Before Brian De Palma became a narrative film maker he made documentaries. Among them is The Responsive Eye, which chronicles the Museum Of Modern Art’s 1965 exhibition of op-art. Curated by William Seitz, this was the first significant exhibit of optical art synchronous with and in some cases arising out of the early days of psychedelic culture. It’s amusing to watch the stuffed shirts within the art world attempt to describe what they are looking at in conventional terms or resorting to psychological mumbo jumbo without ever mentioning mescaline or LSD.
Artists featured in the show include the well-known Victor Vasarely and Josef Albers as well as the sensational and underappreciated Paul Feeley, collective work by Equipo 57, a group of Spanish artists, and Bridget Riley, among others.”
Josef Albers taught at Black Mountain College in the mid-1930s and while it’s doubtful that he took drugs it is well-known that his students were traveling to Mexico to participate in peyote eating ceremonies. Victor Vaserly may not have taken any psychedelics but his artwork appeared on everything from blacklight posters to blotter acid. Bridget Riley’s op art designs were bootlegged and began appearing as prints on trendy clothing in Carnaby Street boutiques.
The Responsive Eye exhibit was the beginning of the mainstreaming of op-art and suddenly it was appearing everywhere, in magazine ads, tv commercials, fashion and countless posters taped to the walls of hippie crashpads.
Here’s a 90s PSA called Internet and Street Smarts which teaches kids about Internet safety and that all online predators have mustaches. Slushy Kid points out the ‘net can make you feel really lousy, too.
This appears to be animated, but it isn’t. One Redditor nails it with, ” I have never seen an animated JPG before.” Brain melt ensues.
Things could have been different, if America hadn’t plotted against Chile’s first democratically elected Marxist President, Salvador Allende. For he wouldn’t have died in suspicious circumstances, after a military coup, financed by the US, put a halt to Allende’s plans for a “Chilean path to Socialism.”
That said, he did achieve much in his 3 short years in power. Allende’s government redistributed wealth; nationalized industries; improved health care and education; built houses; increased wages - which saw those at the lowest level of Chilean society able to feed and clothe themselves better than they had been able to before. Not bad for a first time President. Even so, Allende did have his detractors at home and abroad.
President Nixon considered him a major threat to US security, and vetoed any co-existence with the Chilean leader after Allende’s election in 1970. While Nixon’s B-movie goon-henchman, Henry Kissinger, told CIA director, Richard Helms, “We will not let Chile go down the drain.” Kissinger also said:
“The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves … I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people.”
Over the next 3 years, the US destabilized Chile’s economy, funded opposition parties, and just stopped short of direct involvement in the military coup (led by General Pinochet) that ended Allende’s presidency.
In his farewell speech, on September 11 1973, Allende said:
“Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society.”
Not long after this, on the same day, Allende “committed suicide” His death has been a focus of much controversy since, and in January 2011, Chilean authorities announced an investigation into Allende’s death.
In this historic interview, Conversation with Allende, filmed not long after his election, the new President:
articulates his basic beliefs and lays out the program he intended to persue as leader of the Popular Unity government. The conversation shows with rare candor Allende´s deep-seated belief in the Chilean Constitution and in the ability of his coalition to maintain control for the elected six-year period. He discusses the legal road to socialism, the anticipated problems with the Nixon Administration and the CIA, and how he planned to handle the antagonism of the Chilean bourgeoisie. He also talks about his early days as doctor, recounting how his medical career and contact with the poor led to his conversion to socialism.
The GOP presidential primary just gets better and better all the time! Michele Bachmann? Newt? Haley Barbour? Rick “frothy mixture” Santorum? If this primary season wasn’t already shaping up to be an embarrassment of comedic riches, look at the latest kook to throw his tin-foil hat in the Republican ring. From the Wall Street Journal:
Remember Judge Roy Moore? He was the Alabama Supreme Court chief justice removed from office over the Ten Commandments monument he erected outside the state courthouse. Now, he’s about to jump into the presidential election in Iowa, GOP officials say.
Eight years after a state panel removed him from the bench over the commandments spat, and five years after he lost in the Republican primary in the Alabama governor’s race, the 64-year-old judge is preparing to launch a presidential exploratory committee and enter the Iowa fray, according to multiple Iowa GOP officials.
Below, Moore speaking at an anti-gay rally in Iowa. These guys are the best. Another Republican culture warrior no-hoper who’ll siphon off some bucks from the most reactionary radical right-types. Go get ‘em. tiger.
Sad to see that the great New York Times columnist Bob Herbert hung up his Opinion page soapbox yesterday. With Herbert’s departure and of course, Frank Rich leaving as well, the editorial page gravitas of The New York Times will be greatly diminished. How do you fill shoes like theirs? Herberts’s final piece, I gotta say is pretty heavy:
So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home.
Welcome to America in the second decade of the 21st century. An army of long-term unemployed workers is spread across the land, the human fallout from the Great Recession and long years of misguided economic policies. Optimism is in short supply. The few jobs now being created too often pay a pittance, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle-class standard of living.
Arthur Miller, echoing the poet Archibald MacLeish, liked to say that the essence of America was its promises. That was a long time ago. Limitless greed, unrestrained corporate power and a ferocious addiction to foreign oil have led us to an era of perpetual war and economic decline. Young people today are staring at a future in which they will be less well off than their elders, a reversal of fortune that should send a shudder through everyone.
The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.
Nearly 14 million Americans are jobless and the outlook for many of them is grim. Since there is just one job available for every five individuals looking for work, four of the five are out of luck. Instead of a land of opportunity, the U.S. is increasingly becoming a place of limited expectations. A college professor in Washington told me this week that graduates from his program were finding jobs, but they were not making very much money, certainly not enough to think about raising a family.
There is plenty of economic activity in the U.S., and plenty of wealth. But like greedy children, the folks at the top are seizing virtually all the marbles. Income and wealth inequality in the U.S. have reached stages that would make the third world blush. As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion.
Americans behave as if this is somehow normal or acceptable. It shouldn’t be, and didn’t used to be. Through much of the post-World War II era, income distribution was far more equitable, with the top 10 percent of families accounting for just a third of average income growth, and the bottom 90 percent receiving two-thirds. That seems like ancient history now.
The current maldistribution of wealth is also scandalous. In 2009, the richest 5 percent claimed 63.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. The overwhelming majority, the bottom 80 percent, collectively held just 12.8 percent.
This inequality, in which an enormous segment of the population struggles while the fortunate few ride the gravy train, is a world-class recipe for social unrest. Downward mobility is an ever-shortening fuse leading to profound consequences.
In a note following his final weekly essay, Herbert, who is now 66, writes that he’s off to “expand my efforts on behalf of working people, the poor and others who are struggling in our society.” Few writers in America could convey the plight of the working poor in America to the readers of the New York Times—in a way that they can understand—the way that Herbert has for nearly two decades. Obviously the NY Times Opinion page is no small propaganda platform from which to advocate for the good of the common man and it’s a disappointment, as a longtime reader, that he’s leaving this post. Isn’t the great Bob Herbert more effective here than he could be anywhere else?
Herbert in his high profile role at the Times editorial department, along with Frank Rich, has been at the moral center of that great organization, In my lifetime, I’ve read enough words written by Bob Herbert that I am convinced—and have been for a long time—that he’s one of the smartest and wisest people in this country. Herbert has been such an important contributor to the American group mind for decades. I hope he’ll write again for the Times, and soon. His career has been one spent in service of a better America and his voice will really—really, desperately—be missed in the current era of such wild historical shit and upheaval. around the world. I will miss reading Bob Herbert and I salute him. He’s a good man.
A great interview with Bob Herbert from The Progressive
Things have been quiet from David Bowie since his 2004 heart surgery, but last week, a high quality digital rip of a shelved album from 2001 began appearing on various torrent trackers. Toy, as the 14-song album was called, consists mostly of songs from the earliest part of Bowie’s career re-recorded several decades later.
Toy was to be released as the follow-up to 1999’s Hours…. A dispute with Virgin Records saw 2002’s Heathen released instead. Two of the songs, “‘Uncle Floyd” and “Afraid’” made it onto Heathen. Three others saw the light of day as b-sides.
The Toy tracklist:
Baby Loves That Way
I Dig Everything
Let Me Sleep Beside You
Toy (Your Turn To Drive)
Hole In The Ground
In The Heat Of The Morning
You’ve Got A Habit Of Leaving
Silly Boy Blue
The London Boys
Gotta say, it’s a somewhat lackluster affair. I’m one of those Bowie nuts who thinks his youthful material is some of his best work, but with these re-recordings, he’s just phoning it in. So are the band. Still, it’s a free gift, so what am I complaining about? It’s good, it’s certainly not bad, but the originals were perfect and didn’t need tinkering with.
Below, a video for the original “Let Me Sleep Beside You”
The Toy remake: of “Let Me Sleep Beside You”
The original “In The Heat of the Morning:”
The Toy remake of “In the Heat of the Morning” can be heard here
Thank you Omaha Perez!
The second of today’s Manchester mixes comes from the renowned producer-dj-cartoonist and Ninja Tunes artist Mr Scruff. It’s called the “92 Hip-Hop mix”, and as the title suggests this dates back almost 20 years. It features over 80 tracks of golden age hip-hop and was recorded using two turntables, a mixer, and a cassette deck (with a pause button for edits). Originally sold at the Future Banana record shop in a limited run of 20 tapes, Scruff is still trying to piece together the tracklist from his memory, which is a pretty mammoth task. Could you be of any help with this?
1. Quincy Jones ‘Back On The Block’
2. Showbiz & AG ‘Still Diggin’
3. Showbiz & AG ‘Diggin In The Crates’
4. KRS ONE ‘We In Here’
5. Digital Underground ‘No Nose Job’
6. JVC Force ‘Big Tracks’
7. Roxanne Shante ‘Big Mama’
8. Stezo ‘It’s My Turn’
9. The Jaz ‘The Originators’
10. ATCQ ‘We Got The Jazz’
11. Stetsasonic ‘Talkin’ All That Jazz’
12. Main Source ‘Lookin At The Front Door’
13. ATCQ ‘Footprints’
14. DJ Cheese & Word Of Mouth ‘Coast To Coast’
15. MC Lyte ‘Stop, Look, Listen’
Read more of the tracklist after the jump…
Here are two posts in a row featuring mixes by Manchester acts to brighten up your Monday morning. The first is by the city’s long running Chips With Everything club night, whose music policy is as Catholic as their choice of side dish is conventional. This covers psyche-rock, bliss-pop, rays of West Coast sunshine, and various different shades of the kosmiche spectrum. It’s lurrrvley.
10cc - Worst Band in the World
Giorgio - Tears
David Earle Johnson / Jan Hammer - Juice Harp
Top Drawer - Song of a Sinner
Emperor Machine - Bodilizer Bodilizer
Pearl Harbor - Luv Goon
Eternity’s Children - Mr Bluebird
Dusty Springfield - I Just Can’t Wait to See my baby’s face
ELO - Showdown
The Time and Space Machine - River Theme
Rotary Connection - Amen
The Trees Community - Psalm 46
Von Spar - Collecting Natural Antimatter
Delphine - La Fermeture éclair
Rita Monico - Thrilling (Main Theme)