Last night I watched The Story of Wish You Were Here, the new Blu-ray documentary release from Eagle Rock Entertainment about the creation of Pink Floyd’s landmark 1975 follow-up to their monster-selling Dark Side of the Moon album. I loved it, but then again, I’m one of those Pink Floyd fans who can hear the same damned stories repeated over and over again without ever getting bored of them. In truth, there is not all that much ground covered here that’s not been covered in past Pink Floyd documentaries, but it’s so well done that this is in no way an impediment to enjoying the film. It certainly wasn’t for me.
Wish You Were Here was released in September 1975, and considered by band members Richard Wright and David Gilmour,to be their favorite Pink Floyd album. The recording of the album seemed to be somewhat of a tortured affair for the band—Roger Waters has said several times that he felt like the group was exhausted, creatively drained and perhaps should have just broken up—but slowly a powerful album came together, inspired by the band’s debt to its tragic founder, Syd Barrett and the album’s lead-off cut, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” The story of an unrecognizable Barrett showing up for an impromptu visit at the recording studio as the song was being mixed is a harrowing anecdote indeed. Several present broke down in tears at the sight of their old friend.
Also featured in The Story of Wish You Were Here are sleeve artist Storm Thorgerson of the legendary Hipgnosis design firm, Roy Harper who did the sarcastic vocal for “Have A Cigar” (many people assume this is Roger Waters, it’s not), Hollywood stuntman Ronnie Rondell (the “burning man” of the album jacket), backing vocalist Venetta Fields (The Blackberries) and others, including photographer Jill Furmanovsky who documented some of the sessions. Wish You Were Here recording engineer Brian Humphries also reveals some of the secrets of the master tapes at Abbey Road Studios, illustrating how certain sonic elements were constructed [for instance the shimmering “singing” wine glasses sound that opens the record, was reused from the aborted Household Objects recording sessions.
I love this. Artist Judith Mascolo makes these wonderful one-of-kind glass pieces of pretty much anything you wanna nerd-out to like Dungeons and Dragons, Doctor Who’s trusty TARDIS, Futurama , superhero logos and much more.
Mascolo takes custom orders, too. I wonder if she’d make a stained glass Troy and Abed for me? Now that would be somethin’!
A few years ago, someone I went to public school with left an idiotic comment on my Facebook wall about something I’d written on DM, basically saying in a totally dipshitty way that “the country can’t afford to insure everyone” and asking “why should hard-working people like me have to pay the way for others?” and THEN this moron proceeded to almost brag that she had a husband and five (FIVE!) uninsured children and she STILL felt this way and was active in the Tea party, natch.
“Who” is “the country,” in the minds of some of these dolts? Apparently, though, she was in agreement with her fellow teabaggers about giving the “job creators” like Thurston Howell III Mitt Romney and buddies a gigundo tax cut.
We were both educated in the same public school system. Go figure. People on my FB wall just tore into her, viciously, but I blocked her. I hadn’t spoken to her since the 6th grade, probably, and wasn’t all that interested in picking up where we’d left off at the age of 12 for more of her brain-damaged Tea party nonsense.
Here’s a list of what is already in effect, courtesy of CaspianX2 [I’m not block-quoting to save space, this is but one short piece of a much longer post at reddit]:
It allows the Food and Drug Administration to approve more generic drugs (making for more competition in the market to drive down prices)
It increases the rebates on drugs people get through Medicare
It establishes a non-profit group, that the government doesn’t directly control, PCORI, to study different kinds of treatments to see what works better and is the best use of money.
It makes chain restaurants like McDonalds display how many calories are in all of their foods, so people can have an easier time making choices to eat healthy.
It makes a “high-risk pool” for people with pre-existing conditions. Basically, this is a way to slowly ease into getting rid of “pre-existing conditions” altogether. For now, people who already have health issues that would be considered “pre-existing conditions” can still get insurance, but at different rates than people without them.
It forbids insurance companies from discriminating based on a disability, or because they were the victim of domestic abuse in the past (yes, insurers really did deny coverage for that)
It renews some old policies, and calls for the appointment of various positions.
It creates a new 10% tax on indoor tanning booths.
It says that health insurance companies can no longer tell customers that they won’t get any more coverage because they have hit a “lifetime limit”. Basically, if someone has paid for health insurance, that company can’t tell that person that he’s used that insurance too much throughout his life so they won’t cover him any more. They can’t do this for lifetime spending, and they’re limited in how much they can do this for yearly spending.
Kids can continue to be covered by their parents’ health insurance until they’re 26.
No more “pre-existing conditions” for kids under the age of 19.
Insurers have less ability to change the amount customers have to pay for their plans.
People in a “Medicare Gap” get a rebate to make up for the extra money they would otherwise have to spend.
Insurers can’t just drop customers once they get sick.
Insurers have to tell customers what they’re spending money on. (Instead of just “administrative fee,” they have to be more specific).
Insurers need to have an appeals process for when they turn down a claim, so customers have some manner of recourse other than a lawsuit when they’re turned down.
Anti-fraud funding is increased and new ways to stop fraud are created.
Medicare extends to smaller hospitals.
Medicare patients with chronic illnesses must be monitored more thoroughly.
Reduces the costs for some companies that handle benefits for the elderly.
A new website is made to give people insurance and health information. (I think this is it: http://www.healthcare.gov/ ).
A credit program is made that will make it easier for business to invest in new ways to treat illness by paying half the cost of the investment. (Note - this program was temporary. It already ended)
A limit is placed on just how much of a percentage of the money an insurer makes can be profit, to make sure they’re not price-gouging customers.
A limit is placed on what type of insurance accounts can be used to pay for over-the-counter drugs without a prescription. Basically, your insurer isn’t paying for the Aspirin you bought for that hangover.
Employers need to list the benefits they provided to employees on their tax forms.
Any new health plans must provide preventive care (mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.) without requiring any sort of co-pay or charge.
For what’s still to come with the change in healthcare laws, you’ll have to go over to reddit for more. You’ll notice that CaspianX2 has edited and refined his guide to Obamacare with the help of the reddit community, so this is an evolving document.
Below, Miit Romney explains the individual mandate better than Obama or the Democrats ever have. Poor Mittens having shit like this following him around. How will Republicans react to seeing this? Chances are they won’t ever see it, as this clip will probably never get anywhere near Fox News or Drudge…
The recently published graphic novel, Cleveland, by the late Harvey Pekar and illustrator Joseph Remnant, is a flat-out masterpiece of the form. One (hefty) part “biography” of a city, Pekar being Pekar, Cleveland is also another piece (and a key piece at that) of the grand tapestry recording the life of one of the city’s most notable residents, and certainly the man who will forever be known as Cleveland’s unofficial poet laureate.
In Cleveland, Pekar, who famously said “Life is a war of attrition,” tells his own story (as is his wont, of course) alongside that of the city he loved so much. It’s a broadly sweeping narrative for a writer usually so invested with the minutiae of life, but the Pekaresque observations are no less potent as the author takes an aerial view of over 200 years of the rise and fall of what was once one of America’s greatest cities and placing the events of his own 70 years living there in the larger context of Cleveland’s role in the American experiment itself. This is not the “day to day” life, little—yet potently illuminating—observations we’ve come to expect from Pekar, but in the beautifully-rendered pages of Cleveland, Harvey’s take on a slice of American history that he witnessed first hand (well, about a third of it, let’s say) is no less rewarding.
Cleveland is so beautiful and so heartfelt that it brought tears to my eyes several times (reading it, as I did, mostly in a dental office). I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you hail from Cleveland (or anywhere near it) the book is a must-read, but I’d say the same to anyone who simply wants to be dazzled by a great American writer at the very tip top of his game and working with one of the best visual interpreters of his long career. Cleveland is a masterpiece, a modern American masterpiece.
I sent Dangerous Minds pal Jeff Newelt, who edited Cleveland (Newelt is also behind Smith magazine’s delightful online “Pekar Project”) a few questions about the process of bringing a work like Cleveland to fruition and keeping the flame alive of one of America’s most distinctive literary voices.
In what kind of shape was the project in when Harvey Pekar died?
When Harvey died, the script was totally done, and Joseph had already drawn 18 pages. Harvey had seen those pages and was pleased to say the least. He was thrilled and it wasn’t easy to thrill Harvey!
Joseph Remnant’s artwork in Cleveland is just stunning, he’s clearly one of Pekar’s most inspired collaborators. What kind of research went into the panels?
Joseph was the clear and only choice to illustrate Cleveland. He was already working with Harvey and myself on The Pekar Project webcomics, and after he did such an incredible job on the story “Muncie, Indiana,” that clinched it. Because half of the book is literally a history of Cleveland, Joseph did TONS of online research searching for images, and also took out piles of books from the library. Regarding Harvey himself, luckily we were blessed in that we spent a nice chunk of time with “our man in person. The whole Pekar Project crew flew to Cleveland for Harvey’s 70th Birthday Party in 2009, and we had a wonderful weekend, him giving us a guided tour of his favorite spots. Priceless experience.
As an editor, how did you approach the material?
Cleveland was originally developed with Vertigo editor Jonathan Vankin, who did the initial heavy conceptual lifting of what the book should be. Then the powers that be at DC couldn’t be bothered to look at this incredible script, so on behalf of Harvey, I brought in Josh Frankel/ZIP Comics to publish the book, and brought in Top Shelf Comix to co-publish. So with Cleveland, the toughest editing was done, and I just copy-edited/ cleaned up some inconsistencies here and there. With short webcomics he wrote for The Pekar Project, Harvey would call me up and read me each story over the phone, then we’d jam on it for a few minutes and choose which artist to give it to.
I love the fact that the book is a parallel biography/autobiography of the city and one of its most notable and emblematic lifelong residents. It just works so brilliantly.
Cleveland was always so prominent in Harvey’s work as to almost be a character, so it was inevitable that he’d one day do a book with the city as the focus. I think Harvey identified with the perma-under-doggedness of the city.
Cleveland is such an unabashed love letter to what most people would consider a drab, horrible city, but Pekar’s magical voice and pithy, erudite historical observations and Joseph Remnant’s wonderful illustrations really evoke the city’s heyday, its rise and fall and fall in such a vivid, vivid way. It’s an extremely moving historical/dramatic arc that is unique in American literature.
It’s all about the love. The appreciation. The key to understanding Harvey’s work, IMHO is realizing how much of an “appreciator” Harvey was. Too many words are wasted on the Harvey-as-curmudgeon labeling, reinforced by the excellent-yet-ultimately one-dimensional performance by Paul Giamatti in the American Splendor film. All the little mundane moments in his many classic autobiographical stories come down to Harvey noticing, appreciating and wanting to share a special something he overheard, or a magic-yet-mundane moment he witnessed. Also so many of Harvey’s stories are appreciations of underheralded jazz musicians, klezmer artists, Russian novelists, etc. So it’s the same with his city. He was frustrated with Cleveland but he LOVED it nonetheless, so that love charges a jazzy poetry in his narration.
How did Alan Moore come to be involved with Cleveland? He not only wrote the introduction, he also generously helped you raise money to defray the cost of publishing, too, right?
I passed a galley to Alan through comics scholar Paul Gravett a longtime pal of Alan’s who I hung out with for 10 days at the Rio Comicon along with Melinda Gebbie (Alan’s wife and artist of Lost Girls) and Kevin O’Neill (artist for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). Alan Moore was always a huge Pekar fan. He even drew a one-page American Splendor story. Plus, Alan was a character in Pekar story because Joyce, Harvey and Danielle visited Alan and Melinda in England on the movie tour. Harvey Pekar was to Cleveland what Alan Moore is to Northampton. When we were thinking whom we should get to do the intro, he was my only choice. Then Alan helped raise money for the Harvey Pekar Memorial Statue on Kickstarter by offering a 2hr live webcam chat as a reward!
What else is still to come from Harvey Pekar?
Over at the Pekar Project the next installment of the epic Harvey Pekar / Douglas Rushkoff teamup, illustrated by Sean Pryor, is coming soon. Also, released next week is Not The Israel My Parents Promised, illustrated by JT Waldman. This is my blurb on the back of that book: “Pekar peppers accounts of perpetual persecution with poignant autobiographical anecdotes in this concise compelling and sure-to-be-controversial graphic history of the Jewish people and state of Israel. Waldman’s art, juxtaposing realism with ancient styles, rocking exquisite mosaics and elaborate medieval and middle eastern design flourishes, is nothing less than a majestic tour de Schwartz.”
This happened in Manchester over the weekend, and reminds me of Michael Douglas in Falling Down. I would REALLY like to know what T-Mobile did to provoke this guy’s rage? Maybe it was their legendarily shitty customer service? From the Manchester Evening News:
It is not known if the man was a customer or was staging a protest.
The footage was shot by a member of the public who was one of a number of people who witnessed the rampage through the windows. The film ends with a shot which shows a large crowd of people standing motionless on Market Street, transfixed by the dramatic scenes.
The 3 min 44 second-long footage – which was uploaded on YouTube by user Niall42 [not me!] on Sunday evening – had been viewed hundreds of times by lunchtime. It is thought the incident happened on Saturday.
A spokesman for T-Mobile said the firm was aware of the video footage but was unable to comment further at this stage.
It’s Canada Day, when all good Canadians celebrate the birth of their country.
Today marks the anniversary of the unification of three colonies under the name Canada, which came together through the enactment of the British North America Act, on July 1, 1867.
Canada now consists of 10 provinces and 3 territories, and is sometimes overlooked when compared to its noisy neighbor. However, Canada has a fine political system, a publicly funded health care system, was the first country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage, and has a wealth of incredible cultural talent, from David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan, to Margaret Atwood and Robertson Davies.
Of course, Canada also has the iconic and irrepressible William Shatner. And here is Mr Shatner giving his version of the national anthem “O, Canada”.
Little-known are the two music videos directed by Oscar-winning Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger for Debbie Harry’s 1981 solo album KooKoo (for which Giger also did the now iconic cover art).
“Now I Know You Know” was written by Harry and Chris Stein and produced by Chic’s resident geniuses, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. At the time of KooKoo‘s recording, sick of being “Blondie” and taking a year off from the band, Harry had dyed her signature two-tone bleached-blonde hair brunette and was pictured on the album cover with four spikes going through her head and neck (something inspired by Giger’s visit to his acupuncturist).
The video was shot in H.R. Giger’s studio in Switzerland, in it Harry cavorts around in a sexy black wig, with make-up and a body-hugging catsuit painted by Giger.
Another video was shot by Giger—and he’s in it, too, judging from the hairstyle of the masked male “magician” character—for KooKoo‘s first single, “Backfired,” but it’s pretty weak, actually.
Not going out tonight? Then stay in and enjoy over 2 hours worth of compilation footage of the Blizen Jazz Festival, from 1969. The concert includes performances by Deep Purple, The Move, Humble Pie, Shocking Blue, The Moody Blues, Soft Machine, Marsha Hunt, leading up to a joyous set by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.
Here’s the listing as posted on YouTube in no particular order:
Shocking Blue - August 22, 1969
“Venus” + interview
Deep Purple - August 22 1969
“Wring That Neck”
Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - August 22, 1969
“You Done My Brain In”
“Quiet Talks And Summer Walks”
“I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”
“Canyons Of Your Mind”
Taste - August 22, 1969
“Blister On The Moon”
Moody Blues - August 22, 1969
“Have You Heard” (Part 1)
“Have You Heard” (Part 2)
Soft Machine - August 22, 1969
“Moon In June” + interview
Marsha Hunt & White Trash - August 22, 1969
“My World Is Empty Without You Babe”
Brian Auger & The Trinity - August 22, 1969
“I Just Got Some”
Steve Shorter & Tilly Set - August 22 1969
“Move On Up”
Humble Pie - August 24 1969
“The Sad Bag Of Shaky Jake” /” I Walk On Gilded Splinters”
Life - August 24 1969
“Baby Please Don’t Go”
Blossom Toes - August 24 1969
The Move - August 24 1968
“Sunshine Help Me”
Roland and The Bluesworkshop - August 23 1968
Belgian TV - BRT
Various clips from this concert have appeared on the web over the years, but when placed altogether like this, it is a fab 2 hours. Enjoy!