Author Archive | JoeNolan

Bill Hicks: Censored!

bill-hicksIn October of 1993, Bill Hicks made his last appearance on Late Night with David Letterman…sort of. In October of 2010, Hicks is funnier than ever.

Hicks was a favorite comedian on Letterman’s old Late Night show and the television venue was Hicks’ most consistent national audience. After a routine taping, Hicks left New York expecting to see himself on television that night. He didn’t. Letterman decided to censor Hicks, pulling the performance. The decision was made all the more tragic by Hicks’ untimely death in February, 1994.

In 2009, Letterman showed a lot of class by inviting Hicks’ mother to his new show, taking responsibility for the censorship and apologizing to her and his audience for his decision. He then aired Hicks’ censored performance for the first time.

Hicks has said that the performance had been pulled because he made fun of Pro-Life groups who supported the show. Letterman doesn’t get specific, but what is amazing about the content is that – despite the dated references – the power of the man’s imagery and delivery remains undiminished more than a decade later.… Read the rest

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Brion Gysin: ’80s TV Star

I spy with my little i...

I spy with my little i...

Nothing is True. Everything is Permitted.

The wonderful Brion Gysin was a writer, painter, filmmaker and restaurateur. He was a friend and collaborator to William S. Burroughs. Burroughs said of Gysin, “He was the only man I have ever respected.”

If you are a frequent reader of these posts, you are no doubt already familiar with Gysin. However, despite several recent publications and a new tour of his visual art, the man remains elusive.

We were really excited to find this footage of the master at work. This video is from a late ’80′s pirate TV show out of London, England called Network 21. This is a rare chance to see Gysin’s paintings come to life as he rolls out patterns and grids before piling on layers of text and calligraphy.

The man has a way with a line…

This Network 21 episode also features: Kenny Morris talking about dreams and Genet; a Mayakovski film; a photoshoot with the Rolling Stones in drag; footage from a tattoo convention in 1985; an excerpt from Warhol’s “Trash” with Joe Dallessandro and The Sex Pistols’ famous appearance on the Bill Gundy show.… Read the rest

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Terence McKenna Channels John Dee

Good morn, good readers. I woke early to a cloudy Sunday in the Old South, however, this dark little gem has polished my resolve. Wrap yourself in melancholy and join Terence McKenna for this trip through the history of The Great Work. Terence McKenna's The Alchemical Dream: Rebirth of the Great Work is a 2008 film produced by the good people at Sacred Mysteries.
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Shooting Che Guevara

As always I’ve been staying up late and fishing the ‘net for the flashing, magical treasures you’ve come to expect from our sleepless trollings on this sea of dreams.

My latest find is a film called KORDAVISION: The Man Who Shot Che Guevara.

Having read a number of books about and by Mr. Guevara, I’ve been compelled to watch a number of films about the man as well. Of course, I thought this flick would be a doc that focused specifically on Guevara’s last days in Bolivia and his subsequent execution.

I was totally wrong.

Millions of posters and T-shirts all over the world have been adorned with the same iconic image of Che Guevara, but it remains a footnote that this ubiquitous image was based on a photograph taken by famous Cuban photographer Alberto ‘Korda’ Diaz. This film profiles Diaz, telling the story of his life, his career, and the infamous photograph known as ‘Guerillero heroico.’

~ Cammila Albertson, All Movie Guide

Here is the trailer…

This is a really interesting take on the Cuban Revolution, the mythologizing of Guevara and the power of images.… Read the rest

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Heavy Metal Comfy Time

Joe Nolan borrowed this post from his friends at Art Czar. Hector Hernandez does a great series of super-short artist-interviews on the Czar site. This is a micro-chat with Heavy Metal quilter extraordinaire, Ben Venom:
Question: Tell me about “Bang Your Head” I’m interested in juxtaposing traditional handmade crafts with one of the more extreme musical genres, Heavy Metal. My work can be described as a collision of Iron Maiden Metal ballads with the outrageous stage antics of Ozzy Osbourne. Serious, yet attempting to take on a B movie Horror film style where even the beasts of Metal need a warm blanket to sleep with. The question remains…Can I play with madness?
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Pirate Radio Cranks Up the Volume for Documentary

Pirate Radio USAVia Joe Nolan's Insomnia: Hello friends. This weekend I discovered an entertaining and eye-opening pirate radio documentary online: Pirate Radio USA. Given the post-Clinton legalization of media monopolies, the subject of pirate radio has once again become a hot-button topic. Pirate radio broadcasters use homemade technologies to take over radio frequencies, broadcasting without licenses, outside of FCC rules and regulations. Pirate radio has become a form of civil disobedience. The various subjects of the documentary fight directly against the corporate media by simply "stealing" FM bandwidth to broadcast their radical, rocking messages. Of course, the irony is that the airwaves above the United States are owned exclusively by the public. How can you steal what you already own?
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Blue Jean Missing Link Discovered!

The first kick I took was when I hit the ground.

The first kick I took was when I hit the ground.

This just in…

So it seems that it sometimes takes a number of arty types to explain something as fundamentally proletariat as  humble, timeless blue jeans.

I’d love to go off on this subject, but I couldn’t do a better job than The Vancouver Sun:

Workaday staple and fashion favourite, blue jeans have conquered the planet. But were they born in the textile mills of New Hampshire, on France’s southern coast or the looms of north Italy?

Art historians believe they have found a piece of the centuries-old puzzle in the work of a newly discovered 17th-century north Italian artist, dubbed the “Master of the Blue Jeans”, whose paintings went on show in Paris this week.

"Nothing comes between me and my...oh well...you know..."

Nothing comes between me and my...oh well...you know...

Running through his works like a leitmotif is an indigo blue fabric threaded with white, with rips revealing its structure, in the skirts of a peasant woman or the jacket of a beggar boy.

Read the rest
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Pulitzer Prize Winning Photos Capture The War On Terror

Hicks1Can an army make war on a concept? Tyler Hicks’ photography exhibit Histories Are Mirrors: The Path of Conflict Through Afghanistan and Iraq, doesn’t offer any answers where the contradictions of the War on Terror are concerned, but his images chronicle the soldiers and civilians who’ve been cast in the almost-decade-long tragedy. Hicks’ vivid photos show markets and massacres, heroes and hostages, every image taking its place in a sweeping drama presided over by a smiling villain: Saddam Hussein.

In Histories Are Mirrors, Hicks, a Pulitzer-winning New York Times staff photographer, documents the wreckage of the World Trade Center and the early years of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, through 2004. Many of the wall labels offer only dates and locations, but the exhibit isn’t merely a timeline. Hicks’ best photographs capture the eternal features that crop up in the emotional landscape of wars everywhere: fear, pain, pride, rage, hubris, hope and hopelessness.… Read the rest

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Joy Division Documentary Now Online

Last night I discovered a documentary about the band Joy Division. In a recent post about the post-punk chronicle Totally Wired, I mentioned the films 24-Hour Party People and Control. Both movies cover the rise and fall of Joy Division and their troubled leader Ian Curtis. While both films have their virtues, it seems the strange tale of Joy Division is best met head on, and this exhaustive doc does the trick. (Joy Division cover the Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray".)
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After Punk: The Story of What Came Next

Simon Reynold’s acclaimed first volume of post-punk memory sifting — Rip it Up and Start Again — went a long way toward exploring and explaining the various flowerings that bloomed from the bruised and bloodied blossom that was ’70s punk rock. If you thought one volume of exhaustive, evocative reconstructing of the period would suffice, you would be wrong, and Reynolds proves this point with Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews. The project is a bookend to the first volume and it completes an impressive cartography of that time and that music. Totally Wired is largely an oral biography; the story of a place, a time and a music told by the people who listened to it, created it and lived through it. Serving up 32 interviews with everyone from David Byrne to Jah Wobble to James Chance, Totally’ (Along with Rip’) must certainly qualify Reynolds as the definitive chronicler of the period. The later chapters of the book practically constitute a project unto themselves, allowing Totally’ to deliver an even clearer, deeper explanation of just what came after punk. The interviews begin with Ari Up, the lead singer of The Slits. The delightful miss Up is a fantastic storyteller and her remembrances of being the only dread-headed white girl step-dancing at Reggae parties are spellbinding — as are her recollections of a time when Punks, Rastas, Sticksmen, John-Travolta-disco-sadists and neo-Teddy Boys all collided on the street and on the stage as a new music attempted to rise from the ashes of punk.
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