I had a good chuckle while visiting the site Zontar of Venus who recently posted various old posters and stills from the musical fantasy film The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. The movie was released in 1953 and was the only feature film written by Dr. Seuss.
To be honest, I tried watching it again a few years ago and couldn’t make it past the first 30 minutes. I remembered it being much more fantastical when I was a kid, I guess.
Whimsical segment from the seventies prime time TV program Real People featuring Klaus Nomi, Joey Arias and others (I also spotted a young John Sex and Kenny Scharf frugging away) dancing in the window of the Fiorucci boutique, which used to be across the street from Bloomingdales.
Here’s something for you folks with a taste for the bizarre: a video mix of Indonesian horror films and garage/psyche rock from Southeast Asia.
Look Back In Angkor featuring music by Srei Sothear, Sin Sisamouth, Prum Manh, Meas Samon, The Gang Of Harry Roesli, Aka, and lots of tracks by artists unknown that appeared on rare homemade audio cassettes.
[I’ve got the flu today, so I’m retooling an older post from 2010 with a different video while I go feel sorry for myself!]
In 2010, The Quietus blog ran a feature where they asked musical luminaries like Nick Cave, John Lydon, Iggy Pop, Mike Patton, Wayne Coyne and Ennio Morricone what their favorite Miles Davis album is. Unsurprisingly, asking these iconoclastic fellas, the majority of the nods go to Miles’ incredibly far out 70s album (from Bitches Brew to Dark Magus basically), the ones that most jazz fans, and even staunch Miles Davis fans used to absolutely hate, but that have been reconsidered critically in recent years as the public caught up to them
For me, I started to get into this “difficult” spot of the Miles Davis catalog about ten-twelve years ago. I already owned Bitches Brew and Get Up With It (which features a incredible sidelong elegy to Duke Ellington titled “He Loved Him Madly” improvised in the studio after Miles heard Ellington had died. The piece was cited by Brian Eno as the beginnings of ambient music) but it was A) getting a really good stereo system in 2002 and B) reading this amazing rant by Julian Cope about this period of Miles’ output that saw me really investigate the “horrible” racket Miles was making then. Wanting new music to listen to on my new toy, I bought Dark Magus first, Pangaea and Agharta in the space of three consecutive days. Once I started, I fell into a musical rabbit hole that I didn’t get out of for about a year or two later. I was not a very popular guy with the neighbors back then, I don’t think.
Not that I am saying anything here that hasn’t been expressed already in quarters like The Wire magazine, but if you ask me, the material that Miles Davis produced between 1970 and 1975 (when ill health and drug dependency forced him to retire for several years) is the absolute apex of his vast recorded output. Don’t get me wrong, I love Kind of Blue, In a Silent Way, Sketches of Spain, and many other earlier Miles Davis albums, but the ones I play loudest, most often and that I pay the most attention to, are the coke-out live albums, Dark Magus, Agharta, Pangaea. These albums are… fucking unique and that’s putting it mildly. There is nothing else to compare them to, even remotely, in the history of modern music (Maybe Can meets Fela Kuti?)
With up to three electric guitarists (Reggie Lucas, Pete Cosey and Dominique Gaumont), Miles on organ and electrified trumpet (run through a wah-wah pedal) and a rhythm section consisting of the insane, propulsive drumming of Al Foster, Mtume on percussion and the most amazing Michael Henderson on bass holding the whole thing together, holy shit, these performances are AGGRESSIVE. Julian Cope wrote about notion of continental plates shifting to get across the power of the Pangaea set (recorded live in Osaka, Japan in 1975 on the evening of the day that Aghartha was recorded) and I’d say that’s about right. Every instrument which isn’t soloing is placed in service of THE GROOVE—even the guitars can be seen as adding a percussive element to the overall wall of noise-funk effect.
At the proper volume, it can plow you down like a Mack truck. Interestingly, from the midst of this dank, swirling sonic maelstrom, every time one of the musicians steps forward for a solo, it reminds me of the odd noises and “squiggly” sounds that seem to come out of nowhere in certain Stockhausen or Xenakis compositions, cutting through the soupy din (At one point on Dark Magus, a primitive drum machine is pulled out and used like a machine gun!).
This 1973 performance from the Montreux Jazz Festival is a pretty scorching example of what Miles and his band (Davis’ sidemen here are Dave Liebman, Reggie Lucas, Pete Cosey, Michael Henderson, Al Foster, Mtume) was doing live at the time. It MUST be turned up loud for the proper effect:
Hilarious article in The Brooklyn Paper about a new chocolaty cocktail named in honor of Republican knobhead Rick Santorum:
“People really like it even though it’s named after something gross — both the person and the Dan Savage meaning,” said John Rauschenberg, co-owner of Pacific Standard. “It’ll be an election fixture at least until primary season is over.”
The duo behind the beer hole near St. Mark’s Place often put out cocktails with suggestive names, such as the Corn Holed Fashioned or Mike Gallego’s Cup.
But the Santorum, a milky mixture of Baileys, orange vodka, bitters and chocolate flakes, seems to be sticking.
We won’t explain how the drink matches up with an alternate definition of the word “Santorum,” as The Brooklyn Paper is a family publication — but the bar’s liberal proprietors are certain it’ll satisfy any boozy desires.
The owners of the 4th Avenue bar expect that word of their “social lubricant” will reach the sweater-vest wearing Republican candidate. “I hope this drink makes Santorum want to throw up,” Rauschenberg told The Brookyn Paper’s Kate Briqelet.
Stanley Kubrick died on this date 13 years ago. His art continues to echo through our brains, flesh and bones.
Kubrick took cinema into cosmic realms that altered the collective consciousness of a generation. For many of us, a Kubrick film was like some new drug or a profound mystical transmission from a brilliant seer or shaman.
When 2001: A Space Odyssey was released to theaters in 1968, multitudes of young heads, like myself, prepared for screenings as one might a Native American peyote ritual or a Ayahuasca ceremony in the Amazon.
The ceremony began and we fumbled for tickets and struggled to find our way down the cinema’s darkened pathway, for we had eaten sacraments far more powerful than a bucket of buttered popcorn, in my case, it was shards of crystalline mescaline. We had come prepared, knowing that Kubrick’s vision, projected upon the screen, shapely as a mandala and rich in the language of dreams, had the potential to change/upheave our lives, a breakthrough we yearned for with all the urgency of Rumi crying out in the chilly night for Shams - we were a generation caught between the sucking void of the past and the grand magical expectation that with the right combinations of music, drugs and art, our lives would be perceived for what they are: Sacred and HUGE.
Steven Spielberg, a disciple of Kubrick’s, discusses the the teachings of Master Stanley.
Nut-job 700 Club host Pat Robertson, who normally prattles on about the end of the world, Obama being a Marxist and gay marriage—and who just last week insisted that people can stop hurricanes and tornadoes if they’d just pray hard enough (“Jesus stilled the storm, you can still storms” WITH YOUR MIND!)—said some words in an order that made actual sense on a March 1, 700 Club broadcast, as reported by the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition blog:
We here in America make up 5% of the world’s population, but we make up 25% of jailed prisoners… Every time the liberals pass a bill—I don’t care what it involves—they stick criminal sanctions on it. They don’t feel there is any way people are going to keep a law unless they can put them in jail.
I became sort of a hero of the hippie culture, I guess, when I said I think we ought to decriminalize the possession of marijuana. I just think it’s shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of controlled substance. The whole thing is crazy.
We’ve said, “we’re ‘conservative, we’re tough on crime.” That’s baloney. It’s costing us billions and billions of dollars.
Think of California. California is spending more money on prisons than it spends on schools. There’s something wrong about that equation.
We need to scrub the federal code and the state codes and take away these criminal penalties. Putting people in jail at huge expense to the population is insanity.
Folks, we’ve gotta do something about this. We’ve just got to change the laws. We cannot allow this to continue. It is sapping our vitality. Think of this great land of freedom. We have the highest rate of incarceration of any nation on the face of the Earth. That’s a shocking statistic.
What is it we’re doing that is different? What we’re doing is turning a bunch of liberals loose writing laws—there’s this punitive spirit, they always want to punish people. It’s time for change!
More and more prisons, more and more crime. It’s just shocking, especially this business about drug offenses. It’s time we stop locking up people for possession of marijuana. We just can’t do it anymore…You don’t lock ‘em up for booze unless they kill somebody on the highway.
England: Thirty-five years on from Punk, and what the fuck has changed? The Queen is still on her throne. Celebrations are underway for another jubilee. The police continue to be a law unto themselves. The tabloid press peddles more smut and fear. The Westminster government is still centered on rewarding self-interest. And Johnny Rotten is a popular entertainer.
The promise of revolution and change was little more than adman’s wet-dream. All that remains is the music - the passion, the energy, the belief in something better - and that at least touched enough to inculcate the possibility for change.
Raw Energy - Punk the Early Years is a documentary made in 1978, which details many of the players who have tended to be overlooked by the usual focus on The Sex Pistols and The Clash. Here you’ll find Jordan (the original not the silicon pin-up and author) telling us, “it’s good females can get up on stage and have as much admiration as the male contingent”; the record execs explaining their dealings with The Pistols, The Clash, The Hot Rods and looking for the “next trend”; a young Danny Baker, who wrote for original punk magazine Sniffin Glue, summing up his frustration with “all you’re trained for is to be in a factory at the end of 20 years, and that’s the biggest insult…”; the comparisons between Punk and Monterey; the politics; the violence against young punks; and what Punk bands were really like - performances from The Slits, The Adverts, Eddie and The Hot Rods, X-Ray Spex, and even Billy Idol and Generation X.