Author Archive | JoeNolan

2001: Is HAL IBM?

hal9000

As if there weren’t enough Kubrick conspiracy memes floating about the auteur and his work, this interesting short video claims that the HAL 9000 computer that serves as the villain in 2001: A Space Odyssey is actually a veiled criticism of IBM.

Here is the gist:

For the most part audiences have assumed that HAL had genuinely made a mistake in predicting the AE-35 fault and that the conflict afterwards was due to HALs desire not to be shut down. However, there is plenty of evidence to support a much more sinister hypothesis … that HAL was actually ordered by mission control to kill the crew.

For starters there are a multitude of references to IBM. The three letters comprising HALs name come just before the letters I, B and M in the alphabet. This was claimed by Arthur C Clarke to be a coincidence, but the other references you’re about to see demonstrate that Kubrick simply did not want to publicly acknowledge the encoded references.… Read the rest

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Nico the Icon

NICOHERSHEY

Nico was a fashion model, an actress and a siger/songwriter who is best known for her time with The Velvet Underground and her contributions to their debut album The Velvet Underground and Nico. The Warhol Superstar is familiar to cinephiles for her gorgeous turns in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and Warhol’s Chelsea Girls.

Christa Päffgen was born in Nazi Germany in 1938. Her father was killed in the war. By the age of 13, she had quit school to sell lingerie. At 5′ 10″ with outrageous cheekbones, she was a star model on the rise while still in her teens.

While taking acting lessons in New York with Lee Strasberg, Nico met rockers like Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. Jimmy Page produced her first single and Bob Dylan wrote the song “I’ll Keep it with Mine” for her to perform. An introduction from Jones got Nico into Warhol’s inner circle and the rest is history.… Read the rest

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Ray Manzarek Breaks Through

jimandray

Sad news tonight for rock fans: The Doors’ keyboard player Ray Manzarek died on Monday after a long battle with bile duct cancer. Manzarek brought jazz influences to The Doors’ brand of dark, poetic rock and held down most of the bass duties on stage and in the studio – playing a keyboard bass with his left hand and an organ or electric piano with his right. Manzarek had a jovial, engaging persona, but was also known for his controversial and obstinate relations with his surviving bandmates and the band’s music. In this Los Angeles Times article, Doors drummer John Densmore remembers his friend:

“There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison’s words,” Densmore said through a spokeswoman. “Ray, I felt totally in sync with you musically. It was like we were of one mind, holding down the foundation for Robby and Jim to float on top of.

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Anthony Bourdain Meets the Beats

william-s-burroughs

Celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain recently premiered his new show on CNN. The title of Parts Unknown references both the remote locations the show focuses on as well as the odd bits of fruits, veggies and animals that make their way into the more exotic dishes Bourdain spotlights. The title also has a hint of ominousness to it and it’s these dark overtones that tell you Bourdain is really on to something, here.

Fans of No Reservations will find plenty to like here, but fans of particular episodes of Bourdain’s former, famous Travel Channel show will be especially pleased. For me, No Reservations was at its best when the places were gritty and the stories Bourdain uncovered were dark and deeply human – episodes from Columbia, Laos and Lebanon all leap to mind.

The first handful of episodes from Parts Unknown are packed with Bourdain at his edgy best: He recalls the destructiveness of the L.A.… Read the rest

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Words of Advice from William S. Burroughs

BigBurroughs Gun

WSB haunts the entirety of counter-cultural curation like the grey eminence he was often portrayed as, but, it’s important to note that Burroughs rarely portrayed himself this way.

I thought I’d seen every Burroughs documentary, but this one was news to me.

Words of Advice: William S. Burroughs On the Road is  a 1983 documentary that finds the Beat Generation icon touring Scandinavia, signing books and giving readings of works like The Place of Dead Roads in his inimical, laconic snarl. Along the way, he waxes philosophical about cats, Hiroshima, Brion Gysin and the illusion of duality. He’s polite and hilarious throughout.

Here Burroughs bemoans the high cost of death in ancient Egypt:

Watch the full movie at the Snag Films website.

Stay Awake!

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Pink Floyd and Tom Stoppard Celebrate 40 Years of Dark Side

British playwright Tom Stoppard has announced that he’ll be producing a new broadcast for BBC Radio 2. Inspired by and featuring the music from the Pink Floyd classic Dark Side of the Moon, the long-simmering project will hit the airwaves this August -just in time to celebrate the 1973 release’s 40th anniversary.

Here’s what The Guardian has to say:

The play, called Dark Side, was described by Radio 2’s head of music, Jeff Smith, as a “dramatic examination of themes including conflict, greed and madness”.

The project has the blessing of Pink Floyd’s frontman, David Gilmour, who said he had read the script and found it fascinating.

Stoppard, whose plays include Arcadia and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, is a long-time Pink Floyd fan. His 2006 play Rock’n’Roll, which also starred Sewell, featured haunting allusions to the band’s founder, the late Syd Barrett, and was described by one critic as a “deeply moving memorial to the great lost leader of British pop”.… Read the rest

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The First SNL Film: Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video

Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video is a film from 1979 written/directed by and hosted by Michael O’Donoghue. O’Donoghue was a writer and a featured player during Saturday Night Live’s first seasons and this flick features appearances by many of the original Not Ready for Primetime Players including Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner.

The film is a satire that is loosely hung on the original Mondo Cane travelogue film that sought to shock viewers by displaying bizarre human customs from around the world. After a lengthy warning, a bizarre title sequence and an extended intro that features a mini-documentary about a cat swimming class Amsterdam, Mr. Mike’s zany ride really starts rolling. The film’s Wiki page points out some of the oddest bits:

The film is largely plotless; a series of vignettes linked together by interstitial pieces featuring Mr. Mike discussing how upsetting and odd the sequences were. He introduces some of the pieces via voice-over, and some open with no introduction.Read the rest

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Hugo No More

Kim Monaghan and I recorded an epic episode of Coincidence Control Network today. It’ll likely go live by Thursday. During the recording Monaghan was moved to declare his love for Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. The legally elected Chavez has been vilified as a mad dictator despite the fact that his political roots reach back to his heroic resistance of the former Venezuelan government that ordered soldiers to kill citizens during an uprising.

Tonight, news reports that Chavez has died are all frantically emerging across the mediascape. Chavez had cancer and had contracted a severe infection.

Oliver Stone’s South of the Border (2009) profiles Chavez, picturing a hero of the Venezuelan people who is vilified for his anti-business politics – in other words, he wouldn’t take orders from America. The film also pictures Chavez as the de facto leader of a “pink wave” of socialist leaders who have emerged throughout the region: : Evo Morales of Bolivia; Cristina Kirchner and former president Néstor Kirchner of Argentina; Rafael Correa of Ecuador; Raúl Castro of Cuba; Fernando Lugo of Paraguay; and Lula da Silva of Brazil.… Read the rest

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Sinkhole!

Like something out of a Charles Fort compendium, a huge sinkhole opened under the bedroom of a Florida man on March 1, effectively swallowing the entire room and everything - and everyone - in it. The family responded when it sounded like a car had crashed into the back of the house. Check out the video: Stay Awake!
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Eleven Decades of Anaïs Nin

Anaïs Nin was an American born to Hispanic/Cuban parents in France on February 21, 1903. Although we associate the author with Paris, she spent most of her life living in the U.S. A writer of essays, short stories and novels, Nin's literary triumph was the publication of her diaries which chronicled more than six decades of experiences. Nin carried on a famous affair with author Henry Miller and it was during her time with him that the pair both started writing erotica to make ends meet. In the Paris of the 1930's, enterprising publishers cultivated collectors of forbidden writing and paid authors well and quickly for custom-crafted smut. Nin was a pioneer as one of the first women to ply the dirty book trade and she eventually let the works be collected and published widely under the titles Delta of Venus and Little Birds. She's considered to be among the best writers of the female sexual experience. Along with Miller, Nin became a counterculture hero during the unrest of the 1960's. While Miller championed freedom of libido in his writing and fought for free of speech in his battles against censorship, Nin was perceived as the kind of strong, talented, liberated woman that the just-budding feminist movement was still trying to articulate. While she became a popular lecturer at universities, Nin never became involved in radical politics. It seemed she was always a lover more than a fighter. Nin died of cancer in 1977. Here is the woman herself as she appeared in Kenneth Anger's The Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome in 1954 Stay Awake! Joe Nolan
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