ARC Boardmember (Almost) Looses his Cool (Guitar)

18 10 2013

hitmaker3ARC board member Nile Rodgers had a close call last week when he nearly lost his beloved 1959 Stratocaster on the Metro-North railroad.

The guitar has been nicknamed the “Hitmaker” due to the number of hit records (“Good Times,” “We Are Family.” Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” and most recently this summer’s hit with Daft Punk, ” Get Lucky.” )  it has been played on.

Rodgers is currently having a replica of the guitar made, so perhaps he will consider donating the original to the archive where it will be preserved and he will never have to go through an ordeal like this again!

Full story at Nile’s blog:
http://www.nilerodgers.com/blogs/planet-c-in-english/2873-today-i-experienced-real-fear

Photo is from iconicguitar.com

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Candy kisses, raspberries, banana-nana-babouvism

14 02 2011

Well, it’s a traditional view of pair bonding, but at least the title, Girl Meets Boy, gives the majority gender top billing.  Happy Valentines from your institutional love machine, ARC.

No kisses for the latest show up at the Museum of the City of New York where I saw, Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment, on Saturday. Now it’s not their fault that this was wall-to-wall webpages, blown-up and boringly the same; blame the Smithsonian and the National Museum of African American History and Culture who put the show together, who own most of the material on exhibit.

This is a show designed for easy travel, hence the modular panels, so slack given.  But after Carnegie Hall, the Apollo is America’s greatest venue.  It wouldn’t hurt to bring some vision to the task, certainly offering more than the same small and smaller screen presentation you could sample from your couch.  I suggest a re-look at one of the few good music exhibitions ever mounted, Rock ’n’ Roll 39-59, at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain in Paris (June 22–Octobre 28, 2007) – if not exactly waxing philosophical (but at least trying), offering an exhaustive and spectacular look at what happened, beautifully mounted and thought out. Then again, imagine anyone complaining about the depth of a gallery show about popular music.

I arrived behind forty Black high school students, who whisked through the whole thing in under six minutes.  Other than that viewers were me-like, post 50, white.  My highlight was seeing Mr. Schiffman’s (longtime owner) index cards listing artist payments and comments on their performances.  Take these first and last entries on Bo Diddley:  “8/19/55 – Very lowdown rhythm and exciting”… “10/17/58 – Popularity seems to have diminished to nothing”. Tito Puente’s first note complains that he has no drawing power.   A nice surprise was learning that minstrel’s blackface was once available commercially in a tube.

Speaking of bad execution, as the Egyptian ‘revolution’ in Tahrir Square was playing out, I was immersed in reading source documents of the French Revolution. Now whenever you think you know something about something, there’s another level of specificity, a realm of concerns, a focus unique to the inheritors of a tradition that brings you up short.  So I struggled through ‘babouvism’, an extreme take on sharing, made real in a movement entitled, “the conspiracy of equals” (our next blog rename?), a touchstone of communism.

I’ve attached some portions of the unsuccessful defense mounted by one of the founders, François-Nöel Babeuf (“Gracchus”) at his conspiracy trial in 1797.  He touches on a million inequities (“Education is a monstrosity when it is unequal”) and makes an easy slip and slide into a discussion that presages the creative commons and the ethics of filesharing.

“The products of industry and of genius also become the property of all, the domain of the entire association, from the very moment that the workers and the inventors have created them, because they are simply compensation for earlier discoveries made through genius and industry, from which the new inventors and workers have profited within the framework of social life, and which have helped them to make their discoveries.  Since the knowledge acquired is the domain of everyone, it must therefore be equally distributed among everyone”.

No wonder they killed him.

Inexplicable, ridiculously, the only way I’ve been able to keep the movement’s unfamiliar name in my head, is to incorrectly sing Shirley Ellis’ manifesto-like “Name Game”.

Obviously Shirley knows Presidents Day is upon us, and in the second verse she deconstructs Lincoln, not a very common name to posit haphazardly.

As I walked my 60 block walk to the museum, I found this mural on Lex around 116th St.  Not French, but honored in Spanish Harlem; another Queen with big hair, but always kept her head; a Cuban who loved Reagan and shunned revolution; called that “skinny Negresse” when she replaced Myrta Silva in La Sonora Matancera, they let her eat cake; Reina de la Salsa, Celia Cruz…

Tuckered out, after a great lunch @ Sisters Caribbean Cuisine (47 E. 124th St), I took the Lex line home.  On the platform, huddled and pretty much singing to himself, I couldn’t believe the miniature foot-powered double drum kit this genius had put together.  I gave him more than I gave the museum.





Boo-La La!

29 10 2010

Ah, the past.  It’s all coming back to me now.  Spirits in the air, then airmail brought this very nice memory from the UK.

This large poster was one of six placed around London in 1983 when I launched Volume, (736 page discography on punk and new wave music).  I was working out of the Rough Trade office, and doing my semi-official show with John Peel on the BBC.  Hand drawn this, calling on one-time artschool skills.

Brits like to dress up funny, but Halloween was not a big deal then.  So the idea was a costume party with music and books to hawk and a stellar group of judges (John Peel, Siouxsie Sue and Genesis P Orridge!) for best lookers.  Well I don’t remember much more than that, oh, except the bands were great and leaving Heaven at about 4 am, dressed in a latex red devil outfit, pouch stuffed with £4oo in small bills, with a bit of a buzz on, I was stopped by the police.

But that’s another story.

What I meant to say was my mother grew up in an inner city, industrial city, and her best friend’s family ran a funeral parlor.  Her best story was the time they were playing hide-and-go-seek.  Well who could resist crawling in an empty display coffin to hide?  Not my Mom.   Of course the lid came down and quilted screams did their best, but it was hours before they found her.  To this day plush interiors leave her cold.

So on this All Saints Day, in Mom’s honor, with a nod to the recently deceased singing undertaker, Solomon Burke, I’m building a musical coffin corner.

The king of emerging (from a coffin) artists will always be Screaming Jay Hawkins.  With his hand-held skull-on-a-stick and occasional upturned bonemustache. SJH put a spell on youth in the 50s. Freddie (ARC archivist) actually saw him perform, and here Fred laughs at one of Jay’s jokes in a scary 80’s LA TV appearance on Art Fein’s Poker Party.

Freddie also remembered some buried footage in one of the worst rock movies ever made (…and the good one is?), “Bop Girl Goes Calypso.” Here the Goofers leave no grave-stone unturned for a laugh, and perform one number rising from the pine.  Truly horrifying!

Now I mention Lady Gaga because to do so brings an additional 300 readers to our blog.  Like all novelty acts, she too has struck the occasional resurrectionist pose.

I could go on and on.


You see there’s CD cases, and guitar cases, a Japanese band and DJ turntable cases all shaped like coffins.  But blogs have to honor people who view the news on their mobiles, and never get to the bottom of anything, let alone a grave.

I say the ARC is not about entertainment – two bit knowledge, and too much of it – that’s what makes us spooky.  And this Halloween Mom bids you, Vichnaya pamyat! (Memorial eternal!) – that’s RIP in Ukrainian.





Some RIPs

7 07 2009
Best_small_MJ

Ghostly Visit to 54 White St

Well, the Summer Sale is over and was a great success.  Thanks to all who braved the rain and helped us out by carting off our wretched excess.  We’ve neglected the blog for a while, so here’s some recent things that caught our eye/ear.  And it’s more than the weather that has made me a bit cranky.

Midsummer Night Swing (a fine roster of entertainment from an organization that I boycott because of the segregation of a paying and not paying sections, non payers getting lousy sound) will feature our very own archivist – DJ: Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus.  Fred will play the pony, twist and way funkier stuff, pre –mid + post The Chubby Checker set.   It’s this Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 6:30.  Dance Lesson at 6:30, Live Music at 8:30, Damrosch Park, 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam.  They don’t say it upfront (because they are ashamed) and they hide the single event price (pushing an $80 batch of tickets), but you can actually get on the dance floor for ONLY $15.

Other shocking news is that one of the best Rai singers is in the clink.   Reuters reports that Cheb Mami (Mohamed Khelifati ) got 5 years from a French court for trying to force his girlfriend to have an abortion.  It wasn’t just that he offered a strong polemic; it seems he had her kidnapped, drugged, and he and his henchmen attempted an amateur operation at the star’s villa in Algeria.   A light sentence if you ask me.

I‘ve often abandoned artists with reprehensible acts in their resumes.  Not that my vote counts, but if you shoot your wife in the head (Wm Burrohs) or seem ‘fascinated’ by fascism (any old Futurist), or that joining the Hitler Youth is good training for being the Pope, well, you lost me.

A speaking of the wrong person in a nice place, Prince is once again slated to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival – the closing act no less.  What, they couldn’t book Hanna Montana?   That there is so little imagination left in this world is baffling.  Prince is but one of too many non-jazz acts, making the festival indistinguishable from all the other Euro summerfare.  Call me naïve, but I believe a jazz festival should book jazz artists.

Diddly_signed_sml On the bright side, one donation during the sale brought in a signed copy of, Have Guitar Will Travel, by that world renowned jazz artist, Bo Diddley.  For youguns out there, the calling card and travelin’ theme on this LP comes from a late 50s-early 60s TV western “Have Gun Will Travel” starring Richard Boone.  His character, Paladin, was a mustachioed knight-errant, schizo-ing between tails and all-black westernwear.

Finally, I’m torn between my hatred of the lowest common denominator and corporate media rule, in an AP story of Disney having its lawsuit dismissed against the masterminds (?) behind the animated comedy (?) Family Guy, for their off-color parody of “When You Wish Upon A  Star” from Pinocchio, sung by Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike).  The only thing worse than a lame parody, it the protection of an imagined sacred source.

So in memorial, after you hit Forest Lawn for a MJ deathpeek, grab a uke and mosey over to visit Cliff Edwards at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park in Burbank.  We have no idea where Vibe is buried, but it’s gone too…

NJcasket





Cinco de Mayo, 1948

5 05 2008

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we offer this little booklet, from the Mayo of our collective, festive, musical past…

And Jon, who is working on our NYMIA (New York Musicians Index and Archive) is busy adding musicians and music related businesses from:

Mexico, NY

Sonoraa, NY

Acapulco Street, Atlanic Beach, NY

Tabasco, NY

and just for fun, we’re thinking about a studio apartment on Calle New York in Tijuana!








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