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About the Flaneur
I walk through my blindness the way I wander down streets in Paris: unfettered and alive, alert to the raw material of the senses. I am a flaneur. Come along with me. Just don’t try to take my arm, unless I ask. What’s a flaneur? Read the first post, Return of the Flaneur to Galerie Vivienne. After that, try Foot Rage and the Blind Flaneur. Then stay tuned.
Letting Go of Sight
I’ve canoed on Lake Superior for almost as many years as I’ve been losing eyesight. I return year after year like a migrating loon to learn the other side of a slow, uncertain process that we could call “going blind.” After 35 years with the lake as my teacher, I know what lies on the other side. I call it letting go of sight. Read Big Water. See more about the Great Lakes.
Not This PigIf there is an emerging genetic underclass, I could run for class president or class clown. Read more in Not This Pig (2003).
Media in Transition @ MiT
Disabled Americans today have to negotiate for the kinds of accommodations made for FDR, and the caveat “reasonable accommodation” is built into the law. President Franklin Roosevelt did not have to negotiate. He could summon vast resources of the federal government – money as well as brains – to accomplish the work of disability. And it was accomplished with such thoroughness and efficiency that its scale could be called the Accessibility-Industrial Complex had it been directed toward public accommodations and not solely the needs of a single man. Read FDR and the Hidden Work of Disability [MiT8 2013]
Shepard Fairey claimed that his posterization of a copyrighted AP news photo of Barack Obama was a transformative work protected by the fair use doctrine. In other words, it was a shape-shifter. I claim fair use, too, when I reproduce and transform copyrighted works into media formats that are accessible to me as a blind reader. Read Shape-Shifters in the Fair Use Lab [MiT6 2009]
The social engineers who created a system for licensing beggars in New York never imagined that a blind woman had culture or could make culture. She herself may not have imagined it, either. In the moment when Paul Strand photographed her surreptitiously on the street in 1916, he could not have expected that one day blind photographers would reverse the camera’s gaze. Read Curiosity & The Blind Photographer. [MiT5 2007]
Tag Archives: Playing by Ear
Jon Hendricks’s 90th birthday tribute made me insatiable to hear more from Annie Ross, especially a 1959 clip of “Twisted” from Hugh Hefner’s Playboy’s Penthouse TV show. Continue reading →
Scat singing started as an improvisation by Louis Armstrong in the 1920s . Jon Hendricks took it to the level of pyrotechnic virtuosity in the 1950s by crafting words to fit soaring instrumental solos. Hendricks turns 90 today, and NPR paid him tribute.
I seldom look back at images of 9/11. Those tragic events are vivid enough in my memory. If you feel that way, too, then do not watch this photo montage set to an excerpt from John Adams’ haunting composition On The Transmigration of Souls. Listen, instead, to the complete piece in three parts.
It isn’t often that chart-toppers like Adele turn up in Café Mouffe. I hadn’t heard her smash hit, Rolling in the Deep, in its entirety until NPR did a feature about it. I just don’t listen much to pop radio. What caught my attention? All the remixes. I loved this quote from DJ Voodoo Farm (Liam Dirlam): “When you’re in the remixing game you look for certain things in a song. Certain songs have a lot going on in them that are really hard to eliminate when all you want is the vocal sample or basic idea. Every single DJ that has remixed ‘Rolling In The Deep’ owes Rick Rubin a huge kiss on the lips. Rubin strips down songs and exposes them for what they are. Here you have claps, guitars, bass, piano, her voice, and that’s it.”
Pundits are weighing in with their picks for a Hurricane Irene playlist. Paul Krugman nominated Lena Horne’s sultry Stormy Weather, from the 1943 film of the same name and Dave Winer replied with The Doors’ Riders of the Storm. Don’t know yet what Rick Perry picks for stormy listening.