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Beat philosopher and American renegade Poppa Neutrino R.I.P.
01.24.2011
10:08 pm

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Thinkers
Unorthodox

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Poppa Neutrino (William David Pearlmam) was born in San Francisco in 1933. Neutrino died on January 23, 2011 in New Orleans, LA.

Poppa Neutrino was a friend of mine and one the most fascinating men I’ve ever met.

During the mid-1980s into the 90s, I was booking bands into several music venues in New York City. Poppa had a family band called The Flying Neutrinos fronted by his daughter Ingrid Lucia and son Todd Londagin. They’d been street musicians for years, traveling all over the world, eventually landing in Manhattan. I saw the group evolve from a somewhat ragged ensemble into a world class jazz band with a heavy New Orleans influence. Poppa receded into the background as the group became increasingly in demand and successful. But his spiritual influence was very much alive in the soul of the group. He encouraged not only their art but their fierce independence. Which considering his own wild and uncompromising past was to be totally expected. He was a renegade with a streetwise philosophy and a hustler’s instincts. An American Gurdjieff.

David Pearlman, a restless and migratory soul, a mariner, a musician, a member of the Explorers Club and a friend of the San Francisco Beats, a former preacher and sign painter, a polymath, a pauper, and a football strategist for the Red Mesa Redskins of the Navajo Nation. When Pearlman was fifty, he was bitten on the hand by a dog in Mexico and for two years got so sick that he thought he would die. When he recovered, he felt so different that he decided he needed a new name. He began calling himself Poppa Neutrino, after the itinerant particle that is so small it can hardly be detected. To Neutrino, the particle represents the elements of the hidden life that assert themselves discreetly.

Inspired by Thor Heyerdahl and Kon-Tiki, Neutrino is the only man ever to build a raft from garbage he found on the streets of New York and sail it across the North Atlantic. The New York Daily News described the accomplishment as “the sail of the century.” National Geographic broadcast an account of the trip as part of its series on extreme adventures.

The philosophical underpinnings of Neutrino’s existence are what he calls Triads, a concept worked out after years of reading and reflection. He believes that each person, to be truly happy, must define his or her three deepest desires and pursue them remorselessly. Freedom, Joy, and Art are Neutrino’s three.

There’s a wonderful book about Poppa written by New Yorker contributor Alec Wikinson called “Poppa the Happiest Man in the World: An Account of the Life of Poppa Neutrino” that is genuinely inspirational.

As recently as last year, Poppa was still pushing the envelope when he attempted to circumnavigate the Globe in a 37 foot raft with a crew consisting of three sailors and three dogs. But on November 9 their raft was tossed by big surf onto the rocks near Thompson’s Point, VT.

Only a few months later, Poppa died of a heart attack in the city he always seemed to return to, New Orleans. His family is having him cremated and will set his ashes afloat on the Mississippi River. In the words of his daughter Ingrid, “He’s always been free, so we’ll set him free.” 

Like many artists and musicians, Poppa had little money and no insurance. If you’d like to contribute toward his funeral expenses go here.

Victor Zimet and Stephanie Silber’s documentary Random Lunacy explores the life and philosophy of Poppa Neutrino. This your chance to meet a remarkable man.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Monitors: Sci-Fi Satire from The Second City (1969)
01.24.2011
08:38 pm

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Movies

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The Monitors is a sci-fi satire made by the Bell & Howell motion picture equipment company in conjunction with Chicago’s famed comic improv group, The Second City (which has given the world top comic talent like Joan Rivers, Steve Carell, John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris, much of the SCTV cast and many others). It is the only feature film that The Second City has ever made.

Not surprisingly, The Monitors comes off like longform sketch comedy, but with a (slightly) dark edge. A race of aliens wearing bowler hats, black turtlenecks and black suits—probably for reasons of budget—has taken over the White House and keeps the population in line with an Orwellian government where sex, violence, politics and display of emotions are forbidden. A group of humans decide to “take their country back,” with predicable power struggles.
 
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The main roles are filled by Guy Stockwell (the knife-throwing father in Santa Sangre) and Susan Oliver (Peyton Place). Larry Storch (F Troop), Ed Begley Sr., and actual Second City alum Avery Schrieber (where were the others??? Stuck in the bit parts!) also have major roles.

Weirdly, Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen (the one-time Republican Senate Minority leader who helped write key civil rights legislation) makes a cameo appearance, basically playing himself. Odetta sings the closing them song! It was shot by future Oscar-winner Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, McCabe and Mrs. Miller).

This used to be on late night TV all the time. I haven’t thought about this film in years, but now it’s on the Netflix VOD.

Below, the opening to The Monitors:
 

 
Thank you, Rich Lindsay!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Dorian Corey: The Drag Queen Had a Mummy in Her Closet
01.24.2011
06:18 pm

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Here’s an interesting aside to the Paris Is Burning post from yesterday. Dorian Corey, the older drag queen featured heavily in the film, kept a mummified corpse in her apartment for an untold amount of years. Shot in the head, wrapped in fake leather and stuffed in a suitcase, it was only discovered after her death.

Figueroa said the body was “half-way” between mummified and decomposed. “When you have all this wrapping no air is getting to it” he explained. “But it is still losing liquid out of its body. So the body sort of floats in its own soup.” The skin was in very bad shape. “It was like very old fabric” Figueroa said. “If you touch it, it’s going to fall apart.” Figueroa spent several days treating the skin so he could take ten fingerprints off it.

...

I asked Figueroa if he thought the person who wrapped the body in imitation leather was trying to emulate the Egyptians. I thought it possible that Dorian Corey was into high camp with dead bodies as well as live ones.

“I don’t think so” he said. “People just wrap a body in whatever is available. It’s just spontaneous. You wrap it up. Then you put it in a suitcase. Then you put it in the closet. Then you just look at it periodically and wish it would go away.”

To this day nobody knows for sure who killed Bobby Worley or why. The full story, from a 1995 issue of New York magazine, can be read here. This is a bona fide legend of the drag scene, so it’s good to finally get the full low down. Or at least as much of it as possible.

Thanks to Geoff for digging this out!

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Vance Zawadaszki: Rimjob Inventor
01.24.2011
06:16 pm

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Amusing

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Now you know.

(via metabiblio)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Brains not fists: Director Khalil Joseph and Shabazz Palaces salute classic black indie film
01.24.2011
03:14 pm

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Hip-hop
History
Movies
Music
Race

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Led by Grammy-winning ex-Digable Planets MC Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler—who now does business under the moniker Palaceer Lazaro—Shabazz Palaces have been turning out some opaquely produced, envelope-pushing tunes for a couple of years now.

Early on, almost two years ago now, they got director Khalil Joseph—who recently directed Seu Jorge’s “The Model” video—to put together something for their tune “Bellhaven Meridian.” Lots to love in the untypical video, including the fact that it’s one take. But Joseph takes an interesting short detour to recreate a scene from Killer of Sheep, African-American director Charles Burnett’s poetic black & white neo-realist film from 1978.

Depicting the trials of a Watts slaughterhouse worker, his family, and his community, Killer… went unreleased for a while due to the prohibitive licensing costs of Burnett’s proposed soundtrack. It was finally restored and resurfaced in 2007 and is available on DVD.
 

 
After the jump: check out the powerful scene from Killer of Sheep that Joseph mimicked…

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
When rock monsters meet: Iggy Pop and Nick Cave
01.24.2011
02:47 pm

Topics:
Punk

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An inspired bit of photoshopping by the folks at Cherrybombed. The picture was used in tandem with an article about The Stooges and Grinderman sharing the bill at Australia’s massivie music fest Big Day Out.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday John Belushi
01.24.2011
02:34 pm

Topics:
Heroes

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Happy Birthday John Belushi, who would have been 62 today. Born in 1949, Belushi’s big break came in 1971 when he joined The Second City comedy troupe in Chicago. Cast alongside Chevy Chase and Christopher Guest in National Lampoon’s Lemmings (which Richard Metzger wrote a great article on last year), Belushi’s natural comic talents shone. He moved to New York, with his girlfriend Judy Jacklin, and became a regular on the National Lampoon Radio Hour, working with such future Saturday Night Live performers Gilda Radner and Bill Murray. The rest we know.

It’ll be SNL and The Blues Brothers that Belushi will be remembered for best, and watching clips of his TV or film work now, only re-enforces what is so sad about his early demise.
 

 
Previously on DM

A Young John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Christopher Guest rock out in National Lampoon’s ‘Lemmings’


 
Bonus clips plus interview with Belushi and Dan Ackroyd after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Don’t call it Ambient: Optimo FACT 214 Mix
01.24.2011
02:12 pm

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If you enjoyed those slowed down versions of the Jurassic Park theme and Justin Beiber, and I know some of you did, I think you will like this mix by UK ‘s Optimo (Espacio). It’s a lovely, if slightly unsettling collection of beatless and atmospheric tracks, old and new. JD Twitch, one half of the influential Scottish DJ/production duo says:

I’d say this mix is beatless rather than ambient as a definition of ambient is ‘a background music without rhythmic elements’. That applies to some of the selections here but several of the tracks are definitely rhythmic in that they pulse or move forward without the need of a kick drum to propel them.

FACT mix 214 - Optimo (Jan ‘11) by factmag

Odd Machine – Phase In (edit)
Cindytalk – Our Shadow, Remembered
Alvo Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto – Morning
This Mortal Coil – Song To The Siren (JD Twitch Reversion)
Zoviet France – The Decriminalisation Of Country Music
Sun City Girls – Come Maddalena
Forest Swords – The Light
Oneohtrix Point Never – Young Beidnahga
No Man – Days In The Trees
Tomita – Clair De Lune
Conrad Schnitzler – Ballet Statique
Peter Baumann – This Day
Reichmann – Wunderbar
Duet Emmo – The First Person
Carol – So Low
Zoviet France – Vienna (extract)

This mix is available to download for another two weeks only. The full interview is here.

 

 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Liaisons Dangereuses : ‘Los Ninos Del Parque’ influential 80s dance-floor classic
01.24.2011
01:48 pm

Topics:
Music

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The proto Acid House sound of German New Wave group, Liaisons Dangereuse from their 1981 record “Los Ninos Del Parque” (“Little Kids in the Park”). Liaisons Dangereuse were formed by Beate Bartel (Mania D, Einstürzende Neubauten) and Chrislo Haas (Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft) together with vocalist Krishna Goineau. They were part of the early 80s Neue Deutsche Welle scene in Germany. They only put out one album, which was produced by Conny Plank.

Beyond that, you can find out very little about the group who created this influential, oft-copied, dance-floor standard because they shunned the music business and promotional efforts entirely. Over the years there have been a number of remixes of the song and 12” records can still fetch a pretty penny even in the digital age. A number of DJs from the Chicago and Detroit underground music scenes have cited the influence of this song, which also seems to have been a big inspiration for New Order, Primal Scream circa Screamedelica, as well as “body music” groups like KMFDM, Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb.

This is a live version of “Los Ninos Del Parque”
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Enter the shack at the back of your soul baby: Dave and Ansell Collins’ ‘Double Barrel’
01.24.2011
01:20 pm

Topics:
Music

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While R. Metzger and John Lydon are giving props to reggae, I’d call attention to one of the songs that introduced reggae on a mass scale to the U.K., in the form of its precursor ska, Dave and Ansell Collins’ “Double Barrel.”  A big hit in England in 1971, the record was produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry and features 14-year-old Sly Dunbar (in his recording debut) on drums.

I am the magnificent
I’m backed by the shack of a soul boss
Most turnin’ stormin’ sound o’soul

Enter the shack at the back of your soul baby
Work it out huh
Hit me one time

A bass line that won’t quit. Addictive.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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