Edin Velez‘s “Butoh: Dance of Darkness” is a mind-altering must-see film about the modern Japanese dance form. I can’t in any way profess to understand
exactly what’s happening here, but I do know that it hits me on a visceral level like no other form of dance I’ve ever encountered. It certainly works as a wonderful antidote to the ennui caused by viewing the contrived, over-cooked bullshit spectacle of that new Lady Gaga vid (gee Brad, how do you really feel about that?). See the whole film here.
USA Today has a Top 10 list of places where vacationers can “go through the looking glass” in honor of the theatrical release of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” All of these way-off-the-beaten-track attractions are pretty interesting—like the underwater music festival entry—but there is one that’s simply off the hook… “Carhenge.”
“Carhenge” in Alliance, Neb., draws over 80,000 tourists a year. It’s a full-scale replication of Stonehenge… made from cars. From the official “Friends of Carhenge” website:
The artist of this unique car sculpture, Jim Reinders, experimented with unusual and interesting artistic creations throughout his life. While living in England, he had the opportunity to study the design and purpose of Stonehenge. His desire to copy Stonehenge in physical size and placement came to fruition in the summer of 1987 with the help of many family members.
Thirty-eight automobiles were placed to assume the same proportions as Stonehenge with the circle measuring approximately 96 feet in diameter. Some autos are held upright in pits five feet deep, trunk end down, while those cars which are placed to form the arches have been welded in place. All are covered with gray spray paint. The honor of depicting the heel stone goes to a 1962 Caddy.
Carhenge was built as a memorial to Reinders’ father who once lived on the farm where Carhenge now stands. While relatives were gathered following the death of Reinders’ father in 1982, the discussion turned to a memorial and the idea of a Stonehenge replica was developed. The family agreed to gather in five years and build it. The clan, about 35 strong, gathered in June 1987 and went to work. They held the dedication on the Summer Solstice in 1987, with champagne, poetry, songs and a play written by the family.
Let’s face it, with all of the many, many entertainment choices we have facing us, every minute of every single day, when it comes to the matter of what we choose to give our precious attention to, music videos tend to rank pretty low on the totem pole. There’s probably a pretty compelling reason MTV is no longer calling itself a “music” channel. So ‘80s, isn’t it? A three-minute music video? Who has the time?
So when you hear about some “cool” new music video — maybe your tweeps told you about it — it had, well, better be good. Chicago-based indie rockers OK Go know this. Their 2006 video, Here It Goes Again, featuring the group doing a synchronized dance routine on treadmills, has been viewed by about 50 million people, so the follow-up had, well, better be good too.
Engineered with help from CalTech and MIT, and built by Syyn Labs, the video — and its kinetic sculpture centerpiece — is nothing short of astonishing. Like its predecessor, it’s bound to snag all kinds of kudos and awards. This Friday, March 5, in LACMA’s West Penthouse, OK Go will be having a video release party, where I’m sure they’ll spill some of the secrets of how this mini-masterpiece came to be. If you can’t make the LACMA party, there are some videos on the OK Go website that will enlighten you.
Epic Strega Fail: Check out this bizarre ad for Italy’s center-left political party featuring a befuddled tarot reader. Via Osocio.
Welcome to Pidiello, a magician, a fortune-teller, he predicts your future in his television show. The phone rings and a women ask about her future because her husband can’t find a job because of the financial crisis. Pidiello says: “Pidiello sees and foresees” and the solution he foresee is in the cards he shows with the pictures of Tremonti (the Italian Minister of Economy and Finance) and Berlusconi (the Italian Prime Minister). Pidiello says that the two faces sees it all: there’s no crisis: “it’s as real as long the spotlight could fall on my head…”
At the end, Pidiello’s wife ask him to find a real job and the the ex-magician answered: “impossible because of the economic crisis”.
The tv-spot is from the Partito Democratico, the centre-left political party in Italy.
Numbers stations (click here to listen to a sample) are shortwave radio stations that broadcast weird-ass strings of numbers, voices, and other randomly generated effluvia. Messages from aliens? Spies? Sock gnomes? The dinosaur-men who live in the center of the Hollow Earth…? None may know…
Numbers stations (or number stations) are shortwave radio stations of uncertain origin. They generally broadcast artificially generated voices reading streams of numbers, words, letters (sometimes using a spelling alphabet), tunes or Morse code. They are in a wide variety of languages and the voices are usually female, though sometimes male or children’s voices are used.
Evidence supports popular assumptions that the broadcasts are used to send messages to spies. This usage has not been publicly acknowledged by any government that may operate a numbers station, but in 2001, the United States tried the Cuban Five for spying for Cuba. The group had received and decoded messages that had been broadcast from a Cuban numbers station. Also in 2001, Ana Belen Montes, a senior US Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, was arrested and charged with espionage. The federal prosecutors stated: “Montes communicated with the Cuban Intelligence Service through encrypted messages and received her instructions through encrypted shortwave transmissions from Cuba”. In 2006, Carlos Alvarez and his wife Elsa Alvarez were arrested and charged with espionage. The U.S. District Court Florida stated: “defendants would receive assignments via shortwave radio transmissions”. In June 2009, the United States similarly charged Walter Kendall Myers with conspiracy to spy for Cuba and receiving and decoding messages broadcast from a numbers station operated by the Cuban Intelligence Service to further that conspiracy.
It has been reported that the United States uses numbers stations to communicate encoded information to persons in other countries. Numbers stations appear and disappear over time (although some follow regular schedules), and their overall activity has increased slightly since the early 1990s. This increase suggests that, as spy-related phenomena, they were not unique to the Cold War.
Or one final screwing before you go completely. A new U.S. patent was granted yesterday for the above “Easy Inter Burial Container.” According to the patent application for the EIBC, the reasons for such a vessel are three-fold: space, time, and cash are all at a premium.
This invention relates to conserving land area and easy to install burial containers which can be pressed, agitated, screwed, self bored or by other means set into earth or other receiving materials and do not require a large amount of land area or a large pre-dug rectangular hole with subsequent refilling after the placement of the burial container.
I read about the beta-launch of something called Chatroulette this morning on a German blog I frequent called Nerdcore and something tells me this thing is gonna be HUGE. As in huge, huge. Facebook huge.
First off, it’s super easy to use—hit the “start” button, and you’re off. The people you’ll meet are from all over the world and Chatroulette works in real time (like Skype) and there’s audio, too.
What makes this thing so exciting/addicting/cringeworthy all at the same time is easy to summarize: You never know WHO you’re going to get when you click that button. My friend and I tested it out today. Our first interaction was with a male in his mid-20s. He said he was from China. Fifth go around we got the Jonas Brothers. No shit, it was the real Jonas Brothers. “Are you guys the Jonas Brothers?” They said they were in New Jersey. It looked like they were in an airport. There was a lot of starring and smiling going on. They asked if I was a fan of theirs. I said nothing. Awkward moment. Screen went black, we lost contact.
But seriously, there is lots of WEIRD shit going on here. Lonely guys jacking off in front of their computers, couples having sex and waving at you, monster mask pole dancing, obese women masturbating, lesbian orgies, guys eating pizza watching football, folks wearing clown masks, wholesome families waving at you, people smoking joints, teenagers yelling “show me your tits!’... it’s endless. I was truly shocked by what I was seeing, but that’s not to say we weren’t laughing so hard we were crying for several hours. Aside from teen pop star siblings—I mean, what are the chances?—we also encountered a hillbilly mom and her son who looked at us on her screen and murmured “They must be ‘hipsters.’ I’ve heard all about them” as well as a man… and his dog, let’s just say, and leave it at that…
From our very own Los Angeles treasure, food writer Jonathan Gold’s current column in response to a reader’s question: “Is there a food equivalent to a snuff film? “
Dear Ms. W:
Zhou dynasty gourmands enjoyed rat, which they called “household deer.’’ I have heard of a bean, grown in Indonesia, that is so delicious its fanciers are willing to endure the inevitable three days of excruciating liver pain that follows the feast. My friend Ruth was telling me the other day about the strips of jellied water-buffalo skin she enjoyed in Laos, available with or without fur. None of those is available here, although as it turns out I did once try a version of that water-buffalo skin in a long-deceased Little Saigon cafe. There is a place in the Wilshire District that looks a little like the back office of a disorganized accountant really, no tables or cooking smells, where you sit for a while on worn vinyl chairs and are eventually, or possibly, or rumored to be able to be, brought the bosintang you have come there for. Takeout only. Allegedly. And I have heard that lately, it is strictly BYOD. Either way, I have never managed, or even been tempted, to try the goods. Goat stew is an acceptable equivalent.
In Little Tokyo, you once could get braised bear paw, at an absolutely bowel-clenching price, until the Chinese restaurant that served it was shut down. Hamhung in Koreatown once featured a dinner of barbecued tiger, lion, elephant and antelope, all legal oddly enough, until the ‘92 riots and the Japanese recession stanched the flow of rich Tokyoites to that part of town. (Hamhung still does have very good buckwheat noodles with seafood, which you should keep in mind when the weather gets warmer.) Meat smuggling from Europe has been substantially more difficult lately thank you, underwear bomber! but if you ask around at better cheese stores, you should be able to find the raw-milk cheeses you desire. As for endangered species practically all sea fish seems endangered at the moment, at least in the long run. In season, Urasawa will sell you fugu, the kind that can kill you if it’s indifferently prepared, and charge you as much for it as you paid for your first car. But even in Los Angeles, as far as I know, you will find neither primates, nor human flesh, nor coelacanth. And we’re all better off for it, I think.