Sunday, November 29, 2009

"San Francisco Bay Blues" in Queens without Fotdella

Steve Suffet performing "San Francisco Bay Blues" by Jesse Fuller at the Kew Gardens Music Festival in Queens, New York City. March 7, 2009
The fotdella was an instrument invented and constructed by Jesse "The Lone Cat" Fuller, an American one-man-band musician, who needed an accompaniment instrument beyond the usual high-hat (foot-operated cymbal) or bass drum favored by street musicians. Dreaming it up in the early 1950s, while lying in bed, he set about constructing a foot-operated bass instrument. It ended up as a large upright box with a rounded top, vaguely shaped like the top of a double bass, with a short neck on top. Six bass strings were attached to the neck and stretched over the body.

To play the instrument, there was a homemade set of foot pedals, each one bringing a padded hammer to strike a string when depressed, like the action of a piano. With these six bass notes, Fuller could accompany himself on the 12-string guitar in several keys.
The name "fotdella" was given to the instrument by Fuller's wife, who took to calling it a "foot-diller" (as in the then-current expression, "killer-diller", meaning exceedingly good); later, it became shortened to just fotdella.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Kin-Dza-Dza! A Russian Steampunk Epic Кин-дза-дза!

At first glance, Kin-Dza-Dza!, a science fiction epic about two Soviet men transported to a desert world, seems anything but subtle. Stranded in a world where everyone can read minds but the local language has only a few words (a dozen or so technical terms plus "kew" - a curse word and "koo" - every other word), where a single sulfur match is worth a fortune, and where wearing yellow pants is a sign of great status, the two must survive by learning to hang a bell in their noses and to squat the appropriate number of times when a superior walks by. This is a scenario that would have been easy to mishandle, to say the least.

The script by Georgi Daneliya and Revaz Gabriadze is masterful, however. At times biting, at times gentle, it pushes the surface plot forward relentlessly while each scene, each conversation, each exchange rings with hidden truths. Reserved direction and dry-yet-deep performances by such superstars of Russian cinema as Stanislav Lyubshin, Yuri Yakovlev and Yevgeni Leonov combine to result in a film of unexpected poignancy.
This film, with all its outlandish props and crude special effects, is chock-full of insights into society and human nature. It's also one of the funniest films I have ever seen, even if the laughter sometimes hurts.

Слово «ку» совпадает с португальским непристойным словом «cu», которое можно перевести как «задница». Интересно, что комедия «Кин-дза-дза!», где это слово употребляется весьма часто, участвовала в показах на кинофестивалях как раз в португалоязычных странах (Бразилии и Португалии), где, несмотря ни на что, (а может — именно по этой причине) получила призы.
A large number of quotes from the film have instant recognizability throughout the former Soviet Union even today. Western viewers may miss some of the humor (and some of the hurt) by having never lived in the USSR, but that is no excuse to pass up this gem.(read more...)

From Heebster to Hipster

The first dictionary to list the word is the short glossary "For Characters Who Don't Dig Jive Talk," which was included with Harry Gibson's 1944 album, Boogie Woogie In Blue. The entry for "hipsters" defined it as "characters who like hot jazz."[5] Initially, hipsters were usually middle-class white youths seeking to emulate the lifestyle of the largely-black jazz musicians they followed(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The song was "Handsome Harry the Hipster," and the performer was Harry 'The Hipster' Gibson. Harry sang of things I had vaguely heard discussed by my ex-hipster elders - "chicks," "mellowness" (being stoned), and of that mysterious thing called "jive." That's the way I had been told that "vipers" (drug users) talk. "Handsome Harry" - described in the song not only as a "hipster" but as a "flipster" and a "clipster" - "digs those mellow kicks." He's a gangsta who'll "hype you for your gold," is "the ball with all the chicks," and is "frantic and fanatic, with jive he's an addict." And with an addict's natural evasiveness, Harry ended each verse with a shrug and verbal denial: "Well, I don't know, I
was only told."

I learned later that Harry, like my own relatives, was a Jewish New Yorker who discovered and melded with the jazz-fueled world of hipsterdom. His guide into that alternate reality was supposedly saxophone great Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, who played with such greats as Basie, Louis Armstrong, Cootie Williams, and Lucky Millinder. Harry started playing piano at a speakeasy run by Lockjaw, who became his jive mentor.

The former Harry Raab was soon cranking out tunes like "Get Your Juices at
the Deuces," "Stop That Dancing Up There," and the future Dr. Demento favorite, "Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine." To think of him as just a novelty act, however, is to do him an injustice. He was, like many artists, a breaker of taboos and a shatterer of invisible walls. His life was part of his art, and excess was part of that life. It wasn't just the tunes that made Harry Gibson a star, it was the new and fashionable anarchy they - and he - represented.(read more...)

Mrs. Murphy couldn't sleep
Her nerves were slightly off the bean
Until she solved her problem
With a can of Ovaltine
She drank a cupful most every night
And ooh how she would dream
Until something rough got in the stuff
And made her neighbors scream. OW!
Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine?
Sure was a shame, don't know who's to blame
Cause the old lady didn't even get his name
Where did she get that stuff?
Now she just can't get enough
It might have been the man who wasn't there
Now Jack, that guy's a square
She never ever wants to go to sleep
She says that everything is solid all reet
Now Mr. Murphy don't know what it's all about
Cause she went and threw the old man out, Clout
Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine?
Now she wants to swing, the Highland Fling
She says that Benzedrine's the thing that makes her spring.

This is the second chorus you know
The name of this chorus is called, "Who put the Nembutals in Mr. Murphy's overalls?
I don't know
She bought a can of Ovaltine, most every week or so
And she always kept an extra can on hand
Just in case that she'd run low
She never never been so happy, since she left old Ireland
'Till some one prowled her pantry, and tampered with her can. Wham!
Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine?
Sure was a shame, don't know who's to blame
Cause the old lady didn't even get his name
Where did she get that stuff
Now she just can't get enough
It might have been the man who wasn't there
Now Jack, that guy's a square
She stays up nights making all the rounds
They say she lost about 69 pounds
Now Mr. Murphy claims she's getting awful thin
And all she says is, "Give me some skin." Mop!
Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine?
Now she wants to swing the Highland Fling
She says that Benzedrine's the thing that makes her spring.
Spring it now, Gibson

Note: This song is Harry's adaptation of the old Irish folk song "Who put the
overalls in Mrs. Murphy's Chowder." Two different versions of it can be found at:;ttMRPHCHOW.html

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ray Hanania for President

Ray Hanania is a compassionate and, in fact, delightful person, with rare insight into the aspirations and failings of Palestinians and Israelis. In the eyes of many, that alone ought to disqualify him from consideration as a leader in the Holy Land.
Add to that, the fact that the acclaimed journalist also happens to be a first-generation Palestinian-American married to a Jewish woman, as well as a stand-up comedian who has appeared alongside Jewish comics, and the self-destructively polarized electorate of the Holy Land will need to expend not a whiff of thought in dismissing him out of hand.

1. I support two-states, one Israel and one Palestine. As far as I am concerned, I can recognize Israel's "Jewish" character and Israelis should recognize Palestine's "non-Jewish" character.

2. I oppose violence of any kind from and by anyone. I reject Hamas' participation in any Palestinian government without first agreeing to surrender all arms and to accept two-states as a "final" peace agreement. But I also reject allowing Israeli settlers to carry any weapons and believe Israelis must impose the same restrictions on them.

3. I can support some settlements remaining - given the reality of 42 years of time passing - in a dunam-for-dunam land exchange. If Ariel is 500 dunams with a lifeline from Israel, then Israel gives Palestine 500 dunams in exchange.

4. Jerusalem should be a shared city and Palestinians should have an official presence in East Jerusalem. The Old City should be shared by both permitting open access to the city to all with a joint Palestinian-Israeli police presence.

5. Palestinian refugees would give up their demand to return to pre-1948 homes and lands lost during the conflict with Israel. Instead, some could apply for family reunification through Israel and the remainder would be compensated through a fund created and maintained by the United States, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the United Nations.

6. I also think Israelis should find it in their hearts to show compassion and offer their apologies to Palestinians for the conflict.

7. I support creation of a similar fund to compensate those Jews from Arab lands who lost their homes and lands, too, when they fled.

8. I think the Wall should be torn down, or relocated to the new borders. I have no problem separating the two nations for a short duration to help rebuild confidence between our two people.

9. All political parties, Palestinian and Israelis, should eliminate languages denying each other's existence, and all maps should be reprinted so that Israeli maps finally show Palestine and Palestinian maps finally show Israel.

10. A subway system should be built linking the West Bank portion of the Palestine state to the Gaza Strip portion of the Palestine State. Palestine should be permitted to build a seaport access to strengthen its industry, and an airport to permit flights and too and from the Arab and Israeli world.

11. I would urge the Arab World to renew their offer to normalize relations with Israel if Israel agrees to support the creation of a Palestinian State.

12. And I would ask both countries to establish embassies in each other's country to address other problems.

13. While non-Jewish Palestinians would continue to live in Israel as citizens, Jews who wish to live in settlements surrendered by Israel could become Palestinian citizens and they should be recognized and treated equally.

14. If Jews want to live in Hebron, they should be allowed to live in Hebron and should be protected, just as non-Jews. In fact, for every Jewish individual seeking to live in Palestine, a Palestinian should be permitted to live in Israel. In fact, major Palestinian populations in Israel could be annexed into Palestine (like settlements).

15. Another concept is to have non-Jews living in Israel continue to live there but only vote in Palestinian elections, while Jews living in Palestine would only vote in Israeli elections. A special citizenship protection committee could be created to explore how to protect the rights of minorities in each state.

16. Israel and Palestine should create joint-governing and security agencies working with the United States to monitor the peace, and establish an agency to pursue criminal acts of violence.
(read more...)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Janco's Fake or Ben-Ami ad.

The painting, supposedly attributed to Marcel Janco - a prominent founder of the DaDa movement and a renowned 20th century Israeli painter( and ein hod founding daddy) - was brought to Hammersite's gallery for examination not long ago. After careful inspection, Hammersite's expert and appraiser Michael Ben-Ami revealed it as a sophisticated forgery.
The painting in question was an almost impeccable copy of Janco's 1945 "A Burnt Village," which was a notable part of the Histadrut's collection and was auctioned by "Ben-Ami auctioneers" (now known as Hammersite) in 1996. The painting had been executed on an original old canvas, which was scraped off to reveal the lower surface and thus instill a feel of authenticity.
Despite its deceptive appearance of genuineness, it had been signed in English, as apposed to the original signed in Hebrew. It was also evident by the minor color variations and lines indiscrepancies, that the forger had attempted to create an "authentic" variation of Janco's "A Burnt Village."
However he wasn't sophisticated enough to realize no artist paints exact replicas while making versions of the same piece. Moreover, it was obvious the forger could not imitate Janco's robust and rich brush strokes, leaving the fake pale and muted in comparison to Janco's dramatic work.
(read more...)
פורסם ב - 00:00 02/10/05

הוחזרו שתי יצירות גנובות של ינקו
שתיים מתוך ארבע היצירות של מרסל ינקו שנגנבו לפני כשבועיים ממוזיאון ינקו דאדא בעין הוד נמצאו והוחזרו למוזיאון. ביום רביעי הגיע אדם לבית המכירות הפומביות "בן עמי" בתל אביב והציע למכירה את הציור "דיוקן עצמי" של מרסל ינקו. הוא סיפר שהוא מתווך מטעם אדם אחר, שקנה את הדיוקן העצמי וכן קולאז' דאדא. בעל בית המכירות זיהה שמדובר ביצירות שנגנבו ממוזיאון ינקו ושיכנע את הקונה לפנות למשטרה.
לדברי רעיה זומר ממוזיאון ינקו דאדא, נראה שאותו אדם שילם תמורת שתי העבודות כ-35 אלף דולר, סכום הגבוה מערכן האמיתי. העבודות נמסרו אתמול בבוקר למשטרת זכרון יעקב ומשם הוחזרו לתצוגה במוזיאון. זומר מאמינה שעתה ימצאו את שתי העבודות הנותרות: העבודה "בית חרושת לזכוכית" מ-1917 ותבליט הגבס "ארכיטקטורה קטנה" מ-1917, שאותו הגדירה זומר כאבידה הגדולה ביותר. (read more...)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Cinema is for us the most important of arts"- Lenin

"Man With a Movie Camera" was an effort to show the breadth and precision of the camera's recording ability, and similar films were produced in a few other European countries. The film is a succession of images supposedly showing the audience what the camera eye is seeing. Vertov's brother, Mikhail Kaufman, is the cameraman, and at times another movie camera follows "Man With a Movie Camera" on the street and in other places. In one sequence some women in a cab notice the cameraman smirk and gesture at the camera as they ride through the streets of Moscow.
Vertov explained his actions with profound statements such as, "Construction must be understood as the co-ordinating function of Constructivism. If the tectonic unites the ideological and formal, and as a result gives a unity of conception, and the factura is the condition of the material, then the construction discovers the actual process of putting together. Thus we have the third discipline, the discipline of the formation of conception through the use of worked material. All hail to the Communist expression of material building."
Dziga Vertov, born Denis Arkadievitch Kaufman (1896-1954), was the son of Jewish intellectuals who moved to Moscow to flee the invading German armies during World War I. He trained as a musician and neurologist, and he had studied at the Moscow Psycho-neurological Institute. He was also a poet, fiction writer and journalist. He was conducting experiments in synthetic sound before the outbreak of hostilities against the Czar. During the revolution he was in charge of photographic work in a partisan army fighting the Czar, and in 1918 after the Communist takeover, he was placed at the head of the Cinema Department of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. It was there that he met his future wife and collaborator, Elizaveta Svilova (1900-1976), who began her film career with Pathe Freres in Moscow. He abandoned the name of Denis Kaufman and adopted Dziga Vertov which was derived from the verb which means to spin and Dziga is the repetitive sound of a camera crank turning
(dziga, dziga, dziga ... ).(

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Carefree Jordanian Gerbils

The series of studies, which have been carried out in cooperation with Jordanian researchers, has examined a variety of reptile, mammal, beetle, spider and ant lion species on either side of the border in the Arava region. The Israeli team includes Dr. Shanas and research students Idan Shapira and Shacham Mitler, who set out to reveal whether the border -- unknown to the species -- could affect differences between them and their numbers on either side of the frontier, even though they share identical climate conditions.
According to the researchers, the differences between Israel and Jordan are primarily in the higher level of agriculture and the higher number of agricultural farms in Israel as opposed to Jordan's agriculture that is primarily based on nomadic shepherding and traditional farming. The agricultural fields on the Israeli side of the border not only create a gulf between habitats and thereby cause an increase in the number of species in the region, but they also hail one of the most problematic of intruders in the world: the red fox. On the Jordanian side, the red fox is far less common, so that Jordanian gerbils can allow themselves to be more carefree. The higher reproduction rate of ant lions on Israel's side is also related to the presence of another animal: the Dorcas gazelle. This gazelle serves as an "environmental engineer" of a sort, as it breaks the earth's dry surface and enables ant lions to dig their funnels. The Dorcas gazelle is a protected animal in Israel, while hunting it in Jordan is permitted and compromises the presence of the Jordanian ant lions' soil engineers.(read more...)

«Homage Сергею Дягилеву»

XVI Международный фестиваль «АРТ-ноябрь»
Работы израильтянки Лоры Верховской. Уникальные картины на коже, выполненные по эскизам выдающихся художников — сподвижников великого импресарио.
Произведения Льва Бакста (эскиз костюма «Еврейский танец» к балету «Клеопатра»), Наталии Гончаровой (эскиз костюма св. Иоанна к балету «Литургия»), Константина Сомова («Маскарад») и Пабло Пикассо (эскиз костюма китайского фокусника к балету «Парад») Лора Верховская перенесла на кожу.
Художница работает в старинной технике интарсии. На Западе слово «intarsia» (intarsio — ит., разновидность инкрустации) употребляется много чаще и шире, чем в русском языке. Самые древние интарсии — итальянские. В них соединенны рисунок и графика, стилизация и декоративность, естественная необработанная фактура материала и высокое художественное мастерство. Как живописец красками, так Верховская «пишет» картину кожей, будто обладая особой врожденной связью с этим природным материалом. Поражающие своей материальной роскошью и декоративностью — великолепные картины Лоры Верховской не только дань памяти и преклонение перед гением Сергея Дягилева, но и обращение сразу к нескольким музам искусств: к Евтерпе, Терпсихоре, Эрато, Талии и Мельпомене.(via vashdosug )

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Marshal law in Jerusalem : Sir Edmund Allenby

I entered the city officially at noon, December 11th, with a few of my staff, the commanders of the French and Italian detachments, the heads of the political missions, and the Military Attaches of France, Italy, and America. The procession was all afoot, and at Jaffa gate I was received by the guards representing England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, India, France, and Italy. The population received me well.
Guards have been placed over the holy places. My Military Governor is in contact with the acting custodians and the Latin and Greek representatives. The Governor has detailed an officer to supervise the holy places.
The Mosque of Omar and the area around it have been placed under Mostlem control, and a military cordon of Mohammedan officers and soldiers has been established around the mosque.
Orders have been issued that no non-Moslem is to pass within the cordon without permission of the Military Governor and the Moslem in charge.

To the Inhabitants of Jerusalem the Blessed and the People Dwelling in Its Vicinity:

The defeat inflicted upon the Turks by the troops under my command has resulted in the occupation of your city by my forces. I, therefore, here now proclaim it to be under martial law, under which form of administration it will remain so long as military considerations make necessary.
However, lest any of you be alarmed by reason of your experience at the hands of the enemy who has retired, I hereby inform you that it is my desire that every person pursue his lawful business without fear of interruption.
Furthermore, since your city is regarded with affection by the adherents of three of the great religions of mankind and its soil has been consecrated by the prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes of devout people of these three religions for many centuries, therefore, do I make it known to you that every sacred building, monument, holy spot, shrine, traditional site, endowment, pious bequest, or customary place of prayer of whatsoever form of the three religions will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those to whose faith they are sacred.
Guardians have been established at Bethlehem and on Rachel's Tomb. The tomb at Hebron has been placed under exclusive Moslem control.
The hereditary custodians at the gates of the Holy Sepulchre have been requested to take up their accustomed duties in remembrance of the magnanimous act of the Caliph Omar, who protected that church.
Sir Edmund Allenby on the Fall of Jerusalem
(read more...)


Porter Wayne Wagoner (August 12, 1927 October 28 2007) was a popular American country music singer known for his flashy Nudie and Manuel suits and blond pompadour. He introduced a young Dolly Parton on his long-running television show, and they were a well-known duet team throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. Wagoner charted 81 singles and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Wagoner was honored on May 19, 2007 at the Grand Ole Opry for both his fifty years of membership and his 80th birthday. It was telecast on GAC's Grand Ole Opry Live that day with artists such as Parton, Stuart and Patty Loveless. Grand Ole Opry Live host Nan Kelley was part of the birthday celebration as well.
On June 5, 2007, Wagoner released his final album called Wagonmaster. The album was produced by Marty Stuart for the Anti-label. This album received the best reviews of Wagoner's career and briefly charted on the country charts. He also toured during the summer of 2007 to promote the album. One of these was to open for the rock group The White Stripes at a sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

I'm an asshole and proud of it!

Denis Colin Leary (born August 18, 1957) is a Golden Globe- and Emmy Award-nominated American actor, comedian, writer and director. He is known for his often angry comedic style, and his chain smoking. As of 2009, Leary is the star and co-creator of the television show Rescue Me.
Leary was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Irish Catholic immigrants. His mother, Nora, was a maid. His father, John Leary (deceased), was an auto mechanic. Since both of his parents are from Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland, Leary holds both Irish and American citizenship. He graduated from Saint Peter-Marian High School, in Worcester. Through marriage, Leary is a distant cousin of talk show host Conan O'Brien and has jokingly said on Late Night with Conan O'Brien that, "All Irish people are related." His name is often misspelled as "Dennis" instead of the correct "Denis."

In his 2008 book Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid, Leary made a statement about autism that has angered many people.
“ There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can't compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks... to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don't (care) what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you — your kid is not autistic. He's just stupid. Or lazy. Or both. ”
In response to the controversy, Leary stated that the quote was taken out of context and that in that paragraph he had been talking about the trend of overdiagnosis of autism, which he attributed to American parents seeking an excuse for behavioral problems and underperformance. Later, he apologized to parents with autistic children whom he had offended.((read more)...)

Shake Your Tuchas

2 Live Jews is a comedy hip-hop duo composed of MC Moisha (Eric Lambert) and Easy Irving (Joe Stone). Their name is a parody of 2 Live Crew. They are known for songs that mix and spoof hip-hop culture and Jewish-American stereotypes, and the fact that the "members" were purportedly two elderly Jewish men who had recently discovered their rhyming ability. In reality, Eric Lambert and Joe Stone were young men who were raised in the Jewish tradition.

Created in 1990, 2 Live Jews released their debut album, As Kosher as They Wanna Be. The name of the group and the album were spoofs of 2 Live Crew's 1989 hit As Nasty as They Wanna Be. With hits like '"Oy! It's So Humid", "Young Jews be Proud", and '"Shake Your Tuchas," As Kosher as They Wanna Be was a success and launched 2 Live Jews into the spotlight. This album was supposedly the springboard for comedy hip-hop.
Comedian Eric Lambert, who played MC Moisha and was the co-writer on the first album with then partner Joe Stone, is not Jewish and broke off affiliation with the project after the first two albums. "It was kind of a one joke thing to me," says Lambert. "I can't believe they're still making those albums."
As Kosher as They Wanna Be was the duo's only successful and popular album, and afterward, 2 Live Jews slipped into obscurity. Yet they made Fiddling With Tradition in 1991, a hip-hop reworking of the 1964 musical Fiddler on the Roof. Fiddling got only minor attention and was not a successful novelty album. 2 Live Jews went on to create Disco Jews in 1994 and Christmas Jews in 1998, before quitting.
In 2005, Moisha and Irving released their greatest hits album, The Worst of 2 Live Jews...the Best of the Shticks.
2 Live Jews' original rhyming style involves hip-hop lyrics typical of the Golden Age hip-hop of the early 1990s, but includes sung and non-hip-hop tunes. Their lyrics tend to be about clichéd or stereotypical Jewish topics. In keeping with the Jewish stereotypes, their lyrics are full of Yiddish words, often unknown to most non-Yiddish speakers. Due to Moisha and Irving's old age, they sing with haggard voices.

Monday, November 16, 2009

...born Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia in 1890

In 1914, barely out of art school, Ray received one of his first significant reviews from a friend and colleague, the Belgian-Jewish Dadaist poet, sculptor and anarchist Adolf Wolff, who called Ray a “youthful alchemist forever in quest of the painter’s philosopher’s stone.” Readers of Gershom Scholem’s “Alchemy and Kabbalah,” or even more pertinently, “Kabbalah and Alchemy: An Essay on Common Archetypes” by Ray’s friend, Italian-Jewish art historian Arturo Schwarz, know that being an alchemist in art may be fully compatible with a Jewish identity.
Nor was being a Dadaist and Jew inherently contradictory for Ray’s generation. The abstraction and irrationality that the Dada movement typified attracted German-born Hans Richter; Romanian-Jewish painter Marcel Janco (born Iancu), who later founded the Israeli artists’ village Ein Hod, and Arthur Segal. Tristan Tzara (born Samuel Rosenstock), a fixture at the Cabaret Voltaire and, later, one of the “presidents of Dada,” was a close friend and frequent Ray photographic subject. Small wonder that in 1921, Henry Tyrrell, reactionary art critic of the newspaper the New York World, complained suspiciously that to be Dadaist meant to be “anti-everything — except anti-Semitic.”
(read more...)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Your own farts don’t stink

In the early 1970s, Marvin Zuckerman and Gershon Weltman, childhood friends from the co-ops of the Bronx, came across a rare Yiddish manuscript. Though they had never thought of putting out a book together, they quickly recognized that there was something in this document that made them want to take up the task of translating and publishing the work — dirty words.
The result, “Yiddish Sayings Mama Never Taught You,” was released in 1975 and went through five printings before the press stopped. Now, due to both personal requests and the fact that bootleg copies have been circulating on the Internet, the two men have decided to give the book one more run.
The nearly 230 sayings in the book, which appear in translation and transliteration as well as in the original Hebrew, open up a window into the indecent side of the shtetl, one that has rarely seen light.
Among the pretty dirty, sometimes offensive and mostly clever offerings are:

Az men shloft mit’n vayb, shtelt men der velt dem tokhes aroys.
When you sleep with your wife, you show your behind to the world.

Der pelts unter dem vaybershn boykh iz dos tayerste futerl.
The pelt under a woman’s belly is the world’s most expensive furpiece.

Itlikhes tepl gefint zikh zayn shtertsl, itlikhes petsl gefint zikh zayn lekhl.
Every pot finds its own lid, every pole finds it own hole.

An eygener forts shtinkt nit azoy vi a fremder.
Your own farts don’t stink like someone else’s.

The source of the material was a transcript by a folklorist named Ignaz Bernstein, a wealthy Ukrainian who collected nearly 5,000 Jewish proverbs at the turn of the century. He published all these in a two-volume collection — with the exception of 227 sayings that he published separately, for reasons unknown, under the title “Erotica and Rustica.” Unlike his main work, the proste, or vulgar stuff, had a very small run and remained little known until Zuckerman and Weltman got their hands on it.
Zuckerman managed to get an early blurb for the book from Isaac Bashevis Singer. The two were presenting at a literary retreat near Ojai, Calif., and they spent some time together. Zuckerman passed Singer the book, then in manuscript form, on a Saturday night and asked the author to look it over. Singer came down to breakfast the next morning, with handwritten notes on the manuscript’s cover. He later joined Weltman and Zuckerman for lunch at the latter’s house in Los Angeles.
“I believe people are much more tolerant, in part because — sadly — virtually all of the old-guard haute Yiddish group is now gone,” Weltman said. “The academics and their students should be interested because this is original source material; the raffish element remains interested because many of the sayings are as rank and funny now as they were originally.”

Friday, November 13, 2009

Easy to go, Hard to live

Red-faced Latvian tourist chiefs have scrapped a campaign to promote the capital to English travellers when they realised their slogan had been mistranslated into: "Riga city - easy to go, hard to live."
The 500,000 GBP campaign showing off the city's cultural highlights was supposed to turn around Riga's current image as a destination for wild stag parties.
"It is very embarrassing. It was of course meant to say 'hard to leave'.
"But apparently nobody checked it properly before the leaflets and posters went to the printers," said one official. (read more...)

Vanilla over an Mustiness

A new test that can measure the degradation of old books and precious historical documents on the basis of their aroma. The non-destructive "sniff" test could help libraries and museums preserve a range of prized paper-based objects, some of which are degrading rapidly due to advancing age, the scientists say.
the well-known musty smell of an old book is the result of hundreds of so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the air from the paper.
The aroma of an old book is familiar to every user of a traditional library A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness, this unmistakable smell is as much a part of the book as its contents.
The new technique -- an approach called "material degradomics" -- analyzes the gases emitted by old books and documents without altering the documents themselves. The scientists used it to "sniff" 72 historical papers from the 19th and 20th centuries. Some of the papers contained rosin (pine tar) and wood fiber, which are the most rapidly degrading types of paper found in old books. The scientists identified 15 VOCs that seem good candidates as markers to track the degradation of paper in order to optimize their preservation. The method also could help preserve other historic artifacts, they add.
(read more...)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

janko yanko ianku dada: Tzara

Attempting to promulgate Dada ideas throughout Europe, Tristan Tzara launched the art and literature review Dada. Although, at the outset, it was planned that Dada members would take turns editing the review and that an editorial board would be created to make important decisions, Tzara quickly assumed control of the journal.
But, as Richter said, in the end no one but Tzara had the talent for the job, and, "everyone was happy to watch such a brilliant editor at work."[10] Appearing in July 1917, the first issue of Dada, subtitled Miscellany of Art and Literature, featured contributions from members of avant-garde groups throughout Europe, including Giorgio de Chirico, Robert Delaunay, and Wassily Kandinsky. Marking the magazine's debut, Tzara wrote in the Zurich Chronicle, "Mysterious creation! Magic Revolver! The Dada Movement is Launched."

Word of Dada quickly spread: Tzara's new review was purchased widely and found its way into every country in Europe, and its international status was established.
While the first two issues of Dada (the second appeared in December 1917) followed the structured format of Cabaret Voltaire, the third issue of Dada (December 1918) was decidedly different and marked significant changes within the Dada movement itself.

Issue number 3 violated all the rules and conventions in typography and layout and undermined established notions of order and logic. Printed in newspaper format in both French and German editions, it embodies Dada's celebration of nonsense and chaos with an explosive mixture of manifestos, poetry, and advertisementsׁall typeset in randomly ordered lettering.

The unconventional and experimental design was matched only by the radical declarations contained within the third issue of Dada. Included is Tzara's "Dada Manifesto of 1918," which was read at Meise Hall in Zurich on July 23, 1918, and is perhaps the most important of the Dadaist manifestos. In it Tzara proclaimed:
Dada: the abolition of logic, the dance of the impotents of creation; Dada: abolition of all the social hierarchies and equations set up by our valets to preserve values; Dada: every object, all objects, sentiments and obscurities, phantoms and the precise shock of parallel lines, are weapons in the fight; Dada: abolition of memory; Dada: abolition of archaeology; Dada: abolition of the prophets; Dada: abolition of the future; Dada: absolute and unquestionable faith in every god that is the product of spontaneity.

With the third issue of Dada, Tzara caught the attention of the European avant-garde and signaled the growth and impact of the movement. Francis Picabia, who was in New York at the time, and Hans Richter were among the figures who, by signing their names to this issue, now aligned themselves with Dada. Picabia praised the issue:
Dada 3 has just arrived. Bravo! This issue is wonderful. It has done me a great deal of good to read in Switzerland, at last, something that is not absolutely stupid. The whole thing is really excellent. The manifesto is the expression of all philosophies that seek truth; when there is no truth there are only conventions.
Dada 4-5, printed in May 1919 and also known as Anthologie Dada, features a cover designed by Arp, a frontispiece by Picabia, and published work by André Breton, Jean Cocteau, and Raymond Radiguet. This issue also includes Tzara's third Dada manifesto and four Dada poems Tzara called "lampisteries." Design experiments continue in this issue with distorted typography, lettering of various sizes and fonts, slanted print, and multicolored paper.

Issue 4-5 of Dada was the final one Tzara published in Zurich. With travel possible again at the end of the war, many of the Zurich group returned to their respective countries and Dada activities in Zurich came to an end. With the Dadaists spreading throughout Europe, the impact of the movement had only just begun. Huelsenbeck, Picabia and Tzara played principle roles in introducing Dada in other cities.(via UBUWEB)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

THE INFORMAVORE: Can we still decide what is important?

There seems to be an explosion of ideas, but not enough brains to cover them
When you view attention as food for information, we are now in a food crisis. That’s when dynamics of Darwinian selection kick in. Which ideas survive? Which thinking succeeds and which doesn’t?
The human is an informavore, it’s eating information. But just as with food it has to decide what take, what not to take, whether something has good or bad calories, whether it’s healthy etcetera
We are experiencing a cognitive revolution, much of what we are thinking is stored less in the lived life and more in systems linked to knowledge: Facebook, blogs etcetera
In the 19th century it was talked about that muscles had to adapt to the machines, in the 20th century we see the same question but now with the brain. We face issuess with e.g. multi-tasking.
There will be major issues with the tools developed, especially predictive search versus free will. Issues about the way we predict and the way we ARE predicted
Three important 19th century principles return – but in a different way – regarding information and society: Darwinism (who survives in the Net), Communism (question of free), Taylorism (people see themselves not capable anymore of keeping up with the system)
The realtime nature of the information has #iran already competing with @parishilton. You also already information cascades to influence this not only by humans, but also by bots
Kafka and Shakespeare in their time translated reality into literature – we need to find people that can do this on the level of software. George Dyson e.g. has done this very well in the article Turings Cathedral about his visit to Google: “Despite the whimsical furniture and other toys, I felt I was entering a 14th-century cathedral — not in the 14th century but in the 12th century, while it was being built.”
People tend to forget heuristics, e.g. the ability to calculate as machines will do that for us.
(read more...)
from EDGE
The most significant intellectual development of the first decade of the 21st Century is that concepts of information and computation have infiltrated a wide range of sciences, from physics and cosmology, to cognitive psychology, to evolutionary biology, to genetic engineering. Such innovations as the binary code, the bit, and the algorithm have been applied in ways that reach far beyond the programming of computers, and are being used to understand such mysteries as the origins of the universe, the operation of the human body, and the working of the mind.
Enter Frank Schirrmacher, Editorial Director the editorial staff of the FAZ Feuilleton, a supplement of the FAZ on the arts and sciences. He is also one of the five publishers of the newspaper, responsible for the Feuilleton, and he has actively expanded science coverage in this section. He has been referred to as Germany's "Culture Czar", which may seem over the top, but his cultural influence is undeniable. He can, and does, begin national discussions on topics and ideas that interest him, such as genomic research, neuroscience, aging, and, in this regard, he has the ability to reshape the national consciousness.
In May of 2000, he published a manifesto in FAZ, a call-to arms,entitled "Wake-Up Call for Europe Tech", in which he called for Europe to adopt the ideas of the third culture. His goal: to change the culture of the newspaper and to begin a process of change in Germany and Europe. "Europe should be more than just a source for the software of ego crisis, loss of identity, despair, and Western melancholy," he wrote. We should be helping write the code for tomorrow
."(read more...)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mar Saba versus Christie's:The Archimedes Palimpsest

Dr. William Noel is Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books at The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, a position he took up in 1997. Since January 1999, Dr. Noel has directed an international program to conserve, image and study the Archimedes Palimpsest, the unique source for three treatises by the ancient Greek mathematician. An author of multiple books, Dr. Noel has taught and lectured widely.
The Archimedes Palimpsest is a medieval parchment manuscript, now consisting of 174 parchment folios. While it contains no less than seven treatises by Archimedes, calling it the Archimedes Palimpsest is a little confusing. As it is now, the manuscript is a Byzantine prayerbook, written in Greek, and technically called a euchologion. This euchologion was completed by April 1229, and was probably made in Jerusalem. (read more...)
From the 1920s, the manuscript lay unknown in the Paris apartment of a collector of manuscripts and his heirs. In 1998 the ownership of the palimpsest was disputed in federal court in New York in the case of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of

Jerusalem, Inc. At some time in the distant past, the Archimedes manuscript had lain in the library of Mar Saba, near Jerusalem, a monastery bought by the Patriarchate in 1625. The plaintiff contended that the palimpsest had been stolen from one of its monasteries in the 1920s. Judge Kimba Wood decided in favor of Christie's Auction House on laches grounds, and the palimpsest was bought for $2 million by an anonymous buyer who worked in the information technology field

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Man as Industrial Palace

Fritz Kahn (1888-1968), one of the principal creators of the 20th-century conceptual medical illustration. Kahn, a German Jewish gynecologist, artist, and popular science writer, was part of a larger "visual education" movement that sought to use film, exhibition display and artful printed graphics as a revolutionary way of instructing, and transforming, mass audiences, a new technology of information and subjectivity. In his artwork, Kahn situated the body in industrial modernity -- and industrial modernity within the body -- using a modernist visual rhetoric influenced by surrealism, art deco, cubism and other contemporary aesthetic approaches. Directly and indirectly, during his lifetime his illustrations had a huge influence: on scientific illustration for the public; and on illustrations of the body in commercial graphics

Shortly before Hitler came on power in 1933, Fritz Kahn travelled to Palestine, where he started to work on his manuscript Die Naturgeschichte Palestinas (The Natural History of Palestine).

Because of the political situation in Germany, he was not able to return there. Eventually, he became a citizen of Palestine and settled in Jerusalem. In 1939, Fritz Kahn left Palestine for France and Portugal before he was able to immigrate to the United States early in 1941 with the help of Varian Fry and Albert Einstein. (more from MOON RIVER)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The horses I used

Upon viewing the work currently being shown, as well as We Were Here Before You, Spring 2057," which will be exhibited in the 2009 Ecospheres Festival of green art in Ein Hod, I instantly felt that what was common to all the works was the preoccupation with the concept of time. In all of the pieces, one experiences a collision between soon-to-be-extinct migrating species, and current technologies used to represent information, mobility, and the quantification of time. The way in which these works relate to temporality can be associated with science fiction novels in the vein of Pierre Boulle's Planet of the Apes, since they present us with catastrophic predictions of nature overthrowing a corrupt humanity. (read more...)