Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Velvet Underground - The Quine Tapes

 The Velvet Underground – The Quine Tapes is a definitive document of the live Velvet Underground. Captured on tape by Quine in San Francisco and St. Louis between May and December of 1969, the recordings feature the Velvet Underground’s final lineup of Reed, guitarist Sterling Morrison, drummer Moe Tucker and bassist Doug Yule. The material includes incendiary performances of such seminal Velvets standards as “I’m Waiting for the Man,” “What Goes On,” “Sunday Morning,” “Femme Fatale,” “White Light/White Heat,” “Venus in Furs,” “Heroin,” “New Age,” “The Black Angel’s Death Song” and “Rock and Roll.” Also included is a rare performance of the “Follow the Leader,” an original song which the band never officially released, as well as stunningly different versions of the epic “Sister Ray.” 
More here.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Why Are Our Pirates So Depressed?

"I feel like I'm in a hole that just keeps getting deeper and blacker. I know rationally that there's nothing wrong, but I just can't feel happy. And I cry at everything: TV commercials, books, plundering, you name it. Yar."
-- Black B.

Why is one of the most powerful, wealthy, and feared pirates in history so unhappy? He is suffering from the little-known condition Un-Jolly Roger Syndrome (UJRS). Pirates dedicate their existence almost exclusively to finding treasure, often at the expense of getting an education, developing a strong support system, or creating the social network necessary for dealing with life after the treasure is found. They define themselves by their search for gold, diamonds, rubies, and assorted valuables, so once the search is over, a void is left that they find difficult to fill. "I thought all my troubles were over when I found that treasure," says Black B., "But boy, was I ever wrong. Once the euphoria wore off, I realized that it was the hunting for the treasure that sustained me, not the treasure itself." And Black B. is not alone.

"After I found my treasure, I gave up pirating right away. Now I have to find an excuse to wake up in the morning. Sure, I've knocked three strokes off my handicap, but I used to be the terror of the Seven Seas for chrissakes. Yar!"
-- Blue B.

Like many retirees, pirates have a hard time adjusting to life after they acquire their treasure and leave pirating behind. This transition is particularly difficult for them because they have spent their lives at sea and are not used to day-to-day life on land. "I had never taken out the garbage in my life," observes Blue B. "Now, I have to do it every Monday and Thursday. What? Oh, I mean, Tuesday and Friday. I always forget." Blue B. says that his efforts to find a substitute for the highs of searching for treasure gave him little satisfaction: "For a while there, I was really into Napster. It was kind of cool that I could get all my favorite shanties for nothing. I was a pirate again! But then those landlubbers at the RIAA put a stop to that. I mean, I still steal software, but it's not the same." Blue B. eventually put his treasure in a chest, buried it, made a map disclosing the chest's location, and then left the map in a location that was not secure. "I know it sounds stupid. I spend my whole life seeking treasure, then, when I finally find it, I bury it, make a map with a big X on it where the treasure is, and leave the map lying around where just about anyone could find it. And the clues were really easy to figure out. It's like I wanted someone to find it so I have to go get my treasure back."

"Sometimes I think the world with just be better off if I let that crocodile eat me. Yar?"
-- Captain H.

A big part of pirate culture is excessive consumption of spirits, so many with UJRS are also alcoholics. This problem is exacerbated because most pirates do not feel comfortable talking openly about their feelings, even though alcoholism and depression are extremely common in this population. Consequently, they feel isolated, causing them to drink even more as a form of self-medication. This cycle can make their depression worse and can even lead to suicide. Though no official statistics exist, it has been estimated that more than 3,000 pirates a year walk off their own planks. In one of our interviews, Captain H. mused, "There isn't a whole lot of 'yo-ho-ho' left in my life." He added with a mournful chuckle, "But there's plenty of rum." A week after he was interviewed for this article, Captain H. was tragically murdered by an assailant who was described as "dressed in green, extremely quick and elusive...almost childlike." Many who knew the captain question whether his death might have actually been, effectively, a suicide. "It was like he just let it happen. How could that little guy kill such a powerful man?" said a friend who sailed with the captain for seventeen years. "It just doesn't make any sense, you know?"

"I even kicked my parrot. That was when I knew I needed help. Yar...."
--Long John S.

The good news is that UJRS can be overcome with therapy and medication. After three stints in a rehabilitation clinic, Black B. started a twelve-step program just for pirates called "You Are Remarkable" or Y.A.R. "We've got more than 8,000 members at Y.A.R. in five different countries." Blue B. became a member of Y.A.R. a year ago and has recently won his first tournament on the Senior PGA Tour. Long John S., who is not a member or Y.A.R. but attends therapy regularly, is perhaps the most successful ex-pirate of them all. His therapist, Dr. Robin Cohen, treats several ex-pirates with UJRS. His approach, which he calls "Thinking Outside the Chest," encourages them to focus on other aspects of life besides treasure. According to Long John S., the approach works. "Sure, I had tons of treasure, but Dr. C made me realize that it wasn't worth anything just sitting in a chest." With his treasure and a small-business grant from the state of California, Long John S. started a business of his own. "I asked myself, 'Long, what do you know better than anything?' The answer was seafood." His seafood restaurant was an immediate success and has since grown into an international franchise. Long John S. now splits his time between his business and motivational speaking, using his own story as inspiration to audiences across the world. "I thought my life was over after pirating. But now I'm one of the most successful businessmen in the United States. Yar."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Cambridge Companion to Schoenberg

From a press release:
"“The artist never has a relationship with the world, but rather always against it; he turns his back on it, just as it deserves. But his most fervent wish is to be so independent…”
–Arnold Schoenberg

One of the most important and controversial figures in 20th century music, Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) has often been labeled as an isolated elitist. His notoriously challenging work has polarized the music community: while some consider his works, theories, and signature ideas as essential, for many his music remains beyond the pale. Both sides of the debate, however, perceive Schoenberg as a contrarian artist cut off from society—is this justified?

The Cambridge Companion to Schoenberg (Cambridge University Press, August 2nd, 2010) rejects such monolithic views, and instead demonstrates how Schoenberg’s music and thought were profoundly engaged with the musical and artistic movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Edited by Jennifer Shaw and Joseph Auner, this unique volume illustrates that Schoenberg’s music incorporated and critiqued the fundamental cultural, social, and political disruptions that he lived through. Furthermore, it discusses in-depth Schoenberg’s little-known, mutually influential relationships with major figures, such as Richard Strauss, Wassily
Kadinsky, and Hanns Eisler.

With 15 other expert contributors, The Cambridge Companion to Schoenberg includes:

· Introductions to Schoenberg’s important works and to his
groundbreaking innovations, such as twelve-tone compositions
· Assessments of his interactions with leading artists and composers
· A discussion of his lasting influence on other composers and writers
over the last century"
Overt or Advanced? And why doesn't anyone dress for ping pong anymore?

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Week: Jason Hartley's 6 Favorite Books (Hey, That's Me!)

Not really my favorite books, but six books that have some connection with the Advanced Genius Theory. Check it out at The Week!

The Energy Solution

The announcement three months ago that Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, has the potential of producing nearly two years' worth of oil created quite a buzz in the energy industry. And last night, Ted Stevens, CEO of a consortium of oil companies called NewEnergy, announced that it, along with General Motors, has devised a way to get the oil safely and cheaply. Soon after the oil was discovered, Exxon, Shell, and British Petroleum pooled their research and development teams to find an efficient means of getting to Jupiter, putting in place drilling equipment, extracting the oil, and getting it back to Earth. "We knew it would be too expensive to launch a traditional rocket because the payload would be so great," said Piet Balkenende, the leader of the Shell team. "So we modified an engine that would not only launch the rocket, but power the vehicles and drilling equipment." This engine, called the Bunny (after the popular mascot for Energizer batteries), is similar to a regular combustion engine, but instead of liquid fuel, it uses a battery only slightly more powerful than an ordinary nine-volt. The rechargeable battery can power the engine of the moon vehicle for six years or more with just one charge.
According to Mr. Balkenende, this technology is not entirely new. "Since 1968, we'd had a working prototype that powered a vehicle we called the Batt-Mobile [an allusion to the Batmobile from TV's Batman], but we just didn't have a commercial use for it. So it just sat around our facility gathering dust." After the oil was discovered on Europa, that changed. "One of our technicians was thinking about the launch problem when he decided to take the Batt-Mobile out for a spin to relax his mind," explained Mr. Balkenende. "After riding around for a bit, he asked a technician when the battery had last been charged. When he discovered that it hadn't been charged for nearly 40 years, he thought maybe he had found a solution to our problem." Still, even with the Bunny, the necessary equipment to extract the oil would be too heavy to be carried to Europa. That's where General Motors came in.
"During the 1970s we developed an alloy called Feather Steel that was stronger than titanium but was as light as balsa wood," says James Bryson, head of product development at General Motors. "Not only was it strong and light, but it was incredibly cheap. But what do you do with something like that?" GM scrapped the Feather Steel project, and it was all but forgotten. However, Ronald Murray, a member of the original team that developed Feather Steel heard about NewEnergy's problem and thought the alloy was the answer. Mr. Murray contacted Mr. Bryson, who then contacted Mr. Stevens with whom he went to Andover Academy. "I knew that if we could make the space cars and drilling equipment from Feather Steel," said Mr. Bryson, "we'd be in business."
The teams at NewEnergy and General Motors quickly went to work, and, within a week, they had a working vehicle called the Batt-Mobile Lite, as well as drilling equipment weighing a total of five and a half pounds. The oil will be stored in new Feather Steel tanks that will be able to withstand the stress and heat of re-entering the earth's atmosphere. Mr. Bryson reported that "The tanks are spill proof, so even if the rocket crashes in the ocean, we won't lose a drop."  The rocket's engine was fitted with a Bunny the size of a loaf of bread, which will provide more than enough power to get the rocket and its payload to Europa and back. There has been only one minor setback: The launch was scheduled on July 12 (Henry Thoreau's birthday), but it had to be moved to July 30 (Henry Ford's birthday) due to recent flooding caused by the melting of a nearby glacier.
Mr. Stevens believes that the Bunny and Feather Steel could have many uses in the future. "We plan to send out rockets all over the galaxy in search for petroleum. The Batt-Mobile Lite costs only about $15 to make, so there's virtually no limit to how many planets and moons we can explore." After a moment of reflection, he added, "Just think: If we can find oil out in the far reaches of space, we could solve our energy problem here on earth for generations to come without asking people to change the way they live." And we'll have the heroes at General Motors and NewEnergy to thank.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Advanced Genius Theory on EW Book Blog, Shelf Life

See it all here, and read a snippet below:
Do people ever argue with you? Do they say, ‘So and so isn’t Advanced, what are you talking about’?
First they dismiss the idea completely, and think I’m joking. I say no, I’m not joking. Then they get mad at the idea, because they think Well, if you’re just saying that everything they do is good, then you’re giving all the power away of discernment. Once I tell them Well, the reason why I feel like it’s ok to say that whatever Lou Reed produces is going to be good is because he did good work for 25 years and why would he all of a sudden become wrong, then they’ll kind of be mad. Then they’ll come back to me an hour later and say, What about Prince, and I’ll answer. Then they’ll come back later and say, What about George Clinton, and I’ll say No, he’s not, and they’ll get mad again. Then they’ll come back with a few more guesses and once they’re right few times, they become addicted and won’t leave me alone! That’s usually what happens. Some people won’t even entertain the idea, and I think that is to their detriment.
What made you decide to write this book? Were so many people asking you for the rules you decided to make this handbook?
Partially that. People kept asking about it after basically 15 years or so of talking about it. Different people would ask, and it always seemed to catch on with people. I’m not necessarily great at figuring out what people care about. I can’t pitch articles, I can’t do any of that stuff, but this seemed to have some broad and lasting appeal. It wasn’t a purely commercial idea, although selling out is advanced, so I’m not ashamed to say it. [laughs] It struck me that it did have some appeal, and when I started to bat the idea around I started to see that there was more to it, and it started to develop as a more holistic look at art and genius and our perception of those things. It started to be more of a way of life and a way of looking at life than just a way to explain Lou Reed’s bad haircut.

After you read it, why not join the Advanced Genius Theory facebook group? Would love to have you.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Megan Fox: The Girl With the Advanced Tattoo?

Apparently there is some interest in one of Megan Fox's tattoos (EW):
Celebrity tattoos can be meaningful (Angelina Jolie’s veritable UNESCO of cultural runes), amusing (Johnny Depp’s palimpsestic “Wino Forever”), and unfortunate (everything Steve-O has ever done to himself), but rarely are they truly mysterious. Now, of all people, Megan Fox is stirring up literary debate over who is the source of her latest inking. With all the words written on her body, it makes you wonder whether she might be suffering from some Memento-style amnesia, but this newest text is probably a little too cryptic to be of any practical use. Her right side now reads “Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.”
That is not the worst way to describe the reaction to Advanced Artists. I'm going to have thoroughly research images of Fox to see if she merits any consideration.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Dr. Demento Going off the Air (Sort of)

From the website:
This weekend, the Dr. Demento Show will have its final broadcast on KIYU, KLOO, WLVQ (QFM96), WRKH (The Rocket) and KOZT (The Coast).

This was a very painful decision for the Doctor...he really hates to let it go after almost 40 years...but he has come to agree with his manager and his family that it's necessary. The broadcast has been losing money for some time.

THE GOOD NEWS -- Dr. Demento intends to continue producing new shows every week for for the foreseeable future. A new one will be available Saturday morning, June 12, and more new shows will be posted every Saturday thereafter.

Also...if you live in or around Amarillo, TX, you're in special agreement and due to contractual considerations, a version of the internet show will be heard weekly on KACV-FM there, at least through the summer.

The Doctor wishes to express his grateful appreciation to everyone who's been listening in Alaska, Oregon, Ohio, Alabama and California, and hopes all of you will give the broadcast a try.

Stay deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemented! 
 I'm surprisingly sad about this, though I haven't listened to the radio show in probably 25 years. I'm glad the show will continue on the Internet, though. In fact, I might just go check out the archive right now.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Salon on Dennis Hopper's Advancement

There was quite a bit of Advancement in Dennis Hopper's career, and Salon has a pretty good take on him (slightly old):

Before Dennis Hopper, who died Saturday of prostate cancer, became a rebel filmmaker or a generational symbol or a legendary debauchee or a Hollywood aesthete and Renaissance man (or a George W. Bush Republican and then an Obama voter), he was an actor. I'm inclined to believe that all the roles Hopper played across 74 years of life and more than 50 years of moviemaking were aspects of his acting career, of his passionate interest in the mysterious fusion of being, imagining and pretending that allows you to be yourself and someone else at the same time.
Hopper appeared in a handful of memorable films -- "Apocalypse Now," "The American Friend" and "Blue Velvet," along with his own "Easy Rider" -- and a seemingly infinite litany of forgettable ones. Even when he performed in children's TV or straight-to-video Eurothrillers or the 1993 film version of "Super Mario Bros.," you always had the feeling that Hopper was performing a kind of existential high-wire act, perhaps more for himself than the audience: How much of his own soulful madness would he let out? How much of the inanity and mediocrity around him would he absorb?
There's more good stuff in the article...