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The Beauty of a Live Soundtrack


I’ve found something I really take pleasure in these days. It’s a fading beauty that only can be experienced on rare occasions… and  (I’m sure for one main reason) this beauty always seems to surface towards the end of October here in Portland. No it’s not sucking crimson blood of nubile virgins…
live soundtrack performance is what I’m alluding to, and my pleasure began last year around this time with the Oregon Symphony providing a live performance to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Yesterday was an even odder occurrence. A Mt Tabor church actually showed the 1922 silent vampire film Nosferatu with organist Chris Nordwall providing the enchanting and creepy soundtrack. This organ was like a spaceship! Check out the photo. Nordwall had all his limbs in motion on this 32-pipe organ through the entire film weaving the bass rhythm with his left foot, controlling volume and modulation with his right, and filling in the melody and sound effects with his grabbers. Amazing work. It’s absolutely amazing how music can transmit emotion so effectively if one is open to the experience. Quite a treat. I love these live soundtrack performances. (Not to mention vampire movies in a churches.) Nice work Tabor Heights United Methodist Church.

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In 2009 a documentary came out about the murder trial of legendary record producer, Phil Spector, entitled The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector. I caught this flick tonight at the 8th annual Jackpot Records
film and music festival held at the Bagdad Theatre here in Portland.
I remember the trial vividly. Often seeing photos of the guy looking haggard on the cover of any dumbass magazine in the grocer checkout line. I thought he did it honestly. The film changed my mind.
The film consisted of three aspects that comprised the documentary. A single interview session, courtroom footage and evidence, and the music that Spector cultivated. The interview footage is brilliant. Even though he sounds slightly “medicated” throughout his responses and stories are insightful and provocative. Call it his ego at work, but Spector doesn’t hold back. His work with The Beatles’ Let It Be album is great as well as his post-Beatles stories of Harrison and Lennon. His Lennon impression and tales of those records leaves one to imagine the working relationship those two shared. Anyway, the film is great, and the problem I discovered for myself is the judgement I made based on the crazy photos of hair-do’s and courtroom naps. It’s quite sad how the media can trash you if they don’t like you. Don’t be fooled kids, fame sucks.
The first trial proved to be a mistrial, but in the second trial the powers finally brought their target down. Unfortunate. Spector did some incredible work. Ask Brian Wilson. He knows.
My opinion? I don’t think he pulled the trigger on Lana Clarkson. I think he probably said something that sent the over-the-hill depressed actress over the top in the early drunken hours of that tragedy. I mean, if the guy can conjure the performance that’s laid down on record of “My Sweet Lord” out of George Harrison and then go up the street and get the performance of “God” out of John Lennon… well listen to them. You’ll see how persuasive Phil Spector can be.

good ol’ RipCity

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Chomp on some Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is a name that has surfaced multiple times in the past week in my daily life- during a lecture and twice in casual conversation…  a collection of minor coincidences that really sparks one’s desire to further investigate a name.  So when an email showed up with the following blog attached I simply smiled and devoured.  Strange and beautiful these coincidences are.
Anyhoo-  The topic is a popular one – Osama and Obama.  It’s a quick read so do not be intimidated.  If anything be intimidated by its implications by the use of simple facts long since swept under the rug of the American dream.

As long as the sheep are bent upon their grazing they are content.

Noam Chomsky: My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death

Mankind and Perpetual War (Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan circa 1651)

One of Thomas Hobbes’ central arguments presented in Leviathan is: within the state of nature, man lives in a perpetual war.  This is to say that man- living in a state lacking an effective commonwealth to serve as a common power- faces an existence of constant war….
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When I grow up I want to be an Alfredo Jaar.

Super interesting conceptual artist working to affect people on really broad scales.  Here he gives the presentation of his work at an MIT lecture.  Below the clip is my write-up on the presentation which I better get an A on.

Artist: Alfredo Jaar – It is Difficult
The first and most crucial element of Alfredo Jaar’s talent is his ability to initially establish a problem. This then allows for the opportunity to focus creativity upon a single point much like the burning of ants with a magnifying glass. – The ant representing the problem. Let it burn I say.
Jaar is a Chilean transplant that works as a conceptual artist that creates awareness with his installations on municipal, national, and global scales. He considers himself an architect creating art, and his process illustrates this background quite clearly. Much like a jewelry designer friend of mine or drummer Nick Mason, Jaar’s work is built from the ground up. Or perhaps it can be said that his projects, although sometimes, failing function like a living idea in that they’re birthed and they live and then they are put to death sometimes by fire. Take for example the milk-carton museum he constructed in a Swedish town that was “owned” by the world’s largest paper mill. The museum was torched after a huge positive reception of this city cultural building in order to inspire the town to build their own. The end result of this project is the inspiring of an entire town. Quite a large result I argue.
Through projects like his Rwanda postcards, the anti-advertising Rwanda campaign, and the multiple other projects on the topic his ability to spread awareness on an issue is truly remarkable. His results affect the human condition by relating to people’s own personal realities. His target is the audience and his aim is at their heads and hearts, and his goal is to hit every person in that audience. Attack their imagination, but as architect Alex Jordan Jr. once said, “Entertain them, entertain them, entertain them.”
Alfredo Jaar is definitely on my radar for future visits to our city.

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Portland in the BBC.

http://www.bbc.com/travel/feature/20110202-portland-oregons-art-deco-movie-houses

Frank Kapra knew something.

Clarence was right.

Marvelous super thanks to everyone for a great Birthday this time around.

Special thanks to Moon Debris and Mr. Huth for going way beyond the call of duty in my book.

Cheers guys. Cheers everyone. All of my love.

Beyond normal communication

As I’ve come to represent myself, I really like art.  Whatever that means???  I mean, what is art?  My concept of art sometimes evolves faster than my hands can manifest an example.  Perhaps that’s just an excuse.
The high form of ART is that which normal communication between humans cannot express.

A good friend of mine brings this gem to the forefront…

…and I cannot let it pass by (again) without an honest comment:  If I could find a woman that eyes me with the sheer intensity and oozing emotion Sinead delivers to the camera in this piece of ART then I life would be aaaaalllll right.
Hahaha- great song – great video – what an beautiful and perfectly calculated performance on her part.
(song written by Prince, crazy enough)

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Having a clear idea at the center of a project
creates FOCUS.
If others around you take interest in that focus
then a very real energy is manifested.

Ryan Delos Scott is a testament to that statement.
as are the pyramid of Giza.