Archive for General

Two Poets

Adcock house.  Raleigh, NC.  February 2012.

Adcock house. Raleigh, NC. February 2012.

My latest piece for Paris Review Daily, “Two Poets,” posted this afternoon.  It concerns poets Betty Adcock and Claudia Emerson.  Betty was married to the late Don Adcock, a longtime JLP consultant.  I paid tribute to Don on this blog last year.

-Sam Stephenson

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Update on Dream Street

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In today’s mail I received from W.W. Norton my semi-annual statement of sales and royalties for Dream Street: W. Eugene Smith’s Pittsburgh Project.  From April 1, 2011 to September 30, 2011, 199 copies of the softcover edition were sold.  I find that number weirdly wonderful.  Norton’s statement period marks the 10th anniversary of the book’s publication, which was officially October 2001 but it was actually available that September.

I wonder who those 199 people are.  They could fit into a large bar or small theater.

-S.S.

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Sam’s Sonny Clark Piece in Tin House Now Online

tin house title page001The editors of Tin House have provided permission to post this PDF online.  It comes from their issue #50, Winter ’11-’12.  We are grateful.
-JLP Staff

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JLP Exhibition Opens in San Diego in May

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Our friends at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego sent us some new graphics for the JLP exhibition which runs there May 19 – October 7.  We look forward to this very much.

-JLP Staff

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Last Week of Invisible Man in Chicago

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The run of this first-ever adaption of Ellison’s Invisible Man closes this week at the Court Theater.  For a glimpse of Teagle Bougere’s moving performance and the remarkable overall production HERE is a good clip, courtesy of the official website.

-S.S.

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My Funny Valentine

A great story about Miles Davis and “My Funny Valentine,” told with impactful F-bombs.

Thanks to Teagle Bougere and Chris McElroen for the link.

-S.S.

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Hall Overton Would Approve

Academy Records, 18th Street, NYC, February 12, 2012.

Academy Records, 18th Street, NYC, February 12, 2012.

Friends Ed and Margot Ryan were walking with their children to get a camera at Adorama this morning and they noticed this scene in the window of Academy Records next door.  Being in between Robert Johnson and the Met Opera just about nails it.

Thank you, Ed and Margot.

-Sam Stephenson

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The Long Surrender

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I’m working on a piece for Paris Review that afforded me the opportunity to receive in yesterday’s mail and hold in my hands one extraordinary object:  the deluxe box set of Over the Rhine‘s remarkable 2011 album, “The Long Surrender,” produced by Joe Henry.  It was at the top of my list of favorite recordings last year.  The deluxe set includes vinyl, cd, and a 32-page LP-sized book with magnificent photographs by Michael Wilson.  It’s a moving work of art – the music, the photography, the care and attention and love so evident and powerful.

In 2006 I went to see Wilco at Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill.  At the time I was sporting a cast and crutches after falling and breaking my ankle in the subway at 86th and Broadway that January.  It was a struggle to make it to the show.  Because of my handicap the kind folks at Memorial allowed me to sit in an individual chair on the first row of the balcony.  I basically had the best seat in the house for what was a terrific show.  But what I remember most about that night is being stopped dead by the cover of Glenn Kotche’s album, “Mobile,” which was displayed on the merchandise table.  It features a photograph of Kotche’s hand.  When I first saw it I thought it was a flower.  I bought the cd, saw the credit for Michael Wilson, reached out to him, and bought a print of that photograph.  Since then I’ve become a big fan of his work.  He achieves a certain light in his work, no matter the subject, that is unmistakably his own.

images-Sam Stephenson

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The Most Haunting Band Picture I’ve Seen

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The band of the "Asylum for Colored Insane" in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Date unclear.

Folklorist Sarah Bryan shared this photograph with me this week.  She first saw it in an exhibition in Goldsboro, N.C. at Cherry Hospital which was originally named Asylum for Colored Insane.  The Asylum was founded in 1877 by the North Carolina General Assembly.  After admitting its first patient in 1880 the name was changed several times and it became Cherry Hospital in 1959. I grew up 65 miles east of Goldsboro.  When I was a kid, if you did something deemed stupid or crazy, people would say, “Keep doing that and you’ll end up in Cherry Hospital.”  Thelonious Monk’s father spent the last two or three decades of his life there; hence, my original specific interest, which Sarah knew about.  But this photograph makes me think of a lot more work to be done beyond Thelonious, Sr.  You can make out some nurses in the background of the photo.

Along with the regrettable social and political impetus and ramifications of the existence of this institution at its inception, I’m haunted by what might be the date of this photograph.  On the wall next to the picture there was an ambiguous card indicating the picture may date to 1900.  If true, it could complicate some elements of jazz history.  To my knowledge, brass sections like this weren’t known to exist in places like rural North Carolina.  I’m not enough of a historian of this period to verify the date by the clothing.

-Sam Stephenson

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Shelby, NC

Salisbury, NC. January 28, 2012. Photo by Helen Woolard.

Downtown Shelby, NC. January 28, 2012. Photo by Helen Woolard.

Saturday I drove 180 miles west to Shelby, North Carolina to conduct an interview for a project that will reveal itself soon (knock on wood).  Photographer Helen Woolard went with me.  For countless many, Shelby will always be known as the hometown of North Carolina State University basketball icon David Thompson.  DT and the University of North Carolina’s Phil Ford were the two best players to ever play in the Atlantic Coast Conference (the rest are chumps).  It occurred to me to try to find DT’s childhood home.  While wandering around downtown as Helen was shooting photographs, I sent a note to a listserv of college-basketball-oriented folks, asking if anyone had DT’s childhood address.  Nobody did.  Next time I’ll do more preparation.  An old friend on the listserv ran into DT at the State-UVA game in Raleigh later that night and mentioned to him that I had inquired about his home address earlier in the day.  It sounded like he was amused.

Phil Ford, by the way, was from Rocky Mount, the same hometown as Buck Leonard, Thelonious Monk (see, JLP is one degree away from anything), and Allan Gurganus.  I hope these small towns are still producing people like this.

Downtown Shelby was marked by more evergreen ‘live oak’ trees than I think I’ve ever seen in a downtown like that.  I find these towns to be fascinating, maybe because I grew up in a similar one.  In some ways these towns are all the same (the confederate soldier statue in front of the courthouse), but they are all different.

-Sam Stephenson

p.s. (I recently found UNC coach Dean Smith’s childhood home in Emporia, KS).

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