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Brian Wilson’s Lost Masterpiece Smile: A “New” Old Version
08.04.2009
11:01 am
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Although over the years there have been many, many fan made “reconstructed” (bootleg) versions of what Brian Wilson really intended to do with his lost Beach Boys masterpiece Smile, in 2004 his Brian Wilson Presents Smile album and tour pretty much set the record straight. And if this wasn’t exactly what Wilson had intended back in 1967 (before Mike Love, new fatherhood, mental illness and various other factors buried the project) then at the very least it’s Wilson’s final word on the piece, what he once called his “teenage symphony to God.”

Wilson’s ill-fated Smile, of course, became legendary amongst rock snobs. In 1993 Beach Boys fans discovered just how far along Wilson’s unfinished project got. On the Beach Boys box set, Good Vibrations, author and filmmaker, David Leaf (The Beach Boys and The California Myth, 1978) sequenced a stunning 30 minute selection of Smile outtakes. I can tell you for sure, it was a mind-blowing thing to hear. Elvis Costello described hearing Brian Wilson’s original demo for “Surf’s Up” as like discovering a lost recording of Mozart and I must agree.

What we have here, though, is the so-called “Smile [Purple Chick bootleg]” put together by some Beach Boys fans using mostly original stereo Beach Boys recordings—using Wilson’s 2004 album as a guide—to step by step recreate Smile with these vintage sources. It’s fantastic! They re-edited, pitch shifted and used a few moments from Wilson’s BWPS album to connect the tracks and the results are quite good, a revelation even. Although I am not sold on their remake of Good Vibrations (my brain just refuses to accept it) I have to say that it’s entirely valid. After all it’s what Wilson did himself. Still, I swapped that track out on the CD I made for the car (and you might want to also).

A Good Smile Bootleg

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.04.2009
11:01 am
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Website dedicated to forgotten bookmarks
08.03.2009
09:03 pm
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Forgotten Bookmarks is an amusing blog where the content consists of rather personal bookmarks found in used books.  The writer of the blog says, “I work at a used and rare bookstore, and I buy books from people everyday. These are the personal, funny, heartbreaking and weird things I find in those books.”

I had a great time going through the endless entries of found bookmarks. However, I did find some of the lost love letters and old photographs kinda sad.  

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Forgotten Bookmarks

Posted by Tara McGinley
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08.03.2009
09:03 pm
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“That’s Incredible” Broadcasts History’s First Video Game World Championship (1983)
07.27.2009
09:47 pm
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Speaking of “Look Around You”, here’s a nifty nostalgic peek at 1983’s “That’s Incredible Video Game Invitational.”  Twin Galaxies says:

Twin Galaxies first Coronation Day Tournament is recognized as history’s first video game “World Championship”—held January 8-9, 1983 at the the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard in Ottumwa, Iowa, USA.

Co-sponsored by Twin Galaxies and ABC-TV’s That’s Incredible, the event featured nineteen of North America’s top players competing on five current titles: Frogger, Millipede, Joust, Super Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong, Jr.

The top three finalists won complimentary subscriptions to Joystik, RePlay and Playmeter Magazine and were invited to compete on the “That’s Incredible” finals in Los Angeles.

The show was aired to an international TV audience on February 21, 1983.

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Twin Galaxies & That’s Incredible

Posted by Tara McGinley
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07.27.2009
09:47 pm
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Louis Wain: The Man Who Drew Cats
07.26.2009
10:57 am
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Often held up as THE classic example of a schizophrenic artist, in recent decades there has come to be greater respect for the talents of Victorian-era illustrator of anthropomorphic cats, Louis Wain.

Wain’s famous felines were born of his efforts to amuse his wife as she was dying of breast cancer. Wain would draw their cat, Peter, with eyeglasses, pretending to read. This style was developed over the years and eventually Wain’s cats began to walk upright and wear contemporary clothes. They engaged in activities like smoking, fishing, playing musical instruments and having tea parties. It’s important to remember that at this time, cats were not widely kept as household pets, mostly they were kept around to eradicate vermin.

Wildly popular in Victorian England, for several years Wain’s drawings and postcards were all the rage, but eventually his popularity began to… well, wane.  After being taken advantage of in several investment “opportunities,” Wain’s mental health deteriorated and he was interred at a mental hospital in the poverty ward. News of his circumstances were publicized by H.G. Wells, who organized the funds to move Wain into a nicer hospital with a colony of cats, along with Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald who personally intervened on Wain’s behalf.

In the final years of his life, Wain’s cats became more abstract and less whimsical. His once playful cats began to resemble fearsome, almost kaleidoscopic, Hindu deities. Many psychological textbooks feature drawings from various stages in the artist’s career to show the progression of Wain’s schizophrenia.

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Beginning in the late 60s, Wain’s work came into fashion again and has become sought after by collectors. In 2009 Nick Cave, a Wain enthusiast since the late 70s, organized the first showing of Wain’s work outside of England when he exhibited his work as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties concert series in Australia. Artist Tracy Emin and musician David Tibet are also prominent collectors of Wain’s work.

The Chris Beetle Gallery is a good source for buying an original Wain.

Catland: The Art of Louis Wain

Louis Wain bio

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.26.2009
10:57 am
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London’s magical history uncorked from ‘witch bottle’
07.25.2009
04:20 pm
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Proof that use of bodily fluids common in ancient folk spells. From New Scientist

A rare insight into the folk beliefs of 17th-century Britons has been gleaned from the analysis of a sealed “witch bottle” unearthed in Greenwich, London, in 2004.

Witch bottles were commonly buried to ward off spells during the late 16th and 17th centuries, but it is very rare to find one still sealed.

“So many have been dug up and their contents washed away down the sink,” says Alan Massey, a retired chemist formerly at the University of Loughborough, UK, who has examined so-called “magical” artifacts and was asked to analyse the contents of the bottle. “This is the first one that has been opened scientifically.”

During the 17th century, British people often blamed witches for any ill health or misfortune they suffered, says Massey. “The idea of the witch bottle was to throw the spell back on the witch,” he says. “The urine and the bulb of the bottle represented the waterworks of the witch, and the theory was that the nails and the bent pins would aggravate the witch when she passed water and torment her so badly that she would take the spell back off you.”

London’s magical history uncorked from ‘witch bottle’

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.25.2009
04:20 pm
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When Schoolchildren Fought the System
07.24.2009
04:18 pm
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Quite amazing account of a series of political demonstrations organized by British teenagers in 1972:

The pupil power demonstration was called by the rebel Schools?

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.24.2009
04:18 pm
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Charles Bukowski Los Angeles Tour (Hollywood and Western)
07.23.2009
06:53 pm
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I love Los Angeles, I am an Angeleano by choice and forever shall it be. I’ve lived in New York, London and Amsterdam but Los Angeles is my favorite city by far. It’s great here!

I am also a big fan of the writings of Charles Bukowski. The city of Los Angeles is practically a character itself in all his books. As unique as Bukowski was, of course, he was very much an “LA character.” It’s hard to imagine him existing anywhere else. This video, one of 52 shorts made by Barbet Schroeder in 1985 as part of “The Bukowski Tapes” sees Buk taking the camera on a tour of his favorite dive haunts in the section of town near Hollywood and Western.

Approximately ten years after this was shot, I myself lived on this particular corner for a period of about two months (don’t ask!) and although it had been cleaned up quite a bit since 1985, it was still pretty horrific. The first night I spent in the hotel where I was staying, a man was shot and killed outside my window. On another occasion I had to sleep in the bathtub because a shot had been fired right outside my room. I figured I’d be safe from stray bullets in the iron tub. The corner had an all night hot dog stand (seen in video) beside a porn store that was also open 24/7. Tranny hookers that were over six feet tall and didn’t pass strolled the area.

It was, as one friend of mine put it, like an early Funkadelic album cover had come to life. Take a look for yourself:


Via The Rumpus

Thank you Michael Kurcfeld!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.23.2009
06:53 pm
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Pink Floyd Jammed Live While the Apollo Moon Landing was Broadcast on the BBC in 1969
07.22.2009
12:05 am
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This really happened!

“It was fantastic to be thinking that we were in there making up a piece of music, while the astronauts were standing on the moon. It doesn’t seem conceivable that that would happen on the BBC nowadays.” —David Gilmour of Pink Floyd

No shit! This is amazing!

My moon-landing jam session by David Gilmour

Thank you Chris Campion!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.22.2009
12:05 am
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Dear Friends: American Photographs of Men Together 1840-1918
07.19.2009
12:08 am
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This is an exhibition of photographs of men in strikingly affectionate poses. Although it includes a wide variety of photographic formats - from early studio tableaux to later casual snapshots - one thing unites all these images of unknown men: the emotional bond shared between the sitters. Confronted by such demonstrative images of men posing arm in arm or gazing into each other’s eyes, the contemporary viewer is left to wonder about the affection they shared, and about the meaning and purpose of the photographs that survive. Were these long-dead sitters friends or relatives, colleagues or lovers? In all likelihood, we will never know. And perhaps that doesn’t matter. One aspect of photographs that makes them so compelling is that they can generate so many unpredictable meanings - this despite their capacity to record their subjects in vivid detail. Thus, the physical expression of love between the men in such pictures is bound to provoke profoundly different reactions, depending on the viewer’s gender, sexual orientation, race or class.

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Dear Friends: American Photographs of Men Together

Posted by Tara McGinley
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07.19.2009
12:08 am
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The collapse of Soviet communism never relegated Marx’s ideas to the dustbin of history
07.18.2009
11:59 am
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The New Republic’s always brilliant John B. Judis wrote an excellent short essay in last month’s Foreign Policy that everyone should read. I could not agree more with the sentiments here:

In 1995, a magazine published by a conservative Washington think tank brought together a group of writers and scholars to debate a question that seemed to have a foregone conclusion: ?

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.18.2009
11:59 am
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