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| blogging since Oct '01
This is Gordon Osse's blog.
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"He who does not at some time, with definite determination consent to the terribleness of life, or even exalt in it, never takes possession of the inexpressible fullness of the power of our existence."
all faces followers of
All colors, beams of
-- Akhenaton, "Hymn to the Sun"
Opt your children out of Pentagon harassment
WHO I WORK FOR: Mount Hope Wholesale
Wholesale nuts, grains, fruits and spices (and more) shipped from Cottonwood AZ
(Tell them you heard about them on Gordon's blog!)
WHAT I'VE SEEN LATELY:
(r) = re-viewing
God Told Me To (1976, Cohen)
Whispering City (1947, Otsep)
Times and Winds (2006, Erdem)
Dirty Money (Un flic) (1972, Melville)
10th District Court (2004, Depardon)
RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy (2007, O'Sullivan)
The Furies (1950, Mann)
In a Lonely Place (1950, Ray)(r)
The Adjuster (1991, Egoyan)(r)
Mad Men The Buddha of Suburbia Intelligence (2006, Haddock) Family Guy
SUGGESTED VIEWING: The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004, Curtis) [available for streaming/download here]
On the morning bus ride, an increasingly common sight is impatient iPod Shuffle users pumping their gum-package-size MP3 players, thus resembling hospital patients self-administering morphine. ...
Lots of interesting music info as well, natch.
Marc also mentioned the Echoes radio show's new podcasts (why mp3s are suddenly "podcasts" is a mystery to me, but I guess a triumph of Steve Jobs' PR wizards), particularly an interview with Jon Hassell about his new album Maarifa Street, which hearkens back to Aka/Darbari/Java and Dream Theory in Malaya (it's subtitled "Magic Realism 2"), which makes it a must-have for me.
The last link is the closest to an official Hassell site til jonhassell.com is up and running, and more recently updated than the British site I've been linking to in the left column. The Italian Sulla Strada release and Hassell's own lmited release "Greatest Hits" remix of his earlier work (The Vertical Collection) listed in the discography were news to me.
Interesting lineup at Morrissey's Meltdown Festival in London next month: Ari Up (Slits) to Nancy Sinatra to Gorecki and Sparks, with Loudon Wainwright III in the wings and -- according to James Wolcott -- Patti Smith performing Horses with John Cale and Tom Verlaine among the backup band (to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its release)
Strangely, despite being a New York bohemian whose idol was the French symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud, Smith had hitherto shunned drugs. She attributes this partly to her constitution (her childhood having been stricken by one illness after another - bronchitis, tuberculosis, scarlet fever, 'three different kinds of measles'), and partly to her Romantic respect for consciousness-altering substances. 'I regarded them as sacred and secret, something for jazz musicians or Hopi shamans. I hated the suburbanisation of drugs in the Sixties.' This was another source of friction with Cale during the Horses sessions ('John, at that time, had certain substance problems' ).
Still, she credits Cale for creating the conditions that led to 'Birdland' - 'my greatest experience, as performer, on Horses' - if only by getting her so wound up she needed catharsis. The song was inspired by The Book of Dreams, the childhood memoir of Peter Reich, son of radical psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. 'There's a section in it where Peter describes a birthday party not long after his father died. He wandered outside and became convinced his father was coming down to get him and take him off in a spaceship.' But what he thought was a squadron of UFOs revealed itself to be a flock of blackbirds. 'This story haunted me, and when we recorded "Birdland", which was totally improvised, that's where the track went to.' Starting with the young Reich hallucinating his father at the controls of the flying saucer, there's a motif running through the song: 'You are not human' turns to 'I am not human' and then 'we are not human'. Smith says 'that's really talking about myself. From very early on in my childhood - four, five years old - I felt alien to the human race. I felt very comfortable with thinking I was from another planet, because I felt disconnected - I was very tall and skinny, and I didn't look like anybody else, I didn't even look like any member of my family.'
I've read Reich's book and it's one of the coolest memoirs you'll ever read (John Lennon liked it too) -- though it looks like you'll have to find it at the library.
As children, most of us learn the trick of scuffing our shoes across the carpet in order to charge our bodies. Then we go to search for victims to "zap" with our electric fingers. Sparks from rug-scuffing are familiar. If you scuff your feet on the carpet, you expect to be zapped by the next doorknob you touch. But why do our bodies sometimes become charged from simply walking around?
Edward Marin's Nocturne (10:00PM PT Tuesday), an atmospheric noir I hadn't heard of (with George Raft); the original film version of Enchanted April (6:45AM PT Wednesday), with Ann Harding (whom I liked so much in The Animal Kingdom, another hard to find gem from the 30s, with Leslie Howard and Myrna Loy), which probably isn't as evocative as the one most of us know with Miranda Richardson, Joan Plowright and Alfred Molina; and a little-known propaganda short Hitchcock made for the British Information Ministry during WWII, Aventure malgache (Madagascar Landing) (10:15PM PT Friday)
Bill Moyers on the sad, dangerous state of journalism today, and crypto-MediaNazi Ken Tomlinson & the PlutocratPoodles of public broadcasting [disinfo]
Who are they? I mean the people obsessed with control, using the government to threaten and intimidate. I mean the people who are hollowing out middle-class security even as they enlist the sons and daughters of the working class in a war to make sure Ahmed Chalabi winds up controlling Iraq's oil. I mean the people who turn faith-based initiatives into a slush fund and who encourage the pious to look heavenward and pray so as not to see the long arm of privilege and power picking their pockets. I mean the people who squelch free speech in an effort to obliterate dissent and consolidate their orthodoxy into the official view of reality from which any deviation becomes unpatriotic heresy.
"Bloggers follow buzz as much as they make it," said Cornfield. "Our research uncovered a complicated dynamic in which a hot topic of conversation could originate with the blogs or it could originate with the media or it could originate with the campaigns.
"We can say that if people still have that idea that the bloggers are the new fifth estate, that the bloggers are the new kingmakers, that's not the case."
The film, a non-competition entry, argues that the fear of terrorism has come to pervade politics in the United States and Britain even though much of that angst is based on carefully nurtured illusions.
It says Bush and U.S. neo-conservatives, as well as British Prime Minister Tony Blair, are exaggerating the terror threat in a manner similar to the way earlier generations of leaders inflated the danger of communism and the Soviet Union.
It also draws especially controversial symmetries between the history of the U.S. movement that led to the neo-cons and the roots of the ideas that led to radical Islamism -- two conservative movements that have shaped geopolitics since 1945.
Curtis's film portrays neo-cons Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Donald Rumsfeld as counterparts to Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri in the two respective movements.
"During the Cold War conservatives exaggerated the threat of the Soviet Union," the narrator says. "In reality it was collapsing from within. Now they're doing the same with Islamic extremists because it fits the American vision of an epic battle."
How this film and the Uzbek uprising are seen in the US will be a barometer of how the wind is blowing re the neocon FearSpell.
There's an ongoing attempt at cataloguing the extensive recorded appearances of artists like Fred Frith, John Zorn, Butch Morris and Marc Ribot at this site; if those names are familiar (I hesitate to categorize the music) it may prove useful to you [via fredfrith.com]
Some other names: Elliot Sharp, Tom Cora, Christian Marclay, Steve Lacy, Wayne Horvitz, Ellery Eskelin....
On a related note, there's a free download of Fred Frith and Sudhu Tewari performing live at the Other Minds festival last fall at archive.org (FTP only though), which is worth a listen if you like his abstract performance work (my favorite of his stuff I think). [via disquiet]
Nice short piece on Chuck Palahniuk whom I find interesting as a phenomenon, but can't read myself -- too self-conscious and self-flagellatory
I loved Fincher's film of Fight Club, but I just can't get into his style.
But I'm glad he's there for readers who dig him.
He seems like such a nice, well-balanced chap, I tell him, to have such peculiarly graphic fantasies, not at all the gleeful anarchist-come-nihilist described in book reviews. 'Well, Charlotte Brontë was probably called a nihilist and an anarchist,' he replies, sounding slightly pissed off that I have used the two words often thrown at him by reviewers who find his books adolescent and misanthropic. 'That is just lazy journalism. My books are always about somebody who is taken from aloneness and isolation - often elevated loneliness - to community. It may be a denigrated community that is filthy and poor, but they are not alone, they are with people. Typically, too, my characters make that Kierkegaardian leap of faith to commit themselves to one person. I write nothing,' he says without a trace of irony, 'but contemporary romances.'
Before he became a romantic novelist, Chuck Palahniuk worked at Freightliner for 13 years, fitting front axles to big trucks, then writing manuals telling people how to do the same. For a while, too, he tried his hand at journalism. Both 'closed him down'. A casual visit to a 'group awareness' seminar conducted by the Landmark Forum, an organisation that uses ideas based on controversial 'est' therapy, was, he says, his 'big epiphany moment'.
Lincoln Center in NYC is mounting a historic Michael Powell retrospective this month, which I'd love to have seen since I'm nearly finished the first volume of his autobiography (a great read regardless of what it shares about his career, which is no small feat)
This very afternoon his second wife and amanuensis Thelma Schoonmaker (well-known as Scorsese's editor) will be sharing memories and source materials of her late husband.
Many of these films haven't been seen in the US in years, if ever, and are not on disc either.
Any film student or fan in the area knows about it already I imagine. If you don't, make sure you check it out this inspiration for everyone from Scorsese to George Romero.
Of most importance: PeepingTom*, Black Narcissus*, The Red Shoes*, A Matter of Life and Death (Stairway to Heaven), I Know Where I'm Going*, Tales of Hoffmann, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp**, The Thief of Bagdad*, The Edge of the World*, The Small Back Room, 49th Parallel, and Age of Consent.
* = on disc in US ** = released on disc in US but OOP
Warners will release a new DVD of Cronenberg's Dead Ringers (his best probably) on June 7 (scroll down)
Criterion released a version years ago which has long been out of print. Except that there's no Cronenberg commentary on the Warners edition, there's not much else I'd miss that much (assuming the transfer will be as good, not a certainty esp. with Criterion's reputation). Jeremy Irons does a solo commentary on the new one, and it retails for $19.95 as opposed to Criterion's original price of $39.95, though used copies of it are starting at $54.99 on amazon right now.
I don't get HBO but everything ends up on disc now anyways ... their new miniseries based on Richard Russo's Empire Falls has a cast I hope wasn't wasted
I liked Russo's Straight Man a lot, and he wrote the screenplay for Empire so who knows. I haven't read the latter, but it was widely acclaimed.
Also, I'd borrowed a friend's tapes of the first 2 seasons of Six Feet Under a year and a half ago and loved the shit out of it like a lot of people. Finally the last 2 seasons of the show are being released on disc, season 3 on May 17 and season 4 on August 23, so Susan & I can catch up.
Taylor Deupree & Kenneth Kirschner have released a sequel to post piano, their 2002 release which is one of my favorites; it's a piece Kirschner recorded in his um richly ambient NY flat, along with 3 interpretations by Deupree
True to form, they're offering an mp3 of the composition for others to play with, and the best results will be posted on .term.