The Digest: Past and Present


"Time is a very peculiar item. You see when you're got nothing but time. Throw away a couple of doesn't matter. The older you get you say, 'Jesus, how much I got? I got thirty-five summers left'. Think about it. Thirty-five summers."

Tom Waits' character in the film 'Rumble Fish' waxes about the fleeting reality of time. It slips away like sand through fingertips, and the older we become, the more we want to hold onto it. This week we explore themes of Old Time through art, racing, watches, and merging the past with the present.


From Francis Ford Coppola, Rumble Fish is an art-house expression of themes like fatalism, fleeting time, youthful legend, familial estrangement, and reconciliation. 1983 marked two film adaptations of SE Hinton novels from Coppola, the first being 'The Outsiders'. This film has a distinct anchor to the onward rhythm of time, expressed brilliantly through Stewart Copeland's (The Police) original percussive score. Also of note is the stellar cast: Matt Dillon, Diane Lane, Mickey Rourke, Dennis Hopper, Nicholas Cage, Chris Penn, Tom Waits, Laurence Fishburne, and a young Sofia Coppola. Now featured in the Criterion Collection.


An experimental fusion of hip hop and jazz, Jazzmatazz blends two iconic eras. Rather than only sampling historic jazz players for Hip Hop tracks, Keith Elam (Guru) decided to reach out and collaborate with them in the studio, merging history with the present.

"Back around '93 — when I first came up with the Jazzmatazz concept — I was noticing how a lot of cats were digging in the crates and sampling jazz breaks to make hip hop records. But while I thought that was cool, I wanted to take it to the next level and actually create a new genre by getting the actual dudes we were sampling into the studio to jam over hip hop beats with some of the top vocalists of the time. You know, the whole thing was experimental, but I knew it was an idea that would spawn some historic music."


After his time playing with Miles, he trekked out on his own as a band leader, forming The Bill Evans Trio. With Scott LaFaro (bassist) and Paul Motian (drummer), the original lineup played one of the greatest jazz recordings of all time. Remastered and released on 3 disks. Enjoy.


After contracting the Spanish Flu in 1919, 27-year-old painter Stuart Davis traveled to an island in the Caribbean to recover. This island was Cuba, a destination at the time for painters, writers, and cultured vacationers. Today, we see a very different Cuba with the eruption of freedom-seeking protests. Davis' time in Havana was crucial and emboldening, which can be seen at Kasmin Gallery (NYC, curated by Priscilla Vail Caldwell). But one doesn't have to visit the gallery to enjoy Davis' work, see his experience, and consider what's been taken from the Cuban people since then.