Author Archive | JoeNolan
I received a strange knock on my afternoon door earlier this week, followed by the sound of something hitting the wood floor in the hallway and hurried footsteps fading down the stairs. Opening the door, a large white envelope stared up at me, the unblinking red postmark stamp as omniscient as the eye of Solomon.
I grabbed the package, closed the door and locked it. The new Black Swan DVD had arrived.
Darren Aronofsky’s tale-within-a-tale, Black Swan was one of last year’s best films. Many are familiar with the Oscar-nominated flick’s re-telling of the Swan Lake ballet to create a psychological horror flick that explores the perils of artistic perfection.
The movie has rightly earned it’s place among genre classics like Rosemary’s Baby and Carrie and — like the former — Black Swan is rife with occult symbolism and references that add weight to the scary-movie-cliches, making this bloody ballet one of those unique films that define a genre at the same time that it transcends the limits of that genre’s conventions.… Read the rest
The good people at Destiny Books/Inner Traditions recently sent on a new volume that finds some of magic’s most mysterious writings collected in one book for the very first time. With Decoding the Enochian Secrets: God’s Most Holy Book to Mankind as Received by Dr. John Dee from Angelic Messengers, author John DeSalvo, Ph.D. offers up the complete writings and Tables of Enoch that Dee and Edward Kelley received from the angels.
If you’re already confused, this book isn’t for you. This is not a biography of John Dee or an in-depth examination of the events that found the 16th-century mathematician, scientist, occultist, and the astrologer of Queen Elizabeth I seemingly contacting angels and receiving what may be the most important divinely-channeled communication of all time. If you are interested in finding out more about Enochian Magic, start with Benjamin Woolley’s excellent tome The Queen’s Conjurer: The Science and Magic of Dr.… Read the rest
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
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.
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.
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
Chapter 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:
… Read the rest
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.
"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.
Recently, 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.
Check out more great posts from the Art Czar!
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