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"93 in the House" [mp3 removed]. This is a straight-up, old school house tune I've been working for a few days. The basses and pads are familiar sounds of yesteryear but the rhythms use fairly up to date digital methods, such as NI's "spektral delay," which spectrally analyzes the beat and rearranges it to create echoes with varying attack curves. The drums mix samples and live synthesis. The tunes I wrote, trying to stay "in period." Those who may have followed these music posts of the past year will note the first use of a bridge and two dropouts.
Here are eight of the "25 Questions Regarding the Murder of New Orleans" currently posed online in The Nation by Mike Davis and Anthony Fontenat. The locals they interviewed are certainly asking these even if the rest of us aren't. To tweak the line from the '60s, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people aren't trying to kill you and steal your land." Some straightforward answers now could stanch conspiracy theories later on:
1. Why did the floodwalls along the 17th Street Canal only break on the New Orleans side and not on the Metairie side? Was this the result of neglect and poor maintenance by New Orleans authorities?
2. Who owned the huge barge that was catapulted through the wall of the Industrial Canal, killing hundreds in the Lower Ninth Ward--the most deadly hit-and-run accident in US history?
3. All of New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish east of the Industrial Canal were drowned, except for the Almonaster-Michoud Industrial District along Chef Menteur Highway. Why was industrial land apparently protected by stronger levees than nearby residential neighborhoods?
9. Why were the more than 350 buses of the New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority--eventually flooded where they were parked--not mobilized to evacuate infirm, poor and car-less residents?
10. What significance attaches to the fact that the chair of the Transportation Authority, appointed by Mayor Nagin, is Jimmy Reiss, the wealthy leader of the New Orleans Business Council, which has long advocated a thorough redevelopment of (and cleanup of crime in) the city?
11. Under what authority did Mayor Nagin meet confidentially in Dallas with the "forty thieves"--white business leaders led by Reiss--reportedly to discuss the triaging of poorer black areas and a corporate-led master plan for rebuilding the city?
19. Is the Justice Department investigating the Jim Crow-like response of the suburban Gretna police, who turned back hundreds of desperate New Orleans citizens trying to walk across the Mississippi River Bridge--an image reminiscent of Selma in 1965?
20. Who is responsible for the suspicious fires that have swept the city? Why have so many fires occurred in blue-collar areas that have long been targets of proposed gentrification, such as the Section 8 homes on Constance Street in the Lower Garden District or the wharfs along the river in Bywater?
Just returned from 23 REASONS TO SPARE NEW YORK: MUSIC VIDEOS FROM THE ART ROCK SCENE at Galapagos, an entertaining* mix by Nick Hallett of the commercial and the non-commercial, the brain-pounding (Black Dice/Danny Perez) and the charming (Regina Spektor/Adria Petty), with an eye for stop motion, '70s blue-screen montage, and exquisitely awful found footage (thinking of Quentin Tarantino in Kent Lambert's "The Biggest Night in Music," a splendid example of how success is not good for certain people). A quick look around the Net found several of the vids online (see below). Based on audience reaction "Relax with Kenny G"--the jazz lite saxophonist, not the WFMU dj--stole the first show, certainly getting the most laughs. Pictures of the long-tressed schlockhound are almost inherently funny. Also great were Antony and the Johnsons (haunting vocals accompanied by Glen Fogel's obsessive cropped lensing of a diva luxuriating/writhing in agony on a bed); "Heavy Metal Baghdad" (Iraqi rockers complaining about the lack of electricity), the punishing psychedelia of Roentgen's/Devin Flynn's "Cat Loop" (intense analog flanging meets Felix the Cat fractals), and Mixel Pixel's/Noah Lyon's "Telltale Drum Machine" (high speed video graffiti).
From around the Net:
Foetus: "Blessed Evening," dir. Karen O, 2005, 4 minutes (Director of Photography Spike Jonze). Foetus looks like Kim Fowley, at least in this video-severed-head mode.
Out Hud: "It's For You," dir. The Wilderness (cute/creepy stop motion)
My Robot Friend with Bingo Gazingo: "Kenny G.," dir. My Robot Friend (what does WFMU Station Manager Ken mean about "releasing Bingo Gazingo from his contract"? Did he misbehave on the air?)
Jason Forrest: "Steppin' Off," dir. Jon Watts/Waverly Films (the one with the LARPing theme--you gotta love that wizard)
*I can't properly review the show because one of the 23 reasons was mine but believe I can say the mix was entertaining.
Everyone in the world linked to this Mario Bros. fan art page, and well they should, it's a mother lode of punchy, brow-furrowing drawings. The content ranges from almost-professional renderings of Mario and Luigi as musclebound superheroes to endearingly inept Jim Shaw thrift store show-like portraits. In my fantasies, someone prints out all the images really large on Sintra board or Duratrans, and holds a kind of Iron Chef competition between the artists on those pages and some overindulged bad boy of the art world like, say, Sean Landers. Especially fun would be the judging, which would consist of those same five people who regularly appear on Iron Chef--the elderly critic, the pretty actress, etc.--sitting and making pronouncements to a humbled Landers like: "This is very bold, but I felt your irony wasn't quite strong enough--you are not truly weird in your art."
From the New York Times, news that Agnes Gund, a president emerita of MOMA, has resigned from the foundation dedicated to redeveloping the WTC site:
In a letter to John C. Whitehead, the foundation's chairman, Ms. Gund lamented the erosion of the original master plan for the site, which was drafted to "permanently memorialize what happened on Sept. 11, while also bringing and weaving the site back into the fabric of the city."Roowwwwrrrr! (sorry, it has to be uttered). The crappy state of downtown cultural redevelopment can be laid at the feet of one person: a right wing blowhard named Debra Burlingame. Turns out there are good 9/11 widows (the Jersey moms who shamed the government into finally holding hearings) and one very bad, very loud one, who is pushing her bum taste in art and predilection for censorship on the whole city, using the emotional fulcrum of her husband's death in the Pentagon strike four years ago. (In case you haven't been following this, she opposed the relocation of the Drawing Center to the site, as well as any other organization that presents art she deems "critical of the US.") Hadn't heard that about Clinton signing on for the suppression of free speech at the site, but it shouldn't surprise anyone given her ongoing support for the senseless slaughter of American troops in Iraq.
Now, she wrote in her letter dated Thursday, "Governor Pataki (and it saddens me to say, Senator Clinton has joined him) has caved and virtually ensured that there will be no cultural component to the redevelopment."
"I hate to walk away from this situation and leave it to you and the others to sort out," continued Ms. Gund, who is a president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art. "But I am afraid that the governor and those few family members have succeeded in destroying what could not be destroyed on that awful Tuesday, which is our hope."
Gretchen Dykstra, president of the memorial foundation - the organization charged with raising money for a memorial and for cultural institutions at ground zero - said yesterday that she was disappointed by Ms. Gund's departure but not discouraged.
"Of course, we will miss Aggie, not just for her wealth but for her wisdom," she said. "But we in no way find this a setback."
Nick Hallett sent this email message about a video show he's curating this weekend, which includes my "Guitar Solo" piece:
this sunday, swing on by GALAPAGOS for my first entry into fall's culture calendar, a screening of art rock videos i've curated for OCULARIS called 23 REASONS TO SPARE NEW YORK. i've been combing the city in search of connections between our ultra-vivid experimental music scene and video art/underground cinema. what you'll experience is a wild collection of psychedelic images and sounds derived from subversive media of all sorts.
flavorpill says, "Like a mini-RESFEST for the art rock set, this program explores the re-emergence of psychedelia through music videos and documentary bits on bands including Oneida, Regina Spektor, Karen O, Black Dice, Antony and the Johnsons, and Ted Leo."
expect music by bands that push the audio-culture envelope, lots of dayglo colors, electronic sounds, strobe effects, animations of the "stop" and "flash" varieties, documents of realness, and a few "commercial" music videos as well.
23 REASONS TO SPARE NEW YORK: MUSIC VIDEOS FROM THE ART ROCK SCENE
Sunday, October 2, 7 pm.
Ocularis at Galapagos Art Space
70 N 6th street @ Wythe
$6 (+$1 or more for Katrina relief effort Food Not Bombs, optional)
1. The Biggest Night in Music, dir. Kent Lambert, 2004, 2 minutes
2. Liars: There's Always Room on the Broom, dir. Cody Critcheloe, 2004, 3 minutes
3. Foetus: Blessed Evening, dir. Karen O, 2005, 4 minutes (plus Spike Jonze--view here)
4. Black Dice: Smiling Off, dir. Danny Perez, 2005, 4 minutes
5. Kim Gordon (from Studio:...Shareholders), dir. Tony Oursler, 2005, 1 minute
6. Ex Models: That's Funny, I Don't Feel Like a Shithead, dir. Mighty Robot, 2005, 4 minutes
7. Out Hud: It's For You, dir. The Wilderness, 2005, 4 minutes (view here)
8. Mixel Pixel: Telltale Drum Machine, dir. Noah Lyon/Retard Riot, 2005, 2 minutes
9. My Robot Friend with Bingo Gazingo: Kenny G., dir. My Robot Friend, 2005, 5 minutes (view here--and what does WFMU Station Manager Ken mean about "releasing Bingo Gazingo from his contract"? Did he misbehave on the air?)
10. Fat Bobby of Oneida (from Up With People), dir. Ethan Holda/Plutino Films, 2005, 1 minute
11. Jason Forrest: Steppin' Off, dir. Jon Watts/Waverly Films, 2004, 4 minutes (viewable here)
12. Ted Leo, dir. Pancake Mountain, 2005, 1 minute 13. Vaz with Katie Eastburn: Swishy Swashy (from LaundrOdyssey), dir. Dana Edell/Starter Set, 2005, 2 minutes
14. Disbelief Street: Unabated Fever, dir. Andrew Deutsch, 2005, 3 minutes
15. Guitar Solo, dir. Tom Moody, 2004, 1 minute
16. The Mitgang Audio: Soldato (soundtrack to The Sea Calls Us Home), dir. Annie Simpson and Seth Kirby, 2005, 2 minutes
17. Antony and the Johnsons: Hope There's Someone, dir. Glen Fogel, 2005, 5 minutes
18. Heavy Metal Baghdad, dir. Big Noise Films, 2005, 2 minutes
19. Roentgen: Cat Loop, dir. Devin Flynn, 2005, 4 minutes
20. Animal Collective: Infant Dressing Table (soundtrack to Magic Number), dir. Andrew Kuo, 2004, 8 minutes
21. Regina Spektor: The Flowers (from The Survival Guide to Soviet Kitsch), dir. Adria Petty, 2004, 2 minutes
22. Devendra Banhart: A Ribbon, dir. Laura Faggioni/Michel Gondry, 2004, 3 minutes
23. Japanther: i-10 (from Punkcast #400), dir. Joly MacFie, 2004, 5 minutes
Looking forward to the event. "Guitar Solo" (linked from the lower left hand column of this page) is actually dated 2005, but it seems like an eternity ago. I burned a professional-but-still-lo-res DVD of it--thanks, MG--but Nick will be projecting the 4.5 MB file in all its pixelated glory. I hope he'll crank the sound. UPDATE: the sound was perfect--clear and loud, the ideal contrast to the deteriorated video
Just received my second "Why Texas Didn't Have Looters" email forward from the Lone Star State! The first came with an appalled and disgusted note but I suspect this one was sent with tacit approval. Again, it should be obvious Texas didn't have looters because it had Rita and not Katrina, but these folks certainly have a right to pose with their firearms. By the way, guys, the U.S. Army would like you to report for duty soon.
Tonight, Thursday, September 29, is the exhibition preview of original works created for Dieu Donné Papermill's 6th Annual Benefit. The artwork I made using their paper (uncharacteristically nice material for me, but I tore it up quite a bit in the printer) is depicted below, as well as a detail. The piece can also be viewed in a thumbnail index along with other donated works.
This year's benefit auction, entitled Shangri-La, brings together over 120 artists who have generously donated original works created on Dieu Donné Paper.
AUCTION PREVIEW NIGHT
Thursday, September 29, 2005, 5:30-7:30pm
The Gallery at Dieu Donné Papermill
433 Broome Street, New York City
DIEU DONNÉ PAPERMILL’S ANNUAL BENEFIT: SHANGRI-LA
Thursday, October 20, 2005, 6-11pm
Live & Silent Auctions, Cocktails, Dim Sum
The Grand Harmony Restaurant
98 Mott Street, New York City
(between Hester Street & Canal Street)
VIEW LIVE & SILENT AUCTION ARTWORK
September 15-October 14, 2005
The Gallery at Dieu Donné Papermill
433 Broome Street, New York City