“And even as this old guide-book boasts of the, to us, insignificant Liverpool of fifty years ago, the New York guidebooks are now vaunting of the magnitude of a town, whose future inhabitants, multitudinous as the pebbles on the beach, and girdled in with high walls and towers, flanking endless avenues of opulence and taste, will regard all our Broadways and Bowerys as but the paltry nucleus to their Nineveh. From far up the Hudson, beyond Harlem River where the young saplings are now growing, that will overarch their lordly mansions with broad boughs, centuries old; they may send forth explorers to penetrate into the then obscure and smoky alleys of the Fifth Avenue and Fourteenth Street; and going still farther south, may exhume the present Doric Custom-house, and quote it as a proof that their high and mighty metropolis enjoyed a Hellenic antiquity.”

–Herman Melville, Redburn

“No intellect is needed to see those figures who wait beyond the void of death – every child is aware of them, blazing with glories dark or bright, wrapped in authority older than the universe. They are the stuff of our earliest dreams, as of our dying visions. Rightly we feel our lives guided by them, and rightly too we feel how little we matter to them, the builders of the unimaginable, the fighters of wars beyond the totality of existence.

“The difficulty lies in learning that we ourselves encompass forces equally great. We say, ‘I will,’ and 'I will not,’ and imagine ourselves (though we obey the orders of some prosaic person every day) our own masters, when the truth is that our masters are sleeping. One wakes within us and we are ridden like beasts, though the rider is but some hitherto unguessed part of ourselves.”

― Gene Wolfe, Shadow and Claw


John Coyne & DJ Planturn.

One day the Bay Area will be center of the entertainment industry.

Friday Afternoon at the Opera: Death of a Hero

“Siegfried falls back and dies. At a silent command from Gunther, the vassals lift Siegfried’s body on his shield, and solemnly carry the dead hero towards the hill-top, with Gunther following sorrowfully. The moon breaks through the clouds, throwing an increasing light on the funeral procession as it reaches the summit. Then mists rise from the Rhine, gradually filling the whole stage until the cortege is invisible and the stage completely veiled in mist, as the noble, tragic music of Siegfried’s Funeral March sounds forth.”

Charles Osborne

The complete operas of Richard Wagner

–John Coyne

Friday Afternoon at the Opera: Servants Rights


“Whereas to make sense of a lyric tragedy a classical education is essential, the plot of La Serva Padrona makes no intellectual demands whatsoever. It has only three characters, one of whom is mute, and deals with simple people, taken from la commedia dell’arte, telling the story of Uberto, a silly old man, being tricked into marriage by his crafty female servant, Serpina. Sex is dealt with playfully and erotically, while in lyric tragedy it is part of a highly elaborate masque…. 

“… the much older La Serva Padrona is the more subversive, doubly so indeed, for in turning the tables on Uberto, Serpina is triumphing both as a woman and as a servant.” 

The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture: Europe, 1660-1789, by T. C. W. Blanning

–John Coyne

THE CLASH OF IMAGES, by Abdulfattah Kilito


Some impressions…

I loved most of the stories in this collection. In The Wife of R., a woman (the wife of R.) never leaves the doorway of her home, from where she gathers all manner of information about her neighbors, even going so far as to bribe the local children with candy to get the best first-hand gossip. What does she do with all the stories she learns? What could have been a story about the nosiness of people in dense, poor neighborhoods becomes, by the end, a tale of devoted, quasi-ecstatic love.

All of the stories here are very short–thirteen in total occupying just 111 pages. Kilito’s economy is a function of flensing away conventional narrative and letting the logic of memory lead the dance. During the seven pages of A Glass of Milk, we go from Abdullah as a child to the interior, comic-book-inspired life of the son of his school’s principal, to the adult Abdulla and his elderly, not-long-for-this-world mother, with only a glass of milk as the pivot point. It’s a neat trick, emotionally effective, and it lends a sense of fantasy to these stories.

–John Coyne




“The best photo is the one I never took.”

Meet John Coyne – street photographer extraordinaire based in Oakland, California. He has worked with artists such as the Crown City Rockers, Zion I, The Grouch, Too Short, 40 Love, The Park, Grillade, Talib Kweli and more. John draws his passion from the city streets, the city people and the city life.

We’re working on big things for y'all – stay tuned!

2011 Reel from John Coyne on Vimeo.

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