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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The New Alchemists

The New Alchemists, Dorothy Todd Hénaut, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

This short documentary profiles a community engaged in developing sustainable living methods, including food production and small-scale solar and wind technology, on a farm in Massachusetts in the 1970s. Well before sustainability was a mainstream concern, these prescient innovators attempted to create a vision of a greener, kinder world. "Think small," say the New Alchemists. "Look what thinking big has done."

Monday, May 15, 2017

Oliver Cromwell (A Historical Model for Understanding Donald Trump?)


Oliver Cromwell was a religious fanatic and manic depressive farmer who recovered from his crippling depression and developed a fundamental religious mania as a way of giving meaning to his life. He was a member of the minor gentry in his local area, but conflict followed him constantly, whereby he argued and fought with anyone who did not share his views. He eventually sought the support of God for his beliefs and actions through the Puritan Church. He rose through the ranks of the Parliamentary forces that were fighting the supporters of the King, Charles I. He eventually made himself Lord High Protector of England, Ireland and Wales and then instituted a theocratic system of governance where all festivals and holidays (even Christmas), music, theater, football, pubs and inns were banned. Instead 'Fast Days' each month were introduced where citizens were compelled to fast and pray.

Cromwell believed that women and girls should dress in a proper manner. Make-up was banned. Puritan leaders and soldiers would roam the streets of towns and scrub off any make-up found on unsuspecting women. Too colourful dresses were banned. A Puritan lady wore a long black dress that covered her almost from neck to toes. She wore a white apron and her hair was bunched up behind a white head-dress. Puritan men wore black clothes and short hair.
Cromwell banned Christmas as people would have known it then. By the C17th, Christmas had become a holiday of celebration and enjoyment – especially after the problems caused by the civil war. Cromwell wanted it returned to a religious celebration where people thought about the birth of Jesus rather than ate and drank too much. In London, soldiers were ordered to go round the streets and take, by force if necessary, food being cooked for a Christmas celebration. The smell of a goose being cooked could bring trouble. Traditional Christmas decorations like holly were banned.
Despite all these rules, Cromwell himself was not strict. He enjoyed music, hunting and playing bowls. He even allowed full-scale entertainment at his daughter’s wedding. Life Under Cromwell
Fast forward to 2017 and the resemblances to Donald J. Trump and the conduct of his administration, at least in the popular media from both sides, are startling. This BBC documentary from 2001 looks at the life of Oliver Cromwell (25 April 1599 – 3 September 1658) and in my opinion Old Ironsides would not feel out of place in the present White House, even with his fevered hatred of Catholics and teetotaler lifestyle. The creation of their own power base (Cromwell: New Model Army and the negotiations with its members following the second civil war and the uneasy peace, and the vast array of Right Wing organizations that pledged loyalty to Trump during the campaign of 2016) is another common feature, as well as elevating members of their own families to positions of power. Even the idea that theirs is a mission ordained my God is present in the political lives of both figures as well as an almost schoolboy behavior in times of pressure and stress (Cromwell started a giggling ink fight on the night he was writing the death warrant for Charles I's execution).

In fact it has even been asserted that Trump is a descendant of Cromwell on his mother's side, "Trump, a 12th great-grandchild of Cromwell’s, is connected to his line through his Scottish mother, Mary Anne MacLeod (Irish Central News).

Friday, May 12, 2017

Rumpole and the Confession of Guilt


If you want to learn to write dialogue in English, watch Rumpole. Writing great dialogue is very difficult. I am struggling with even coming close to decent character dialogue. But today I found a lesson in master craft. Sink into the dark recesses of human existence with the glorious writing and acting that is Rumpole of the Bailey (1978-1992). Written by John Mortimer (1923-2009) and delivered by Leo McKern (1920-2002). While many of the values it expresses may come from another social epoch (casual sexism and racism abound), the language and craft of story telling are timeless. The hour-long pilot episode that aired on BBC1 in 1975 introducing the irrepressible Old Bailey defence lawyer, Horace Rumpole. Features specially filmed interview with writer, John Mortimer. Just brilliant. Leon McKern plays Rumpole and he represents a form of acting that is becoming increasingly rare, if not totally endangered from extinction, today.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

"The Stack: Design and Geopolitics in the Age of Planetary-Scale Computing"


Drawing on his book, "The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty" (MIT Press), the theorist Benjamin H. Bratton critically discusses changes in the scale and operation of the global computation infrastructure, identifying the emergence of what he sees as a new kind of political geography. From smart grids, to cloud computing, to mobile software and smart cities, to universal addressing systems, to ubiquitous computing and robotics—these are not unrelated genres of computation but a larger and coherent whole: a planetary-scale megastructure called The Stack, through which we divide up the world into sovereign spaces.

What has planetary-scale computation done to our geopolitical realities? It takes different forms at different scales—from energy and mineral sourcing and subterranean cloud infrastructure to urban software and massive universal addressing systems; from interfaces drawn by the augmentation of the hand and eye to users identified by self—quantification and the arrival of legions of sensors, algorithms, and robots. Together, how do these distort and deform modern political geographies and produce new territories in their own image?

In The Stack, Benjamin Bratton proposes that these different genres of computation—smart grids, cloud platforms, mobile apps, smart cities, the Internet of Things, automation—can be seen not as so many species evolving on their own, but as forming a coherent whole: an accidental megastructure called The Stack that is both a computational apparatus and a new governing architecture. We are inside The Stack and it is inside of us.

In an account that is both theoretical and technical, drawing on political philosophy, architectural theory, and software studies, Bratton explores six layers of The Stack: Earth, Cloud, City, Address, Interface, User. Each is mapped on its own terms and understood as a component within the larger whole built from hard and soft systems intermingling—not only computational forms but also social, human, and physical forces. This model, informed by the logic of the multilayered structure of protocol “stacks,” in which network technologies operate within a modular and vertical order, offers a comprehensive image of our emerging infrastructure and a platform for its ongoing reinvention.

The Stack is an interdisciplinary design brief for a new geopolitics that works with and for planetary-scale computation. Interweaving the continental, urban, and perceptual scales, it shows how we can better build, dwell within, communicate with, and govern our worlds.

Benjamin Bratton Public Lecture October 29, 2014

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Genesis P-Orridge about Control, Fear, Drugs, Unity, Love


Genesis P-Orridge speaking on our addiction to control and how to change it. Interview was recorded in Tbilisi, Georgia 26 October 2016. Stockholm Show of Psychic TV 26 May 2017.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

William S. Burroughs -THE FINAL ACADEMY DOCUMENTS 1962-63







These are a series of remixes of tape and film experiments made by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin in Paris and London in 1962-63.

The Final Academy was a 1982 tour in Britain, organized by David Dawson, Roger Ely and Genesis P-Orridge. The project was based on, featuring works of and was inspired by William S Burroughs. The Final Academy Documents is a DVD of edited highlights from the tour, including Burroughs's public appearance in 1982 and reading from his work at Manchester's Haçienda club, a performance by John Giorno and includes the experimental film collaborations with Anthony Balch, Brion Gysin, and others - Towers Open Fire and Ghosts at No. 9.

Track 1 from 16mm film - a "cut up" by P.T.V. from their archives.
Tracks 3 to 7 video taped on October 4, 1982 in The Haçienda, Manchester. Shot, edited and produced by Ikon.

Also included are previews of other DVD releases by Dead Kennedys, Divine, Johnny Cash, Johnny Thunders, Nico and the "Groupies" documentary.

From the end credits:

Ikon and P.T.V. wish to thank the following..
James Grauerholz
Rita Jarvis
Savoy Books
Howard and Mike (Hacienda)
Tony Martin (lights)
OZ P.A. (Sound)

All material on both sections used with kind permission of Brion Gysin, John Giorno and William S. Burroughs

© Ikon F.C.L./P.T.V. 1984

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Arctic Methane Emergency and Ecological Economics


"We are negotiating a deal between life on earth and the wellbeing of all and money"

Global warming is causing CO2 levels to hit 400 ppm, a level humans have never seen. Droughts are spreading and Miami is reporting that the ocean is backing.

Stuart Scott is the Founder and President of Transition University.  A dedicated, life-long lover of Nature, Stuart was the first environmentalist stockbroker on Wall Street in the late 1970s, representing the financial community at US Department of Energy hearings on the fledgling alternative energy industry, and matters of pollution control and corporate social responsibility.

Stuart is currently making presentations to audiences around the world on the impacts of climate change and counter measures to this most serious challenge that humanity has ever faced. He attempts to minimize his own ‘carbon footprint’ in any way possible, including the purchase of carbon offsets for his travel, a ‘second-tier’ but important piece of the de-carbonization puzzle.

The unwavering message Stuart presents is the critical need for immediate action at all levels. Globally we have strayed too far into a condition of ‘overshoot’ in stressing the ecological systems of our home planet. The solutions he offers to address our ecological problems range from personal through political to societal, both easy and difficult to implement, and often thought-provoking, innovative, and unusual. Our challenge is nothing short of rethinking and reorganizing the way we live on Earth.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea levels could rise by more than three feet by the end of this century. The United States Army Corps of Engineers projects that they could rise by as much as five feet; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts up to six and a half feet. Many geologists are looking at the possibility of a ten-to-thirty-foot range by the end of the century,

Our inability to abandoned a culture in which happiness, status and a sense of achievement are based solely on consumption is going to destroy civilization. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Dongas Tribe in the Summer of 1996


The Dongas Movie was shot at Brian's Field & Sherborne in Dorset. This video was created by a German Television production company and expresses a desire for a sustainable life on Planet Earth. The people who participated are Collin & Jo & Tansy, Liz & Soren, Brian, Tegwyn & Elkana, Sam(antha) & Joya & Tom, Sarah, Vicky, Laugh, Gipsey John and the people of Sherborne.

The Dongas Tribe was a collection of road protesters and travellers in England, noted for their occupation of Twyford Down outside Winchester, Hampshire. The name Dongas comes from the Matabele word for "gully", given by Winchester locals to the deep drovers' tracks on Twyford Down.

John Vidal, writing in The Guardian in 2012, said of The Dongas that "the 15-20 urban youths who camped out to try to defend Twyford Down in 1992 are recognised to have fired up British environmental protest and kickstarted a major shift in green attitudes in both government and the public."

The Twyford Down protest was a protest against the M3 motorway extension which destroyed some rich ecological sites, one of the very few habitats of the Chalkhill Blue butterfly and six species of rare orchid, and ancient monuments there (SSSI and Scheduled Ancient Monument).

Following "Yellow Wednesday", when hordes of police and security guards invaded the camp to bulldoze the area, the Dongas Tribe left Twyford Down for Bramdean Common. Earth First!, who had been heavily involved in the setting up and support of the camp and actions, continued the protests and restarted a camp in Plague Pits Valley.

They constituted about twenty people. Some of the tribe maintained involvement in various subsequent road protests (Solsbury Hill, North Wales, Newbury bypass), but gradually morphed into a semi-nomadic "tribe", traveling the South West of England on foot, squatting various hill-forts and putting on seasonal gatherings in an attempt to reawaken a sense of connectedness with the land. The last of the nomadic Dongas were travelling in Cornwall until the end of 1999, after which some moved to France to continue their nomadic lifestyle.

The cutting at Twyford Down, during construction of the M3 motorway in 1994. Some of the 'original Dongas' (as they became called) of the mid 1990s were musicians who made a living by busking, sometimes using traditional music from Brittany.

The first child born in the Dongas tribe, to Rosie Lambert, was named May Brigit "Donga" Lambert and was born on 1 May 1994, Beltane and May Day.

An archive of recordings from The Dongas Tribe can be heard and downloaded from here.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Coleridge: One of the Greatest Biographies of the Century - Darker Reflections (1999)


Samuel Taylor Coleridge (/ˈkoʊləˌrɪdʒ/; 21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834) was an English poet, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He wrote the poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as the major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on Shakespeare, was highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture. Coleridge coined many familiar words and phrases, including suspension of disbelief. He was a major influence on Emerson and American transcendentalism.

Throughout his adult life Coleridge had crippling bouts of anxiety and depression; it has been speculated that he had bipolar disorder, which had not been defined during his lifetime. He was physically unhealthy, which may have stemmed from a bout of rheumatic fever and other childhood illnesses. He was treated for these conditions with laudanum, which fostered a lifelong opium addiction.

Between 1810 and 1820, Coleridge gave a series of lectures in London and Bristol – those on Shakespeare renewed interest in the playwright as a model for contemporary writers. Much of Coleridge's reputation as a literary critic is founded on the lectures that he undertook in the winter of 1810–11, which were sponsored by the Philosophical Institution and given at Scot's Corporation Hall off Fetter Lane, Fleet Street. These lectures were heralded in the prospectus as "A Course of Lectures on Shakespeare and Milton, in Illustration of the Principles of Poetry." Coleridge's ill-health, opium-addiction problems, and somewhat unstable personality meant that all his lectures were plagued with problems of delays and a general irregularity of quality from one lecture to the next. As a result of these factors, Coleridge often failed to prepare anything but the loosest set of notes for his lectures and regularly entered into extremely long digressions which his audiences found difficult to follow. However, it was the lecture on Hamlet given on 2 January 1812 that was considered the best and has influenced Hamlet studies ever since. Before Coleridge, Hamlet was often denigrated and belittled by critics from Voltaire to Dr. Johnson. Coleridge rescued the play's reputation, and his thoughts on it are often still published as supplements to the text.

In August 1814, Coleridge was approached by Lord Byron's publisher, John Murray, about the possibility of translating Goethe's classic Faust (1808). Coleridge was regarded by many as the greatest living writer on the demonic and he accepted the commission, only to abandon work on it after six weeks. Until recently, scholars were in agreement that Coleridge never returned to the project, despite Goethe's own belief in the 1820s that he had in fact completed a long translation of the work. In September 2007, Oxford University Press sparked a heated scholarly controversy by publishing an English translation of Goethe's work that purported to be Coleridge's long-lost masterpiece (the text in question first appeared anonymously in 1821).

In April 1816, Coleridge, with his addiction worsening, his spirits depressed, and his family alienated, took residence in the Highgate homes, then just north of London, of the physician James Gillman, first at South Grove and later at the nearby The Grove. It is unclear whether his growing use of opium (and the brandy in which it was dissolved) was a symptom or a cause of his growing depression. Gillman was partially successful in controlling the poet's addiction. Coleridge remained in Highgate for the rest of his life, and the house became a place of literary pilgrimage for writers including Carlyle and Emerson.

In Gillman's home, Coleridge finished his major prose work, the Biographia Literaria (mostly drafted in 1815, and finished in 1817), a volume composed of 23 chapters of autobiographical notes and dissertations on various subjects, including some incisive literary theory and criticism. He composed a considerable amount of poetry, of variable quality. He published other writings while he was living at the Gillman homes, notably the Lay Sermons of 1816 and 1817, Sibylline Leaves (1817), Hush (1820), Aids to Reflection (1825), and On the Constitution of the Church and State (1830). He also produced essays published shortly after his death, such as Essay on Faith (1838) and Confessions Of An Inquiring Spirit (1840). A number of his followers were central to the Oxford Movement, and his religious writings profoundly shaped Anglicanism in the mid nineteenth century.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Benjamin Smoke (2000)


"I have this bad habit of punishing myself when things are going bad cause I don't think they are going bad enough" - Benjamin Smoke

Benjamin Smoke (born Robert Dickerson) was an American singer-songwriter who fronted the Atlanta, Georgia bands Smoke and the Opal Foxx Quartet. He was noted for being a radical, gay rock 'n' roll performer. He died on January 29, 1999 due to liver failure caused by Hepatitis C at age 39. He performed his final concert in Atlanta, Georgia on New Year's Eve, 1998.

Benjamin was a known character in the underground scene in 1980s Atlanta and participated in a number of Atlanta music experiments such as Easturn Stars, Monroe is Naked Again, Freedom Puff, Blade Emotion, and the Opal Foxx Quartet (which often had up to 12 members). His bands played in such venues as 688, Celebrity Club, Pillowtex, Destroy All Music Festival, among others. For the band, Smoke donned the stage name "Miss Opal Foxx".

During this time his vocals received media attention and Tom Waits comparisons arose. His voice has since been described as "resembling the roar of a wounded lion". After some of the musicians of the group died, the band Smoke was conceived in 1992 with members Bill Taft, Brian Halloran, and Todd Butler. Coleman Lewis and Tim Campion later joined the band, followed by Will Fratesi.

Smoke was renowned for his on-stage banter, never shying away from provoking his viewers, "for a faggot, do I have a rockin' band or what?" Benjamin was an amphetamine addict and he also had AIDS, though he claimed "HIV is not a death sentence". AIDS brought him closer to his mother, though he eventually lost his life due to Hepatitis C.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

We Have Signal: Godspeed You! Black Emperor (2016 Tour)


I am quivering like a delirious child. Godspeed at the height of their powers. Cascading walls of sound of infinite depth. Nothing can stop them and nothing should. Just magnificent. Happy Equinox!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tangerine Dream at Coventry Cathedral 1975


In December 1974 Tangerine Dream were invited to play in the grand setting of Rheims Cathedral, a move certainly seen at the time as groundbreaking. Following the concert the Vatican issued an order banning them from playing in any Catholic church anywhere in the world. Because of this, they were then invited to perform in the Church of England cathedrals of York, Liverpool and Coventry. The tour attracted unprecedented coverage in the media, especially at Coventry Cathedral, an iconic building rising like a Phoenix on the ruins of the old cathedral bombed to bits by the Germans in 1940 (Tangerine Dream is, after all, a German band) as a celebration of peace and reconciliation, as well as a lasting showcase for great contemporary art. The nave is dominated by a gigantic tapestry by Graham Sutherland, the main door dwarfed by a sculpture of St Michael and The Devil by Jacob Epstein, and the consecration in 1962 heard the first performance of Britten's incomparable 'War Requiem. To their lasting credit, Tangerine Dream contributed to this celebration.

Friday, March 31, 2017

War of the Worlds musical by Jeff Wayne


Stage production of the classic War of the Worlds musical, retelling the story of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, released September 6, 1978. A concept album, its main format is progressive rock and string orchestra, using narration and leitmotifs to carry the story via rhyming melodic lyrics that express the feelings of the various characters. The two-disc album remains a bestseller, having sold millions of records around the world, and by 2009 it was the 40th best selling album of all time in the UK with sales of 2,561,286.

Cast

·       Richard Burton – narration (The Journalist) (via a "virtual" Richard Burton: a large bust of the Journalist plus a projected image)
·       Liam Neeson – narration (The Journalist) (The New Generation 2012, 2014 and the Dominion Theatre stage production 2016)
·       Justin Hayward – vocals (The Sung Thoughts of the Journalist) (all tours: 2006, 2007 Australian, 2007 UK, 2009 30th Anniversary, and 2010 tour)
·       Alexis James – dialogue and vocals (The Artilleryman) (2006, 2007 UK, and 2009 30th Anniversary tour)
·       Michael Falzon – spoken words and vocals (The Artilleryman) (2007 Australian tour)
·       Jason Donovan – dialogue and vocals (The Artilleryman) (2010 tour)
·       Chris Thompson – vocals (The Voice of Humanity) (all tours: 2006, 2007 Australian, 2007 UK, 2009 30th Anniversary, and 2010 tour)
·       Russell Watson – dialogue and vocals (Parson Nathaniel) (2006 tour)
·       Shannon Noll – dialogue and vocals (Parson Nathaniel) (2007 Australian and first half of 2009 30th Anniversary tour)
·       John Payne – dialogue and vocals (Parson Nathaniel) (2007 UK tour)
·       Damien Edwards – dialogue and vocals (Parson Nathaniel) (second half of 2009 30th Anniversary tour)
·       Rhydian Roberts – dialogue and vocals (Parson Nathaniel) (2010 tour)
·       Tara Blaise – dialogue and vocals (Beth) (2006 tour)
·       Rachael Beck – dialogue and vocals (Beth) (2007 Australian tour)
·       Sinéad Quinn – dialogue and vocals (Beth) (2007 UK tour)
·       Jennifer Ellison – dialogue and vocals (Beth) (2009 30th Anniversary tour)
·       Liz McClarnon – dialogue and vocals (Beth) (2010 tour)
·       Carrie Hope Fletcher – dialogue and vocals (Beth) (2014 tour)
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·       Daniel Boys – dialogue and vocals (Male Understudy) (all tours: 2006, 2007 Australian, 2007 UK, 2009 30th Anniversary, and 2010 tour)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Quantum Men


The work of Cristobal Jodorowsky, the son of the famous director, artist, poet and writer Alejandro (psycho magic and psycho shamanism). The film explores the shamanistic practices of the Americas.

Friday, March 03, 2017

John 'Hoppy' Hopkins Interview (2009)


"Professionalism is a state of mind rather than a state of income" - John Hopkins

The significant counter culture figure John Hopkins on photography and 'Seeing'.

John "Hoppy" Hopkins (15 August 1937 – 30 January 2015) was a British photographer, journalist, researcher and political activist, and "one of the best-known underground figures of 'Swinging London' " in the late 1960s.

At the age of 20 he graduated from Cambridge University (which he had entered on a scholarship in 1955) with a degree in physics and mathematics, and embarked upon a career as a nuclear physicist. However, a graduation present of a camera changed his career. Arriving in London on 1 January 1960, he began to work as a photographer for newspapers, music magazines including Melody Maker, and Peace News. He photographed many of the leading musicians of the period, including The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. He also recorded the seedier side of London, with photographs of tattoo parlours, cafes, prostitutes and fetishists.

By the mid-1960s he had drifted into the centre of London's emerging underground scene and recorded many peace marches, poetry readings and "happenings", as well as photographing leading counter-cultural figures including Allen Ginsberg and Malcolm X. He compiled and stencil-duplicated the names, contact details and interests of all of London's "movers and shakers". He then gave all of them a copy. This action is credited with greatly boosting the cultural velocity of the 1960s London-based underground movement.

In 1965 Hoppy started the first of a lifelong series of projects to democratise communication and information. The London Free school, based in Notting Hill, achieved few of these goals, but its cash-raising events gave Pink Floyd its start and Hoppy’s inspired collaboration with the local West Indian community helped bring about the first annual Notting Hill Carnival.

In October 1966, he and Miles published the first edition of International Times, Europe’s first underground paper. The IT launch party at the Roundhouse – with music by Pink Floyd and Soft Machine – inspired Hoppy him with Joe Boyd to open the UFO Club in a West End dance hall. Every Friday, Hoppy would sit atop a scaffold at the back of the club, playing records, making gnomic announcements, showing films, and projecting light shows; he imbued those nights of music, theatre and dance with an unforgettable atmosphere.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Language Of The New Music - Documentary about Wittgenstein and Schoenberg, 1985


This is a film about Ludwig Wittgenstein and Arnold Schonberg; two men whose lives and ideas run parallel in the development of Viennese radicalism. Both men emerged from the turmoil of the Habsburg Empire in its closing days with the idea of analyzing language and purging it with critical intent, believing that in the analysis and purification of language lies the greatest hope that we have. They never met and might never have fully understood one another, because while the nature of their genius they found themselves alone breaking new ground of the very frontiers of their respective disciplines. But their work springs from the same soil and shares a common ethical purpose, so that their ideas and methods echo and illuminate those of each other to a remarkable degree.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Une Femme Coquette (Jean-Luc Godard, 1955) with English subtitles


Jean-Luc Godard's Une Femme Coquette has had less than half a dozen public screenings since the 1960s; we were able to track down the only known 16mm print to a national film archive in Europe, where it was being stored unlisted for a private owner, to be loaned out only with the personal permission of Jean-Luc Godard himself. This makes it the holy grail of the game-changing New Wave era—a film so rare that it has often been listed as lost by biographies and film history books. And it might as well have been. No other surviving narrative film by a major, big-name director has been as difficult to see — until now.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lives of Performers (Yvonne Rainer, 1972)


Lives of Performers, the first feature film by the choreographer, cofounder of the Judson Dance Theater, and author of 1965’s “No Manifesto.”

In her transition from dance to film, Rainer said yes: “Having survived my various physical and psychic traumas”—including a suicide attempt in 1971—“and emboldened by the women’s movement, I felt entitled to struggle with an entirely new lexicon. The language of specific emotional experience . . . promised all the ambivalent pleasures and terrors of the experiences themselves: seduction, passion, rage, betrayal, grief, and joy.”

Yet that surfeit of emotion is presented austerely and disjunctively in Lives of Performers, parenthetically labeled “a melodrama” by an opening title card. Indeed, the film revolves around a love triangle, a standard setup of the genre, focusing on a man involved with two women. These romantic entanglements, however, are delineated only after a prologue of sorts, featuring Rainer leading a rehearsal of Walk, She Said, a dance that includes the four main “protagonists” in the film: John Erdman, Valda Setterfield, Shirley Soffer, and Fernando Torm. (Of this quartet, only Setterfield, a member of Merce Cunningham’s troupe from 1964 to 1974, had previous professional dance experience.)

Over this footage, we hear Rainer’s directives: “Foot open, gaze goes to the window, gaze goes to closet.” The audio, save for a few instances, is almost entirely offscreen. Though the performers deliver their lines, as Rainer does, without inflection, their voices are distinct, a mix of accents from the UK (Setterfield), Chile (Torm), and Kings County (Soffer); the few sentences in a buttery French intonation are uttered by Babette Mangolte, the redoubtable cinematographer with whom Rainer would make two more films. (The same year that Lives of Performers was made, Mangolte began another important collaboration in New York, shooting Chantal Akerman’s La Chambre and Hotel Monterey.) We hear the pages of the script being turned, further estranging us from this spartan soap opera about a man who “can’t make up his mind”—though this distancing device never dilutes our fascination with the intensely private moments, sourced from dreams, perhaps from letters or diaries, presented on-screen.

William S. Burroughs - Valentine Day Reading (1965)

Gangster funerals, airline crashes, and Vietnam. Sound familiar? It should. The Dutch Schultz recording echoes the Death and Disaster series initiated by Andy Warhol in 1962 and concluded in 1965. Burroughs’ obsessions parallel Warhol’s closely. The Dutch Schultz cut-ups make me think of Warhol’s Gangster Funeral (1963) or his Electric Chair silkscreens. The 1962 silkscreen 129 Die in Jet touches on Burroughs’ fascination with airline crashes, such as that involving Captain Clark. Furthermore 129 Die compares in form and content with Burroughs’ scrapbook pages, particularly Tornado Dead: 223. Warhol used a June 4, 1962 Daily Mirror front page for this silkscreen. In fact, Warhol used newspaper and magazine imagery for much of the Death and Disaster series. In this period both Warhol and Burroughs manipulated and detourned mass media images for artistic and political effect. - Reality Studio

Saturday, February 04, 2017

The Summer Of Rave 1989 (BBC Full Documentary)


Documentary by the BBC on the development of rave culture in the United Kingdom during the summer of 1989.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Propaganda (2012)


A film about the Capitalist world that is presented as according to the ideology of North Korea. It is actually a film made by New Zealand based director Slavko Martinov, who states:

It’s part of a trilogy of films about propaganda.  It was a social experiment about propaganda.  I wanted to make a film about propaganda.  If you make a film about how propaganda works, it’s going to be as dry as a bone.  I had a short list of Iran, Cuba, and North Korea.  North Korea sticks out like a sore thumb.  It’ll be about propaganda in a propaganda campaign, a metafiction.  It’s propaganda-squared.  You can’t just do it and go to a distributor.  After the first wave of people saw it, it blew up.  There’s nothing else you can do but conduct a social experiment this way.  People came up to me at IDFA to buy this film, I said you know it’s online.  I could see them become sick.  Really no one’s seen this film in the scheme of things.  It’s still a hidden film.
There are of course serious flaws in the arguments this film presents. Perhaps the most obvious is the idea that the 'West' is a homogenous whole of like minded 'slaves' without the ability to think for themselves or access alternatives to the horror that is consumption based, market driven capitalism. This is clearly untrue and the presence of this film itself on the Internet contradicts that premise.

Apart from such simplistic dimensions of the critique, the assessment of how media, production and consciousness are a triangulation of reality that only allows individual expression through consumption is not far from accurate in many cases. For this reason I believe Propaganda is worth watching.
Controversial to its core, this hard-hitting anti-Western propaganda film, which looks at the influence of American culture on the rest of the world from a North Korean perspective, has been called "Genius!" by Michael Moore, and has been described as 'either a damning indictment of 21st Century culture or the best piece of propaganda in a generation.' As first reported on mainstream new around the world, Propaganda is allegedly a video smuggled out of North Korea. Brilliantly using this 'fake North Korean propaganda' found-footage device, Slavko Martinov first parodies its language and stylings, before targeting the mountain of hypocrisies and contradictions that make up the modern Western world. In doing so, Propaganda delivers a devastating blow to those who might be quick to laugh at 'backward' ideologies before considering how 21st century political and cultural trends have hurt the moral high ground of the rest of the world. - Review from MVD (where you can buy the film)

Content:

0:00 Introduction
6:54 Creating Ideas & Illusions
16:48 Fear
19:35 Religion
25:00 Beware the 1%
28:10 Emulating Psychosis
31:21 Rewriting History
41:15 The Birth of Propaganda
45:49 Cover Ups and Omissions
54:10 Complicity
58:05 Censorship
1:01:50 International Diplomacy
1:06:14 Television
1:08:11 Advertising
1:14:36 The Cult of Celebrity
1:22:34 Distraction
1:28:01 Terrorism
1:35:00 The Revolution Starts Now

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Neil Young: Don't Be Denied


A 2009 BBC documentary tracing Neil Young’s career culled from three hours of interviews shot in New York and California. Featuring Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Nils Lofgren, etc, the doc features previously unseen performance footage from Young’s personal archives.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

The Romantics - Liberty (BBC Documentary)



“Teach him to live rather than to avoid death: life is not breath,
but action, the use of our senses, our mind, our faculties, every
part of ourselves which makes us conscious of our being. Life
consists less in length of days than in the keen sense of living.
A man maybe buried at a hundred and may never have lived at all.
He would have fared better had he died young.” ― Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Peter Ackroyd reveals how the radical ideas of liberty that inspired the French Revolution opened up a world of possibility for great British writers such as William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, inspiring some of the greatest works of literature in the English language. Their ideas are the foundations of our modern notions of freedom and their words are performed by David Tennant, Dudley Sutton and David Threlfall. The Romantics - Liberty (BBC Documentary) Category

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

John Berger and Susan Sontag / To Tell A Story (1983)


The power of stories, as modes of representation, as ways to understand ourselves and that which we experience as reality, including other people, is discussed in this highly engaging meeting between John Berger and Susan Sontag. Both of these thinkers and writers are now sadly no longer with us on this plain of reality. John Berger died two days ago, and Susan Sontag died in 2004. This discussion between them inspired so many thoughts in me, having found it on the wonderful Open Culture blog, I uploaded it here. Just so I know where it is if I ever need it...and I probably will from time to time.

One thing that struck me personally from this conversation is that the first stories I remember were told to me orally, about members of my family that I never met. Soldiers, farmers and explorers. It then occurred to me that my mother came from an oral storytelling culture - she did not go to school until she was 13, her mother did not go to school at all. They lived on a huge cattle property in central Queensland in Australia that had been in the family for over 100 years. My father on the other hand grew up in nearest big town, (5 hours drive on the sealed roads that had been created by the time I was a child, when they were kids it took a lot longer), which was becoming a city as he came of age. He lived in books and our house was literally a library. I once packed up my father's library to move him, and it came in at 300 banana boxes. That is a lot of books. But my maternal grandmother told me the stories of the bush, and the world that she remembered from the 1920s as a child.

Photograph taken the year before my maternal grandmother was born (1911) in Taroom, the nearest settlement to where she grew up. It was an oral storytelling culture, even when she was a young adult, although they read and wrote, the spoken story was the more common vehicle.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Beastie Boys - Move On Up - The Full Movie


This profile of rap trio The Beastie Boys tells the complete story of the group's lives and career, beginning with their roots in the underground scene and culminating in their unexpected ascent to the height of hip-hop crossover fame and innovation.

Prime Minister Paul Keating on Mabo - Talk Back Radio - John Laws 1992



Anyone interested in Australia should watch this. The then Prime Minister Paul Keating taking live on air questions in 1993 about the so-called Mabo Decision (Mabo v Queensland (No 2)) that was made by the High Court in 1992. Keating fields questions on the John Laws radio show. He responds with intelligence and patience, while attempting to explain what had actually happened.
The Mabo decision should be considered historic as a legal decision on an international level as;
"The High Court held that the doctrine of terra nullius, which imported all laws of England to a new land, did not apply in circumstances where there were already inhabitants present - even if those inhabitants had been regarded at the time as "uncivilized". Consequently, the Court held that the rules of reception of English law that applied were not those applicable where the land was barren and unhabited, but rather the rules that applied where an existing people were settled."
Mabo was eventually curtailed by the Native Title Amendment Act 1998 introduced by the John Howard led Liberal Government. Since then there have been large Native Title claims granted but even they often contain lease hold clauses that allow for continued economic exploitation by non-Native, and more lately non-Australian, interests (e.g. the current Adani Mining Carmichael Coal venture is being made possible by the extinguishing of Native Title) . Furthermore, Native Title can be extinguished by state governments in Australia if claims are considered to be contrary to 'the national interest'. What is more 'in the national interest' than the people themselves, the majority of whom have long supported the recognition of Indigenous dispossession.

Mabo really was a missed opportunity. The results of the ultimate failure to work with the High Court decision (i.e. finally confirmed by the Native Title Amendment Act of 1998) and all the ideas and history it represented are still developing as potential impacts and consequences. Just the current Adani Mining Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project is one example of how unsustainable economic interests are being imposed on people (i.e. THE national interest) via the Native Title Amendment Act 1998. It has been 25 years this new year of 2017 since Mabo 2 and it remains in the interest of all Australians to implement the original High Court decision and overturn the 1998 Act, organise a national tribunal that represents the relevant actors and formulate a new Act that will bring about both sustainable development within Native Title Lands and the recognition of Indigenous Dispossession.

TV Party Documentary


The punk public-access cable show ran from 1978 to 1982 in New York City and featured everyone from Debbie Harry and David Byrne to Iggy Pop and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Here's a documentary about the show and the late-70s downtown art scene.