Thursday, January 31, 2013
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Activists in Berlin have created a game called Camover where they move through public spaces in disguise, smashing CCTV cameras, recording the act and uploading it to YouTube for points.The rules of Camover are simple: mobilise a crew and think of a name that starts with "command", "brigade" or "cell", followed by the moniker of a historical figure (Van der Lubbe, a Dutch bricklayer convicted of setting fire to the Reichstag in 1933, is one name being used). Then destroy as many CCTV cameras as you can. Concealing your identity, while not essential, is recommended. Finally, video your trail of destruction and post it on the game's website – although even keeping track of the homepage can be a challenge in itself, as it is continually being shut down.East Germany withered under the punishing, spying gaze of the Stasi, whose surveillance was always couched in the language of "public protection" and "crime solving." Today, the CCTVs used by commercial firms are an extension of government surveillance, because their footage can be seized, often in secret, in the name of "fighting terror" and similar rubrics.
Game to destroy CCTV cameras: vandalism or valid protest?
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
"Open Source Ecology founder Marcin Jakubowski and the OSE team explain the philosophy behind their work and the open source movement as a whole. We're always looking for remote collaborators to pick up and run with our designs. If you're interested in building or improving on our work, please visit the OSE wiki."
Open Source Philosophy.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Meet Zack Kopplin, the 19-year-old who started winning battles against teaching creationism in Louisiana public schools when he was 14
IO9 profiles Zack Kopplin, a 19-year-old, five-year veteran of the fight against teaching creationism in Louisiana's science classes. Kopplin was a student when the a law came into effect allowing teachers to bring creationist material to class, and he took up the cause, winning a battle that prevented the exclusion of evolution from Louisiana science classes altogether. Kopplin has been vilified by state legislators and creationists, but refuses to give up the fight. If I can raise a kid with this much sense, savvy, passion and ethical commitment, I'll consider my life to have been worthwhile:Thanks BoingBoingHe also has his eyes set on vouchers. After an Alternet story came out about a school in the Louisiana voucher program teaching that the Loch Ness Monster was real and disproved evolution, Kopplin looked deeper into the program and found that this wasn't just one school, but at least 19 other schools, too.How 19-year-old activist Zack Kopplin is making life hell for Louisiana’s creationists [George Dvorsky/IO9]
School vouchers, he argues, unconstitutionally fund the teaching of creationism because many of the schools in these programs are private fundamentalist religious schools who are teaching creationism.
"These schools have every right to teach whatever they want — no matter how much I disagree with it — as long as they are fully private," he says. "But when they take public money through vouchers, these schools need to be accountable to the public in the same way that public schools are and they must abide by the same rules." Kopplin is hoping for more transparency in these programs so the public can see what is being taught with taxpayers' money.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Take a look inside the busy factory of DayGlo Color Corp., where you'll find huge, grinding, belching and all around intimidating industrial machines coated head to toe in fluorescent pink and blaze orange hues. Dayglo's fluorescent pigments and dyes have worked their way into countless commercial products all around the world like traffic cones, shirts, soaps, toys, bottles, paints, inks, signs, boxes, magazines - you name it.
Friday, January 25, 2013
What will the car of the future look like? Will it drive itself and communicate with other vehicles in order to avoid traffic accidents? Will it be loaded with advanced sensors and have greatly reduced emissions compared to today's cars?
In the infographic below, the folks from InsuranceQuotes try to imagine the car of tomorrow, taking these and other likely possibilities into account. No matter which technologies are used, the car of the future is likely to be smarter, safer and more efficient. Check out how it compares to today's cars.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Thirty years ago—at the height of New York City's "War on Graffiti," and in an act of faith utterly incommensurate with the city's public demonization of graffiti writers—a group of teenagers named SHY 147, DAZE, MIN and DURO met with MTA official Richard Ravitch, and proposed a deal. Give the writers of New York City one train line to adorn with their vibrant aerosol murals, and they would leave the rest alone. Let them paint for six months, then let the public vote on the merits of their contribution.
Ravitch suggested that if the writers wanted to contribute, he would give them all brooms, and hostilities resumed. The subway's exteriors have been art-free since 1989, but the war has never really ended. New York City remains rigidly opposed to the very aesthetic of graffiti—even if the art in question is perfectly legal.
Today, advertisers have learned to faithfully, if flavorlessly, appropriate graffiti's ethos of logo repetition, as anyone who has ridden the train lately can confirm. In the city that incubated the most important popular art movement of the 20th century, the message is clear: public space can be yours, if you pay for it.
Unless what you put there reminds them of graffiti, that is. I learned this last week, when I tried to buy space to advertise my new novel. The silver walls where "burners" used to blaze are now for rent; anyone willing to pay fifty thousand dollars to a company called CBS Outdoor can buy advertising "stripes" for a month. For considerably more, one can "wrap" an entire train in product messaging.
"The issue," CBS Outdoor wrote in an email, explaining why my proposal had been rejected, "is the style of writing. The MTA wants nothing that looks like graffiti."
Admittedly, my book title is rendered in colorful, flowing letters, by the Brooklyn artist Blake Lethem. Admittedly, this would not have been the first time Mr. Lethem's work had graced a train. But what exactly is the rubric by which the MTA judges a letter's graffiti-ness? At what stylistic tipping point does a word becomes impermissible to the same entity that has approved liquor adverts depicting naked women in dog collars, and bus placards featuring rhetoric widely condemned as hate speech against Palestinians? And if the NYPD defines graffiti as "etching, painting, covering or otherwise placing a mark upon public or private property, with the intent to damage," isn't a graffiti-style letter kind of like a robbery-style purchase?
All this might seem trivial, except that the War on Graffiti's tactics presaged a generation's experience of law enforcement and personal freedom. Mayor John Lindsay first declared war in 1972, and over the next 17 years, the city would spend three hundred million dollars attempting to run graffiti-free trains—this, during a period when the subway barely functioned and the city teetered on the brink of insolvency. Clearly, there was more at stake than aesthetics.
Those stakes become clearer when one examines law enforcement's public profiling of graffiti writers. They were described as "black, brown, or other, in that order," and vilified as sociopaths, drug addicts, and monsters. This was a fight over public space, and we would do well to remember that at the time the fight began, teenagers were also being arrested for breakdancing in subway stations, and throwing un-permited parties in the asphalt schoolyards of the Bronx. Taken collectively, these three activities also represent the birth of hip-hop, the single most influential sub-culture created in this or any country in the last half-century.
As historian Jeff Chang writes, the early 70s saw the politics of abandonment give way to the politics of containment in communities of color. The War on Graffiti is a prime example, and it midwifed today's era of epic incarceration, quality of life offenses, zero tolerance policies, prejudicial gang databases, and three-strike laws. The War on Graffiti turned misdemeanors into felonies, community service into jail time. It put German Shepherds to work patrolling the train yards; Mayor Koch once suggested an upgrade to wolves. Today, the city prosecutes hundreds of graffiti cases each year, and maintains a dedicated Citywide Vandals Task Force. Nationally, writers have been sentenced to prison terms as long as eight years, and ordered to pay six-figure restitutions. In other words, the war rages on.
One cannot help but wonder what might have happened if New York City had agreed to the naïve, visionary truce those four teenagers offered, 30 years ago now. With a handful of scholarships and a press release, might the "graffiti plague" have been alchemized into a landmark public art program, to be adapted by other cities with the same zeal that zero tolerance has been? Could thousands of lives have been altered, hundreds of millions of dollars better spent?
We'll never know, because the city didn't listen to its young people then. It didn't recognize graffiti as an outpouring of creativity and frustration, a simultaneous urge to beautify and destroy, to hide and be seen, that's every bit as complicated as being shunted to the margins of the American dream. Kids are still writing graffiti today, beautifully and badly, in every city in the world; New Yorkers taught them how to do it, but they've always understood why. It's not too late to listen to them now.
Adam Mansbach is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Go the F**k to Sleep and the novel Rage Is Back, available now from Viking.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
MC5 on French TV. Broadcast on Pop2 on November 14th, 1972.
From the 2:16 minute point, the clip is from a 1973 episode of Pop2 and contains some really cool footage of the all-too-rarely-seen Fred “Sonic” Smith. Smith and Wayne Kramer were the only founding members of the band on this tour: the MC2.
Monday, January 21, 2013
"Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an extremist of love; he was a militant for tenderness. He was a radical for sweetness. He was willing to talk publicly, openly, explicitly, unapologetically about love and love defined as steadfast commitment to the well-being of others. Because of that commitment, King was faced with unbelievable hurt and unbelievable sorrow. But he never allowed that sorrow to have the last word. We look back, in all of his rich humanity, and say, we miss you. We love you. We need you. Happy Birthday."- Cornel West
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Benjy Melendez, 1972
“If the Ghetto Brothers’ dream comes true, the world will learn that the ‘little people’ wish to be acknowledged, wish to be properly educated in order for them to pass on their knowledge to their children, and proudly inform them about their heritage and culture, and be a functioning part of the dream of America. If the Ghetto Brothers’ dream comes true, the ‘little people’ will be ‘little people’ no more, and make their own mark in this world. Listen to the Ghetto Brothers… and take heed.”—from the back cover of the original 1972 release of Power-FuerzaI’m not one to go in much for year end lists (I like reading other people’s, but not compiling my own, besides it’s the new year already, isn’t it?) but if I was, then the Ghetto Brothers jaw-droppingly amazing Power-Fuerza deluxe re-release from Truth & Soul would have been hovering very near the top of mine. You know how every once in a while something or someone long-forgotten (or that never was) gets rediscovered and it’s just so fucking good that music fans take it to their bosoms and become all-out evangelists for said album or performer? (Death, The Langley Schools Music Project, Zambian psychrockers WITCH, Jobriath, Father’s Children and Shuggie Otis come immediately to mind.) Well, this is one of those albums, and one of those bands and the back-story of brothers Benjy, Robert and Victor Melendez, doesn’t disappoint either.
Power-Fuerza was recorded on a single sunny day in New York City in 1972 by a Beatles-influenced garage rock group comprised of a bunch of well-intended, socially conscious teenage Nuyorican gang members led by three brothers who wanted to broker peace between South Bronx street gangs and have a good time.
Do I have your attention? This isn’t just a truly great “lost” record, it’s uncovering an entirely hidden history—and a very important history at that—of New York City in the early 1970s.
The music on Power-Fuerza reminds me of a lot of things, including, but not limited to, a less-technically proficient early Santana (I mean that in a good way), doo-wop, Motown and even the first Strokes album for its confident, youthful, boyish bravado. I can’t really say that it doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve ever heard before, because it definitely sounds like a whole bunch of stuff I’ve heard before put into a blender, but don’t get me wrong, the exuberantly sweet-sounding inner city blues of the Ghetto Brothers is still unique as fuck when judged on its own merits.
There is an emotional purity to this album that cannot be described in words. It is unabashedly joyous and stunningly beautiful. Its low-fi imperfections are what make it so perfectly perfect. Power-Fuerza hit my pleasure centers damned good and hard on the first spin. I came close to crying tears of joy, it’s that good. The second and third times I played it, I loved it even more. And then I played it again, and again, and again (it’s a super short album and that’s the only downside of Power Fuerza, you’ll be left wanting to hear more and there is no more).
Think I’m over-reaching? Check out the title of The Atlantic’s review: One of the Greatest ‘Lost’ Albums of All Time Has Been Found.
Hip-hop historian Jeff Mao writes in the CD’s extensive liner notes:“By mid-1971, Benjy’s social conscience and interest in Puerto Rican nationalism dovetailed with the rise of young urban activist groups like the Black Panthers, the Young Lords, and the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. Catching the revolutionary spirit in the air, the Ghetto Brothers eradicated junkies and pushers from their neighborhood, cleaned parks and garbage-strewn empty lots, and participated in clothing drives and breakfast programs.”
The Ghetto Brothers story is one perfect for NPR, if not for Hollywood. From the press release:Power-Fuerza was a minor hit around New York, but that was about it. Until this new reissue from Truth & Soul (cased like a hardback book with 80 pages of fascinating liner notes and photographs), the 1972 LP was changing hands in collector’s circles for a thousand bucks. Not even all of the band members owned a copy. Forty years after its initial release, people (like me) are just going nuts for this album. It must be incredibly gratifying for everyone involved in creating and then bringing this hidden gem to the public some forty years after the fact and seeing it embraced the way it has been. Seriously, kudos to Truth & Soul for putting together a fantastic product that, frankly, is practically piracy proof. People are gonna want to buy it because the liner notes are SO ESSENTIAL. When you hear the music, you will want to know the story behind it.
As the Ghetto Brothers gathered daily in their clubhouse on East 162nd Street in the early ‘70s, they brought another aspect to their legacy: musicianship. Influenced as much by the Beatles – Benjy, Robert and Victor were in a neighborhood tribute group in the mid-‘60s called Los Junior Beatles – and doo-wop harmonies as by Santana and Tito Puente, they quickly cooked up a potent, NYC-flavored musical stew. It was a melting pot of styles gobbled up by a growing fanbase, who heard them on the street or, on occasion, traveled across gang lines to check the scene.
After jamming and building up enough tunes, the GBs garnered the attention of local record store and record label owner Ismael Maisonave (Mary Lou Records / Salsa Records). After agreeing to his invitation to put their music on tape, the group rehearsed furiously and gathered material. In the summer of 1972, they were ready.
The album’s eight tracks were recorded in one day at Manhattan’s Fine Tone Studios on 42nd Street, produced and engineered by Latin studio maven Bobby Marin. Seven of the eight are originals written by Benjy and/or Victor Melendez. Arrangements were written on the spot. The result: a beautiful, absolutely innocent audio snapshot by three brothers, their friends and a powerful gang of musical energy.
The original group split up, but the Ghetto Brothers are still very much together as a musical family affair: Benjy and Robert Melendez and their sons Joshua and Hiram, playing bass and drums respectively, meet at their studio every Friday to play music (Their brother Victor Melendez died in 1995).
“There’s Something in My Heart”
“Got This Happy Feeling”
WNYC’s Soundcheck awesome show on the Ghetto Brothers with Benjy Melendez and author Jeff “Chairman” Mao:
“8 Million Stories: Yellow Benjy” by Andreas Vingaard
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Interview & Photographs by Theo Constantinou
“The punk movement for us was not a style of music, it was a state of mind. It was about taking things into your own hands.” - Mike WattREAD the whole thing at Paradigm Magazine
“… You never know when your last gig is, don’t do it half way. Don’t sleepwalk. Don’t connect the dots. Even if you’re fixing carburetors. Make it the best fucking job you did on a carburetor. That’s what happens. This working for the weekend. Everything is all by proxy. No! Accidently I wrote a song called ‘Life is A Rehearsal’ because it ain’t no rehearsal.”
"I think there’s a lot of allegory and metaphor involved. Being cruel to the people, that’s not a metaphor, but humans like to do it ‘cause they’re so certain of the reality. I think that some of the writers, they make me think a lot about shit. It’s hard to understand but you become so passionate. For the longest time, I didn’t know what “Proud Man” was about. Then I figured it out; it was a steam boat, with big wheels and a bottom wheel. It took all these years and hearin’ that thousands of times. So I didn’t figure it out but I like the passion that it puts in me. For sure, I would use it as a club to beat another guy over the head with and I see it bein’ used like that a lot. I was just in Spain, in Seville, and it was Muslim this part called Al Kazar. And when the Christians got it, they didn’t tear it down, they conquistadores. They added to it. They even invited some Italians in later and got some Renaissance shit in there. They turned the minaret to a bell tower, so he’s got the power but at least he didn’t destroy. In a way, there was a weird hybrid of things. Tolerance, the tolerance thing is intense. That’s the real test. Gettin’ along with people who agree with you is tough. Why would a God do this? I hear that question a lot. Not just Richard Dawkins. You’ll hear science people talk about it, philosophers. Doubting, I don’t think, is a bad thing. Professional doubters, same thing as skepticism, you have to doubt doubters. See, logic only gets ya so far. But the magic, I don’t know about that. When you talk about Boots, he was trying to mix you know, it seems like a lotta guys were tryin’ to do that with the Christians. This whole thing that there was more to it, kinda goes back to the old days, even with our newer tools and science. You still have that question from the old days. What’s to it? I think it’s interesting. It is a very personal issue. This is where Watt gets worried cause it gets mixed with politics. That way I like Mr. Jefferson, keep ‘em separate. I hope I don’t sound too old fashioned. Don’t put ‘em in where the guns are cause you know, people grab for the sword and ideas mean nothing. And religion is such a personal issue. How can you fuckin’ say for everyone just cause you got the guns? And they’ve tried it so many times, and it never works. It never works. So when he said keep ‘em separate, and I’ve been there, I’ve taken a lot of my bands to Montecelo. The Obilisque, there’s a lot of crosses in this thing but he’s under Obilisque. He’s under some kinda thing. I just think it’s so personal that to mix it with politics…and even with politics, what’s that word mean? Is it really better ideas or I got more guns than you? I got a good beauty contest thing goin and you get a little skeptical about a lot of these kinds of things. I believe in short cuts. Talkin to guy on the tour. He had to do the miles, he couldn’t sit down and see it on the TV, he had to make it. There are no shortcuts! If you have to spend a lifetime reading the Old Testament, it’s trippy. It is trippy. The new one, too, has got some trippy shit. A lot of books got trippy. It’s hard for us to get perspective. Especially when you raise that and tell us that’s the only way. You either react against it or you strangle it. Like if I had enough information and I had perspective, I could just look at it. Our thing was so closed. I think what you’re asking is very valid and I’ll tell you, more important than that question, that’s serious."
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
from the presurfer
The video tracks formation of snowflakes from their origins in bits of dust in clouds that become droplets of water falling to Earth. When the droplets cool, six crystal faces form because water molecules bond in hexagonal networks when they freeze.
As snowflakes continue to develop, the branches can spread, grow long and pointy, or branch off into new arms. As each snowflake rises and falls through warmer and cooler air, it thus develops its own distinctive shape.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Composer/arranger Edward O. Bland’s 1958 quasi-documentary short, Cry of Jazz was one of the first films to examine Black culture. Made during the Eisenhower era when that concept hardly had a meaning to the general public, it was also perhaps the first time that assumptions of white cultural supremacy were challenged by an African-American director in cinema history.
Today the little-known film is considered a lost classic and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2010:
Scenes of the Arkestra were filmed at 5 or 6 club gigs between 1956 and 1958. This was before the band and its leader began wearing the distinctive Egyptian and science fiction-styled headdresses and costumes they would later become known for.
“[N]ow recognized as an early and influential example of African-American independent film-making. Director Ed Bland, with the help of more than 60 volunteer crew members, intercuts scenes of life in Chicago’s black neighborhoods with interviews of interracial artists and intellectuals. “Cry of Jazz” argues that black life in America shares a structural identity with jazz music. With performance clips by the jazz composer, bandleader and pianist Sun Ra and his Arkestra, the film demonstrates the unifying tension between rehearsed and improvised jazz. “Cry of Jazz” is a historic and fascinating film that comments on racism and the appropriation of jazz by those who fail to understand its artistic and cultural origins.”
The great revolutionary poet, John Sinclair, had this to say about Cry of Jazz on his blog in 2004:
The Arkestra performances that provide the soundtrack for The Cry of Jazz underline and accent Bland’s relentlessly didactic story line and offer vivid visual contrast to the extended narrative scenes which depict a group of collegiate jazz enthusiasts heatedly engaged in a profound intellectual discussion centered on the politics of music and race and the definition, meaning and future of jazz.
Bland’s passionate, well-ordered polemic extremely advanced for the late 50s presents a systematic economic analysis of the social forces which produced and shaped the music called jazz, carefully relates them to the shape and form of the music then prevalent, and boldly forecasts what he calls the death of jazz that will be administered by a new experimental movement led by creative artists and composers (here typified by Sun Ra) who are dedicated to freeing the music from its historical strictures, reflecting the social conditions of the present, and projecting and interpreting the world of the future.
At first the story proceeds with excruciating slowness: A college jazz society meeting breaks up, leaving behind a group of stragglers a pair of white women, a white man and two black men who continue the discussion among themselves and soon reach sharp disagreement on the issues of where jazz originated, what forces shaped its development and why it sounded the way it did. Then one of the black men seizes center stage and carefully unfolds his increasingly radical analysis until his listeners are left virtually stupefied and without coherent response.
Sun Ra & the Arkestra lay down a pulsating track of sound under the narration and serve to punctuate the protagonist’s long, engrossing lecture with appropriate segments of performance footage and musical counterpoint. It’s easy to picture Sun Ra enthusiasts editing together these Arkestral appearances and eliminating the talking parts altogether, but inquisitive viewers may gain immensely from exposure to Bland’s fiercely iconoclastic exposition on the state of African American creative music on the historical cusp of the modern jazz era and the free jazz, avant garde, New Black Music movement of the 1960s.
A young Herman Poole “Sonny” Blount, before he properly understood his intergalactic roots and legally changed his name to Le Sony’r Ra
From Sonny Blount to Sun Ra: The Chicago Years
Sounds from Tomorrow’s World: Sun Ra and the Chicago Years, 1946-1961
Purchase the DVD of Cry of Jazz at Amazon.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Monday, January 7, 2013
Sunday, January 6, 2013
from Boing Boing
The Curiosity rover can do a lot of things, but nobody is expecting her to find direct evidence of life on Mars. In fact, the hunt for life on the Red Planet has been a pretty stunted one. The last time we really looked was during the Viking missions, which tried to find chemical "footprints" that would exist if there had once been life on Mars, but that could end up on that planet for other reasons, as well. What we got back was a less-than-enthralling "Outlook Hazy. Try Again Later."
Ever since, we've contented ourselves with searching for indirect evidence — assessing the planet for signs that it might once have had the conditions necessary for life to happen. That's important, and it will make direct evidence of life more believable if we ever do find it, but it's not quite the same thing.
But now, DNA sequencing tools have become portable enough (and drilling technology has become powerful enough) that some scientists and Craig Ventner think we could send a probe to Mars which could find buried traces of actual DNA protected in the dirt and sequence that DNA on site.It's also possible that life hitched a ride between Earth and Mars in their early days. Asteroid impacts have sent about a billion tonnes of rock careering between the two planets, potentially carrying DNA or its building blocks. That could mean that any genetic material on Mars is similar enough to DNA that we have a chance of finding it using standard tests.Read the rest of the story at New Scientist
Even if we don't, we can set up future sequencers to look for molecules that use alternative sugars or chemical letters in the genetic code. "We're not there yet, but it's not a fundamental limitation," says Chris Carr of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who works on the NASA-backed Search for Extraterrestrial Genomes.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
off topic i know, had to escape for a few hours...
Having just seen Skyfall and finding it thoroughly entertaining, I thought I’d share this collection of previews from [almost] all of the series. Enjoy.
Dr. No (1962-Sean Connery)
From Russia With Love (1963-Sean Connery)
Goldfinger (1964-Sean Connery)
Thunderball (1965-Sean Connery)
You Only Live Twice (1967-Sean Connery)
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969-George Lazenby)
Diamonds Are Forever (1971-Sean Connery)
Live and Let Die (1973-Roger Moore)
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974-Roger Moore)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977-Roger Moore)
Moonraker (1979-Roger Moore)
For Your Eyes Only (1981-Roger Moore)
Octopussy (1983-Roger Moore)
A View to a Kill (1985-Roger Moore)
The Living Daylights (1987-Timothy Dalton)
Licence to Kill (1989-Timothy Dalton)
GoldenEye (1995-Pierce Brosnan)
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997-Pierce Brosnan)
The World is Not Enough (1999-Pierce Brosnan)
Die Another Day (2002-Pierce Brosnan)
Casino Royale (2006-Daniel Craig)
Quantum of Solace (2008-Daniel Craig)
Skyfall (2012-Daniel Craig)
Thursday, January 3, 2013
This Past weekend a photograph of mine was used on the cover of the New York Times Magazine, to honor the life of MCA. A friend, and friend to several of my friends. I was really happy to hear the kind words from some of these folks who honored me by saying things like "Such a beautiful tribute to our old friend" and "No one captured the true essence of Adam better than you." To have this image picked to grace the cover and honor his life when so many incredible lives have been lost, in the past year, was a bit daunting.
When the Times associate photo editor hit me up I was cautious at first when asked for editorial images (no thought of a cover yet). Adam was always pretty particular about images of himself and the band over the years, and we had our disagreements at times, but in the end he always seemed to be able to get people to come around to his view, at the very least, appreciate it from his perspective.
So that said, if i was going to participate in this mainstream, end of year tribute, i'd have to be sure the image would be something worthy - i showed them some good stuff. In the last week i had been doing some extensive research in my own archive for a new book i am working on, and came across this gem of Adam, but i didn't have a scan of it to send them. A week later when she came back to me and said they were considering Adam for the cover, I thought, "What better way to have this never seen image published ? - There would be none!" I took the slide out, worked on as accurate a scan as I could at home (which is not so easy to do well from a color slide), then sent it over. They said "Everyone loved it!" So it was in the running, along with another (very old) fallen icon of the last year, and even a "type treatment" that the corniest of egomaniacal art directors always like to do.
When she told me, a few days later, after several last minute deadline meetings that they chose my image, i said "cool". Knowing in this business, I don't believe anything 'til i actually have it in my hands.
By last Thursday she actually over-nighted me a few copies while i was out of town with family. Wow ! They really used Adam on the cover and also a shot from dear old friend of Adam's and mine, Arabella Field (who shot the Pollywog Stew EP cover of the original band), inside. Very cool.
You can read the words and see the online version HERE.
So the Times then ran a blog about the story I just told you with some other details, (unfortunately besides giving disgraceful credit for the cover in the printed issue - which under other circumstances i would never allow - in the blog interview they rushed to put it up and lost some nuance and detail, so i'll add for y'all below).
Behind the Cover Photo: On Digging Up a Super-Rare Shot of Adam Yauch
By AMY KELLNER [special edit]
The cover of The Lives They Lived issue this past Sunday featured a never-before-published photograph of Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys taken by Glen E. Friedman. Amy Kellner, one of the magazine’s photo editors, talked to Friedman about the story behind that photo. Here are some of the highlights of their conversation.
On meeting the Beastie Boys:
I’ve been friends with the Beastie Boys for quite a long time. I met them through Arabella Field, our good mutual friend who grew up with Adam since they were born. (Field took the photo of Yauch with two cigarettes in his mouth, featured in the article.) I was actually living in L.A. when I met them in New York, but I was in New York a lot. It was 1981 or 1982 out in front of CBGB's.
On photographing other bands:
I had already done my first album photo at that point for the Adolescents. I had also been photographing bands like Black Flag, the Circle Jerks and the Dead Kennedys, and here in new York, The Bad Brains, The Stimulators, The Mad. It wasn't until The Beastie Boys actually came to California as a group for the first time in 1985 (opening for Madonna!), that I had done a photo session with them, because I was really inspired by them doing hip-hop. They didn’t know anybody in Los Angeles, so I brought them all around and introduced them to a bunch of people and got them on a couple of important radio shows because of my experience working with bands at that time.
On making a spontaneous photo shoot happen:
I came to California for Thanksgiving just to be with family in 1991, and I had given the Beastie Boys a call. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and they invited me down to their "G-Son" studios out in Atwater Village in Los Angeles, to just hang out and see their skate ramp, play some basketball in the studio and listen to “Check Your Head” as they were still trying to figure out it's final sequencing, before it came out. I was just totally blown away and totally inspired by the album, and so I told them that we should take some photos before I had to go back to New York. They said "sure, let’s do it, it will be like old times." We did it the next day and I was on the red-eye back to New York that night!
On the challenge of coming up with an album cover:
Unfortunately, they had said that the album cover for "Check Your Head" had already been picked (in fact it wasn't even a photo of the band), and I said that I'll try and out do that. I knew I would. So Adam had an idea, he wanted me to create for them their own version of the iconic photo on the cover of Minor Threat's Salad Days 7" single. So we met up early in the morning at the Capitol Records building and we took a roll or two of black and white right in that area. There was a picture of them sitting on the curb that we took at the end of the first roll, and I knew in my head, that was their shot, I knew that would be their version of the Salad Days photo, and it became the album cover, replacing the original one they had chosen. When I had gotten back to New York after that, and after getting all the film back and photos printed, I faxed them all the best images right away. (for me, that was the way to get it to someone quick back then). I had a really good fax machine. They got the fax of the photos on the other end and literally they liked that one shot so much, they put it on the album cover as a fax, like i had sent them (check the vinyl version of the LP and you'll see it's clearly a fax).
On shooting in an old torn-down structure:
After I took that shot of the three of them, we decided to keep shooting. We went by Adam's log cabin up Laurel Canyon, and the school yard up further on Wonderland Ave., Mulholland Drive, Got great shots everywhere. (My friend, Amery Smith was driving us around in his van, and in fact it was the first time the Beasties and 'AWOL' ever met.) Later on, for the last location, we brought them down to the Sorrento Beach parking lot, in Santa Monica, next to where there was this pool that my DogTown friends all skated back in the '70s. I knew this would be a good spot to shoot because I partially grew up around there. It had some resonance for me. And then there was this old torn-down structure right across the street (actually the PCH) from the parking lot. It was late in the day and the light was hitting it just incredibly, and I said, "Let's climb up there and let's take these photos." That shot of Adam I guess was during some downtime while we were just hanging around up there in that destroyed structure, trying to figure out some cool angles for shots... It was very close to the end of the day. (another shot i took up there made it onto the back cover of my first book) It was just an outtake, an individual image of him, and I didn?t have an individual image of anyone else up there. It just looked cool, otherworldly, it just looked like him. He was very into snowboarding at the time, and that's why you see he's wearing his down jacket, that ski hat, lift pass attached to his coat zipper, and stuff.
On digging up the photo:
When you [Amy] let me know there was a possibility of a cover for The Lives They Lived, I dug extra deep into my extensive Beastie archive to find a solo shot of Adam that had never been published or even seen by anyone else ever. This one fit the requirements well, I thought, for our hometown newspaper. My only wish is that it had been shot in New York.
Below is the home scan with more accurate end of day lighting, i sent over to the Times.
Let's hope this comes to fruition : ADAM YAUCH PARK
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
"finally," a creative studio based in Mainz, Germany, produced this beautiful animated video exploring what music is:from our friend Xeni at Boing BoingMusic is a good thing. But what we did not know until we started with the research for this piece: Music is also a pretty damn complex thing. This experimental animation is about the attempt to understand all the parts and bits of it. Have a look. You might agree with our conclusion!