Wednesday, September 25, 2019


He arrived knowing nothing of the city and no one there. Cities in general were mysteries to him, this one, which he had no ties to, most of all. What did he expect to find there? What did he have to offer?

The trolleys and bus station were run down, the domain of mumbling alcoholic ghosts. The museum was closed for restoration. The sidewalks downtown were torn up, vacant lots boarded over, stores shut behind steel curtains, out of business, waiting for a renewal that showed no sign of coming. Only the streets, arteries jammed with cabs and utility vans, seemed to function.

The river made a hairpin turn through the center of town, crossed by aging iron spans. Barges lay moored along the shore but never seemed to move. Deserted warehouses, their siding shredded, their rooves broken, sagged amid eddies of dust and trash.

A park opened out along one shore on the outskirts leading north, and under the great oaks and balding sycamores leaves blew about, their colors fading to rust. Radios blared from picnickers far off, and a soccer game was in progress. The sun at least was warm and strong. He skirted the edge of the field, watching strangers.

The further out of town he went the more the city seemed to come alive, though not in order to beckon to him. Little shops with Coca-Cola signs stood open among rowhouses; groups of men clustered outside eyed him critically, their conversations breaking off as he approached. He decided he had come too far, cut back across the park, heading south again towards whatever was going to pass for now for home.

Monday, September 23, 2019

The 23rd of September

There aren't so many reasons to note this day (or opportunities to play this song) that one can afford to let the convergence go unobserved. The band is the Vulgar Boatmen and the singer is Professor Robert Ray.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Peter Case: A Kickstarter Campaign

Musician and songwriter Peter Case has an ambitious two-record project in the works, and is looking for financial support to put him over the top in his Kickstarter campaign. He'll be recording an album of original songs, entitled Doctor Moan, as well as a second devoted to acoustics blues covers, The Midnight Broadcast. The rewards for sponsors range from signed CDs and LPs to house concerts, but time is of the essence; I encourage you to check it out. More info is available at Kickstarter and Peter's website.

Update: The project was successfully funded. Look for the records around June 2020.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Family reunion

Four years ago I posted the above image, dated 1887, of a young French woman named Alexandra Marie Fulton de Lipowski. Thanks to a message from a Lipowski descendant I can now post the following photo, which shows her older sister Marie.

The photographs were taken at the same studio, Photographie Prost in Meaux, and in all likelihood they were taken on the same day, as the clothing and pose are nearly identical except for the sisters' pins. Marie's photograph has remained with the family, but Alexandra's somehow wandered across the Atlantic, where I found it in an antique shop. The reverse of the photo is shown below.

Both of the sisters lived long lives. Alexandra, who was married at least twice, died in 1971 at the age of 97. Her sister Marie had died the previous year at 98.

Thanks JH for the information. Alexandra's photograph has now rejoined the family in France.