1. Nina Simone - Four Women

     
     

  2.  “I can’t be white and I’m the kind of colored girl who looks like everything white people despise or have been taught to despise,” she wrote in a note to herself, not during her adolescence but in the years when she was already a successful performer. “If I were a boy, it wouldn’t matter so much, but I’m a girl and in front of the public all the time wide open for them to jeer and approve of or disapprove of.”

    -Claudia Roth Pierpont on Nina Simone for the New Yorker

    An anecdote from her youth:

    Giving a recital in the local library, at eleven, Eunice saw her parents being removed from their front-row seats to make room for a white couple. She had been schooled by Miz Mazzy in proper deportment, but she nevertheless stood up and announced that if people wanted to hear her play they’d better let her parents sit back down in the front row. There were some laughs, but her parents were returned to their seats. The next day, she remembered, she felt “as if I had been flayed, and every slight, real or imagined, cut me raw. But, the skin grew back a little tougher, a little less innocent, and a little more black.”

     

  3. I’m not an atheist or agnostic or religionist, but I have this cosmic view: I do believe that there’s a higher structure and somehow we’re all imbued with something—it’s just a matter of finding it.  -Steven Heller

     
  4. Alvar Aalto, my #1

    Aalto’s architecture, ran the gamut of public typologies: town halls, churches, libraries, hospitals and the like. But quite unlike most of his contemporaries, whose works have decayed or are being razed by the dozens, most of his buildings have aged remarkably well and continue to be used for their original purposes. Their softness and carefully considered details—carved wood doors, carefully placed windows—were a departure from the sometimes too-industrial, “building as machine” edge of more typical modernism.

    His product designs were mostly done as compliments to larger architectural commissions—harmony between interior and exterior spaces was central to his practice. Many pieces remain in production today, most from Artek (the Finnish design powerhouse, which he founded in 1935 with his wife) and Iitala. The most ubiquitous (and most knocked off) is probably his classic 3 legged stool—a circular surface supported by three J-shaped curved legs. Variations of his Savoy glass vase are likely the most iconic, and to this day, Iitala casts it in wood (instead of metal) to lend it an imperfect, irregular surfacing.

    Aalto was notably less of an ideologue than the unyielding Mies, Goldfinger and Le Corbusier, for instance, and his forms were far less ostentatious than Saarinen’s. He believed only that good design, whilst being efficient and inclusive, should strive for symbiosis with the natural environment. It was a remarkably holistic way of thinking for an architect who worked at the height of dogmatic modernism, and remains relevant today—sophisticated biomimicry will almost certainly be among the most vital innovations for curbing climate change.  (source)

     
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  7. BLVR: The climactic moment of the film is when you ask what single object a kid would keep if they had to give up everything else.

    MM: I didn’t anticipate it being such a hard question. I asked them if they could keep only one thing, what was the thing they would keep, and they all got kind of sweaty and breathed a lot and panted and hemmed and hawed and [sucks in breath nervously]. Most of them said they’d keep some piece of technology, whether it was their phone or their iPad. Out of everything they had, a lot of them said they would keep whatever type of game console they used. There was a wonderful girl, Morgan—she’s the one with the very white-blond hair and the pink gingham shirt—she said her iPad. Even though that goes against my philosophy, she said, because I think that’s what’s going to ruin the world, but, yeah, I’d probably keep my iPad. And to me that felt true for all of us: we’re all keeping our iPads, even though we know it’s screwing us. But a kid hasn’t developed the structures and subterfuges with which to hide their contradictions. But she was feeling it, and she expressed it, and it leaked out and she articulated it.

    CHILDREN OF THE VALLEY
    DIRECTOR MIKE MILLS TALKS ABOUT HIS FILM A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT ALONE

     
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