Sunday, March 29, 2009

Some Media I have Been Enjoying

Prague's Franz Kafka International Named World's Most Alienating Airport

I wondered if the Franz Kafka International Airport video qualifies as fan fiction? The past week for me has been a time of renewed focus on my thesis. I am writing a new introduction, which will be the 'managerial agent' (a very tough guy) that will pull all the other chapters into line, get them walking tall and making sense. At the moment many of my chapters are surrealist loners with substance abuse problems and Dada sensibilities. They need to get with the program, straighten up and fly right. Time is running out. This week we begin the media recommendation with a series of help videos from the 1940s and 50 that I have been watching to learn self-improvement.

How to be Well Groomed and Other Coronet Instructional Videos

How to Be Well Groomed (1949).Siblings Don and Sue show how they keep themselves well groomed throughout the school week and for their Friday night date. "Coronet Instructional Films were shown in American schools starting in about 1941. The company was an offshoot of Coronet Magazine, a digest-sized magazine that itself was owned by Esquire, Inc. Owner David Smart was deeply interested in visual education and the power of the film to teach and convince, and built a full studio on his estate in Glenview, Illinois, where at its height hundreds of films were cranked out each year. The films were sold to schools and libraries by a network of distributors and were quite successful -- in 1976 Coronet celebrated its sale of 1 million prints. Most Coronet films were shot in Kodachrome, but Kodachrome prints of many titles are quite rare. It was cheaper to purchase black-and-white prints, and most sales were black-and-white. For more Coronet history, see Ken Smith's excellent book "Mental Hygiene," published by Blast Books ( "

UbuWeb Sound - Kathy Acker: Redoing Childhood (2000)

This is not background listening. Kathy Acker's work is not a love-it-or-hate-it proposition: it's a get-it one. Either you get it, or you don't. Redoing Childhood, excerpted from her book My Mother: Demonology, is in many respects the most accessible way to experience Acker. Her voice, cool and precise but with an almost invasive intimacy, gives her work clear depth and dimension, creating a full and rich landscape. Every so often, entire concepts spring from throwaway lines: "But this is the question: is it possible to communicate with another person?" "I've got a terrible need to write to you, and for you not to reply." "Virginity doesn't know its own name." And, in the midst of a panoply of sensual images that wouldn't be out of place in a Terry Gilliam film, there's this: "I don't know what to do about all I see and experience."

YouTube Edu
YouTube Edu lets viewers sort clips by school or number of views, and the schools offer content ranging from complete courses to campus events to information for prospective students. Currently, University of Minnesota commands the top spots, with videos on the science of “Watchmen” and HIV/AIDS advancements, but there’s also “Advanced Finite Elements Analysis,” a lecture from the Indian Institutes of Technology, and a mass performance of University of Kansas’s alma mater among the most-viewed.

Playlists and Archives for The Media Squat with Douglas Rushkoff

This isn't pure '60s or Whole Earth radicalism and self-sufficiency (though it's certainly related) but a 21st Century, cyberpunk reclamation of all technologies and social contracts as essentially open source, up for discussion, and open to modification. It's an application of the hacker ethic and net collectivism to everything, done in the spirit of fun and adventure.

Thousand Mile Song

David Rothenberg plays music with whales. Actual, living-in-the-sea whales. No, this isn't one of those corny '70s New Age albums with whale song sound effects dropped in. He actually traveled around the world, went out on boats, dropped a speaker and a mic into the ocean so he could hear the whales and the whales could hear him, and played clarinet along with their songs.
He may be crazy. He's the first to admit that. Since no-one knows what whale songs are for, he could be interfering with some important function they may have, like navigation. Plus, it's illegal. This possibly irresponsible activity led to the occasional confrontation, even shouting matches, with whale lovers he encountered on this scientific/artistic voyage.
His fascinating book/CD from last year, Thousand Mile Song, recounts his travels from the Pacific Northwest, to the Caribbean, to sub-Arctic northern Russia, listening to whale songs, playing along with them, and seeing what happened. Along the way we learn many fun-to-know facts about whales and their songs, e.g.: they have structure. They are not random noises. And these songs change - a whale will "write" a new tune, which will sometimes catch on with other whales, and they ditch the old songs. And different kinds of whales have different styles. Killer whale and beluga songs are as different as, say, punk and r'n'b.

Three CDs from Jopy
Ambient waves of sound. Good for the inner journey.

Awesome Tapes from Africa

This is an incredible blog. Going back to April 2006 this blog presents a treasure trove of some of the best music that has ever been made on planet Earth.

Nana Kwame Ampadu I and the African Brothers International
AGATHA at 250p From the liner notes: " In short, this beautifully performed and superbly recorded album is a fitting musical excellence from Ghana's longest-lived group. It's therefore not surprising that Nana Ampadu is the most brilliant musician and wonderful lyricist who works in a standard and modern format using traditional rhythms and innovations to give the best to his large audience. Nana Ampadu is always together with his people. The people with Africa Feeling."
Well, I could hardly put it any better than it is expressed on the back of this Makossa Records International pressing of the 1981 lp "Agatha".

Songs We Taught The Mummies
First music from Devo and a collection of west coast proto-punk outfits with grinding guitars. Then seven fuzzy guitar garage style tunes from The Mummies:

The Mummies were an American garage punk band formed by Trent Ruane (organ, vocals), Maz Kattuah (bass), Larry Winther (guitar) and Russell Quan (drums). They are one of the most popular and influential bands within the garage punk scene.
Originally hailing from San Mateo, California, they soon tied in with San Francisco's The Phantom Surfers to create that city's burgeoning garage punk scene. With influences of surf rock, frat rock, and 1950s and 1960s garage rock bands such as The Sonics and more contemporary garage punk bands like Thee Mighty Caesars the Mummies eschewed the contemporary rock music of their time. Their first show was at the Chi Chi club in San Francisco in December 1988. The Mummies are especially known for their matching, tattered mummy costumes they wore on stage and their impertinent and insulting attitude that they brought with them. They created and promoted the concept of 'Budget Rock', which rejected professionalism and star status in favor of a simplified do-it-yourself aesthetic. As part of this concept they performed and recorded only on outdated and often damaged equipment. For a tour vehicle they used a garishly painted 1965 Pontiac ambulance. As part of their lo-fi manifesto, they released their music only on vinyl for many years, allowing 'official' CD format releases only in the 2000s. Billy Childish would later say that The Mummies were the only garage group he really loved.

Nine Inch Nails, Street Sweeper and Jane's Addiction EP
2009 tour sampler from these three bands. Classic tracks from Jane's Addiction with unreleased versions of Chip Away and Whores.

Joy and Strength to All.....

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