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Friday, August 31, 2012

Evolutionary Origin of Dance and Music







We like to eat because we wouldn’t survive without the energy that food gives us. We like sex because without it we wouldn’t still be here. But why do we like dancing and singing?
Eduardo Punset interviews the Neuroscientist Lawrence Parsons, who researches the relationship of human beings with music and dance. Some of the topics that are dealt with have do to with the evolutionary origin of dance and music, the relationship of dance with language, the relationship between emotions and dance, and how learning music and dance links different zones of the brain, which is good for the working memory and planning capacity.
To find out more:
* ‘So You Think You Can Dance?: PET Scans Reveal Your Brain’s Inner Choreography‘, article by Lawrence Parsons and Steven Brown in Scientific American in which they explain recent studies where complex neuronal choreographies have been discovered that support our ability to dance.
* ‘We Got Rhythm; the Mystery Is How and Why‘, article by Nicholas Wade in the New York Times.
* ‘Singing in the Brain‘, article in the San Diego Union Tribune.
* ‘Music on the Brain‘, article in the Harvard University Gazette.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Collapse

Jared Diamond is the author of "Guns, Germs and Steel" and the current New York Times' best selling "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed." This lecture examines the factors that caused great civilizations of the past to collapse and what we can learn from their fates. Series: "Voices"

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Incredible String Band: Be Glad For The Song Has No Ending (1970)

Be Glad For the Song Has No Ending (1970) is a film that captures the hippiness of TISB and while it is at times dated and silly, there’s no denying the film is a spirited bit of whimsy that falls into the kind of strangely compeling vanity projects that many bands of the era were involved in, most notably Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains The Same and The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour. No one will mistake these films as great works of art but they are trippy glimpses into what happens when musicians and Purple Owsley cross paths.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Supersize Me (McDonald's Fast Food Documentary)




Super Size Me is a 2004 American documentary film directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock, an American independent filmmaker. Spurlock's film follows a 30-day period from February 1 to March 2, 2003 during which he ate only McDonald's food. The film documents this lifestyle's drastic effect on Spurlock's physical and psychological well-being, and explores the fast food industry's corporate influence, including how it encourages poor nutrition for its own profit.
Spurlock dined at McDonald's restaurants three times per day, eating every item on the chain's menu at least once. Spurlock consumed an average of 20.92 megajoules or 5,000 kcal (the equivalent of 9.26 Big Macs) per day during the experiment.
As a result, the then-32-year-old Spurlock gained 24½ lbs. (11.1 kg), a 13% body mass increase, a cholesterol level of 230, and experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and fat accumulation in his liver. It took Spurlock fourteen months to lose the weight gained from his experiment using a vegan diet supervised by his future wife, a chef who specializes in gourmet vegan dishes.
The reason for Spurlock's investigation was the increasing spread of obesity throughout U.S. society, which the Surgeon General has declared "epidemic," and the corresponding lawsuit brought against McDonald's on behalf of two overweight girls, who, it was alleged, became obese as a result of eating McDonald's food [Pelman v. McDonald's Corp., 237 F. Supp. 2d 512]. Spurlock points out that although the lawsuit against McDonald's failed (and subsequently many state legislatures have legislated against product liability actions against producers and distributors of "fast food"), much of the same criticism leveled against the tobacco companies applies to fast food franchises whose product is both physiologically addictive and physically harmful.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Beatles - Rooftop Concert (Full Version)

The Beatles Rooftop Concert 1969 London (HD) from lordcris on Vimeo.

Last Concert Of The Beatles On The APPLE RECORDS on Abbey Road 12.00pm, Thursday 30 January 1969 (43 years ago)

The Beatles, with Billy Preston, gave their final live performance atop the Apple building at 3 Savile Row, London, in what became the climax of their Let It Be film.


We went on the roof in order to resolve the live concert idea, because it was much simpler than going anywhere else; also nobody had ever done that, so it would be interesting to see what happened when we started playing up there. It was a nice little social study. We set up a camera in the Apple reception area, behind a window so nobody could see it, and we filmed people coming in. The police and everybody came in saying, 'You can't do that! You've got to stop.'
George Harrison
Anthology
30 January 1969 in London was a cold day, and a bitter wind was blowing on the rooftop by midday. To cope with the weather, John Lennon borrowed Yoko Ono's fur coat, and Ringo Starr wore his wife Maureen Starkey's red mac.
There was a plan to play live somewhere. We were wondering where we could go - 'Oh, the Palladium or the Sahara.' But we would have had to take all the stuff, so we decided, 'Let's get up on the roof.' We had Mal and Neil set the equipment up on the roof, and we did those tracks. I remember it was cold and windy and damp, but all the people looking out from offices were really enjoying it.
Ringo Starr
Anthology
The 42-minute show was recorded onto two eight-track machines in the basement of Apple, by George Martin, engineer Glyn Johns and tape operator Alan Parsons. The tracks were filled with the following: Paul McCartney, vocals; John Lennon's and George Harrison's vocals; Billy Preston's organ; McCartney's bass guitar; a sync track for the film crew; Starr's drums; Lennon's guitar; Harrison's guitar.
That was one of the greatest and most exciting days of my life. To see The Beatles playing together and getting an instant feedback from the people around them, five cameras on the roof, cameras across the road, in the road, it was just unbelievable.
Alan Parsons
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn
The songs performed on the roof:
Brief, incomplete and off-the-cuff versions of I Want You (She's So Heavy), God Save The Queen and A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody were fooled around with in between takes - as was Danny Boy, which was included in the film and on the album. None of these were serious group efforts, and one - the group and Preston performing God Save The Queen - was incomplete as it coincided with Alan Parsons changing tapes.




The Beatles' rooftop show began at around midday. The timing coincided with the lunch hour of many nearby workplaces, which led to crowds quickly forming. Although few people could see them, crowds gathered in the streets below to hear The Beatles play.
There were people hanging off balconies and out of every office window all around. The police were knocking on the door - George Martin went white! We really wanted to stop the traffic, we wanted to blast out the entire West End...
Dave Harries, engineer
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn
Traffic in Savile Row and neighbouring streets came to a halt, until police from the nearby West End Central police station, further up Savile Row, entered Apple and ordered the group to stop playing.
It was good fun, actually. We had to set the mikes up and get a show together. I remember seeing Vicki Wickham of Ready, Steady, Go! (there's a name to conjure with) on the opposite roof, for some reason, with the street between us. She and a couple of friends sat there, and then the secretaries from the lawyers' offices next door came out on their roof. We decided to go through all the stuff we'd been rehearsing and record it. If we got a good take on it then that would be the recording; if not, we'd use one of the earlier takes that we'd done downstairs in the basement. It was really good fun because it was outdoors, which was unusual for us. We hadn't played outdoors for a long time.
It was a very strange location because there was no audience except for Vicki Wickham and a few others. So we were playing virtually to nothing - to the sky, which was quite nice. They filmed downstairs in the street - and there were a lot of city gents looking up: 'What's that noise?'
Paul McCartney
Anthology

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fela Kuti- Music is the Weapon (1982)

Music is the Weapon - Fela Kuti from Paul Swanson on Vimeo.


Fela Anikulapo Kuti (15 October 1938 — 2 August 1997), or simply Fela ([feˈlæ]), was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick.

Filmed in 1982, the 53-minute documentary captures the late Nigerian musician/activist at his peak. (There are slight differences between the English and French versions, so it’s best to watch both.) For the uninitiated, it’s hard to explain–in mere words–how one man could so successfully mate the sexuality of James Brown with the righteous politics of Bob Marley and sinuous sounds of Miles Davis. Fela drew as much inspiration for his “Afro-beat” from Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X as funk, reggae, and jazz. Music Is the Weapon features interviews with Fela and a few of his many wives, along with performances of “ITT,” “Army Arrangement,” and other anthems. A controversial figure throughout his life, Fela is described as both “superstar” and “man of the people.” This short, but potent document ably explores that dichotomy. –Kathleen C. Fennessy

As a supporter of traditional religions and lifestyles, Kuti thought that the most important thing for Africans to fight is European cultural imperialism. The American Black Power movement also influenced Fela's political views; he was a supporter of Pan-Africanism and socialism, and called for a united, democratic African republic. He was a candid supporter of human rights, and many of his songs are direct attacks against dictatorships, specifically the militaristic governments of Nigeria in the 1970s and 1980s. He was also a social commentator, and he criticized his fellow Africans (especially the upper class) for betraying traditional African culture. The African culture he believed in also included having many wives (polygyny) and the Kalakuta Republic was formed in part as a polygamist colony. He defended his stance on polygyny with the words: "A man goes for many women in the first place. Like in Europe, when a man is married, when the wife is sleeping, he goes out and fucks around. He should bring the women in the house, man, to live with him, and stop running around the streets!". His views towards women are characterized by some as misogynist, with songs like "Mattress" typically cited as evidence. In a more complex example, he mocks the aspiration of African women to European standards of ladyhood while extolling the values of the market woman in his song "Lady".

Bypassing editorial censorship in Nigeria's predominantly state controlled media, Kuti began in the 1970s buying advertising space in daily and weekly newspapers such as The Daily Times and The Punch in order to run outspoken political columns. Published throughout the 1970s and early 1980s under the title Chief Priest Say, these columns were essentially extensions of Kuti's famous Yabi Sessions—consciousness-raising word-sound rituals, with himself as chief priest, conducted at his Lagos nightclub. Organized around a militantly Afrocentric rendering of history and the essence of black beauty, Chief Priest Say focused on the role of cultural hegemony in the continuing subjugation of Africans. Kuti addressed a number of topics, from explosive denunciations of the Nigerian Government's criminal behavior; Islam and Christianity's exploitative nature, and evil multinational corporations; to deconstructions of Western medicine, Black Muslims, sex, pollution, and poverty. Chief Priest Say was cancelled, first by Daily Times then by Punch, ostensibly due to non-payment, but many commentators have speculated that the paper's respective editors were placed under increasingly violent pressure to stop publication.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Shock of the New (1980) Episodes 1-8


Episode One: The Mechanical Paradise

Episode Two: The Powers that Be

Eprisode Three: The Landscape of Pleasure

Episode Four: Trouble in Paradise

Episode Five: The Threshold of Liberty

Episode Six: The View from the Edge

Episode Seven: Culture as Nature

Episode Eight: The Future that Was
Shock of the New is a 1980 documentary television series by Robert Hughes (28 July 1938 – 6 August 2012) produced by the BBC in association with Time-Life Films and RM Productions. It was broadcast by the BBC in 1980 in the United Kingdom and by PBS in 1981 in the United States. It addressed the development of modern art since the Impressionists and was accompanied by a book of the same name; its combination of insight, wit and accessibility are still widely praised.