Wednesday, 22 June 2022

to each his dulcinea

Revived on Broadway for the first of four times on this day in 1972 with Richard Kiley in the role of Miguel de Cervantes and alter-ego Don Quixote, the 1965 musical by Dale Wasserman (devolved from his 1959 non-singing DuPont Show of the Month teleplay), Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion (replacing W H Auden as lyricist as his words were considered too arch) is a nest, play-within-a-play performed by the imprisoned poet and errant knight and fellow inmates awaiting their hearing before the Spanish Inquisition. A cinematic version was produced this year as well—with the main part going to Peter O’Toole. Tossed in a dungeon along with Sancho Panza, Cervante’s manservant, the other prisoners are eager to take the contents of the trunk that they brought were allowed to bring with them—to which Cervantes suggests that in his defence, he be allowed to perform a play. The room consents and Cervantes is told he can keep his property if his acting and story are judged up to muster and introduces Don Quixote and his adventures, producing make-up and costumes from his trunk for himself and supporting cast.

Saturday, 28 May 2022

8x8

scotch tapes: commercials, idents and continuity from British television from 1984 salavaged from VHS casettes  

boldly go!: a medley of songs from and about the Star Trek franchise—see also  

apiculture: a survey of bee hives throughout the ages  

latex: Goodyear and the US Department of Defence are partnering to manufacture tyres from dandelions—see previously  

kleksographien: revisiting the blotograms (previously) of Justinus Kerner plus other inspired symmetries  

red wine and ginger ale: Vulture correspondent Rebecca Alter samples all the food combinations referenced in Harry’s House  

diagrammatic map: another look at how Massimo Vignelli presented mass transit to the masses—see previously here and here—via Things magazine  

the fantastic journey: an obscure 1977 time-travel series starring Joan Collins and John Saxon

Friday, 27 May 2022

8x8

city in a bottle: a bit of micro-coding from Frank Force (previously) decoded—via Waxy    

kr: the Icelandic Graphic Design Association (FรT, Fรฉlag รญslenskra teiknara) issues a challenge to come up with a glyph for their krรณna  

nรฉcessaire: a French borrowing—see also—for kit and carry  

enough: TIME magazine’s cover lists the two-hundred thirteen US cities that have had mass-shootings this year, so far  

social sentinel: a look at the dubious pre-crime predictive software that ill-serves society and the reliance on tech to come to the rescue in general  

party line: last bank of public phones removed from New York City—see also here, here, here and here  

swiss miss: Tina Roth Eisenberg celebrates her seventeenth blogoversary tesserae: MIT Lab develops autonomous modular tiles to create structures and habitats in space

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

susan superstar

Plagued with budget problems and a rather unreliable cast of actors, the project of Andy Warhol’s Factory regulars (previously), the semi-autobiographical film starring Edie Sedgwick was finally completed on this day in 1972 after five years of production. Debuting in July in Amsterdam to critical acclaim, the counter-cultural icon portrays the lure of fame and addiction through the deterioration and downfall of her on screen alter-ego. Written and directed by John Palmer and David Weisman (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Ciao! Manhattan also featured Paul America, Baby Jane Holzer, Viva and Roger Vadim.

Friday, 1 April 2022

7x7

health officials warn of “second wave” of immersive van gogh exhibitions: symptoms to be on the look out for include a flattening of the artist’s legacy and an intense desire to watch Emily in Paris  

a book by its cover: the absurdist collages of Paperback Paradise  

match game: flawless digital recreations of classic TV game show sets  

111 west 57th street: super tall, slender residential tower tapering from Steinway Hall is an homage to the piano-maker  

earendel: the Hubble space telescope images the oldest, most distant star  

old dutch master: a series of fifteenth century Flemish style portraits recreated in an airport lavatory—see also—via Things Magazine  

achieve hover status—everyone else will want to hover but can’t: an AI (see previously) comes up with pranks to play on the user

Thursday, 24 March 2022

what’s that smell in this room? didn’t you notice it, brick? didn’t you notice the powerful and obnoxious odour of mendacity in this room?

Adapted from the playwright’s own 1952 short story Three Players of a Summer Game under the stage direction of Elia Kazan, Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof a nihilistic play about a cotton tycoon and his relationship with his son and daughter-in-law had its Broadway debut on this day in 1955 and deals with the theme of self-deception.  The three-act play was awarded the Pulitzer Prize that year.  The original production, hosted by the Morosco Theatre, starred Barbara Bel Geddes, Ben Gazzara and Burl Ives as Big Daddy.

Monday, 28 February 2022

guernica

Whilst on tour, displayed in the Museum of Modern Art, Pablo Picasso’s 1937 painting was vandalised on this day in 1972 by art dealer and gallerist Tony Shafrazi—ostensibly to protest the announcement of the release on his own recognisance of the junior commander responsible for the brutal 1968 Mแปน Lai massacre. Apprehended by security after spray-painting “Kill Lies All” on the canvas—a reference to the conceit in James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake where the phrase could be read in either direction, Shafazi whom had previously participated in other protests against the war recoiled, “Call the curator. I am an artist!” The paint was easily removed with no damage to the work. With clients including the Shah of Iran and Donald Trump, Shafazi during his subsequent career is responsible for cultivating and promoting the talents of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Keith Haring and David LaChapelle.

Thursday, 24 February 2022

continuum

As an antidote to the frenetic pace of world events and ploys for attention monumental artist Krista Kim has staged a soothing mediation synchronised across the over ninety blaring electronic billboards of New York’s Times Square (see also) with this cleansing, reflective colour gradient. Their contribution is part of Midnight Moment—the long-running digital art exhibition that takes place nightly from 23:57 to the stroke of midnight in the city that never sleeps.

Saturday, 22 January 2022

grover’s corners

First performed on this day at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, the breakthrough stage play in three acts by playwright Thornton Wilder is a metaramic piece piercing the fourth-wall with choral-like narration by the Stage Manager that recounts the everyday events of Anytown, USA from the years 1901 to 1913. Our Town premiered on Broadway that same season and would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize and enduring acclaim that has seen many revivals and is a staple of high school and community theatre productions.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

do you think there will ever be a time when you’ll be hung as a thief?

On this anniversary of the first day of recording sessions in 1965 at Columbia studios in New York City with the artist producing “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and Subterranean Homesick Blues,” we’re directed towards Bob Dylan’s interview and press-conference held at the end of that same year after going electric. Much more at the link above.

Saturday, 18 December 2021

something just broke

Opening to expected and welcome controversy over the taboo subject in general and some vocal members of the theatre-going public dismissing it as inappropriate for a musical, the Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman collaboration Assassins had its debut on this day in 1990 at the Off-Broadway venue the Playwrights’ Horizons. Despite negative initial reception, the revue-style piece that explored the real and imagined lives, motivations and self-justifications of those who tried (attempted and successful) to kill US leaders, presidential victims and tertiary characters associated perpetrators, the show was reprised many times and during a 2004 revival on Broadway and the West End ultimately won five Tony Awards. The cast of characters include John Wilkes Booth, John Hinckley Jr, and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme and Sara Jane Moore, president Gerald Ford’s would-be assassins.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

bull market

The iconic Charging Bull bronze—which has become a universally recognised and enduring symbol of capitalism and Wall Street was not a commission of the city of New York or the Parks Service but rather a gift from sculptor Arturo di Modica, inspired to create this work just after the stock market crash of 1987 at significant personal expense, for the city and its residents. Late in the evening on this day in 1989, the statue was illegally trucked in and installed in front of the Stock Exchange. Authorities removed the creature, only to be set up again in Bowling Green a few blocks away and allowed temporary permission to remain due to public outcry over its threatened demolition. Though the status of the grant remains unchanged, it seems to have become a permanent fixture. This tolerance is of course in stark contrast to the reception of the guerrilla public artist Kristen Visbal who created Fearless Girl (previously, ahead of International Women’s Day in 2017), originally facing down the Charging Bull. She was moved next to the Stock Exchange after complaints the she was upstaging, provoking the bull in 2018, though a plaque with her footprints is still in the original spot.

preserved fish iii

Via Super Punch, we learn about the titular whaler (see more about the phenomenon of nominative determinism), New York shipping merchant, director of Bank of America, founding broker of the New York Stock and Exchange board (*1766 - †1846, his blacksmith father and grandfather bearing the same name) and involved in the political machine of Tammany Hall. In the sense of “saints preserve us,” like many in nineteenth century puritanical America, Fish was given an excruciatingly pious name.  Humble Brag.


Sunday, 12 December 2021

8x8

an den mond “genuss, lieber mond”: a completist sorts and ranks every composition of Franz Schubert—via the morning news 

chaotic good: mapping the mythological creatures of the Baltic—via ibฤซdem 

the two-thousand year-old man: more appreciation and acclaim for Mel Brooks 

birds aren’t real: a satirical Gen-Z misinformation campaign (see Poe’s Law) turned merchandising opportunity  

location scout: an assortment of movie maps 

parallel path: rubbish corporatespeak that does not avail itself to the level of jargon and technical terms  

combinatorics: base rate fallacies and why false narratives are easy to frame for the ill-numerate  

sexting: “u ๐Ÿ†™” in the style of several male authors

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

prove to me that you’re divine, change my water into wine—that’s all you need do, then i’ll know it’s all true

Formerly only previewed as a cast recording in limited release over a year prior, the rock opera by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber Jesus Christ Superstar was for the first time staged and performed before a live audience in the Mark Hellinger Theatre on Broadway—the famous venue for My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Man of La Mancha which would eventually be consecrated in 1989 as the interdenominational Times Square Church—on this day in 1971. The anachronistic version of the Holy Week narrative, loosely following the books of the gospel and giving an accounting of Jesus and his disciples leading up to his arrest and crucifixion was the longest-running West End musical before being displaced by Cats in 1989. Below is “Superstar,” the penultimate number, with Judas, Soul Sisters and Angels from the 1973 adaptation, filmed on location.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

no one i think is in my tree

On this day in 1985, on what would have been the artist’s forty-fifth birthday, his widow Yoko Ono, who contributed significantly to the landscaping and upkeep through the years, and New York City mayor Ed Koch dedicated the one hectare memorial within Central Park to the memory of murdered former Beatle John Lennon.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

shock theatre

With the debut of the syndicated package of made-for-television monster movies after a few minor roles in a Western series—one being an undertaker—on this day in 1957 in the Philadelphia market, John Zacherle (*1918 - †2016) began a decades’ long career as a horror host, editing a pair of anthologies of ghost stories plus penning a few monster novelty songs. Often filling in for his colleague and fellow Philadelphian broadcaster Dick Clark when touring, Zacherle was the substitute MC for American Bandstand. As a promotional stunt to mark his move to New York, Zacherley staged a presidential campaign in 1960, running as a “cool ghoul” but failing to meet the threshold to get on the ballot in any state. Continuing the same format as Shock Theatre, the interstitial breaks became more and more elaborate with a cast of monstrous characters and branched out into a few motion picture parts as well as hosting a cartoon variety hour and adolescent dance show in New Jersey called Disc-O-Teen. Through the seventies and eighties, Zacherle was a Prog Rock disk-jockey and in an array of b-movies. His success and notoriety helped his niece Bonnie Zacherle develop and successfully pitch her 1982 toy line, My Little Pony—the horror.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

disco ball ceiling, i whisper quietly to myself.

As fellow internet caretaker Things Magazine informs, delightfully McMansion Hell’s yearbook project (previously) has reached 1980 with a piece of real estate on Staten Island whose relatively tame and unified exterior (at least when viewed from the street) conceals a real nightmare going on inside that gets progressively more terrifying as one descends into the house’s depths. More at the links above and be sure to follow Kate Wagner so as to never miss an update.

Friday, 24 September 2021

6x6

social distancing: a racier version of Bernie Sanders inauguration getup (previously)—via Everlasting Blรถrt  

directory assistance: file folders are a foreign concept to younger pupils—via Waxy  

street view: a stroll around New York City in 1914 

the matter of britain: early fragment of the Arthurian legend discovered and translated 

we are on the worst timeline: the future used to be cool 

apocalypse no: as a global community, we have overcome some high-hurdles

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

anatevka

On this day in 1964, the alternatively titled musical Fiddler on the Roof—a collaboration of Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein—premiered on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre. The original cast included Zero Mostel as the leading milkman Tevye, Bea Arthur as the matchmaker Yente, Pia Zadora as the youngest daughter, Bette Midler and Leonard Nimoy who all attempt to maintain religious and cultural traditions after being displaced and resettled in Russia counter to a more liberal second generation and threatened with further eviction.