Vanishing Point (1971): An excellent road movie. An excellent drug movie. An excellent movie about America. And one of the great Man vs. the World and All Odds films (up there with Cool Hand Luke).
OK, it’s actually kind of cheesy and terrible in the way that only post-Easy Rider grindhouse flicks could be. But the sentiment at the core of the movie is so righteous that you might as well have this on in the background next time you have your shady friends over. Also, I’m surprised Robert Rodriguez or, for that matter, Michael Bay hasn’t remade this.
Plot? Oh, a crankhead drives a supercharger across the country while being pursued by the hounds of hell, all while being egged on by a blind radio DJ named Super Soul. That’s about all you need for two hours of Awesome.
Check out the trailer. (Also, this jam that Primal Scream made in tribute to the movie in 1997.)
I’m willing to say this obscure sitar-infused psychedelic jazz album is one of the absolute best I’ve heard from the legendary Impulse! jazz imprint. Why they haven’t reissued it yet is beyond me. Bill Plummer’s primary trade is in the string bass, which does provide the awesome backbone for all of these songs. But someone must have tossed Mr. Plummer in a vat of acid (almost like Jack Nicholson in the 1989 “Batman”) before the making of this album. With it’s layers of Eastern gauze, occasional blasts of spoken word and free jazz, and oddball covers, this is the most ear pleasingly far-out legitimate jazz album I’ve come across (the wild fury of John Coltrane’s Om, also on Impuse!, is probably the most far out, but it’s not easy to listen to).
The first track, “Journey to the East,” is far beyond awesome and deserves a place on every psych compilation. It’s got a rock-solid groove, crazy chanting, a wall of sitar, and a totally entertaining spoken word rambling. Practically every 60’s cliche is packed into the spoken word, but it’s all convincingly sold by the dispassionate reading and the phenomenal music backing it up. I think I’ve listened to it about 600 times in the past week; I can’t think of a better complement than that. For your own mind journey to the East, you need go no farther than “Arc 294,” which plays as Indo-psychedelic free jazz for about ten minutes. The covers here are of note as well. Seeing “The Look of Love” on a track listing typically makes me groan, but with sitar drones and a groovy beat accompanying the tune, it works out just fine. Even better is the similar treatment to the Byrds great, yet-neglected “Lady Friend.” I didn’t know that that song required a transcendental Indo-jazz reading, but apparently it did. To hear Mr. Plummer score at making more conventional jazz, head for “Pars Fortuna” and “Song Plum”
This album manages to fuse jazz, Indian music, and wacky psychedelia, while still ending up as more than the sum of its parts. You need to become part of the Cosmic Brotherhood as soon as possible.
My fluency in Italian ranges from shaky to non-existent, but some things do transcend linguistic boundaries. Beheadings by guillotine, for example. According to the Sokkomb website, “Your dynamic, active rhythm demands quick, summary justice and you are the person to do it, but too often you just don’t have the time and your family is increasingly in danger.” Well, regardless of whether or not you are that person, rest assured the Sokkomb in-home neck-chopper is made from, “the best solid pine and comes equipped with a sturdy blade in stainless steel. It is light and versatile and is guaranteed effective for up to 100 executions a day.”
Bizzare farm-themed yoga and exercise show for children called “E-i-E-i Yoga.” Featuring Yogi Oki Doki and his buddy, Rasta the Rooster!
(via Everything is Terrible)
Travellers from all over the world now make The Giraffe Manor part of their East African safari, the only place in the world where you can enjoy the breathtaking experience of feeding and photographing the giraffe over the breakfast table and at the front door.
The Giraffe Manor is surrounded by 140 acres of indigenous forest just outside Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. As well as the giraffe, the property is also home to many species of birds, large families of warthogs and the elusive Bush Buck.
I am a complete Joni Mitchell nut. I once went for nearly a solid year listening to nothing but Court and Spark
and Ladies of the Canyon
in the car. I’ve easily played those two albums, 500 times each. My life has been immeasurably enriched by her music. There is nothing better to listen to when you are really, really sad, but her more joyous tunes can have you dancing around the house singing along like a fool.
When the we’re all dead and gone and future musical historians write the history of the 20th century’s greatest music, I have no doubt whatsoever that Joni Mitchell’s artistic contribution to our culture will rank alongside those of Lennon and McCartney, Miles Davis, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington.
And if you want to know how I really feel…
Here’s a stunning performance of a very young and very beautiful Joni Mitchell (then going by her maiden name of Joan Anderson) on the “Let’s Sing Out” TV show, hosted by the renowned Canadian folk singer Oscar Brand. Here Mitchell sings her own composition, “Urge for Going” which is better known as Tom Rush’s cover version.
I also found this clip. The audio is less than stellar, so turn it up, but what’s interesting about it, is that you can really see her hands playing the guitar. As a child Mitchell caught polio and it left some residual damage in her hands. So to get around this, she created custom tunings that allowed her to play exactly the sound that was in her head, and what her hands would have otherwise had trouble doing. It’s an extraordinary thing to see.
Back in June, I was lucky enough to be in Venice for the opening of the 53rd Biennale. After 3 days of gorging on works from artists both established and emerging, I would have to say I was sucked in most fully by the work of Hong Kong’s Pak Sheung Chuen. He’s a prankster, for sure, wittily combining Sophie Calle‘s exploration of self with the Situationist mandate to expose (and sometime pick at) the seams knitting our world together. One of Chuen’s more whimsical works involved his renting of an apartment in Busan. He lived his daily there as usual, but he collected every single one of his breaths into transparent plastic bags until they completely filled the space. The project took 10 days to complete, and, by the end, Chuen felt as if, “part of his life was absorbed by the apartment.”