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A Piece of Paradise: Larry Levan mixing live at the Paradise Garage in 1979


 
This is some serious disco history right here! A recording has recently surfaced of DJ Larry Levan mixing live from the 1979 2nd birthday party of the legendary New York night spot the Paradise Garage. The 4 hour set was broadcast live on NY’s WBLS station (hence the occasional MC commentary from the recognisable voice of Frankie Crocker) and was taped off the radio by producer Lenny Fontana as a kid. He had the foresight to transfer the original tapes to DAT in 1990, and to put the mix away into storage.

Recently unearthed by the BBC’s Eddy Gordon, who has described the tapes as “broadcasting gold”, the set was broadcast on BBC Radio 6 as part of a “A Taste Of Paradise” season, which ran over a series of nights and featured interviews with some of the key players in the Garage’s history. Props to the folks at the Irish disco website isodisco.com, who have uploaded all the interviews to their site - these are worth checking out too as they are fun and informative, and have some cracking underground disco soundbeds.

But the main attraction is Levan’s dj set itself. For many people like me, whose number one time travel destination would be the Garage at its late 70s/early 80s peak, this is as close as we’re ever going to get. You can really feel the party atmosphere in the broadcast - which opens with live PAs from Loleatta Holloway, Dan Hartman AND Sylvester, reason enough to be excited - and Larry’s selection is damn near flawless. Sure, the mixing could be tighter, but this is 1979 fer Chrissakes - just check the massive booming bass on some of these tracks! Obviously dub was an influence, as was the Garage’s legendary PA. If you’re not dancing by the time Tribe’s “Koke” kicks in (arf) at 2:49:10 - straight after Candido’s club classic “Jingo” - then you’re most probably dead.

Here’s the set, as hosted on Underground NYC - skip straight to 01:11:00 for the the broadcast to begin, and 01:52:00 for Levan to take over:
 

     

 
Just to make clear, this is NOT the set released on CD by Strut in 2000. 

Previously on DM:
‘Maestro’: a film about the Paradise Garage and the birth of disco culture
The last ever set from the legendary NY nightclub The Saint

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Start me up: Radio Soulwax’s brilliant ‘Introversy’


 
Ok, so this is kind of cheeky and infuriating, but you have to admit it’s also brilliantly executed. The Dewale brothers, aka Radio Soulwax, aka original mash-up masters 2ManyDJs, recently mixed the intros of 500 songs together into one hour long set and called it Introversy. That’s a hell of a lot of song intros - and the mix is accompanied by animation of all the sleeves of all 500 of the tunes coming to life. Now that’s dedication!

Introversy was originally posted on the brothers’ website last month, but as the original was not embedable, here’s a cheeky rip of a ten minute segment that has ended up on YouTube. Yes, the audio and visual quality are not great, but you definitely get the gist, and it’s all the more reason to check out the hour long original which is available to download as a free app on the Radio Soulwax website. Soulwax, their apps and website are all highly recommended - their currently streaming Celestial Voyage Pt 2 mix is a great blend of prog rock and space-disco which also features animated sleeves and is well worth checking out. But for now, here’s a segment from the rather excellent Introversy:
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
King of the mondo movies Gualtiero Jacopetti has died
08.18.2011
11:21 pm

Topics:
Movies
Unorthodox

Tags:
Mondo Cane
Gaultiero Jacopetti


 
Italian mondo movie maker Gualtiero Jacopetti has died at the age of 91.

Mondo Cane was the movie that started the “mondo” craze back in the Sixties. It was a hugely successful documentary, though some scenes were staged, intended to shock and it did. Although an exploitation film, it was a well-crafted movie that most of its imitators didn’t come close to equaling. While appealing to some of humanities baser instincts, it was also quite critical of the way people treat each other and our planet. It was a shocker with a conscience.

Jacopetti directed several other films, including two that depicted African culture in ways that garnered him some very harsh criticism. Africa Addio (aka Africa Blood And Guts) and Goodbye Uncle Tom depict Africans as either savagely cruel and uncivilized or as victims of white domination and genocide. Billed as exposés about the end of white colonialism and the subsequent civil unrest in Africa, some critics, particularly Roger Ebert who called them “vile crud,” condemned the movies for being racist. But, both films have their champions who see them as denunciations of slavery and white Imperialism. Both sides make compelling arguments for and against the films.  DM is offering you the opportunity to make up your own mind by offering the uncut version of Good bye Uncle Tom for your viewing. I think it’s a rather amazing and extreme piece of film making that draws inspiration from Artaud’s theater of cruelty and Bunuelian surrealism with some of Jodorowsky’s dark vaudeville.

Today’s New York Times’ obituary for Jacopetti describes his best known film with succinct accuracy:

Mr. Jacopetti liked to say he had invented the “antidocumentary” or the “shockumentary” with “Mondo Cane,” which was unveiled, and well received, at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival. He showed Italian villagers slicing themselves with glass in observance of Good Friday; the French painter Yves Klein using naked women as paintbrushes; and New Yorkers dining on insects in a fancy restaurant.

The narration was droll and the images were ironic: A bereaved mother in New Guinea nurses a suckling pig, immediately followed by the wholesale slaughter of pigs for an orgy of feasting in the same region. Mr. Jacopetti called such transitions “shock cuts.” Another scene shows people mourning in a pet cemetery in Pasadena, Calif. Cut to shots of customers savoring roast dog at a Taiwanese restaurant.

I remember seeing Mondo Cane as a kid and its images were indelible, they linger still. The film’s theme song, “More” became an international hit and is as memorable as the film itself.

In this clip, we see baby chicks being dyed for Easter gifts, geese being force fed to create foie gras and cows being massaged and fed beer as part of the process of being transformed into Kobe beef.
 

 
A short film made during the UK premier of the restored version of Goodbye Uncle Tom.
 

 
Goodbye Uncle Tom after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Stunning performance by Sun Ra and his Arkestra on French TV in 1972
08.18.2011
10:09 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Sun Ra
French TV 1972


 
At the conclusion of their 1971 European tour, Sun Ra and His Arkestra visited Paris and performed for the French television show Jazz Session. The result was a stunning piece of musical theater shot in beautiful black and white and broadcast on January 8, 1972.

This is the show in its entirety. It begins with a brief introduction by the program’s creator Bernard Lion (Leo) who, along with being a hardcore jazz enthusiast and record producer, also directed videos for Serge Gainsbourg.

Whether you are a fan of Sun Ra or not, I think you’ll find this quite fulfilling.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
EVERY issue of ‘Rock Scene’ magazine from the 70s online


 
I knew that eventually some wonderful human being would scan every issue of the old Rock Scene magazine and post them on the Internet and now the very lovely Ryan Richardson—the man who generously shared his collection of Star magazines with the world—has done just that.

Rock Scene was a mid-70s to early 80s black and white picture magazine edited by prominent rock writer Lisa Robinson (later of Vanity Fair) and her husband Richard Robinson (who produced Lou Reed’s first solo record and the Flamin’ Groovies’ Teenage Head). They were a well-known power couple in New York rock circles and had easy access to any and every rocker they wanted to meet. Rock Scene was where you could read about superstar acts like Rod Stewart, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Queen and Elton John, as well as cult acts like Mumps, Lou Reed, the Ramones, Cherry Vanilla, The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, Blondie, The Dictators, Suicide, Talking Heads, Iggy, Kim Fowley, the Dead Boys, Willy DeVille, John Cale, etc.

Rock Scene was all about the backstage and party scene and it was very “insider,” even featuring articles about rock journalists (Nick Kent, Lester Bangs, Charles Shaar Murray) and well-known groupies like Sable Starr, Bebe Buell and Cyndria Foxe. The contributing photographers included the legendary Bob Gruen, Leee Black Childers, Danny Fields, Roberta Bayley, Stephanie Chernikowski and Richard Creamer. Wayne County even had an advice column called “Ask Wayne”!

I first started reading Rock Scene with the March 1976 issue (above) when I was a ten-year-old and I bought every issue for years. I think from that very first issue I read, Rock Scene helped me define the identity I wanted to have and the life I wanted to lead. Growing up reading Rock Scene instilled in me a desire to want to move to New York and to meet these people. I never aspired to having a real job, I just wanted to hang out at Max’s Kansas City and do drugs with all the cool weirdos I read about in Rock Scene. (Of course Max’s was long gone before I got there…)

Ryan has scanned in every page of 54 issues of Rock Scene published from 1973 through 1982. He’s done rock snobs the world over a tremendous favor.

Visit Rock Scenester.com

Thank you William Meehan!

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘CHANCE’ Encounter: Christian Boltanski Weighs Birth and Death at the 2011 Venice Biennale
08.18.2011
07:59 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Venice Biennale
Christian Boltanski


 
Dangerous Minds pal Michael Kurcfeld interviewed French artist Christian Boltanski in Paris recently and unwittingly became grist for the artist’s mill, but I’ll let Michael explain:

It’s not every day that a journalist becomes part of a work of art. In a stroke of autobiographical fervor a few years ago Christian Boltanski had sold the rights to his daily life to a wealthy collector, who installed 24/7 live cameras all over his studio at the southern edge of Paris. These tapes become part of a massive unfolding record entitled simply The Life of C.B. Enter one unsuspecting American journalist prepared to shoot an interview there… A French TV crew had just been chastised by the artist for trying to glamorize him with their multi-camera shoot, and he was in ill temper before we began. But he soon became both reflective and jolly, his rueful sense of humor occasionally igniting like a firecracker.

Boltanski is acknowledged to be France’s most important living artist. His dark and prodigious body of work is esteemed by critics and crowds alike, and it seemed high time, at 66, that he represented France at the Venice Biennale. For the task of filling the French pavilion this year, he created an overwhelming jungle-gym of metal pipe and literally streaming video (whizzing through the vast structure as a giant ribbon of black-and-white frames). The images are of day-old infants, photos cut from Polish newspapers that announce births routinely. Every 10 minutes or so, a bell rings and the frames halt, randomly focusing on a single baby. It’s a loud, visceral and claustrophobic encounter with Boltanski’s most recent meditation on long-time fascinations: chance and identity. Chance is both scary and exhilarating.

He’s created a colossal machine that’s a demonic hybrid of printing press and film projector. As architecture, it made me think of Piranesi, a kind of enveloping prison. It exalts the mechanical, by alluding to the Industrial Age, and satirizes it with a whiff of Chaplin’s Modern Times. Chance is interactive: In the chamber just beyond the main hall is a screen that visitors can control with a big button at the entry. Faces sliced into three segments jumpcut at high speed, such that the recombinant photos whirl like a giant slot machine. Or cards being shuffled. Games of chance. Winning and losing. But the work never veers far from the assertion that we all lose in the end… Is Boltanski a pessimist? He’ll say not really, that in fact he’s happier than ever knowing that the world will go on without him. Nor is he a fatalist. To him, nothing is written so fate is an illusion.

Read—and see—more at Huffington Post
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Rule Britannia’ from Derek Jarman’s ‘Jubilee’, 1978

image
 
There have been few films as truthful about the state of MerryEngland as Derek Jarman’s Jubilee. Here is a world bought by bankers, sold by politicians, all with public money. A world where everything has its price, and liberty is defined by our Right to Shop. A world best described in the film by the wonderful creation, Borgia Ginz:

“You wanna know my story babe. It’s easy. This is the generation that grew up and forgot to lead their lives. They were so busy watching my endless movie. It’s power babe, power. I don’t create it, I own it. I sucked and sucked and I sucked. The media became their only reality and I owned their world of flickering shadows. BBC. TUC. ITV. ABC. ATV. MGM. KGB. C of E. You name it, I bought them all and rearranged the alphabet. Without me, they don’t exist.”

After its release in 1978, Jubilee was denounced by some of the people who should have supported it, but were horrified by its nihilism. Jarman explained his motivation to the Guardian‘s Nicholas de Jongh:

“We have now seen all established authority, all political systems, fail to provide any solution - they no longer ring true.”

As true today, as it was then.

Here is Jordan as Amyl Nitrite, giving it laldy with her rendition of “Rule Britannia”.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Photo-spread for John Boorman’s ‘Zardoz’, 1974

image
 
I read the novelization of John Boorman’s Zardoz when I was about 12. It was a defining moment, as it confirmed my thoughts about the control of religion, the division of class, society’s inequalities and its endemic violence. You could say, it was the start of my adult education. It had extra importance as I’d walked home from school to save the bus fares to buy the book, and after reading it, nothing was ever the same. How could it be? Within its opening pages a flying godhead, Zardoz, has landed and announced to his murderous followers:

“You have been raised up from Brutality, to kill the Brutals who multiply, and are legion. To this end, Zardoz your God gave you the gift of the Gun. The Gun is good!

“The Penis is evil! The Penis shoots Seeds, and makes new Life to poison the Earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the Gun shoots Death and purifies the Earth of the filth of Brutals. Go forth, and kill! Zardoz has spoken.”

 
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When Sean Connery was sent the script, he was “absolutely caught by its originality”, as he told Gordon Gow from Films and Filming in 1974:

“It was one of the best ideas I’d come across for ages…So by the following weekend I was over in Ireland to prepare for filming.

“What gripped me especially was the direction the people in [the script] were taking in the future existence, as opposed to space ships and rockets and all that…[..]...What does interest me is the possible development of society in centuries to come. The way different levels and types evolve in the script is intriguing and refreshing, and could well be true. The fact that people are not going to die, for example.

“Many things are changed by the knowledge you’re not going to die. There’s no need to procreate, therefore it takes away the sexual drives. Today we live in the age of analysis: we can give answers as to why people do things, whether it’s ambition or fighting for power or because they hated their father or their mother - their hangups become a kind of blueprint to their behavior. But if you take that away you get an entirely different concept of human beings.’

Connery hadn’t been Boorman’s first choice, that had been Burt Reynolds, with whom Boorman had scored the major hit Deliverance. Somehow I can’t imagine Reynolds carrying off the thigh high boots or red loin cloth, or exuding the necessary untrammeled masculinity. With the success of Deliverancve, Boorman was given a carte blanche to make what he wanted. He started working on a science fiction script, Zardoz, in 1972, and brought in Bill Stair to “...help rationalize the visions that threatened to engulf me.”

Zardoz is certainly rich with ideas, some better developed than others, but all have their own merits. That’s one thing about the best of seventies’ films, they had intelligence behind them, ideas at play, rather than today’s reliance on CGI and anodyne stories.

Set in the 23rd century, where Exterminators trade grain with their god - Zardoz - for guns to exploit and kill. Enter Zed (Connery) who questions why a god would require grain, and sneaks on board the flying godhead to uncover the secret of Zardoz and life beyond the Outlands in the Vortex.

The Outlands: once it was called the good Earth. Now it is the desolate, exhausted, polluted wasteland all the world has become, except for the lush Vortex.

The Eternals: members of the Vortex. Highly privileged scientists and intellectuals, eternally young, who have learned all the Secrets of Life - except one.

The Exterminators: a privileged and physically superior group permitted to breed under strict control to fight the Brutals and support the Vortex.

The Brutals: the last survivors of the dying world outside the Vortex, who live at subsistence level.

The Apathetics: victims of the pursuit of perfection, they are Eternals who have found the strain of immortality too great and live only for the one thing their society denies them.

The Renegades: malicious, embittered offenders in the Vortex who would defy and destroy the establishment - if they could only find it.

Connery explained the film to Gow:

“Then society, a sit always does, starts to fragment into different strata. There are the Apathetics and the Renegades. They are all Eternals, these people, who are going to live forever. The base of all the great learning that the world has accumulated by that stage becomes a Tabernacle, which gives people information as to how to act, like a major computer, a great feed-tank put together by the best minds of the world. But the human condition is such that it still retains anger and other emotions.

“There are areas like oases: each is known as a Vortex. They exist throughout the world on a system of highly democratic rule with guidelines supplied from the Tabernacle. But the Renegades abhor the system and fight it…[..]...On the other hand, the Apathetics are reluctant to do anything at all..the Renegades they’d really like to die, to get out.

“Beyond the Vortex areas, there are the Outlands: very barren. The inhabitants there are called the Brutals, they’re rather like our present society, not very civilized. The god Zardoz gives the Brutals something to worship, the gun. the penis is evil, the gun is good. The Brutals are necessary to each Vortex, because they’ve been taught to provide wheat and other food substances…[..]...This is where the character I play comes in. I hide in the head…[..]...and set about destroying the society.”

For your delectation, here is the original photo preview for Zardoz, which appeared in Films and Filming in March 1974.
 
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More pics from ‘zardoz’, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Captain Beefheart performs The Beatles’ Yesterday on Dutch TV 1974
08.18.2011
02:52 pm

Topics:
Art
Heroes
Music
Television

Tags:
Captain Beefheart
Yesterday


 
Well sort of, anyways. The late great Don Van Vliet does a brief, throaty, whistled rendition with organ accompaniment of the Beatles’ standard which is about as random a moment as anything I can imagine. It’s the cherry on top of this amusing and good natured 1974 Dutch TV appearance which also features a mime-tastic version of “Upon The My-Oh-My.”
 

 
Thanks to Ace Farren Ford !

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Ohio Republicans shamelessly grovel to unions (why ‘we’ did win in Wisconsin)


 
The day after the first leg of the Wisconsin recall elections, I thought the number of “We won!” emails coming from the various lefty and labor organizations I support seemed a little odd. Did we win? It sure didn’t look that way to me. If “we” would have won, the tallies would have been different, right?

Maybe they were half right. Wisconsin Democrats did, after all, oust two Republican senators in two of the very, very few successful recall races ever held in American history. Pity the other two races didn’t fall their way, but it’s certain that what happened in Wisconsin awakened an awful lot of people to what was going on in their state, the role of the Koch brothers in rightwing AstroTurf politics there and just how aggressive and vicious the GOP can get when they are in the majority in a legislative body.

The Republican majority now hinges on one vote in Wisconsin. Personally, I’d rate the glass more than half-full considering the power math of less than a year ago. There is little doubt that Democrats will retake the legislature next year.

The collective bargaining rights issue highlighted by the recall election in Wisconsin, as I’ve maintained here, has never been merely a statewide matter. It’s a national issue of great importance to the future of this country’s middle-class families. Wisconsin was the flash point. The first battle in a longer war.

When I stopped and thought about it, I realized what HAD been gained in Wisconsin and this is now coming much better into focus as Ohio Governor John Kasich and the Republican party seek to back-walk the deeply unpopular anti-labor bill SB 5—it’s not a law yet despite the GOP’s best efforts—and are asking Ohio Democrats and labor unions to withdraw a November referendum on it. The public opinion is decidedly against the Republicans and polling just a little over two months from the November 8 vote shows an overwhelming 54% to 36% gulf in favor of rejecting the bill.

With this much Republican blood in the water, why would Ohio Democrats be stupid enough to withdraw the referendum? AS IF the Republicans would ever pay them the same courtesy! It’s hilarious to watch Kasich say this shit! So craven! So… Republican.

So ridiculous!

I love watching a Republican grovel, don’t you?

Kasich and the Ohio Republicans have been knee-capped and they damn well know it. Working families across Ohio owe Wisconsin progressives their gratitude. We all do.

Good people of Wisconsin: You lit what might be a long fuse, as Rachel Maddow eloquently pointed out on her show last night:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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