Sunday, December 20, 2020

A Clockwork Orange, The Blues Brothers, and Freedom Riders among 25 Titles Added to National Film Registry

Established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, the National Film Preservation Board is an advisory body for the Librarian of Congress. The Board helps shape national film preservation planning policy, and also recommends films for the National Film Registry.

Chosen for their cultural, historic, or aesthetic significance, the Board's 25 annual selections for 2020 cover a wide gamut of genres and time periods, from such early films as Bread and The Battle of the Century to such later works as A Clockwork Orange and Freedom Riders. The full list for 2020 is as follows:

Freedom Riders (2010)

The Dark Knight (2008)
The Hurt Locker (2008)
Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege (2006)
Shreck (2001)

Buena Vista Social Club (1999)
The Devil Never Sleeps (1994)
The Joy Luck Club (1993)

Illusions (1982)
Losing Ground (1982)
The Blues Brothers (1980)

Grease (1978)
Wattstax (1973)
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Lilies of the Field (1963)

Outrage (1950)

Cabin in the Sky (1943)
With Car and Camera Around the World (1929)
The Battle of the Century (1927)

Bread (1918)
Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914)
Suspense (1913)
Further information on the Registry as well as the films themselves can be found on the Library of Congress' web site. All 800 films selected for the Registry since 1989 can also be browsed online. In addition, the public is encouraged to make nominations for next year's selections to the National Film Registry.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Election Day 2020

Today is the day to vote. For those still needing to register, Iowa and 20 other states, as well as the District of Columbia, allow election day registration. Further information regarding voting regulations can be found at

The Common Curator graphic above is based on artist Robert Indiana's iconic "Love" logo.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Make America Trumpless Again

Make Iowa Kingless Again

Resistance Revival Chorus: "All You Fascists Bound to Lose"

The Resistance Revival Chorus has just released their debut album, "This Joy," on Righteous Babe Records. The album, available both on vinyl and digitally, features Rhiannon Giddens on Woody Guthrie's 1942 anthem, "All You Fascists Bound To Lose."

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Fear No Color

Original broadside letterpress printed by Canonymous Press.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

Of related interest, see the earlier Memorial Day post, A Living Service Flag, which features a large-scale formation (or living) photograph depicting the service flag of the U.S. Armed Forces. The photograph was produced circa 1918 by Arthur Mole and John Thomas, and entailed the complex staging of thousands of soldiers at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

After 4.54 Billion Earth Years, 50 Earth Days

Earth Day was first celebrated fifty years ago on April 22, 1970. Founded by former US Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in, Earth Day is now coordinated by Earth Day Network, with extensive programming and events around the world. In 2009, the United Nations also declared April 22 to be International Mother Earth Day, an observance that "recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity." Look magazine first published the ecology flag shown above on April 21, 1970. The theta symbol on the flag represents the conjoining of "e" for environment and "o" for organism. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Happy 100th, Ravi Shankar!

Ravi Shankar [1920-2012] was born 100 years ago, on April 7th. His daughter, Anoushka, who is a master musician and composer in her own right, arranged Ravi's composition, Sandhya Raga, which was performed by a group of his former students as a birthday tribute. Anoushka has been organizing a series of Centenary concerts that unfortunately have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, enjoy the present sampling of great Indian classical music from Ravi's extensive catalogue!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Census Day: Be Counted

No, it's not an April Fools' Day joke . . . it's mandated in the U.S. Constitution. The 2020 decennial questionnaire only takes a few minutes to complete online. The long, fascinating history of the U.S. Census is also documented online. Although there are now multiple ways by which to submit census information, the first printed forms were introduced for the 1830 Census

From 1790 to 1820, the U.S. Marshals conducting the census only received instructions about what to ask. Each marshal supplied his own paper and used whatever method he chose to divide the paper into the columns needed to collect the required information. The method for recording the data was not standardized until 1830 when marshals received uniform printed schedules.

Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution spells out how the enumeration and political apportionment will operate on the body politic . . . hence the categories for free white persons, slaves, and free colored persons on the 1830 forms shown above and to the right (larger versions): 

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. 

The 14th Amendment, passed by Congress just after the Civil War, changed this equation substantially. 

Historical census records are maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration rather than the Census Bureau itself. Exemplars of past decennial questionnaires (also called schedules or simply forms) can be viewed here.  

Thursday, March 26, 2020

New Cohort for National Recording Registry Includes Memphis Minnie, Glen Campbell, Cheap Trick, Selena, Dr. Dre & Colin Currie

Now in its eighteenth year, the National Recording Registry has grown to 550 entries with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden having just announced 25 additional sound recordings as the official entries for 2019, stating

“The National Recording Registry is the evolving playlist of the American soundscape. It reflects moments in history captured through the voices and sounds of the time. . . . As genres and formats continue to expand, the Library of Congress is committed to working with our many partners to preserve the sounds that have touched our hearts and shaped our culture.”

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 1920-2008, the selections for 2019 are as follows:

  1. “Whispering” (single), Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra (1920)
  2. “Protesta per Sacco e Vanzetti,” Compagnia Columbia; “Sacco e Vanzetti,” Raoul Romito
  3. “La Chicharronera” (single), Narciso Martinez and Santiago Almeida (1936)
  4. “Arch Oboler’s Plays” episode “The Bathysphere” (Nov. 18, 1939)
  5. “Me and My Chauffeur Blues” (single), Memphis Minnie (1941)
  6. The 1951 National League Tiebreaker: New York Giants vs. Brooklyn Dodgers — Russ
    Hodges, announcer (Oct. 3, 1951)
  7. Puccini’s “Tosca” (album), Maria Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano, Angelo Mercuriali, Tito Gobbi,
    Melchiorre Luise, Dario Caselli, Victor de Sabata (1953)
  8. “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” (single), Allan Sherman (1963)
  9. WGBH broadcast of the Boston Symphony on the day of the John F. Kennedy Assassination,
    Boston Symphony Orchestra (1963)
  10. “Fiddler on the Roof” (album), original Broadway cast (1964))
  11. “Make the World Go Away” (single), Eddy Arnold (1965)
  12. Hiromi Lorraine Sakata Collection of Afghan Traditional Music (1966-67; 1971-73)
  13. “Wichita Lineman” (single), Glen Campbell (1968)
  14. “Dusty in Memphis” (album), Dusty Springfield (1969)
  15. “Mister Rogers Sings 21 Favorite Songs From ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ ” (album), Fred
    Rogers (1973)
  16. “Cheap Trick at Budokan” (album), Cheap Trick (1978)
  17. Holst: Suite No. 1 in E-Flat, Suite No. 2 in F / Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks / Bach:
    Fantasia in G (special edition audiophile pressing), Frederick Fennell and the Cleveland
    Symphonic Winds (1978)
  18. “Y.M.C.A.” (single), Village People (1978)
  19. “A Feather on the Breath of God” (album), Gothic Voices; Christopher Page, conductor;
    Hildegard von Bingen, composer (1982)
  20. “Private Dancer” (album), Tina Turner (1984)
  21. “Ven Conmigo” (album), Selena (1990)
  22. “The Chronic” (album), Dr. Dre (1992)
  23. “I Will Always Love You” (single), Whitney Houston (1992)
  24. “Concert in the Garden” (album), Maria Schneider Orchestra (2004)
  25. “Percussion Concerto” (album), Colin Currie (2008)
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 2020 is available at the Registry website. Individuals may submit up to 50 nominations per year. 

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The WFMU Marathon: Support Freeform Radio

Love free-form radio? Take the leap and consider supporting independent station WFMU during its annual fundraising Marathon that runs February 29 to March 15, 2020. WFMU first hit the airwaves over 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 long been an Internet pioneer, and has multiple online streams, as well as an extensive archive of past shows.

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. Apps available for both iOS & Android. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Happy Year of the Rat / 鼠 年 快 樂 !

The image above was designed by P.J. Lynch and is featured on a series of 2020 coins issued by the U.K.'s Royal Mint to commemorate the Lunar New Year.

The obverse of the coin depicts Queen Elizabeth II, and was designed by Jody Clark in 2015. It is the first definitive royal coinage portrait by a Royal Mint designer in over 100 years.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Gardening for the Future with Heirloom Seeds

The latest tantalizing annual catalog from Seed Savers Exchange (SSE), featuring heirloom, untreated, non-hybrid, and non-GMO seeds, is now available online; a print copy of the 2020 catalog can also be requested free of charge online. 

Founded in 1975 by Diane Ott Whealy and Kent Whealy, Seed Savers Exchange is now the largest non-governmental seed bank of its kind in the United States. With over 13,000 members, SSE conserves and maintains heirloom seeds for thousands of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. Its mission is: 

. . . to save North America's diverse, but endangered, garden heritage for future generations by building a network of people committed to collecting, conserving and sharing heirloom seeds and plants, while educating people about the value of genetic and cultural diversity.
Located on the 890-acre Heritage Farm in Decorah, Iowa, SSE is open to visitors from April to October, and sponsors special events such as seed starting, grafting, and gardening workshops. It also hosts an annual conference and campout. To learn more about Seed Savers Exchange and the benefits of membership, visit its website.