Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Q Service Disruptions @ Coney Island-Bound Avenue H & Avenue M Stations

Coney Island-bound side of Avenue H and Avenue M stations are closed for rehabilitation!

Coney Island-bound train users, especially Brooklyn College students exiting at Avenue H or Edward R. Murrow Students exiting at Avenue M, residents of Fiske Terrace and West Midwood area who generally exit at the Avenue H stop discovered the hard way of the service changes--

All times, beginning at 5 AM Mon, Sep 28, until Fall 2010

Customers who need to exit at Avenue H and Avenue M should take the train to Kings Hwy and transfer to a Manhattan-bound train.

• and trains operate local between Prospect Park and Kings Hwy.

• Coney Island-bound riders entering at Avenue H and Avenue M should take a
Manhattan-bound or train to Newkirk Av for Coney Island-bound trains.

• Brighton Beach-bound and Coney Island-bound trains continue to bypass
Avenue U and Neck Rd.

Waning of the Yankee Dollar?

Washington Times reports that World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick warned Monday that, with foreign economic powers rising quickly on the world stage, time is running out for the privileged role enjoyed by the American currency.

The dollar's status as the world's reserve currency has given the U.S. prestige and privileges that are unique in the world, lifting living standards by enabling Americans to borrow cheaply and consume far more than they produce with little consequence for decades.

"The United States would be mistaken to take for granted the dollar's place as the world's predominant reserve currency," Mr. Zoellick said in a speech to Johns Hopkins University's School for Advanced International Studies in Washington. "Looking forward, there will increasingly be other options to the dollar."

Patrice Hill's Washington Times article here.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Above: White Wedding by John Kirby at the Neuberger Museum, Purchase, NY

If you had a chance to visit the (recently ended) exhibition by Yinka Shonibare, MBE, at the Brooklyn Museum, you saw the work of an artist born in London to Nigerian parents. As a young child, his family moved to Lagos in Nigeria where he grew up speaking Yoruba at home but only English at his exclusive private school. As the child of successful parents, he spent summers at their Battersea home in London. When Shonibare was 16, he was sent to board in England for his final two years of school education. Consequently, Shonibare has called himself "truly bicultural.”

Exploring this theme further, the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, New York, is presenting an exhibition of British artists, including Shonibare, that explores and is entitled “British Subjects: Identity and Self-Fashioning” which runs through December 15. Cultural assimilation, national identity and challenge. We are accustomed to considering the fabulous melting pot of the American continent, this views cultural expression in the United Kingdom.

More on the show here, which includes the work above by John Kirby, entitled “White Wedding”.

For more details on this and the other exhibitions currently on display at the Neuberger, a delightful museum not far from NYC, click here:

Also, closer to home, BWAC’s fall show, Words of Color, is on display through October 25 in Red Hook. Details here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

At What Price Softness?: Get Thee Behind Me, Charmin

Could "TP" be the next environemtnal battlefield?

From The Washington Post: This summer, two of the best-known combatants in this fight signed a surprising truce, with a big tissue maker promising to do better. But the larger battle goes on -- the ultimate test of how green Americans will be when nobody's watching.

"At what price softness?" said Tim Spring, chief executive of Marcal Manufacturing, a New Jersey paper maker that is trying to persuade customers to try 100 percent recycled paper. "Should I contribute to clear-cutting and deforestation because the big [marketing] machine has told me that softness is important?"

He added: "You're not giving up the world here."

Toilet paper is far from being the biggest threat to the world's forests: together with facial tissue, it accounts for 5 percent of the U.S. forest-products industry, according to industry figures. Paper and cardboard packaging makes up 26 percent of the industry, although more than half is made from recycled products. Newspapers account for 3 percent.

But environmentalists say 5 percent is still too much.

Felling these trees removes a valuable scrubber of carbon dioxide, they say. If the trees come from "farms" in places such as Brazil, Indonesia or the southeastern United States, natural forests are being displaced. If they come from Canada's forested north -- a major source of imported wood pulp -- ecosystems valuable to bears, caribou and migratory birds are being damaged.

And, activists say, there's just the foolish idea of the thing: old trees cut down for the briefest and most undignified of ends.

"It's like the Hummer product for the paper industry," said Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "We don't need old-growth forests . . . to wipe our behinds."

The Washington Post article here

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On Books and Book Court: E.L. Doctorow, Tonight, 7 PM

I stopped by Book Court (163 Court Street) last Friday on my way home. I was delighted to see the fabulous renovation that has dramatically expanded the store’s space. It is airy and light and very comfortable for browsing. Happily, I also bumped into Henry Zook, an owner/buyer, who I think I first met when the store had first opened back in the early 1980s. Henry and I have said hello and chatted from time to time over the years when I visited the store or we crossed paths on Court Street where I have worked, on and off, for many moons. Book Court, which is co-owned by Henry and Mary Gannett is now managed by Zack Zook, their son, who also coordinates events and publicity. Henry informed me that the expanded space was actually formerly the greenhouse of the florist shop that they had expanded into several years ago. (Close your eyes, you can almost smell the flowers.) Zack has coordinated a fabulous schedule of readings. Last week, I missed Amy Sohn reading from her new novel Prospect Park West. Tonight, Tuesday, E.L. Doctorow will be reading from his new novel, Homer and Langley, at 7 PM. James Ellroy (September 30) and Jonathan Lethem (October 20) are among the highlights but just a fraction of the great upcoming events. Event details here.

When I was a lad, during college and for a few years after, I was a clerk and then manager for the old Bookmasters’ chain. Mostly, I worked in the Penn Station store, which gave me a real love for the book business. Although we were a bookstore chain, business was still conducted along an older bookstore business model. I remember the staff being split between wannabe artistes and writers, and other more down-to-earth clerically attuned folks who were earning a living and for whom a book was basically a piece of merchandise (not that there is anything wrong with that; folks have to earn a living).

I became the evening manager (3-11), and learned about the book business. There were enough folks on staff who really loved books and which made it a really special place to work. Occasionally, we had visits by many of the characters who passed through the station, including one of the Ramones (who had an inexplicable interest in self-help books) and a quirky but very learned older British guy, Mr. Dove, who would pop in from time to time, spend the day reading from the shelves, and discoursing on culture. I was mentored by Matt Belmont, who was an old-timer in the book business. My co-workers at the time included the monumentally brilliant artist and writer, the late David Wojnarowicz, poet Donna Masini, musician and poets Brian Butterick and Alex Rodriguez (not the Yankee), among other wonderful folks.

At Book Court the other day, Henry and I were chatting about what we agree is the limitless future of books. No matter how much one reads online, that tactile thing of holding and reading a book made of paper pages and cloth or paper covering, will never lose its excitement or comfort. Book reading is a wonderful tradition that isn’t going anywhere. The big bookstore chains may fill a need, and it is great that so many people are reading. But on my recent visit, I was reminded that if you love books, Book Court is a special place that retains that similar feeling of authenticity, like the scent and feel of fresh paper; a wonderful reminder of how books, when lovingly sold, seem to offer limitless possibilities.

--Brooklyn Beat

Sunday, September 20, 2009

FCC and 'Net Neutrality': who "owns" the internet?

The Wall Street Journal reports
that the FCC supports internet neutrality, a big plus for consumers, individual internet users and Silicon Valley, a potential loss to big telecom companies who seek priority usage and control of access and data flow

Does anyone "own" the internet? Does the public have inherent rights of access? Or should the folks who control access and maintain data flow and keep it moving, such as the telecommunication companies that move our wireless and cell phone data, among other service providers, have the greater say over use? Is it a wild west situation, homesteaders versus cattle barons? Or will the net become more of a regulated utility? How would that impact the freedom of the net? How free is the net now? Ultimately, which is more beneficial for users? More questions than answers as the FCC under the Obama administration takes a stand on this issue.

From the Wall Street Journal, an update on net neutrality

The Mysteries of Carl Jung and His "Red Book"

Above, Carl Jung's Red Book, "Liber Novus" (new book).

Above, page from Carl Jung's Red Book.

From the Philemon Foundation, which is devoted to publishing the full collection of the works of Carl Jung, including "the Red Book": "During WWI, Jung commenced an extended self-exploration that he called his “confrontation with the unconscious.” During this period, he developed his principal theories of the collective unconscious, the archetypes, psychological types and the process of individuation, and transformed psychotherapy from a practice concerned with the treatment of pathology into a means for reconnection with the soul and the recovery of meaning in life. At the heart of this endeavor was his legendary Red Book, a large, leather bound, illuminated volume that he created between 1914 and 1930, and which contained the nucleus of his later works. While Jung considered the Red Book, or Liber Novus (New Book) to be the central work in his oeuvre, it has remained unpublished till this day, and unavailable for study and unseen by the public at large. The work can be best described as a work of psychology in a literary and prophetic form. It is possibly the most influential unpublished work in the history of psychology. Its publication is a watershed that inaugurates a new era in the understanding of Jung’s life and work.

The years … when I pursued the inner images were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this. It began at that time, and the later details hardly matter anymore. My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me. That was the stuff and material for more than only one life.

Everything later was merely the outer classification, the scientific elaboration, and the integration into life. But the numinous beginning, which contained everything, was then.”
— C. G. Jung

NY Times article link here

The book will be available on October 7, 2009. The Philemon Society offers a special deluxe edition.

The Rubin Museum of Art will display Jung's original "Red Book" from October 7, 2009 through January 25, 2010.

Brooklyn Beat here: As noted in the fascinating NY Times magazine article by Sara Corbett on the publication of the Red Book, which has been awaited as a "Holy Grail" by students and practitioners of Jungian psychology since Jung's death in 1961, just as there is a great deal of anticipation by some, curiosity by others, there also has been reluctance and concern on the part of Jung's descendants. The book, which has been compared to "the Book of Kells" or Blake's "Songs of Innocence and Experience" is not an academic work in its true sense, and may be looked at as Jung's private and personal journal in which he documented his explorations into inner space as he sought to encounter and experience his own "soul." At this point, Jung, who had broken away from Freudian analysis, began to explore new forms of analysis that may have been less focused on science than on spirituality and use of creativity as a tool to understand and heal the self.

Nevertheless, given the time and context in which Jung began these explorations, whether as result of intellectual curiosity or a personal breakdown, some critical studies, notably the books of Richard Noll, have questioned the uncomfortable proximity to Aryan, Nordic, paganistic beliefs and cults, which emerged at the same time as Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. Uncertainty about the nature of the Red Book led to its suppression by Jung's family and estate for many years. Noll draws cultic comparisons with the followers and practitioners of Jungian psychology.
In any event, the fact that the "secret" Red Book, which was originally locked by Jung in a cupboard in his Swiss home, and was later kept under tight security in a Swiss bank vault, had begun to be leaked anyway, just as Jung was the subject of scathing criticism by Mr. Noll and other authors, with claims of Jung's not-so-hidden anti-Semitism, the family decided to make the book available to the public.

While the book has itself been a mystery for many years, the controversy surrounding Jung and his ideas suggests that its publication could create more new questions and debates than it could ever answer.

Nevertheless, while its publication will clearly lead to further debate, it also will provide new knowledge about the history, origins and direction of one of the main branches of psychology and one of its foremost practitioners. --BB

The Beatrice Review interview with Richard Noll

Richard Noll's books include "The Jung Cult" and "The Aryan Christ"

More on Richard Noll

Text of an interesting lecture on the "Enigmatic Origins of the Jung Cult" by Jan Garrett

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Brooklyn Country: Lord, bless Alex Battles and the Whisky Rebellion, amen.

Country music at its purest. Country music on Steroids. That’s Brooklyn Country.

The Brooklyn Country Music Festival rolls into town and either hitches its horse or parks its pickup or Trans Am at Southpaw on 5th avenue beginning tonight through Saturday.

Although I could rant and rave at the lyrical brilliance, country-roots soulfulness and wit, and panache of Mr. Battles,and, aw heck, the talent of Shafer and the rest of TWR, better to paraphrase a quote from a music review in Bing Crosby’s Holiday Inn and say “ God Bless America. Just go.”

Thursday through Saturday


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Do You Really Get What You Pay For?: What is "Free" anyway.

In an interview, Bob Dylan commented on the prevalance of downloading: " I don’t know anybody made a record that sounds decent in the past 20 years. These modern records – they have sound all over them. There’s no definition, no vocal – just static. I remember when that Napster guy came up, it was like, ‘Everybody’s getting music for free’. I was like, ‘Why not? It ain’t worth anything anyway.’

Chris Anderson's "Free: The Future of a Radical Price" explores the relation of media, money and consumption, at the nexus of free dissemination of information and intellectual property . To me, it's a little bit kind of like that Ourosboros thing, the snake of the world that can swallow its own tail.. If art/content is the reason for consumers to check out an internet site, and at the same time, is itself supported by advertising, what is the meaning of "free" if our time and attention are in some way demanded as the cost for "free" information.

Chris Anderson, editor of Wired and NY Times writer and author of the Long Tail, which looks at the economic impact of niche products, services and technologies, may totally be onto something, or he may not.

It seems like a profound concept, until one considers that a dramatically informative device that provided content free existed in most homes for quite some time in the last century; it was called, of course, television. Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker goes mano y mano with the central ideas of Anderson's book. While Anderson writes information wants to be free, just as "life wants to spread and water wants to run downhill," Gladwell observes "Why are the self-interested motives if powerful companies being elevated to a philosophical principal."

A review from Harvard's Neiman Lab (link here) Apparently a man of his convictions, Mr. Anderson's book was available as a free audio and ebook download when first published this past summer.

A free excerpt of the book here

Malcolm Gladwell, in the New Yorker, out for blood here

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Timothy Carey: Deep Underground with "The World's Greatest Sinner"

"World's Greatest Sinner"

Above and top, Timothy Agoglia Carey, as Clarence "God"

An insurance salesman turned rock n roll musician becomes the center of a religio-political cult, in fact, changes his name to "God" Hilliard, attracts enormous crowds with his philosophy of "Eternal Man" until he attempts to go mano y mano with his (His?) heavenly counterpart and has a rude awakening.

Timothy Agoglia Carey (March 11, 1929 in Brooklyn, New York – May 11, 1994 in Los Angeles, California) was an American actor and director.

Carey wrote, produced, directed and starred in the 1962 feature The World's Greatest Sinner which was scored by Frank Zappa. Although it had no commercial release, the film has achieved cult status and established Carey as an important figure in independent film.

As a supporting actor, Carey appeared in the Stanley Kubrick films The Killing and Paths of Glory, and in the John Cassavetes films Minnie and Moskowitz and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. He had roles in East of Eden, The Wild One, and Beach Blanket Bingo. He also played a minor role as the Angel of Death in the comedy film D.C. Cab, and appeared in the Monkees vehicle Head. His final appearance was in the 1986 movie Echo Park. Carey also did a select amount of acting on TV from the 1950s through the 1980s. According to an interesting interview in Film Comment, Carey managed to alienate some of the Hollywood establishment (in perhaps one of the most [literally] obnoxious ways possible). He either turned down or, despite Francis Coppola's interest, alienated the casting director with his wildness and in doing so, did not appear in the part of Luca Brazzi in The Godfather,and another role in Godfather 2, as well as The Conversation. He auditioned for Reservoir Dogs but claims he was blackballed by Harvey Keitel (Carey was a friend of Lawrence Tierney who also entered the pantheon of characters re/discovered by Quentin Tarantino. Carey and Tierney, along with Godard and others, are credited by Tarantino for his inspiration in "Dogs" script.) Like Coppola, Martin Scorsese was no big fan when they first met either, although he later bankrolled Carey's play "The Insect Trainer" (about a guy on trial for murder when a woman he "breaks wind" near dies as a result.)

Carey died from a stroke in 1994.

World's Greatest Sinner is a fascinating, perverse, and bizarre and truly independent/ underground film from the early 60s. In its theme of religious/political/love cults, it appears to delve into territory mined in that era by Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick. But Carey's "God" Hilliard is a strictly original character, brought to life by his crazy-brilliant-quirky performance. No wonder, after being paid off and then fired from a supporting role, the director told Carey that he had already stolen every scene he had been in.

Official Carey site (link here)

For an overview and to obtain other classics from the Timothy Carey oeuvre,including Godfather screen tests, and other fascinating film work and nuggets, check this link.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Never Forget: Metaphors for Living - September 11, 2001

Strolling around the World Trade Center, circa 1993

8 years later. We never forget but the memory, and the pain, becomes slightly faded. Perhaps that is the blessing of the human condition. A colleague said the express bus that she takes through lower Manhattan was delayed today due to the 9/11 memorial. Our daughter, who attends high school in the Wall Street area was told to expect crowds on her way to school today. On 9/11, our older daughter, now a college senior, was in middle school on the West Side of Manhattan in sight of the World Trade Center. Time moves on. The NY Times published a story today about how NYC, which at first seemed irreparably damaged by the events of 9/11, in terms of NYFD casualties, changes in security, tourist fears, etc., has moved on and achieved a new normalcy of sorts. Is it better to remember or forget? I first posted this remembrance in 2007:

We had dropped our son, 11 years, and our daughters, who had just entered the first grade, at PS 321. Our older daughter had already left for her middle school in Chelsea, The Clinton School for Artists and Writers. My wife was driving as we headed down past the Gowanus; I was getting out near my office on Court Street; she was driving a little further to her school where she teaches. Somewhere, through the window, I heard two men on the street talking and one said something about a fire at the World Trade Center. As we drove a little further, that was when we first saw it, that iconographic image of a huge plume of smoke trailing out of the largest buildings in the world.We assumed, like everyone, that it was a fire, then heard on the radio that a jet plane had crashed into the Towers. We looked at each other dumbfounded. I remember in 1993, when the attempt had been made to bomb the WTC, I walked up to the Promenade in late afternoon, expecting to see some damage, smoke or shattered ruins attesting to a bombing attempt but in the cold winter day there had been nothing. Many of us assumed that it was a building that was too mighty, perhaps almost biblical in its proportions, simply too strong to be easily toppled.But here, with the first news, whatever had happened, here was a seriously damaged building. I thought about the plane that had slammed into the Empire State Building decades before, but the building had been virtually unfazed. How would they even begin to deal with what appeared to be an huge fire and the resulting damage? We drove a little further and couldn't see the WTC because of some trees but we heard another unmistakable boom. The radio told us that the second plane had hit the other tower. My wife said it first - it had to be intentional. Two planes could not accidentally smash into the World Trade Center within minutes of each other.My wife wisely said "maybe we should get the kids and go home" but I was operating within a sphere of unreality, as though this day, which would ultimately punch a gaping whole in the continuum of our lives, and which would forever demark a before and after in everyone's personal histories, was still just another day with a really insane blip in the news cycle. Plus, since it was the opening the school year, my wife's school was counting on her being there, and I had a lot going on at the office, it seemed as though the kids would be safe and OK at school. I was concerned about my older daughter, but her school was in Chelsea, a few miles north of the Trade Center. I got off on Clinton and Remsen and walked to my office. By the time I got there, it was already manifestly clear that this was the furthest thing imaginable from an ordinary day. I spoke to my wife who had arrived at her school. Shortly afterward, we spoke again, as the office building I work in was being evacuated and my wife was leaving school. I seem to remember a day where we were evacuating the building; there was some some pandemonium on the stairs, but a woman who had serious health problems and had difficulty walking, was hobbling downward slowly. Some people pushed and squeezed by. A couple of colleagues and I made our way down with her, making sure she arrived safely. How many times had this simple act of courtesy, nothing really to think about even, basic decency, been enacted in the smokey stairs of the WTC that day and in how many cases did a simple act of human kindness and decency prove fatal? Life is filled with mystery and wonder. Out on the street, people were already wearing masks, women on Court Street were in sneakers or out of their shoes, hurring through the streets, while the plume of smoke began to fill the air, traveling the short distance over the river. When my wife and I connected again in downtown Brooklyn, we learned that subways weren't operating. So we walked toward the Brooklyn Bridge where I planned to walk over to Manhattan to fetch my older daughter. Cell phones weren't working; I wasn't able to reach either school. Somehow I was able to exchange a text with my daughter to tell her I would get her as soon as I could. But when I got to the bridge, the NYPD were already telling people you could not cross to Manhattan. The masses of people trying to escape lower Manhattan were streaming over the bridge. We decided my daughter would be safe at school so we would pick up our younger kids and get them and my wife home, at which time I would figure out a way to cross back into Manhattan.We drove back to the Slope. I was still trying to reach my daughter's school by phone, but when I could find an available payphone, the school phone was busy. At other payphones on Seventh Avenue, long lines had already begun to form. I reached my mom, who is a master on "the horn" and asked her to keep trying to call the Clinton School from her home phone to find out where my daughter was waiting and let them know I would get there as soon as I could. I left my mom, who is a demon dialer in her own right, trying to reach the school and we went to 321.A lot of parents had already begun to appear at the office to fetch their kids. A couple of parents, desperate to be helpful, were making a list of kids and were about to release them to the parents who were there for them. I had a funny feeling about parents taking over what was the school's responsibility and sure enough, Liz Phillips appeared and said "What's going on?" She thanked the parents but announced firmly that no children would be released unless she or the 321 office staff confirmed who was there to fetch whom, which was very reassuring. Don't know why I remembered that anecdote.We got my son and younger daughters and brought them home to the relative calm of Flatbush. Nevertheless, the air was filled with the constant din of fire truck sirens and ambulance sirens. It was a sound I will never forget. The sound of calamity that I hope to never hear again in my lifetime. And as those of us with an affinity for remembering will recall, the alarum lasted for at least 24 hours or more, non stop. By the time we arrived home, my mother called to inform us that she had reached the school and my daughter had been picked up by a friends' mom and was at her home in Chelsea. I wasn't happy that I still did not know exactly where my daughter was but I trusted that she would be safe until we received further word.We turned on the news and began to watch the horrific iconography of the day unfold, the building, the smoke, the people leaping out of the buildings, the deaths, the huge dust cloud, the tragedy of the firemen and other rescuers lost. Finally, with tears of relief, we located my daughter when she called. Many of our neighbors gathered outside to talk and console. Around 3:00 PM I learned that the Q train was operating, so I decided to commence the operation to retrieve my daughter. Never in my long life as a New Yorker did taking the subway seem like such an odyssey, a journey into an unknown realm. I left my wife and kids with our neighbors and their kids on a blanket on the grass in front of our home; they were getting the kids McDonald's as a stab at normalcy.On the Q, when we exited the tunnel at Dekalb Avenue and started climbing the bridge, everyone in the subway car stood up as we could see the inferno, the absolute roaring fire maelstrom of the burning World Trade Center in the distance. I remember thinking "Should I take a camera?" and I didn't, feeling that my primary mission was retrieving my daughter. But personally, the image of the dense black smoke and intense burn of the Trade Center is forever etched in my mind's eye. It would not be too farfetched to say that there was something positively volcanic about the sight of the burning building in the distance, as though a fault had erupted and some intense steam and fire and brimstone from the bowels of the earth had been channelled to the surface.I debarked at Union Square and began to make my way north and west. My daughter was at a classmate's apartment on 28th and 7th avenue. When I arrived there were about a dozen girls hanging out, who this mom had wonderfully rescued from the boredom of waiting to be picked up at school. While there, I spoke to my wife and then my mother back in Brooklyn by phone. I knew the address was familiar. My mom has a cousin who lives in the same building. We managed to find her and check on her before my daughter and I embarked on the trek home.We went to one train station but it was closed. We walked further east but Union Square again had no trains running. The transit workers suggested we try West 4th Street. As we walked along the streets, the sky was filled with the huge plume of smoke. My ears rang with the desperate clamour of the rescue vehicles that would resound, non stop for what seemed like several days. There was virtually no traffic in the street except the occasional emergency vehicle.As we crossed Sixth Avenue, our faces were pelted with a fine mist of grit and dust blowing from the southern tip of Manhattan. I still don't want to think what was in that fine powder that we brushed from our faces and clothes. Miraculously, the F was running and we took it into Brooklyn to my old stop at 15th Street and Prospect Park West. A large crowd waited for the bus at Bartel Pritchard Square (or as we called it in days of the ancien regime, "The Circle"). A man saw me with my young daughter. I told him my daughter's story of the day and he kindly said his wife was picking him up, did we want a ride. We were so grateful that he drove us all the way home where we were greeted with an amazing amount of joy. After 9/11, at least for awhile the only pleasures were the simple pleasures. Coda: later that day, the first of the WTC debris incredibly blew across and made its way onto our lawn. My wife and I knew that nothing would be the same again, but why should it. Disaster, war, rumors of war, all the memory fragments of the day would fit together, eventually becoming just another metaphor for living.
Speak, memory.
--Brooklyn Beat 9/11/07
Posted by Brooklyn Beat

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The September Concert: Approaching 9/11 - Memories and Beyond

"After silence, that which comes nearest
to expressing the inexpressible is music."

This year, whether owing to the passage of time, the changes or responsibilities in my own life, or all of the above, there actually was a period when I realized that the events of 9/11/01 were not weighing on me, a pressing, continuing, painful and disturbing memory, as they had in the past.

Perhaps it was late August when I thought, oh, 9/11 is coming round again. Although, like many New Yorkers, I was personally acquainted with someone who died in the towers, it was in no way a close, personal connection such as those who lost a family member, loved one, or co-worker. But the reality is that for most New Yorkers, among others, 9/11 will remain in our history and collective memories, and -- if we allow it, and pull away the miasma and tissue and movement of time – in our hearts for a long time to come.

Last year, at work, I took a walk at lunchtime, and wandered on a string quartet performing in the plaza in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall. This turned out to be part of a special continuing performance, “The September Concert” which remains a unique, international, shared musical experience of 9/11.

Inspired by the above words of Aldous Huxley, The September Concert was born in 2002 on the first anniversary of 9/11. Since then, on each anniversary The September Concert’s message of peace through music has spread further and further.
In 2008, The September Concert group organized 222 concerts throughout the world with close to 10,000 performers. 46 US cities from coast to coast joined in, including Brooklyn, NY, Oakland, Philadelphia, Santa Barbara, Forth Worth, Seattle, and Washington D.C.

Globally, The September Concert partners with Sister Cities International and all other Global Affiliates helped to spread the event to 33 cities around the globe, in countries ranging from Italy, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, India, Great Britain, Ghana, Germany, Haiti and the Czech Republic.

All concerts adhere to three basic principles:
• * Freedom: All venues and musicians are free to design
and organize their own concerts.
• * Equality: All music and all musicians are treated equally,
regardless of genre or background.
• * Accessibility: All music is offered free of charge.

Brooklyn concerts 2009 include:

Brooklyn Borough Hall: 12 noon , Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra Quartet
Bar 4, 444 7th avenue: 7 PM, pop/rock
Grand Army Plaza- 2:30 PM – 5 PM, Jazz
South Oxford Space, 138 S. Oxford, 8 pm – 11 PM, Jazz, other
Spread Art, 104 Meserole, 8 PM – 11PM, Jazz
Target Community Garden, 931 Bedford, TBA
The Commons @ Metrotech, 12:30 – 2 PM, The Dubs

More Details on Brooklyn venues, click here.
For more information on The September Concerts, including schedules for other boroughs, cities and countries, or information on this organization, and how you can help in the future please click here.

9/11 has been designated by President Obama as a National Day of Prayer, Service and Remembrance. If the spirit moves you, and you wish to connect either with the feelings stirred by that day, or simply connect with the beauty of the human spirit as expressed through music, this is a wonderful way to do it.

"On behalf of all Brooklynites, I salute Haruko Smith and the extraordinary board of directors of The September Concert - who represent some of the world's most brilliant contributors to the field of arts and letters - for their collective effort to create a poignant urban soundtrack from which our sense of peace and brotherhood may be restored...I am grateful to all those present for filling New York City with the sounds of hope and love."

Marty Markowitz,
President of the Borough of Brooklyn
May 2006


--Brooklyn Beat

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

9/9/09: Move Over Once, Move Over Twice

Angel proclaiming the end of time.

9/9/09For NYC school kids, it is an end of the world of sorts. For others, 9/9/09 seems to resonate with deeper meanings.

Meta crazy stuff: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2372580/september_9_2009_9_9_09_999_and_prophecies_for_year_2009/

Will the world end today?

And let's just check in withthe Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. OK, the switch still appears in the "off" position, at least for now, and at least for 9/9/09. Here is some background info on "Comments on Claims of Risk from Metastable Black Holes." Better hold onto your shorts, just in case.

And of course:

Beatles "One After 909" :

(John Lennon - Paul Mccartney)
My baby says she's trav'ling on the one after 9.09
I said move over honey I'm travelling on that line
I said move over once, move over twice
Come on baby don't be cold as ice.
I said I'm trav'ling on the one after 9.09
(one after 9.09)
I begged her not to go and I begged
her on my bended knees,
You're only fooling around, you're
[ Find more Lyrics on www.mp3lyrics.org/s9H ]
fooling around with me.
I said move over once, move over twice
Come on baby don't be cold as ice.
I said I'm trav'ling on the one after 9.09
(one after 9.09)
I got my bag, run to the station
Railman says you've got the the wrong location
I got my bag, run right home
Then I find I've got the number wrong, well
one after 9.0,
one after 9.0,
one after 9.09.

Happy 9/9/09.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Baader Meinhof Complex: Turning of the Page

Above, Moritz Bleibtreu, right, as Andreas ("Andy") Baader; Martina Gedeck as Ulrika Meinhof

Bleibtreu and Johanna Wokalek as Gudrun Ensslin

Uli Udel's "Baader Meinhof Complex" written by Bernd Eichinger and based on the book by Stefan Aust is an intense, lengthy and action-filled meditation on the evolution of the post-war left in Europe. The evening after I caught BMC, I watch "I Aim for The Stars" on AMC, the 1960 film with Curt Jurgens as Werner Von Braun, who dropped V-2 rockets on London only to jump start the American space program in the post-war era. In that film, an American intelligence officer and former newspaper reporter, who lost his wife and child in a V-2 attack cannot forgive Von Braun nor accept his "repatriation" as a nationalized US citizen. That, too, is a bit of the focus of "Baader Meinhof Complex." The first post-war generation of Germans could not forgive the ascendancy of many ex-Nazi's into positions of power in "West Germany."

America's involvement in Vietnam at the time, and strong post-war presence in West Germany, brought further pressure to bear on the situation. It was a turning of the page from the pop cultural essences of the 1960s. Right wing and neo-Nazi groups in Germany stoked the flame further, with the shooting of innocent and unarmed anti-war and anti-imperalism demonstrators. The Red Army Fraktion (faction) which is the proper name for the group, like the Weather Underground in the US, and the Red Brigades in Italy, robbed banks, engineered kidnappings, bombings and assasinations in an effort to fight what they viewed as the encroaching fascism.

Baader Meinhof Complex is a fine sequel to Edel's "Downfall" about the fall of Nazi Berlin. Moritz Bleibtreu, is over the top and riveting as Andreas ("Andy") Baader; Martina Gedeck as Ulrika Meinhof, the left-establishment journalist who becomes a central member of the group, and Johanna Wokalek as Gudrun Ensslin, who may have been the true force behind the group, are just great. So too Bruno Ganz who is an architect of the group's downfall. This is a lengthy, complex film that doesn't draw every link or connection, and so maybe a bit confusing as to true causes or root issues or responsibilities for the rise of militant left radicals in the late 60s and into the 70s. As Baader, in prison, explains to the police after watching the Lufthansa plane hijacking on tv, the 2nd or 3rd generation of the RAF are a complete unknown to him as well. Following the many deaths and much mayhem, one can only wonder ultimately who is innocent and who is culpable on either side? As the "Baader Meinhof Complex" shows, once the fire is lighted, every action, no matter how well intended, can be like putting out the fire with gasoline. Or, as the saying goes, when the tigers fight, it is the grass that suffers.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Downtown Brooklyn on a Late Summer's Day

A little before 1 PM on a perfect late summer day in Brooklyn Heights. Sunny, not hot, with a gentle, cooling breeze wafting off the water down Montague Street. The Thursday Greenmarket is in full swing, selling delicious looking fruits, vegetables and organic baked goods. Folks taking their time today, enjoying being outdoors, unlike a couple of weeks ago when the heat and humidity had them on the run, seeking a cooler place. But today, a jazz guitarist performs on Cadman Plaza, and delightful cafe tables have been set out in the shade of Brooklyn Borough Hall, being enjoyed by the lunch-time crowd. Late summer is here. Fall not too far off. Always a great time to enjoy Brooklyn, outside, and at its best.

Upcoming Fall Events: BPL's Central Library @ Grand Army Plaza

A great list of upcoming fall events at the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza:

Friday, September 11, 2:30 PM -Tomas Rodriguez - Latin & African Rhythms
Saturday,September 12, 3:30 PM- Mandingo Ambassadors - Latin tinged African rhythms
Saturday, September 26, 1:00 PM -Musical Comedy Improv
Saturday, September 26, 3:30 PM - Harry & The Potters - Punk Rock
Thursday, October 1,7:00 PM - Giacomo Gates - Brooklyn Sings/Swings- American Songbook
Saturday, October 3, 1:00 PM - National Circus Project
Saturday, October 3, 4:00 PM -Alexander Kabakov,novelist,journalist-Russian Lit Series
Sunday, October 4, 4:00 PM- ETHEL: Classical Interludes - classical, jazz, rock,blues
Thursday, October 8, 7:00 PM - Michael Chabon - The Art of Non Fiction

The above is just a small sampling of the extensive arts, cultural and entertainment programming scheduled at BPL's Central Library this fall. Film, comedy, literature, chamber music, puppets - you can catch the complete listing and more details here:


Got Tech? : Smartphone Overload

While it shouldn't be a surprise, the iPhone, like the BlackBerry and other smartphones is ultimately just that -- a phone. Using a BB, one is aware of the wait in accessing internet sites. While you feel you are using this miraculous computing device, computing power in the palm of your hand, you are actually using, a remote control device that is accessing/operating a computing device at a distance. The occasional convenience of being able to find a map or a movie or check your email or blog on the go is marvelous, but it can be slow as molasses and isn't (as far as I can tell) intended to be a multi-tasking device. Have Smartphones in general been oversold as a wonder device ? Especially since, while they truly have so much potential, especially the iPhone and its slew of cool apps, these smartphones still appear to be prisoners of the current technology as far as wireless telephony goes. An article in today's Times discusses the limits -- and frustrations -- of this technology.
-Brooklyn Beat

NY TIMES: Customers Angered as iPhones Overload AT&T By JENNA WORTHAM

Slim and sleek as it is, the iPhone is really the Hummer of cellphones.

It’s a data guzzler. Owners use them like minicomputers, which they are, and use them a lot. Not only do iPhone owners download applications, stream music and videos and browse the Web at higher rates than the average smartphone user, but the average iPhone owner can also use 10 times the network capacity used by the average smartphone user.

“They don’t even realize how much data they’re using,” said Gene Munster, a senior securities analyst with Piper Jaffray.

The result is dropped calls, spotty service, delayed text and voice messages and glacial download speeds as AT&T’s cellular network strains to meet the demand. Another result is outraged customers.

Cellphone owners using other carriers may gloat now, but the problems of AT&T and the iPhone portend their future. Other networks could be stressed as well as more sophisticated phones encouraging such intense use become popular, analysts say.

Details here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/03/technology/companies/03att.html?hp

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Underground Lit: The A, B,Cs (and Ps & Qs) of the Q Train

Currently Carless in Gaza, since our daughter has use of "Dad's" Honda for her senior year upstate, Brooklyn Beat is getting reacquainted with the morning subway commute. I got the 2nd car, (the first time that I, a city lad, had ever owned my own personal car, separate from our family car) a few year's back, when I was working on Staten Island. Even after I made it back to Brooklyn, I was providing limo service for our 3 younger kids to their various schools around the borough. Finally, a little further down the road, to continue to the automotive metaphor, with 2 kids in college and our younger 2 entering high school, I am no longer needed in my morning chauffeur capacity. Now, suddenly carless, I can get up early, take a stroll up to the express stop at Newkirk, hop on the B express (if I'm lucky) or the Q local (if I'm tired and can get a seat), to DeKalb. I usually disdain the local to Court Street and walk up Fulton Street, grabbing a coffee large, skim milk, no sugar, on the way.

Anyway, the point of this pointless recounting, is that the NY Times City Room blog is assessing the current state of the NYC Subway as Reading Room. Is it true that folks read more since they can't use their phones or internet on the trains ?
I answered the survey. Last book read: Travels with Herodotus by R. Kapuschinsky. Last newspaper: One of the throwaways, AM New York or the Metro, don't remember which. Last periodical: New York Magazine fall preview issue. But truthfully, it is more of a glancing review than a heavy read. First, I find, as I'm getting older, and have lost my sea legs, that I need to mind my balance on the train as it (hopefully) rockets along. Next, I find my Ipod provides a similar, underground distraction as reading a newspaper. It is just as easy to listen to "I was made to love her" by Stevie Wonder, or "Mississipi" by Bob Dylan, or even "Basin Street Blues/When It's Sleepy Time Down South" by Louis Prima with Sam Butera's honking sax, as it is to read the paper or a book. I can glance away at the zit or hemorrhoid removal ads, and in this abstract revery, while away my train time. I think a lot of other folks do this as well. No wrestling with books or newspapers, or taking up extra subway lebensraum, shared with my already crowded in fellow riders.

The photo that accompanies the City Room article shows an almost Edenic image of the train, empty, maybe midday, or late at night, with one passenger toting a hefty volume that looks like the Jerusalem Bible, or the portable Oxford English Dictionary, while another has a paperback, trade or mass market, I can't determine. But when Brooklyn Beat is riding, around 7 AM, while it is not quite cattle car time, there are a lot of folks trying to wake up, groaning at Another Day in the Life. I see the occasional newspaper, usually the Daily News or Post, paperback novels in English, Chinese or Russian, and the occasional textbook. Can the Ipod be replacing the casual read for a lot of riders? Plus, the Q and B run outside through lower Brooklyn; intermittent phone and internet service is still somewhat possible.

In the NYC subway, although I haven't been a daily rider in a few years, the goal of most civilized riders is to maintain a modest footprint. But schools are still closed; we'll see what next week brings.

The NY TIMES Subway Reading Survey is here:

Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo