Category Archives: events

The World Says You’re Seen.

The World Says” is unusual. Karl Hendricks recorded albums almost always as a trio, and 2007’s The World Says is the only album by the four-piece Rock Band. On a record informed by Crazy Horse’s guitar duels, the title track stands alone as a piano and (mostly) acoustic guitar musing. Here’s the first verse:

When I showed up from Bermuda
They didn’t act surprised
When I threw myself in front of a train
They pulled me back, said “Not this time.”
And when I joined the Army
They didn’t give away my LPs
I licked the inside of a urinal
They just blessed my sneeze
If you’ve ever tried to disappear
Then you’ll know what I mean
You keep insisting you’re invisible
The world says you’re seen

Some songs show their value through sales; Billy Ray Cyrus grew wealthy from “Achy Breaky Heart” years before his daughter became a celebrity. Other songs show their value in resonance to the listener. “The World Says” is one of those songs, for me.

The summer of 2007 found me traveling to Seattle to help my Uncle John. He had gone there to see if an experimental trial could arrest his mantle cell lymphoma. John endured two years of treatments and this was his last best hope. We met with nutritionists, therapists, and doctor after doctor to get him ready for the trial, but the cancer was too advanced to let him proceed. He was gone within four weeks.

I did not find comfort in much at the time, but “The World Says” was therapeutic when I felt powerless. I am forever grateful to Karl for giving me that.

Karl died this morning. If you did not know him, his modesty and kindness belied his talents. He spent more than a quarter century as a buyer at and owner of Pittsburgh’s best record store, enhancing the musical literacy of so many of us who lived in western Pennsylvania. Karl Hendricks was as much a civic leader of Pittsburgh during that time as anyone, without even considering the music he created.

If you did not know his music, you can learn about some of the best rock music made the past quarter century and give some money to his family by purchasing his records from Bandcamp or Comedy Minus One. They are all worth it, from the cover art to the guitar playing to Karl’s lyrics.

Karl’s writing is better than anything I can provide, so please listen to him instead of me. When he sold his store last summer, I posted a list of favorite songs of his and repeat that list now as entryways into his catalog. Thanks always to Karl.

10. “Know More About Jazz.”
9. “Baseball Cards.”
8. “Underdog Park.”
7. “Naked and High on Drugs.”
6. “The Ballad of Bill Lee.”
5. “The Official Shape of Beauty.”
4. “The Mens’ Room at the Airport.”
3. “Nogales By Tuesday.”
2. “The World Says.”
1.”Dreams Ha.”
(This link is the only one on the list not to one of the Bandcamp pages. It opens a solo video Karl made in 2011. More on why it tops the list here.)

Return to Bubbly Creek (UHA Chicago, October 2016)

conferenceThe Urban History Association meets in Chicago this month, so what better place to discussion the urban environment of Chicago? I’ll be participating in a roundtable discussing Dominic Pacyga’s recent book Slaughter House: Chicago’s Union Stock Yard and the World It Made.

The area in question involves the “great open sewer” of Bubbly Creek. My colleague in urban environmental experiences Mike Bryson and I have written about Bubbly Creek in the past and it is a safe bet that I’ll bring that waterway up during our discussion.

Upcycling History Talk in Kalamazoo, Sept. 29

zimringpostedI’m spending time this month reviewing the galleys of my forthcoming book Aluminum Upcycled: Sustainable Design in Historical Perspective. At the end of the month, I will discuss aspects of the book at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. (Since some of the book covers Herman Miller’s work down the road, WMU is an appropriate place to discuss upcycling.)

“The Road to a Zero-Waste Future Through the Past? Sustainable Design Strategies in Historical Perspective”

Environmental historian and author Dr. Carl Zimring will explore “upcycling” (transforming discarded material into goods of elevated worth). Starting with aluminum, and its history in Michigan, this presentation will roam through the centuries and across the globe, landing on adidas’s recent plan to turn oceanic plastic garbage into upscale running shoes.

WHERE: 1028 Brown Hall, WMU
WHEN: Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.


“The Work of Waste” at How Class Works Conference, Stony Brook (June 9)

C&WcoverMy next public talk on Clean and White takes place in Stony Brook the afternoon (3:45-5:15pm, to be exact) of Thursday, June 9 as part of the How Class Works conference at SUNY Stony Brook:

3.5 The Work of Waste – SAC 311

Carl Zimring, Pratt Institute: Dirty Work Reconsidered: On Race and the Waste Trades in the United States

Robin D. Muhammad, Ohio University: Smoke on the Water: Land Waste Workers and Shipbreaking Labor in Comparative Perspective, 1960-2000

Courtney Pina Miller, Brandeis University: The Lazy and Toothless Anse Bundren: Examining White Trash in Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying

I should have copies of the book for sale, but the exciting part is being on a panel for the first time since LAWCHA Chicago with my grad school friend Robin. Yes, if you attend, you get two Carnegie Mellon history graduates discussing waste work for the price of one!

Registration, directions, and complete schedule (.pdf) for How Class Works 2016 may be found at the links.

Brooklyn Book Event Sunday Afternoon: BF+DA Sustainability+Technology Book Fair

bfda-communal-spaceSunday afternoon, I’ll discuss and sign copies of Clean and White at the BF+DA Sustainability+Technology Book Fair (630 Flushing Ave., 7th floor) in Brooklyn.

Come and meet 12+ authors who have published books focused on ethical design, sustainability, technology, design and fashion and join us for two 40 minute in-depth conversations moderated by BF+DA Founder Deb Johnson.

3 pm Doors open. Book signing throughout the afternoon.
3:45-4:45 pm: Group discussion on sustainability and technology in the 21st century and where there are intersections that are leading more people to want to be part…or not.
Participating authors include:

Lynda Grose, Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change
Carl Zimring, Clean and White: A History of Environmental Racism in the United States
Timo Rissanen, Zero Waste Fashion Design
Sass Brown, EcoFashion, Refashioned
Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, Smart Textiles for Designers: Inventing the Future of Fabric
Deborah Schneiderman and Alexa Griffith Winton, Textile Technology and Design: From Interior Space to Outer Space
Elizabeth Cline, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion
Ira Livingston, Poetics as a Theory of Everything
John Lobell, Visionary Creativity: How New Worlds Are Born
Luba Lukova, Social Justice 2008, 12 Posters by Luba Lukova
Meta Brunzema, Feminist Practices
Kate Black, Magnifeco
6 pm End of book fair.

The event is free, but please RSVP for a ticket at the link.