Cat tail vase by Linda PragerMy friend Linda Prager is a very fine singer, but also a real artist in clay, as you can see from her new websiter.

Vassilis Tangoulis misty scapes II thumbnailVassilis Tangoulis creates seductive photographs out of ordinary materials combined with long exposure times. Go see!

This is the only rendition I could find of That I Should Know Your Face, so despite its low quality, here it is. This is the first thing I ever heard Laurelyn sing, and I knew then that I had to take her songwriting course at Augusta Vocal Week. For more of her and her beautifully crafted songs, look here.

No showing off here, just beautiful fiddle playing.

These guys marry the precision of Chanticleer to the earthy energy of French-Canadian traditions. Chouette!

Here's the lovely fiddling of J.P. Fraley, fiddle tuned to DDAD for "Cluckin' Hen." I found this at the wonderful collection of fiddle tunes at Slippery Hill.

Eliza Carthy and many friends bring their voices, fiddles, button boxes and more to the joyous Country Life.

You probably can't understand the words if you don't already know them. Here's an approximation:

In the spring we sow, at the harvest mow, and so the seasons round they go,

But if all the times if choose I may, to go rambling in the new mown hay.

Oh, I like to rise when the sun she rises, early in the morning,

And I like to hear them small birds singing, merrily upon their leyland,

Hurrah for the life of the country boy and to ramble in the new mown hay.

In the winter when the skies are grey we hedge and we ditch our time away,

But in summer when the sun shines gay we go rambling in the new mown hay.

For I like to rise when the sun she rises, early in the morning,

And I like to hear them small birds singing, merrily upon their leyland,

Hurrah for the life of the country boy and to ramble in the new mown hay.

The tradition of fife playing is alive and well in the folkie world of southern France. That can be painful when the fifers decide to play for a bal folk indoors! But here is the fife at its soulful best.

Phil Hart photographs the sky – I found him via his eclipse photo on APOD. Here is a time-lapse video made from footage shot on a trip to the Yukon.

1790: Rules and Regulations for the Dancing Assembly at SavannahWhat was it like to go to a social dance in Savannah, Georgia, in 1790? The Rules and Regulations I've transcribed here give some idea.

I. The Assemblies to commence, on Wednesday … [unreadable] … and to continue once every Fortnight through …

II. Each Assembly to open with Minuets, beginning precisely at Half past Six o'Clock.

III. In Country Dances the Governor's Lady shall be entitled to the first Number without drawing.

IV. All Ladies shall stand agreeably to the Number which they draw, Brides and Strangers excepted, who, for one Evening, shall be entitled to the second Number without drawing.

V. No Lady shall call more than one Dance, and the Figure which she sets shall be observed through the whole without Variation, unless altered with her Consent; and no Lady shall dance out of her Set but by Permission of the Managers.

VI. Every Lady shall stand up when her Number is called, and no Lady shall sit down till every Couple shall have gone through the Dance.

VII. Every Lady and Gentleman shall have the privilege of engaging their own Partners; but if there should be any Lady unengaged, or any Gentleman not a Subscriber, the Managers will endeavour to engage Partners for them.

VIII. No Gentleman residing in, or within 15 miles of Savannah, who is not a Subscriber, shall be admitted.

IX. Strangers to be admitted, by Approbation of the Managers, on their paying Two Dollars a Ticket.

X. Any Subscriber introducing a Stranger (Lady or Gentleman) shall be answerable for any improper Introduction.

XI. No Card-Playing until the Country Dances begin. No Gentleman to be admitted in Boots.

XII. There shall be six Managers chosen, two of whom shall officiate each Night, who shall have full Power to regulate and conduct the Entertainment as they think proper. No acting Manager to dance for the Night.

XIII. There shall be a Treasurer appointed, who shall receive and account for all Monies to the Managers.

(This is a sample image supplied by Readex to advertise their digitized library of early American documents. Sadly, access is not free.)

And just to get you in the mood:

Gold Rowan Leaves by Andy GoldsworthyAndy Goldsworthy makes beautiful, ephemeral things out of leaves, twigs, roots, stones, and the like. The web site gives you a taste, but better are the books and videos of his work. It's only an inference, but I think I've twice stumbled over anonymous Goldsworthy-inspired urban works: once I encountered a fan of autumn leaves arranged on a wet sidewalk with perfectly graduated colors, and once in a disused, weedy tennis court I found a circle in the weeds with a twig-and-leaf sailboat sailing on a pebbly sea. A special, secret kind of pleasure and pain grew from revisiting the little boat and watching it crumble away.

Photograph from Jeff Frost makes beautiful, frightening photographs and videos, all highly recommended. This one is from his series Modern Ruin.

Tree in bloom by Irene SuchockiThe photographer Irene Suchocki's combination of color and texture choices with seductive images creates, as she says, something like a "secret doorway" to a nostalgic world of dreamy pleasures.

Against all family advice, the young Richard Feynman married his high-school sweetheart Arline, who was very ill with tuberculosis. Sixteen months after her death, Feynman wrote a letter to her, which you can read at the wonderful site Letters of Note. Here is a characteristic excerpt:


It is such a terribly long time since I last wrote to you — almost two years but I know you'll excuse me because you understand how I am, stubborn and realistic; and I thought there was no sense to writing.

Someone has uploaded all of Taj Mahal's live performance at the Fillmore from 1971. He always went his own way, and it's great fun to go with him.

Dave Nitsche photograph entitled Dave Nitsche makes clever photographs out of all sorts of unlikely things. The image here is from his series Broken.

These high-speed photos of broken glass and colored liquid are sometimes oddly anthropomorphic, sometimes evocative of scenes of disaster, but always seductive, with their shiny surfaces and high-fashion lighting.

Karen Knorr: The Sarus CraneEach of these meticulously assembled photographs by Karen Knorr sets my mind wandering into a once upon a time dreamy place. Found via La Boîte Verte.

Bare trees at Croft CastleSonic Journeys commissioned the composer Adrian Utley to create this melancholy minimalist piece inspired by a walk through Croft Castle in Herefordshire. Listen to it here, or follow the link to see a video that marries the music to mostly still black-and-white images of the landscape and to read more about the project.

NCA by J. Roman MorenoI'm in the mood for Jacques Tati these days, so I was tickled by this photograph from the gallery of winners and finalists in the 2012 competition of the Grand Prix de la Découverte. There are lots of other pleasures on the site.

I can only wonder how much planning and how many takes went into this amazing car wreck from Jacques Tati's Trafic. Personally, I would have cut this video at one or two minutes. The rest is anticlimax; it's needed for the plot but doesn't share the concentrated musicality of the wreck itself.

The Spanish and Portuguese planted baroque music and architecture in Latin America, where it throve. This video accompanies Manuel de Sumaya's Albricias, mortales, que viene la Aurora, found in the archives of the cathedral at Oaxaca, Mexico, with images of baroque churches inside and out. (Strangely, the music is followed by five minutes of slience, so don't be alarmed!)

view from AcropolisThis virtual tour of the Acropolis offers beauty and sadness.

At a time when a lot of people still don't recognize photography as art, we now have a controversy over whether screen shots from Google maps can be art! I'm inclined to think so, without making claims for my own "work" in that vein. Click the image for a larger view.

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