- Leaked: Target Corporation’s anti-union employee training video, “Think Before You Sign.”
- Media Matters has compiled a long history of Fox News’ race-baiting and racially charged commentary.
- Eight delightful essays about positively awful travel experiences.
- A collaborative, online sketch with 1 million illustrators (you could be one of them).
- Your inner narcissist may wonder, “Does anything matter?” Well, some things do, and ethicist Peter Singer explains why.
- The jury has made its decision, reports ArtInfo, pole-dancing is not art.
- Fathers-to-be, kick back and pour a shot. Heck, it’s your “dadelor party.”
- Bucking the trends to downsize (or close altogether), the independent L.A. used bookseller the Last Bookstore just upgraded to a 10,000-square-foot downtown retail space. Recognize the bookshelves? They scavenged them from a defunct Borders megastore.
- Just when you thought companies had exhausted all advertising platforms, Gilette carves an ad on a strand of hair.
- Wired goes deeper into the comparison of basketball to jazz, explaining the mental labor that goes into inventing “beauty in real time.”
From Utne Reader’s third and final dispatch from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival:
When I discovered last month that Sonny Rollins would close out the 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, I started making plans to get there from Minneapolis. After listening to him play five songs over 90 minutes Sunday night in the WWOZ Jazz Tent, the experience was worth every penny. Money is fungible. But being exposed to such profound artistry generates an impression that lasts a lifetime.
I thought age had inexorably worn Rollins down. He turned 80 last September, and the last few times I have caught him over the past ten or twelve years, he had seemed unable to plumb his sources of inspiration as deeply and continuously as he had when I first started attending his concerts in the mid-1980s. But Sunday was vintage Rollins, a jaw-dropping display of improvisational gusto made all the more spectacular and poignant by its Lion in Winter dynamic.
From Britt Robson’s second day of coverage of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival:
Okay, folks, I’m going to try not to be as lengthy nor as breathless as my initial post from the Fairgrounds Racetrack here in New Orleans. By now you get the gist that the Jazz & Heritage Festival puts a gallon of music in a quart’s worth of time, and that every day spent here is suffused with iconic moments. Watching Beausoleil, the premiere Cajun band in the world, play in their natural stomping grounds is a quintessential experience that can’t be captured by a blog post.
Jazz drummer Dave King. Photo by Cameron Wittig.
I had an epiphany while waiting for the improvisational quartet Buffalo Collision to hit the stage at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis last week. I was all curled up in my chair reading the profile of White House Chief of Staff Rahm ‘Rahmbo’ Emanuel. Specifically, I was reading this:
At 50, Emanuel has the lean, taut look of a lifelong swimmer, with broad shoulders and distractingly prominent quadriceps. But at the heart of the Emanuel mystique is the family patois, which lurches between pronounced curtness and vivid, sometimes scatological, imagery. Emanuel will casually toss off quips like, “You’re in the bowels of nothin,’ man.” One former colleague recalls making two or three requests during a sensitive negotiation, only to have Emanuel respond: “Well, I guess if I can take care of Bill Clinton’s blow jobs, I can take care of that.”
And then there are the f-bombs, which Emanuel reels off like a verbal tic, sometimes embedding them in other words with Germanic aplomb. There is, for example, “Fucknutsville” (his pet name for Washington) and “knucklefuck” (an honorific bestowed on Republican opponents). In administration meetings, Emanuel will occasionally announce, “I think it’s fucking idiotic, but it’s your call.” (That would be Rahm-speak for: “You have more expertise than I do on this subject.”) He’s even been known to use the imprecation as a term of endearment, as when he signs off friendly phone calls: “Fuck you. See you later. I love you.” As Phil Kellam, one of Emanuel’s star recruits from the 2006 election cycle, recently joked to me, “If you could sum up Rahm Emanuel, it would be: big ideas, big mouth, big heart, little finger.” (Emanuel lost half his middle finger in a teenage accident.)
You probably read that and laughed. I did too at first. Then I just felt sad. Not lend-me-your-shoulder sad, but a kind of angry sad. Health care hadn’t passed yet and I thought to myself, “Why is it up to these knuckleheads at all?” Then I had this though: Collaboration is dead.
Five minutes into Buffalo Collision I was having a different thought: What if improvisational jazz musicians ran the country? Here these guys were, at the end of a tour that presented the same challenge every night: A crowd of people who paid to hear good music and a band with absolutely no idea what they were going to play. And they were killing it. Chaos turned to melody and back again. Over and over again they wandered into the abyss and then rose from it. In Washington it seems like it’s all abyss. Even today.
It was the first act of a two-night improvisational jazz circus at the Walker. The beloved drummer Dave King (you might know him from his band The Bad Plus) as the ringleader. King stormed and smiled his way through performances with six bands. Reach across the aisle indeed.
Sure we got health care passed without the jazz cats in office, but nobody was smiling and there was no music at all. It was all iron fists clanging in Fucknutsville and that song is far from over. Whatever happens next—immigration, the war, whatever—I’m going to be wherever Dave King is at. Let me know how it all turns out.
–Jeff Severns Guntzel
Oh, and if you’re the kind of person who would sit through an hour+ interview with a jazz drummer (I am!), here’s some Dave King in a chair for you, courtesy of the Walker Channel: