Saturday, March 24, 2018

The March for Our Lives against Gun Violence

Hundreds of young students and adults from the Iowa City community marched from College Green Park to the Old Capitol to demand an end to epidemic gun violence in schools and society at large. Organized by local student groups, the rally featured a number of speakers who addressed the urgent need for gun policy reform. The event on March 24, 2018 was one of more than 800 held across the U.S. and globally as part of the March for Our Lives movement that started after 17 students were recently killed in a mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

One participant's sign at today's protest commemorates the tragedy of November 1, 1991, when a mass killing perpetrated by Gang Lu occurred at the University of Iowa. It began in Van Allen Hall and ended in Jessup Hall, which can be seen immediately to the right of the Old Capitol in the photo above. For related information, see also the Common Curator post, Twenty Years After.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen covered the March for Our Lives, including publishing the text of a sixth-grade student who spoke at the rally. For further research into the problem of gun-related violence, the Gun Violence Archive has compiled extensive statistical data from the entire United States.

As a measure of the political influence of the National Rifle Association (N.R.A.), the New York Times has published a list of the top ten members of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who have received N.R.A. contributions. Arizona Republican Senator John McCain leads all politicians, having received over $7.7 million, and the first-term Republican Senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst, has received over $3.1 million. One of Ernst's campaign videos for the 2014 election, entitled "Shot," featured her shooting a weapon while a voiceover narrator states: " . . . once she sets her sights on Obamacare, Joni's gonna unload."

Thursday, March 22, 2018

National Recording Registry Now at 500 Titles

Now in its sixteenth year, the National Recording Registry has grown to 500 entries with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden having just announced 25 sound recordings as the official entries for 2017, stating: This annual celebration of recorded sound reminds us of our varied and remarkable American experience. The unique trinity of historic, cultural and aesthetic significance reflected in the National Recording Registry each year is an opportunity for reflection on landmark moments, diverse cultures and shared memories—all reflected in our recorded soundscape.”

Under the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, selected recordings must be "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and at least ten years old.

Spanning the years 1911-1996, the selections for 2017 are as follows:

  1. “Dream Melody Intermezzo: Naughty Marietta” (single), Victor Herbert and his Orchestra (1911)
  2. Standing Rock Preservation Recordings, George Herzog and Members of the Yanktoni Tribe (1928)
  3. “Lamento Borincano” (single), Canario y Su Grupo (1930)
  4. “Sitting on Top of the World” (single), Mississippi Sheiks (1930)
  5. The Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas (album), Artur Schnabel (1932–35)
  6. “If I Didn’t Care” (single), The Ink Spots (1939)
  7. Proceedings of the United Nations Conference on International Organization (4/25–6/26, 1945)
  8. “Folk Songs of the Hills” (album), Merle Travis (1946)
  9. “How I Got Over” (single), Clara Ward and the Ward Singers (1950)
  10. “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” (single), Bill Haley and His Comets (1954)
  11. “Calypso” (album), Harry Belafonte (1956)
  12. “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” (single), Tony Bennett (1962)
  13. “King Biscuit Time” (radio), Sonny Boy Williamson II and others (1965)
  14. “My Girl” (single), The Temptations (1964)
  15. “The Sound of Music” (soundtrack), Various (1965)
  16. “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” (single), Arlo Guthrie (1967)
  17. “New Sounds in Electronic Music” (album), Steve Reich, Richard Maxfield, Pauline Oliveros (1967)
  18. “An Evening with Groucho” (album), Groucho Marx (1972)
  19. “Rumours,” (album), Fleetwood Mac (1977)
  20. “The Gambler” (single), Kenny Rogers (1978)
  21. “Le Freak” (single), Chic (1978)
  22. “Footloose” (single), Kenny Loggins (1984), remake released in 2011
  23. “Raising Hell” (album), Run-DMC (1986)
  24. “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” (single), Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine (1987)
  25. “Yo-Yo Ma Premieres Concertos for Violoncello and Orchestra” (album), Various (1996)
The full National Recording Registry can be viewed online here. The Registry solicits nominations annually for inclusion on the registry; further information on the criteria and procedures for making nominations for 2018 is available at the Registry website.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

International Women's Day: #TimeIsNow

March 8th marks the 107th anniversary of International Women's Day. The United Nations' theme for International Women's Day 2018 is "Time Is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women's Lives." The video above features remarks by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

First celebrated on March 19, 1911 by more than one million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland after a proposal by Clara Zetkin [1857-1933] in 1910 at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, International Women's Day is now observed in many nations throughout the world.

The United Nations first began celebrating March 8 as International Women's Day during International Women's Year in 1975, and in 1977 approved a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace for member states.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

WFMU Marathon 2018: Support Freeform Radio

Love free-form radio? Then consider supporting independent station WFMU during its annual fundraising Marathon that runs March 4-18, 2018. WFMU first hit the airwaves sixty years ago on April 24, 1958 at the now-defunct Upsala College and has never looked back. Currently based in Jersey City, New Jersey, WFMU broadcasts at 91.1 Mhz in New York and via a second signal at 90.1 Mhz in the Hudson Valley. WFMU has also long been an Internet pioneer, and an extensive archive of past shows is available for easy access.

What is free-form radio you might ask? WFMU describes itself as follows:
WFMU's programming ranges from flat-out uncategorizable strangeness to rock and roll, experimental music, 78 RPM Records, jazz, psychedelia, hip-hop, electronica, hand-cranked wax cylinders, punk rock, gospel, exotica, R&B, radio improvisation, cooking instructions, classic radio airchecks, found sound, dopey call-in shows, interviews with obscure radio personalities and notable science-world luminaries, spoken word collages, Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtracks in languages other than English as well as country and western music. 
And because the station is listener-supported, WFMU DJs have for years maintained complete autonomy and control over their own programming, which is extraordinarily eclectic. Check out the current WFMU audio smorgasbord, and see for yourself!

Note: The poster shown above was designed by Dave Cunningham for a previous Marathon. The premiums for this year's marathon can be viewed here.