One hundred years ago, a hard-throwing but erratic minor league pitcher named Ben Henderson was getting ready for his opening day start for the Portland Beavers against the Los Angeles Angels. Henderson had pitched well for the Beavers the previous year, but he began this 1912 season with a wel--earned reputation as an unreliable drunk.
Henderson gave a Los Angeles Times reporter a preview of what he had plannet for the game. "I got a new curve this year," he explained, " and I'm goin' to pitch one or two of them tomorrow. I call it the jazz ball because it wobbles and you simply can't do anything with it." The headline for the item, from april 12, 1912, was simply "Ben's Jazz Curve".
Henderson lost that game, and he was soon out of baseball entirely. But we may owe debt of gratitude for his wobbly "jazz ball". In a relatively recent surprise for etymologists, the latest historical research has located this quote as the first known use of the word "jazz" - which in a few short years would bounce from the nightclubs of Chicago and beyond. Ultimately, it would become the name for distinctly American music - and a term som monumental in its impact that The American Dialect Society in 2000 named it the Word of the Century.
(og i samme nummer er der et interview med billede med vores egen New Yorker og jo en fin (ikke kun (som om det ikke var nok) google)digter i sin egen ret PEJK MALINOVSKI om hans East Village Poetry Walk "Passing Stranger", link her):
ON 12th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue in the East Village, there is an empty lot, a dusty, fenced-in patch next to a school playground. On a recent sunny afternoon, some children were tossing around a baseball there, beneath two wildly flowering cherry blossom trees, oblivious to the history around them.
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Though the precise location is lost, this was apparently where Lorenzo Da Ponte, the Venetian opera writer, was once buried. Da Ponte wrote the libretti to Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Cosi Fan Tutte,” among others; he iscredited with helping bring Italian opera and literature to America. He died in 1838, at age 89, after a colorful life that, in its way, prefigured the many striving artists who followed. Not that you’d know that now.
“I love that this has no sign of him — so unsentimental,” said Pejk Malinovski, a Danish writer, translator and poet, standing at the fence with a cigarette. Across the street, Mr. Malinovski pointed out another undesignated landmark, an apartment where Allen Ginsberg lived in the 1970s. It was a rough block then, and Ginsberg had a fourth-floor walk-up with a broken buzzer; when friends came by, he would throw his keys down in a sock. The building, at 437 East 12th Street, has a long history as a home for writers.
“It used to be called the poet’s dorm,” Mr. Malinovski said. “There’s still a lot of poets who live there.” The writer and musician Richard Hell is among them.
Mr. Malinovski, 35, a transplant from Denmark by way of London who has lived in New York since 2003, is behind a project that unites Da Ponte, Ginsberg and Mr. Hell, along with other downtown creative lights.
Billed as an East Village poetry walk, the project, “Passing Stranger,” is a site-specific audio tour that guides listeners through the history of the neighborhood’s interconnected writers and shakers, with interviews, archival recordings and recitations of poems. Narrated by the filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, with music by John Zorn, it is a literary and geographic keepsake, a portrait of a bohemian community that still resounds.
On April 15, it will officially make its debut with a reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, the last stop on the tour, but the guide is already available as a free MP3 ateastvillagepoetrywalk.org. Listeners can download it and stroll through the tour anytime (or just imagine the sights mentioned from their couches).
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