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Shoehorned into the Visual Arts section on account of an upcoming show, Holland Cotter comes through with a marvelous primer on Sun Ra, "Beamed From Tomorrow". It's full of killer tales, guiding aesthetics and quotes from Ra like:

“the only way this world can be saved from being completely destroyed is through music.”

And hell, the art, belonging to a genre dubbed "Afrofuturism" is pretty wicked too!