Tuesday, November 21, 2017

How technology's built in "engagement maximization" destroys mental health in the Trump age, and what to do about it

from Boing Boing:
We live in a weaponized news-cycle, a political moment in which a cadre of ruthless looters are destroying the world, magnified by technology's design ethic that uses experimental methodologies to maximize "engagement" (that is, how much attention you give to a tool or application), without any regard to whether your "engagement" is driven by pleasure or anxiety.

My Trumpism survival strategy is to only engage with the news and politics when I can be reflective -- when I can look up the backstory, connect it with other ideas, and write things on Boing Boing or make notes to myself, putting myself in charge of the news-cycle -- and to never engage with media when I'm reactionary, that is, when I can't stop, research and consider the nature of the news.

But the technology defaults of "engagement maximization" run directly contrary to this tactic, by jamming reaction-inducing headlines in your eyeballs at every conceivable moment, for the express purpose of diverting you from the task you're completing and hooking you into an anxious set of taps, clicks, likes and arguments.

For example: the Android home screen search bar. By default, tapping in this bar drops down a list of top searches from this moment. Inevitably, these are searches that portend catastrophe, e.g., "trump nuclear war threat." That's because Android's algorithm for choosing top searches has maximized engagement, and these are the kinds of searches that drive further searching.

But you don't go to a searchbar on your pocket-computer to find out about current affairs. The very nature of search is task-oriented. This top searches "feature" exists solely to derail you from your search, because search is not an "engagement" activity: by its nature, it is a closed-loop activity. You want to know a fact. You look up the fact. You leave the search box. The only way to "improve search engagement" is to hijack the user's attention.

Here's the straw that broke the camel's back: I was out for dinner with a friend. We were looking at the menu and spotted an unfamiliar sauce. The server was busy, so I took out my phone and tapped the search-box to look up the sauce's ingredients. Tap: trump nuclear war threat. Zomgwereallgonnadierunhide. I looked up the sauce, put my phone back in my pocket and tried to resume my conversation. The whole dinner, though, was derailed by my thoughts returning, over and over again, to the deliberate anxiety provocation Android had punched me in the face with. Will we be dead before dinner is done?

Once you recognize this pattern, you'll see it everywhere. The Android weather app does it, because it is "weather and news" and tapping the weather icon in the morning to find out if I needed to remind my kid to bring a jacket to school meant being punched in the face with at least five variations on trump nuclear war threat. Our morning school walks went from being a sweet 15 minutes of daddy-daughter time when we told stories or talked about homework or upcoming family activities to a sweaty race to drop the kid off to find out if we'd all be dead by lunchtime.

It turns out that there's a deeply buried preference to turn off suggesting "top searches" in Android, but there's no way to get the weather app to stop punching you in the face. You can turn off all the headline categories in "News & Weather" except "Top headlines," which is a euphemism for trump nuclear war threat.

I've reclaimed my search bar and replaced the weather app. We can't afford to disengage from the news in the Trump era, because we need to seize this moment of dislocation to smash Trumpism and begin the urgent work of saving our planet, species and society. But there's a difference between reflection and reaction, between engaging on your terms and being repeatedly punched in the face by an algorithm.

Monday, November 20, 2017

School of Life Monday:
Why Old Friends Matter

We all have people in our lives that we’d never start a friendship with today if we met them for the first time – but that nevertheless matter immensely to us. An essay on the importance of old friends.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Run- DMC on Graffiti Rock from 1984

One of the greatest Hip Hop performances ever on TV:

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Ska legends re-unite, conquering racism and mental illness. The inside story from Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Jony Ive on the Authentic Pursuit of Excellence
Jerry Seinfeld on Coming Out as funny

from the New Yorker:

Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, speaks with David Remnick about the art of focus and working with Steve Jobs.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Barbara Kruger’s Supreme Performance

from the New Yorker "Culture Desk"

In 1927, back when fonts were still little metal glyphs in heavy wooden cases, the German company Bauer Type Foundry opened an office in New York City and launched a new typeface called Futura. The optimistic, sans-serif font was a hit, but the import tariffs of the Great Depression soon strained the available supply. To meet demand, American foundries launched their own faux Futuras, with names like Twentieth Century and Vogue. During the Second World War, Futura languished abroad as its ripoffs, the typographic equivalent of “freedom fries,” filled American pages. By the time the font was welcomed back, in the fifties, its fakes had secured a legacy in its image. Futura was a shorthand for modernity and hope, a staple in ads for the sleek consumer goods designed for the postwar suburban middle class.

A few years later, in the mid-nineteen-sixties, Barbara Kruger was losing her enthusiasm for art school, so she left and took a job at Condé Nast, designing mail-order ads for the back of Mademoiselle. She returned to making art in the seventies, weaving hangings from ribbon and bits of metallic yarn as an exploration of “women’s work,” but felt it was frivolous. In the fall of 1976, she went to teach at the University of California, Berkeley, and shortly thereafter turned to collage, reviving the skills that she’d honed as an ad designer. This work paired scenes from banal consumer life with text that reframed the implied motives of her subjects. In one black-and-white work, from 1979, a woman reading Marie Claire appears beside the headline “deluded.” In 1981, Kruger’s art appeared in a group show titled “Public Address,” alongside work by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jenny Holzer. There, she débuted her now iconic style: white Futura text in red boxes.

In 1990, Kruger made what would become her most well-known work, which features a model’s hand holding a red box that reads, “I Shop Therefore I Am.” Since then, her red-and-white Futura has filled the lower lobby of the Hirshhorn Museum, in Washington, and hovered over the breasts of a naked Kim Kardashian on the cover of W (“It’s all about me I mean you I mean me”). What began as a way of subverting the vernacular has become a part of the vernacular itself. Like the Absolut Vodka ads of the eighties, Kruger’s format is easily copied by anyone with a computer and a yearning for subversion. In 1994, the downtown streetwear brand Supreme cribbed Kruger’s red-and-white Futura for its logo—teasing the boundary between homage, parody, and theft. Supreme has earned international appeal by releasing weekly product “drops,” including T-shirts, sweatshirts, boxing gloves, bolt cutters, and, this past February, a limited-edition MetroCard, which draw long lines outside Supreme stores. (Original fans lambaste the non-skating arrivistes as “hypebeasts.”) In 2013, Supreme sued the clothing brand Married to the Mob for infringing on its red-and-white Futura logo. “What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers,” Kruger told Complex, when asked for her response to the lawsuit. “I make my work about this kind of sadly foolish farce. I’m waiting for all of them to sue me for copyright infringement.”

Last week, Kruger, who is seventy-two, installed five new works in red-and-white Futura as part of this year’s Performa biennial. The commission includes a billboard in Chelsea, a roving yellow school bus, a limited-edition MetroCard, and an installation at the skatepark in Coleman Square Playground, which pose questions like “Who owns what?” on red vinyl decals wrapping the ramps. The installation seems to nod at Supreme in a way that is more than oblique or accidental, and yet Kruger was reluctant to confirm that the work was meant as a direct address to the brand. “The whole idea of streetwear being branded and corporatized is only something that’s emerged with this sort of power over the past fifteen to eighteen years,” she told me over the phone last week. “I think it’s sort of interesting, and it’s very complicated but compelling, that my work and ideas and visuality have been drawn into so many sites of communication.” Kruger has a savvy, forthright way of speaking. She brackets loaded words with “quote-unquote” to suggest a degree of eye-rolling distance. When I asked about the Supreme lawsuit, she said, “I thought it was so amusing. Here are these people, so cool—like, you know, totally rad, out of the bubble—and there they are suing each other on the most conventional, proprietary, monetary level.” She paused. “I really make my work about those kind of moments. I tried to reply on that level in three sentences,” she said, referring to her “clusterfuck” comment. “It has nothing whatsoever to do with Supreme quote ‘ripping me,’ unquote. They’ve been doing that forever. I don’t care!”

The centerpiece of the Performa commission is Kruger’s first live performance, a recurring event titled “Untitled (The Drop).” Last Thursday, outside a former American Apparel store in SoHo, a line of guests for the opening stretched around the block. Hired bouncers managed the crowds. A woman in Pucci sneakers asked to skip ahead, but was sent to the back like everyone else. Two teen skateboarders did ollies in the street; it was hard to tell if they were part of the performance.

One woman with bleached-blond hair told a friend, “Now I just feel like one of those teen-agers in line for Supreme. It’s making me feel really embarrassed.” Five minutes later, she got frustrated and left. The line continued its slow creep forward. Patrons left the storefront with brown shopping bags. Visitors would be allowed ten minutes in the space, and purchases were limited to only two items. “Maybe they’ll be selling skateboards,” one man hoped.

Inside the store, the set was arranged to look like a store. Everyone clumped at the door to take photos of the red-and-white Futura items for sale, including an embroidered beanie with the phrase “Want it Buy it Forget it” (forty dollars) and T-shirts that read “Whose hopes? Whose fears? Whose values? Whose justice?” (forty-five dollars). The man bought his skateboard deck (sixty-five dollars). A sign, in Futura, hanging by the register said that the proceeds would benefit Performa. Near the door, a woman took a selfie. Outside, the line had doubled in length. It was hard to tell exactly who was ripping whom.
Jamie Lauren Keiles is a freelance writer.

Saturday at 1pm at 427 Broadway, New York City

As Performa 17 examines the sociopolitical context informing contemporary art today, with work examining immediate and critical concerns confronting our urban centers, the shifting political and cultural currents of our world today, and the role of the arts and of artists in supporting afflicted communities, Heavy Discussion v.3 examines skateboarding through a female perspective, reflecting on skateboarding as an art and women in skateboarding as the afflicted community. Due to major political and cultural shifts within that community, including the recent induction of skateboarding in the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, increased normalization of skateboarding in popular culture increasing female participation, and expanding corporate interest, now is a perfect time to foster dialogue.

Panelists / Alexis Sablone / Kea Duarte / Sara Kay / Jaime Reyes / Elissa Steamer

Monday, November 13, 2017

School of Life Monday:
"How to Make a Decision"

Life constantly forces us to make very big and often very painful decisions. When we are next facing such a choice, here is a small exercise that could help us to know our own minds more clearly.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday with Svenonius

His new project ESCAPE-ISM (videos)

From the album Introduction to Escape-ism, out November 10, 2017 on Merge Records. http://smarturl.it/escape-ism

bonus :
tracks from earlier in 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

When A 60-something Feminist Artist [Beat Down]
Overgrown [Wannabe] Skaters

I make it clear over the years that the brand discussed in this article is on my shit list. In fact no one is allowed to come into one of my exhibitions if they are wearing anything with the name on their person or board. Nor will I photograph anyone no matter how talented if they are supporting this bullshit brand. They have stolen from me and other artists and friends. They are the antithesis of cool, they are SHIT.

from The CUT

I Think About This a Lot:
When a 60-Something Feminist Artist Dragged Overgrown Skaters
By Kat Stoeffel
The best insult I’ve ever heard came out of one of the most trivial news stories I’ve ever followed.

The story involves the cult skatewear line Supreme, in the years before it was fashion-relevant, back when it was just an expensive hobby for rich teens and cool dads.

Important historical context: Before Supreme partnered with Louis Vuitton, it ripped them off. In 2000, Louis Vuitton sent Supreme a cease-and-desist letter when their trademark showed up on skateboards. So did other entities whose logos Supreme used on hoodies and jackets, such as the NHL and the NCAA.

These days, Supreme doesn’t steal, it collaborates. But intellectual property theft is in its DNA. The white Futura on a red box logo is “inspired” by 72-year-old artist Barbara Kruger, who uses an identical text treatment to collage anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian maxims over 1950s advertising-style black-and-white photographs.

In May of 2013 — decades after Supreme started slinging T-shirts with a bootleg Kruger logo — Kruger made her opinion of Supreme known. The circumstances of this event involve in-group drama that is tedious to recount — an ouroboros of cringe. But the outcome was one of the sickest burns since “virgin who can’t drive,” so bear with me.

A rival clothing company run by young women was selling hypebeast parody items, beanies that said “Supreme Bitch” and the like. Supreme tolerated Supreme Bitch until they tried to trademark “Supreme Bitch,” at which point Supreme sued the makers of* Supreme Bitch for $10 million for stealing the logo Supreme stole from another woman. The whole thing made me want to look away. Thank god I didn’t, because Foster Kamer, an editor for Complex at the time, had the good sense to ask Kruger (the Ur-bitch?) for a comment.

Kruger’s response was a blank email with a Microsoft Word document attached, file name “fools.doc.” What fools.doc contained gave me the words to understand the Supreme v. Supreme Bitch feud. It also gave me the tools to analyze the many inconsequential imbroglios that would follow.

“What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers,” Kruger wrote. “I make my work about this kind of sadly foolish farce. I’m waiting for all of them to sue me for copyright infringement.”

I think about fools.doc about once a week. The absence of digital niceties in Kruger’s statement sends a chill of awe down my spine. My own file names have since become tributes to its evocative brevity (bummer$$.xls, doneforever.pdf).

But mostly, I think about “what a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers,” because it is a perfect insult. Kruger didn’t call Supreme thieves or Supreme Bitch opportunists and, in her amusement and restraint, did more damage than the most hyperbolic flame war. Engaging with petty drama is a way of validating it. WARCOTUJ dismisses an entire situation without even bothering to differentiate the players.

Husband’s tribute to curvy wife sparks backlash?

Animal shelter slams Lena Dunham’s abused dog farewell post?

Ted Cruz staffer faves porn tweet?

You don’t need an opinion, all you need are eight words: “What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers.” Repeat and keep scrolling.

WARCOTUJ is equally useful in one’s personal life. I think of it when a minor workplace conflict devolves into reply-all hell (“just jumping in here … ”) or when a party I wasn’t invited to turns into an Instagram photo shoot. I thought it of myself one recent Saturday morning, when I waited in line (in 90-degree heat with no cover) for an indie, luxury-candle sample sale.

On a deeper level, I love WARCOTUJ because it’s a feminist critique of Supreme. Supreme’s use of logos isn’t an earnest, Adbusters-style commentary or a clever fashion world send-up à la Comme des Fuckdown. Call it a ripoff, an homage, or a collaboration, Supreme’s style of straight-up appropriation is evasive. It’s a way of signifying something without actually coming out and saying anything.

Supreme relies on obscurity to retain an aura of cool — sending hypebeasts racing to prove they “get” its references. Kruger’s popularity, meanwhile, is a function of her legibility. Lines like “I shop therefore I am” and “Your body is a battleground” transform the appropriation of familiar images from a commentary for the benefit of other art-world insiders into something accessibly meaningful and politically powerful.

Kruger’s quotability feels inextricable from her being a woman artist. At least, it doesn’t strike me as a coincidence that so many prominent female artists — Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Tracey Emin — use text in their art. Or that after a female celebrity turns 50, she becomes a beacon of DGAF candor. If you can’t count on being heard, you can’t risk being misunderstood.

I don’t want to jinx it, but it does suddenly feel like they’re being heard. Holzer’s “Abuse of power comes as no surprise” has become a rallying cry in the art world’s reckoning with its own Weinsteins. Kruger, meanwhile, is headlining the performance-art fair Performa 17, and her pieces all seem designed to mimic Supreme. In addition to a Kruger “takeover” of a Lower East Side skatepark and a Kruger Soho pop-up shop (billed as a performance) with around-the-block lines and strict item limits, the MTA is releasing a limited-edition line of MetroCards printed with her provocative questions — a better version of a stunt Supreme pulled earlier this year.

So you can find me at one of the four subway stops said to have Kruger cards, waiting in line with all the other fangirls, trying all the machines, messing up your commute. You know what to do. Say to yourself — what a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers — and walk on by.



also from ARTSY : I Went to Barbara Kruger’s First-Ever Performance—and Left with a Skateboard

Friday, November 10, 2017

Nadya of Pussy Riot on MSNBC

Nadya Tolokonnikova from the Russian punk music and protest group Pussy Riot joins MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell to discuss the similarities and differences between President Trump and Vladimir Putin and to share her advice for the American resistance.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Lots of my Video interviews and more
can be seen on the Burning Flags Press
Vimeo page


From the Paradigm Magazine "Rear Window" series of interviews by Theo Constantinou, filmed by Eric Ashleigh, in January 2012 on a freezing day walking around New York City's East Village.

Theo's introduction:

There was this book I had seen when I was in high school called Fuck You Heroes, by Glen E. Friedman. That book and those memories, prior to Google images and blogs, was where I saw every iconic punk and skate image that shaped my 15 year old mind, ethos and approach to skateboarding. I knew before I wrote my interview with Glen that I could gear the questions primarily towards his photographs, and we could talk for hours about those images and their impact on not only myself, but the other like minded punks I knew over a decade ago. What I was thinking about while writing this interview with Glen, is the same thing I think about when I write each of my interviews now; how can I push the scope of what Glen will talk to me about if I ask him something that will alter not only the way I think of something, but maybe inspire, like Glen’s photographs, some 15 year old kid’s perspective from my interview with him. For me, that is exactly what happened: an altered perspective and a motto to remember everyday while trying to achieve one’s goals. “And that’s just all there is to it. Don’t care about what other people think about what you’re doing, if you’re inspired to do something, if you want to do something, if you have some kind of feeling that you should do something … then you should just do it; don’t let what other people’s preconceived ideas of good behavior, or whatever it is, limit you to thinking what you should and shouldn’t do.” If you are inspired to do something, do it. Don’t make excuses for yourself or let someone else tell you your inspiration is no good. Glen taught me a lot that day and continues to inspire, I hope this video does the same for you.

Paradigm Magazine:


Paradigm Magazine's You Tube channel


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads (video)

We're building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren't even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us -- and what we can do in response.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Orange Death

meme by Martin Sprouce

Friday, November 3, 2017

"The days are long, but the years are short."

from Boing Boing:

Dad shares time-lapse of his daughter from birth to age 18 [and son to 14]
A Dutch filmmaker made a touching time-lapse video that journeys through his daughter Lotte's entire childhood, from birth to age 18.

Frans Hofmeester shared his "Portrait of Lotte, 0 to 18 years" on YouTube Friday in celebration of her birthday. The video's description reads:
To better understand the psychological phenomena of memory and time, Hofmeester sought for a concept that could be supported through the mediums of film and photography.

The time-lapses confront us with our mortality. In a montage of less than 6 minutes, the viewer can observe one of the most mysterious and profound processes in human life - to grow up and age.

Hofmeester attempts to create and preserve a sense of reality. Thus, the portraits are created without the use of extra make-up or filters - bare, honest, unpolished and uncensored.
Lotte's brother Vince's life is also being documented in this way, though he's still got four more years of portraits to go.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

get it, got It, good.

Another meme from old friend Martin Spouse:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

meme of the day

from old friend Martin Spouse
mimicking old Go-Go graphics from Washington DC
and the record by Trouble Funk (listen below)!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A great friend and inspiration to many
Jam Master Jay murdered 15 Years Ago

From The Associated Press

After 15 years, probe into slaying of Run-DMC star goes cold

By TOM HAYS - Oct. 28, 2017
NEW YORK (AP) — A mural of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay, his arms crossed in defiance, looms over the hallway of the Queens recording studio where he was shot to death 15 years ago. The memorial gives no hint of a disturbing footnote to the DJ’s tale of fame and misfortune: The killer, so far, has gotten away with it.

New York City police detectives acknowledge that their investigation into the October 30, 2002, killing of the artist, whose given name was Jason Mizell, has gone cold. But some in the borough where Jam Master Jay, Joe “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels emerged as rap sensations in the 1980s hold out hope that witnesses could still come forward.

“It’s not resolved to the legal eye, but the street always talks,” said Jeremy “JL” Lam, a friend of Jam Master Jay’s family and a partner in the latest version of the Queens studio.

Family members, however, are less optimistic.

“We know it’s any anniversary but we don’t like to talk about it much anymore,” Jam Master Jay’s older sister, Bonita Jones, said from their mother’s home in North Carolina.

A cousin, Ryan Thompson, believes the potential witnesses may never come forward because they “could go to jail as accomplices.”

Thompson, also a DJ using the moniker “Base,” credits himself with introducing Run-DMC to one of its signature fashion statements: Adidas sneakers without laces. But Mizell should be remembered more “for the music he created and his kindness.”

That music included spinning the turntable on such Run-DMC hits as “King of Rock,” ″It’s Tricky” and a remake of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.” And one of Jam Master Jay’s acts of kindnesses included opening a 24/7 studio in a then-violent section of Queens for artists who needed a start. Famed rapper 50 Cent was among those he mentored there.

It was in that studio on the night before Halloween 2002 when police say two armed men were buzzed inside. Thompson, once hired as security “to keep the riff raff out,” said he had left the job because he wasn’t getting paid.

According to some reports, the 37-year-old Jam Master Jay hugged one of the men before gunfire erupted. One round missed him but a second, fired from point-blank range, entered the left side of his head. The men vanished.

Speculation followed that Jam Master Jay, who was drowning in debt, may have been killed on orders from someone to whom he owed money.

Police said there were at least four other people in the studio at the time. But none provided enough details to produce fruitful leads. Thompson said a security camera in the studio was broken.

Prosecutors later identified a career criminal serving time for armed robbery a suspect. But he denied involvement and was never charged. Then the case went cold.

Following the killing, a news photo showed Jam Master Jay’s body being removed from the back of the building through an emergency exit while mourners flocked to the scene to pay tribute. Two more showed DMC hugging Public Enemy’s Chuck D during the impromptu wake and a handwritten poster reading, “Rest in Peace, We’ll Fight 4 Justice.”

Fifteen years later, reminders of the tragedy are harder to find. There’s the recording studio mural and, inside, a plaque on a closet door with his “JMJ” record label insignia.

“He’s right there, so there’s no getting away from it,” performer Jaquan “Tipsy” Hardaway, said of the mural as he walked into the studio last week.

A founder of the current Signature Soundz Studios, Alix Dontfraid, agreed that it still feels a “little spooky” there. But he also tries to stay positive.

Jam Master Jay “could have built this studio anywhere, but he built it here, where it was needed,” he said. “That’s an energy I’m trying to perpetuate.”

Monday, October 30, 2017

School of Life Monday :

Earthrise is the most famous photograph in the history of the world. It was taken by astronaut Bill Anders on the 24th December 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission and for the first time showed us what our planet looks like from space. Its vulnerability and beauty gave rise to a new global consciousness. We should take care to pin it to the fridge and apply its lessons to our lives.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


from Dangerous Minds

I suppose some may say, “It’s not big. It’s not clever.” But still, it is quite amusing. Artist provocateur Hogre is waging a war against capitalism, consumerism, right-wing politics, and religion one advert at a time.

Hogre illegally takes over large billboards and bus stop advertising displays across London and reinvents them with subversive messages. Santa Claus is no longer celebrating Christmas with a Coke but preparing to start the revolution with a fiery Molotov cocktail. Neighborhood Watch is really Neighborhood Snitch. And car companies are shitting all over the world because “Why worry about Global Warming? We all die anyway!”

Originally from Italy, Hogre’s been making his presence known for about ten years with his clever, amusing stencils and inventive acts of vandalism. It’s all jolly good fun and thought-provoking to boot but I do wonder if such well-intended artistic anarchy is more likely to result in Hogre’s work being curated in an art gallery than awakening the “sheeple” from their addiction to consumerism. But I suppose one can hope.

See more of the mighty Hogre’s art here.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
in 4 Minutes

It was nervous, robotic, nearly alien music. It must have come from over-programmed machines or over-stimulated humans. It was the sound of “de-evolution,” manufactured by a nerdy, uniform-clad band called Devo.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Back from Overseas with Some Good Prospects
For Future Exhibitions!

Monday, October 23, 2017

School of Life Monday:
Why Good Societies Are Pessimistic

We may associate pessimism with bad things, but at a political level, the world’s best societies are all experts at pessimism.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Barry White and the Atlantics
"Tracy (All I Have Is Yours)" (Faro, 1963)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

Today's YouTube party platter is by Barry White! Yes that Barry White! And The Atlantics! No, not that Atlantics of "Beaver Shot" fame, etc! But rather another East L.A. group recording under the same name for Eddie Davis' amazing imprints around the same time. And while you can pick out the distinctive baritone of the young fresh prince of pillow talk on doo wop records dating back to the mid-1950s with Jesse Belvin, The Upfronts, The Majestics, and then The Atlantics, this is the first release under his name... And its a killer diller top-shelf classic of the first order! It bashes right into a descending "Hit The Road Jack" rhythm and pushes hard and heavy while White sings all above below and all around the beat - letting the whole world know that he was a first class soul man from the moment he popped out of the gate. Also cool backing vocals, drum breaks, and the punchier side of the raw production magic you'd expect from a Faro/Rampart platter! I have love unlimited this platter and darling I can't get enough... "Tracy (All I Have Is You)".... Feel it!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Little Mack (Simmons) "I Need Love" (Checker, 1961)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

Summer of 1960 saw JFK's nomination at the Democratic Convention, “Psycho” at drive-ins everywhere, the Greensboro, NC, Woolworth's sit-in, Cuba’s nationalization of foreign-owned property, the Cold War heating up after the U2 incident, and “Money (That’s What I Want)” on the radio. During those uncertain times, 1960’s big #1 summer R&B hits were mostly about good lovin’ gone bad, Jackie’ Wilson’s “Doggin’ Around,” Bobby Marchan’s “There Is Something On Your Mind,” and The Everly Brothers’ “Cathy’s Clown,” but Berry Gordy's “Money” pushed romance out of the picture in favor of finance.

“Money (That’s What I Want),” from its subject matter alone, might as well be our national anthem. And like so many of smash hits of the time, a barrage of covers, answer songs, and parodies followed hot on its heels. But “Money” was special in that it continued to be played, and played with, year after year - becoming one of the most-covered and referenced songs of its era. The blurry pen of Chess house bassist/producer/songwriter Willie Dixon didn’t waste time responding that summer, pushing romance back into the equation with “I Need Love.” Dixon’s protagonist acknowledges that “money will make you jump and shout” but… attests that a little bit of good lovin’ will knock him out…

Raised in the King Biscuit harmonica heaven of Arkansas blowing alongside another harp genius James Cotton, Little Mack Simmons was a bright star in the Chicago blues diaspora’s mighty constellation by the time he started churning out exciting sides for Bee and Baby, CJ, and Chess by the end of the 1950s. In August 1960 Little Mack stormed Chess studios with a killer cast of usual suspects - the explosive dual guitars of longtime Little Mack collaborator the legendary Eddie King and the diverse jazz/soul wunderkind Freddie Robinson (later Abu Talib), who was just getting his start with Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf etc, superstar pianist Detroit Junior, Big Three organist Lafayette Leake, backing vocalist Georgia Hinton (who takes the lead on the B-Side) and Chess rhythm section regulars Bob Anderson and Billy Davenport. They plow through “I Need Love,” slamming on a bold kinetic wiggle from the get-go and relentlessly and dynamically pushing though a couple of minutes of the most exciting music ever waxed... This may just be the finest of Little Mack Simmons' dance sides...

You can find this in print on vinyl on Volume 10 of the "Jerk Boom Bam!" compilation series!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Nathaniel Mayer and His Fabulous Twilights
"I Had A Dream" (Fortune, 1963)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

THE GREAT NATHANIEL MAYER WOULD HAVE TURNED 73 TODAY! The raw rockin' soul sound, in-the-red recording style, and wild intensity on these masterpieces express the NY Night Train aesthetic as much as anything ever cut into wax and if you've been coming to the parties over the years, you'll be familiar with all of these as they never stop turning. While these all are all ripped directly from the original 45s, anyone can tell you that no digitized version such as this, or vinyl reproduction, bootleg, etc, comes close to the unusual feel of an authentic Fortune record. But this is the next best thing! Here's an ordered list of DJ Jonathan Toubin's 13 favorite NAY DAWG Fortune sides (1961 - 1966). Go here for the entire playlist https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...

#1: "I HAD A DREAM" (1963): A fixture in my friend and mentor Billy Miller of Norton Records' DJ sets, Nathaniel Mayer's fifth single blew me away from the minute I heard him play it and is one of the most unique and exciting tracks in recording history.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sonny Holliday "School Days" (Constellation,1963) aka Hal Davis covers Chuck Berry!

While much has been made on Chuck Berry’s influence on rock bands, particularly British rock bands, and his audience was primarily white, he was a fixture on the r&b charts since the beginning. Not only were there countless covers, answer songs, and references to his material all over the black market since Berry emerged on the scene with “Maybellene”, but also his deep cultural impression could still be felt at the dawn of the soul era.

Sonny Holliday is a pseudonym for legendary producer, Brenda Holloway discoverer, and architect of the Motown West sound, Hal Davis. Davis’ fascinating early 1960s pre-Motown output is chock full o’masterpieces like Patrice Holloway’s “Do The Del Viking,” The Watesians “I Told You Baby,” and Hal and Brenda’s “It’s You.” While you’re listening to an L.A. record, this particular novelty appeared on Chicago’s Constellation imprint.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mabel Franklin "Let's Do The Wiggle" / "Dream I Had Last Night" (Ritzy, 1965)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

You may recall the pair of Sister Mable Franklin’s pulverizing Kangaroo gospel sides I put up here last year? (https://youtu.be/i2bq26X-yCk) This hot wax from seven years in the future finds the formerly pious gospel-shouting Sister Mable Franklin throwing her vocal flames into the most secular of blues! This one was laid down at drummer Ivory Lee Semien's studio on the Fifth Ward;s tough corner of Lyons and Jensen * - an intersection that grew so violent that it was referred to as “Pearl Harbor” by the end of the 1970s.

Apparently the second and last release on Houston’s obscure Ritzy imprint, Mabel’s take on the current dance craze trend doesn’t sound like a 1965 record and is so timeless that could’ve been from anywhere deep in the post-1948 Lightnin’ Hopkins “Katie Mae” Houston blues scene. But just because what your hearing is from a strong tradition doesn’t mean what you’re hearing isn’t an exquisite example of fresh and unique post-war Bayou City blues. Franklin’s windy wailing, growling, and shouting finds its ideal accompaniment in the raw elegance of drummer C.W. Thornton (Big Mama’s brother!) and the expressive, imaginative, and downright wild guitar heroics of Texas blues legend D.C. Bender. These sparse but loud and very present recordings make for two Texas’ most exciting blues sides.

Bender and Franklin teamed up again with Ivory Lee in 1967 with “Lucille Leave My Man Alone” / “Unhappy Woman” (Ivory, 1967)

Mabel Franklin and D.C. Bender were regular attractions in the colorful and prolific 1960s/1970s Fifth Ward club scene. Here’s Mike Leadbetter's action-packed 1967 account of a typical Bender/Ivory Lee band’s set at George’s on Cavalcade for “Blues Unlimited” (Aug 1967):

“George’s is a large, wild, tough beer joint and we sat as close to the band as we could. Ivory had told me that D.C. could sing, drink beer and play guitar all at once and this I had to see. To the hypnotic beat of “Boogie Chillen”, D.C. tipped back his head and, somehow, by clenching an open bottle between his teeth (broken), and by shouting out of the corner of his mouth did the impossible. Due to too much booze, D.C.;s voice is now little more than a hoarse cry, but his weird guitar playing, relying heavily on tremolo effects, is quite something as are his gymnastics. Laying down a pounding, rock rhythm behind D.C. were Big H. WIlliamson bass, Earl Gilliam on organ and Ivory beating beautifully on drums. All the musicians took turns to sing and by 9.30 most of the customers were hip shaking round the tables. There was no room to dance, but everyone stood up, shook all over and yelled. One couple, far gone, had a noisy if futile attempt to make love, half on a table and half on a chair, behind Tom’s head.”

Other than the Kangaroo sides, Sister Mabel Franklin had another early gospel record “How Many Years”/“All Over the World" on Franklin Records. In addition to the two 1960s Bender collaboration 45s, her mid-tempo soul burner “Come on and Go” turned up on Collectibles’ 1991 “Soul of Texas Blues Women: Good 'Ol Texas 60s Soul and Blues” collection. And a live recording of her belting “Wiggle Wiggle” on the Fifth Ward’s historic thoroughfare Lyons Avenue appears on Sunnyland Records’ 1970s compilation “Gulf Coast Blues” alongside D.C. Bender, Rockin’ Sidney, Silas Hogan, and other greats (somebody was kind enough to upload the entire lp here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXNuh...). There's also a 45 bootleg of this floating around recently...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Buddy Ace "What Can I Do" (Duke, 1961)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

Born in Jasper, TX in 1936, Jimmie Lee Land was raised in a musical family in Baytown, a booming refinery town outside of Houston. He was in a gospel quartet in high school with the one and only Joe Tex. Tex won a number of Houston talent shows, including one that included the trip to New York where The Rapper won Amateur Night at The Apollo four times and was signed to King Records by legendary producer Henry Glover. Similarly Jimmie Lee Land was discovered at a Houston talent show by Duke/Peacock big bossman Don Robey. After the tragic oft-disputed suicide of Duke's biggest hitmaker Johnny Ace backstage at Houston’s City Auditorium Christmas Day 1954, Robey christened his top star’s brother, St. Clair Alexander, “Buddy Ace” to cash in on his famous sibling’s popularity. When the move didn’t pan out, Jimmie Lee Land became Duke Records’ new “Buddy Ace”. While never striking gold, he recorded a few minor hits and a number of standout sides during his Duke Records tenure that spanned a number of distinct musical eras, 1956 to 1969, from early rock’n’roll to funkier times. Buddy Ace, who went grey in the 1970s and became known as “The Silver Fox of the Blues,” continued to record and slay audiences on the road all the way up to his fatal heart attack onstage in Waco, TX December 26, 1994 - 40th years and a day after Johnny Ace’s death.

The "Screaming Please" writing credit Brown/Malone means that Texas Johnny Brown, the legendary Texas guitarist and author of Bobby Blue Bland's iconic "Two Steps From The Blues," was probably the writer. Deadric Malone is the pseudonym Don Robey to get writing credits on a number of Duke sides he wasn’t involved in composing. As this reveals so many of the dynamic brassy hallmarks of the stellar Bobby "Blue" Bland material of the era, until someone shows me different, I will conclude for now that 1) Duke's house arranger/trumpeter Joe Scott is threading the elaborate tapestry and 2) the band is the same killer all-star ensemble from "Two Steps From The Blues" driven by the dynamic beat of earth-shattering future James Brown drummer John "Jabo" Starks.

Monday, October 16, 2017

School of Life Monday:
LITERATURE - George Orwell

George Orwell is the most famous English language writer of the 20th century, the author of Animal Farm and 1984. What was he trying to tell us and what is his genius?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

King Carl "I'm Just A Lonely Man" (La Louissianne, 1964)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

Any of my night owls who stick around for the last hour of dancing probably recognize this minor key masterpiece! Born in Grand Coteau in 1931, in the fertile south Louisianna culture between Lafayette and Opelousas, King Carl AKA King Karl briefly was a singer in Lloyd Price's review in the early 1950s and soon became a pioneering force in the fusion of rhythm and blues, Cajun, and Creole music that we today call "Swamp Pop." He spent years rolling around with Guitar Gable and wrote so many killer classics like "Irene," "Life Problem," "This Should Go On Forever," and many many more. By 1964 he had split from Gable's band and waxed this powerful platter for Lafayette's amazing La Louissianne impr

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Los Dug Dug's "Brinca Brinca" (RCA Mexico, 1966)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

Feliz cinco de mayo! Tonight we celebrate the Black Lips' record release at Home Sweet Home with a night of dancing to amazing Spanish language rock'n'roll! Today's party platter "Brinca Brinca" is by one of the most legendary and influential Mexican bands Los Dug Dug's.

Formed as Xippos Rock in the Durango in the early-1960s, Los Dug Dugs moved to Tijuana and by 1966 had made their way to Mexico City where they made a huge splash right away and laid down this blazing' track! "Brinca Brinca" is the B-Side to their first single, children's TV show theme "Chicotito Si, Chicotito No."

Los Dug Dug's moved to New York City in 1968 and then back to Mexico where they released a number of classic albums in the 1970s - including the universally-acclaimed heavy psych rock masterpiece LP "Smog" (reissued on Light In The Attic). Leader Armando Nava and his Los Dug Dug's are still rocking deep into the 21st century!


Friday, October 13, 2017

Charles Brimmer "The Glide" (A.B.S., 1967)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

Today's song, Charles Brimmer's "The Glide," has been turned a lot at thee Clap the last year or two and I've been getting a lot of inquiries for you about it, and since there's no youtube or other internet file up so far, I'm happy for you to give all of you a chance to listen!

Though his first single was from when he was in high school in the lower 9th, recorded with his brother as Charles and Ivory, "The Glide" is the first recording of his prolific career. If you think this sounds like a Wardell Quezergue arrangement you hit the nail on the head. And this appears on a Quezerque and Camille Incardona shortlived imprint A.B.S. (Always Better Sound). The B-Side "I Need You I Do" is a super-fine ballad showing off Brimmer's deep pipes. "The Glide" never caught on but this overlooked dance jam kicked off the recording career of one of the great New Orleans voices and remains a unique go-to record for me.

Charles Brimmer also has a lot of other top jams worth checking out. There's also a lot of biographical information on line to start your search:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Don Fredrick "A Little Bit Of Soap" (La Louisianne, 1967)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

A killer Louisiana version of the Jarmels classic that put Bert Berns on the map on Lafayette amazing La Louisianne imprint that I just pulled out of my stacks after a long break! I couldn't find any information about Don Fredrick or this track. Feel free to chime in if you know anything...

p.s. some of you hip-hop heads may recognize that De La Soul sampled this song ...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Creep "Betty Lou Got A New Tattoo" (Oakridge, 1964)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

I learned “Betty Lou Got A New Tattoo” from the A-Bones cover that for years remained a staple of their live set and also from Norton Records’ stellar “Fort Worth Teen Scene” compilation on which this appears. I will always associate this song with Billy Miller and remember the playful smirk on his face and his distinctive vocal delivery as the band reliably tore through this one with unbridled gusto. Since Billy passed away a few months ago I play this every Friday at Home Sweet Home in his memory and I feel his spirit in the room when it inevitably shakes the house down. So this of course goes out to him.

The Creep, AKA Nick Kithas of Creep and the Deacons, moved on from his rockin' roots to become a notable a jazz musician, club owner, and restauranteur in Ft. Worth. Another hero of mine Jim "The Hound" Marshall says, "It's basically a take off on Bobby Freeman's Betty Lou Got A New Pair Of Shoes, but better, and dumber."

I hope that you enjoy this classic as much as I do and get yourself a copy of "Fort Worth Teen Scene" to get wowed by all the killer rock'n'roll coming out of DFW in the 1960s. http://www.nortonrecords.com/304-vari...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Honey Drippers "Impeach the President" (Alaga, 1973)
via Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

In the last year or so, when i have to leave town I post some cool songs each day, to make life easier on the road, by one of my favorite DJ's ever Jonathan Toubin. So while I am on a whirlwind Euro visit to solidify some exhibitions for 2018/19, I will start you off here with the platters and descriptions via Jonathan. Thanks for staying tuned.

Tonight, after a long day of consuming political theater, I turn this summer's theme song as I take over Questlove's Bowl Train at Brooklyn Bowl... I finally picked up Roy C and the Honey Drippers' much-sampled Nixon-era classic "Impeach the President" from thee immortal Todd-O-Phonic Todd at WFMU Record Fair and its going keep spinning round and round all summer long until I don't need to play it anymore!

Monday, October 9, 2017

School of Life Monday
Can never watch this one too often :-)
Political Theory - Karl Marx

Karl Marx remains deeply important today not as the man who told us what to replace capitalism with, but as someone who brilliantly pointed out certain of its problems. The School of Life, a pro-Capitalist institution, takes a look.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

HITS on my instagram last few days

MINOR THREAT - IAN MACKAYE - ... July 1982 at show in southern California, with The Dead Kennedys, MDC, and The Zero Boys, allon the bill. An incredible night, in my all time top ten Punk shows, everyone killed it. Minor Threat one of the greatest hardcore punk bands ever, practically responsible for the term “Hardcore”. Everyone LOVED them and in the front row here in the photograph there is Dave from MDC and Big Frank from GoldenVoice... This photo is in the, 324 page, huge, MY RULES book. Get it at your local book store or Amazon if you can’t find it locally. #inspiration #integrity #PUNK #HarDCore #OldSchool #WashingtonDC #MDC #GetOutaMyShot #DISCHORD #WhatTheFuckHaveYouDone? #MinorThreat #StraightEdge @dischordrecords #1982 #ImAPersonJustLikeYou #screamingAtAWall #OutOfStep @dischordrecords #1982 #MyRules

A post shared by glen E. friedman Ⓥ (@glenefriedman) on

LL COOL J - St Albans, Queens early 90’s. By this time i had known LL for a while and i was brought back into the fold to do the photography for “14 Shots to the Dome” after a couple of covers that weren’t quite up to par with the last one I did with him (B.A.D.) Lots of cool images during this day long session. This one was published in my book THE IDEALIST.. the streaks of light behind him are cause by a liquid tanker truck driving by as i was doing a time exposure. Check the details of the car and background due to the time exposure with only available light on the street. I love this photograph. May not have been his most creative era, but we made some cool as fuck photos this day. Out on Farmers Blvd. that he name checked on his records time and again, it’s always good to shoot in a persons own ‘hood. #HipHop #Rap #BBoy #LLCOOLJ #inspiration #DefJam #The Idealist #BMW #14shotsToTheDome #FILM #35mm #Kodachrome #PhotoSession #Work #art #chillin #TimeExposure

A post shared by glen E. friedman Ⓥ (@glenefriedman) on

HENRY ROLLINS, in the band BLACK FLAG at this time, at a rented rehearsal space circa 1982. If you have read the captions in any of my books or seen me talk about Black Flag during this era, you would know that practice to them was often more intense than a show. I felt privileged that i was able to hang out at practice now and again during this peak era, and occasionally make photographs too. They were my favorite band, hands down. The trials and tribulations they endured with police crackdowns were unheard of for any other band ever. BLACK FLAG were a huge inspiration, not just trend setters or trailblazers, they fucking kicked ass and were serious about what they did. Many of us learned from them. Their work ethic was unmatched. Their self sufficiency was emulated. DIY ‘cause without it, it did not happen. All my favorite output came up until the time Chuck Dukowski left the band, Damaged one of the greatest albums ever, and the “First Four Years” package a must for anyone who wasn’t around as each of those EPs were released. #RiseAbove #PUNK #PunkRock #HardcorePunk #BLACKFLAG #DAMAGED #KnowYourRoots #NervousBreakdown #Revenge #NoValues #SprayPaint #AmericanWaste #RiseAbove #Damaged #ThirstyAndMiserable #NoMore #GimmeGimmeGimme #MyWar #OG #SouthBay #WashingtonDC #harDCore #PracticePracticePractice #CreepyCrawl this photograph first appeared in My book FUCK YOU HEROES and several from this same afternoon also appear in the MY RULES book, as well the cover of the BLACK FLAG biography written by Stevie Chick also used photos from this day on the front and back covers. #SeriousAsAHeartAttack #FUN #early80s #REAL #aggro #release #energy

A post shared by glen E. friedman Ⓥ (@glenefriedman) on

DR. KNOW (Gary Miller) of BAD BRAINS circa 1981 at a club called “A7” in the east village here in NYC. I am posting this photograph today because i spent some time hanging out with Gary over in Tompkins Square Park sunday afternoon, less than a few hundred feet away from where i made this photo! We and what seemed like a 1000 others were celebrating the life of RAY BEEZ who passed away 20 years ago this weekend. There were bands playing all afternoon, with plenty of NYHC all-stars... good fun seeing a lot of the old punk friends and the new ones too. The club A7 had a stage less than a foot off the ground, the dance floor and the stage where the room was, was probably 15’x15’ feet. Gigs there were amazing. This night i believe the BAD BRAINS played with either The UnDead or Reagan Youth, or maybe both! Wish you coulda been there! Good news is Gary said HR is more his old self than he’s been in 40 years 😃 this was the best thing to hear. They are playing some shows soon, something tells me these may be better than they have in as many years. #BadBrains #knowYourRoots #Punk #NYC #DC #RightBrigade #FearlessVampireKillers #SailinOn #PMA #PositiveMentalAttitude #HardCorePunk #inspiration #OG #Originals #WashingtonDC #BadAss #A7 #PunkRock #GuitarHero #FuckYouHeroes #MyRules Gary put some words together for the MY RULES book as well... if you haven’t seen it, I don’t know why, it beats the hell outa this Instagram stuff ✌🏽 (Niagra is the current name of the location where the A7 club was, in the back room down 7th street). #EastVillage

A post shared by glen E. friedman Ⓥ (@glenefriedman) on

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Get Ready NEXT WEEK+ preview

i will be sharing platters from the incredible DJ Jonathan Toubin, here's a taste of what he can be found doing a least several nights a week live...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Where Do "Alt-Right" Groups Get Their Money?

As white nationalists protest across the country, we wanted to know who's financially funding their hate. And there's more money in it than you realize.

Watch more AJ+ In Depth: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...

From rich mega donors to crowdfunding and even internet advertising, white nationalists are finding the money to ensure that they are heard and deliver a simple message: they're not going anywhere.

Learn more here:
“Meet the ex-GOP insider who created white nationalist Richard Spencer” https://www.revealnews.org/article/me...

“White nationalist gets his money from cotton fields – and the government” https://www.revealnews.org/article/wh...

“The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency” http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/201...

Subscribe for more videos:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Yeah, this one again . . . Sadly

None of any kind for any reason...

Tools of DEATH.


Monday, October 2, 2017

School of Life Monday:
The Problem With Our Phones

They are hugely useful of course but in many ways, we buy the advantages our phones give us at a subtly high price we don’t entirely recognise. Some reflections on how to live well around phones.

btw. I still do not own a smart phone ;-)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Friday, September 29, 2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Black Flag radio interview during their first visit to the UK 1981 (10 minutes audio)

Yeah, somehow one of my first photos of the band with Henry in it got attached to this clip...
back behind the "Cuckoo's Nest" in Costa Mesa (by Huntington Beach) August '81