Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Coney Island Of My Mind #22


"Beauty stands and waits with gravity
to start her death-defying leap."

Words by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Day 18

I’ve reached the point where I even miss seeing people that I don’t particularly like.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Pure Pop for Shutdown People


Are you looking for some swinging sounds to help the ease of quarantine? Download a short DJ set Mr. Lee (Going In Style Sound System) did a few few years back for the Magic Transistor site. Once you get past the lengthy and bombastic intro, it's all top-flight 1960s sounds strictly from vinyl.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Friday, March 13, 2020

This Changes Everything


"Fear is a survival response. Fear makes us run, it makes us leap, it can make us act superhuman. But we need somewhere to run to. Without that, the fear is only paralyzing. So the real trick, the only hope, really, is to allow the terror of an unlivable future to be balanced and soothed by the prospect of building something much better than many of us have previously dared hope."

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Indifference Is The Deadweight Of History

"I hate the indifferent. I believe that living means taking sides. Those who really live cannot help being a citizen and a partisan. Indifference and apathy are parasitism, perversion, not life. That is why I hate the indifferent.

The indifference is the deadweight of history. The indifference operates with great power on history. The indifference operates passively, but it operates. It is fate, that which cannot be counted on. It twists programs and ruins the best-conceived plans. It is the raw material that ruins intelligence. That what happens, the evil that weighs upon all, happens because the human mass abdicates to their will; allows laws to be promulgated that only the revolt could nullify, and leaves men that only a mutiny will be able to overthrow to achieve the power. The mass ignores because it is careless and then it seems like it is the product of fate that runs over everything and everyone: the one who consents as well as the one who dissents; the one who knew as well as the one who didn’t know; the active as well as the indifferent. Some whimper piously, others curse obscenely, but nobody, or very few ask themselves: If I had tried to impose my will, would this have happened?

I also hate the indifferent because of that: because their whimpering of eternally innocent ones annoys me. I make each one liable: how they have tackled with the task that life has given and gives them every day, what have they done, and especially, what they have not done. And I feel I have the right to be inexorable and not squander my compassion, of not sharing my tears with them.

I am a partisan, I am alive, I feel the pulse of the activity of the future city that those on my side are building is alive in their conscience. And in it, the social chain does not rest on a few; nothing of what happens in it is a matter of luck, nor the product of fate, but the intelligent work of the citizens. Nobody in it is looking from the window of the sacrifice and the drain of a few. Alive, I am a partisan. That is why I hate the ones that don’t take sides, I hate the indifferent."

Friday, December 13, 2019

Yesterday's Numbers


Roy Loney
Rest In Peace

Photograph of Roy backed by Yo La Tengo at Maxwell's by Lee Greenfeld © 2019

Friday, November 29, 2019

Between The Notes


Watching Thelonious Monk play piano is like witnessing a great painter at work. He once said this about his art: "Don't play everything, or every time; let some things go by… What you don't play can be more important than what you do."

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Principle And Dignity

Currently digging: playing the elevator game with my daughter, Soul Jazz's Dreads Enter the Gates With Praise compilation, Fiona Hill, mid-day naps, the writing of Slavoj Žižek, dumplings for dinner, reading to my daughter, the many people's uprisings happening globally, Coltrane's Blue World, and the final season of Mr. Robot.

Not digging: the continued destruction of my city at the hands of vulture capitalists and their political enablers, false friends, Devin Nunes (who recently knocked Mitch McConnell from the top of my 'most punchable faces' list), Turkey's attempted eradication of real democracy in Rojava, the dumpster fire that is West Ham's season, and as always the MTA.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Ashes To Ashes


 “He thought that in the beauty of the world were hid a secret. He thought that the world’s heart beat at some terrible cost and that the world’s pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of diverging equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower.”

Friday, July 5, 2019

This Glorious Struggle

Martha,

Today was not the brightest of days. After a canceled flight we suffered an endless layover at DFW. The hour was early, so no food was to be had (the troops had a craving to fill their stomachs with Panda Express). I am sad to say once we took flight the turbulence took its toll and the sick bags were bile-filled. Please send wishes for our continued travels (and our hopes that our luggage isn't lost).

With love,
George

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Going For The Jugular


Fare thee well to Alfred E. Newman and and the Usual Gang of Idiots. I'll admit that I cannot recall the last time I copped an issue of MAD Magazine, but it did help shape me as a kid — I would pour over the issues letting myself get lost in the irreverence — and I am super bummed to hear that they're ceasing publication. Rest In Peace.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Everyman


After a heavy day, I rolled up to my local for a downtime martini and ended up talking to this guy rocking a Make America Read Again pin. After chatting about literature for a bit, it came out that he was a longtime bookseller and dear friends with  Philip Roth. I of course kept him at the bar telling me Roth stories, all of which reaffirmed my admiration for the man, beyond his written words. What a great, random and perfect New York City moment.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

No Accountability


"As I sit here today, I can't help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to. Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders, and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress. Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one. It's an embarrassment to the country and it is a stain on this institution. And you should be ashamed of yourselves for those that aren't here. But you won't be, because accountability doesn't appear to be something that occurs in this chamber."

Monday, June 3, 2019

Where Do I Stand?


I end up at a row of benches on the edge of what looks like it could be Riverside Park, and a group of people from my past are holding court. They're all set up like we were as kids: brown paper bagged 40s, a boombox, legs lazily splayed, but it almost feels like an official meeting. I'm there for an evaluation of my life, but there are no judgements. It's all warmth, laughs and advice, none of which I can remember afterwards, still it's somehow both stressful and soothing at the same time.

Photograph fragment by Jill Freedman

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Cluttered Twist Of Fate

"Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn't something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn't get in, and walk through it, step by step. There's no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones..."

Saturday, June 1, 2019

I Have Always Been Here Before


I don't recall the first time I heard the album, but I know I scored it at Midnight Records and had my mind blown immediately after putting it on the turntable (before that day I only knew "You're Gonna Miss Me" from compilations). After obsessing over the 13th Floor Elevators small discography, I became even more obsessed with Roky's solo work, which to me equals, and at times transcends the glorious sounds he made with the Elevators. And then years after that, Roky finally made it to Brooklyn, playing at the much-missed Southpaw. The truly electric anticipation in that packed room was pure magic, and once he hit the stage it was like an explosion of thankfulness; an evening of musical solidarity that's hard to describe and a memory that I'll treasure forever. Roky Erickson had a rough life, but he brought joy to countless people, leaving a legacy that's nearly unequalled. We miss you now that you're gone. Rest In Peace.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

All That Remains

“Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub, you'd be boiled to death before you knew it. There were stories in the newspapers, of course, corpses in ditches or the woods, bludgeoned to death or mutilated, interfered with, as they used to say, but they were about other women, and the men who did such things were other men. None of them were the men we knew. The newspaper stories were like dreams to us, bad dreams dreamt by others. How awful, we would say, and they were, but they were awful without being believable. There were too melodramatic, they had a dimension that was not the dimension of our lives. We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom.”

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A Continuing Proletarian Institution


"The first of May demanded the introduction of the eight-hour day. But even after this goal was reached, May Day was not given up. As long as the struggle of the workers against the bourgeoisie and the ruling class continues, as long as all demands are not met, May Day will be the yearly expression of these demands. And, when better days dawn, when the working class of the world has won its deliverance then too humanity will probably celebrate May Day in honor of the bitter struggles and the many sufferings of the past."

The Triumph Of Labour poster by Walkter Crane and Henry Schell, 1891
Words by Rosa Luxembourg from What Are the Origins of May Day?, 1894

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Ghosts Of Cable Street


"And so we learn from history, generations have to fight. And those who crave for mastery, must be faced down on sight. And if that means by words, by fists, by stones, or by the gun. Remember those who stood up for their daughters and their sons. Listen to the sound of marching feet, and the voices of the ghosts of Cable Street."

Monday, April 22, 2019

Never Explained




A damaged sonic masterpiece, channeling the Byrds through a haze of chip shop fumes, spilled lager, and total despair.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Attainment Of Social Freedom


"How can people in general — and young people in particular — develop a sense of mission which will inspire them with a new joy in living and give dignity to their existence? There is no other way than that of devoting ourselves to the realization of great impersonal tasks, such as that of attaining a new stage in the human condition, until now degraded by its division into the privileged and the dispossessed."

Words from Salvador Allende's first speech to the Chilean parliament after his election, 1970

Thursday, March 14, 2019

High On Rebellion


"It's just Halloween. I've got my Bob Dylan mask on. I'm masquerading." -Dylan, 1964

Photograph by Robert Mapplethorpe

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Strikes Again


Hal Blaine
Rest In Peace

Fare thee well to the heartbeat of the Wrecking Crew. Hal Blaine played on “Be My Baby,” "He's A Rebel," "Da Doo Ron Ron," "River Deep – Mountain High," "Hungry," "Kicks," "You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies," "Let's Live for Today," "Surf City," "Strangers in the Night," "Dizzy," "Good Vibrations," "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Another Saturday Night," "Eve of Destruction," "California Dreamin', "Sweet Young Thing," "Along Comes Mary," "Return to Sender," "Stoned Soul Picnic," three of my all-time favorite albums (Forever Changes, Bookends, and Pet Sounds), and on and on and on... The man recorded an estimated 6000 singles!