Technique, 2019

Art, Technology

Memorial Day: How John Brown Sparked the Civil War in Harpers Ferry

Thu, 30 May 2019

How Maps props to John Brown, who, in 1859, had the batshit crazy idea to end slavery in the U.S. by taking over a U.S. government armory in Harpers Ferry stocked with 100,000 weapons, a move he thought would kick off the revolution. Radical action as needed, he felt, to end slavery, especially in the south, where cotton was profitable only with slave labor. The crazy part was that Brown only recruited 21 men for the job. Even his pal, abolitionist Frederick Douglass considered the plan was cray and took a hard pass. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Ray Wylie Hubbard: Don't Peak Too Soon

Sun, 26 May 2019

Lessons Ray Wylie Hubbard has got to be one of the great second acts in country music -- maybe for all popular music, an art form overwhelmingly favoring the energy of the young. He briefly made a name for himself with the outlaw country classic "Up Against The Wall, Redneck Mother" in 1978, though only in the last few decades or so has he started truly refining his distinctive -- and highly-addicting -- country blues swamp shuffle, with each successive album stronger, more defiantly individual than the previous. His slim yet bountiful 2015 autobiography shares two secrets for this late blooming success: Sobriety and the E chord without the third. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Soundtrack of My Life: Maceo Parker and the Southern Funk

Sun, 12 May 2019

A With his relentless touring schedule and full discography, saxophonist Maceo Parker picked up more than a little of the obsessive work-ethic from his one-time mentor James Brown, not to his taste for the hottest musicians. After a time as right-hand man for the Godfather of Soul, Parker joined Parliament Funkadelic just in time to land the Mothership. Decades later, he helped Prince through a 21-night stand in L.A. Today, he is the keeper of the OG funk, the South Carolina variety, similar but leaner than New Orleans. He also does a pretty mean Ray Charles cosplay. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Soundtrack of My Life: The Full-Tilt Boogie of J.J. Cale

Fri, 10 May 2019

An The recent release of a new album of outtakes from J.J. Cale (who passed in 2013) reminds me of the cruel promise of these posthumous releases. I buy these collections because I like the music of the artist -- here,a wizened drawl over a chill shuffle. I always subconsciously calculate an album of outtakes would possess even more of these addicting qualities. But it never works out that way. Almost always, the previously-deemed inferior tunes are mostly the sound of the artist trying to get to that essence. It is less pure, not more, weirdly enough. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Tech History: The Slow Adoption of Glass

Sat, 20 Apr 2019

The Glass did not start out as its own thing. For thousands of years before people used glass to make windows, containers or figurines, they used the substance only as a strong, translucent coating for pottery. It took a few more centuries until Egyptians learned to forge glass -- with its own unique properties -- into novel shapes. The products were slowly spread through Europe by Phoenician traders. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Time: World Lines and the Block Universe

Mon, 08 Apr 2019

A If you consider spacetime a single unified thing comprised of both space and time (and they do go well very well, mathematically speaking), then you could see your entire life -- everywhere you go, everyone you meet -- in the form of a wiggly line stretching against a backdrop of the other three dimensions. In fact, every molecule in the universe, including those that make up your body for a part of their billion year journey would be captured in this block. From this particular dimension, called the Block Universe, time does not exist, other than as these trails encased across stretches of space, often known as world lines. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

About Last Night: Caribbean Vibes, Flatbush

Sun, 31 Mar 2019

Caribbean I had spied this take-out two blocks down, Caribbean Vibes, that just exuded warmth and promised real yard-style cooking. Why should check this place out, I suggested after she clocked out from her dancing gig. You may have to wait a minute if you want to get that real Caribbean Yard-Style cooking in Flatbush, unless you can learn how to hustle your order through. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

The Globalization of Time-Keeping

Sat, 30 Mar 2019

The Throughout the 19th century, moving village folk worldwide into one agreed-upon definition of time took some doing. And in adopting this universal standard, people bargained away their own timeframes for prestige and status, sometimes without even realizing it. Clocks and timepieces became status symbols in less-developed countries. And it was not only the backwoods folk who were persuaded, wrote Vanessa Ogle wrote in her book, The Global Transformation of Time, 1870 - 1950. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Soundtrack of My Life: Door into Summer

Sun, 17 Mar 2019

The The problem with the idea of admitting The Monkees to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is who, exactly, who would they induct? Show creator Robert Rafelson? Really, he is a Hollywood guy (He used the windfall from The Monkees to finance his next project, the 1969 movie Easy Rider). The four actors? Though they brought considerable personality to the project, they were not at the center of it... Read on for a review of The Monkees at Beacon Theater, NYC, 2019-03-09. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Chronology: Graffiti Tags on the Williamsburg Bridge

Sun, 10 Mar 2019

A One of the hottest pieces of NYC graffiti property in New York City is the nameplate of the Williamsburg Bridge in New York. The bridge spans the Lower East Side in Manhattan and the Williamsburg in Brooklyn. The sign, along the pedestrian walkway towards the Manhattan side, gets a lot of eyeballs from passing walkers, skaters, and bikers. So, not surprisingly, the WillieB also gets a lot of attention from street artists, and is adorned with a fresh tag every few weeks or so. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Soundtrack of My Life: The Guttural Punch of Harry Nilsson

Sun, 03 Mar 2019

The Hottake: John Lennon legit fucked up the voice of Harry Nilsson. But being a good friend of Nilsson, Lennon tricked RCA into paying for it, by way of talking the record company into a sizable advance for what was then already a fading career. Fame did Harry no favors -- nor did his refusal to tour, leaving him with a lot of free time to party. It would be easy to see his life as a tragedy, or at least as a series of missed opportunities, but he left a remarkable body of work that, at its best, rivaled the Beatles. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Soundtrack of My Life: Songs From the Wood

Mon, 25 Feb 2019

Weekly If, for some reason, you should find yourself in the country late at night -- maybe a weekend vacation rental perhaps -- and also in possession of a good powerful set of speakers, then aim them outside, into the forest, and fill these speakers with Led Zeppelin(first three albums recommended) and/or Black Sabbath (same). Let the guitar of Jimmy Page thunder through the land or the wicked bellow of Ozzy shiver the trees. Let their maul pour into the valley below, echoing a sound fuller, deeper and darker than any you will experience on headphones. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Ladies of the Pinball Machine, 1965 - 1998

Sun, 24 Feb 2019

A Like any artifact of pop culture, pinball machines reflected the mores of the era. So is it a victory of feminist thought that the sexy ladies depicted on the backdrops of these machines -- to titillate coins from their owners pockets -- have evolved over the decades, from dude eye candy to rock stars championing their own journeys? Notes from our visit to the Silverball Museum Arcade in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Soundtrack of My Life: Amy Rigby, Obscure Hippie Electronic Music

Sun, 10 Feb 2019

Weekly The Mercury Lounge in New York City celebrated its 25th birthday with a series of shows by a number of bands who got their starts there, back in the day. One of those acts (Tuesday, February 4) was singer/songwriter Amy Rigby and her crew. But I did not know any of this. I just saw Amy Rigby was playing at Mercury, an early show between 8 - 9, so I walked over and paid my $12, just like it was 1994 all over again. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Denial, the River in Egypt: Cat Marnell, George Jones

Fri, 01 Feb 2019

A The inherent nature of addiction memoirs is that the part where the addiction is acquired is always more fun to recount (and read) than the part where the memoirist makes the slow, painful slog to recovery. Shenanigans are always more exhilarating than the reckonings that follow. But sometimes, lives do not go down this rutted pathway so easily, as two otherwise widely-divergent life accountings I just read have attested to: A memoir from Cat Marnell and a biography of George Jones. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Music Finds: Ace of Cups, Neko Case, Pink Floyd Tribute Bands

Tue, 29 Jan 2019

Music I guess by now, most Pink Floyd tribute bands are probably better than Pink Floyd itself. Except for the light show, which can be recreated on a phone. Sort of. Also: Ace of Cups, the greatest late-1960s psychedelic all-female proto-punk band you have never heard of... Click to Read More...

		
		
		

PhoebeNewYork: Vision Boards for the Street

Wed, 16 Jan 2019

Opening City street art offers free entertainment for those who wander about a lot by foot. Having spent a fair amount of time walking around New York City, I could not help but start to notice all the work of the street and graffiti artists -- who they are, what their styles are, and even how they evolve over time. Street art enlivens dull spaces, uniting communities in the process.Perambulation is how I have gotten to know PhoebeNewYork, who is the mixed-media alter-ego of street artist Libby Schoettle. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

What Art is Trying to Tell You: George Santayana

Wed, 09 Jan 2019

Notes What is art good for? And what art is good art? These are the questions philosopher George Santayana sought out to address more than a century ago. Art is born from the need to humanize and rationalize objects, an attempt to better the conditions of existence. But at the same time, art is hopelessly fickle, inward-focused, and has no concern whatsoever in improving the outside world. And yet what those scornful miss about art is that it can possess a spiritual dignity, not found elsewhere, something that becomes representative and expresses an ideal. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

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