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FRANKLY SPEAKING: Q&A With Barney Frank

March 23rd, 2015

Barney Frank By Donkey Hotey

Artwork by DONKEY HOTEY

Chris McCary AvatarBY CHRIS MCCARY Barney Frank grew up around a Jersey City truck stop, went to Harvard, and in 1981 became the first openly gay U.S. Congressmen. During his 30 year tenure in that absurd and corrupt institution Frank has been one of the loudest voices for liberal and progressive causes. In 2013, he retired from Congress and is currently working the lucrative speaker circuit. Frank will be reading from his just-published memoir FRANK: A Life In Politics From The Great Society To Same-Sex Marriage tonight at the Free Library. Last week we got the former Congressman on the phone to talk about scandal, Dodd-Frank, coming out in the ‘80s, the state of our un-democracy, the Tea Party, weed, dark money and darker politics, Occupy, Edward Snowden, the Patriot Act, the demise of the Fourth Amendment as we know it, the 2016 presidential race and more.
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PHAWKER: What is the proudest moment of your congressional career? And, I guess conversely, what was the low point of it?

BARNEY FRANK: Well the low point was stupidly getting involved with a hustler in my vulnerable emotional state from trying to be confident and prominent. I felt terrible that I had damaged one of the causes I cared about the most. As for the highpoint, there were several, one was the passage of Dodd-Frank. Another was when Congress enacted the immigration bill of 1990 which repealed the anti-gay exclusion in American immigration law that had been there since 1900. I made that a personal crusade and I felt very good about getting rid of that one.

PHAWKER: Right, right, it was in 2010, what was it, 87 freshman Congressmen the Tea Party elected in 2010 in the mid-terms which seems like an unimaginable number.

BARNEY FRANK: When the right gets angry they vote, when the left gets angry they march. Voting beats marching.

PHAWKER: Don’t you think that campaigns should be publicly financed?Frank

BARNEY FRANK: Yeah, I’ve always voted for that. The paradox is: the angrier people get at government the more they oppose public financing which would be one way to resolve the problems they’re angry at. It’s too easily characterized as, “Oh, these politicians want us to pay their campaign expenses,” instead of being a way to diminish the influence of outside groups. Because part of this problem begins with the Supreme Court because what this right-wing Supreme Court has said was that–it had always been the case that you could not simply restrict certain kinds of campaign activity but you could do that if you made that a condition for accepting public financing. But this Supreme Court, in one of their other terrible opinions, struck that out. So now you cannot have public financing that is conditioned on people accepting these other restrictions in effect. But yes, it would be much better if things were publicly financed, it would substantially enhance democracy and diminish the overall advantage that the right-wing has over the left with the contributions and it would specifically diminish the influence of particular vested interest groups.

PHAWKER: The 113th Congress has a median net worth of about $1 million this year, which I think is the first time in history that the majority of members are millionaires. How can a body comprised of millionaires really understand middle-class, working-class families, what they go through in daily life?

BARNEY FRANK: Well, I’ll tell you, I thought Ted Kennedy did a pretty good job of advocating middle class issues. I think that’s a somewhat unfair question. You know, there are a lot of very wealthy liberals. You know who’s very rich? Nancy Pelosi. There hasn’t been a stronger defender of the average citizen and the true public interest I have ever run into.
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BEING THERE: Meek Mill @ Wells Fargo Center

March 22nd, 2015

MEEK_MILL_BY_DYLAN_LONG

Photo by DYLAN LONG

Last night, Meek Mill, one of the most opulent and admired self-made rappers to emerge from the 215, brought the roof down at Wells Fargo Center. To be fair, he had some help: namely the likes of French Montana, Rick Ross and P Diddy. From the second Mill’s rise-to-fame introductory video played across a massive LED backdrop, his intense presence and persona threw the sold-out arena into a trapped out frenzy. His massive Philadelphia fan base came out in full force, rapping along at the top of their lungs to every single track he played out. Banging 808’s and trap snares ricocheted off the walls at the Wells Fargo Center as Meek brought out guest after guest, each one hyper than the previous. Highlights included French Montana doing “Hot Ni**a (Remix),” Lil Durk doing “This Ain’t What You Want,” and Philly’s own Beanie Sigel running down a medley of his Roc-A-Fella classics. At the end of the night, after a long parade of high-profile cameos and endless chants for an encore, Meek made it clear he had nothing but love for the crowd of fans who built him up to who he is today, and the massive crew that accompanied him. – DYLAN LONG

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CINEMA: Mr. Crappy

March 22nd, 2015

Mr Happy

 

Yesterday, Vice released a short film entitled Mr. Happy, directed by Collin Tilley and starring Chance The Rapper. Chance plays Victor, a depressed loner who comes across a website called MrHappy.com which provides an unusual service: you can hire a hitman to kill you. I’m a big fan of Chance since he became nationally known through his hit mixtape Acid Rap last summer, so naturally I was excited to see the film. Chance’s lyrics capture a type of angst, or insecurity that is so hard to encapsulate, so, after reading a quick blurb, it was clear this role was tailor-made for him. Mr. Happy would be the stage for Chance to showcase his abilities as an artist, one who can cultivate a particular mood or aesthetic and make it his own. He appears to have the qualities to make it as an actor as well as a musician, in the mold of a Tyrese Gibson or Mos Def.

The film follows a familiar plotline, the loner is alone, then he meets a girl, then he’s not so alone. However, there is the twist that Victor, Chance’s character, has hired someone via MrHappy.com, to kill him on February 14th. It had to be Valentine’s Day. Really? Of course, he experiences some serious buyer’s remorse, and wants to nullify his purchase, which, of course, is not very easy to do. I will refrain from spoiling the conclusion, but I will say it becomes excruciatingly obvious how things will unfold halfway through the film. Disappointment is the feeling you get when your team loses, or when you open the fridge and there’s no water in the Brita. It was not disappointment I felt after watching Mr. Happy — it was something else. Some middle ground between annoyance and scorn. Instead of resisting cliches, Mr. Happy wallows in them.

The film put all of its substantial weight on the shoulders of Chance, who clearly was expected to carry the entire piece. But his character came off as an anti-person and the awkwardness with which he conducted himself quickly became unbearable, he was impossible to sympathize or connect with at any level. It felt as if Tilley was trying to create a Mersault-like character in Victor, but, perhaps because of the confined time-frame, it fell flat. Chance had a few bright moments, but his character was written so strictly that it stifled any personality that Chance tried to infuse into the role. Mr. Happy embodies everything that is unpalatable about short films. Oblique, half-formed meanings pervaded, cardboard characters were smoke screened with trendy editing techniques. It attempts to say more by saying less, but ultimately says nothing at all. You can see for yourself below. — COLE NOWLIN

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FAMILY MATTERS: My Uncle The Shaman

March 20th, 2015

JD-Challenger-Wisdom-Of-The-Shaman

Artwork by LAWRENCE W. LEE

COLE_NOWLINBY COLE NOWLINS I had a typical New Jersey upbringing. We had pizza on Friday nights, went to church on Sundays, until you got confirmed at which point you were off the hook, and the summers were spent at the beach eating Kohr Brothers. This is probably why I’ve always loved my dad’s side of the family so much. Dad is a native Washingtonian, born outside of Seattle. His family is a crunchy bunch of free-range organic Pacific Northwesterners, a clan of artists, and musicians, with a few fishermen sprinkled in, because thats what people do who live in the Puget Sound region. They are REI, sustainability, homemade boysenberry jam, and sometimes even Tevas with white crew socks on underneath. There is no shortage of quirk and color, but there is a particular duo, that have a particularly intriguing skill set. My aunt and uncle are kinda/sorta shamans. You see, they practice reiki, which is defined by  Reiki.org as, “a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.” What is that technique? Good question, I found out (kind of) when I made my holiday sojourn to the West Coast.

Over a tidy dinner consisting primarily of kale, the topic of reiki came up. As one might expect of a typical New Jersey lad, shamanism was not something I came across with any sort of frequency, so when I made a rare visit to a shaman I happened to be related to, I bludgeoned my lovely aunt and uncle with questions. They said that what they did healed people, it involved touch and the transfer of energy. Then the buzzwords started coming up. Chakras, auras and third eyes started being bandied about, and all of the sudden tuning forks were part of the equation. These were words I was used to hearing from the people who go to raves, and listen to EDM, spew about fluoride on Facebook, not from very intelligent, lucid people like the ones I was dining with. With wine bolstering my confidence I pried further, ‘What do you actually do in these sessions, what is the outcome supposed to be?’ And that question was answered with a question, one I should have seen coming. “Would you like to try it? We could do a session on you tomorrow morning.” No I did not want to try it. I was captivated by the concept, but I wanted to be a fly on the wall of someone else’s session. I imagined my aura as a noxious, polluted cloud — the Mexico City of the soul, if you will — I couldn’t possibly expect my uncle to clear that up.
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THE DOORS: The End (Live At Isle Of Wight)

March 20th, 2015

RELATED: Jim Morrison, the rock musician, was influenced by shamanism, and performances of his group, The Doors, contained ritualistic elements. One of their songs was titled “Shaman Blues,” and another contained references to “the Lizard King,” an appellation for Morrison himself. The case can be made that Morrison served shamanic functions for his “community” of fans. However, he lacked the commitment to this community and the disciplined use of altered states of consciousness that characterize traditional shamans. When he died in 1971, shamanic references abounded. However, at best, Morrison can be considered a failed shaman. MORE

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THE BOOKS YOU SHOULD READ BEFORE YOU DIE

March 19th, 2015

Blood Meridian

 

LukeHopelyBY LUKE ROBERT HOPELY Cormac McCarthy writes spectral Western epics that both examine and embody (and, some would say, revel in) the savage beauty of man’s inhumanity to man. There are many Cormac McCarthy books you should read before you die, but if you only read one, make it Blood Meridian. This book does two things, and it does them with the same pitiless efficacy that makes his prose crackle. First, it gets its point across, and that point is how goddamn awful humans are, how we lust lust for violence, how we always have and always will. McCarthy underscores that last point by prefacing the book with an excerpt from an anthropological paper reporting that a 300,000 year old skull found in Ethiopia had been scalped. In other words, humans have been slaughtering each other for at least 300 millennia — that’s a long history of malevolence. Secondly, this book is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Even though Blood Meridian traffics in unspeakable violence set in impossibly bleak landscapes, you will find yourself turning each page giddy with anticipation of what gorgeously rendered bloodbath lurks on the next page. As such, McCarthy proves his point: mankind is inescapably drawn to the pornography of transcendental violence.

The first line of the novel is a command reminiscent of the epic introduction of Moby Dick, but instead of “Call me Ishmael” McCarthy urges us to “See the child.” In just a few pages this unnamed child grows into the unnamed kid who is the protagonist of the story, a cold-blooded killer who can “neither read nor write and in him broods already a taste for mindless violence.” This is about as much backstory we learn about The Kid. McCarthy has never been big on back story, preferring instead to define characters by their actions in the present. By the age of 15, The Kid is already a shady drifter with a history of violence. After killing a bartender in Texas with a beer bottle after a financial dispute, he beats feet and winds up joining a hapless band of Army irregulars looking to start shit with Mexico. These guys are totally unprepared for the arid deprivations of the desert and would have surely died of thirst even if they had somehow eluded massacre by a raging horde of blood-crazed Comanches (who sodomize their prisoners before decapitating them) in one of the most terrifying and unforgettable passages of the book.
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Win Tix To See Blackberry Smoke @ The E-Factory

March 19th, 2015

blackberry

 

If you’re one of those people who yells “Freebird!” ironically right before the encore at every friggin’ show you go to — you know who you are — you really need to A) stop it, that joke hasn’t been funny since, like, 1997 and B) get your shit-kickin’ Southern Rawk card punched. And punched hard. We can help. We have a pair of tix to see Blackberry Smoke – neo-redneck-hippie rockers from Georgia who work that sweet spot where Lynyrd meets Skynyrd, where Allman meets Brothers, where .38 meets Special and Jack Daniels meets Mary Jane — at the Electric Factory on Friday. To win, all you have to do is be the 16th person to email us  at FEED@PHAWKER.COM with the correct answer to the following Southern Rock trivia question: Who is Leonard Skinner? Put the magic words LEONARD SKINNER SENT ME in the subject line. Include your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. Good luck, godspeed and, god willing, the south will not rise again.

BLACKBERRY SMOKE PLAY THE ELECTRIC FACTORY FRIDAY NIGHT WITH SPECIAL GUESTS TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT AND LEON VIRGIL BOWERS

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RANT: Me Vs. The Donald, This Time It’s Personal

March 18th, 2015

trumpfinal 72

Illustration by ALEX FINE

Theodore-RooseveltBY WILLIAM C. HENRY Watching the detestable Donald interact with professional golfers warming up on the practice range for the Cadillac Championship at his Trump National Doral Golf Club last Thursday for some reason made me wonder how a filthy-rich con-man/bigot/phony might conduct himself in a similar situation. Later it dawned on me that the reason I had been wondering such was most likely because I had, in fact, been watching a world-class example of the con-man/bigot/phony genre operating at his shake-your-hand-and-stab-you-in-the-back best. You know, the feigned interest and concern, the disingenuous deference. the counterfeit compliments and commiseration. In other words, a “greedy, sociopathic, silver-spooned, self-aggrandizing racist, who doesn’t give a sh*t about anything other than money and the means it can provide to further his vacuously ostentatious lifestyle and the attendant opportunities it affords to publicly pretend he’s really just one of the boys.”

Okay, I know, by now you’re probably thinking that I’ve got some deep-seated bias going on here that won’t permit me to judge the jerk with anything even approaching objectivity. Well, allow me to set the record straight: You are 1000% correct! I don’t just dislike the Donald, I absolutely, positively, unequivocally despise the son-of-a-bitch! As far as I’m concerned, not only does he not possess a single redeeming quality, I’m unconditionally certain he has never possessed so much as a modicum of anything that could in any way be even remotely confused with a redeeming quality.

So, I ask you, why in the world would anyone want to shake hands with this man? Surely you’d want to beat feet to the nearest sink, soap and hot water immediately following. And why would anyone wish to chat him up? Honestly, why would any discerning human being, let alone a reasonably intelligent, financially comfortable one such as a PGA Tour professional want to seek the recognition of a Donald Trump? Why would they want to debase themselves so? I mean, it would be like gunning for the opportunity to cozy up to the likes of John Holmes or Ron Jeremy. On the other hand, at least those fellas were “equal opportunity” f _ _ _ kers and didn’t have to rely on daddy’s largess or legal loophole elixirs to obtain and retain their status symbols. But I digress.
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INCOMING: Ramble On

March 17th, 2015

Robert-plant-clean

 

Just announced, Robert Plant & The Shapeshifters + The Pixies @ The Mann June 17th. Tickets go on sale Saturday at ROBERTPLANT.COM

The tour is in support of Robert Plant’s lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, which was released September 2014 on Nonesuch/Warner Bros. Records. The record was named one of the top 50 albums of the year by NPR, which said, “At 66, the singer is still a majestic rock presence, at peace with the legacy of his hard-rock-defining band Led Zeppelin, while remaining relentlessly creative in his solo work. But on his 10th solo album, Plant does pause by those waters to consider the aesthetic, emotional and spiritual currents that have shaped his illustrious life. He finds himself, characteristically, not saddened but renewed… Not one of these songs sounds precisely like its source; that’s the genius of this album. It lovingly layers elements in ways that mirror memory, robertplantcreating new constructs from floating shards of the musical past.”

Plant described lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar as, “a celebratory record, powerful, gritty, African, Trance meets Zep.” He continues, “The whole impetus of my life as a singer has to be driven by a good brotherhood. I am very lucky to work with The Sensational Space Shifters. They come from exciting areas of contemporary music…” The Sensational Space Shifters are Justin Adams: bendirs, djembe, guitars, tehardant, background vocals; John Baggott: keyboards, loops, moog bass, piano, tabal, background vocals; Juldeh Camara: kologo, ritti, Fulani vocals; Billy Fuller: bass, drum programming, omnichord, upright bass; Dave Smith: drum set; and Liam “Skin” Tyson: banjo, guitar, background vocals.

The album received some of the best reviews of Plant’s solo career, with the Wall Street Journal saying, “Robert Plant knows where rock’s past begins and he’s pulling it into the future,” and the New York Times stating that “On lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar, Mr. Plant often sings in an otherworldly voice: sustained, androgynous, balanced between serenity and ache.” Pitchfork noted that “Lullaby sees Plant stepping up with his first batch of original songs in nearly a decade, answering his band’s derring-do with some of the most bravely confessional writing of his career,” while Noisey raved, “Plant’s aged gracefully, growing into a sound that’s more finessed and even, at times, elegant. These aren’t the recordings of some old dude lost in a music studio messing around with the funny-shaped knobs on a mixer. Plant’s still got it, using his experience and vision to blend sounds of the world with blues to form music that’s weirdly cohesive and progressive, all supporting his distinguished and defined voice.”

PREVIOUSLY: Officially OUR FAVORITE SONG OF 2007. Written by Rowland Salley, this version from Raising Sand just fucking slays us every time. And speaking as former teenage Zepheads, it does our heart good to hear Robert Plant doing something we can both be proud of at our advanced age. Seriously, this is as timelessly classic as anything Led Zepellin ever did. And Alison Krauss is a force of nature. Mark Ribot’s guitar sounds like underwater moonlight piercing the spectral murk of T-Bone Burnett’s elegantly antiqued production. Like butter, it is. Because there was no official video for this song, we went ahead and made our own. Special thanks to the dudes who shot this footage on the way to Alberta, and to Electric Kite for tweaking, editing, and synching to the music.

raising-sand_robert-plantsepia.jpg BOSTON GLOBE: Each track sets a different mood – a lullaby, a seduction, a prayer, a remembrance – but adheres to Burnett’s elusive but recognizable template of blending vintage rock, country, folk, and blues with a lot of space. That space gives his work both an earthy quality and something approaching the otherworldly without ever veering into psychedelia.The austere “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us,” written by Burnett’s ex-wife, Sam Phillips, at times feels like a raga and at times like circus music from a Wes Anderson movie. “Polly Come Home,” sung by Plant in a controlled murmur – one of several silken modes employed throughout – is almost painfully erotic. Rowland Salley, Chris Isaak’s bassist, contributes the dreamy, slow chug “Killing the Blues,” which wouldn’t sound out of place on one of his boss’s records. MORE

PITCHFORK: There is no arguing with a riff. It’s a conversation-ender, something resistant to analysis that strips away the intellectual to situate the music in a purely physical space. Of the 100 greatest guitar riffs in the history of rock music, Jimmy Page might have written 20, and a good number of those can be found on Led Zeppelin’s second album from 1969. If you or someone close to you has ever been within 10 feet of a radio tuned to a classic rock station, you’ve heard them all, many times—maybe too many. For every young person who Led Zepdiscovers “Whole Lotta Love” and “Heartbreaker” and “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)”, there’s an older person who gets sick of them from overplay and doesn’t need to ever hear them again. Part of the challenge and excitement of revisiting a record upon reissue is trying to hear the music again with fresh ears, seeing if you can tap into that feeling of discovery that came from hearing it the first time. When I’m able to mentally put myself into this place— the kid who got his driver’s license a month ago, driving around listening to II on tape—the reissue sounds as thrilling as ever. Every track on this record is musically brilliant, and in the span of just a few months it’s amazing how much Page had enriched the band’s sound. Chiming acoustic guitars provide the contrast to the crunch in a whole new way on “Ramble On” and “Thank You”, offering yet another template for mixing folk with proto-metal. “Whole Lotta Love” might have gotten the band sued by Willie Dixon, but there was no sonic precedent for it in rock music—it’s a sound that would have been unimaginable without the rise of drug culture. MORE

RELATED: Led Zeppelin will be returning to the big screen on March 30, when a concert movie culled from various performances by the band will show for one night only. MORE

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EARLY WORD: Bang A Gong

March 15th, 2015

adam shoe 2-1

Photo by ADAM WALLACAVAGE

Creem Circus is bringing its brand of 21stcentury glam rock to the world on March 27 2015. The Creem Circus debut album “Rock and/or Roll” embodies the band’s 1970’s inspired, glitter-glam aesthetic and will be available on CD, and on iTunes. Proudly hailing from the Fishtown section of Philadelphia, which has become a hot-bed for new bands (War on Drugs and Kurt Vile to name a few) Creem Circus describes themselves as “your favorite band’s favorite band.” The 10-track CD was three years in the making. The band’s “hard, glitter, tandem lead, platform-powerchord rock and roll with lots of boogie down soul” style is inspired by legends of glam and arena rock such as David Bowie, Slade, T-Rex, Boston, Thin Lizzy and Queen. The disc is loaded with smokin’ leads, slamming guitar tones, catchy choruses, and hot riffs, the likes of which not heard since the hey-day of killer rock bands.

The lead off track hits hard with a great power chord riff ala New York Dolls, is quickly over taken by a Tom Scholz style lead followed by a Marc Bolan vocal line. The solo chimes in with some Brian May style harmonized guitar tracks, then blazes through some super melodic riffs. The tune is appropriately entitled “Rock and Roll Decree” and it sets the stage for a record that continues in this fashion…riff, chorus, tandem lead, blazing solo and repeat.  Even with this formula the album never gets dull. “Teenage Rules” is a cross between Mott the Hoople and Randy Rhoads, “Rock and Roll Band Revisisted” sounds like Tom Scholz got together with the original Alice Cooper band and “Riff Mountain” sounds like Nugent getting his ass handed to him by a young ZZ Top with note-perfect chops.

But there’s more to the story. Lead singer and lead guitarist Chris DiPinto, also known as “Chris Th’ Pinto,” owns and operates DiPinto Electric Guitars and Basses located at 407-409 E. Girard Ave. in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. Founded in 1995 as a repair shop, the store has since evolved to specialize in oddball vintage guitars and DiPinto’s own guitar creations. DiPinto guitars have been played by many guitar legends including Dick Dale, Jack White, Rick Nielsen, Elliot Easton, Earl Slick and legendary glam rocker himself, David Bowie to name a few. But enough of me talking about it, it’s time for your to find out about it! Turn it up and “Rock and/or Roll” with The Creem Circus!

CREEM CIRCUS CD RELEASE PARTY 9 PM 3/27/15 @ BOURBON & BRANCH 705 N 2ND ST. PHILA. W/ JUKEBOX ZEROS + SOLDIERS OF SOUL & CANDY VOLCANO

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BEING THERE: Excision

March 14th, 2015

DSC_3753

Photo by DYLAN LONG

Last night at the Electric Factory, dubstep demon Excision and partners in crime Protohype & Minnesota collectively tore the Factory and its sold out crowd all a new one. 150,000 watts of PK sound and the Executioner stage setup served for a visceral assault of screeching synths and physically violent sub bass, which sent massive vibration through the bones, esophagus and eyeballs among other body parts. Every kick was a punch in the throat as Excision blew through a 90 minute attack of overwhelming visuals and bass, constantly sending the crowd into in-sync headbanging frenzies with tracks like “Bounce” and “Raise Your Fist.” Ending with a ridiculous encore including the massive “Get Stupid”, Excision did the Electric Factory the dirtiest he’s ever done it to this day. – DYLAN LONG

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THE ELEPHANT EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION: Stampy The Elephant Will Have His Revenge

March 13th, 2015

world-elephant-day-denis-roschlau

 

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: “There is a sea change going on in our culture about animals and we are coming to recognize the profound depth of animal emotion and thinking and suffering,” says Barbara King, anthropology professor at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and author of “How Animals Grieve.”
Recommended: Name that animal! While these recent changes in the treatment of animals for entertainment purposes are due in part to public activism by such advocacy groups as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and others, the growing body of scientific research on animal intelligence has been crucially important, says Professor King. “The science and activism are beginning to come together to support changes,” she says.

King points to such important scientific milestones as the July 2012 Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness. An international consortium of scientists affirmed support for the idea that animals are conscious and aware to the same degree as humans. The list includes all mammals, birds, and even the octopus. “This research is beginning to trickle down into the public awareness and driving public outcry,” says King, adding that this includes protests about the treatment of animals in entertainment such as the circus, film, and television, as well as the use of animals for food and clothing.

Societal attitudes towards animals are changing across the board, agrees Sarah Cunningham, a professor in the Captive Wildlife Care and Education program at Unity College in Maine. Ironically, though, she points out that “part of the reason they are changing is because we’ve learned so much about the cognitive abilities and social lives of other species from individuals that we work with and study in captivity.”

Ringling Bros. management noted that change in its explanations for the decision. “There’s been somewhat of a mood shift among our consumers,” said Alana Feld, executive vice president for Feld Entertainment, the circus’s parent company, in widely published comments about the decision. “A lot of people aren’t comfortable with us touring with our elephants.” Part of the shifting mood is “a growing reluctance to support the cruelty involved in using elephants for entertainment purposes,” says Lori Gruen, professor of philosophy stampyand coordinator of Wesleyan Animal Studies at Wesleyan University in an e-mail. “There is also a growing public aversion to the indignity and coercion of displaying these magnificent, endangered creatures as silly spectacles,” she adds. MORE

RELATED: In this episode, Bart wins a radio contest and is awarded a full-grown African elephant that he names Stampy. After Stampy wrecks the Simpsons’ house and eats all the food, Homer decides to sell Stampy to an ivory dealer. Bart runs away with Stampy to save his pet, but the family finds the two at a museum exhibit, where Homer falls into a tar pit. Homer’s saved by Stampy, and so gives the elephant away to an animal refuge instead. MORE

RELATED: In 1989, CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) issued an international ban on the ivory trade. 2013 saw the greatest quantity of ivory confiscated in the last 25 years. The street value of a single tusk is approximately US$15,000. The main market for illegal ivory is China, where a single tusk can fetch $100,000–200,000. Tusks are found in African elephants of both sexes while only in Asian males. An African bull’s tusks can grow to over 11 feet long and weigh 220 pounds. MORE

RELATED: Chopsticks, hair pins, pendants, trinkets: These are why African elephants are dying in droves. In 2013, more than 35,000 elephants across Africa were killed for their ivory, which is often carved and sold as ornaments, jewelry and other gift items. China is a major importer of ivory, where it’s highly prized as a luxury good. Ivory sellers also do a roaring trade in Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and other parts of Asia; and troublingly, demand seems to be rising. “Ivory is beautiful,” long-time ranger and conservationist Rory Young admits. “The problem is, we just can’t do this anymore.” If we don’t stop the slaughter soon, he told The Huffington Post over Skype on Tuesday, not only will there be no more ivory to carve or sell, but no African elephants left on the planet, either. In 2008, conservationists warned that African elephants would become extinct by 2020 if widespread poaching continued. Young says that given the current rate of slaughter, he’s “absolutely convinced” that African elephants could indeed be annihilated in the next six years. MORE


RELATED:
Ten Elephants That Made History

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THE BOSSMAN: Born To Run @ The Tower ’75

March 12th, 2015

Sprinsteen Tower

SPRINGSTEEN.COM:
The last night of 1975 was also the last night of the Born To Run Tour. Engineer Jimmy Iovine brought The Record Plant Remote truck out for the occasion.  Front of House recordings of this show have circulated for years, along with partial tapes of stereo mixes from the multitracks.  This marks the first time the entire show has been mixed for release. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: Tower Theater – 1975  is now available for purchase here.

RELATED: NYC-based electro duo The Knocks have a moody new video for their track, “Dancing With Myself,” which we’re excited to be premiering here on PAPER. “Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets of Philadelphia‘ video was inspiration,” band member B-Roc (aka Ben Ruttner) says. “We wanted something that reflects our lives — we live in Chinatown and work down here and we wanted to show us in our element.” The funk-laced dance track features vocals by B-Roc’s bandmate, JPatt (aka James Patterson), and comes from their upcoming So Classic EP, out April 7th via Big Beat/Neon Gold. MORE

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