Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Expanse, Lynch, and Star Wars

Yesterday I got out and finally, finally made it to the gym.  It always feels pretty good afterwards, both mentally and physically.  I wish I could be more habitual about it, and it's something I've been striving to do for no other reason than just to feel good.  But if I can lose a few pounds that's a plus.  When I got home I made supper, and waited for The Expanse to show later.  I'll never understand the Syfy Channel.  The people running it aren't very insightful  most of the time.  I'm not sure when there was this turnaround, but they had a good thing going when they first started up back in the 80s, and it's like they got new CEOs or managers and their forward thinking went out the window.

They pretty much have a hit show going with The Expanse, and I think I like this season better than the first season.  Some of that might be due to I already know most of the main characters this season, the main premise of the show,  so now they just have to do is build stories around them.  This season they've discovered *SPOILERS* something called a protomolecule--I started to say protoculture (Robotech).   I don't think I'm giving away too much just by mentioning that.  I won't spoil it any further.    At any rate, I think they should mimic what AMC does with their hit show, The Walking Dead, and repeat it on the same night as well.  That's not that big a deal, but they could re-boadcast it more than what they do.

During tonight episode there were a few things I was curious about and I thought, this show could really use something else like The Walking Dead, and that's the Talking Dead that follows afterwards.  They could call it The Talking Expanse (or something similar), and use it to talk about some of the things that went on during that episode that may escape the fan's knowledge about the nuts and bolts of the show.  They could even have SF authors, scientist or whoever on to talk about different aspects of the show, etc.  It would really appeal to fans of the show.  Something like that should be very inexpensive to produce I would think and help promote it as well.  It's basically a talk show, and people are sitting around on a sofa talking.

While on the topic I don't know what they don't bring back SciFi Buzz.  That used to be a showcase for up and coming things in the world of SF, horror, and fantasy.  They talked about new conventions  happening around the country, new SF books and authors, gaming, artwork and props used on different shows, etc.  It was kind of set up like a format similar to the old Starlog magazines.  I always looked forward to those little thirty minute programs.  Surely those can't be that expensive to produce either.  Sure would beat Sharknado. 

Tonight's episode of The Expanse, Home, showed the crew of the Rocinante  going into something like a hyper drive to catch a large asteroid (Eros), and before they go full throttle, they were injected with some form of fluid to (I'm guessing) aid against the thrust of gravity against their bodies as they shot thru space.  That was just one of the things that didn't make sense to me.  At any rate Home was a pretty good episode.

So The Expanse has been pretty good this season.  I hope they can continue the show.  Also today, I ran across an interview with David Lynch over on the Film Threat site.  They have a new Twin Peaks series, and to be honest I've not heard much about it.  I assume it's on another paid network, so I won't be able to watch it until it's on DVD anyway.  At any rate, here's that interview.  

I ran across a couple of really cool Star Wars documentaries yesterday as well.  They play out like the regular movies do, but they inject dialogue over them, and insert special effect into the movie as well, so you get a real feel for how some of the scenes were created.  Jamie Benning has created the ultimate documentaries for the original Star Wars Movies.  Unfortunately most people have never seen these films.  Each documentary follows the action and running time of each film.

Rather than post the movies here, I'll just provide a link (which is easier for me).   If you're a Star Wars fan you ought to give them a go.  Perhaps they've been around for a while, but I didn't know anything about them.

Star Wars (1977) Documentary (2:19:13)
Star Wars Begins (2011)  https://vimeo.com/32442801

The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Documentary (2:16:49)
Building Empire (2006)  https://vimeo.com/36158111

Return of the Jedi (1983) Documentary (2:28:11)
Returning to Jedi (2007) https://vimeo.com/36474256



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mental Bias

Apple CEO Tim Cook is concerned about the advent of fake news recently and has called for a campaign to deal with it.  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is on board too.  I'm not sure how one would address this topic.  From my experience people gonna believe what they want to believe.  I'm not sure why this part of the human condition is so prevalent, but we are all biased.  It's really hard to see thing with an open mind at times.  Part of it I blame on the media.  I don't think they question authority the way they used to.  I don't know if they are intimidated, which really just plays into a lot politician's desires, ahem, Trump.  But I like it when I feel that things in politics are more transparent, and less muddied. 

For an example,  I don't understand this whole banning of Muslim immigrants from foreign countries by Trump.  I understand the basis of it, which is safety for Americans.  But the 7 countries that he's banning didn't have anything to do with 9/11.  Two countries, Saudi Arabia, from what US intelligence gathered  was one of those countries who hijacked airliners to attack New York and Washington DC on 9/11, the deadliest terrorist episode in history.  The other being Egypt.   I don't understand why reporters don't inquire on that until a satisfactory answer is given.   Could it have something to do with money?   I'd have to guess, perhaps it does.  (Doesn't it always?)  Granted I'm sure all the terrorist move around, but it seems like those two countries would be first on the list and some of the others secondary.

I have quibbles with the Democratic Party as well, just not as many.  Back in 2008 when we had the second depression and our economy was about to tank with the banks and "too big to fail".  Obama made mention of it, and said he was going to do something about it, but launched right into the ACA, health care thing.  It seems to me that our economy would have been first priority rather than health care.  But what do I know?  (Again I assume big money/lobbyist plays into that equation.)  

I digress.  At any rate, mental bias.  I ran across an article in the New Yorker on Why Smart People Are Stupid.  It addresses mental bias, and hey, if smart people are biased, the rest of us are as well.  Perhaps it's just hardwired into us from the dawn of time.

The Expanse started up a couple of weeks ago on the Syfy Channel.  The third episode comes out this week.  For me, it's not a perfect show, but I enjoy it on some level.  It has several characters, and at times it's hard to keep up with them all, but I just watching it and if I don't glean everything from the series, so be it.   It's at least smartly done, and the visual are nice to look at.  

Richard Hatch, one of the stars of Battlestar Galactica that played Captain Apollo died the other day.  I was a latecomer to Battlestar, but the fans of the early show were so diehard, I just had to look into it further.  Then the Syfy show did a reboot of the series, and gathered a bunch more fans.  Call me sentimental, but I prefer the earlier version.  They might be silly fantasy that more closely resembles Star Wars, but I prefer it better, though I have the first season to the reboot as well. 

I ran into a podcast that consist of SF book reviews.  Some of the books are classic, while others I've never heard of.  I thought I'd listen to a few of them as you never know what you'll uncover.  The guys doing the show though can be a little uneven.   You have some that are silly and light, and one of them appears more solemn and serious.   I know stuff like that requires a certain amount of levity, but I prefer the serious guy's outlook. 

The other day I also ran across this link for online sf stories from a bunch of different authors. Lots of links to award winners and other high-quality SF. http://freesfonline.de 

There's also a site called Rocket Stack Rank, which I didn't know about, which takes one to a free source for reading a story, if it's available.
I ran into an odd fantasy movie I was unaware of the other day title, Mio in the Lands of Faraway.  It stars a young Christian Bale (Jum Jum) as the friend of the main character played by Nick Packard as Mio or Bosse.  A young boy named Bosse lives in misery with his cruel old aunt and uncle, until one night, he is whisked away to the magical land of Faraway. He finds that his real father is the king, and he is Prince Mio. Along with his friend Jum Jum, he sets out to defeat the evil knight Kato, and free the children that Kato has enslaved.   I like this sort of thing ever so often it takes me back to childhood and my younger days.  It's not a classic like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or The Neverending Story or Harry Potter, or some of the others, but its worth a watch if you're in the mood.



  

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Cantina


I started thinking the other day about a thought I'd had before and it's about the music in Star Wars: A New Hope.   You know the scene, which is popularly known as the Cantina scene, where Hans Solo is on the pirate planet of Mos Eisley at a table and eventually SPOILERS shoots Greedo.  There are a group of aliens up on stage playing a type of ragtime, jazz music.  It sort of reminds me of the speakeasy's here on Earth back in the 20s or whatever.   John Williams has said that it's to evoke the jazz scene of the 40s, sounding both alien, but also familiar.  I think the scene is very effective the way the scene opens going into the bar, then we get the music, which sort of provides a bit of levity, and the camera pans around the bar and we see all the aliens, some menacing looking and then dashes of levity as well.  It's smoky and dimly lit with this air of something that might happen.  It's hard to argue with Lucas and Williams in the handling of that scene.  Even now as I write that I get nostalgic for the movie, and feel like re-watching the movie.

My thought though is a less specifically about that scene, but more about what would people be listening to that far into the future?  I heard someone mention The Resident's album, Not Available, the other day as sounding alien and from another galaxy, and it does at least through parts of it.  But once they start singing lyrics, it becomes campy for me.  I like The Residents somewhat, and at the same time I don't listen to them very much.  I think I can appreciate their outlook or concepts more than their actual music.
One of the musicians that comes to mind for me was Vangelis.  Of course Vangelis has done many soundtracks like the music for Bladerunner and Chariot of Fire.  I like many of his albums, and he did a lot of them in the 70s and 80s that brings that atmosphere to mind like Invisible Connections, Heaven and Hell, Albedo 0 39, Spiral, Beauborg, and many others.
A German musician that came to mind that's in the same mold as Vangelis and one that I've really enjoyed listening to lately is Klaus Schultz.  His music is moody and atmospheric.  Although to my knowledge he has never made a soundtrack ( I lied, I just remembered he did, Body Love for a porn film which is actually a good album.  Check it out on YT). But he certainly makes music for the mind that conjures up all sort of images.  Timewind by him is a synthesizer classic as are many of his other albums.
Another electronic composer that comes to mind is Richard Baumann.   He played in one of the earlier line-ups of one of the classic electronic bands, Tangerine Dream.  With his solo output, he did not put out very many albums, but one in particular is fairly classic, Romance 76.
At any rate there are hundreds of electronic composers that I could probably list here, and I enjoy listening to that type music.  Way back in the mid to late 70s I bought an Arp Odyssey.  I didn't know anything at all about synthesizers, but was already listening to Tangerine Dream, and felt that that was the next frontier of music.  I don't think it was fully embrace by the public, particularly some of the more cerebral efforts like I've mentioned above, but today it has scores of fans.  The 80s was a decade that started to really use synthesizers in pop or new wave music.   They took it into a new direction, some I liked and others not as much.  But it was around that time frame I feel that synthesizer finally got firm footing as a musical instrument, and it's still very much with us today.





 


Monday, January 30, 2017

When Prophecy Fails

With the current new president and the staff he's put into power, and even before that while the debates were going on a lot of hearsay was bandied about.  Some people care about that stuff, while others, I think, are just fine putting up something whether it's true or not.   Helluva way to win an argument--I'm glad normal life isn't that way... Or is it?   I'm always pretty much upfront with people and try and buttress an argument with something real: science, facts, statistics, etc.  That doesn't mean I'm always right, but I'd at least I like and try to have an informed opinion about the world in which I live.

Granted some issues can be argued either way.  The above graphic about news quality comes from this site.  It tries to establish what are the more reliable news sources.  Some are biased, but that's not to say they don't have some bit of truth to them, say Fox news for example.  But if you look at the far right side and bottom of the graph, you'll see that Glen Beck's infotainment (I won't call it news) is low on the scale as is Alex Jone's propagandist site, Info Wars, which both rate nil. 

I don't suppose knowing this, except for me personally, will amount to much, but it's good to have this graph handy I guess if you are trying to win points for staying informed.  I had a friend (past tense) who I grew up with back in high school and college who drifted his own way, and I had to go mine.   He was always a bit of a loner, but so am I, and we shared many things in common like music and movies and whatnot.  We used to be pretty close, at least from a long distance (not living in the same city, plus Texas is pretty spread out).  At any rate, I remember going to his property in Georgetown, Tx and seeing that he is now raising Icelandic horses.  Good luck with that, and also a particular type sheep dog or whatever.   Sometime back he sent me an email about music or something about improving one's health, and we chatted a bit, but he'd quickly turn the conversation over to government conspiracy, ie. about the how the Bilderberg group were taking over, end of the world scenarios, George W. Bush having something to do with blowing up the 9-11 towers, and all sorts of nutsville stuff. 

We'd argue back and forth, and spent way to much time doing so, until I had to tell him, look it's obvious we don't agree on that topic, why not avoid that and just chat about something that's not so polarizing.  He would not do that, so I had to let him go, or he went his own way.  I think one of the final straws was he blamed me for something I didn't do.   He came back about a year later or so, again sending me a Youtube video of a musician, and I told him that's cool.  We reunited for about a day before he got back into his bullshit again.  Then he disappeared again. 

At any rate, I guess what I'm getting at is, people gonna believe what that wanna believe whether they got facts or not, it might just be a totally uninformed opinion.  That's just the way of the world, I guess that's life.  That goes back to our current president and his followers.  They want to believe what they want to believe, evidently some facts just don't matter to them.  What makes matters worse, Trump just won't let lying dogs lie.  He's gotta tweet about it. 

Here's an interesting article about self-deception. 

But I found the article buried within that article on a 50s UFO conspiracy every bit as interesting:  When Prophecy Fails.



Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

Well 2016 is behind us, and baby 2017 has shown up in clean diapers.  Looking back it was a pretty good year at least art-wise, which is what I pay more attention to anyway.  I really didn't pick up much music from this past year.  I'm sure I bought some albums, but I can't think of anything from  2016.  I'm sure I'd like the new Radiohead album, and perhaps David Bowie's last album.  I always bought Bowie's albums in the past, but the last one I bought was on vinyl, which was the Tonight album.  It had the FM radio hit on it Blue Jean, and he had many albums after that, so I rather moved on to other music and genre after it.  But I collected just about everything up until then.  I think Black Star would be a good album to own, if not a bit depressing now that he's gone.

I've spent more time this year just listen to the radio.  One of my main stops is over at: accuradio.com  They have many different genre there to choose from: country, rock, indie, jazz, classical, electronic, whatever.  You're sure to find something.  I usually tune in over there to either jazz or some of the more mellow, New Age, ambient music.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year can be depressing times if you're alone that's why if you have family be happy that they are still around.  When my parents were alive I always enjoyed when I could be with them over Thanksgiving or Christmas.  There were a few times though when that was not possible with the job I had.  They gave us the day before the holiday, the holiday itself, and after, but if that happen to fall on the weekend, and you had the weekend off, you really didn't get any extra time off.  You had to work those days before and after, or you'd miss out on the holiday pay--Catch 22.  So when my family moved to East Texas seven hours away, that meant a day of driving down, and a day of driving back, which meant I spent one day with them.  We are really a workaholic nation.

Now there was a time when I first started working that you could fudge that a bit, and I did take advantage of it some, some might accuse me of more than some.  You could layoff an extra day before or after, but I noticed when Reagan got in power, that soon ended.  It seemed that corporate American got the upper hand and tighten the belt, and it was either suck it up and conform, or find some other line of work.  A lot of people don't recognize that change in America, particularly younger people that never lived through that era.  Where I worked (the railroad) they wanted to tighten their employment to the bare minimum, with just enough extra guys to cover a vacancy here and there for a couple of days of sickness or emergencies of some type, but they wanted you back to work pdq.  They wanted you to work longer hours as well. 

I also noticed that it was around this time that corporate American gradually started to fade out retirements for workers that had put in most of their lifetimes for a company.  Remember in movies where someone would retire and get a gold watch for being an elevator operator in a skyscraper for many years and there would be a party with co-workers wondering and asking him what he planned on doing with his life?   He might say in an aw-shucks manner, I dunno, maybe I'll go fishing more, travel a bit, or work more in the garage.  Something homey.  Those days are long gone, never existed, or existed only in movies, ha.  But at least there was a time where more companies offered retirement.  I guess I'm reminiscing.   I guess as my generation dies off, the next generation will reminisce about their first Apple computer or Nintendo gaming system.  Heck,  we are already there now!

At any rate, I digress, I've not seen the new Star Wars movie either.   I should plan on going to see this over the weekend as they are forecasting a bunch of rain later here, which is why I haven't been out to see it already. 

I watched the movie, The Nice Guys, which I did not enjoy.  I don't know why so many people enjoyed it.   It's sort of a buddy picture and a nostalgic romp through the 70s years, but even that didn't do much for me.  I found the comedy boring and vular and not to my taste.  But hey, you might enjoy it, many others have.
I did enjoy Hell or High Water.  It was a modern take on westerns with local bank robbers robbing the man, in this case small town banks, to pay off their small homestead.  It's a low key western with good characterization, dialogue, and nicely shot.  It supposedly takes place around parts of Texas which I enjoyed, however, I don't know if it was actually shot in Texas or not.  It certainly looked like it was with the exception of one scene where they are driving up toward the Lubbock area, which is flat as a board, and they sort of enter this mountainous area.  I question that location, but who knows?   Some have found the ending not to their liking, but it didn't bother me.
Both of the movies, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and The Girl Who Played with Fire, are pretty much kicked ass, I thought.  They are Swedish films adapted from the trilogy of books of the same name, the third being The Girl That Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was also adapted into an American movie as well with Daniel Craig in one of the starring roles.  Both are mysteries, the first one deals with a journalist hired by a wealthy donor to find his niece that disappeared many years ago. Michael Nyovist plays the journalist, and Noomi Rapace is a computer hacker whom meets up with Nyovist's character about midway through the film.  The second movie, The Girl Who Played with Fire, deals with a sex ring among some other plots.  I think it's best to go into these movies cold for better impact.  They are suspenseful and at times edgy, but if you enjoy that type thing, they're great.
I can see why The Neon Demon would be such a polarizing film to a lot of people.  I enjoyed it myself.  The imagery in it was really good, and it's more or less an art film or what they used to call an art film.  It's been noted as a horror movie, and I think you can go with it in that way or you can sort it out however you want to.  It's filled with metaphors and such, but that's one of the reasons I enjoyed it--it's not so easy to digest or pigeonhole.  It's mostly though about the fashion industry in LA, and Elle Fanning plays an under age ingenue trying to break into acting or modeling.  Pretty good movie.
San Andreas is definitely a guilt pleasure type film.  I wouldn't say it's bad as I did watch the entire thing, whereas I couldn't make it through The Nice Guys.  Having said that though, it is a over-the-top blockbuster popcorn movie.  It's rather ridiculous and has many scenes in it that induces eyerolling, but hey if you are just wanting to watch a big dumb, action flick it works on that level.   I imagine had I have seen this when I was around eighteen I probably would have enjoyed it all the more.

Here's a Woody Allen book review on a graphic novel, Mary Astor's The Purple Diary:  The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936.  
I've been reading Lee Child's first Jack Reacher novel, Killing Floor.  I enjoyed the first feature film so much starring Tom Cruise that I was curious about the character.  Killing Floor was not adapted into the first movie, which is a plus for me.  It starts out after Reacher has just gotten out of the military, and is just traveling around the country.  He stops off in a small town in Georgia for coffee and to find out more about the blues musician, Blind Blake on a whim.  While at the diner enjoying his coffee he is arrested for suspicion of murder.  It is tough guy fiction, and sort of pulpy, but I like the way Child writes, which is easy to read, and it moves quickly. 







Thursday, December 15, 2016

Fake

L. Ron Hubbard was a Sci-Fi author, but most probably know him as the scam artist that invented Dianetics or Scientology.  Who hasn't been to a used bookstore and run across his little tome called Dianetics, which shows the volcano blowing up?  I'm old enough to remember the commercials on TV that hawked for new members to come and check out the new way to improve your life.  Even I was gullible enough to pick up the book and thumb through it just out of curiosity.   Heck, I probably might have even gone to one of the "churches" or whatever they're called just out of curiosity alone.  That's probably how they first bait someone, or try and coerce new members.  Glad I never did it after hearing some of the horror stories.

I had a friend that lived in Austin back in the 70s who did just that.  He went to the (I hate to legitimize them by calling it a religion or church) I'll call it a campus, and checked into what all it was about.   In Austin at one time, they had a big building right on the main drag across from the University of Texas to lure college students into their bogus religion.  That tells you how much money they had at one time (and still do, if not more) as real estate across the street from a major university isn't cheap.  So anyway, out of curiosity he visited for a while.  He related to me and my friend it wasn't for him, so he tried to leave, and even back then he said he got a lot of harassment in trying to do so.

People from Scientology would come by and bother him about coming back just to visit some more.  He never said why he left per se, but I imagine once they sprung on him the money angle to start buying into some of the books and all that, being a poor college student, he said, no way.

The lure for many was the promise of an eternity of spiritual enlightenment. Many young people from that era wanted to save the world or were searching for enlightenment and were among the first to fall victim to this cult. There are many layers of brainwashing going on - reincarnation and isolation from the outside world via the naming of a common enemy (in this case, psychiatry). The real deep, mostly little known story behind scientology is the intended genocide of all non-scientologists. L Ron Hubbard was really a psychotic malignant narcissist.

Another friend told me that there is a connection between Hubbard's thinking and the Eugenics Society (which inspired Hitler, btw) of the early 20th century. This has been whitewashed out of ALL American History textbooks.  Read here:  https://scientologymoneyproject.com/...y-is-genocide/

 Since the death of Hubbard, it was taken over by one of his underlings, David Miscavage.  He changed some of the aspects of scientology, and now it is an even bigger money making machine than ever.  This past week I have been watching the special on the A & E network with Leah Remini on her dealings with leaving the cult. She was indoctrinated into it as a child.  That's the sad part about it.  Many are introduced to it at an early age before they really have any choice on the matter by their parents.  Once that's done it's even harder to get out.

 British documentary maker Louis Theroux made a movie on Scientology last year, it is typically light-touch but does expose their bizarre and controlling methods. It's an interesting and diverting watch if it ever pops up on your networks.

The newest episode to the Leah Remini series comes on Tuesday.  They also rebroadcasted some of the other episodes this past Tuesday, so I got caught up.  It was very interesting as to how some of the influence, cognitive dissonance, thought stopping, brainwashing, etc. went on. All very powerful and very real. Not only that but they scam the IRS for a tax exemption.  For those who are interested, go here for a daily dose of what's behind the curtain of the most destructive cult in America, if not the world:  http://tonyortega.org/

Monday, December 12, 2016

Radio Garden

I'm posting this as I ran across it today while surfing the web and now I'm listening to a radio station up in New Brunswick, NJ at Rugers University.  Pretty cool, huh?  It's at WRSU.Rutgers.edu so my guess is that it is the college station up there.  On of the down side it does not have a way to find out who or what music is play as you listen.  That is to say it doesn't list the current songs playing with text or who is playing at the moment or during the past half hour or whatever.

Okay, the station at Rutgers just played "So What" by Miles Davis, the disc jockey just announced that, so at least some djs will tell you who just played, others don't.  Still if you are into casual listening, it's great, and it goes all over the world.  You just have this little turnstile type map, and you just move it with your mouse, and you can go all over the globe.  It would help too if the map was a little easier to read or had some lines around it like a regular globe sort of like they had in school.  I'm a music lover so it's a cool little site.  Here's a link so you can check it out yourself.

Another feature that would be a nice addition would be a way to bookmark some of your favorite station finds.  For example if I wanted to bookmark that Rutgers station there would be a way to do that, but so far there isn't.  I'm guessing this is Radio Garden (as it is called) is new, so it's in its infancy.  Hopefully they'll add new features and stuff to it over time.  But yeah, a book marker would be great.  I like this station at Rugers though, they play a broad range of music.
There's another site on the web that I've found to my liking as I like jazz, but they also have other genre over there as well.  You can find it at: accuradio.com   I've been listening to their avant garde radio and there's one for ECM jazz, which is sort of a moody type jazz, which lately has mirrored the winter type weather here lately, although ECM jazz can be diverse too at times.  I tend to think of it as being reflective in nature though.  At any rate, if you enjoy music give them a try too.  It's one of my go-to spots when in the mood for music. 






Friday, December 02, 2016

Pauline Oliveros RIP

Pauline Oliveros (May 30, 1932 – November 25, 2016) passed away in November.  She was one of the early musicians that experimented with electronic music, along with musical concrete--a way to combine music, snippets of sound, found sound of machinery or whatever else and snip up tape to create an aural sound composition.

Pauline Oliveros Women Early Gurus of Electronic Music. Central figure in the development of experimental and post-war electronic art music.
* Extract from An interview with Pauline Oliveros
By Alan Baker, American Public Media, January 2003

Let's talk a little bit about… or maybe you can just tell me about your arrival in California and what eventually led you to electronics.

Well, I arrived in California in 1952. I had my accordion and $300. I supported myself with a day job for about 9 months, and then I began to get a string of accordion students. I went back to school at San Francisco State where I met Terry Riley, Lauren Rush and Stuart Dempster. We've been friends since then, and still work together in one way or another. When I arrived there I didn't know anyone, and I had to make my own way. I began to play my accordion at casual engagements, and so on. Eventually, through going to school at San Francisco State College, I met Robert Erickson who became my mentor and teacher for 6 or 7 years. I met, as I said before, my friends, and I became connected with a kind of group of people who were interested in new music. This eventually led to the founding of the San Francisco Tape Music Center with Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender, which was transferred after several years to Mills College and became the Center for Contemporary Music. It is still there as that today. So that's a brief nutshell history of my arrival in San Francisco.

Below is a lecture she is giving much later in life on music and deep listening:
From a site:  Pauline Oliveros is one of modern music's most important figures, precisely because her work transcends music itself. While many people have heard of her contemporaries like Steve Reich and Philip Glass, Oliveros' five decades of work is so wide-reaching that popular culture has barely kept up. She was a founding member of the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the '60s, and devised a musical concept called Deep Listening, which stemmed from a trip into a giant underground cistern with a 45-second reverb. Those echoes led to an exploration of the difference between hearing and listening and a pursuit of a heightened state of awareness in sound. Oliveros' ideas have inspired not only musicians and music fans but scientists, philosophers and everyday people to think about the link that listening builds between us and our surroundings. So while recordings like Crone Music and Deep Listening are heralded by experimental music and drone heads alike, Oliveros is equally acclaimed for devising instruments for disabled people and teaching students with no formal music training to improvise together.

John Cage was a fan and so is Rabih Beaini, AKA Morphosis, who recently released Fire Above Sky Below Now on his label Morphine, exposing Oliveros to yet another audience of potential converts. She's now 84 years old and still performs and educates around the globe, and when she spoke to Mark Smith at CTM Festival in Berlin, she gave an insight into the mind of woman whose creative impact is still reverberating.

Go here to hear a 45 minute piece by her.  There are also recordings on Youtube that are quite arresting and beautiful.

Here is a live concert that they shot on film of one of her performances with some other musicians.







Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Arabella of Mars

Arabella of Mars sounds like the type book I'd enjoy, and also the type book Hollywood would want to option for a movie.  It also reminds me of something akin what anime craftsman, Hayao Miyazaki, might have created.  I wish I could speed read about five times or more at the level I presently read at as there are far too many books I'll never get around to reading for various reasons.  I have a fantasy invention: What if scientist invented a chip you could install someway that activates the brain, and you could just skim books like those speedy readers of older television ads, you know the guys that just skim with their fingers down a page, and flip the page.  It looks like they could finish off a novel in a couple of hours--the time taken to flip thru each page.   There used to be a fashionable course or method to that some years back promoted by Evelyn Wood.  You don't hear much about that these days.

Anyway, I have too many distractions to be a very in depth reader.   Below though I'll post a link to an interview with the author David D. Levine.  He talks a bit about the craft of writing.  In it he says his approach to writing is to write clean.  In other words, he sort of proofreads and keeps his errors and such updated and to a minimum before moving too far along.  I think that would be the way I'd probably go about it, and might be the standardization for many other writers.  Just seems natural, to proofread your work before you move too far along on unless your story and ideas are just too immediate that they just compel one to manically get it all down.  And if all that inspiration or chunk of the story is coming to you so fast and furious, you'd probably be better off just outlining it, then go back and begin writing.   With writing like a lot of the arts, there are several ways to go about the craft.  I find that is true to some degree with creating visual art, photography, writing poems, songs, etc.  They sort of come in stages (or at least to me they do).  They first appear as ideas, I jot them down on paper to capture the initial idea, then try and produce some sort of rough cut.  Then you have to shape and work that into something.  I, unfortunately, can't say that anything has ever come to me fully formed, although I've heard artist claim that that does happen to them ie. Neil Young says that is the case for him, and maybe Paul Simon.  It must be wonderful to be so talented and have that gift.

At any rate, here's a review of what Arabella of Mars is about, and below that is the interview with the author.