Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sacred and Profane: Violence, Vision and the Waco Disaster

More than 2 decades after the stand off at the Waco Branch Davidian compound which led to what appears to have been the avoidable deaths of 74 including 25 children, it remains a subject that continues to resurface as secular mainstream American society continues to attempt to come to terms - or not- with outlying religious groups. In this week's New Yorker Malcolm Gladwell looks at the (mis-) understandings on the part of US federal ATF and FBI officials that contributed to the failure of negotiations to end the standoff and resulted in further violence and death.

Mr Gladwell's article here 

More Details from the James Tabor blog on religion and religious freedom here http://jamestabor.com/

--Anthony Napoli

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

When Gravity Fails: Inflation and the Birth of the Universe

Alan Guth was one of the first physicists to hypothesize the existence of inflation, which explains how the universe expanded so uniformly and so quickly in the instant after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. Now the evidence may be in.

Front page NY Times story here http://nyti.ms/1ivEk8k

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Symbol and Substance: The Semiotics of Governing in NYC

It seems both the City at large, the administration and the media are in a state of flux as the BdB mayoralty moves from the transition to the Real Thing.The gaseous promissory emanations of the end of campaign/early post inaugural moments rise and fall, seeking to move to the solid state and avoid bloviating into a noxious and bilious cloud of disappointment. But that is not unique; it is true of any new administration, at any level and in any place in American politics.

Here in NYC, that scene on the steps of city hall was amusing and a little lame all around -- the reporters who are dogging him squeezing in for a mayoral selfie.. clearly Bloomberg was so inaccessible because of his personal wealth and the powerful political and media minions around to shield him .. Giuliani had his prosecutor's personality and "i dont care/you are the idiot" arrogance..

The fact is BdB "don't got" either of those approaches and he is just going to have to weather these early storms and battles of his administration until hopefully for him  a solid more effective "mayoral" style emerges in his dealing with and image in the media..of course if he has legislative wins and policy successes then the media will know that his admin's seeming "life in a blender" alternately affable/chaotic style is the BdB brand for his way of getting things done. Hopefully that is not overly optimistic.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The 2014 Armory Show: Visual Feasts and Cultural Landscapes

Under Heaven 20121020, Xu Zhen, 2012. FOCUS: China

Flowers, Andy Warhol, 1970. Sims Reed Gallery

Capri Batteries Joseph Beuys 1985 Galerie Thomas

The Armory Show, New York’s leading fair for contemporary and modern art, hosting over 200 leading galleries from 29 countries, opens today. Despite the frigid March temperatures, the Armory Show, which for the first time this year the fair coincides with the opening of the Whitney Biennial, once again serves as an exciting visual and cultural "Spring" and further establishes March in New York as a must-see moment in its annual arts calendar and a cornerstone of the American art market. For the 2014 edition The Armory Show has devoted Armory Focus, the specially curated section of Pier 94 to the contemporary cultural landscape in China, presenting an exciting selection of galleries from the Mainland and Hong Kong. The fair will also launch the inaugural edition of Armory Presents, dedicated to dual and single artist presentations exhibited by galleries under ten years old. The Armory Show–Modern has established a formal Selection Committee of leading dealers and will present its first ever curated exhibition, featuring seminal drawings by female artists of the twentieth century.

Armory Focus: China, the fair’s specially curated section will explore artists working in Chinese contemporary art today. Curated by Philip Tinari, it showcases a selection of 17 established and emerging galleries, providing access to a wide array of contemporary practice in China. Xu Zhen, whose Under Heaven is pictured above, is one such artist worknig in a variety of media nd disciplines, from installation, photography, video to performance and painting. More here and here and here The Armory Focus: China is a fine example of The Armory Show's exploration of new areas, perspectives, sensibilities and forms of contemporary art today.

New York City is Art. Art is New York City. And The Armory Show is New York's annual home to visual feasts and international cultural landscapes of the contemporary art scene and the world of modern art collectors and exhibitors.

For information on tickets, visit The Armory Show website here

Top of the World

Time Magazine's dramatic cover photo of the top of the new 1 World Trade Center/td>

Saturday, March 1, 2014

"The Less I Say About It The Better"

St Vincent and David Byrne perform This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) live 2013
Two very courageous artists at work

Banks at HRA: The deBlasio Administration Selects its Leadership

Like Johnny Caspar the mob boss says in millers crossing "running things, kid, it ain't easy"... Managing and leading is the challenge it will be interesting to see how well Steve Banks does at HR A or if he would have better served on the outside keeping the city's policy In Line and helping to shape it.. One can only hope this is a sincere move, an experiment, on the administration's part and not a cynical effort to coopt potential critics
--Anthony Napoli
Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

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