portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Thursday, September 24, 2015

bobdylan.com | Latest News

The Cutting Edge 1965-1966:
The Bootleg Series Volume 12

The next installment of the Bootleg Series takes you inside the studio during the recording of Bringing It All Back HomeHighway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde. With a staggering wealth of unreleased songs, outtakes, rehearsals and alternate versions - The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Volume 12 provides a unique insight into Bob Dylan's creative process.
The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Volume 12 will be released on November 6 and is available for pre-order now.

that $600 for an 18 disc set 
The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 
2-CD Set
The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 
3-LP Set
The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 
6-CD Set

 Deaths By Musical Genre!

told you so!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

again from the legendary and wonderful site Big O my second call for music and often contains reviews of naughty Singaporean films here's a different one  , . . . . . . .


September 22, 2015 – 5:04 am
Ida Anita Del Mundo’s K’na, The Dreamweaver (2014) might be a flawed first feature but like the heroine in the film, Del Mundo is still a dreamweaver in her own right - she’s not only the repository of dreams but also one who is spinning brand new visions. By Critic After Dark Noel Vera.
Ida Anita Del Mundo’s debut feature, K’na, The Dreamweaver (2014) feels so very much like a fable of long-ago Philippines it’s only fitting that woven into its fabric are other fables, bright threads laced into a dark tapestry.
Like the story of how the tribe found itself on the southern shores of Lake Sebu: a weaver of t’nalak cloth named Hanyas has become so known for her weaving skill she is chosen to become the chieftain’s fifth wife; she loves another, though, and runs away with him. For revenge the chieftain banishes Hanyas’ family and friends to the lake’s southern banks - and there we find K’na (the lovely Mara Lopez) and her tribe.
Of course fables - and what are fables but history summarized and simplified, for quick absorption and easy remembering? - tend to repeat themselves, and the heroine of this story, K’na (which in T’Boli means ‘dream’), is doomed to a similar situation.
K’na aspires not just to be a t’nalak weaver but a dreamweaver, and trains under her patient Be (grandma), Lamfey (Erlinda Villalobos). As the film progresses Del Mundo defines the dreamweaver’s position in society: she’s the community’s premiere artist, the repository of its history, identity and (most important) dreams. Be Lamfey tells K’na what happened after their family was banished: how they struggled for ten years without a dreamweaver, how lost they felt, how they only started dreaming again when their youngest (Lamfrey as a young woman) started learning the art.
The dreamweaver is central to the tribe’s cultural, spiritual and imaginative life, same time weaving plays a central role in her life - dreamweaving is a personal act, drawn from the weaver’s own visions. It’s also physically personal, as the width and various measurements are marked by the lengths of a weaver’s own body: a handspan, for example, is from the tip of the weaver’s outstretched little finger to the tip of her outstretched thumb; a yard is from her armpit to the tip of her middle finger; and so on. Just as hand sizes and finger lengths differ from person to person, so do each and every weave.
Del Mundo tells a simple tale, and her style is equally spare: outdoors she employs long shots that drink long draughts of the community’s surrounding green landscape, from the velvet forest leaves to the deep jade lake waters; indoors her lighting is softer, to bring out the lustrous waxen glow of the cloth.
Best of all is the color palette: t’nalak cloth is famous for the brightness of its colors, and again and again Del Mundo ravishes us with endless swathes of dark crimson, abysmal bands of black, the strange creamy pearl of naked abaca - of the undyed threads that run between the red and black. At one point K’na playfully argues with her lover Silaw (RK Bagatsing) on the meaning of the different colors: K’na insists on a historical bent (red is the blood of heroes) while Silaw has a more personal interpretation (red is for his passion, black for his despair).
The colors have such intensity they unfortunately tend to drown out Del Mundo’s dream sequences: where everyday life can boast of near-psychedelic colors, the dreams come off as wan, soft-focus interludes. She’s yet to learn what fellow Filipino filmmaker Auraeous Solito learnt in making his Busong: that to the indigenous the fantastic and the everyday have equal importance, are equally real, and should be photographed accordingly.
Del Mundo is also so obviously - and understandably - in love with the beauty of T’boli weave and culture she seems reluctant to include its darker threads: the tendency towards tribal warfare, for one (Gerardo de Leon in his own epic telling of precolonial history [Banaue: Stairway to the Sky] would stage spectacular battles sequences where decapitation by bolo - the heavy Filipino blade designed to lop off both tree branches and human limbs - is a constant palpable threat); the tendency to treat women like chattel, bargaining chips to be tossed on the table while negotiating peace with an enemy tribe.
Del Mundo does manage to suggest what’s at stake in one particularly memorable moment: when the unhappy bride steps into the honeymoon suite, the curtain that falls across the doorway is menstrual scarlet. We remember the lovers’ earlier argument involving color and, to their differing definitions, we can add one more: red is also the color of sacrifice.
The film is a flawed first feature; sometimes the neophyte’s awkwardness is appropriate to the tone of a childlike fable, sometimes it isn’t. I would have like to have gone deeper into other aspects of T’Boli culture - their food, for one, which is heavily into root vegetables, fresh-caught fish, and that deliriously delicious mountain-grown rice (so nutty and flavorsome you only need to add salt for a satisfying meal); then there’s their true origin story, which involves a biblical flood and a giant bamboo vessel carrying survivors… but that’s reason enough for a sequel, hopefully; for Ms Del Mundo to revisit what she has already so memorably depicted onscreen.
Note: You can also email Noel Vera at noelbotevera@yahoo.com.
Click here for more movie reviews.

Monday, September 21, 2015


again wandering round the t'internet I found this article which I enjoyed immensely . . .credited correctly I hope but if the author wishes for me to take it down I will happily . . .
In his memoir, On Writing, Stephen King talks about how deep he really went into addiction. And it wasn’t just cocaine—not long after he finished writing The Tommyknockers in 1986, his wife staged an intervention by pouring out a trashcan in front of him on the floor. It contained “beer cans, cigarette butts, cocaine in gram bottles and cocaine in plastic baggies, coke spoons caked with snot and blood, Valium, Xanax, bottles of Robitussin cough syrup and NyQuil, even bottles of mouthwash.” He says he was so consistently wasted that he doesn’t remember writing Cujo.
Faced with an ultimatum from his wife (“fix it or get out”), Stephen King went to rehab, sobered up in the late ’80s, and is still writing today.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge is probably most famous for his poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and he’s widely considered one of the most influential poets of the 18th and 19th centuries. His poems are haunting, ethereal, and often delve into the twisted dreamscapes of the characters’ minds—and according to the people who study these things, a lot of that came from his lifelong addiction to opium. Coleridge himself even stated that the poem Kubla Khan was barely more than the description of “a sort of Reverie brought on by two grains of Opium, taken to check a dysentery.”
Opium use in Coleridge’s time wasn’t exactly rare—laudanum, a tincture made of opium, was sold over the counter for anything from diarrhea to the flu. Coleridge first began using opium as a student, and built a tolerance against the drug for the next 40 years. By the time his addiction reached its peak, it’s estimated that he was going through two quarts of laudanum each week. To put that into perspective, the concentrations of laudanum in the 18th century had about 10 mg of morphine per milliliter, which translates to 18.9 grams of morphine that Coleridge guzzled down each week. It only takes 1.2 grams of morphine to kill a horse.
Somewhere between the ages of 13 and 15, poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning began suffering from intense pain in her spine and neck. The doctors at the time couldn’t figure out what was causing the illness, so they turned to the Victorian-Era fallback: copious amounts of opium. The illness stayed with Browning for most of her life, and along with it, the drug.
Since she started using opium at such an early age, Browning remained weak and frail into adulthood, by which point she had made the switch from the watered-down laudanum tinctures to pure morphine. Hopelessly addicted by her twenties, Elizabeth Barrett Browning experienced the world through an opium haze for the vast majority of her life, to the point that it became just as essential to her existence as clothing. When she was 37, she wrote to her brother, “I . . . long to live by myself for three months in a forest of chestnuts and cedars, in an hourly succession of poetical paragraphs and morphine draughts.”
Browning took her last dose of morphine on June 29, 1861 and died with a smile on her face.
the author of books with titles like Diary of a Drug Fiend and Enochian Sex Magick, it doesn’t take any real stretch of the imagination to conclude that Aleister Crowley may have had more than a passing interest in drugs. While his drug use is usually overshadowed by his other “achievements” (neoshamanism, occultism, anti-semitism, self-proclaimed sainthood), it was present at both the beginning and end of his life in the form of severe heroin addiction. 
In his book The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography (A “hagiography” is the biography of a saint—always written by someone else. No real saint ever wrote an “autohagiography”), Crowley gives detailed descriptions of his lifelong experiences with heroin, morphine, mescaline, marijuana, cocaine, ether, and opium, many of which were used for “magickal” purposes.

Crowley died in 1947 from a respiratory infection and complications caused by heroin, which had been prescribed to treat his bronchitis in the first place. Ironically, the British have labeled him both “The Wickedest Man in the World” and No. 73 on the BBC List of 100 Greatest Britons.
In contrast to other authors who have gone through drug addiction (indeed, in contrast to most of the people on this list) William S. Burroughs has a decidedly negative view of the relationship between drugs and writing. Where some people see inspiration or creative energy, Burroughs sees only depravity and sickness—which could be considered surprising since most of his novels are based on the 15 years he spent addicted to heroin. He’s even come out and said that he couldn’t really remember writing his most popular novel, Naked Lunch, and didn’t even know what the title meant for a while.
As a young man, Burroughs graduated from Harvard in 1936 and soon attempted to join the Navy during World War II. However, disappointed that he had been assigned to the infantry (he wanted to be an officer), he brought out medical papers claiming that he had a mental illness and was discharged. From there he moved to New York, got an apartment with Jack Kerouac, and started selling heroin. The next decade and a half of his life was dictated by drugs. He even moved to Mexico for several years because it was easier to find drugs there. This quote sums up his experiences pretty succinctly: “I have smoked junk, eaten it, sniffed it, injected it in vein-skin-muscle, inserted it in rectal suppositories. The needle is not important. Whether you sniff, it smoke it, eat it, or shove it up your ass, the result is the same.”
If there was an award for the most schizophrenically delusional writer in history, Philip K. Dick would have been one of the top contenders. His drug of choice—his “writer fuel”—was amphetamine: everything from crystal meth to dextroamphetamine (now used in Adderall). From nearly the beginning of his writing career, he became one of the many counterculture icons of the ’60s and ’70s and eventually turned his house into something of a commune for wayfaring drug addicts. Their behavior became part of the inspiration for the people in A Scanner Darkly.
Most of his books center around an inability to distinguish reality from psychosis: His science fiction came from a blurred line between his own reality and the thoughts parading through his head. He often raved about seeing a giant metallic face floating above him in the sky, and for a brief period he believed that he had become possessed by the spirit of the prophet Elijah. In 1971, Dick’s house was broken into by a burglar, and he spent the next 11 years spinning through conspiracy theories about who was behind it, alternating between secret police, the CIA, and fringe political groups. Eventually, he decided that he must have been the burglar: He believed that he broke into his own house after being brainwashed by the government. 
In 1982, at the age of 54, Dick suffered two consecutive strokes that left him brain-dead. He died in the hospital five days later. His novels have since become the source material for nearly 20 films, including Minority ReportTotal Recall, and Blade Runner.

freelance writer and the owner of the sexy, sexy HandleyNation Content Service. When he's not writing he's usually hiking or rock climbing, or just enjoying the fresh North Carolina air.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

from Big O 


September 15, 2015 – 3:47 pm
Bob Dylan’s 1965 Newport set was the perfect expression of the coming generational divide. It also represented a clear break between the pop sensibility of early ’60s rock ‘n’ roll and the more diverse and sophisticated rock music that followed. As Elijah Wald wrote in his new book, Dylan Goes Electric!, “It was the dawn of the world we have lived in ever since.” Clearly no one has told the story better.
Fifty years ago last August, Bob Dylan sent shockwaves through the music world, appearing at the hallowed Newport Folk Festival with an electric guitar and a wailing, electric backup band. Those events have inspired raucous debate among folk and rock music fans ever since: Was Dylan’s performance the epitome of rock-and-roll rebellion, or had he merely sold out to a vulgar pop commercialism?
Todd Haynes’ stunningly surrealistic Dylan biopic, I’m Not There told the story one familiar way, but with a twist: First we see Dylan’s band with their backs to the audience; the Electric Dylan character was played by Cate Blanchett, who won an Oscar for her gender-bending performance.
When they turn around to face us, they are wielding machine guns instead of guitars. A rail-thin personage in work clothes - clearly representing the folk icon Pete Seeger - proceeds to chop the electrical cables with his axe. For many in the folk music world, the day was apparently just that traumatic and Seeger’s response is often described that way. But what really happened and what did it all mean?
Now, the brilliantly contrarian music writer Elijah Wald has a new book-length account of those events, including all the heady years leading up to that crucial moment in folk and rock history. Wald is known to many as the editor/producer of Dave Van Ronk’s memoir of the folk scene, The Mayor of MacDougal Street, last discussed in this space as a central inspiration for the Coen Brothers’ 2013 film, Inside Llewyn Davis.
Wald’s own revisionist histories of popular music include a book on Robert Johnson, wherein he explains how Johnson was not quite the iconic Delta blues pioneer we generally picture, but rather became one after his songs were popularized during the 1960s. In a book unfortunately titled How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘n’ Roll (he’s a dedicated skeptic, but not anti-Beatles), Wald revisits the story of 20th century popular music in the US, showing how what we think we know about various musical trends is often considerably at odds with what people understood at the time, and how frequently the real stories behind key musical influences simply defy popular wisdom.
In researching Dylan Goes Electric!, Wald seems to have examined virtually every available interview, film clip, and concert review from the period leading up to Newport 1965 and, of course, added numerous interviews of his own. His account is gripping, always thought-dylangoesprovoking, and compels us to rethink much common wisdom about the evolution of folk and rock music.
He begins with the story of Pete Seeger, the guiding light of the Newport festivals, who of course gained national fame as a member of the Weavers, shortly before they were blacklisted in 1953. However the group’s highly polished, show-business approach to folk music begat legions of imitators, who often valued showmanship over authenticity and typically lacked the Weavers’ unwavering political commitments.
When Seeger and Theodore Bikel joined with promoter George Wein to create the Newport Folk Festival in 1959, their commitment was to draw on the huge popularity of acts like the Kingston Trio and the Brothers Four to help support appearances by scores of folk traditionalists.
Audiences would flock to Newport to see the most popular groups, and also be exposed to an astonishing array of traditional folk and blues styles, performed in their most authentic voices, as well as by a new generation of rather traditionalist-minded interpreters. Along with stage performances, Newport featured entire afternoons of workshops where fans and practitioners of various styles could play together and learn from each other, not to mention the countless late-night song swaps around innumerable campfires.
After just a couple of years, a new generation of singer-songwriters began to take center-stage and, of course, Dylan was the brightest light of them all. Dylan first made his mark on the Greenwich Village folk scene with his singular interpretations of traditional folk and blues styles; New York Times reviewer Robert Shelton described him early on as “mopping up influences like a sponge.”
But it was as an original songwriter that Dylan first made his mark on the wider culture, as more commercially palatable versions of songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind” made chart-topping hits for Peter, Paul and Mary and so many others. Dylan’s political songs often reflected a unique empathy for a wide cast of characters, and more thoroughly politically-minded stars like Van Ronk and Joan Baez were quick to take him under their wing. Indeed Dylan fast became an icon of poetic authenticity in a folk scene that was often as attuned to the latest pop trends as any of today’s myriad rock subgenres.
So it was truly stunning when Dylan broke the mold and appeared at Newport backed up by members of the Chicago-based Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Or perhaps it wasn’t. Indeed electric guitars were not at all unheard of at Newport. Blues, gospel and country stars had played electric guitars many times at the festival, from John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters to Pop Staples and members of Johnny Cash’s band.
The 1965 festival had earlier featured an electric set by the Chambers Brothers, and Mimi and Richard FariƱa - backed by Bringing it All Back Home electric guitarist Bruce Langhorne - actually got people dancing naked in the rain four summers prior to Woodstock.
Indeed, the “British invasion,” epitomized by the incomparable popularity of the Beatles, had dramatically altered a lot of people’s tastes in music. Wald convincingly argues that versions of folk and blues classics by the likes of the Animals and the Rolling Stones often had a lot more integrity than, for example, the Kingston Trio’s long run of Broadwayfied folk hits.
For many popular audiences, folk music was more about its lack of rough edges than its intelligence or its politics; Simon and Garfunkel in their heyday sold more records than Dylan and the early Stones combined. And with Dylan already more popular in England than here in the States, music industry moguls even began to see him as the harbinger of a potential counter-invasion.
So what really happened that iconic Sunday in Newport? According to Wald, the first huge controversy of that weekend surrounded the Butterfield group’s earlier appearance. Apparently Butterfield’s set, part of an extended blues showcase emceed by Alan Lomax, itself seemed louder and rawer than most anything heard previously at Newport.
Lomax was reportedly so irate that he literally got into a fist fight with promoter Albert Grossman, who of course, also represented Dylan, Odetta, Peter, Paul and Mary, and countless other stars of the folk (and later rock) music world. Was Dylan’s electric set actually Grossman’s act of revenge?
Perhaps, although electric organist Al Kooper was perhaps already en route to Newport to accompany Dylan on the closing Sunday evening of the festival. A few other things appear to be true: the band was under-rehearsed, only having played with Dylan for one late-night jam session on Saturday night. Also, at Dylan and guitarist Mike Bloomfield’s insistence, the amps were turned up very loud. Wald reports that for those sitting onstage or near the front of the audience, Dylan’s voice may have been all but drowned out by the distorted amplified instruments.
Widely available film footage of Dylan’s performance suggests an energetic and focused, albeit brief set of music, starting with a rousing and rocking version of “Maggie’s Farm,” which had already been performed (acoustically) that weekend by Richie Havens.
On both “Maggie’s Farm” and “Like a Rolling Stone” Dylan’s voice is as clear and sharp as on the original recordings, but that may not have been the experience of everyone in the audience. The band - especially the traditional Chicago blues rhythm section - was not all that familiar with Dylan’s style of music, and on the third and final electric number - an early version of “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” - Wald suggests that the band began to fall apart.
Were some audience members booing just because it was too loud and distorted, as Seeger suggested in several later interviews (of course there was no axe involved), or simply because Dylan had gone electric? Or was it mainly because his set was so short, albeit longer than anyone else had played that evening?
When Dylan returned with a (borrowed) acoustic guitar and finished with “…Baby Blue” and “Mr Tambourine Man,” the response was more uniformly enthusiastic. Some audience members heard hardly any booing that evening, and Wald says that various edits of the concert film appear to have boos spliced into the electric set that actually occurred when emcee Peter Yarrow insisted that there was no time for Dylan to return to the stage.
Wald’s interviewees suggest that both Dylan and Seeger were quite devastated by the experience. However Dylan apparently became quite used to being booed, describing his very mixed reception at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in Queens just a month later as “fantastic… a real carnival.” Barely a year later, he virtually disappeared from public stage for another eight years, reportedly due to the aftermath of a serious motorcycle accident.
So what did it all mean? Wald’s last chapter takes us on a fast-paced journey through some of the ways the music continued to evolve after that iconic Sunday night. For some folk music purists, the 1965 Newport Festival represented nothing less than the triumph of raw commercialism over the people’s music, perhaps even the displacement of the early ’60s’ communitarian ethic by a strident and narrow individualism. One festival insider wrote that “Hope had been replaced by despair, selflessness by arrogance, harmony by insistent cacophony.”
But clearly there was much more to it than that. In many ways, 1965 was the key turning point from the idealistic and relatively safe (for middle class white kids) early ’60s, to the late ’60s era of alienation, overt rebellion and widespread urban uprisings. LBJ escalated his ground war against Vietnam that summer and, just two weeks after Newport, the Watts ghetto started to burn.
No longer did anyone believe that the good people of America were ready to turn their heads and hear the cries of the oppressed. Perhaps Dylan’s Newport set was the perfect expression of the coming generational divide. It also represented a clear break between the pop sensibility of early ’60s rock-and-roll and the more diverse and sophisticated rock music that followed. “The instrumentation connected [Dylan] to Elvis and the Beatles,” Wald suggests, “but the booing connected him to Stravinsky.” Perhaps, as he states, “it was the dawn of the world we have lived in ever since.” Clearly no one has told the story better.
Note: Brian Tokar is the director of the Institute for Social Ecology and a lecturer in environmental studies at the University of Vermont. A newly revised and expanded edition of Brian Tokar’s Toward Climate Justice, has just been issued by the New Compass Press. The above article was posted at CounterPunch.
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Monday, September 14, 2015

India Season Special - Anoushka Shankar


I had been feeling a bit low yesterday, people bickering and folks not supporting each other, bad vibes or some such nonsense and then I read this account of the BACA [Bikers Against Child Abuse] in The United States. 
Want something heartwarming in your life? Look no further . . . .stick with it, it's worth the read

Bikers Against Child Abuse was founded in 1995 by a Native American child psychologist whose ride name is Chief, when he came across a young boy who had been subjected to extreme abuse and was too afraid to leave his house. He called the boy to reach out to him, but the only thing that seemed to interest the child was Chief’s bike. Soon, some 20 bikers went to the boy’s neighborhood and were able to draw him out of his house for the first time in weeks.
Chief’s thesis was that a child who has been abused by an adult can benefit psychologically from the presence of even more intimidating adults that they know are on their side. “When we tell a child they don’t have to be afraid, they believe us,” Arizona biker Pipes told azcentral.com. “When we tell them we will be there for them, they believe us.”
"These guys are legit. They don’t just show up one day in court, either, they actually make friends with the kids and let them know they have a support system and that there are people in the world who care about them and will always have their back. And less important, but also cool, is that the few times a couple of them have come into my cafe, they’ve been super friendly and polite and when I told one of the guys that I noticed his Bikers Against Child Abuse patch and wanted him to know how awesome I thought he was because of it, he got kind of shy and blushed and said, “The kids are the awesome ones, we just let them know they’re allowed to be brave.”
 These men and women are available in 36 states, 24 hours a day to stand guard at home, in court, at school, even if the child has a nightmare. Many of them are survivors of childhood abuse as well, and know what it’s like to feel scared and alone.
In court that day, the judge asked the boy, “Are you afraid?” No, the boy said.Pipes says the judge seemed surprised, and asked, “Why not?”The boy glanced at Pipes and the other bikers sitting in the front row, two more standing on each side of the courtroom door, and told the judge, "Because my friends are scarier than he is.”
More about BACA: