Archaeologists Discover a 2,000-Year-Old Roman Glass Bowl in Perfect Condition

If you’re plan­ning a trip to the Nether­lands, do try to fit in Nijmegen, the coun­try’s old­est city. Hav­ing orig­i­nal­ly cohered as a Roman mil­i­tary camp back in the first cen­tu­ry B.C., it became at the end of the first cen­tu­ry A.D. the first city in the mod­ern-day Nether­lands to receive the offi­cial des­ig­na­tion of municip­i­um, which made Roman cit­i­zens of all its res­i­dents. Not that Nijmegen stands today as an open-air muse­um of Roman times. You’re less like­ly to glimpse traces of its city wall or amphithe­ater than to come across such thor­ough­ly mod­ern devel­op­ments as the “dynam­ic liv­ing and work­ing area” of Winkel­steeg, cur­rent­ly under con­struc­tion — and even now turn­ing up Roman arti­facts of its own.

ART­news’ Francesca Aton reports the dis­cov­ery, by archae­ol­o­gists work­ing on the Winkel­steeg exca­va­tion, of “a blue glass bowl esti­mat­ed to be around 2,000 years old.” Strik­ing­ly col­ored by met­al oxide, its crafts­man­ship looks impres­sive and its con­di­tion aston­ish­ing: “with no vis­i­ble cracks or chips, the bowl remains undam­aged, mak­ing it a remark­able find.

It is believed to have been made in glass work­shops in Ger­man cities such as Cologne and Xan­ten, or pos­si­bly in Italy” — some­where, in any case, with­in the Roman Empire. Price­less now, the bowl would also have been valu­able in its day; Aton ref­er­ences a the­o­ry that “locals work­ing at out­posts along the upper­most bor­der of Hadrian’s Wall in Scot­land for the Roman army” would have earned the kind of wage need­ed to buy it.

In the video just above, post­ed last week by the gov­ern­ment of Nijmegen, archae­ol­o­gist Pepin van de Geer intro­duces the exca­va­tion site, which has proven a fruit­ful source of what Aton describes as “Roman graves, homes and wells, and objects such as dish­ware and jew­el­ry.” Most of these seem to have come out of the ground if not in pieces, then look­ing just as ancient as they are; not so the mirac­u­lous blue glass bowl, of which we also get a view. It may strike us denizens of the 21st cen­tu­ry as rec­og­niz­able enough to enrich at once the feel­ing of con­ti­nu­ity between the peo­ple of the Roman Empire and our­selves — or at least it will when we can see it for our­selves in whichev­er muse­um Nijmegen sees fit to place it.

via ART­news

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How a Mosa­ic from Caligula’s Par­ty Boat Became a Cof­fee Table in a New York City Apart­ment 50 Years Ago

Ele­gant 2,000-Year-Old Roman Shoe Found in a Well

Archae­ol­o­gists Dis­cov­er an Ancient Roman Snack Bar in the Ruins of Pom­peii

Roman Stat­ues Weren’t White; They Were Once Paint­ed in Vivid, Bright Col­ors

Explore the Roman Cook­book,De Re Coquinar­ia the Old­est Known Cook­book in Exis­tence

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Watch a Joyful Video Where 52 Renowned Choreographers Link Together to Create a Dance Chain Letter

Dance videos are hav­ing a moment, fueled in large part by Tik­Tok.

Pro­fes­sion­als and ama­teurs alike use the plat­form to show­case their work, and while the vast major­i­ty of per­form­ers seem to be in or bare­ly out of their teens, a few danc­ing grand­mas have become viral stars. (One such notable brush­es off the atten­tion, say­ing she’s just “an elder­ly lady mak­ing a fool of her­self.”)

You’ll find a hand­ful of dancers hap­py to make sim­i­lar sport of them­selves among the 52 cel­e­brat­ed, most­ly mid­dle-aged and old­er chore­o­g­ra­phers per­form­ing in And So Say All of Us, Mitchell Rose’s chain let­ter style dance film, above. Wit­ness:

John Hegin­both­am’s sprite­ly bowl­ing alley turn, com­plete with refresh­ment stand nachos (4:10)…

Doug Varone’s deter­mi­na­tion to cram a bit of break­fast in before waft­ing out of a din­er booth (5:15)…

And the respons­es David Dorf­man, who both opens and clos­es the film, elic­its aboard the 2 train and wait­ing on the plat­form at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue stop … con­ve­nient­ly sit­u­at­ed near com­mis­sion­ing body BAM (Brook­lyn Acad­e­my of Music).

In the sum­mer of 2017 — the same year Tik­Tok launched in the inter­na­tion­al mar­ket — BAM asked film­mak­er and for­mer chore­o­g­ra­ph­er Rose to cre­ate a short film that would fea­ture a num­ber of chore­o­g­ra­phers whom out­go­ing Exec­u­tive Pro­duc­er Joseph V. Melil­lo had nur­tured over the course of his 35-year tenure.

The result takes the form of an Exquis­ite Corpse, in which each per­former picks up where the per­former imme­di­ate­ly before left off . Quite a feat when one con­sid­ers that the con­trib­u­tors were spread all over the globe, and Rose had bare­ly a year to ready the film for its pre­miere at a gala hon­or­ing Melil­lo.

To get an idea of the degree of coor­di­na­tion and pre­ci­sion edit­ing this entailed, check out Rose’s detailed instruc­tions for Globe Trot, a crowd-sourced “hyper match cut” work in which 50 film­mak­ers in 23 coun­tries each con­tributed 2 sec­ond clips of non-dancers per­form­ing a piece chore­o­graphed by Bebe Miller (who appears fourth in And So Say All of Us).

A great plea­sure of And So Say All of Us — and it’s a sur­pris­ing one giv­en how accus­tomed we’ve grown to peer­ing in on work record­ed in artists’ pri­vate spaces – is see­ing the loca­tions. Ter­races and inte­ri­or spaces still fas­ci­nate, though the lack of masks in pop­u­lous pub­lic set­tings iden­ti­fy this as a decid­ed­ly pre-pan­dem­ic work.

Oth­er high­lights:

The com­par­a­tive still­ness of Eiko and Koma, the only per­form­ers to be filmed togeth­er (2:19)

Mered­ith Monk singing creek­side in an excerpt of Cel­lu­lar Songs, a nature-based piece that would also pre­miere at BAM in 2018 (5:51)

Mark Mor­ris’ glo­ri­ous reveal (6:59)

As with any Exquis­ite Corpse, the whole is greater than the sum of its (excel­lent) indi­vid­ual parts. Rose ties them togeth­er with a red through line, and an orig­i­nal score by Robert Een.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing chore­o­g­ra­phers in order of appear­ance:

David Dorf­man

Reg­gie Wil­son

Trey McIn­tyre

Bebe Miller

Kate Weare

Sean Cur­ran

Faye Driscoll

David Rous­seve

Gideon Obarzanek

Jodi Mel­nick

Jawole Willa Jo Zol­lar

Rodri­go Ped­erneiras

Eiko Otake

Koma Otake

Angelin Preljo­caj

Bren­da Way

Lin Hwai-min

Bri­an Brooks

Sasha Waltz

Don­ald Byrd

Stephen Petro­n­io

William Forsythe

Nora Chipau­mire

Karole Armitage

John Hegin­both­am

Miguel Gutier­rez

Eliz­a­beth Streb

Zvi Gothein­er

Ron K. Brown

Lar­ry Keig­win

Annie‑B Par­son

Doug Varone

Bill T. Jones

Ren­nie Har­ris

Ralph Lemon

Mered­ith Monk

Lucin­da Childs

Meryl Tankard

Ohad Naharin

Daniele Finzi Pas­ca

Ivy Bald­win

Mark Mor­ris

Susan Mar­shall

John Jasperse

Solo Bado­lo

Abdel Salaam

Mar­tin Zim­mer­mann

Aurélien Bory

Ben­jamin Millepied

Bren­da Ang­iel

James Thier­rée

Ken­neth Kvarn­ström

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Awe­some Human Chore­og­ra­phy That Repro­duces the Mur­mu­ra­tions of Star­ling Flocks

The Mis­take Waltz: Watch the Hilar­i­ous Bal­let by Leg­endary Chore­o­g­ra­ph­er Jerome Rob­bins

A Dancer Pays a Grav­i­ty-Defy­ing Trib­ute to Claude Debussy

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

How Bob Dylan Created a Musical & Literary World All His Own: Four Video Essays

More than two decades ago, New York­er music crit­ic Alex Ross pub­lished a piece on Bob Dylan in what many would then have con­sid­ered his “late” peri­od. “In the ver­bal jun­gle of rock crit­i­cism, Dylan is sel­dom talked about in musi­cal terms,” Ross writes. “His work is ana­lyzed instead as poet­ry, pun­dit­ry, or mys­ti­fi­ca­tion.” Despite hav­ing long pos­sessed exalt­ed cul­tur­al sta­tus, and been sub­ject to the atten­dant inten­si­ty of scruti­ny and exe­ge­sis that comes along with it, “Dylan him­self declines the high­brow treat­ment — though you get the sense that he wouldn’t mind pick­ing up a Nobel Prize.” As it hap­pened, he picked one up sev­en­teen years lat­er, in a clear insti­tu­tion­al affir­ma­tion of his work’s being, indeed, lit­er­a­ture. But what (as many have asked about the work itself) does that mean?

In the video essay at the top of the post, Evan Puschak, bet­ter known as the Nerd­writer, exam­ines Dylan’s lit­er­ary pow­ers through the micro­cosm of one song. “All Along the Watch­tow­er” first appeared on the aus­tere 1967 album John Wes­ley Hard­ing, a seem­ing repu­di­a­tion of both the increas­ing­ly psy­che­del­ic pop-cul­tur­al zeit­geist and his own per­sona as a prophet­ic folk singer-turned-rock­er. “Dylan spent much of his ear­ly career fight­ing off the label of prophet,” says Puschak, “but here he seems to accept the role, lay­ing down an appre­hen­sive, apoc­a­lyp­tic sce­nario, as if to say, ‘You want a prophe­cy? Okay, I’ll give you a prophe­cy, but it comes at a price: the price is mys­tery and entrap­ment, a prophe­cy the mean­ing of which is for­ev­er out of reach.”

A short folk bal­lad, “All Along the Watch­tow­er” is told “as a con­ver­sa­tion that aims to con­vey a mes­sage. But the fin­ger­prints of the blues are every­where on this song: name­ly, of one of Dylan’s heroes, Robert John­son, who, the leg­end has it, sold his sold to the Dev­il for musi­cal genius.” In addi­tion to deal­ing with longer musi­cal tra­di­tions, the song also finds Dylan employ­ing time­less arche­types like the jok­er and the thief, draw­ing as well from the Bible (to which John Wes­ley Hard­ing con­tains some 70 ref­er­ences) as he tells their sto­ry. These sound like the qual­i­ties of a lit­er­ary enter­prise, but as PBS Idea Chan­nel host Mike Rugnetta argues in the video above, “When we label some­thing lit­er­a­ture, we’re not mak­ing a sim­ple fac­tu­al state­ment about the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a work of art. We’re com­mu­ni­cat­ing about what we con­sid­er worth­while.”

In con­sid­er­ing whether Dylan’s work is “real­ly lit­er­a­ture,” Rugnetta cites lit­er­ary the­o­rist Ter­ry Eagle­ton’s essay “What Is Lit­er­a­ture?” In it Eagle­ton writes that “lit­er­a­ture trans­forms and inten­si­fies ordi­nary lan­guage, devi­ates sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly from every­day speech” — but also that “one can think of lit­er­a­ture less as some inher­ent qual­i­ty or set of qual­i­ties dis­played by cer­tain kinds of writ­ing, all the way from Beowulf to Vir­ginia Woolf, than as a num­ber of ways in which peo­ple relate them­selves to writ­ing.” Par­tic­i­pat­ed in by crit­ics, aca­d­e­mics, and ama­teurs, the ever-grow­ing indus­try of “Dylanol­o­gy” attests to a par­tic­u­lar­ly inti­mate and long-last­ing rela­tion­ship between Dylan’s music and its lis­ten­ers. The adjec­tive lit­er­ary, here, seems to imply the exis­tence of ambi­tion, com­plex­i­ty, ambi­gu­i­ty, and extend­ed cul­tur­al cen­tral­i­ty. 

Noth­ing evi­dences cul­tur­al cen­tral­i­ty like par­o­dy, and as the Poly­phon­ic video above shows, Dylan has inspired more than a few astute send-ups over the decades. “With so much con­ver­sa­tion around him and such a dis­tinct style,” says its nar­ra­tor, “it’s per­haps unsur­pris­ing that he’s been a fre­quent tar­get of satire.” That includes songs by oth­er famous and well-regard­ed musi­cians. In “A Sim­ple Desul­to­ry Philip­pic (or How I Was Robert McNa­ma­ra’d into Sub­mis­sion),” Paul Simon “mocks Dylan’s lyri­cal habits and pro­cliv­i­ty for ref­er­enc­ing his­tor­i­cal and fic­tion­al fig­ures in his music.” In addi­tion to its “nasal folk-rock style,” Steal­ers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Mid­dle with You” uses “the arche­typ­al fig­ures of the clown and the jok­er,” much like “All Along the Watch­tow­er.” (To say noth­ing of Weird Al’s palin­dromic “Bob.”)

Like many a lit­er­ary mas­ter, Dylan has dished it out as well as tak­en it. But his best-known acts of mock­ery seem to have been direct­ed not toward his peers but the press, whose rav­en­ous­ness in the 20th cen­tu­ry of ever-more-mass media did so much to both build him up and cramp his style. “In his ear­ly days, Dylan used the media as a tool for self-myth­mak­ing,” says Poly­phon­ic’s nar­ra­tor in the video above. But “soon enough, be became the icon for a grow­ing coun­ter­cul­ture,” and the title of “voice of a gen­er­a­tion” began to weigh heav­i­ly. Throw­ing it off required get­ting adver­sar­i­al, not least through songs like “Bal­lad of a Thin Man,”j’ac­cuse against an unspec­i­fied “Mr. Jones,” rep­re­sen­ta­tive — so it’s been pro­posed — of the legions of bad­ger­ing squares sent by news­pa­pers, tele­vi­sion, and so on.

Dylan could also have intend­ed Mr. Jones to stand more broad­ly for “peo­ple out of touch with him and his move­ment, peo­ple who pestered him for his beliefs with­out tru­ly under­stand­ing where they came from,” mem­bers of “old soci­ety, try­ing to pass blan­ket moral­is­tic judg­ments on his cul­ture and lifestyle.” Like a char­ac­ter out of F. Scott Fitzger­ald, “inau­then­tic on all lev­els,” Mr. Jones is “fak­ing his way through intel­lec­tu­al cir­cles while fetishiz­ing the coun­ter­cul­ture.” 57 years after “Bal­lad of a Thin Man,” the now-octo­ge­nar­i­an Dylan con­tin­ues to record and per­form, and to engage with the media when and how he sees fit. He’s some­how avoid­ed join­ing the estab­lish­ment, let alone becom­ing a Mr. Jones; he remains the jok­er who, asked in a 1960s press con­fer­ence whether he con­sid­ered him­self a song­writer or a poet, replied, “Oh, I con­sid­er myself more of a song and dance man.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

“Tan­gled Up in Blue”: Deci­pher­ing a Bob Dylan Mas­ter­piece

Bob Dylan Reads From T.S. Eliot’s Great Mod­ernist Poem The Waste Land

Hear Bob Dylan’s New­ly Released Nobel Lec­ture: A Med­i­ta­tion on Music, Lit­er­a­ture & Lyrics

Clas­sic Songs by Bob Dylan Re-Imag­ined as Pulp Fic­tion Book Cov­ers: “Like a Rolling Stone,” “A Hard Rain’s A‑Gonna Fall” & More

Bob Dylan’s Famous Tele­vised Press Con­fer­ence After He Went Elec­tric (1965)

A 94-Year-Old Eng­lish Teacher and Her For­mer Stu­dents Reunite in Their Old Class­room & Debate the Mer­its of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize

Kurt Von­negut on Bob Dylan: He “Is the Worst Poet Alive”

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

An 8‑Minute Animated Flight Over Ancient Rome

“At roof-top lev­el, Rome may seem a city of spires and steeples and tow­ers that reach up towards eter­nal truths,” said Antho­ny Burgess of the great city in which he lived in the mid-70s. “But this city is not built in the sky. It is built on dirt, earth, dung, cop­u­la­tion, death, human­i­ty.” For all the city’s ancient grandeur, the real Rome is to be found in its broth­els, bath­hous­es, and cat­a­combs, a sen­ti­ment wide­ly shared by writ­ers in Rome since Lucil­ius, often cred­it­ed as Rome’s first satirist, a genre invent­ed to bring the lofty down to earth.

“The Romans … proud­ly declared that satire was ‘total­ly ours,’ ” writes Robert Cow­an, senior lec­tur­er in clas­sics at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Syd­ney. “Instead of heroes, noble deeds, and city-foun­da­tions recount­ed in ele­vat­ed lan­guage,” ancient Romans con­struct­ed their lit­er­a­ture from “a hodge­podge of scum­bags, orgies, and the break­down of urban soci­ety, spat out in words as filthy as the vices they describe.” Lit­tle won­der, per­haps, that the author of A Clock­work Orange found Rome so much to his lik­ing. For all the Chris­tian­i­ty over­laid atop the ruins, “the Romans are not a holy peo­ple; they are pagans.”

In the video above, see an 8‑minute rooftop-lev­el flight above the ancient impe­r­i­al city, “the most exten­sive, detailed and accu­rate vir­tu­al 3D recon­struc­tion of Ancient Rome,” its cre­ators, His­to­ry in 3D, write. They are about halfway through the project, which cur­rent­ly includes such areas as the Forum, the Colos­se­um, Impe­r­i­al Forums, “famous baths, the­aters, tem­ples and palaces” and the Traste­vere, where Burgess made his home mil­len­nia after the peri­od rep­re­sent­ed in the CGI recon­struc­tion above and where, he wrote in the 1970s, antiq­ui­ty had been pre­served: “Trastev­eri­ni… regard them­selves as the true Romans.”

The lan­guage of this Rome, like that of Juve­nal, the ancient city’s great­est satirist, offers “a ground-lev­el view of a Rome we could bare­ly guess at from the hero­ism of the Aeneid,” writes Cow­an. “The lan­guage of the Trastev­eri­ni is rough,” writes Burgess, “scur­rilous, blas­phe­mous, obscene, the tongue of the gut­ter. Many of them are lead­ers of inten­si­ty, rebels agains the gov­ern­ment. They have had two thou­sand years of bad gov­ern­ment and they must look for­ward to two thou­sand more.”

As we drift over the city’s rooftops in the impres­sive­ly ren­dered ani­ma­tion above, we might imag­ine its streets below teem­ing with pro­fane, dis­grun­tled Romans of all kinds. It may be impos­si­ble to recre­ate Ancient Rome at street lev­el, with all of its many sights, smells, and sounds. But if we’ve been to Rome, or ever get the chance to vis­it, we may mar­vel, along with Burgess, at its “con­ti­nu­ity of cul­ture.… Prob­a­bly Rome has changed less in two thou­sand years than Man­hat­tan has in twen­ty years.” The Empire may have been fat­ed to col­lapse under its own weight, but Rome, the Eter­nal City, may indeed endure for­ev­er.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Vir­tu­al Tour of Ancient Rome, Cir­ca 320 CE: Explore Stun­ning Recre­ations of The Forum, Colos­se­um and Oth­er Mon­u­ments

The His­to­ry of Ancient Rome in 20 Quick Min­utes: A Primer Nar­rat­ed by Bri­an Cox

What Did the Roman Emper­ors Look Like?: See Pho­to­re­al­is­tic Por­traits Cre­at­ed with Machine Learn­ing

Josh Jones is a writer based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Lou Reed Turns Rock Critic, Sizing Up Everyone from the “Amazingly Talented” Beatles to the “Two Bit, Pretentious” Frank Zappa

A sig­nal char­ac­ter­is­tic of pow­er­ful crit­i­cism is that it keeps peo­ple talk­ing years after the death of the crit­ic him­self. Think, for exam­ple, of Lester Bangs, who despite hav­ing been gone for near­ly 40 years left behind judg­ments that still res­onate through the halls of rock and roll. The vital­i­ty of his work was­n’t hurt by a ten­den­cy to get unusu­al­ly close to some of his sub­jects, espe­cial­ly Lou Reed. “The things he wrote and sang and played in the Vel­vet Under­ground were for me part of the begin­ning of a real rev­o­lu­tion in the whole scheme between men and women, men and men, women and women, humans and humans,” Bangs wrote in 1980.

Five years ear­li­er, Bangs had called Reed “a com­plete­ly depraved per­vert and pathet­ic death dwarf,” as well as “a liar, a wast­ed tal­ent, an artist con­tin­u­al­ly in flux, and a huck­ster sell­ing pounds of his own flesh. A pan­der­er liv­ing off the dumb­bell nihilism of a sev­en­ties gen­er­a­tion that doesn’t have the ener­gy to com­mit sui­cide.”

All this he meant, of course, in praise. Reed, for his part, dis­played such elab­o­rate dis­dain for Bangs that it could only have been moti­vat­ed by respect. “What oth­er rock artist would put up with an inter­view by the author of this arti­cle,” Bangs rhetor­i­cal­ly asked, “read the resul­tant vicious vit­ri­ol-spew with approval, and then invite me back for a sec­ond round because of course he’s such a masochist he loved the hatch­et in his back?”

A mag­a­zine page now cir­cu­lat­ing on Twit­ter col­lects Reed’s own opin­ions on a vari­ety of oth­er rock acts and coun­ter­cul­tur­al fig­ures of the 1960s and 70s. The Bea­t­les, who’d just bro­ken up? “The most incred­i­ble song­writ­ers ever” (though Reed’s judg­ment of the Fab Four would change with time). The Rolling Stones? “If I had to pick my top ten, they’ve got at least five songs.” Cree­dence Clear­wa­ter Revival? “I like them a lot.” David Bowie? “The kid’s got every­thing… every­thing.” Fel­low Vel­vets Doug Yule (“so cute”), Nico (“the kind of per­son that you meet, and you’re not quite the same after­wards”), and John Cale (“the next Beethoven or some­thing”) get com­pli­ments; as for Andy Warhol, out of whose “fac­to­ry” the band emerged, “I real­ly love him.” (“Lou learned a lot from Andy,” wrote Bangs, “main­ly about becom­ing a suc­cess­ful pub­lic per­son­al­i­ty by sell­ing your own pri­vate quirks to an audi­ence greedy for more and more geeks.”)

But as a con­nois­seur of the hatch­et, Reed also plants a few him­self. Of “Cal­i­for­nia bands” like Jef­fer­son Air­plane and the Grate­ful Dead, he said “they can’t play and they cer­tain­ly can’t write.” Nor, evi­dent­ly, could the Who’s Pete Town­shend: “as a lyri­cist he’s so pro­found­ly untal­ent­ed and, you know, philo­soph­i­cal­ly bor­ing to say the least.” Reed does “get off” on the Kinks, “then I just get bored after a while.” Alice Coop­er rep­re­sents “the worst, most dis­gust­ing aspect of rock music”; Roxy Music “don’t know what they’re talk­ing about.” Frank Zap­pa is “the sin­gle most untal­ent­ed per­son I’ve heard in my life. He’s two-bit, pre­ten­tious, aca­d­e­m­ic, and he can’t play his way out of any­thing.” Yet at Zap­pa’s posthu­mous induc­tion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, the lauda­to­ry speech was deliv­ered by none oth­er than… Lou Reed. In rock, as in the oth­er arts, resent­ment can become the seed of admi­ra­tion.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Lou Reed Cre­ates a List of the 10 Best Records of All Time

An Ani­mat­ed Lou Reed Explains The Vel­vet Underground’s Artis­tic Goals, and Why The Bea­t­les Were “Garbage”

Hear Ornette Cole­man Col­lab­o­rate with Lou Reed, Which Lou Called “One of My Great­est Moments”

The Out­siders: Lou Reed, Hunter S. Thomp­son, and Frank Zap­pa Reveal Them­selves in Cap­ti­vat­ing­ly Ani­mat­ed Inter­views

Lou Reed Curates an Eclec­tic Playlist of His Favorite Songs Dur­ing His Final Days: Stream 27 Tracks Lou Was Lis­ten­ing To

Ing­mar Bergman Eval­u­ates His Fel­low Film­mak­ers — The “Affect­ed” Godard, “Infan­tile” Hitch­cock & Sub­lime Tarkovsky

Andy Warhol Hosts Frank Zap­pa on His Cable TV Show, and Lat­er Recalls, “I Hat­ed Him More Than Ever” After the Show

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

The Queen’s Guard Pays Tribute to Meatloaf, Playing a Brass Version of “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”

Mar­vin Lee Aday, aka Meat­loaf, died late last week, report­ed­ly after falling ill with Covid. At Buck­ing­ham Palace, the Queen’s Guard paid trib­ute to the musi­cian and his 1993 hit “I’d Do Any­thing for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” on Sun­day. It’s a nice touch.

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How French Music Teacher Nadia Boulanger Raised a Generation of Composers: Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Quincy Jones, Philip Glass & More

One of my favorite quotes about cre­ativ­i­ty comes from 20th-cen­tu­ry elec­tric bass vir­tu­oso Jaco Pas­to­rius: “You don’t get bet­ter, you grow.” The aspi­ra­tion to get “bet­ter” implies a cat­e­go­ry of “best” – a height artists fre­quent­ly despair of ever reach­ing. Pas­to­rius reject­ed a state of per­fec­tion, which would mean stop­ping, going no fur­ther, freez­ing in place. “One can always learn more. One can always under­stand more. The ques­tion is to pro­vide your­self with con­fi­dence.” That wis­dom comes not from Jaco Pas­to­rius but from 20th cen­tu­ry French music teacher and com­pos­er Nadia Boulanger, who might not have approved of the lib­er­tine jazz phe­nom’s life, giv­en her aris­to­crat­ic con­ser­vatism, but hearti­ly endorsed his wis­dom about con­tin­u­ous cre­ative growth.

Although deeply root­ed in a clas­si­cal tra­di­tion which strove for per­fec­tion, Boulanger taught, influ­enced, and cham­pi­oned some of the cen­tu­ry’s most avant-garde com­posers, such as Igor Stravin­sky, who broke vio­lent­ly with the past, as well as jazz greats like Quin­cy Jones, who took her lessons in an entire­ly dif­fer­ent mod­ern pop direc­tion.

Indeed, Boulanger presided over “one of the most expan­sive  peri­ods in music his­to­ry, par­tic­u­lar­ly for Amer­i­ca,” says the nar­ra­tor of the Inside the Score doc­u­men­tary above, “How Nadia Boulanger Raised a Gen­er­a­tion of Com­posers.” Aaron Cop­land, Leonard Bern­stein, Charles Strauss, and even min­i­mal­ists like Philip Glass… all stud­ied with Boulanger at some point in their career.

Boulanger also took on many female stu­dents, like com­pos­er Lousie Tal­ma, but she pre­ferred to work with men. (The famous­ly stern teacher once com­pli­ment­ed a female stu­dent by call­ing her “Mon­sieur”). She had lit­tle regard for Roman­tic ideas about “genius,” and cer­tain­ly not all of her stu­dents were as tal­ent­ed as the list of famous names asso­ci­at­ed with her, but for those with aspi­ra­tions in the clas­si­cal world, a vis­it to Boulanger’s Paris apart­ment con­sti­tut­ed a rite of pas­sage. “Aaron Cop­land and Vir­gil Thom­son led the way in the ’20s,” notes Red Bull Music Acad­e­my, “trans­form­ing Boulanger’s clear, tart tonal exact­ness into a new ver­sion of hardy Amer­i­cana.” She became such a stal­wart pres­ence in the world of 20th cen­tu­ry com­po­si­tion that com­pos­er Ned Rorem once joked, “Myth cred­its every Amer­i­can town with two things: a 10-cent store and a Boulanger stu­dent.”

At age 90, in 1977, Boulanger was well known as the most famous music teacher in the world when direc­tor Bruno Mon­sain­geon caught up with her for the near­ly hour-long inter­view above. See the aged but still incred­i­bly sharp (no pun intend­ed) leg­end still teach­ing, and strug­gling to put into words exact­ly how it is that music keeps us grow­ing past math­e­mat­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions. “Can one actu­al­ly define that?” she asks mid-sen­tence while instruct­ing a stu­dent. “I am using words such as ten­der­ness or ten­sion. It’s all wrong. It is what the music itself is.…”

Learn much more about Boulanger’s extra­or­di­nary life and work as a music teacher and com­pos­er in the doc­u­men­tary Madamoi­selle: A Por­trait of Nadia Boulanger, fur­ther up, and in our pre­vi­ous post at the link below.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Meet Nadia Boulanger, “The Most Influ­en­tial Teacher Since Socrates,” Who Men­tored Philip Glass, Leonard Bern­stein, Aaron Cop­land, Quin­cy Jones & Oth­er Leg­ends

1200 Years of Women Com­posers: A Free 78-Hour Music Playlist That Takes You From Medieval Times to Now

A Min­i­mal Glimpse of Philip Glass

Josh Jones is a writer based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

New Study Finds That Humans Are 33,000 Years Older Than We Thought

pho­to by Céline Vidal

“Where’re you from?” one char­ac­ter asks anoth­er on the Fire­sign The­atre’s clas­sic 1969 album How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You’re Not Any­where at All. “Nairo­bi, ma’am,” the oth­er replies. “Isn’t every­body?” Like most of the count­less mul­ti-lay­ered gags on their albums, this one makes a cul­tur­al ref­er­ence, pre­sum­ably to the dis­cov­er­ies made by famed pale­oan­thro­pol­o­gists Louis and Mary Leakey over the pre­vi­ous 20 years. Their dis­cov­ery of fos­sils in Kenya and else­where did much to advance the the­sis that humankind evolved in Africa, and that the process was hap­pen­ing more than 1.75 mil­lion years before.

Like all sci­en­tif­ic break­throughs, the Leakeys’ work only prompt­ed more ques­tions — or rather, cre­at­ed more oppor­tu­ni­ties for refin­ing and adding detail to the rel­e­vant body of knowl­edge. Sub­se­quent digs all over Africa have pro­duced fur­ther evi­dence of how far our species and its pre­de­ces­sors go back, and where exact­ly the evo­lu­tion­ary progress hap­pened.

Just this month, Nature pub­lished a new paper on the “age of the old­est known Homo sapi­ens from east­ern Africa.” These new find­ings about known fos­sils, orig­i­nal­ly dis­cov­ered in south­west­ern Ethiopia in 1967, sug­gest that the time has come for anoth­er revi­sion of the long pre-his­to­ry of human­i­ty.

pho­to by Céline Vidal

The paper’s authors, writes Reuters’ Will Dun­ham, “used the geo­chem­i­cal fin­ger­prints of a thick lay­er of ash found above the sed­i­ments con­tain­ing the fos­sils to ascer­tain that it result­ed from an erup­tion that spewed vol­canic fall­out over a wide swathe of Ethiopia rough­ly 233,000 years ago.” These fos­sils “include a rather com­plete cra­nial vault and low­er jaw, some ver­te­brae and parts of the arms and legs.” After their ini­tial dis­cov­ery by the late Richard Leakey, son of Louis and Mary (and a man gen­uine­ly from Nairo­bi, born and raised), the fos­sils buried by this pre­his­toric Vesu­vius were pre­vi­ous­ly believed to be “no more than about 200,000 years old.”

Dun­ham quotes the paper’s lead author, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cam­bridge vol­ca­nol­o­gist Celine Vidal, as say­ing this dis­cov­ery aligns with “the most recent sci­en­tif­ic mod­els of human evo­lu­tion plac­ing the emer­gence of Homo sapi­ens some­time between 350,000 to 200,000 years ago.” Though Vidal and her team’s analy­sis of the ash’s geo­chem­i­cal com­po­si­tion has deter­mined the min­i­mum age of Omo I, as these fos­sils are known, the max­i­mum age remains an open ques­tion. Or at least, it awaits the efforts of researchers to date the “ash lay­er below the sed­i­ment con­tain­ing the fos­sils” and ren­der a more pre­cise esti­mate. And when that’s estab­lished, it will then, ide­al­ly, become mate­r­i­al for the next big absur­dist com­e­dy troupe.

via Hyper­al­ler­gic

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Where Did Human Beings Come From? 7 Mil­lion Years of Human Evo­lu­tion Visu­al­ized in Six Min­utes

Richard Dawkins Explains Why There Was Nev­er a First Human Being

How Humans Migrat­ed Across The Globe Over 200,000 Years: An Ani­mat­ed Look

Archae­ol­o­gists Dis­cov­er the World’s First “Art Stu­dio” Cre­at­ed in an Ethiopi­an Cave 43,000 Years Ago

The Life & Dis­cov­er­ies of Mary Leakey Cel­e­brat­ed in an Endear­ing Cutout Ani­ma­tion

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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