Pictured are the cast of Happy Days, John Lennon and a young Julian Lennon in 1974.
This is perhaps the first time The Fonz was not the coolest person in the room!
Pictured are the cast of Happy Days, John Lennon and a young Julian Lennon in 1974.
This is perhaps the first time The Fonz was not the coolest person in the room!
To be honest, I’m kinda surprised a gallon of milk was that expensive back then.
Michel Foucault: Beyond Good and Evil, director David Stewart’s superb 1993 portrait of the social theorist of power in history manages to squeeze a lot of information into its short 42 minutes and provides a pretty adequate introduction to Foucault’s life and work.
Foucault’s acid trip at Zabriskie Point watching the sun set over Death Valley listening to Stockhausen (which the philosopher described as the greatest experience of his life) is recreated, as is a 1947 performance of Antonin Artaud’s Theatre Of Cruelty. Foucault’s drug use, his participation in the sadomasochistic San Francisco leather scene and death from AIDS in 1984 at the age of 57 are also covered.
In various languages, but there are English subtitles when it’s necessary.
A friend of mine once told me how, when Igor Stravinsky happened to wander, purely by accident, into a Charlie Parker set in New York with some friends, he was so shocked by what he was hearing that, in the midst of Parker’s set, he rose to his feet, clapped a hand on his brow, bellowed “OH MY GOD,” and ran out the establishment.
Only dared double-check this charming vignette today, and found that, though the historical record might not be quite as picturesque as my friend’s account (and nowhere near so happenstance), it ain’t too shabby neither—yes, scotch reportedly flew when these two musical universes happily collided at Birdland in 1951. The following excerpt is by Alfred Appel and is from Jazz Modernism (I found it here):
Charlie Parker enthusiasts circa 1950 often declared him the jazz equivalent of Stravinsky and Bartok, and asserted that he’d absorbed their music, though skeptics countered that there was no evidence he was even familiar with it. Parker himself clarified the issue for me one night in the winter of 1951, at New York’s premier modern jazz club, Birdland, at Broadway and Fifty-second Street. It was Saturday night, Parker’s quintet was the featured attraction, and he was in his prime, it seemed. I had a good table near the front, on the left side of the bandstand, below the piano. The house was almost full, even before the opening set — Billy Taylor’s piano trio — except for the conspicuous empty table to my right, which bore a RESERVED sign, unusual for Birdland. After the pianist finished his forty-five-minute set, a party of four men and a woman settled in at the table, rather clamorously, three waiters swooping in quickly to take their orders as a ripple of whispers and exclamations ran through Birdland at the sight of one of the men, Igor Stravinsky. He was a celebrity, and an icon to jazz fans because he sanctified modern jazz by composing Ebony Concerto for Woody Herman and his Orchestra (1946) — a Covarrubias “Impossible Interview” come true.
As Parker’s quintet walked onto the bandstand, trumpeter Red Rodney recognized Stravinsky, front and almost center. Rodney leaned over and told Parker, who did not look at Stravinsky. Parker immediately called the first number for his band, and, forgoing the customary greeting to the crowd, was off like a shot. At the sound of the opening notes, played in unison by trumpet and alto, a chill went up and down the back of my neck. They were playing “KoKo,” which, because of its epochal breakneck tempo — over three hundred beats per minute on the metronome — Parker never assayed before his second set, when he was sufficiently warmed up. Parker’s phrases were flying as fluently as ever on this particular daunting “Koko.” At the beginning of his second chorus he interpolated the opening of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite as though it had always been there, a perfect fit, and then sailed on with the rest of the number. Stravinsky roared with delight, pounding his glass on the table, the upward arc of the glass sending its liquor and ice cubes onto the people behind him, who threw up their hands or ducked. The hilarity of the audience didn’t distract Parker, who, playing with his eyes wide open and fixed on the middle distance, never once looked at Stravinsky. The loud applause at the conclusion of “Koko” stopped in mid-clap, so to speak, as Parker, again without a word, segued into his gentle version of “All the Things You Are.” Stravinsky was visibly moved. Did he know that Parker’s 1947 record of the song was issued under the title “Bird of Paradise?”
Sounds like quite a night! Here’s some fantastic Charlie Parker footage…
Some July 4th thoughts on revolution as a process rather than an event from Charles Hugh Smith. His newest book is Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It
The next American Revolution will not be an event, it will be a process. We naturally turn to the past for templates of the future, but history has a way of remaining remarkably unpredictable. Indeed, all the conventional long-range forecasts made in 1900, 1928, 1958, 1988 and 2000 missed virtually every key development—not just in the distant future, but just a few years out.
The point is that extrapolating the present into the future fails to capture sea changes and developments that completely disrupt the supposedly unchanging, permanent Status Quo. The idea that the next revolution will take a new form does not occur to conventional forecasters, who readily assume the next transition will follow past critical junctures: armed insurrection against the central authority (The first American Revolution, 1781), civil war (1861) or global war (1941).
I submit that the next American Revolution circa 2021-23 will not repeat or even echo these past transitions. What seems likely to me is the entire project of centralization that characterized the era 1941-2013 will slip into irrelevance as centralization increasingly yields diminishing returns.
Everything centralized, from the Federal Reserve to the Too Big To Fail Banks to Medicare to the National Security State depends on the Federal government being a Savior State that must ceaselessly expand its share of the national income and its raw power lest it implode. All Savior States have one, and only one trajectory—they must ceaselessly expand and concentrate wealth and power or they will fail.
They are like the shark, which dies once it stops moving forward: the Savior State must push forward on its trajectory of expansion or it expires.
Stasis is not possible, nor is contraction; the promises made to the citizenry cannot be withdrawn without political instability, but the promises cannot be kept without fatally disrupting the neofeudal financialized debtocracy.
You see the dilemma: The Savior State cannot stop expanding, but the financial system that generates its revenues can no longer support its vast machinery of debt and phantom collateral. This is why I suggest all the centralized concentrations of wealth and power will either implode or fade into irrelevance.
If all the phantom wealth and collateral vanishes in a market clearing event, the Federal Reserve will simply become irrelevant to the vast majority of people. A handful of nimble speculators may well benefit by picking over the carcass of financialization and centralized omnipotence (i.e. central banking), and perhaps the 1/10th of 1% will still have enough assets influenced by the Fed to care, but the forces of disruption will replace centralization with decentralization.
Here is another example: Medicare may not cease to exist, but it will become increasingly irrelevant to most people because it will not longer function. The remaining doctors willing to treat Medicare patients will be working 13-hour days for sketchy pay, and as each one burns out and leaves the system, the system contracts. Eventually it contracts to the point of irrelevance.
The revolution will be in work and social innovations enabled by technology. The conventional view is that technology will magically enable the permanence of the present; this will be proven incorrect, as what technology enables is not the waste, entitlement and centralization that characterize the present but social innovations, some of which are already visible.
If we sought to summarize the profound transformation ahead in one sentence, it would be this: Wages are no longer an adequate model for distributing the surplus generated by the economy.
The current Savior State model responds to this by increasing taxes on the dwindling minority with fulltime jobs and increasing entitlement payments to all those without government or private-sector jobs. This model will collapse, politically, socially and economically, as no society or economy can squander half or more of its productive labor force while increasing the burden on the dwindling cohort of productively employed. The inevitable result of this dynamic is a destabilizing tyranny of the majority.
Technology is not just disrupting old industries and companies, it is disrupting the entire Savior State/cartel-capitalism model. The disruption has barely begun, but it will pick up speed over the next decade.
I suspect the next American Revolution will begin in the 2015-16 timeframe. A series of interlocking crises will lead to reforms that preserve the Savior State/ cartel-capitalism for another few years, at a lower level of consumption, i.e. burn rate.
But the process of revolution will be far from complete; this initial response of the centralized neofeudal debtocracy will buy time for the Status Quo, and every conventional onlooker will be infused with optimism and hope that the system established in the Great Depression, World War II and its Cold War aftermath—the secular religion of consumerism (i.e. aggregate demand), permanent war footing and the National Security State, and universal dependence on the Savior State and its ceaseless expansion of concentrated wealth and power—will continue.
But this Springtime for the Savior State/cartel-capitalism partnership will be brief, and by 2018-19 all the systemic flaws and disruptive trends will reassert themselves with renewed vigor.
The entire current model of governance, social order and the economy will be revolutionized not by overthrow but by the process of irrelevance. What will become relevant will no longer be in the control of the Savior State or its partner, financialized cartel capitalism.
Those currently holding all the concentrated power and wealth cannot believe they will become irrelevant, but that’s the result of projecting the present as if it is permanent and immutable.
The new system will be better, more humane, more flexible, more transparent, with more opportunity, for it will be everything the current corrupt, sclerotic, parasitic and exploitative system is not.
Previously on Dangerous Minds from Charles Hugh Smith:
Concentrated wealth and power are intrinsically sociopathological by their very nature
It has been said that everyone who bought a copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico went on to start a band. The same has been said about the attendees of the legendary Sex Pistols gig at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall on June 4, 1976, which included future members of Joy Division/New Order, The Fall, A Certain Ratio, Simply Red, Buzzcocks/Magazine, Tony Wilson and producer Martin Hannett.
One punter who was not impressed, a then 17-year-old Steve Morrissey, who let his feelings be known in a letter to the editor of the NME. What an insufferable, supercilious brat he must’ve been! Turning his nose up at The Sex Pistols???
There’s an entire book about this concert and the seismic cultural repercussions it caused in it its wake, I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed The World by David Nolan and a TV doc with eyewitness accounts of this infamous gig:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Ramones are Rubbish’: Morrissey’s thoughts on the Ramones, 1976
(Resurrecting this post from the DM archives. A Band Called Death is released tomorrow by Drafthouse Films)
Imagine it’s 1975 and you’re a young Black man obsessed with the music of The Who, Alice Cooper, David Bowie and The Beatles. You form a band that plays loud, fast, rock ‘n’ roll in a city where grooving to the Motown sound of Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and Gladys Knight is more than a past time, it’s a religion. What was Detroit to make of a kid with an Afro and a jones for Frank Zappa and T. Rex?
To the distress of your bewildered friends and Christian family, imagine calling your band Death and recording songs like “Rock and Roll Victim” and “Freaking Out.” Imagine that when the opportunity for success comes knocking at your door you sweetly tell it to “fuck off,” unwilling to pay the price of changing who are in order to make money being who you are not. Imagine all of that and you’ve put yourself into the world of David Hackney and his brothers Dannis and Bobby, three young cats who together formed one of rock’s most visionary and unique rock groups.
The idea for Death leaped from David Hackney’s imagination like a wild living thing that couldn’t be suppressed. It was a beast in search of its roar. This eruption had been a long time coming. Ever since he was a kid watching The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, David knew that there was something inside him that was restless and pressing its way toward the light of day. In time, he found the tools needed to excavate and give expression to this force, this beast - they’d been there all along: guitars and drums. The Beatles had pointed the way. The Who and Hendrix provided the maps. Ziggy Stardust drove the bus.
David’s brothers were quick to pick up on his calling. They shared his passion for rock ‘n’ roll and had faith in their brother’s vision of a Black trio that smashed musical stereotypes and re-invented itself in the style of trailblazers like Jimi Hendrix, Arthur Lee and Sly Stone. Death’s hard-edged, politically-charged rock ‘n’ roll had more in common with Detroit rockers like Iggy Pop, The MC5 and Bob Seger than the commercial soul coming out on Berry Gordy’s multi-million dollar record label. The cost that Death paid for being provocative and original was high. A record deal from Clive Davis was offered with the stipulation that the band change its name. David was unyielding. The name meant something too deep to fuck with. Where others saw darkness, he saw light. For the young songwriter and guitarist, Death symbolized transition and re-birth. It was more than just a name, it was a point of view. And it was precious to him. No, the name would never change.
Death stuck to their guns, recorded their music and eventually disbanded. David died of lung cancer in 2000. Dannis and Bobby formed reggae bands. It appeared that Death had died. But David’s longview in which death is just a process of passing through different dimensions became prophetic when The New York Times’ Mike Rubin wrote a piece on the long lost band in 2010. What had been an underground secret was now exposed to millions of people, with an enthusiastic endorsement from Detroit brethren Jack White:
“The first time the stereo played ‘Politicians in My Eyes,’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. When I was told the history of the band and what year they recorded this music, it just didn’t make sense. Ahead of punk, and ahead of their time.”
There was an immediate demand for the music of Death. Bobby and Dannis started considering what they once thought might be impossible: Death’s resurrection. David would like that. With the help of their spiritual brother, Bobbie Duncan, the brothers made David’s vision come to life again. Death was reborn.
Mark Christopher Covino and Jeff Howlett’s film A Band Called Death brings us close into the lives of the Hackney brothers, their family and friends. It takes us to Detroit, where Death found its sound in the grind and clang of industry. And it takes us into the spirituality of the band. The offspring of a Christian minister, the brothers found in rock ‘n’ roll a way to amplify their sense of the cosmic. With the coming of the hippie scene and psychedelics, they went further into the mysteries of being and found in their music a means to celebrate the dawning of the Aquarian Age. But into the mix of flower child trippiness, Death brought a blast of apocalyptic Motor City badassness that kept the psychedelic spaceship from tipping too far into the paisley zone. Their heads may have been drifting through the music of the spheres, but their feet were firmly planted on the cracked concrete of their Detroit garage.
A Band Called Death inspires as it illuminates the path the brothers took while riding out their dream with only their passion and positive vibes to carry them through. It’s a lovely film and deservedly won the Audience Award at this year’s SXSW.
Back in March, I spent a couple of hours with Death, shooting the shit and sharing war stories. I filmed the following video after seeing the band the night before. I was pumped up. The band were absolutely phenomenal live, my concerns about David’s absence were supplanted by the belief that his brothers more than ably channeled his energy.
Death lives. Feel the vibe.
Vitaly Komar and Alex Melemid’s first collaborative art show at the Blue Bird Café, Moscow, USSR, 1967.
“Today he is playing jazz and tomorrow he’ll betray the Motherland.” - Soviet era saying
The Blue Bird Café (Sinyaya Ptitsa) on Chekhov Street in Moscow opened in 1963, one of two jazz enclaves in the city. Students, nonconformist artists, writers, and musicians gathered there to listen to jazz and hold small unofficial art shows. A well-known quartet that frequently played there featured sax player Igor Itkin, pianist Mikhail Kull, bassist Alexander Chernyshev and drummer Vladimir Lesnyakov.
Painters Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid, who founded Retrospectivism, held their first collaborative show at the Blue Bird in 1967 upon graduating from the Stroganov School of Art and Design. Other artists who displayed their paintings and sculpture at the Café in the 1960’s were Erik Bulatov, Igor Shelkovsky, Oleg Vassiliev, and Ilia and Emilia Kabakov.
Komar and Melamid described their Retrospectivism movement as featuring “three-dimensional abstract paintings in the style of the old masters and reflects a typical search for spirituality on the part of nonconformist artists working in an oppressively atheistic state.” According to the description of Melamid’s exhibit of life-size hip-hop icons in Detroit, “Komar and Melamid often faced government opposition and harassment.” So much opposition that in 1969 government censors removed their work from the 8th Exhibition of Young Artists in Moscow.
Jazz was tolerated to some degree in the USSR (unlike rock music) and had even been the music of the stilyagi (stylish) youth subculture in the late 1940’s and 1950’s. But jazz came under a new round of unwanted scrutiny in 1968 as ideologically troublesome. In Red Hot and Blue: The Fate of Jazz in the Soviet Union 1917-1991 author S. Frederick Starr describes the Soviet establishment’s hostility toward jazz:
“There was no formal campaign against jazz. Indeed, Brezhnev applauded a modern jazz quartet that performed at his dacha outside Moscow in 1970. But many protectors of Soviet orthodoxy wanted to settle old scores. The jamming of foreign broadcasts, suspended in 1963, was reintroduced in 1968. Fearing unwholesome assemblies of young people, Komsomol [the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League, the officially sanctioned youth group for people 14 and older] abolished jazz evenings at the Dream in Kiev and at similar youth Cafés in other cities. The Blue Bird (Siniaia ptitsa), which had opened only two years before on Chekhov Street in Moscow, dropped jazz entirely, and the Molodezhnoe Café cut back jazz to two nights a week. The Pechora was opened on Moscow’s Kalinin Prospect to replace these dens of iniquity; brightly lit and colorless, the Pechora at least provided a setting for open jam sessions, although it closed early.”
Gorbachev’s perestroika and the fall of the Soviet Union resulted in a proliferation of nightclubs and the Blue Bird’s elevated status as a “jazz centre.” The Café continued to be a revered attraction for jazz fans until its closure in 2010.
Above, UB40 jamming with local musicians, including Roman Suslov from polite refusal, at the Blue Bird Café, Moscow, USSR, on October 16, 1986.
Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and friends in front of City Lights Books shop, 1956. Photo: Peter Orlovsky
This Sunday is the 60th birthday of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s renowned City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco.
City Lights was founded in North Beach at 261 Columbus Avenue in 1953 by Ferlinghetti and his partner Peter D. Martin as the country’s first all-paperback bookstore. The concept behind the bookstore was to make ideas and literature cheaply available to all people. This idea was carried over two years later to City Lights Publishers, with their small, affordable Pocket Poets series.
City Lights became interwoven in the legacy of the Beat Generation, with Ferlinghetti publishing books by Allen Ginberg (Howl and Other Poems, Kaddish), Gregory Corso (Gasoline), Frank O’Hara (Lunch Poems), Jack Kerouac (Pomes All Sizes and Scattered Poems), Diane di Prima (Revolutionary Letters), Philip Lamantia (Selected Poems 1943-1966) and Anne Waldman (Fast Speaking Woman). Ferlinghetti also published English translations of writers such as Vladimir Mayakovsky, Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Jacques Prévert. Its basement level has long featured an impressive stock of radical left-wing, progressive and revolutionary political literature.
It was the obscenity trial stemming from City Lights’ publication of Howl and Other Poems that earned the bookstore international attention in 1957. City Lights manager Shigeyoshi Murao was arrested for “disseminating obscene literature,” e.g., selling a copy of Howl and Other Poems to an undercover police officer and Ferlinghetti was arrested for publishing the book. After a well publicized trial and support from the American Civil Liberties Union, Ferlinghetti won the case. The book is still in print.
The store was officially made an official historic landmark by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2001. Aspiring young writers still send their manuscripts to Ferlinghetti.
Interview with Lawrence Ferlinghetti from 2012
Via The Beat Museum
Behold an absolutely monstrous compilation of female fronted punk bands from all over the world from the mid to late ‘70s to the mid 80s (and a little beyond). Some of the artists you’ve heard of (Blondie, Crass, The Avengers, Josie Cotton, Kleenex, Honey Bane, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Rezillos, Slits, Malaria!, etc.) but others, trust me on this, there’s just no way you could have heard of all of them. The fellow who compiled this beast is a master. An expert’s expert! A maven’s maven!
This gargantuan set represents a deep education in an exciting, but for the most part never really respected sub-genre of punk. It would be overstating the case to say it has aspirations of being a Harry Smith-type collection of punk and obscure hardcore bands, but some of this stuff I don’t think I’d ever come across if given two lifetimes. Apparently some of these songs come from cassettes, probably copied one at a time. Obviously plenty of the tracks were taken from vinyl 45 RPM records. And the stuff from the Eastern Bloc countries…. I mean, where did he get this stuff?
What a maniac! It must have been really hard to collect all of these songs, even in this day and age. Without a deep knowledge of the subject, it would be difficult to even search for some of these records on Google. Like I say, it’s damned impressive.
From the Kangknave blog (where you will find all of the download the links and a track listing):
This is a pretty insane project put together by my pal Vince B. from San Francisco a few years back. As the title indicates, this is a homemade 12 x CD-R (!) compilation of punk bands fronted by female vocalists from 1977 to 1989. More like a giant mixtape than a compilation, as he only made 36 copies which he sent to friends and people who submitted material. You may notice that some of the bands didn’t have a steady female vocalist (The Lewd, etc.) but he still included songs that were sung by another member of the band. This is as international as it gets, with stuff ranging from world famous Blondie or Crass to the most obscure Eastern European cassette compilation veterans. The boxset came packaged in a hand-numbered fancy translucent lunchbox enclosing all 12 CD-Rs, a stack of full-colored cards featuring comprehensive tracklist and artwork/info, as well as a manga pin-up figure! Talk about a labor of love.
Above, Slovenian punk rockers, Tožibabe
East LA’s The Brat do “High School” in 1981.
Via Boing Boing