THEE PSYCHICK BIBLE: A New Testameant is Gen’s latest work, published by Feral House (and edited by Dangerous Minds own Jason Louv). It’s been produced in a high-quality, strictly limited edition of 999, signed copies, each with a 2-hour DVD of GP-O related video rarities, some directed by Derek Jarman and Peter Christopherson. Order yours here.
As someone who has spent many years acquiring rare Joni Mitchell bootlegs, I can tell you, there’s not a lot out there. I’m sure that many live recordings exist of Mitchell from all eras of her career, but not a lot of them have slipped out to traders (in comparison to Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd or the Grateful Dead where there are hundreds and hundreds of live concerts floating around the Internet). When music business blogger Bob Lefsetz sent out a missive the other day about Entertainment Weekly having an exclusive on a 1970 Joni Mitchell duet with James Taylor streaming from their website, well, “click” I was there. The duet begins with Mitchell solo, performing Carey then segueing into Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man. She playfully forgets the lyrics before calling on Sweet Baby James to help her out. It’s sheer delight.
This sublime moment—one of many—is taken from a new 2 CD set (with book) called Amchitka: the 1970 concert that launched Greenpeace and you can buy it directly from Greenpeace here (I don’t think it’s in stores or Amazon). The show took place on October 16, 1970 in Vancouver, British Columbia and was organized by lawyer/activist Irving Stowe, a man often called the father of Greenpeace. The goal of the evening was to raise enough money to buy a boat to transport activists to Amchitka, Alaska to protest the nuclear testing the US government was doing there at the time. It was to be the very first Greenpeace action
Intense folk singer Phil Ochs starts the set, after some passionate introductory words from Irving Stowe. He is followed by Taylor, who was just hitting the big time and is announced as a special surprise guest. Mitchell, then coming off her million selling third album, Ladies of the Canyon, but still nine months before her masterpiece Blue, was the bill’s topper. In 1970, Joni Mitchell was probably the biggest selling female artist in the world—surely she was the most important—and it has been said of her that she was the midwife to the birth of Greenpeace. 39 years later, both she and James Taylor (and the estate of Phil Ochs) are donating their royalties from sales of the CD directly to Greenpeace.
If you want to sample it first, the entire set is streaming from the Amchitka website—click on Music, then click on the link that says “Play List and Streaming”—but don’t be cheap, the 2 CD set, with 48 page booklet is only $21 from Greenpeace and you’ll be supporting a worthy cause. Makes a great Christmas gift because it gives twice!
And a very happy birthday to William Blake, one of the greatest mystics, poets, painters and visionaries that Western civilization ever produced. Driven to a pauper’s grave in his own time, Blake’s vision remains burning in our consciousness as a touchpoint of human freedom against the horrific machine-like nature of our destructive, planet-killing culture. If you haven’t given him your full time, do! If you don’t know him past “Tyger, Tyger” or a few other poems, have another look?
Wonderful addition to the bottomless pit of greatness offered over at Ubu, American assemblage artist Wallace Berman‘s first and only film, Aleph. Best known, perhaps, for spearheading the SEMINA art publication, Berman labored on Aleph from ‘56-‘66. Here’s what Ubu says of the film:
Aleph is an artist’s meditation on life, death, mysticism, politics, and pop culture. In an eight-minute loop of film, Wallace Berman uses Hebrew letters to frame a hypnotic, rapid-fire montage that captures the go-go energy of the 1960s. Aleph includes stills of collages created using a Verifax machine, Eastman Kodak’s precursor to the photocopier. These collages depict a hand-held radio that seems to broadcast or receive popular and esoteric icons. Signs, symbols, and diverse mass-media images (e.g., Flash Gordon, John F. Kennedy, Mick Jagger) flow like a deck of tarot cards, infinitely shuffled in order that the viewer may construct his or her own set of personal interpretations. The transistor radio, the most ubiquitous portable form of mass communication in the 1960s, exemplifies the democratic potential of electronic culture and serves as a metaphor for Jewish mysticism. The Hebrew term kabbalah translates as “reception” for knowledge, enlightenment, and divinity. According to the artist’s son Tosh Berman, Wallace Berman treated Aleph ‘...as a creative notebook, and like a true diary, it has no beginning and no end.’
Iceberg Slim is well-known as the literary progenitor of gangster rap (Ice-T, Ice Cube and Jay-Z have all listed him as a formative influence), mostly for his groundbreaking autobiography Pimp. Check out this great tribute to Slim by Josh Alan Friedman:
Like the painter Grandma Moses, Iceberg Slim was reborn an artist after age 40. His third, and harshest prison sentence - 10 months in steel solitary at the Cook County House of Corrections - finally crushed the pimp right out of him. Vilifying past predatory values, he exorcised his demons into folklore, leaving a seven-book legacy. Pimp: The Story of My Life, contained bookend warnings against the life. But Iceberg’s masterpiece only bolstered pimp liberation amidst the blaxploitation movie craze. In Times Square, for instance, a hundred fur-coated Superflys lorded over a thousand streetwalkers, taking renegade control of 8th Avenue. For them, Pimp declassified the sorcery of whore control, became a textbook for wannabe’s, and lent ethnic pride to the hideous profession.
Pimp still holds as perhaps the greatest chronicle ever written on male-female relations. In the flush of literary success, white feminist-journalist types sought out interviews like intellectual groupies. Pimp philosophy, Iceberg believed, might be adapted to mainstream relationships. “My theory is that some quantum of pimp in every man would perhaps enhance his approach to women,” he told the Washington Post. “Because I think it’s a truism that women gravitate to a man who can at least flash transient evidence of heelism. . . Women are prone to masochism, anyway. I think if you are able to manufacture a bit of ‘heelism’ in your nature and give them a sense of insecurity as to whether some voluptuous rival might come along and steal you, then you are a treasured jewel.”
I read Pimp when I was 13. I’m not sure it exactly uh helped my skills with women, but it certainly gave me a new vocabulary to irritate my friends with.
However, nothing compares to Slim’s readings of his own work on the album Reflections. Hearing Iceberg Slim’s renditions of key points in his life?
Veteran actor Edward Woodward, who was known for his roles in The Wicker Man and The Equalizer, died today.
The 79-year-old had been suffering from various illnesses, including pneumonia, and died in hospital, his agent said.
Janet Glass released a statement praising his “brave spirit and wonderful humour”.
It said: “Universally loved and admired through his unforgettable roles in classic productions such as Breaker Morant, The Wicker Man, Callan, The Equalizer and many more, he was equally fine and courageous in real life, never losing his brave spirit and wonderful humour throughout his illness.
Featured below, a trailer for the Wicker Man featuring Woodward in full form.
This young man, Will Phillips, a ten year-old student in Washington County Arkansas is very, very impressive. He’s smart, he’s articulate, he’s logical and he is passionate about doing the right thing. This kid is awesome. When Will took his stand—or rather kept his seat—against a rote recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in his classroom until there really isliberty and justice for all Americans—including lesbians, gays and transgendered people, he had no idea that his small gesture of defiance would end up with him on CNN. But there he was and wow, this kid is just unflappable. He even looks smart, and that’s impossible to fake (Compare his countenance to Sarah Palin’s!) You can see the wheels going round in his head before he opens his mouth. And when he speaks, he speaks the truth. God bless you Will, go out there and make your mark on the world.
When you watch the video clip note how Will’s father, Jay Philllips, is obviously bursting with pride over his son’s principled act of civil disobedience. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, a private/public moment of great empathy Jay shows toward Will. Jay and his wife, Laura, are active supporters of the local LGBT community, and have clearly instilled a sense of right and wrong in their son and they, too, deserve a round of applause—make that a standing ovation—for having raised a child this fantastic.
For the first time in a very long time, an interview with Philip Austin, Peter Bergman, David Ossman and Philip Proctor, the legendary Firesign Theater. (Jan 8 & 9, 2010 shows in Whidbey Island, Washington, see www.firesigntheatre.com for more information)
Former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker has been given an honorary degree in his home city of Sheffield. Cocker, who has also had success as a solo artist and radio producer, studied at the institution when it was Sheffield Polytechnic. Receiving his certificate at a ceremony at City Hall, the 46-year-old said: “I’m called a doctor now. Don’t worry, I won’t open a surgery.” He added: “But I guess if you are a songwriter maybe I could have some kind of musical surgery. If you had a song with a swollen chorus, or a varicose verse, or if you need a little bit of help I could try and heal your song for you.”
And while Jarvis won’t be delivering them anytime soon, “Babies” the song follows below: