Teach-Ins Helped Galvanize Student Activism in the 1960s. They Can Do So Again Today.

Hans Morgenthau leads a debate on Vietnam that was broadcast to teach-ins across the nation on May 15, 1965.

“When the teach-ins protesting the Vietnam War erupted on many campuses across the country in 1965, academic administrators complained that the professors were politicizing their universities. But it was the universities that had already politicized the professors. Large increases in federal funding throughout the Cold War, including projects sponsored by the CIA and the Department of Defense, led to a politically driven reorientation of teaching and research aimed at combating the ‘Communist threat’—as by purging professors suspected of affiliation with it. While the physical sciences were directly involved in military research, the social sciences were largely realigned in conformity with the global geopolitics of the conflict, developing an emphasis on geographies, languages, economies, anthropologies, and histories of strategic Third World regions that had previously been marginal to their concerns. … ‘Insurgency prophylaxis’ is how it was called in the documents of the notorious Project Camelot operation of 1964–65. A multimillion-dollar enterprise in anthropological espionage, primarily focused on Latin America, Project Camelot blew up when it was accidentally and prematurely exposed in Chile. The severe political and academic censure from Latin America that followed was not lost on the dissident faction of North American social scientists who were already turned off by the perverse effects of Cold War on the academy. It would soon be all too easy for them to see the connections between the research-and-destroy projects of their colleagues in Latin America with the search-and-destroy missions of the American military in Vietnam. In February of 1965, just a few months after successfully campaigning for the presidency against Barry Goldwater on a platform that declared ‘peace is our first concern,’ Lyndon Johnson dramatically escalated the Vietnam War by ordering a sustained bombing of the North and dispatching the first American combat troops to the South. The effect of the bait and switch in dissident university circles was redoubled opposition to American imperial policies, ultimately culminating in a campus-specific mode of political resistance. …”
The Nation
The Vietnam War and the Assembly of Unrepresented People
The Movement Against War

Pinback button for the Assembly of Unrepresented People
Posted in CIA, Lyn. Johnson, MLKJr., Pacifist, R. McNamara, Vietnam War | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sun Ra ‎– The Eternal Myth Revealed Vol.1

“… The Eternal Myth Revealed is a 14 disc docu-biography of Ra’s life and career, from his birth in 1914 up to 1959. In addition to his own music, it includes music he was influenced by, and a lot of stuff he may or may not have had a hand in as arranger, vocal coach, pianist or something else. Sun Ra’s output was as prolific as Ellington’s, and discographers have had nightmares and arguments attempting to document it accurately. This mammoth box set will raise as many questions as it sets out to answer, and will no doubt inspire controversy in a few corners. It’s 17 hours of history and music, and it’s riveting. I listened to it over a weekend, in two seven disc stretches. Then I dumped a bunch of the music into my iTunes. The auteur behind this landmark is Michael D. Anderson, whose knowledge of jazz, rhythm ‘n’ blues, blues, Latin music and other styles is pretty staggering. His archival command of pre-war jazz and blues makes me hopeful that he will write a book about this stuff. EMR strips away element by element that almost insulting view of Ra as a hodgepodge crackpot from out of nowhere. Moving between Anderson’s own narration are threads of Ra’s own recollections, with relevant comments from Ray Charles, Coleman Hawkins, Bobby Blue Bland and a few other heavyweights. A vivid portrait of a black music world transforming itself emerges, as does a clear picture of Ra as a musician living at the crossroads of his time, very much a thorough professional but also a restless experimenter and (to use Uri Caine‘s expression) checker-outter. Ra was singular but no fluke, and Anderson does a fantastic job of tying together the threads of his influences. He knows his subject deeply, and does not shy away from editorializing and speculating. The approach is bound to infuriate the more scholarly types, but it fits Ra very well. Anderson’s musical selections—not only of Ra’s own music, but of the music from which Ra drew as well, are spotless—and his taste is impeccable. …”
All About Jazz
allmusic (Audio)
YouTube: The Eternal Myth Revealed – CD Box Set – Promo Video Part 1, Part 2

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Sylvia Plath’s Tarot Cards

We celebrated my birthday yesterday: [Ted] gave me a lovely Tarot pack of cards and a dear rhyme with it, so after the obligations of this term are over your daughter shall start her way on the road to becoming a seeress & will also learn how to do horoscopes, a very difficult art which means reviving my elementary math. – Sylvia Plath, in a letter to her mother, 28 October 1956. Sylvia Plath’s Tarot cards, a 24th birthday present from her husband, poet Ted Hughes, just went for £151,200 in an auction at Sotheby’s. That’s approximately £100,000 more than this lot, a Tarot de Marseille deck printed by playing card manufacturer B.P. Grimaud de Paris, was expected to fetch. The auction house’s description indicates that a few of the cards were discolored —  evidence of use, as supported by Plath’s numerous references to Tarot in her journals. Recall Tarot’s appearance in ‘Daddy,’ her most widely known poem, and her identification with the Hanging Man card, in a poem of the same name. This century has seen her collection Ariel restored to its author’s intended order.  The original order is said to correspond quite closely to Tarot, with the first twenty-two poems symbolizing the cards of the Major Arcana. The next ten are aligned with the numbers of the Minor Arcana. Those are followed by four representing the Court cards. The collection’s final four poems can be seen to reference the pentacles, cups, swords and wands that comprise the Tarot’s suits. Ariel’s manuscript was rearranged by Hughes, who dropped some of the ‘more lacerating’ poems and added others in advance of its 1965 publication, two years after Plath’s death by suicide. (Hear Plath read poems from Ariel here.) Daughter Frieda defends her father’s actions and describes how damaging they were to his reputation in her Foreword to Ariel: The Restored Edition. One wonders if it’s significant that Plath’s Page of Cups, a card associated with positive messages related to family and loved ones, has a rip in it? We also wonder who paid such a staggering price for those cards. Will they give the deck a moon bath or salt burial to cleanse it of Plath’s negative energy? Or is the winning bidder such a diehard fan, the chance to handle something so intimately connecting them to their literary hero neutralizes any occult misgivings? …”
Open Culture
Guest Post: Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, and The Hanging Man
Sylvia Plath’s Spell on Ariel: Conjuring the Perfect Book of Poems Through Mysticism and the Tarot
Foreword to Ariel: The Restored Edition
The Astro Poets: A Field Guide to Scorpios

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The Trials of Muhammad Ali – Bill Siegel (2013)

“Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay, was not the only American to refuse to serve during the Vietnam War, but he was, by some measures, the most famous, the loudest and the baddest. Tracing the road to Mr. Ali’s act of defiance in 1967, Bill Siegel’s film ‘The Trials of Muhammad Ali’ tries to recover the cultural éclat of the moment after decades of pop-history shorthand have reduced it to sound bites about the Vietcong. Mr. Ali has already received his share of attention, not only in the annals of sports journalism but also through documentary (‘When We Were Kings’) and drama (‘Ali’ and ‘The Greatest’). But Mr. Siegel’s entry dwells on Mr. Ali’s embrace of Islam, and specifically the Nation of Islam, and how his stance on the war led him out of the ring and all the way to the Supreme Court. Sifting through the plentiful footage on record, ‘The Trials of Muhammad Ali’ is partly a story of a man who spoke his mind and broke America’s polite and not-so-polite contracts regarding celebrity and race. The opening clip shows a grandstanding television producer calling Mr. Ali a ‘simplistic fool,’ and it’s the kind of invective that betrays an underlying anxiety: Precisely how Mr. Ali did what he did was often hard to simplify as foolhardy or even to understand, and therefore posed a threat. Mr. Siegel also doesn’t smooth over the complexities of Mr. Ali’s religious affiliation and acceptance of dogma, showcasing fresh interviews with Louis Farrakhan and followers of the Nation of Islam. They include one representative describing Christianity as ‘widely interpreted’ to be a ‘slave-making’ religion. Mr. Siegel lets these and other sentiments illustrate Mr. Ali’s context and what must have been unsettling about his actions. (Mr. Siegel co-directed ‘The Weather Underground,’ a 2003 film about the group that advocated the violent overthrow of the United States government.) … The film falls short of explaining Mr. Ali, who, like many outspoken individuals, can stubbornly repel scrutiny, nor will it pacify the many who opposed his conscientious objections. But it also underlines one enduring quality: namely, that he probably couldn’t care less what people think. …”
NY Times: One of His Biggest Fights Was Outside of the Ring
YouTube: The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013) | Official Trailer
PBS: The Trials of Muhammad Ali 1:25:31

Posted in Documentary, Draft board, Malcolm X, Movie, Pacifist, Religion, Sports, Vietnam War, Weather Underground | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jack Kirby

Fantastic Four #37, 1965

Jacob Kurtzberg (/ˈkɜːrtsbɜːrɡ/; August 28, 1917 – February 6, 1994), better known by his pen name Jack Kirby, was an American comic book artist, writer and editor, widely regarded as one of the medium’s major innovators and one of its most prolific and influential creators. He grew up in New York City and learned to draw cartoon figures by tracing characters from comic strips and editorial cartoons. He entered the nascent comics industry in the 1930s, drawing various comics features under different pen names, including Jack Curtiss, before ultimately settling on Jack Kirby. In 1940, he and writer-editor Joe Simon created the highly successful superhero character Captain America for Timely Comics, predecessor of Marvel Comics. During the 1940s, Kirby regularly teamed with Simon, creating numerous characters for that company and for National Comics Publications, later to become DC Comics. After serving in the European Theater in World War II, Kirby produced work for DC Comics, Harvey Comics, Hillman Periodicals and other publishers. At Crestwood Publications, he and Simon created the genre of romance comics and later founded their own short-lived comic company, Mainline Publications. Kirby was involved in Timely’s 1950s iteration, Atlas Comics, which in the next decade became Marvel. There, in the 1960s under writer-editor Stan Lee, Kirby co-created many of the company’s major characters, including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Thor, the Hulk and Iron Man. The Lee–Kirby titles garnered high sales and critical acclaim, but in 1970, feeling he had been treated unfairly, largely in the realm of authorship credit and creators’ rights, Kirby left the company for rival DC. At DC, Kirby created his Fourth World saga which spanned several comics titles. While these series proved commercially unsuccessful and were canceled, the Fourth World’s New Gods have continued as a significant part of the DC Universe. Kirby returned to Marvel briefly in the mid-to-late 1970s, then ventured into television animation and independent comics. … It was at Marvel, in collaboration with writer and editor-in-chief Lee that Kirby hit his stride once again in superhero comics, beginning with The Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961), which some have observed shares many elements of Kirby’s Challengers of the Unknown. The landmark series became a hit that revolutionized the industry with its comparative naturalism and, eventually, a cosmic purview informed by Kirby’s seemingly boundless imagination—one well-matched with the consciousness-expanding youth culture of the 1960s. …”
Lambiek Comiclopedia
The King’s Gambit
Open Culture – Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey Gets Turned Into “The Weirdest Sci-Fi Comic Ever Made” by Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby double-page spreads
YouTube: Jack Kirby, Marvel co-creator part 1 of 5: Thor : Docuseries 8 by Alex Grand, part 2: Iron Man & Ant-Man, part 3 of 5: Hulk & the X-Men, part 4 of 5: The Fantastic Four, part 5 of 5: Villains & Spider-Man

Mister Fantastic enters the Negative Zone in “The Fantastic Four” #33
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The Little Theatre of Jean Renoir (1970)

By Vincent Canby: “‘Le Petit Theatre’ is as much a cause for celebration as an act of It, by one of the greatest of all film directors, who will mark his 80th birthday this September. It is precise, witty, and luminous, and it stands just a little apart from time in the way of a work by an artist whose career spans the better part of a century. ‘Le Petit Theatre’ was originally commissioned for French television. It is cornpnsed of three short comedies plus an outrageously funny; between‐the‐acts performance by Jeanne Moreau as a beautiful, dead‐pan, turn‐of‐the‐century Parisian music‐hall singer who, like Zola’s Nana, takes her talent a lot more seriously than her audiences may be able to. The director himself, the Octave in ‘Rules of the Game,’ now older and in his own character as master of illusions introduces the acts on screen, standing over one of those miniature theaters that any child would give up a month of Saturdays to own. As Renoir gives creillt to his “collaborator” on the first sketch (Hans Christian Andersen), the camera moves away from him over the tiny footlights into the ‘real’ world of the theater. Back and forth we go until, at last, in the concluding sequence, the players, at a critical moment, release us from our commitments to them by turning toward the camera to bow from the apron of Jean Renoir’s little theater. The moment is both playful and exceptionally moving because, like so many other moments within the film, it recalls Renoir’s blessed preoccupation with performance, with theater, as a means of getting a fix on life, if only for a little while. The opening sequence, ‘The Last Christmas Dinner,’ is another adaptation —or variation really—of the Andersen story from which Renoir made ‘La Petite Marchande d’Allumettes’ in 1928. … The second sequence is a comically mad opera, complete with singing choruses, arias and sudden deaths, called ‘The Electric Waxer,’ about a woman fatally obsessed with the shine on her parquet floor. … The last sequence, ‘Le Roi d’Yvetot,’ is set in the Midi of so many of Renoir’s earlier films and concerns the ‘revolution’ effected by an elderly landowner (Fernand Sardou), his pretty young wife (Frangoise Arnoil) and her young lover (Jean Carmet) when they rind themselves quite happy in spite of conventions. …”
NY Times
W – The Little Theatre of Jean Renoir, W – Jean Renoir
senses of cinema: Jean Renoir
YouTube: The Little Theatre of Jean Renoir 1:38:29

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Marat/Sade, a Play – Peter Weiss (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 1963 play by Peter Weiss. The work was first published in German. Incorporating dramatic elements characteristic of both Antonin Artaud and Bertolt Brecht, it is a depiction of class struggle and human suffering that asks whether true revolution comes from changing society or changing oneself. Set in the historical Charenton Asylum, Marat/Sade is almost entirely a ‘play within a play‘. The main story takes place on 13 July 1808, after the French Revolution; the play directed by the Marquis de Sade within the story takes place during the Revolution, in the middle of 1793, culminating in the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat (which took place on 13 July 1793), then quickly brings the audience up to date (1808). The actors are the inmates of the asylum; the nurses and supervisors occasionally step in to restore order. The bourgeois director of the hospital, Coulmier, supervises the performance, accompanied by his wife and daughter. He is a supporter of the post-revolutionary government led by Napoleon, in place at the time of the production, and believes the play he has organised to be an endorsement of his patriotic views. 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. They, as people who came out of the revolution no better than they went in, are not entirely pleased with the course of events as they occurred. The Marquis de Sade, the man after whom sadism is named, did indeed direct performances in Charenton with other inmates there, encouraged by Coulmier. De Sade is a main character in the play, conducting many philosophical dialogues with Marat and observing the proceedings with sardonic amusement. He remains detached and cares little for practical politics and the inmates’ talk of right and justice; he simply stands by as an observer and an advocate of his own nihilistic and individualist beliefs. 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. …”
W – Peter Weiss
Complete Review
Marat/Sade – Piano/Vocal Score – Richard Peaslee, Peter Weiss
Peter Weiss – artist, filmmaker and author
1960s: Days of Rage – Peter Weiss, Marat/Sade (1963)

Peter Weiss, ”Fahrende Schauspieler” (detail).
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Leni Sinclair

Photographer Leni Sinclair, cofounder of the Detroit Artists Workshop and the White Panther Party.

Leni Sinclair, born Magdalene Arndt, is an American photographer and radical political activist who lives in Detroit. She has photographed rock and jazz musicians since the early 1960s. She was the co-founder of the White Panther Party along with John Sinclair and Pun Plamondon. Magdalene Arndt was born on March 8, 1940, in Königsberg, Germany, later renamed Kaliningrad when it became territory of the Soviet Union. She grew up in the village of Vahldorf near Magdeburg in East Germany where she listened to American jazz artists such as Harry Belafonte, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald on Radio Luxemburg. She emigrated to the United States in 1959, living with relatives in Detroit while studying geography at Wayne State University. There, she was involved with a short-lived arts project called the Red Door Gallery. In 1964, she met poet and jazz critic John Sinclair, and with 14 other people, they founded the Detroit Artists Workshop on November 1, 1964. That group soon established a network of communal houses, and a performance space and print shop. Arndt began photographing jazz musicians performing in Detroit, including John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Yusuf Lateef. She married John Sinclair in 1965 at the First Unitarian Church of Detroit on Cass Avenue. They had two children, Marion Sunny Sinclair, born in 1967, and Celia Sanchez Mao Sinclair, born in 1970. In October 1965, the Detroit Artists Workshop was raided by 25 police officers, and six people, including Sinclair’s husband John, were arrested on marijuana charges. John Sinclair, already on probation as a result of a previous marijuana arrest, was later sentenced to six months in jail. When he was released in August 1966, Leni organized a party and a rock and roll band called the MC5 performed. At first, the Sinclairs, who were jazz fans, disliked the MC5, but soon they recognized their creativity and became fans. John Sinclair became their manager, and Leni Sinclair started photographing their performances. Her photos of the band have been described as ‘iconic’. When the Grande Ballroom opened on October 6, 1966, Leni Sinclair teamed up with poster artist Gary Grimshaw and formed the Magic Veil Light Company to produce psychedelic light shows during rock and roll performances. On January 24, 1967, the Detroit Artists Workshop was again raided, along with several other locations. Both John and Leni Sinclair were arrested, as were 54 other people.  …”
Jacobin: When Detroit Was Revolutionary
Kresge Arts in Detroit: Leni Sinclair (Video)
Leni Sinclair Shares on Life, Detroit, and More Ahead of Her Motor City Underground Exhibition

Public display of poem by Medgar Evers B&W photograph, undated image, by Leni Sinclair
Posted in Berlin Wall, Black Power, Grateful Dead, Jazz, LSD, Marijuana, Music, Poetry, Rolling Stones, Tom Hayden | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

T-Bone Walker – Super Black Blues (1969)

“… This included Bob Thiele’s new label. After leaving Impulse, following the musical equivalent of a coup d’etat Bob Thiele, formed Flying Dutchman Productions. He also believed the blues had a future. So, he started signing some of the biggest names in blues music to his nascent label. Before long, Flying Dutchman’s roster read like a who’s who of the blues. T-Bone Walker, Joe Turner and Otis Spann were all signed to Flying Dutchman Productions and would release comeback albums. In 1969, Joe Turner released The Real Boss Of The Blues on Flying Dutchman Productions. Otis Spann released Sweet Giant Of The Blues during 1969. A year later, T-Bone Walker released Every Day I Have The Blues, in 1970. However, a year earlier, in 1969, T-Bone Walker, Joe Turner and Otis Spann collaborated on on Super Black Blues, which was released by Flying Dutchman Productions in 1969. Super Black Blues features what was, essentially, a blues supergroup. Joining T-Bone Walker, Joe Turner and Otis Spann were George “Harmonica” Smith, Ron Brown, Arthur Wright, Ernie Watts and Paul Humphrey. For blues aficionados, it’s a tantalising taste of what the three musicians were capable of. … When the recording of Super Black Blues began, the recording studio was full with blues greats. The rhythm section included drummer Paul Humphrey, bassist Ron Brown and guitarists T-Bone Walker and Arthur Wright. Otis Spann played piano, Ernie Watts tenor saxophone and George ‘Harmonica’ Smith blew his unmistakable blues harmonica. Adding the finishing touch was Joe Turner’s vocals. As sessions go, it must have been one of Bob Thiele’s easiest. No wonder with all the experience and talent that gathered together in the one recording studio. For Bob Thiele, a huge blues aficionado, this was a dream come true. Although he was the producer, musicians this good, almost didn’t need a producer. They’d been here many times before and new how a session worked. So, for Bob, it was a case of enjoy the show. Once the microphones were setup and instruments tuned, it was a case of pressing the record button and enjoying the recording sessions for Super Black Blues. T-Bone Walker, Joe Turner and Otis Spann’s all-star blues’ band didn’t disappoint. …”
Cult Classic: . T-Bone Walker, Joe Turner and Otis Spann-Super Black Blues.
W – Super Black Blues
Discogs https://www.amazon.com/Super-Black-Blues-T-Bone-Walker/dp/B00KW8PN1G
YouTube: Super Black Blues 37:08

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Drive-in theater

“A drive-in theater or drive-in cinema is a form of cinema structure consisting of a large outdoor movie screen, a projection booth, a concession stand, and a large parking area for automobiles. Within this enclosed area, customers can view movies from the privacy and comfort of their cars. Some drive-ins have small playgrounds for children and a few picnic tables or benches. The screen can be as simple as a wall that is painted white or it can be a steel truss structure with a complex finish. Originally, the movie’s sound was provided by speakers on the screen and later by individual speakers hung from the window of each car, which were attached to a small pole by a wire. These speaker systems were superseded by the more practical method of microbroadcasting the soundtrack to car radios. … After 1945 rising car ownership and suburban and rural population led to a boom in drive-in theaters, with hundreds being opened each year. More couples were reunited and having children, resulting in the Baby Boom, and more cars were being purchased following the end of wartime fuel rationing. By 1951, the number of drive-in movie theaters in the United States had increased from its 1947 total of 155 to 4,151. The drive-in’s peak popularity came in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly in rural areas, with over 4,000 drive-ins spread across the United States in 1958. They were a cheaper alternative to in-door cinema theaters because not only did they save the gas of driving out to the city and then back home, but the cost of building and maintaining a drive-in theater was cheaper than that of an in-door theater, resulting in lower overall cost of attendance. Among its advantages was the fact that older adults with children could take care of their infant while watching a movie, while youth found drive-ins ideal for a first date. Unlike indoor cinema theaters, there was an air of informality which was appealing to people of all ages, but specifically to families. The drive-in’s success was rooted in its reputation of being a family-friendly place. Parents were able to bring their children to the theater, often in pajamas, without having to worry about bothering other movie-goers, and were also able to spend time together without paying the expenses of babysitters. … During the 1950s, the greater privacy afforded to patrons gave drive-ins a reputation as immoral, and they were labeled ‘passion pits’ in the media. … Some drive-ins held Sunday religious services, or charged a flat price per car on slow nights like Wednesdays or Sundays. On ‘buck’ or ‘bargain’ nights during the 1950s and 1960s, the admission price was one dollar per car. …”
W – List of drive-in theaters
The Segregated Past of Drive-In Movie Theaters (Guest Column)
Welcome To The Drive-In Theater!
Vanishing Drive-Ins
YouTube: Drive-In Movie Ads : Drive in Intermission 1960’s

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