Monday, June 29, 2009

Sky Saxon is Dead

Saxon died on June 25, 2009, in an Austin, Texas hospital. He had been hospitalized with what doctors suspected was an infection of the internal organs, but the cause of death has not yet been released. He was reported to be 63 years old.

Saxon was born Richard Elvern Marsh in Salt Lake City, Utah. Different sources suggest a birth year of 1937, 1945or 1946. His widow has said that his birthday was August 20, but would not confirm the year because he believed age was irrelevant.
He began his career performing doo-wop pop tunes in the early 1960s under the name Little Richie Marsh. After changing his name to Sky Saxon, he formed the Electra-Fires in 1962 and then Sky Saxon & the Soul Rockers.

In 1965, Saxon founded the psychedelic flower power band The Seeds with Jan Savage (guitar), Rick Andridge (keyboards) and Darryl Hooper (drums).Hit songs for Saxon and the Seeds included "Can't Seem to Make You Mine" and "(You're) Pushin' Too Hard", which became a top 40 song in 1967. Saxon's singing performance has been dismissed by critics like Lester Bangs of Rolling Stone Magazine as an American imitation of Mick Jagger,while others considered it a more complicated synthesis of Jagger, Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly.

The music on the Seeds 1966 albums The Seeds and A Web of Sound has been described as "weird psychotic blues highlighting Sky's demented vocal sermonizing."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story

Openly gay, experimental filmmaker Todd Haynes burst upon the scene two years after his graduation from Brown University with his now-infamous 43-minute cult treasure "Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story" (1987). Seizing upon the inspired gimmick of using Barbie and Ken dolls to sympathetically recount the story of the pop star's death from anorexia, he spent months making miniature dishes, chairs, costumes, Kleenex and Ex-Lax boxes, and Carpenters' records to create the film's intricate, doll-size mise-en-scene. The result was both audacious and accomplished as the dolls seemingly ceased to be dolls leaving the audience weeping for the tragic singer. Unfortunately, Richard Carpenter's enmity for the film (which made him look like a selfish jerk) led to the serving of a "cease and desist" order in 1989, and despite the director's offer "to only show the film in clinics and schools, with all money going to the Karen Carpenter memorial fund for anorexia research," "Superstar" remains buried, one of the few films in modern America that cannot be seen by the general public. Now finally you have a chance to see this piece

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Earthlings is an award-winning documentary movie written and directed by Shaun Monson and narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. The film analyzes the relationship that people have with animals in today's world; specifically pointing out the negative ways that animals are used inhumanely for human profit. Over the course of the movie the narrator discusses the cruel ways that animals are treated for the pet industry (backyard breeders and unwanted homeless animals), for the food industry (filthy, vile and horribly cruel conditions and treatment), for entertainment (wildlife animals in zoos and circuses), fashion (fur), and science (animal testing).

The images and video used in the documentary, which were obtained over a five year period with undercover cameras, are powerful and disturbing. Almost no narration is needed; the video lens unflinchingly tells the whole story for the animals. Joaquin Phoenix's somber narration puts the horrifying video in context with well-researched facts and narratives. Moby, a dedicated vegan, provided the eerie, haunting soundtrack for the Earthlings documentary. His beautiful yet melancholy tones serve as an allegory for the innocence and beauty of domestic and wildlife animals subjected to the cruelest treatment.

A measure of a society is how it treats animals.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Holy Men and Fools

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3.

Part 4.

The story of two Sadhus, Uma and Vasisht Giri, one a Swedish woman I have met and traveled with, the other a 29 year old Indian. Together they go on a pilgrimage of self-discovery into the high Himalayas to the source of the River Ganges, searching out saints and mystics of Yoga. Filmed by British documentarian Michael Yorke, whose learning is also reflected in the film. 71 min run time. (Narration in English, with Hindi and subtitles)

The life of a Hindu Sadhu. In Hinduism, sadhu is a common term for an ascetic or practitioner of yoga (yogi). The sadhu is solely dedicated to achieving the fourth and final Hindu goal of life, moksha (liberation), through meditation and contemplation of Brahman. Sadhus often wear ochre-colored clothing, symbolizing renunciation.

'Sādhu!' is also a Sanskrit and Pali term used as an exclamation for something well done.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Visions of the Future: The Intelligence Revolution.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

A 3 part miniseries on the BBC hosted by Michio Kaku. In this new three-part series, leading theoretical physicist and futurist Dr Michio Kaku explores the cutting edge science of today, tomorrow, and beyond. He argues that humankind is at a turning point in history. In this century, we are going to make the historic transition from the 'Age of Discovery' to the 'Age of Mastery', a period in which we will move from being passive observers of nature to its active choreographers. This will give us not only unparalleled possibilities but also great responsibilities.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Rammy Elsaadany, a Masters of Architecture student at the Bartlett school of architecture, has just completed a collaborative film with Bruce Damer about the proposed EVOGRID project.

The film connects together a simplified version of the scientific narrative and also a conceptual development of what could possibly happen once the EVOGRID project is established. Rammy used a variety of techniques to achieve this film, including 3d modeling, compositing, and green screen. The software used includes 3D Max, After Effects, Premiere and Sound Booth.

I had the pleasure of hanging out with Bruce for a week recently. One of the most interesting people I have ever met (and I have met a lot of interesting people). More about the EvoGrid project here.

This research proposal rests on the hypothesis that it is possible to create a simulation, the “EvoGrid”, utilizing a large interconnected grid of computers which could plausibly model the pre-biotic chemical environment which was the precursor stage to evolution and life arising on Earth. The key innovation over previous efforts will be the use of a level testing function (Gordon, 2000) that searches for emergent complex self-organization within the discrete element system of the simulation, focusing computing resources and tuning parameters in order to permit the system to drive itself towards ever more complex emergent structures and processes. Research outcomes from the EvoGrid project may shed light on the origins of life on Earth and in the universe, and provide new tools for evolutionary biology, biochemistry, and complexity studies.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Religion In New Places

This presentation discusses a selection of examples of what I term ‘rhetorical holiness’ created using Second Life (SL), a multi-user virtual environment (MUVE) on the internet. Second Life is a three dimensional persistent space made up of thousands of islands (called sims). In SL a person is represented by an avatar, a body which they manipulate in the environment. The avatar can travel around the huge space of SL in real time visiting themed sites, buying and selling virtual commodities and participating in social and cultural events with others. The shared online three dimensional spaces of SL include religiously themed sites where the holy is one of the main defining criteria of interaction. The sites in SL that I have examined are the Buddhist island of “Bodhi Sim: Land of Buddhadharma - a Second Life fansite” and two mosques built in SL; the Sultan Ahmed Mosque and the Cordoba Mosque. Finally the Koinonia Congregational Church of Second Life is a Christian church which operates entirely in SL. For the purposes of this presentation, these sites are examined for the use of symbols from three established religious contexts that have been re-deployed in the virtual environment. The purpose of such an exercise is to identify a system of rhetoric within a larger literacy for such three dimensional virtual environments.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Slavoj Žižek - Maybe We Just Need a Different Chicken

Sociologist and philosopher, Slavoj Žižek, discusses politeness and civility in the function of contemporary ideology. Dr. Žižek spoke at Powell's City of Books in Portland, Oregon, as part of the speaker tour for his latest book, VIOLENCE

The Best Vidoes on Network Culture and IP

Steal This Film Vol. 1

Steal This Film Vol. 2

Steal This Film The Trial Edition

Good Copy Bad Copy

DJ Spooky - That Subliminal Kid -Remix Culture

Lawrence Lessig on the 23C3 - On Free, and the Differences between Culture and Code.

Lawrence Liang - Piracy and Production
Berlin, June 2007 // Categories: Piracy, History, Cultural Production, Property Piracy is a term used to stigmatize but Liang contextualizes the term as an instance in the long history of 'commoning', where people organze themselves outside of hierarchy and property. He identifies the real threat to industry in the chance they may lose control of production as well as reproduction, as users become aware of their own potential. Finally, he underlines how in previous areas prohibited works were surpressed and destroyed, but argues that nowadays these works can survive in private digital so the past of loss and erosion need not repeat itself.

The Oil of the 21st Century: Perspectives on Intellectual Property

"Intellectual Property is the oil of the 21st century" - this quote by Mark Getty, chairman of Getty Images, one of the world's largest Intellectual Proprietors, offers a unique perspective on the current conflicts around copyrights, patents and trademarks. Not only does it open up the complete panorama of conceptual confusion that surrounds this relatively new and rather hallucinatory form of property - it must also be understood as a direct declaration of war.

The "War Against Piracy" - a preventive, permanent and increasingly panic-driven battle that defies the traditional logic of warfare - is only one of the many strange and contradictory crusades that currently take place at the new frontier of Intellectual Property. Under the banner of the "Information Society", a cartel of corporate knowledge distributors struggle to maintain their exclusive right to the exploitation and commodification of the informational resources of the world. With their campaign for "Digital Rights Management", the copyright industries attempt to simultaneously outlaw the Universal Computer, revoke the Internet and suspend the fundamental laws of information. Under the pretext of the "Creative Commons", an emerging middle class of Intellectual Proprietors fights an uphill battle against the new and increasingly popular forms of networked production that threaten the regimes of individual authorship and legal control. And as it envisions itself drilling for "the oil of the 21st century", the venture capital that fuels the quest for properties yet undiscovered has no choice but to extend the battlefield even further, far beyond the realm of the immaterial, deep into the world of machines, the human body, and the biosphere.

But while Intellectual Property struggles to conquer our hearts and minds, ideas still improve, and technology participates in the improvement. On all fronts, the enormous effort towards expropriation and privatization of public property is met with a strange kind of almost automatic resistance. If piracy - the spontaneously organized, massively distributed and not necessarily noble reappropriation and redistribution of the Commons - seems necessary today, then because technological progress implies it.

Technological progress - from the Printing Press to the BitTorrent protocol - is what essentially drives cultural development and social change, what makes it possible to share ideas, embrace expressions, improve inventions and correct the works of the past. Human history is the history of copying, and the entirely defensive and desperate attempt to stall its advancement by the means of Intellectual Property - the proposition to ressurect the dead as rights holders and turn the living into their licensees - only indicates how profoundly recent advancements in copying technology, the adaptability and scalability they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, are about to change the order of things. What lies at the core of the conflict is the emergence of new modes of subjectivation that escape the globally dominant mode of production. The spectre that is haunting Intellectual Proprietors world-wide is no longer just the much-lamented "death of the author", but the becoming-producer and becoming-distributor of the capitalist consumer.

The world has irrevocably entered the age of digital reproduction, and it is time to revisit the questions that Walter Benjamin raised in the light of photography and film: how to reaffirm the positive potential and promise that lies in today’s means of reproduction, how to refuse the artificial scarcity that is being created as an attempt to contain the uncontrolled circulation of cultural commodities, how to resist the rhetoric of warfare that only articulates the discrepancy between the wealth of technical possibilities and the poverty of their use, and how to renew the people's legitimate claim to copy, to be copied, and to change property relations.

In order to deconstruct - and to develop radically different perspectives on - the "oil of the 21st century", there is an urgent need for approaches that provide fewer answers and more questions, produce less opinion and more curiosity. The coils of the serpent are even more complex than the burrows of the molehill, and the task is to trace, with the same bewilderement that befell Franz Kafka at the advent of the modern juridical bureaucracies, the monstruous, absurd and often outright hilarious legal procedures and protocols of the Intellectual Property Era. Oil21

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Death of Salvador Dali

"The Death of Salvador Dali" (2005) brings the paranoiac, flamboyant Dali into the office and headspace of an unsuspecting Sigmund Freud. When the artist seeks Freud's assistance to inject madness into his art, tables are turned and student becomes teacher. Through a series of visits by Dali's friends, enemies, and muse, Freud is unwittingly subjected to chaos, deception, and guns.

The wonderfully sexy "Queen of Burlesque" Dita Von Teese plays Dali's whip wielding wife Gala. Husband Marilyn Manson was instrumental in convincing Dita to play the role. In an amazing stroke of luck, the perfectly cast Dali is played by his namesake, Salvador Benavides.

Delaney Bishop masterfully creates a time and place of beauty, art, and humor. He first wrote a feature length Dali script while attending NYU film school. It later turned into a short and won Best Screenplay at Hypefest LA. With a Panavision grant, Bishop converted his home into a studio and shot the film entirely on 35mm. The film has gone on to screen at dozens of international film festivals and has won awards for Best Female Performance at the Beverly Hills film festival and Best Cinematography at the Aarhus film festival in Denmark.

Teaching of the Dalai Lama: Introduction to Buddhism

His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives an introductory lecture to Buddhism at Emory on October 21, 2007.

For more information visit

Friday, June 05, 2009

Bardo Pond - Isle

Something for the weekend. To rest heads and dream of cloudy scapes. Just in time....

The Production of Meaning

Everyday, we are bombarded by ads of all kinds, resulting in a manipulated lifestyle of consumption on the mass. All of this dictated by a bunch of giant corporations to make sure we buy and buy and buy, till we die! Reality isn't always what it seems. We will not have a 2nd chance with our planet. Our children's only hopes are based on our immediate consumption reduction. Times are critical... A good way to start is to individually apply the 3 R's to your life right now... REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. The sum of all small personal actions today will lead to massive changes tomorrow

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Australia:Your Standing in it.

I feel some nostalgia coming on. Does anyone remember Australia..Your Standing in it. I laughed a lot at that show when I was a youngster:

Rod Quantock gave his opinions on various topics during the series of Australia, You're Standing In It, shown on the ABC in 1983 (9 episodes) and 1984 (6 episodes). Rod is/was a left leaning political activist and was also the face of Captain Snooze for many years.

Tim and Debbie share a meaningful discussion about the politics of time.

The Mormon Song from 'Australia: You're Standing In It'

This sketch comes from The Factory it was recorded on either 1st, 8th or 15th of November 1987

The Dodgy Brothers (Steve Blackburn and Geoff Brooks), two badly dressed and dim businessmen who appeared in the low-budget and badly-produced television advertisements selling their dodgy products.

Partly a parody of the then ubiquitous advertisements for the Saba furniture warehouse, and other cut-rate advertisements of its ilk.

Joe Croker • Snake Handling Man

Joe Croker's "Snake Handling Man," featuring former Bob Dylan sideman John Jackson
on electric guitar. Accompanying photos derive from Life magazine photographers Margaret Bourke-White, Francis Miller, Russell Lee, Thomas Mcavoy, and Tony Linck. Click "watch in high quality" for best viewing and sound.

The Church of God with Signs Following is the name applied to Pentecostal Holiness churches that practice snake handling and drinking poison in worship services, based on an interpretation of the following biblical passage:

"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover," (Mark 16:17-18).

The exact membership is unknown, and has recently been estimated as low as 1,000 and as high as 5,000 with possibly fifty to a hundred congregations. According to the Encyclopaedia of American Religions, churches "can be found from central Florida to West Virginia and as far west as Columbus, Ohio." The snake-handling sect of beliefs and practices go as far as to cross the border into Western Canada in 2004 to Lethbridge and Edmonton, Alberta.

Each church body is independent and autonomous, and the denominational name is not consistent in all areas, although it is almost always some variation of the name "Church of God" (Trinitarian) or "Church of Jesus" (Non-Trinitarian).

The practice of handling snakes has been made illegal in a number of states. In Tennessee, it is illegal to display any venomous reptile in a manner that endangers anyone. Alabama has a similar statute. In Kentucky, it is illegal to display any reptile at a religious ceremony. Prosecutions, however, are rare.

Documentary films have been made featuring snake-handling, such as Holy Ghost People and Heaven Come Down.

Thanks to DJ Croker for bringing this to my attention.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

"Stuff" (john frusciante film by johhny depp)

A short film by Johnny Depp and Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers) made in 1994, apparently to document the squalid conditions of John Frusciante’s (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) house.

It’s mostly just long shots of a very dirty house, with brief appearances of people lying on couches, one of whom is apparently Timothy Leary (the man sitting on the piano wearing the multicolored vest). The music is from Frusciante's first solo album "Niandra Lades and usually Just a Tshirt".

John's house burned down shortly after this.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Such Hawks Such Hounds

Such Hawks Such Hounds explores the music and musicians of the American hard rock underground circa 1970-2007, focusing on the psychedelic and '70s proto-metal-derived styles that have in recent years formed a rich body of unclassifiable sounds.

This is a great documentary film by John Srebalus about heavy music of USA. Music , interviews, live and some of the heavy metal, stoner, doom and drone legends from 1970 till now. More than one hour of great music, historic point of views, attitude and great people.

Chat with : Mario Lalli, Eddie Glass, Tom Davies, Greg Anderson, Stephen McCarthy , Geof O'Keefe, Al Cisneros, Chris Hakius, Lori S., Joey Osbourne, Mark Arm, Isaiah Mitchell, Scott Wino Weinrich, Mario Rubalcaba, Mike Eginton, Joe Preston, Scott Reeder, Tony Tornay, Larry Lalli, Brant Bjork, Matt Pike, Ethan Miller, Noel Von Harmonson, Ian Christe, Joe Carducci, Tony Presedo, Laurel Stearns, Chris Kosnik, Bob Pantella, Finn Ryan, Michael Gibbons, Jenny McGee, Billy Anderson, Arik Roper, Randy Huth, Josh Martin, Jason Simon, Steve Kille, Nicky Emmert, Stephen O'Malley, John Gibbons, Isobel Sollenberger