All Blues covered by Pork Pie Hat

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Corcovado covered by Pork Pie Hat

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Pork Pie Hat on KJEM

KJEM’s first Jem Set featuring Pullman’s own, Pork Pie Hat. This video includes jazz standards by Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Pork Pie Hat was Brian Clark, guitar; Scotty Thompson, flute; Eric Sorensen, guitar; Dave Hoyt, drums; and Jack Purdie, bass guitar

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Making Faces: Metal Type in the 21st Century

Featuring: Jim Rimmer
Director: Richard Kegler 
Studio: P22 Type Foundry
DVD release: 15 April 2011 
Runtime: 90 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (English), Subtitles (English), 
bonus features on making metal type and the tools needed to make 
metal type, "The Creation of a Printing Type from the 
Design to the Print" by Frederic W. Goudy (silent film from the 1930s), 
A metal "k" from the Stern typeface, Rimmer Type Foundry 
catalog of digital faces
Reviewed by Brian Charles Clark, and rated 4.5/5 stars


Jim Rimmer was a British Columbian printer and type designer who cast metal type using the now nearly lost pantographic technique. If that’s all Greek to you (or, if you’re a graphic designer, maybe it’s all greeking to you, too), you need to watch this film by book artist and P22 founder Richard Kegler. Continue reading

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Great Expectations: A Journey through the History of Visionary Architecture

Actors: Oscar Niemeyer, Buckminster Fuller, Le Corbusier, Tadao Ando,Toyo Ito
Director: Jesper Wachtmeister
Studio: Icarus Films
DVD release: 5 October 2010
Runtime: 105 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
DVD Features: Bonus film Kochuu
4.5 of 5 stars

There’s a funny TED Talk video called “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics” about how to make a good — and a bad — TED Talk. One way to go bad is to talk about architecture. We may be safe in generalizing from TED to the general culture: architecture makes most people grow faint and causes their eyes to roll.

Which is weird, because in and around architecture is where we engage with other people the most. Buildings great and small is pretty much exclusively where we conduct the four F’s — the two familiar ones, fight or flight, plus the two even more familiar ones that everybody forgets to put on the F-list: freeze (or space out), and fuck. Architecture is where we live all the fundamentals of, well, life. From coffee to water cooler to toilet to bed, we really, really need architecture to help house us. Continue reading

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The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design

The universe, why does she purr and growl and spit and coo the way she does? “Like the eye,” Leonard Susskind writes in The Cosmic Landscape, “the special properties of the physical universe are so surprisingly fine-tuned that they demand explanation.”

The eye, of course, was supposed to be the trump card of the cadre of crypto-creationists known as the intelligent design underground. The plan, as outlined in the infamous Wedge document, was to stealthily sow doubt and infiltrate key positions in order to get creationism taught in schools, along with morning prayers and the ten commandments mowed into the lawns of every courtroom in the U.S. Alas, the trial in Dover, Pennsylvania (a case fondly, if very unofficially, remembered as A Couple Dumb Cluck School Board Members and Their Discovery Institute Allies vs. Common Sense) out the kybosh on intelligent design. Continue reading

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Naked Lunch: 50th Anniversary Edition

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou enter the moment of the “naked lunch” when you realize just what that is quivering at the end of your fork. We’ve been staring at that living, gelatinous mass for 50 years now – and we still don’t know what it is.

It’s a novel. It’s a poem. It’s (as one shrill Amazon reviewer has it) the ranting of a LIBERAL ATHEIST JUNKY. It’s (drug-induced or not, take your pick) stream-of-consciousness. It’s the first prose cut-up. It’s pornography. It’s the end (or beginning) of (post-)modernism. It’s The Bomb, it’s a how-to-be-a-writer manual. Here’s the definitive answer to all that: Yes, it is. Naked Lunch is all that and more. Continue reading

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Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century, Twentieth Anniversary Edition

Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century, Twentieth Anniversary Edition
 Greil Marcus; Belknap Press/Harvard University Press; paperback ;496 pages; Nov. 2009

“The music came forth as a no that became a yes, then a no again, then again a yes:” and then the drums kicked in and “nothing is true except our conviction that the world we are asked to accept is false. If nothing is true, everything is possible.” (9)

Welcome to Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century, Greil Marcus’s collage-o-phonic book that rings with voices in a thousand registers.

“As I tried to follow this story [the one he perceives running through chapters filled with medieval heretics, Dadaists, Situationists, and the Sex Pistols: “I am an anti-christ,” sang Johnny Rotten]–the characters changing into each other’s clothes until I gave up trying to make them hold still–what appealed to me were its gaps. and those moments when the story that has lost its voice somehow recovers it, and what happens then…. [quoting an ad for Potlatch he found in a “slick-paper, Belgian neo-surrealist review” dated 1954:] ‘Everywhere, youth (as it calls itself) discovers a few blunted knives, a few defused bombs, under thirty years of dust and debris; shaking in its shoes, youth hurls them upon the consenting rabble, which salutes it with its oily laugh.’” (20)

Situationist gnome, 1963: “The moment of real poetry brings all the unsettled debts of history back into play.” (21) That’s getting personal: I’ve resisted reading this book for twenty years. Now that I have, and since you’ve read this far, I recommend you do, too. So much for the niceties of the book review. What follows is engagement with Lipstick Traces. Continue reading

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The Narrative Topology of Resistance in the Fiction of Joanna Russ

This essay was originally published in On Joanna Russ (edited by Farah Mendelsohn, published by Wesylan, 2009)

  1. Introduction

joanna-russNarrative is both a kind of engine and a kind of friction, creating a tension that both drives and prescribes story. The stories of our lives motivate us along certain narrative arcs, but to stray from those arcs is to move out of bounds. Narrative, in other words, is a way of mapping and transacting with the epistemologically dicey territory of life, culture and world. Narrative is epistemologically dicey in that knowledge of life and culture is riven with the gaps of the unknown and the plains of negotiated reality. We know and become ourselves in terms of our stories and it is thus appropriate and useful to theorize narrative in explicitly topological terms. Narrative, then, is not only literary. It is, in reality, primarily cognitive, due to the social formation of human ontology (see Ochs and Capp). Narrative exerts constraints on human epistemology (see Harré) and emotion (see Hsu et al.) as well as on human cultural and political constructs (see Bhabha). Continue reading

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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
 Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver; Harper Collins, 2007; Cloth, $26.95

Animal-Vegetable-MiracleA third of the world’s fossil fuel habit goes to supporting agriculture. Though that’s not the reason for the rise in organically grown food, it’s a good one. (The main reason is concern for the health of body, soul and soil.) A third of the world’s oil goes to growing and trucking food around the planet—and, in the U.S. at least, food transportation is tax deductible.

No wonder the industrial food chain is so addictive. Not only can we get what we want when we want it (apples in late winter and spring from New Zealand, to give just one example), but we can get it cheap, too.

Barbara Kingsolver, the noted novelist, and her family broke the habit. They did a geographical, moving from water-hog Tucson to a small farm in the Shenandoah Valley. There they got off the food grid and determined that they’d try to live for a year on only what they could grow or obtain within a certain, limited radius. They weren’t self-sufficient, by any means. To the contrary, one of Kingsolver’s driving themes is eating locally and doing business directly with local agriculturists. Continue reading

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