The Chitlin Circuit

AUGUSTA IS A THREE-HOUR DRIVE from Toccoa along the South Carolina-Georgia border on Highway 17, an endless strip of road connecting towns with names testi­fying to their isolation — Pignail, Black Well, Lost Mountain. The only thing that holds this monotony of farmland and pine forest together is the radio, a verita­ble House of Music down here, built from the bottom up: gospel, bluegrass, jazz, and Delta blues filling the 80s on the dial, rockabilly, early Stones, and Broadway show tunes in the low 90s, everything from Vanilla Fudge to Simply Red for the rest of the dial, a few staticky black sta­tions playing rap and funk at the top. Dotted throughout, of course, is coun­try — the music Brown grew up hating as the sound “playing on the radio of every white man I ever worked for” — every­thing from Hoyt Axton singing “Work your fingers to the bone/What do you get?/Bony fingers” to Charlie Daniels bragging how country boys survive.

If you drive around long enough, you find your way into the black sections of these pretty, dirt-poor towns, where you’ll find the only bar and liquor store open at this time of night, the only signs of life. In the ’50s these bars formed the chitlin’ circuit, the subject of James Brown’s 1962 hit “Night Train”: a swath of juke-joints from Washington, D.C., to Macon to Jackson to Miami. In cars like Guy Wilson’s station wagon, Brown put in tens of thousands of miles along High­way 17 and other roads during the six years he and his fellow travelers were refining and swapping their various strains of rhythm and blues. There was Little Willie John and fellow Georgians Little Richard and Otis Redding, but James Brown was the greatest of them, with a voice that screamed and crooned in coloratura range through songs like “Try Me,” “Don’t Let It Happen to Me,” and “Lost Someone.”

Pleas, Pleas, Pleas: The Tribulations and Trials of James Brown
Ivan Solotaroff
Village Voice, February 21, 1989

Eric Bentley, Critic Who Preferred Brecht to Broadway, Dies at 103 – The New York Times

Mr. Bentley published one admired collection of criticism after another, among them “In Search of Theater” (1953) “What Is Theater?” (1956) and “The Life of the Drama” (1964) — “the best general book on theater I have read bar none,” the novelist Clancy Sigal wrote in The New Republic.

Mr. Bentley’s book “Bernard Shaw” (1947) prompted Shaw himself to say that he considered it the best book written about him.

Eric Bentley, Critic Who Preferred Brecht to Broadway, Dies at 103
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
August 5, 2020

Related: In Praise of Self Pity, an excerpt from The Life of the Drama.

Charlie Barnett Profile – Village Voice

AFTER HIS SET, I offer Charlie and Mar­cie a ride to Port Authority in the cab I’m taking downtown. Turning onto Times Square, wall-to-wall crowds at 3:00 a.m., I ask Charlie, who’s been pretty quiet the whole ride, if he’d ever perform in a place like this. “I do perform here, all the fuckin’ time,” he says. “That corner over there.”

I take a long look at the furtive little congregations forming and unforming at the “Meat Market,” the corner of 42nd and Eighth; it’s been said that over $1 million changes hands on this corner ev­ery day. To me, it’s like watching a bee­hive, only more alien, dozens and dozens of people moving back and forth, no one seeming to leave. To Charlie it’s just an­other crowd: “Huge audiences,” he says, looking out the window with me, “any time of the night. Hookers, winos, crack dealers, heroin addicts, drag queens, pimps. They pay real well. You’d be amazed at how well they pay here. Good place to work on your heckler lines, any new material. I learn how to time my routines here.”

Tears of a Clown: Charlie Barnett Cracks Up
Ivan Solotaroff
Village Voice, January 17, 1989

Threepenny Opera Review – Village Voice

“There are two shows, really, at the Theatre de Lys. One has a cast of 20 ebullient and engag­ing actors and actresses.… The other show has a cast of one, and her name is Lotte Lenya. Miss Lenya is, as you know, not merely the widow of Kurt Weill but the original Jenny of the original Berlin production of Dreigroschenoper. For rea­sons of plot, she is hardly seen, much less heard from, until somewhere near the middle of Act II, when the scene shifts to the reception room of a whorehouse. What happens next is I hope enough to raise the hair on your neck, as it did mine. Critics are always being advised to stay away from the word electric; I can only say that there is no other word available to me, at this late hour, with which to categorize that instant when Miss Lenya shambles front and center to exhale the first weary, husky, terrible notes of her hus­band’s famous song about the Black Freighter.… Her voice lifts and hardens into the reprise (‘ …and the blaaaaaack frayta…’), and suddenly all the essential blandness and healthiness of all that has gone before is swept away, and we are stark up face to face against a kind of world and a kind of half-century that no one born this side of the water can ever quite fully make, or want to make, his own.” – Jerry Tallmer, 1955

A Brief History of Off-Broadway, 1955–1985
A special supplement — with selections from 30 years of the Voice — dedicated to the artists of Off-and Off-Off-Broadway.

Creem Magazine Documentary

In 1973, the commune experiment ended and Creem relocated into a proper office in Birmingham, one of Detroit’s toniest suburbs. Still, the city’s scrappy, underdog spirit remained a crucial element of the magazine’s aesthetic. “I don’t think it could have existed anywhere else,” Alice Cooper said in a phone interview. “In New York it would have been more sophisticated; in L.A. it would have been a lot slicker. Detroit was the perfect place for it, because it was somewhere between a teen magazine and Mad magazine and a hard rock magazine.”

The Wild Story of Creem, Once ‘America’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll Magazine’
A new documentary traces the rise and fall of the irreverent, boundary-smashing music publication where Lester Bangs did some of his most famous work.
Mike Rubin

Oral History: How The Go-Go’s Perfected Pop-Punk : NPR

BC: Jane and I lived in a punk rock apartment building in Hollywood called the Canterbury. It was like the Chelsea hotel in New York, that kind of thing. I loved all the different clubs in L.A.: you’d go to the Whisky, drive down to the Starwood, see a band there, go downtown to Chinatown to Madame Wong’s, see someone there, go to an afterparty in Hollywood, play music there — it was a really lively, creative time in Los Angeles.

AB: I was at their first show at the Masque. They played with my drummer, Terry Graham. Everybody was really impressed. Even though they were just starting to play, you could tell they had songwriting ability: They had a song about living at the Canterbury, and fighting off the roaches, and they had “Robert Hilburn,” [an unflattering portrait of the L.A. Times pop critic]. People remembered their clever lyrics, that they had cool melodies. They had something special even at that first show.

How The Go-Go’s Perfected Pop-Punk
Hilary Hughes

Fall On Me – REM

“Fall on Me” is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. from their fourth album Lifes Rich Pageant (1986). It was the first of two singles released from that LP. It peaked at number 94 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was one of the band’s early compositions about environmentalism, discussing acid rain. It also transitioned from their murky lyrics and jangling guitar of their first three albums to a more accessible sound influenced by producer Don Gehman.


There’s a problem, feathers, iron
Bargain buildings, weights and pulleys
Feathers hit the ground before the weight can leave the air
Buy the sky and sell the sky and tell the sky and tell the sky
Don’t fall on me (what is it up in the air for?) (it’s gonna fall)
Fall on me (if it’s there for long) (it’s gonna fall)
Fall on me (it’s over, it’s over me) (it’s gonna fall)
There’s the progress we have found (when the rain)
A way to talk around the problem (when the children reign)
Building towered foresight (keep your conscience in the dark)
Isn’t anything at all (melt the statues in the park)
Buy the sky and sell the sky and bleed the sky and tell the sky
Don’t fall on me (what is it up in the air for?) (it’s gonna fall)
Fall on me (if it’s there for long) (it’s gonna fall)
Fall on me (it’s over, it’s over me) (it’s gonna fall)
Don’t fall on me
Well, I could keep it above
But then it wouldn’t be sky anymore
So if I send it to you, you’ve got to promise to keep it whole
Buy the sky and sell the sky and lift your arms up to the sky
And ask the sky and ask the sky
Don’t fall on me (what is it up in the air for?) (it’s gonna fall)
Fall on me (if it’s there for long) (it’s gonna fall)
Fall on me (it’s over, it’s over me) (it’s gonna fall)
Don’t fall on me (what is it up in the air for?) (it’s gonna fall)
Fall on me (if it’s there for long) (it’s gonna fall)
Fall on me (it’s over, it’s over me) (it’s gonna fall)
Fall on me, don’t fall on me (what is it up in the air for?) (it’s gonna fall)
Fall on me (if it’s there for long) (it’s gonna fall)
Fall on me (it’s over, it’s over me) (it’s gonna fall)
Fall on me, don’t fall on me


Insulin or Food?

In March, Bolei, 63, who lives in San Rafael, California, was laid off from his job as a maintenance supervisor at a startup that manages real estate properties. After falling behind on rent, he fears he’ll get evicted as rent moratoriums expire.

For the past three months, he’s missed his nearly $3,000 monthly rent payment due to growing medical costs for his partner. She has lupus, an autoimmune disease, and faces $30,000 in medication costs this year to treat a brain injury following a car accident.

‘Insulin or groceries’: How reduced unemployment affects struggling Americans from California to Mississippi
Jessica Menton

Lack of Housing and Overcrowding in Silicon Valley

From the early outbreaks to the economic destruction that has come after, the coronavirus pandemic has mapped itself onto America’s longstanding affordable housing problem and the gaping inequality that underlies it. To offset rising rents in a nation where one in four tenant households spend more than half of their pretax income on shelter, a multitude of low-wage service workers have piled into ever more crowded homes

San Francisco, there is a rough economic split. Cities and neighborhoods to the east, places like East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks and the Belle Haven section of Menlo Park, are more overcrowded and have a larger share of low-income and Black and Latino residents, many of whom have been disproportionately affected by the virus. Towns and neighborhoods to the west, places like Hillsborough and Palo Alto, are whiter and rich.

This geography is as fundamental to how the place operates as the invention of the microchip. Every day, throngs of clerks, landscapers and elder-care workers wake up on the eastern parts and travel to homes on the western parts or to the corporate campuses of tech companies to do subcontracting work. And every night, they return to overcrowded homes.

12 People in a 3-Bedroom House, Then the Virus Entered the Equation
Overcrowding, not density, has defined many coronavirus hot spots. Service workers’ quarters skirting Silicon Valley are no exception.
Conor Dougherty

People Get Ready – Curtis Mayfield

People get ready, there’s a train comin’
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
You don’t need no ticket you just thank the lord

People get ready, there’s a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There’s hope for all among those loved the most
There ain’t no room for the hopeless sinner whom would hurt all mankind
Just to save his own
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there is no hiding place against the kingdoms throne

People get ready there’s a train comin’
You don’t need no baggage, just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
You don’t need no ticket, just thank the lord.

Quarantine Watchlist

The Outsider
David Crosby – Remember My Name
Friends of Eddie Coyle
The Wanderers
The Atlanta Child Murders
The Secrets of Nimh
Let the Right One In
La Jetee
Angel Heart
Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Cloud Atlas
Jack Reacher
Mulholland Drive
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead
Withnail & I
Touch of Evil
Tender Mercies
The Day of the Jackal
A Place at the Table
Hired Gun
Jew Suss : Rise And Fall
Children of Paradise
Up the Down Staircase

Movies and Tv shows watched from March 13 through August 6

What do you KNOW is true without evidence? What are you certain of, right down to your bones, without proof? – Askreddit

What do you KNOW is true without evidence? What are you certain of, right down to your bones, without proof? from r/AskReddit

Dejavu comes from previous dreams

My phone is listening to me, it’s simply not a coincidence any more how my targeted ads change directly related to and after a conversation. People say we are just more predictable than we think but I mention something I haven’t even thought about for years and there it is on Instagram.

There’s a travel agency that’s been around in my town for as long as I can remember. I wholeheartedly believe it’s a front for the mob.

Flat earthers are just doing it for attention. They really don’t think the earth is flat.

Epstein didn’t kill himself

McDonald’s coke hits different than any coke I’ve ever had.

Life exists outside of Earth. I can’t imagine a universe where we are the only life.

Every generation after my own is fuuuuuuucked.

People with lower IQ’s are happier because they aren’t constantly overthinking, looking for self-transcendence, analyzing everything around them, and expecting too much of themselves

Gut bacterial imbalance can change a person fundamentally — physically, mentally, emotionally. One day they’re going to cure some impossibly vexing diseases and conditions when they figure out that it’s all connected to what lives in your guts.

Límites / Boundaries – Borges Poetry

Hay una línea de Verlaine que no volveré a recordar,
Hay una calle próxima que está vedada a mis pasos,
Hay un espejo que me ha visto por última vez,
Hay una puerta que he cerrado hasta el fin del mundo
Entre los libros de mi biblioteca (estoy viéndolos)
Hay alguno que ya nunca abriré,
Este verano cumpliré cincuenta años;
La muerte me desgasta, incesante.
—de Inscripciones (Montevideo, 1923), de Julio Platero Haedo

There is a line by Verlaine that I will not remember again.
There is a street nearby that is off limits to my feet.
There is a mirror that has seen me for the last time.
There is a door I have closed until the end of the world.
Among the books in my library (I’m looking at them now)
Are some I will never open.
This summer I will be fifty years old.
Death is using me up, relentlessly.
—from Inscriptions (Montevideo, 1923) by Julio Platero Haedo

Poems of the Night: A Dual-Language Edition with Parallel Text (Penguin Classics)
Jorge Luis Borges
Suzanne Jill Levine (Editor)
Efrain Kristal (Editor, Introduction)

If Covid Never Happened What Would the Past Four Months Have Been Like For You? – AskReddit

If Covid never happened, what all would’ve you done in on past 4 months? from r/AskReddit

Honestly, Id probably just find something else to complain about.

I would have gotten my tooth surgery done and over with

I would have taken a kick ass trip to Japan which would have been way outside of my budget!

I would have got married today

Would have kept my job, gotten a raise, a sizeable bonus, moved out of my parents house, and ultimately taken my plunge into independence.

I would be working a part time job in a failing weed shop which probably would have been shut down by now.

Instead, I’m now the manager, have fixed nearly 100 issues I inherited from the previous manager, store sales have improved greatly, and I suddenly have a career.

All thanks to the global pandemic. Yay?

I moved to New York City in February, a few weeks before the lockdowns started. I had a whole binder of things I wanted to see and do and a job I was excited about. But I got laid off as soon as things got started and everything I wanted to do became impossible, and some of it is probably never coming back.

I would have been taking the train to every station, catching impromptu shows, hunting down the best open mics, trying to pin down the best pizza and burger, putting together a d&d group, and traveling to other parts of the north eastern us that I’ve always wanted to see. I had big plans for this year, and I’m so heartbroken that all I’ve experienced is an endless chorus of sirens.

How Long Does it Take – Google Search

1 How long does it take for COVID-19 (coronavirus) symptoms …
2 How long does it take to get to Mars – and why is it so difficult …
3 Coronavirus: How long does it take to recover? – BBC News
4 How Long Does It Take to Fall Asleep? Average Time and Tips
5 How long does it take for symptoms of COVID-19 to show up?
6 Digestion: How long does it take? – Mayo Clinic
7 How Long Does It Take to Get to Mars? | Space
8 How long does it take to travel to Mars? – A Mission to Mars …
9 Labor and Economic Opportunity – How long does it take to …
10 Coronavirus testing: How long does it take to get test results …

How Long Does it Take