Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Nadya of Pussy Riot
Song Straight Outta Vagina inspired by the idea that
‘female sexuality is bigger than any populist megalomaniac’

from The Guardian
Pussy Riot have released a song celebrating the vagina, in an unashamed feminist riposte to Donald Trump and his boast that when he meets beautiful women he “grabs them by the pussy”.

The Russian punk band’s latest video Straight Outta Vagina, released on Tuesday, features Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova wearing white clerical robes and trademark balaclava, plus a chorus line of men and women sitting in toilet cubicles and standing at urinals. There is also an inflatable duck.

In typically provocative style, the video includes the lyrics: “If your vagina lands in prison, then the whole world’s going to listen.” And: “Don’t play stupid, don’t play dumb, vagina’s where you’re really from.”

Tolokonnikova said she recorded the song in February with the US musician, guitarist and producer Dave Sitek, whom she described as “one of the biggest feminists I’ve ever met”. The video was shot in Los Angeles.

Tolokonnikova said Sitek was inspired by her phrase: “Does your vagina have a brand?”. “So it made total sense to write a song which celebrates [the] vagina with him,” she said.

“This song could be considered an answer to Trump. But I believe the idea of powerful female sexuality is much bigger than any populist megalomaniac man … Vagina is bigger than Trump.”

Pussy Riot are expected to release two more videos commenting on both US and Russian politics as the band respond to the growing influence of populism and nationalism.

Tolokonnikova said the spread of “patriarchal and misogynist ideas” was akin to sexually transmitted disease. “Politicians are praising ‘strong leadership’. Trump openly supports the authoritarian methods of Vladimir Putin. And it’s scary. It’s not the world in which I want to live.”

Tolokonnikova is no longer working creatively with Pussy Riot co-founder Masha Alyokhina, who is currently touring with the Belarus Free Theatre.

The pair spent 16 months in a Russian jail following their anti-Putin “punk prayer” in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral. A third Pussy Riot member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, who was convicted alongside them, was freed early on probation and her sentence suspended.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Micro-apartments: Innovative living or future slums?

from NewsWeek:

Soon enough, short of some last-minute appeal on behalf of protesters, Brill Place Tower will be shooting up from a site in Somers Town, a slightly neglected district just north of St. Pancras station in central London. The 25-story building is actually a pencil-thin pair of what dRMM, its inventive young architects, call micro-towers, built on a footprint of just 3,767 square feet. It was granted planning permission this summer, as part of a £1 billion ($1.22 billion) regeneration plan backed by Sadiq Khan, London’s populist new mayor.

Historic England, a largely government-funded heritage group, is opposed to the tower, perhaps because, like a skinny catwalk model stamping on a wedding cake, it will pierce the neoclassical skyline of white stucco terraces that encircle Regent’s Park. But whatever your architectural taste, Brill Place is very much a sign of the times. It will hold 54 of what planners call “units,” a mixture of cunningly laid out one- and two-bedroom apartments. It’s a wholly commercial development, so you can bet none of them will be cheap, although, according to dRMM, the smallest of its one-bedroom units will cover just 590 square feet. (It’s not clear if the architects include the apartment’s balcony in that calculation.) These micro-towers will hold some microsomes.

Compared with some, though, they’re palatial. In Kips Bay in Manhattan, residents paying at least $2,650 a month recently moved into New York City’s first micro- apartment building—Carmel Place, nine stories of prefabricated steel and concrete studio units, sheathed in a facade of gray bricks. Designed by nArchitects, the project is the first fruit of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan—a scheme launched in 2004 and intended to create 165,000 affordable homes for low- and middle-income New Yorkers. Carmel Place features55 rental units, most of them just 260 square feet in size.

The building’s floor plans are fairly ingenious, managing to squeeze in enough room for a sofa bed, a tiny table and a narrow area of storage above the shower room and kitchen. But, like shrunken versions of the old downtown railroad apartments, they’re more corridor than home. Carmel Place does feature a gym, a shared roof terrace, a lounge and a garden, storage for bicycles and a “butler service” to replenish empty fridges. But this communal, city-center style of living is really suitable only for the young and single: Few families, however close-knit, would attempt to squeeze into such limited space.

Why Carmel Place is important has less to do with its detailed design and prefabricated factory construction than the fact that it has revolutionized planning in Manhattan: Until now, local legislation prevailed against such tiny homes. In Seattle, meanwhile, developers have been building micro-apartments as small as 199 square feet.

The philosophy, or sales pitch, behind this extreme degree of minimal living is that the city itself, with its bars, cafés and youthful culture, serves as all the other spaces a young person might need or want. It’s an inescapable truth that, as cities across the world grow exponentially, huge numbers of new homes are needed, for the young, for service-industry workers who otherwise would be forced to live ever farther afield, for downsizing retirees and for professionals seeking city-center pieds-à-terre. No wonder, then, that towers of micro-apartments are catching on with planners, developers, architects and the property-hungry public.

Micro-living Failures
We have been here before. Although very much back in vogue, experiments in micro-living have been made several times over the past 90 years, and the results, while fascinating, are not exactly encouraging. In the late 1960s, Tokyo boomed, and as it did, young people and modest “salary men” and their families sought affordable homes in sprawling new suburbs, commuting to the city center in the famously jam-packed Metro trains.

The late Kisho Kurokawa, then a radically minded 30-something architect, had an answer to the problem of this mass exodus of the young from Tokyo. This was his Nakagin Capsule Tower—although it was, like Brill Place, a pair of towers —completed in 1972 in the Shimbashi neighborhood. Prefabricated steel capsules, 140 of them, were bolted onto the two central concrete shafts. Each capsule provided a 94-square-foot space, into which was squeezed a bed, a kitchen surface, an aircraft-sized bathroom and the very latest in Japanese audio technology.

Nurtured in an era of minicars, miniskirts and the widespread belief that technological progress was wholly benevolent, Nakagin Capsule Tower was a much-feted, much-photographed revelation. Today, while the rest of Shimbashi is filled with expensive offices, the tower is in a sorry state. There has been no hot water here for some years. Rather than chic and futuristic micro-apartments, most of the capsules are boarded up or used for storage or as makeshift offices; a few capsules are available to rent through Airbnb. Residents wanted more space than Kurokawa could possibly offer, and although the plan had been for the capsules to be unbolted and replaced every 25 years, it failed: It was always going to be cheaper to demolish the towers and build anew, than go through all the palaver of replacing its intricate nest of high-tech capsules. This Japanese model of mass-produced cityhousing remains a custom-made novelty loved by architects, but shunned by the residential property market.

Even sorrier than the Nakagin Capsule Tower is the state of Moscow’s compelling Narkomfin apartment block, completed in 1932 to designs by Moisei Ginzburg and Ignaty Milinis. Here were tiny modern movement apartments served by communal kitchens, a laundry, a library, a gym and a roof terrace. This was to be a model of socialist living. Feminist living too. “Petty housework crushes, strangles and degrades,” wrote Vladimir Lenin in his essay “A Great Beginning,” saying it “chains her [the housewife of the capitalist era] to the kitchen. The real emancipation of women, real communism, will begin only where and when an all-out struggle begins...against this petty housekeeping.”

Stalin, however, put a sudden end to what he called such “Trotskyite” aberrations. Almost as soon as the first residents—some of whom installed their own tiny kitchens—moved in, the Narkomfin experiment of communal living was condemned, with rooms becoming individual, disconnected family units. Now a tarnished ragbag of empty apartments, artists’ studios and various oddball enterprises, the Narkomfin Building stands in the shadow of shiny new apartments. When, in 2004, Yuri Luzhkov, the former mayor of Moscow, opened the grotesque, 100,000-square-foot Novinsky Passage Mall, he is reputed to have said, while pointing to Ginzburg and Milinis’s yellowing masterpiece, “What a joy that in our city such wonderful new shopping centers are appearing—not such junk.”

From Junk to Trash

In spite of these failed monuments to capsule living, idealistic urban planners and architects press ahead. There's a distinct echo of the Tokyo project in a new proposal from Jeff Wilson, a former associate professor of environmental studies at Huston- Tillotson University in Austin, Texas. Wilson is perhaps best known for living for parts of 2014 and 2015 in a 33-square-foot dumpster converted into the tiniest and most unlikely home of all, but his latest project is more mobile. Called Kasita—from casita, Spanish for “little house”—it’s a proposal for prefabricated, 322-square-foot steel studios that can be slotted into a steel frame like bottles into a wine rack. The idea is that, should a resident want to move, it will be easy to lift these thoroughly equipped microapartments out from the rack and, with the help of cranes and a flatbed truck, transport them to a new location equipped with an identical steel rack.

This notion of moving home—your physical home—is certainly intriguing, although you might choose, as many American retirees have done, to invest in a motor home instead. It does highlight, however, one of the major criticisms of microliving, whether in Somers Town, Manhattan, Seattle or Texas. While tiny spaces might appeal to the young and single, what happens if a young single person meets another single young person and they produce a family?

Odds are, many will leave their micro-apartments, resulting in ever-shifting urban populations. Transience is one of the enemies of enduring communities. The more micro-apartments and towers there are, the more unsettled our city centers might become.

Will the latest wave of micro-apartments get the Luzhkov treatment and become the city slums of the future? Micro-towers may well be signs of the times, yet times change, and for most people, 260 square feet will never be quite enough

Monday, October 24, 2016

School of Life Monday:
History as a Cure for Our Times

It can seem as if we are living in deeply, uncommonly troubled and crazy times. We should take a measure of consolation from the example of history, that teaches us that humans have always been cruel and mad – but that civilisation has progressed nevertheless.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Jay Adams - 1977
from my Instagram

The Original One and Only JAY ADAMS on a somewhat primitive but well built back yard ramp circa 1977. This was just a one hit ramp, at the end of an L shaped drive way, you had maybe 60feet to push with a little down slope half way through then had to veer right hard and you had maybe 10 feet before you'd hit the ramp, it was awkward but it was rare and relatively smooth transition, the first ramp many of us had ever seen with a perfectly round cut transition in the base support structure, no one even built half pipes yet, and here's fuckin Jay Boy flying off the top! No, honestly, he's not making this, he's totally going off in more ways than one, just going for it, because that's just what he did. The ramp belonged to a friend of mine from school, Brett Adams (no relation to Jay). The ramp was up in Brentwood, just in between Paul Revere and Kenter. As you can see from this picture the ramp is actually leaning up against the roof of the house (note broomstick coping and no deck on top, oldschool kids!), a few weeks later they built its own free standing support and put the ramp at the straight end of the driveway, i made a bunch of great photos there with Alva, in particular, and several others, including one of Brett that made it into my Fuck You Too book and MY RULES the book. The frontside airs of Alva are classics, a backside tail-tap of T.A. ( @thetonyalva1957 ) made it onto the contents page in SkateBoarder Magazine. This photo appears in my co-authored (w/Stecyk) "DogTown - The Legend of The Z-Boys" still available at your local bookstore or Amazon... #jayadams #jayboy #jayboyadams #ZBOYS #Zflex #TrackerTrucks #backyardramp #1977 #DogTown #WLA #quarterpipe #inspiration #integrity #BadAss #Venice #OG #100% #100percentskateboarder #innovator #skateboarding #skating #knowYourHistory #rampskating #quarterpipe #getRadical #GNARLY #RAD #politicallyIncorrect #MyRules #surfculture #GetTheNewBook

A photo posted by glen E. friedman Ⓥ (@glenefriedman) on

Saturday, October 22, 2016

"California Über Alles" Sinatra version and Jello's original

from Boing Boing:
In keeping with Boing Boing’s mission of being a “directory of mostly wonderful things,” here’s a new video by Frank Sinatra’s bastard son, performing an updated version of The Dead Kennedys’ song "California Über Alles" while changing backstage. OK, it’s not the actual bastard son of Sinatra. It’s Toby Huss of TV’s Halt and Catch Fire, playing his alter ego Rudy Casoni, (who does claim to be the lounge singer's illegitimate son). Huss-as-Casoni references the current political circus before throwing some 2016 shade at Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown with some updated lyrics. The video offers us a brief respite from the 24-hour Trump-centric Republican bashing (deserving as it may be), using casual visual wit, some cameos by comedic actors like Kate Flannery and James Urbaniak of The Office, Boing Boing pal Mark Fite, and some pretty stunning Frank-channeling vocal work--especially on the breakneck-speed chorus mid-song.

When I asked Huss why he made the video, he answered as Casoni, saying, "This shitbird parade of a presidential election has been trying to murder me for months now. So I fought back the only way I know how: with booze. Plenty of booze. But then a song. And then some drunken singing. Then I got sick all over a good suit and fell asleep in a warm dumpster behind a nightclub humming a punk rock tune. That's the Casoni way, so shove it. I know that bum Jerry Brown is behind this turdshow anyway, so I'm voting for Liquor. Mr. Malted Liquor." So there you have it.

A fun diversion for us, but not all that unusual a move for Huss, who shows up at odd junctures of our pop culture. His first televised parodies of Sinatra covered songs by the likes of Dr. Dre and Cypress Hill for 90s MTV Network promos, where he also did voices for Mike Judge's Beavis and Butthead. From there, he just kept popping up, which is why he's often approached on the street as that guy people think they know, but can't place.

Understandable -- besides Huss's current role as Bosworth on Halt and Catch Fire, he’s played the beloved Artie, “the Strongest Man in the World” on Nickelodeon’s Pete and Pete, appeared on a lauded Seinfeld episode as Elaine’s boyfriend, “The Wiz," did the voices of Kahn and Cotton Hill on King of the Hill for thirteen years, and is seen in a diverse string of TV shows like Reno 911, Carnivale, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, plus films like 42, Rescue Dawn, Ghostbusters, and Cowboys & Aliens. Huss even pops up in theaters this weekend for horror director Ti West’s critically-lauded foray into the Western film genre, In a Valley of Violence, starring Ethan Hawke and John Travolta. So, really, a Dead Kennedys-spouting Sinatra bastard debuting a video on Boing Boing is just another day in the life for the chameleon-like Huss. Enjoy.

SoCal residents: The Rudy Casoni Boozebag Revue will have their annual XXXMas Show in Los Angeles Dec. 9th and 10th at Trepany House at the Steve Allen Theater, featuring Toby Huss, "most of the people from this video, The Dago 5 Band, shitbirds, Billy the Mime, the Poubelle Twins, boozebags, dum-dums, drunk Santa, and an elf who's a real prick," according to Casoni.

(California Über Alles video directed by Peter Hastings; Featuring Toby Huss with James Urbaniak, Kate Flannery, Mark Fite, Pat Healy, Audrey Deluxe, Kelly Rae Cole and the Dago5 Band, Andy Paley, Phil Small, James King, Mike Bolger, Jordan Katz, Ryan Feves, and Mark San Filippo.)

Friday, October 21, 2016

A great Excerpt from Keith Morris's book My Damage,

The Seeds of Black Flag were Planted at a Journey Concert
The iconic hardcore band’s original lead singer writes: there wasn’t a punk rock manual like there is today

By Keith Morris with Jim Ruland
The seeds of Black Flag were planted at a Journey concert. That’s right: the seminal American hardcore punk rock band got its start at an arena rock concert at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.

Journey was playing with Thin Lizzy on their Jailbreak tour, and we drove up from Hermosa Beach in a bright red Chevy Impala my dad had given to me that I would later sell for only a few grams of cocaine. I hated driving (and still do) but we had to get to the show, and this was a concert I wasn’t going to miss. It was a Wednesday night in June in 1976. I was twenty years old and in addition to working at the bait shop, I’d picked up a few shifts at a record store on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach called Rubicon run by a guy named Michael Piper.

If you liked Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, and Linda Ronstadt, Rubicon was the place for you. The record store was located right across from the mortuary, and the vibe at the Rubicon wasn’t all that different from what was going down across the street. It sometimes felt like Michael was trying to brainwash his customers and employees with Buckingham-Nicks. Michael’s idea of a wild time was playing the first three Bruce Springsteen records back-to-back-to-back. He played that combo so many times, I never wanted to hear the Boss again.

Michael was dating Erika Ginn, and sometimes she would come into the store with her older brother Greg Ginn. He was this really tall, dark-haired, skinny guy who was into electronics and liked to listen to the Grateful Dead and other kinds of weird music. I recognized Erika and Greg from Mira Costa High. He was a year older than me, so we were never classmates, but he was definitely hard to miss. Erika and Greg had two other siblings, and their dad was an air force veteran and an English professor who’d met their mom in Europe at the end of World War II.

Every time Michael left with Erika to grab some lunch or hang out on the pier, he’d leave me in charge of the record store, and the first thing I’d do is take off whatever crap was on the turntable and play some music I wanted to hear. I was into music that was heavier, like Deep Purple, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, and Iggy and the Stooges — anything that would make my parents cringe.

In this process of hanging out and listening to music together at Rubicon, Greg and I got to know each other a little bit. We shared an interest in music that was outside the mainstream. He subscribed to the Village Voice, where he learned about the burgeoning punk rock scene in New York, and I was a faithful reader of the rock zine Back Door Man, the South Bay music bible, but we didn’t really become friends until we went with Michael to see Journey at the Santa Monica Civic.

Steve Perry, aka the Guy with No Testicles, hadn’t signed on yet, so Journey was still a prog rock band, which wasn’t really my thing. We were there to see Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy jamming “The Boys Are Back in Town.” I’m not going to lie: they didn’t blow me away or change my life. It wasn’t the best rock concert I’d ever seen — not even close. I’d seen some amazing shows, and this wouldn’t even rank in the top one hundred.

But something about the Thin Lizzy show took me outside my usual headspace and got me wondering whether there was a place for me in the rock and roll universe. Greg and I didn’t say anything to each other that night. There was no magical moment I can point to and say, “That was the night we knew we were going to make music history together.” But on the way back to Hermosa Beach the idea started to take shape: we wanted to get in a room together and bash on some equipment.

Greg told me he had some songs. I didn’t know what that meant. I’ve always been a pessimist — it’s my nature to stay on the cynical side of the street. So when Greg told me he’d written some stuff he wanted to play for me, I hoped for the best but expected the worst. I kept reminding myself that he was a Deadhead. I don’t hate the Grateful Dead, but they don’t do anything for me musically. I kept telling myself to be patient and see what happens.

The first time I heard Greg play I was absolutely floored. I didn’t expect what I heard blasting out of the speakers to be coming from him. The energy, the tempo, and, most of all, the anger were completely unexpected. He threw me for a loop. What Greg was doing with his guitar had this totally different kind of energy. It was exciting and aggressive. You couldn’t ignore it. Here was this tall, goofy-looking guy just wailing away on his guitar in a way I’d never seen before. It was extremely physical, and the way he went after it seemed personal. There weren’t any vocals. No bass line. No beat. Even though it was just Greg and his guitar, the songs were thrilling to listen to. It clearly meant something to him. My reaction was instantaneous: How in the world did he come up with this stuff?

We knew about punk rock. We knew about the Clash and the Sex Pistols, the New York Dolls and the Ramones. We’d both attended the same Ramones show at the Roxy before we got to know each other, and we’d later go see the Sex Pistols final show together in San Francisco. Punk may have already had its moment in New York and was bottoming out in London, but in Southern California it was this strange new thing that was alive with possibility.

We were an odd couple — Greg stands six-foot-two; I’m five-foot-five on a good day — but my relationship with Greg consisted of hanging out and listening to records and going to see live music. We really didn’t have much else in common. Greg had a college degree from UCLA and ran his own mail-order business selling electronics equipment. I worked for my dad in his bait shop. Greg was bright, intelligent, and extremely well read, and I… worked for my dad in his bait shop.

Our friendship was based on our passion for music. Lots of people liked music, but we were just a bit more intense about it, and we brought that intensity to the performances and to the practice space. Later Greg would become business minded about the band in a lockstep kind of way, but in the beginning it was very organic. Nothing we did was calculated. There wasn’t a map for the territory we were about to explore.

Today there’s a blueprint: first you form a band, then you lay down some tracks, then you get the word out on social media. There was none of that back then. There wasn’t a punk rock manual like there is today. There wasn’t a reason for us to be together doing what we were doing except that we loved doing it. We didn’t talk about it and we didn’t overthink it, but it felt like everything was laid out for us to be in a band together, like it was the thing we were supposed to do.

It had never been like that for me before. I was always picked last in PE class. I was the guy at the party who didn’t know how to mingle with the popular people. I surfed and skated because that was part of the culture I grew up in, but I no longer hung out with surfers and skaters. I was an outsider. I wasn’t the kind of person you wanted to spend time with on a Friday or Saturday night.

When Greg and I took the next step in forming the band, somehow it was decided that I was going to be the drummer. Greg played guitar, and he needed someone to hold down the beat. I didn’t know how to play drums, but that didn’t matter — we weren’t going to let our lack of experience slow us down. Just like Greg had taught himself how to play guitar, I’d teach myself how to bang on some drums. How hard could it be?

My dad was a jazz fanatic who liked to fool around on the drums. Sometimes he’d sit in with bands at the Lighthouse, a legendary jazz club right across the street from my dad’s shop on Pier Avenue. He got to play with Elvin Jones, one of the top jazz drummers of all time. If you were into jazz in the fifties and sixties, the Lighthouse was the place to be with guys like Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Max Roach, and many others playing and recording there.

But this was the seventies, and what we were doing sure as hell wasn’t jazz. I needed some drums. I knew a guy who had a kit he wasn’t using. I called him up and told him he should sell his drums to me. He said he’d give me the drum kit for two hundred bucks, and I told him he had a deal. It turned out the kit didn’t belong to him; it belonged to this other friend of ours. So I narrowly avoided getting my ass kicked from one end of Hermosa to the other for purchasing a set of hot drums.

One day I was hanging out with Greg and a few other people at the workspace for his mail-order business, which was called Solid State Transmitters. Greg modified attenuators and shipped them off to ham radio operators around the country, and he hired me to help out. We did all the soldering and distribution in a rented room inside a community art space on Manhattan Avenue that used to be a church, so that’s what everyone called it: the Church.

It was a weekend afternoon, and as usual, I’d spent my morning consuming some chilled adult beverages. I was ready to go wander down to the beach and sleep it off under the pier when Iggy and the Stooges’ “Search and Destroy” came blasting out of the radio. I started to pogo around, jumping up on Greg’s desk and springing into the air, screaming the lyrics to the song. I totally lost it and did what felt like a triple-flip in the air and bounced onto the sofa. I wasn’t done yet. I jumped off the arm of the sofa and did a swan dive across the floor, which I’d timed perfectly to the end of the song, crash-landing on my face. I didn’t care what happened to me. All I cared about was the song and putting on a show for my friends.

After the music stopped and I picked myself off the floor, Greg looked at me in disbelief and said, “You’re not playing drums in the band!”

“What?” I thought he was going to kick me out of the shop for being a total spaz. I thought he was booting me out of the band.

“You’re the vocalist!” Greg said.

And with that, out of a friendship between a tall guitar player and a short vocalist, the seeds for Black Flag were sown.

My Damage, available now from Da Capo Press via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What a Buzzcock did next: Drummer John Maher’s stunning photographs of abandoned homes

from Dangerous Minds

Rust in Peace.’
The chance decisions we make in our teens can sometimes bring wondrous returns.
John Maher was just sixteen when he was asked to play drums for a local band called the Buzzcocks in 1976. The Buzzcocks had been formed by Peter Shelley and Howard Devoto in Manchester in late 1975. Maher didn’t really think about it—he just said yes. His first gig playing drums with the band was supporting the Sex Pistols at their second (now legendary) appearance at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, Manchester, in July 1976. 
When he was eighteen, Maher bought his first camera—an Olympus Trip—just prior to the Buzzcocks tour of America in 1978. Photography was something to do on the road—but for Maher it was soon became a passion.
After the Buzzcocks split in 1981, Maher played drums for Wah! and Flag of Convenience. But his interest in music waned. When the Buzzcocks reformed in 1989, Maher opted out—only ever making occasional guest appearances with the band. 
Maher had an interest in drag racing which led to his launching an incredibly successful business making high performance engines—John Maher Racing. His engines and transmissions are described as the best built in the UK. The success of his company allowed Maher to retire. It was then that he returned to photography.
In 2002, Maher relocated from Manchester to the Isle of Harris in Scotland. The beautiful, bleak Hebridean landscape was in stark contrast to his busy post-industrial hometown of Manchester. The land inspired Maher and he became fascinated with the deserted crofts dotted across the island. Homes once filled with working families and children now lay abandoned in disrepair—belongings scattered across wooden floors, empty chairs faithfully waiting for a new owner, wallpaper and paint drifting from the walls, windows smashed, and gardens long untended. 
Maher started documenting these abandoned buildings that spoke more to him about human life than most museums. He took long exposures to achieve a certain look—often blending analogue and digital images to create the best picture. For example, the photograph TV Set was created from “a compilation of nine separate exposures.”
His fascination with the deserted crofts started an idea to have these homes reclaimed and reused bringing new life back to the island. As Maher told the BBC earlier this year:
“What started out as a personal project—documenting abandoned croft houses in the Outer Hebrides—has had an unexpected side effect.
“As a result of displaying my photographs, there’s now a real possibility of seeing at least one of the properties becoming a family home once again.”
Maher’s photographs led to a joint venture by the Carnegie Trust and the local housing association to start renovating some of Harris’s derelict buildings for habitation. Maher’s photographs have been exhibited on the isle and across the UK. “It shows,” he says, “that looking through a lens to the past can help shape things in the future.”
See more of John Maher’s work here.

‘Waiting Room.’

‘Blue Chair.’

‘Bedroom and Chapel.’

‘Peat Fire.’

‘Tin and Stone.’

‘Parallel Lines.’

‘TV Set.’

‘The Dog, the Cat and the Bird.’

‘Big Blue Caravan.’

‘Green Room.’

‘No Job Too Small.’

‘Nobody’s Home.’

H/T It’s Nice ThatBBCFlashbak and The Flying Monk.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Noam Chomsky Unravels the Political Mechanics Behind His Gradual Expulsion From Mainstream Media

from AlterNet
The prolific author and acclaimed MIT professor is never featured on major networks.
Ralph Nader and leading linguist Noam Chomsky engaged in a much anticipated discussion in early October on Ralph Nader Radio Hour. The two raised questions about changing the media narrative in a totalitarian-like state, and how Chomsky got dismissed from the mainstream altogether.

"How often have you been on the op-ed pages of the New York Times?" Nader asked Chomsky.

For Chomsky, the last time was over a decade ago.

"[I was asked] to write about the Israeli separation wall, actually an annexation wall that runs through the West Bank and breaking apart the Palestinian communities... condemned as illegal by the World Court," Chomsky told Nader.

Chomsky would later pen a similar piece for CNN on the 2013 Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. But Chomsky has never been interviewed on the network; nor has he appeared on NBC, ABC or CBS.

"How about NPR and PBS, partially taxpayer-supported...more free-thinking and more tolerant [outlets]?" Nader wanted to know.

"I've been on 'Charlie Rose' two or three times," Chomsky told Nader, adding that he had a curious story about a particular Boston outlet for NPR based in Boston University.

"They used to have a program in their primetime news programs All Things Considered some years ago at 5:25... maybe once a week or so, a five-minute discussion with someone who had written a new book and there's a lot of pressure," Chomsky began.

NPR was going to allow Chomsky to present his 1989 book, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies.

"I got a call from the publisher telling me when I should tune in and I never listened [before], so I tuned in [and] there was five minutes of music... I started getting phone calls from around the country asking 'What happened to the piece?'" Chomsky remembered.

"I then got a call from the station manager in Washington who told me that she'd been getting calls and she didn't understand it because it was listed... she called back saying kind of embarrassed ... that some bigwig in the system had heard the announcement at five o'clock and had ordered it canceled," Chomsky explained.

The irony of Chomsky's media criticism being dismissed by the media is not lost on the former MIT professor, who remains in awe of America's level of censorship.

"Any one of the former Bush-Cheney warmongers like Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton and others have gotten far more press after they've left federal positions; in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post," Nader said.

And unlike Chomsky, "They've been on television public television, NPR and they have a record of false statements; they have record of deception, they have record of pursuing policies are illegal under our Constitution, under international law and under federal statutes such as criminal invasion of Iraq and other adventures around the world," Nader pointed out.

But the media problem permeates other industries, like education and government.

"Now, a society that operates in a way where propaganda is not only emanating from the major media but it gets into our schools, the kind of courses are taught, the content of the history, is a society that's not going to be mobilized for its own survival, much less the survival of other countries whose dictators we have for decades supported to oppress their people," explained Nader.

Listen to Ralph Nader's full program with Noam Chomsky:

Monday, October 17, 2016

School of Life Monday:

John Ruskin was an art critic who believed the immorality of 19th century capitalism could be highlighted by one thing above all others: the ugliness of the environment.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

from my instagram

PUBLIC ENEMY between jail cells in Hell’s Kitchen NYC 1988 This photo was used on the inner sleeve to the LP version of this album, becuase yes, vinyl was held in a sleeve inside the actual album cover and the sleeve gave artists more room to express themselves on occasion, sometimes that art may end up in a CD booklet or folding cassette package, sometimes not, certainly not the 12”x12” version. There was no hesitation from the group when I asked them to stand on the flag I had in my bag that day. I’m proud to have been a part of this album. IMHO the greatest hip hop album ever! Chuck gave me the title when he was ready and i threw out the idea of them breaking out of a jail, likely inspired but some listening to the tracks or just the title. What ended up on the cover was actually a photo i was not happy with, see my books THE IDEALIST and the new MY RULES for better images from the same day and cell . Fact is what i envisioned as the cover originally was a video still i made off the surveillance camera footage i made. In the end i got out voted, everyone loved the work but thought it was a bit too abstract for the audience at the time, PARTICULARLY it turns out by the time of release up to 80% of sales were on cassettes! So they wanted a photo that showed them in jail as vividly as possible, with as many 'BARS" as possible showing up in the tiny square on the cassette... As an artist i threatened to scratch the negative so they couldn't use what i thought was a sub par photograph, then they hit me right back,"Glen, it's too late, its either this image or a graphic, DON'T DESTROY THE DOPE FLICK!" What could i do? I had to be down on what i knew was a masterpiece LP. And my sequence would be on the back of the LP, used in some ad's and on the fold outs in the smaller packages.... Of course i don't regret giving in on this one. Lesson learned. BUT at least years later i am able to share all the better images in my books. You check them out and you'll get it ... #SheWatchChanelZero #PUBLICENEMY #DefJam #MyRules #FuckYouHeroes #BlackSteelInTheHourOfChaos #ChuckD #S1Ws #FlavorFlav #HipHop #GoldenEra #ExtraStrengthPosse #BringTheNoise #OG #classic #PUNKrock

A photo posted by glen E. friedman Ⓥ (@glenefriedman) on

Friday, October 14, 2016

Have Fun Friday
Someone stuck a Go-Pro on a Hot Wheels car

from Boing Boing

5MadMovieMakers revealed how they make their cool POV videos of Hot Wheels cars flying down tracks: a GoPro Hero affixed to Pharadox Hot Wheels Chassis.
They posted a picture of the rig designed by Raptor House Effects for others who want to give it a shot.
These are the same guys who did the Hot Wheels dashcam road trip earlier this year.
• Hot Wheels Stunts (YouTube / 5MadMovieMakers)