Author: ehawkes

Striking Workers – Summer 2023

This year, workers across industries in the United States have increasingly walked off the job or threatened to do so. In July, tens of thousands of actors joined screenwriters on the picket line, bringing Hollywood to a halt. Meanwhile, a summertime strike of more than 300,000 United Parcel Service workers seemed imminent before a deal was reached last month.

Now, another large-scale strike looms. The United Auto Workers union has voted to authorize a walkout of about 150,000 members at General Motors, Ford Motor and Stellantis if negotiations fail before contracts expire on Sept. 14.

If the auto workers go on strike, the number of workers who have walked off the job at some point over the course of this year will top 450,000, the highest level since 2018, another notable year for work stoppages.

A Summer of Strikes
Work stoppages in the United States this year could reach heights rarely seen in recent decades.

Duran Duran – Red Rocks – August 29, 2023

Velvet Newton
Night Boat
The Wild Boys
Hungry Like the Wolf
The James Bond Theme (John Barry song)
A View to a Kill
Give It All Up
Lonely in Your Nightmare / Super Freak
Is There Something I Should Know?
Friends of Mine
Careless Memories
Ordinary World (Dedicated to the people of Hawaii and Ukraine)
Come Undone
Planet Earth (With band intros)
White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It) (Grandmaster Melle Mel cover)
The Reflex
Girls on Film / Acceptable in the 80’s

Save a Prayer

NOTE – I was at this show. Also featured were Nile Rogers/Chic, and a band I was unfamiliar with called Bastille. All excellent, imho. And, the crowd was into it, singing along with a number of the tunes.

Kool-Herc Interview – NPR, Fresh Air

MOSLEY: This month marks 50 years of hip-hop. To celebrate, all this week we’ll be featuring interviews with some of the most influential rappers and DJs over the last 50 years. We’ll start at the beginning with DJ Kool Herc, who, on August 11, 1973, DJ’d an end-of-summer party in his Bronx apartment’s rec center. Little did he know that it was the beginning of hip-hop as we know it. Kool Herc was the first DJ to isolate and repeat the breaks – the most danceable beats in a record – to rev the party and keep the dancers going. Although Herc is often credited as the father of hip-hop, he didn’t record and, for years, remained relatively unknown.

Are Humans Much Better than AI?

Prim Look, when Trudi comes back I’ll get her to strip it down for you. She can peel it’s outer casing off, you can see for yourself. It’s just a lot of wires and circuits and micro-servos and – bits. In no way is it a person. And it’s actually quite bad of you to think of it as a person, Adam. It’s called actoid empathy. It happens. When we do our basic staff training, we do a day on dealing with actoids. Always refer to them as it, never as he or she. Never converse with them except strictly in the line of work. Never, never socialize. As soon as you’ve finished with them, switch them off. Otherwise you risk getting emotionally involved, you get all screwed up and you also screw them up and then you don’t know where you are –

Adam But if you’d heard her talking to me. The things she says –

Prim What it talks about, Adam – the words it uses – it’s so-called conversation – that’s merely an amalgam of all the conversations of all the characters it’s played in all the shows it’s ever been in. Its personality is nothing more than that. Every time you speak to it, you trigger some response. It pulls it out of its memory bank and blurts it back to you. That’s all it’s doing.

Adam Maybe that’s all any of us do.

Comic Potential
Alan Ayckbourn

Comic Potential by Alan Ayckbourn is a romantic sci-fi comedy play. It is set in a TV studio in the foreseeable future, when low-cost androids (known as “actoids”) have largely replaced actors.

The 10 Best Books of 2008 – New York Times Book Review, List of


Thirteen Stories
By Steven Millhauser.
Alfred A. Knopf, $24.

In his first collection in five years, a master fabulist in the tradition of Poe and Nabo­kov invents spookily plausible parallel universes in which the deepest human emotions and yearnings are transformed into their monstrous opposites.

By Toni Morrison.
Alfred A. Knopf, $23.95.

The fate of a slave child abandoned by her mother animates this allusive novel — part Faulknerian puzzle, part dream-song — about orphaned women who form an eccentric household in late-17th-century America.

By Joseph O’Neill.
Pantheon Books, $23.95.

O’Neill’s seductive ode to New York — a city that even in bad times stubbornly clings to its belief “in its salvific worth” — is narrated by a Dutch financier whose privileged Manhattan existence is upended by the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

By Roberto Bolaño. Translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, cloth and paper, $30.

Bolaño, the prodigious Chilean writer who died at age 50 in 2003, has posthumously risen, like a figure in one of his own splendid creations, to the summit of modern fiction.

By Jhumpa Lahiri.
Alfred A. Knopf, $25.

There is much cultural news in these precisely observed studies of modern-day Bengali-Americans — many of them Ivy-league strivers ensconced in prosperous suburbs who can’t quite overcome the tug of traditions nurtured in Calcutta.


The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals
By Jane Mayer.
Doubleday, $27.50.

Mayer’s meticulously reported descent into the depths of President Bush’s anti­terrorist policies peels away the layers of legal and bureaucratic maneuvering that gave us Guantánamo Bay, “extraordinary rendition,” “enhanced” interrogation methods, “black sites,” warrantless domestic surveillance and all the rest.

By Dexter Filkins.
Alfred A. Knopf, $25.

The New York Times correspondent, whose tours of duty have taken him from Afghanistan in 1998 to Iraq during the American intervention, captures a decade of armed struggle in harrowingly detailed vignettes.

By Julian Barnes.
Alfred A. Knopf, $24.95.

This absorbing memoir traces Barnes’s progress from atheism (at age 20) to agnosticism (at 60) and examines the problem of religion not by rehashing the familiar quarrel between science and mystery, but rather by weighing the timeless questions of mortality and aging.

Death and the American Civil War
By Drew Gilpin Faust.
Alfred A. Knopf, $27.95.

In this powerful book, Faust, the president of Harvard, explores the legacy, or legacies, of the “harvest of death” sown and reaped by the Civil War. In the space of four years, 620,000 Americans died in uniform, roughly the same number as those lost in all the nation’s combined wars from the Revolution through Korea.

The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul
By Patrick French.
Alfred A. Knopf, $30.

The most surprising word in this biography is “authorized.” Naipaul, the greatest of all postcolonial authors, cooperated fully with French, opening up a huge cache of private letters and diaries and supplementing the revelations they disclosed with remarkably candid interviews.

Nagg and Nell – Beckett’s Love Story

Hamm: Throughout the play remaining seated in an armchair fitted with castors, unable to stand and blind. Hamm is dominating, acrimonious, banterous and comfortable in his misery. He claims to suffer, but his pessimism seems self-elected. He chooses to be isolated and self-absorbed. His relationships come off as parched of human empathy; he refers to his father as a “fornicator”, refused to help his neighbor with oil for her lamp when she badly needed it, and has a fake pet dog which is a stuffed animal.

Clov: Hamm’s servant who is unable to sit. Taken in by Hamm as a child. Clov is wistful. He longs for something else, but has nothing to pursue. More mundane than Hamm, he reflects on his opportunities but takes little charge. Clov is benevolent, but weary.

Nagg: Hamm’s father who has no legs and lives in a dustbin. Nagg is gentle and fatherly, yet sorrowful and aggrieved in the face of his son’s ingratitude.

Nell: Hamm’s mother who has no legs and lives in a dustbin next to Nagg. Reflective, she delivers a monologue about a beautiful day on Lake Como, and apparently dies during the course of the play.

Samuel Beckett said that in his choice of character’s names, he had in mind the word “hammer” and the word “nail” in English, French and German respectively, “clou” and “nagel”.

Beckett was an avid chess player, and the term endgame refers to the ending phase of a chess game. The play is dimly visible as a kind of metaphorical chess, albeit with limited symbolic meaning. Hamm at one point says “My kingdom for a knight-man!”. Hamm, limited in his movement, resembles the king piece on a chess board, and Clov, who moves for him, a knight.

I’ve never seen a greater love scene in modern literature than those two old people in the ash cans. I’ve always said, it’s easy to write a love scene on the back seat of a Cadillac with the leopard-skin seats. But if you really make me believe in love, two old people whose legs are cut off, who live in sawdust in an ash can, that shows great compassion and great understanding.

Alan Schneider
The director who introduced the works of Samuel Beckett to American audiences, beginning with Waiting for Godot. Since then, he has directed all the plays of Edward Albee.

from interview with Studs Terkel, found in
The Spectator: Talk About Movies and Plays With the People Who Make Them

5 Short Novels

Indian Nocturne – 88 Pages
Antonio Tabucchi
Translated from the Italian, this winner of the Prix Medicis Etranger for 1987 is an enigmatic novel set in modern India. Roux, the narrator, is in pursuit of a mysterious friend named Xavier. His search, which develops into a quest, takes him from town to town across the subcontinent.

Wittgenstein’s Nephew – 114 pages
Thomas Bernhard
It is 1967. In separate wings of a Viennese hospital, two men lie bedridden. The narrator, named Thomas Bernhard, is stricken with a lung ailment; his friend Paul, nephew of the celebrated philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, is suffering from one of his periodic bouts of madness. As their once-casual friendship quickens, these two eccentric men begin to discover in each other a possible antidote to their feelings of hopelessness and mortality—a spiritual symmetry forged by their shared passion for music, strange sense of humor, disgust for bourgeois Vienna, and great fear in the face of death. Part memoir, part fiction, Wittgenstein’s Nephew is both a meditation on the artist’s struggle to maintain a solid foothold in a world gone incomprehensibly askew, and a stunning—if not haunting—eulogy to a real-life friendship.

The Penitent – 114 Pages
Isaac Bashevis Singer
In 1969 I.B. Singer goes to the Wailing Wall for the first time and meets a man wearing ritual garments named Joseph Shapiro. Shapiro survived WWII in Poland and Russia, moved to the US and became a successful business man in New York. Over the next couple of days he tells Singer how he came to renounce his old life, move to Israel, and become an observant Jew.

Prater Violet – 146 Pages
Christopher Isherwood
Prater Violet concerns the filming of an unashamedly romantic and commercial musical about old Vienna. It is a stinging satirical novel about the film industry, trifling studio feuds, and the fatuous movie Prater Violet, which, ironically, counterpoints the tragic events on the world stage as Hitler’s lengthening shadow falls over the real Vienna of the thirties. At its center are vivid portraits of the mocking genius Friedrich Bergmann, the imperious, dazzlingly witty Austrian director, and his disciple, a genial young screenwriter-the fictionalized Christopher Isherwood.

The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith – 221 Pages
Thomas Keneally
In Australia at the turn of the twentieth century, Jimmie Blacksmith is desperate to figure out where he belongs. Half-Anglo and half-Aboriginal, he feels out of place in both cultures. Schooled in the ways of white society by a Protestant missionary, Jimmie forsakes tribal customs, adopts the white man’s religion, marries a white woman, and seeks a life of honest labor in a world Aborigines are normally barred from entering. But he will always be seen as less than human by the employers who cheat and exploit him, the fellow workers who deride him, and the wife who betrays him—and a man can only take so much. Driven by hopelessness, rage, and despair, Jimmie commits a series of savage and terrible acts of vengeance and becomes something he never thought he’d be: a murderer, a fugitive, and, ultimately, a legend.

NOTE – Selections mine, description via amazon.

The Hives – What’s In My Bag?

Vigilante Carlstroem, The Johan and Only, and Nicholaus Arson from The Hives go record shopping at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. The Hives’ latest album ‘The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons’ is available now from Disques Hives.

Check out their picks:
Howlin’ Wolf – Rockin’ Chair (LP)
The Flamin’ Groovies – Shake Some Action (LP)
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Greatest Hits (LP)
Bad Brains – Live At CBGB 1982 (LP)
Big Star – #1 Record (LP)
Big Star – Radio City (LP)
Tom Waits – Real Gone [Remixed And Remastered] (LP)
Tom Waits – Alice (LP)
Bad Brains – Bad Brains (LP)
Roky Erickson – The Evil One (LP)
Elliott Smith – Either/Or (LP)
Neil Grant Vosburgh – God’s Best (LP)
The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs [Box Set] (LP)
Emmylou Harris – Wrecking Ball (LP)