paul ford // f train [writing // BABL]

i first ran across paul ford last spring when i read his 'six-word reviews of 763 SXSW mp3s.' when he came back with 'six-word reviews of 1,302 SXSW mp3s' (click for loads of downloadables) this year, i backtracked to his blog, f train, to see what he's about. ford, a harper's editor and npr contributor, muses sporadically on laughs, literature, and life in new york, and there's really something to it. read steering wheel below.
I've been walking home--my bike is in the shop forever and the weather is nice. I listen to episodes of the Jack Benny program on my phone, waiting for Mary Livingstone to laugh. I'm up through 1946.
The traffic where I live is so bad that sometimes I am stuck in my minivan for forty minutes before I get to work. So I use the steering wheel as a kind of prayer wheel. Each notch reminds me of a prayer. I go from notch to notch saying prayers for my husband, for each of my children, my parents, my friends, and the students in my class.

I read something like that 19 years ago in Guideposts. I was sitting in my grandparents' living room on their black sofa. I think of it whenever my computer gives me the pinwheel, or when I am on the phone at work helping an old lady onto the website, explaining that email doesn't need stamps. At the top right of the screen, I asked, do you see a little box? And to the left of the box is the word “Username?” You put a special name into that box. We have to make that special name.

“I'm old,” she said.

Down through Soho. People walk into traffic while text-messaging. I also have on headphones. It's warm, crowded, and progress is slow. I see a girl in canary leggings and short bangs, backlit by a storefront. She is laughing at a joke made by a boy in a vest. No wonder people want to live here. Right then Mary Livingstone laughs in 1946. A man with his tongue out is trying to shake hands with everyone. On Bowery I pass the New Museum, which has a sign reading “HELL YES!” in great rainbow letters. Faces lit from below or on the side by cell-phone screens and media players. I am moving slow but light is absolutely everywhere.


changing new york, 1935-1938 [photography]

i wish i had time to run off at the mouth about this. alas. per the great vaults of the new york public library's digital gallery:
Photographer Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) proposed Changing New York, her grand project to document New York City, to the Federal Art Project (FAP) in 1935. The FAP was a Depression-era government program for unemployed artists and workers...(more)
click the photos above to see a slideshow of some of this collection, and follow the slideshow through to loads of other collections that the nypl has made available via flickr.

LINK: related


will oldham [music]

will oldham is about as indie-huge as you can get. as it happens, the latest bonnie 'prince' billy album, beware, just dropped, and, accordingly, there is a glut of oldham lore in the news. loads of links below, all from the past week give or take. all are worth a look, but if you've only got a moment or just want to cut to the counter-intuitive chase, i recommend the independent article. i usually stay away from 'what's on your ipod' junk, but as you might expect, oldham's ipod is not quite like yours or mine, nor is his annotation. a sampling:
The Pipil Indians of El Salvador

"This next song is called 'El Barrenar'. The Smithsonian library has a website and you can order anything from the archives. Someone will then burn you a CD. I was going to El Salvador a year ago and I wanted to hear some music in the months leading up to my trip there. This is vocal, rustic and is in Spanish, when I was hoping it would be in an American-Indian dialect. It's probably from some time in the 1960s. The truth is I'm not all that happy with this purchase."



"We now come to 'Boardmeeting', one word, by Timbaland featuring Magoo from his 2007 record Shock Value. I have never listened to this song. I was on tour and I watched a Timbaland video with Nelly Furtado late one night on the hotel TV. I liked it and thought, OK, I must listen to the rest of the record. But I don't like the rest of the record, though I should at this point confess a weakness for Nelly Furtado records in general."

LINK: npr reviews beware
LINK: bonnie 'prince' billy live on soundcheck on wnyc (audio)
LINK: "the brilliant disguises of will oldham" - village voice
LINK: beware review on nytimes popcast (audio)
LINK: "will oldham lets his ipod do the talking" - the independent
DOWNLOAD // VIDEO: bonnie 'prince' billy - i am goodbye (via)

lmfao [music // video]

you can call this a guilty pleasure, but i see no reason to feel guilty about it.

LINK: if you've somehow not had enough...


madden mondays, season 3 [video // friends]

apologies for the million reasons keeping me from posting, but my dad's coming to taiwan, and i'm just real busy. might continue to be slow for a while.

madden mondays was a fixture back in the heyday of the riverhorse, when pabst was more cheap than cool. the above clip is the first in a 5 part docu by renato umali, my old film TA (and later roommate). you can follow the whole 30 some minutes through the links below. it'll take you right back when you see babyfaced menchal smoking and squinting while mauro puts angelo in a headlock hug. and if you don't know those guys, well, have a laugh at a ramshackle cast of too-old brats screaming unholies at one another over playstation wizardry. to be fair, there's some good commentary from the whole sick crew in various states of disrepair. watch out for my shitty nimbus of hair. from mke, with love.

2 // 3 // 4 // 5


chad moore [photography]

i know it's not that close to summer and none of us are 16 going on 19 anymore, but think balmy, sea salty thoughts, alright? i've been waiting to find something that merits a wavves link, and chad moore's (socal? scottsdale? florida?) neverending 19-year-old summer shots are it. shit, man, you were there. live the dream.

LINK: wavves - so bored [mp3]


tunde adebimpe // brandon kim [music // friends]

daniel's already got this over at btbn because he and brandon go way back, which is the essence of inside information, really. second-hand, third-hand, whatever, fact is brandon caught up with tunde adebimpe about the music and his role in rachel getting married and they let the discussion run to include the roles of music and other media in the current american(?)/societal rhetoric. read between the lines of me sounding like an asshole: they talk about race and politics. anyways, tunde handles it brilliantly:
Regarding race or gender or sexuality, one of the great things about art and music is that they can provide people with very little else in common with a similar entry point for discussion, but the discussions still need to happen for life to get more interesting. I'm all for awkward, frank, sometimes painful conversations about things that give everyone a better perspective on who they are in the here and now, and how they want to proceed from there.
daniel also got the whisper on an mp3 of tunde's neil young cover from the film, so be sure to hit that btbn link.
LINK: taking a break with tunde adebimpe - b. kim for ifc
LINK // PHOTO CRED: gorilla vs. bear polaroids


new york times visuals [meta?]

*click for slideshow
this series of images uses the faceted searching abilities of the nytimes article search api to construct maps of the top organizations & people mentioned in articles for a given news year. connections between these entities are drawn, so that relationships can be found and followed. (more)

aislinn leggett // i am tourist [photography]

thank god you're never those people on vacation. and thank aislinn leggett for these gotcha!s you wish you coulda got. check her site. beware of travel and photo envy.


christian faur [art]

i was never any good at coloring. looking at christian faur's crayon pictures, maybe he wasn't either. while my old slaphappy method of splaying smiley faces on poorly proportioned two-dimensional dogs and people was garish and abstract in all its refrigerator magnet glory, like so many others my enthusiasm for the crayon ended on those sheaves of coarse brown paper. apparently, faur was bent on getting more out of his crayons. as such, his idea of retaining aesthetic while ditching traditional utility makes the crayon into a whole 'nother tool. in the pieces in faur's crayon series, the tips and slender columns of the crayons become 3D pixels, and the contours of the images change depth, shape, definition, and perception as the viewer changes vantage points. feels to me like these snapshots of life are meant to look familiar, and yet not quite. i find a lot of associative memory in the images: looking at someone through a screen, an old newspaper photo blown up out of scale, an infrared image, what life looks like with my glasses off, the millisecond after you look directly into a camera flash, a not yet developed polaroid. see what you want, the looking seems to be the important part.

DOWNLOAD: lcd soundsystem - new york i love you but you're bringing me down [mp3]