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)