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Flirting with Iggy Pop on the phone, one teen’s tale
03.23.2012
11:40 am

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Here’s a brilliantly funny personal account of Ameera Chowdhury’s phone conversation with “Mister Pop” which won the LA Moth StorySlam. I can certainly see why. Enjoy!
 

 
Via BB Submitterator

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Marshall amp refrigerator goes up to 11
03.23.2012
10:39 am

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Amusing
Music

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Most refrigerators only go to ten, but apparently this one goes to eleven. The new Marshall Fridge isn’t too crazy-expensive either, it’s retailing for $299.00 (not sure if that includes shipping).

Whatever the cost, I can see this pretty puppy being used in a lot of band practice spaces, gear rental businesses and recording studios.
 

 
Via Copyranter

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Chocolate skulls gone nuts
03.23.2012
09:39 am

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Amusing
Food

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Etsy shop Sparganum make these wicked homemade bit-sized chocolate skulls with an exposed walnut for the brain. I adore this idea.

The skulls come in white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate or any combination. Contact Sparganum’s shop to place an order.

Via KMFW

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Ziggy Stardust’ 40th anniversary box set announced
03.23.2012
09:24 am

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David Bowie’s classic 1972 concept album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars will be getting the 40th anniversary box set treatment this summer, getting reissued on CD and a vinyl/DVD package.

In a Feb 1974 issue of Rolling Stone Bowie explained the Ziggy plot-line to author William Burroughs:

Burroughs: Could you explain this Ziggy Stardust image of yours? From what I can see it has to do with the world being on the eve of destruction within five years.

Bowie: The time is five years to go before the end of the earth. It has been announced that the world will end because of lack of natural resources. Ziggy is in a position where all the kids have access to things that they thought they wanted. The older people have lost all touch with reality and the kids are left on their own to plunder anything. Ziggy was in a rock-and-roll band and the kids no longer want rock-and-roll. There’s no electricity to play it. Ziggy’s adviser tells him to collect news and sing it, ‘cause there is no news. So Ziggy does this and there is terrible news. ‘All the young dudes’ is a song about this news. It is no hymn to the youth as people thought. It is completely the opposite.

Burroughs: Where did this Ziggy idea come from, and this five-year idea? Of course, exhaustion of natural resources will not develop the end of the world. It will result in the collapse of civilization. And it will cut down the population by about three-quarters.

Bowie: Exactly. This does not cause the end of the world for Ziggy. The end comes when the infinites arrive. They really are a black hole, but I’ve made them people because it would be very hard to explain a black hole on stage.

Burroughs: Yes, a black hole on stage would be an incredible expense. And it would be a continuing performance, first eating up Shaftesbury Avenue.

Bowie: Ziggy is advised in a dream by the infinites to write the coming of a starman, so he writes ‘Starman’, which is the first news of hope that the people have heard. So they latch on to it immediately. The starmen that he is talking about are called the infinites, and they are black-hole jumpers. Ziggy has been talking about this amazing spaceman who will be coming down to save the earth. They arrive somewhere in Greenwich Village. They don’t have a care in the world and are of no possible use to us. They just happened to stumble into our universe by black-hole jumping. Their whole life is travelling from universe to universe. In the stage show, one of them resembles Brando, another one is a Black New Yorker. I even have one called Queenie the Infinite Fox.

Now Ziggy starts to believe in all this himself and thinks himself a prophet of the future starman. He takes himself up to incredible spiritual heights and is kept alive by his disciples. When the infinites arrive, they take bits of Ziggy to make themselves real because in their original state they are anti-matter and cannot exist in our world. And they tear him to pieces on stage during the song ‘Rock ‘n’ roll suicide’. As soon as Ziggy dies on stage the infinites take his elements and make themselves visible. It is a science fiction fantasy of today and this is what literally blew my head off when I read Nova Express, which was written in 1961. Maybe we are the Rodgers and Hammerstein of the seventies, Bill!

“Ah yes, the old transubstantiation con,” you can almost hear WSB mutter…

The label claims to have some “previously unheard” material from the Ziggy era in store for fans, but considering the sheer amount of bootlegged Bowie recordings that have slipped out over the decades into my collection alone, I can’t imagine what this might be. Also, no word on if the new release will include the little-known 5.1 surround remix of Ziggy Stardust done by Ken Pitt and Paul Hicks at Abbey Road Studios in 2003 and only released as an SACD. To my ears, Ziggy Stardust always sounded really weak and tinny. Compare Bowie’s vocals on the album to any other record of his and his voice sounds shrill and lacking the deep-throated nuances he’s obviously capable of, almost as if he’s straining his vocal cords throughout. The 2003 remix sounded muscular and bold, with the bottom added back into the mix, Mick Ronson’s guitar sounding much, much hairier that it ever has previously and the vocals sweetened nicely with more depth. It actually sounds like a different album and I’d rank it far, far, superior to the original vinyl or subsequent CD releases. It’s THE version to own, hands down, let’s just hope that it get included in this new box set.

Below, David Bowie performs “Starman” on TOTP in 1972, the very moment when the greater British public became very aware of who he was. His grinning confidence here is palpable. The guy knew he was going to be a big, big star and he acted like one.
 

 
Thank you Paul Gallagher!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Jubilee Hitchhiker’: A new biography of Richard Brautigan
03.22.2012
10:23 pm

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Books
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History
Literature
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On the occasion of the publication of William Hjortsberg’s extraordinary 900 page biography of Richard Brautigan, Jubilee Hitchhiker,  I am sharing something I posted awhile ago on Dangerous Minds:

“I was 15 when I first read a book by Richard Brautigan. It was called A Confederate General From Big Sur . I borrowed the book from my friend Joseph, a free spirited guy two years older than me who had a beard and rolled his own cigarettes. Though he looked like one, Joseph wasn’t a hippie. Hippies were part of a movement and Joseph wasn’t a joiner. In the small town in Virgina where we grew up, Joseph was completely his own man, a suburban teenage Zen monk who seemed ancient at the age of 17. It made perfect sense that he would be the guy to turn me on to Brautigan. They shared common traits: a clarity of mind, a sharp sense of humor and a deep love for language. Joseph kept a notebook with him at all times in which he wrote short stories, poems and haiku.

In this moment of recalling Joseph, I am convinced he was as close to being enlightened as any teenager could be in America in 1966. I wonder where he is today and what he’s reading.

Joseph, Brautigan, Jack Kerouac and The Doors were my saviors in the year of the Summer Of Love. I was stuck in the suburbs, surrounded by jocks and greasers, completely alone in my world of beatnik books and a meerschaum pipe full of banana peel. It was the year I read Brautigan’s second book Trout Fishing In America and the year that I left home for San Francisco. Joseph was there and I needed to make the connection with the Bodhisattva of the ‘burbs.

Those were the days when a book or a record album could change your life. If literature had a Beatles, its name was Richard Brautigan. It comes as no surprise that John Lennon was a Brautigan fan. They both had a whimsical point of view that started in the square inch field and expanded into the cosmos.

In 1968, I lived inside of a parachute inside of a dance hall in a ghost town near Los Gatos, California. It was my summer of In Watermelon Sugar. I read that magical book repeatedly (my psychedelic New Testament) and lived a simple life of bathing in waterfalls, eating brown rice and scarfing down countless tabs of Benzedrine (in honor of my hero Jack Kerouac) while trying to write with the ease and purity of Brautigan. I discovered that ease ain’t easy (particularly when you’re wired to the gills) and purity is near impossible. Really good writers make writing seem so natural that we all think we can do it. And then we try and soon discover just how hard it is to take energy from where you get it through the word to the reader without losing any immediacy in the process of transference. Brautigan’s poems and prose had this uncanny ability to gently slap you upside the head while maintaining a Basho-like quality of disappearing into what is being described - you saw the words become transparent as they melted into watermelon sugar. Watermelon sugar was Brautigan’s river Tao, a sweet subtle liquid that flowed through the pink flesh of our being.

William Carlos Williams famously wrote “no ideas but in things” and embodied that thought in poems like “The Red Wheelbarrow.” Brautigan wrote from a similar point of view - a kind of American Zen that was ordinary and transcendental, modern and prophetic…

I like to think (and
the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammels and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.

One of the things that was most compelling and inspiring for a young would-be writer like myself about Brautigan’s books were their covers. With every new book that Richard published there was always an attractive bohemian woman on the cover. It was as though Richard was sending a message to all the reclusive teenybopper poets in the world that said “write poetry and you will get laid.” And it was true. I would sit in the Mediterranean Cafe on Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley with my journal unfolded before me and invariably a young flower child would approach and ask if I were a poet. A response of “yes” would often lead to a fuck fest in my attic apartment on Channing Way. In the sixties being an artist/intellectual had the same aphrodisiac qualities associated with cocaine and Rolex watches in the 80s. Being smart was sexy.

For many of us, Brautigan was a door into a consciousness that was liberating in its playfulness and here and nowness. Reading Brautigan is like taking a pure hit of oxygen. Things sparkle. There is a sense of boundless delight and eroticism in his prose and poetry - a promise of the unspeakable, where language transcends itself.

Brautigan, now more than ever.”  February 2, 2011.

You can purchase Jubilee Hitchhiker here. If you’re a Brautigan fan, you’ll find it an immersive and deeply satisfying trip. It took Hjortsberg, who knew Brautigan well,  20 years to write the book and during his research he discovered unpublished Brautigan writings that had been locked in a safe-deposit box in Eugene, Oregon for 30 years. This is a gift from the poetry gods.

The following recordings of Brautigan reading were intended to be released on Zapple records, a spinoff of The Beatles Apple label. But the project was never fully realized. Harvest Records released them as Listening To Brautigan in 1973.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Father John Misty: The Misguided Ayahuasca Tea Session
03.22.2012
06:36 pm

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Painting by the amazing Dimitri Drjuchin

Fear Fun is the seventh full-length album from J. Tillman, the singer-songwriter also known for being the former drummer of Fleet Foxes, the popular Seattle, WA-based folk rockers.

Tillman’s music has proven to be somewhat self-referential in the past, but for this outing he’s recording under the moniker of “Father John Misty.” It’s as much a character—or singular voice—that both the songwriter and performer inhabit for the project, as it is a signal that this album is a rather abrupt departure from the stern folk blues released by Tillman under his own name since 2004.

If Tillman’s previous music might have seemed like it was created by Clint Eastwood’s character in Unforgiven—had he been a troubadour and not a gunslinger—then “Father John Misty” is a character who you might think of as Neil Young, if he were to be reborn as a trickster god, like Loki.

“Misty is a drunk, shamanic drifter character offering you a cup of his home-brewed ayahuasca tea,” is how Tillman describes his musical alter-ego, a persona that has decidedly more in common with Charles Bukowski than Ziggy Stardust. “There is nothing naive or sentimental about him. He’s a loner who doesn’t see the world as being worth saving. ‘Father John Misty’ is not really even meant to be taken as a literal person, more like an avatar of mischief. He likes to needle people a little and freak ‘em out. But I could’ve called him ‘Steve.’”

“I spent eight months living in my van on the coastline, sitting in trees, writing a novel and soaking up the mythos of the Pacific Northwest, California and the Laurel Canyon sound. I was reading a lot of Richard Brautigan, Hesse’s Narcissus and Goldmund and Joseph Campbell. Ultimately I got pissed off with that, the idea that I was following in anyone else’s footsteps, or recapitulating their myth. I wanted to create my own myth as an artist and songwriter.”

Along with Devendra Banhart, Mercury Prize nominee Laura Marling and last year’s breakout artist, Jonathan Wilson, who produced the album, Tillman is clearly no longer in thrall to his Laurel Canyon fore-bearers of some four decades ago.

“What does Laurel Canyon even represent anymore in 2012? Yuppies? I resent the idea of being the ‘new’ anyone, even an artist I might happen to revere. I had no idea where I’d end up when I left Seattle, let alone a spider-filled tree-house in Laurel Canyon!”

Fear Fun was produced and recorded at Five Star Studios in Laurel Canyon by Jonathan Wilson and mixed by Phil Ek. Musically, the album’s DNA consists of such disparate elements as Waylon Jennings, Nilsson, Nick Drake and Physical Graffiti, often within the same song. Tillman’s voice sounds like Roy Orbison at his most joyous, while the music maintains a dark, mysterious and yet conversely playful, almost Dionysian quality.

Fear Fun comes out in May on Sub Pop Records. It’s already my favorite album of 2012. I can’t see how anything else could top it. It’s a complex album, both lyrically and musically, the kind of song cycle you need to listen to all the way through. Repeatedly.
 

 
More Father John Misty mischief after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Pop Goes the Easel’: Ken Russell’s film on 4 British Pop Artists from 1962
03.22.2012
04:36 pm

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Television

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Pop Goes the Easel was Ken Russell’s first full-length documentary for the BBC’s arts series Monitor. It focused on 4 British Pop Artists - Peter Blake, Peter Philips, Pauline Boty and Derek Boshier.

Russell was revolutionary in his approach to making this film, he developed a whole range of new techniques to capture and reflect the excitement and energy of these young artists, which was cutting edge back in 1962, but are now part of the very heart of documentary-making (you’ll may also note clues to some of Russell’s later works). It’s a beautiful wee film that captures these artists, their work and the start of the swinging sixties perfectly - though I only wish it was in color.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Tesla coils playing ‘Sweet Home Alabama’
03.22.2012
02:57 pm

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Rock and roll electrotherapy.

From Open Culture:
 

You can create music with Tesla coils if you know how to modulate their “break rate” with MIDI data and a control unit. Case in point. Here we have two solid state musical Tesla coils, using a combined 24KW of power, to play a version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1974 classic “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Sweet Ohm Alabama.
 

 
Via Open Culture

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Ankle-Breakers or Heels to Die For?: Short film on Platform Shoes from 1977
03.22.2012
02:57 pm

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Fashion
History
Pop Culture

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elton_john_platform_shoe
 
The platform shoes to-die-for were Frank N. Furter’s in The Rocky Horror Picture Show - those bejeweled white heels made Tim Curry’s first appearance as the sweet transvestite the epitome of glam. And gorgeous he was too.

Elton John may arguably have had the best platform shoes, but his tended to veer into stage props, eventually leading to those sky-high Doctor Marten boots in Ken Russell’s Tommy. And of course, there was David Bowie, Twiggy, and a host of pop stars sashaying around London on pairs of ankle-breakers. Like Oxford bags, bell bottoms, high-waisters, and bomber jackets, the platform shoe epitomized the androgynous nature of seventies fashions. Originally devised as stage shoes in Greek theater, platforms have been in and out of style through the centuries, at various times used by prostitutes to signal their availability and profession (to literally stand out from the crowd), and were popular in the 18th century as shit-steppers, used to avoid effluent on the road. However, their greatest impact was in the 1970s, when they were the boot of choice for seemingly everyone under 30.

I had a pair of 5 inch heels, blue patent leather, divine to walk in, impossible to run in, and not the expected school uniform. This British Pathe featurette takes a look at the trend of platform shoes from 1977.
 

 
Via British Pathe
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Living in a floating teepee
03.22.2012
02:03 pm

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Environment
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Watching the river flow.

Australian Will Woodbridge decided to leave campus life after accidentally setting off a fire alarm and then being fined $350. At first, Will lived in the back of his car, he than decided to build a raft and looked at what options he would have for shelter. He looked at cabin-type tents and finally his uncle suggested a teepee.

Will describes his lifestyle as “deliciously hippyish.”

I lived in a teepee for a year back in the late Sixties. Actually, it was a parachute that I hung from the beams of an ancient outdoor dancehall in Los Gatos, California. I read Brautigan, Kerouac, Gary Snyder and Eldridge Cleaver, lived on brown rice, rolled oats and Benzedrine.

Will seems to be living the good life. See more photos at Tiny House Blog.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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