Turn on, tune in, happy birthday! Dr. Timothy Francis Leary, the revolutionary philosopher, “most dangerous man in America” (as per Richard Nixon) and High Priest of LSD was born on this day, October 22, in 1920.
Ten for Two: The John Sinclair Freedom Rally, directed by Steve Gebhardt is a filmed document of the John Sinclair benefit concert held in 1971.
John Sinclair managed the MC5 and was the founder of The White Panther Party. His uncompromising radical political stance made him a target of the U.S. government. He was busted in a sting operation for selling two joints to undercover cops. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail. Musicians, politicians, artists and friends organized a rally to bring attention to Sinclair’s unjust sentence. It worked. Three days after the rally, Sinclair was released from prison when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the state’s marijuana statutes were unconstitutional.
Ten For Two was produced by John and Yoko, who also perform in it, and features Allen Ginsberg, Phil Ochs, Leni Sinclair, David Peel, Jerry Rubin, Ed Sanders, Bob Seger, Archie Shepp, Bobby Seale, The Steve Miller Band, Commander Cody, Stevie Wonder and more.
The rally was held in Ann Arbor, Michigan. John and Yoko came on at 3 a.m.
Why hasn’t this been released on DVD? Rumor has it that Yoko owns the rights to the film and won’t release it. In the meantime, this funky video is all I’ve been able to get access to.
In The Conversation, Gene Hackman’s character, Harry Caul used an Ampex AG-350 and German-made UHER units to bug unsuspecting couples. The UHERs were similar to those used during the Nixon administration to bug the Oval Office. Bugging is more ubiquitous than we think, for example, though cinema may try and convince pay-phones are the best place to make that discreet call, they are regularly bugged by intelligence agencies. This was particularly true for the UK and Northern Ireland during the 1970s, when covert surveillance was carried out on paramilitary organizations, those of certain political affiliation, union leaders, Communist Party members and even John Lennon and The Sex Pistols. It therefore must have come as quite a shock to the powers that be, when it was disclosed MI5 had bugged the Prime Minister’s office, at 10 Downing Street, for 15 years.
Over at the Phantom Museum there is an impressive on-line collection of 117 reel-to-reel recorders and 50 microphones, plus an extensive history of reel-to-reel and recording advertising from the late 1800s to present day.
The Museum was established by Martin Theophilus, who has been involved in audio production since 1964, and now runs the multi-media company Phantom Productions. Theophilus says the on-line Museum, “is for people who want to look back and see how recording has evolved.”
...recorders were in use as early as 1877 but that the Edison Player, which initially sold for $20 (cylinders were 35 cents), was the first device available to the public. The Edison machine etched microphone vibrations into grooves on spinning wax cylinders. Historically, recorders have used wire, vinyl and other materials.
Theophilus said that commercial and private use of reel-to-reel magnetic tape to record sound, a technique first developed by the Germans during World War II, began in California in 1946 where two captured German machines were reassembled.
The vintage reel-to-reels in Theophilus’ collection were primarily used by singers, musicians and song writers who could not afford to hire professional recording studios.
Beginning in 1948, when portable reel-to-reel machines became available to cash poor artists, they used them to make demos. The demos were distributed to help the artists get jobs. By 1955, portable reel-to-reel recorders, such as the Ampex, reproduced a sound as good as the products of recording studios.
Writer, critic and translator, Fernanda Pivano interviews Jack Kerouac on Italian television, 1966. Kerouac is more than a wee bit shitfaced.
Pivano was known for her insightful and freewheeling interviews of American beat writers, including Ginsberg, Corso, Bukowski and Burroughs. She had a knack for getting on the wavelength of writers being one herself. And she enjoyed drinking with them. Her published interviews with Bukowski are worth seeking out. Her longstanding friendship with Hemingway certainly prepared her for dealing with a bunch of drunk poets.
One of the oddest parcel post packages ever sent was “mailed” from Grangeville to Lewiston, Idaho on February 19, 1914. The 48 1/2 pound package was just short of the 50 pound limit. The name of the package was May Pierstorff, four years old.
May’s parents decided to send their daughter for a visit with her grandparents, but were reluctant to pay the train fare. Noticing that there were no provisions in the parcel post regulations specifically concerning sending a person through the mails, they decided to “mail” their daughter. The postage, 53-cents in parcel post stamps, was attached to May’s coat. This little girl traveled the entire distance to Lewiston in the train’s mail compartment and was delivered to her grandmother’s home by the mail clerk on duty, Leonard Mochel.
Now that’s what I call finding a loophole. At least they didn’t put her in a box.
Unavoidably, I am reminded of Lou Reed’s short story of poor Waldo Jeffers, hapless protagonist of “The Gift” by the Velvet Underground.
I visited The Liberace Museum in Vegas and loved it. Too bad it’s closing. Las Vegas is no longer the Vegas I dig.
For Immediate Release:
LIBERACE MUSEUM TO CLOSE ITS DOORS OCT. 17
Las Vegas – After 31 years of operation, the Liberace Museum will close its doors Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010 to focus its monetary contributions on the Liberace Foundation.
Due to the economic downturn and the decline in the number of visitors, the Museum is forced to close the space and focus primarily on its dedication to the Foundation and the donation of scholarships.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we feel it is important to close the Museum to ensure the future of the Liberace Foundation and to keep the legacy of Liberace alive through its continued scholarship program,” said Jeff Koep, chair of the Liberace Foundation. “Since the inception of the foundation 34 years ago, more than $6 million in scholarships have been awarded to 2,700 students, and we will continue to award scholarships to deserving individuals.”
The memorabilia at the Liberace Museum will be maintained. A national touring exhibit is planned, and details will be announced at a later time. The board will also continue to research options for a location change to make the Museum more accessible to potential patrons.
“The traveling exhibit is an exciting way to share the life and legacy of Liberace while providing an income stream for the Foundation,” said Koep. “In no way do we intend to close the doors and not continue to explore options that will allow us to reopen at a later date.”
More rock and roll goodness from The Seven Ages Of Rock.
A tale of two cities, London and New York and the birth of punk. Each city created a bastard child that marked the biggest and fundamental shift in popular music since Elvis walked into Sun Studios. ‘Blank Generation’ examines the relationship between the bankrupt New York and the class and race-riven London of the mid- 70’s and explores the music of The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Ramones, Television, Patti Smith, The Damned and Buzzcocks