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Archive for September, 2009

HOT DOC: Right Wing Web Site Pulls Column Promoting Military Coup Against President Obama

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009


MEDIA MATTERS: Yesterday, we highlighted a Newsmax column by John L. Perry essentially advocating a military coup to resolve the “Obama problem” (while, of course, claiming he was advocating no such thing). It’s just the latest example of extreme right-wing rhetoric directed at President Obama. Now, it appears that Newsmax has removed the column from its website; the link to it defaults to Perry’s main column page. Fortunately, we made a copy. MORE

treason_edit_sml.jpgNEWSMAX: There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic. America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. […] Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a “family intervention,” with some form of limited, shared responsibility? Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making. Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible. MORE

THOM FRIEDMAN: I was in Israel interviewing Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin just before he was assassinated in yitzhak_rabin_murder_newspaper_1.jpg1995. We had a beer in his office. He needed one. I remember the ugly mood in Israel then — a mood in which extreme right-wing settlers and politicians were doing all they could to delegitimize Rabin, who was committed to trading land for peace as part of the Oslo accords. They questioned his authority. They accused him of treason. They created pictures depicting him as a Nazi SS officer, and they shouted death threats at rallies. His political opponents winked at it all. And in so doing they created a poisonous political environment that was interpreted by one right-wing Jewish nationalist as a license to kill Rabin — he must have heard, “God will be on your side” — and so he did. Others have already remarked on this analogy, but I want to add my voice because the parallels to Israel then and America today turn my stomach: I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left. But something very dangerous is happening. Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into delegitimation and creating the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination. MORE

beck-joker-fear.jpgPREVIOUSLY: HATEBOOK: Facebook Deletes Poll That Asked ‘Should Obama Be Killed’, Secret Service Investigating

RELATED: Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.) offered unusually blunt assessments of the fringe elements of his party and conservative media on Thursday, calling the popular and bombastic Fox News host Glenn Beck a “cynic” whose show was antithetical to American values. “Only in America can you make that much money crying,” Graham said of Beck. “Glenn Beck is not aligned with any party. He is aligned with cynicism and there has always been a market for cynics. But we became a great nation not because we are a nation of cynics. We became a great nation because we are a nation of believers.” Appearing before a crowd of Washington’s elite power players and opinion-makers, Graham spoke largely without filter, offering acidic takes on subject well beyond Beck. The Senator called the birther community that questions the president’s U.S. citizenship “crazy” and implored them to “knock this crap off” so the country could get on to more important matters. “I’m here to tell you that those who think the president was not born in Hawaii are crazy,” said Graham, who went on to dispel another myth: that Obama is a closet Muslim. Speaking before The Atlantic’s First Draft of History conference, Graham also ventured to call “crazy” a recent article on Newsmax, laying out how a military coup could overtake the Obama administration. MORE

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SEX IN THE CITY: Men I’ve Dated

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009


BY GLORIA MARIS I spent one of my better New Year’s Eves with an academic. He was (or still is) a professor of Latin American Studies at a small university in the outer, outer western suburbs of Philadelphia. We went to see a band at a club on South Street.We’d arrived early enough to get seats at the bar and started kissing shamelessly as soon as the clock on my phone rolled to midnight. The bartender passed out tiny portions of champagne in plastic cups.

Part way through the show, another former lover of mine arrived unexpectedly. He immediately fell in love with the bass player of the opening band. When she walked past me on her way to the bathroom I told her that my friend wanted to take her home after the show — but sadly for him, she was engaged to one of her bandmates. The 3 of us enthusiastically wished her a happy new year. I don’t know if the band is still together; they weren’t a very good band.

After the main attraction wrapped their set, my date and I staggered home on South Street against the flow of drunken New Jersey suburbanites walking the other direction, from the Penn’s Landing fireworks to their PATCO trains.The next morning, my lover taught me how the Incas counted with their quipus and explained the Mayan doomsday prophecy.

He mistakenly believed that how I like to be treated in the bedroom also extends to how I like to be treated generally. A week or so after New Year’s, we went to go see a movie at the Vox Populi gallery with some university colleagues of his. We looked at the sculpture exhibits outside of the makeshift cinema before the film started. When I touched one of the sculptures to get a better understanding of what it was made of, he slapped my hand, and not gently. “Don’t hit me,” I said. He laughed at me and looked at his friends. “No, you don’t hit me,” I repeated. He didn’t understand why I was annoyed.

I think he thought he was slumming it, sleeping with someone whose B.A. was good enough only for secretarial work. Most of the time he would wait until I was done speaking and say whatever he wanted to say, with no actual response to the content of what I’d said. I’ve completely forgotten his name.

Gloria Maris blogs at GLOMARIZATION  

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NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

polysyllabicspree.jpgFRESH AIR

listen.gifNick Hornby has written the screenplay for the new film An Education. The movie — about a teenage girl coming of age in ’60s Britain, post-war and pre-rock — is based on a memoir by journalist Lynn Barber. This isn’t Hornby’s first foray into film; many of his novels have been made into movies, including About a Boy and High Fidelity. His novel Fever Pitch, about a soccer-obsessed English teacher, was adapted for the silver screen, then re-adapted for American audiences with a Boston Red Sox fanatic (Jimmy Fallon, playing opposite Drew Barrymore) as the protagonist. Hornby has a new novel out as well; Juliet, Naked is another story chock full of music-obsessed characters, people who embody the word “fanatic.” But this time, the vantage point from which he writes includes not just the fan, but also the fan’s girlfriend — and the musician he’s obsessed with.


listen.gifIn which we mark the anniversary of the economic collapse and the anniversary of Planet Money: recapping some of the original episode, The Giant Pool of Money, and finding out what’s happened to all those guys in the year since. Prologue. Host Ira Glass talks with NPR correspondent Adam Davidson about a black tie event he attended in the spring of 2008. The event was an awards dinner for finance professionals who created the mortgage-based financial instruments that nearly brought down the global economic system. Adam checks back with one of the men he met at that dinner and learns how his views have changed, pretty radically, over the last 18 months. (5 minutes)THIS_AMERICAN_LIFE_cropped.jpg We replay sections from the original Giant Pool of Money, in which This American Life producer Alex Blumberg teams up with NPR’s Adam Davidson to tell the story of how the U.S. got itself into a housing crisis. They talk to people who were actually working in the housing, banking, finance and mortgage industries, about what they thought during the boom times, and why the bust happened. We hear from a mortgage company sales manager who was making over a million dollars a year and spending his time clubbing with celebrities. We meet a man who got into the mortgage industry after getting hired away from his previous job as a bartender. And we follow a Marine who was tricked into an unaffordable mortgage as he tries to save his house from foreclosure. (30 minutes) Act Two. Fall 2009. We catch back up with the people we met in 2008, to see how they’ve fared over the last 18 months. We talk to Clarence Nathan, who in 2008 received a half million dollar loan that he said he wouldn’t have given himself; Jim Finkel, a Wall Street finance guy, who put together and managed complicated mortgage-based financial securities; Richard Campbell, the Marine who was facing foreclosure; and Glen Pizzolorusso, the mortgage company sales manager who led the life of a b-list celebrity. (19 minutes)

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DOUBLE STANDARD: America’s Prostitution Expert

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
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YOUTUBE: Hypocrisy is a special kind of gall. If Senator Vitter is so outraged by the ACORN prostitution scandal, surely he doesn’t mind talking about his own. The group that Vitter and others so easily condemn provides vital services to some of the poorest people in America. ACORN is clearly imperfect, but it takes a bold man to attack their sex worker interactions when his own have gone unpunished. So as long as the self-proclaimed “most outspoken critic of ACORN” is sitting in judgement of prostitute consultations, let’s benefit from his real world experience. Call up Senator Vitter’s office, ask him all your questions vis-a-vis hooker management services. If the topic is important enough to deny services to the most underserved communities in America, it’s important enough for him to address directly. Ask him all about it: (202) 224-4623. MORE

THINK PROGRESS: Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) is the self-proclaimed “most outspoken critic of ACORN.” Following david_vitter_diaper_boy_cop.jpgthe release of incriminating videos showing ACORN workers giving advice to undercover conservative activists inquiring about how to start a brothel and not get caught, Vitter and other Republicans called for investigations and audits of the organization. Vitter’s outrage over the latest ACORN scandal seems extraordinarily hypocritical, in light of what he went through in 2007. MORE

CBS NEWS: A woman accused of running a Washington prostitution ring placed five phone calls to David Vitter while he was a House member, including two while roll call votes were under way, according to telephone and congressional records. Vitter, a Louisiana Republican now in the Senate, acknowledged Monday that his number was on the woman’s call list and apologized for a “very serious sin.” MORE

WONKETTE: When Republican Senator David Vitter rented prostitutes back home in New Orleans, there was “more than sex” — he liked the hookers to make him wear diapers. MORE

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EVIL DOER: Dick Scott Is A Bad, Bad Man

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009


SALON: For months now multimillionaire healthcare entrepreneur Rick Scott has been at the center of the aggressive campaign to derail healthcare reform in Washington, D.C. Reprising the role he played nearly 20 years ago, when as the head of a national hospital chain he helped kill Clintoncare, the former hospital-chain executive dickscott-fraud.thumbnail.jpgfounded the group Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, raising $20 million to fight Obamacare, including $5 million of his own money. The tall, lean Scott, whose shiny bald head swivels in exasperation at the idea of government involvement in healthcare, even stars in its nationwide ad campaign comparing Democratic proposals to socialized medicine. Through this group, he has fomented the conservative strategy to disrupt town hall-style healthcare meetings around the country by shouting down elected officials. (CPR sent schedules of the meetings to so-called Tea Party activists.) He can justifiably claim some of the credit for the Senate Finance Committee’s two votes Tuesday against a public option. But in Rick Scott the right has found a frontman whose baggage threatens to overwhelm his message.

A linchpin of Scott’s 2009 campaign has been the use of anecdotes from abroad — horror stories from Britain and dickscott-fraud.thumbnail.jpgCanada meant to illustrate how government-controlled healthcare systems “clearly kill people” by controlling their access to care, as he told Fox’s Sean Hannity in June. He even funded a documentary titled “Faces of Government Healthcare” cataloging the horror stories of British and Canadian patients who were purportedly denied medical attention for life-threatening illnesses until it was too late.

Yet even as Scott makes the rounds of Congress and talk-show green rooms, a wrongful death lawsuit has been working its way through the Florida courts against a doctor employed by the chain of walk-in clinics Scott founded. Scott has repeatedly bragged that the 27-clinic, Florida-based company, Solantic, is an example of the free-market ingenuity needed to fix our ailing medical infrastructure. The lawsuit, however, alleges a Solantic dickscott-fraud.thumbnail.jpgdoctor misdiagnosed a patient’s deep-vein thrombosis as a sprained ankle, leading to a pulmonary embolism and death. That same doctor was reprimanded by the state for misdiagnosing deep-vein thrombosis in a patient who died two years earlier. It’s the kind of anecdote you’d expect to hear in Scott’s documentary — except that it condemns a free-market system where profit and patient volume may take precedence over care. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS: Meet Dick Scott, Health Care Reform’s Public Enemy Number One

RELATED: Health Care Enemy #1

RELATED: Dick Scott Is The Bernie Madoff Of Health Care

RELATED: GOP or Gang Of Obstructionist Pricks


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If Roman Polanski Can Read This He Is THIS F*cked

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009


DAILY BEAST: So what was the claimed impropriety that got the DA’s office to scrape off 30 years of rust and start the wheels grinding? A backroom chat in 1977 between prosecutor Wells—not the prosecutor assigned to the case—and Judge Laurence Rittenband, during which the judge asked how he could get out of the deal that’d been made for no additional time and send Polanski back to prison. Supposedly, Wells told him how.

If true, that’s an ethical violation, no question about it. It’s absolutely forbidden to have one-sided communications with a judge about a pending case. Still, Wells denies he ever had the backroom chat with Judge Rittenband. “No. It never happened,” he said flatly. “All that happened was I brought the newspaper with the picture of Polanski at Oktoberfest [in 1977, before his 42-day evaluation] into court and handed it to the bailiff. I told the bailiff, ‘Here, give this to the judge.’ Did I know it would tick him off? Yeah. It ticked me off. Polanski was thumbing his nose at everyone.”

But didn’t Wells say in the documentary that he’d privately told the judge how he could legally send Polanski back to romanpolanskirs_1.jpgprison? “I lied. I know I shouldn’t have done it, but I did. The director of the documentary told me it would never air in the States. I thought it made a better story if I said I’d told the judge what to do,” Wells said. Why on earth? “Look, after 30 years, I never thought they’d get the guy back here. I figured no one cared anymore, and no one here would ever see the film anyway. What can I say? I don’t have a better reason than that. It seemed like a good idea at the time.” MORE

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Roman Polanski rushed up to the British Airways counter at LAX in late January 1978 with an American Express card and an urgent desire to get out of town. He bought the last seat on an overnight flight to London and 15 minutes later, he wrote in his autobiography, watched Los Angeles gradually disappear out a jet window. The criminal case that Polanski was fleeing never went away, as his recent arrest in Zurich attests. But how a Los Angeles court would restart the case if Switzerland extradites the film director, 76, is a question complicated by the passage of decades and recent allegations of judicial misconduct. The district attorney’s office contends the yellowing case file only needs dusting off and proceedings should pick up exactly where they left off in 1978 — with a judge sentencing Polanski for a statutory rape charge. “He will appear before the court and the court will decide what his sentence is,” said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office. Legal experts, however, said Polanski has options beyond begging for leniency. There are a number of legal maneuvers, such as withdrawing his guilty plea, that could result in the case being dropped entirely or in a sentence of no prison time. MORE

SALON: Roman Polanski raped a child. Let’s just start right there, because that’s the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in “exile” (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never — poor baby — being able to return to the U.S.). Let’s keep in mind that Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her, before we start discussing whether the victim looked older than her 13 years, or that she now says she’d rather not see him prosecuted because she can’t stand the media attention. Before we discuss how awesome his movies are or what the now-deceased judge did wrong at his trial, let’s take a moment to recall that according to the victim’s grand jury testimony, Roman Polanski instructed her to get into a jacuzzi naked, refused to take her home when she begged to go, began kissing her even though she said no and asked him to stop; performed cunnilingus on her as she said no and asked him to stop; put his penis in her vagina as she said no and asked him to stop; asked if he could penetrate her anally, to which she replied, “No,” then went ahead and did it anyway, until he had an orgasm. MORE

sharontate.thumbnail.jpgWIKIPEDIA: On August 8, 1969, Tate was two weeks from giving birth. She entertained two friends, actresses Joanna Pettet and Barbara Lewis, for lunch at her home, confiding in them her disappointment at Polanski’s delay in returning from London. In the afternoon Polanski phoned her. Her younger sister Debra also called to ask if she and their sister Patti could spend the night with her, but Sharon declined. In the evening she went to her favorite restaurant, El Coyote, with Sebring, Frykowski and Folger, returning about 10:30 p.m.[1] During the night they were murdered by members of Charles Manson‘s “Family” and their bodies discovered the following morning by Tate’s housekeeper, Winifred Chapman. Police arrived at the scene to find the body of a young man, later identified as Steven Parent, shot to death in his car, which was in the driveway. Inside the house, the bodies of Tate and Sebring were found in the living room; a long rope tied around each of their necks connected them. On the front lawn lay the bodies of Frykowski and Folger. All of the victims, except Parent, had been stabbed numerous times. The coroner‘s report for Tate noted that she had been stabbed sixteen times, and that “five of the wounds were in and of themselves fatal”.[14] MORE

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RAWK TAWK: Q&A With Rock Critic Jim Derogatis

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009


meAVATAR2_1.jpgBY JONATHAN VALANIA Jim Derogatis is the pop music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, co-host of public radio’s rock talk show Sound Opinions, the definitive Lester Bangs biographer and author of five books, including the just-published and altogether beautiful The Velvet Underground: An Illustrated History of a Walk on the Wild Side. Derogatis got his start in the rock crit biz back in 1982 when Lester Bangs agreed to sit for an interview to satisfy Derogatis’ high school journalism class assignment requiring him to interview one of his heroes. Two weeks later, Bangs was dead at the ripe old age of 34. Derogatis would go on to write for Spin, Rolling Stone, Guitar World, Modern Drummer, Request, Penthouse and GQ, where, in the Bangsian tradition, he would champion all that was honest and authentic and call bullshit on all that was phony and insincere. Recently, we got him on the horn to talk about the Velvet Underground, the state of rock criticism and his infamous run-ins with Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, Ryan Adams and R. Kelly.

PHAWKER: Explain the evolution of the book. What the premise was when you started and what it turned out to be. It’s beautiful by the way. 

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, it is a neat thing to have on your shelf, ain’t it? I have a dozen books on Reed and Cale and the Velvet and really this one still has parts that I’ve never seen or even knew existed. It did  originate as an art book. Voyageur Press has been doing a series of really cool coffee table and really art books on Led Zeppelin and they have one on the works Neil Young and something on Queen that just came out. They called and said we’re thinking of doing one of these on the Velvet, would you like to help put it together? Well, there’s a no-brainer like someone calling and saying ‘Hey, how would you like a fuck load of Christmas presents?’ So, I can’t stress enough it’s hardly my book. I wrote the historical essay that ties it together and I edited the other contributors and chose many of them, but really the art director and the overall editor at Voyageur. I mean their names out to be on the cover. It blows my mind some of the things they came up with to illustrate this book. It’s just beautiful.

PHAWKER: Was there ever any attempt or intention to get the Velvets’ cooperation in the book?

JIM DEROGATIS: No, I don’t think that was the goal. There have been a couple of biographies written on Lou Reed and John Cale wrote his autobiography. jimdero_credit_1.jpgUp-Tight is a really good book in terms of the first person were there. Gerard Malanga and Victor Bockris having been there and talking to the people who were there. This book is a fan book that exists as art and then has the goal of giving some insight into those albums and telling a story, obviously a truncated one. A number of books have been written about the whole Velvet but it kind of freshening it up for the fans. One of the things I think telling, retelling, and telling again of the legend kind of glosses over sometimes obvious facts that get lost. To me it can’t be underscored enough that 3/4 of the band all grew up within a couple of miles of each other in a Mad Men suburban ideal 50-60s Long Island. I mean of all the places to turn out the people who would epitomize the black heart of rock and roll. of You know, just little facts like that. So no, I don’t think that was the goal. I’ve interviewed Reed a number of times. 

PHAWKER: Was there anything you came away from this project, anything new, a different opinion about the band or understanding of the biography or the timeline?

JIM DEROGATIS: I think when you immerse yourself in it and reread all those books and the accounts from the contemporary coverage just how quickly they were moving blows your mind. Lester Bangs pegged and he will forever remain key biographer and critic for this band. Lester pointed out about the third album and how quickly they had evolved and how many different guises they adopted. It’s almost like 4 different bands in the four studio albums, and live they tried different things every time they played as well. Constant evolution that covered  arguably I think as much ground as The Beatles in a shorter amount of time, and obviously proved to be just as influential. 

PHAWKER: Well, what is it about the Velvet that makes them The Velvet Underground? How do you get to be the most influential underground art punk band of all time? Is it the sound? Is it the look? Is it the time they lived in? Is it their associations? All the above?

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, I think all those things are factors there’s no doubt about it. At a point when everything was peace and love, flowers in your hair, San Francisco, All You Need Is Love, and Sgt. Peppers — meanwhile the Velvets had that very dark image, you know those famous photos with them all wearing the black wraparound Ray Bans. A superficial thing, but an important thing. Then there was the sound they were making. Lester pegged it that they were really the first band to suggest that capital-A art could be made by “simple” rock n’ roll musicians. Obviously John Cale was a virtuoso who could have been one of the leading avant garde players of his generation, so it wasn’t all that simple. Playing three cords and an attitude and making a as much noise as they could make and turning that into something that would endure as art. And what was it that made it art? Again,  as Lester pointed out you could deal with the most adult subjects, that’s what Hubert Selby did in making great novels about hard life on the streets of New York or really what any of the Beat poets did about everyday existence and turning that into poetry, or art, or great novels. People say Peppers did that. But at the end of the day, Peppers is a really silly album and I think the Velvet’s were making a much more mature art and it scares the crap out of people still to this day and I think that’s a wonderful thing. They were writing about people had never been written about before in rock and to this day aren’t written about all that often. People who would have been considered pretty much the dregs of society: heroin addicts, or Candy Darling in “Candy Says”, people who were sexually confused, people who are living the most alternative of alternative lifestyles, people who liked to get whipped. People who are just at the bottom of a very deep, dark well and the ability then humanize them in a non-sensational way. I mean, is “Heroin” a song that glorifies that experience or not? Lou Reed’s talking about somebody who one minute feels like Jesus’ son and the next minute wants to sleep for a thousand years, basically wishing he was dead. 

PHAWKER: I think the key line on that song is “I guess but I just don’t know.” 

vu_pr_shot.jpgJIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, exactly. It’s incredibly sophisticated stuff and we could analyze it like we could any great novel or any great poem but because it’s rock and roll has that added dimension. You could also just lose your fucking shit with it, turn it up as loud as possible and rattle the windows and scare the neighbors. That’s just great. You can’t do that with Last Exit To Brooklyn, you know?

PHAWKER: The dark side is most noted about the band, but really that only covers two records. After that they really sort of moved into the light and were writing…

JIM DEROGATIS: It really boggles my mind you have this Jewish kid from Long Island singing about Jesus. Two years after singing about heroin. 

PHAWKER: That’s never really been fully explained to me, that evolution. Do you have any insight into that? Was it really just a matter of them tiring of that world or that subject matter? I know they moved away from the Factory and Warhol by the second record, or by the end of it anyway and obviously Cale left and that was a big change and Doug Yule come on board and he was a whole different sensibility. 

JIM DEROGATIS: You know I wrote about a lot that in my first book, which was The History of Psychedelic Rock (which eventually got re-published under a different title, Turn On Your Mind). The idea was to draw the line between four decades of this stuff. Draw the line between the Velvets, My Bloody Valentine, The Flaming Lips, or whoever. I know that cheery, good times, gearing-towards-the-white-light psychedelics were not the bands drugs of choice, this was a band about speed and about heroin. However, there is that thought in psychedelic circles that after the intense psychedelic experience there is that moment of crystallizing clarity that comes after a 12 or14-hour trip — you’re coming down and you’re no longer hallucinating, you’re no longer experiencing the psychedelic experience but there is this sort of moment when greens are greener, the birds are more melodic, the sun is brighter, everything has changed. You’ve come out, even after a bad experience, you’ve come out of this thing on the other side. I think that’s what was happening in part with the Velvets, they  had gone to the bottom a dark well, and then they came up, and I think that was natural. And that’s what the third the album, I think, was about: beginning see the light. They are four very different albums and then what the band was live at different points was also very different things. It’s a tremendous amount of ground covered in a really short period of four years, so there are different Velvets. I mean, entire careers have been made off of just one of those four versions. Still, to this day.

PHAWKER: Right, off of each album. 

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah you know there’s the Velvets of the third album, and you have Galaxie 500 and millions of imitators, or you have the intense art rock experience of the first record, or you have the pop band of Loaded. It’s like when you say a band’s influenced by the Velvet it’s just like being influenced by the Beatles. Well, which Beatles? “Tomorrow Never Knows” or “I Want To Hold Your Hand” or “You Never Give Me Your Money”? I think what’s different with the Velvets than the Beatles is there is that goal to make adult art. Long before Chuck D that’s what the Velvets were doing, taking everyday street life and turning it into art. 

PHAWKER: The one thing that was a real shock and surprise to me personally when I was paging through the book was the photo of them shirtless covered in white paint. I had never seen that photo before. I guess it was CBS News documentary of the making of an underground film. 


PHAWKER: Does that footage actually exist?vu_cale_reed_small.jpg

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, the thing aired and Cronkite introduced it. I’ve never seen the actual film. I talk a little bit about when that was made in there. Apparently later that night Lou Reed took everyone up to the Apollo to see James Brown. It’s always startling to me when you go back and look at history, rock history, how quickly things were moving. It was a matter of weeks between meeting Warhol and then being presented by him and not a hell of a lot longer before he’s playing with Warhol. It was all in hyper time. 

PHAWKER: It’s always struck me — I mean if you read any of those Factory crowd biographies or POPism: The Warhol Sixties — it seems everyone back in the 60s was on speed and nobody slept and they just led these hyper-kinetic lives that exceed even the velocity of modern day living with all our technology and 24/7 Internet.

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, part of I think that gets mythologized after the fact. I know if you’re in the thick of any point in time, I think if we talked to Cobain about period right when Nevermind came out, when he was hoping it would sell as much as a Velvets record to being the biggest band in the world. I think there are always different points when everything seems to be insane and then long stretches where nothing happens.

PHAWKER: Right, boring. Lets move off topic of the book a little bit. I have a few general questions I want to ask you about rock criticism, etc etc. I wonder if you could speak a little to the role of how the rock critic as evolved culturally with the rise of the Internet and the decline of print. How has this impacted your job, or your role in your estimation?

JIM DEROGATIS:  Criticism hasn’t changed at all and I’ll tell you why. Where I get paid to do it is up for question. I mean, the Chicago Sun-Times very well may not survive this bump which is a shame. It’s in bankruptcy, as is every paper in Chicago. 

PHAWKER: As is our papers here in Philadelphia, the Inquirer and the Daily News…

chicago-sun-times-jeremiah-wright.jpgJIM DEROGATIS: We’re in this period of incredible flux in the industry. I truly want to believe we’re going to find a way to monetize good journalism because the thought of the alternative is just terrifying. I mean when the New York Times can no longer report from on the ground in Afghanistan what kind of democracy are we going to be having? When then MSNBC and Fox and its ilk are all we have. I mean, where’s the reporter? Who going to dig for Abu Ghraib? So, against that backdrop what we do for a living is very trivial. However, the fact that everybody is a critic now, that’s all well and good that’s has it always should have been, I want everybody to be as engaged  as I am with music or with whatever art form they love. That said not every critic is worth reading. Everybody is a critic but not every critic is worth reading. Who are the people who have real insight and a real talent to convey this music as eloquently and as enduringly? I run into people all the time who love the Lester Bangs book who tell me “I keep this Lester Bangs quote in my wallet” “I keep this Lester Bangs quote on my desk, it’s been there for 25 years.” You know, Joe Blogger at Rotten Tomatoes probably ain’t gonna give you that. On the other hand if he or she comes up through Rotten Tomatoes and is that good that’s wonderful. I do think that person deserves to get paid for that work. Keeping in mind what we’ve been paid as always been absurdly out of scale to what everybody else is paid. Writers deserve to get paid for what they are doing and musicians do, too. It just so happens that the notion of getting paid for a recording is going to out to be an historical blip that was in place for about a century and a half. The whole rest of the time the musician made his or her money by traveling from town to town, putting out a hat, playing a song on the lute and if they were good they got paid, if they weren’t they better become a blacksmith and give up the band to live. Wilco can give away its records but it can still sell out a house of 14,000 fans at $30 a pop and that’s how they’re going to make their money. I’m not going to come to your house and review theWilco show and get paid. That’s the problem I think that cultural critics are facing today. It is possible that it’s going to be like indie rock you do this because you love doing it, but you better have a day job. You work at Kinko’s, you work at Starbucks, then you do your blog at night. Just like the indie rocker. It’s possible. I like to hope its otherwise. There are other elements for what we do. I am the only critic in history who had to plead the Fifth Amendment to prevent going to jail over and investigative piece on R. Kelley that got him indicted. I mean, I like Pitchfork, but I don’t see Pitchfork doing that. 

PHAWKER: I wanted to ask you about the R. Kelley thing. Are you the person who actually alerted the police? I know you had a copy of the tape and you turned it over to the police. 

JIM DEROGATIS: The police investigation had been going on for like two years. The tape arrived a year after the first story Sun-Times ran which was by me and one of the court reporters and we started digging into because we heard that there were lawsuits our there and there was this police investigation. No, they were after him for sometime. They knew about him for sure. When we got the tape it was blatant that someone had left a smoking gun at the lobby of the Sun Times. It was seemed to be evidence of a a crime. And us even possessing it was criminal. 

PHAWKER: And then there was some controversy about whether or not you would testify in the case. Can you explain that?

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, they were after me to name the sources that I had been reporting on this guy for two years. I was not about to do that. With the rkellyfinal_copy.jpgcourts turning away from protections for the press at a point where Judith Miller was in jail and any number of other reporters, like those two guys in San Francisco who were writing about the steroids. Yeah, the judge [in the R. Kelly case] refused to honor the Illinois Supreme Court reporters privilege ruling and said no that doesn’t apply here, so we took the Fifth Amendment because me even admitting that I’d touched or seen the tape was me saying I’d touched or seen child pornography. I was not going to incriminate myself. Now there’s an appeal ongoing by one of the best First Amendment lawyers in the entire country who was my attorney and the Sun-Times attorney and we’re going to take it all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to say that reporters privilege should have held.  I talked to a lot of people who were seriously afraid that talking to me or talking to the police would have exposed them serious damage from R. Kelley and his people. That’s the very best reason to give someone off-the-record protection. I’m telling you about a guy who’s hurting people, allegedly, and I’m going to get hurt just talking to you. That’s why you give someone that off-the-record protection. I was not about to name any of those people. I would have gone to jail for them.

PHAWKER: Were you getting a lot of heat from R. Kelley people for writing these stories or your involvement in this?

JIM DEROGATIS: A bullet through my window. I don’t know who fired it. 

PHAWKER: A bullet through the window of your apartment or your house?

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, that was just a hell of a coincidence. It was 24 hours after the story of the tape ran. Just a hell of a coincidence. That was not an easy story to write. 

PHAWKER: Interesting. Back up to the Lester Bangs thing. I was actually just reading through somewhere on the web where the interview is posted. First of all, it’s just so extraordinary to me that you got to interview him when you were a senior in high school. But you had the foresight to interview him first of all, but second of all that the whole thing happened and he opened up, basically he opened up to you and through the keys down to you, which is hilarious. 

lesterbangs2_1.jpgJIM DEROGATIS: He was that kind of guy. He was that way with Cameron Crowe when Cameron was 17 and Cameron met him in 1972 and he was that way with me when I was 17 and I met him in ’82. I mean, he was happy to talk to people about what he loved to do. I was supposed to interview a hero in my chosen field for journalism class in high school. I mean, the guy who explained to me really the Velvet Underground it was as much of a thrill talking to him as if it would have been to talking the Velvet Underground. I can definitively say Lester Banks was a nicer person, at least to me, than Lou Reed’s ever been. Lou Reed is a nasty interview, depending on his mood. He’s been nice too but he can also be, “That’s the stupidest question I’ve been asked.” It’s like, oh yeah, thank you Lou. 

PHAWKER: Yeah, he has raised arrogance to an art form, hasn’t he?

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, it’s always hard form me to tell whether that’s part of the Jewish Borscht Belt comedian kind of a thing. He easily could have grown up in stand up in the Catskills. So, you know is it an act? Or is it Lou or after 50 years does it not even matter? But whatever… 

PHAWKER: It was occurring to me when I was reading through this is this would make a great little Indie film of this whole little adventure of yours. 

JIM DEROGATIS: There are a couple of filmmakers in Canada who have wanted to do a film based on Let It Blurt for some time. The obstacle that has always been financing.

PHAWKER: But not even the whole story just the thing with you interviewing him and that would be the whole dialogue just the interview, etc. 

JIM DEROGATIS: Seymour Hoffman was walking around the set of Almost Famous listening to that tape to get the speech right. I have to say that is the Lester I met, the Lester that Cameron portrayed. 

PHAWKER: He was dead 2 weeks later? Correct?


PHAWKER: Did he seem unwell? 

JIM DEROGATIS: He seemed really tired. He seemed really washed out and wasted you can see it in those pictures. He did not look healthy. I think one of let_it_blurt.jpgthe difficulties that some of his friends had with the book were based on the fact that they had the party line of people who loved Lester dearly. He was cleaning up, he was straight, he was sober. He doesn’t look healthy in those pictures, he looked exhausted when I talked to him and spent the day with him. The toxicology reports say not only was there Darvon in his system, which was the drug that killed him, but there was a lot of Valium that he had taken according to Robert Quine the night before. Whether this was one slip or whether it was actually the 33 years of abuse finally caught up with him. You know, it’s sad. 

PHAWKER: Do you think in modern times he would have been diagnosed bipolar? 

JIM DEROGATIS: No, I don’t think he was bipolar. I think he had serious damage from a really… you know a lot of artists have really fucked up upbringings, Tori Amos’ parents are fucking born again preachers or whatever. I mean, that’s old news, right? But I mean even in the universe of fucked up upbringings, Lester’s father having burned alive to death and his mother being a Jehovah’s Witness, the world was going to end at any moment. And being old enough to be his grandmother and having no other family input. That’s kind of remarkably, singularly fucked up. It was a weird upbringing. 

PHAWKER: Moving on, I’m wondering if you could recount the incident that happened when you were on staff at Rolling Stone with the Hootie and the Blowfish record? Are you a lot to talk about it? 

JIM DEROGATIS: Oh yeah. I talk about it all the time. Whether it’s interesting or not…

PHAWKER: Oh I think it will work in the context of this interview. I just like to get a…

JIM DEROGATIS: Well, you know I went to Rolling Stone with Keith Moerer who I worked with at Request Magazine, he used to be the editor and I was the assistant editor and it was kind of like graduate school. Rolling Stone, having gotten to the Alternative party a little bit late — you know corporate magazines still suck — came to Keith and I and said ‘Rolling Stone needs to change or die‘, we need what you do. You know it didn’t turn out to be that at all. Here I am at the best rock publication in America, allegedly, with the power to send some of the best writers of my generation to Iceland for two weeks along with a stylist and a photographer you know to get the ultimate Bjork cover story and instead we’re doing a fucking hatchet job on Don Henley because Jann Wenner didn’t get invited to his fourth wedding. It was not the kind of journalism or criticism I wanted to do. I’m looking at the cover of Jenny McCarthy squirting mustard on a hot dog that’s held between her tits and I’m like ‘I gotta get out of here’, but I kind of sped that up inadvertently. Keith was likeWhat are we gonna do with this Hootie album?’ and I said ‘I have this theory about them, it’s the Spin Doctors meet Dave Matthews and it goes over big with people who think Bud Light is a psychedelic drug’ and so I wrote pretty much that in the review. Jann pulled it out of the magazine at the last minute and asked somebody else to write a review in about 40 minutes, so a positive review wound up running. This is not what got me fired. What got me fired was the New York Observer heard about this a day or two later and called me about itI said look I can’t talk to you even though this goes against the core of my being as a journalist who is used to asking the most difficult questions to people and running down the street after them when they refuse to answer. I am not a ‘no comment’ kind of guy, they said ‘well we have the whole story’, I said look I really can’t talk to you. They said look, answer us one question: IsJann a Hootie fan? And I said, this is a memorable quote, ‘That son of a bitch I think is a fan of anything that sells 8.5 million records.’ So then put that in bold and in a pull quote over his picture. So that what got me fired.


PHAWKER: So did Wenner actually directly fire you? When you walked in…

JIM DEROGATIS: No, he hides in his office he doesn’t do any of the nasty stuff. No, they have security guards there, you get marched to personnel, then you’re out on Sixth Avenue before you can blink. No, he’s a fucking pussy. He doesn’t have the balls to actually argue with anybody to their face. 

PHAWKER: And I have to ask you while we’re naming names, so who wrote the positive review in 40 minutes? 

corporate_magazines_still_suck_1.jpgJIM DEROGATIS: I actually forget. It was someone I didn’t have much respect for. Worse than over censorship is self-censorship. Whoever it was I don’t think, I know wasn’t given the marching orders, “you have to write a positive review ofHootie” but it’s like between the lines. You have 40 minutes, they need a Hootie review, can you do it? This is true, this is the honest to God truth, in the copy department of Rolling Stone, where all the copy editors sat there was a sign on the wall that literally said “3 Stars Is Never Having To Say You’re Sorry.” So it wouldn’t come down from on high, this had to be a good review, but everybody knew. Carlos Santana has a solo album Jann really wants us to do this; it should be the lead review he says. It didn’t have to be told to you, you just knew. I mean like, you get invited on Fox to go on BillO’Reilly to talk about healthcare, you know what you’re supposed to say, right? Otherwise your head is on the chopping block . You don’t have to spell it out. 

PHAWKER: The other big controversy, the Ryan Adams voicemail message. You said some very disparaging things about Ryan Adams’ solo record. I’m wondering…

JIM DEROGATIS: I reviewed him in concert and he was pretty much drunk and he was fucking around and he played the same song 4 times in a row and the first time it was strings, the second time it was death metal, the third it was polka. He was just fucking around and showing now respect to the audience essentially and sometimes in a classic Ryan Adams fashion this had become part of his shtick . It was the only time I’d ever reviewed him and he left this long rambling message about “every time I come to town you do this to me. You don’t even recognize my genius.” I was like, “hey Jack, I reviewed you once and you sucked.” I thought he deserved his say, so I played it once on the radio and then somebody made it an MP3 and now I think it’s made more units than any other recording he’s made. Well, hey, we should have collaborated we both would have done better. 

PHAWKER: Has your opinion of him changed at all or evolved since then?

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, I’m not a Ryan Adams fan. I think at his best he is a fine imitator of The Replacements or Van Morrison or of Westerberg or Wilco, and at his worst he is a self-parody. I mean, is he the worst person in the world? No, but he’s never really impressed me with much of anything. 

PHAWKER: Are you still playing drums with Vortis? 

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, which is more or less irrelevant. I mean, if the guy who covers the Cubs plays softball on Sunday. We’re really serious about the band and it’s a lot of fun but that canard about critics being frustrated musicianswell I’m not frustrated. I play as much as I want to and record and get to play cool shows and it’s a lot of fun. I don’t want to be a rock star. Too much aggravation. I’ve got the best job in the world, it’s nice to go play drums and get the catharsis out.

PHAWKER: Fair enough, and just to end here. How about mentioning a couple of records that you’re currently really digging. 

JIM DEROGATIS: This morning I didn’t listen to but shit on my desk. I had to deal with Pearl Jam, I had to deal with Monsters of Folk, I had to deal with easy_tiger_ryan_adams.jpgKidCudi and as soon as we get off the phone I have to deal with goddamn Mariah Carey. As far as what’s been good…

PHAWKER: You’re not into Monsters of Folk?

JIM DEROGATIS: I’ve given it 3 listens so far and it ain’t grabbing me. I don’t know. I know a lot of people praised it. 

PHAWKER: Do you like those guys as individual artists?

JIM DEROGATIS: I’m not a big Jim James fan. I can take Conor Oberst or leave him. I have a lot of respect for what Mike Mogis does and I like M. Ward. I guess I’m half and half. 

PHAWKER: And the Pearl Jam record?

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, boy they sure have made the same album 11 times. This is supposed to be their happy, upbeat record. Half of it, actually the half I like most, there are 4 tracks that are much better in the mode of the Into The Wild soundtrack which I thought was great. I think it’s time for Pearl Jam to do something new. This band has been doing the same thing for a very long time. It’s not bad, but it sure ain’t great. Three stars you’re never going to have to say you’re sorry. 

PHAWKER: I review music for the Inquirer I had to cover the Vedder solo tour that came through town 3 or 4 months ago and I actually quite enjoyed that show for the most part. 

JIM DEROGATIS: It was a great show. It was nice to see him in a different context. 

PHAWKER: You know what I was thinking at the time what these guys out to do, I think that, REM and Pearl Jam should switch singers for an album and make a record and see what happens. 

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, that would be, they both need a shot of adrenaline for sure, and like a serious, hardcore Pulp Fiction shot of adrenaline to the heart. 

PHAWKER: Mariah Carey is coming up next. 

JIM DEROGATIS:  I haven’t listened to it enough yet to, yeah, but see if the daily newspaper goes down, that’s the sort of thing I really won’t miss. 

PHAWKER: Right. I was going to ask you, how do you get it up for reviewing a Mariah Carey record?


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JIM DEROGATIS: Well, you know, it’s always possible, not probable, but it’s possible that this woman could make great art. Here’s this woman who’s always been a tool of some Svengali or other in her career who is finally at this late stage in her career finding some semblance of independence and had this very public meltdown, not as ugly or as public as Britney’s, but nearly so. You know, pretty much lost her shit in full view of the world, had this sort of breakdown, and this is sort of the personal drama that Billie Holiday made great art out of, being strung out on heroin and beaten out by society. It just could be that Mariah Carey on this new album has made some dark soul coming out on the other end, a brilliant masterpiece of catharsis. It’s probably extremely unlikely. I don’t want to waste the next 3 or 4 hours of my life in misery, swimming in shit. I would like whatever comes out of my speakers as soon as we hang up to be great, so that’s how you get it up. People think you know critics, they just love to diss shit, no, I go to see Britney Spears in concert, it’s a 5 or 6-hour ordeal. I mean, you fight traffic to get out there, you sit there, you sit there through shitty opening bands, you’re surrounded by people who are annoying, Britney comes on, you’re writing on deadline. I would like that to have been a transcended, uplifting, amazing, mind blowing experience as great as the night I saw Lou Reed at the Bottom Line on the Blue Mask tour. I would like every night to be that much, that wonderful, not to be glutinous or anything but if you’re a food critic I think you’d like every night to be eating a Millennium or the French Laundry. It’s pretty great. But it’s a lot of shit, a lot of us eating McDonald’s or worse, a lot of us getting food poisoning and throwing up all night. You could argue that without the food poisoning that the great places wouldn’t taste as good. I don’t know if I’d buy that.

PHAWKER: The bad sex makes the good sex better. 

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, I don’t know if I’d buy that. I don’t know if that’s necessary. I would like it all to be a world of just great art, but that ain’t the way things work, right?

PHAWKER: Right. Well, I think you did a perfect job of bringing us back full circle there with Lou Reed at the bottom line remark.

lou-reed-stop-smiling.jpgJIM DEROGATIS: I was in my first year at NYU and Lou played 3 or 4 nights with that Quine band and Blue Mask might not have even come out yet or it might have just been out. This was obviously the Blue Mask was just coming out when I talked to Lester Bangs so this is right around the same time. So it was like April or that period in 1982 and for whatever reason it was really cold that night, it was like 10 degrees outside and my buddy and I came from Jersey City and we were standing in line for standing room tickets in the bottom line and we were out there for like 5 hours and we finally get and we’re frozen solid and we’re standing in the path and we can’t see anything. I swear to God, three songs in, some record company scumbag who had a half naked babe on his arms gets up and leaves. They had a table right in front of the stage, right in front of Quine and the bouncer who knew we had been out there for 5 hours and was talking to us in line sees me and my buddy and says come here and we got that table. So that’s how I saw Lou Reed for the first time. 

PHAWKER: Nice. I think I’ve seen YouTube versions of “Kill Your Sons” from that show. 

JIM DEROGATIS: Yeah, well there’s a great video of it. Reed live in New York City. They had an amazing band Fred Maher on drums, Fernando Saunders is playing with them for the first time and played with them ever since and Quine. Reed obviously was amazed by Quine because whenever you heard the first solo in either the new material or classic Velvet songs, he would turn and face Quine and he would say, “Quine” and Quine would let it rip. He would introduce him before every solo, they’d do “What Goes On” he would turn and go [in nasal growl[ “Quine.” It was just wonderful. 

PHAWKER: Was that just a one-night stand or was there a series of concerts? 

JIM DEROGATIS: I think they did 2 or 3 nights. 

PHAWKER: Was the one you were at the one that was recorded?

JIM DEROGARTIS: It was during that stint. I don’t know which night they recorded. I’ve looked at the old video a bunch of time and I’ve never seen myself. I got whoever’s seat, it could have been Clive Davis, whoever the fuck it was I got their table. It was great. 

PHAWKER: Excellent. I think we’ll leave it there, Sir. Thank you very much for your time.

The Velvet Underground: An Illustrated History of a Walk on the Wild Side has just been published by Voyageur Press

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BREAKING: DJ AM Death Ruled Accidental Overdose

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

dj_am_1.jpgMTV: One month after DJ AM was found dead in his New York apartment, the city’s medical examiner has announced a cause of death in the case. After a battery of toxicology tests, the New York City medical examiner’s office has determined that AM’s accidental death was caused by acute intoxication brought on by a cocktail of prescription drugs and cocaine, a spokesperson from the office confirmed. The toxicology report released on Tuesday says that the 36-year-old celebrity DJ (born Adam Goldstein) had cocaine; painkillers OxyContin and Vicodin; anti-anxiety meds Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax; antihistamine Benadryl and Levamisole (a drug used to cut cocaine) in his system when he was found dead on August 28. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: Nearly a third of all cocaine seized in the United States is laced with a dangerous veterinary medicine — a livestock de-worming drug that might enhance cocaine’s effects but has been blamed in at least three deaths and scores of serious illnesses. The medication called levamisole has killed at least three people in the U.S. and Canada and sickened more than 100 others. It can be used in humans to treat colorectal cancer, but it severely weakens the body’s immune system, leaving patients vulnerable to fatal infections. MORE

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GAMBLOR: Dozen Casino Protesters Arrested

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

casino-tastykake.gifINQUIRER: The organized act of civil disobedience by Casino-Free Philadelphia came as the casino company announced it planned to have a formal groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 8 for its slots parlor. More than 40 people gathered for the protest on Delaware Avenue about 6 a.m. They carried signs and banners wore red shirts that read “Bankrupt them” on the front and “Before they bankrupt us” on the back. About a dozen chanting volunteers sat down and linked arms in front of the construction gate. MORE

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BON IVER: Skinny Love

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
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LOS ANGELES TIMES: In the twilight hours, that liminal space between sunset and sunrise, the eyes and ears are prone to trickery. The imagination takes over; hazy objects resemble ghosts, and faraway sounds evoke werewolves. But on the precipice of Sunday morning, amid Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s tombstones and mausoleums, the misty fog and leaning palm trees, Bon Iver provided an ethereal soundtrack to sunrise. It was dreamlike as indie folkster and Wisconsonite Justin Vernon walked onstage with his band, Bon Iver, around 6 a.m. It was almost completely dark when the band opened with Brian Eno-esque layers of sound — their guitars and beards bathed in an icy hue from the blue stage lights — and awakened the slumbering (and some still partying) masses sprawled across the lawn. “We’ve never done anything this weird before,” Vernon said, between the slow-burning stomps and sweet falsetto acoustic solos from Bon Iver’s 2008 album, “For Emma, Forever Ago.” Bon Iver’s performance capped off six hours of events curated by the band, including Vernon’s handpicked music (a play list ranging from Dirty Projectors to Sam Cooke) and films (“Bottle Rocket” and “Planet Earth”). The audience began to arrive around midnight, the witching hour, with blankets, picnic baskets and wine in hand. MORE

RELATED: Following the break-up of his previous band DeYarmond Edison, Justin Vernon secluded himself to a boniverforemma_1.jpgcabin in northwestern Wisconsin for three months planning to “hibernate.” Three months of solitude resulted in the creation of For Emma, Forever Ago. “All of his personal trouble, lack of perspective, heartache, longing, love, loss and guilt that had been stock piled over the course of the past six years, was suddenly purged into the form of song.” [1] The record is entirely the creation of Justin Vernon, “despite its complexity, the record was created with nothing more than a few microphones and some aged recording equipment.” MORE

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BAD MOTHER: 14-Year-Old Says Mom Lit Him On Fire, Locked Him In A Closet For Four Years

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009


ASSOCIATED PRESS: A woman was arrested after her 14-year-son told authorities he escaped from a home where he’d been kept for 4 1/2 years, spending most of his time locked in a bedroom closet, police said Monday. A security guard at a National Guard facility in Oklahoma City called police on Friday after the teen showed up malnourished and with numerous scars and other signs of abuse, police Sgt. Gary Knight said. “He was hungry. He was dirty. He had numerous scars on his body,” Knight said. “It was very sad.” The boy was taken to a hospital to be examined and then turned over to the custody of the Department of Human Services, Knight said. After police interviews, officers on Saturday arrested the boy’s mother, 37-year-old LaRhonda Marie McCall, and a friend, 38-year-old Steve Vern Hamilton, on 20 complaints each of child abuse and child neglect. Formal charges have not been filed, and both were being held on $400,000 bond, according to jail records. The teen, wearing only a pair of oversized shorts held up by a belt, walked up to a security guard at the Guard facility around 5 p.m. Friday and asked where a police station was located so he could report being abused, according to a police report. He told police that scars on his stomach and torso were from where alcohol had been poured on him and set on fire. Other scars were from being tied up, hit with an extension cord and choked, the boy told police. “He had scars covering most of his body,” Knight said. “They were basically from head to foot.” MORE

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Monday, September 28th, 2009

The Dodos play First Unitarian October 12th

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HATEBOOK: Facebook Deletes Poll That Asked ‘Should Obama Be Killed’, Secret Service Investigating

Monday, September 28th, 2009


ASSOCIATED PRESS: The U.S. Secret Service is investigating an online survey that asked whether people thought President Barack Obama should be assassinated, officials said Monday. The poll, posted Saturday on Facebook, was taken off the popular social networking site quickly after company officials were alerted to its existence. But, like any threat against the president, Secret Service agents are taking no chances. “We are aware of it and we will take the appropriate investigative steps,” said Darrin Blackford, a Secret Service spokesman. “We take of these things seriously.” MORE

PREVIOUSLY: I SEE A DARKNESS: Feds Nab Three Jihadist Bombers In One Week; Census Worker Lynched In Kentucky

VARIETY: Columbia Pictures and director David Fincher have set the core cast for “The Social Network,” the Aaron facebook-monster.thumbnail.jpgSorkin-scripted drama about the formation of Facebook. Jesse Eisenberg will play Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg; Justin Timberlake will play Sean Parker, the Napster co-founder who became Facebook’s founding president; and Andrew Garfield will play Eduardo Saverin, the Facebook co-founder who fell out with Zuckerberg over money. Production will begin next month in Boston and then move to Los Angeles. Script focuses on the evolution of Facebook, the online social network created in 2004 on the Harvard campus, and how overnight success and wealth changed the lives of the classmates who created it. Eisenberg, who went from “The Squid and the Whale” to “Adventureland,” locked the central role as Zuckerberg as Columbia prepares to release his latest film, “Zombieland,” on Oct. 2 MORE


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Via BuzzFeed

Cost of the War in Iraq
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