The great—and very underrated—Todd Rundgren recently did a mini-tour playing his 1973 classic A Wizard, A True Star album from start to finish—for the first time ever in his career—with theatrical flourishes and costume changes. It makes a lot of sense to me that classic rock era musicians are playing their best beloved albums from start to finish. It’s what the fans want to hear and it makes it more of a “special” event. I doubt I’d be that excited for just any Todd Rundgren concert, but I really hope he brings this show to Los Angeles.
Here’s how rock scribe Barney Hoskyns described A Wizard, A True Star in MOJO magazine:
“Sometimes,” Todd Rundgren sang, “I don’t know what to feel.” But sometimes you do know what to feel. And right now I feel like saying what I’ve contended for many years, which is that Rundgren’s A Wizard, A True Star is simply The Greatest Album Ever Made.
You heard me right, pardner. Better than Pet Sounds. Better than OK Computer. Certainly better than Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Farts Dub Band. An album of vaulting ambition - of wizardry and true stardom - released into an unsuspecting world by a contrary, super-precocious wonderboy who should have been the biggest thing to happen in the ‘70s but who was just too complex and polymorphous for lasting pop success.
A Wizard, A True Star came out 35 years ago but still sounds more bravely futuristic than any ostensibly cutting-edge electro-pop being made in the 21st Century. A dizzying, intoxicating rollercoaster ride of emotions and genre mutations, the album was substantially the work of Rundgren himself, pieced together in late 1972 at his own Secret Sound studio on NYC’s West 24th Street.
Here is a bit of Todd Rundgren-related trivia found on his Wikipedia page
On the 30 Rock episode “The C Word,” Tina Fey’s character Liz Lemon is telling producer Pete and writer Frank about the obscenity Lutz called her, stating, “He called me the worst name ever. I’m not gonna repeat it. That’s how much I hate it.” Then after multiple guesses by the two, she says, “No! It’s the one that rhymes with the name of your favorite Todd Rundgren album,” referring to Runt, but Frank replies, “It rhymes with Hermit of Mink Hollow?”
I fell out of my seat when I heard that line. Here is a clip of Todd performing Hello It’s Me on the Midnight Special in 1973:
In 1963, City Lights published The Yage Letters, the correspondence between William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, which charts, among other things, the former’s efforts to score the possibly “soul-rebooting” hallucinogenic, Ayahuasca (Yage), in Mexico and Brazil. The footage below is culled from Ayahuasca, a Burroughs-narrated documentary which I think—until someone corrects me—exists only in fragments. Even so, it’s always great to hear Burroughs’ voice. It’s up there with Werner Herzog’s!
From Andrew Wolfson, The (Louisville) Courier Journal:
A mother is angry about a trip led by the head football coach at Breckinridge County High School took about 20 players on a school bus late last month to his church, where nearly half of them - including her son - were baptized.
Michelle Ammons said her 16-year-old son was baptized without her knowledge and consent, and she is upset that a public school bus was used to take players to a church service - and that the school district’s superintendent was there and did not object.
“Nobody should push their faith on anybody else,” said Ammons, whose son, Robert Coffey, said coach Scott Mooney told him and other players that the Aug. 26 outing would include only a motivational speaker and a free steak dinner.
Chalk one up for civil society! We here at Dangerous Minds loudly applaud the decision of San Francisco talk radio station KNEW 910 AM to fire hateful, racist sociopath Michael Savage. From the KNEW blog:
“Why did you take Michael Savage off the air?”
Here’s your no-spin direct answer; we have decided to go in a different philosophical and ideological direction, featuring more contemporary content and more local information.
The Savage Nation does not fit into that vision.
Again, nice one KNEW 910 AM management. This almost makes up for the fact that you’ve given this nasty asshat a platform for his cockamamie views for the past decade… Still it’s a step in the right direction and good for the country.
While a mood of reflection descends upon on our nation, what better day than today, this 8-year anniversary, to reflect on something approaching its 50th? Like many people, I have stacks of books by my bed, but beyond all the stacks, flat and visible on a nightstand, I keep a copy of The Americans, Swiss photographer—and Cocksucker Blues auteur—Robert Frank‘s epic, black-and-white meditation on what America looked like in the 12 or so months following the summer of ‘55.
Just eighty-three photos winnowed down from oh, twenty-seven thousand, Frank’s book winds up in my hands time and time again, and if, as Rod Stewart says, “every picture tells a story,” I’m by now pretty sure I’ve forged a story from each of its melancholy images.
But that’s what photos do—the good ones, anyway. Reduced to two dimensions, stripped from time and place, photographs compel us to find the metaphor. To search for meaning. That freedom to look and think and wonder, it’s a large part of The Americans’ stark, open-ended beauty. And for Frank’s subjects, too, contemplation shows up as a favored mode of expression. As Anthony Lane writes in the current New Yorker:
Was there ever a book as full of looking as Robert Frank?
New on DVD, Stunt Rock. This film mixes footage from an Australian stunt man with onstage performances of an awful, idiotic heavy metal rock band called Sorcery.
Here’s a description:
Australia’s premier stuntman, Grant Page, is on a mission: filmmaker Brian Trenchard Smith has sent him to LA to work on a TV series. Here he meets up with fellow daredevil Cutis Hyde, who does stunt work for a theatrical rock band called Sorcery, and Page impresses the rockers so much with his daredevil antics that they hire him as well. While his first stunt lands him in the hospital, the reckless Page defies his doctors orders, escaping out of the ward’s fifth-story window to get back to the band. Page soon finds himself the focus of the ladies, attracting both a newspaper reporter (Margaret Gerard) and a television star (Monique van de Ven). Featuring non-stop action, a killer soundtrack and a bit of romance on the side, STUNT ROCK is an adrenaline-filled, cult classic that is sweeping the midnight circuit!
The good vs evil heavy metal number is really something to see. Once. Or as Harry Knowles would have it: “Stunt Rock is not a very good film, but sometimes a movie doesn?
Fifty years ago, an Italian photographer named Tazio Secchiaroli became the symbol of a new generation of photographers. His nom de guerre was Paparazzo and he was the photographic bounty hunter of the Via Veneto in Rome in the 1950s. Secchiaroli was the first of the paparazzi, immortalised by Federico Fellini in his 1960 film La Dolce Vita. Calling himself an ?