Entirety of first one-hour episode of new three-part bbc tv series by the brilliant ADAM CURTIS (Power of Nightmares, Century of the Self, The Trap)…
Been listening to this Groundhogs LP lately. Click on the cover for a review from Head Heritage.
I first heard of Ruth Stout when reading Daniel Chamberlin’s piece for Arthur Magazine on Tim Dundon, the Alta Dena, California “king of compost”/”guru of doo-doo”/”sodfather,” back in 2007:
Ruth Stout [was] a rebellious woman raised as a Quaker in Girard, Kansas, [who] published her first book in 1955. How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back outlined her philosophy of permanent mulch, summed up with the maxim “no dig, no work.” [S]he recognized nature as a gardener that didn’t need to be improved upon, and was reputed to tend to her bountiful, chaotic roadside gardens in the nude.
After Dundon moved back to his parents’ place in 1973, he continued to garden, but it was Stout’s writing that gave him the inspiration to start his now legendary compost heap and the jungle that has sprouted from it. “I read her book about mulching,” he says, “and how it had turned her place into a virtual paradise. She had all this stuff growing, really wild, just by spreading hay and organic material on the ground…”
In the interim since we published Dan‘s article (with photography by Eden Batki) in Arthur No. 27 (Dec 2007), a vintage documentary on Ruth Stout, filmed in 1976 when she was 92, has appeared online. In it, she shows her way of doing things, relates her history and confirms that she did indeed regularly slow traffic by gardening in the nude. What a woman!
Here’s “Ruth Stout’s Garden,” directed by Arthur Mokin…
THIS IS A REALLY BIG DEAL, but I’ve only seen original reporting on it so far in the Washington Post…
Last week the Smithsonian announced that it had acquired the Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership for its collection. It’s not the original Mothership, which debuted in 1976 and disappeared in 1982, but it’s from the same fleet — it was used on P-Funk tours in the mid-’90s. And George says it’s cool. “[The second ship] went out on the road for a long time,” he told the Post. “Nobody knew the difference!”
Read the whole Washington Post piece by Chris Richards here: http://wapo.st/ktuFO4
Here’s some vintage Parliament-Funkdadelic mothership footage, apparently from a Halloween show in Houston in 1976. Glen Goins calls down the sweet chariot.
And from Houston, 1978: P-Funk, accompanied by openers Cameo and the BarKays, see George off…
Absolute height of western civilization, right? Whatever the Smithsonian paid to get the mothership in their house couldn’t possibly have been enough.
Now for a Congressional Medal of Honor…
BONUS VIDEO!: Funkadelic 1971 studio footage…
Just got hip yesterday to this series of conversations starting June 5. I’ll write more about what I think Terence McKenna’s legacy is later, but for now I’ll just say that I hope this online course will quickly and definitively dismiss Terence’s Timewave Zero/2012/Novelty Theory hypothesis as nonsense (fascinating nonsense, for sure, but of little consequence nonetheless) and begin to reframe his legacy around his many other remarkable accomplishments and insights. I can think of no better person better qualified to start that process than Terence’s brother, Dennis, who will be hosting this series.
Here’s a link and some of the details about what you get for $110 ($90 if you sign up before May 20)…
By participating in this online course, you will receive:
* Four 90-minute live video seminars with Dennis McKenna and his featured guests Erik Davis, Ralph Abraham, Ralph Metzner, Dr. Luis Eduardo Luna, Mark Pesce and Daniel Pinchbeck
* 30 minutes of question and answer time in each seminar
* Breakout sessions for student discussion following each seminar
* Participation in a private online community with other students
* Unlimited online access to videos of all seminars
* PDF articles about course topics from Dennis and each of the guests
Click on the adthing above or on this text for more details about the program and how to sign up. Please note that I make a small commission from each sale through this site.
A 1982 conversation with Masanobu Fukuoka, author of The One Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming, originally published in Mother Earth News: online at The Liberator
All four original members, playing together live for the first time in a few years, with a clutch of new songs in hand.
plus special guests
plus DJ Chris Ziegler (LA Record)
At Center for the Arts Eagle Rock
2225 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
Friday May 20
$12 / $10 adv / 8pm / All ages
Buy Tickets Online
Tickets are $10 adv & $12 day and are also available at Origami Vinyl in Echo Park.
Animation by Jen Stark / Music by Dan Deacon
Here’s a short film that filmmaker Peter Whitehead made for the Rolling Stones for their song “We Love You.” It was the first song the Stones released after Keith and Mick got out of jail on drugs charges and then had sentences dropped on appeal. Paul McCartney and John Lennon sing on it, “directed” by Allen Ginsberg. That’s Nicky Hopkins on piano, and the Stones’ Brian Jones on mellotron. The film features a re-enactment of the trial of Oscar Wilde, with Marianne Faithfull in the role (according to wikipedia) of Lord Alfred Douglas.
The circumstances around “We Love You”‘s recording and release — and the obvious implications of both — always intrigued me. In a moment of optimism in May 2005, I wrote this short piece, published in the LAWeekly…
Instant Rock for the People
With “Blue Orchid,”the White Stripes bring the rock the old-fashioned way: really fast
A new White Stripes song came on the radio last week. The song itself — a 157-second slice of raw, immediate AC/DC-Queen falsetto disco rawk called “Blue Orchid” — is kinda new, kinda old, kinda weird and pretty great, like White Stripes singles always are. But what may be even more significant than the song itself is the fact that we’re hearing “Blue Orchid” right now, less than a month after it was recorded.
This isn’t the way it usually works. But then, the White Stripes don’t work like other star bands. Their music gets by, as the Zen saying goes, by doing just enough, but never too much: a few instruments, recorded on a few tracks in a few hours for a few dollars. This approach works for them artistically, and in the context of an industry that normally spends millions recording and promoting its stars, it also makes Jack and Meg genuine radicals. Now the band have extended those same values to their method of distributing their music — a process you could call “instant music.”
According to band associate Ben Blackwell, the song was written and recorded on March 10 in Detroit (the vocals finished a few days later), mixed at Ardent Studios in Memphis on or around March 21, mastered in New York on March 28, and immediately delivered to the Stripes’ label. On April 18, “Blue Orchid” was released on iTunes as a 99-cent download. Within minutes, a song with no video, no movie tie-in, no advertising campaign, no TV appearance, no fashion spread, no ring tones, no hype and, most importantly, no payola men or market research, was gaining radio airplay nationwide.
This is exceedingly rare in the major-label rock world, where records get released when labels want to release them, rather than when they are completed. In the past year, Queens of the Stone Age and Sleater-Kinney also have recorded music very quickly and very in-the-raw, but the time lag between creation and distribution was much more than six weeks. And while there are instant records in hip-hop and reggae, they are seldom commercially released, and are heard only by specific audiences in specific markets at specific times. Country music seems more open to instant music: Note all the post-9/11 and pro-war songs that were recorded and quickly aired.
If instant music became more widespread — if more musicians exploited digital technology to decrease the time between music’s creation and distribution — it could signal a positive shift in the pop-culture loop: Musicians could make direct commentary on what’s going on day-to-day in the world, as griots, troubadours and bards did for most of human history pre-phonograph. Instant music also means less hype — and a far less mediated interaction between musician and audience.
Music is powerful. What would happen if the messages in it were radical and immediate, instead of conformist and packaged by the concerns of nameless number-heads and spin hucksters? What if we heard a song in the now,rather than 10 months removed from the setting that shaped it and gave it heat? Of course, some songs are timeless from the moment they’re finished. But some gain significance/richness/power from the audience’s proximity to the creative moment. Just the opportunity to make and distribute music in this way can push musicians to do interesting stuff they might not otherwise do.
The instant-music-for-the-people thing used to happen all the time in rock, especially in its classic, high-moment artistic-and-cultural-impact phase in the mid- to late ’60s, before it got corporately routinized into the Banality With Significant Exceptions situation that we have today. For example: On June 27, 1967, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were handcuffed and thrown in jail on serious drug charges. Theverynextday, The Who went into the studio and, in a show of solidarity, recorded pointed cover versions of “(This Could Be) The Last Time” and “Under My Thumb.” On June 30, The Who released the songs to radio and stores with the statement: “The Who consider Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have been treated as scapegoats for the drug problem and as a protest against the savage sentences imposed upon them at Chichester yesterday, The Who are issuing today the first of a series of Jagger/Richards songs to keep their work before the public until they are again free to record themselves.”
What happened next: Public outrage grew, the Stones’ sentences were lifted on July 31 by an appeals court, and less than three weeks later, the band released the psychedelic victory song “We Love You,” recorded while the pair were appealing their convictions, with John Lennon and Paul McCartney on backing vocals. Jagger said the song was a “thank-you to fans and supporters for their help during the trial and appeal period.” “We Love You” opens with ominous sounds: a prison warden’s footsteps, the clanking of chains and the distinctive slam-shut of a prison-cell door. It was the sound not just of the loss of personal liberty, but the shutting down of immediacy and freedom, the restraints against movement by chains. Rock & roll represents nothing if not the absolute destruction of chains: the sweet-heat moment of dance action; the moving, trembling, deafening vibration of molecules; the mind-body-spirit reaction to being in the presence of culturally-personally-spiritually-aesthetically resonant sounds and songs. The door to that space has been closed for too long in rock. Perhaps, with “Blue Orchid,” that door is opening again.