January 25th, 2013

You know that insane Scottie Pippen ad that is a favorite of everyone associated in any way with any corner of basketball esoterica? It was actually part of a series in 1997. Here’s the Gary Payton spot, the only other one available online. Great men made these. 

July 13th, 2011

Happy Birthday, Albert Ayler! Donald Ayler, you still can’t quite hang with Alan Shorter. Thanks to Russ for reminding me.

May 24th, 2011

Happy 70th, Robert Zimmerman! Your record company, Columbia, is like a shark-eating piranha when it comes to keeping your music off of YouTube. So no heart-startling live performances from Rolling Thunder (a few are buried on the Italian version of MySpace, which sounds like an imaginary Internet safehouse. I fear consequences.) No posting “She’s Your Lover Now” from The Bootleg Series. There’s a wobbly solo piano version there, one of the few, but it’s not the same.My badly deficient iTunes has Blood on the Tapes in it, but both acoustic takes of “Idiot Wind” are too big for Tumblr to accommodate. Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised at where we’ve ended up. The Basement Tapes was the first unofficial release to bum rush the canon, laying the groundwork for every mixtape ever. It wasn’t just Woodstock-inspired anarchism, but also shrewd business, rebuilding mystique from the roots up. Street Legal is really fucking good, adapting because it was better to be disastrously ahead than lag behind in the least. It’s a record made for revisionism. The Christian years gave way to “Blind Willie McTell”, and for that we will never stop being wrong. You’ve always been inscrutable and private, wizened and canny, process as a series of artistic last stands, large and small, and watershed releases. You made commerce subversive, and subversion into rock star commerce. So here’s an outpouring of emotion that stands mute, but not empty. I hope you appreciate it.