Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mad Cowboy - Full Documentary

I am a fourth-generation dairy farmer and cattle rancher. I grew up on a dairy farm in Montana, and I ran a feedlot operation there for twenty years. I know firsthand how cattle are raised and how meat is produced in this country.

Today I am president of Earth Save International, an organization promoting organic farming and the vegetarian diet.

Sure, I used to enjoy my steaks as much as the next guy. But if you knew what I know about what goes into them and what they can to do you, youd probably be a vegetarian like me. And, believe it or not, as a pure vegetarian now who consumes no animal products at all, I can tell you these days I enjoy eating more than ever.

If youre a meat-eater in America, you have a right to know that you have something in common with most of the cows youve eaten. Theyve eaten meat, too.

When a cow is slaughtered, about half of it by weight is not eaten by humans: the intestines and their contents, the head, hooves, and horns, as well as bones and blood. These are dumped into giant grinders at rendering plants, as are the entire bodies of cows and other farm animals known to be diseased. Rendering is a $2.4 billion-a-year industry, processing forty billion pounds of dead animals a year. There is simply no such thing in America as an animal too ravaged by disease, too cancerous, or too putrid to be welcomed by the all-embracing arms of the renderer. Another staple of the renderers diet, in addition to farm animals, is euthanized pets - the six or seven million dogs and cats that are killed in animal shelters every year. The city of Los Angeles alone, for example, sends some two hundred tons of euthanized cats and dogs to a rendering plant every month. Added to the blend are the euthanized catch of animal control agencies, and road kill. (Road kill is not collected daily, and in the summer, the better road kill collection crews can generally smell it before they can see it.) When this gruesome mix is ground and steam-cooked, the lighter, fatty material floating to the top gets refined for use in such products as cosmetics, lubricants, soaps, candles, and waxes. The heavier protein material is dried and pulverized into a brown powder-about a quarter of which consists of fecal material. The power is used as an additive to almost all pet food as well as to livestock feed. Farmers call it protein concentrates. In 1995, five million tons of processed slaughterhouse leftovers were sold for animal feed in the United States. I used to feed tons of the stuff to my own livestock. It never concerned me that I was feeding cattle to cattle.

Quoted from Howard Lyman's' book Mad Cowboy

Mad Cowboy Official Website


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Professional baseball's Orioles COO John Angelos offers eye-opening perspective on Baltimore protests

from USA Today by Ted Berg
After protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray turned violent on Saturday, Baltimore sports-radio broadcaster Brett Hollander took to Twitter to argue that demonstrations that negatively impact the daily lives of fellow citizens are counter-productive. Orioles COO John Angelos, son of owner Peter Angelos, seized the opportunity to respond with a qualified and brilliant defense of those protesting.

You can read the whole thing in Angelos’ Twitter replies, but it’s transcribed here for clarity. It’s all here because it’s all so good. Read the whole thing:
Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.
Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore resident, suffered a spinal injury while in police custody after his arrest on April 12 and died seven days later. Six city police officers have been suspended pending an investigation into Gray’s death.

Monday, April 27, 2015

UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet

from the Guardian
A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said today.

As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable, says the report from United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management.

It says: "Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products."

Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report, said: "Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels."

The recommendation follows advice last year that a vegetarian diet was better for the planet from Lord Nicholas Stern, former adviser to the Labour government on the economics of climate change. Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has also urged people to observe one meat-free day a week to curb carbon emissions.

The panel of experts ranked products, resources, economic activities and transport according to their environmental impacts. Agriculture was on a par with fossil fuel consumption because both rise rapidly with increased economic growth, they said.

Ernst von Weizsaecker, an environmental scientist who co-chaired the panel, said: "Rising affluence is triggering a shift in diets towards meat and dairy products - livestock now consumes much of the world's crops and by inference a great deal of freshwater, fertilisers and pesticides."

Both energy and agriculture need to be "decoupled" from economic growth because environmental impacts rise roughly 80% with a doubling of income, the report found.

Achim Steiner, the UN under-secretary general and executive director of the UNEP, said: "Decoupling growth from environmental degradation is the number one challenge facing governments in a world of rising numbers of people, rising incomes, rising consumption demands and the persistent challenge of poverty alleviation."

The panel, which drew on numerous studies including the Millennium ecosystem assessment, cites the following pressures on the environment as priorities for governments around the world: climate change, habitat change, wasteful use of nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilisers, over-exploitation of fisheries, forests and other resources, invasive species, unsafe drinking water and sanitation, lead exposure, urban air pollution and occupational exposure to particulate matter.

Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, says the report, which has been launched to coincide with UN World Environment day on Saturday.

Last year the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said that food production would have to increase globally by 70% by 2050 to feed the world's surging population. The panel says that efficiency gains in agriculture will be overwhelmed by the expected population growth.

Prof Hertwich, who is also the director of the industrial ecology programme at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, said that developing countries – where much of this population growth will take place – must not follow the western world's pattern of increasing consumption: "Developing countries should not follow our model. But it's up to us to develop the technologies in, say, renewable energy or irrigation methods."

This story was printed originally in 2010, it's amazing how little has changed :-(


Sunday, April 26, 2015

More good news from McDonald's ! ! !
Closing hundreds of restaurants this year!


McDonald’s MCD shuttered 350 poorly performing stores in Japan, the United States, and China the first three months of 2015 as part of its plan to boost its sagging profits.

Those previously unannounced closings, disclosed on a conference call with Wall Street analysts on Wednesday, are on top of the 350 shutterings the world’s largest restaurant chain had already targeted for the year. While those 700 store closings this year represent a fraction of the 32,500 or so restaurants worldwide, they show how aggressive McDonald’s is getting in pruning poorly attended locations that are dragging down its results.

Earlier on Wednesday, McDonald’s had reported an 11% decrease in revenue and a 30% drop in profit for the first three months of year, a continuation of its troubles in the last two years as it has struggled to compete with new U.S. competitors, a tough economy in Europe and a food safety scare in Asia.

McDonald’s CFO Kevin Ozan told analysts that the shuttered stores in China, where comparable sales fell 4.8% in the first quarter, had been underperforming for years. In Japan, where McDonald’s is still reeling from the food safety scare last summer, the stores closed stores were “heavy loss maker restaurants.” As for the U.S., comparable sales were down 2.3%, one of their biggest drop in years as chains like Chipotle ate into sales.

On May 4, the company will start detailing its turnaround strategy.

In the last few months, it has made a few moves that telegraph where it is heading, though it is pretty clear how the big the challenge will be for the Golden Arches.

For instance, earlier in April the company announced it is testing out a larger, pricier, third-of-a-pound burger for $5, two years after dropping the similar Angus burger line because they were too pricey for McDonald’s diners. Despite that earlier failure, new CEO Steve Easterbrook expressed confidence his customers would go for premium burgers.

“I often describe McDonald’s as possibly the most democratic -- with a small ‘d’ -- brand in the world,” he said. “And what customers love the world over, and none more so than here in the U.S., is how they can buy into aspirational quality products, but at a McDonald’s price.”

But he faces an uphill battle in winning over the millions of burger-eaters in the U.S. that have a dim view of McDonald’s offerings: Nation’s Restaurant News published a survey this month rating 111 limited-service chains on 10 attributes including food quality, and McDonald’s was ranked No. 110, ahead only of Chuck E. Cheese. In-N-Out Burger topped the list.

And he also has to get the thousands of franchisees, who own 80% of McDonald’s locations, on board as he works to transform the company, even as many are still smarting from his decision to raise wages at company-owned U.S. restaurants.

“When business is a little tough like it is at the moment in the U.S., with cash flows being challenged, yeah, frustrations do arise,” Easterbrook said.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Cramps’ long-lost video for ‘Human Fly’ FOUND!!!

from Dangerous Minds

The story goes that in 1978, the Cramps made a video, filmed by Alex de Laszlo, for their song “Human Fly,” that featured singer Lux Interior (RIP 2009) in a classic movie-monster transformation scene—but it seemed like nobody saw it, or could even prove it existed. A close perusal of Thomas Owen Sheridan’s collection of contemporary zine articles about the band—itself a rare Cramps collectible—yielded exactly one reference to its existence.

Seriously, that’s it.

The 1990 book Wild Wild World of the Cramps, by Ian Johnston, who also wrote the book on Nick Cave, offered this:
In May, The Cramps made their first tentative steps into the world of promotional video. A friend who was studying at film school suggested his services and a short three-minute film, based on the song ‘Human Fly’ was produced. The film was made for under $200 and featured Lux painfully transforming into a fly. This artefact is now so rare that even Lux and Ivy do not have a copy of the film.

In 2011, an amazing blog post by Kogar Theswingingape proffered actual screen caps and a scene-by-scene breakdown, but the video itself wasn’t posted.
The film opens with a countdown and a placard with: Vengeance Productions Presents a Film by Alex de Laszlo. It immediately cuts to a shot of Ivy walking down the street, transistor radio glued to her ear (The Way I Walk is playing), blowing bubbles and holding a glass bottle coke. Cut to a somber looking Lux in a smoking jacket sitting on what appears to be a leopard print sofa. He’s prepping a huge hypodermic needle by lighting a match and holding it under the needle.

Lux then gathers up some flesh from around his throat and slowly injects himself.

The result is immediate; he begins a transformation!

Well, it seems that a couple of months ago, the actual film, AT LONG LAST, after decades of existing as little more than a tantalizing rumor, finally and with little fanfare found its way to YouTube. It’s amazing that this sine qua non of Cramps ephemera has been online for months with such a paltry view-count. Let’s ramp those numbers up a bit, shall we?


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Watch what happened the day Malcolm X was assassinated in Ken Jacobs’ ‘Perfect Film’

from Dangerous Minds

The capricious career of experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs has produced a lot of inscrutable cinema. His best known movie is Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son from 1969 and it’s the sort of avant-garde project that is probably best experienced on drugs. Jacobs re-cut and altered part of a 1905 silent film, at points actually filming projections of the film so the viewer is watching a movie of a movie. It’s all very meta I suppose, but it goes on for 115 minutes, and the novelty wears down to crushing boredom after the first ten. His 1986 project, Perfect Film, was a far less avant-garde—and far more watchable and entertaining—use of found footage.

Of course, this is probably because Jacobs’ source material was way more interesting. Perfect Film consists of footage and interviews from the day of Malcolm X’s assassination, including an off-the-clock journalist who actually witnessed the shooting, a local Harlem man, a besuited police investigator and clips of Malcolm himself just prior to his death. It’s really an unnarrated documentary composed entirely of unedited raw footage, and it’s compelling as a historical artifact (rather than art), just as Jacobs intended. He explained his decision not to edit thusly:

I wish more stuff was available in its raw state, as primary source material for anyone to consider, and to leave for others in just that way, the evidence uncontaminated by compulsive proprietary misapplied artistry, “editing”, the purposeful “pointing things out” that cuts a road straight and narrow through the cine-jungle; we barrel through thinking we’re going somewhere and miss it all. Better to just be pointed to the territory, to put in time exploring, roughing it, on our own. For the straight scoop we need the whole scoop, or no less than the clues entire and without rearrangement. O, for a Museum of Found Footage, or cable channel, library, a shit-museum of telling discards accessible to all talented viewers/auditors. A wilderness haven salvaged from Entertainment.
Perfect Film was actually released in 1986, well before the modern Internet and its tendency to catalog a de facto media archive. At 81 years of age, Jacobs is still kicking—perhaps pleased to witness this dream take shape.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A new Documentary : SALAD DAYS:
A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90)

Hey! I will be speaking briefly on a panel this evening over at the IFC theater, here in New York City, after the 7:50pm showing of the documentary film SALAD DAYS: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90).

“Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90)” is a documentary film that examines the early DIY punk scene in the Nation’s Capital. It was a decade when seminal bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Government Issue, Scream, Void, Faith, Rites of Spring, Marginal Man, Fugazi, and others released their own records and booked their own shows—without major record label constraints or mainstream media scrutiny. Contextually, it was a cultural watershed that predated the alternative music explosion of the 1990s (and the industry’s subsequent implosion). Thirty years later, DC’s original DIY punk spirit serves as a reminder of the hopefulness of youth, the power of community and the strength of conviction.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hank Shocklee: 'We Had Something to Prove' via NPR

The Public Enemy producer tells NPR how hip-hop revolutionized recording technology.

People often refer to the multi-layered, cacophonous style of Public Enemy's production team the Bomb Squad as a "wall of noise" — similar to Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" — but to let Squad member Hank Shocklee tell it, their sample-heavy approach was less like Spector's and more akin to a particular collage-based visual artist's:

"I had a ridiculous record collection. And I wanted to prove that it was the records that inspired me. Because ... I understand scales and musical arrangements and that stuff but I didn't have — I was not a player. I'm not going to pick up a bass or a guitar or keys and I'm going to, you know, put some virtuoso stuff down. That's not going to happen. But what I do have is a turntable and records. And so I just want to create this collage, almost like a Romare Bearden kind of a painting."

Shocklee — alongside his brother, Keith, P.E. front man Chuck D and Eric "Vietnam" Sadler — was an architect of Public Enemy's distinct, attention-grabbing sound, and helped sampling evolve into an art form unto itself. Racking up production credits for a diverse list of collaborators that ranged from Ice Cube to Bell Biv Devoe, the Bomb Squad was an inspiration to a generation of influential musicians like Microphone Check's own Ali Shaheed Muhammad. At SXSW 2015 in Austin, Texas, Microphone Check spoke with Hank Shocklee about hip-hop's underappreciated technical ingenuity and why pop music doesn't appeal to him.

Monday, April 20, 2015

BURNING FLAGS PRESS is for the Youth!

To celebrate all we have to be grateful for this past year, we gave back some to the youth (and my youth) - Always loved the Pirates and the inspiration of the one and only Roberto Clemente, the incredible ball player and humanitarian.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday Science: How Wall Street Used Government Forces to Crush Occupy

from Popular Resistance:

How Wall Street Used Government Forces to Crush Occupy

Above: Occupy Oakland Police use gas, flashbangs, clubs and fists It has been over two years since the Occupy Movement was brutally destroyed by a coordinated national effort led by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Since that time, much documentation has been released under the Freedom of Information Act. Even though they are heavily redacted, these documents provide a frightening window into how far corporate America along with the federal, state, and local governments acting as their agents were willing to go to destroy a populist social movement like Occupy. Despite all the documentation we have, there are still many out there who are in denial about these facts. After reading some recent comments that misrepresent what happened to the Occupy Movement, I decided to review how Occupy was so brutally squelched by Wall Street and corporate America using government forces as their agents acting upon their behalf.

Terrorism. The word alone can bring about unwarranted fear in otherwise normal people. The images of the twin towers of the World trade Center were deeply etched into the American psyche and created a climate of intense fear which provided the rationale for the current “war on terror.” But what is terrorism and how is a terrorist organization defined? Let’s start with Merriam Webster’s dictionary which defines terrorism as thus:
the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal

This definition seems fairly straight forward. But then if we look at the FBI’s definition of terrorism, the definition of terrorism becomes more muddied. There are multiple definitions of terrorism, but for this diary we are looking at the definition of domestic terrorism. The FBI’s own definition requires a three part test and yet the Occupy Movement was branded as a terrorist threat before the first tent was placed in Zuccotti Park. Let’s examine just how FBI’s open ended interpretation of their own definition of terrorism was and can be selectively used to squelch public dissent such as was the case with the Occupy Movement..

“Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics: - Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law; – Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and -Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

The first subsection of the definition is particularly important in that it requires an organization to be engaged in acts that are dangerous to human life and violate state and federal law. I would argue that the Oath Keepers guarding the Bundy Ranch definitely met this part of the definition in that they physically threatened federal agents with high powered military style weapons. Yet they were not treated as a terrorist organization. When the government’s reaction to the Oath Keepers’ threats upon federal agents is compared to the Occupy Movement, it is almost laughable that the FBI could consider Occupy a terrorist organization at all. There was never any remote indication that the Occupy Movement intended to do anything enumerated in subsection two. But the FBI decided to categorize the Occupy Movement as a terrorist organization early on in its inception as evidenced by the FBI’s own documents that were obtained under the FOIA. (note: my bolding added for emphasis)

FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests. These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity. These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.

Not only was Occupy, a peaceful public protest group, categorized as a terrorist organization for no legitimate reason other than they challenged corporate America and the big money on Wall Street, but the FOIA documents showed another equally disturbing aspect to the government’s coordinated effort to shut down and destroy the Occupy Movement. Early on in the movement, the FBI was collecting data on many of the protestors, particularly those who may have appeared to in leadership roles. This was clearly in violation of laws protecting the public from such intrusive investigations without a warrant or cause.

The FBI denied the surveillance accusations by saying that its investigation did not include “unnecessary intrusions into the lives of law-abiding people” and that its prohibited from investigating Americans “solely for the purpose of monitoring activities protected by the First Amendment or the lawful exercise of other rights.” Of course, if you classify the actions as “domestic terrorism,” other rules apply.

The documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund clearly show that the Occupy Movement was targeted by the federal government as a terrorist threat from its very beginning even prior to the initial occupation of Zuccotti Park.

…the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledges Occupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a “terrorist threat”

Below is Part one of a video in which Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez interview Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund.

Part 2 is a continuation of the same interview with Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. If you watch only one part, watch Part 2, keeping in mind that Edward Snowden’s revelations had not yet come to fore. Ms. Verheyden-Hilliard’s remarks are very prescient, in light of the knowledge about the NSA and the security state. It is fascinating to watch these videos from late 2012, knowing what we know today.

As detailed at multiple sources, including an excellent article in the Guardian by Naomi Wolf, the extent by which the government and private corporate interests had merged their surveillance and ultimately coordinated the brutal crackdown on the Occupy Movement is shockingly reminiscent of other totalitarian societies. (note: my bolding added for emphasis)

The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banksto target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.

So why was Occupy singled out for such brutal treatment while other, more violent and extreme organizations have been given a pass? There can be only one reason. By its presence and its message, Occupy posed a huge political threat to the big money power brokers on Wall Street and elsewhere in the corporate America. Occupy’s message about the 99% had the potential to make it become such a strong nationwide social movement that the politicians would not be able to ignore it. Occupy had to be stamped out early on and its participants had to be made an example of to deter future public social movements that might challenge the power of big corporate money.One thing is abundantly clear despite those who defend the current administration’s action on this, and that is that Occupy was targeted by a nationwide effort which was coordinated through the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security acting on behalf of big money and corporate America to ensure that it would not succeed. What happened to Occupy should serve as a warning to everyone about the dangerous fusion of corporate interests and our public institutions. The corporate capture of our government institutions is dangerous to us as a free people. Those who fail to learn from the history of how the Occupy Movement was suppressed will be doomed to have it repeated upon them.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hitchcock 101: Alfred Hitchcock on how to make movies

from Dangerous Minds:


Alfred Hitchcock thought the invention of “talkies” was unfortunate as movies assumed a theatrical form overnight. Films, he told Francois Truffaut, stopped being cinematic and became “photographs of people talking.”

When we tell a story in cinema, we should resort to dialogue only when it’s impossible to do otherwise. I always try to tell a story in a cinematic way, through a succession of shots and bits of film in between.

In writing a screenplay, it is essential to separate clearly the dialogue from the visual elements and, whenever possible, to rely more on the visual than on the dialogue. Whichever way you choose to stage the action, your main concern is to hold the audience’s fullest attention.

Summing it up, one might say that the screen rectangle must be charged with emotion.
Hitchcock developed this theme in an interview with director Bryan Forbes at London’s National Film Theatre in 1969, where he explained how work on a movie “starts” for him:
Well, for me, it all starts with the basic material first. Now, the question of when you have the basic material… you may have a novel, a play, an original idea, a couple of sentences and from that the film begins. I work very closely with the writer and begin to construct the film on paper, from the very beginning. We roughly sketch in the whole shape of the film and then begin from the beginning. You end up with around 100 pages, or perhaps even more, of narrative, which is very bad reading for a litterateur. There are no descriptions of any kind—no ‘he wondered’, because you can’t photograph ‘he wondered.’
No ‘camera pans right’, for example
Not at that stage, no. It’s as though you were looking at the film on the screen and the sound was turned off. And therefore, to me, this is the first stage. The reason for it is this—it is to urge one to, to drive one, to make one work purely in the visual and not rely upon words at all. I am still a purist and I do believe that film is a series of images projected on a screen. This succession of images create ideas, which in turn create emotion, just as much as in literature words put together form sentences.
This is is what Hitchcock called “pure film”
The point is that pure film is montage, which is the assembly of pieces of film, which in their turn must create an emotion in the audience. That is the whole art of the cinema—the montage of the pieces. It is merely a matter of design, subject matter and so forth. You can’t generalise about it. You can only hope to produce ideas, expressed in montage terms that create an emotion in an audience.
Hitchcock was a cinematic purist—which ultimately made him a control freak. Everything was planned and worked out long before the actors rehearsed their lines or the first shot was taken. “Actors,” Hitchcock once said in his famously quoted line, “should be treated like cattle.” They were there to collaborate and serve his vision. That’s why he preferred working with actors like James Stewart or Cary Grant rather than “method” actors like Montgomery Clift or Paul Newman. Indeed, during the making of Torn Curtain, Hitchcock became so fed up with Newman continually asking about his motivation that he eventually told him, “Your motivation is your salary.”
The method actor is okay in the theatre because he has a free space to move about. But when it comes to cutting the face and what he sees and so forth, there must be some discipline. I remember discussing with a method actor how he was taught and so forth. He said, “We’re taught using improvisation. We are given an idea and then we are turned loose to develop in any way we want to.” I said “That’s not acting. That’s writing.” And that is why method actors today always turn up on set with a new script.
Hitchcock’s interview with Bryan Forbes was originally broadcast as an hour-long program on the BBC, but this edited version highlights the great auteur’s wit and wisdom on filmmaking.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

John Lennon sees a UFO in New York City, 1974

from Dangerous Minds:

The November 1974 issue of what was then known as “Andy Warhol’s Interview” featured a curious interview with John Lennon, conducted by Dr. Winston O’Boogie, who, for those in the know, was one of Lennon’s better-known aliases. (Lennon’s middle name was Winston.) We’ve posted all of the pages of the interview below; the full, playful, and rather awkward title is “Interview/Interview With By/On John Lennon and/or Dr. Winston O’Boogie.” I found it at the Library and Archives of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, who has graciously allowed Dangerous Minds to reproduce it here.

The entire interview is vintage Lennon being playful and generally full of beans; at the time he was promoting Walls and Bridges—in the liner notes was a curious note that read as follows: “On the 23rd August 1974 at 9 o’clock I saw a U.F.O. - J.L.”

In the interview, Lennon took the opportunity to expand on that note:

A. If you look closely at the wonderful “Walls and Bridges”, out now, album package, you will notice a little notice saying, “I saw a U.F.O. . . ” why don’t you ask me about that?

Q. Oh. I hadn’t noticed, did you really . . . where you drunk? high? having a primal?

A. No. Actually I was very straight. I was lying naked on my bed, when I had this urge . . .

Q. Don’t we all . . . ?

A. So I went to the window, just dreaming around in my usual poetic frame of mind, to cut a long short story, there, as I turned my head, hovering over the next building, no more than a hundred feet away was this thing . . . with ordinary electric light bulbs flashing on and off round the bottom, one non blinking red light on top . . . what the Nixon is that! I says to myself (for no one else was there) . . . is it a helicopter? No! It makes no noise . . . ah then, it must be a ballon! (Frantically trying to rationalize it, in all my too human way) but no!! Balloons don’t look like that, nor do they fly so low, yes folks, it was flying (very slow, about 30 m.p.h.,) below . . . . I repeat, below most roof tops (i.e. higher than the ‘old building’ lower than the ‘new’.) all the time it was there, I never took my eyes off it, but I did scream to a friend who was in another room “Come and look at this” etc. etc. My friend came running and bore witness with me. Nobody else was around. We tried to take pictures (shit on my polaroid, it was bust) with a straight camera. We gave the film to Bob Gruen to develop, he brought back a blank film . . . . said it looked like it had been thru the radar at customs . . . .  well, it stayed around for a bit, then sailed off.

Q. Did you check to see . . . . . . .

A. Yeh, yeh, the next day Bob (is it in focus) Gruen rang the Daily News, Times, police to see if any one else reported any thing. Two other people and or groups of/ said they too saw something . . . . . anyway I know what I saw . . . . . . .

In his song “Nobody Told Me,” which was recorded during the Double Fantasy sessions but wasn’t released until several years after Lennon’s death, there appears the line “There’s a UFO over New York and I ain’t too surprised,” which is surely a reference to that 1974 incident.

Lennon’s companion that night was almost certainly May Pang, with whom he took up during an extended separation from Yoko Ono. Steven Tucker, in his book Paranormal Merseyside, expands on Lennon’s UFO sighting (note: I don’t vouch for any of the information in that book):

David Bowie … was an amateur ufologist before he became famous in the guise of his Ziggy Stardust persona; he once stood up on top of a rooftop in Beckenham pointing a coathanger into the sky and seeing if he could pick up any alien messages from outer space. Apparently, he only gave up in this task when a passer-by asked him if he could get BBC Two!

Given this climate of UFO belief among the top pop stars of the time, then, perhaps it should come as little surprise that John Lennon himself—the most UFO-obsessed member of the band—claimed to have had his own saucer sightings, at least according to his one-time girlfriend May Pang. Supposedly, the two lovers were in their apartment in New York one night when they saw a spaceship flying by. It was shaped like “a flattened cone” with a “large, brilliant red light” on top and “a row or circle of white lights” running around its rim. It was flying below roof level and giving off visible heat waves and yet, strangely enough, nobody else saw it, other than Lennon and Pang, standing there in wonder on the balcony. The aliens didn’t land and take them away, however, perhaps being frightened off by the fact that they were both stark naked at the time. Pang later made the claim that Lennon had seen other UFOs before this night, and that he felt he might have been abducted by extraterrestrials while still a child living in Woolton.

That UFO sighting, curiously, might be the second-most interesting thing about that Interview feature. The picture that accompanied the piece, by Bob Gruen, is one of the most iconic images in rock and roll history, John Lennon standing on the roof of his building wearing a sleeveless white “NEW YORK CITY” shirt. It’s been reproduced countless times and is certainly the most famous image Gruen, even with his illustrious history as an elite rock photographer, ever took. This appearance in Interview was probably the first time anyone in the world at large ever saw that picture.

Also, it was taken just a few days after that UFO sighting (Gruen of course also has a cameo appearance in that tale). According to Lennon’s liner note on Walls and Bridges, the sighting was on August 23, 1974, and that picture was taken, according to New York magazine, less than a week later: “It was August 29, 1974, midday, and John Lennon, nearly 34 at the time, was up on the roof of his rented East 52nd Street penthouse.”

Here is that Interview feature, in full:

(If you click on the next three images, you will be able to see a much larger version.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

'We Are Blood' (Official Trailer)

We Are Blood is a modern day skate epic featuring Paul Rodriguez and other top skateboarders as they travel the globe pushing the limits of what's possible on a board and four wheels while celebrating the unconditional bond created by the simple act of skateboarding. Directed by Ty Evans, We Are Blood is filmed using state-of-the-art cameras to creatively capture the most cutting-edge, progressive skating experience imaginable.

We Are Blood will debut worldwide August 2015.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chipmunks cover Institutionalized?

from Dangerous Minds:



Just so it’s clear, there really was a Chipmunk Punk, a 1980 project of Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., the namesake son of the Chipmunks’ creator. It was not particularly “punk”—it contained Alvin and the Chipmunks’ cover versions of songs by opposite-of-punk artists like Billy Joel, Tom Petty, Linda Ronstadt, Queen, and for some reason THREE SONGS by the Knack. The entirety of the LP’s New Wave representation was supplied by Blondie’s “Call Me”  and the Cars’ “Let’s Go.” It was stupid as hell, but I liked it. Because I was 10 years old. Bagdasarian followed the successful cash-in with Urban Chipmunk, a collection of squeaky-voiced pop country covers, and Chipmunk Rock, which at least had a version of “Whip It” going for it, but by then, I was like 12, and much too sophisticated for such juvenilia.

And again, so it’s clear, what follows was NOT actually on Chipmunk Punk, so if you go buying that album expecting to hear it, well, something’s possibly wrong with you anyway. California’s smartassy theatrical comedy band Radioactive Chicken Heads recorded an amusing-as-far-as-this-sort-of-thing-goes Chipmunkified version of Suicidal Tendencies’ definitive song, 1983’s “Institutionalized.” I’d hope it should go without saying that the possibility of this actually being a product of anyone officially connected with the evidently deathless Chipmunks franchise is a few leagues beneath unlikely. Whether it’s better or worse than Ice-T’s recent effort at updating the song is a debate I’ll leave to others.



As a palate-cleanser, here’s the original.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015