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Posts Tagged ‘pop music

“A copy is a meta-original”*…

 

History tells us that Walter Benjamin, the influential German critic of literature, art, and culture, died more than seventy years ago. So how is it that he’s now out doing lectures and has published a new book?

The fascinating tale in its entirety at “An Investigation Into the Reappearance of Walter Benjamin.”

Conceived by an anthropologist of art and culture as a collection of recent texts by Walter Benjamin written between 1986 and the present, this book includes interviews by Beti Zerovc, Maxine Kopsa and Milo Rau as well as lectures including “Lenin and Coca-Cola,” “The Unmaking of Art” and “The Making of Americans.”

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[TotH to Tyler Hellard’s Pop Loser]

* Walter Benjamin

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As we celebrate simulacra, we might recall that it was on this date in 1969 that “Sugar, Sugar” hit the top of the U.S. pop charts.  Written by Jeff Berry and Andy Kim as one of 16 musical segments performed by “The Archies” (a group of studio musicians) in the CBS “The Archie Comedy Hour,” the tune went on to become the number-one single of the year.

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Written by LW

September 20, 2014 at 1:01 am

“Life is a desire, not a meaning”*…

 larger version here

Mashable created a map of what each state wants (according to Google’s Autocomplete).

The resulting map reads like a list of New Year’s resolutions made by Civil War veterans. Did you know, for example, that more than anything, Wyoming evidently wants an aircraft carrier? Are you close enough to Wisconsin that residents revealed their secret wish to be called “The Mitten State?” Who could forget existential Florida, whose only desire is simply “to know.”

Check out the map below and see what Google thinks your state wants most. If your state happens to be blank, it’s because Google says it doesn’t want anything, which has to count for something, right?

Mashable’s map was inspired by the somewhat more existential work of of Tumblr user Gaysquib, who used Google’s auto-complete to determine what each state is

 larger version here

* Charlie Chaplin

[Update:  here is Europe autocompleted; and here is the Middle East and Asia]

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As we deliberate on desire, we might recall that it was on this date in 1964 that the Beatles occupied the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time, when “I Want to Hold Your Hand” reached #1.  It had already ascended to the pinnacle of the British charts:  indeed, with advance orders exceeding one million copies in the U.K., “I Want to Hold Your Hand” would ordinarily have hit the top of the British record charts on its day of release (November 29, 1963), but it was blocked for two weeks by the group’s first million-seller, “She Loves You.”  The release order was reversed in the U.S.: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” held the number one spot for seven weeks before being replaced by “She Loves You.”  It remained on the U.S. charts for a total of fifteen weeks, and became the Beatles’ best-selling single worldwide.

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Written by LW

January 25, 2014 at 1:01 am

“People still come up to me and ask me to sign their records. That’s right, records! Man, they don’t even make records no more!…”*

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Actually, they do– and the British music retailer Rough Trade is betting big on them.  Last week, Rough Trade opened a massive (15,000 square foot) store stocking some CDs and lots and lots of vinyl records.

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It took 20 employees and various friends and family members 30 hours, over three days, to stock the shelves with 23,000 discs and CDs in time for the store’s opening party– a process documented by Stephen Mallon for the New York Times:

 click image above, or here, for video

* The Rev. Al Green

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As we fish out our turntables, we might take a memorial moment to dangle our pinkies from the pier, in memory of the great Otis Redding; he died in a plane crash near Madison, Wisconsin on this date in 1967, at the age of 26.  Redding had left the studios of Stax/Volt Records in Memphis, planning to return to finish the song he’d been recording– he needed to replace the whistling track he’d used as a placeholder for lyrics he still needed to write.  But first he had to appear on a TV show in Cleveland, and perform a concert in Madison…  “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” was released in its “unfinished” form several weeks later. It became the first posthumous #1 hit and the biggest pop hit of Redding’s career.

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Written by LW

December 10, 2013 at 1:01 am

When good food and good company just aren’t enough…

 

Ithaa restaurant in the Maldives is located 5 meters (about 16.5 feet) below the surface and has 180-degree views of the vibrant coral gardens. The cuisine has a European slant, and is constructed into a six-course tasting menu paired with champagnes. The menu offers items like Malossol Imperial caviar with sour cream and potato blinis, and yellowtail king fish with saffron champagne risotto and beurre blanc foam. The all-inclusive six-course option will cost around $320 per person (plus a 10 percent service charge and 8 percent tax per person), but the restaurant does offer a slightly less expensive four-course lunch tasting menu that costs $125 per person.

Polish up the platinum card, then check out the other nine options at “The 10 Most Expensive Restaurants in the World.”

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As we tuck in our napkins, we might recall that it was on this date in 1963 that Domincan sister Jeanine Deckers, a Belgian singer-songwriter who performed as Sœur Sourire (Sister Smile), but was known in the U.S. as “The Singing Nun,” reached the top of the Billboard chart with “Dominique.”  As History.com notes:

The previous month, pop radio stations around the country had briefly gone dark out of respect for the late President John F. Kennedy following his assassination in Dallas on November 22. The following month, those same stations would begin broadcasting, nearly nonstop, the first sounds of a coming revolution, as the Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” hit American shores on January 13. Perhaps only during the unique moment in pop-music history that fell between those historic landmarks could an actual Belgian nun have ascended to the American pop charts with a jaunty tune about a Catholic saint—sung in French, no less.

She held the #1 spot for four weeks, effectively blocking Louie, Louie from ever reaching the top.

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Written by LW

December 7, 2013 at 1:01 am

“Nothing scares me more than people with some doll collection…”*

 

Seigel & Stockman was founded in Paris in 1867 and began trading in London in the nineteen-twenties, manufacturing paper maché dummies for couture houses and dressmakers’ showrooms, and benefitting from the rise of department stores. When Peter [Ferstendik, the owner] acquired the company, it was independent of the parent and operating with fifteen employees from a factory on Old St, still making mannequins in the traditional manner as it had done for one hundred and thirty years.

Today, with five times the staff, Proportion>London produces fibreglass models alongside the original paper maché and has diversified into a wide range of display mannequins for retail and museum use that are continually redesigned and updated. “Our competitors copy our mannequins,” admitted Peter, with more than a hint of swagger,“but we are always a year ahead. The only time we should worry is if they stop copying us!”…

Join Spitalfields Life and photographer Patricia NivenAt the Mannequin Factory.”

* Karl Lagerfeld

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As we check for Chucky, we might recall that it was on this date in 1978 that Donna Summer reached the top of the Billboard pop chart for the first time.  Already famous on the disco scene for Georgio Moroder’s “Love To Love You, Baby,”  Summer needed material to fill out a double album (released as Live and More).  She latched onto a piece written in the late 60s by Jim Webb (who had penned hits like “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” and “Up, Up and Away”; originally intended as a 22-minute cantata, it was first recorded in 1967 by actor Richard Harris as a 7 minute single– “MacArthur Park” (which, while Dave Barry’s readers voted it “Worst Song Ever,” reached #2 on the charts).  A decade later Summer recorded a 9-minute album version of the tune that was edited down to 3:45 for release as a single…  which sold millions of copies, and earned Summer a Grammy nomination for “Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.”

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Written by LW

November 11, 2013 at 1:01 am

“Life seemed nearest to acceptable at four a.m…”*

 

Passages from pop songs, clips from movies and TV Shows, literary lifts, and real-life reminiscences:  The Museum Of Four O’Clock In The Morning.

* Wally Lamb

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As we search for our slippers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1985 that the Miami Vice soundtrack, a mix of work by the show’s composer Jan Hammer and other artists’ songs used in the series, hit number one on the album chart, the “Billboard 200”– a position it held for 11 weeks.  Travel down memory lane: hear samples of each cut here.

 source

 

 

Written by LW

November 2, 2013 at 1:01 am

There but for the grace of God…

This (thankfully unexecuted) 1948 plan for traffic flow in San Francisco is one of the many fascinating specimens on Andrew Lynch’s Tumblr Hyperreal Cartography & The Unrealized City city planning maps collected from libraries, municipal archives, and dark corners of the internet, all memorializing metropolitan visions never actually instantiated.

[via MapLab; for a higher resolution version of the image above, which is courtesy of WalkingSF, click here]

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As we program our GPS units, we might recall that it was on this date in 1974 that Paper Lace’s “The Night Chicago Died” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  The tuneful tale of a (fictional) shoot-out between gangsters tied to Al Capone and the Chicago Police, the single was a follow-up to “Billy Don’t Be a Hero,” a #1 hit in the U.K. for Paper Lace (which wrote the song), but virtually unheard in the U.S. where Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods’ cover scooped the Paper Lace release, and reached #1.

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Written by LW

August 17, 2013 at 1:01 am

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