Monday, 31 October 2016
From the Prologue to The Sellout, by Paul Beatty: "...here I am, in the cavernous chambers of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, my car illegally and somewhat ironically parked on Constitution Avenue, my hands cuffed behind my back, my right to remain silent long since waived and said goodbye to as I sit in a thickly padded chair that, much like this country, isn't quite as comfortable as it looks... Washington, D.C., with its wide streets, confounding roundabouts , marble statues, Doric columns, and domes, is supposed to feel like ancient Rome (that is, if the streets of ancient Rome were lined with homeless black people, bomb-sniffing dogs, tour buses, and cherry blossoms)."
The United States Capitol and Congress - Some Images Relating to British Colonists - The Apotheosis of Washington
"Pocahontas saves Captain John Smith, one of the founders of Jamestown, Virginia, from being clubbed to death in 1607. Her father, Chief Powhatan, is seated at the left. This scene is the first showing English settlement."
Rotunda Paintings (details):
Baptism of Pocahontas
Surrender of Lord Cornwallis
"Painted in 1865 by Constantino Brumidi, the Apotheosis of Washington in the eye of the U.S. Capitol Building's Rotunda depicts George Washington rising to the heavens in glory, flanked by female figures representing Liberty and Victory/Fame and surrounded by six groups of figures".
Alan Lomax Collection, Library of Congress, American Folklife Center; Todd Harvey; Inside The Library Building
I was really lucky today, following a guided tour (by an excellent Czech-American guide) of the impressive Thomas Jefferson Building at The Library of Congress. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the Music Department or of the Alan Lomax Collection. I was directed along a few corridors and was given a friendly welcome by Todd Harvey, a Folklife Specialist and Curator of the Alan Lomax Collections. He was working on the recording details and exact dates of the Lomax recordings, on 16 inch discs, of Muddy Waters and 'Son' Sims at the Stovall Plantation in 1941 and 1942. He showed me some of Lomax's manuscript notes of a later Southern recording trip, eg about recording Forrest City Joe and Fred McDowell. He also showed me an example of a model of a portable Presto Disc Recording device, which was powered by a car battery. Not exactly the same model that Lomax used, but very similar. I will certainly return to do some research next time I'm in DC. Thanks Todd! See also, Son House, Field Recordings and Muddy Waters, Country Blues and Boy Blue and His Two, Dimples
Alan Lomax, Special and Temporary Assistant, Archive of American Folk Song, Library of Congress, 1936-1937; Permanent Assistant in Charge, 1937-1943 (information from the introduction to Alan Lomax, Assistant in Charge The Library of Congress Letters, 1935-1945, edited by Ronald D. Cohen)."He was skilled at luring plain folk before his microphone...he was also involved with the mechanics of recording in the field, often with primitive, troublesome equipment" (Ronald D. Cohen)..
Alan Lomax Recordings, LPs and a CD from my own collection:
Elsewhere in The Library of Congress (details)