Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday sales blogging

Melody Records, Washington, D.C. Support your local merchants this holiday season.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

TV Review: The Jazz Baroness

first published on blogcritics.org

If I told you I'd just seen a documentary made by the descendant of a beautiful English heiress, you might wonder if it was some kind of vanity project about fine china and silverware and the upper clahsses. The Jazz Baroness indeed depicts sundry accoutrements of the landed gentry, but it is more than that: it tells the story of an unlikely friendship between the titular baronesss and one of the great figures in jazz music, Thelonious Monk.

Hannah Rotshchild produced, wrote and directed The Jazz Baroness, which premieres on HBO on November 25th. Like the Jackie Paris documentary I reviewed earlier this year, the picture is framed as a quest, but in this case it is not the quest of a record collector; Rothschild is the great-niece of Pannonica de Koenigswarter (nee Kathleen Annie Pannonica Rothschild), which makes hers no less than a quest for family and identity. She follows the breadcrumbs left behind by her aunt, who she met for the first time only a few years before few times before the Baroness's death in 1988. These breadcrumbs happen to lead her to Thelonious Monk, who met the Baroness in 1954.

Their backgrounds could not have been more different: he grew up in rural North Carolina, she was raised on banquets hosting the great leaders of Europe. But from their first meeting grew an intimate friendship that lasted till Monk's death 28 years later (Monk penned one of his most lovely ballads, "Pannonica," for her). The documentary is very much about class and race; and, although it may be a cliche, about how music can profoundly bridge the gap between the differences that society builds between people - differences which in the end are arbitrary. Rothschild (whose words are read by Hellen Mirren) left behind a life of English manorial comfort in order to live a life among the be-bop elite in New York City. If the director'send result of the director's quest for identity is only hinted at, it is clear that her great-aunt, though very far from home, found herself indeed.

Hannah Rotshchild admits at the start that she did not enter this project a jazz expert; and at the end, she admits she still isn't. But the sensitive use of the music, and respect for the musicians she speaks with (Sonny Rollins, Curtis Fuller, and Quincy Jones among them) belies her modesty. Her film is no replacement for Charlotte Zwerin's documentary Straight, no Chaser, but it is a fine companion piece.

I was in a Starbucks recently and heard Monk's solo version of "Ruby, My Dear," one of the great jazz ballads. That I was not surprised to hear it in a Starbucks says something about how far jazz music has come, since it's perception as a forbidding art music to what someone searching for a venti soy caramelmachiatto might consider merely pleasant background music. But if some pilgrim on their caffeinated quest might pause long enough to listen, and find something in the music that resonates with them; then it would seem that THeolnious Monk hasn't lost his touch with the gentry. Sweet.

Lunch blogging



Saturday, November 21, 2009

a brief history of hoarding: the library book sale



The library where I work has an annual book sale, and I've been going every year since I started working there many moons ago. This year I donated a Macy's bag full of books. I never buy more than I donate - not even close - but somehow the scattershot weeding I do to fill up that shopping bag of donations seems to clear less space than the scattershot things I buy; some of which goes home, much of which clutters my office years later.

british sheep breeds

I had this taped to my office door for several years. It's still in my office, but I took it down this year to scan it and I never put it back up, giving me an unobstructed view of the American flag themed tissue paper that my industrious project team members used to plastered our office doors.

the interview

From the 1983 Betamax video Japanese electronic industry -- entry into the future. You never see the woman's face during this brief creepy interview. Her hair bobs slightly as she nods.

This year's book sale was fruitful, and with the increasing quality of cellphone cameras, I can faithfully document the materials I don't buy.

I didn't buy this:

the warren oates memorial cable knit


I did buy this:

for a long time, i used to go to bed early

And this:

and whiskers on kittens


I didn't buy this:



But I bought this:




I should weed this weekend.

cats and kittens in colour

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

the three burials of timothy carey



Timothy Carey is my favorite character actor. His 6' 4" frame and menacing looks got him plenty of work as a noir heavy, and an often uncredited one at that; it's not for nothing that he's listed in the cast for Shock Treatment as "Hulking patient." His scene-chewing walk-ons would be enough to land him in the darker annals of Hollywood legend, a kind of demonic Edward Everett Horton. Imagine for a moment that Carey was born a generation or two sooner and had a recurring role in the Fred and Ginger movies; perhaps Hermes Pan would have recognized a kind of grace in seventy-six inches of mean lank and, on the merits or at knifepoint, given the man a dancing role?




But Carey wasn't your ordinary character actor, and his was not an ordinary career. To crib from the notes I wrote for a brief Timothy Carey film series I curated for a now defunct repertory program in Washington, D.C., : [Carey] was known to go to unusual lengths to get a role. Hoping for a part in Prince Valiant, he donned medieval robes and climbed a fence to brandish a knife at Henry Hathaway. At a casting call for The Godfather, he shot blanks at Francis Ford Coppola, who returned fire with glee. Carey didn’t get either of those parts, though Coppola kept trying to hire him anyway. Not satisfied with chewing somebody else’s scenery, Carey directed himself in the notorious underground film The World’s Greatest Sinner, and upon his death was working on a stage production of a play he called "The Insect Trainer," a salute to the irrepressible creative energy of flatulence.

I recently looked up Timothy Carey in a database of historical newspapers and found a number of intriguing items:

New York Times, May 8, 1957
Missing US Actor is Found

MUNICH, Germany, May 7 (Reuters)--Timothy Carey, 31-year old Hollywood actor who disappeared from his hotel here sunday night, was found gagged and handcuffed on a lonely road outside Munich this morning, the police said here today. They said the actor had hitched a ride in a car driven by two English-speaking men, who held him at gunpoin, robbed him of $40 and finally dumped him by the roadside
One's natural first response is, "What kind of thug holds up Timothy Carey?" My dear fellow American suggests an intimidation level of three Klaus Kinksi's, but I'm not sure that even an unholy trinity of Communist Kinksi's could strike that much reckless fear into the eyes of this fallen American Carey.

But what further intrigued me, upon scrolling reel after reel of virtual microfilm, was that the name Timothy Carey was associated with an uncanny violence in at least two previous iterations.

New York Times, July 5, 1887
SUICIDE OF A VIOLENT WOMAN

Ellen Carey, the wife of a cripple, Timothy Carey, living at Tenth Avenue and One-hundred and Fortieth Street, commited suicide yesterday by taking a dose of rat poison. She had been quarelling all night with her husband, and about 7 o'clock in the morning resorted to force, striking him a severe blow with a stick of wood. She then drank the contents of a teacup, afterward found to have contained poison, and died almost immediately.

The deceased had been known as a woman of violent temper, approaching at times to insanity. During Mr. Cleveland's Administration as Governor she was pardoned from state prison after serving two years of a life sentence for arson. She had been convicted of setting fire to a house belonging to her sister.

Finally, this item, which despite the chronological proximity to the previous tragedy, is, owing to the manner of injury, unlikely to be a document of the widower Carey.

New York Times, September 28, 1897
BICYCLIST FOUND UNCONSCIOUS
Timothy Carey Picked Up Near Vineland, N.J., with a crushed head.
VINELAND, N. J:, Sept. 27.--Timothy Carey, a bicyclist, was found lying unconscious in the middle of the road near this place to-night. His head was badly crushed, and it is probable he will die. His bicycle, a light racing machine, was lying beside him totally wrecked. It is not know how he was hurt.

Good night, sweet three Timothy Careys, and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

a merry carey christmas

Subway blogging



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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lunch blogging



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Soup blogging



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Monday, November 16, 2009

Soup blogging

And the radio played Pet Clark.

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Breakfast blogging



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random thoughts before coffee blogging

come and take my skull for a ride

It occured to me the other night, after having watched my fourth episode of Ghost Adventures, that the same technology that brings us the glowing-eyed baggy-panted ghost hunters provoking the cantankerous dead in monochromatic green -- these are the same night vision cameras that brought us the Paris Hilton sex tape, in which she coitus interruptussed to answer her cell phone.

12XU

My new HTC Droid Eris cell phone is the modest little step-sister to the Motorola Droid, the streamlined Mini Cooper to its Hummer, the modest Joanie to its overbearing Chachi. It lacks a keyboard, and the spell check is quirky. Trying to text someone that I was feeling sick, I almost texted that I was feeling freckles.

wish you were here

A week ago I was in New York, where I saw Mama, Don’t Take My Kodachrome Away! , a film program of home movies at the Museum of Modern Art. Among the revelations were color home movies of Joan Crawford circa 1943. Sunbathing. Nude. She had freckles.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bus blogging



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Friday, November 13, 2009

Dinner blogging



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Breakfast blogging



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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lunch blogging



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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bus blogging



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Monday, November 09, 2009

breakfast blogging

gyro and eggs

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

pizza blogging

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curry blogging

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snack blogging

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bus blogging

B/W parkway

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Friday, November 06, 2009

lunch blogging

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

bus blogging

constitution ave

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lunch blogging

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

lunch blogging

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Fotoweek 2009: Fixation


original photo here.

Join Ten Miles Square and the Pink Line Project at Industry Gallery with the work of nine local photographers for the second annual Fixation exhibit, part of the FotoweekDC festival.

These photographers each create a narrative with a short series of images, differentiating the stereotypical image of our Nation's Capital from the people actually living inside it. Their photographs inspect our city's individual subcultures and the people who thrive in them, whether it's the intense rock convulsions of serious air guitar competitors or the eager characters at the local Renaissance festival. Some create their own scenes by simply coming together as bystanders, while others transit separately in search of the same something. What these images all have in common is a fixation on subculture carved out inside the story of this city.

Featured photographers: Nicole Aguirre, Karon Flage, Angela Kleis, Drew McDermott, Amit Mehta, Pat Padua, Jay Westcott, Aziz Yazdani, and Joshua Yospyn.

for more information see tenmilessquare.com/fixation-industry-gallery-november-7

*****
You can still see the work of Pat Padua and Jennifer Wade in Microsopy at Hounshell, 1506 14th Street NW.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

bus blogging

connecticut avenue

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lunch blogging

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Monday, November 02, 2009

subway blogging

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lunch blogging

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

bus blogging

16th street southbound

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bus blogging

16th street

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