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Free Speech at 50: Mario Savio on What Makes Us Human

“To me, freedom of speech is something that represents the very dignity of what a human being is. . . . That’s what marks us off from the stones and the stars. You can speak freely. It is almost impossible for me to describe. It is the thing that marks us as just below the angels.”

—Mario Savio

It’s been 50 years since Mario Savio awakened the country to the possibilities of resistance, civil disobedience, and personal expression on the UC Berkeley campus. The Free Speech Movement, led by Savio, would grow into one of the most important social movements of the post-war period in the United States.

We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the movement with the publication of The Essential Mario Savio, a compendium of influential speeches and previously unknown writings, offering insight into and perspective on the disruptive yet nonviolent civil disobedience tactics used by Savio.

Below, watch the moment it all caught fire: Savio’s famous “Machine Speech,” delivered on the steps of Sproul Hall on December 2, 1964.

 

Watch a slideshow of some of the pivotal actions and protests in the movement’s history:

  • Mario Savio speaking from the top of the police car. Oct. 1, 1964. Credit: Steve Marcus, Courtesy of UC Berkeley, The Bancroft Library
  • Savio atop the police car, October 1, 1964. Note that he removed his shoes so as not to damage the car. Photograph courtesy of Steven Marcus, Bancroft Library collection.
  • Savio speaking in front of Sproul Hall. Photograph copyright Howard Harawitz.
  • Strikers on Sproul Steps. Credit: Courtesy of UC Berkeley, The Bancroft Library
  • Mario Savio on top of police car in front of Sproul Hall. Oct 1. 1964 Credit: Courtesy of UC Berkeley, The Bancroft Library
  • Savio speaks at FSM Executive Committee meeting. Photograph courtesy of Michael Rossman.
  • Savio is grabbed by a police officer as he tries to speak at the Greek Theater, December 7, 1964. On the right, a second police officer rushes toward the podium. Photograph courtesy of Ron Riesterer.

 

Join the conversation and help us celebrate on Facebook and Twitter using #FSM50, #MarioSavio, and #FreeSpeech.

And save 30% when you order The Essential Mario Savio—enter discount code 15W4312 at checkout!

 

 

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Who Is Dora Bruder? The Story Behind Patrick Modiano's Novella

French novelist Patrick Modiano has been named the 2014 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. We’re thrilled to be the publisher of Modiano’s lyrical novella, Dora Bruder. Based on a true story of a Jewish teenager in Paris during WWII, Modiano begins with a foregone conclusion: Dora Bruder’s name was on a list of Jews sent to Auschwitz from Paris in September 1942. What he intends to do in this haunting chronicle is nothing less than to uncover the outlines of the life of this 15-year-old who ran away from her hiding place in Nazi-occupied Paris—a Catholic boarding school. Based on ten years of sleuthing, Dora Bruder is a mix of investigative journalism, fictional re-creation, and philosophical reflection. The result is a haunting meditation on resilience, identity, survival, fear, occupation and, most of all, memory. Who is Dora Bruder?, Modiano asks; the answer is left for the reader to determine.

It took a lot to give birth to this book—two translators to be exact. But the result is a page-turner that gives us a feel of Nazi-occupied Paris in all of its panicky, dark, tragic viscerality.

—Executive Editor Naomi Schneider

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Jon Christensen Interviewed in BayNature

I tell all of our writers that what we want to do in the pages of the magazine is, once a quarter, host one of the most lively, interesting, fun, and provocative dinner party conversations in California. It’s as if you’d invited a dozen of your friends, from all walks of life, over for dinner, and you’re having a super passionate conversation about the things you all care about. That’s the voice of Boom.

Boom: A Journal of California editor Jon Christensen talks to BayNature about his editorial vision for the quarterly journal, why he loves both Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and what intrigues him about people’s connection to the environment. Read the full interview here, then head over to Boom to browse the new Fall 2014 issue.

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Enter to win free books for #WorldArchitectureDay

We are closing out World Architecture Day with a book giveaway!

There are four ways you can enter to win:

  1. Share your favorite example of urban architecture in a comment on this post below
  2. Share your favorite example of urban architecture on Facebook
  3. Tweet your favorite example of urban architecture to us at @educatedarts. Use #WDA2014 if you can
  4. Subscribe to our monthly Art eNews TODAY

Four winners total (one from each method of entry) will be chosen randomly*, and notified to select their title of choice from the following list:

·      Into the Void Pacific: Building the 1939 San Francisco World’s Fair by Andrew Shanken

·      Schindler, Kings Road, and Southern California Modernism by Robert Sweeney & Judith Sheine

·      The Prehistory of Home by Jerry D. Moore

·      White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes by Raymund Ryan

Good luck!

* Duplicate entries will not be counted, though you can enter to win via any and all of the allowed methods.

 

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World Architecture Day 2014 Spotlight: Robert Moses’ WPA Swimming Pools

In Great Depression-era America, our federal government invested billions of dollars in New Deal work projects through the Works Progress Administration (later referred to as the Work Projects Administration, or WPA). With the aim of reducing rampant unemployment and improving infrastructures, millions of Americans were employed by the WPA, building bridges and schools, and even painting murals and writing about local history. One of our favorite examples of these WPA projects is New York City’s public swimming pools.

Jefferson Park Pool and Bathhouse, 1 July 1936.  Courtesy of New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

Jefferson Park Pool and Bathhouse, 1 July 1936.
Courtesy of New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

Active even today (see “On Schedule, Pools’ Workers Drain the Last Drops of Summer”), Parks Commissioner Robert Moses and Mayor Firorello La Guardia first opened eleven WPA-built pools in the summer of 1936. According to NYC Parks, “WPA swimming pools were among the most remarkable public recreational facilities in the country, representing the forefront of design and technology in advanced filtration and chlorination systems. The influence of the pools extended throughout entire communities, attracting aspiring athletes and neighborhood children, and changing the way millions of New Yorkers spent their leisure time… At Thomas Jefferson Pool, more than 10,000 celebrated the opening, at which the Mayor said, ‘Here is something you can be proud of. It is the last word in engineering, hygiene, and construction that could be put into a pool.’”

As author Marta Gutman writes in her Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians article, “Race, Place, and Play: Robert Moses and the WPA Swimming Pools in New York City” (PDF), “No space is intrinsically free, but modern architecture can be a key mechanism for shaping a better social world. During the New Deal, when so many social categories were in flux, some kids took a chance at the new pools. 117 Historical actors in their own right, black and white boys and girls swam together in neighborhoods where progressive New Yorkers worked to make racial integration a matter of fact in daily life, not only an abstract principle. In magnificent new public places, envisioned by a conservative park commissioner, children cut across gender, age, and racial lines in progressive ways, showing adults willing to listen that democratic citizenship could grow through their play during the WPA.”

What does the future hold for health and happiness in urban environments? For swimming in the city, maybe it’s something like Wonderwater’s Urban Plunge, which envisions futuristic “architectural interventions for swimming in clean natural waters in the heart of our cities.”

Happy World Architecture Day 2014!

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Honoring 3 Award-Winning Titles on Agriculture, Labor and Justice from UC Press

UC Press is home to one of the oldest and most prestigious lists in Food Studies, an interdisciplinary field that brings together scholars from diverse backgrounds to examine the role and impact of food consumption and production. Many of our authors, like Marion Nestle and Janet Poppendieck, highlight and challenge the food industry’s negative impact on health and the environment.

Today, the conversation about what constitutes “just food” has moved beyond talking solely about eating organic and local. Building on Julie Guthman’s seminal work Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in Californiaa new generation of scholars is turning its attention to labor justice in the agricultural sector. Three new UC Press books from Sarah Besky, Margaret Gray, and Seth Holmes take on the issue of agricultural labor and all have received major society awards in recognition for their important work.

Sarah Besky’s The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India is the first book to explore how fair trade operates on large plantations. The global demand for fair trade and organic tea is increasing, yet workers on plantations experience justice in uneven and contradictory ways. For her rigorous ethnography, Besky will be awarded the Society for Economic Anthropology Book Prize at the annual American Anthropological Association meeting.

Margaret Gray, author of Labor and the Locavore: Building a Comprehensive Food Ethic offers a revealing look at labor practices in Hudson Valley, New York. Despite Hudson Valley’s reputation as the bucolic landscape from which much of New York City’s local food is grown, it’s a region rife with labor conflict and abuse. The author challenges us to bring labor justice into the food justice movement. Labor and the Locavore won the annual Association for the Study of Food and Society 2014 Book Prize. It was also named co-winner of the Best Book Award from Labor Project from the American Political Science Association.

In his gripping book Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States, anthropologist Seth Holmes exposes the violence experienced by migrant laborers today. Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies was honored with the Association for Humanist Sociology Book Award, the New Millennium Book Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology, and the Anthropology of Work Book Award from the Society for the Anthropology of Work, among other awards.

Congratulations Sarah Besky, Margaret Gray, and Seth Holmes!

 

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World Architecture Day 2014: Healthy Cities, Happy Cities

UC Press and the Society of Architectural Historians are pleased to join forces in celebrating World Architecture Day, which occurs on the first Monday of each October. This year’s theme, “Healthy Cities, Happy Cities,” celebrates the role architects and architecture play in the vitality of the urban setting and in the well being of its inhabitants.

Bethesda Fountain, Central Park.  Courtesy Ingfbruno. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike

Bethesda Fountain, Central Park.
Courtesy Ingfbruno. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike

Whether through better integrating the built and natural environments, providing opportunities for health and happiness through parks and other public spaces, or through responsible design utilizing sustainable materials and energy efficiency, architecture and architects can bring new life to cities, fostering health and happiness among the denizens of urban environments.

What urban architecture inspires you? Share your favorites with UC Press and SAH @EducatedArts, @SAH1365, facebook.com/ucpress, and facebook.com/SAH1365.

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Le Nozze di Figaro at the Met: September 2014

September 22, 2014 was the 129th opening night at the Metropolitan Opera, North America’s premiere opera company and the subject of UC Press’ fascinating new history, Grand Opera: The Story of the Met. Authors Charles and Mirella Affron, who have seen five different Met productions of Mozart’s much-loved Le Nozze di Figaro, were on hand for the latest investiture, which they have reviewed below.

Le Nozze di Figaro at the Met: September 2014
by Charles Affron and Mirella Jona Affron

Peter Mattei

Peter Mattei

The new production of Le Nozze di Figaro that opened the Met’s 2014-15 season is the sixth since 1940, when Mozart operas became firmly rooted in the company’s core repertoire. The only perennials to have received as many reinvestitures during this period are Carmen and La Traviata.

Operagoers expecting a radical staging of Nozze will be disappointed. Just as he did in his Met Carmen (2009-10) and Werther (2013-14), Richard Eyre offers up a theatrically coherent, traditional reading of the original scenario. Rob Howell’s Moorish décor lodges the piece in an emphatically recognizable Spain.

Here, as in his two previous Met productions, Eyre moves the work’s action closer to present. The late 18th-century of Lorenzo Da Ponte’s libretto and the Beaumarchais play upon which it was based becomes the late 1930s, just prior to the outbreak of World War II. Eyre acknowledges Jean Renoir’s film, The Rules of the Game, which itself explicitly states its debt to the Le Mariage de Figaro. Although little is gained by the time shift, little is lost save for powdered wigs and hip-widening panniers.

The director’s most valuable contributions are his fluent and intelligible blockings and his ability to draw lively, fresh performances from the singers. What emerges is a deftly contrived bedroom farce with deep affective overtones. The only irritating element is Eyre’s allergy to a closed curtain or an empty stage. He refused to let Bizet’s and Massenet’s preludes and entr’actes speak for themselves; he relegates Mozart’s overture to accompaniment for the Met’s turntable as it sets up the plot. The Almaviva palace and garden revolves 360 degrees, a topless servant scurries across the stage after her assignation with the strutting, self-satisfied Count, the disconsolate Countess languishes alone, Figaro begins to assemble up his marriage bed.

As seen on September 25, the well-rehearsed ensemble, under the wonderfully supportive leadership of James Levine, delivered detailed characterizations and, with one exception, sang well enough. The exception was the superlative Count of Peter Mattei. Marlis Petersen lacked Mattei’s crystalline diction but was a spirited, warm-hearted Susanna who sang her last act aria with ravishing tone. Ildar Abdrazakov’s soft-grained basso, telling in the more lyrical moments, faded in the depths of his range. Amanda Majeski, who made her debut in the high-tension atmosphere of a Met opening night, demonstrated her experience with the Countess (Chicago, Dresden), and her musicality. Mattei’s Count dominated the proceedings vocally and histrionically. He made clear that “La folle journée [the crazy day]” of Beaumarchais’s title is as much about the Count marriage as it is about Figaro’s wedding—perhaps more, since it is the master, not the servant, who is transformed by the events.

In the Act III “Hai già vinta la causa! . . . Vedrò mentre io sospiro” (MP3), the Count, realizing that he is being played for a fool, determines to reassert his authority over his wily, even subversive servants. Mattei brings alive the character’s agitation and rage, all the while unfurling his focused resonance over the aria’s steeplechase course.

Read more about Mozart at the Met on the Affrons’ blog, Opera Post.

 

Charles Affron, Professor Emeritus of French Literature at New York University, and Mirella Jona Affron, Professor Emerita of Cinema Studies at The College of Staten Island/CUNY, are coauthors of Best Years: Going to the Movies, 1945–1946 and Sets in Motion: Art Direction and Film Narrative. Charles Affron is the author of Lillian Gish: Her Legend, Her Life; Cinema and Sentiment; and Star Acting: Gish, Garbo, Davis. Together with Robert Lyons, the authors are series editors of Rutgers Films in Print and Rutgers Depth of Field.

 

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B. Ruby Rich on Trigger Warnings

Thumbnails, the news and culture roundup at RogerEbert.com, gave a nod to Film Quarterly editor B. Ruby Rich’s column, “Thinking about Triggers, Thumbs, Sex and Death.” The essay, they say, “provides invaluable commentary on a variety of topics, including Steve James’s acclaimed documentary, ‘Life Itself,’ based on Roger Ebert‘s 2011 memoir of the same name.” Here’s a selection from the essay:

Ebert never failed to be generous to films by outsiders, gay or lesbian filmmakers, African-American filmmakers, many directors of color, international talents, or anyone pushing cinema in new directions. And other critics. During the interregnum between Siskel’s death and Richard Roeper’s hiring, he invited me on the show. We reviewed Kimberly Peirce’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ (1999), raved about Hilary Swank’s performance as Brandon Teena, debated his/her pronouns, and agreed on two thumbs up. It was classic Ebert: championing a first-time film on a controversial subject, produced by indie film impresario Christine Vachon’s Killer Films. He was the star of a show produced by Disney with millions of viewers and a brand that spanned multiple platforms, but Ebert wouldn’t desert upstart films that were daring, outspoken, and great filmmaking. Even when the cancer that had been in remission came back and got him, Ebert remained a force to be reckoned with. Shifting gears from television to blogging when he could no longer speak, he kept up with the film festivals that had always been his lifeline and kept filing copy, watching screeners, doing his part to hold up the ongoing dialogue about what films are worth seeing, what ideas worth holding, what talent worth supporting. Roger Ebert lived and breathed film to the end. I wonder what he’d have to say about ‘trigger warnings.’

Read it in full at Film Quarterly.

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Mingus Ah Um Revisited

We’re thrilled to announce that John Goodman’s Mingus Speaks recently won the prestigious ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in the category of “Best Research in Recorded Jazz History.” The award, presented by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC), recognizes outstanding published research in the field of recorded sound.

Mingus Speaks brings together a rare collection of in-depth interviews Goodman conducted with the great jazz composer several years before Mingus died. You can hear more about the experience of recording Mingus, as well as music and archival clips from the interviews, in this UC Press Podcast with John Goodman.

Goodman was was recently asked by the Library of Congress to contribute an essay to its National Recording Registry. The Registry selects recordings judged “so vital to the history of America—aesthetically, culturally or historically—that they demand permanent archiving in the nation’s library.” Each year twenty-five recordings are selected. Goodman’s essay is to accompany the Charles Mingus album Mingus Ah Um, one of the 2014 picks. With permission from the National Recording Registry, we are pleased to share Goodman’s essay with you here:

Mingus Ah Um Revisited

by John Goodman, re-posted from Jazz Inside and Out

In a year (1959) that saw the release of Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue and Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to ComeMingus Ah Um appeared to be a divergent bow to jazz tradition. Yet Mingus was undertaking, like Davis and Coleman, a novel approach to jazz.

Mingus_Ah_Um_-_Charles_Mingus

Mingus Ah Um album cover

Charles Mingus’s music is not for everybody. Some of it is intimidating in its complexity; some is angry and vituperative; some verges on the bleating of free jazz. Mingus the person was everything the music represents, plus a lot more. He had his tender moments, a fine sense of humor, and a deep knowledge of how to make jazz traditions resonate in his music. Mingus Ah Um captures the full flavor of the man better than most any of his recordings. (The title played with the case endings in Latin declensions—Mingus showing off a bit perhaps, and asking to be taken seriously.)

It is the best musical redaction of middle-period Mingus, with his musicians playing at the top of their form in compositions that have never been equaled. It also turned out to be the best-seller of all Mingus’s albums. Ah Um grew out of the Jazz Workshop approach that Mingus established early on in his New York career and used through much of his later years. From the original liner notes by Diane Dorr-Dorynek quoting Mingus:

My present working methods use very little written material. I ‘write’ compositions on mental score paper, then I lay out the composition part by part to the musicians. I play them the ‘framework’ on piano so that they are all familiar with my interpretation and feeling and with the scale and chord progressions to be used. Each man’s particular style is taken into consideration. They are given different rows of notes to use against each chord but they choose their own notes and play them in their own style, from scales as well as chords, except where a particular mood is indicated. In this way I can keep my own compositional flavor in the pieces and yet allow the musicians more individual freedom in the creation of their group lines and solos.

This approach to playing jazz enabled singular and collective improvisation to work within a structure. I think Mingus was the first to fully develop such a method since Jelly Roll Morton. What he accomplished in Ah Um was not only a way to give form to freedom but a means to echo and respect basic jazz traditions and styles. The album is a kind of mini-jazz history, an epitome of what jazz music can convey.

Personnel: Charles Mingus, bass; Booker Ervin, tenor sax; John Handy, alto and tenor sax, clarinet; Shafi Hadi, alto and tenor sax; Jimmy Knepper and Willie Dennis, trombones; Horace Parlan, piano; Dannie Richmond, drums. Standouts here are Knepper, Ervin and Hardy, though all give fine performances. Mingus had lately discovered and coached Dannie Richmond, and inAh Um the two achieved amazing rhythmic unity. The liner notes quote Mingus as saying he would “rather have no drummer at all if Dannie weren’t available.”

Mingus enjoying the recording of Ah Um, 1959. Photo, Don Hunstein.

Mingus enjoying the recording of Ah Um, 1959. Photo, Don Hunstein.

On Ah Um Mingus has fun with jazz styles while interpreting them in his unique way and giving them a new flavor. He also pays direct musical tribute to Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Jelly Roll Morton. But this is no pastiche; it’s all Mingus music.

“Better Git It in Your Soul” takes blues and gospel and makes out of it a new kind of jazz. It’s a quick-tempo gospel dance and marks the first time anyone had ever used 6/8 time in a jazz context. There is wonderful use of repetition, pedal points (a Mingus trademark), riffs, handclaps and hollers. Booker Ervin’s solo is amazing and gutty.

Mingus got word that Lester Young had died while the Mingus band was performing one evening at the Half Note in New York. John Handy reported that the leader then began to play a slow sad blues which not long after became the elegiac “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” that you hear on Ah Um. Handy’s moving solo reinforces the mood, and there has never been a finer jazz tribute to a fellow musician.

Other highlights on the album: “Boogie Stop Shuffle” moves into a fast-paced boppish chorus over a choo-choo train rhythm, with fine coordinated playing by all. “Self-Portrait in Three Colors” features the band playing in unison on a beautiful sophisticated melody. “Pussy Cat Dues” is elaborated by Knepper’s resonant trombone solo, Parlan’s bluesy piano, Handy’s clarinet, and the leader’s bass. This is Mingus blues of the first order.

“Fables of Faubus” makes its first appearance on Ah Um, but without the vocal by Mingus and Dannie plus the fine work of Eric Dolphy (alto) and Ted Curson (trumpet) that distinguished its later version on Mingus Presents Mingus (1960). Faubus, one remembers, ordered out the National Guard in 1957 to prevent black teenagers from entering Little Rock Central High School and was vocal in his opposition to integration. Mingus & Co. tarred and feathered him in the later recording. In Ah Um, his first album for Columbia, the company may have suppressed the lyrics, as Mingus later charged. Without lyrics, the song loses some of its punch. Mingus, who never hid his political feelings, played and recorded it often.

In Columbia's 30th Street studio, Ah Um recording. Don Hunstein photo.

In Columbia’s 30th Street studio, Ah Um recording. Don Hunstein photo.

The late ‘50s had been very good years for Mingus: he made exceptional records for Atlantic (and would again in the ‘60s). Columbia lured him to record Ah Um,largely because Teo Macero had come to the company as its primary jazz A&R man/producer. Mingus and Teo were friends and Teo had played alto on some of Mingus’s earlier Jazz Workshop efforts.

I interviewed Teo in the course of compiling my book of interviews with Mingus and others, Mingus Speaks. He thought that the music on Ah Um might have been possibly “too far ahead of the consumer” because the album had slow initial sales. “Now [1974],” he said, “’Fables of Faubus’ is very famous and ‘Porkpie Hat’ and the other things that he did are all things he does now; fifteen or sixteen years later he’s starting to do them in concert.” The music of Ah Um has indeed been very lasting and has been played by numerous jazz artists.

There have been several releases of the album and some of its outtakes over the years, but I still prefer the original nine tunes, which constituted a musical program as Mingus intended. He was very careful about how he programmed his music, one reason why Mingus Ah Um has been a success. The album also looks forward to the coming band with Dolphy when Mingus would work his music into a freer mold, beginning with The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady(1963). His later years produced Let My Children Hear Music (1972), his most ambitious and accomplished work.

But Ah Um was his first breakthrough with the jazz public at large and for many, including yours truly, it brought the particular genius of Mingus to light. As one reviewer put it, the album “captures everything jazz music is about.”

 

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