When Martin Luther King Came to Harlem

“Less than a year before his assassination, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. came to Harlem. In the June 22, 1967, Village Voice, contributor Marlene Nadle observed the crowd anxiously awaiting the Baptist minister’s arrival: ‘Using programs folded accordion style instead of pastel fans with pictures of Christ, they managed to turn the chandeliered ballroom of the Hotel Roosevelt into a Baptist Church.’ At times during her reporting on the event, Nadle comes across as jaded, as in her description of when the audience initially glimpses King in a movie being shown by the hospital workers’ union, which had arranged the event: ‘The Lord appeared for the first time — on film. There was a great burst of applause.’ But when King arrives in the flesh and delivers his speech, Nadle acknowledges why the crowd is so rapt: ‘What he said was not important. It was the man who lent weight to the words. It was his presence felt, his integrity sensed. Such a man could make the telephone book seem like the gospel.’ But in point of fact, her coverage of the speech revealed that King’s words were very important. He was unafraid to speak to America’s most powerful interests — at his growing peril. Nadle relates his principled opposition to the Vietnam War: ‘Who appointed this country divine agent to the world? he asked. Who gave it the arrogance to try to fix up another country when it hasn’t put its own house in order? How can it expect its black soldiers to fight in brutal solidarity with whites in Vietnam and then come home and not be able to live on the same block with them?” King goes on to ask: ‘How come this country only worries about Vietnam? How come it doesn’t use its power against South Africa or Rhodesia?’ … The crowd answered: ‘Amen.’ Then King, foreshadowing why he is celebrated every year — on his birthday in the dead of winter — as a great American, concluded, ‘We shall overcome. No lie can live forever.’ …”

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Before the Revolution – Bernardo Bertolucci (1964)

Before the Revolution (Italian: Prima della rivoluzione) is a 1964 Italian romantic drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. It stars Adriana Asti and Francesco Barilli and is centred on ‘political and romantic uncertainty among the youth of Parma’The film, strongly influenced by the French New Wave, was shot between September and November, 1963. The shooting took place in Parma and its surroundings, one scene being filmed in the camera ottica (optical chamber) at the Sanvitale Fortress in Fontanellato. It premiered on 9 May 1964 at the 17th Cannes Film Festival during the International Critics’ Week. Although the initial reception was only lukewarm, it has since become widely respected by critics, praised for its technical merit and music and is included in the book in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, where Colin MacCabe refers to it as ‘the perfect portrait of the generation who were to embrace revolt in the late 1960s’. Parma, 1962. Fabrizio (Francesco Barilli) a young student, struggles with reconciling middle class life with his interest in the militant views of the Italian Communist Party. He has a serious discussion his best friend Agostino (Allen Midgette) who tells him of his hatred for his parents’ way of life. He is caught between relying on the Catholicism of his parents and the Marxist ideas touted by Fabrizio. Fabrizio is shocked when he learns of Agostino’s drowning in the Po River. He interviews local youths who were there when it happened and becomes convinced that Agostino committed suicide. Fabrizio imagines that his friend’s hatred for his parents was really hatred of himself. … Like Marco Bellocchio‘s Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca), which was released the following year, Before the Revolution is considered a precursor of the protests of 1968.[7] Luana Ciavola, author of Revolutionary Desire in Italian Cinema, believes that like I pugni in tasca, the film gives the impression of coming from within the bourgeoisie, but at the same time being against it, although notes that the way it approaches revolt differs. … Eugene Archer of The New York Times believes that Bertolucci attempted a ‘symbolic autobiography’ in his classical construction of the film. She highlights loss and defeat as notable themes, with the failure at love symbolizing ‘a death of the past, an angst-ridden sense of futility in any kind of revolutionary striving, whether emotional, political or merely intellectual, amid the defeat of contemporary society’. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian notes that the film displays a ‘distinctively patrician concern with Catholicism and Marxism’. …”
Jonathan Rosenbaum
YouTube: Before the Revolution – trailer

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“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” – The Righteous Brothers (1964)

“”You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” is a song written by Phil Spector, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil. It was first recorded by the Righteous Brothers in 1964, produced by Phil Spector. Their recording is considered by some music critics to be the ultimate expression and illustration of Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound‘ recording technique. It has also been described by various music writers as ‘one of the best records ever made’ and ‘the ultimate pop record’. The original Righteous Brothers version was a critical and commercial success on its release, becoming a number-one hit single in both the United States and the United Kingdom in February 1965. It was the fifth best selling song of 1965 in the US. It also entered the Top 10 in the UK chart on an unprecedented three separate occasions. ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ has been covered successfully by numerous artists. … In 1964, music producer Phil Spector conducted the band at a show in San Francisco where the Righteous Brothers was also appearing, and he was impressed enough with the duo to want them to record for his own label Philles Records. All the songs previously produced by Spector for Philles Records featured black singers, and the Righteous Brothers would become his first white vocal group. However they had a black vocal style, termed blue-eyed soul, that suited Spector. … The song would become one of the foremost examples of Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound‘ technique. It features the studio musicians the Wrecking Crew, included for this recording were Don Randi on piano, Tommy Tedesco on guitar, Carol Kaye and Ray Pohlman on bass, and Steve Douglas on sax. They were also joined by Barney Kessel on guitar and Earl Palmer on drums for this session. Jack Nitzsche usually arranged the songs for Spector, but he was absent, and the arrangement for this song was done by Gene Page. As with his other songs, Spector started by cutting the instrumental track first, building up layers of sound to create the Wall of Sound effect. The recording was done mono so Spector could fix the sound exactly as he wanted it. According to sound engineer Larry Levine, they started recording four acoustic guitars, when that was ready, they added the pianos, of which there were three, followed by three basses, the horns (two trumpets, two trombones, and three saxophones), then finally the drums. The vocals by Hatfield and Medley were then recorded and the strings overdubbed. The background singers were mainly the vocal group The Blossoms, also joining in the song’s crescendo was a young Cher. Reverb was applied in the recording, and more was added on the lead vocals during the mix. According to music writer Robert Palmer, the effect of the technique used was to create a sound that was ‘deliberately blurry, atmospheric, and of course huge; Wagnerian rock ‘n’ roll with all the trimmings.’ …”
Genius (Audio)
YouTube: You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling

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Franny and Zooey – J. D. Salinger (1961)

Franny and Zooey is a book by American author J. D. Salinger which comprises his short story ‘Franny’ and novella Zooey /ˈz./. The two works were published together as a book in 1961, having originally appeared in The New Yorker in 1955 and 1957 respectively. The book focuses on siblings Franny and Zooey, the two youngest members of the Glass family, which was a frequent focus of Salinger’s writings. ‘Franny’ tells the story of Franny Glass, Zooey’s sister, undergraduate at a small liberal arts college. The story takes place in an unnamed college town during Franny’s weekend visit to her boyfriend Lane. Disenchanted with the selfishness and inauthenticity she perceives all around her, she aims to escape it through spiritual means. ‘Zooey’ is set shortly after ‘Franny’ in the Glass family apartment in New York City’s Upper East Side. While actor Zooey’s younger sister Franny suffers a spiritual and existential breakdown in their parents’ Manhattan living room, leaving their mother Bessie deeply concerned, Zooey comes to Franny’s aid, offering what he thinks is brotherly love, understanding, and words of sage advice. … Salinger’s known interest in Eastern religious philosophy such as Zen Buddhism and Hindu Advaita Vedanta, as well as Orthodox Christian spirituality, particularly in a brief section in the second part that includes quotations from spiritual texts. There is also a discussion of whether the book is a ‘mystical story’ or a ‘love story’ in the introduction to the second section, as speculated by the book’s narrator, Buddy Glass (who decides it’s the latter).  … The book was very popular with the reading public, spending 26 weeks at the top of The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers list in 1961 and 1962, but critics gave it mixed reviews. John Updike felt that Salinger’s work was more than adequate. He praised Salinger’s characterizations, saying that they ‘melt indistinguishably together in an impossible radiance of personal beauty and intelligence’. He also pointed out that Salinger has a ‘correctly unctuous and apprehensive tone’. But some thought that Salinger shamed himself with this particular piece of work. Janet Malcolm quotes Maxwell Geismar who called it an ‘appallingly bad story’, and George Steiner who even called it ‘a piece of shapeless self indulgence’. …”
NY Times: Anxious Days For The Glass Family By JOHN UPDIKE (September 17, 1961)
Self-Help for Sarah Lawrence Girls:
Joan Didion on Franny and Zooey (1961)

Guardian: Is JD Salinger’s Franny and Zooey posturing or profound?

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Soviet space program

Communists pave the way to the stars. The Soviet miniature sheet of 1964 displaying six historical firsts of the Soviet space program.

“The Soviet space program (Russian: Космическая программа СССР, Kosmicheskaya programma SSSR) comprised several of the rocket and space exploration programs conducted by the Soviet Union (USSR) from the 1930s until its collapse in 1991. Over its sixty-year history, this primarily classified military program was responsible for a number of pioneering accomplishments in space flight, including the first intercontinental ballistic missile (R-7), first satellite (Sputnik 1), first animal in Earth orbit (the dog Laika on Sputnik 2), first human in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1), first woman in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova on Vostok 6), first spacewalk (cosmonaut Alexey Leonov on Voskhod 2), first Moon impact (Luna 2), first image of the far side of the moon (Luna 3) and unmanned lunar soft landing (Luna 9), first space rover (Lunokhod 1), first sample of lunar soil automatically extracted and brought to Earth (Luna 16), and first space station (Salyut 1). Further notable records included the first interplanetary probes: Venera 1 and Mars 1 to fly by Venus and Mars, respectively, Venera 3 and Mars 2 to impact the respective planet surface, and Venera 7 and Mars 3 to make soft landings on these planets. The rocket and space program of the USSR, initially boosted by the assistance of captured scientists from the advanced German rocket program, was performed mainly by Soviet engineers and scientists after 1955, and was based on some unique Soviet and Imperial Russian theoretical developments, many derived by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, sometimes known as the father of theoretical astronautics. … .Because of the program’s classified status, and for propaganda value, announcements of the outcomes of missions were delayed until success was certain, and failures were sometimes kept secret. Ultimately, as a result of Mikhail Gorbachev‘s policy of glasnost in the 1980s, many facts about the space program were declassified. Notable setbacks included the deaths of Korolev, Vladimir Komarov (in the Soyuz 1 crash), and Yuri Gagarin (on a routine fighter jet mission) between 1966 and 1968, and development failure of the huge N-1 rocket intended to power a manned lunar landing, which exploded shortly after lift-off on four unmanned tests. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia and Ukraine inherited the program. …”
BBC: Posters of the golden age of Soviet cosmonauts
W – Yuri Gagarin
W – Lost Cosmonauts
YouTube: Yuri Gagarin – the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, First Human in Space (1961)

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Susan Brownmiller

Susan Brownmiller (born February 15, 1935) is an American feminist journalist, author, and activist best known for her 1975 book Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape. Brownmiller argues that rape had been previously defined by men rather than women, and that men use it as a means of perpetuating male dominance by keeping all women in a state of fear. … Brownmiller’s path into journalism began with an editorial position at a ‘confession magazine’. She went on to work as an assistant to the managing editor at Coronet (1959–60), as an editor of the Albany Report, a weekly review of the New York State legislature (1961–1962), and as a national affairs researcher at Newsweek (1963–1964). In the mid-1960s, Brownmiller continued her career in journalism with positions as a reporter for NBC-TV in Philadelphia (1965), staff writer for The Village Voice (1965), and as a network news writer for ABC-TV in New York City (1966–68). Beginning in 1968, she worked as a freelance writer; her book reviews, essays, and articles appeared regularly in publications including The New York Times, Newsday, The New York Daily News, Vogue, and The Nation. In 1968, she signed the ‘Writers and Editors War Tax Protest‘ pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War. Brownmiller volunteered for Freedom Summer in 1964, wherein she worked on voter registration in Meridian, Mississippi. … Returning to New York, she began writing for The Village Voice and became a network TV newswriter at the American Broadcasting Company, a job she held until 1968. She continues to write and speak on feminist issues, including a recent memoir and history of Second Wave radical feminism. … Against Our Will was a highly controversial book. Brownmiller’s basic premise was contested by some sections of the left wing, who considered it untrue that ‘all men benefit’ from the culture of rape, and who believed rather that it was possible to organize both women and men together to oppose sexual violence. The book also received criticism from Angela Davis, who thought Brownmiller disregarded the part that black women played in the anti-lynching movement and that Brownmiller’s discussion of rape and race became an ‘unthinking partnership which borders on racism’. In 1995, the New York Public Library selected Against Our Will as one of 100 most important books of the 20th century. …”
Guardian: US feminist Susan Brownmiller on why her groundbreaking book on rape is still relevant (Video)
Cosmopolitan: When a Feminist Trailblazer Turns to Victim-Blaming, It’s Time to Let Go of a Hero
amazon: Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape

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The Gospel According to Matthew – Pier Paolo Pasolini (1964)

The Gospel According to Matthew (Italian: Il vangelo secondo Matteo) is a 1964 Italian biographical drama film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. It is a cinematic rendition of the story of Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of Saint Matthew, from the Nativity through the Resurrection. In 2015, the Vatican City newspaper L’Osservatore Romano called it the best film on Christ ever made. The dialogue is taken directly from the Gospel of Matthew, as Pasolini felt that ‘images could never reach the poetic heights of the text.’ He reportedly chose Matthew’s Gospel over the others because he had decided that ‘John was too mystical, Mark too vulgar, and Luke too sentimental.’ … Given Pasolini’s well-known reputation as an atheist, a homosexual, and a Marxist, the reverential nature of the film came as a surprise, especially after the controversy of La ricotta. At a press conference in 1966, Pasolini was asked why he, an unbeliever, had made a film which dealt with religious themes; his response was, ‘If you know that I am an unbeliever, then you know me better than I do myself. I may be an unbeliever, but I am an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for a belief.’ Therefore, he sets his criticism against a backdrop of sheer religious concern, for the role assumed by the Church, the organization, for centuries. On the idea of analogy, Pasolini emphasized his intention of not reproducing exactly a historic, casual Christ, but projecting the present-day society of southern Italy onto that figure, a Christ after 2,000 years of narrative build-up. … Pasolini employed some of the techniques of Italian neorealism in the making of his film. Most of the actors he hired were non-professionals. Enrique Irazoqui (Jesus) was a 19-year-old economics student from Spain and a communist activist, while the rest of the cast were mainly locals from Barile, Matera, and Massafra, where the film was shot (Pasolini visited the Holy Land but found the locations unsuitable and ‘commercialized’). … The look of the characters is also eclectic and, in some cases, anachronistic, resembling artistic depictions of different eras (the costumes of the Roman soldiers and the Pharisees, for example, are influenced by Renaissance art, whereas Jesus’ appearance has been likened to that in Byzantine art as well as the work of Expressionist artist Georges Rouault). Pasolini described his experience filming The Gospel According to Matthew as very different from his previous films. …”
Classic Art Films
Roger Ebert
YouTube: The Gospel According to Matthew (1964) – trailer, The Gospel According to St. Matthew
YouTube: Pier Paolo Pasolini Speaks

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