Category Archives: culture

Break It Down

Teju Cole’s New Inquiry piece on the destruction of Sufi shrines in Timbuktu is the most thoughtful I’ve read on these disturbing events.

There is in iconoclasm an emotional content that is directly linked to the iconoclasts’ own psychology. The theological pretext for image destruction is that images are powerless, less than God, uneffective as a source of succour, and therefore disposable. But in reality, iconoclasm is motivated by the iconoclast’s profound belief in the power of the image being destroyed. The love iconoclasts have for icons is a love that dare not speak its name.

The Grateful Dead Archive Online is now officially open

The Grateful Dead Archive Online (GDAO) is a socially constructed collection comprised of over 45,000 digitized items drawn from the UCSC [University of California at Santa Cruz] Library’s extensive Grateful Dead Archive (GDA) and from digital content submitted by the community and global network of Grateful Dead fans.

From The Advocate Archives: 1969 Article on the Stonewall Riots

June 28 and 29 mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riot, a 1969 event many recognize as central to the gay rights movement of the 1970s and beyond. Editors researching The Advocate archives for the magazine’s forty-fifth anniversary issue came across a piece that appeared in September 1969, reprinted from a summer newsletter of the New York Mattachine Society.

Titled Police Raid on N.Y. Club Sets Off First Gay Riot:

Plainclothes officers entered the [Stonewall Inn] at about 2 a.m., armed with a warrant, and closed the place on grounds of illegal selling of alcohol. Employees were arrested and the customers told to leave. The patrons gathered on the street outside and were joined by other Village residents and visitors to the area.

The police behaved, as is usually the case when they deal with homosexuals, with bad grace, and were reproached by “straight” onlookers. Pennies were thrown at the cops by the crowd, then beer cans, rocks, and even parking meters. The cops retreated inside the bar, which was set afire by the crowd.

The United Typothetae of America (and Its Future)

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

They were what you might call a guild of master printers.

On September 27, 1900, they pondered their future and they et. They started off with Blue Points, a splash of sherry, something called Essence of White Sage Hen, olives, salted almonds, and celery. Then turbans of black bass, sliced cucumbers, and potatoes marquises. And/or diamondback terrapin (in case). And/or lamp chops with asparagus tips. (And Parisian potatoes!) Washed down with various 1884 Sauternes.

There was an interval of sherbet crème de menthe (to cleanse the palate?) and cigarettes, followed by roast stuffed quail (imperiale) with corn cake and guava jelly. Plus lettuce and tomato, filled with celery and mayonnaise. A gulp or so of Moët & Chandon.

Ice cream (en surprise) and assorted cakes for afters. A cheese course of Roquefort cheese and “saline wafers.” And a wee nip of Chartreuse. Topped off by café noir and cigars.

(From the wonderful NYPL Menu Collection.)

Texas Charm and an iPhone

When I was growing up, I was afraid of two things: my mother and Russians. We had to practice duck-and-cover drills, and even as a grade school student I had to swear each year on a form that I was not a communist. I had nightmares of bombs falling from the sky. I still do sometimes, though I know Commies are now a symbol for other threats in my life.

I don’t think anybody other than Mitt Romney now thinks Russia is a threat to anybody. I think we mostly feel sorry for them — they seem rather pathetic, don’t they? And I don’t mean that in a mean way (not even after yesterday). I mean it more in a southern “bless your heart” kind of way. Mean, no — condescending, probably.

By the time my friend Lou Thompson asks the rhetorical question, “I mean really, do I look like I’d start trouble? Just wait before you answer that,” I bet you will want to read all the way through to the end of her post from The City Formerly Known as Leningrad, St. Petersburg.

RIP Richard Harding, Owner of Chicago’s Quiet Knight . . .

. . . and before that, Poor Richard’s.

Good stuff in this Sun-Times obit on the Chicago scene, mid-sixties through seventies:

Los Angeles had the Troubador. Chicago had the Quiet Knight.

Personal note: In July 1978, after seeing the Stones at Soldier Field, the ex and I were walking down Belmont Avenue, right past the Quiet Knight, en route to our friend Mark’s apartment. Mark lived in a garret atop Schuba’s (still going strong at Belmont and Southport).

And that, children, was the night the Stones, along with Willie Dixon, paid a visit to the Quiet Knight and jammed with Muddy Waters. The night we walked on by, oblivious, and missed it.