Dive into the archives.
- Pop Up Crisis
Who knew when we were watching it as stoned college students in the mid 90s that pop up video would eventually provide the language through which even life’s most inscrutable problems would be explained.
But that is where we are. Thanks to this great animation by Jonathan Jarvis, even I think I understand how we got into the global financial mess. Now if only someone can provide an explanation of how to get out of it using using only icons, flash transitions, and bleep-bloop sounds, we’ll be straight.
For more info click the crisis of credit site.
- Discomfort Food
93 year old cook and great grandmother Clara recounts her childhood during the Great Depression as she prepares meals from the era. Learn how to make simple yet delicious dishes while listening to stories from the Great Depression.
In the latest episode (#7 in the series), Clara shows us how to prepare a “Poorman’s Feast,” a three course Depression meal, if that isn’t an oxymoron.
Get more tasty, recession-proof recipes here.
- BC on that BS
[Image: Las May, The Gleaner]
Down in Jamaica, a culture war is brewing. In response to a newspaper column written a couple weeks ago by Esther Tyson, a high school principle, Jamaica’s Broadcasting Commission recently instituted an all out ban on what it referred to as “daggering” songs – “daggering” defined by the BC as “a colloquial term or phrase used in dancehall culture as a reference to hardcore sex or what is popularly referred to as ‘dry’ sex, or the activities of persons engaged in the public simulation of various sexual acts and positions.”
It laid out these commandments to radio and TV licensees:
1. There shall not be transmitted through radio or television or cable services, any recording, live song or music video which promotes the act of ‘daggering’, or which makes reference to, or is otherwise suggestive of ‘daggering’.
2. There shall not be transmitted through radio or television or cable services, any audio recording, song or music video which employs editing techniques of ‘bleeping’ or ‘beeping’ of its original lyrical content.
3. Programme managers and station owners or operators are hereby required to take immediate steps to prevent transmission of any recorded material relating to ‘daggering’ or which fall into the category of edited musical content using techniques of ‘bleeping’ or ‘beeping’.
Now, I’m not a moral relativist. There’s plenty of things in dancehall that I take offense to, its homoerotic homophobia being at the top of the list. But I support free expression, especially when it’s coming from the bottom of society, and something about the Broadcasting Commission’s actions smacks of class prejudice, no matter how sincere the concern of its supporters may be.
In the words of Annie Paul, who has written a very good piece on this subject:
Unfortunately one has no choice but to see the latest action of the BC as an updated version of the centuries old attempt first by the slave masters, then the colonial missionaries, and now the middle and upper class elites who occupy the highest rungs of society in postcolonial Jamaica, to censor and legislate the morality of ‘the lower classes’ on the grounds that their behaviour and musical products are a threat to the moral well-being of wider society.
Dancehall artists have already started offering musical responses to the BC’s actions. Mavado and Vybz Kartel, both of whom are still caught up in a lame beef, both released songs about it this week and with no further ado here they are:
Mavado – A so you move
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and Vybz Kartel, whose “Ramping Shop” apparently set the whole thing off…
Kartel – My music 2K9
- MAN THIS NEW YEEZY VIDEO IS THE SLoading…
Very good pop art is the product of an alchemical process through which the unexceptional parts of ordinary life are infused with value and dignity. At its core, it’s an expression of sympathy and a call for all people to re-examine the people, places, and things that we typically ignore or even avoid. To me, this video for “Welcome to heartbreak” by Kanye West & Kid Cuti is this sort of work. It takes an aspect of modern life that we all know and dislike, the shitty resolution of online video, and turns it into a source of beauty. Maybe it’s because I’ve been dealing with this bogus ass Chinese connection for too long, but I think this video is pretty great. It even works with the broken down emotions and low-tech futuristic sound of the song. Directed by Nabil Elderkin. He’s done a bunch of other videos. Check him out.
PPS – Bev pointed out another predecessor and probably an influence on both the clips above – Takeshi Murata outta LA.
- The Helmsman Sound
Well, I’m finally in the home stretch of this Urban China book. It’s been months, but the edit and design are done and I’m mostly working on details now. This week I’m just doing research to fill in some gaps and explain some references that us foreigners might not get. One of the things I worked on today was a reference to a song called “Sailing the seas depends on the helmsman.” It’s one of those feel good orchestra jams that were so popular during Mao’s time. There’s been a lot of attention paid to Chinese revolutionary posters in the past few years, but not much on music. So here’s the song…
Yu Wen (lyrics) & Wang Shuangyin (music) – Sailing the seas depends on the helmsman
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Here’s the lyrics…
Sailing the seas depends on the helmsman,
The growth of all living beings depends on the sun.
Rain and dew nourish young seedlings,
Conducting revolution depends on Mao Zedong Thought.
Fish cannot leave the water,
Melons cannot leave the vine.
The revolutionary masses cannot do without the Communist Party.
Mao Zedong Thought is a sun that never sets.
Both the mp3 and translation are from the recently emboldened proletarians at marxists.org
- Happy Valentine’s Day
Al Green – I love you
So I guess I indulged my soft side too much here and forgot how many people don’t like Valentine’s Day. So to make amends here’s an anti-V-Day jam that my man James just sent me.
The Mississippi Shieks – I’ve got blood in my eyes for you
- Urban China: Informal Cities at New Museum
In all of last week’s drama I completely forgot to mention that my friends at Urban China are having a big exhibition at the New Museum in NY (!) I’m still in Beijing working on a book based on their magazine that unfortunately won’t be ready in time for this. But I’ve put up some of the material that’s going into it here, here, here, here, and here. If you liked that and will be around New York between now and the end of March I strongly urge you to check it out. Here are some images from the installation…
After NY the show will travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Big!
More info at the New Museum site…
- Mean Old World
In the space of a week a friend passed away and one of the world’s best buildings was destroyed. A lot of people I care about are suffering for both of these events. I feel like there’s not much I can do except offer something that’s always helped me through dark times, gospel music. I’m not a religious person, but there is something about the simultaneity of joy and pain in the best gospel music that allows for grief without despair. Here’s a song that seems appropriate for the moment, “Mean old world” by Sam Cooke & The Soul Stirrers.
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Love to Nesi and Marly and Jewel, Andre and everyone connected to TVCC, everyone in southern Australia and Gaza and everywhere…
- Russian Recession Cartoons
I found this crisis-inspired cartoon on EnglishRussia. It manages to go from cute to disturbing in just under 3 minutes. Dark humor for dark days.
You see more here.
If anyone knows who created this please let me know…
- Макгетрика, Брендана Макгетрика
I learned what my name looks like in Cyrillic today when a copy of the Russian edition of Domus showed up at my door. They reprinted an article from last year about the CAFA Museum in Beijing. Since it’s now in reprints I guess I’ll post it up here… Check here for photos of the project by my homey Iwan Baan A.K.A. AИBAHA БAAHA.