusion from the Galactic over soul. The lunchtime crowd was not disappointed.




'(Anybody Goin' to) San Antone': The Late, Great Doug Sahm



Doug Sahm, child musical prodigy, co-founder of the Sir Douglas Quintet and originator of the Tex-Mex Sound, and Band perform 'Anybody Goin' to San Antone' in Austin Texas, 1975.

Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn holds a special and abiding affection for this tune.

Monday, July 13, 2015

How Can We Even Think of Dropping Him from the Ten Spot? 'Hamilton' goes to Broadway

This Founding Father, an immigrant from the Caribbean, whose amazing life encompassed sex scandals, intense political battles, and ended in gun violence, and whose vision led to the development of the American economy, may be dumped from the $10 bill to make way for the first woman. For reasons why there may be other, better candidates to replace (Andrew Jackson on the $20 is a popular choice), Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Hamilton', a hip hop retelling of his life will be exploding on Broadway with huge advance sales and lots of critical and audience anticipation.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Two Louises at Storm King: Bourgeois & Nevelson Up Close


    
                  Royal Tide 1, 1960
                   Louise Nevelson 
                      (Excerpt below)
     


      


              Number Seventy-Two 
             (The No March), 1972
                 Louise Bourgeois

The two Louises, inhabiting the same space, for the viewer, a moment suspended in time, outside of time, the organic and the found, sacred, but simply one moment of many, of the  magic of the Storm King Art Center,  
New Windsor, NY





Monday, July 6, 2015

"Don't Worry Bout Me. No": The Grateful Dead's Final Shows.. & Legacy

Were they ever here at all?

They came. They saw. They conquered the hearts of generations of fans. With the close of the Fare Thee Well 50th Anniversary Shows at Chicago's Soldier Field - site also of the final show where the late Jerry Garcia performed - the Grateful Dead move on into the stuff of memory - and legend.

Lots of parting shots -  

The New York Times on the Final Show:
The Grateful Dead Close Out Their Final Concert With Music and the Words ‘Please, Be Kind’: http://nyti.ms/1KJAkPL


Annotated hyperlinked compendium of Grateful Dead song lyrics via Open Culture http://artsites.ucsc.edu/GDead/agdl/#songs

A recent Rolling Stone interview earlier this year with Robert Hunter, GD lyricist, in house poet, songwriting collaborator with Jerry Garcia http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/grateful-deads-robert-hunter-on-jerrys-final-days-we-were-brothers-20150311?page=2

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Grace Hartigan's 'Myth and Malls'at Samuel Dorsky Museum in New Paltz


               Reisterstown Mall 1962 
                 by Grace Hartigan
Grace Hartigan 1922- 2008 was an Abstract Expressionist and member of the New York School of painters. Associated with artists such as Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, and writers such as Frank O'Connor, Hartigan continued exploring new directions in painterly expression parallel to her long career as a professor at the Maryland Institute School of Art.

SUNY New Paltz's Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is presenting a brief but very colorful exhibit on Ms Hartigan's work. Through July 12.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

What is Coding? A little bit of science, a little bit of soul

Great overview in Bloomberg Business Week by writer Paul Ford with interactive demonstration exercises on coding - the bones of contemporary technology and culture. A must read.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Anticipating Dark Futures and What Can Be Done


Nick Bostrum's Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies is an original and unsettling book that explores the possibile scenarios leading to the development of Artificial Intelligence, the risks for society and humanity, and the steps that could conceivably be taken to contain it as a service rather than a threat to our existence. 
 As an example, Bostrum discusses Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, generally conceived as both the first and last word on AI, and describes how these laws written in 1942 fall woefully short of the precautions and logical and philosophical structures that are required to avoid an AI apocalypse once the genie is out of the bottle. A complex, challenging but engrossing read.

--Anthony Napoli
Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Her Toys are Broken Boys: Ryuichi Sakamoto - YMO and Beyond

Ryuichi Sakamoto as part of Yellow Magic Orchestra performing "Nice Age"



And his later solo work the trance opera classic Harry to Hospital from Wild Palms a 1993 ABC mini series directed by Oliver Stone and written by Bruce Wagner


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Rooftop Films: 'The Wolfpack' - Living Inside and Outside of a Cinema Reality





Director Crystal Moselle and the Angulo Brothers, stars of the documentary,The Wolfpack
 
Opening later this week, The Wolfpack had its NYC premier at Rooftop Films at Industry City in Brooklyn's Sunset Park. The film follows the emergence of the Angulo Brothers from a cloistered family life in their parents' Loisaida NYCHA apartment into what will certainly be even wider celebrity status following the film's opening. Through director Moselle's footage and extensive family home movies we watch the guys stage Batman, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and other films as their homeschooled homebound childhood/adolescence served as the stage setting for a UCLA- USC- or NYU-worthy cinema education. 

Although they were prevented from venturing out into the Mean Streets by their parents they had extensive access to films and videos. But it wasn't clear if they had exposure to mass media as the boys did not have access to computers or presumably the web and only recently learned of Google as a verb.

The limitations of their early lives seemed so extreme that their skillful use of language and art and their film knowledges had me momentarily wondering if this would prove to be some  kind of hoax. But then although they appeared fairly comfortable and adept at handling the post-screening Q & A with their director, what seems like a fairy tale with a happy ending is clearly a more complex and human story as it appears they are continuing to take major and difficult steps toward independence and socialization in the larger world though now with the support of their proud and warm mom.
 
The Wolfpack opens in NYC on June 12. The Rooftop Films 2015 season, off to a bang up start,continues. http://rooftopfilms.com/

The evening opened with a cool and dreamlike performance by Nicholas Nicholas. The band's understated melodic explorations were a great counterpoint as Night fell over NYC and the planet Venus appeared in the late spring sky.

--Anthony Napoli
Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Rooftop Films summer kickoff with 7 Chinese Brothers starring Jason Schwartzman



It must be summer --- Rooftop Films releases another exciting schedule of outdoor movies. Tickets available online.Tonight - Brooklyn premier of Bob Byington's  7 Chinese Brothers starring Jason Schwartzman .. Later this season The Wolfpack, Welcome to Leith, and many others, scheduled for various Brooklyn locations: Gowanus, Sunset Park and Metrotech Commons. Happy Summer. Details here

NYT: 'Havana' - A Biennial and a New Relationship- & Artistic Freedom?

Holland Cotter in the NY Times:  "If the 12th Havana Biennial has any theme, it is Havana itself. The kind of shop-window viewing favored by more conventional shows is discouraged; so is celebrity spotting."

DITHOB: Nevertheless the hope and opportunity of this new relationship has already been marred by the arrest last week of a Cuban artist for a public pro-democracy performance. Clearly this new relationship with the U.S. may remain  delicate but the support of free speech and artistic expression must remain an absolute condition. If the Administration and the Cuban governent have a vision and an agenda beyond investment and new market opportunities this is the perfect opportunity to express it, on behalf of performance artist Tania Bruguera.


Holland Cotter's report:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/30/arts/design/the-havana-biennial-is-running-at-full-throttle.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Politics Behind the Killing of Osama Bin Ladin

Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books on The Killing of Osama Bin Ladin
And the political jockeying, intrigue and dissimulation that accompanied it 

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n10/seymour-m-hersh/the-killing-of-osama-bin-laden

A Slate interview with Mr Hersh on the LRB article 
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2015/05/seymour_hersh_interview_on_his_bin_laden_story_the_new_yorker_journalism.html

Friday, May 15, 2015

Museum Days: Reflections on An Institution on Eastern Parkway

A year or so ago I attended, with My Better Half, an evening workshop at the Brooklyn Museum for art educators, as her guest. It was held in the Museum's Beaux Arts Court.

As a special education/art teacher working with emotionally disabled and autistic kids in Bushwick, she seems to achieve an amazing instructional collaboration with her students, who for the most part have deep communication and developmental  issues,  yet they nevertheless continue to win recognition and awards for their art when submitted to student competitions. Given the daily challenge of her work, she is constantly on the search for opportunities to develop her own artistic practice as well as share strategies and experiences with other NYC teachers. Thus her attendance at this workshop, which I attended as a guest.

At one point, a gentleman appeared in the mix of Museum staff and visiting teachers. He was definitely low key and unprepossessing, in height, in appearance, in dress, and, as I recall, in his need of a shave.  He asked what the event was about, and I explained, and we chatted a bit. When he read my name tag, and I asked his, and I realized it was Arnold Lehman, Director of the Museum, I think I went on a verbal tear, expressing my lifelong love for the Museum, having walked here to visit and wander around since as far back as I can recall in my childhood.

I didn't mention that when I first met my wife, she was working at the Museum, as an assistant in one of the curatorial departments. Before we were "involved" we also happened to take a silk screen class together back in the old Brooklyn Museum Art School in the 1980s.  I was a novice, whereas she was working on more advanced projects. While we were dating, I remember renting a car to take a trip with her to the shore. I drove into the driveway in front of the old heavily fortified brick and iron entrance to the Museum to pick her up after work. I think she was a little embarrassed as the only car I was able to rent was a large red Eldorado - sort of like Damian Hirst's shark from the infamous 1999 Brooklyn Museum Sensations Show.

I did mention to Mr. Lehman how I felt that the Museum was so ingrained in my soul and that I was so accustomed to entering the edifice through that same brick and iron fortification since childhood, that now,  I was brought to tears of joy when I first entered the renovated, contemporary entrance.  In reflecting back on it now, those tears were filled with inspiration and happiness, mirth and awe, as the space had been transformed, all glass and joy, echoing, to me, at once, the Louvre, a prism,  the Apple Store, like a glass sculpture harmonizing the delicacy and mystery of the spheres, but also reflecting the delight brought by changes that sing a song that is at once of the sacred, the profane and everything in between.

Mr. Lehman's time at the Brooklyn Museum, while it may be remembered more for battling the small-minded aesthetics of a provincial Mayor, was clearly also one of great accomplishment given the very broad range of work that entered its collection, as reflected in the current show "Diverse Works: Director's Choice 1997-2015," a terrific show very much worth seeing and the changes in the Museum with regard to its embracing contemporary, modern and classic art and design, as well as the needs of the communities in Brooklyn it serves. I  was prompted to the above rumination by an interview with Mr. Lehman in the NY Observer. A must read if you are interested in museums and curatorial culture. But also an unexpected reminder that the Brooklyn Museum, while it will continue to move forward in dramatic and exciting directions with the selection of Creative Times' Ann Pasternak as the next Director, but at the same time it will be losing a brave and invaluable work of art, a treasure, with the retirement of Mr. Lehman.

The full interview in the NY Observer appears here  
--Anthony Napoli
Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo