Category Archives: Laura Nyro

A.M.O.P. PRESENTS: OPEN BOXES (VOL. 3)

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Hello All! Hello World!

Along with a whole lot of other gems (like Bob Dylan performing “Isis” live in 1975 with Mick Ronson, guitarist and arranger from David Bowie‘s legendary Ziggy Stardust band) this here mix features “Madame George” by Van Morrison. When writing a review of Astral Weeks, the 1968 record from which this track comes, incredible music journalist Lester Bangs stated that the song:

[…] is the album’s whirlpool. Possibly one of the most compassionate pieces of music ever made, it asks us, no, arranges that we see the plight of what I’ll be brutal and call a lovelorn drag queen with such intense empathy that when the singer hurts him, we do too. (Morrison has said in at least one interview that the song has nothing to do with any kind of transvestite – at least as far as he knows, he is quick to add – but that’s bullshit.) The beauty, sensitivity, holiness of the song is that there’s nothing at all sensationalistic, exploitative, or tawdry about it; in a way Van is right when he insists it’s not about a drag queen, as my friends were right and I was wrong about the “pedophelia” – it’s about a person, like all the best songs, all the greatest literature.”

He goes on to write:

What might seem strangest of all but really isn’t is that it’s exactly those characteristics which supposedly should make George most pathetic – age, drunkenness, the way the boys take his money and trash his love – that awakens something for George in the heart of the kid whose song this is. Obviously the kid hasn’t simply “fallen in love with love,” or something like that, but rather – what? Why just exactly that only sunk in the foulest perversions could one human being love another for anything other than their humanness: love him for his weakness, his flaws, finally perhaps his decay. Decay is human – that’s one of the ultimate messages here, and I don’t by any stretch of the lexicon mean decadence. I mean that in this song or whatever inspired it Van Morrison saw the absolute possibility of loving human beings at the farthest extreme of wretchedness, and that the implications of that are terrible indeed, far more terrible than the mere sight of bodies made ugly by age or the seeming absurdity of a man devoting his life to the wobbly artifice of trying to look like a woman.

and:

If you accept for even a moment the idea that each human life is as precious and delicate as a snowflake and then you look at a wino in a doorway, you’ve got to hurt until you feel like a sponge for all those other assholes’ problems, until you feel like an asshole yourself, so you draw all the appropriate lines. You stop feeling. But you know that then you begin to die. So you tussle with yourself. how much of this horror can I actually allow myself to think about? Perhaps the numbest mannekin is wiser than somebody who only allows their sensitivity to drive them to destroy everything they touch – but then again, to tilt Madame George’s hat a hair, just to recognize that that person exists, just to touch his cheek and then probably expire because the realization that you must share the world with him is ultimately unbearable is to only go the first mile. The realization of living is just about that low and that exalted and that unbearable and that sought-after. Please come back and leave me alone. But when we’re along together we can talk all we want about the universality of this abyss: it doesn’t make any difference, the highest only meets the lowest for some lying succor, UNICEF to relatives, so you scratch and spit and curse in violent resignation at the strict fact that there is absolutely nothing you can do but finally reject anyone in greater pain than you. At such a moment, another breath is treason. that’s why you leave your liberal causes, leave suffering humanity to die in worse squalor than they knew before you happened along. You got their hopes up. Which makes you viler than the most scrofulous carrion. viler than the ignorant boys who would take Madame George for a couple of cigarettes. because you have committed the crime of knowledge, and thereby not only walked past or over someone you knew to be suffering, but also violated their privacy, the last possession of the dispossessed.

Such knowledge is possibly the worst thing that can happen to a person (a lucky person), so it’s no wonder that Morrison’s protagonist turned away from Madame George, fled to the train station, trying to run as far away from what he’d seen as a lifetime could get him.

I strongly urge you to read the review in its entirety as it is quite brilliant, as was most of his writing. Despite a slovenly, drug-jitter exterior Bangs truly is one of the most sensitive writers I have ever read. To me Lester Bangs should be considered one of the “Great American Writers.” His essays should be taught in universities, particularly for his gift of unraveling a subject out until it seems a precarious mess, just to spool it all back in and land it perfectly in an exquisite knot. However, as on the surface he seemingly wrote about “pop” music I believe he has been unfairly dismissed. This is both ironic and elitist when you take into account this truth he wrote in his obituary for Elvis Presley, published in the Village Voice in August 1977.

But I will say this: Elvis Presley was the man who brought overt blatant vulgar sexual frenzy to the popular arts in America (and thereby to the nation itself, since putting “popular arts” and “America” in the same sentence seems almost redundant).

Yes, it is redundant.

The mix also features Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle with their 1958 take on Ann Ronell‘s complex 1932 composition: Willow Weep for Me

Not that I can exactly explain why, I suddenly had this sullen beauty of a tune making languorous rounds within my head when I recently read a poem by Diane Seuss from her incredible new collection, Still Life With Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl:

The Hand Has Dropped the Fruit and It’s Painted Where It Falls

or such is the theater of painting for every painting is a performance some complete with curtains pulled away for the spectator to see the fruit as if casually dropped and painted where it falls or the hare strung up or the turkey hanged from one gnarly foot as if the painter had no design on reality but only painted it haphazardly an improvisation of objects in space but actually a performance of haphazardness as if to say art is not artifice it meets you where you shrug off your robe or pile your strawberries in a basket with no eye for composition but even the haphazard is arranged by the eye who was it who wrote a derangement of arrangements

thus Williams’s so much depends upon the red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens is anything but an accidental tableau viewed for instance through a window as he tended a dying woman in her bed one hears the rhymes of glazed and rain and barrow of wheel and water and white of depends and chickens and considers how briefly water glazes a surface before it must evaporate and leave us behind and how quickly chickens flap their filthy wings and scatter how wheel is separated from barrow rain from water white from chickens so that all constituent parts of what appear to be simple solid randomly arranged objects have been factored down to their prime numbers how nothing is casual nothing is uncomposed whether a curtain is drawn away from the deathbed window or not

Below you’ll also find a list of things I read (or re-read) so far since January of this year, 2018.

[cover art by Roxanna Bikadoroff]

Last year was the year I discovered that I believe Angela Carter just might be the greatest writer I’ve ever read, and this year hasn’t really contradicted that notion! I just marvel at her sentences. I recently came across a quote of hers that both cracked me up and gave me confidence about my own purple approach to writing:

“The questions that I ask myself, I think they’re very much to do with reality. I would really like to have had the guts and the energy and so on to be able to write about, you know, people having battles with the DHSS. But I…I haven’t. They’re dull things. I mean, I’m an arty person. OK, I write overblown, purple, self-indulgent prose. So fucking what?” – Angela Carter

The majority of my free reading time this year was taken up with tackling Alan Moore‘s massive, magical novel Jerusalem. I can honestly say this is the greatest novel I have ever read and I wholeheartedly urge you all to give it a go. I have been blown away and adored many brilliant novels, but it is not often that while reading a book I am struck with the sudden recognition of “wow, this thing rewired my mind!” (Hopscotch–or Rayuela in its original Spanish–by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar is another such novel that comes to mind).

I must say that after finishing Jerusalem I was actually quite astonished that Alan Moore was able to accomplish all he did with this book in only roughly over 600,000 words (my copy is 1,266 pages long).

I don’t usually listen to audiobooks (however the best narrator I’ve ever heard on one is actor Bronson Pinchot) yet I decided to give one a go with the 2018 collection of essays by Zadie Smith: Feel Free.

Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith (audiobook read wonderfully by Nikki Amuka-Bird)

My first real introduction to her writing, I think she’s fantastic and the essays are wonderfully read by actress Nikki Amuka-Bird.

There’s a lot of fantastic children’s books featured on the list as well as I am both a father of a three-year-old and a children’s librarian. Whether you have a little one or not to read these to I’d still recommend that you every now and then toss a great children’s book into your reading pile; I guarantee you will be delighted. My son’s favorite books for the year definitely have to be from the Elephant & Piggie series by Mo Willems. They are hysterical, sweet, and quite brilliant!

So yes, these works listed here are all one’s that I truly enjoyed and/or loved; I highly recommend them all!

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A.M.O.P. Presents: __Open Boxes (Vol. 3)
  • How Unfortunate Are Those Who Die Unaware Of The Beauty Of Music/Lakmé’s Preparation – Zdenek Liska
  • Benjamin Franklin (Jump Rope Rhyme) – Illinois School Children (recorded 1955)
  • I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier – Mad Season (John Lennon cover)
  • Poverty Train – Laura Nyro
  • People Get Ready – The Doors [Live in Seattle- June 5th 1970 ]
  • This Train – Ziggy Marley (featuring Willie Nelson) 
  • Five Years / Soul Love – David Bowie [Live April-May 1978] 
  • It’s Enough – Lenny Kravitz (ft. Ludovic Louis on trumpet)
  • Babylon – Richard Swift
  • Gasoline Dreams – Outkast Feat. Khujo Goodie
  • Green Eyes – Erykah Badu
  • Too Hurt To Cry – Candi Staton
  • Isis – Bob Dylan & The Rolling Thunder Revue [Live Boston Music Hall, November 21, 1975 (second show)]
  • Mili’s Carousel (Lovely Acrobatics) – Zdenek Liska
  • Madame George – Van Morrison
  • Willow Weep For Me – Frank Sinatra (w/ Nelson Riddle – arranger, conductor; written by Ann Ronell)
  • 2morrow – Prince 
  • Stick Out Your Tongue – Elvis Costello & The Roots
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How Unfortunate Are Those Who Die Unaware Of The Beauty Of Music/Lakmé’s Preparation – Zdenek Liska

Benjamin Franklin (Jump Rope Rhyme) – Illinois School Children (recorded 1955)

I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier – Mad Season (John Lennon cover)

Poverty Train – Laura Nyro

People Get Ready – The Doors [Live in Seattle- June 5th 1970 ]

This Train – Ziggy Marley (featuring Willie Nelson)

Five Years / Soul Love – David Bowie [Live April-May 1978]

It’s Enough – Lenny Kravitz (ft. Ludovic Louis on trumpet) [photo by Adrian Gaut, 2018]

Babylon – Richard Swift [art by Richard Swift, 2018]

Gasoline Dreams – Outkast Feat. Khujo Goodie [photo by Jonathan Mannion]

Green Eyes – Erykah Badu

Too Hurt To Cry – Candi Staton

Isis – Bob Dylan & The Rolling Thunder Revue [Live Boston Music Hall, November 21, 1975 (second show)]

Mili’s Carousel (Lovely Acrobatics) – Zdenek Liska

Madame George – Van Morrison [illustration by Susan Coyne]

Willow Weep For Me – Frank Sinatra (w/ Nelson Riddle – arranger, conductor; written by Ann Ronell)

2morrow – Prince [photo by Ellen von Unwerth, 1997]

Stick Out Your Tongue – Elvis Costello & The Roots [Photo by Danny Clinch , 2013]

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2018 Reading List :________

Jerusalem by Alan Moore

Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces by Angela Carter

Adele in Sand Land by Claude Ponti

The Truth Is We Are Perfect poems by Janaka Stucky

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Once Upon a Jungle by Laura Knowles and James Boast

Leaf by Sandra Dieckmann

Little Red and Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin

A Brave Bear by Sean Taylor &‎ Emily Hughes

Nunca hagas cosquillas a un tigre (Never Tickle a Tiger) by Pamela Butchart &‎ Marc Boutavant

Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race by Frank Miller,‎ Brian Azzarello,‎ Andy Kubert,‎ Klaus Janson

Four-Legged Girl: {Poems} by Diane Seuss

Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue &‎ Pamela Zagarenski

Batman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham (Rebirth) by Tom King,David Finch, Mikel Janin

Batman Vol. 2: I Am Suicide (Rebirth) by Tom King, Mikel Janin

Avengers vs. Thanos by Jim Starlin (Author), Mike Friedrich (Author), Steve Englehart (Author), Steve Gerber (Author), Don Heck (Illustrator), Bob Brown (Illustrator), John Buscema (Illustrator), Mick Zeck (Illustrator)

Avengers: The Korvac Saga by Roger Stern (Author), Len Wein (Author), Jim Shooter (Author), Bill Mantlo (Author), George Perez (Illustrator), Sal Buscema (Illustrator), Klaus Janson (Illustrator), David Wenzel (Illustrator)

The Vision by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl: Poems by Diane Seuss

Saints and Strangers (short stories) by Angela Carter

Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

Oxford American’s Annual Southern Music Issue: ISSUE 95: 2016 SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE & CD — THE BLUES

Oxford American’s Annual Southern Music Issue: ISSUE 99: 19TH ANNUAL SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE & CD – KENTUCKY

Oxford American’s Annual Southern Music Issue: ISSUE 91: 17TH ANNUAL SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE & CD – GEORGIA

Oxford American’s Annual Southern Music Issue: ISSUE 87: 16TH ANNUAL SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE & CD — TEXAS

Oxford American’s Annual Southern Music Issue: ISSUE 75: 13TH ANNUAL SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE – Mississippi

Full Bleed: The Comics & Culture Quarterly, Vol. 1 by Dirk Wood (Compiler)

Play by Jez Alborough

Yes by Jez Alborough

Hug by Jez Alborough

The Storm Whale by Benji Davies

The Storm Whale in Winter by Benji Davies

Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies

“What To Do When You’re Raped” An ABC Handbook For Native Girls – Created by The Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center (NAWHERC) and designed by Lucy Bonner

Charlie & Mouse: Book 1 by Laurel Snyder, Emily Hughes

All About Animals!: A Lift-the-Flap Book of Fun Facts (Did You Know?) Board book by Hannah Eliot, Pete Oswald

Out, Out, Away From Here by Rachel Woodworth, Sang Miao

Luna and the Moon Rabbit by Camille Whitcher

Big Wolf and Little Wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme, Olivier Tallec

The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer by Davide Cali & Benjamin Chaud

Hedgehugs by Steve Wilson & Lucy Tapper

Stories of the Night by Kitty Crowther

The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman, JH Williams III

The Sandman: Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell

From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell

The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud

The Bear’s Sea Escape by Benjamin Chaud

The Bear’s Surprise by Benjamin Chaud

When Your Lion Needs a Bath [Board book] by Susanna Leonard Hill, Daniel Wiseman

A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes

If I Had a Dragon / Si Yo Tuviera Un Dragon by Tom Ellery, Amanda Ellery, Teresa Mlawer

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith (audiobook read wonderfully by Nikki Amuka-Bird)

What’s That Noise? by Isabel Minhós Martins, Madalena Matoso

The Grand Expedition by Emma Adbåge (Author), Annie Prime (Translator)

My Neighbor Is a Dog by Isabel Minhós Martins, Madalena Matoso

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy, Theresa Howell, Rafael López

Super Manny Cleans Up! by Kelly DiPucchio, Stephanie Graegin

My Friend is Sad (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems:

I Am Invited to a Party! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

There is a Bird on Your Head! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems:

I Love My New Toy! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems:

I Will Surprise My Friend! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

Are You Ready to Play Outside? (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems:

Watch Me Throw the Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems:

Elephants Cannot Dance! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems:

Pigs Make Me Sneeze! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

Can I Play Too? (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems:

I Broke My Trunk! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

Should I Share My Ice Cream? (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

Happy Pig Day! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

Listen to My Trumpet! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

Let’s Go for a Drive! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems:

A Big Guy Took My Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

I’m a Frog! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

My New Friend Is So Fun! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

I Will Take A Nap! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

I Really Like Slop! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

We Are Growing! (an Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! book) by Laurie Keller (presented by Mo Willems)

The Good for Nothing Button! (an Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! book) by Charise Mericle Harper (presented by Mo Willems)

Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book Yuyi Morales

Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book by Yuyi Morales

The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

VACATION by Blexbolex

Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Imagine! By Raúl Colón

With Your Paw in Mine by Jane Chapman

Tickle Monster by Édouard Manceau

If You’re a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca & Ed Emberley

Fortunately by Remy Charlip

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems

Sam, the Most Scaredy-cat Kid in the Whole World: A Leonardo, the Terrible Monster Companion by Mo Willems

I Lost My Tooth! (Unlimited Squirrels) by Mo Willems

Bertolt by Jacques Goldstyn (Author), Claudia Zoe Bedrick (Translator)

My Heart Is Like a Zoo [Board Book] by Michael Hall

Mrs. Peanuckle’s Bug Alphabet [Board book] by Mrs. Peanuckle (Author), Jessie Ford (Illustrator)

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman, S.D. Schindler

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems

The Pigeon Needs a Bath! by Mo Willems

Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus – Mo Willems

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! by Mo Willems

Little Nemo’s Big New Dreams ( A TOON Graphic Edited by Josh O’Neill, Andrew Carl, and Chris Stevens)

My Feminist ABC [Board book] by duopress labs, Irene Pizzolante

A Woggle of Witches by Adrienne Adams

When the World Wounds (short stories) by Kiini Ibura Salaam

Kabbalistic Tarot: Hebraic Wisdom in the Major and Minor Arcana by Dovid Krafchow

Before The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky, Zoran Janjetov

That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: As Retold by Mo Willems

Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems

(Star Wars Marvel) Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 1: Imperial Machine by Charles Soule, Jim Cheung

(Star Wars Marvel) Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 2: Legacy’s End by Charles Soule, Giuseppe Camuncoli

(Star Wars Marvel) Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 3: The Burning Seas by Charles Soule, Giuseppe Camuncoli

(Star Wars Marvel) Thrawn by Jody Houser, Luke Ross

(Marvel) Star Wars Vol. 6: Out Among the Stars by Jason Aaron, Salvador Larroca

(Marvel) Star Wars Vol. 7: The Ashes of Jedha by Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca

(Marvel) Star Wars Vol. 8: Mutiny At Mon Cala by Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol. 1 : Aphra by Kieron Gillen, Kev Walker

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol. 2: Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit by Kieron Gillen, Kev Walker, Marc Laming

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol. 3: Remastered by Simon Spurrier, Emilio Laiso

The Walking Dead Volume 29: Lines We Cross by Robert Kirkman (Author), Charlie Adlard (Artist), Stefano Gaudiano (Artist), Cliff Rathburn (Artist), Dave Stewart (Artist)

The Walking Dead Volume 30: New World Order by Robert Kirkman (Author), Charlie Adlard (Artist), Stefano Gaudiano (Artist), Cliff Rathburn (Artist), Dave Stewart (Artist)

Punisher Max Complete Collection Vol. 1 by Garth Ennis (Author), Darick Robertson (Illustrator), Lewis Larosa (Illustrator), Leandro Fernandez (Illustrator)

What Will Hatch? by Jennifer Ward, Susie Ghahremani

Yellow Kayak By Nina Laden, Melissa Castrillon

The Boy Who Cried Wolf by Blake Hoena, Flavia Sorrentino.

Zola’s Elephant by Randall de Sève, Pamela Zagarenski

Me And My Fear by Francesca Sanna

Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day?

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All the best to you and yours!—  –   ————-______-________ ->BOBBY CALERO[—+=-_________________If you dig the mix then please feel free to pass & post it along; if you dig an artist then please support them and go out and pick up some of their stuff. Oh, If you dig the blog overall there’s always the “FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL” button somewhere down at the bottom.