Olivier Messiaen is one of my absolute favorite 20th century classical composers whose body of work is all wonderful, totally worth investigating and far too huge to try to cover in one post. For now I’ll simply present what I consider to be one of the most powerful, violent and mezemerizing pieces of music anybody’s ever likely to hear, the 5th movement of his Turangalîla Symphony, composed between 1946 and 1948 and performed here by The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (in truth the only version I could find on YouTube, but they do a smashing job). Note the prominent use of the early electronic instrument, the Ondes Martenot, essentially an elaborate keyboard controlled Theremin, later use extensively by Radiohead.
2009 Indian mega-hit Magadheera is the most expensive film produced in the Telagu language of Southern India. Telagu (Tollywood) films don’t have Bollywood budgets, but Magadheera , a tale of reincarnation spanning 400 years, delivers maximum bang for the buck and, in this scene, some big laughs.
Directed by S.S. Rajamouli (watch out Michael Bay) and starring Ram Charan Teja.
Fascinating article from The New York Times about the travails of finishing up the work of the late Harvey Pekar, in particularly the innovative digital stories told online at Smith magazine’s Pekar Project. Sadly, it looks like some all-too-human jealously is threatening to derail completion of the work. What’s transpired after the writer’s death seems like, well, one of his own autobiographical tales. In fact, it’s pretty much classic Pekar:
As the Pekar Project continued, it became apparent that Ms. Brabner was displeased with one contributor in particular: Ms. Seibel, the only female artist involved, and the only one who worked face to face with Mr. Pekar.
Ms. Seibel, whose husband and three children also became acquainted with Mr. Pekar, said that Ms. Brabner would abruptly pull Mr. Pekar out of their telephone conversations, and that she tried to interfere with a Brooklyn book-signing event at which Ms. Seibel appeared with Mr. Pekar in November. Ms. Seibel said Mr. Pekar told her these conflicts were “for him to worry about,” not her. “He put it under his business,” she said. (Ms. Brabner declined to comment on these matters.)
No one in their artistic circle believes the relationship between Mr. Pekar and Ms. Seibel crossed professional boundaries, but some could see how it strained Mr. Pekar’s marriage.
“A part of him was enjoying the attention he was getting from this very good-looking young woman,” said Mr. Parker, one of the Pekar Project artists. “And, naturally, Joyce, how could she enjoy that? You don’t have to be a psychologist to see that one’s not going to be good.”
Not even Mr. Pekar’s death quelled the tensions between Ms. Seibel, who has said she spent part of his last day alive with him, and Ms. Brabner.
Meet Desire Dubounet (formerly Bill Nelson), who created the term “Quantum medicine.” Desire has “truly changed the world of movie making, music, medicine, science, and more. For nobody has changed the world as much as Desire.”
If you grew up in the Bible Belt during the 70s, 80s and even well into the 90s, there is a very good chance that you have more than a passing familiarity with the hateful, frightening and just plain bizarre “Christian” comics produced by one Jack T. Chick.
Chick’s twisted message, infused with his peculiar style of fervent, the-end-is-near Fundamentalist Christian insanity, by virtue of appearing in what most parents considered to be innocuous “religious” comic books, enjoyed a long period of widespread cultural popularity. Chick tracts were distributed in Sunday schools, summer camps, motel lobbies and bus stations all across America. There have been over 750 million of them sold!
There can only be one reason such deranged literature was allowed in so many places: Adults never read them. If they had, they’d have been utterly horrified. (My own mother gave me dozens of these comics when I was a kid. I’m sure in her mind they were better for me than the Marvel of DC comics I was reading. LIttle did she know that she was actually providing me with!)
Chick’s scary, angry Fundie diatribes have given many a kid terrible nightmares. His favorite topics tend towards subject matter like “You’re going to Hell,” Halloween is evil, eternal damnation, abortion, the Vatican is evil and created Islam, demons walk amongst us, child molesters, the Antichrist will rise soon, New Age beliefs, Judaism, Mormonism and Islam are Satanic, witches are everywhere, homosexuality is an abomination (Chick’s solution? Fire-n-brimstone, baby!), Darwin’s theories are Satanic, Harry Potter is Satanic, feminists are Satanic, the Satanic plot behind rock music (The Beatles were Druids!), “You’re going to Hell,” the Commies are everywhere (Catholics are to blame for this, of course) and just about any other crazy, fucked up conspiracy theory you can think of. He’s kind of the Glenn Beck (or maybe better still Alex Jones) of paranoiac Christian comic books. Did I mention that a lot of his comics were about how YOU (that’s right you, the person reading this) are going to Hell? Chick’s God is a VENGEFUL God. The Old Testament Jehovah has got nothin’ on Chick’s version.
Not much beyond the basics are known about Chick, who is now 86-years-old. He’s an extremely private man and few photographs have been taken of him. So it’s not like anyone knows about the reclusive Jack T. Chick himself, but show almost anyone in America one of his Chick tracts and they’ll respond with an immediate recognition of the distinctively shaped and wildly deranged mini-comics. For Jack T. Chick, it’s all about saving YOUR soul from eternal damnation, not about being popular.
“People who dismiss hate literature offhand are going to miss the point of this tribute to Chick, which is that hate literature reveals not only its own corruption but the sick society that hatched it. Examine the historical and theological forebears of little Chick and you’ll find an awful, and I do mean awful, lot of mainstream beliefs. Like the Protestant zealots who colonized and raped this country, Chick tracts and the violence in them are as American as apple pie.”
Above, an episode of Boing Boing TV featuring Syd Garon and Rodney Ascher’s animated take on the Chick “classic” You Goofed.. This is Jack T. Chick in a nutshell. (Reportedly he’s seen this and liked it!)