West Side Story (1961)

West Side Story is a 1961 American musical romantic drama film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was inspired by William Shakespeare‘s play Romeo and Juliet. It stars Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris, and was photographed by Daniel L. Fapp, A.S.C., in Super Panavision 70. Released on October 18, 1961 through United Artists, the film received high praise from critics and viewers, and became the second highest grossing film of the year in the United States. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10, including Best Picture (as well as a special award for Robbins), becoming the record holder for the most wins for a movie musical. … In the summer of 1957 in the West Side‘s Lincoln Square neighborhood in Manhattan, there is tension between a white gang, the Jets, led by Riff, and a Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks, led by Bernardo. After a brawl erupts, Lieutenant Schrank and Officer Krupke arrive and break it up, ordering both gangs to cease all fighting, or face the consequences. Despite their warning, the Jets decide to challenge the Sharks to a rumble for neighborhood control, at an upcoming dance. Riff decides that his best friend Tony, the co-founder of the Jets who left the gang, and works at Doc’s drug store, should fight. Riff invites Tony to the dance, but Tony is uninterested. He tells Riff that he senses something important will happen, which Riff suggests could have a correlation with the dance. Bernardo’s younger sister, Maria, tells her best friend and Bernardo’s girlfriend, Anita, how excited she is about the dance. At the dance, the gangs and girls refuse to intermingle. Tony arrives and he and Maria fall in love. However, Bernardo angrily demands that Tony stay away from her. Riff proposes a meeting with Bernardo at Doc’s drug store. Maria is sent home; Anita argues that Bernardo is overprotective of Maria and they compare the advantages of Puerto Rico and the United States. …”
NY Times (October 19, 1961)
NPR: ‘West Side Story’ Film Still Pretty, And Witty, At 50 (Audio)
YouTube: Movie Trailers – West Side Story

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Cannabis smoking

Cannabis smoking is the inhalation of smoke or vapors released by heating the flowers, leaves, or extracts of cannabis or marijuana and releasing the main psychoactive chemical, Δ9tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs. Apart from being smoked and vaporized, cannabis (and its active cannabinoids) may be ingested, placed under the tongue or applied to the skin. The bioavailability characteristics and effects of smoking and vaporizing cannabis differ from other consumption methods in having a more rapid and predictable onset of effect. Cannabis (aka marijuana) can be smoked in a variety of pipe-like implements made in different shapes and of different materials (‘bowls’), water pipes (‘bongs’), cigarettes (‘joints’), or blunts. When smoking a joint or blunt with someone else or a group of people, it is common courtesy to take no more than two inhalations (‘puffs’, ‘pulls’, ‘hits’, ‘rips’) then pass it on. With a pipe, bowl, bong, or vaporizer, one inhalation is the norm. Joint is a slang term for a cigarette filled with cannabis, instead of tobacco. Alternatively, mainly in Europe, joints may contain tobacco (commonly dubbed ‘a spliff’, but not to be confused with the Jamaican term Spliff, which refers to a large joint) or various non-addictive herbs. Sometimes a joint will contain kief or hashish; hashish can be heated and made to crumble before placement within the joint. Specially manufactured rolling papers are most often used in industrialized countries; however, recycled brown paper and newspaper are commonly used in the developing world. Modern papers are now made from a wide variety of materials including rice, hemp, soy, and flax. …”
The Atlantic: Smoking Versus Edibles
Marijuana: Facts About Cannabis (Video)

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Chicago Seed

Seed was an underground newspaper launched by artist Don Lewis and Earl Segal (aka the Mole), owner of the Molehole, a local poster shop, and published biweekly in Chicago, Illinois from May 1967 to 1974; there were 121 issues published in all. Disagreements between Lewis and Segal led to its purchase by Harry Dewar, a graphic designer and Colin Pearlson, a photographer, who thought it had commercial potential. Lester Dore took over the art direction when Don Lewis moved to New York to work for Screw magazine. Skeets Millard, a young photographer and community organizer who was publishing the Chicago edition of Kaleidoscope, joined the Seed staff in 1969, at a time when all of the original founders were gone and there was no one working on the paper who had been there more than 12 months; Mike Abrahamson was running the paper in Abe Peck’s absence. Jim Roslof, Karl Heinz-Meschbach, Paul Zmiewski, Skip Williamson, Jay Lynch, Peter Solt, and other 60s artists contributed to what was called one of the most beautiful underground press publications of its time. The Seed was edited for several years by Abe Peck. Among the staff writers were Marshall Rosenthal and Eliot Wald. It was notable for its colorful psychedelic graphics and its eclectic, non-doctrinaire radical politics, and was a member of the Underground Press Syndicate. It was a real DIY operation: in the Seed office copy was set on an IBM Selectric and pasted up, negatives were made and stripped up for plate-making, and inks were mixed to take to the printer. The Seed, along with the San Francisco Oracle, was one of the first tabloid newspapers to use “split fount” inking on a web press. At its peak it circulated between 30 and 40,000 copies, with national distribution. Important events covered by Seed writers and artists were the trial of the Chicago Eight, Woodstock, and the murder of Fred Hampton. After losing its original printer in 1968 it was printed for a time on the presses of liberal Wisconsin newspaper publisher Bill Schanen, who provided printing services for a large number of Midwestern underground papers that could find no other printer.”
Nymphs, pigs, and Mayor Daley for Thanksgiving: The radical art of Chicago Seed
AREA Chicago
Fans in a Flashbulb

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Art Workers Coalition

Flyer for demonstration on March 30, 1969.

“The Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC) was an open coalition of artists, filmmakers, writers, critics, and museum staff that formed in New York City in January 1969. Its principal aim was to pressure the city’s museums – notably the Museum of Modern Art – into implementing economic and political reforms. These included a more open and less exclusive exhibition policy concerning the artists they exhibited and promoted: the absence of women artists and artists of color was a principal issue of contention. The coalition successfully pressured the MoMA and other museums into implementing a free admission day that still exists in certain museums to this day. It also pressured and picketed museums into taking a moral stance on the Vietnam War which resulted in its famous My Lai poster And babies, one of the most important works of political art of the early 1970s. The poster was displayed during demonstrations in front of Pablo Picasso′s Guernica at the MoMA in 1970. The AWC grew out of an incident at MoMA during the exhibition curated by Pontus Hulten, The Machine at the End of the Mechanical Age: on January 3, 1969, Greek kinetic sculptor Takis, with the support of friends, physically removed his work from the exhibition. Although the work, Tele-sculpture (1960), had been purchased by the MoMA in 1963 and thus belonged to its permanent collection, Takis was unhappy with the museum’s lack of consultation in choosing a work for exhibition which he considered no longer adequately represented his current artistic practice. The artist took his work into the museum’s sculpture garden and remained there until he received confirmation from museum officials that his work would be withdrawn from the exhibition. The incident led to a series of meetings held at the Chelsea Hotel in which the group that had supported Takis’s action discussed issues relating to the political and social responsibility of the art community. The group included Takis, American kinetic sculptor Wen-Ying Tsai, German conceptual artist Hans Haacke, American writer and independent curator Willoughby Sharp, co-founder of Avalanche Liza Bear, American artist and Village Voice art critic John Perreault, and American minimalist artist Carl Andre.  …”
Primary Information
MoMA – From the Archives: Faith Ringgold, the Art Workers Coalition, and the Fight for Inclusion at The Museum of Modern Art
Mousse Magazine
amazon: Art Workers – Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era, Julia Bryan-Wilson

Famous My Lai poster And babies, one of the most important works of political art

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Hanoi Hannah

Trịnh Thị Ngọ ([ṯɕïŋ˧ˀ˨ʔ tʰi˧ˀ˨ʔ ŋɔ˧ˀ˨ʔ]; 1931 – 30 September 2016), also known as Thu Hương and Hanoi Hannah, was a Vietnamese radio personality best known for her work during the Vietnam War, when she made English-language broadcasts for North Vietnam directed at United States troops. … During the Vietnam War, Ngọ became famous among US soldiers for her propaganda broadcasts on Radio Hanoi. Her scripts were written by the North Vietnamese Army and were intended to frighten and shame the soldiers into leaving their posts. She made three broadcasts a day, reading a list of newly killed or imprisoned Americans, and playing popular US anti-war songs in an effort to incite feelings of nostalgia and homesickness, attempting to persuade US GIs that the US involvement in the Vietnam War was unjust and immoral. US Navy ships and personnel were also targeted in her broadcasts, with Ngọ reading out the names of crew members and saying that they were all going to die. She also received and played recorded messages from Americans who were against the war, saying later that she thought these messages were the most effective of all as ‘Americans will believe their own people rather than the adversary’. … Few if any desertions are thought to have happened because of her propaganda work[9] and the soldiers ‘hooted at her scare tactics’. They were sometimes impressed, however, when she mentioned the correct location of their unit (when they would ‘give a toast to her and throw beer cans at the radio’), named US casualties and welcomed Navy ships into port with their correct arrival details and crew members’ names. There were exaggerated legends of her omniscience, with rumors that she would give clues about everything from specific future North Vietnamese attacks to soldiers’ girlfriends cheating on them at home. …”
Radiophonics of the Vietnam War: A Collection (Video)
The Search for Hanoi Hannah
W – Transistor radio
YouTube: Hanoi Hannah – GI!

Trinh Thi Ngo (Hanoi Hannah)

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The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter – Incredible String Band (1968)

The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter stands as the Incredible String Band‘s undisputed classic among critics and musicians alike — ask Robert Plant, who touted its influence on Led Zeppelin‘s first album and general direction. Recorded and released in 1968, the album hit number five on the U.K. album charts, and was nominated for a Grammy in the U.S. It was produced by Joe Boyd, and engineered by John Wood using 24-track technology. Robin Williamson, Mike Heron, and Licorice McKechnie also utilized the talents of Dolly Collins (vocals, flute, organ, and piano), and David Snell (harp). Williamson and Heron employed a vast array of instruments on these songs including sitar, gimbri, pan pipe, oud, chahanai, mandolin, guitars, Hammond B-3, dulcimer, harpsichord, pan pipes, oud, water harp, and harmonica. The songs were much more freeform and experimental. Check Heron’s 13-minute ‘A Very Cellular Song,’ which incorporates elements from a Sikh hymn and a Bahamian spiritual. Using the Hammond, a gimbri, pan pipes, handclaps, and other instruments, it begins on a two-chord vamp that employs a vocal round in five-part harmony, with secular and spiritual lyrics. It’s simply infectious. Other notables include the stellar ‘The Minotaur’s Song,’ with its call and response chorus played on guitars, upright piano, and six-part harmonies. It melds a children’s song with a drinking song to humorous and utterly memorable effect. Elsewhere, ‘Waltz of the New Moon,’ employs two-chord drones on acoustic guitar with a meld of Middle Eastern vocal styles and Scottish field songs. ‘Three Is a Green Crown’ is a psychedelic folk song in all its hypnotic droning glory with Williamson’s primitive sitar playing featured prominently. The tender, exotic, ‘Nightfall,’ the album’s closer, is a lullaby, with guitar and sitar accompanying the vocal in whole tone intervals. The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter is the most ambitious, focused, and brilliantly executed record in ISB’s catalog. …”
W – The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter
YouTube: The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter (Full Album)

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Peter Weiss – Marat/Sade (1963)

The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade, usually shortened to Marat/Sade, is a 1967 British film adaptation of Peter Weiss‘ play Marat/Sade. The screen adaptation is directed by Peter Brook, and originated in his theatre production for the Royal Shakespeare Company. … In the Charenton Asylum in 1808, the Marquis de Sade stages a play about the murder of Jean-Paul Marat by Charlotte Corday, using his fellow inmates as actors. The director of the hospital, Monsieur Coulmier, supervises the performance, accompanied by his wife and daughter. Coulmier, who supports Napoleon‘s government, believes that the play will support his own bourgeois ideas, and denounce those of the French Revolution that Marat helped lead. His patients, however, have other ideas, and they make a habit of speaking lines he had attempted to suppress, or deviating entirely into personal opinion. The Marquis himself, meanwhile, subtly manipulates both the players and the audience to create an atmosphere of chaos and nihilism that ultimately brings on an orgy of destruction. … ”
Wikipedia – Film
“… Incorporating dramatic elements characteristic of both Artaud and Brecht, it is a depiction of class struggle and human suffering that asks whether true revolution comes from changing society or changing oneself. … Marat/Sade is a play with music. The use of music follows the approach of Brecht, whereby the songs comment on themes and issues of the play. Unlike a traditional musical format, the songs do not further the plot or expositional development of character in the play. By contrast they often add an alienation effect, interrupting the action of the play and offering historical, social and political commentary. Richard Peaslee composed music for the original English-language production of Marat/Sade directed by Peter Brook. …”
W – Marat/Sade
Independent – Marat/Sade: The play that began a stage revolution
YouTube: Marat Sade Trailer
YouTube: Marat/Sade (1967) 1:58:01

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