Author Archive | JoeNolan

Graham Hancock Sees The Future In The Past

Lost Knowledge of the AncientsThe good folks at Bear and Company recently mailed us a new release that’s been keeping us up nights.

Lost Knowledge of the Ancients: A Graham Hancock Reader is a collection of essays curated by Graham Hancock at his website. This volume gathers these contributions together in print for the first time and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

A book of essays by various authors certainly encourages grazing more than cover-to-cover reading, but no matter where one begins or ends this exploration of possible histories, one finds unexpected connections.

Lost includes essays by Robert Bauval, Mark Booth, Richard Hoagland, Robert Schoch, John Anthony West and Hancock himself. While the book is wide-ranging, covering topics from pole shifts to quantum philosophy to antediluvian history, its real strength lies in the themes that run throughout the book:

* The human race is much older than we think.… Read the rest

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Cyberpunk on the Small Screen (Video)

CyberpunkGood day, Cybernauts. We've been enjoying this endearing flick for some time, but are just now getting around to posting about it. Cyberpunk is a 60-minute documentary from 1990 that serves as a charming bookend to the William Gibson documentary No Maps for These Territories. While Gibson is featured prominently in this doc, it also expands out to illuminate an entire slice of the late '80s/early '90s culture that used to be featured in the late, great Mondo 2000 magazine. Cyberpunk Review offers these insights:
Cyberpunk is a documentary that looks back at the 80s cyberpunk movement, and more specifically, how this has led to a trend in the “real” world where people were starting to refer to themselves as “cyberpunk.” The documentary sees “cyberpunks” as being synonymous with hackers. A number of writers, artists, musicians and scientists are interviewed to provide context to this movement. The guiding meme, as told by Gibson, is that information “wants” to be free. 60s counter-culture drug philosopher, Timothy Leary, provides a prediction that cyberpunks will “decentralize knowledge,” which will serve to remove power from those “in power” and bring it back to the masses. Many different potential technologies are discussed, including “smart drugs,” sentient machines, advanced prosthetics — all of which serve to give context to the idea of post-humanity and its imminent arrival on the world stage.
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Beefheart Doc Salutes the Captain

Me and mine were all saddened last week with the news of the passing of one of the true great originals of American popular music — Captain Beefheart.Captain_Beefheart

The man who was born into this world as Don Van Vliet died on December 17th from complications resulting from his long battle with MS.

Vliet’s music combined an elemental distillation of American Blues with the psychedelic sensibilities of the ’60’s and a fervor for avant garde composition. The result was captivating, invigorating and infuriating at turns – and sometimes all at once. Along with various incarnations of his Magic Band, the Captain cut a path that few have followed, though many –  including Tom Waits – owe large debts to his influence. For the last several decades the Captain hung up his harmonica to concentrate on visual art, becoming a respected abstract painter.

Having sifted through a number of eulogies and tributes, here are some of the best memento mori we could find.… Read the rest

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The Year’s Best-Dressed Graphic Novel

Return of the Dapper Men HC FinalChapter 16 asked me to have  a chat with Jim McCann and Janet Lee in order to get to the bottom of their new graphic novel Return of the Dapper Men. The book has been selling out following a wave of rave reviews and this wide-ranging chat included talk about the Big Bang, the nature of time, innocence, experience and the nature of the relationship between men and their machines:

Can you hear a buzzing sound? No, it’s not Rudolph’s nose on the fritz. This is a holiday surprise that finds two book creators with Nashville connections giving Santa a run for his sleigh with what looks to be one of the season’s hit holiday gifts.

Although their celebrated new book takes place in a fantastical world, Jim McCann and Janet Lee both trace their roots to Nashville. McCann, a native Nashvillian, moved to New York in 2004 to become a successful comic book author, penning pages for X-Men, New Avengers and other Marvel Comics titles.

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Keith on Keith (Richards)

Keith RichardsVia Joe Nolan's Insomnia: Inside the dust jacket of his new book, Keith Richards has left an inscription:
"This is the Life. Believe it or not, I haven't forgotten any of it. Thanks and praises, Keith Richards."
Perhaps the most highly-anticipated rock autobiography ever, Life is the most detailed account we have yet of the legendary guitarist/songwriter. Richards has lived his life in public since his early 20s and he's always lived it in the full-glare of the media — bad publicity be damned. That said, this book is not a confessional reassessment in which a public figure offers explanations — or excuses — for past sins. Richards greatest music and worst behavior are a matter of public record and Life doesn't offer a new version of events so much as it delivers his version, and it's full of crazy wisdom, smirking sarcasm, raspy rambles, heart and soul. While other volumes — like Victor Bockris' excellent Keith — have revealed the man through the eyes of friends, family and Rolling Stones insiders, it's Life's first-person candor that sets it apart. Not only does Richards give us the straight-dope on Keith, he also illuminates the rise of rock 'n' roll and the '60's counter-culture from inside the eye of the hurricane. Life is also about the creative life of one of rock's most important guitarists and songwriters, and the book's rich detail is at least partly due to a life lived on the look-out for the next song, the next riff.
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Subversive Artist Appropriates Scrooge McDuck

Scrooge McDuckRecently, I checked in with my pal Hector Hernandez to see what the Art Czar was up to … In a recent post, the ‘Czar had an abbreviated conversation with subversive pop artist Dave MacDowell:

Art Czar: Tell me about “Duck and Cover”

MacDowell: “Duck and Cover” was painted for a group show at Crewest Gallery in LA. I wanted an urban graffiti vibe to fit with the gallery, so I constructed the spray can out of cardboard and glued it to the canvas. The theme comments on human nature’s natural ability to lift up heros, only to knock them down. How anyone who has an original thought or idea outside of the status quo, usually gets silenced and sacrificed. People in power fear the power of the people.

Amen.

Check out more great posts from the Art Czar!

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Donald Cammell’s Cinema of Excess

Anita Pallenberg with Cammell on the set of 'Performance.'

Even if you are a die-hard fan of outre, counter-cultural cinema, you might not leap to attention at the mention of the name Donald Cammell.

A painting prodigy as a young man, Cammell was making a living with his brushes by the age of 19. Having built the foundations of a lucrative portrait painting career, Cammell moved to Paris in search of a more inspired path in art. This shunning of commercial opportunity for artistic possibility marked Cammell’s pursuits in the years to come. It’s both the reason why he’s not more widely known and why he continues to be re-discovered by lovers of cinema on the fringes.

Returning to Swinging London in the 1960’s, Cammell decided that painting was dead and that he needed to turn his talents towards cinema. He lived a bohemian lifestyle and became the embodiment of the era’s libertine ideals.… Read the rest

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Kenneth Anger Interviewed by Gaspar Noe

Here is an interesting match-up... Pioneering esoteric filmmaker Kenneth Anger gets interviewed by pioneering esoteric filmmaker Gaspar Noe in this match-made-in-heaven (hell?) tete-a-tete:

Kenneth Anger, the octogenarian American underground filmmaker, has largely been heralded as one of the founders of experimental film, with his role in inspiring directors such as Martin Scorsese and David Lynch. He pioneered queer, cult and psychedelic film without ever imagining himself in a gere, and this year he crossed over into fashion and created a piece (with longtime collaborator Brian Butler) for the Italian fashion house Missoni.

Gaspar Noé, director of the recent film Enter the Void and creator of the controversial film Irreversible, has long been a vocal supporter of Kenneth Anger...

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Dead Sea Scrolls Go Digital

Dead Sea ScrollsWant your very own copy of the Dead Sea Scrolls? You’ll soon be able to access the ancient writings in their – sort of – original form thanks to this interesting new project brought to you by the Israel Antiquities Authority and Google.

Joel Greenberg of The Washington Post explains:

The joint project is the latest stage of gradually widening access to the 2,000-year-old documents, once available to only a restricted group of scholars but made more accessible in recent decades through facsimile editions and published studies. Organizers say the first images will be online in a few months.

The project marries “one of the most important finds of the previous century with the most advanced technology of the next century,” said Pnina Shor, the director of the project at the Antiquities Authority. “We are putting together the past with the future in order to share it.”

The scrolls were discovered in the late 1940s and the 1950s in caves east of Jerusalem, near the ruins of Qumran on the Dead Sea.

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The Wacked-Out World of Paul McCarthy

I can't talk any more.

I can't talk any more.

The internet has become an eternal shore for moving images of all kinds. A nimble search with creative keywords will almost always reveal compelling films and television episodes washing up in the hightidewhitenoise. Recently, we’ve been turning up a number of great art videos as well.

Quite by accident we just stumbled across this gem by Paul McCarthy. Here’s what Frieze Magazine has to say about “Painter”:

The Painter (1995) is a brilliant interrogation of the senility and late paintings of Willem de Kooning, complete with collectors and dealers puppet-mastering around him. It’s a video deploying, as so many of his videos do, the mise-en-scène of instructional television (from the Galloping Gourmet to Martha Stewart), but one in which the painter mumbles and cries: ‘You can’t do it anymore you can’t do it anymore.’ And later: ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ He means painting, he means art-making, he may mean life.

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