Lou Reed, Nico and John Cale do Velvet Underground mini-reunion on French TV, 1972
01:49 pm


Lou Reed
Velvet Underground
John Cale

In 1972, Velvet Underground alumni Lou Reed, John Cale and Nico reunited before the cameras of the POP2 TV program at Le Bataclan, a well-known—and very intimate—Paris venue. It was Cale’s gig originally and he invited Reed and Nico to join him. Reed, who hated rehearsing, spent two days with Cale working out what they were going to do. According to Victor Bockris’ Lou Reed biography Transformer, rock critic Richard Robinson videotaped these rehearsals, which took place in London.

Both the videotape and the audio from this show have been heavily bootlegged over the years. A legit CD release happened a few years ago, but it still sounds like a bootleg. A high quality video turned up on various torrent trackers and bootleg blogs after a rebroadcast on French TV. It’s fairly easy to find. Now if only some of the outtakes from the Le Bataclan filming (if there were any) would slip out—they did “Black Angel’s Death Song” which I’d dearly love to see—not to mention what Richard Robinson might have (There is an audio only recording of the rehearsals attributed to Robinson’s tapes already making the rounds on bootleg torrent trackers.)

This is Reed coming off his first solo record (which had not even been released yet) and just a few months before he recorded “Walk on the Wild Side” with David Bowie and took on a totally different public—and we can presume, private—persona. This is “Long Island Lou” last seen just before Reed’s druggy bisexual alter-ego showed up and took his place. Cale does the lush “Ghost Story” from his then new Vintage Violence album and Nico looks stunning and happy here singing “Femme Fatale.” It’s before the damage of her drug addiction took its toll on her looks.

I will direct you here for the full version, but I can’t embed the file.

One thing worth pointing out here is that during “Berlin” you can see Nico’s face as Reed sings a song which he told her was about her. She might even be hearing it for the first time.

Here’s a version (oddly in color, the only one on YouTube, the rest are all B&W) of Reed and Cale performing a languid, stoned and thoroughly unplugged “I’m Waiting For The Man”:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Sonic Boom from E.A.R., Spacemen 3 and Spectrum, this week on The Pharmacy
01:36 pm


The Pharmacy

Gregg Foreman’s radio program The Pharmacy is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

This week’s guest is Sonic Boom aka Peter Kember of Spacemen 3, Spectrum and Experimental Audio Research (E.A.R.) along with Simone Butler of Primal Scream helping with musical selections and musicology in general… (She has a new radio show called Naked Lunch @SohoRadioLondon)

Topics include:

  • How the band began and the importance of Suicide, The Velvet Underground and The Stooges ...
  • Why the name Spacemen 3?
  • The role drugs played their part in the “Sound of Confusion.”
  • How Spacemen 3 consciously tried to alienate their early audiences.
  • How the music scene was more tribal and “argumentative” in Spacemen 3’s time.
  • Sonic’s opinion on people trying to tell him how to do things.

Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.

Set List

Penetration - The Stooges
Gimme Shelter - Merry Clayton
Losing Touch with My Mind - Spacemen 3
Sonic Boom conversation Pt 1
Bang Bang Bang Bang - John Lee Hooker
Afro - The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Try To Understand - The Seeds
We’re Pretty Quick - The Chob
The Hawg - Eddie Kirk
You Gotta Move - Sister Rosetta Tharpe
New Face In Hell - The Fall
INTRO 2/RX - Grits and Cornbread/ Soul Runners
Sonic Boom conversation Pt 2
Take Me To The Other Side - Spacemen 3
Goo Goo Muck - The Cramps
No More Hot Dogs - Hasil Adkins
Fears of Gun - The Birthday Party
Sonic Boom conversation Pt 3
I Love You - Spacemen 3
I Can’t Stand it - The Velvet Underground
Pharmacy Intros - BJM/CAN/Question Mark ? & the Mysterians .
INTRO 3/RX - Do You Feel It/Question Mark ? & the Mysterians
Sonic Boom conversation Pt 4
How You Satisfy Me - Spectrum
I Can’t Let Go - Evie Sands
INTRO 4/RX - Home Grown/Booker T and The MG’s
Rocket USA (Autobahn Father Rising Rx US Mix w SUN RA) Suicide/Rx/ etc ...

You can download the entire show here.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Clackity clack: Typewriter art throughout the 20th century
01:33 pm


typewriter art

Typewriter art
Italic Ode, Dom Sylvester Houédard (U.K., 1971)
In 2014, ASCII art has been a familiar form of pictorial art for at least two decades, whereas typewriters are hardly ever used un-ironically, they have become the vintage terrrain of hipster collectors. But it was not always so. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, at least to judge from Alan Riddell’s fascinating 1975 collection Typewriter Art (available for free download at monoskop.org). In this well-organized and respectful volume, you find out that artists have been tinkering with typewriters in a serious way at least as far back as the 1920s (at least that’s where Riddell starts his narrative). We’ve all seen dada experiments with typography; it was a Bauhaus domain of playful experimentation as well.

Riddell includes a terrific 1878 quotation from Mark Twain, describing his recent acquisition of a “new-fangled writing machine” that had been perfected by Christopher Latham Sholes and put on the market in 1874: “It will print faster than I can write. One may lean back in his chair and work it. It piles an awful stack of words on one page. It don’t muss things or scatter ink blots around. Of course it saves paper.” How many of you out there are “leaning back” while piling “awful stacks” of pixelated words on your screen? Actually, I am doing that right now (leaning back, I mean).

Riddell’s book includes selections from the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, India, Turkey, and many others. The artworks span the 1920s to the 1970s, but in truth an awful lot of them are concentrated in the 1968-1972 period—it appears to have been something of a vogue, sharing at least a little DNA with, say, the Fluxus movement.

I’ll say this: ASCII art this ain’t. (The book does include some portraits of Churchill and Gandhi and a few other personages that are quite similar to ASCII art.) I prefer this stuff, the fact of it having been created by an inky mechanical contraption gives it more charm.

Typewriter art
Typestract, Dom Sylvester Houédard (U.K., 1972)
Typewriter art
Homage to John Cage, Bengt Emil Johnson (Sweden, 1962)
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Woman makes life-sized dolls of dead people; poses them around her village
10:59 am

Pop Culture


Meet 64-year-old Ayano Tsukimi from Nagoro—a small village in eastern Iya, Japan. Tsukimi passes her time by making life-size dolls in the likeness of the deceased from her village or of the people who have moved away. When the dolls are finished, Tsukimi strategically poses them “in places that were important to them.” Beyond just posing them in important places, she also creates and decorates their background settings.

Tsukimi is married, but her husband and daughter live away from her in Osaka. She lives with her 83-year-old father in her family’s house.

Here’s Tsukimi’s “Valley of the Dolls”:

The World’s Best Ever

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Craptastic: Vincent Price hosts ‘Strange But True: Football Stories’


“Sometimes pro football is like the Bermuda Triangle…. strange and unusual things happen that can’t be explained.”

Although it tries to come off like the Mondo Cane of NFL football or something, the Vincent Price-hosted Strange But True: Football Stories, a direct to VHS home video release from 1987 is basically just tales of uncanny victories, player superstitions and dumb luck. A few stories are more amusing than others, but all in all, one has to wonder just how desperate Vincent Price was for a paycheck at this stage of his career by agreeing to host this In Search Of meets the NFL lameness. I want to believe he shot this piece of crap in a day to underwrite the purchase of an expensive painting or a bottle of fine wine. It’s basically stories of unlikely wins with scary music and Price showing up every once in a while. He doesn’t come off as much of a football fan, does he?

From the back of the VHS box:

Travel off the beaten path with Vincent Price as he unearths the strange plays and bizarre players who have inhabited the NFL for the past half century.

Step right up and see for yourself the one-eyed quarterback who led the NFL in passing one year. Meet the player whose diet consisted of blood and raw meat. See weird team rituals. The strangest games. Discover the fattest achievers who ever played. And relive such out-of-this-world plays as “the Holy Roller,” “The Immaculate Reception” and “The Miracle of the Meadowlands.

So enter, if you dare, into the weird, wild and wacky world of the NFL. This is one fantastic voyage you won’t want to miss.”

That’s pretty debatable unless you’re a glutton for punishment. But it tries so hard…

More supernatural sports with Vincent Price after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Boom: Watch where 26 asteroids hit Earth
07:41 am



If ever you have wondered how often Earth is hit by an asteroid powerful enough to be measured like a nuclear blast, well, here’s your answer.

Most of the time, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Detection Network monitors covert nuclear weapons testing, but when not focused on keeping an eye on superpowers or rogue states firing a sneaky nuclear weapon, CTBT also detects asteroids crashing into Earth.

Since 2000, CTBT has detected 26 asteroids entering Earth’s atmosphere and exploding with the equivalent of one kilotonne of TNT. The largest asteroid strike between 2000 and today was the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk in February 2013.

This video compilation shows all 26 strikes between 2000-2014 and it has been released by the B612 Foundation as a call to action on asteroid monitoring. B612 is a private foundation dedicated to the protection of Earth from possible asteroid strike, and the foundation is currently building the first privately funded space telescope to keep a watch out for asteroids. Data published last year estimated that objects up to 33-feet in width or larger that could potentially hit Earth are between three and ten-times more common than previously thought.

Via New Scientist

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Behind the scenes of ‘Silence of the Lambs’

Hannibal Lecter’s second appearance on the screen was in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs, the film that allegedly helped sales of chianti, fava beans and skin lotion. Based on the novel by Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs starred Anthony Hopkins as serial killing cannibal, Doctor Lecter, and Jodie Foster as FBI agent Clarice Starling.

Though he can be chilling, I always found Hopkins interpretation of Lecter far more cartoon-like than the nuanced performance given by Scottish actor Brian Cox in Michael Mann’s first Lecter film Manhunter. Cox as Lecter (or “Lecktor” in the film) seemed believably sane, normal even, but allowed enough glimpses of the deadly psychopath lurking underneath to make his Lecter far more menacing. Interestingly, Demme originally had another Scot in mind for the role, Sean Connery.

As for Clarice Starling, Demme had wanted Michelle Pfeiffer for the role as they had worked well together on Married to the Mob. But the actress was nervous of the subject matter and turned the part down. It then fell to Foster, who had read the book and was keen to make the role her own, which she did. The film proved to be a major hit and cleaned up at the Oscars deservedly winning awards for the actors and director. This selection of photographs gives a sneak on to what was happening during the making of The Silence of the Lambs.
More behind the scenes photos after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
The lamp that spies on you and tweets your conversation
07:11 am

Stupid or Evil?


Are we now so blasé with our privacy that we think it cool to have a lamp that eavesdrops on our conversations and Tweets random bon mots to the public? This is the question artists Brian House and Kyle McDonald claim they are asking with their listening device Conversnitch, which covertly records conversations and then posts extracts online.

Conversnitch uses a Raspberry Pi mini computer, a microphone, an LED, and a plastic flower pot to spy on us. The bugging device can fit into any standard bulb socket, and transmit any conversation taking place nearby directly to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing service, where they are transcribed and interesting snippets extracted, which are then posted onto the Conversnitch Twitter feed.

Here’s how House & McDonald describe their product:

Conversnitch is a small device that automatically tweets overheard conversations, bridging the gap between (presumed) private physical space and public space online.

Information moves between spaces that might be physical or virtual, free or proprietary, illegal or playful, spoken or transcribed.

Yep, we all know our governments can and do listen into our private conversations, store our email and keep tabs on us, and House & McDonald probably think they are doing something quite radical to make us examine all of this invasion of privacy. Personally, I think these guys have created a gimmick to draw attention to themselves, and three cheers for that. But more troublingly, they are probably just making it slightly more acceptable for our privacy to be invaded whether by governments, businesses, Google, Facebook or even your local neighborhood hipster, and that’s not edgy. Conversnitch is not making governments more accountable or businesses more ethical, it’s making the public more vulnerable, and ultimately more oppressed.

Via Slate

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘New’ Warhol works discovered on old Amiga floppy disks
07:00 am


Andy Warhol

Last year we posted about Andy Warhol’s interest in the Amiga computing platform, including his participation in an Amiga product launch event in 1985, at which a pixelated image ostensibly created by Warhol of Debbie Harry was shown. At the event Warhol, in a desultory manner, executed the fill function a few times; it’s unclear to what extent that work qualifies as a Warhol original—and yet, lots of Warhol artworks were executed by underlings, so really what’s the diff? In that post we also presented a remarkable cover story/interview on Warhol that appeared in Amiga World magazine early the next year.

Yesterday the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University issued a press release with the title “Previously Unknown Warhol Works Discovered on Floppy Disks from 1985” and the subtitle “Collaborative Team Rescues Early Digital Art through ‘Forensic Retrocomputing.’” The substance of the press release is that “a multi-institutional team of new-media artists, computer experts, and museum professionals have discovered a dozen previously unknown experiments by Andy Warhol ... on aging floppy disks from 1985.” The discovery was in part a result of efforts by “post-conceptual” artist Cory Arcangel:

The impetus for the investigation came when Arcangel, a self-described “Warhol fanatic and lifelong computer nerd,” learned about Warhol’s Amiga experiments from the YouTube video of the 1985 Commodore Amiga product launch [the product launch referenced above]. Acting on a hunch, and with the support of CMOA curator Tina Kukielski, Arcangel approached the AWM in December 2011 regarding the possibility of restoring the Amiga hardware in the museum’s possession, and cataloging any files on its associated diskettes.


It was not known in advance whether any of Warhol’s imagery existed on the floppy disks—nearly all of which were system and application diskettes onto which, the team later discovered, Warhol had saved his own data. Reviewing the disks’ directory listings, the team’s initial excitement on seeing promising filenames like “campbells.pic” and “marilyn1.pic” quickly turned to dismay, when it emerged that the files were stored in a completely unknown file format, unrecognized by any utility. Soon afterwards, however, the Club’s forensics experts had reverse-engineered the unfamiliar format, unveiling 28 never-before-seen digital images that were judged to be in Warhol’s style by the AWM’s experts. At least eleven of these images featured Warhol’s signature.

The images depict some of Warhol’s best-known subjects—Campbell’s® soup cans, Botticelli’s Venus, and self-portraiture, for example—articulated through uniquely digital processes such as pattern flood fills, palletized color, and copy-paste collage. “What’s amazing is that by looking at these images, we can see how quickly Warhol seemed to intuit the essence of what it meant to express oneself, in what then was a brand-new medium: the digital,” says Arcangel.

On Saturday, May 10, at Carnegie Library Lecture Hall in Pittsburgh, a short film called “Trapped: Andy Warhol’s Amiga Experiments” documenting the team’s efforts will be shown.

The press release did not divulge information as to when the other 9 or 25 (depending on what figure you go by) digital artworks will be made public. At the top of this page is one of the images released to the public, called Andy2; the other two, Campbell’s and Venus, are below, as well as a picture of Warhol’s Amiga setup.

I’m not an art historian or art critic, but I will say this. I like Campbell’s the best of the three. It engages the most signature work of Warhol’s career, and it’s nice to look at. To call Venus a fully fledged work of art may be a stretch….. it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that Venus was hardly much more than a trial effort to see if he could master the cut and paste function. I’m not saying it was that, I’m saying it could be that. Given the minimal manipulations involved and the cheeky (and let’s not forget, not terribly Warholian) subject matter, to argue for its status as a mature Warhol work might well be to indulge in some kind of aesthetic-categorization hair-splitting…. It’s not like art critics have ever, ever argued that a ridiculous or trifling work of art merited major world-historical status…... Maybe not, maybe I’m being narrow: I’ll leave it for others to decide.
Amiga equipment
Here’s a video of Warhol and Debbie Harry at that Amiga product launch in July 1985:

via Internet Magic

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
The Grateful Dead on Hugh Hefner’s ‘Playboy After Dark,’ 1969
06:44 am


Grateful Dead
Hugh Hefner

The Grateful Dead perform a delicate “Mountains of the Moon” and a rip-snortin’ “St. Stephen” from their 1969 Aoxomoxoa album on Hugh Hefner’s Playboy After Dark TV show. Aoxomoxoa is considered a highlight among the group’s studio output by fans, but “Mountains of the Moon” and “St. Stephen” were thought to be too hard to play live by Jerry Garcia—there were only thirteen live performances of “Mountains” and after 1971 “St. Stephen” was only pulled out on rare special occasions.

Despite this, Garcia remarked that “Mountains of the Moon” was “one of my favorite ones. I thought it came off like a little gem.” It does, like something you’d hear at a Renaissance fair. And if I had to pick just one song by the Dead of this vintage to see them do live, it would be “St. Stephen” (no, “Dark Star,” no, “St. Stephen”...). Even with the hatchet-like unsubtle edits this is still fantastic.

Eagle-eyed culture vultures will spot the gorgeous English Playmate Dolly Read who would soon be cast as “Kelly MacNamara,” the lead role in Russ Meyer’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls to Jerry’s left during the interview. You’ll want to skip directly to 3:30 to avoid the boring introduction and a brief flash of NSFWishness.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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