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BEING THERE: Flying Lotus @ The Tower

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014


Upon his arrival onstage last night at the Tower Theater, Flying Louts (a.k.a. Steven Ellison) tilted his head skyward and petitioned the ‘Whiskey Fairy’ for a divine intervention. FlyLo was, he said, about to spirit-guide the jam-packed audience to their ego deaths, which is no easy task without an entire bottle of liquor at the ready. Then, with a maniacal grin, Flying Lotus informed the Tower crowd that they were dead and with that the wild rumpus had begun. Though terrifyingly ominous at times, Flying Lotus’ signature spaced-out jazz-infused electro-ambient hip-hop whosiewhatsit set sent the audience spiraling towards ego-death in the most gracious yet thrilling way.

His music is rooted in heavy electronic-based beats set off by contrastingly light and hauntingly airy sonic filigree. When fused together with a little bit of distortion, the result feels like a cruise-controlled drive down Rainbow Road, as was the case with the chimed-out “Turtles” from the just-out You’re Dead! and robot sounds of “Computer Face//Pure Being” from 2010′s Cosmogramma. The intensity level of Ellison’s laptop conjurings was upped exponentially by  the dangerously stimulating visuals that surrounded him: seizure-inducing strobe lights and trippy rear screen projections that made for a psychedelic 3-D experience. Projections included a mixture of warped fractals, vibrantly-hued animated cosmic explorations, and the gruesomely twisted You’re Dead! cartoons, which featured people peeling off their faces and flying around in a beautifully bloody swirl of detached limbs.

At one point, Flying Lotus came out from behind the projector screen to rap as his alter ego Captain Murphy, who, in cartoon form, is a blinged-out, trippy gangster dude, whose presence stands somewhere between ‘superhuman’ and ‘grim reaper.’ The show was a sensational experience for the eyes, the ears, and mind. After the lively finale of “Never Catch Me,” which was teased at moments throughout the show, the audience was successfully reborn. In just under an hour, Flying Lotus made it clear that death, however bleak it seems, could be a more exhilarating experience than anything we could prepare for in a lifetime. – MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ

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THE GOOD SHEPHERD: A Q&A With Globe-Trotting New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014


BY JONATHAN VALANIA Last week we got New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof on the horn to discuss his new book, A Path Appears, co-authored with his wife Sheryl WuDunn, which extols the innovative but largely un-heralded efforts of a dedicated few to leave the world a better place than they found it. Just a few days prior, Kristof had been at the center of a cultural storm that erupted in the wake of his appearance on REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER along with Ben Affleck and Sam Harris, so we gave him an opportunity to clarify some points that got lost in the shouting and hair-pulling. DISCUSSED: People who are making a difference; studying inner-city violence like a viral epidemic; utilizing the accrued wisdom of seniors to mentor at-risk youth; reparations for blacks; how the global plight of women is connected to everything that is wrong in the world and how to fix it,  the existential threat to journalism and the fight to the death between extreme and moderate interpretations of Islam.

PHAWKER: Before we jump into the book could we just briefly revisit the Bill Maher encounter, I’d like to give you a chance to air your side, you couldn’t really get a word in edgewise from what I saw of it. Let me just say a word upfront before we dig into this, as a disinterested party watching it all unfold, it seemed to me that Sam Harris was looking to have a collegial discussion based on empirical facts and data etc. and that immediately Affleck just blew a gasket and just slimed him with the racist tag which  just shuts down the debate before it even got off the ground and I was a little surprised to see you join in on that.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Well, I mean,  I wanted to have a conversation I didn’t think the conversation was much of a — it didn’t end up being much of an enlightening conversation, more of a brawl, than anything.

PHAWKER: That’s television for you.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Yeah that’s television it was clearly very entertaining because it went viral, which sort of surprises me, I hadn’t thought it particularly viral-worthy.

PHAWKER: I realize this is a huge, long conversation but just briefly if you’d like to make a couple points that you weren’t given the chance to on the show.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF Basically, I think that Islam is a vast and incredibly diverse religion and I don’t think that it’s intrinsically intolerant. For much of its history it was arguably more tolerant than Christianity, I do think that today, it does indeed have a real problem with tolerance with the repression of women but that is one strain of it and I think it is unfair to target 1.6 billion muslims with one stain, it’s, this is true but hugely incomplete.

PHAWKER: Okay but where is that massive majority of peaceful and tolerant Muslims? Why are there not 1.6 billion in the streets condemning the extremism and intolerance and culturally-codified misogyny that’s misrepresenting the tenets their religion.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Muslim people have been denouncing ISIS right and left.

PHAWKER: It just seems to me that the voices of moderation are impotent or muted, at best, which I don’t understand if the numbers of moderates are so legion. Why is it that tens of thousands will fill the streets if somebody draws a cartoon of The Prophet but sawing off the heads of Western aid workers and journalists in the name of Islam barely rates a hashtag on Twitter and a few op-eds of tepid condemnation?


Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Brooklyn’s The Streets Of Laredo play The Boot & Saddle on October 26th with Line & Circle.

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INCOMING: Put A Beard On It

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014


He plays the Beacon Theater on November 8th as part of Comedy Central’s New York Comedy Festival.

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Win Tix To Wiz Khalifa @ The Piazza Sunday

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Artwork by danb13

On Sunday October 19th, Forbes’ Under 30 Music Fest – featuring Wiz Khalifa, indie rocker LP and Philly’s own much-buzzed about hip-hop duo OCD: Moosh and Twist, and DJ Afrojack — will throw down at the Piazza at Schmidts. The Forbes Under 30 Music Festival will kick off the first-ever Forbes Under 30 Summit, a gathering in Philadelphia, Oct 20-22, of 1,000 of America’s most outstanding young entrepreneurs and leaders. To win tickets all you have to do is take two minutes to help end extreme poverty. There are four ways to do this, pick one:

1. Tweet at Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Lindsey Graham, Congresswoman Kay Granger and Congresswoman Nita Lowey and thank them for working to ensure every child across the world has access to protection from diseases.


2. Sign the petition to support the Water for the World Act — legislation that refines and improves the current Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act that makes safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene a U.S. foreign policy priority. The Water for the World Act would better utilize the existing funds and strengthen accountability for existing programs.


3. Sign the petition encouraging world leaders to help end the Ebola epidemic.


4. Tweet a selfie with the hashtag #showyourself, joining the petition that shows world leaders that the rights and needs of the 1.8 billion young people across the globe must be a priority.

After one of those tasks is complete, participants earn four points on the Global Citizen web site and can enter the lottery for tickets. Winners will be chosen at random and notified via email. More than 2,500 pairs of free tickets will be distributed to the public leading up to the festival, which is presented by Global Citizen Nights. Tickets will be made available through midnight EST on Thursday, October 16. Doors will open at 3:30 pm Sunday for the music festival. The concert is expected to run from approximately 5pm-9pm. Please note this event is rain or shine. Attendees must be 21 and over (valid photo ID required for entry). For more details on Forbes’ Under 30 Summit, please visit On Twitter, follow @ForbesUnder30 and #Under30Summit and #GoingtoPhilly. Good luck and godspeed.


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WORTH REPEATING: The Secret Sharer

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014


THE NEW YORKER: [Laura Poitras] turned to the documentary’s opening shot: a tunnel in Hong Kong, filmed with a narrow aperture, so that the camera appeared to be speeding through black space. A pattern of lights flashed overhead like Morse-code dashes. It created an ominous mood, evoking the beginning of David Lynch’s “Lost Highway.” The sound of wind rose and, in voice-over, an unidentified female—Poitras—read one of the first e-mails she received from Snowden: “At this stage I can offer nothing more than my word. I am a senior government employee in the intelligence community.”

Bonnefoy stopped the film. They were still polishing the soundtrack. Poitras said, “I’d love to try something electronic in it, and sort of move away from the wind.”

The voice-over continued, accompanied by a low vibrating sound, like an electronic sine wave, with eerie piano notes: “It will be your decision as to whether or how to declare my involvement. My personal desire is that you paint the target directly on my back. No one, not even my most trusted confidante, is aware of my intentions, and it would not be fair for them to fall under suspicion for my actions. You may be the only one who can prevent that, and that is by immediately nailing me to the cross rather than trying to protect me as a source.” The wind sound rose and faded. “On timing, regarding meeting up in Hong Kong, the first rendezvous attempt will be at 10 a.m. local time on Monday. We will meet in the hallway outside of the restaurant in the Mira Hotel. I will be working on a Rubik’s Cube so you can identify me.”

Bonnefoy stopped the film again. “It’s actually quite nice,” she said of the wind sound. “Hearing it alone, it felt bombastic, but, like this, in the context, it’s actually more like he’s in a room, a space.”

Afterward, Poitras went home to her apartment, a few blocks away. She moved to Berlin in the fall of 2012, after years of being repeatedly stopped at airports by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. (She thought it might have something to do with a film about Iraq that she released in 2006.) Prenzlauer Berg, where Poitras has her studio, is Berlin’s Williamsburg; the coffee shops are upscale and have play areas inside. The neighborhood has become the center of the German capital’s small community of surveillance expats. Berlin is an ideal place for them; it’s hip and relatively cheap, with a respect for privacy that’s enshrined in law and custom. Germans attribute this to the legacy of the Gestapo and the Stasi, to which many of the American expats casually compare the National Security Agency. There’s a shiver of totalitarian ghosts, and totalitarian fantasies, amid the cobblestones and the Kinderspielcafes.

An English-language monthly, Exberliner, devoted its September issue to celebrating the scene. “Berlin’s Digital Rebellion,” the cover announced. “Whistle-blowers, Cypherpunks and Hackers: The post-Snowden resistance is right on our doorstep. Are you ready to join the fight?” The magazine featured an interview with Jacob Appelbaum, a “hacktivist” from WikiLeaks who is a friend of Poitras’s. Unlike many of the surveillance expats, Poitras speaks longingly of returning to America. In the past year, she and Greenwald have had disagreements with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks believed that Poitras was too timid, and too preoccupied with her film, to release more of them.

Poitras doesn’t like to talk about her friction with WikiLeaks, or with the U.S. government. She doesn’t like to talk about herself at all. This reticence has complicated the making of the new movie, because, inescapably, she is one of its main characters. MORE

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POT CALLS KETTLE BLACK: A Day In The Life Of A Colorado Black Market Weed Dealer

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

WASHINGTON POST: New figures from the Colorado Department of Revenue show that recreational marijuana sales continued to climb in August, the most recent month for which data are available. Recreational sales totaled approximately $34.1 million in August, up from $29.3 million the previous month. MORE

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TONITE: Win Tix To See Flying Lotus @ The Tower

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014


Boy, oh boy! You lucky ducks! The Tower just dropped into our lap  a small chunk of tix to see sonic sorcerer Flying Lotus at the Tower Theater tonight. Time is short so we’re gonna keep this one easy-peasy. All you have to do is join our mailing list (at the bottom of the masthead) and then send us a note at FEED@PHAWKER.COM telling us you do so along with your full name and mobile number for confirmation and the magic words FLYING LOTUS in the subject line. Good luck and…er, what’s that? You have no earthly idea who the Flying Lotuses are and why should you even care in the first place?!? First of all don’t use that tone of voice with me young man/lady, second of all we shouldn’t have to do your homework for you, but like I said time is short. So check it out, for real:

Every so often there comes an artist who both can defy and define genres. For EDM, these musicians are few and far between – we see far more imitators than trend-setters. Producers also tend to stick to what they know – a lot of the time an artist never lets his music escape the confines of his own macbook. It’s exciting when a producer tries out new methods and styles to create music, and experimenters are important figures in the world of art. Surely it is those who break free from the confines of the status quo and delve into unknown territory that can create something that seems unreal. “Avant Garde” is hardly a label electronic musicians can earn; that title is generally reserved for artists in jazz and painting. With the advent of modern software synthesis and audio processing comes a new era of music, where a person is practically free to create any soundscape he wants.

Flying Lotus is one of these game-changing, genre bending figures that only comes along every so often. Finding his roots in hip-hop, jazz, and turntablism, Steven Ellison A.K.A. Flying Lotus has been releasing music with Warp Records since 2007. He is no underground artist either – Flying Lotus is the seventh most followed person on soundcloud with almost four million followers.  Not only is Flying Lotus a music producer, he has a hip-hop alter ego, Captain Murphy, who appears as a shadowy figure based on an Adult Swim show. Captain Murphy is not Lotus’s only link to Adult Swim; Flylo has produced a large portion of the music the program plays randomly in between shows. Music is literally in this man’s blood; Steven Ellison is the great nephew of the jazz pianist Alice Coltrane, wife of the great saxaphone player John Coltrane. On the note of the sax, Flylo has even been called “the jazz of EDM”. I’ve been told that by several different people Flying Lotus released his fifth studio album You’re Dead! (Warp) — featuring Snoop Dogg, Kendrick LaMar and Herbie Hancock — on October 7. MORE

Got it? Get it. Good. You’re welcome. Good luck and godspeed, man!

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LISTEN: Howard Stern Vs. Neil Young

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014


DISCUSSED: Manson, Kent State, Buffalo Springfield, “Southern Man,” Pono, Woodstock, CSNY

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NICK KRISTOF: When Whites Just Don’t Get It

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014


NEW YORK TIMES: After the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., I wrote a couple of columns entitled “When Whites Just Don’t Get It.” The reaction to those columns — sometimes bewildered, resentful or unprintable — suggests to me that many whites in America don’t understand the depths of racial inequity lingering in this country. This inequity is embedded in our law enforcement and criminal justice system, and that is why Bryan Stevenson may, indeed, be America’s Mandela. For decades he has fought judges, prosecutors and police on behalf of those who are impoverished, black or both. When someone is both and caught in the maw of the justice system — well, Stevenson jokes that “it’s like having two kinds of cancer at the same time.”

“We have a system that treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent,” he adds. Stevenson, 54, grew up in a poor black neighborhood in Delaware and ended up at Harvard Law School. He started the Equal Justice Initiative, based in Montgomery, Ala., to challenge bias and represent the voiceless. It’s a tale he recounts in a searing, moving and infuriating memoir that is scheduled to be published later this month, “Just Mercy.” Stevenson tells of Walter McMillian, a black Alabama businessman who scandalized his local community by having an affair with a married white woman. Police were under enormous pressure to solve the murder of an 18-year-old white woman, and they ended up arresting McMillian in 1987.

The authorities suppressed exculpatory evidence and found informants to testify against McMillian with preposterous, contradictory and constantly changing stories. McMillian had no serious criminal history and had an alibi: At the time of the murder, he was at a church fish fry, attended by dozens of people who confirmed his presence. None of this mattered. An overwhelmingly white jury found McMillian guilty of the murder, and the judge — inauspiciously named Robert E. Lee Key Jr. — sentenced him to die. MORE

TIME: Author, activist and academic Cornel West was arrested Monday in Ferguson, Mo., amid continued demonstrations demanding justice for Mike Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9. MORE

DAILY MAIL: Prominent civil activist Cornel West has been arrested in Ferguson, Missouri as more than 1,000 people march through the city to rally against police violence.  The Princeton University philosopher and author was hauled away in handcuffs as protesters called for the arrest of a white police officer who shot dead unarmed teen Michael Brown in August He was one of at least 50 detained by officers at the demonstrations which went on late into the night.  Ahead of his arrest, West told a crowd at Saint Louis University on Monday: ‘It’s a beautiful thing to see people on fire for justice but I didn’t come here to give a speech. I came here to go to jail.’ MORE

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A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES: A Complete Guide To The High Ranking State Officials Who Ran The Corbett Administration’s Email Smut-Peddling Ring

Monday, October 13th, 2014


PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: [Pennsylvania State Attorney General Kathleen] Kane ignited the war in 2012, when she made a central theme of her campaign criticism of how [then-top prosecutor Frank] Fina‘s team in the Attorney General’s Office conducted the investigation into serial sex abuser Jerry Sandusky.[...] Though the review failed to back up Kane’s campaign rhetoric, it gave her a new and unexpected source of ammunition in the feud: Forensic computer work found that Fina, among dozens of others, had traded explicit [pornographic] photos and videos between 2008 and 2102 on state time on state computers. The X-rated e-mails were among other messages that included jokes, cartoons, and political commentary. It was not illegal, but it was a violation of office policy.

Throughout, Fina was publicly backed up in his defense of the Sandusky probe by old colleagues, including State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan, former top state prosecutor Richard Sheetz, and former [PA Attorney General's office] agent Randy Feathers, the case’s lead investigator. All three later landed on the list of eight Kane named as having received pornographic e-mails while working in the Attorney General’s Office under Corbett or other Republicans. Also among them was [Christopher] Carusone, a prosecutor who, with Fina, was a key player in the Attorney General’s Office’s public corruption cases and who later became Corbett’s secretary of legislative affairs.

The others she named were E. Christopher Abruzzo, who became Corbett’s environmental secretary; Glenn Parno, a top lawyer for Abruzzo; Patrick Blessington, a former member of Fina’s anticorruption team who now works with him as a Philadelphia prosecutor; and Kevin Harley, Corbett’s onetime spokesman in the Attorney General’s Office and Governor’s Office. The fallout since that Sept. 25 bombshell has been pronounced.

Abruzzo and Parno resigned their government positions the week after the e-mail release. Sheetz stepped down as a prosecutor in Lancaster County. Corbett has asked Feathers to give up his position on the state parole board, a demand Feathers has thus far ignored. Last week, Carusone lost his job with a major Philadelphia law firm, though neither he nor the firm would discuss why. [...] And last week, Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille urged his colleagues to take action after seeing e-mails that indicate Justice Seamus McCaffery had sent sexually explicit images to an agent in the Attorney General’s Office and to McCaffery’s brother, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge. MORE

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3-MINUTE DOCUMENTARY: David Lynch Explains Why The Horror Of Philadelphia In The Late ’60s Remains His Primary Source Of Artistic Inspiration

Monday, October 13th, 2014

On September 10th, 2014, David Lynch gave a press conference at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts to promote DAVID LYNCH: The Unified Field, the first major retrospective of his paintings in an American art museum. The retrospective is something of a homecoming for Lynch who studied painting at PAFA from 1966-1967, back when the City of Brotherly Love was a desolate hellscape of decay and despair after years of white flight, industrial collapse and seething racial animus. From 1965-1970, Lynch lived in a section of the city that has come to be known as The Eraserhood. It was in Philadelphia that Lynch first transitioned from painting into filmmaking. In 1970, he headed to Los Angeles to begin work on Eraserhead. At the press conference, Lynch talked about how he drew inspiration from the horrors he witnessed during his days in Philadelphia, and expressed his sadness that the city is no longer a soot-stained miasma of fear and loathing and ultra-violence, that his malevolent Rosebud has been rendered harmless and ordinary by gentrification. The short film you are about to watch is a compendium of Lynch’s remarks about filmmaking, painting, smoking, and the nature of art. Filmed and edited in high Lynch-ian style, this short film incorporates David Lynch’s music, paintings, and films along with his charm, wit and insight into the creative process. A must-see for fans of his work.

RELATED: ‘That Gum You Like Is Coming Back In Style’

RELATED: David Lynch: Eraserhead Stories

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GOAT: Hide From The Sun

Monday, October 13th, 2014

SUB POP: There is no direct association between mysterious Swedish psychedelicists GOAT and revered Argentinian master of magical realism, Jorge Luis Borges. Yet their mission appears to be the same. Borges generated his ideas from historical curiosities across the globe—gaucho knife duels on the South American plains, Middle Eastern heresiarchs plotting treacheries in secret libraries, Chinese pirates waging wars against the Emperor—and twisted them into fictions that blurred the lines between fortified footnotes and outright fantasy. GOAT’s sound is the sonic manifestation of this principle, as evidenced in their aptly-named debut album World Music, which incorporated elements of Nigerian afrobeat, German krautrock, Anatolian funk, and a host of other global micro-niches into a hallucinatory cultish celebration of rock’s diverse manifestations. Deprived of the requisite band biography, early experiencers World Music’s electrified tribalism and lysergic compositions had the inevitable questions regarding the origin and timeframe of the recordings. The truth only became knottier every time the elusive GOAT collective provided their cryptic answers. MORE

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Check out Ticket Liquidator's Live Toast blog, it's one of the coolest company blogs out there. Not just your usual candy-coated array of dead-end zzzzzzzzz inducing rubbish, Live Toast brings you all the funniest and wackiest original content that you won't see anywhere else on the web. Plus, Ticket Liquidator's team will bring you lots of other articles on concerts, sports and music, including news on ticket prices, plus articles about cool music from firsthand perspectives. All in all Ticket Liquidator is evolving, into a new kind of ticket company. And leaving the rest behind...

Cost of the War in Iraq
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