Archive for the America Category

The New Rules

Posted in America, EAST COAST, lists, the past with tags , , on November 12, 2010 by John

Rules on how to make a great publication from one of America’s finest magazines, The Atlantic.

Rule #9 is probably a big part of why I subscribe: “The Atlantic has three dimensions — breadth of interest, height of interest, depth of interest.”

All twelve in pixels below.


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American Ruins

Posted in America, film, photos, the past with tags , , , on June 8, 2010 by John

Preservation of the great Movie Palaces is generally considered a noble but foolish endeavour. There are always a few small voices saying how much history is being lost, and then there’s the howl of progress.

When looking at these pictures though, it’s easy to see what the preservationists are saying. To this day, these palaces are still jaw dropping sites. At least I’m a sucker for these types of things.

Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre are two photographers that found that their style of photography was so similar, they’d start shooting with the same camera. They documented what the NYT aptly called “Tattered Palaces”.

Their Ruins of Detroit is another fascinating and sobering set.

Of course, there are quite a few palaces left, expecially here in LA. And for those suckers like me, there’s Last Remaining Seats, which is going on right now. Take a look. Continue reading

Wie schön das ist!

Posted in africa, America, california, EAST COAST, Iraq, italy, japan, mexico, New York, san francisco, the ocean, UK, WEST COAST, world on May 30, 2010 by saramurray

Motown Around the World (on NPR)


Posted in America, california, mexico, tubes, WEST COAST with tags , on May 20, 2010 by John

California is a Place make the documentaries I’d want to make. Both fascinating and human. Sadly, their website doesn’t have any interesting info on it so all I can say is stay tuned. It seems like more vignettes are on the way.  Above and below are two of my favorites.  There’s four total and the other two are worth a look too. Continue reading

Grind Down the Laboring Man

Posted in America, books, New York, poetry, politics with tags , , on March 19, 2010 by Thomas

well i note you
put me back into nonpareil
again monday after raising me
to brevier all right boss
all right grind down
the laboring man there will come
a day of reckoning i don’t have
to do this you know as far
as the  food is concerned that
you have been giving me i lived before
i ever got into your column must close now
as mehitabel the cat is
scratching her claws against
the desk in a meaning sort of way
yours hastily

– Archy the Free-verse Cockroach


Posted in America, music, white people on January 27, 2010 by John

This is what I’ve been digging lately.

I don’t know much about Townes Van Zandt, but he’s a remarkable talent. The first album is just him and a guitar in a bar in Houston. It’s simple, spectacular songwriting. Some people trash his studio albums as having dated production that Van Zant had little to do with. I still like them though; the strings in Our Mother the Mountain give the songs a Leonard Cohen vibe, and a drum kit and harmonica never hurt anybody. (A studio song example vs. a live song)

Van Zandt was one of those country music sob stories, part of the American tradition. According to his Wikipedia article:

[T]he bulk of his life was spent touring various dive bars, often living in cheap motel rooms, backwoods cabins and on friends’ couches. Van Zandt was notorious for his drug addictions, alcoholism, and his tendency to tell tall tales. He suffered from manic depression, and attempts to treat it with insulin shock therapy erased much of his long-term memory.

Townes Van Zandt – Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas (1973)

Townes Van Zandt – Our Mother the Mountain (1969)

Midcentury Boogie

Posted in America, history, music on January 25, 2010 by John

BoingBoing has a beautiful little series of posts this weekend on mostly forgotten midcentury music. Country, opera, jazz and folk are all there. Archivist Stephen Worth certainly dug up some treasures. Highlights include this tap-dancing barnburner, Jimmy Dean with muppets, and a dutch-angled Leadbelly clip.