• Two Olympians Share Gold for the First Time in High-Jump History

    Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy and Mutaz Essa Barshim of QatarMother Jones illustration; Zuma

    Now this is how you take gold. Hats off to Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy for agreeing to split the title down the middle, an unprecedented act in high-jump history. Their mutual respect and abiding friendship broke through the tense would-be tiebreak, the first time since 1912 that the Olympics saw joint gold winners—by choice.

    Here’s how it went down, according to HuffPost:

    Both Barshim, 30, and Tamberi, 29, ended with jumps of 2.37 meters. Neither had any failed attempts.

    When the bar was raised to 2.39 meters, the Olympic record, neither jumper could clear it. The competition was tied.

    After three failed attempts each at that height, an Olympic official offered them a jump-off to decide the winner.

    “Can we have two golds?” Barshim asked him.

    “It’s possible. If you both decide…” the official said.

    He’d barely finished his sentence before the two men had looked at each other, slapped hands and Tamberi leapt into Barshim’s arms.

    After initially tying, Barshim said, “He look at me. I look at him. We just understood. There was no need to go [again]. That’s it.”

    If you score big one day, reader, at “sport” or any other endeavor, don’t hog gold. I promise the same.*

    Share your stories of gold, silver, bronze, honorable mention, and abject failure at recharge@motherjones.com.

    *Exclusions apply. Void where prohibited. Not valid on Saturdays or Sundays, when promiser is sole winner at all athletic events. Promise expires at 11:59 p.m. E.T. on date of promiser’s choice, and may be revoked without notice.

  • “It Has Saved My Life”: MoJo Readers Reflect on 100 Years of Insulin

    The discovery of insulin 100 years ago “transformed diabetes from a death sentence to a chronic condition,” went the unflinching headline of a powerful look back at the strides and disparities in treatment and outcomes by the Endocrine Society last week. The centennial was acutely personal for many MoJo readers who wrote us with a mix of outrage at the obscenely high costs, celebration of the medical advances that save lives, and recognition of the vast work ahead. “Air” is how one reader describes the medicine that another reader says she has to “ration” to stay alive.

    Your responses got to the heart of the relief, anger, strength, and stamina that diabetes demands, but there was also big-picture acknowledgment of the milestone: “Each year on July 27, I toast Frederick Banting and Charles Best,” insulin’s discoverers, a reader tells us. “It has been 50 years since I started injecting daily doses, and it has saved my life.”

    Still, “the real expense is up to $1,000 a month” for a reader whose out-of-pocket cost is exorbitant. By contrast, an American living in the Netherlands tells us “there is no way I can afford to move back to the States” and keep getting insulin.

    “I’m lucky to live in the UK,” writes a reader whose insulin is subsidized. “I am enormously grateful for this and frankly horrified at the situation in the US, where one’s ability to control this condition, and remain alive, is related to wealth.”

    Care for family is a constant: “Insulin means that my little brother’s diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes at age 7 wasn’t a death sentence.” “My son’s blood will turn acidic within hours and he will die” without insulin. “I’m grateful for the discovery. But his insulin retails at $339.99 per vial.” Which is why policy debates are so visceral for the reader who points out that “General Wesley Clark famously said when he announced his presidential candidacy that every American deserved the same excellent medical care he got. I’ve always believed that his statement, with which I very much agree, is what brought out the long knives to end his brief political career.”

    After co-pays and deductibles, “I still can’t afford” it, a reader writes, a pain point stemming from insulin’s patent: “Important for the story and often neglected is that the researchers who discovered insulin were reluctant to patent their process on grounds of medical ethics. Anyone suffering from the high cost of insulin needs to know that its discoverers at least wanted to ensure that it be widely available at low cost.”

    Our colleague Steve Katz, MoJo’s publisher, told me after I ran our centennial piece last week that his son, Noah, who is diabetic, advocates for insulin justice. In a letter Steve shared with me that he’d written to thank a diabetes camp his family went to years ago, Steve summed up the tangible impact of support systems that “probably saved my son’s life. Noah was diagnosed with Type 1 [that] summer [and] we could see that it wasn’t about camp per se…It was about the fact that, being there, Noah had to face directly that he really did have this disease, it wasn’t going to go away, and his life had changed forever…Each [counselor] would sit with him at a meal or hang out with him in the ‘shot line’ where kids get their blood sugars checked and insulin dosed, and give their story of how it was for them and how it is and will be for him. And Noah saw that he could survive this. The experience was literally transformative.”

    Steve wrote these words eight years ago. Reading it now makes me look ahead: In eight more years, on the 108th anniversary of insulin, will readers tell us again how you’ve survived not just diabetes itself but the staggering costs of its treatment in the wealthiest country in the world? As another reader tells us, “We should not need a coupon or ‘program’ to” stay alive.

    Happy 100th.

    Keep stories coming to recharge@motherjones.com.

  • Today Is the 100th Anniversary of Insulin. Let Us Know How It’s Affected Your Life.

    Until the discovery of insulin a century ago today by two Canadian researchers who injected a pancreatic extract into a diabetic dog and watched its blood sugar drop, diabetes had been deemed fatal. Kids and adults “most often died within days to months,” Dr. Chris Feudtner of the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said today in a striking portrait of the discovery’s impact. “With the advent of insulin therapy, this timeline was extended to decades.”

    More than 460 million people have diabetes. The number is rapidly rising, most prevalently in lower- and middle-income populations. It’s hard to unequivocally celebrate any life-saving medicine whose demand exceeds its affordability and accessibility for the millions struggling to obtain it; the politics and economics of insulin are points of fierce criticism. (See our colleague Tim Murphy’s callout last year.) But insulin, as Feudtner says, has improved, extended, and saved countless lives. It remains “one of the leading medical miracles of the 20th century, on par with antimicrobials and cancer treatments.”

    Let us know what insulin means to you and your family on a daily basis, and how much you pay for it (if you do), at recharge@motherjones.com. Also let us know, if language interests you, whether you’d say “I’m diabetic” or “I have diabetes” or if each is interchangeable.

  • The National Spelling Bee Finals, Canceled by COVID Last Year, Are Tonight. Take Our Very Serious Quiz.

    Last year was the first time since World War II that the national spelling bee was canceled. The bee is back. Finals are tonight at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.

    I’m no fan of the bee. You can have it. Why would I want to watch you fumble “pococurante” in front of millions of eyes as beads of terrified sweat light up your crunched forehead like an athlete grunting against the weight of a defender? Still, I’m a Professional Haver of Interest in spelling and grammar and language and accuracy and education, the whole mess of obsessive word-squinting. All for the idea. But if I’ve learned one thing from this spelling racket, it’s the right to informed dissent: The bee is a sugar high.

    I’ve read the arguments for and against, and I’m not swatting or punching “down” at your intrepid bee—bee health matters—but if you catch me in the elevator at an annual copy-edit conference (real event) and ask me to spell “succedaneum” or “guetapens” or “autochthonous,” I’ll inch away and take a “phone call.”

    “Succedaneum” and “guetapens” and “autochthonous” are winning words from spelling bees of years past. Take a look at the winners from every contest since 1925. Knock yourself out.

    Before you send us pointed rebuttals to recharge@motherjones.com, prove your mettle/metal/meddle/medal by acing this quiz:

    1. misspelled or mispelled

    2. hydroxychloroquine or hydroxychloroquin

    3. incumbant or incumbent

    4. gerrimandering or gerrymandering

    5. caronavirus, coronavirus, or coronovirus

    6. predeliction, predilection, or prediliction

    7. desperate or desparate

    8. annually or anually

    9. buoyant or bouyant

    10. separate or seperate

    11. concensus or consensus

    12. embarrass or embarass

    13. guage or gauge

    14. miniscule or minuscule

    15. occurrence or occurance

    16. persue or pursue 

    17. siege or seige

    18. sieze or seize

    19. vacuum or vaccuum

    20. withhold or withold

    Look at you—20 out of 20! Congratulations. You didn’t even buckle and search. Tune in tonight if you must. Before you go, a bonus for playing: Get in on Mother Jones’ latest newsletter, David Corn’s This Land, for our DC bureau chief’s sharp insights, scoops, recommendations, and behind-the-scenes accounts from Washington and beyond. I guarantee each newsletter is spelled perfectly—and perfectly spelled. Get on it.

  • “A Vegetable Oasis in an Urban Landscape”

    Earlier this week, we ran a beautiful series of photographs from Los Angeles. It showcases how residents are using previously industrial spaces for greenery and parks. As the writer says:

    This reuse of industrial space, often spearheaded by communities of color that have historically lacked easy access to parks and gardens, provides an inspiring blueprint for how to reclaim and replenish the land, both for ourselves and the generations to come.

    One park, they also write, in a lovely turn of phrase, showcases a “vegetable oasis in an urban landscape.”

    You should go take a look here.

    Interspersed are nice stories throughout, drawn from chats with parkgoers. I hope that cheers you up for the long weekend.

  • 60 Years After the Yankees Told Her the Dugout Was No Place for a Girl, She Threw Out the First Pitch

    Gwen for the win! Kathy Willens/AP

    Beyond Paul O’Neill hitting two home runs for a sick kid at Kramer’s (maybe) behest, I don’t have great feelings about the Yankees. They’re easy villains, I’m not from New York, and I never liked A-Rod. But! Last week, they did something so thoroughly incredible that even the most strident Yankees haters will have to deeply appreciate it.

    The story goes like this: Gwen Goldman was 10 years old when she wrote to the Yankees asking to be a bat girl. The letter they wrote back is pretty heinous, though not surprising given that it was, well, 1961: “While we agree with you that girls are certainly as capable as boys, and no doubt would be an attractive addition on the playing field, I am sure you can understand that in a game dominated by men a young lady such as yourself would feel left out of place in a dugout.”

    Exactly 60 years later (to the month!)—through a decades-long marriage, the raising of two daughters, the spoiling of two grandkids—Gwen still has that letter. It’s become something like family lore. I know this because my friend Abby is Gwen’s younger daughter, and told me as much recently: “It was all just known, part of the family’s storybook,” she texted me. “I don’t remember my mom first telling me because it was something that was totally woven into the seams of our family. Playing softball with my mom and my papa, going to baseball games, mom’s dream of being a bat girl and my papa telling her to write and ask. And The Letter—that was hung in our basement bathroom!”

    So Abby had the idea, without her mom’s knowledge, to write another letter to the Yankees, asking them to rectify this wrong.

    Then, finally, they actually did. Last week, Abby and her family tricked Gwen onto a Zoom. Instead of a video feed celebrating the end of her grandson’s school year, squares popped up with Yankees GM Brian Cashman and star pitcher Gerrit Cole. Cashman read Gwen the new letter the organization had just sent: “Some dreams take longer than they should to be realized, but a goal attained should not dim with the passage of time.”

    Yesterday was Gwen’s big day. 


    The icing on the cake: Not only did Gwen get to be a bat girl, but she threw out the first damn pitch, looking like a total pro in that uniform.

    More than an attractive addition, I’d say?

    This all melted even my cynical, hardened heart. If you don’t tear up…I truly give up on humanity.

  • An “Avalanche” of Foster Care Donations Breaks Records After a Reddit Post Goes Viral

    For all the sweeping injustices embedded in the foster care system—my colleague Julia Lurie’s investigation is invaluable—take a moment for this boost. A children’s charity site nearly crashed with record-breaking donations after a Reddit chat drove traffic, causing what the small nonprofit, One Simple Wish, called an “avalanche of support.”

    The thread was titled “What is something you’ve done purely out of the goodness of your heart, but have never told anyone?” A commenter said they’d bought a bike for an 11-year-old through the wish site. Hundreds of replies poured in. Tens of thousands of upvotes immediately followed, and small donations reached almost $100,000.

    “We’re a small team with big hearts and…are truly about the kids first, so I am just so proud the world is hearing about us,” said founder Danielle Gletow, a children’s rights activist, adding that the donations met every wish on the site’s list before overloading it. The site was “not able to handle all the attention.”

    The galvanizing power and long arm of Reddit cut both ways—for good and ill, sometimes called the Reddit Hug or the Hug of Death, when the large site links to a smaller one and spikes it. For its part, Reddit is both hero and villain—and supervillain. Take your cheer where you can. And then read Julia’s investigation.

  • “I Gave Him a Big Hug”: Let Us Know How You Marked Father’s Day

    Other than former blogger and twice-impeached former president Donald Trump wishing Happy Father’s Day to “the Radical Left” and “other Losers of the world,” yesterday saw an outpouring of good wishes, selfless salutes, mutual aid, and charitable giving. There was an 11-year-old raising thousands for COVID relief in honor of dads in India. There was a father-daughter reunion after 40 years apart. There were fundraisers for medical research and an organization that houses families of firefighters and other first responders killed in the line of duty, thanks to a father who completed 1.5 million pushups for charity, breaking the single-year world record.

    But not everything was eventful. There were quiet reconnections, Zooms, phone calls, vaccinated hugs, and remembrances: pandemic essays and personal ones (read Terrell Jermaine Starr’s reflection on family discovery at The Root), and archival gems (John McPhee’s “The Patch”). Let us know how you marked Father’s Day:

  • More Chess Stars Are Denouncing a Cheating Billionaire

    It started with good intentions: Raise funds for pandemic relief in India, the world’s hardest-hit country in measures of death and devastation by COVID. The biggest names were set to play, including five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand. Among his opponents was the country’s youngest billionaire, Nikhil Kamath, who made his fortune by co-founding a brokerage company.

    But as the game progressed, Anand, who was universally expected to lay waste to his billionaire opponent, faced a series of suspiciously flawless moves from Kamath. They were so computerlike that onlookers wondered if Kamath was running an engine in violation of the rules. Miraculously, the billionaire won. The game of a lifetime.

    And sure enough, soon after public pressure and a global outcry, Kamath confessed to cheating: “I had help from…computers,” he announced. “It is ridiculous that so many are thinking I really beat Vishy in a chess game. That is almost like me waking up and winning a 100mt race with Usain Bolt.” “This was fun for charity,” Kamath added. “In hindsight, it was quite silly” to deceive the legendary champion and supporters of COVID relief on the global stage. “Apologies.”

    His cheating has come under scrutiny as an affront to Anand, who graciously said, “I just played the position on the board and expected the same from everyone,” and called it a “fun experience upholding the ethics of the game” from one side. But it gets worse before it gets better. Chess.com’s chief chess officer and Fair Play Team leader shared a statement making heads spin, saying the cheating billionaire would not stay banned: “Given…that not all the rules were properly understood, neither Chess.com nor Anand himself see any reason to uphold the matter further,” in effect relaxing the site’s strict rules against cheaters and letting a billionaire slide on account of prominence, a gesture scarcely afforded to nonbillionaires and noncelebrities.

    But there’s good news. Top players are speaking out against it, among them five-time US champion Hikaru Nakamura, who blasted the decision: “There have been people caught cheating against me…and I don’t think they get unbanned, so I don’t really buy this. It just feels like [a] slap on the wrist.” “I thought the rules would be the same for billionaires. I was naive. They can cheat,” said Lichess.com founder Thibault Duplessis.

    Nakamura agreed: “I’m definitely associated with Chess.com but I have to say I actually do agree with Thibault here. This is just ridiculous. If someone cheats in a game of chess, you can’t have a separate set of rules just because they happen to have a lot of money. I guarantee you that if [the player cheating] was someone who’s not of prominence, they would have stayed banned. Plain and simple.”

    “Too bad Bill Gates was not aware of the billionaire club rule back then: engine help allowed,” chess historian Olimpiù G. Urcan said, recalling 23-year-old Magnus Carlsen’s defeat of Bill Gates in nine moves in 2014.

    Happy Thursday. (Our Recharge department welcomes fundraisers against chess-dabbling billionaires, with no engines allowed, at recharge@motherjones.com.)

  • 150 Years Later, a Native American Tribe Regains an Ancestral Island

    It’s an all-too-familiar story of state-sanctioned theft, land grabs in violation of Indigenous rights, and selective memory in the national news media. But the latest turn marks a major milestone. After Maine split away from Massachusetts generations ago, land controlled by the Passamaquoddy tribe was stripped. The tribe had acquired it under a treaty signed with Massachusetts, which then included Maine, after the Revolutionary War.

    Now, thanks to a sale of the island, supported by Indigenous communities, the tribe has reacquired almost all of the 150 acres in southwestern Maine’s Big Lake, which had been taken in violation of the treaty. A number of reporters have amplified the story, from the Boston Globe’s Charlie McKenna to the Portland Press Herald’s Colin Woodard, the Bangor Daily News’ Robbie Feinberg, and the Good News Network’s editorial staff, creating a composite portrait of local gains with national reverberations.

    Read their write-ups, and send more good news about Indigenous land and other areas of human rights to recharge@motherjones.com.

  • From Our Archives, the Origins of Tech People Loving the Idea of Going to Space

    Each Friday, we bring you an article from our archives to propel you into the weekend.

    Earlier this week, Jeff Bezos, the soon-to-be-ex-CEO of Amazon and the richest man in the world, said he would be blasting himself into space. Okay! Sure. Also, why? But mainly: Go for it. The new, brawny Bezos will be on board the inaugural flight of his space company: Blue Origin. He will spend three minutes in outer space without a pilot.

    Bezos is not alone in being into space. Other ultrawealthy tech folk like it too. Elon Musk is trying to make rockets. Richard Branson is into private space rockets. And the new king of SPACS, Chamath Palihapitiya, convinced people to buy into Branson’s Virgin Galactic space tourism business with a bravado pitch about the stars. (Branson is reportedly fighting Bezos to get to space faster.)

    This might lead you to a simple question: What’s up with these dudes and space?

    I think Fred Turner, a professor at Stanford and the author of From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism, carves a helpful path to perhaps understand the space-obsessed tech rich. In his essay “Machine Politics” for Harper’s (and, yeah, in that mouthful of a book title, too), Turner shows the unique blend of Bay Area aesthetics and Silicon Valley money. The acid and hippies found capitalism and started Apple, in a way.

    For techies, this gives a conscious capitalism sheen—an against-the-grain edge—to the big money. That’s been hard to grasp in recent years as it’s become more obvious that tech is just money stacking itself up in a new way. Still, the ethos is important. If you’re a tech lord, and you buy the narrative—disruptor!—you can see how space travel and using your massive wealth do it would be a fixation.

    Because you know who loved space too? Timothy Leary.

    In a fascinating piece from one of our 1976 issues, writer Don Goldsmith follows Leary as the acid-making man talks about blasting himself up into the stars for space colonization. Here’s how Leary is introduced:

    The man’s name is Timothy Leary. Berkeley made him a Ph.D., Harvard a professor, LSD an ex-professor, the media a devil, the government a convict, prison a space-oriented philosopher.

    This piece is sort of Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test as Apollo 11 and then devolves into listing why people want to go to space. It’s cool. It also offers a dive into the hippie culture that would come to affect the tech folk directly. Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog—a text that would underpin the fantasy of scientific utopianism that fueled Silicon Valley’s mythos—is mentioned as one of the people pushing for space colonization along with Leary.

    Go read the whole piece about Goldsmith attending a meeting in Berkeley for the Network, Leary’s space mission—named “Starseed Seminar #1: S.M.I.2L.E. (S.M.I.2L.E. = Space Migration+ Intelligence Increase+Life Extension)”—here.

  • “Ring of Fire,” “Death Star”: Behold Tomorrow’s Solar Eclipse

    If you need an escape hatch from the earthly howlers and horrors of a diminished but still-thrashing Donald Trump (“Donald Trump for…speaker of the House?” asks CNN), catch tomorrow’s solar eclipse. It’s a “ring of fire” taking a rare path over the North Pole. It’s also a good way to avert your eyes for a minute, and a timely reminder of how far humanity has (mostly) come in accepting more and more scientific explanations of causation despite the crush of disinformation and delusion. The Washington Post has a classic explainer on “the strangest, scariest eclipse myths throughout history.”

    Consider the ritual human sacrifice performed by Aztecs to “feed and strengthen the sun and ward off the eclipse,” and the bear-bit-the-sun theory of eclipse. Or the theory that a vampire is at fault, having tried to swallow the sun before the vamp “spat it out when it burned his tongue,” causing the eclipse. Or the belief that the sun is covered not by the moon but by a bird or “a sorcerer’s cloak rather than the moon.”

    If nothing else, the eclipse can put into focus some of the strides in scientific fact-finding, resetting your clock, scaling your sense of perspective. Give yourself that much. Look up and out, if not into space, then into more space than your immediate surroundings. Unless you’re on board with the vampire theory of causation.

  • Winning Beats From the First Indigenous Hip-Hop Awards

    “Thousands of artists and fans got a chance to connect and share Indigenous hip-hop culture,” Chris Sharpe, an organizer of the first International Indigenous Hip-Hop Awards, told Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling after pulling off the global ceremony virtually. “We’re already planning the second” awards show.

    The inaugural awards, after a pandemic year that’s disproportionately upended Native communities, touched all aspects of hip-hop as a human rights movement: creative, cultural, political, personal. Canadian First Nations duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids won best album; producer David Strickland scored three awards; duo Mike Bone hosted the ceremony; and performances were given by Emcee One, Yellowsky, Zia Benjamin, and many others. Catch the full winners list and dive deeper into the growing diaspora of Indigenous hip-hop in Schilling’s recap.

  • If You’re 17 to 24, Here’s a Powerful New Way to Drive Disability Justice

    Today is the third Thursday in May, making it Accessibility Awareness Day, launched 10 years ago to expand digital access and cement the political power and gains of people with disabilities. Disabled adults make up the largest minority group in the country, at 26 percent, and the largest in the world, at 17 percent. Yet the day could use a name update; it’s a day of “action,” or can be, as much as of “awareness,” and it’s also a day of demarcation, mirroring how far disability rights have and haven’t come.

    Younger folks are driving it, notably 17- to 24-year-olds. The newest opportunity is an ambassadorship program for people who want to create material justice, greater participation, and wider conversation among changemakers digitally on any topic. Share this Recharge if you know activists or advocates or community leaders. I worked years ago for the team that’s now conceived of and launched it and support its broader mission and methods, and say so independently. It’s not limited to disability justice by any means, though today’s disability day intersects with it, highlights one small slice, and evokes its range. The program is for anyone 17 to 24 who wants to promote digital dialogue, equality, and progress. Hit ’em up, share widely, and send Recharge story tips to recharge@motherjones.com.

  • A Growing Wave of Labor Rights and Union Drives on International Museum Day

    It’s International Museum Day. As mask mandates continue to be lifted across the country, museums and galleries are grappling with how to reopen safely but also how to harness a movement that predated the pandemic: efforts to unionize the art world.

    Gains are being made. Almost 200 workers at the Whitney Museum moved to form a union this week, supporting the filing of a petition to vote with the National Labor Relations Board. Seventy workers at Maine’s Portland Museum of Art voted to form a union. And workers at the New Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, moved to unionize in recent years.

    But familiar challenges are faced in settings notoriously fraught with interlocking injustices and institutional interests. If you’re among the museum and gallery workers finding ways to advance labor rights during the pandemic, drop a line to recharge@motherjones.com. Let us know what you’re experiencing, how and if you’re able to recharge, and if you want anonymity in sharing your stories.

  • Jolts of New Music From (Almost 97-Year-Old) Marshall Allen, Carlos Niño, Giggle the Ozone

    A peek inside the newsroom: It’s our final week of deadlines for editing and producing the summer issue of Mother Jones magazine (subscribe! Gift it!). Pages are coming together. Entering this last stretch of days is, for me, as the copy editor with final eyes on proofs, an exercise in how sharply I can stay focused and alertly I start the week. Which takes, as a matter of course, music. Three Recharges:

    Carlos Niño’s impressionistic new ballad “Pleasewakeupalittlefaster, Please” is floating before it’s grounding. A saxophone paddles under hypnotic piano chords in the spirit of earlier Niño music that caught a Pitchfork reviewer as “emanat[ing] from Alice Coltrane’s ashram.” The image works. Niño lives 10 miles from where Coltrane’s ashram stood before it burned down in California wildfires. I visited Coltrane there to record one of her last interviews. “Pouring into my spirit” is how she described her sound, and Niño shares that expressive ethos. The day she exited this realm, he recorded a live tribute in her honor. See if his latest moves you.

    Giggle the Ozone’s newest is blazing, imploring, with richly textured vocals. The trio is Dylan Sparrow, Jesse Krakow, and K. Abrams, produced in collaboration with Colin Marston, and it’s a remixed collection that almost didn’t happen at all. “I found the master tapes by accident after thinking they were gone,” Sparrow tells me. The discovery prompted a striking sound; it’s all here, the uptempo drive of “Zenith Age,” the Roy Orbison inflection of “Wing How Yard,” and the climate portraiture of “Evacuate.” A stunning recharge start to finish.

    Marshall Allen turns 97 next week. The venerated saxophonist’s celestial sound and membership in the Sun Ra Arkestra are honored this Sunday at a live gig in Cottage City, Maryland. The celebration is “Out Music in Outer Space.” “Seemingly boundless energy” is how the writer Nate Chinen framed his music. Energy building, booming, all needed for the week ahead.

    Share Recharges at recharge@motherjones.com, and subscribe if you haven’t yet.

  • After Battling the Pandemic, the Village Vanguard Wins Livestream Producer of 2021

    Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty

    The Jazz Journalists Association has named the Village Vanguard the livestream producer of the year, a major rebound for a club that’s been hammered by the pandemic but adapted with unparalleled resourcefulness in weekly livestreams by legends of jazz, from David Murray to Andrew Cyrille, George Cables, Immanuel Wilkins, and Ron Carter.

    Carter, the most-recorded bassist in history, won the lifetime achievement award, beating out nominees Pharoah Sanders, Roscoe Mitchell, and Charles Lloyd. No question Carter deserves recognition, but someone tell me how on earth Sanders didn’t win. Sanders all day: “I think he’s probably the best tenor player in the world,” Ornette Coleman told me in 2006. (I’m also a JJA member, for disclosure, but this isn’t even a controversial take. Sanders released Promises this year; can’t multiple lifetime achievement awards be given during the pandemic?)

    Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington rightly won musician of the year; Maria Schneider pulled in four awards; Ambrose Akinmusire took the trumpet title; Branford Marsalis scored for soprano saxophone; Anat Cohen for clarinet; and Linda May Han Oh for bass. The full list of winners is an exceptional roll call.

    Bonus Recharge: Tyshawn Sorey is headlining the Vanguard this weekend, and this Saturday is the second-ever livestream from the Van Gelder Studio, with organist Joey DeFrancesco on the same Hammond that Jimmy Smith recorded on. DeFrancesco joins drummer Billy Hart, saxophonist Houston Person, and guitarist Peter Bernstein. Tickets here. To gear up, sample the Van Gelder archives: the rejuvenating “Willow Weep for Me” by Stanley Turrentine and Gene Harris. Recharge tips at recharge@motherjones.com.

  • Let Us Know How You Marked Mother’s Day

    A year ago today, just two months into the pandemic, I wrote a Recharge headlined “The Radical Roots of Mother’s Day as a Pandemic-Fighting Movement,” a historical view long before “vaccine surplus” was a conceivable news story (and for much of the world, it still isn’t). I wrote then that for the millions of mothers working on the front lines and millions more incarcerated across America—80 percent of women in jail are mothers—spending Mother’s Day at a mandatory distance is a “test of resilience,” of “solidarity,” of many, many things. An 8-year-old and a 10-year-old had created an online newspaper with their mother called the Quarantine Times; a mother and a daughter had graduated that week in North Carolina together; doulas and midwives were organizing for workers’ rights; and 150 hospital staff got a musical surprise for Mother’s Day in the Bronx.

    “Let us know how you view motherhood beyond Mother’s Day at recharge@motherjones.com,” we asked, promising to highlight your stories on “our new daily Recharge blog.”

    New daily Recharge blog! A year and a blog and a vaccine later, we want to hear from you again: Is your family vaccinated? Did you see your mother or get seen by your mother yesterday? In person or remotely? Do you know the naming story and biography of our magazine’s namesake? (Are you a reader who addresses us in correspondence as “Dear Mother”?)

    Mother’s Day has taken on new resonance as vaccine rates surge, but major challenges remain. The day is traceable to anti-war activist Anna Jarvis, blues pioneer Bessie Smith, voting-rights activist Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation”), and tens of billions of women throughout history. Share your 2021 stories of motherhood at recharge@motherjones.com.