Listening for Mrs. Lynch: Left Culture as Mass Matter

Brian Dolinar opens The Black Cultural Front: Black Writers and Artists of the Depression Generation (University Press of Mississippi, 2012) by quoting not from a major artist or critic, but from a virtually forgotten participant in a long-dismembered radical organization, an audience member at a panel about “Culture” held by the National Negro Congress of 1940...

Walter Benjamin and the Classical Marxist Tradition

Walter Benjamin is arguably the most important Marxist cultural critic of the 20th century. His legacy, however, has long been distorted by sectarian dismissiveness on the one hand and academic obscurantism on the other. We hope Neil Davidson’s nuanced but rooted Marxist approach will help to reclaim Benjamin from the academic swamp and help inoculate practical socialists from a vulgar approach to art and culture...

In Defense of Classical Crowd-Surfing

For the past two weeks, buried within the interminable detritus of most mainstream news, there has been a real gem of a story. I am speaking, of course, of David Glowacki: the scientist and artist who was ejected from a performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Old Vic Theatre in Bristol, UK for the offense of, apparently, trying to crowd surf...

Bells Being Best Heard In Darkness

There you go off to war again, / behind your own back the earth / regrouped, devouring the flowers / which grew from the last bed of bullets. / An owl skull swings / its moon-dial effigy above history / passing through ceilings and sewers; / through secret files...

The Political Murals of Belfast

Murals like those we saw on the streets of Belfast and Derry are the type of public political art, of reclaiming the streets through art, that we need to see more of in the United States. By their very nature of form, public murals are rejections of the commodification and privatization of art, seeing art as something belonging to the whole community freely, not just an elite few...

The Russian Revolution, Stalin and Shostakovich and the Jazz Age

This recording, the third in the series, focuses on experimental music from "both sides of the Cold War," describing the similarities and divergences between the compositions of Dmitri Shostakovich on one end and the twists and turns of the American "Jazz Age" on the other...

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