I spotted on Japan Probe this possibly Reefer Madness-inspired bit of anti-meth propaganda. If it looks hastily assembled, it’s not surprising: The Japanese government released the video shortly after beloved singer and actress, Noriko Sakai (aka Nori-P), was arrested on “suspicion of possessing stimulant drugs.”
As the recent earthquakes in China and Italy showed us, tragedy can keep unfolding far beyond those first few seconds of violent shaking. In the China quake alone, vast number of people were either killed or buried, still alive, under mounds of earth, steel and concrete. Locating these bodies can take days, even weeks. With this in mind—and as an occupant of quake-prone Los Angeles—I’m very much encouraged by the progress made in “chemical profiling” which
could eventually lead to a portable device for detecting human bodies at crime scenes and disaster areas. To develop such a device, scientists must identify what gases are released as bodies decompose under a variety of natural environmental conditions. In addition, they must detail the time sequence in which those odorant chemicals are released in the hours and days after death.
How far off is such a death-sniffing device? Well, researcher Dan Sykes is currently affixing sensors to decomposing pigs, “They go through the same phases of decomposition as humans, as well as the same number of stages. And those stages last about as long in pigs as they do in humans before complete decomposition occurs and only the bones remain.”
Not many big-name movie directors deserve to be called artists. Among those who do, few take the label as seriously as David Lynch. The director of “Mulholland Dr.” and “Blue Velvet” has avidly pursued painting, photography and sculpture in between his idiosyncratic film projects. Starting Sept. 12, the master of weirdness will exhibit some of his recent works in the solo gallery show “David Lynch: New Paintings” at Griffin in Santa Monica. The show, which is being presented in collaboration with the James Corcoran Gallery, will be Lynch’s first solo exhibition in L.A. in more than a decade, according to Griffin.
Lynch will present a series of his “monumental” (or large-scale) paintings, said the gallery. The only work available for preview is “Crucifixtion” (2008-09), a mixed-media on canvas painting that is 6 feet tall and 10 feet wide (pictured). The director has had a lengthy relationship with James Corcoran Gallery, which organized solo shows of his work in 1987, 1989 and 1993. This will be the director’s first show at Griffin. “New Painting” is scheduled to run through Dec. 12.
Well, I’m definitely looking forward to this one! As much as I admire David Lynch the filmmaker, he’s notoriously unforthcoming with explanations as to what his films mean. That’s fine by me—even preferable.
But when it comes to describing his own process as an artist, Lynch has been as generous as he’s been expansive. There are many clips out there detailing what Lynch does to “catch the big fish,” and its relationship to transcendental mediation. One of the more lucid ones follows below.
The Chicago Sun-Times says columnist Robert Novak, who was a central figure in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, has died. The newspaper says the longtime Washington fixture died at his home early Tuesday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 78.
More links to come as “Prince of Darkness” tributes—and, more likely, whoops of joy—come rolling in today. See what happens when you wish hard enough?!
From Wikipedia: “Versailles (known as Versailles Philharmonic Quintet in the United States) is a Japanese metal band formed in 2007. It is composed of several notable figures in the “visual kei” scene. Versailles’ key characteristics are their Renaissance-esque costumes, dueling guitar sounds and heavy but melodic arrangements.”
Take a gander at these guys! Versailles’ shredding guitarist, Hizaki, is a fetching tranny fan favorite who can put Eddie Van Halen to shame (at least in the hair and make-up departments):
Here’s one more music video by Versailles. This one is called The Revenant Choir:
Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1: 1963-1972 on Blu-ray is truly the most impressive hunk of pop culture multi-media I’ve ever seen. A massive and hefty THING, it forever raises the bar for rock gods with deep catalogs and treasure troves of unreleased rarities. Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Led Zeppelin and Prince pay attention, because from now on Archives is the box set by which the others will be judged for some time. It’s an entirely new way of providing deep fan access to an important recording artist’s life’s work, more a multi-media autobiography than mere box set. The user interface forces you to really contemplate Neil Young as you poke around and you become deeply immersed in all things Neil as a result. Obviously that’s the goal and Archives absolutely succeeds on that level.
Young’s attention to audio fidelity is legendary—some of his classic 70s albums have never come out on CD due to his dislike of the way they sounded—and the 24bit/192 KHZ PCM audio possible with the BD format showcases his music as never before. There are some very, very high fidelity audio discs out there, but none of them sound as good as the material on Archives. It is as if one was present in the actual studio (or audience) when the performances were recorded. High quality transfers were made directly from the original analog tapes—or at least with the shortest signal path possible—and it shows. FM radio classics like Cinnamon Girl and The Loner have never sounded better, but on the more intimate folkie material covered in the set, the audiophile qualities of the BD format really shines. The size of the room the songs were recorded in, the space around the voice and guitar, the buzzing vibrations of a single guitar string—all of this is quite audible on Archives. The sound quality is magnificent. I’ll say it again, I’ve never heard better. For sound quality alone it would win the gold medal, but that’s not the half of it. There are a gazillion nooks and crannies on the set.
In terms of the extras, a mass-produced facsimile of a hand-carved leather-covered 237 page color scrapbook is loaded with such amusing ephemera as one of his sports writer father’s columns about then 11-year old Neil’s “chicken business” and contracts Young’s mother signed on behalf of her minor son so he would be paid BMI royalties on his Buffalo Springfield compositions. The cover letter tells Mrs. Young that she should “be very proud of your son. He is not only talented but a young gentleman.” Young’s parents must have kept every notebook and scrap of paper he ever wrote on. Young’s father was convinced of his son’s genius at a young age. I loved reading his account of seeing his son perform in Carnegie Hall in the early 70s and how proud he was. (Hell, I’d be proud if I was Neil Young’s father, wouldn’t you be?). There are scads of handwritten lyrics and reviews cut from endless magazines and newspapers. In terms of the books one usually finds in a major artist box set, this one also goes right to the head of the class. I’ve never seen another even half as good. All in all the packaging is attractive (if not necessarily that durable) and it’s a gorgeous thing to unwrap. It’s a shoe-in for several Grammy awards (not that anyone cares, but still…)
There are 128 tracks, nearly 60 of them never heard before spread across the ten discs. The old metal file cabinet user interface is nothing that innovative, but it’s probably the most appropriate considering the depth and archival purpose of the set. There is a nice looking “timeline” that displays photos, video clips and hidden tracks along the way. The set contains the first release of Young’s 1973 documentary Journey Through The Past and twenty video clips. Some of them are totally wonderful (like Young walking out of a record store with bootlegs of his music, the mind-blowing CSNY live performance, an appearance on The Johnny Cash Show and a 1970 performance at the Finjan Folk Cafe) but this is where my first problem with Archives comes in. The video content, whilst containing several gems, isn’t nearly enough. Not enough to justify the price, the fan expectations and not nearly enough to satisfy the wide open spaces of the storage available on Blu-ray (couldn’t most of this material fit on like TWO Blu-ray disc?). Where, for instance is the amazing BBC “In Concert” performance from 1971 or more of the CSNY performance?
My biggest problem with Archives, though, is not what is or isn’t on the set (Blu-ray owners will get updates from Blue-ray Live as long as their players are hooked up to the Internet, so Young could always add things later as he pleases) rather it’s the list price. This is where I become deeply ambivalent about Archives.
Disturbing news from England today as The Guardian describes the sexual past of Lord of the Flies author and Nobel laureate, William Golding. Apparently, Golding’s private papers detail his attempted rape of a 15-year old girl when the author himself was 18. Golding went on to justify his behavior by calling his target “depraved by nature” and, at 14, “already sexy as an ape.” (Hold on—is that VERY sexy, or sexy not at all?!)
More Illuminati nuttiness today, courtesy Vigilant Citizen, and YouTube’s FarhanK501. In the case of Ms. Gaga, Vigilant Citizen exposes the pop star as a possible extension of Project Monarch (i.e. mind-controlling) sneakiness. Well, of course she is, what else could all that “butterfly” imagery be about?! And have you noticed all her “eye-covering?” That’s eye-of-Horus stuff, right there, if you ask me. Still not convinced? Play “count the pyramids” in the following commercial for German television. What’s “Ms. Germanotta” selling? I have no idea, but, hmm, I’m now suddenly recalling my life as a Green Beret.
Regarding the still oddly-unburied Michael Jackson, FarhanK501 echoes what sister La Toya‘s been claiming all along: MJ was murdered. Not for his money, though. No, dodging “Satanic rituals,” but still reluctant to “say too much” to Ed Bradley, Jackson, it seems, was about to blow the lid off the Illuminati conspiracy itself…or at least Aspartame.
But what’s going on here, really—why tether MJ to the Illuminati?
Well, the reasons are probably as sad as they are simple. Heroes die, and for often all-too-worldly reasons: loneliness, self-loathing, drug-dependency. And that’s the last thing we want from our heroes: some suggestion that they’re mortal, of this world, one of us. So let’s all erase what we’ve learned about the dangers of propofol, shall we, and remember Jackson’s higher purpose here: ripping the veil off a centuries-old, artificial-sweetener-promoting conspiracy.