Alan Jacobs


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Gonna be largely offline for the rest of February — see y’all in March!

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Lawrence Keaty, from Taipei (2020)

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When Brad East asks his students what, when they visit a church, they expect to see, one of them said: “Lights.” I.e., a tech-church show.

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Kinda thinking that this wireless diagnostics report that’s been running on my Mac for 10 hours is unlikely to finish. (All of a sudden my Mac, and only my Mac, has stopped connecting to my home network. What joy.)

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Arthur Aghajanian: “The statues of Armenia’s cultural giants embody a distinctive form of heroism characterized by creative acts as forms of rebellion. This suggests another, better way: not dominance but imagination. Thus, its men of stone and bronze highlight the sociopolitical and spiritual dimensions of the creative act. At its best, a Christian vision might imagine statues of prominent Americans the same way. Commemorating not just achievement, but also creative resistance to systems of power.”

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Lindsay Zoladz in the NYT:

They traded a few lines and harmonized beautifully on the chorus — her tone opalescent, his bringing some grit — but Combs never overshadowed Chapman. He knew that in that moment, no one could. Something about the way he looked at her said it all: His eyes shone with irrepressible respect. Here was a grown man, an assured performer who sells out stadiums, visibly trembling before the sight and the sound of the folk singer Tracy Chapman. […]

The song, during Chapman and Combs’s five-minute performance, felt incredibly spacious — larger than the limitations of genre, welcoming and expansive enough to hold every single person it had ever touched, regardless of the markers of identity that so often divide us. It was a rare reminder of music’s unique ability to obliterate external differences. “Fast Car” is about something more internal and universal. It is a song about the wants and needs that make us human: the desire to be happy, to be loved, to be free.

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I dunno, maybe I’m an aging sentimentalist, but … the Tracy Chapman / Luke Combs duet last night feels like A Moment. It feels like an opportunity to say We don’t have to play this game we’ve been playing. Something better is here if we want to take hold of it. Lord, may it be so.

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It’s been more than a decade since I’ve visited The Cloisters — that’s gotta change soon.

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Ben Werdmuller on Arc Search: “A world where everyone uses an app like this is a death spiral to an information desert.”

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Church fusion.

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The Queen and the Duke ♫

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dog chewing branch
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Miles and Pops ♫

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Fascinating from Ethan Iverson on the Duke: “Who even knows the right changes to Ellington hits? I remember my first attempts to learn famous Ellington tunes: when I eventually heard the Ellington versions, they seemed wrong, since the changes were so different than what were in the fakebooks and on everybody else’s records. Even functions as obvious as tonic and dominant could be reversed. And Duke’s middle voices — his counterpoint! — frequently went by too thick and too fast to be reducible to changes. (Of course, that’s true of any reasonably sophisticated big band writing, but my gut tells me it’s harder to make a really good cheat sheet of Duke than just about anybody else.)” ♫

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I’m on a Duke Ellington kick at the moment — there may be posts and links forthcoming — but right now I’m remembering one of the classiest and coolest catchphrases ever, Duke’s habitual goodbye to his audiences: “You are very beautiful, very sweet, and we do love you madly.” ♫

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When Wes Anderson designs a bar

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I don’t feel the need to repost everything on my Big Blog here, but I’m thinking that it might be useful occasionally to link to a tag that has some interesting material. For instance: climate.

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Two fantastic essays on the history of multi-channel audio by J. B. Crawford: one and two.

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Wendish Easter eggs – from Texas!

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I rarely say that everyone should read something, but I’ll say that about this post by Mandy Brown.

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Here’s a short post about one of the best Nichols & May comedy routines, which means, about one of the best comedy routines ever.

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Just sent a drizzly-February-morning missive to my Buy Me a Coffee supporters.

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I wrote about teaching Augustine’s Enchiridion.

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Walter Crane, Flora’s Train, tile panel, 1900-1901.