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Current topics by concept: fantastic - fiction - genre - popular - postmodernism - taste - theory

2006, Mar 15; 10:05 ::: The Gare St-Lazare (1877) - Claude Monet

The Gare St-Lazare (1877) - Claude Monet

After his return to France from London, Monet lived from 1871-78 at Argenteuil, on the Seine near Paris. In January 1877 he rented a small flat and a studio near the Gare St-Lazare, and in the fourth Impressionist exhibition which opened in April of that year, he exhibited seven canvases of the railway station.

This painting is one of four surviving canvases representing the interior of the station. Trains and railways had been depicted in earlier Impressionist works (and by Turner in his 'Rain, Steam and Speed'), but were not generally regarded as aesthetically palatable subjects.

Monet's exceptional views of the Gare St-Lazare resemble interior landscapes, with smoke from the engines creating the same effect as clouds in the sky. Swift brushstrokes indicate the gleaming engines to the right and the crowd of passengers on the platform. --http://www.nationalgallery.org

See also: painting - subject matter - Claude Monet - Impressionism - train - 1877 - Paris

2006, Mar 15; 10:05 ::: The Who Sell Out (1967) - The Who

The Who Sell Out (1967) - The Who [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The Who Sell Out is The Who's third album. It is a concept album, formatted as a collection of unrelated songs interspersed with faux commercials and public service announcements. The album purports to be a broadcast by pirate radio station Radio London. Part of the intended irony of the title was that The Who was actually making commercials during that period of their career, some of which are included as bonus tracks on the remastered CD. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Who_Sell_Out [Mar 2006]

Selling out is a common slang phrase. Broadly speaking, it refers to the compromising of one's integrity in exchange for money or other personal gain. It is commonly associated with attempts to increase mass appeal or acceptability to mainstream society. A person who does this is labelled a sellout.

Many people see nothing wrong with tailoring a product to the tastes of its audience, or with taking practical and financial considerations into account when making art. And, in regard to theater shows, musicals, etc, a "sell out" show is simply a show so popular that all tickets are sold out, and is generally considered as a milestone in terms of success. Selling out may be then gaining success at the cost of credibility. Though generally associated with the entertainment industry, regular individuals who similarly compromise their ideals (e.g. a Bohemian individual who suddenly switches to a socially conservative lifestyle) could also be considered sellouts. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sell_out [Mar 2006]

See also: concept album - commercial - UK music - rock - advertising - 1967

2006, Mar 15; 10:05 ::: Leaving the 20th Century: The Incomplete Work of the Situationist International (1974) - Christopher Gray

Leaving the 20th Century: The Incomplete Work of the Situationist International (1974) - Christopher Gray [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
First published in 1974, 'Leaving..' was the first collection of Situationist writing in English. Chris Gray, its editor, was himself a member of the SI. Long out of print, it has gained an enormous reputation. This new, lavish, oversize edition, keeps the original provocative, and free and easy translations, along with the cut and paste graphics, poster-art and cartoons. It stands as a remarkable, and eminently accessible, introduction to a remarkable (and oft-times superficially at least, inaccessible) revolutionary project. Now as we stand at the gates of the 21st century, it is time for a new generation of readers to take up this remarkable book.

In 1974, Jamie Reid designed and printed the first english-language anthology of the Situationists, Christopher Gray's translation of SI texts Leaving the 20th Century.

Christopher Gray --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher Gray [Mar 2006]

See also: 1900s - Jamie Reid - UK - Situationist International - 1974

2006, Mar 15; 08:05 ::: Potlatch

A potlatch is a ceremony among certain Native American and First Nations peoples on the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States and the Canadian province of British Columbia such as the Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Kwakiutl (Kwakwaka'wakw). The potlatch takes the form of a ceremonial feast traditionally featuring seal meat or salmon. In it, hierarchical relations between groups were observed and reinforced through the exchange of gifts and other ceremonies. The potlatch is an example of a gift economy; the host demonstrates their wealth and prominence through giving away their possessions and thus prompt participants to reciprocate when they hold their own potlatch.

The potlatch has fascinated Westerners for many years. Thorstein Veblen's use of the ceremony in his book Theory of the Leisure Class made potlatching a symbol of 'conspicuous consumption'. Other authors such as Georges Bataille were struck by what they saw as the anarchic, communal nature of the potlatch's operation—it is for this reason that the organization Lettrist International named their review after the potlatch in the 1950s.


The potlatch has also become a model, albeit a sometimes poorly understood one, for the open source software movement and a variety of social movements. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potlatch [Mar 2006]

See also: Lettrism - anthropology - altruism - gift - Georges Bataille

2006, Mar 15; 08:05 ::: Pop culture

Pop culture - the folk culture of the modern market, the culture of the instant, at once subsuming past and future and refusing to acknowledge the reality of either - began about 1948, in the United States and Great Britain. --Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century (Cambride, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), p. 257.

Greil Marcus states that the reason for this development was WWII which had broken up old ties of social life.

See also: Lipstick Traces (1989) - popular culture - folk culture - 1948

2006, Mar 14; 20:05 ::: The Rhetoric of Fiction (1983) - Wayne Booth

The Rhetoric of Fiction (1983) - Wayne Booth [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Wayne Clayson Booth (February 22, 1921 – October 10, 2005) was an American literary critic. He was the George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in English Language & Literature and the College at the University of Chicago. His work followed largely from the Chicago school of literary criticism.

He was born in American Fork, Utah and educated at Brigham Young University and the University of Chicago.

His major work was The Rhetoric of Fiction. In this book, Booth argues that all narrative is a form of rhetoric. The speaker in narrative is the author or, more specifically, the implied author.

The implied author is a compromise between old-fashioned biographical criticism, and the new critics who argued that one can only talk about what the text says. Booth argued that it is impossible to talk about a text without talking about an author, because the existence of the text already implies the existence of an author. Booth recognizes, however, that it may be that this author differs from the actual author.

Booth also notes, however, that this author is distinct from the narrator of the text. He uses the examples of stories with an unreliable narrator to prove this point, observing that, in these stories, the whole point of the story is lost if one confuses narrator and author. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_C._Booth [Mar 2006]

See also: persuasion - fiction - literary theory

2006, Mar 14; 20:05 ::: Playback: From the Victrola to Mp3, 100 Years of Music, Machines, and Money (2004) - Mark Coleman

Playback: From the Victrola to Mp3, 100 Years of Music, Machines, and Money (2004) - Mark Coleman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

"BEFORE THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, listening to music was a tem , fleeting experience-and a rare treat..." (first sentence)

From Publishers Weekly
This short and sweet historical overview of the connection between music, technology (primarily the "playback" function) and the "systematic marketing of recorded music" is the perfect gift for aging boomers who, like Coleman, were caught "completely unawares" by the Internet and related developments such as the MP3 file-sharing format and Napster, which brought MP3 file sharing to the world. Coleman, however, has the advantage of being a rock critic who brings a formidable range of knowledge about his subject. He is as comfortable writing about how pioneers such as Edison and Bell were "blind to the full significance" of their sonic inventions as he is about lesser-known luminaries such as Dr. Paul Goldmark, who invented the "microgroove" LP for CBS. He is also consistently excellent and authoritative on the myriad ways over the decades that the art of making music has shifted away from audio documentation and moved toward "aural creation." While his survey of '60s rock and radio trends will be familiar to any fan of pop music, it provides numerous interesting related observations, such as how the LP "stands as the most enduring cultural legacy bequeathed to baby boomers by their parents." The highlight of the book is its final section, a near-definitive review of recent trends in computer-based listening habits that persuasively argues that "the seductive allure of the MP3 format is all about selection and portability, not thievery and deceit." Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

See also: playback - music technology

2006, Mar 14; 14:05 ::: The question of ancestry

The question of ancestry in culture is spurious. Every new manifestation in culture rewrites its past, changes old maudits into new heroes, old heroes into those who should have never been born. New actors scavenge the past for ancestors, because ancestry is legitimacy and novelty is doubt—but in all times forgotten actors emerge from the past not as ancestors but as familiars. In the 1920s in literary America it was Herman Melville; in the rock 'n' roll 1960s it was Mississippi bluesman Robert Johnson of the 1930s; in the entropic Western 1970s it was the carefully absolutist German critic Walter Benjamin of the 1920s and 1930s. In 1976 and 1977, and in the years to follow, as symbollically remade by the Sex Pistols, it was perhaps dadaists, lettrists, situationists, and various medieval heretics. --Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century (Cambride, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), p. 21.

See also: roots - Dada - Walter Benjamin - Herman Melville - rock - blues - Lettrism - situationism - Middle Ages - heresy - Lipstick Traces (1989)

2006, Mar 14; 14:05 ::: How to Kill the DJ Part 2 (2004) - Optimo

How to Kill the DJ Part 2 (2004) - Optimo [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

At long, long last, we are delighted to announce that our first official mix cd is finally here.

In association with our friends and allies, Kill The DJ and Tigersushi in Paris, this project has taken over a year to realise (but, we think it has been worth the wait!).

It is a double cd - cd1 is a 75 minute mix that tries to sum up what a night at Optimo is like, while cd2 is an unmixed collection of music that we play at the start of the night and a few songs that have become Optimo classics that we wanted to present in their complete form.

The tracklisting is as follows -

MIX CD 1) intro / funkadelic - wars of armageddon 2) laibach - decree beat 3) john carpenter - the end 4) hiltmeyer inc. - narkotik! 5) hashim - rocking the planet (beat) 6) miroslav vitous - new york city 7) soft cell - sex dwarf 8) carl craig - demented drums 9) luciano and quenem - orange mistake 10) basic channel - phylyps track 2 11) crash course in science - flying turns 12) revolting cocks - on fire 13) depeche mode - dead of the night (electronicat remix) 14) quarks - i walk (superpitcher schaffel mix) 15) liaisons dangereuses - los ninos del parque 16) the cramps - new kind of kick 17) harco pront - night 18) cls - can u feel it 19) gang of four - damaged goods 20) langley schools music project - good vibrations 21) the junkyard band - the word 22) the stranglers - nice n' sleazy 23) pablo - cissy strut / os mutantes - a minha menina 24) banbarra - shack up 25) joubert singers - stand on the word (larry levan remix) 26) 20th century steel band - heaven and hell 27) the rapture - out of the races 28) cameo - money (reese revamp) / crackhaus - blow brotha blow 29) pj pooterhoots - barf 30) black devil disco club - timing, forget the timing / akufen - whorehouse new process 31) loose joints - is it all over my face? 32) grauzone - eisbar 33) chromeo - destination overdrive (dfa dub) / medium medium - hungry so angry 34) modettes - white mice 35) akufen - quebec nightclub / monte cazazza - sex is no emergency 36) nurse with wound - two shaves and a shine 37) blondie - atomic 38) ricardo villalobos - easy lee / art of noise - moments in love 39) ricardo villalobos - dexter / suicide - dream baby dream 40) ricardo villalobos - dexter / truffle club - autoconform 41) optimo (espacio) end of the night choir - one more tune 42) love - everybody's got to live

UNMIXED CD 1) angelo badalamenti - mullholland drive theme 2) arthur russell - another thought 3) the balanescu quartet - the model 4) lee hazelwood and nancy sinatra - some velvet morning 5) nouvelle vague - guns of brixton 6) big ned - final steps 7) sun city girls - opium den 8) andre williams - bacon fat 9) hasil adkins - chicken walk 10) the monks - i hate you 11) os mutantes - a minha menina 12) the meters - the handclapping song 13) 20th century steel band - heaven and hell 14) the flirtations - nothing but a heartache 15) bush tetras - snakes crawl 16) modettes - white mice 17) the creepers - baby's on fire 18) the only ones - another girl another planet

Tigersushi Records is an independent record label based in Paris, France. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigersushi_Records [Mar 2006]

See also: Tigersushi - eclecticism - murder - DJ - dance-punk

2006, Mar 14; 12:05 ::: Blank Generation (1977) - Richard Hell and the Voidoids

Blank Generation (1977) Richard Hell and the Voidoids [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Blank Generation is an early punk album by Richard Hell and the Voidoids, released in 1977 on Warner Brothers' Sire Records imprint.

The lyrics on this album, in keeping with the late 1970s punk style that Hell helped to create when he co-founded the band Television, are nihilistic and self-consciously degenerate, but they are also very strong poetically. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blank_Generation [Mar 2006]

Richard Hell
Richard Hell (born October 2, 1949) is the stage name of Richard Meyers, an American singer, songwriter and writer, probably best-known as frontman for the early punk band Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Their 1977 album, Blank Generation, contained many elements that would become identified with punk, from the nihilism of the title track (a play off of Rod McKuen's 1959 spoken-word song Beat Generation) to the frantic energy of the anti-romantic anthem, "Love Comes in Spurts". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Hell [Mar 2006]

See also: punk - CBGB's - hell - 1977 - generation - American music - nihilism

2006, Mar 14; 11:05 ::: Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations 1956-76 (2005) - Martin Van Schaik (Editor), Otakar Macel (Editor)

Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations 1956-76 (2005) - Martin Van Schaik (Editor), Otakar Macel (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
This topical examination of a key moment in modern architecture pointedly and critically evaluates the role of the neo-avant-garde in today’s world.

International in scope and exhaustive in detail, the book explores important exponents of "visionary" and "utopian" architecture in the closing juncture of the modernist era, coinciding with the cultural upheavals and social transformations of the 1960s and ’70s. By revisiting "New Babylon," the magnum opus of the Dutch painter Constant Nieuwenhuys, whose vision of a situationist urban environment made him one of the most influential artists of this time, this collection of essays re-examines decisive work by Yona Friedman, the Archigram group, the Italian Radicals Superstudio and Archizoom, Koolhaas/Zenghelis and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, and Léon Krier. Timely, in-depth essays and exhaustive project documentations trace the decline of avant-garde projects in architecture. The result is a significant work of architectural theory and history, which will interest anyone studying ideologies of the past and dreaming the cities of tomorrow. --from the publisher

New Babylon (after 1956) - Constant Nieuwenhuys
Image sourced here.

See also: visionary architecture - modern architecture - architecture - utopia - radical - avant-garde - 1960s - 1970s - Superstudio - Archigram - Archizoom

2006, Mar 13; 22:05 ::: Arthur Machen

Ballantine 1972 book cover sourced here.

The Three Impostors (1895) - Arthur Machen [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Arthur Machen (March 3, 1863 – December 15th, 1947) was a leading Welsh author of the 1890s. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy and horror fiction. He also is well known for a leading role in creating the myth of the Angels of Mons. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur Machen [Mar 2006]

See also: horror fiction - fantastic literature - 1895 - 1890s - supernatural - H. P. Lovecraft

2006, Mar 13; 12:05 ::: Lettrism

The flourishing of bursts of energy dies beyond us.
All delirium is expansive.
All impulses escape stereotyping.
--Manifesto of letterist poetry (1942) - Isidore Isou 1942

Traité de bave et d'éternité de Isidore Isou (1994) - Frédérique Devaux [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Isidore Isou (born as Ioan-Isidor Goldstein, 1928, in Boto?ani, Romania) is a poet, film critic, visual artist and founder of Lettrisme. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isidore Isou [Mar 2006]

Lettrism (also spelled Letterism) was an artistic style pursuing the hyper-minimalist refinement of art to its simplest and purest form. In Lettrist terminology this was just one form of hypergraphics or super-writing - ie the chisselling the form of writing to a or the point at which it can begin to be amplified once again. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lettrist [Mar 2006]

For more on the life of Isou and Lettrism, Situationism, etc..., see Lipstick Traces, a Secret History of 20th Century (1989).

See also: Lettrism - Situationist International - minimalism - film criticism - French literature - poetry

2006, Mar 13; 12:05 ::: Como (c.1957) Lino Sabattini

Como (c.1957) Lino Sabattini
Image sourced here.

See also: design - 1957 - 1950s

2006, Mar 13; 08:05 ::: Art Deco Fashion (2003) - Suzanne Lussier

Art Deco Fashion (2003) - Suzanne Lussier [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

About the author
Suzanne Lussier, an expert on French '20s and '30s fashion, is a curator in the Department of Textiles and Dress at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She lives in London.

Book Description
From flapper dresses to feathers, fashion exploded during the Roaring '20s, when clothes became a symbol of a more liberated lifestyle and epitomized the glamour and youthful excitement of the Jazz Age. Hemlines and waistlines slowly crept toward each other as the motto for style--and life--became "Anything Goes!" In ART DECO FASHION the world of Hollywood and F. Scott Fitzgerald comes to life in images of beaded evening dresses for dancing the Charleston; sporty outfits for golf, tennis, and swimming; and clothes designed for traveling in luxury liners, trains, or in streamlined cars. Accented with posters, photographs, and images from fashion magazines of the era, this sumptuous volume presents a thorough and stunning review of Deco fashion. --from the publisher

Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A) is on Cromwell Road in Kensington, West London, England. It specialises in applied and decorative arts.

The museum was established in 1852 as the South Kensington Museum, following the success of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Its first Director was Sir Henry Cole, a utilitarian and joint organiser of the Great Exhibition who acquired some of the objects from the Exhibition for the Collection. Over the years the Museum attracted many important Collections to it. Originally, it contained both arts and sciences and was designed to inspire visitors with examples of achievement in both fields. It was believed at the time that this would help improve the tastes of consumers, manufacturers and designers, creating a virtuous circle that would benefit the culture and the economy. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_and_Albert_Museum [Mar 2006]

See also: Art Deco - fashion

2006, Mar 13; 08:05 ::: Art and Fashion (2005) - Alice Mackrell

Art and Fashion: The Impact of Art on Fashion and Fashion on Art (2005) - Alice Mackrell [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Art in Fashion takes a long-overdue look at the influences of art on fashion, chronicling the close relationship between the two, which dates back at least to the Renaissance. It covers for each of the following artistic movements the historical background, the definitions of that art movement and its assimilation into fashion: Rococo and Neo-classicism; Romanticism; Impressionism; Art Nouveau and Art Deco; Vienna Secession, Fauvism and Cubism; Surrealism; 20th-Century Threads (with inclusion of Pop Art and Op Art); Fin-de-Siecle and the new millennium. The book is illustrated throughout with fine art, sketches and fashion plates, visually demonstrating the twin developments of art and fashion. It also includes a chronology of art movements plus appendices of fashion designers, fashion houses, and icons of fashion. --from the publisher

See also: art - fashion

2006, Mar 12; 22:05 ::: Bocca della Verità (1974) - Mario Ceroli

Bocca della Verità (1974) - Mario Ceroli
Image sourced here.

See also: bed - Italian design - 1974

2006, Mar 12; 23:05 ::: Coffee table book

A coffee table book is a style of hardcover book designed to rest on a coffee table or similar surface in an area where guests sit and are entertained, thus provoking conversation or alleviating boredom. They tend to be oversized and of heavy construction, since there is no pressing need for portability.

Subject matter is generally confined to non-fiction, and is usually visually-oriented. Pages consist mainly of photographs and illustrations, accompanied by captions and small blocks of text. History, art, entertainment, and biography are popular genres. There is even a coffee table book about coffee tables called The Coffee Table, Coffee Table Book by Alexander Payne. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_table_book [Mar 2006]

See also: entertainment - conversation - table - book - cafe

2006, Mar 12; 22:05 ::: Ragtime

Ragtime patrol (1899) - Charles Jerome Wilson
Image sourced here.

Ragtime is an American musical genre, enjoying its peak popularity around the years 1900–1918. Ragtime is a dance form written in 2/4 or 4/4 time, with bass notes played on the odd-numbered beats and chords played on the even-numbered beats. Many ragtime pieces contain four distinct themes. Ragtime music is syncopated, with rhythmic accents on the weak beats.

The etymology of the word ragtime is not known with certainty. One theory is that the "ragged time" associated with the walking bass set against the melodic line gives the genre its name.

Ragtime originated in African American musical communities, in the late 19th century, and descended from the jigs and marches played by all-black bands common in all Northern cities with black populations (van der Merwe 1989, p.63). By the start of the 20th century it became widely popular throughout North America and was listened and danced to, performed, and written by people of many different subcultures. A distinctly American musical style, ragtime may be considered a synthesis of African-American syncopation and European classical music, though this description is oversimplified. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragtime [Mar 2006]

See also: black music - dance music - American music - 1890s - 1900s - 1910s

2006, Mar 12; 22:05 ::: Kubus chair (1910) - Josef Hoffman

Kubus chair (1910) - Josef Hoffman

Designed in 1910 for a Buenos Aires exhibition, the style exemplifies Hoffman's use of geometric forms.

This series of chairs clearly shows Hoffmann's passion for geometrical forms. He was therefore nicknamed 'Quadratl Hoffmann'.

See also: Josef Hoffman - influential to Art Deco - straight - cubism - Vienna Secession - 1910

2006, Mar 12; 17:05 ::: Italy: the new domestic landscape;: Achievements and problems of Italian design (1972) Museum of Modern Art

Italy: the new domestic landscape;: Achievements and problems of Italian design (1972) Museum of Modern Art [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

New York, 1972. Catalogue to an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art that explored sociocultural implications of Italian product design "environments." Contributions by Argan, Tafuri, Portoghesi, Gregotti, among others.

See also: 1972 - Italian design - MoMA

2006, Mar 12; 11:05 ::: RADIO/PHONOGRAPH RR 126 (1965) - Achille and P.G.Castiglioni designers

Image sourced here.

Achille and P.G.Castiglioni designers, 1965

See also: 1965 - Italian design - radio - phonograph

2006, Mar 12; 11:05 ::: Swordfishtrombones (1983) - Tom Waits

Swordfishtrombones (1983) - Tom Waits [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Swordfishtrombones is an album by American singer-songwriter Tom Waits, released in September of 1983.

Though sales were poor, the album is widely regarded as one of Waits' best. Stylistically different from his previous LPs, Swordfishtrombones features reduced string instruments and piano, replacing them with unusual instrumentation and a somewhat more abstract songwriting approach.

Swordfishtrombones peaked at #164 on Billboard's Pop Albums and Billboard 200 albums chart.

Thomas Alan Waits (born December 7, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor.

Waits has a distinctive voice, described by the MusicHound Rock Album Guide as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months and then taken outside and run over with a car." (Waits's voice was also described in one court decision as follows: "Waits has a raspy, gravelly singing voice, described by one fan as ‘like how you'd sound if you drank a quart of bourbon, smoked a pack of cigarettes and swallowed a pack of razor blades. . . . Late at night. After not sleeping for three days.’" Waits v. Frito-Lay, Inc., 978 F.2d 1093 (1992 9th Cir.)) With this trademark growl, as well as his experimental tendencies and a love of pre-rock Americana styles such as blues, jazz, and Vaudeville, Waits has built up a distinctive musical persona.

Lyrically, Waits's songs are known for atmospheric portrayals of bizarre, seedy characters and places, although he has also shown a penchant for more conventional and touching ballads. He has a cult following and has influenced subsequent songwriters, despite having little radio or music video support. His songs are best known to the general public in the form of cover versions by more visible artists, such as Eagles, The Ramones, Bruce Springsteen, and Rod Stewart. Although Waits's albums have met with mixed commercial success in his native United States, they have occasionally achieved gold album sales status in other countries.

Waits has also worked as a composer for movies and musical plays and as a supporting actor in films, including Short Cuts, The Two Jakes, Mystery Men, Bram Stoker's Dracula and Coffee and Cigarettes. He also had a starring role in the film Down By Law.-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom Waits

See also: 1983 - popular music - American music

2006, Mar 12; 10:05 ::: Wozzeck (1925) - Alban Berg

Wozzeck (1925) - Alban Berg, 1964 poster by Jan Lenica
Image sourced here

Jan Lenica

  • 1928 Born in Bialystok Poland
  • Graduate of Architecture Department of Warsaw Polytechnic
  • Poster illustrator and a collaborator on the early animation films of Walerian Borowczyk
  • 1963 - 1986 Lived and worked in France
  • 1987 Living and working in Berlin (Germany)
  • Professor of graphic, poster, animated cartoon for many years at german high schools
  • 2001 Passed away
-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Lenica

Wozzeck (opera)
Wozzeck is the first opera by Alban Berg, first performed in 1925. Since then it has established a solid place for itself in the mainstream opera tradition, and modern productions are easily packed. Though its musical style is challenging, the quality of Berg's work (in particular, the characteristation of the situation through clearly defined musical techniques) means that this is a modern opera that repays the timid listener. With a typical performance taking slightly over an hour and a half, it is nevertheless an intense experience. This is an opera that eschews all the stereotypes of an opera, being serious and compelling throughout. The subject matter - the inevitablity of hardship and explotation for the poor - is brutal and uncompromisingly presented. While Berg's musical style is not as violent as some other composers might have written for this story, the style suits the subject matter. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wozzeck [Mar 2006]

Woyzeck (stage play)
Woyzeck is a stage play written by Georg Büchner. He left the work incomplete at his death, but it has been variously and posthumously "finished" by a variety of authors, editors and translators.

Based on the true story of Friedrich Johann Franz Woyzeck and related to the German expressionist style, Woyzeck concerns the dehumanizing effects of doctors, the military, and women on a young man's life. It is often seen as 'working class' tragedy and it's a difficult play to categorise.

Woyzeck has seen many translations, including an adaptation into an opera by Alban Berg (Wozzeck), a movie by Werner Herzog, and a musical by Robert Wilson and Tom Waits, the songs from which are on Waits's Blood Money album. Nick Cave has also written music for the Icelandic production of the play.

Woyzeck is a comment on social conditions as well as an exploration of complex themes such as poverty. Woyzeck is considered as morally lacking by other characters of higher status, such as the Captain, particularly in the scene in which Woyzeck shaves the Captain. The Captain links wealth and status with morality suggesting Woyzeck cannot have morals as he is poor.

It is the exploitation of the character Woyzeck by the Doctor and the Captain which ultimately pushes him over the edge. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woyzeck [Mar 2006]

See also: 1925 - 1964 - poster - Poland

2006, Mar 12; 10:05 ::: Scandinavian Design (2002) - Charlotte J. Fiell, Peter Fiell

Scandinavian Design (2002) - Charlotte J. Fiell, Peter Fiell [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Scandinavians are exceptionally gifted in design. They are world-famous for their inimitable, democratic designs which bridge the gap between crafts and industrial production. The marriage of beautiful, organic forms with everyday functionality is one of the primary strengths of Scandinavian design and one of the reasons why Scandinavian creations are so cherished and sought after.

This all-you-need guide includes a detailed look at Scandinavian furniture, glass, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, metalware and industrial design from 1900 to the present day, with in-depth entries on over 200 designers and design-led companies, plus essays on the similarities and differences in approach between Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark. Also included is a list of important design-related places to visit for readers planning to travel to Scandinavia.

Including: DESIGNERS Verner Panton, Arne Jacobsen, Alvar Aalto, Timo Sarpaneva, Hans Wegner, Tapio Wirkkala, Sigvard Bernadotte, Stig Lindberg, Ingeborg Lundin, Finn Juhl... COMPANIES Fritz Hansen, Artek, Le Klint, Gustavsberg, Iittala, Fiskars, Volvo, Saab, Orrefors, Royal Copenhagen, Holmegaard, Arabia, Marimekko, George Jensen...

About the Author
Charlotte J. Fiell studied at the British Institute, Florence and at Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts, London, where she received a BA (Hons) in the History of Drawing and Printmaking with Material Science. She later trained with Sotheby's Educational Studies, also in London. Peter M. Fiell trained with Sotheby's Educational Studies in London and later received an MA in Design Studies from Central St Martin's College of Art & Design, London. Together, the Fiells run a design consultancy in London specializing in the sale, acquisition, study and promotion of design artifacts. They have lectured widely, curated a number of exhibitions and written numerous articles and books on design and designers, including TASCHEN's Charles Rennie Mackintosh, William Morris, 1000 Chairs, Design of the 20th Century, and Industrial Design A-Z. They also edited the six-volume Decorative Arts series published by TASCHEN.

See also: Scandinavian design - modern design

2006, Mar 12; 10:05 ::: Paimio chair (1931-1932) - Alvar Aalto

In search of modernism

Paimio chair (1931-1932) - Alvar Aalto
Image sourced here.

Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto (February 3, 1898 - May 11, 1976) was a Finnish architect and designer. He was generally known as Alvar Aalto.

He was noted for his humanistic approach and for being one of the first and the most influential architects of Scandinavian modernism, so much so that he is sometimes known as the "Father of Modernism" in Scandinavia. His work includes architecture, furniture and glassware.

He was a member of the Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne. Major works include the Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, Finland, and the campus of Helsinki University of Technology. Aalto's glassware includes the world-famous Aalto Vase.

He is the eponym of the Alvar Aalto Medal, now considered one of world architecture’s most prestigious awards. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvar Aalto [Mar 2006]

Scandinavian Modern
Scandinavian Modern had been in evidence before World War II; Alvar Aalto's blond bent-plywood designs had been around for a while, becoming a hit at the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair. War's end brought a new Scandinavian esthetic, born of the despair and economic hardship generated in Scandinavia during the years of occupation. Looking for ways to express their faith and optimism for the future, talented designers and craftspeople worked during the war to express their hopes for a brighter, more rational era. Since many materials were unavailable, and manufacturing facilities crippled by shortages, Scandinavians looked to the past for inspiration. They saw that old cabinetmaking, pottery, weaving, and glassblowing techniques could be used to create designs that expressed tomorrow and respected yesterday. In barns and workrooms and houses, people began to carve and weave- and shape the future. --http://www.jetsetmodern.com/danish.htm [Mar 2006]

See also: 1932 - Scandinavian design - modern design

2006, Mar 11; 23:05 ::: Irrationalism and Aestheticism

In search of modernism

Irrationalism and aestheticism were philosophical movements which formed as a cultural reaction against positivism in the early 20th century. These perspectives opposed or de-emphasized the importance of the rationality of human beings. Instead, they concentrated on Kant's "noumenal realm", or the experience of one's own existence.

Part of the movements involved claims that science was inferior to intuition. In this project, art was given an especially high place, as it was considered the gateway to the noumenon. Unfortunately, not all of the public at the time were involved in this movement and only the elite had access to the art (ie. a "Mandarin elitism").

Some of the followers of this idea are Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Bergson, and Sorel. Symbolism and existentialism grew out of these schools of thought. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrationalism_and_Aestheticism [Mar 2006]

Positivism is a philosophy developed by Auguste Comte in the beginning of the 19th century, which stated that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge. It is sometimes refered to, in a pejorative way, as scientism. As an approach to the philosophy of science deriving from Enlightenment thinkers like Pierre-Simon Laplace (and many others), positivism was first systematically theorized by Auguste Comte, who saw the scientific method as replacing metaphysics in the history of thought, and who observed the circular dependence of theory and observation in science. Brazil's national motto, Ordem e Progresso ("Order and Progress") was taken from Comte's positivism, also influential in Poland. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positivism_%28philosophy%29 [Mar 2006]

In philosophy, postpositivism is, as the prefix indicates, a metatheoretical stance following positivism. One of the main supporters of postpositivism was Sir Karl R. Popper. Other mentioned in connection with postpositivism are John Dewey and Nicholas Rescher.

In the social sciences, postpositivism is used to refer to a group within political theory (mostly comprised of feminists and postmodernists) who do not believe it is possible to view life from an objective point of view. They also value language, speech, and culture when dealing with rational political decisions. It encompasses the group of political theorists who believe that theory both shapes reality and follows it. It is the opposite of sociological positivism. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postpositivism [Mar 2006]

Antipositivism is the view in sociology that social sciences need to create and use different scientific methods than those used in the field of natural sciences. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antipositivism [Mar 2006]

See also: 1900s - Postmodernism - Aestheticism - irrational

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