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‘I am not a comedian, I am Lenny Bruce’: His brilliant performance from 1966
08.08.2012
07:41 pm

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Heroes
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I was in drag the last time I did stand-up, about twenty-five-years ago, in a crowded bar at the Tron Theater, Glasgow. It was a return appearance, on a ‘gong night’ bill that included Craig Ferguson, who was starting out with his comic character Bing Hitler.

In some respects I was amazed to be asked back, and was certain my invitation had been a clerical error. The first time I’d tried to be Lenny McBruce and was full of misplaced energy that led me to telling the audience to ‘fuck off’, whilst reading a copy of the Sun, riffing on its headlines, horoscopes, interviews and adverts. I’d got as far as Princess Diana and Pete Sutcliffe jokes, when the howls of abuse proved too much, I was gonged quickly off.

Other gong nights had seen a generation of new and original talent: a duo called Victor and Barry - Alan Cumming and Forbes Mason - those erstwhile founders of the Kelvinside Young People’s Amateur Dramatic Art Society (KYPADAS), who performed camp musical numbers, in slick-backed hair and monogramed smoking jackets.

And then there was Jerry Sadowitz, who was incredible, and still is. His humor was unpredictable, relentless and much in the spirit of Lenny Bruce - nothing was sacred, no subject off limits. When menaced with the gong, he pulled out a joke pistol and threatened to shoot the compere, John Stahl.

Amongst such talents, I was just a daft, wee laddie, who wanted to succeed more than I wanted to perform.

So, on my return, I revamped one of my old drag characters, Bessie Graham, a mistress of the single entendre. I went through the rehearsed material and it seemed to be working well - at least for half the audience, those nearest to the stage that is. But for anyone beyond row 4, I appeared as an indifferent mime artist, with a basic grasp of mime. Later, I was told my mic had not been working.

Afterwards, watching Craig Ferguson perform, I decided to give it all up. Over 2 years of performing, on-and-off, I’d found out I was fine at comic characters and sketches, but hadn’t grown-up enough to have my own voice, and know what I wanted to say. And without that, I would never be any good.

That’s why Lenny Bruce was so good. He knew what to say. He understood himself - his strengths and his weaknesses. He developed his own philosophy that influenced, as a new documentary reveals, writers such as Norman Mailer (who even tried his hand at stand-up), and Philip Roth; musicians like Frank Zappa, Jim Morrison and even David Crosby. Here is Lenny Bruce performing towards the end of his life, when he was banned for obscenity, unable to perform anywhere but San Francisco, bankrupt, drug addicted, and yet still as brutally funny and as honest as he had ever been.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Happy 808 Day, with this excellent Egyptian Lover interview and live set
08.08.2012
07:06 pm

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Dance
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Hip-hop
History
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Today is the eighth of the eighth, the official day to celebrate all things to do with the Roland TR-808 drum machine. And what better way to spend the day than with LA’s own king of the beats, and undisputed pioneer of both the 808 and hip-hop music, the Egyptian Lover.

This in-depth interview, by Redefine Hip-Hop for Fifth Element Online, stretches to 25 minutes over two parts, and covers everything you could possibly want to know about Egyptian Lover, aka Greg Broussard. From the origins of his moniker, to his introduction to the 808, from some of his most memorable productions to his extensive djing background, this covers all bases.

The 808 is a staple of modern music making, as influential a sound source as anything produced by Moog or Arp. I fuckin’ love it, as my Bang The Box mix from a few months back proves. There’s just nothing that compares to those massive kick drums, those sharp snares and that iconic, ringing cowbell. As Greg states in the interview, the 808 is never going to go away, and even Madonna has name dropped the 808 recently, in an attempt to gain some cred.

Of course, Egyptian Lover beat Madonna to rapping about an 808 by almost 30 years, and the great news is that he hasn’t stopped rocking. He’s still touring, and playing to more people than ever, all over the globe, as successive generations get turned on to the 808 sound. He’s a real dj’s dj too, mixing and scratching with original vinyl over his trusty 808’s live rhythms, and of course it wouldn’t be an Egyptian Lover show if he didn’t take to the microphone to deliver his classic raps. Check the 70 minute live recording from last year, after the jump. That, brostep kids, is a REAL dj.

The Egyptian Lover is a legend set in stone!
 

 
After the jump, part two of the Egyptian Lover interview, and a live set recorded in Athens last October…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Pataphysical Materialism: Daevid Allen and NY Gong, live in Los Angeles, 1979
08.08.2012
04:52 pm

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Punk

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Above a flyer for New York Gong at CBGB’s

This just made my day: Black and white footage of Daevid Allen performing with New York Gong in Los Angeles, 1979.

Also known as the “Zu Band” because they were formed for rock impresario Giorgio Gomelsky’s “Zu Manifestival” event in Manhattan, the core musicians went on to form Bill Laswell’s Material. As seen here at the Los Angeles Zu Manifestival, New York Gong were Daevid Allen, guitar; Bill Bacon, drums; Bill Laswell, bass; Don Davis, sax, and future Shimmy Disc founder Kramer on trombone/synths. In the midst of New York’s abrasive No Wave scene, New York Gong were “Yes Wave” to the max, progressive, jazz, punk, progrock wunderkids led by the ultimate hippie

The sound quality is iffy, but that this even exists is a fucking miracle, if you ask me…
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Weezy, get me some LSD’: When Sherman Hemsley met Gong

Floating Anarchy: Gong, live on French TV, 1973

Thank you Virginia Tate!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Former Strangler Hugh Cornwell performs ‘Golden Brown’ with mariachi band
08.08.2012
04:26 pm

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Punk

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Hugh Cornwell and London-based Mariachi Mexteca take The Stranglers’ “Golden Brown” south of the border.

Golden brown texture like sun
Lays me down with my mind she runs
Throughout the night
No need to fight
Never a frown with golden brown”

It has been said (by Cornwell himself) that “Golden Brown” is a song about heroin (Mexican Brown). If so, this version is sort of a narcocorrido without the accordions.

I’ll take this any day over The Stranglers that are currently befouling the air.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Great Lost Psychedelic Classic: ‘S.F. Sorrow’ by The Pretty Things
08.08.2012
02:55 pm

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Music

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The Pretty Things started as blues-rock band in the early 1960s, and they’re often described as being “meaner, louder, uglier and with longer hair” than the Rolling Stones. (Pretty Things guitarist Dick Taylor originally played bass in the Stones). Their gritty, primitive R&B sound was heavily influenced by Bo Diddley’s beat.

With their fourth album, S.F. Sorrow,the Pretty Things decided to shake it up a bit and create a psychedelic rock opera that some regard as a lost masterpiece (I am one of them). It’s held in the same high regard as another lost 60s classic, Odessey and Oracle by the Zombies. In fact, S.F. Sorrow was the first rock opera, not Tommy. Although Pete Townshend has pointedly denied that S.F. Sorrow was an influence on Tommy, this seems unlikely to me at best. (They were of the same small London scene, The Who and the Pretty Things, so the notion that Townshend was unaware of S.F. Sorrow is bullshit. It’s got to be.)

S.F. Sorrow was recorded between December 1967 and September 1968 at Abbey Road Studios. The sound incorporates the sitar, Mellotron, flute, dulcimer and tripped out sound effects.. At the same time, the album’s producer, Norman “Hurricane” Smith was working with Pink Floyd on their A Saucerful Of Secrets album and The Beatles were recording their White Album. (S.F. Sorrow came out the same week as the White Album and Beggars Banquet).

The opera’s libretto came in the form of liner notes that told the story of one Sebastian F. Sorrow, an ordinary fellow who works at the “Misery Factory” and is drafted into World War I. His life descends into meaninglessness after he witnesses a hot-air balloon carrying his fiance crash and burn. Along the way he has an encounter with a mysterious whip-cracking character called “Baron Saturday” (based on the voodoo deity Baron Samedi).

Saturday “borrows his eyes” and takes Sorrow on a trippy trip through the Underworld (something that seems to mirror the Acid Queen’s unorthodox therapy in Tommy, don’t cha think?). The opera ends on a sad note as the desolate Sorrow realizes that he can trust no one and that he will die alone.

Following are a series of awesome vintage S.F. Sorrow performances from European television:
 

 
“Baron Saturday” on Tous En Scene, 1969
 
More Pretty Things after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Richard Dawkins trolls Mitt Romney on Twitter
08.08.2012
02:17 pm

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Belief
Politics

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Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘New York City Drop Dead’: A music/video mix
08.08.2012
02:03 pm

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Dance
Hip-hop
History
Music
Punk

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Here’s a video/music mix celebrating New York City in the 1970s - street scenes and music you’d hear in the downtown clubs.

Of course, despite the animosity directed at New York City by people who didn’t “get” it, the City survived. We didn’t drop dead, we dropped beats.

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1. “Jet Boy” - The New York Dolls   2. “Piss Factory” - Patti Smith
3. “X-Offender” Blondie   4. “Born To Lose” - The Heartbreakers  
5. “SuperRappin’” - Grandmaster Flash   6. “Darrio” - Kid Creole  
7. “The Mexican” - Babe Ruth   8. “Pop Your Funk” - Arthur Russell
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Because you can die: Republicans are absolutely furious about Obama PAC’s newest ad
08.08.2012
01:48 pm

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Politics

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Have you seen the latest commercial from Priorities USA Action, the Democratic super PAC closely affiliated with the Obama campaign? It sticks a knife pretty deep into Mitt Romney’s craw by strongly linking the Republican candidate and his former investment company Bain Capital to the cancer-related death of former steelworker Joe Soptic’s wife. (Soptic appeared in an earlier, hard-hitting Priorities USA Action ad that also seeing renewed interest this morning).

In the ad, Soptic, a former employee of GST Steel in Kansas City—he worked there for 30 years—speaks about his life after the steel plant was shut down under Bain’s ownership.

“When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant, I lost my healthcare, and my family lost their healthcare. And a short time after that my wife became ill,” Soptic says in the ad,

Is it fair to say the Mitt Romney had anything to do—personally—with this woman’s death? That’s, of course, pretty debatable stuff, but this is entirely the point, that the country debate the matter. All’s fair in love, war and politics and it’s not like Romney’s ads are any “truthier.”

It’s nice to see these issues raised. At last.

On that level, I think it’s fair politics to remind people that Mitt Romney will take away their healthcare in the unlikely event he’s elected President. I also think it’s well within the bounds of the rules of politics as it is played today to link Romney to the real world wreckage that Bain left in its wake. Even if he left Bain before Mrs Soptic’s illness, it’s the entire culture of vulture capitalism that should be called to task when lives and entire communities are destroyed to enrich fat cats like Thurston Howell III Mitt Romney.

Of course conservatives, Libertarians and free marketeers will say that this is how capitalism is supposed to work, creative destruction and pricing efficiency and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Tell that to Joe Soptic. He knows it’s all bullshit.

Free enterprise, free market… free to die like a dog in Mitt Romey’s America. Don’t tread on me!

I thought LOLGOP nailed the reason why this commercial is so effective, and why it’s got so many conservatives seeing red. Via Eclectablog:

This new Priorities USA ad finally makes the connections between a lack of financial stability, a lack of health insurance and death. Yes, death. People die because they lack health insurance and more will die if Romney wins and the Affordable Care Act is repealed. That point needs to be made.

This woman died because she lacked insurance. Like too many Americans, she waited till the last possible moment to seek care. And since we all pay for each other’s health care, we ending paying for a huge percentage of it during the last days when little can be done. Is this Mitt Romney’s fault? No. Does he want to take health care away from millions of Americans? Absolutely.

And Republicans are furious that someone is finally saying that Americans die because of our insane health care system and more will die if Romney wins. Conservatives are willing to use the threat of death by foreign interest to scare you into anything they want. But use the real life fear of what actually kills us and suddenly you’ve gone too far.

Now is the time to go too far, then. Because what the Republicans are planning means that we’ll pay more for health care and get less of it. And Americans will die. We can prevent that if we’re willing to say what’s at stake.

Bingo.

There’s another, (slightly) more subtle message in the ad that echoes something The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote this morning about Romney’s bigger picture problem with Bain and the MIA tax returns:

The question is not whether he did well, or whether he did it legally, but whether he did it with any sense of ethics.

Romney almost certainly didn’t break the law by putting his money in Switzerland or the Bahamas, or by paying an income tax rate of 15 percent. He didn’t necessarily break any laws by creating a $100 million 401(k). 

The question is whether such things are fair, or whether Romney has exploited a system that allows rich people like him to get richer at the expense of less wealthy taxpayers — Italian, in the most recent case, or American, in other cases. Of more concern is that, as president, Romney would further expand the advantages of fellow rich people.

Romney encouraged that worry on Tuesday, when he announced at a campaign stop that he would be tough on welfare — “we will end the culture of dependency and restore a culture of good hard work” — and then went to a pair of fundraisers where high-rolling donors paid as much as $75,000 for access to him.

“The question is not whether he did well, or whether he did it legally, but whether he did it with any sense of ethics.”

Does that one pithy sentence just not sum it the fuck up?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Grisly Disney: The Dark Side of The Magic Kingdom
08.08.2012
12:51 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Drugs
Pop Culture

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Disasterland is Mexican artist Rodolfo Loaiza‘s ode to pop culture, cosmetic surgery, drug use, and obsession with celebrity reflected back at us via some of The Walt Disney Company’s most valuable trademarks.

Disasterland will be on display at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles from Aug. 3 to Sept. 2.
 
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More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Doors performing ‘Stairway To Heaven’
08.08.2012
12:14 am

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Music

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Okay I lied. Morrison was dead months before “Stairway To Heaven” was released. What we have here is The Australian Doors in a highly entertaining video that manages to take the piss out on both bands.

This performance appeared on Australian TV show The Money Or The Gun, which ran for one season (1989-90) and each week featured a guest performer doing a version of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven,” over 25 in all.

I’ve picked three “Stairway” covers I like: Elvis, The Doors and The Beatles.
 

 
More “stairways” after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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