Josephine Baker

baker thumbA dancer who became a spy and a Civil Rights Movement icon.
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“One of the girls told a detective they were trying to become “proxies” of Slender Man, a…”

“One of the girls told a detective they were trying to become “proxies” of Slender Man, a mythological demon-like character they learned about on creepypasta.wikia.com, a website about horror stories and legends. They planned to run away to the demon’s forest mansion after the slaying, the complaint said.”

- Slender Man demon creature inspires Wisconsin girls, 12, to stab friend in woods, prosecutors say | syracuse.com
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mathani: A convex polygon with n sides is drawn in a circle….



mathani:

A convex polygon with n sides is drawn in a circle. Then divided into triangles. Finally circles are inscribed in the triangles. Obviously, triangulation is not unique; a 4-gon has two, a 5-gon five, a 6-gon 14 and so on, as continue the Catalan numbers. But the sum of the radii of the circles is constant, independent of how the n-gon is divided.

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June 2, 2014



June 2, 2014

For many years now, I have an original piece of artwork from Lotte Reiniger, which is part of her silhouette animated film made in 1935, called “Papageno,” which is based on Mozart’s popular opera “Die Zauberföte” (The Magic Flute).  The work is in my office, and I look at it often while writing my memoir.   The piece is important to me for numerous reasons.  I have an interest in animation, especially from the 1920s to the late 30s, after that, I lost interest because in my thinking the earliest is the most dynamic, and afterwards its history being repeated over and over again.  The other reason why I like this specific work is that it reminds me of the Tarzan film series starring Johnny Weissmuller.  In the time of my childhood, I used to watch these films on a Saturday morning, which was in competition against the animated children programming on the other channels.  My loyalty belonged to Cheeta, Boy, Jane, and of course Johnny.  As well as to the Reiniger artwork.



Oddly enough, I purchased this piece without seeing the final film.  It was years later that I came upon the film, and it reminded me of the romance between Tarzan and Jane, and the playful sexuality among the two.  The silhouette figures make the work more dreamlike, but also it is quite erotic to me. Porn is a subjective category, what works for some, may not work for others, but Lotte’s film is like dipping into the pool of sensuality and I’m reminded of this every time I look at her piece on my wall.  It wasn’t that long ago, while I was resting between writing, that I was listening to Charlie Watts’ “Live Fulham Town Hall” album and glancing at the artwork.  I noticed something that was quite shocking at the time, and this was the fact that there are two silhouette figures on a tree limb on the lest side of the picture.  The odd thing was now, there was only one, and the remaining figure is sitting on the tip of the limb.  What happened to the other figure?



I went through a book on Reiniger’s work, and saw the piece I have, and yes, just to ensure that, there were two figures on that tree limb.  I went to the kitchen and made myself a tequila sunrise, and came back to my office.  I even took the picture off my wall to look behind it. Just in case the figure left the image, and somehow was hiding behind the artwork.  Not there, of course!  I took a place, with my drink, to figure this out logically, which is an error on my part, because my whole life is either controlled by the role of chance, and without a doubt logic has never been part of the picture.



I have often felt that art lives within pages of a book and of course as an object on a wall, but that was only a theory - now I’m seeing something else, that is making me re-think about how static one’s life is, and how that is expressed through art.  That night I couldn’t sleep, and I was lured into my office in the middle of the night to examine the work again.  I, at first, sat in my chair and was looking at the work in absolute darkness.  Of course I couldn’t see it, but I sat there and imagined what it would look like.  I’m aware of the great Oscar Wilde novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and I guess I was in a tad fearful that I was looking at Basil Hallward’s portrait, and like anyone else who wakes up in the middle-of-the-night, comes upon a fear that is deep and terrifying. I held my breath and turned on the light to examine the Reiniger, and what surprised me the most was the figure was back in the picture.  I took my art book out and looked at that as well, and the figure is exactly placed and position as in the book.  I now wonder if I suffered a mild insanity attack of some sort, or perhaps I entered a dimension like in the comic book Superman’s Bizzaro World. Nevertheless, after needing to examine the picture, I decided everything is well with the world and went back to bed.

The funny thing is that I avoided the office since then, and had the cleaning lady to bring my laptop to the living room, where I am typing as I address you.  Sometimes we have no control of art, and art is what leads us by the hand or mind…  I often feel alone, and I can imagine myself being embraced by Jane and Tarzan, as I wonder through the maze that is my head and heart.
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MUDD UP BOOK CLUBB: Etel Adnan’s Sitt Marie Rose

Etel Adnan

[Etel Adnan]

Summer reading time! On Sunday July 6th we’ll meet in Manhattan to discuss Etel Adnan’s Sitt Marie Rose. This remarkable novella was written in 1977 by Lebanese artist Etel Adnan. These days Adnan is more recognized for her painting — she was a quiet hero of the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Elsewhere, Adnan’s words have been put to music by Henry Threadgill and Gavin Bryars. Point is, Adnan does many things very well.

Sitt Marie Rose is light and heavy, experimental and matter-of-fact, this story set during the Lebanese Civil War in which gendered violence might be the real civil war. It is also about the way cities feel and tense up. There is politics and religion and luminous sentences as precise and glowing as Adnan’s abstract paintings. The title character is a teacher of deaf-mute children and the language throughout pays great attention to sound, vibration, and silence.

It can be tough to find in bookstores so here’s a purchase page recommended by the publisher. E-book versions exist too. Head here to check out other Mudd Up Book Clubb selections.

SONY DSC

[Etel Adnan, title unknown, from Documenta 13]

I tell myself that it would be better to let loose a million birds in the sky over Lebanon, so that these hunters could practice on them, and this carnage could be avoided. – Sitt Marie Rose

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satchelchargedunit: ybb55: Adrift … / À la dérive … by Joanne…



satchelchargedunit:

ybb55:

Adrift … / À la dérive … by Joanne St-Cyr

The Fountain?

Tree of Life?

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““I’ve made a bot that ‘likes’ everything on Facebook,” said Julien Deswaef […] While it…”

“I’ve made a bot that ‘likes’ everything on Facebook,” said Julien Deswaef […]

While it sounds an easy project to execute, it turns out that Facebook has its own scripts programmed to penalise ruthless automation. Because of this, Julien has had to mimic the sporadic interactions of humans to keep the bot under the radar. The artist has also had to forfeit his own Facebook account to the bot — you could interpret this as performance art, but Julien calls it software art. Many of his friends instantly complained about having everything liked by him. I follow him/it on Facebook, and yes it’s frustrating, but it is only irritating because it holds up a mirror of how pathetic your Facebook life really is; the bot likes every single mundane trace you leave on the site.



- Popular Protest | Grafik
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File X (29)

lab x thumbLaboratory X
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The Gif Persists: Bitrates

bitrates_smEvery digital art work needs to navigate the bottleneck of "bits".
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Twitter / dwr:: Wal-Mart is now selling ASIC bitcoin miners.



Twitter / dwr:: Wal-Mart is now selling ASIC bitcoin miners.

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Lydia Lunch

lunchHer look said: "Leave me the fuck alone."
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June 1, 2014



June 1, 2014

Oddly enough, I don’t own “Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” album.  Yet, without a doubt, it is one album that made a significant change in my life.  Around March of 1967, my father received a large envelope that was addressed from London.  He wasn’t home at the time, but I made telephone contact with Wallace letting him know that he got mail from the United Kingdom.  Over the phone, he asked me to open the envelope to let him know what was inside the mail.   What came out was a black and white photograph and a letter, addressed to Wallace.  It was a very formal business letter and it came from Brian Epstein, who I knew at the time was the manager of The Beatles.   There was no specific information in the letter, but just asking my father to sign it, and then mail it back.  It also made a comment about receiving money as well, but it was in pounds, and being 11 or 12 years old at the time, it didn’t make sense to me.  Neither did the photograph that came with the letter.  My first impression was an image of a funeral, with all the people at the ceremony facing the camera.  The image was in black and white, and the picture had a flatness to it, like nothing stands out, except the whole picture itself.  Thinking back on it now, it reminds me of a Kabuki stage. 


  I have been to the Kabuki at least twice, and what impressed me was the lighting and staging of the narrative didn’t make any of the actors to stand out from the rest of the production or even sets.  Everything fit perfectly, and was in unison with the narrative, the acting, the lighting and sets.  All of it was equivalent to each other and none stood out.  Rarely have I seen something like that on a stage or even in a picture.  So thinking back and looking at this black and white image, I couldn’t focus on one thing.  I had to take the whole picture in front of me, and it demanded my attention from the very first glance.  Especially when my dad asked me what the picture was.  I told him that I wasn't sure what it was.  We then talked about something else, but my thoughts and eyes were on the image in front of me, and I was barely paying attention to the conversation.  When all of sudden, I realized that at least four of the guys in the photograph, were The Beatles.  Why I didn't recognize them right away was due to their outfits, which were turn-of-the-century marching costuming.  That, plus they all had facial hair, and John Lennon was wearing spectacles.  It is difficult to believe, due to the Internet and instant news we have now, but in 1967, the news and images came around slower.  The last time I saw a picture of the fab four, was them dressed in "Revolver" era clothing.  They still looked like The Beatles during that time, but here on this picture, they looked like different men to me.  The photograph didn't yell out the fab four to me, and at that age, I was a huge fan of The Beatles. 



The next big shocker for me was finally seeing the image of my dad in this photograph.   Whatever our conversation was at that moment I interrupt him and told him that there is an image of him on this photo and it is with The Beatles.  Wallace wasn’t surprised or even curious at that point, he just wanted to continue with our conversation.  Eventually he told me to put the letter and photo on the table and he’ll look at it when he got home.   When he did come home, he did look at it, and realize that Epstein was asking permission to use his image for the upcoming Beatles album.  If memory serves me, there was no mention of the album being named “Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in the letter, although clearly it is indicated in the photograph.   Due to the black and white image, I had a hard time seeing the word “Beatles” in a floral arrangement on the ground.  

Wallace put off signing the document and sending it, due not wanting to do it, but just had other concerns on his mind.  Epstein sent him at least two additional letters and I believe a telegram as well, begging him to sign off on the photo.   Wallace did, and sent it off, and that was it.  He received the payment which was very minimal - something like $5, and we didn’t receive a copy of the album.  Which was perfectly OK, because Wallace really didn’t think much about it at the time, and to be honest, he never brought it up afterwards it was released to the world. 

Now, what is interesting to me, is how much of that cover is around, and on all sorts of objects, such as key chains, posters, t-shirts, and so forth.   Of course, whenever I look at the picture, I think of my dad right away.  Also as I look around to see the black and white image of the cover, I think of the connection with all the other individuals in that photograph.  For instance, Wallace knew the artist Larry Bell, and was among the first people to publish William S. Burroughs’ excerpt of “Naked Lunch” in his journal “Semina.” His father who passed away when Wallace was very young, left him only two objects.  They were books, one was a short story collection by Oscar Wilde and the other book was by T.E. Lawrence’s (Lawrence of Arabia) “Seven Pillars of Wisdom.”   My grandmother Martha (my mom’s mother) used to work with cowboy actor and star Tom Mix at the 101 Ranch as a dancer, and Wallace met Terry Southern sometime in the early 1960s, and was a friend of Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, who gets a mention on the Pepper cover as well.  Wallace also had a brief meeting with Bob Dylan and Lenny Bruce. 




Again, it is odd that I don’t actually own the album or the cover, except I do have the black and white image of the cover, with the additional face or two - but what’s even stranger to me is that I share a photograph with perhaps millions of people.  They have all looked at my father’s face, but it probably didn’t mean anything to them.  For me, it’s a bittersweet moment where my dad shared space with my favorite band at the time. 
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The Imaginary Friends Project

I am working with the amazing team of director Alix Lambert and Producer Jennifer Morris to create these animated shorts in which people discuss their imaginary friends. This is the first one that is ready for public viewing, and it’s up over at Tin House, which I’m thrilled about. More will be coming.

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I was born to watch period drama:Sense and Sensibility (1995)

















I was born to watch period drama:
Sense and Sensibility (1995)

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Jonathan Pryce

Pryce5He was told that he wasn't built to be a versatile actor.
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The Lost Prince (22)

lost-princeA Night Vigil
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ageofdestruction: dreamed about you too: Comet and stars,…







ageofdestruction:

dreamed about you too: Comet and stars, photographed by Hubble Space Telescope, 3rd March 2001.

Comet 74P/Smirnova–Chernykh, photographed 8 (top), 8 (middle), and 6 times (bottom). The camera follows the comet, so the background stars appear to zip past in a blur. Since comets do not randomly change direction, the different apparent motions of the stars was presumably created by Hubble changing orientation between sets.

Smirnova–Chernykh, which has an orbit comparable to outer main-belt asteroids, was discovered by Tamara Smirnova (1935-2001) and Nikolai Chernykh (1931-2004) at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory in 1975. Smirnova also discovered 135 asteroids during her career; Chernykh discovered another comet and a staggering 537 asteroids.

Photographed here under Hubble Proposal 8699, by Laurent Lamy of the Observatoire de Paris.

Image credit: NASA/ESA/STScI. Animation: AgeOfDestruction.

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May 31, 2014



May 31, 2014

I saw Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Fox and his Friends” at the Fox Venice Theater sometime in the late 1970s.  Recovering from a tragedy in my life at the time, and just trying to find a solid piece of ground to walk on without feeling ill to my stomach, I wander into the beloved movie theater on Lincoln Blvd, without a thought in my head, and then leaving impressions on me that since then, became tattooed to my sensibility. It doesn’t happen all the time, but sometimes one sees something and you get totally pulled by the collar to another part of the room, and that is how Fassbinder’s films affected me.  Before then, I was dreaming of a world that consisted of punk rock, all instant ramen noodle diet, Bertolt Brecht poetry and an one-way ticket to an unknown destination.  In other words, I was lost, with only the live soundtrack of DEVO and The Screamers playing in the foreground of my almost pathetic life.  The 70s was an amazing decade due to the fact, for the first time in my life, I saw everything I cared about being dumped into trash can be that was my destiny.   Or that is exactly how it seemed like at the time.  In other words, I was no longer a happy camper. Before Fassbinder, I watched "Taxi Driver" at least 25 times in a movie theater, due that I couldn't really concentrate on anything else for a long period of time.  Thank goodness, Punk came, with the two minute 45 rpm single, because for my attention span, that was the time limit for me.  Till, the moment, and the height of my misery, I found myself at a showing of "Fox and his Friends."



What triggered me was that for the first time I saw something in the cinema that explained to me how society worked, from the ground up.  The story of a gay man, being totally exploited by a group of upper-class homosexuals was an eye-opening experience for me.  It had nothing to do with sexuality, but more of a fact that a system was being analyzed and exposed to an audience.  After seeing “Fox, ” I went every night to see all the other Fassbinder films.  Each and every one of the films knocked me out.  Sitting in the dark theater, and usually by myself, I felt being healed through the magic of the projected light, and just thinking “so this is how things are worked out in life.” At the time, the new German cinema was the latest movement that had the cineaste falling in love.  Without a doubt, there were the three: Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, and then of course Fassbinder. The other two I thought were OK to very good, but Fassbinder was the only one of the three that had a brilliant and a sense of style that were sometimes realistic and other times, almost over-the-top campiness.  It became virtually a Rolling Stones vs. The Beatles type of situation.  I felt at the time, that the majority of film goers were into Herzog, due to not only his talent, but his certain amount of bad-ass and the iconic German spiritual vision of nature and life.  To this day, I love Herzog’s documentaries, but I find most of his other films totally silly or laughable at the very least.  When I just think about Herzog, I think of the sad, but still cliché death of Ian Cutris of Joy Division, hanging himself while watching a Herzog film, with Iggy Pop’s “The Idiot” on the turntable.  Woe, romantic me, it turned my stomach in digest, and it made me love Fassbinder’s work much more, way much more than anything else that was out there at the time.



“Katzelmacher, ” made in 1969, an early film by Fassbinder, was another film that left me reeling in the theater.  Very minimal, and visually stark, it is a narrative of sorts that is about a group of bored young couples who hangs out in one area of Bavaria, and basically focused on a visiting immigrant worker from Greece, and therefore becomes a magnet of resentment and jealousy, which is basically just a reflection from the citizens of that space and time.  The fact that Fassbinder plays the immigrant (as well as playing Fox) made him my favorite movie star in the 1970s.  Without a doubt, my favorite Fassbinder films are those that where he is in it, either as star or just a cameo appearance.  Nevertheless, most art raises questions, but I feel for the first time that Fassbinder had an answer to these questions.  His films were so pragmatic and lacked absolute respect for spirituality, that I thought it was highly intoxicating in that I’m seeing a world in a different light.



When the retrospective was being screened at the Fox, Fassbinder was alive and still making films. In fact, I think his works were getting better and better.   At the time of his death, he made at least 44 films, and that is not including the countless plays he wrote and other films that he starred in.   I remember the day he died, because I was home in bed, and very sick.  I think I had the flu.  My only company at the time was a portable black and white TV set, with small rabbit ears.  Sometimes I did have the picture, but most cases I was watching a screen of moving snowflakes.  Through this haze, I saw a news clip that announced his death, and it mentioned that he was watching the TV show “Dallas,” when he passed on to another state.  It was reported that he had a cigarette between his lips at the time of his death.  I didn’t feel sad at that moment, in fact, I believe it was expected that his death will come early, and it did.  He was only 37 years old. When he died, my interest in the cinema also perished with him.   I still went to films, and I even programmed a film series at Beyond Baroque.  Without a doubt, I lost interest in ‘contemporary’ films.  So at the moment of his death, I became aware of the cinema as a piece of history, because I wished to be finished with on-going cinema.  For me personally, he was the last great figure in contemporary (living) cinema.


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Jean Rouch

jean_rouch1He created beautiful, humane "ethnofictions."
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Walt Whitman

whitman thumb“Throb, baffled and curious brain!”
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ageofdestruction: track 45 left. stop.: Surface of Mercury,…



ageofdestruction:

track 45 left. stop.: Surface of Mercury, photographed 61 times by MESSENGER, June-December 2011.

Showing approximately how MESSENGER builds up a detailed picture of Mercury’s surface over time. Unnamed craters around 34°S 256°W. This composite covers about 210 x 340 km. South is up.

[blade runner noises]

Image credit: NASA/APL/CIW. Animation: AgeOfDestruction.

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Should Andrew Gelman have stayed a math major?

Andrew writes:

As I’ve written before, I was a math and physics major in college but I switched to statistics because math seemed pointless if you weren’t the best (and I knew there were people better than me), and I just didn’t feel like I had a good physical understanding.

But every single mathematician, except one, is not the best (and even that person probably has to concede that there are still greater mathematicians who happen to be dead.)  Surely that doesn’t make our work pointless.

This myth — that the only people who matter in math are people at the very top of a fixed mental pyramid, people who are identified near birth and increase their lead over time, that math is for them and not for us — is what I write about in today’s Wall Street Journal, in a piece that’s mostly drawn from How Not To Be Wrong.  I quote both Mark Twain and Terry Tao — how’s that for appeal to authority?  The corresponding book section also has stuff about Hilbert and Minkowski (guess which one was the prodigy!) Ramanujan, and an extended football metaphor which I really like but which was too much of a digression for a newspaper piece.

There’s also a short video interview on WSJ Live where I talk a bit about the idea of the genius.

In other launch-related publicity, I was on Slate’s podcast, The Gist, talking to Mike Pesca about the Laffer curve and the dangers of mindless linear regression.

More book-related stuff coming next week; stay tuned!

Update:  Seems like I misread Andrew’s post; I thought when he said “switched” he meant “switched majors,” but actually he meant he kept studying math and then moved into a (slightly!) different career, statistics, where he used the math he learned: exactly what I say in the WSJ piece I want more people to do!


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Should Andrew Gelman have stayed a math major?

Andrew writes:

As I’ve written before, I was a math and physics major in college but I switched to statistics because math seemed pointless if you weren’t the best (and I knew there were people better than me), and I just didn’t feel like I had a good physical understanding.

But every single mathematician, except one, is not the best (and even that person probably has to concede that there are still greater mathematicians who happen to be dead.)  Surely that doesn’t make our work pointless.

This myth — that the only people who matter in math are people at the very top of a fixed mental pyramid, people who are identified near birth and increase their lead over time, that math is for them and not for us — is what I write about in today’s Wall Street Journal, in a piece that’s mostly drawn from How Not To Be Wrong.  I quote both Mark Twain and Terry Tao — how’s that for appeal to authority?  The corresponding book section also has stuff about Hilbert and Minkowski (guess which one was the prodigy!) Ramanujan, and an extended football metaphor which I really like but which was too much of a digression for a newspaper piece.

There’s also a short video interview on WSJ Live where I talk a bit about the idea of the genius.

In other launch-related publicity, I was on Slate’s podcast, The Gist, talking to Mike Pesca about the Laffer curve and the dangers of mindless linear regression.

More book-related stuff coming next week; stay tuned!

Update:  Seems like I misread Andrew’s post; I thought when he said “switched” he meant “switched majors,” but actually he meant he kept studying math and then moved into a (slightly!) different career, statistics, where he used the math he learned: exactly what I say in the WSJ piece I want more people to do!


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ageofdestruction: i imply; you infer: Dust storm on Mars,…







ageofdestruction:

i imply; you infer: Dust storm on Mars, photographed by Mars Express, 22nd March 2009.

Over Chamberlin Crater, 66°S 235°E. For scale, Chamberlin is 120 km across. The bright ares below the clouds might be seasonal frost, given the latitude, although the date (Ls 232°) is around the middle of southern spring.

Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin (1843-1928) was a geologist. He studied the history of glaciation in North America and, in 1893, founded the Journal of Geology still published by the University of Chicago Press. In 1905 he and Forest Ray Moulton formulated a theory of planetary accretion, parts of which contributed to the current model.

Composite of 9 images; 5 monochromatic (ish) and 4 for colour (blue, green, red, and infrared as an extra false-colour red channel).

Image credit: ESA. Animation: AgeOfDestruction.

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Mr Curly and the carrot clarinet

Musical instruments made out of vegetables (FT site registration required):
Then there’s my rubber-glove bagpipe, which has gone through a range of transmutations. There are more than 230 types of bagpipe all over the world and people have used all sorts of things for the bag – the Macedonians use a whole goat, while the Scots use stitched leather. The first bagpipes I experimented with were made out of a plastic wine bag. Then I moved on to the rubber glove. The current version uses the glove, an irrigation water pipe and a reed made from a bit of vibrating garbage bag.
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Mr Curly and the carrot clarinet

Musical instruments made out of vegetables (FT site registration required):
Then there’s my rubber-glove bagpipe, which has gone through a range of transmutations. There are more than 230 types of bagpipe all over the world and people have used all sorts of things for the bag – the Macedonians use a whole goat, while the Scots use stitched leather. The first bagpipes I experimented with were made out of a plastic wine bag. Then I moved on to the rubber glove. The current version uses the glove, an irrigation water pipe and a reed made from a bit of vibrating garbage bag.
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amnhnyc: A school of Dastilbe crandalli for your…



amnhnyc:

A school of Dastilbe crandalli for your #fossilfriday!

These small fishes were common during the Middle Cretaceous, roughly 110 million years ago, in lakes within rift valleys that lay along the separating margins of Brazil and Africa. These little fish fossils are located in the Museum’s Hall of Vertebrate Origins. 

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Mel Blanc

blancHe gave life to Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and more!
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You’re given the budget to launch a new website/magazine/journalistic enterprise of your choice. What’s it about and what’s it called?

It’s called “Hobby Horse.” It’s people explaining their particular obsessions at enormous length; since I’ve got the budget for it, it’s edited so that every essay is wildly entertaining and comprehensible to a general audience that has little or no relevant background. 

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All Beatles songs are to be obliterated from reality except the one you choose. Which one do you select?

"I Want to Hold Your Hand." It is joy.

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Various chums are currently having a full Proustian reminisce about “Welcome to the Pleasuredome”. What more fodder would you give us?

Really! Good heavens. I’ve actually been listening to some ZTT compilations a lot over the past few weeks. I remember getting my copy of the double-LP with the gift certificate I won in a lip-synching competition at the local mall (I did Talking Heads’ “Swamp”). Frankie weren’t my favorites of the ZTT crew—the Art of Noise were the ones I was crazy about at the time, Propaganda are the ones I probably feel most attached to now—but I did love the 12-inch mixes of “Welcome to the Pleasuredome.” And I also loved the fact that one of the 12-inches didn’t have the artist’s name or song title anywhere on its front, just a giant picture of a bowl of fruit and 12 XZTAS 7 in huge sans-serif type: if you knew what that meant, you knew it was something you had to have.

Also, I’m pretty sure that I quoted the Nietzsche passage from the 12-inch mix on a final exam sometime in college and impressed whoever was grading it.

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May 30, 2014



May 30, 2014

I’m curious to know what my last day on this planet would be like, for instance, would I spent time at home reading, or would I go out for a long walk in the neighborhood, maybe dropping by at the local fish n’ chips shop to get some lunch.  I often dream at night of the perfect magazine stand, yet in reality, I never came upon such a printed version of utopia.  As a child I accustomed to roam over the magazine stand in Hollywood, thinking that it was just an incredible inventory of publications, but the truth is, the one in my head, is much better, way better in fact.  Often I would wake up from a marvelous dream of such a place, that had comic books from every part of the world, and of course the quality of the printing varies from country to country.  But by touching the pages of these comics, I felt I was touching the actual culture of that specific country.  As I got older, I got into record collecting, not necessary due to its music, but more of the case that these objects were produced in a certain time and in a specific place. I never travel, yet holding a publication or an object like a record takes me to that country of origin.  I never know for sure what that culture is like, but I imagine a world that is totally suitable for me.



I have always been fascinated with Paris, but it is a city that I never went to, but I have in a sense through its literature and films. I can be only thankful for Léon Gaumont, starting the first French film studio, and therefore leading me to Paris through the films of Louis Feuillade, who was my first introduction to the great city.  The city of lights for many, but through my aesthetic it became a city of shadows, and when I hear the word “terror” I immediately think of Paris.  It was much later in my life where I saw Agnès Varda’s “Cléo from 5 to 7” which was another version of Paris, seen through the eyes of perhaps someone dying, or at the very least, a major change will take place, and spending the day taking the images and sounds of that city, as if it was the last day.   As I get older, that film stays with me the most, I think owing that I am more aware, in one day, I will not be here anymore.


I like to think of myself as being more refined as I get older, but the truth is I desire chaos.  I’m motivated by emotion, passion, and need.  Life in a funny way is like a movie studio in the times of Irving Thalberg.  The “boy genius” who controlled the finances and studied the commercial market of production, by having sneak previews, to measure the opinions of the audience before the film is made public, is a world that I find disgusting.  As he studied balance sheets, this act alone caused him to fire Erich von Stroheim over the length of “Foolish Wives.” For von Stroheim, the aesthetic is everything, for Thalberg, yes aesthetic is important, but it's not everything. Making art and specifically making movies is a crap game in a dark alley at its best, but a talented gambler knows the odds and the landscape of the game and where it taking place.  Erich only knows the passion, and therefore is driven to have the images in his head on the screen, at all cost.  The ‘all cost’ part of the deal is where von Stroheim and Thalberg parted, like the Red Sea.



With respect to my publishing, I’m totally on the side of Erich von Stroheim.  I loathe the idea of budgets, or anyone sitting me down and giving yours truly a lecture on economics.  If I have a choice of being tortured by a thousand cuts, or go directly into the sun, I choose to wear sunglasses and head towards the heat and brightness that are life.  Nevertheless, till then, I walk among the shadows.
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Agnès Varda

varda thumbDirector of quirky, moving, political, philosophical documentaries.
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jim114: Artist Jim114 “Elevate your Thoughts”. #art



jim114:

Artist Jim114 “Elevate your Thoughts”. #art

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Howard Hawks

howard-hawks2He defined or refined the dialogue comedy, the war picture, the detective yarn, and more.
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Peter Dinklage Game of Thrones Theme Song, by Dan Barham



Peter Dinklage Game of Thrones Theme Song, by Dan Barham

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Mikhail Bakunin

Bakunin“The passion for destruction is a creative passion."
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Roberto Calasso

calassoHe writes about — as well as into — the ineffable.
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idwcomics: Judge Dredd: Mega-City Two #5 Cover Inks by Ulises…





idwcomics:

Judge Dredd: Mega-City Two #5 Cover Inks by Ulises Farinas Colors by Owen Gieni

This comes out next Wednesday. I cannot even tell you how excited I am for people to see this issue…

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Photo



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Bright.ly

I worked with the team at pinch/zoom to help create Bright.ly, a UV detection-and-prediction app for ARO. It was interesting using simple visual language to represent such ground-breaking technology.  I not only helped to conceive of the general UI direction, but I created a series of location-and-weather-triggered backgrounds that populate for the user automatically, as well as a fun avatar builder that kept with the hand-drawn theme. We played with a lot of interesting ideas, some of which you can see in the sketches. The app will be in app stores this summer.

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May 29, 2014


May 29, 2014

Josef von Sternberg’s “The Blue Angel” always made an impression on me, due to the fact that I had a major crush on Marlene Dietrich when I was a teenager.  I identified with the character played by Emil Jannings, in that I too had a hard time receiving attention from a female.  Or perhaps, not the right type of attention.  Throughout my years, I must have seen that film in almost every format possible.   What I love about it is how the Professor (Jannings) was in a  position of power and influence, and then struck down by a great beauty, and therefore loses his stature in life, where he ends up in his once classroom, dead from remorse, clenching his desk… I love that.

As Oscar Wilde once said “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” Which is perfectly valid in some cases, but I tend to be on my stomach, face-face with the pavement.  Failure is something that I find totally fascinating.  I feel that if you don’t experience the moments or days of failure then you haven’t really lived.  To wake-up and to face a major disappointment on a day-to-day basis, is exactly what I call living in real-time.



My favorite author, Max Brand, wrote a novel “Destry Rides Again,” about a cowboy who is good with a gun and a pair of fists, but everything else is questionable, especially when he loses his horse and even worse, his saddle in a game of cards.  To rub more salt into his open mental wound, he is framed for a robbery he took no part in, and eventually goes to prison for six years.   When he gets out early for good behavior he swears revenge on the jury that convicted him wrongly.  Brand also invented Dr. Kildare, which sadly I never read “The Secret of Dr. Kilkdare.” Nevertheless, I am fascinated with Brand, because as a writer I’m totally in love with the fact that he wrote 500 novels, and his total literary output is approximately somewhere between 25,000,000 and 30,000,000 words.  My current count so far this year, is 44, 683 words, which mean I’m heading towards my favorite role in life - a failure.



The sad thing is that I will not have the ability (so far) to go down the depths of my collapse compared to the ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, whose failure after the “The Rite of Spring” (Le Sacre du printemps) was pure depression and madness.  The production was on a rocky start as Nijinsky choreographed the original production of the ballet, that led to a riot in Paris on its opening night.  It has been reported that the composer of the music for this ballet, Igor Stravinsky wasn’t totally solid with the idea of Nijinsky as the choreographer.  Yet he went along with Sergei Diaghilev, who championed the brilliant dancer.  When Nijinsky went off and got married behind Diaghilev’s back, he refused to use his choreography for future productions of “The Rite of Spring.” Eventually this led him to a spiral of madness, where at this time he did write a brilliant journal “Diary” that captured the twisted relationship he had with Diaghilev.  I too keep a journal, but it reads like a shopping list.  So, as we both approached the bottom of the emotional well, Nijinski, although a failure, is a much better artist than me.  And that makes me feel even more of a failure.



When I first arrived in Tokyo in 1989, it was the same time that Hibari Misora passed away from pneumonia at the age of 52.   I never heard of her before this visit to Japan, and I was struck by the attention in the media when she died.   If one to compare Hibari with another, it would need to be Judy Garland.  She was a child star who made recordings as well as films.  She is very much (and rightfully so) the Queen of Enka.  The tragedy of her life is quite dramatic with such incidences such as a fan throwing hydrochloric acid on her face, but luckily it didn’t cause scarring or loss of her sight.  Also her brother Tetsuya Katō was prosecuted for gang-related activity, which led her to be banned from Kōhaku Uta Gassen for the first time in 18 years.  This is to this day a very popular music program broadcast over the NHK network.   Misora was so offended by this action that she refused to appear on NHK programming for years afterwards.  On top of that she was diagnosed with avascular necrosis brought on by chronic hepatitis.  



At the time of her death, I didn’t have a cent or yen on me, yet I just wanted to focus on writing and nothing else.  But the people above had a specific influence over my life, in that in many ways, all of them had either hardship or lived in a manner that was damaging to their career or talent.  I wanted to eliminate everything from my life and just have my talent come through - and in my death, I want to be acknowledged as an artist that had a tragic life, yet his writing lived on to influence generation after generation.   Sadly, at this time, this is not the case.
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(via Black Women Art!)



(via Black Women Art!)

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Glamping – at its most stateliest

How glamorous can camping get? How about a “glamping” experience in the grounds of a stately home? Nick Harding goes upper class

You like the idea of camping, but your prefer a bit of posh? You want to go glamping. Still not posh enough? How about a glampsite within the grounds of one of the many stately homes that punctuate the country?
Luxury glamping bedroom in a Yurt
While there’s not usually a problem finding a normal campsite near any of our national treasures – and actually there are quite a few campsites set in the estates of historic homes: Longleat in Wiltshire, Stanford Hall in Leicestershire, Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire start the list rolling – actually staying under canvas within the grounds is a different matter altogether.
But glamping? That’s a whole different concept. Our stately homes may consider themselves too posh for camping, but the opportunities to glamp in their grounds are growing…

Some of our most to-notch country properties are offering posh camping (for example, in yurts) in their grounds. Here are just a few examples.

Kirklinton – for fun, food and faeries

Kirklinton Hall near Carlisle purchased its first yurt in time for the 2014 season. Locally, of course, because, as Kirklinton’s Alice Doyne puts it: “What we do at here is all about sustainable living and that includes sustainable holidaying.”

But, she adds: “That does not mean missing out on the Best Things in life. Our Motto is Fun, Food, Faeries – and Pigs!

“A yurt in the Orchard is the obvious answer. Zero impact camping but without the spartan drawbacks of a tent.” Hence, there’s full headroom, plus proper beds and furniture, a wooden floor with warm rugs, a wood-burning stove, sink and small cooker etc. And a proper lavatory in the adjacent buildings.
As Alice concludes: “In fact, it’s so cosy we’re tempted to move out of our draughty old 17th century house and live in the Yurt full time!

Also on offer is the chance to stay in the grounds in four-person tents, with the woodlands, swimming in the river and the Faerie Glen among the many attractions.
www.kirklintonhall.co.uk

Ghostly greetings at Layer Marney Tower

Some 120 acres of parkland and a Tudor building dating back over 500 years are what greets you at Layer Marney near Colchester in Essex.

While Layer Marney is claimed to be one of the UK’s most haunted houses, there’s also an exclusive glamping area with six placings, named after each of Henry VIII’s wives – Henry, as well as daughter Queen Elizabeth I, were visitors to Layer Marney.

“We decided to take a different approach four or five years ago,” explains Layer Marney’s current owner, Sheila Charrington. “It’s all about having a lot of fun. We attract two types: families with children of around ten years and couples who want to meet up with their friends for what we would call chilled weekends.”

Layer Marney’s glampers also have access to a large barn – perfect for family reunions, wedding receptions and the like.

The tents, likened to those used on the African plains by explorers in Queen Victoria’s time, come complete with everything up to a kitchen sink. You supply your own electricity – via a static bicycle!

Look out also for the Discovery Tent, equipped with telescope, field phones, a library of reference books, microscope etc.

Also popular here are the hot tubs – the perfect for way to relax after a day of activity.
www.layermarneytower.co.uk

Mannington Hall is a retreat from the coast

Ten miles from the North Norfolk coast, Mannington Hall – set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – is host to the Amber’s Bell Tents campsite, but you’ll also be able to make the most of all kinds of attractions within the grounds themselves – wildlife watching, over 50 species of trees, landscaped lakes etc – while the gardens are home to over 1,000 varieties of rose (see also www.manningtongardens.co.uk). There’s also the Greedy Goose tearoom, offering everything up to bespoke hampers and custom-made picnics.

Alternatively, drop by the honesty shop, pick up some nets and jam jars, and go pond dipping.

As for the bell tents, they’re some 5m in diameter nearly 4m high, with the cotton canvas experience extending to log burner, eco-friendly cotton bedding, lanterns, a fire bowl outside for cooking or just getting the campfire ambience. Suitable for up to four people in comfort, six maximum, and the rest of the site here offers showers, toilets etc, while the aforementioned honesty shop stocks everything up to firewood and candles. You can light your own camp fire, too, if you want.
www.ambersbelltents.co.uk

Bohemian Boconnoc is beautiful

Boconnoc glamping

It’s a Cornish dream here, with your chance to glamp it up in an ancient woodland setting.

The yurts here are not permanent fixtures. Instead, they’re ordered in specifically for each booking, via Hooe’s Yurts
.
The Boconnoc estate dates all the way back to Domesday while, apart from the house itself, there is both a church and an obelisk. It’s all tucked away down some two miles of private roads.

Owner Clare Fortescue says: “Once you arrive it as though you are somewhere timeless and the only sounds that can be heard are birdsong and the river running through the valley. Glamping at Boconnoc is set amongst sweeping parkland and we want guests to feel as though they have escaped from the busy world and arrived in their own private haven.
“Wake up to the sun rising through the ancient woodland, wander along the streams that meander through the valleys and enjoy champagne or some Cornish cider by the lake in the evening light.”

www.boconnoc.com

Warwick Castle – those summer, summer nights

Warwick Castle will have its very own glamping site this summer, with three super-luxury “King’s tents” among the latest offerings.

Yurt at Warwick Castle

Bookings her also give you two-day admission to the castle itself, also including evening entertainment, for example Have-a-go Archery and Jester’s School. There are also Communal Games Tents, while breakfasts in the Great Banqueting Hall tent are part of the glamping package (it’s extra for other meals).

A five-minute walk away from the castle, the Glamping Village actually hosts over 40 exclusively designed tents. Those top-of-the-pile King’s Tents include four-poster beds, thrones, oak storage chest, a large table with chessboard, even a suit of armour!

Warwick Castle itself celebrates its 1,100th birthday this year, and hosts all kinds of events throughout the year.
www.warwick-castle.com

Mettingham’s positively medieval moments
You’ll enjoy castle views from the medieval tents at Suffolk’s Mettingham Castle Lodge, where the glamping experience centres on medieval-style tents. Camp fires and barbecues are allowed here, too.

Choose between 10m x 10m Somerton (three people maximum) and 8m x 8m Dussindale (two adults, one child maximum) tents, each with wood-burning stove, outdoor table etc.

You can also wander through the 14 acres of grounds here and meet various animals.
www.pitchup.com

What to take

As glamping is the luxurious version of camping, you’ll be able to pack lighter, or use the extra space in your suitcase to bring more of your summer wardrobe. One consideration many neglect is insuring your belongings in the case of theft or damage. Check your other insurance policies to see if you’ll be covered – if not there are specialist camping insurance policies to give you extra peace of mind.

Find out more
Historic Houses Association
Featherdown Country Retreats
Pitchup

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Josef von Sternberg

Von Sternberg, JosefDedicated to pursuing the truth about sex and desire.
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Meet The Smiths

smithsFrom Adrian to Zadie, meet the Smiths.
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Half speed

So far this year — I just counted the days, because I am the sort of person who does that — I’ve spent over a month in places that aren’t home.

Seven different states, including both New York and California, as well as a few occasions in my home state but not my home town. In most cases I was doing author events. And that is super cool and I’m very grateful to have the opportunities.

But wow, it has also been exhausting. (I say this fully aware that there are lots of folks who are on the road much more often than I’ve been. My hat is off to them/you all.)

I have a bit of time before the next round of travel (which I’m excited to say includes Kids Read Comics! and a writing workshop at the Ann Arbor District Library!) and I kind of feel like I’m operating at half speed — thinking, moving, and certainly writing less quickly than I’d like. Like the sleep debt and jet lag I’ve accumulated have coagulated to slow me down.

But I always think I’m not writing fast enough. And half speed is still some speed. So, onward.

 

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