Sunday, December 30, 2007

Organizations #7, Dead Presidents #28

Playground Association of America

Honorary President, President Theodore Roosevelt

(Founded 1906)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Anniverseries #7, Christianity #7

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life & bid thee feed,
By the stream & o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, wooly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek & he is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child & thou a lamb.
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

William Blake, "The Lamb," Songs of Innocence

Monday, December 24, 2007

Lines Taken Out of Context #10

Marley's face. It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were, but had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar.

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dead Presidents #27, Cinema #31

Theodore Roosevelt calls on neighbors at Christmas in Oyster Bay, New York, then poses for a group portrait before the newsreel cameramen (1917)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

History #7

Quid est enim aliud omnis historia quam Romana laus?

What else, then, is all history, if not the praise of Rome?

Francesco Petrarch, "Apologia contra cuiusdam anonymi Galli alumnias" in Opera omnia (Basel, 1554)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Book Titles Without Context #3

The Reason Why the Colored American is Not in the World's Columbian Exposition

Ida B. Wells (later Wells-Barnett) (1893)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cinema #30, Time #10

[Max Ophuls’s] elegant characters lack nothing and lose everything. There is no escape from the trap of time. Not even the deepest and sincerest love can deter the now from its rendezvous with the then, and no amount of self-sacrifice can prevent desire from becoming embalmed in memory. “Quelle heure est-il?” ask the characters in La Ronde, but it is always too late, and the moment has always passed.

This is the ultimate meaning of Ophulsian camera movement: time has no stop
. Montage tends to suspend time in the limbo of abstract images, but the moving camera records inexorably the passage of time, moment by moment. As we follow the Ophulsian characters, step by step, up and down stairs, up and down streets, and round and round the ballroom, we realize their imprisonment in time. We know that they can never escape, but we know also that they will never lose their pose and grace for the sake of futile desperation. They will dance beautifully, they will walk purposively, they will love deeply, and they will die gallantly, and they will never whine or whimper or even discard their vanity. It will all end in a circus with Lola Montès selling her presence to the multitudes, redeeming all men both as a woman and as an artistic creation, expressing one long receding shot, the cumulative explosion of the romantic ego for the past two centuries.

Andrew Sarris, entry on Max Ophuls, in The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968
last shot of Lola Montez (1955)

Order of the Universe #11

The first idea was not our own. Adam
In Eden was the father of Descartes
And Eve made air the mirror of herself,

Of her sons and of her daughters.They found themselves
In heaven as in a glass; a second earth;
And in the earth itself they found a green—

The inhabitants of a very varnished green.
But the first idea was not to shape the clouds
In imitation.The clouds preceded us.

There was a muddy centre before we breathed.
There was a myth before the myth began
Venerable and articulate and complete.

From this the poem springs: that we live in a place
That is not our own and, much more, not ourselves
And hard it is in spite of blazoned days.

We are the mimics. Clouds are pedagogues.
The air is not a mirror but bare board
Coulisse bright-dark, tragic chiaroscuro

And comic color of the rose, in which
Abysmal instruments make sounds like pips
Of the sweeping meanings that we add to them.

Wallace Stevens, "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

War #6, Dead Presidents #26, The Outer Boroughs #6, America #30

The lot of a prisoner of war at all times and under all circumstances is one of constant and inevitable hardship. […] Separated from his family and friends, deprived by the exigency of capture of the companionship of tent-mates and comrades, surrounded not only by strangers but by enemies, a captive without rights which his captor was bound to respect, it is impossible to conceive of a more hopeless, distressing, and heartbreaking situation.

In relatively recent times the lot of the prisoner of war has been made the subject of amelioration, in cartels, treaties, and conventions, which define the rights of the captured and the duties of the captor. The personal safety of the prisoner of war is secured, his personal possessions and belongings are protected from capture and spoliation, and offenses against him are rigorously punished. The measures of restraint to which a captor may resort of the detention of prisoners cannot now take the character of punitive imprisonment

It must be a source of gratification to all of us to learn the provisions of the The Hague Convention with reference to the rights of prisoners of war as they are now understood by all the signatory powers to that convention, and to see that it is the duty of the capturing forces to make as ample provision for the prisoners of war as far their own men. […] This great memorial which we dedicate to-day, the conditions of things which it records, and their contrast with present conditions, properly called to mind the humane advance which has been made even in so cruel a thing as war.

President-Elect William Howard Taft speaking at the dedication of the Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn (November 14, 1908)

Monday, December 10, 2007

History #6

The capacity to live in the past by memory also emancipates the individual from the tyranny of the present. He can choose, if he wants, to reverse a present trend of history in favor of some previous trend. He can, if he wishes, seek asylum from present tumults in a past period of history, or use the memory of past innocency to project a future of higher virtue.

Reinhold Niebuhr, Faith and History (1949)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Archaeology of the Poster #5, Cinema #29

El Dorado d. Howard Hawks (1966)
Poster art by Jerzy Flisak (1973)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Lines Taken Out of Context #9

A single grain of gimlet-dust, for example, would have been as obvious as an apple.

Edgar Allen Poe, "The Purloined Letter"

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Annals of Profanity #1, The Sporting Life #3

That such brutal language as “You cock-sucking son of a bitch!” “You prick-eating bastard!” “You cunt-lapping dog!” “Kiss my ass, you son of a bitch!” “A dog must have fucked your mother when she made you!” “I fucked your mother, your sister, your wife!” “I’ll make you suck my ass!” “You cock-sucker!” and many other revolting terms are used by a limited number of players to intimidate umpires and opposing players, and are promiscuously used upon the ball field, is vouched for by the almost unanimous assertion of those invited to speak, and are competent to speak from personal knowledge. Whether it be the language quoted above, or some other indecent and infamous invention of depravity, the League is pledged to remove it from the ball field, whether it necessitates the removal of the offender for a day or for all time. Any indecent or obscene word, sentence, or expression, unfit for print or the human ear, whether mentioned in these instructions or not, is contemplated under the law and within its intent and meaning, and will be dealt with without fear or favor when the fact is established by conclusive proof.

Special Instruction to [National League? baseball] Players (~1898)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

In Memoriam #6, Aviation #11, Diptych #8, America #29

Evel Knievel


Evel Knievel crashes at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada (December 31, 1967)

still from Scorpio Rising
d. Kenneth Anger (1964)

Scopitone #30, Archaeology of the Music Video #6

Ernest Tubb, "Thanks a Lot" (1960s)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Lines Taken Out of Context #8

It is the celestial ennui of apartments

Wallace Stevens, from "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction"

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Scenes from a Life #16

obituary from the New York Times (September 13, 1930)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Scenes from a Life #15, Aviation #10, Aphorisms #6

Nous ne demandons pas à être éternels, mais à ne pas voir les actes et les choses tout à coup perdre leur sens. Le vide qui nous entoure se montre alors...

Antoine de St. Exupéry, Vol de Nuit (1931)

Pictured in his P-38, at a airfield in Corsica, shortly before his death (1944)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

In Memoriam #5, America #28

Norman Mailer


Since the First World War Americans have been leading a double life, and our history has moved on two rivers, one visible, the other underground; there has been the history of politics which is concrete, factual, practical and unbelievably dull if not for the consequences of the actions of some of these men; and there is a subterranean river of untapped, ferocious, lonely and romantic desires, that concentration of ecstasy and violence which is the dream life of the nation.

"Superman Comes to the Supermarket," Esquire, November 1960

Photograph, Carl van Vechten (1948)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

America #27

Stereoptic view of Lower Hudson Valley

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Aviation #9

A young woman dressed in a swim suit, sash, tights, Shriner's hat, and high-heeled shoes steps into an airplane, Denver, Colorado. Photograph, Harry M. Rhoads.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

America #26, WCW #5, History #5

I said, it is an extraordinary phenomenon that Americans have lost the sense, being made up as we are, that what we are has its origin in what the nation in the past has been; that there is a source in America for everything we think or do; that morals affect the food and food the bone, and that, in fine, we have no conception at all of what is meant by moral, since we recognize no ground our own—and that this rudeness rests all upon the unstudied character of our beginnings; and that if we will not pay heed to our own affairs, we are nothing but an unconscious porkyard and oilhole for those, more able, who will fasten themselves upon us. And that we have no defense, lacking intelligent investigation of the changes worked upon the early comers here, to the New World, the books, the records, no defense save brute isolation, prohibitions, walls, ships, fortresses—and all the asininities of ignorant fear that forbids us to protect a doubtful freedom by employing it. That unless everything that is, proclaim a ground on which it stand, it has no worth; and that what has been morally, aesthetically worth while in America has rested upon peculiar and discoverable ground. But they think they get it out of the air or the rivers, or from the Grand Banks or wherever it may be, instead of by word of mouth or from records contained for us in books—and that aesthetically, morally we are deformed unless we read.

William Carlos Williams, In the American Grain (1925)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cinema #28, Foreign Lands #24

Hollywood Starland : Official Moviegraph of the Land of Stars, Where They Live, Where They Work and Where They Play (1937)

America #25, Architecture #20, The Automobile #12

Carpenter's Restaurant, Los Angeles, California, Wayne McAllister, architect? (photo: 1943)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Scopitone #29, Scenes from a Life #14

Elvis Presley sings the Beatles' "Yesterday" in rehearsal (1970)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Time #9

I am convinced that the future is lost somewhere in the dumps of the non-historical past; it is in yesterday's newspapers, in the jejeune advertisements of science-fiction movies, in the false mirror of our rejected dreams. Time turns metaphors into things, and stacks them up in cold rooms, or places them in the celestial playgrounds of the suburbs.

Robert Smithson, "Of Passaic, New Jersey" (1967)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

History #4

As flowers turn toward the sun, by dint of a secret heliotropism the past strives toward that sun which is rising in the sky of history.

Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History (1940)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Art #12, Beauty #5

One day the time will come when we shall be able to do without all the arts, as we know them now; beauty will have ripened into palpable reality. Humanity will not lose much by missing art.

Piet Mondrian

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Manhattan #32, Love #16, Scopitone #28

Manhattan-I’m up a tree
The one I’ve most adored
Is bored
With me.
Manhattan, I’m awf’lly nice,
Nice people dine with me,
And even twice.
Yet the only one in the world I’m mad about
Talks of somebody else
And walks out.

With a million neon rainbows burning below me
And a million blazing taxis raising a roar
Here I sit while deep despair
Haunts my castle in the air
Down in the depths on the ninetieth floor.
While the crowds at El Morocco punish the parquet
And at “21” the couples clamor for more
I’m deserted and depressed
In my regal eagle nest
Down in the depths on the ninetieth floor.
When the only one you wanted wants another
What’s the use of swank and cash in the bank galore?
Why, even the janitor’s wife
Has a perfectly good love life
And here am I
Facing tomorrow
Alone with my sorrow
Down in the depths on the ninetieth floor.

Cole Porter (1936)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lines Taken Out of Context #7

One angel no doubt can stand quite comfortably on the point of a pin, but when a whole battalion of angels attempt to occupy this identical space there is war in heaven.

Van Wyck Brooks, America’s Coming-of-Age, from the chapter “Our Poets” (1915)

The Sporting Life #2, America #24

Red Stockings of Cincinnati baseball team (1869)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Scopitone #27

Dionne Warwick, The Animals, and a cast of (almost) thousands perform "Blowin' in the Wind" with two-dimensional Bob Dylan in the background.

War #5, Scenes from a Life #13, Catalogue of the Vanished #7

Ruins of Cloth Hall in Ypres, Belgium. Diary compiled by Ethel Anderson (1918-19)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Scopitone #26, America #23

Sam Cooke sings "Basin Street Blues" on the Mike Douglas Show (1964)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Scopitone #25, Scenes from a Life #12

Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan sing "I Still Miss Someone"
From Eat the Document (filmed 1966)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Order of the Universe #10

Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception. How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of 'Green'? How many rainbows can light create for the untutored eye? How aware of variations in heat waves can that eye be? Imagine a world alive with incomprehensible objects and shimmering with an endless variety of movement and innumerable gradations of color. Imagine a world before the 'beginning was the word.'

Stan Brakhage, opening paragraph of Metaphors on Vision (1963)

Manhattan #31, Alcohol #8, The Automobile #11

Aft view of beer truck, Manhattan (1938)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Auden #13

The schoolmasters of literature frown on affectation as silly and probably unhealthy. They are wrong. Only stupid people are without affections and only dishonest ones think of themselves as rational. In literature, as in life, there can be no growth without them, for affectation, passionately adopted and loyally obeyed, is one of the chief forms of self-discipline by which the human sensibility can raise itself by the bootstraps.

Introduction, Poets of the English Language, Vol. II (1953)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

History #3

The chief practical use of history is to deliver us from plausible historical analogies.

James Bryce, introduction, The American Commonwealth (1888)

Friday, August 31, 2007

Order of the Universe #9

The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if society were eternal. Both assumptions are false: both of them must be accepted as true if we are to go on eating and working and loving, and are to keep open a few breathing holes for the human spirit. No millennium seems likely to descend upon humanity; no better and stronger League of Nations will be instituted; no form of Christianity and no alternative to Christianity will bring peace to the world or integrity to the individual; no “change of heart” will occur. And yet we needn’t despair, indeed we cannot despair; the evidence of history shows us that men have always insisted on behaving creatively under the shadow of the sword, and that we had better follow their example under the shadow of airplanes.

E.M. Forster, "What I Believe" (1939)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Scenes from a Life #11, Cinema #27

Rita Hayworth, Christopher Welles, and a maritime Orson Welles, perhaps blocking out scenes to come for The Lady from Shanghai.
Peter Stackpole, photographer, Life (1945)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Frontispiece #1

Memoirs of British Quadrupeds, illustrative principally of their habits of life, instincts, sagacity, and uses to mankind

William Bingley (1809)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Order of the Universe #8, WCW#4

Antipoetic is the thing
flowers mostly in the spring
and when it dies it lives again
first the egg and then the hen

Or is this merely an unreason
flowerless the which we beg
antipoetic mocks the season
first the hen and then the egg

William Carlos Williams, "The Entity" (1934)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Order of the Universe #7, Art #11

Things are not all so comprehensible and expressible as one would mostly have us believe; most events are inexpressible, taking place in a realm which no word has ever entered, and more inexpressible than all else are works of art, mysterious existences, the life of which, while ours passes away, endures.

Rainer Maria Rilke to Franz Xaver Kappus (February 17, 1903)
From the first of the Letters to a Young Poet

Monday, August 20, 2007

Order of the Universe #6

We are all prisoners in solitary confinement: when at last we give up trying to escape through mass emotion or sexual union there remains for us only the wall alphabet in which we tap our hopes and thoughts.

Cyril Connolly, “Writers and Society, 1940-3”

Friday, August 17, 2007

In Memoriam #4, Music #10, Manhattan #30

Max Roach


Max Roach, at the Three Deuces nightclub, 52nd Street, William Gottlieb, photographer (ca. Oct. 1947)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Art #10

The object of art is not to make salable pictures. It is to save yourself.
Any cleanness I have in my own life is due to my feeling for words.
The fools who write articles about me think that one morning I suddenly decided to write and begun to produce masterpieces.
There is no special trick about writing or painting either. I wrote constantly for 15 years before I produced anything with any solidity to it.
For days, weeks, and months now I can’t do it.
You saw me in Paris this winter. I was in a dead, blank time. you have to live through such times all your life.
The thing, of course, is to make yourself alive. Most people remain all of their lives in a stupor.
The point of being an artist is that you may live.

Sherwood Anderson to John Anderson, from Troutdale, Virginia (April? 1927)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Seasons #2

Verano (Summer)
From a cigarette card series of the four seasons (c. 1900)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Aphorisms #5, Scopitone #24

Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Bob Dylan, "My Back Pages" (1964)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Word of the Day #22


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Beauty #4, Order of the Universe #5

Il est beau comme la rétractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces ; ou encore, comme l'incertitude des mouvements musculaires dans les plaies des parties molles de la région cervicale postérieure ; ou plutôt, comme ce piège à rats perpétuel, toujours retendu par l'animal pris, qui peut prendre seul des rongeurs indéfiniment, et fonctionner même caché sous la paille ; et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !

beautiful ... as the chance encounter on a dissecting table of an umbrella and a sewing machine

Comte de Lautréamont, Les Chants de Maldoror (1869)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In Memoriam #3, Cinema #25

Michelangelo Antonioni


Monica Vitti's face in The Red Desert, d: Michelangelo Antonioni (1964)

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Iron Horse #4, Manhattan #29, Cinema #24

Interior New York Subway, Fourteenth Street to Forty-second Street
Camera, G.W. "Billy" Bitzer
American Mutoscope and Biograph Company (photographed May 21, 1905.)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Word of the Day #21


[Nicholas Ray is] Cinema #23, Love #15

Johnny Guitar d: Nicholas Ray (1954)

[Nicholas Ray is] Cinema #22

Trailer, Rebel Without a Cause d: Nicholas Ray (1955)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Aviation #8

Airship above Chicago, Illinois (1906)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Manhattan #28, Cinema #21

Panorama from the Tower of Brooklyn Bridge
Camera, G.W. "Billy" Bitzer, American Mutoscope and Biograph Company.
(photographed April 18, 1899)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Iron Horse #3, Manhattan #27, Catalogue of the Vanished #6

Interior of Grand Central Depot, 42nd Street and 4th [later Park] Avenue
John B. Snook, architect (1871)
Photograph: E. & H.T. Anthony & Co. (ca. 1875)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Scenes from a Life #10

Walker Evans (February 1937)
Edwin Locke, photographer

Monday, July 16, 2007

America #22, Architecture #19, Dead Presidents #25, War #4

Ruins in front of Virginia State Capitol, Richmond, Virginia (1865)
Thomas Jefferson, architect (1785-98)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Love #14, Scenes from a Life #9

17th September 1927
Lovely, unexpected, hopeless summer's evening. Resolve: to live more and more in the present, cultivating especially intensity and inconstancy in personal relations, to break free, so far as loyalty permits, from all unions that chain one to the past, while retaining them in so far as they provide a commentary, otherwise to fall in love as impermanently as possible with whoever is nearest, to study life not death, the present not the past, the actual not the literary. Only by giving the whole of myself to the moment can I make it give its best to me. A rapid series of unbearable partings is the best proof that one is living--to live in the present is the most provident of all ways of life, for by that alone can one create a valuable past. "Pas de recherche sans temps perdu"---no chronicles without wasted time.

Cyril Connolly, "England My England"

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cinema #20

Fresh uses and fresh possibilities for the moving picture are constantly being discovered. An account recently reached this country of its adaptation to target practice. The moving picture as arranged for the marksman’s use has a psychological attribute which the plain bull’s-eye and the bounding metal deer of the shooting gallery and the clay pigeon of the field never will possess. Cantering iron deer and harmless clay pigeons will never excite the sensations which the hunter or soldier or householder experiences when he finds himself with range of a live deer or facing the muzzle of a rifle in the hands of a soldier or a pistol in the hands of a burglar who has suddenly and unexpectedly popped up from behind a bed. The true test of marksmanship is ability to hit when face to face with the “real thing.” The moving picture now supplies for man’s gun practice what the moving target, representing the vitals of a ship, does for naval target practice, with the addition of an excellent imitation of an active and threatening enemy.

New-York Tribune (October 31, 1909)

Preparing to Receive Burglars:
Firing at a thief in answer to the thief’s fire (on a living picture battle target)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Foreign Lands #23, Architecture #18

"Iranistan, An Oriental Ville"
P.T. Barnum House, Leopold Eidlitz et al, architects, Bridgeport, Connecticut (1846-48; burned 1857)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Obsolete Morality #4

Top left: The proper way.
Top right: The extended arms, and the lady’s hand grasping the gentleman’s arm, are not in good taste.
Bottom left: The lady’s head too close, the extended arms and bad attitude of hand very objectionable.
Bottom right: Extremely vulgar.

Allen Dodworth, Dancing and Its Relations to Education and Social Life (1885)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Anniverseries #5, America #21, Diptych #7, Dead Presidents #21, Cinema #19

Top: President Roosevelt's Fourth of July Oration, American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, camera, G.W. "Billy" Bitzer, Kleine Optical Co. (1903)

Navajo Indians at Fair Grounds, July 4th celebration, Farmington, New Mexico. (c. 1901-1908)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Faulkner #5, Foreign Lands #22, Manhattan #26, War #3, Dead Presidents #23

To Mr. M.C. Falkner Saturday [6 April 1918]

[New Haven, Connecticut]


The Southern took us over the first division, Memphis to Bristol, then the Norfolk and Western to Lynchburg, Va, Southern again to Washington; where the Pennsylvania took us to Jersey City and then they gave us an electric engine under the Hudson tubes and into Penn Station. I am terribly home sick and hope to hear from home by Sunday—tomorrow—anyway Its remarkable how inexpensively you can live here. My meals cost me only a quarter, unless I want to “blow” myself to something. […] There is a newspaper here with a thing like an enormous stock ticker in the window, and as soon as anything happens they show it there, just headlines, of course. This morning it says a British counter-attack has regained the grounds the Germans took yesterday near Amiens. I saw ex-President Taft yesterday.


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Manhattan #25, Architecture #17, Dead Presidents #22

Fashionable society was composed of two classes. There were, first, the people of good family,—those whose forefathers at some time had played their parts manfully in the world, and who claimed some shadowy superiority on the strength of this memory of the past, unbacked by any proof of merit in the present. Secondly, there were those who had just made money,—the father having usually merely the money-getting faculty, the presence of which does not necessarily imply the existence of any other worthy quality whatever, the rest of the family possessing only the absorbing desire to spend what the father had earned. In the summer they all went to Saratoga or to Europe; in winter they came back to New York. Fifth Avenue was becoming the fashionable street, and on it they built their brownstone-front houses, all alike outside, and all furnished in the same style within,—heavy furniture, gilding, mirrors, glittering chandeliers. If a man was very rich he had a few feet more frontage, and more gilding, more mirrors, and more chandeliers. There was one incessant round of gaiety, but it possessed no variety whatever, and little interest.

Of course there were plenty of exceptions to all these rules. There were many charming houses, there was much pleasant social life, just as there were plenty of honest politicians; and there were multitudes of men and women well fitted to perform the grave duties and enjoy the great rewards of American life. But taken as a whole, the fashionable and political life of New York in the decade before the Civil War offers an instructive rather than an attractive spectacle.

Theodore Roosevelt, New York (1906)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Godard #7, Scenes from a Life #8, Cinema #19

JLG and Jean-Paul Belmondo prepare for shooting the final scene of Pierrot le fou.

...Pierrot n'est pas vraiment un film. C'est plutôt une tentative de cinéma. Et le cinéma, en faisant rendre gorge à la réalité, nous rappelle qu'il faut tenter de vivre.
JLG, Cahiers du cinéma, no. 171 (October 1965)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Scenes from a Life #7

Lee Marvin shoots pool at the Playboy Mansion (early 1970s)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Godard #6, Scopitone #22

"Ma ligne de chance," Pierrot le fou (1965)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Outer Boroughs #5

Tennis, Great Lawn, Prospect Park (late nineteenth century)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

America #20, Scenes from a Life #6

A Negro conjure-doctor. Illustration, Folk beliefs of the Southern Negro, by Newbell Niles Puckett, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology, Western Reserve University. (1926)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Obsolete Morality #3

Showing the relation between drug addiction and crime.

photo and caption, California Narcotic Committee Report on Drug Addiction in California (1935)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Manhattan #24

First Avenue tenement dweller watches the United Nations Secretariat under construction. (1949)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Word of the Day #20


Monday, June 04, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Monumental Fictions #2, Manhattan #23

"Nowel Amsterdam en l'Amerique" (in fact Lisbon) Gérard Jollian or François Jollian, engraver (1672?)

Manhattan #22

Could I begin life again, knowing what I now know, and had money to invest, I would buy every foot of land on the Island of Manhattan.

John Jacob Astor (1848)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dead Presidents #21

Opening prayer, Republican National Convention, Chicago, Illinois, at the Chicago Coliseum (June 21, 1904)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Sporting Life #1, Panorama #5, The Outer Boroughs #4

Brooklyn Dodgers (1911)

Aviation #7, Panorama #4

1st National Aviation Meet, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (June 13-18, 1910)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Manhattan #21

"Keep Your Fire Escapes Clear," Tenement House Dept. of the City of New York (1937)