Posts Tagged ‘jazz’
whose arched occasional stepped youth swallows
curvingly the keeness of my hips;
or,your first twitch of crisp boy flesh dips
my height in a firm fragile stinging weather,
(breathless with sharp necessary lips)kid
One of his “jazz poems,” “god pity me(whom god distinctly has)” is included in a lot of anthologies. As an example, Cummings’ poem was printed in Sascha Feinstein and Yusef Komunyakaa’s The Second Set: The Jazz Poetry Anthology Volume 2 (Indiana: University Press, 1996).
The concept of jazz as a language not only evokes analogies between musical and linguistic structures but also the idea that instruments can, in fact, speak to us. … In jazz clubs you hear people call out, “Talk to me!” or say, “This music speaks to me.” In addition to the pulse of jazz, they hear cadences and inflections that correspond to words, sentences, whole stories.
If jazz strives to attain the syntactic logic of … “a developmental language” of its own, then poetry, without question, strives that much harder to achieve the emotional complexity and rhythmic drive of music. In conjunction with The Jazz Poetry Anthology (1991), this book presents a selection of jazz poems that, we hope, will offer “ongoing implications for thought.” …
We have chosen poems by Hart Crane, e.e. cummings [sic], DuBose Heyward, Vachel Lindsay, and Muriel Rukeyser because of their literary prescence in the poetry circles of the time.
Many of the poets in both anthologies have written extensively about jazz, so much that jazz seems to have influenced their work as much as literary sources. Sometimes poems have been written as series, which might be seen as being parallel to jazz musicians who improvise several choruses.
I hope to have time to come back to that similarly-themed-pieces-as-jazz-variations, you know, kind of a bebop, exploratory improv concept as it plays out in a jazz form of literature: I found some other Cummings prostitution poems that deal in parallels and complements to the “kitty” one from earlier this month, and I think that fits with the idea of a series of riffs on the same idea. I will try to get to that. Promise.
All photographs by Ellen von Unwerth.
I’d like to juxtapose the original text that accompanied Ms. Enwright’s Playboy gatefold appearance with some excerpts from a review of The Playmate Book (Taschen, 2006) by Joan Acocella, a writer whose work I like and find thought-provoking.
Hugh Hefner, the founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy, always said that his ideal for the magazine’s famous Playmate of the Month, the woman in the centerfold photo, was “the girl next door with her clothes off.”
(Acocella, Joan. “The Girls Next Door: Life in the centerfold.” Review of Gretchen Edgren’s The Playmate Book. The New Yorker. March 20, 2006.)
In other words, he was trying to take his readers back to a time before their first sexual experience, a time when they still liked their stuffed bear and thought that a naked woman might be something like that.
Mm. Mainly disagree.
It’s my opinion that the prose and pictures, especially in the early years, treated the reader as a fellow experienced swinging single dude, talking man-to-man. We have talked before about how the pictures are composed to have an implicit male presence, like the reader is the model’s partner and has only just stepped out of frame, maybe to take the picture he’s looking at. Take the following as an example:
Picnic laid out with thermos and two cups. Hello.
Like the best of mid-July days, Carrie seems to be destined expressly for the informal, easygoing pleasures of life, and is, as a consequence, a refreshingly unaffected companion.
“I am,” says [Ms. Enwright] in thoughtful self-summation, “a very healthy, well-adjusted, fun-loving kind of girl.”
(“Summer Idyl.” Playboy, July 1963.)
A non-threatening introduction, yes, but pretty come-hither. Not exactly teddy bear fare — and neither is the pose particularly “cuddly.”
Somewhat disagree. I believe there was slightly more variety in the Sixties and Seventies than Ms. Acocella sugests, but I admit I am omitting the portion where she talks about some of the noteworthy veers from the norm (Joni Mattis, yay!) and I don’t want you to think she didn’t acknowledge that in her review. Please be aware that she did. Don’t want to look all biased.
[Playboy draws] simultaneously, on two opposing trends that have … come to dominate American mass culture: on the one hand, our country’s idea of its Huck Finn innocence; on the other, the enthusiastic lewdness of our advertising and entertainment.
Agree. Yes. 100%. That is its appeal, that the magazine attracts that dichotomy in American consumerism and in our own idea of beauty, sex, and ourselves.
Agree. This also undermines the beginning sentence with its teddy-bear going-for-innocent-investigative-interest suggestion, but I’m okay with undoing that assertion because I disagreed with it.
Most of them have chubby cheeks, and flash us sweet smiles. At the same time, many of these nice little girls are fantastically large-breasted. Strange to say, this top-loading often makes them appear more childlike. The breasts are smooth and round and pink; they look like balloons or beach balls. The girl seems delighted to have them, as if they had just been delivered by Santa Claus.
Ha! Somewhat agree. That Santa. He always knows. But this shoot and Cheryl Kubert are both good examples, just as recent citation on this journal, of gatefolds that featured a model mainly not smiling. Ms. Enwright even keeps her mouth closed.
What is so bewildering about [modern vs. old-school] Playboy centerfolds is their [the modern ones’] utter texturelessness: their lack of any question, any traction, any grain of sand from which the sexual imagination could make a pearl.
Very Strongly AGREE.
[Hef’s] father was an accountant, his mother a Methodist disciplinarian. He has said that there was never any show of affection in his house. One suspects that there was likewise little evidence of jazz or hors d’oeuvres -— pleasure for its own sake. This is what he set out to sell: an upscale hedonism, promoted by the magazine’s articles and ads as well as by its nudes.
Agree, but not sure that it matters.
“For a while I was cashier at the Hollywood Paramount, which was my closest fling with the movie business. Then I worked as a salesgirl in a candy store. Trouble was, I have this terrible sweet tooth and pretty soon I was eating more candy than I sold.”
“Right now I’m living with my mother and studying like mad to take my state boards in cosmetology. My most active hobby involves artwork, from making seed mosaics of Siamese cats to painting wild, wild oils. I get excited over my finished products — but then, I’m not critically minded.”
Hell, yeah, lasagna and jazz! This girl is all kinds of easygoing and wonderful. Practical jokes, eh? such as what?
I have never done that nor even thought of it. Holy god, I can’t wait to do this. She is a comic genius and I am trying this, stickety-stat!
Bookworms are hottttt … even when they are only pretending for a photoshoot.
“I am not the type who always has a book going. I rarely read novels, but occasionally I get on a self-improvement kick, the most recent of which was plowing through Hayakawa’s Language in Thought and Action.”
I don’t know why, but I feel like the editors forced her to say she read it all when maybe the truth was that she only started it. Just a feeling. I’m about to talk about why they might’ve done that in a second.
Again — wonderful taste. You find that so often in the Sixties write-ups, though, that the girls are prompted to talk about foodie foolery, jazz, politics, photography, and art. I’m not sure when that fizzled out, but it has. And I can totally admit that probably 30% of it was bullshit and only 7 out of 10 of these girls knew what they were talking about (if they even said it to begin with) or collected Bird and bebop on vinyl and the like, but I still feel good about the fact that it was important to the editorial staff for their vision of the ideal Playmate that these intriguing, intelligent statements seem true. Ms. Acocella addresses this:
That, in the end, is the most striking thing about Playboy’s centerfolds: how old-fashioned they seem. This whole “bachelor” world, with the brandy snifters and the attractive guest arriving for the night: did it ever exist? Yes, as a fantasy. Now, however, it is the property of homosexuals.
Today, if you try to present yourself as a suave middle-aged bachelor, people will assume you’re gay.
Ha! and again, I have to say agree, not in that groovy archaic pursuits are strictly the male provenance of neato gay guys (I like any man that goes for records and cares about dorky esoterica) but, yeah, society-wide, that would be the humorous judgment in the sense of stereotyping.
You know. Like when Bart and Millhouse tried to be Playdudes. That was hilarious. All pimped out in smoking jackets up in the treehouse.
That is very sweet and touching. It is not full of trying-to-be-sexy artifice, nor is it overly cloying or disingenuous.
“Of course it’s a trite observation, but what I want most in life is happiness. What else is there?”
And who can improve on that desire? Well-wished, Ms. Enwright, and I hope she found her happiness. That’s not trite: it’s natural.
What Ms. Acocella observes in the unnaturally smooth, airbrushed featurelessness of the current crop of sexless-and-vaginally-shaved-for-maximum-Barbie-resemblance centerfolds mostly found on the newsstands today is resonantly true.
I guess what I’m saying is this: Yeah, there may have never really been a sophisticated scotch-sampling bachelor like the ones to whom Hef designed the magazine to appeal, and there may never have really been a girl next door with her clothes off that just happened to discourse freely on jazz LP’s and modern art while whipping up beef bourguignon in her skivvies, but isn’t the fantasy of that time period, quaint as it may seem now, so much more touching and oddly innocent than the weird highly-structured and false fantasy being sold today?
It is to me.
Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke
Original caption: “A number of the greatest jazz musicians in the world gathered last night 1/8/1971 at the Tropicana Htel in Las Vegas to pay tribute to the “grandaddy” of jazz, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. Seventy years old and still going strong, Armstrong received a trophy topped by a silver trumpet mouthpiece from two other all-time greats, Ella Fitzgerald (L) and Duke Ellington (R).” (source)
Rolling Stone magazine ranked Stevie’s Songs in the Key of Life at no. 56 out of 500 on their Greatest Albums list in 2003. “Sir Duke” was released as a single for radio play in March of 77 and reached number one on the Billboard charts in May, where it stayed for three weeks.
Laura Marling – New Romantic
This song was my introduction to Miss Laura Marling, a charming little singer-songwriter from the UK who, like a brownie, uses her adorable pixie looks to fool you in to thinking the sprightly tune you’re listening to doesn’t have some of the darkest, wittiest lyrics you’ll ever hear from someone so young.
I know I said I loved you
but I’m thinking I was wrong,
I’m the first to admit that I’m still pretty young,
and I never meant to hurt you
when I wrote you ten love songs
About a guy that I could never get
’cause his girlfriend was pretty fit
and everyone who knew her loved her so.
And I made you leave her for me
and now I’m feeling pretty mean,
but my mind has fucked me over more times
than any man could ever know.
The track came out a bit ago, but I still predict that song will get more famous pretty soon here, rather than less so. Even though it is the likelier in my opinion for regular radio airplay, it seems the label has put more time in to marketing the next tune here, “My Manic and I.”
Laura Marling – My Manic and I
“My Manic and I” has the sultry minor key bluesiness of Dusty Springfield, a very “If You Go Away” mood with this kind of waltzy-pirate dirge beneath, but then the purity of the vocals and the subject matter make you switch gears and draw comparisons to Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain.” (Miss Marling, I am totally picking up what you are putting down and I do believe there are also clouds in my coffee now and again.)
I get the feeling that whoever this song is about, it’s the same jerk who inspired “The Man Sings” and some of the lines in “New Romantic.”
Oh, the gods that he believes never fail to amaze me.
He believes in the love of his god of all things, but I find him wrapped up in all manner of sins;
the drugs that deceive him and the girls that believe him.
I can’t control you, I don’t know you well, but these are the reasons I think that you’re ill.
I can’t control you, I don’t know you well, but these are the reasons I think that you’re ill.
Here is the very creative video for the track.
I realized these Music Moment posts tend to run really long because I like music way too much, and can’t bear to only give you half the story on someone I think is really special, so click here to keep reading about marvelous and devilishly witty little pixie Laura Marling, hear more streaming mp3s and see more adorable pictures. Continue reading, hear more music, see cute tiny blondeness, and maybe even get your world a little rocked by some revolutionary ideas about teenagers these days!