Village Green Preservation Society – The Kinks (1968)

“It takes a Village Green Preservation Society to love The Kinks. The problem facing The Kinks when they released The Village Green Preservation Society in late November 1968 wasn’t merely the competition– Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, Led Zeppelin’s debut, and the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet offered plenty– but that this subtle, funny, surreal, and at times almost tender record could have been recorded on another planet. During the summer of 1968, stateside fans were hooked on a high-intensity diet that had them jonesing for aggressive, overstated fare like ‘Street Fighting Man’ and ‘You Shook Me’ and ‘Communication Breakdown’. The disconnect between The Kinks and the rock world’s rapidly narrowing palette could hardly have been more pronounced. Compare the Stones’ bombastic, urban ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ with understated work like ‘Village Green’, bouncing along like a horse and buggy as Ray Davies paints the landscape: ‘Out in the country, far from all the soot and noise of the city…’  Critics praised the album, the public ignored it, and Davies– surveying the scene– asserted that it wasn’t created for public consumption. Intentions aside, The Kinks simply moved on, leaving small knots of fans to pledge secret allegiance to Village Green. However, as years passed and the weather changed, its following grew, and finally, one day, the verdict reversed and the album was touted as a masterpiece. Ironically, it might have happened sooner had the band not been so prolific up through the late 80s. Intricately sketched and brimming with unusual arrangements, The Village Green Preservation Society was the first clear look at an iconoclastic, imaginative and sometimes brilliant artist as he came into his own. Audiences used to sizing up work on a scale created for rock gods and counter-culture icons were forced to consider this album as a piece of conceptual art. The Lennon-McCartney/Jagger-Richards duos towered over and shaped the sensibilities of a vast army; Davies explored a deeply personal world that confounded fans even as it provoked their curiosity.  …”
W – Village Green Preservation Society
Dusting ‘Em Off: The Kinks – The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
Esquire: The Best Rock Album You’ve Never Heard
The Reconstructor
Bloomsbury – 33⅓
YouTube: Village Green Preservation Society, Last Of The Steam Powered Trains / Picture Book, Picture Book
YouTube: Village Green Preservation Society 15 videos

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Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States

Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States was a landmark report published on January 11, 1964, by the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health, chaired by the then Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Luther Leonidas Terry, M.D., regarding the negative health effects of tobacco smoking. Although it was not the first such declaration—or even the first declaration by an official of the United States of America—it is notable for being arguably the most famous such declaration and has had lasting and widespread effects both on the tobacco industry and on the worldwide perception of smoking. The health effects of tobacco had been debated by users, medical experts, and governments alike since its introduction to European culture. Hard evidence for the ill effects of smoking became apparent with the results of several long-term studies conducted in the early to middle twentieth century, such as the epidemiology studies of Richard Doll and pathology studies of Oscar Auerbach. On June 12, 1957, then-Surgeon General Leroy Burney ‘declared it the official position of the U.S. Public Health Service that the evidence pointed to a causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer’. A committee of the United Kingdom‘s Royal College of Physicians issued a report on March 7, 1962, which ‘clearly indicted cigarette smoking as a cause of lung cancer and bronchitis’ and argued that ‘it probably contributed to cardiovascular disease as well.’ After pressure from the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the National Tuberculosis Association, and the American Public Health Association, President John F. Kennedy authorized Surgeon General Terry’s creation of the Advisory Committee. The committee met from November 1962 to January 1964 and analyzed over 7,000 scientific articles and papers. …”
The 1964 Surgeon General’s Report (Video)
PBS: Read the Surgeon General’s 1964 report on smoking and health

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The Bedford Incident (1965)

The Bedford Incident is a 1965 BritishAmerican Cold War film starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier and coproduced by Widmark. The cast also features Eric Portman, James MacArthur, Martin Balsam and Wally Cox, as well as early appearances by Donald Sutherland and Ed Bishop. The screenplay by James Poe is based on the 1963 book by Mark Rascovich. That, in turn, was patterned after Herman Melville‘s Moby-Dick; at one point in the film, the captain is advised he is ‘not chasing whales now’. The film was directed by James B. Harris, who, until then, was best known as Stanley Kubrick‘s producer. The American destroyer USS Bedford (DLG-113) detects a Soviet submarine in the GIUK gap near the Greenland coast. Although the U.S. and the Soviet Union are not at war, Captain Eric Finlander (Richard Widmark) harries his prey mercilessly while civilian photojournalist Ben Munceford (Sidney Poitier) and NATO naval advisor Commodore (and ex-Second World War U-boat captain) Wolfgang Schrepke (Eric Portman), look on with mounting alarm. Because the submarine is not powered by a nuclear reactor, it needs to surface periodically to replenish air and recharge its batteries. This gives Finlander an advantage but also means the Soviets will be more desperate. Also aboard the ship are Ensign Ralston (James MacArthur), an inexperienced young officer constantly being criticised by his captain for small errors, and Lieutenant Commander Chester Potter, USNR (Martin Balsam), the ship’s new doctor, who is a reservist recently recalled to active duty. …”
NY Times – Fictional Navy:’ Bedford Incident’ Grim Movie on Cold War
Guardian: More on Cold War movies
amazon: The Bedford incident by Mark Rascovich
YouTube: TRAILER – The Bedford Incident

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Buckminster Fuller Documented His Life Every 15 Minutes, from 1920 Until 1983

“If you’ve heard of Buckminster Fuller, you’ve almost certainly heard the word ‘Dymaxion.’ Despite its strong pre-Space Age redolence, the term has somehow remained compelling into the 21st century. But what does it mean? When Fuller, a self-described ‘comprehensive, anticipatory design scientist,’ first invented a house meant practically to reinvent domestic living, Chicago’s Marshall Field and Company department store put a model on display. The company ‘wanted a catchy label, so it hired a consultant, who fashioned ‘dymaxion’ out of bits of ‘dynamic,’ ‘maximum,’ and ‘ion,” writes The New Yorker‘s Elizabeth Kolbert in a piece on Fuller’s legacy. ‘Fuller was so taken with the word, which had no known meaning, that he adopted it as a sort of brand name.’ After the Dymaxion House came the Dymaxion Vehicle, the Dymaxion Map, and even the two-hour-a-day Dymaxion Sleep Plan. ‘As a child, Fuller had assembled scrapbooks of letters and newspaper articles on subjects that interested him,’ Kolbert writes. ‘When, later, he decided to keep a more systematic record of his life, including everything from his correspondence to his dry-cleaning bills, it became the Dymaxion Chronofile.’ The Dymaxion Chronofile now resides in the R. Buckminster Fuller Collection at Stanford University, a place that has merited the attention of no less a guide to the fascinating corners of the world than Atlas Obscura. ‘The files go back to when he was four-years-old, but he only seriously started the archive in 1917,’ writes that site’s Allison C. Meier. ‘From then until his death in 1983 he collected everything from each day, with ingoing and outgoing correspondence, newspaper clippings, drawings, blueprints, models, and even the mundane ephemera like dry cleaning bills.’ Fuller added to the Dymaxion Chronofile not just every day but, from the year 1920 until his death in 1983, every fifteen minutes. …”
Open Culture
W – Buckminster Fuller
Buckminster Fuller’s rarely-seen works are coming to Los Angeles
Whitney – Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe (Video)
Inventions: Twelve Around One

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Mingus: The Chaos and the Magic

Charles Mingus in Paris, 1964

“Charles Mingus’s audiences never knew quite what they were going to get, and this kept them coming. Mingus, the bassist, composer, and bandleader who reached the height of his fame in the mid-1960s, was notoriously mercurial. He was known to fire and rehire band members over the course of a set, and was once fired himself for chasing a trombonist across the stage with an axe. His reactions to noisy crowds ranged from announcing, ‘Isaac Stern doesn’t have to put up with this shit,’ to ordering his band to read books onstage. His music, which drew omnivorously on the blues, gospel, Dixieland, Duke Ellington, bebop, and classical music, among much else, was similarly unpredictable. It blurred the boundaries between improvisation and composition, often ignoring standard form, and was famous for its rapid shifts in mood and tempo. Mingus (1922-1979) would have turned ninety last year, and in celebration, Mosaic has released The Jazz Workshop Concerts: 1964-1965, a new box set with rare and previously unreleased performances by some of Mingus’s greatest ensembles. These concerts, recorded near the apex of Mingus’s career, are visceral and often unvarnished. At times, the music here can be forbidding—several tracks run beyond thirty minutes—and though it may not be as uniformly polished as some of his studio albums, at its best this set captures an element of shock and surprise that Mingus’s studio recordings sometimes don’t. ‘Mingus music,’ as he called it, was so complex and so much an extension of his own personality that it was largely played only by his own group, the Jazz Workshop. Turnover in the Workshop was high, partly because he couldn’t afford to pay his musicians very well, partly because the experience was so grueling (members called it the Jazz Sweatshop), and partly because so many of them, after sharpening their skills with Mingus, went on to lead their own bands (Gary Giddins once called it the Harvard University of Jazz).  Even with Mingus at the helm playing bass (and sometimes piano), Workshop performances often resembled practice sessions more than concerts. He did everything in his power to push his players beyond their limits: while a musician was soloing, he might double the tempo, cut it in half, or drop the accompaniment of the bass, drums, and piano entirely, all without warning. …”
NYBooks (Video/Audio)
Mingus at Monterey: Meditations on integration
Musica Kaleidoskopea (Video)
W – Charles Mingus, W – Charles Mingus discography
YouTube: Mingus Ah Um Full Album and Bonus Tracks 1:12:20

Eric Dolphy (center) with, from left to right: Clifford Jordan, Jaki Byard, and Mingus, Paris, 1964
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The revolutionary challenge of “the long 1968”

Poster by OSPAAAL, the Cuban Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

“In revolutionary moments, social realities that are hard to see in calmer periods rise to the surface as they are threatened, crumble, forced to recombine in new ways. In the ‘long 1968’ — the cycle of struggles that shook the Global North from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s — what had seemed like a stable postwar order, backed by superpower might and economically promising in its many variants, from Western welfare states, Eastern state socialism to Southern national-developmentalism, turned out to be anything but. The French government wavered and was nearly toppled by what at the time was the largest general strike in world history. Czechoslovakia, perhaps the Soviet bloc state with greatest popular support, shifted towards radical transformation, only to be met by the tanks of the Warsaw Pact. In Derry and Mexico City, student radicals challenging the post-colonial order were met with state violence. In the US, the cycle that began with the Civil Rights movement was reaching its height in 1968, while Italy’s years of struggle were only starting. Social movements were on the rise across West Germany and Japan, Canada and Denmark, Yugoslavia and Great Britain, marking a massive shift in popular struggle and culture. For a few years, the beach of alternative possible worlds was glimpsed beneath the paving stones of a dull postwar conservatism. …”

Poster by the British Vietnam Solidarity Campaign
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October 1964 – David Halberstam

“The 1964 baseball season didn’t happen just so David Halberstam could come along and write about it, but it certainly seems that way, especially 30 years later. At the time, the 1964 baseball season, which culminated in a memorable seven-game series between the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals, was considered a good one, but over the years the series and the season have taken on greater stature. Some World Series may have featured more great players–though two Cardinals and three Yankees from the ’64 teams eventually made it into the Hall of Fame–but not one has featured a more fascinating collection of vivid personalities, individualists who left lasting imprints on the game and who go right on being an important part of it today. Perhaps a book on the players who shared the ’64 season was inevitable considering how many books the players themselves wrote. Jim Bouton, the iconoclastic Yankees’ right-hander, went on to write ‘Ball Four,’ perhaps the most influential baseball book of the modern era; Curt Flood, the Cardinals’ center fielder, wrote an autobiography that detailed his heroic and doomed assault on the ‘reserve clause,’ which bound players to one team for life; and even Mickey Mantle, who didn’t seem to have even one book in him back when he expressed himself by slamming bats into water coolers, has nearly a dozen volumes with his name on them. The Yankees’ Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra and the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson and Lou Brock have all produced books; even Bob Uecker, St. Louis’ second-string catcher, was able to parlay the season into two books (and a movie career). These two teams may have written more books than any other two teams have read.  … What were they putting in the water in 1964 to produce players of this kind? Halberstam answers the question with what was in the air: questions of race in the wake of civil rights victories, the anxiety following the death of J.F.K., the increased liberalism of American society, the escalating war in Vietnam. Halberstam doesn’t belabor any of these points but shows how the changes in baseball reflected changes in America. …”
LA Times
The Great Yankees-Cardinals World Series of 1964
YouTube: October 1964 – Side 1, Side 2, Side 3, Side 4

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