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
1970s
 

 
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

 


 
 
 Piedmont
 
 
 
1.
Autumn
 

 
Growth has reached climax
 

 
Cactus fruit
 

 
 It's a long way up
 
 

 
 Then you reach the rose garden



 Life in the foothills

 

 

2.

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
 
 
 
 
 
3.
Summertime
(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
hereabouts
 

 
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


4.
Outro

 
 
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