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John Cage’s 4’33” performed on a refrigerator
07.18.2016
09:20 am

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Music

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01cagefridge.jpg
 
When John Cage started out on his career as a composer he was all for noise—for creating “more new sounds.”

In 1937, Cage developed his ideas about noise in an essay The Future of Music: Credo in which he said:

Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise.  When we ignore it, it disturbs us.  When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.

Noise was the spur. Cage wanted a “revolution, a healthy lawlessness.” He thought this possible by “hitting anything”—tin pans, rice bowls, iron pipes, whatever came to hand—something he later demonstrated on the TV show I’ve Got a Secret in 1960.

Not only hitting, but rubbing, smashing, making sound in every possible way.

All this changed when Cage met musician Gita Sarabhai in the 1940s who told him:

The purpose of music is to quiet and sober the mind, making it susceptible to divine influences.

It was a major epiphany for Cage. It changed his ideas about “noise” and led him to pose the question why do humans compose music? He said he was “embarrassed” by his search for new sounds and by 1948 had conceived of an idea of creating a piece of music called Silent Prayer consisting solely of “uninterrupted silence” performed for about three or four-and-half minutes (the length of most “canned muzak”) the ending of which “will approach imperceptibility.”

Cage realized silence was as important as sound in composition—but silence shared only one characteristic with sound—time. Silence can not be described in terms of pitch or harmony but only in duration of time. This led—by one composition and another—to his composing 4’ 33” in 1952.

This wasn’t the first time Cage had used silence in his music—his Duet for Two Flutes from 1934 opened with silence. Similarly in his Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48) and Waiting (1952) silence was integral to their musical structure. The idea of “silence” had been percolating in Cage’s mind for some time.

4’ 33” was first performed by pianist David Tudor at a recital of contemporary music at Woodstock, New York on August 29th, 1952. It was performed in three parts of 33’, 2’ 40” and 1’ 20”—each section timed by use of a stopwatch. Tudor indicated the beginning and end of each part by closing and opening the keyboard lid.

Hear 4’ 33” performed on a refrigerator after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
New orchid species has the face of Satan
07.18.2016
08:48 am

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Environment

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Christian Nightmares hipped me to this new orchid species appropriately named Telipogon diabolicus which means “devil’s head.” The orchid—with its claw-like petals—is found in a small patch of land in Colombia. Apparently only 30 of the reddish to dark violet-maroon orchids have been discovered so far. The devilish flower is already a Critically Endangered species in the IUCN Red List.

Talk about a fleur du mal... I would love to grow some of these lil’ devils.
 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Ghost Rider’: Amazing new video surfaces of Suicide, live in 1980
07.17.2016
06:21 pm

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Art
Music
Punk

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This newly re-mastered and edited video by Merrill Aldighieri captures Suicide performing “Ghost Rider” in 1980.  It is some of the best footage you’ll ever see of the legendary rock pioneers.  Alan Vega shines in an atypically subdued but still pretty intense performance. Edgar Allan Presley.

As the resident video jockey at New York City rock club Hurrah, Aldighieri documented some of the best live performances by cutting edge bands of the early 80s including
Gang Of Four, Magazine, Bush Tetras and Suicide. In this edit,  Aldighieri has incorporated the older footage with new imagery filmed at a retrospective of Alan Vega’s paintings and sculptures in Lyon, France that took place in 2009.

Merrill Aldighieri’s website ARTCLIPS is a marvelous compendium of digitally re-mastered Hurrah concert videos made between 1980-1981 among many other delightful things. Visit it.

Merrill is a friend and shot footage of my band at Hurrah in 1980. I asked her for a comment about Alan Vega and this is what she wrote:

The night I met Alan, Oct. 1, 1980 on stage at Hurrah, I was terrified by his unbridled passion. It took all my courage not to turn away. The next time I met him was in his loft downdown. We talked for hours. He did not shy away from anything. His life was an unsolved mystery and you were invited to be a witness, a participant. Humility and talent in equal generous doses. I guess that’s why he was such a good collaborator. He was very proud and in wonderment at the joy of being a father too. He did not hold back.

Legendary punk rocker and Dangerous Minds’ contributor Howie Pyro knew Alan quite well and describes him as…

a man so ahead of his time he left us all in the dust. One of the first times I ever went out to a club in 1976 I saw Suicide open for Blondie & was not prepared for the onslaught of volume, sound, blood, real violence, art, and true rock n roll but with NO guitars or drums!! It blew my mind & I grew up a lot that night…had I known I would be recording with “that guy” 20 years later I’d have (happily) fainted…

Ironically, a man in a band called Suicide approached this mortal coil with the kind of no bullshit intensity that makes life way too interesting to abandon.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Cooking with blood: Food porn NOT for the faint of heart
07.15.2016
07:07 pm

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Food

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Nordic Food Lab is very weird, very cool, very specific project—a non-profit that attempts to “explore the edible potential of the Nordic region.” Countries with extreme winters aren’t known for their agricultural bounty, but Scandinavia has been inhabited by humans since at least 6,600 BC, so that means rediscovering a lot of food that’s been nearly abandoned by those contemporary and so-often cosmopolitan descendants of Vikings—or in the inspiring words of Nordic Food Lab, “(re)valorising the despised and forgotten.” So what did they come up with during their culinary experiments with animal blood? Some really appealing-looking food, actually!

Of course, plating and presentation can fool the eye—what about flavor though? Apparently it depends on a lot of biological factors:

We discovered that taste perception in general differs between male and female tasters, and younger and more elderly, with women generally having an increased sensitivity towards metallic taste. Perception thresholds for bitter and sweet compounds vary not only between the sexes, but also with monthly-changing hormone concentrations in women that influence their nervous system. Decreasing thresholds during menstruation means that women will perceive bitter compounds more easily at these times. Unfortunately no research has been done on changes in metallic taste-perception during the menstrual cycle, since metallic taste via ion-channels is a rather young discovery. During our own tests of our blood pastry products, however, this difference became obvious to us.

So apparently if you’re a lady on the rag, blood tastes worse to you? How counterintuitively fascinating! Nonetheless, article author Elisabeth Paul has some high praise for the blood recipes, which also have the added benefit as an egg alternative for those with allergies. Blood of course, clots, making it a somewhat difficult ingredient to work with, but if you want to make your own blood foods, Nordic Food Lab has recipes on the site, along with best practices for handling blood—they used pig’s blood if you’re curious.

If you’re more of an audiovisual learner, check out the video below of the charming Swede walking you through a how-to for traditional Finnish blood pancakes after the jump…
 

 

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Space Patrol – The Fantastic Adventures of the Spaceship Orion’: German TV’s first sci-fi show
07.15.2016
03:24 pm

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Television

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The 1966 German TV sci-fi cult classic Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion (literal translation: “Space Patrol – The Fantastic Adventures of the Spaceship Orion”) was the very first German science fiction television series, predating even Star Trek’s appearance there by six years. The two shows were developed concurrently, with the German series airing its first episode just nine days after the American program’s first appearance and they have several (accidental) similarities. The Spaceship Orion is supposed to be the fastest flying saucer ever invented. The craft’s commander is a dashing, impulsive American and the plot involves a brewing war with an alien race called—get this—“The Frogs”! (Scriptwriters must’ve been Brits, jah?). Only seven episodes of Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion were produced.
 

 
The voice-over intro is similar to Star Trek’s:

“What may sound like a fairy tale today may be tomorrow’s reality. This is a fairy tale from the day after tomorrow: There are no more nations. There is only mankind and its colonies in space. People have settled on faraway stars. The ocean floor has been made habitable. At speed still unimaginable today, space vessels are rushing through our Milky Way. One of these vessels is the ORION, a minuscule part of a gigantic security system protecting the Earth from threats from outer space. Let’s accompany the ORION and her crew on their patrol at the edge of infinity.”

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Meet Jeff Dowd, the real-life inspiration for ‘The Dude’ in ‘The Big Lebowski’
07.15.2016
02:35 pm

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The Big Lebowski is one of the enduring classics of 1990s cinema, an authentic grower that took several years to find its cult, which has turned into one of the most intense movie fandoms you can find. The protagonist (NOT the title character, who was actually played by David Huddleston) is “The Dude,” played by Jeff Bridges in what has become his signature role, and the magnetic and humorous portrayal of an ageing hippie out of his natural time has touched millions. “The Dude Abides,” indeed, and slogan and character alike are natural advertisements for an indelibly American form of Zen. 

It’s been well known for a while that the Dude was based on Jeff Dowd, a former member of the Seattle Liberation Front who was part of the “Seattle Seven,” as the defendants in a 1970 court case were called. The entire group did three months in prison for contempt of court, but the original charges of inciting a riot, intent to incite to riot, and conspiracy to damage the Seattle Federal Building were never successfully prosecuted.
 

 
Later on Dowd moved to LA and became active in the movie industry, producing Zebrahead, among other ventures. He met the Coens in 1982 while they were making Blood Simple, and he obviously made an impression.

To make sure everybody got the reference, the Coens threw some dialogue into The Big Lebowski to help people along. The Dude tells Maude that he was one of the original authors of the Port Huron Statement—“the original Port Huron Statement, not the compromised second draft”—the political manifesto hammered out by SDS in 1962. Then he asks her, “Did you ever hear of the Seattle Seven?” but it seems she has not.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Backpack and messenger bag that look like giant books
07.15.2016
12:42 pm

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Books
Fashion

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If you really want to nerd-out for back to school accessories, might I tempt you with this backpack and messenger bag that looks like a giant leather-bound book? The bags are by ThinkGeek and are reasonably priced. The backpack is $59.99 and the messenger bag is $49.99 . Sadly, these really aren’t leather but made of 100% polyurethane with a polyester lining.

I’d like to see leather versions of these puppies. I think they’d be remarkable.


 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Ian Curtis of Joy Division, his final interview
07.15.2016
12:03 pm

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Music

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Ian Curtis would have turned 60 today. Two years ago, the website post-punk.com celebrated Curtis’ birthday with a fascinating contribution to Joy Division studies, a complete transcript of one of the few surviving interviews with Curtis that exist.

The interview took place on February 28, 1980, before JD’s gig at Preston Warehouse. (In 1999 a recording of that show was released as Preston 28 February 1980, as it happens.) “Spyda” from Burnley Musician’s Collective interviewed Curtis for a BBC Radio Blackburn program called “Spinoff.” You can actually hear the rest of the band doing a soundcheck in the background.
 

 
In 1988 the interview appeared on BBC Manchester with some previously unheard snippets. The interview is variously called the BBC Blackburn interview or the Radio Lancashire interview. This is actually considered to be the last interview Curtis ever gave.

In the interview Curtis, asked about “the current state of new wave,” replies thus:
 

Don’t know. I think it’s, a lot of it tends to have lost its edge really. There’s quite a few new groups that I’ve heard.. odd records. Record or have seen maybe such as, eh, I like, I think it’s mostly old Factory groups really, I like the groups on Factory; A Certain Ratio and Section 25. I tend not to listen, when I’m listening to records, I don’t listen to much new wave stuff, i tend to listen to the stuff I used to listen to a few years back but sort of odd singles. I know somebody who works in a record shop where I live and I’ll go in there and he’ll play me “have you heard this single?” singles by er the group called The Tights, so an obscure thing … and a group called, I think, er Bauhaus, a London group, that’s one single. There’s no one I completely like that I can say “well I’ve got all this person’s records. i think he’s great” or “this group’s records” it’s just, again, odd things

 
Bauhaus had released “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” in 1979. Aside from that, the band released “Dark Entries” in January 1980 and that was the entire Bauhaus catalog when Curtis did that interview.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Adam Ant’s brief career in comedy, 1982
07.15.2016
11:32 am

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Amusing
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Adam Ant trying his hand at comedy during his appearance on the Cannon and Ball show, 1982.
 
Here’s something you don’t see everyday—Adam Ant dressed up as a caballero dancing his own version of a “Jarabe Tapatío” (or Mexican “hat dance”) during his appearance on Cannon and Ball, a UK comedy television program that was on the air from 1979 to 1988. Say WHAT?

Of course seeing Adam Ant dressed up like a caballero isn’t really much of a stretch given the fact that for much of his career he looked like a punk rock version of Tonto—but that’s besides the point. On the show, the then 28-year-old Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard) and the show’s stars, Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball (Thomas Derbyshire and Robert Harper respectively) put on an amusing song and dance routine with Ant playing his role to the hilt all while maintaining a straight face.

According an article published back in 2013, Ant actually credited his appearance on the show with helping his 1982 smash “Goody Two Shoes” hit number one on the UK singles chart. While the footage isn’t great great quality it is a fantastic “who knew?” moment involving one of my fave raves. Plus Adam Ant lipsynching for his life and dancing by himself for three-plus minutes until he’s out of breath on Cannon and Ball doing you guessed it, “Goody Two Shoes.” Vive Le Ant and Olé!
 

Adam Ant performing in a comedy routine on ‘Cannon and Ball’ along with his totally 80s precursor of punk rock aerobics

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Young Adam Ant looking like a pretty punk rock Adonis

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Behold the ‘New Romantic’ Barbie: A vintage ‘Boy George’ doll straight from 1984
07.15.2016
10:32 am

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Amusing
Music
Pop Culture

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A 12-inch version of Boy George made by toy company, LJN in 1984.
 
Back in the magical year of 1984 toy company LJN put out a 12-inch version of a prominent member of the New Romantic movement, George Alan O’Dowd—otherwise known as Boy George—which came ready to party dressed in a “Color By Numbers” themed outfit.
 

A print ad for the Boy George doll by LJN.
 
Billed on the box as “The Original Outrageous Boy of Rock!” the toy Boy was fully poseable and his long hair came styled in one of his signature looks—braids tied with colorful ribbons to match the makeup on his face. Little Boy George also came with a microphone, hat and “posing stand.” Noted as an appropriate plaything for ages four and up, had I received a Boy George doll when I was a kid I would have promptly burned all of my Barbies in the backyard while Boy and I twirled around the fire to the sounds of “Karma Chameleon” playing on my boom box. Good times.

If you’re like me and had no idea that this delightfully dolled-up version of Boy George even existed and now must have one of your very own, you’re in luck as I found a few for sale on eBay. During my very important “research” for this post I also came across footage from a UK television show doing a feature on a Boy George doll (that came in two sizes—one rather alarmingly large) put out by a UK Culture Club fan club during which the gorgeous looking Mr. O’Dowd is presented with one of his very own—which he holds while singing a version of Cliff Richard and The Drifters song “Living Doll.” You can see that surreal event below along with a few images from die-hard CC fan, Flickr user KAZZ who went the extra mile and created custom outfits for her Boy George doll. All of this proves once again that the 80s were indeed much cooler (and a lot weirder) than most of our collective memories give it credit for. Enjoy!
 

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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