Friday, December 31, 2010

Let The Party Begin!


Honestly, the Klingons always said Shatner sang just fine and I do not even attempt to argue with Kingons....

The Last Word for 2010

Of all the things I’ve lost,
I miss my mind the most.
 

— MARK TWAIN

A Day In The Life


The Beatles - A Day in the Life
(I am posting this essay by Bernard Beney, The French Philosopher who actually teaches the philosophy of rock. Bernard is a real family friend and sent this today as a gift and I have tried to translate it into my clumsy English  from his extremely elegant French)
The recording of A Day in the Life comes in the wake of the very
successful experimental recording sessions of Penny Lane and Strawberry
Fields Forever, which were initially planned for Sgt Pepper but finally released as a
single. John Paul then outdid themselves with the help of audio engineers
working with producer George Martin. This was an extremely confident period which created a special collective atmosphere of work and creation.
One morning  the four arrived in the studio and offer a song by John
they have worked to arrange, it is called In The Life Of,
John sings and plays acoustic guitar and Paul, piano. But with 3
verse and  two choruses (I'd love to turn you on) the song is considered
incomplete. They decide to record it anyway but leaving the
an emptiness where Paul then places a composition derived from his sketch of a piece...
(Woke up / Fell out of bed). But even with the inspiration of Paul, there remained
 24 measures to complete. John proposes to create a sound that would swell up in volume.
 Paul suggests using  a full symphony orchestra. Too expensive for George Martin.
Ringo is the solution: "get half of an orchestra and record it
twice. "They will ask the musicians to rise slowly from the lowest note of their instruments to the highest while slowly starting to play more and harder. In addition it was decided
use the same sound effect to end the song... Yes, but how
get that from classical musicians? You can not ask them to simply just play or improvise.That gave John the brilliant idea to distribute their paper hats and fake noses and create
an atmosphere of celebration or carnival that will break the ice.


The idea was eventually chosen to create a kind of happening and to invite
all their Swinging London friends and them asked to dress in their best Carnaby Street Outfits.  The  orchestral musicians, of course were told to wear their tuxedos. 
Assistants were sent to joke shops to buy ridiculous hats, false noses,
clown wigs, fake bald heads, legs and gorilla masks and 
tons of fake boobs. Balloons would be released to fill the space
higher in the studio.
The session is scheduled for mid-afternoon.
While the musicians confer, they party favors are distributed. They
are surprised at first and grumble, but most end up dressing up
somehow. Those who have worked with the Beatles before encourage
others. "It's alright, it's all in fun." Guests
arrive: the Stones, Marianne Faithful, Donovan, Graham Nash, etc.. and many more, including
Brian Epstein. It throws out some free riders. The four
finally arrive and rush to their guests. Conductor
Erich Gruenberg consults with George Martin and Paul, he is not sure
understand what is expected of musicians but he will try to
implement the instruction: each will play for himself, without listening to others
by performing a climb from the lowest to the highest notes. The
musicians are first appalled. George Martin and Paul spread among
musicians to clarify the situation. Start popping the balloons
on all sides. George Martin, who has the trust and  confidence of most
musicians can only tell them: "Trust me, everything will be fine."
It was decided to first "rehearse".
By half past two there will be 8 in all, Paul and George Martin
trying his hand in turn in the direction of the orchestra, but the musicians
know that each time they are recorded on separate tracks will not be erased and then carefully mixed produce the great
chromatic ascent. In the end, says Geoff Emerick, George Martin when
thanked the musicians, "Gentlemen, it's in the can," everyone
musicians, The Beatles and guests began to applaud. People in the orchestra
returned home. The studio was upside down, it stank of wine and
pot, but everyone was still there well after midnight for a
last listening experience. All still reeling from the surprise of having
experienced such a historic moment.


To finish the story I must say a word about the piano tuning which closes
the song and album. Two weeks after that meeting the Beatles, except
George, are back in the studio putting the finishing touches on A Day In The
Life, with, according to Paul's idea: a monstrous piano chord that would last
"Eternally". For this he had to commandeer all the pianos and
keyboards available at Abbey Road and have as many people to hit
the same chord simultaneously, then repeat this twice more
while tinkering with the  volume settings decreasing to
obtain the desired  sustain effect.


This episode has fascinated me because I always believed that 
Sgt Pepper was concocted by Paul and George Martin in secret
Abbey Road studios and from audio engineers magic. Now you
see, this was not the case at all. Truly an heroic era.

(Thank you very much Bernard, and I also believe that this was a truly heroic era, a time of invention, a time of vision, when a bass player had to work his ass off to propel a song and creating new sounds was so much more epic than just sampling some one elses beats!)

You Are Not Alone


On the last day of 2010 I wanted to post something by Mavis Staples and here she is, a live performance from August, 2010 of the title track of her latest release, You Are Not Alone. which was produced and written with Jeff Tweedy.
Mavis was born in 1939 and started performing in 1950, with her Father, Pop Staples and her sisters as the Staples Singers. She's been singing for us for 60 years and I don't want her to ever stop.
She and her family were on the front lines of the Civil Rights Struggle. Interestingly enough, the Staple Singers were probably the first group to cover Bob Dylan's music in the early 60's.
Pop Staples is regarded as one of the most influential soul and gospel guitarists of all time.
Mavis is living American History, but she will never get old....

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fire And Ice

Four hundred tons of train, 25 mph of snowstorm and 625 volts of electricity. Sparks fly as the subway passes between Parkside Avenue and Prospect Park stations during the blizzard of December 2010 in NYC.  This is graphically, an incredible image and obviously, I'm not done with the subject of blizzards and climate change yet...

We, Duh...whaaaa? o yah, the peoples...that means us, not you.... now geddoffamy lawn before I call the cops....

NO OFFENSE, BUT ...

Ever wonder how the improbable likes of incoming Speaker John Boehner, who is self-evidently one of the most corrupt and  dimmer bulbs in Washington, ever gets elected to the United States House of Representatives in the first place?
The shortest answer, of course, is that it depends on the congressman's district; he doesn't get himself elected, "The People" do it for him.
Yes, the people, we those virtuous people, or in Boehner's case, they those virtuous people. Which leads us to the residents of southwest Ohio, home of the state's mostly rural 8th Congressional District. Which in turn leads me to an H.L. Mencken essay that I reread today, "The Anglo-Saxon," in which Mencken cites a sociological study done of southern Ohioans, circa early 1920s: in other words, the intellectual forebears of "The People" who elected John Boehner to the U.S. Congress.
I quote from the study:
Here gross superstition exercises strong control over the thought and action of a large proportion of the people. Syphilitic and other venereal diseases are common and increasing over whole counties, while in some communities nearly every family is afflicted with inherited or infectious disease. Many cases of incest are known; inbreeding is rife. Imbeciles, feeble-minded, and delinquents are numerous, politics is corrupt, and selling of votes is common, petty crimes abound, the schools have been badly managed and poorly attended. Cases of rape, assault, and robbery are of almost weekly occurrence within five minutes' walk of the corporation limits of one of the county seats, while in another county political control is held by a self-confessed criminal. Alcoholic intemperance is excessive. Gross immorality and its evil results are by no means confined to the hill districts, but are extreme also in the towns. 
Mencken didn't provide a citation for this study, so I did a little looking around and ... what do you know? He wasn't joking; it's from a scholarly article titled "Community Disorganization," from The Journal of Social Forces, 1924, by one J.F. Steiner.
And now you know how, at least indirectly and given some time, the likes of a John Boehner can get elected to the United States House of Representatives in the first place -- by the syphilitic, inbred, feeble-minded, criminally corrupt, poorly schooled, alcoholic and grossly immoral People.
My apologies, naturally -- as well as condolences -- to those in the 8th District smart enough to have voted against Boehner. No offense.

Runaway


Do I need a reason? Sometimes things just click, perfectly, and fall into place. This video kind of fell out of the internets into my lap and an envelope was delivered to my mailbox today.
The envelope contained missing the pieces of a puzzle and this band seems to fit my punk esthetic like my well worn Adidas...it even smells just right.
Charle and the Moonhearts covering the Del Shannon ( a punky kid from Wall Lake, Mi) hit, Runaway. An Orange County, CA Basement Rock Band, they are very particular about the distinction between garage rock and basement rock, a distinction I understand very because when I first started playing music, it was in the basement of my house in Detroit.........

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ha Ha Ha....

“Most of the laugh tracks on television were recorded in the early 1950’s. These days, most of the people you hear laughing are dead.” 

Brother John


Ain’t No Grave ( Johnny Cash )
Originally recorded by Brother Claude Ely in 1953


There ain’t no grave can hold my body down
There ain’t no grave can hold my body down
When I hear that trumpet sound I’m gonna rise right out of the ground
Ain’t no grave can hold my body down

Well, look way down the river, what do you think I see?
I see a band of angels and they’re coming after me
Ain’t no grave can hold my body down
There ain’t no grave can hold my body down

Well, look down yonder Gabriel, put your feet on the land and see
But Gabriel don’t you blow your trumpet ‘til you hear it from me
There ain’t no grave can hold my body down
Ain’t no grave can hold my body down

Well, meet me Jesus, meet me. Meet me in the middle of the air
And if these wings don’t fail me I will meet you anywhere
Ain’t no grave can hold my body down
There ain’t no grave can hold my body down

Well, meet me mother and father, meet me down the river road
And momma you know that I’ll be there when I check in my load
Ain’t no grave can hold my body down
There ain’t no grave can hold my body down
There ain’t no grave can hold my body down

word december 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Let Them Eat Donuts....

In case you aren't aware of it, there is a class war going on in the USA...only, it seems to be a one sided affair. Here are the Top Ten Most Disgusting Statements made by Republicans insulting the unemployed citizens of America:

1. The first is a true dialog between former House Repug leader Tom DeLay and CNN’s Candy Crowley. On-air, DeLay said to Crowley:
There is an argument to be made that these extensions, the unemployment benefits, keep people from going and finding [a] job. In fact there are some studies that have been done that show people stay on unemployment compensation and they don’t look for a job until two or three weeks before they know the benefits are going to run out.
Naturally, DeLay didn’t happen to have any of those studies he mentioned available for reference. Crowley then asked, “People are unemployed because they want to be?” DeLay’s answer: “Well, it is the truth. And people in the real world know it.”

This was a Republican talking point for much of the year, with similar utterances from the likes of Sen. John Kyl and senator-wannabe Sharron Angle.

2. And speaking of 
Sharron Angle:
We have put in so much entitlement into our government that we have spoiled our citizenry and said, "You don’t want the jobs that are available.”
Next thing ya know, “our citizenry” will want at least a minimum wage! And a less than 80-hour work week! And health benefits! And no whippings! Damn spoiled middle class! For more on the wisdom of Angle, just click on this.

3. “I’m opposed to giving people money for doing nothing,” said former House Speaker 
Newt Gingrich, explaining why he, like virtually all his Republican brethren, is against the concept of paying unemployment benefits. Keep in mind that this was said by a guy who, as Rachel Maddow points out , has been “earning” his money for 12 years or so as a scam artist. Newt, if you wanna do some honest work, maybe you should just do a deal with Jenny Craig. Sooner or later, though, Newt will be sending out his own version of those infamous direct-mail scam “letters from Nigeria.”

4. “Is the government now creating hobos?”
-- Nevada Congresscretin Dean Heller

Hey, Heller, why not just call them winos!

5. “If anything, continuing to pay people unemployment is a disincentive for them to seek new work."
-- Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl

Yeah, Kyl, people just enjoy being out of work. One would think that by now if the people of Arizona had any brains at all, they would ship Kyl to China along with the jobs he voted to send there.

6. “The jobs are there. But if we keep extending unemployment , people are just going to sit there."
-- Pennsylvania candidate for governor Tom Corbett

The sad punch line is that Corbett won, despite the fact that Pennsylvania is a state that is rife with extreme rust-belt poverty. The state is also well above the national average of having six applicants for every job. Now there’s a guy who really knows his constituents. “The jobs are there.” I guess that just depends on what the meaning of "there" is.


7. “We should not be giving cash to people who are basically just going to blow it on drugs.”
-- Utah Sen. Orin Hatch

This puss-for-brains loon should have been put out to pasture when he held up a copy of 
The Exorcist at the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991.
8. “Have you heard of the 99-ers? Some of these people, I bet you’d be ashamed to call them Americans.”
-- Glenn Beck, discussing the 1.4 million (and growing in number) Americans who have been unemployed for more than 99 weeks in a country whose jobs have been shipped to China and India

9. “The people who have been laid off and cannot find work are generally people with poor work habits and poor personalities. I say ‘generally’ because there are exceptions. But in general as I survey the ranks of those who are unemployed, I see people who have overbearing and unpleasant personalities and/or do not know how to do a days work."
-- former Nixon speechwriter and game-show host Ben Stein

Stein unwittingly went a long way in describing himself. He also works as an advertising pitchman of sorts. Personally, I make a point of not buying anything he’s selling. Not only that, but when I see it on the shelves, I push it to the back behind competing products. It makes me feel good. Everyone has to do their bit in some way, you know.

10. “Let them eat cake.”
-- French queen Marie Antoinette, proposing an alternative for peasants who couldn't afford bread

Now we know that Marie Antoinette was expressing the modern-day Republican philosophy centuries in advance. And what happened to her? 


The Devils Staircase

Gy├Ârgy Ligeti’s “L’escalier du diable” (“Devil’s Staircase”).
This is piece is famous for its 'ffffffff' and Shepard's Scale. (it's as if the piece is climbing up and up without stopping) I assume that the Devil allusion is even more evident by the use of "The Devil's Interval", about 4:13 into the piece.

My Favorite Blizzard


During the mid 1970's I worked for a local, loop railroad line that ran around Toledo, Ohio. It had a few engines that transferred cars to industrial locations, but much of the traffic was other lines, Amtrak, B&O, C&O, who were licensed to use the track, because, the Toledo Terminal Railroad owned and operated 3 major bridges across the Maumee River. 
I was a drawbridge and signal operator for the Lower Maumee Bridge. The first bridge across the river as ships approached the port of Toledo from Lake Erie at the mouth of the river. As it was the first bridge, it was the busiest. 
My little home away from home was the bridge house, nestled up in the iron girders in the middle of the river. I worked the night shift, from 11 pm until 7 am. Being low man on the totem pole, I also was the guy who got to work holidays. I didn't complain, it was what we called Double Eagle Overtime!
Don't ask me when I slept, I was a student at the University of Toledo School of Design and tried to have a reasonable facsimile of a social life at the same time.
The Bridge was a fascinating place to work. It is a national historic site, built in 1902. Part of my duties were to rev up the huge antique Bucyrus Erie diesel engine once a month and test the emergency DC electrical power generating system. I usually did this about 4 am in the morning and I have been told that you could hear the results up to the Michigan border.
I quickly over came any fears about hight...I had to climb the girder works in the dark to change lightbulbs when ever the Coast Guard would gleefully call at 2 am to tell me that a warning light was out on the top of the bridge. 
It was a routine, I opened and closed the bridge using ancient DC Current crank switches that would occasionally arc from snags on the sliding copper plates and light the bridge house up like Dr. Frankensteins laboratory. In the summer, I would ride my bike to work, but usually in the winter, I drove my Toyota pickup. The bridge and the iron work became a major source for the inspiration of my aspirations to become a master of intaglio printmaking techniques. I actually did a small edition of very large drypoint (the image is directly drawn with a steel point on a zinc sheet, then inked and printed...usually each print is very different because of the burr on the metal and the inking) prints of the bridge iron work, using my truck as the press...
On January 28, 1978, I was getting ready to leave work. I had a radio and listened to the warnings of about a big snow event scheduled to hit during the day. I waited for my relief to arrive. It was bridge operator etiquette to arrive a few minutes early and shoot the shit...
But my relief was late, and of course, a drawbridge operator bound is by federal law to stay on duty until his relief showed up!
It wasn't that cold and actually pretty clear, but as I looked up river, into the west, I saw a wall of clouds rapidly advancing. In fact, they weren't just advancing...as I watched I saw what appeared to be a wall of white steam racing down river...In just a few minutes, the bridge began to shake and I was engulfed in the steam! The steam was caused by a super frigid wall of air in contact with the still liquid Maumee River. I was engulfed in a violent, blinding, because the sun was till shining bright,  cloud of brilliant white steam for at least 15 minutes. The force of the wind blew the screen door off of the frame and the unconnected spare propane tanks into the opaque void....The bridge shook for 25 minutes and the railroad communication system was squealing away with panic filled voices from the other signal towers down the line. 
The initial wind roared through and was replaced with intense totally opaque sheets of wind driven snow....which kept falling, and falling and falling.
Finally, my phone rang and it was the chief engineer of the railroad asking me if I was okay....
I told him that I was just fine, the bridge was still there but the extra propane tanks, which in case you wanted to know, operated the "propane toilet", and the screen door and I couldn't say what else had gotten blown into Maumee Bay.
It was 24 hours before they could get a snow plow train to clear out to the bridge.  Almost 3 feet of snow had fallen in less than 4 hours. I was stuck there for 3 fun filled days, but I did call the Coast Guard occasionally to let them know I was going to try to walk to Summit Street to see if the McDonald's was open....
(If you click on the picture, you can enlarge it and see the bridge house)

Monday, December 27, 2010

WORD DECEMbBER 27, 2010

Oh yes I can, I've done it before and I will do it again!
It takes a very special kind of talent....

The Collapse of Western Civilization As We Know it...Part 2


A Target Store in Buffalo, NY, Black Friday Morning, 2010.
Hordes of deformed, bloated mindlessly crazed consumers trample each other in a frenzy to snatch up worthless crap imported from China using money they don't have and and probably in many cases, never will...What will happen when the credit runs out and the shelves become empty? Why worry about terrorism from outside when Capitalism has created this impending behemoth with no brain?

Lyle Lovett And The Reverend Al Greene


A session from Don Was's 1994 project, Country, Soul and Blues.
They perform the Willie Nelson composition, Funny How Time Slips Away.
An incredible record, sort of a mental geographic record of the thin line that once upon a time existed in Detroit...Between Cass and Second Avenue up from Cass Park...one side of the road was Black Soul, Jazz and Blues and the other was Country and Honky Tonk,  but the middle blocks were an alchemist's mixing bowl where there the twain truly did meet.....

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Contraption

A little road trip on Rte 34 in Jersey with my little nephew in his 1926 Studebaker hot rod....

wOrd deceMber 26, 2010 HEY FEEDJIT!

This is actually in response to something called feedjit who informed me that my blog wasn't acceptable or something or other...I think they are trying to get me to pay for their service but I informed them to eliminate all information they had regarding me and if they think about snooping around here and checking me out again, the above message has been custom designed by me just for them! Actually, it would make a great tattoo......hmmmmmmmmm........

Christmas Dinner In La Sechere

les maigrets raw, with the fat side scored
in the fire place
perfect, rare...let them sit for a minute
a table!
That was the plan, maigrets de canard, broiled on the fireplace grill with pommes de terre saute aux girolles and a nice garlicky salad...The trick is not to over cook them. They have to be rare. I served them with a bowl of our home made fig and hazelnut confiture. The potatoes came from my garden and the girolles came from the forest at the end of the road.....

Saturday, December 25, 2010

WorD DecembeR 25, 2010

Microdots Christmas wish for today....

St. Nicholas


Master of the Legend of Saint Lucy (fl. 1480-1510) was an unidentified Early Netherlandish painter who worked in Bruges, now a city in Belgium. His name comes from for an altarpiece in the church of Saint James in Bruges, which is dated 1480 and depicts three scenes from the life of Saint Lucy. Since then, twenty-five to thirty-five paintings have been attributed to the same hand. He may have trained Spanish students at his studio in Bruges. Many of them are characterized by views of the city of Bruges in the background, and can be dated according to the level of construction of its belfry. He may have trained with Dieric Bouts, and was certainly influenced by Bruges' greatest artist at the time, Hans Memling. This is the central panel:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Soulful Christmas

Straight from the soul, James Brown, 1968!

WORD december 24, 2010

STEAMTASTIC! 1884


What a Christmas Present! The Animation test promo trailer for the now in production SteamPunk animated movie, 1884, by Terry Gilliam and directed by Tim Olive.
Produced by Steam Driven Films in London and 2d3D Animations in Angouleme (avec le soutien de la Region Poitou-Charentes et du Departement de la Charente)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Santa Claus Will Take You To Hell


Our old friends at The Westboro Baptist Church would be dangerous if they weren’t so fucking insane. In this sick little ditty sung to the tune of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” the Phelps clan concoct a rape scenario involving children and a non-existent mythic character named Santa Claus. These freaks are fantasizing on a level so evil that Charlie Manson would cross the street to avoid their collective bad karma.
Forget about chestnuts, these religious whack jobs would love to see us all roasting on an open fire.
Santa ain’t coming to town. He doesn’t exist. But Jesus does and he’s pissed.
Remember:
and of course, your bonus Christmas Santa in Space collectors card!

I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight


Ramones live 2000...might have been the last Ramone's show ever.
Merry Christmas, I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

wOrd deceMber 22, 2010

Most Saggy Assed Little Whore House In Washington, DC!


C'mon Big Boy, you man enough to roll with a pro? You wanna maverick? I'll give you a maverick! Too much maverick, hey, I'm a pro. Get tough on immigration? What ever you want big boy...
I swing any way you like.
Why don't we do a three way with my associate, Joe Joe Lieberman and Bomb Iran?
If you be payin, then I be playin!
Screw the 9/11 Rescuers cause if that's what you want, well that's what you get!
Oh Yeah, you know you want it and it'll never get better than Johnny, babe....
Geezz, my achin' back....
You wanna tea party, baby I invented tea parties....
Oh Yeah, I can teabag all night, long....
C'mon, big boy, take a number, it's gettin late and my truss is startin to chafe........
The Senate repealed DADT but failed to pass the Dream Act.  The latter would have given children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship by way of military service or completion of college.  One of the loudest voices opposing both measures was John McCain.  Here’s how Joe Klein describes the vermin:
McCain distinguished himself doubly this weekend, opposing the Dream Act and leading the opposition to “Don’t Ask,” despite the very public positions of his wife and daughter on the other side of the issue. I used to know a different John McCain, the guy who proposed comprehensive immigration reform with Ted Kennedy, the guy–a conservative, to be sure, but an honorable one–who refused to indulge in the hateful strictures of his party’s extremists. His public fall has been spectacular, a consequence of politics–he “needed” to be reelected–and personal pique. He’s a bitter man now, who can barely tolerate the fact that he lost to Barack Obama. But he lost for an obvious reason: his campaign proved him to be puerile and feckless, a politician who panicked when the heat was on during the financial collapse, a trigger-happy gambler who chose an incompetent for his vice president. He has made quite a show ever since of demonstrating his petulance and lack of grace.
McCain is one of the biggest roadblocks standing in the way of the 9/11First Responders Bill. Claiming that the Democrats are fooling around by appearing concerned with the plight of the responders, he repeatedly has refused to meet with them. Of course the real reason is that he wants to use this as leverage to block the START treaty and the DREAM ACT. But finally, it seems that his tired old whore act is beginning to catch up with him. 
Politics and whoring are synonymous in many ways and few politicians prove the point better than John McCain.
Here's a great video of some of the other biggest DC political play for pay sluts in action:

Turner


Joseph Mallord William Turner
1775-1851 
Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834, 1835. Oil on canvas, 92.1 x 123.2 cm.
Always will be  my very favorite painter. 

Christmas Grace


Got my tree, with all the trimmins...
Now it's time for Grace Jones?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Who Are The Brain Police?


On the last night of Zappadan, we attempt to answer this question with the 1966 recording from the double record debut of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Freak Out and the official soundtrack of this blog. Happy Frank Day everyone! Thanks for celebrating another Zappadan with me! Thanks for the muffins....

DEGENERATE ART 2010

In 1937, the Nazi Party held an exhibition of Degenerate condemned art works. The Fuehrer himself is attending the show in the photo above. Some of the artists included Paul Klee, Kandinsky and Max Ernst.
The work was supposedly confiscated and destroyed to prevent it's licentious freedom of expression from corrupting the pure fascist morality of the pure National Socialist Society that the Nazi Party was supposedly creating.
Just this last Sunday several hundred people gathered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to protest the recent decision by the Smithsonian Institution to remove a contentious video from a current exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
The video, "A Fire in My Belly," which was created by the late New York artist David Wojnarowicz and had been part of the exhibition "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," includes a scene of ants crawling over a crucifix. The film was removed following criticism from, among others, the Catholic League and Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio).
The protesters marched from the Museum to Cooper-Hewitt, the city's primary Smithsonian institution, holding signs reading "Silence=Death" and "Smithsonian, Stop the Censorship."
The WSJ conveniently left out the name, but the outcry originated none other than Bill Donohue, the perpetually outraged head of the Catholic League, seeking headlines once again.
A Smithsonian exhibit that includes a video of ants crawling on a crucified Christ has triggered an unholy backlash -- with the head of the Catholic League fuming that the artwork is "hate speech."
"A Fire in My Belly," by the late artist David Wojnarowicz, is included in "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," a show at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery to run through Feb. 13.
Catholic League President Bill Donohue said the four-minute video "was designed to insult and inflict injury and assault the sensibilities of Christians," and he blasted the museum's federal funding.
"If the government can't fund the promotion of religion, it shouldn't be in the business of funding an animus to religion," he said.
Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas declined to comment "on people's opinions on art," but noted that the museum, although 55 percent funded by Congress, raises its own money for exhibits.
That's right, the exhibit was privately--not government--funded. But you get a little wailing by Bill Donohue, egged on by John Boehner and the Smithsonian folded like a house of cards.
I lived in the East Village for 25 years and knew Wojnarowicz. I was involved in a few projects with him and was an admirer of the ground breaking musical art band he worked with, 3 Teens Kill 4, a name taken from a sensationalist NY POST headline.
Wojnarowicz was a powerful artist, coming from a very troubled background. A runaway youth from the midwest, he came to NYC and ended up on the streets as a teenage male prostitute. In a lot of ways, he was like a Rimbaud, he wrote, painted and made films brilliantly and his visionary, powerful art work will be in the museums of the future. Wojnarowicz died all to early as a results of AIDS in 1992 at the age of 38.
On the one hand, it's disheartening to see a work being used so blatantly out of context in this way to stir up controversy, but on the other hand, it's really quite beautiful and heartening to see how quickly awareness of the situation has spread, and to see how many institutions have really stepped up to provide people in their communities the opportunity to see the work, to experience it as art rather than just as this tool.
As it's banned by John Boehner and the Catholic League as a cheap publicity PR move, the work is being promoted and exhibited by institutions all over America. It's not 1936 and Freedom of Expression and ideas will not be suppressed! The last gasp of fascism is always religious outrage!
Here is the offending video:

word decEMber 21, 2010

I hate winter

Monday, December 20, 2010

Six Degrees Of Assassination



Julian Assange, Karl Rove...you knew there had to be a connection somehow, someway. And the answer is Yes! In 2010, Rove was hired by the present Prime Minister of Sweden, Fredrik Reinfelt to do what he does best...help Reinfelt get re elected using the sure fire techniques of subterfuge and character assassination that Rove has poisoned American politics with.

Speaking to Legal Schnauzer's Robert Shuler, an unnamed source suggested that Rove is likely "playing a leading role in the effort to prosecute" Assange. The founder of the secrets website was arrested Dec. 7 in London after Sweden issued a warrant for alleged sex crimes.
After Assange's release on bail, Guardian obtained and published leaked details of the allegations against him. A WikiLeaks source told The Australian that the leaked police reports were "a selective smear through the disclosure of material."
And there's no coincidence that the charges against Assange originate in Sweden, Shuler's source said.
Assange is being called a terrorist in the press these days, but let's look at what this "terrorist" has actually done:
If anyone wants to go there, let's have a quick review again of some of the "terrorist" WikiLeaks reports and then decide who is the actual problem. This is only a small portion of the material. Let's think about what country has decided to pressure businesses such as Visa, MasterCard and PayPal to halt payments despite the lack of any charges against WikiLeaks. And let's not forget about the government censorship in China US.
US irritated by EU privacy laws.
Bank of America bans WikiLeaks payments despite no charges. They simply disagree with the message, which is a new chapter in the American system of politics.
- Taxpayer money used for 
child sex slavery in Afghanistan.
- US 
oil giant Chevron discussed oil drilling in Iran despite US laws which forbid such agreements.
BP had oil well blowout like Deepwater in Azerbaijan months earlier.
Failed UK bank directors "failed to live up to their duties"
Vatican pressured Ireland to grant immunity to priests in child rape cases.
Pfizer used "dirty tricks" in Nigeria in attempt to avoid prosecution.
US conspired with China to block environmental reform in Copenhagen.
Saudi Arabia is a "terrorist ATM"
Senior Chinese Politburo member involved in Google hack
Yemen offered US "open door" for missile attacks.
Afghan VP arrived in Dubai with $52 million (possibly US taxpayer money)