david maisel ......i like what he sees


barbecue and the holy ghost

new zion missionary baptist church
huntsville, texas

from the houston press:
The pilgrimage to the countryside in quest of barbecue is a sacred Texas ritual A never more so than when its goal is the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Huntsville's sleepy south side. There, outside a rickety clapboard parish hall, three hulking barbecue pits belch apocalyptic clouds of smoke, a sight as inspiring in its way as Chartres Cathedral rearing up over the fields. Tended by taciturn black gentlemen, the ribs that emerge from New Zion's well-sooted pits trigger something very like a religious experience: to gnaw on these magnificently crusty bones, awash in the incense of smoldering post oak, is to be convinced that there is a God.
Inside the low-ceilinged shed of a parish hall, deliberate church ladies cleave heroic rib racks and whack briskets asunder, bearing meat mountains to the assembled supplicants. Geoffrey Chaucer would have reveled in these long, motley tables, where families from the 'hood occupy beat-up metal folding chairs near Panama-hatted Houstonians fresh from the lake house; where a T-shirted Hispanic fellow rubs elbows with a bejeweled matron from down Conroe way; where trailer-park kicker teens feast alongside baseball-capped black youths whose napes trail slim, perfect rat-tails. A careworn, overalled man pulls up in his pickup. A woman who might be a librarian pauses at the door to deliver a shy testimonial to newcomers. For the moment, they are bound together in a single, beatific community, a microcosm of Texas as it should be.


the new york five

The New York Five refers to a group of five New York City architects (Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, John Hejduk and Richard Meier) who were subjects of a Museum of Modern Art exhibition organized by Arthur Drexler in 1969, and the subsequent book Five Architects in 1972.

These five had a common allegiance to a pure form of architectural modernism, harkening back to the work of Le Corbusier in the 1920s and 1930s, although on closer examination their work was far more individual. The grouping may have had more to do with social and academic allegiances, particularly the mentoring role of Philip Johnson.

The show did produce a stinging rebuke in the May 1973 issue of Architectural Forum, a group of essays called "Five on Five", written by architects Ronaldo Giurgola, Allan Greenberg, Charles Moore, Jaquelin Robertson, and Robert A. M. Stern. These five, known as the "Grays", attacked the "Whites" on the grounds that this pursuit of the pure modernist aesthetic resulted in unworkable buildings that were indifferent to site, indifferent to users, and divorced from daily life. These "Grays" were aligned with Philadelphia architect Robert Venturi and the emerging interest in vernacular architecture and early postmodernism.

John Hejduk was primarily an educator, and died in 2000. The remaining four of the New York Five have produced significantly divergent work, and disavow any continuing relationship with each other. Graves embraced postmodernism. Eisenman became the architect most associated with Deconstructivism. Meier's buildings remain truest to the modernist aesthetic and, true to Corbusian form.


genius of the week

curtis mayfield

Born in Chicago, Illinois, where he attended Roosevelt High School, Mayfield came to prominence as lead singer and songwriter for The Impressions, then went on to a successful solo career. Perhaps most notably, Mayfield was among the first of a new wave of mainstream African-American R&B performing artists and composers who injected social commentary into their work. This "message music" became extremely popular during the period of political ferment and social upheaval of the 1960s and '70s.

The commercial and critical peak of his solo career came with his 1972 album Superfly, the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film of the same name, and one of the most influential albums in history. Mayfield's lyrics included hard-hitting commentary on the state of affairs in black, urban ghettos at the time, previously unheard of in blaxploitation films. Bob Donat (1972), wrote in Rolling Stone that while the film's message "was diluted by schizoid cross purposes" because it "glamorizes machismo-cocaine consciousness... the anti-drug message on [Mayfield's soundtrack] is far stronger and more definite than in the film." Along with Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and Stevie Wonder's Innervisions, this album ushered in a new socially conscious, funky style of popular soul music.


a most fantastic find

polychromie architecturale

When at the height of his creative output, Le Corbusier was asked by the renowned wallpaper manufacturer Salbura to design a palette for a Le Corbuiser color collection. In fact, he designed two: the "Claviers de couleurs" in 1931, with 43 shades, and the Salbura collection in 1959 with 20. Even within these seemingly limited spectra, Le Corbusier would not confine himself: instead, he organized the different tones on sample cards so that three to five colors could be isolated or combined using a sliding band. Each of these cards (his "color keyboards") produced a different color atmosphere and a specific spatial effect. The Le Corbuiser Polychromie Architecturale, the longawaited edition of Le Corbusier's chromatic legacy, was first reprinted in 1997, quickly sold out, and is an avidly sought collector's item. Now available in a revised edition, this exquisite three-volume boxed set contains chromatically perfect samples of the wallpapers, color illustrations, sketches, and slide bands, all produced by a high-quality printing process, and then assembled and bound by hand. This extraordinary adventure into color and the creative vision of modernism's greatest architect includes texts by Le Corbusier and a scholarly introduction by editor Arthur Ruegg.


the admirals other hobby

appologies to all but i have taken some time off, and have been traveling in france with the "motorcycle ball of death" team. i now look forward to the renewed energy of the spring, and a fresh sense of purpose with my posting. look for greatness in the coming days.....well at least look for some new posts.



i am very worn out from my experience working on the new orleans housing competition this past week, and i find myself with nothing to say here today. so for now i will enjoy an ice cream cone with the cos and take it easy...."easy like sunday morning"