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Win Tix To See Os Mutantes @ The Foundry

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Illustration by KAINEIRIBAS

We have a couple pairs of tix to see Brazilian psych legends Os Mutantes at the Foundry tomorrow night. First two readers to email us at PHAWKER66@GMAIL.COM with the phrase BAT MACUMBA in the subject line wins. Please include your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. Good luck and godspeed! Wait, what’s that you say? What is an Os Mutantes? Oh, buddy, where have you been? OK, keep calm help is on the way. The following entry from the Rock Snob Enyclopedia should tell you just about everything you need to know to avoid being mocked and ostracized by hip friends and relatives. You’re welcome.

rocksnobicon.thumbnail.jpgROCK SNOB ENCYCLOPEDIA: Os Mutantes: The year is high in the mid-’60s. The place: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a country chafing under a brutal dictatorship. The setting: a swingin’ ’60s nightclub au-go-go straight out of Austin Powers. Lights flash and the music throbs as the camera zooms in and out to the beat. The club is filled with the hip, the young and the privileged, all dressed in mod Carnaby Street finery. Os Mutantes, Brazil’s rough-translation answer to the psychedelic-period Beatles, are set to take the stage. Suddenly, the music cuts out and the lights come up as the room fills with government storm troopers.

The soldiers, members of the dreaded CCC (Communist Hunt Command), begin brutalizing the crowd, making Os-Mutantes-original-line-uparrests and conducting interrogations. The members of Os Mutantes escape out the back door. Such was life in Brazil in the ’60s, where simply plugging in an electric guitar was a revolutionary act. Inspired by the Beatles and smuggled-in news of the burgeoning counterculture in Britain and America, Os Mutantes was formed in 1966 by the Baptista brothers–singer-songwriter-bassist Arnaldo and 15-year-old guitarist Sergio –and singer Rita Lee. The music was a glorious sunshine super bossa nova–Starburst guitar psychedelia, warped samba, gossamer harmonies, and the strange bells and whistles of theremins, Moogs and a host of homemade instruments and effects pedals.

In their day, Os Mutantes sounded nothing short of radical, especially given the repression under which they operated. Electric guitars and effects pedals, nearly impossible to find in Brazil at the time, had to be smuggled into the country. What they couldn’t smuggle in, they made themselves. Os Mutantes relied on the electronic wizardry of the eldest Baptista brother, Claudio, “the fourth Mutante,” who cobbled together devices to recreate the sounds heard on Beatles and Jimi Hendrix records. Failing that, the band would improvise, sometimes using a can of bug spray to replicate the sound of a hi-hat cymbal. The modern feel of these recordings can be attributed to producer Manoel Barenbein, Brazil’s George Martin, and arranger Rogerio Duprat, a disciple of John Cage. At the same time, a cornucopia of pot and psychedelics contributed to the inspired lunacy of these recordings and the band’s eccentric mindset.

Os Mutantes were immediately embraced by the then-flowering Tropicalia movement, an arty collective of intellectuals, poets and musicians that included Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and Tom Ze. The Tropicalistas were attempting to cast off the shackles of Brazil’s cultural conservatism and political repression with outre art, music, fashion and ideas. It was the Tropicalistas who encouraged Os Mutantes’ controversial appearance at the 1967 Festival of Brazilian Pop Music–the South American equivalent of Dylan going electric at the Newport Folk Festival. In response to the Tropicalistas and other perceived Os-Mutantessubversives, the Brazilian government passed Institutional Act Five, granting itself the power to arrest and interrogate anyone suspected of being “unpatriotic.” By 1968, Veloso and Gil had been arrested and Os Mutantes went into hiding, until Lee’s father, a dentist at the American embassy, intervened on their behalf.

It was the end of the Tropicalia movement, yet the beginning of Os Mutantes’ recorded legacy. Releasing their eponymous debut in ‘68, Os Mutantes would continue to record until 1972, when Lee was asked to leave. While the Baptista brothers soldiered on for a few more albums of ponderous prog-rock wankery, Lee went on to become a major dance music star in Brazil. A far less glittery fate would await Arnaldo. In December of 1983, he was committed to a mental institution after attacking his mother and jumping out of a third-story window. Kurt Cobain tried unsuccessfully to get Os Mutantes to reunite when Nirvana toured Brazil. In 1999, Luaka Bop issued a best-of compilation, Everything Is Possible. House label Om Platten reissued the first three proper albums: Os Mutantes, Mutantes and the Divina Comedia Ou Ando Meio Desigado. In the fall of 2009, Anti Records released Haih Or Amortecedor, the first Os Mutantes album in 35 years, which features the Baptista brothers backed by a cast of supporting players. Rita Lee declined to participate. – JONATHAN VALANIA


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EXCERPT: The Man The Angels Killed At Altamont

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018



EDITOR’S NOTE: Forty-eight years ago, on December 6, 1969, 18 year old Meredith Hunter was killed by the Hell’s Angels at the foot of the stage while the Rolling Stones played a free concert at Altamont Speedway for an audience of 300,000 people. The following excerpt from Saul Austerlitz’s forthcoming book, Just A Shot Away: Peace, Love and Tragedy With The Rolling Stones At Altamont describes in graphic detail that awful moment in the dying light of the 1960s.

ROLLING STONE: The Rolling Stones finally appeared, and for a brief moment, a sense of relief spread through the speedway. The Stones would undoubtedly cool off the overheating crowd, get them back to concentrating on the music, and return the focus where it belonged. “Oh, babies,” Mick Jagger addressed the crowd. “There’s so many of you. Just keep cool down in front and don’t push around. Just keep still, keep together.” Jagger, resplendent in a red cape knotted around his neck and a ruffled orange-and-black silk shirt, had the presence, and the confidence, it seemed, to instantly reorient the crowd in the direction he wanted.

Keith Richards, his rhinestone-studded orange shirt left unbuttoned, his black sunglasses clipped to his T-shirt, fingered the opening notes of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and the rest of the band fell in, determined to bash their way through this.

The unrest in the crowd, agitated by the Hells Angels, continued unabated. “If we are all one,” Jagger Just A Shot Awayannounced, “let’s show we’re all one.” Jagger called for a doctor to come up front, next to the scaffolding, and Mick Taylor snuck a quick drag off the cigarette stuck into the fretboard of his guitar before launching the languorous melody line of “Under My Thumb.” The song felt stretched out now, elongated to encompass the crowd, the night, the enormity of this moment.

Meredith Hunter was intent on staking his claim to the Stones, and Bredehoft was there because he wanted her to stand with him. He had climbed onto one of the speaker boxes set up just next to the stage, in search of the best view, and the modicum of protection it granted.

As the drums entered once more, and Jagger repeatedly intoned the line “I pray that it’s all right,” another space ominously began to clear in the audience below. The huge mass of people near the stage was now disintegrating, crumbling under the weight of the fear sweeping its ranks. The Hells Angels swooped into the crowd, a leather-clad phalanx wading into the morass, and the fans in their vicinity rapidly backpedaled, seeking daylight from whomever or whatever had sparked the Angels’ ire.

A hefty Hells Angel jerked roughly on Hunter’s ear and hair, chuckling all the while at his daring as he yanked Hunter down from the speaker box and onto the ground alongside him. Hunter shook off the Angel, and the Angel grabbed him by the arm and hand. Hunter pulled back, and the Angel punched him in the mouth.

When Bredehoft glanced in his direction, having missed the opening beats of the skirmish, she thought she saw Hunter turning around and being approached by first one Angel, and then two or three more. The Angels knocked Hunter to the ground, and he leapt up, intent on defending himself against their assault.

Hunter attempted to flee into the crowd. The Angel then leapt off the stage and chased after Hunter, joined by four of his fellow bikers. They stepped on bystanders’ fingers and feet in their haste to pursue him. Five bikers surrounded one teenager, assaulting him without justification or fear of interruption, as on so many other occasions that day. Meredith Hunter pushed the crowd away from him in his desperate flight from the Angels, looking fiercely at his tormentors in a doomed attempt to scare them off.

Meredith Hunter was in flight from the Hells Angels who had beaten him. He had watched the pool cues raining down on concertgoers all day, had seen the manic glee with which the bikers had beaten others for the crime of enjoying themselves. He had undoubtedly noticed, as well, the viciousness with which the Angels had singled out other African-Americans. What thoughts must have surged through his mind in the moments during which he desperately sought to escape their frenzied grip?

Perhaps, too, the methamphetamine Hunter had taken during the day had lowered his inhibitions, and dulled the innate caution that anyone would have when surrounded by weapon-wielding bikers.

Reaching into the pocket of his suit jacket, he pulled out his pistol and held it up in the air. Both his arms were spread, with his left hand, clutching the gun, outstretched in the direction of the stage. Bredehoft shouted at Hunter not to shoot. She grabbed at Hunter, then turned, spun around by the momentum of the fracas. Hunter was still running away, even as he began to lower his gun. A short, stocky Angel named Alan Passaro, wearing a sleeveless light-brown vest with a “FRISCO” patch over the left breast jumped on him from behind, grabbing at his arm. The biker almost rode on his back as he raised his arm over his head and brought his knife down in a long, curving arc, stabbing Hunter twice. Bredehoft was now alone in the empty circle cleared out by the fearful audience as Hunter was carried away from her.Just A Shot Away

The momentum of the scuffle carried Meredith Hunter toward the nearby scaffolding, where he disappeared from sight, surrounded by Hells Angels intent on teaching him a lesson. The Hells Angel stabbed Hunter no less than four more times, his knife repeatedly piercing his back. Hunter, wounded, dropped to his knees. The Hells Angel gripped him by the shoulders and kicked him in the face, over and over. The Angels surrounded him in a loose circle, pounding him with their boots until he collapsed face-forward. The Angels punched and kicked Meredith as they dragged him away from the stage and toward the scaffolding. Hunter fell to the ground, and bumped against some part of the scaffolding, perhaps its pillars. Hunter softly told his attackers, his strength already beginning to fade, “I wasn’t going to shoot you.”

Bredehoft grabbed the jacket of one Angel near her, attempting to pull him off her boyfriend, but he simply threw his arms back, shrugging her off without lifting a hand to her. The Angels were now locked in on Hunter, and Bredehoft’s efforts were incapable of distracting them from their vigilante justice.

Meredith Hunter was in front of them and under their feet, and something had enraged them, something had set the Hells Angels into a frenzied motion that would not be sated. Any threat that Hunter’s gun might have posed had long since been quelled, but the assault went on until he was battered and bruised and completely still.

One of the Angels grabbed a cardboard garbage can with a metal rim and proceeded to bash it against Hunter’s skull. He then dropped the garbage can and, joined by his fellow bikers, kicked Hunter repeatedly in the head. The Angel who had stabbed him, not yet done with Hunter, stood on top of his battered head for a full minute before finally stepping back. “Don’t touch him,” he told a bystander who had been watching the fight. “He’s going to die anyway.” MORE

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BEING THERE: Foo Fighters @ BB&T Pavilion

Sunday, July 8th, 2018



The Foo Fighters have been a band for 24 years. That’s longer than I’ve been alive. When you’re in a band for that long — rehearsing, producing new albums, touring — I think it’s safe to assume that you dig what you do. A lot. So much so, that over 20 years later, you’re still out there on stage having the absolute time of your life. And lo and behold, on a beautiful July night in Camden, the Foo Fighters brought the house down in front of tens of thousands in a three-hour musical bonanza that could have stretched on for at least three more. I must be very clear about this: this Foo show, and what I can imagine to be most Foo shows, was a shit ton of fun for these guys. After opening with the deafening “All My Life” right into the classics “Learn To Fly” and “Pretender,” frontman and longtime rock luminary Dave Grohl took to the mic with a crazy grin on his face and told the crowd, “We got a long night ahead of us.”

After running back and forth in the photo pit for 15 minutes and having recently turned 21, I made the most logical series of choices: I edited some photos, put away my photo gear, and bought the biggest beer that BB&T had to offer. I made my way into the crowd as heavy hitter “Rope” was wrapping up. What was appearing to be a fairly standard Foo Fighters set so far, quickly turned into a structureless yet badass jam session, which is likely what these guys were waiting for all night. We’re talking drum solos, bass solos, guitar solos — the works. Covers like Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust,” Van Halen’s “Jump,” and The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” were cranked out, along with an all-out rendition of Bowie and Freddie Mercury’s “Under Pressure,” with Grohl on drums and drummer Taylor Hawkins singing along down at the front of the stage with Luke Spiller, frontman of the opening act The Struts.

During this deviation from the set list, Grohl takes to the mic and explains, “You guys wanna know what the secret is to keeping a band together for 24 years? You gotta be in love with your drummer.” It was a tender moment that had the crowd swooning and then cracking up when Grohl began laughing and declared, “Taylor looks like a Bob Marley album cover right now,” as he came to the front of the stage. Hawkins was indeed wearing some hilarious-looking red, yellow and green garments. These exchanges were entirely representative of the duality of being a drummer: yes, you are mocked at times, but you are loved.

Showing zero signs of slowing down, they pressed on with more classics like “Monkey Wrench,” “Wheels,” and “Breakout,” getting back into the swing of things after a lengthy but equally entertaining fucking-around session. The band brought out several guest backup vocalists for the tune “Dirty Water” off their most recent album, Concrete And Gold, one of the notably softer melodies of what would prove to be a long evening. This led directly into the heartwrencher “Best Of You,” which morphed into a massive 10-minute psychedelic jam melted right into the middle of the song. The crowd wanted more almost as much as the Foo Fighters did.

After leaving the stage, they returned shortly after for not one, not two but three encore tunes. And they were goodies. “Big Me,” dedicated to a “little rocker” that Grohl met backstage before the show, “Times Like These,” which was a much needed tear-jerker given the current state of our country, and “Everlong.” The performance was musically air tight, crackling with electricity and everyone seemed genuinely happy up on stage the entire time. I don’t know when the Foo Fighters will ever get tired of music, but Grohl put it best last night when speaking to the crowd: “If you guys keep coming, we’ll keep showing up.” – DYLAN LONG

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CINEMA: Good Things Come In Small Packages

Friday, July 6th, 2018



ANT MAN & THE WASP (Dir. by Peyton Reed, 118 minutes, USA, 2018)

the-geek-300x300BY RICHARD SUPLEE GEEK SPACE CORRESPONDENT Where does the Marvel Cinematic Universe go after super soldiers, scientists, gods, raccoons, aliens, and an entire secret nation of Wakanda fought together against a single threat in Avengers: Infinity War? They scaled down — literally. Ant-Man and The Wasp is superhero story with less stakes. But that is not a bad thing. This film is a more personal story. Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang is a divorced dad just trying to keep his life together. He is focused on his new security business, finishing the house arrest sentence he was put on after Captain America: Civil War, and making his daughter happy. Of course no film ever makes it easy for the hero.

Things start cooking when creator of Lang’s shrinking Ant-Man suit, Michael Douglas’s Hank Pym, and his daughter, Evangeline Lily’s Hope van Dyne (the new Wasp) show up asking him to help rescue Pym’s wife/Hope’s mother (Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne) from the mysterious Quantum Realm. Rounding out the cast is the always-great Laurence Fishburne’s Bill Foster and Hannah John-Kamen’s Ava Foster/Ghost as the villains. But these are not “trying to open a portal to destroy the world” villains as so many superhero films have. Ghost can walk through solid objects, but it’s slowly killing her. So she is attempting to steal the same technology Hank Pym needs to save his wife.

The overall plot is simple and predictable at times. It ends with a deus ex machine that you see coming a mile away. But the action is fresh and unique as we see the title characters continuously change size during fights to become smaller targets or throw a 20 foot tall salt shaker at someone. And the humor livens everything up. The film is a throwback to old family films where you know a happy ending is coming. But that is ok. Not every film needs the entire universe to face down an existential threat or for the heroes to lose at the end. Ant-Man and The Wasp proves that film studios do not need to constantly make their films bigger and bigger to entertain audiences.

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CINEMA: This Is America

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018



THE FIRST PURGE (Dir. by Gerard McMurray, 97 minutes, USA, 2018)

Dan Tabor_byline_avatarBY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC The Purge series has had an interesting trajectory throughout the last five years. While the first film was an interesting high concept meditation on race in a near dystopian future where one night of the year for 12 hours, any crime including murder is legal. The consistently profitable franchise now on its fourth outing has afforded writer James DeMonaco the ability to not so subtly comment the state of America. For example, the last film Election Year featured a blatant stand in for Trump using the Purge to attempt to assassinate his female opponent in the election; who was running on the platform of ending The Purge. With the American tradition appearing to have come to an end in the wake of the events of Election, we are now in full-on prequel mode for this latest  installment.

The First Purge quickly sets up how The New Founding Fathers of America came into power, as a refuge for the disenfranchised republicans and democrats, to mend a country in disorder after suffering an economic collapse. To try and quell this unrest the NFFA offer a trial run of The Purge that will take place on Staten Island as a social experiment to see if 12 hours of lawlessness will return balance to the impoverished community. At least that is what they are telling the media. To incentivize participation, the impoverished residents are paid $5,000 to stay in Staten Island, and more if they actually kill someone. After the last film where we learned that the night was simply a tool for the government to cull inner city populations, it’s interesting to see here how the original Purge was total a failure in the beginning. When the NFFA quickly realizes that simply offering to pay poor people isn’t enough of an incentive to get them to abandon all morality and kill each other, they go to plan B.

Rather than admit failure the NFFA sends in teams of mercenaries posing as white supremacists to do their work for them, a move that unexpectedly triggers another tradition of the night. It’s here, any and all subtext is just thrown out the window as Staten Island is invaded by mercenaries in blackface masks and dressed as the Klu Klux Klan. It’s then up to a gang of well-armed drug dealers lead by the charismatic Dimitri (Y’Lan Noel), to try and stop the invaders and hopefully survive the night. Superficially it’s a return to roots for the series after the politically charged Election, under the surface however, the film has a lot to say about where we stand as a country. There is a palpable sense of disbelief in the film as the residents of Staten Island simply can’t comprehend this is happening or how we got to here as a people. Sound familiar.

The most terrifying thing about The First Purge is this film grounds its premise just enough in the now this time, to make it feel completely plausible and just within our grasp. Filled with shocking, racially and politically charged imagery, it’s a film that doesn’t hold anything back, but maybe that’s what we need right now. If Get Out was a firm nudge, Purge is a bucket of cold water, meant to wake us the hell up.  Watching the film with a crowd that was screaming, yelling and clapping along with what transpired on screen struck me as how it probably felt to watch the original Planet of the Apes during the civil rights struggle. We weren’t just being entertained, we were witnessing the Trump administration get their comeuppance, thanks to a band of badass drug dealers — and it was glorious. It’s the kind of cathartic release only a film like this can deliver and the dangerous kind of art that transcends the screen into ideas.

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SH*T MY UNCLE SAYS: F*ck You, Mr. President

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

TRUMP_CLOWN.jpg large


BY WILLIAM C. HENRY WARNING: When describing a cesspool, sometimes you have to include a little excrement. So, if you’re sensitive to expletives, don’t bother going any further. So, what’s with America’s moderate mainstream media and the Democrat party tiptoeing around this lying piece of shit we euphemistically refer to as the “president.” What’s with their “treading lightly” when it comes to SMUSreporting on, or responding to, this lying, pandering, sewer-dweller? This uber-repulsive Defecator/Divider in Chief; his entire bottom-feeding, obsequious administration; and his kowtowing, sycophantic Republican House and Senate minions are nothing less than vile modern-day reincarnations of the Goebbels/Nazi “big lies” truth exterminators. Yet so many among our “objective” Fourth Estate and opposition party with the capacity to direct the country’s attention towards accurately and factually disseminated news seem incapable or unwilling to respond to any of the aforementioned individuals or component parts of this fetid, rancid, governing swamp in matching tone, proportion, content or kind. And, too, given the fact that all of those involved with the first two evils are doing their squatting on American-dime-provided potties (actually all three are) as a result of one of the most bogus and iniquitous whoppers ever perpetrated.

Don’t EVER forget that Trump wasn’t even ELECTED president. He was APPOINTED to that most august of offices as a result of the most dastardly disgusting lie ever foisted upon the American people! That’s right, folks, it was by “virtue” of that goddamn American abomination called the Electoral College, and to this day it remains the phoniest, most unfair, prejudiced (literally) and corrupt “voting” process ever imposed on any populace by any government anywhere, at anytime, under any circumstances, for any purpose or reason ever contrived, connived, colluded or conspired! It is the singularly most undemocratic political process ever concocted by any unelected, white, male, land-holding, slave owners in American history. The “founding fathers” came up with the system? More like the “founding oligarchs” by any truly altruistic measure!

So, how can we unerringly determine if Trump is lying? Answer: He’s not deceased. If he’s alive, he’s lying. If he’s not breathing, he probably isn’t. That’s the test. But you’ve got to be absolutely certain that he’s expired, and that will entail having learned it “on the record” from at least a half dozen recognized non-fake news outlets. Learning it from Fox News amounts to nothing. Fox News will never go “on record” confirming that Trump has actually passed on. And I’m not being entirely facetious. Aside from the fact that Fox News wouldn’t broadcast truth even if it came with an Eisenhower endorsement, there’s nothing whatsoever funny about having a lying piece of shit for a president. Not a single thing.

Did you notice how the Trump Sump Pumpers are all up in arms over a restaurant owner refusing service to the administration’s OTLV (Official Trump Lies Validator) at the same time she’s hailing Trump’s SCOTUS majority as having ruled that it’s perfectly OK for a bigoted Colorado bible thumping baker to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple! Would the media have reacted as timidly if Trump’s chumps had ruled that an ATHIEST baker could refuse to bake a wedding cake for a heterosexual Christian couple?! Can ho-hum reporting of public “burnings at the stake” bakes be far behind?! Where the hell was a well-deserved irate media reaction to this racist, bigoted administration mouthpiece’s disgusting “justification” commentary?!

One needn’t go any further in describing the media’s wrist-slapping approach to Trump’s repugnant behavior than to witness its anemic condemnation of Trump’s phony, hypocritical, prevaricated, patriotic nationalism. In truth he doesn’t give a shit about American democracy or anything “democratic” that attaches to it! If he spent even a fraction of the time he spends lavishing compliments and wet kisses on the asses of the world’s absolute worst butchering bastard tyrants, publicly expressing appreciation for the sacrifices our century-old allies have contributed to our freedom with both their blood and their loyalty, he’d still be 90% of the butt hole bottom-feeder he’s been since birth! Incidentally, Trumpty Dumpty, how did that little tete-a-tete you had with Kim Jong-un work out? Oh, that’s right, you ended up with a handful of shit, a two-bit photo op, and bragging rights to how you were able to stick American taxpayers with million$ of dollar$ worth of airfare, hotel, gourmet food, and public meeting room rental charges, and absolutely NOTHING else! Couldn’t possibly have been done by or had happen to a dumber bum fucking phony!

But, what the hell, Kim got his 15 minutes worth of worldwide prestige, an end to war games to his south, a lessening of well-deserved sanctions, and the pleasure of haranguing about how a little pissant of a pint-sized piece of butchering scum outwitted one of the most ignorant and pretentious examples of excremental leadership in the free world! What could be finer? Well, now that you’ve asked, how ’bout another imbecilic, nothing to gain, sure to be made a complete and utter fool of, little tete-a-tete with a slightly bigger, whole lot richer, considerably more powerful but just as slime-covered and scum-ridden, murdering, butchering, fellow colluding democracy hater, thief and lifelong liar? By the way, Dumpster, who’s going to pay for Putin’s participation? What an effing filthy, dirty joke on the American taxpayer.

But probably the lowest, scumbag, slimeball, low-life lies he’s ever told are the ones he’s used — and continues to use — to try to cover his own treasonous, corrupt, criminal ass, and denigrate, demean and defecate on the honest, hard working, life risking, uber patriotic men and women who constitute some of the finest, non-partisan investigative and security agencies and departments of the federal government. In other words, “Meknows the Donald doth protest too much.” Hey, is it any wonder that Trump refuses to provide his tax returns; that American banks no longer want anything to do with him or his organization; or, that he and his former and present political colleagues and close personal associates, including his attorneys. cabinet secretaries, and appointees to high level administration positions are outright thieves, liars and incompetents in their own right as well as under investigation and/or indictment, or are cooperating with federal investigators on a raft of criminal charges from obstruction of justice to bribery, tampering and money laundering to criminal collusion with a foreign government in its efforts to sway American elections! Christ, this isn’t a president, it’s a swamp monster who deserves to choke and drown in its own excretions!

You know what, Trump? you don’t deserve civility. So, f _ ck you and your ignorant, imbecilic IQ, your lie-drooling lips, and the phony, fake news Fox donkey’s ass you rode in on!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.

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BOOKS: Fear & Loathing In Trumplandia

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018



THE NATION: It has been 50 years since Hunter S. Thompson published the definitive book on motorcycle guys: Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. It grew out of a piece first published in The Nation one year earlier. My grandfather, Carey McWilliams, editor of the magazine from 1955 to 1975, commissioned the piece from Thompson—it was the gonzo journalist’s first big break, and the beginning of a friendship between the two men that would last until my grandfather died in 1980. Because of that family connection, I had long known that Hell’s Angels was a political book. Even so, I was surprised, when I finally picked it up a few years ago, by how prophetic Thompson is and how eerily he anticipates 21st-century American politics. This year, when people asked me what I thought of the election, I kept telling them to read Hell’s Angels.

Most people read Hell’s Angels for the lurid stories of sex and drugs. But that misses the point entirely. What’s truly shocking about reading the book today is how well Thompson foresaw the retaliatory, right-wing politics that now goes by the name of Trumpism. After following the motorcycle guys around for months, Thompson concluded that the most striking thing about them was not their hedonism but their “ethic of total retaliation” against a technologically advanced and economically changing America in which they felt they’d been counted out and left behind. Thompson saw the appeal of that retaliatory ethic. He claimed that a small part of every human being longs to burn it all down, especially when faced with great and impersonal powers that seem hostile to your very existence. In the United States, a place of ever greater and more impersonal powers, the ethic of total retaliation was likely to catch on.

What made that outcome almost certain, Thompson thought, was the obliviousness of Berkeley, California, types who, from the safety of their cocktail parties, imagined that they understood and represented the downtrodden. The Berkeley types, Thompson thought, were not going to realize how presumptuous they had been until the downtrodden broke into one of those cocktail parties and embarked on a campaign of rape, pillage, and slaughter. For Thompson, the Angels weren’t important because they heralded a new movement of cultural hedonism, but because they were the advance guard for a new kind of right-wing politics. As Thompson presciently wrote in the Nation piece he later expanded on in Hell’s Angels, that kind of politics is “nearly impossible to deal with” using reason or empathy or awareness-raising or any of the other favorite tools of the left.

Hell’s Angels concludes when the Angels ally with the John Birch Society and write to President Lyndon Johnson to offer their services to fight communism, much to the befuddlement of the anti-Vietnam elites who assumed the Angels were on the side of “counterculture.” The Angels and their retaliatory militarism were, Thompson warned, the harbingers of a darker time to come. That time has arrived. MORE

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THE ESSEX GREEN: Sloane Ranger

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

Their first album in 12 years! They play Johnny Brenda’s August 6th.

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CINEMA: There Will Be Blood

Friday, June 29th, 2018



SICARIO 2 (Directed by Stefano Sollima, 122 minutes, 2018, USA)

Dan Tabor_byline_avatarBY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC Sicario, Denis Villeneuve’s mesmerizing 2015 Academy Award-nominated meditation on the US government’s invisible war with the Mexican drug cartels, isn’t the kind of film that leaps to mind when you think franchises. But the original story of one FBI agent’s descent into the Hell of south-of-the-border gangland drug warfare was populated with such uncommonly rich and dense characters — courtesy of screenwriter Taylor Sheridan’s boffo script — that audiences simply demanded more. Directed by Stefano Sollima (Suburra), Sicario: Day Of The Soldado traffics in subject matter that could’ve easily been exploited for simple shock value but instead delivers complex character deconstructions of those unfortunate enough to be involved in this brutal conflict, further dissecting the fascinating relationship between CIA ghost Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and the Sicario Alejandro Gillick (Benicio del Toro).

Soldado could easily operate as either a prequel or a sequel to Sicario since we don’t have an exact bead on the timing. After a suicide bomber detonates at the Mexican border followed by an attack on a Kansas City grocery store by a trio of suicide bombers, the US connects the dots that the cartels are smuggling in terrorists. The logic here is that fear drives up the need for drugs, which has fallen to Mexico’s second most popular illegal import behind human trafficking. In retaliation, the US government declares the cartels terrorist organizations and recruit Matt Graver to start a war between the two ruling factions in Mexico. Graver brings in Alejandro to assist in the black op, which entails kidnapping Isabela Reyes, the daughter of the leader of the Reyes Cartel who was responsible for killing Alejandro’s family, and pinning it on their rivals. After a double cross by corrupt cops in Mexico threatens to expose the US government’s involvement in the kidnapping, Graver is instructed to cut all loose ends and kill both Alejandro and Isabela. As the operation crumbles at the foot of the world stage forcing Brolin’s character to choose between his country and his friendship with Alejandro.

Where the first film dealt with one female agent’s tumble down the moral rabbit hole into the lawless world of these black ops with Matt Graver and Alejandro in the shadows. Soldado brings the pair to the forefront and lets them loose in Mexico, with the US Government charged with stopping the two from escalating their cartel war into a shooting war between the US and Mexico. It’s a gritty, testosterone-filled edge-of-your-seat ride, with del Toro once again turning in a darkly complex and tortured performance against Brolin’s dry humor and grizzled delivery. Stefano Sollima drops the arthouse pretension of Villeneuve’s original, instead delivering a hard-hitting intelligent action/thriller. What I loved about Sicario: Day Of The Soldado is the same thing a lot of folks are not going to like about it: it’s a much different film, setting the stage for a new cycle of violence that promises the kind of death and destruction once relegated to ‘80s action cinema, but absent the schlock and the hackery that characterized much of Reagan era cineplex fare.


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ALBUM REVIEW: Beach House 7

Thursday, June 28th, 2018



Beach House, the Baltimore-based shoegaze duo comprised of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, is an unceasing storm of brilliance with an impressive catalogue of seven albums spanning 13 years. Their third album, Teen Dream (2010) seemed to be where they truly sculpted their sound, carving out their own niche within the dreampop genre. “Silver Soul” was my gateway drug, and their music has held its addictive quality throughout the years. A glancing listen to the hits off Depression Cherry and Bloom might give an impression of stagnancy, but a more conscientious play through demonstrates how the composition of each album changes drastically, their sound becoming more evolved and experimental.

7 is by far the dream pop duo’s most complicated and mature record yet. The self-explanatory title embodies a sincere simplicity, although the numerological symbolism seems befitting to the band’s mystical persona. In various press releases for the record Beach House cited the bleak political climate of 2016-2017 as an influencer. “Thematically, this record often deals with the beauty that arises in dealing with darkness; the empathy and love that grows from collective trauma; the place one reaches when they accept rather than deny.” 7 also draws inspiration from the ’60s with its pop-art album cover, composed of splintered black-and-white images pasted in a haphazard collage, and the release of optical illusion music videos that accompanied the album.

This is what it looks like when art takes on a life of its own. This album breathes. It is a wall of energy, a battle between the wrestling bodies of light and dark. “Dark Spring” crashes in with a fervent drum roll, harmonious voices drawing you down twisting paths into a secluded, shadowy forest. If this album is a body, “Lemon Glow” is the pulsating nucleus. This song is enchanting from the first reverberating chords, Legrand’s voice at once seraphic and eerie. “When you turn the lights down low/Lemon color, honey glow,” she sings over a throbbing bassline, weaving that familiar aura of ambiguity, speaking on the vague nature of intimacy.

“Drunk In LA” feels like a burial, with church-like keyboards suspended over a clock-ticking metronome. The theme of aging surfaces, Legrand occupying a space of melancholic isolation, the melody spiraling downward. “Lose Your Smile” sustains that floating, weightless feeling that Beach House is known to create. This is driving music, I can imagine drifting aimless down a vacant road beneath a dimming sky. Legrand’s voice reminds me of Nico, with its distant, observational tone, as if she’s people-watching from a window. “Woo” revives ’80s vibes with intricate layers of synths, dreamily nostalgic. The album’s epilogue, “Last Ride” is a cathartic exhale. It begins with sentimental piano riff that builds to a cinematic climax, Legrand murmuring over wailing guitars. The song is full of a nameless yearning, a therapeutic conclusion to a chaotic trip of a record. — MARIAH HALL


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Q&A: Colonel Buzz Aldrin, The Man On The Moon

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Buzz Aldrin LIFE


EDITOR’S NOTE: The following Q&A with astronaut Buzz Aldrin originally published on April 7th, 2016. We are reprising it today in wake of the sad and shocking news that The Second Man To Walk On The Moon is suing his children.

mecroppedsharp_1BY JONATHAN VALANIA How many people get to meet their childhood heroes? Not many. But journalists, if they play their cards right, get to do it all the time. At least I have: Tom Waits, John Cale, Shatner, Brian Wilson, Captain Kangaroo. Add to the list Apollo 11 astronaut/boyhood hero Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon (and the first to take a pee on it). It’s hard understand now but growing up in the early 70’s, astronauts were like Olympian Gods who performed superhuman feats. And that’s what putting a man on the moon was: a superhuman feat. It proved this: we have evolved from thoughtless single-celled creatures wiggling in the primordial ooze to upright walking thinkers able to conceptualize and execute the catapulting of three men in a tin can to the moon and back without them dying too much. That is, if you will pardon my French, fucking progress. At the same time it is a depressing reminder of just how far this country has fallen — we used to put men on the moon, now we Donald Trump. Anyway, Buzz just published a book called No Dream Is Too High. It was an honor and a pleasure to speak with Buzz, who turned 86 back in January, even if he often orbited around my questions without ever really coming in for a landing.

DISCUSSED: How they almost died at least four different times, how they almost ran out of fuel, how they almost crash landed on the moon’s surface, how, in the course of getting in and out of the Lunar Lander in big bulky spacesuits and 360 pound backpacks, he accidentally broke off the ignition switch that fired up the engines to get them back home and had to improviseap11-S69-63724 with a ballpoint pen, how he came up with faster way to get to Mars, why he wants us to colonize the Red Planet and become a “two-planet species”; why he punched out obnoxious loon/moon-landing-was-a-hoax conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel back in 2002 on camera and why nobody could blame him, not even the cops, how he’s not really a Republican they were just the first party to ask him to give a speech and he’s just waiting for an invite to speak from the Democrats, and how he completely dodged the question of whether or not he could or would vote for Donald Trump.

PHAWKER: Thank you for taking the time to do this. It’s a huge honor. You are a boyhood hero of mine. I grew up in the shadow of the moon landing, so I’m right at the age where I was completely fascinated by the space program, visited Cape Canaveral on vacation and wanted to be an astronaut for many years, until I realized all the math that was required. The horrors of space didn’t frighten me, but the algebra sure did.

BUZZ ALDRIN: I’ve got a couple of kids your age. It’s beginning to fade, ‘cause those that weren’t really around kind of missed an awful lot. One of my campaigns in the near term is to make the most out of what I’m terming the “Apollo Golden Legacies,” and that includes the Gemini Missions. The 45th anniversaries of Apollo missions, which will carry us into the next administration. I think we really need a resurgence of public awareness and support. I think the news of today in Brussels, may, among other immediacies, may not allow anything but a very gradual reestablishment of a space program.

PHAWKER: Let me ask you a question about the funding of space research in this country. What are your feelings about the shift towards privatizing space exploration and the gradual defunding of NASA?

BUZZ ALDRIN: The funding of a private sector is still driven a lot by what the return is gonna be, and space activities are such long term investment in the nation, in the people, and the world, and I am not sure that the private sector is willing or able to make that kind of decades long investment before seeing a profit, if ever.  We need to regain the proud, inspired position of an expanding on this hallmark of humanity’s progress by occupying and growing to a settlement colony on another planet in the solar system.

PHAWKER: Explain the premise of your new book for the readers that might not be aware. You want to use the stories of your life and achievements to inspire people to maximize their own potential and accomplish their dreams. Correct?

BUZZ ALDRIN: Maybe four, five years ago, I decided it would be a good idea for the expertise and wisdom of people who experienced the growth of the space program from the beginning, to put together a think tank to look back and think of the very beginnings, and call attention to the good decisions and the not-so-good decisions that resulted in success, and not-so-successful mistakes, so that we could profit by those mistakes, and then embark on a more judiciously evaluated program. This is not to advise anybody— NASA, Congress, the President, anyone else— it’s to inform, in very simple language, the public, that its understanding and inspiration eventually would have the best determination of what our future really should be. I’m sorry that my answers are quite involved. Let me try and be briefer. That’s part of me, and part of me, like the guy who on the surface of the moon, when we received the transmission from Mission Control to Tranquility Base, “You’re AldrinModule_L.encleared for lift-off,” I responded by saying, “Roger, Houston. We’re number one on the runway.” Not knowing that I was carrying out a comedian’s definition of comedy, and as I began to continue, discussions with, you know, relatively serious discussions, if there was some absurdity, that my mind encountered as I was thinking about the subject. In the periphery were lots of other alternatives, some of them sort of serious, that we would get to, but others just totally absurd. It would generate a lightheartedness and an appreciation of the seriousness of what we may be discussing. Whether it’s Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, or whether it’s somebody talking about “What do we do about the explosions in Brussels today?” I would be hard pressed to find something in the periphery that’s absurd, that would be humorous about a discussion about what we’re faced with today.

PHAWKER: I have a couple specific questions that I wanted to ask you about the moon landing. I think most people are unaware of just how dangerous it was and how many opportunities there were for it to go catastrophically wrong. One of the first things I was surprised to learn was that you moved the original landing site, because it didn’t look as stable as you guys were hoping for. You looked for a more stable spot on the Moon’s surface to land the lunar module. But because of that, you guys were left with only twenty seconds of fuel to get back up into orbit and re-link up with the command module and go back to Earth.

BUZZ ALDRIN: Well, fighter pilots used the phrase talking to each other, “Check six.” That means to look who’s behind you, ’cause that’s the emergency that’s gonna shoot you down if you don’t keep your tail and the tail of your leader covered and protected from catastrophic events. The space craft that we flew, LEM 5 was overweight as it came out of the production line and that means more propellant. There certainly was a capability with the computer to re-designate a better landing site and as we did that, there were three options, maybe. If we were still heading for a pile of boulders around a crater, and to land short means you have to pitch up the spacecraft, and probably lose sight of where you’re going. To turn left or right in a low-gravity field meant much steeper bank and maneuvers than would be the case here on Earth with a higher gravity field. The more simple, more acceptable is to just pitch forward slightly, and fly over the undesirable area to land. That’s what we did.

At 60 seconds, a light comes on in the cockpit indicating low-level fuel. That was about the time that [astronaut] Charlie Duke [back on Earth at Mission Control] called out “60 seconds, a hundred feet,” and I remember thinking “if the engine failed now, it’s not very good.” But when we got down to 30 seconds with ten feet or less, I felt, “OK, this is gonna come out OK.” And it did. But that’s why we have an abort guidance system. We have a primary guidance abort system that can be executed right down to the point of touchdown. If that were to occur, we would then need to rendezvous with Columbia and Mike Collins. At this first landing, I felt we needed everything working for us, and so I innocently, no, unknowingly… No, I knew what I was doing. I kept the rendezvous radar powered up during the descent, so it would be available in the event that we needed it. However, that is what caused the program alarms, and us scurrying around mission control to come up with the answer that that was not something that should cause us to abort. Those continued upon, and thanks to the sharpness of the people in mission control, who incidentally had been observing a similar, not exactly the same, but a similar failure in another simulated training flight sometime before our mission left. So, there was an awareness, however, due to the situation, and it’s either plus or minus, our crew did not know, [Apollo 11 Commander] Neil [Armstrong] and I did not know of this particular option or failure that could occur, or maybe not for the same exact reason. OK, I’m gonna try and be much briefer.

PHAWKER: Well, let me finish up that question I was asking you: You guys needed to make sure that you landed S66-635361on the Moon at a very stable spot that was flat. It was very important that the lunar module be standing completely upright, because if it was pitched at an angle, you would be thrown off into the wrong trajectory, and you wouldn’t be able to…

BUZZ ALDRIN: No, the abort guidance and the primary guidance would know what the altitude was from the alignment prior to landing, and one of the first things we did was to re-align the platform. Both the abort guidance system and the primary knew that. But there was still a probability that we might have to launch at the end of two hours, when [astronaut] Mike Collins [who was orbiting the Moon in the Command Module while Aldrin and Armstrong landed on the Moon] came around again. Jack Schmitt and I, years before, had come to the conclusion that one of the first things a crew should do after they land, and things look fine inside the cockpit, we should prepare in the checklist just counting down to departure at the end of two hours, as a reinforcement of the training that we hadn’t had, just doing over but not executing a lift-off. We thought that was a very prudent thing to do, but I believe turned out, that was not something that was followed on subsequent flights. I just can’t help but believe that when one person thinks they have a good idea, that it sort of rises in other people. Well, gee, thats not such a good idea after all. I mean, who is this person that thinks they know what we should do? That’s the independence of human beings.

PHAWKER: There was another moment there when things could’ve gone catastrophically wrong. When you guys got back into the lunar module after having walked on the Moon for a while, in the process of getting in and out of the lunar module in your big, bulky spacesuits, somebody broke the ignition switch off. That’s basically the switch that enables you to get back to Earth. Somebody came up with the idea of improvising, basically jamming a pen in there, and that was used to turn on the ignition switch, correct?

BUZZ ALDRIN: Well, because my little finger might have received a shock. Looking back on it, even a metal ballpoint pen would’ve accomplished the job, and probably my little finger, or anything else, would have done the same thing given the way that the circuits behind the broken-off circuit breaker were designed. There were many ways of fixing that. It just caused a sleepless night for people back at mission control. Looking back at it, it’s kind of interesting to note that two guys on the moon, with some real questionable ability to return back to Earth, had no trouble going to sleep.

PHAWKER: One of the things that you talk about in the book is — and you tell this story sort of in inspirational tale about overcoming negative thinking — that for many years, it bothered you that you weren’t the first man to step onto the moon, that you were the second man. I know that with test pilots and astronauts, being the first everything— the first explorer, the first man to do this, the first man to do that— is such a big deal. But really, I think if you step back — and probably this is the way that you look at it now — it wasn’t so much that Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon and you were the second, the way to look at it was that you and Neil Armstrong were the first men to walk on the Moon. And it was unbelievable, and it still remains an unbelievable accomplishment. Still the pinnacle achievement of humankind.

BUZZ ALDRIN: I hope you’re alive in 50 years when we put men on Mars — you may be getting pretty grey and Sunday Buzz Aldrin in lunar modulefeeble. In my predictions of what I would hope would unfold, the Mars landing and the permanence [of the mission], and I think that we need to convince more people to accept that it will be, without a doubt, the most importantly historic action by humans on this planet.

PHAWKER: Forty thousand people have signed up for a one-way trip to Mars. I’m wondering if back in 1967, 1968, if the trip to the Moon was a one-way trip, would you still have signed up? Would it have still been worth it?

BUZZ ALDRIN: I don’t think we would have known the value or the impact, and certainly the ease of returning. Going to the Moon included in it, the abort potential into orbit. And then, that’s done, and another success, which is joining up with the propulsion to get back home. Returning from the Moon is much, much simpler and easier to achieve than a very risky departure from Mars, where many more expensive, complicated, time-consuming plans would have to be made in order to bring the first crew back. I kind of think about what that would mean if we planned on doing that. That would make quite a different legacy 100,000 years into the future. The caution may be justified of what could’ve been done if we had planned when things are all going right, and that’s the way we should plan, when we’re 25 years away from something. We should plan with optimism, and all-inclusiveness of the economic contributions of all the international partners. Absolutely, including a major effort to bring China into that group of international partners.

PHAWKER: I want to clarify something that I think has been misrepresented over the years, and that is the question of whether or not you guys saw a UFO. Technically, it was an unidentified flying object. But you have since clarified that what you saw was one of the panels that had detached from the spaceship, and you were seeing this off in the distance. It was misrepresented that you guys were seeing some UFO that couldn’t be explained. You wanted to clarify that it was not the case.

BUZZ ALDRIN: Absolutely. But we were smart enough to know that if we described what we saw, which was a light at some distance moving against the star background, that was obviously another object. And what could that be? And we felt very convinced, at least I did, because we’d seen the plan plotted out: the trajectory that those panels took when they were propelled by springs on release to move outward in four different directions. I think the observation that we saw that could have really excited internationally, so we decided we would just ask mission control where was the upper stage of the rocket that we separated from, and were very clearly in no hazardous position at all. We saw it, and observed it, wish we’d taken pictures of it light its engine, and thrust away from us, and any interference potential, into some solar orbit. When mission control said it was 6,000 miles away, that confirmed that it almost certainly was not what we were looking at. Certainly, there was absolutely no point in altering the trajectory to go over and look and see which one of the four panels it was. I felt that the briefing that we gave to higher management when we came back of what we saw and looked at and felt it was, we expressed that in our debriefing in quarantine to the higher management. Somehow, I felt that it was public knowledge. Obviously, it wasn’t. When I disclosed that on a more lengthy interview later with BBC, why the UFO people in the States just went crazy, accusing me of not giving them that information. Even though it was the truthful explanation that was given and the UFO people wanna blow up anything out of proportion. I had to sue somebody for erroneous attribution of Neil and I seeing some creature on the surface of the Moon. At least that gave rise to the Transformers movie about space. Blatantly 1cd5e492a23violates the laws of physics and everything else, just to make something look sensational.

PHAWKER: You were talking about a space creature. You were saying that sort of jokingly. I was thinking about this. You guys weren’t a hundred percent sure that there was no life on the Moon before you guys went there, correct? There were still the possibility that some sort of life existed, that we weren’t even capable of understanding at the time. Or that that wasn’t a carbon-based life form that relied on water, things like that. There was a possibility that you could encounter some life form, even if it was just some sort of bacteria, or something like that. Correct?

BOOKS: Perchance To Dream

Monday, June 25th, 2018



THE GUARDIAN: David Lynch works from a studio on a slope above one of three adjacent homes he owns in the Hollywood Hills, just a stone’s throw from Mulholland Drive. He is reclusive and seldom leaves this little realm, let alone grants audiences to journalists – but he is prepared to now, on the eve of publishing an unconventional memoir-cum-biography, Room To Dream. An assistant escorts me through the house (sleek concrete walls and surfaces, floor-to-ceiling shelves of VHS cassettes and CDs) and up through the garden to the studio. A snake slithered across the path earlier this morning, the assistant says.

Lynch sits in a corner, hunched over a lithograph. The tabletop brims with paint pots, lotions, chemicals, gel formula cement, lithographic paper, pneumatic drills, cables, wires and paintbrushes. There is a mug of coffee, a pack of cigarettes. The director wears cracked, ancient boots, ragged chinos and the remnants of a black buttoned-up shirt that looks to have been shredded by a badger.

It’s a scene that might be intimidating were it not for a great, largely untold secret: David Lynch is a Room_To-Dreamcheery, congenial soul who rivals the Simpsons character Ned Flanders for howdy-doody niceness. “Hey, bud!” he greets the assistant, offering me a handshake and wide smile. He laughs, often, and yearns for peace on Earth. “I love my life and I’m a happy camper,” he says. “It would be nice if we were all able to fulfil our desires and live good, long, happy lives.”

The studio is a bunker-like structure of concrete and glass that overlooks a panorama of trees, bougainvillea and villa rooftops. You can feel the morning sun and hear birdsong. “I like it up here, the trees,” Lynch says, speaking with the halting lilt of Gordon Cole, the FBI agent he plays in Twin Peaks (only without the deafness). “It’s a feeling I get in LA, a feeling of freedom. The light, and the way the buildings are not so tall. You can do what you want.” Would he like a coffee, his assistant asks? “Yeah, I’m about ready for a hot one, thank you.” There is no toilet up here, so to save trekking down to the house the boss pees into a sink built into the wall. “See that thing with the handle? It pulls out,” Lynch explains. “You can pee right in there. Then you run the faucet.” MORE

WASHINGTON POST: Mystery is important to David Lynch, explanation anathema. His films defy straightforward interpretation; he’s never offered any. About his own biography, he’s long been coy. His press kits used to read simply, “Born Missoula, Montana. Eagle Scout.” So “Room to Dream,” a memoir pushing 600 pages, may come as a surprise. Is the game up?

Fans who share Lynch’s pleasure in mystery will approach this book anxiously, hoping that his secrets may somehow be both revealed and sustained. Luckily for them, he seems constitutionally incapable of self-revelation. In telling his life story, Lynch demonstrates the same disregard for causality and tonal consistency that marks his films. “Room to Dream” is very much the Gospel According to David.

Lynch’s position in Hollywood is itself mysterious. How has such an idiosyncratic, uncommercial director achieved such success? “Room to Dream” provides only partial answers. Luck certainly played a part. A chance meeting with Mel Brooks led to “The Elephant Man” (1980), Lynch’s first mainstream success. A contractual Room_To-Dreamprovision allowed “Blue Velvet” to proceed despite the failure of sci-fi epic “Dune” (1984). “Twin Peaks” arrived in 1990, just when TV audiences were ready for something wild. But all these works required specific conditions to produce them, too, and Lynch and co-author Kristine McKenna use their book to make a case for artists being given the freedom — imaginative and economic — to do that dream-work unrestricted. MORE

Dennis was originally supposed to sing “In Dreams,” and the way it got switched to Dean Stockwell was fantastic. Dean and Dennis go way back and were friends, and Dean was going to help Dennis work on the song and they were rehearsing. Here’s Dean and here’s Dennis, and we put the music on, and Dean is in perfect lip sync. Dennis is going along fine at the beginning, but his brain was so fried from drugs he couldn’t remember the lyrics. But I saw the way Dennis was looking at Dean and I thought, this is so perfect and it switched around. There’s so much luck involved with this business. Why did it happen like that? You could think about it for a million years and not know it was the way to go until you saw it right in front of you. MORE

So we know now that Dean’s going to sing. Frank says, “Candy-colored clown” and puts in the cassette and Dean picks up the light. Patty Norris [the production designer] didn’t put that light there. I didn’t put that light there. Nobody knows where it came from, but Dean thought it was for him. It was a work light, and nothing could be better than that being the microphone. Nothing. I love it. We found a dead snake in the street around the time we shot that scene and Brad Dourif got hold of it, and while Dean was doing “In Dreams,” Brad was standing on the couch in the background working this thing and it was totally fine with me.

VULTURE: Last Friday, Lula, she’s 5 and a half, got an introductory TM lecture. On Saturday, she got taught. Sunday, she got a follow-up talk and what they call her “word of wisdom” — her walking mantra. All my kidsLynch is father to two daughters, the middle-aged Jennifer and school-aged Lula, and two adult sons, Austin and Riley. started when they were 6 or 5. I’ll tell you a story: I was in Italy, and this nun was asking me about Transcendental Meditation for children and wanted to know at what age kids were old enough to start. I said, “When they’re old enough to keep a secret.” She said, “Oh, no! No secrets!” But you get your mantra and you’re not supposed to say it out loud because it’s meant to take you inward not outward. The nun freaked out about that. Maybe that tells you something about nuns.[…]

See, I’m not — I’m not the greatest parent. I love all my children and we get along great, but in the early years, before you can have a relationship of talking to them, it’s tough. And I would get divorced and stuff — I’ve got four kids and three divorces. The work is the main thing, and I know I’ve caused suffering because of that. But at the same time I have huge love for the kids. It’s a tricky business, because nowadays — when I was growing up, for instance, I was on a Little League baseball team and my parents Room_To-Dream[Lynch’s father Donald was a research scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and his mother, Edwina, was an English language tutor. The Lynch family, which also included David’s sister Martha and brother John, moved around a fair bit, spending time in Idaho, Washington, and Virginia.] never came to the games. I wouldn’t want ’em to come to the games. I didn’t want my parents to go to my high-school graduation. I wanted them to stay away.[…]

Nowadays parents are involved with every single thing and there’s stay-at-home dads. It seems strange but that’s how things have changed. Emily, my wife, sends me pictures if she’s at the park and sees a dad there. She’ll say, “Look, a dad is here” and I’ll say, “That’s a homeless man.” But I shouldn’t make fun. It’s beautiful for that man’s kid that he’s there. Everybody’s got their own way. MORE

EDITOR’S NOTE: 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: THE LADY OF THE LOG: Q&A W/ Katherine Coulson

RELATED: David Lynch Tells British Hipsters How He Left His Santa Claus Heart In Philadelphia And Then We Threw Snowballs At It

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SH*T MY UNCLE SAYS: Suffer The Children

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

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Picture the Fox News anchor belching out the following lead: “A phony, insincere Chelsea Clinton (or Michelle Obama — take your pick) has visited our southern border to make it appear that she supports keeping illegal immigrant families together while showing her TRUE feelings by brandishing a coat with the following message emblazoned on its back, ‘I Really Don’t Care, Do U?'” Yeah, okay, so maybe I’ve cleaned it up a little. What else could I do? It was a FOX NEWS lead after all! So, why’d she do it? Well, all I can tell you is that literally every single thread of that $39.00 Zara army-green creation has now been squeezed, twisted, pulled, cut up and scoped, to little or no avail. Best answer: similarities attract. She married him, bore him a child, and has continued to stand by her bigot for thirteen money-grubbing years. Gold digger meets trophy hunter? A match made in mediocrity? Can you spell S H R E W? Why in God’s name would anyone believe that Melania is some kind of saint? Her seeming soft spoken manner? Couldn’t fake that, could you? Her cute little accent? Couldn’t fudge that, could you? What’s so hard about believing that she’s just as phony, pretentious and purpose-driven pandering as her lying, immoral, sewer-bred husband? And meanwhile, through all of their hatred, bigotry and racism, this putrid, divisive administration and its rancid lackeys STILL don’t know for certain where they’ve stuffed some 1,800 innocent, scared children, leaving their mothers to wonder if they’ll ever see them again! Hey, all you Christian/evangelical Trumpeteers, what do you suppose Jesus would do?! How ’bout you, Melania, got any REAL humanity? – WILLIAM C. HENRY

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Cost of the War in Iraq
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