May 23, 2013
Patsy got her first real break at age 20, playing with a regional country bandleader named Bill Peer, who was married and a father but still fell in love with her. It was Peer who suggested she call herself Patsy, from her middle name, Patterson. Their affair was well known and whispered about, and the indignity probably pushed her toward Gerald Cline, a 28-year-old heir to a construction fortune who wooed her whenever the Peer group stopped at the Moose Lodge in Brunswick, Md. They married in 1953, then fought bitterly for years because she refused to stay off the road and have children. By 1957 Patsy had split from Peer, then from Cline, but also had fought her way on to one of the most popular television shows in the country. It’s accurate, though diminishing, to call Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts the American Idol of its day; a greater percentage of the country watched Godfrey’s talent show than have ever watched Idol. A win could make a career, and that’s what happened for Patsy when she sang her third single, “Walkin’ After Midnight,” in 1957, and the impressed host deemed it a “wam-doodler.”
Takuma Nakahira, Untitled, 1971, courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York (via Paris in the Seventies)May 20, 2013
May 14, 2013
I like beer. Wherever I teach, it is one of the first things I need to find. Where is the coffee, where is the beer, where is the burger. The beer I find early on, at what becomes my local spaetie, the German version of a bodega, and run by Arabs who are studying translation at the University of Leipzig. Most German stores close around 6 or 7, but this is open until midnight, and has a fridge of single beers by the front door with beers from all over Germany. Most are pilsners and lagers, and I begin a kind of taste test, one by one. By the time I leave, my favorite is the Augustiner Brau, from Munich. There are no real losers, though, and it seems to me part of the reason is the German beer purity law, which requires that German beers have no more than four ingredients. This law succeeds beautifully. I can’t tell you enough about how good the beer is, or how inexpensive, except to say I will miss being able to go to the spaetie and buy a fantastic beer for .75 cents Euro or less. You can keep your fancy spiced whatevers, your ridiculous flavors. Give me a pils or a schwarzbier.
Some areas around the river feel almost rural—the vegetation, the pace of life. It’s these little pockets that interest me most. I met people who have lived in D.C. for decades, people who were born here and whose grandparents taught them to fish here. Real estate is already extraordinarily expensive in D.C., and even in the most “affordable” areas, rent is still outrageous. Some of the yacht clubs on the west of the river have been there for over 50 years, but they can only hope to hold on to their land with rising property taxes and the looming threat of the city seizing land through eminent domain. I will be surprised if they are here in 10 years.
Becky Harlan, via AnacostiaMay 13, 2013
Summer of 1976 I stayed with my cousin whose stepfather ran a restaurant called Ma Bell’s in Tulsa. A telephone on every table and you called your order into the kitchen, nice gimmick at the time. The minimalist T-shirt had the name in a pleasing sans-serif, canary yellow on a blue tee. I recall the city only as sprawl, incomprehensible to my sense of urban compression. My cousin and I played golf in the horizontal blaze of a hundred-degree August afternoon, cowed after three holes. He was thirteen, I was fourteen. The next summer he visited me in New York City. I reciprocated for horizontal bafflement with the best verticality on offer. We visited the World Trade Center. Instead of taking the elevator to the tourist level at the top and paying for the view, we decided to sneak our way to the highest level we could through office corridors, to see how high a level we could attain and still get to a window for a view. I think we topped out somewhere in the eighties. It hadn’t hit me until writing that last sentence that Oklahoma and Manhattan are cousins-by-terrorism. Ma Bell’s is gone (broken up, I’m tempted to say) and so is his mom’s marriage, and a lot of other things, but my cousin remains my cousin and he still plays golf.
“Ma Bell’s,” by Jonathan Lethem (Imaginary Oklahoma) via South by Midwest, illustration by J.P. MorrisonMay 7, 2013
I’m not the kind of photographer who takes thousands of images. I work slowly and methodically on one or two images. Most of the work takes place in planning and pre-visualising the image, and sometimes not taking a shot is part of that process.
(via Alex Boyd, Point of Deliverance)May 6, 2013
Hendrick Avercamp, “A Scene on the Ice Near a Town” (c. 1615).May 5, 2013
The noise and the honking don’t usually prevail at night. The night is a silent, eerie, and almost otherworldly kind of space, one that is largely deserted and absent of the crowds of people who are around by day. That is one of the reasons I prefer working at night, and part of my intention is to look at these silent places that lie at the edge of a borderland of sorts and to disclose what the darkness holds, in order to find a sense of sentience.
Dhruv Malhotra (via India at Rest)Apr 29, 2013
While the internet aids the perception that band names are harder to come by (they’re also changing, says Chris Johnson, who’s noted fewer one-word band names than multi-word ones), it’s not because English is running out of words. There are still vast numbers of words that can be stuck together, as well as a number of patterns or templates, some of which haven’t been become institutionalized as genre cues yet, that can be used to expand the permutational choices. Surely your one-word choice (Blue) will be taken, so modify it (Big Blue, Super Blue, Pink Blue, Really Blue, the Blue) or build a phrase (Big Blue Fly, Big Blue Road, Big Blue Popsicle, Big Blue Big). From a little bit of recursion, you could name a million bands and still bequeath a list of a million more to your rock-and-roll grandchildren (though those names will probably be longer).
(via Like a Lead Balloon by Michael Erard)Apr 26, 2013
Buying a gun in our times, especially for self-defense, seems to me an aggressive or defensive act—a statement by the purchaser about how he feels about his community, his neighbors and his country. It means he doesn’t feel safe in his bed at night, that he doesn’t trust the police to stop the criminals, and he doesn’t trust his fellow citizens not to attack. You can mask it with talk of freedom or the Constitution but underneath it all is fear. Firearms have become a manifestation of a massive distrust of both government and the wider society, a physical manifestation of a deepening societal and political divide. I don’t mean to ignore the millions of hunters and target shooters, for whom guns carry none of this loaded symbolism. Partisans on either side unfairly dismiss these people, but, rightly or wrongly, guns have become a symbol for currents deeper in our national soul than discussions on hunting and skeet shooting, and we need to talk about guns, if just to work out where we want this country to go.
(via Bad Land)Apr 22, 2013
John Weeks (New Zealander, 1886–1965)Apr 17, 2013
“I spent so many hours, days, and weeks outside, waiting for the sun to come out, waiting for new snow, waiting for the clouds to go by or come in, depending on the photograph. So much time we spent just waiting, waiting, waiting.” - Thomas Stöeckli
(via A Sense of Snow)Apr 15, 2013
“Photography is a lot like memory, which is to say it’s a very unreliable witness. Not the physical lenses and light of a camera (photography is good at depiction), but our relationship to images. I love photography but I definitely do not trust it at its word.”
William Miller, via Elegy to the Polaroid SX-70Apr 8, 2013
Garry Winogrand (1928-1984)Apr 7, 2013