Thursday, December 26, 2013

Graham Hancock: The War on Consiousness (TEDx Talk)

Graham Hancock is the author of The Sign and the Seal, Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis, Heaven’s Mirror, Supernatural and other bestselling investigations of historical mysteries. His books have been translated into twenty-seven languages and have sold over five million copies worldwide. His public lectures and broadcasts, including two major TV series, Quest for the Lost Civilisation, and Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, have further established his reputation as an unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity’s past. Hancock's first venture into fiction, Entangled, was published in 2010 and his second novel, War God, on the Spanish Conquest of Mexico, was published in April 2013.

The War on Consciousness", was presented at the TEDx Whitechapel event in London on 12 January 2013 and posted to the TEDx Youtube channel on 13 February 2013. A month later, on 14 March 2013, TED deleted the talk from the TEDx Youtube channel (original location here:, where it had accumulated more than 132,000 views, and relegated it to an obscure section of its website surrounded by prejudicial statements intended to bias viewers against it from the start and ensure no harm was done to the "TED brand". At the same time a talk by Rupert Sheldrake entitled "The Science Delusion" was also deleted from the TEDx Youtube channel and reposted in the same deliberately obscure fashion. But TED's decision effectively to act as a censor in the very real war on consciousness that is underway in our society has backfired.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mick Farren on Media Revolution Counter Culture and Anarchism

Mick Farren (1943-2013) on the subject of Watch Out Kids, the counterculture comic he co-produced with Edward Barker (1950-1997) in 1972. In 2011 the comic was the subject of an exhibition at SPACE, London in 2011 (interview by SPACE Exhibitions Curator, Paul Pieroni).

In 1972 writer and musician Mick Farren, collaborated with artist Edward Barker to produce Watch Out Kids.

Up in until 1969 Farren had been the lead singer anarcho-psychedelic rock outfit The Deviants. Following the band's psychotropic implosion on tour in Canada, Farren had returned to London -- pursuing a solo career while also becoming heavily involved in London's burgeoning underground newspaper scene through his editorial work for the International Times.

Farren's text for Watch Out Kids is marked by a strong sense of subcultural unity. In it he argues that the same spirit of rebellion that awoke a post-war generation of Rock and Rollers was the fuel behind the late 60s countercultural boom. Watch Out Kids documents the development of that sprit -- tracking its many mutations over a twenty-year period.

Farren's words sit amongst a loud and unapologetic design and layout by Barker -- at the time also working at the International Times. Drawing heavily on the alternative comic scene, Watch Out Kids features Barker's own work alongside that of luminaries such as Spain, Robert Crumb, Malcolm Livingstone and Gilbert Shelton, amongst others.

Sharp, brash and ideological, Watch Out Kids is a fascinating document; at once historical yet entirely personal. For the exhibition at SPACE the entire book will be displayed on the Library walls alongside a video archive featuring a new interview with Mick Farren by SPACE curator Paul Pieroni.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Amon Düül

This is the earliest known film of Amon Düül made in 1968 in Munich. Amon Düül was a German political art commune formed out of the student movement of the 1960s that became well known for its free-form musical improvisations. This spawned two rock groups, Amon Düül (sometimes referred to as Amon Düül I) and the more famous Amon Düül II. After both groups disbanded in the 1970s, some of the original members reunited in the 1980s under the name Amon Düül again, though this incarnation is commonly referred to as Amon Düül (UK) to avoid confusion with the original one.

Amon Düül engaged in exuberant open-ended experimentation that at times equalled their psychedelic rock equivalents in countries such as the USA or Brazil (e.g. Os Mutantes), with a focus on political activities. The members were close to Kommune 1 in Berlin and boasted, for a time, a prominent member in the model and activist Uschi Obermaier. Amon Düül signed a contract with the firm "Metronome Records", and continued for seven years with varying degrees of success and in various guises. They wound down in 1973 after releasing four official albums (and a posthumous fifth), though all except one were recorded at the 1968 sessions for their debut. Apparently, the man responsible was producer Peter Meisel, who released the albums without the band's approval in an attempt to capitalise on the success of Amon Düül II. The LPs are these days regarded as unique, if unessential, records in the history of German rock. In contrast, their Paradieswärts Düül album featured a pastoral, folk-influenced sound (produced by Julius Schittenhelm) which is highly regarded amongst krautrock fans. The name 'Amon Düül' was trademarked by Chris Karrer and Peter Leopold of Amon Düül II, meaning that re-issues of Amon Düül's albums have been required to license the name from them.

Rüdiger Nüchtern’s short film Amon Düül II Spielt Phallus Dei dates from 1968 and is a single camera documentation of the Krautrock legends performing the title track from their soon to be released first album. The band perform in a studio in Munich against a wall with psychedelic projections, with shots of a sunrise, sunset, clouds, trees and the German countryside added in. The personnel here are Christian ‘Shrat’ Thiele (bongos, vocals) Peter Leopold (drums), Dieter Serfas (drums), John Weinzierl (guitar), Falk Rogner (organ), Chris Karrer (violin, guitar) Renate Knaup (vocals) and Dave Anderson (bass).

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Martin Sharp's "Street Of Dreams" - Brighton Edit (1988)

Part documentary and part collage, "Martin Sharp's Street Of Dreams" is an amazing and magical look at the one-and-only Herbert Khaury (a.k.a. Tiny Tim), as well as a look at Sydney's own Luna Park and the infamous Ghost Train fire (an incident which killed seven people). An almost decade long labor of love, Martin Sharp provides an inside look at pop music's most eccentric and sincere performer, long after fame and fortune (and Miss Vicki) had left him. He was more than a musician, or an entertainer. He was a direct link to the music of days gone by, and in Martin Sharp's words "The Eternal Troubadour". To call him anything else would be ignoring the fact that he poured both his heart and soul into every performance, be it for ten people or ten thousand. However, Tiny Tim wasn't without his fair share of personal demons. He constantly struggled with a love for alcohol and an obsessive passion for women, and there are many instances where both his desires and devotion to Jesus seem to present a man with mental instability. But it is these imperfections, combined with his ever-present humility and overall good humor, that fully round out the man and make him all the more believable and human. The film, while mainly focusing on Tiny Tim, also covers the story of Sydney's Luna Park and the controversy of the Ghost Train fire.

The film is tied together with video footage of Tiny's 1979 attempt to break the World Professional Non-Stop Singing Record (a record he would later break again in the same year this film was completed), as well as footage of the time he spent as an entertainer at Luna Park. This particular edit was aired May 24th 1988 in Brighton, England. After the film was shown Tiny began his third and final World Professional Non-Stop Singing Record. There are several people to thank for this, and they would be Martin Sharp, Esteban Rincon, and the administrators of the Tiny Tim Facebook fanpage. Without Martin Sharp's love and adoration for Tiny Tim, almost two decades of the singer's life would have been lost to history. Martin Sharp first saw Tiny Tim perform at The Royal Albert Hall in 1969. After seeing him perform, Martin Sharp would go on to record many of Tiny's on and off stage performances, his first recording being from 1974 at the Newcastle West Leagues Club. He continued to produce and support Tiny Tim well into the early nineties, and in 2007 re-released two of Tiny Tim's albums he produced ("Chameleon" and "Wonderful World Of Romance") as well as a compilation of previously unreleased studio and live performances titled "Stardust". Without Esteban Rincon, I would have never received a copy of the film and therefore been unable to share it with the world. Many thanks to the Admins. at Tiny's Facebook page for providing facts about the film. I do not claim ownership of this video, and I believe rights belong to Martin Sharp and everyone mentioned in the credits (Credits start at 1:42:00) Licensing of songs and music are also presented in the credits.

(Disclaimer: There are several scenes in the film containing nudity, though it is presented tastefully.)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell - Peter O'Toole

Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell is a play by Keith Waterhouse about real-life journalist Jeffrey Bernard. Bernard was still alive at the time the play was first performed in the West End in 1989.

Bernard wrote the "Low Life" column in The Spectator. The play's title refers to the magazine's habit of printing a one-line apology on a blank page when he was too drunk or hung-over to produce the required copy and a substitute article could not be found before the deadline for publication. Its premise is that Bernard has found himself locked in overnight at his favourite public house, the Coach and Horses, Soho, and uses the occasion to share anecdotes from his life with the audience. A highlight of the play is a trick involving a glass of water, a matchbox, and an egg which must remain unbroken at the end of the trick. This trick is more fully described in an obituary of Keith Waterhouse in The Guardian.

Often remembered as a one-man show, but in fact packed with characters performed by a versatile supporting cast of four, Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell was a highly successful vehicle for its original star Peter O'Toole. The show opened in Brighton in September 1989, moved to Bath and made its triumphant London debut at the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue in October. O'Toole also appeared in a later revival at the Old Vic. The Old Vic run was totally sold out and on August 23, 1999, the London Evening Standard published a 'Bluffer's Guide' to enable readers to pretend they had seen it: "thereby allowing dinner party conversations and watercooler debates to run their course unhindered by ignorance."

A filmed version of the stage play was shot at the Apollo Theatre with a live audience and was released in both full and abridged versions.

O'Toole was followed in the part by Tom Conti who starred in a revival of the play until September 2006 at the Garrick Theatre in London. The part has also been played by James Bolam, Dennis Waterman, Robert Powell, and most recently Simon Hill in the Frayed Knot Production of the play.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sky Needle

From the wilds of Australia, Sky Needle bleed over Europe in the summer of 2013.

Part concert footage and part fly-on-the-wall travelogue, it was shot on consumer-point camcorders by different band members and produced and edited by member Alex Cuffe, who photographed the cover of Sky Needle’s recent second album Debased Shapes.

Like their music, which is proudly made using only homemade instruments, the film teases out tranquil beauty from the margins of weird, misshapen jags. It’s as much about the band’s clatter-delic soundtrack as it is about the constant downtime, spanning museums, airports, churches, rental cars, runways and travelators and taking in quick snatches of meals, drinks and timely one-liners. There are other idiosyncratic bands captured live as well, including The Pheromoans and Yuri Landman.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Einsturzende Neubauten - Palast der Republik 2006

The concert performance on this session was filmed at the Palast der Republik in Berlin, the former Parliament building and symbol of the no longer existing DDR (East Germany). The Palast der Republik has since been torn down in order to make space for a new building in the location of the old Royal City Palace. The Neubauten found the steel skeleton of the ruins of the Palast a congenial location for their architectural-musical fanatasies and field studies. Accompanied by a 100 member choir, recruited from the supporters of the Internet project, they played in and with the building in their inimitable, almost literally building-collapsing fashion.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Butthole Surfers - Full Show - Live 1987

Glory from the last word in south of the border psychedelia. There are quite a few mid-1980s shows from the Butthole Surfers on YouTube these days. This is one of the better ones. Its from 5 May 1987 at Rollick (formerly 688 Club), Atlanta. This is a stripped back bare psychedelic sound, complete with near nude dancer. It is as close to a pagan ritual as you can probably get in Georgia.

USSA - Rocky - Cherub - Two Parter - Julio Iglesias - Graveyard - Johnny Smoke - Psychedelic Jam - Gary Floyd - Sweat Loaf - Pittsburgh to Lebanon - Weird instrumental (later became a song I can't recall) - Jimi - No Rule - Noise. This was back when they played a lot of jams that turned into future songs.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Why is Anarchism so Beautiful?

The most absurd apology for authority and law is that they serve to diminish crime. Aside from the fact that the State is itself the greatest criminal, breaking every written and natural law, stealing in the form of taxes, killing in the form of war and capital punishment, it has come to an absolute standstill in coping with crime. It has failed utterly to destroy or even minimize the horrible scourge of its own creation.

Crime is naught but misdirected energy. So long as every institution of today, economic, political, social, and moral, conspires to misdirect human energy into wrong channels; so long as most people are out of place doing the things they hate to do, living a life they loathe to live, crime will be inevitable, and all the laws on the statutes can only increase, but never do away with, crime. What does society, as it exists today, know of the process of despair, the poverty, the horrors, the fearful struggle the human soul must pass on its way to crime and degradation. Who that knows this terrible process can fail to see the truth in these words of Peter Kropotkin:

"Those who will hold the balance between the benefits thus attributed to law and punishment and the degrading effect of the latter on humanity; those who will estimate the torrent of depravity poured abroad in human society by the informer, favored by the Judge even, and paid for in clinking cash by governments, under the pretext of aiding to unmask crime; those who will go within prison walls and there see what human beings become when deprived of liberty, when subjected to the care of brutal keepers, to coarse, cruel words, to a thousand stinging, piercing humiliations, will agree with us that the entire apparatus of prison and punishment is an abomination which ought to be brought to an end."

The deterrent influence of law on the lazy man is too absurd to merit consideration. If society were only relieved of the waste and expense of keeping a lazy class, and the equally great expense of the paraphernalia of protection this lazy class requires, the social tables would contain an abundance for all, including even the occasional lazy individual. Besides, it is well to consider that laziness results either from special privileges, or physical and mental abnormalities. Our present insane system of production fosters both, and the most astounding phenomenon is that people should want to work at all now. Anarchism aims to strip labor of its deadening, dulling aspect, of its gloom and compulsion. It aims to make work an instrument of joy, of strength, of color, of real harmony, so that the poorest sort of a man should find in work both recreation and hope.

From Emma Goldman, Anarchism: What it Really Stands For

For those who do not understand why black bloc activists use militant tactics to destroy the property of corporations: black bloc activists are not protesters! They are not out there to protest! They are out there to carry out direct action against symbols and mechanisms of oppression. Their actions are aimed at causing material damage against oppressive institutions.

However, even more importantly, they act with performative intent so as to illustrate dramatically that people have the power even when they're faced with the overwhelming force of a police state; that corporations and institutions are not as powerful as they would like to convince us, and when they try to deter us it's really in our hands to resist.

Since they insist on attacking us, let us challenge authority and subvert the order and the laws. This does not mean that we should abandon ethics, humanity, or quit supporting one another. These are vital lessons that people should remember now more than ever. The police blatantly disregard the rights of human beings. To them, people are only a docile mass, easily controlled and manipulated.

Most would agree that those in Power should fear the people, and apparently they have lost this healthy fear; thus militant activism is the effort to keep this threat alive—because conducting sit-ins and waving placards never will.

The more we forget we hold the power to rebel against anyone who tries to dominate us, the more they dominate us.

Jaydee performs an acoustic cover of Baby, I'm An Anarchist originally by Against Me!

This version of the song is the theme tune for The Circled A Radio Show hosted by Yodet Gherez which broadcasts every Tuesday 9pm on Resonance 104.4 FM and

Shot & Edited by Greg Hall for Broke But Making Films.

Graham Chapman on Peer Pressure - Do as you would be done by and think for yourself

Monologue from the late great Graham Chapman (of Monty Python fame). Televised in UK on November 16th, 1984.

Chapman’s entry is a remarkable blend of Pythonesque madness and brazenly unfiltered confessional of a type that utterly absent from, say, the Flying Circus run—nakedly autobiographical was the one thing the Circus never was. As a result, Chapman’s Opinions piece, from the viewpoint of 2013, feels distinctly modern. In tone, It’s not far off from one of Stephen Colbert’s “The Word” segments, although far more dangerous in more or less dispensing with the use of a “persona” outright.

Similar to a TED Talk in length and scope, Chapman dedicates his allotted time to a discussion of the role of peer pressure in fueling overpopulation—the subject is a clear proxy for a subject close to Chapman’s heart, the feelings of alienation that a gay man experiences; Chapman alludes to this aspect a couple of times directly, as does the voiceover intro. Watching it, you have the distinct feeling of Chapman finally getting something off his chest, and at times his actorly anger seems entirely synonymous with his own actual anger—the contempt and pain that mention of his “neighbors” elicits seems wholly unfeigned. In the years of Thatcher and AIDS, such a talk must have seemed bold indeed. Towards the end of the program, Chapman talks quite frankly about sex, links repression and substance abuse, and even addresses the proper attitude towards death.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Paris was a Woman - Bohemian Women in Paris in the 1920s

The Left Bank of Paris is a notorious bohemian hot-spot where some of the world's greatest artists and intellectuals found a haven in which to freely express themselves. Though traditional chronicles have focused on the illustrious men who lived there, this British documentary from 1996 looks at some of the women who lived there including Gertrude Stein and her lover Alice B. Toklas,publishers Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier, painter Romaine Brooks, and Natalie Barney. Many of their stories are told with archival film clips coupled with modern interviews. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide From the late nineteenth century until World War II, Paris was a center of sexual freedom and same-sex sexual cultures. Lesbian American and European expatriates and France's own lesbian writers and artists created a Bohemian social, sexual, and creative milieu that makes this time and place unique in the history of lesbian culture. Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), an accomplished American photographer famous for her New York cityscapes, made memorable images of gay men and lesbians in Paris in the 1920s. Margaret Anderson (1886-1973) is best known as the editor of The Little Review in which she published some of the most important writers of the early twentieth century. Following a conviction for obscenity in the United States, Anderson spent much of the 1920s in Paris. Djuna Barnes (1892-1982) was a writer who sought new forms of lesbian self-representation in her novels. Her Ladies Almanack (1928) playfully satirizes the lesbian culture she experienced while living in Paris during the 1920s. Natalie Clifford Barney (1876-1972), an American-born poet, memoirist, and epigrammatist, moved to Paris permanently in 1920. She established an influential literary salon that lasted more than fifty years, and documented her encounters with gay and lesbian writers she met there in two well-regarded memoirs. Sylvia Beach (1887-1962) was an American-born editor who founded Shakespeare and Company, a Parisian bookshop that had a significant impact on modern literature. Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) may have been the greatest teacher of musical composition in the twentieth century. Leonard Bernstein, Ned Rorem, and Aaron Copland were among the hundreds of students who came to her tiny Paris studio. Romaine Brooks (1874-1970) was an American expatriate artist whose life-sized female nudes and portraits of cross-dressed women made her lesbian identity and desire visible to the world. Claude Cahun (1894-1954), a French photographer, photo collagist, writer, and translator, photographed several noted lesbian expatriates in Paris. Colette (1873-1954) is one of France's most beloved writers. Her work includes a frank study of sexuality entitled The Pure and the Impure (1932), which addresses a broad range of sexual inclinations. Janet Flanner (1892-1978) was an American-born novelist, translator, and journalist best known for her fortnightly "Letter from Paris," which she wrote for the New Yorker from 1925 to 1975. Gisèle Freund (1908?-2000), an accomplished photojournalist, is best remembered as a chronicler of the vibrant Bohemian community of writers and artists in Paris during the 1930s. Agnes Noyes Goodsir (1864-1939) was an Australian painter who became part of the legendary lesbian scene in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s; her portraits of women have an erotic and radical edge.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Golden Age of Piracy: Terror at Sea (BBC Documentary)

Piracy is typically an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator (e.g. one passenger stealing from others on the same vessel). The term has been used throughout history to refer to raids across land borders by non-state agents.

Piracy is the name of a specific crime under customary international law and also the name of a number of crimes under the municipal law of a number of States. It is distinguished from privateering, which is authorized by national authorities and therefore a legitimate form of war-like activity by non-state actors. Privateering is considered commerce raiding, and was outlawed by the Peace of Westphalia (1648) for signatories to those treaties. Those who engage in acts of piracy are called pirates. Historically, offenders have usually been apprehended by military personnel and tried by military tribunals.In the 21st century, the international community is facing many problems in bringing pirates to justice.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

William S. Burroughs "The Bunker"

Set in William S. Burrough's New York City apartment, the Bunker, this experimental film mixes images and audio of the nuclear holocaust from Hiroshima, Burroughs, and real confessions. Format: NTSC / 24p / HDV 1080i / Color / 7 minutes. Film by Ram Devineni

Monday, November 18, 2013

Doris Lessing Speaks on the Sufi Way

Doris Lessing reading from her 1971 article, "An Ancient Way to New Freedom".

Thursday, November 14, 2013

If... (1968)

Lindsay Anderson’s If…. is a daringly anarchic vision of British society, set in a boarding school in late-sixties England. Before Kubrick made his mischief iconic in A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell made a hell of an impression as the insouciant Mick Travis, who, along with his school chums, trumps authority at every turn, finally emerging as a violent savior in the vicious games of one-upmanship played by both students and masters. Mixing color and black and white as audaciously as it mixes fantasy and reality, If…. remains one of cinema’s most unforgettable rebel yells.

In an indictment of the British public school system, we follow Mick and his mostly younger friends through a series of indignities and occasionally abuse as any fond feelings toward these schools are destroyed. When Mick and his friends rebel, violently, the catch phrase, "which side would you be on" becomes quite stark. 

The Day Of The Triffids Full Movie 1962

The Day of the Triffids is a 1962 British film based on the science fiction novel of the same name by John Wyndham. It was directed by Steve Sekely, and Howard Keel played the central character, Bill Masen. The movie was filmed in colour with monaural sound and ran for 93 minutes.

Triffids are plants. They are able to uproot themselves and walk, possess a deadly whipping poisonous sting, and may even have the ability to communicate with each other. On screen they vaguely resemble gigantic asparagus shoots topped with a flower-like 'head' which houses a whip-like, venomous stinger, and that resembles a Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid.

Bill Masen (Howard Keel), a merchant navy officer, is lying in a hospital bed with his eyes bandaged. He discovers that while he has been waiting for his accident-damaged eyes to heal, an unusual meteor shower has blinded most people on Earth. Once he leaves the hospital, Masen finds people all over London struggling to stay alive in the face of their new affliction. Some survive by cooperating while others simply fight, but it is apparent that after just a few days society is collapsing.

He rescues a school girl, Susan (Janina Faye), from a crashed train. They leave London and head for France. They find refuge at a chateau, but when it is attacked by sighted prisoners they are again forced to escape. The Triffid population continues to grow, feeding on people and animals. Meanwhile, on a coastal island, Tom Goodwin (Kieron Moore), a flawed but gifted scientist, and his wife Karen (Janette Scott) battle the plants as he searches for a way to beat them.

The film retained some basic plot elements from Wyndham's novel, but it was not a particularly faithful adaptation. "It strays significantly and unnecessarily from the book and is less well regarded than the BBC's intelligent (if dated) 1981 TV serial." Unlike the novel, the Triffids arrive as spores in an earlier meteor shower, and some of the action is moved to Spain. Most seriously, it supplies a simplistic solution to the Triffid problem: salt water dissolves them, and "the world was saved". This different ending appears to be closer to the ending of The War of the Worlds than Wyndham's novel, as the invading aliens succumb to a common product of Earth (as the Martians died of bacteria) and both end with a religious tone. This ending was also used to similar effect in M. Night Shyamalan's Signs.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Michel Foucault Beyond Good and Evil (1993)

Michel Foucault: Beyond Good and Evil, director David Stewart’s superb 1993 portrait of the social theorist of power in history manages to squeeze a lot of information into its short 42 minutes and provides a pretty adequate introduction to Foucault’s life and work.

Foucault’s acid trip at Zabriskie Point watching the sun set over Death Valley listening to Stockhausen (which the philosopher described as the greatest experience of his life) is recreated, as is a 1947 performance of Antonin Artaud’s Theatre Of Cruelty. Foucault’s drug use, his participation in the sadomasochistic San Francisco leather scene and death from AIDS in 1984 at the age of 57 are also covered.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Luis Buñuel directs Robinson Crusoe 1954 Las Aventuras de Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe (Spanish: Aventuras de Robinson Crusoe; also known as Adventures of Robinson Crusoe) is a 1954 film by director Luis Buñuel, based on the novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Both English and Spanish versions were produced. Lead actor Dan O'Herlihy, playing Crusoe, was nominated for the 1955 Academy Award for Best Actor.

Robinson Crusoe (Dan O'Herlihy), a third son with few prospects, goes to sea against his father's wishes. On a voyage from Brazil to Africa to collect slaves, a storm forces him to abandon ship. He swims alone to a deserted island somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean on September 30, 1659.

To his delight, the abandoned ship turns up on an offshore rock, allowing him to salvage food, tools, firearms and other items before it sinks. He herds goats, hunts game, makes clothes, and builds a home, with only the company of the dog Rex and the cat Sam, fellow castaways. Crusoe lets Sam and her kittens run wild. When Rex dies of old age in 1673, Crusoe nearly goes insane from loneliness.

After 18 years, Crusoe discovers that cannibals are visiting his island with their victims. The next time he spots them with his telescope, he sees a prisoner (Jaime Fernández) make a break for it, pursued by two cannibals. He knocks out one and shoots the other; when the first one regains consciousness, the escapee kills him. Crusoe takes the man back to his stockade.

He names him Friday (after the day of the week on which they met). Crusoe teaches him English and Western customs, and turns Friday into a servant. Crusoe does not trust him at first, believing Friday to also be a cannibal who would kill him if given the chance. He builds a door to the cave in which he takes to sleeping. When Friday enters without permission late one night to get an axe, Crusoe puts leg irons on him. The next day, however, Crusoe relents and takes them off. He comes to trust his new companion completely.

After 28 years, Friday saves Crusoe from a cannibal sneaking up behind him. Seeing a large group, they flee back to their stockade. The cannibals, however, are driven off by white men with guns. Captain Oberzo (Felipe de Alba) and his bosun (Chel López) are the victims of a mutiny; the mutineers have landed to get fresh water and to maroon the two. Crusoe and Friday rescue the men and get away undetected. Friday then goes to the leader of the mutiny (Emilio Garibay), offering him a basket of fruit, but the mutineers are more interested in the necklace of gold coins (salvaged from Crusoe's ship) he is wearing. Friday leads the greedy men to the stockade. There, Crusoe, Friday, Oberzo, and the bosun capture them. Oberzo regains control of his ship. At Crusoe's suggestion, Oberzo agrees to let the mutineers remain on the island. Crusoe leaves them his tools and instructions on how to survive.

Crusoe leaves for home with Friday, having spent 28 years, two months, and 19 days on the island.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

A Page of Madness (1926)

A Page of Madness is a silent film by Japanese film director Teinosuke Kinugasa, made in 1926. It was lost for forty-five years until being rediscovered by Kinugasa in his storehouse in 1971. The film is the product of an avant-garde group of artists in Japan known as the Shinkankaku-ha (or School of New Perceptions) who tried to overcome naturalistic representation.

Yasunari Kawabata, who would win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, was credited on the film with the original story. He is often cited as the film's screenwriter, and a version of the scenario is printed in his complete works, but the scenario is now considered a collaboration between Kawabata, Kinugasa, Banko Sawada, and Minoru Inuzuka.

The film takes place in an asylum. Although cut together in an ever maddening maelstrom, the film loosely tells the story of the janitor of the asylum. His wife is one of the patients. One day their daughter shows up at the asylum to tell her mother about her engagement. This sets off a number of subplots and flashbacks which stitch together the family history (for instance, why the mother is a patient and why the daughter is unaware of her father's job as a janitor).

The film does not contain intertitles, making it difficult to follow for audiences today. The print existing today is missing nearly a third of what was shown in theaters in 1926. Showings in 1920s Japan would have included live narration by a storyteller or benshi (弁士) as well as musical accompaniment. The famous benshi Musei Tokugawa narrated the film at the Musashinokan theater in Shinjuku in Tokyo.

Eiko Minami in A Page of Madness.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Gleaners and I / Les glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000)

The Gleaners and I (French: Les glaneurs et la glaneuse, "The gleaners and the female gleaner") is a French documentary by Agnès Varda that features various kinds of gleaning. It was entered into competition at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival ("Official Selection 2000"), and later went on to win awards around the world.

Agnès Varda, Grande Dame of the French New Wave, has made a non-fiction film-a self-described "wandering-road documentary." Beginning with the famous Jean-François Millet painting of women gathering wheat left over from a harvest, she focuses her ever-seeking eye on gleaners: those who scour already-reaped fields for the odd potato or turnip. Her investigation leads us from forgotten corners of the French countryside to off-hours at the green markets of Paris, following those who insist on finding a use for that which society has cast off, whether out of necessity or activism. Varda's own ruminations on her life as a filmmaker (a gleaner of sorts) give her a connection to her subjects that creates a touching human portrait that the L.A. Weekly deemed "a protest film that's part social critique, part travelogue, but always an unsentimental celebration of human resilience."

The film tracks a series of gleaners as they hunt for food, knicknacks and personal connection. Varda travels French countryside of America and city to find and film not only field gleaners, but also urban gleaners and those connected to gleaners, including a wealthy restaurant owner whose ancestors were gleaners. The film spends time capturing the many aspects of gleaning and the many people who glean to survive. One such person is the teacher named Alain, an urban gleaner with a master's degree who teaches French to immigrants. Varda's other subjects include artists who incorporate recycled materials into their work, symbols she discovers during her filming (including a clock without hands and a heart-shaped potato), and the French law regarding gleaning. Varda also spends time with Louis Pons, who explains how junk is a "cluster of possibilities". This film has an unexpected brief interview with the psychoanalyst Jean Laplanche.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Land Where the Blues Began,109

The Land Where the Blues Began is one of five films made from footage that Alan Lomax shot between 1978 and 1985 for the PBS American Patchwork series (1991). A self-described "song-hunter," Alan Lomax traveled the Mississippi Delta in the 1930s and 40s, at first with his father John Lomax, later in the company sometimes of black folklorists like John W. Work III, armed with primitive recording equipment and a keen love of the Delta's music heritage. Crisscrossing the towns and hamlets, jook joints and dance halls, prisons and churches, Lomax recorded such greats as Leadbelly, Fred McDowell, and Muddy Waters, all of whom made their debut recordings with him.
In the late 1970s Lomax returned with filmmaker John Bishop and black folklorist Worth Long to make the film The Land Where the Blues Began. Shot on video tape, the film is narrated by Lomax and includes remarkable performances and stories by Johnny Brooks, Walter Brown, Bill Gordon, James Hall, William S. Hart, Beatrice and Clyde Maxwell, Jack Owens, Wilbert Puckett, J. T. Tucker, Reverend Caesar Smith, Bud Spires, Belton Sutherland, and Othar Turner The Association for Cultural Equity’s Alan Lomax Archive channel on YouTube additionally streams outtakes from this film: other strong performances by Walter Brown, Sam Chatmon, Clyde Maxwell, Jack Owens, Joe Savage, Bud Spires, Napoleon Strickland, and Othar Turner. Turner is also in Gravel Springs Fife and Drum on Folkstreams.
Alan Lomax's book by the same title won the 1993 National Book Critics Award for nonfiction.
No one has come close to Alan Lomax in illuminating the intersecting musical roots of an extraordinary range of cultures, including our own.
--- Nat Hentoff

Film by John M. Bishop, Alan Lomax, Worth W. Long
Produced by The Mississippi Authority for Eduational Television & Alan Lomax
Cinematographer: John M. Bishop. Additional photography Ludwig Goon.
Sound: Steve Darsey, Kenneth Gates, Jacqueline Mack, Paul Burt
Editing: John M. Bishop. Videotape editor Ike Touchstone
Copyright: 1979 Alan Lomax
58 minutes, Color
Original format: 3/4 tape, 1979

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Zodiak Arts Lab, West Berlin 1968-69

Ash Ra Tempel, Kluster, Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and many more musicians met and played together in The Zodiak Free Arts Lab. The club was initiated by Conrad Schnitzler (1937-2011). He was a prominent experimental musician who had before coming to Berlin studied sculpture with Joseph Beuys in Düsseldorf. The Zodiak became as he intented a scene wheremusicians, artists could improvise with psychedelic rock, experimental jazz and electronics. The stage had equipment and were used freely by the performers. There were two halls, one black and the other white. In this milieu visions met and expanded into new music that would arise. The Zodiak Free Arts Lab was short lived, between 1968-69, and still made a huge influence on music and art.

Aristotle's Lagoon (2010)

"Science is an endless conversation about the world" - Armand Leroi

In the 4th century BC the Greek philosopher Aristotle traveled to Lesvos, an island in the Aegean teeming, then as now, with wildlife. His fascination with what he found there, and his painstaking study of it, led to the birth of a new science - biology. Professor Armand Leroi follows in Aristotle's footsteps to discover the creatures, places and ideas that inspired the philosopher in his pioneering work.

Aristotle's History of Animals can be downloaded here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Punk In London (1977) Full Documentary

A contemporary documentary covering the Great British punk rock explosion of 1977.

Released jointly with a book the size of London itself! Punk In London is perhaps the best documentary as regards capturing the spirit of the bands who were at the forefront of the punk explosion in Britain circa 1976. Though footage of The Clash is tagged on to the end, to presumably give the makers a selling point, it's with the other notable movers of the times that Punk In London becomes something of an essential viewing for fans and interested observers alike.

Featuring live work from the likes of The Lurkers, X-Ray Spex, Subway Sect, Chelsea and The Adverts, this is a must see to really grasp just how raw the movement was before it became a viable product for record company big wigs. Though not all the live footage is of great quality (you will struggle to hear Poly Styrene's vocals on Identity), watching Howard Wall of The Lurkers sing whilst being surrounded by fans is critical in portraying just how of the people the punk explosion was, it really shows the whole essence and point of punk rock, namely anyone can make a record, get up there and do it yourself. Ultimately it's with the interviews that this documentary succeeds, watch and enjoy as Gene October (lead singer of Chelsea) muses on why his band exists, and delight as Arturo Bassick of The Lurkers does an interview at his parents house whilst Mam & Dad watch Top Of The Pops, featuring a performance from The Boomtown Rats singing Looking After Number One, Arturo's words at this point is crucial to how so many bands felt at the time.

Also features performances from The Electric Chairs, The Killjoys and The Jolt.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Freeze Me - Full Movie {English Sub}

Freeze Me (フリーズ・ミー Furiizu Mii?), or Freezer, is a 2000 Japanese film by director Takashi Ishii. This film stars Harumi Inoue as Chihiro, a rape victim who tries to live a normal life, only to be visited several years later by her three rapists in her apartment and raped again before she kills them.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The 10th Victim (Italian: La decima vittima 1965)

The 10th Victim (Italian: La decima vittima) is a 1965 Italian/French international co-production science fiction film directed by Elio Petri and starring Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress, and featuring Elsa Martinelli in a supporting role. The picture is based on Robert Sheckley's 1953 short story "Seventh Victim".

In the near future, big wars are avoided by giving individuals with violent tendencies a chance to kill in the Big Hunt. The Hunt is the most popular form of entertainment in the world and also attracts participants who are looking for fame and fortune. It includes ten rounds for each competitor, five as the hunter and five as the victim. The survivor of ten rounds becomes extremely wealthy and retires. Scenes switch between the pursuit, romance between the hunter and the victim, and a narrator explaining the rules and justification of the Hunt.

Parts of The 10th Victim were filmed among the ruins of Penn Station as it was being demolished in 1965

Caroline Meredith (Ursula Andress) is the huntress armed with a high caliber Bosch shotgun looking for her tenth victim. Marcello Poletti (Marcello Mastroianni) is the victim. He is reluctant to kill Meredith as he is not sure whether she is his hunter, but then later because they become romantically involved. To maximize financial gain, Meredith wants to get a perfect kill in front of the cameras as she has negotiated a major sponsor from the Ming Tea Company.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Google Has Killed This Blog

I have been running this video blog since 2006. First with Blogger and then under Google. I purchased the domain name in 2009 and have been paying for it since then. In July I misplaced my wallet while traveling in the UK. I had to renew my cards. Since doing this my payment details at Google lapsed. I missed a automatic payment on this blog. I have tried to log into my Google Apps account but have failed dozens of time with a constant 'Invalid Request' message. I have renewed passwords, changed settings, tried different browsers, logged out of all accounts, everything. I cannot do anything about it due to the structure of the so-called service supplied by Google. Therefore this blog will die soon. I am infuriated with Google. What sort of company has no support unless you pay for a premium account, even though you do pay for their services?

I will download everything on this blog and move it elsewhere. Keep an eye out for I hope to be able to provide interesting videos for you soon.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Five Films that Challenge the Mind in Time

"The cinema of the avant-garde represents a number of different approaches to the mainstream and is informed by a contrasting set of ideological models. In terms of production, the avant-garde has a history of private sponsorship and state subsidy, as its relationship with the audience is usually one of artisanal self-expression rather than commodity-based economic exploitation. These forms of self-expression run from individualism (as championed by Maya Deren and Stan Brakhage) to collectivism (Surrealism to the various filmmakers' co-ops the world over)". - Rob Bridgett

Un Chien Andalou from amisgal on Vimeo.

Un Chien Andalou
Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) (1929) is a silent surrealist short film by the Spanish director Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí. It was Buñuel's first film and was initially released in 1929 with a limited showing at Studio des Ursulines in Paris, but became popular and ran for eight months.

The film has no plot in the conventional sense of the word. The chronology of the film is disjointed, jumping from the initial "once upon a time" to "eight years later" without the events or characters changing very much. It uses dream logic in narrative flow that can be described in terms of then-popular Freudian free association, presenting a series of tenuously related scenes.

L'Age d'Or
L’Age d’or (The Golden Age) (1930) is a French surrealist comedy directed by Luis Buñuel about the insanities of modern life, the hypocrisy of the sexual mores of bourgeois society and the value system of the Roman Catholic Church. The screenplay is by Salvador Dalí and Buñuel. L'Age d'Or was one of the first sound films made in France, along with Prix de Beauté and Under the Roofs of Paris.

Meshes Of The Afternoon (Maya Deren, 1943) from SeriousFeather on Vimeo.

Meshes of the Afternoon
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) is a short experimental film directed by wife-and-husband team, Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid. The film's narrative is circular and repeats several motifs, including a flower on a long driveway, a key falling, a door unlocked, a knife in a loaf of bread, a mysterious Grim Reaper–like cloaked figure with a mirror for a face, a phone off the hook and an ocean. Through creative editing, distinct camera angles, and slow motion, the surrealist film depicts a world in which it is more and more difficult to catch reality.

In 1990, Meshes of the Afternoon was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", going into the registry in the second year of voting.

Towers Open Fire
Towers Open Fire (1963) is a short film written by William S. Burroughs and filmed by Antony Balch. It was released in 1963 and the cast features Antony Balch, William S. Burroughs, BBC presenter David Jacobs, British sex film producer Bachoo Sen and Scottish writer Alexander Trocchi. Parts of the text read by Burroughs such as the Shitola excerpt is from The Soft Machine. It includes an example of practical magic with Burroughs reciting a curse he composed against the Moka Coffee Shop, for ‘outrageous and unprovoked discourtesy and poisonous cheesecake’ ("Lock them out"). Towers Open Fire uses looped images and audio, sound effects and footage of The Dream Machine device created by Brion Gysin ("Flicker administered to large areas of the brain"). Moroccan music is also included in the mix.

The Cut Ups
The Cut Ups (1963) Directed by Antony Balch. With William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin.
The Cut Ups was completed in 1963 but played much later at the Cinephone Academy Moviehouse in Oxford Street in 1966. Audience members are reputed to have walked out complaining that the film was "disgusting" and then were referred by cinema staff to the "U" certificate it had been granted. It ran for a fortnight and eventually had to be shortened from 20 minutes to 12 minutes because staff and manager couldn't stand running it five times a day. Roy Underhill, the assistant manager at the time, told Balch that during the performances an unusual number of strange articles such as bags, pants, shoes, and coats were left behind, lost property, probably out of complete disorientation.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Andrei Tarkovsky: A Poet in the Cinema (1983)

Rare Extensive Interview with Master Director Andrei Tarkovsky conducted in 1983 by Donatella Baglivo.

Those who find their way into the rich emotional and aesthetic realm of Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (see our collection of Free Tarkovsky movies online) might at first assume that nobody can put the experiential appeal of his cinema into words. The well-known writer and Tarkovsky fan Geoff Dyer demonstrated this, in a sense, with his highly entertaining book Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room, which ostensibly describes the director’s acclaimed Stalker but actually heads off in a thousand different digressive directions, all of them driven by the writer’s appreciation for the movie. Pictures like Stalker, Solaris, Nostalghia, or The Mirror may set off within you a range of reactions to film you’d never thought possible, but wouldn’t that only make them more difficult to talk about? Rarely do the much-discussed musical rather than intellectual properties of cinema as an art form seem as relevant as when you watch Tarkovsky; the old line comparing writing about music to dancing about architecture comes to mind.  -  From Open Culture

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914)

The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914) is a silent film made by L. Frank Baum's The Oz Film Manufacturing Company. It was based on the book The Patchwork Girl of Oz.

The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum, is a children's novel, the seventh set in the Land of Oz. Characters include the Woozy, Ojo "the Unlucky", Unc Nunkie, Dr. Pipt, Scraps, and others.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Johnny Rotten Reads London (2009)

John Lydon does a fiery reading of modern central London in a dérive from the upper deck of a red bus. He screams at glass and steel buildings, city workers and police. His vision of urban space is an open, shared environment where the new is built in symbiosis with the old, rather than one replacing the other. He borders on the conservative in places, a nostalgia always threatening to take over the anger he uses like a brand. However instead of quoting Keats as he does at one point, he would have been better referring to Ivan Chtcheglov’s Formulary of a New Urbanism:
We are bored in the city, there is no longer any Temple of the Sun. Between the legs of the women walking by, the dadaists imagined a monkey wrench and the surrealists a crystal cup. That's lost. We know how to read every promise in faces--the latest stage of morphology. The poetry of the billboards lasted twenty years. We are bored in the city, we really have to strain to still discover mysteries on the sidewalk billboards, the latest state of humor and poetry.
In the last scene of Johnny Rotten's Tour of London he takes us to a rooftop to watch a sunset. Here should be the temple Chtcheglov dreamed of. The rituals of the city must be reinvented if we are to stop the annual summer riots that ring Europe like a rash. As the decay sets in the mice will come out to play.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Marx Reloaded

"Marx Reloaded" is a cultural documentary that examines the relevance of German socialist and philosopher Karl Marx's ideas for understanding the global economic and financial crisis of 2008—09. The crisis triggered the deepest global recession in 70 years and prompted the US government to spend more than 1 trillion dollars in order to rescue its banking system from collapse. Today the full implications of the crisis in Europe and around the world still remain unclear. Nevertheless, should we accept the crisis as an unfortunate side-effect of the free market? Or is there another explanation as to why it happened and its likely effects on our society, our economy and our whole way of life?

Marx Reloaded  is a 2011 documentary by critical theorist Jason Barker. You can now watch the full documentary featuring Nina Power, Jacques Ranciere, Antonio Negri, Michael Hardt, Slavoj Zizek and more. It focuses on the modern day relevance of Marxism with interviews from Marxists and economists. The documentary also notes the competing notions of Communism, capitalism and politics between the various philosophers.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Out of Orbit: The Life and Times of Marshall McLuhan (1999)

"Today it is the instant speed of electric information that, for the first time, permits easy recognition of the patterns and the formal contours of change and development" (McLuhan 1964 352).

Duration: 45 minutes

"Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media with which people communicate than by the content of the communication." - Marshall McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan, one of Canada's most influential and controversial figures, burst into the centre of media circles in North America with his strange and prophetic pronouncements - "electric light is pure information" - on advertising, television and the emerging computer age.

Known for his imaginative descriptions of the media environment, McLuhan coined the phrases 'the medium is the message' and 'the global village.' These two aphorisms still linger on the tongues of critics, philosophers and pop-culture makers as McLuhan's predictions and revelations continue to be proven true over and over again.

Initially celebrated, later doubted and recently resurrected, McLuhan has stood the test of time as one of the truly innovative minds of this century. Some of his statements are as fresh today as they must have been when he first appeared on North American televisions in the 1960s. "Where advertising is heading is quite simply into a world where the ad will become a substitute for the product," said McLuhan.

With the help of family, friends, and theorists, McLuhan is revealed. Deeply conservative, reserved, difficult, uncomfortable with the fame he sought, this very private man remained an enigma for most of his life. The documentary charts the course of McLuhan's life and work, his successes and failures, paying careful attention to the central principle of his work - the medium. Out Of Orbit also pays tribute to McLuhan, his message, and the way in which his theories and words have penetrated and influenced the consciousness of today's media literate society.

Original Air Date - November 30, 1999

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Baudelaire and the Definition of Modernism

Charles Baudelaire ; (April 9, 1821 – August 31, 1867) was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. This is a lecture by Dr. Richard R. Brettell, Professor of Aesthetic Studies at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Baudelaire is one of the major innovators in French literature. His poetry is influenced by the French romantic poets of the earlier 19th century, although its attention to the formal features of verse connect it more closely to the work of the contemporary 'Parnassians'. As for theme and tone, in his works we see the rejection of the belief in the supremacy of nature and the fundamental goodness of man as typically espoused by the romantics and expressed by them in rhetorical, effusive and public voice in favor of a new urban sensibility, an awareness of individual moral complexity, an interest in vice (Linked with decadence.) and refined sensual and aesthetical pleasures, and the use of urban subject matter, such as the city, the crowd, individual passers-by, all expressed in highly ordered verse, sometimes through a cynical and ironic voice. Formally, the use of sound to create atmosphere, and of 'symbols', (images which take on an expanded function within the poem), betray a move towards considering the poem as a self-referential object, an idea further developed by the Symbolists Verlaine and Mallarmé, who acknowledge Baudelaire as a pioneer in this regard.


 If the first lecture was about the Parisian art world and the Salon exhibitions that defined it in the 1850s and 60s when the Impressionists were young, and the second was about the city in which those exhibitions were set, the city undergoing intense and important transformation during the 1850s and 60s. This lecture will deal with another vital subject that is a necessary background to the study of Impressionism, the relationship between painting and writing. Not just writing about painting, but writing itself.

The entire history of advanced French letters, from the middle of the 18th century through the 20th, is one of a kind of interlinking between painting and writing. Virtually every great French writer, whether of plays, novels, or poetic texts, also wrote criticism, sometimes about literature, past art, and often about contemporary art.

The sense that as works of visual art, as paintings were made, they were also talked about in highly experimental prose by the greatest writers of their time. It's something very difficult for us, being late 20th, early 21st century Americans, actually to understand, because very few great American writers of our own lifetimes have actually practiced the art of art criticism.

Probably the most notable exception would be John Updike, whose art criticism is only one slim volume, but a pretty interesting one. From Diderot through Stendhal, Baudelaire, and then the whole array of his successors, the most important and most ambitious of French writers, have written about art. Indeed, writing about art is considered to be central to their entire literary enterprise. That's something that shows in many ways, how important painting was. Not is, but was. And how important painting was to the whole experience of urban life, intellectual life, and culture in general in the 19th century.

We'll talk in this lecture about one critic. His name was Charles Baudelaire 1821-1867, who was without question the most important French poet of the mid-19th century. A man whose oeuvre, whose total production as a writer, is not large. He was very careful about what he wrote, which he edited, reworked, and made more and more powerful through reworking. So even his complete poetic works is one volume, while his art criticism is two volumes. So he wrote probably more art criticism than he wrote poetry in terms of number of words. Yet his entire production as a writer is not a large one.

Born in 1821, Baudelaire was a young, ambitious, highly intelligent artist who decided to make his entree as a published writer, not in his chosen field of poetry, because he had difficulty early on in his life publishing his poetry, but as a journalist in art criticism. The very first writing of any kind, published by Baudelaire, was his review of the Salon of 1845. It's a review that's utter unremarkable. He was young, not even 20 yet, being born in 1821, this is 1847, so he's 18 years old!

So as a teenager, he's writing a review of the Salon which is published, something hard for us to realize. Yet the next year, in 1846, after he'd gotten this thing under his belt, he wrote a highly experimental, brilliantly argued, polemical review of the Salon, which is actually arguing with the Salon, and thinking about painting in a way that was so experimental and so much about the relationship between painting and society, and between painting and the state of the city, the state of modern man, that there had been nothing like it in the entire history of art criticism. It was an essay that transformed people's idea of what art criticism actually could be.

Baudelaire, from that point on, was associated with art and artists very strongly throughout his career. We'll remember him, especially as we look at Courbet's painting, as being the poet on the far right of A Real Allegory, that huge painting we already analyzed in three parts, which was shown in his own private exhibition of 1855.

Courbet knew Baudelaire well, and painted him twice, including this wonderful portrait of Baudelaire alone, reading an old book. We can see the worn edges of the binding. It's very thick and there's a sense that it might even be the bible. It's a book that has authority. It's thick, heavy, old, and worn. His attention to it is complete. He's absorbed as a reader. Looking at him, we feel almost as if we've invaded his privacy, as if he ought to be alone, as if he's unaware of being observed as a reader.

There's a very prominent quill pen in a cheap and ordinary, ceramic ink stand, on a very plain worktable, with little problems and inconsistencies in it, like its little turned leg, no money, no class, nothing on it. Yet a stack of things is there, a portfolio with its little tied string on the left, which may even have drawings or prints in it, its that kind of thing. There is a novel, which when you buy new in France during the 19th century is covered with yellow paper. People bound them by themselves, so there were no hardbacks to buy that were already bound.

So a yellow papered book, and all French bindings in the 19th century means novel. So he's reading a novel, and then there's another book on top of that, which is leather bound and old, showing the kind of range of his interests and his comparative poverty. We're in a simple room with no adornments on the wall, there are no paintings, no sculpture, nothing that indicates he has any money whatsoever, which he didn't.

There's a sort of sofa, on which he doesn't sit, but almost leans, showing his elegant long hand, almost looking like a hand painted by El Greco, it has this kind of long fingered romantic and its kind of touching the soft fabric of the cushion in a kind of sensualist way. His cheeks are red, he's wearing ordinary clothing, not dandy clothing, not fancy clothing. He's completely absorbed in his work, his mind is what this painting is about. Courbet paints Baudelaire as being a reader and producer of words, as somebody who's alone in the city, in a small place where he escapes only from that place in his mind.

Yet that actually isn't all of Baudelaire, so we have to turn to a wonderful, tiny etching of Baudelaire, one of two prints of Baudelaire by his friend Edouard Manet, the painter who succeeded Courbet as the greatest French avant garde painter of the second empire. A painter to whom the next lecture will be developed. Here one sees Baudelaire with hardly any marks at all, as if Manet makes only a few little lines. It's an etching, which means Manet was working on a copper plate that had been covered with a kind of gummy substance, and he made those lines with a pin or a needle, in that gummy substance.

There's so few lines and it's such a tiny portrait, that it almost seems as if Baudelaire has kind of wandered by and has left before Manet can finish the portrait. He's also wearing a strangely shaped top-hat, and he's facing into the picture plane, as if himself a passerby, as if he's not standing still, as if both the viewer of the portrait and the subject of the portrait are in motion. That sense of transience, of being in the city, out of doors, moving around, spied by someone on your walk, is a notion that is absolutely essential to the whole experience of Baudelaire's prose, and of his own particular definitions of modernity.

It was indeed the word modernity and modernism, the modern world, and being true to one's own time, and being a representer who makes the essential qualities of one's own time, permanent, sticking, and lasting for posterity, which is essential to Baudelaire's aesthetic. Baudelaire thought it was wrong that artists represented art by looking at other art, and by reading old texts and by creating images which are in their way, archeological.

His view was that great art from the artists of the 6th century BCE in Athens weren't representing Egyptians, but that they were representing people of the 6th century BCE in Athens! That the artists who were painting in Florence in the 15th century, or in Rome in the late 15th and early 16th century, were representing their own world, and they made the gods in their own images, and represented imported historical events in their own city with people wearing contemporary dress. The same thing with the Dutch artists of the 17th century.

Baudelaire wanted artists to get out of literature, to get out of the past, and to get into the city, into the most modern form, the most transformed world, the social and physical world of mankind, and make the city into a work of art. He became a man who is in many ways, what he called himself and the artists whose work he admired the most, a flaneur (wanderers). One who walks around in a city without a destination or plan.

You leave your apartment, and rather than going to an appointment, to the cafe to meet someone, to lunch at a restaurant, you simply walk to where your own interests in the streets and the weather and your mood and who you see and who you interact with, all those accidental things determine the course of your walk. You don't ever know when you leave, where you will end up, or how long you will be away. You are like a truffle-snuffer for sensations in the city. The city's ability to provide you with hundreds of thousands, indeed millions of sensations, from which you choose the most splendid and evocative of sensations, is the mark of your ability to be a good flaneur or a great flaneur.

Now this idea is so different from the idea of educating the artist or educating the writer by reading, by looking at other art, by patiently studying modes of composition and modes of creating works of art, be they literature or other works of art. It comes from the kind of idea that what you do as an artist is that you educate your sensibility, your sight, your response mechanisms. Through that, almost random and personal form of education, you create a world of images and experiences that you transform into art.

That notion is anti-hierarchical, and actually does not presume that the flaneur is educated in any particular way, but is endlessly diverted and curious. Now one of the extraordinary things about Baudelaire as an art critic, is the way in which he uses language, which comes fundamentally from his abilities as a poet. We'll read an excerpt from one of his short poems called Spleen from his first great collection of poetry, published in 1857, the title of which was Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil). It was immediately censored when it appeared because it was so shocking and evil it was thought to be mired in decadence. We'll see that sense of decadence and his extraordinary eloquence as a writer and user of words, even in this English translation:

"I am like the king of a rainy country,
rich and yet powerless, young and yet most old,
who distrustful of the bows his tutors make,
sits bored among his dogs, as with his other beasts.

Nothing can lift his spirits, neither hawk nor game,
the dying subjects gather to his balcony,
the grotesque ballad of his best-loved fool,
no more distracts him in this sickness cruel.

His lillied bed is changed into a tomb.
The ladies of his court, all lords might love,
and yet they can no longer find shameless attire
to draw a smile from their young, wasted sire."

Now what's extraordinary about this poem, even in English, is that it has nothing to do with the modernity which Baudelaire thought was essential to painting. One of the most fascinating literary contradictions in literary history and in Baudelaire's career is that his poetic texts are timeless and ahistorical, while his art criticism is powerfully direct. It's this directness of his art criticism, of his writing about art and its relationship to modern urban experience, which is so important.

We'll get at this by reading a little bit from one of his late essays which he worked on for many years. It's a long essay from 1863 called The Painter of Modern Life. We'll come to remember this publication date of 1863 for many reasons, particularly in the next lecture. It's an essay about a painter who in fact didn't paint oil paintings, and didn't exhibit major paintings in the Salon. He was a painter who in every sense was a popular artist, and a painter of the spectacle of the city. A painter who used that spectacle of the city in very powerful ways.

His name was Constantin Guys 1805-1892, who worked in London and Paris for illustrated, weekly magazines. He represented people who lived in the city, the spectacle of the modern city, military parades in the modern city, balls and finery, particularly urban women of the lower sort, who he was fascinated by and sort of represented the city as a glittering world.

Guys was the artist who, because he was not a high artist, but a low artist, a popular artist, an artist who trafficked in the ordinary or popular, in the world of mass culture rather than of high culture, that Baudelaire was courageous enough to celebrate. Rather than celebrating Courbet or Delacroix, which he did in an obituary written in 1867 later, rather than celebrating Ingres or the modern painters of the countryside of Paris, he celebrated a little artist who was not trained as an artist in the academy and not part of the world of the Salon. That was a courageous act!

He begins his essay with an entire analysis of what he calls "the crowd." This is the subject of the modern artist and of Constantine Guys, the painter of modern life. We'll read about the crowd, as theorized by Baudelaire:

"The crowd is his element..."

(by "his" he means Guys)

" the air is that of birds and water of fishes. His passion and his profession are to become one flesh with the crowd, for the perfect flaneur, for the passionate spectator. It is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite. To be away from home, and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home. Just see the world, to be at the center of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world. Such a few of the slightest pleasures of those independent, passionate, impartial natures which the tongue can clumsily define. The spectator is a prince who everywhere rejoices in his incognito. The lover of universal life enters into the crowd as though an immense reservoir of electrical energy. Or we might liken him to a mirror as vast as the crowd itself. Or to a kaleidoscope gifted to a consciousness, responding to each one of its movements and reproducing the multiplicity of life in the flickering grace of all the elements of life."

This idea of anonymous, impersonal, immersion, into multitudes, into others, into a world of sensation separated from oneself, is the role of the modern artist. What Baudelaire looked for throughout his life was an artist who could actually assume that role. Maybe the tragedy of Baudelaire's life is that he met that artist rather late. That artist became what Baudelaire wanted him to be, yet mostly only after Baudelaire's death in 1867, the funeral of which, that artist attended. That artist was Edouard Manet.

Now if we look at these Guys watercolors, they're watercolors about women moving through the cities, the dresses of the women, and the excitement of the women. They are slight, they seem insubstantial, it seems as if they were tossed off in no time, which is another element of modernity that Baudelaire loved.

Then if we turned to them, with their sort of febrileness, their sense of being transitory and impermanent, as life itself is. Yet then if look at the first major Salon painting by Manet, we see that we're in a different world. This is Manet's portrait of his parents, from 1859 and then exhibited in the Salon of 1860. It represents a rectitudinous bourgeois couple, Mom and Dad. Mom has her sewing basket, so she's the appropriate wife, behind her seated husband, who is looking rather infirm, and actually had tertiary syphilis so was to die two years after this time. Manet lived for the rest of his life with Mom which we'll get to in a bit.

Yet here we see Mom and Dad as people of incredible propriety, and shown in a deeply respectful, slow, careful, and private manner. This is not a Baudelairian painting, it is modern painting and personal painting, yet not the painting of the spectacle of the city, of the crowd, of the larger world that Baudelaire loved.

Yet lets turn to another Manet painting, a very almost clinical look at a particular woman. It's a painting done in 1862, and represents a woman who we've all been taught to think was his mistress, named Victorine Meurend. She was a beautiful red-headed woman with sort of greeny blue eyes, highly intelligent, she acted as an artist/model, wrote poetry of her own, was a kind of independent woman of sort of courtesan class in a certain way, but with whom Manet was deeply in love. He used her as a model, placing her in many different costumes and settings for many different reasons as his muse goddess, and as the person who for him, is his first Baudelairian figure.

As we look at Victorine Meurend, Richard reads another little passage from The Painter of Modern Life, so we can hear Baudelaire's words, written as this picture and the next one, also painted in 1862, were being painted:

"Woman in a word for the artist in general, and for the Mr. G..."

(we called Guys)

" particular, is far more than just a female of man. Rather she is a divinity, a star which presides at all the conceptions of the brain of man. A glittering conglomeration of all the graces of nature, condensed into a single being. The object of the keenest admiration and curiosity that the picture of life can offer its contemplator. She is a kind of idle, stupid perhaps, but dazzling and bewitching, who holds wills and destinies suspended on the glance. Everything that adorns woman, everything that serves to show off her beauty is part of herself. No doubt, woman is sometimes a light, a glance, an invitation to happiness, sometimes just a word. But above all she is general harmony , not only in her bearing in the way in which she moves and walks, but also in the muslins, the gauzes, the vast iridescent clouds of stuff in which she envelops herself and which are as it were, the attributes and the pedestal of her divinity. In the mettle and the mineral which twists and turns around her arms and her neck, adding her sparks to the fire of her glance, or gently whispering at her ears. What poet, in sitting down to paint the pleasure caused by the sight of a beautiful woman, could venture to separate her from her costume?"

Now Manet, beginning in the 1860s, beginning with his friendship with Baudelaire that commences in the early 1860s, turns his painting away from his parents, from the museum, from the past, towards the city, towards the city of Paris and towards the way in which women preside over that city for him, as for Baudelaire.

There is a particular and interesting aspect of this city, and of a woman's role in it, which is exemplified by this painting at the Yale University Art Gallery, where you see a woman, a dark-haired beauty, dressed not as a woman, but as a man. Also, not as any man, but as a bullfighter or matador, as a slayer of beasts, as a person exquisite in the art of the sword, but reclining on a wonderful sofa, with a cat at her feet, eating or playing with an orange, all symbols of sensuality.

This idea of woman as man, of woman as transformer, of woman as slayer of man, is made even stronger in this painting, a very large painting, also of 1862 at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, which represents Victorine Meurend, the same woman we saw before, dressed "en travesti", the French word for "in drag" in English, also as a bullfighter, but with he sword and with her pale pink little poof, which is supposed to be our draw, and we the viewer, are the bull. She is looking right at us, and we are about to be slain by her!

One of the most artificial and idiotic of pictures that one can imagine, and a painting that comes not from this particular passage of Baudelaire that we read, but from an essay written by Baudelaire, written about an artist who represents women in drag, and men in drag, and the play between the sexes that is such an elevated and interesting part of upper class sexuality, which Manet and Baudelaire were fascinated with.

These works of art, this last painting was done for the Salon, for a large public, and it was painted to be shocking! It was painted to raise issues of gender roles, their instabilities, and cruelties, in sheerly Baudelairian terms, and it raised them in a way which poses questions about the relationship about the modern artist to history, and the modern artist to literature.

Now Manet knew Baudelaire very well. Manet was one of the handful of people who attended Baudelaire's funeral in early September of 1867. Baudelaire had the misfortune to die to early in September, that the French, as we all know, leave "en mass" the Parisians, to go on holiday in August, that almost no one was back in Paris yet when poor Baudelaire died. So there were fewer than 30 people at his funeral, and Manet was one of them. There was an extraordinary rainstorm that day when the body was taken to Père Lachaise cemetery, and Manet witnessed it in a painting which veritably weeps with his own grief for the death of his friend.

That same year in the Salon, Manet was represented by a young follower of his, a painter named Henri Fantin-Latour in this painting, now in the Art Institute of Chicago. It represents Manet as a flaneur, as a man not shown in the city, but in the midst of the nothingness of a primed canvas, but dressed to walk out of doors, one hand gloved, the other hand bare, holding the glove. In his hands, the walking stick that will propel him out of doors. The sharp gaze of his eyes, the perfect clothing that he wears for his afternoon walk. He stares at us, as if we the viewer of the picture, are part of the crowd, the Baudelairian crowd that he paints.

This painting was the only Manet that was shown in the Salon of 1867, the year of Baudelaire's death. Manet's own paintings were rejected by the jury, as Courbet's had been earlier. Yet Manet was present as a portrait figure, painted by a young admirer in a highly conventional style. Yet let the style not fool us, because what this painting is, is Baudelaire's flaneur, looking at the crowd of the city as it is gathered in the rooms of the Salon, everyday and crammed on Sunday, a very crowd Baudelaire had written about so eloquently and powerfully in his great essay The Painter of Modern Life, published in 1863.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Weather Underground (Full)

The Weather Underground is a 2002 documentary film based on the rise and fall of the American radical organization The Weathermen. Using much archive footage from the time as well as interviews with the Weathermen today, the film constructs a linear narrative of the organization.
The film, directed by Sam Green and Bill Siegel won the audience choice award at the Chicago Underground Film Festival and went on to be nominated for an Academy Award in 2004

The thesis of Weatherman theory, as expounded in its founding document, You Don't Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows, was that "the main struggle going on in the world today is between U.S. imperialism and the national liberation struggles against it", based on Lenin's theory of imperialism, first expounded in 1916 in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. In Weatherman theory "oppressed peoples" are the creators of the wealth of empire, "and it is to them that it belongs." "The goal of revolutionary struggle must be the control and use of this wealth in the interest of the oppressed peoples of the world." "The goal is the destruction of US imperialism and the achievement of a classless world: world communism"

The Vietnamese and other third world countries, as well as third world people within the United States play a vanguard role. They "set the terms for class struggle in America..."The role of the "Revolutionary Youth Movement" is to build a centralized organization of revolutionaries, a "Marxist-Leninist Party" supported by a mass revolutionary movement to support international liberation movements and "open another battlefield of the revolution." The theoretical basis of the Revolutionary Youth Movement was an insight that most of the American population, including both students and the supposed "middle class," comprised, due to their relationship to the instruments of production, the working class, thus the organizational basis of the SDS, which had begun in the elite colleges and had been extended to public institutions as the organization grew could be extended to youth as a whole including students, those serving in the military, and the unemployed. Students could be viewed as workers gaining skills prior to employment. This contrasted to the Progressive Labor view which viewed students and workers as being in separate categories which could ally, but should not jointly organize.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ustad Vilayat Khan - at the Royal Festival Hall - 1993 - Rag Hameer (Full Concert)

This concert recording from London's Royal Festival Hall in December 1993 consists of an extended reading of the early evening raga "Hameer." Once again Sabir Khan accompanies on tabla.

Ustad Vilayat Khan - Sitar
Sabir Khan - tabla
Hidyat Khan - tamboura

Painters Painting: The New York Art Scene 1940-1970 (1972)

Painters Painting: The New York Art Scene 1940-1970 is a 1972 documentary directed by Emile de Antonio. It covers American art movements from abstract expressionism to pop art through conversations with artists in their studios. Artists appearing in the film include Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, Barnett Newman, Hans Hofmann, Jules Olitski, Philip Pavia, Larry Poons, Robert Motherwell, and Kenneth Noland.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Born in Flames (1983)

Born in Flames is a 1983 documentary-style feminist science fiction film by Lizzie Borden that explores racism, classism, sexism and heterosexism in an alternative United States socialist democracy.

The plot concerns two feminist groups in New York City, each voicing their concerns to the public by pirate radio. One group, led by an outspoken white lesbian, Isabel (Adele Bertei), operates "Radio Ragazza". The other group, led by a soft-spoken African-American, Honey (Honey), operates "Phoenix Radio". The local community is stimulated into action after a world-traveling political activist, Adelaide Norris (Jean Satterfield), is arrested upon arriving at a New York City airport, and suspiciously dies while in police custody. Also, there is a Women's Army led by Hilary Hurst (Hilary Hurst) and advised by Zella (Flo Kennedy) that initially both Honey and Isabel refuse to join. This group, along with Norris and the radio stations, are under investigation by a callous FBI agent (Ron Vawter). Their progress is tracked by three interns (Becky Johnston, Pat Murphy, Kathryn Bigelow) for a socialist newspaper run by screenwriter Ed Bowes, who go so far they get fired.
The story involves several different women coming from different perspectives and attempts to show several examples of how sexism plays out, and how it can be dealt with through direct action. A famous scene is one during which two men are attacking a woman on the street and dozens of women on bicycles with whistles come to chase the men away and comfort the woman. The women in the movie have different ideas about what can and should be done, but all know that it is up to them, because the government will not take care of it.