Author Archive | JoeNolan

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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Dennis Hopper: Wild Rider

People who know me know I love to read and during the holidays I look forward to the books I’m inevitably gifted almost as much as I look forward to the fun, food, family and friends. I’ve been plowing through some of the books St. Nick sent my way and am planning on mentioning some of them here as I finish them up.

The first book I’ve read in 2013 is a biography of writer/director/actor/painter/photographer and art collector Dennis Hopper. Hopper started acting as a teenager in movies like Rebel Without a Cause, and he became famous as the director and co-star of Easy Rider – the film that more or less marks the beginning of the New American Cinema that was to take over movie screens in the 1970’s. Of course, Hopper famously imploded into a spiral of drugs and drink before rebounding as an actor in movies like Blue Velvet and Speed, and as a director with flicks like the Los Angeles gang drama Colors.… Read the rest

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William S. Burroughs: Paint it Blacker

As many readers of these here illuminated letters surely know, the great author/Beat ghost/junky/exterminator William S. Burroughs also added the title of “painter” to his resume before his death in 1997. He began painting in his later years while living in Lawrence Kansas, but his relationship with painting and painters began much earlier.

I like to trace Burroughs’ origins as a painter back to his 1959 meeting with Brion Gysin. Gysin was also a polymath and his written work is as underrated as his paintings were during his lifetime. Gysin died in 1986 and while his sometimes-stunning prose has yet to be reconsidered, the publication of a few great books and the organizing of gallery retrospectives have seen his visual art getting the respect it deserves all these years later. Of course, Burroughs was way ahead of the curve: “I don’t think I’d seen painting until I saw the painting of Brion Gysin,” he once snarled.… Read the rest

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Jammin’ Jodorowsky

Alejandro Jodorowsky is one of my favorite artists of all time. One reason why I love this guy's work so much is that he does it all: writer, director, actor, mime, magician, comic book author, tarot card expert. He's completely brilliant and hilarious, and both of those traits are present in his films - which I highly recommend despite the fact that Jodo certainly isn't for everybody. Readers of this blog are no doubt familiar with Jodorowsky's Western cum vision quest El Topo, but, for me, the director reaches his cinematic summit - so far - at the top of The Holy Mountain. Without question one of the most bizarre and visually stunning films anyone will ever see, critics who dismiss the plot as a mish-mash of New Age flotsam can be forgiven for not recognizing the gold Jodorowsky hid in the excrement. Check out one of The Holy Mountain's most famous scenes (NSFW):
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River Phoenix Rises Again

Actor and musician River Phoenix died from drug-induced heart failure in 1993. Only 23 years old, Phoenix had delivered intense, emotional performances in movies like Stand By Me, Running on Empty, Dogfight and My Own Private Idaho, and he was working on a film called Dark Blood when he passed away. That film will finally make its U.S. premiere at the Miami Film Festival during the first ten days of March. I mentioned this on Coincidence Control Network months ago and wanted to keep everybody updated.

This BlackBook post fills in the details:

As heartbreaking as the all too short life is, his legacy will be revived this year at the Miami International Film Festival when director George Sluizer debuts Phoenix’s the final film. When Phoenix passed away in 1993, Sluizer’s Dark Blood was 80% completed, and the unfinished footage disappeared into a vault somewhere. But in 1999, when he learned that the remains would be burned “to make space,” Sluizer brought the film to the Netherlands.Read the rest

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