Tuesday, November 14, 2017

From Hell It Came - Hieronymus Bosch Butt Music

In 2014, a major milestone in music and art history was reached when a music student named Amelia Hamrick attending Oklahoma Christian University took precious time out of her study schedule to transcribe the musical notation written across the butt of one of Hieronymus Bosch's hell-dwellers in his Medieval triptych and master work, "The Garden of Earthly Delights." Hamrick plinked out the tune on piano—written in a book in the painting and finishing across the posterior of the sinner in question in a section of the painting that historians call "The Musicians' Hell"—and posted to her Tumblr, for all the world to celebrate.

Here's a section of the painting known as Musicians' Hell that Bosch enjoyed putting together (do you see the bunny?)



This guy's having an okay time in Club Hell with his jazz hands.



But not so much this guy, his butt exposed, a demon writing notation with its weirdly dotted tongue across this sufferer's cheeks.



Now we can all listen to this 500-year-old butt song from hell, as featured on Anderson Cooper 360. Enjoy!



Hamrick's review is that it's a "really bad" Gregorian chant. But that didn't dissuade Will Ascenzo from posting his chant version on his Tumblr.


Ascenzo's inspiring lyrics:

Butt song from hell
This is the butt song from hell
We sing from our asses while burning in purgatory
The butt song from hell
The butt song from hell
Butts


But hold the phone! We're not done yet because Jim Spalink has posted his version of "Hieronymus Bosch Butt Music" on lute, harp, and hurdy-gurdy. Let's listen:



These butt-music composers are legion, but not to be outdone, guitarist Buckethead has recorded and animated his take on Bosch, "Spokes for the Wheel of Torment." If ever there was a band in hell, this is it.



When your muse is 500 years old, that's old-school.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Heavy Metal Moments - Congratulations to Danica Roem on Your Win

Congratulations to Danica Roem, journalist and first openly transgender candidate to be elected as a state official in Virginia, U.S. of A. She beat Robert Marshall, a 26-year incumbent who once referred to himself as the "Homophobe in Chief" and who introduced a bathroom bill that would have forced people to use the bathroom based on the gender listed on their birth certificate. What poetic justice! And she sings in the heavy metal band Cab Ride Home. An epic win.

Take it away, Danica (grand entrance at 0:42)...



Danica's acceptance speech, November 7, 2017: "I believe in building up our infrastructure instead of tearing down each other ... discrimination is a disqualifier ... No matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, who you love, how you identify, and yeah, how you rock, that if you have good public policy ideas, if you're well-qualified for office, bring those ideas to the table because this is your America too ... We are stronger together."



You rock, Danica.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

I'm a Little Trump-bot - illustrated poem

Hi all, including the hundreds of Russian bots who swarm this little blog whenever I Trump it up. I'm offering you this poem with a delightful illustration. Please feel free to *right-click save* and share on social media or wherever Trump poetry is needed. Poetry is underrated in the U.S. as a political tool, but I'm here to remedy the situation. And you can act it out too, with hand gestures—fun for all.


Friday, October 20, 2017

The old stuff of Omaha, Nebraska - Plus the incredible kinetic art of John Buck at KANEKO

I ended up in Nebraska last month, technically my first visit to the Midwestern United States. A family wedding brought my extended family together in Omaha and it was good.

What is Omaha like, I wondered. I figured at the least it would be:
1.) old
2.) authentic
3.) American

But it's all those things and so much more! Case in point: downtown. Every old American City has a downtown, some shiny, thriving and gentrified, others sadly crumbling into ruin. Omaha's got one of those transitioning downtowns. It looks like it might have died on the vine a couple decades ago as everyone moved out to the new suburbs, but now all the youngsters have moved into the big empty warehouse lofts, they're setting up stores full of old Americana, brew-pub bars with interesting pastas on the menu alongside famed rib-eye steak, and making and showing art—quite a lot of art.

View from our window at the beautiful old Magnolia Hotel

What's in downtown Omaha? Bricks—so many bricks. Brick warehouses, apartments and galleries, but also brick streets. Don't wear your spike heels to the Old Farmer's Market unless you like wobbling around like a broken marionette, 'cause you'll be walking on many bricks on the wide, wide boulevards of Omaha.

My cousin Steve takes in the Old Farmer's Market

Why are the streets so wide? Could be because it's a former agricultural/cattle town and there must have been a lot of hauling of large vehicles full of America's homegrown bounty, heading toward all those former grain dispensaries and slaughter houses. What's the traffic like now? Non-existent. Enjoy the quiet solitude of wide brick streets as you criss-cross your way from antique mart to book store to record store with aplomb.

My brother Steve checks out some cool brick buildings

You know what else Omaha has that slicker now-gentrified west-coast cities don't have anymore? Fonts. Lots of great old fonts.

A great old building font in downtown Omaha

Case in point: wandering around the Jackson Street area, we came across the Fairmont Mercantile building, home of Hollywood Candy. If you like candy, especially old-timey candy that you can scoop out by the bagful from candy jars, this is your candy nirvana. The entire building is a seemingly endless labyrinth of narrow halls and antique stalls, full of the stuff vintage childhood dreams are made of. There's a small theater for renting out to show 16mm movies, and an ol'-fashioned soda fountain. It's a dreamlike time machine. Plus there's candy.

CANDY RESCUE (plus antiques)

I think this was a former slaughterhouse

Here's some vintage finds, all featuring excellent fonts. Whoever designed these toy and game packages, I salute you.

My friend Jill had this Easy Curl set. I don't know how well it worked. I think it heated up with a light bulb, but don't quote me on that. I remember this packaging from my childhood (probably up in her closet on a shelf) and I'm sure it was at that point that the desire to become a tomboy was cemented in my brain forever. It didn't matter if I excelled in sports or not (I didn't—but that was required to be an official "tomboy" in those days), I was just going to go for it. Now I appreciate this feminine, flowered approach, even if the hairstyles really tank.


Although that little girl on the right is rocking a beatnik look

the GAME of ESPIONAGE - the mix of lower-case, upper-case, black, red, purple and pink (with green sub-header: FILLED WITH THE SUSPENSE OF AN INTERNATIONAL SPY HUNT), plus the collage of spy stuff and travel icons—this is a heavenly board game packaging concept. No, I didn't buy it (or any of this). I'm over 50 and I have too much stuff. I'm just a vintage appreciator at this point.



GIRDER and PANEL BUILDING SET - for that boxy characterless modern look.



Happy Puppet Play - Peppy Puppy Marches and Dotty Duck Walks. That's what I'm talking about...



I didn't know Parcheesi started out as "Pachisi." But apparently it did. Look at this design. Wow.



QUIZ kIDs OWN GAME BOX - for the J.D. Salinger appreciator in us all.



Let's play the board game of TAG—which began the syndrome of "Kids these days just want to sit inside playing board games, instead of running around in the fresh air and sunshine."



There was a wide selection of old metal Aladdin lunchboxes, some with their original thermoses. This thermos was on its own, unfortunately. I'd love to see the hippie love-child lunchbox that it originally came with. Enjoy all three views of adorable peaceniks on a thermos that was probably full of Kool-Aid and Tang, back in the day. I hope the child who used this wasn't too ostracized by his or her more conservative schoolmates.



Do you like PEZ? I hope so, because there is SO MUCH PEZ in this place.


Check out that realistic bat-head PEZ next to Speedy Gonzales - terrifying


After escaping the warren of past consumer purchases, return to the present time zone with some delicious homemade ice cream at Ted & Wally's across the street. I had chocolate garam masala one day, and ginger the next. Both exquisitely flavored and made in old bucket ice cream jugs with rock salt and heavy cream. Also: there's an old Pepsi machine as you walk in the door (more fonts). Out of service, but still: the fonts.

Served IN CANS

A simple direct marketing approach

Walking around the old warehouse district, you see flyers and street art and are reminded of simple pleasures from cities of the past, only this is happening in Omaha, today. Our west-coast metropolises have gotten so slick and monied. It's refreshing to see this stuff, especially SoCal surf-punk band Agent Orange playing a show. PUNK WILL NEVER DIE.

Stuff to do and see in Omaha

And now for a special treat—the John Buck sculptures at the KINETIC Exhibit at KANEKO Gallery. All hand-carved from soft woods, featuring current and past politicians, explorers, money-men, artists and their muses, corruption, incredible beauty, abject cruelty, space and time. And with the tap of a floor button, they move. I took a little video throughout our tour as we stared in wonderment at Buck's incredible prolific vision of humanity and our foibles. He also makes prints and drawings. He's a mad man. The KINETIC Exhibit is dismantled now, but if you get a chance to see this Montana-based artist's work, I really think you should do so.




Most of the images below are featured in the video, but here they are in case you don't have time to see them moving to a weird She Mob soundtrack because your Internet life has become so busy of late (I understand). Incredibly this entire surreal experience was free of cost. We walked into the museum (a city block's worth of warehouse conversions) and into a guided tour, which meant we could see every sculpture in motion. We also learned that all the works had arrived in Omaha in pieces and none were labeled. Buck and the curators worked together to put them all back together for the exhibit. Kudos to KANEKO—you're the real deal.

Manifest Destiny personified

Frida Kahlo and her pets make an appearance

45 holding onto the love of his life — wads of cash

Trapped in a burning church

Picasso and Einstein with muse in the background

Power, corruption and satire are some of Buck's major themes

The former Presidents' waltz — FDR in a tutu because he never got to dance in his adult life

JFK has Marilyn Monroe on his mind

Teddy Roosevelt and General Grant have a dance confrontation

Nixon's tape head confronts a shuttered Lincoln — dream stuff made real

Europe's explorers ready to conquer and exploit the "new world"

Lady Liberty about to clobber an Aztec god

The tears of the Madonna on a ship heading our way

Creatures based on the 14th-century Travels of Sir John Mandeville
Omaha is a fascinating city, obviously

The entire world and Trump's hair

What else can you do in Omaha? Why not walk over to Iowa on the Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge, where you can straddle two states at once for a state-border out-of-body experience.

I am in TWO STATES AT ONCE

I stay behind in Nebraska while my cousin Mary Ann checks out Iowa. Her husband Steve balances out the geographical scales. Yes, there were three Steves on this journey, making it extra-special. While crossing the bridge, my cousin Gary and his wife Barb emerged from Iowa, coming our way. We didn't even know they had been out of state, but they had been, for around ten minutes or so.



My cousin Mike married his beloved Anna at the splendid Orpheum Theater where they first met, both working musicians in the touring production of The Lion King. They even had their names on the Orpheum marquee and we all gathered onstage to congratulate them. Anna grew up in Nebraska and now we all want to visit again. Sorry, Anna, prepare yourself for a bunch of brand new cousins, aunts and uncles showing up in Omaha on a semi-regular basis from now on.

Surely one of the finest productions at the Orpheum to date

Monday, October 09, 2017

Get Ready for Impeachment (postcard to download and send)

Hi, everyone. A message to our majority-House GOP: It's beyond time to impeach our horrible so-called president—the corrupt, inept, insulting, racist, misogynist, conman and sexual predator Donald J. Trump. It's not just an opinion, it's a point of law.

Here's a postcard listing a few of his impeachable offenses. I feel confident that special counsel Robert Mueller and his crack investigative team has compiled a more detailed list, which seems to be growing daily. Find your House Rep HERE.

Feel free to *right-click save-image-as...* to share across social media, especially with your elected Representatives (all of whom have twitter and Facebook pages). Or be extra-active and send to all the Republican Reps. Consider it a public-relations move that affects the entire nation:



If you're feeling ambitious and snail-maily, here's a four-up version to print, trim and send by U.S. Post. Everyone loves getting mail—think how rewarding it must be to hear from constituents from ACROSS OUR FAIR LAND. Thank you, fellow Americans for looking out for public health, safety and sanity.


Wednesday, October 04, 2017

She Mob LIVES

She Mob is the house band for the art opening of Bride of Monster at Creativity Explored Gallery tomorrow night, October 5th. It's not a typical She Mob eardrum blowout, but a more ambient weird-ass affair. Come see some magnificent monster-inspired artworks while we sit on the floor nearby, making bizarre noises. It's a happening.


Friday, September 01, 2017

Nick Cave - "Until" at MASS MoCA 2016-2017

It's almost time for Nick Cave's Until to be dismantled from football-field-sized Building 5 at Massive MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. The installation and dismantling of this incredible exhibit are as impressive to me as the actual piece itself.

And here it is:



A gentleman is visible in the lower-right, for scale.



According to The Boston Globe, Cave's installation features 16,000 wind spinners, 24 chandeliers, 10 miles of crystals 13 gilded pigs, thousands of ceramic birds, fruits, and animals, 17 cast-iron lawn jockeys and millions of plastic pony beads.

Closeup of a wind-spinner, featuring a die-cut revolver. Other spinners feature tears and targets.



In the center of the gallery, a former textile and electronics factory, is a vision of heaven made from crystals, chandeliers, ceramic knick-knacks, and seemingly everything that my Grandma Tocha ever hoarded during her long life.



If you're over age 12, you can climb up one of the ladders and see what's up there.



It's scary up there, and secret-garden-like, if the garden was made from the inside of someone's fevered mind. The lawn jockeys, once-demeaning caricatures planted in the front yards of U.S. homes, may have had a dual purpose, signalling safe houses on the underground railroad. On this floating island, they're holding dream-catchers made from twine and badminton rackets.



We live in a world jam-packed with stuff, with abundance beyond human imagining. What lives in the heaven of our minds? Cave thought to ask the question, "Is there racism in heaven?" A question that makes me bow my head in sadness.



And what does this grandma's parlor of a heaven make of our world below?





Ceramic birds survey our whirling human-made violent nature.




A corridor of beaded tarps continue the installation.



From a distance they look like woven rope.



But they're beaded. Here are the millions of pony beads.


So many beads

Beaded.



You can survey the entirety of Until from more than one mezzanine level in MASS MoCA's surreal industrial layout.



And finally, at the end of the gallery, a cascade of Mylar strips, billowing from a rack of oversized industrial-strength fans. Jackson's footage of this shiny, rustling coda is at the end of this one-minute film below:

Nick Cave "Until" - MASS MoCA, September, 2017 from Miss Lisa on Vimeo.


There's a video-installation room made up of staring eyes and a hint of Cave's soundsuit output—the surreal identity-erasing costumes he's known for (see below).







Until ends September 4th. I will never forget it. Cave readjusts our vision of the world where everything is recognizable yet drastically altered. If you ever get a chance, have yourself a Nick Cave experience.