Monthly Archives: July 2009

Mingus: Stickin’ It To The Man

With Lion's Head Scroll on French Bass

With lion's head scroll french bass

This is some great footage from Thomas Reichman’s 1961 documentary Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968. Watch as the NYC Department of Sanitation trucks away his possessions, including one of his upright basses, and as the NYPD subsequently arrests him for possession of hypodermic needles. It’s a sad state of affairs, but worth watching, especially given the current debate raging over law enforcement and racial profiling. FTP.

A few choice quotes from Charlie:

“Blood is not my bag. Broads is my bag.”

“I think America is beautiful.”

“I hope the Communists blow you people up.”


Bonus footage: Punk Rock Mingus.


Filed under Media, Music, Quotes

Book Covers by ‘Jason’

The enigmatic Norwegian graphic novelist ‘Jason’ creates some amazing jacket art, my favorite of which is his design for the latest edition of The Dharma Bums, out as a Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition (below). I haven’t read any of his graphic novels, but I just ordered The Left Bank Gang, which centers on F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce in the bohemia of 1920’s Paris.


Jason’s Bio.

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Filed under Expatriates, Literature, Media

The Great Debate: Tart Arnels vs. Moscot Lemtoshes

In honor of my recent eBay purchase, I have to write a few words on the debate (though, there isn’t really a debate) between Tart Arnels and Moscot Lemtoshes – the oft confused styles.

First, here is a view of each:

Tart Arnel.


Moscot Lemtosh.


At a glance, they appear almost identical. But there are a few key differences that need to be pointed out. Moscot frames have mock trims on the front and sides that are simply glued on, and serve no actual purpose. Tart Arnels use rivets that appear on the front and sides that secure the hinge plates. Modern heat sunken hinges, like those employed by Moscot, have been around since mid sixties and are now used on almost all mass produced frames. However, there are still a few frame makers who carry on using rivet hinges and original trims, such as Opera Opera. Still, nothing compares to an original pair of vintage Tart Arnels. The Amber frames (below) go for about 500 bills on eBay.

Verdict: Tart Arnel.




Filed under Apparel, Assessories, Media

The Germinal Wardrobe, Episode I

Sometimes things just come together, but there is always a sartorial derivative when it comes to putting together an outfit. The aim of this feature is to document such events. Vain? Absolutely.

Lately, I’ve been kind of obsessed with John Dillinger and the wild outlaws of the early thirties (despite the deep disappointment I felt after watching the insultingly bad Public Enemies). Naturally, a major way in which my interests manifest is through clothing. So behold, Episode 1 of The Germinal Wardrobe.

*Note: The amazing blog Nerd Boyfriend takes this concept and really runs with it. Check it out.

Picture 11_2


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Filed under Apparel, Chicago, The Germinal Wardrobe

Charlie Parker: The Hollywood Sessions


This summer, you should be advised that every moment you will have in the sun will be better if accompanied by The Hollwood Sessions. The two go together like coffee and cigarettes. I’ve done my best to heed this advise, and I feel like an infinitely better person for it. In that spirit, I thought I’d share a tragically heroic story from these recordings… however exaggerated and blurred through time it may be.

Two weeks following his 1946 Cocoa Sessions in New York, Bird and Dizzy Gillespie made a fateful visit to California to record for Dial – the trip would ultimately last two years. At the time Bird was drinking heavily and overindulging his addiction to heroin, and the time spent in California only escalated his problems.

The tapes documenting the stint are all incredible, but most notable is the “Lover Man” session. Apparently on this night, Bird hadn’t scored before entering the studio, and was suffering from withdrawals; so painful that he had to be physically held up to the microphone stand. Charles Mingus considered the “Lover Man” from this session to be one the most poignant pieces of music ever recorded.

Legend has it that later that night, after drinking in his hotel room, Bird set his bed ablaze with a cigarette and stumbled into the lobby clad only in his socks. He was arrested and committed to Camarillo State Mental Hospital, the location that inspired the classic “Relaxin’ at Camarillo,” where he remained for six months.

Moral: I think in an eloquent way, these sessions document the raw and emotional effects of substance abuse on creative inertia, for better or worse.

Here’s the recording of “Lover Man,” in which Bird misses his intro and scuffles through the rest. Roy Porter, on drums for the session, recalls: “Bird was real ill, but when you listen to ‘Lover Man’… nothin’ but soul.”

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Filed under Drink, Music, Smoking

The Lincoln Funeral Procession – Union Square, 1865


A truly serendipitous moment is captured in the photo above, which portrays Lincoln’s funeral procession as it passed the (Cornelius) Roosevelt Mansion at the SW corner 14th Street and Broadway. Cornelius Roosevelt (January 30, 1794July 17, 1871) was a New York businessman, and the grandfather of Teddy Roosevelt, who owned and lived in the building pictured to the left of the center in the photo.

As it turns out, this photo displays a 6-year-old Teddy and his brother Elliott (the father of Eleanor Roosevelt), peering out the second story window of the Roosevelt Mansion onto the procession. See ’em? If not, click here for a more illustrative photo. It’s just incredible that this moment in American history was actually caught on film, and I love when distinct eras of history collide unknowingly – this is a perfect example, kind of like a real life Jetsons Meet The Flintstones.


Filed under Media, Photography

More Summer Shots

I took these on a new camera, a Taron Marquis, which is a Japanese camera from 1962. According to the Japanese Camera Museum, the Taron Marquis (also sold as the Rival Rangefinder outside of Japan) was the world’s first 35mm camera with a built-in CdS sensor (Cadmium Sulfide).







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Filed under Media, Photography, Seattle

Past Life Crush


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Fashion Horizons – 1941

Part 1: “It’s a fairyland of tumbling castles, far above where the raindrops fall.”

Part 2: “Horizons in the air, like fashion horizons, are reached only to reappear again and again.”

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Filed under Apparel, Drink, Media


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Filed under Literature, Smoking