In lieu of original Monday-morning content, here’s a peek at my recent Web-based reading:
– I’ve been meaning to blog this “Talk of the Town” item for weeks:
Turn to page 1,850 of the 1975 edition of the New Columbia Encyclopedia and you’ll find an entry for Lillian Virginia Mountweazel, fountain designer turned photographer who was celebrated for a collection of photographs of rural American mailboxes titled “Flags Up!” Mountweazel, the encyclopedia indicates, was born in Bangs, Ohio, in 1942, only to die “at 3 in an explosion while on assignment for Combustibles magazine.”
If Mountweazel is not a household name, even in fountain-designing or mailbox-photography circles, that is because she never existed. “It was an old tradition in encyclopedias to put in a fake entry to protect your copyright,” Richard Steins, who was one of the volume’s editors, said the other day. “If someone copied Lillian, then we’d know they’d stolen from us.”…
In German, this kind of entry is known as a nihilartikel, about which you can read much more here.
For more information about the now-legendary Dag Henrik Esrum-Hellerup nihilartikel that was spirited into the first edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, go here.
– Department of Constructive Criticism: Mr. Modern Art Notes offers a list of “five things museums do that I like.”
Welliver painted Maine for a reason. His works offer an exceptionally direct intuition of the feeling of woods. In some paintings, where trees and branches lay fallen in the marsh and dark clouds gather above, one can almost sense the exact temperature of the fall afternoon, how muddy the ground is, the smell of earth and decaying wood in the chilled air and the promise of rain….
Oh, how I wish I could see it…
– …and how I wish I could afford this. (Needless to say, any wealthy blogfans who’d care to present me with a token of their overflowing gratitude may feel free to do so by clicking on the link.)
– Speaking of art, I seem to be in a work of it…
– …and speaking of me, I recently joined the Bad Plus, James Carter, Jason Moran, Dan Morgenstern, and various other musical types in contributing to a Jerry Jazz Musician symposium on “the greatest saxophone solo in the history of jazz.” Here’s part of what I wrote:
It’s so concise, so completely to the point: he gets on, he gets off, and when it’s over you know exactly what he meant to tell you and feel the way he wanted you to feel, all in three lapidary minutes. “Grace comes,” Merce Cunningham said, “when the energy for the given situation is full and there is no excess.” If a record can do that, this one does….
Care to guess which record I’m talking about?
– Finally, this story from my hometown newspaper filled me with the most powerful nostalgia imaginable…