Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Library of Little Books (Selections)



Thee are survivals from a large collection
of little books curated 1967-2000 
I shed my obsessive library some 15 years ago
These are ones still stashed away in storage boxes
A hard-bound facsimile edition was produced
recently but the fragile originals are quite scarce

 Published in 1918
With its wise epigraph

One of the most distinquished of
Greenwich Village writers & of course beyond
This being a posthumous publication of epigrams
issued by The Hanuman Press

Tuli Kupferberg was one of The Fugs
He is referenced in Ginsberg's poem "Howl" 
as having jumped from the Brooklyn Bridge & lived
("not even a free beer")
Tuli was an early DIY (do-it-yourself) publisher
for a long stream of pamphlets & periodicals
This and the following item
are tales told in drawings by
French artist Theophile Steinlen
Reproduced in the 1960s by 
The Museum of Fine Art in Boston 

My favorite is this tutelary tale
of a young man who was too fond
of his pipe

 The Blessed Damozel by Rossetti
1908 UK edition

 Illustrated throughout with watercolors
by Paul Woodroffe
Cover art by another artist

 A rare booklet by the celebrated American poet

My professor and friend 

Hiroshige's Tokaido Goju-Santsugi
(The Fifty-three Stages of Tokaido)
Woodcuts finely reproduced in miniature
pasted into a fold-out "accordion" binding
with texts in Japanese & in English
Early 20th Century 
1 September 2021 


Sunday, September 5, 2021

The Grand Tour: Piedmont to the Lake



Growth has reached climax

Cactus fruit

 It's a long way up

 Then you reach the rose garden

 Life in the foothills




Flowers of Eastertime

 There's a signpost up ahead
This redwood marks the intersection

This mailbox is not even whimsical
it's just weird

A neighborhood garden

Insurgent Spring

 I appreciate a little spontaneity

Plant life  
increases momentum

Plum blossoms and blue sky 

Like freaky cattails

 Colors vibrate in April

Iris like edible flesh

 Impressive display really

Pleasing visual textures on offer
It gets easier the more often I visit
Walking backward up the inclines

 The same plants you may meet on your way up
You might meet up on your way back down
Protean protuberant plants
(and the livin's uneasy)

Pink Flamingos 
on sale here

Well I'm a King Bee

An odd local custom in places
with a predominantly African-American clientele
Subservient European-American figures by the door

The Theater of Dreams Come True
Went to the movies once so far this year
Summer of Soul


The way South bifurcates

Fasten your bicycles
It's going to be a bumpy ride

The highway obtrudes on
 Everyday life

Bye-bye, Birdie 
More obstacles for the course

On the periphery of vision


The Imaginary Avenue runs into 
Head of the Lake 

Lakeshore Drive becomes the way South

Straight ahead goes aquatic

Grand changes direction

Fearlessly facing Grand Avenue
 going West

From Here to Eternity

November 2020- July 2021

Friday, August 27, 2021

Faces on Broadway



 Buffalo Souljah



Walking South from Seventeenth Street
I noted the massive influx of photographics
along the way all recently installed
by businesses hoping to keep their display 
windows unbroken
Almost all shown are on only one side of Broadway 
Same sort of thing on the other side as well

Starting point

No shortage of pride

A bit of chinoiserie manages to squeeze in

Kind of an over-determined public service
ad campaign

I think a white person
tried to photo-bomb this one
Heaven forefend

My favorite

Faces on the other side as mentioned
The Sculpture Garden

This was a bust made
 perhaps unwisely 
of breakable material
Gone within a few days

Recently installed


Everyday People

Time to renew

Ideals of social justice

The Great Outdoors
and the Cannabis shop down the street

A constant militancy underneath

 Ironically this building The Rotunda
is owned by Phil Tagami
who's fighting to build a massive coal terminal
at the Port of Oakland bordered by a large
Black population plagued by particulate pollution

Shadow of the Panther

 The Awaken Cafe

If you ain't woke when you come in
you will be on your way out

Another peek across the street

Smiling faces going places

 She looks as skeptical as I feel
in a manner of speaking

Fourteenth Street
three blocks since starting

This was the single most destroyed business
Oddly I was there on 31 May 2020
Chatted with a Black security guard out front
We both knew what was in store for the City later that night
Without an alternative since then but wonders never cease
Walgreens has rebuilt it & a reopening is planned

The African-American population has long regarded Oakland as their city. 
In recent years Big Capitol led by property values and rents in San Francisco have been building market rate housing at a fierce pace and rents have really climbed. In a sense lower income and working class Blacks historically benefited by the rundown quality of the city and by its various social hazards. 
 It was keeping the city affordable. It is increasingly apparent that their situation is facing some drastic changes. The Black population has gone from 60% to 40% and the writing seemed on the wall. More and more displacement and homelessness. Couple that with a militarized police and the horror of the murder of George Floyd it is not difficult to see the onset of an existential crisis
This parade of photos, exclusively of Black people, suggests that despite the ongoing gentrification and the growing misery on its mean streets, the City is still theirs.

23 May 2021