LINES OF THE DAY

". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, June 17, 2017

On Not Journaling + The Young Pope

     . . . .  At the beginning of last week my second laptop arrived, one lighter and smaller than my oversize laptop. The Big Pooter is better for writing and working, but the small one is for copying text, etc. in a special collection, that then can be transferred to the larger one at home/

 With everything else going on in our lives it's taken forever to load the little one with what I want and need, and then get it set-up the way I want and need.  This has been unnecessarily complicated by Windows 10 deciding to update with a load of applications and 'creative' things that I never use and just get in the way, which its done for both my laptops now.  It takes over 2 hours to update, which made updating more than inconvenient.  Afterwards, which was much more difficult for someone as unskilled and non intuitive as myself, I had to go in and rid both of them of memory eating irrelevant stuff -- I don't play games, I don't design anything, I don't need special cursors, and so on and so forth.



By the east side door, where entry is easier, because the front entry is jammed with tourists.
However, now that I had achieved the smaller and lighter, i.e. more portable device, I have been going uptown to the Schwarzman Research Library to deal with Red River Valley newspapers and copy various information for Far From Anywhere.  I have deliberately not added my various e-mail programs and so on to the little poot so far (when traveling, I'll need them, but I don't now), to keep from being distracted while researching.  Newspapers and journals and magazines  are still a pita to research, even when they aren't on microfilm.  Though -- if they're digitized one can do searches, which helps a lot.  But however one digs through them it's hell on the eyes, and mine are so bad already.

The weather hasn't helped much, lurching as it does from damp, clammy, chilly and drear to brutally hot and polluted.  The subways are packed and suffering from so many years of deferred maintenance.  The sidewalks are jammed with tourists. When I get home, transfer the files from the afternoon to the Big Pooter, start dinner, all I can manage is to open the wine, put up my feet and stream some tv.

     . . . . The most satisfactory viewing this month has been The Young Pope. Is Lenny Belardo - Pius XIII, the  youngest pope ever, the first US Pope, a saint? Or, is he Christ returned?  Or is he the worst retrogression to the days of the excommunicating, inquisiting, intolerant Latin Church popes, or merely a self-serving, unbelieving ambitious sort of which the Church appears to be packed?  Or -- maybe, he's the devil himself?  I still have 2 1/2 episodes to go, but, the way things work in this series, maybe I'll never know.  They Say there's to be a second season, but Jude Law won't be pope.  Who knows what that means.

Jude Law is co-producer with Paolo Sorrentino, as well as Pius XIII.  Shot in Rome, or so it seems, it's sumptuous, but it's also topsy-turvy, almost surreal many times.  Many scenes are spoken in Italian, only so unless one has a feature that allows for subtitles, this adds to unexpected turns that are always happening.  Every time I think I've got this thing figured out, it reverses and goes sideways simultaneously, and sometimes even, literally, turns upside down.

 Jude Law is brilliant, though one occasionally feels Law himself has been, perhaps lamentably and unduly influence by Andrew Scott's Moriarty in the latest BBC Sherlock for some of his deliveries, in the tone of voice, shape of mouth.



More happily, one feels the producer was somewhat influenced for the opening title sequence by the lamentably never completed series, Rome’s brilliant animation of the graffiti of the end of the Republic.



In Young Pope’s case, it’s Jude Law’s Pius XIII strolling along the many great Renaissance painting of a gallery in the Vatican, each coming to life as he passes by.

This has been particularly fun to watch as this month, along with a history of the Capetians, I've been reading Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy.

     . . . . Other matters going on of import to us --

M's memorial has been given a date.  The planning is finally getting to take shape.



We have learned that so far that the proclaimed changes for Cuba travel (which affect, let us not forget, only about 600,000 of the 4 million + tourists annually) won't affect Postmambo trips, as they alwaqys have been licensed group trips for the express and only purpose of culture and education, and the track record proves it.  But it means that an individual or couple or group of friends no longer can invoke people-to-people and go. But it's been nail-biting time here in the casa.  Will the you-know-whos destroy the business a second time?  But so far, so good, knock knock knock on wood.

Anyway, tonight --  the rain seems to have stopped.  Pasta and jazz first, then a friend's dance troupe performing at Roulette.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Aperçu and Silhouette - Toshi Reagon and Mavis Staples

     . . . . For reasons unknown to me I woke up with the words aperçu and silhouette in mind, seeing them elegant and graceful in their appearance on the page or screen, and equally so in their meanings. 



If today I were presented with two young kittens I would name them Aperçu and Silhouette -- for which they surely would punish me for all their days . . . .

     . . . . Yesterday's late afternoon, evening and night were perfect June light and weather.

Toshi Reagon

Reagon's band, Big Lovely - Central Park Summer Stage June 3, 2017

We were at Central Park for the reception prior to the opening show for the annual Summer Stage program.  The sky didn't go completely dark in the west until about 9 PM. The June-leafed out trees of the park were silhouetted against the brilliant sunset colors.

Mavis Staples took us there!


The one and only Nona Hendryx! Singer, songwriter, actress, LBGT activist.


The music was provided by two kickass women and their big bands -- Toshi Reagon and Mavis Staples. Among the great performers who got up to join Mavis and Toshi in the Big Bands' grand finale, was the splendid Nona Hendryx!  We were right up there front and center for it.

The audience was New Yorkers almost all, as Summer Stage is too localized a system to attract that many tourists.  As with everything here these days there were many moments during which the audience registered its dislike for the current policies emitted in D.C. that concern the city and her residents.  Recall who these women are: Mavis as she gleefully pointed out, was with Dr. King at Selma and -- I am still here! Toshi's mother is Bernice Johnson Reagon, song leader, composer, scholar, and social activist, who was a founding member of the SNCC Freedom Singers in the Albany Movement (Albany, Georgia, desegregation 1961 - 1962).

Yah, one of those nights that again tell us are why we are all in this city and why we love it -- and why those others hate us and it.