About the project, Byrd said: “I mean this album seriously. Because of my own background, I’ve always wanted to write an entire album of spiritual-like pieces. The most accurate way I can describe what we were all trying to do is that this is a modern hymnal. In an earlier period, the New Orleans jazzmen would often play religious music for exactly what it was – but with their own jazz textures and techniques added. Now, as modern jazzmen, we’re also approaching this tradition with respect and great pleasure.”
Observations (& Inspirations)
Diogenes is a peer-reviewed academic journal that publishes papers four times a year in the field of Philosophy and the Humanities. It has been publishing since 1953, when issue No. 3, below, was published. The great cover was from famed modernist designer Alvin Lustig (1915-1955), who trained at the Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles and briefly studied with Frank Lloyd Wright. Sadly, this journal no longer hires great designers to make interesting covers, as confirmed by the website link above.
The classic Bigfoot image is from a 1967 film by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin, at Bluff Creek in Northern California (see video below). The Bigfoot might be fake, but the scarred and battered film stock is the real deal, real enough perhaps to inspire a few new Hipstamatic filters. The movie Elf is a Christmas classic from 2003, starring Will Ferrell as the feral elf, Buddy, seen here in Central Park in homage to Patterson’s Bigfoot. And the alleged and unverified photo of the late great J.D. Salinger was snapped by Paul Adao in 1988. Another Adao photo illustrates a wonderful New York Magazine story by publisher Roger Lathbury from 2010, Betraying Salinger. I scored the publishing coup of the decade: his final book. And then I blew it.
Brand Mascots: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes cereal’s Tony the Tiger.
A brief history of Tony
Created by ad exec Leo Burnett, Tony began his career in 1952, sharing package labels with Katy the Kangaroo on a new product, Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes of Corn. (Other contestants for representatives were Elmo the Elephant and Newt the Gnu.) Tony proved to be more popular than Katy, so she was retired after the first year.
In 1953, Kellogg’s advertising agency further developed Tony with a four color spread in the August issue of Life magazine. His career since would be the envy of any human star. Various animation studios draw Tony, with the majority of the work being handled by Hanna-Barbera. (via Tony the Tiger)
Brand Mascots: United States Forest Service’s Smokey Bear.
“Smokey Bear,” often called “Smokey the Bear” or simply “Smokey,” is a mascot of the United States Forest Service. Smokey was created to educate the public about the dangers of forest fires. Smokey’s debut poster was released on August 9, 1944, which is considered his anniversary date.
Henry Ford’s most famous quote is often used to bolster the argument that innovation cannot be focus-grouped:
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
It is certainly a wonderful quote. But unfortunately, there’s no evidence that Henry Ford actually uttered those famous words. Patrick Vlaskovits, in a great Harvard Business Review blog post — Henry Ford, Innovation, and That “Faster Horse” Quote — does the due diligence to track down the source of this quote and determine its veracity, which he was unable to do. He also offers a brilliant lesson for innovators and entrepreneurs in finding the right balance between not allowing yourself to be dictated to by the potentially unthinking masses, and ignoring your customers completely. Vlaskovits explicitly advocates “continually testing your vision against reality,” something Mr. Ford failed to do.
I heard on the radio this morning an appropriate turn of phrase in lieu of Justin Verlander’s (“The Monarch”) performance in yesterday’s Game 1 of the World Series, and it goes something like this: The are two types of ball players. Humble ones and those preparing themselves to be humbled.
In honor of our local team, the San Francisco Giants, and their amazing run to 2010, 2012, and 2014 World Series victories, I’ve put together an extensive list of Giants team nicknames, player nicknames and slang, past and present.
Kurt Schwitters (1887 – 1948) was a German artist who “worked in several genres and media, including Dada, Constructivism, Surrealism, poetry, sound, painting, sculpture, graphic design, typography and what came to be known as installation art. He is most famous for his collages, called Merz Pictures.”
Schwitters fled Nazi Germany in January, 1937. He went first to Norway and finally to England, where he remained in exile until his death in 1948. His collage work often included found fragments of commercially printed text, and his move from Germany to England precipitated a corresponding shift to English language found text in his collages, as seen in Cottage, from 1946, above.
There was a great Terry Gross interview with Regina Spektor on Fresh Air recently (On Growing Up A ‘Soviet Kid’). During the broadcast, Terry played Spektor’s recording of the song, “The Prayer of François Villon (Molitva),” by the Russian poet and singer-songwriter Bulat Okudzhava. The song appears on the Deluxe Edition of Spektor’s new album, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats.
Jed Birmingham wrote a great article a couple years ago, Black Mountain Review: Reports from the Bibliographic Bunker, about William S. Burroughs and his appearance in The Black Mountain Review in the late 1950s. The Review was the art and literary journal of Black Mountain College, the experimental liberal arts college that existed in North Carolina from 1933–1957.
“The Answer” is a poem by the great poet Robert Creeley. Here is an audio clip of Creeley reading the poem in New York on October 24, 1966. Audio courtesy of PennSound, a treasure trove of poetry audio clips by hundreds of poets, including many more by Creeley.
The recent New Yorker science fiction issue, their first ever, included a great essay by Anthony Burgess from 1973, The Clockwork Condition. Burgess discusses his most famous book, A Clockwork Orange, and the “very close film interpretation” by Stanley Kubrick. Most interesting is Burgess’ description of the origin of the title, as well as the various lexicographical connotations of the antihero’s name, Alex:
Chances are by now that you’ve heard of Christian Marclay’s brilliant work of art, The Clock (2010). Though less likely that you have actually seen it (I haven’t as yet). As described by Wikipedia, the piece “is in effect a clock, but it is made of a 24-hour montage of thousands of time-related scenes from movies and some TV shows, meticulously edited to be shown in ‘real time’: each scene contains an indication of time (for instance, a timepiece, or a piece of dialogue) that is synchronized to show the actual time.”
Our lives are inundated with images. Arranging and re-arranging them is often how we tell stories, convey meaning, or throw wrenches into the works of literal interpretation. Advertising creates image juxtapositions to communicate the messages of commerce: “you want this,” or “buy now.”