THE WORLD IS SO MUCH SAFER NOW.

At Least 75 Dead in String of Bombings in Baghdad – New York Times

“…The trial of Mr. Hussein unfolded on television as blast after blast rocked the capital, raining debris across entire blocks and flooding hospital wards with lacerated victims.

After one car bomb exploded at noon in a Shiite district of downtown Baghdad, firefighters and witnesses struggled to pry two blackened bodies from the front seats of a charred sedan. The wailing crowd lifted the bodies out, shouted “God is great!” and marched down the street bearing the corpses aloft.

Nuns from a nearby convent rushed toward the flaming wrecks of cars clutching metal buckets of water.

“I’m going to sell my restaurant because I want to leave Iraq,” said Nour Sabah, 52, as he watched from the sidewalk, standing atop shards of glass. “They just want to destroy the lives of people. They don’t want Iraqi people to live ordinary lives.”

An Interior Ministry official said that at least 4 people had been killed and 16 injured in that bombing. Earlier, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at a gasoline station in the Shiite neighborhood of New Baghdad, killing at least 23 people and injuring 51. The deadliest attack took place in the evening, when a car bomb exploded by a marketplace in the northern Hurriyah neighborhood, killing at least 25 and wounding at least 43.”

ON GROWING.

The Nurture Channel
New York duo Growing creates music that embraces the environment

Date: Dec 01, 2004 – 03:43 PM
By Peter Relic
Cleveland Free Times

WISEACRE POETASTER Kenneth Koch once observed that birds don’t sing, they communicate, and that human beings are the only creatures that sing. What Koch suggests is that animals who are often attributed the power of song ‚Äî birds and whales, for example ‚Äî are making such sounds for an expressly utilitarian purpose, while human singing ‚Äî like all art ‚Äî is an indulgent, species-specific endeavor based upon nature’s example. This peculiar relationship is expanded upon in one of the year’s most rewarding albums: Growing’s The Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of Light .

Growing is Joe DeNardo and Kevin Doria, two gentlemen in their mid-20s who met at college in Olympia, Washington. Their instrumental debut, The Sky’s Run Into the Sea , appeared in 2003, and its massive, guitar-centric sounds turned on legions of fringe music fans, from the doom metal set to the well-groomed frequenters of the sculpture garden at Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (where Growing played this summer). Without drums or traditionally recognizable melodies, their music nonetheless projects a palpable pulse and a sense of harmony. And as a friend recently pointed out, when you bang your head to music this slow, you’re basically bowing.

‚ÄúThe nature thing comes up a lot,‚Äù says Kevin Doria, answering the line in the group’s live-in bunker in Brooklyn, New York. ‚ÄúI was working at a restaurant, and on my break I’d go out back where I’d hear the hum of the freeway, and the refrigerator vent vibrating, and I liked that enough to where I compositionally copied that, not replicating those sounds but replacing them with sounds on my guitar. That’s a big part of our concept.‚Äù

Of course, concepts mean nothing without execution. Growing’s got the goods. The Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of Light contains four long pieces, including the impeccably titled laser-guided ‚ÄúOnement‚Äù and the exponentially expansive ‚ÄúAnaheim II,‚Äù whose heavy drone evokes the inside an MRI cone during a brain scan.

‚ÄúA drone is one of those sounds that can communicate a lot of subtlety,‚Äù Joe DeNardo says. ‚ÄúPare everything down to one note and there’s a lot of harmonic ephemera, and the longer you sustain the sound the more time the listener has to concentrate and pick up on the sound. Many traditional musics have a drone element. It’s always felt really nice and easy and pleasant even to play.‚Äù

The album’s moving fugue is ‚ÄúEpochal Reminiscence.‚Äù In 18 minutes it moves from the static to the ecstatic as a sonic undertow closes around the listener.

‚ÄúThat’s something we originally recorded for a home show,‚Äù DeNardo says. ‚ÄúA home show is where we design each room in the house to have a different sound environment, and people come over; they’re invited to partake and stay overnight.‚Äù

Sounds a bit like what happens at Lakewood’s fabled Recycled Rainbow.

‚ÄúYeah, anyone can do it in their house,‚Äù DeNardo continues. ‚ÄúIt’s a really pleasant way to hang out with friends. That piece was my bedroom’s soundscape, playing on a prerecorded tape, and then there were a couple guitars and amps set up, and people were allowed to pick them up and play along. All the effects were in a box that they couldn’t reach; they just had access to a guitar and a volume pedal.‚Äù

The pedal thing is crucial since, while it sometimes sounds like Growing are using synthesizers, they only play guitars. ‚ÄúThe Big Muff distortion pedal is a favorite, specifically the green ’90s-era model,‚Äù DeNardo says. ‚ÄúAnd I have a Superfuzz. When I first met Joe Preston [of grunge legends the Melvins] I learned how to combine multiple distortion pedals to get specific sounds. That’s kind of a trade secret, though.‚Äù

Further intriguing disclosures are available online at http://www.dustedmag.com, where Growing reveal a list of stuff that’s turned them on lately, including Village Music of Bulgaria’s album A Harvest, A Shepherd, A Bride , the large-scale horizon-obsessed paintings of mid-century New York painter Barnett Newman and the soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s romantic horror film Nosferatu by pastoral German psychonauts Popol Vuh.

So, how much time do these deep dudes give the human race before extinction?

‚ÄúA couple thousand years,‚Äù DeNardo says, ‚Äúif we can deal with energy in an efficient way. Hopefully our brains will evolve, like a new species will come out of us. It’s awfully sad to think of the damage we’ve done in the past hundred years. But the best thing about the Earth is that it’ll just keep on truckin’.‚Äù

Doria takes the long view: ‚ÄúA couple hundred million years, and even then there’s going to be rogue factions hiding underground who will mutate. But if a giant asteroid hits the earth, I hope it falls on my head and obliterates me right away, instead of having to think of how a giant asteroid hit the earth 15 minutes ago and a wave of energy churning towards me is going to wipe me out.‚Äù

Until then, Growing has its name to live up to. ‚ÄúWe chose it because it seemed all-encompassing,‚Äù DeNardo says. ‚ÄúA lot of people didn’t like it at first because they thought it was a reference to marijuana or boners. Not so. It does seem to describe the process of living and dying without being heavy and ominous. Which is nice.‚Äù¬†

"I've gone there to bring it back here."

Tony Allen, Cargo, London

By Howard Male
Published: 22 February 2006
The Independent

A couple of songs into the show, the legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen mumbled: “I’ve gone there to bring it back here.” Fortunately some of the audience seemed to understand what this Confucius-like pronouncement meant, and a small cheer erupted. But actually it wasn’t 100 per cent accurate: although Allen went back to Nigeria to record his excellent new album Lagos No Shaking with Nigerian musicians, unfortunately only two of the musicians involved in the recording were allowed into the UK to perform at this concert. So expectations weren’t as high as they might have been for the makeshift band put together to try to recreate that unique Lagos alchemy.

However, after a rather low-key start with a trumpet-led instrumental, things started to warm up with the appearance on stage of the first of Allen’s Lagos team who managed to get through customs, Fatai Rolling Dollar. The 76-year-old palm wine singer was full of energy on the slow, tough funk of “Ise Nla”, comfortable and relaxed as he playfully mimed karate chops between vocal lines.

Next on was the second ace up Allen’s sleeve: the young Yoruba singer Yinka Davies. She has the easy grace and mile-wide smile of Diana Ross and managed to get some call-and-responses from the reserved London crowd on the anthemic “Lasun”.

But what of Allen himself? Well, expecting the firing-on-all-cylinders fierceness that drove Fela Kuti’s band between 1964 and 1978 to be repeated would, of course, be ridiculous – legend has it that when Allen left Kuti it took five replacement drummers to kick up a comparable racket. But Allen runs a different kind of outfit these days. Solo projects have leant towards a dubbier, more spacious vibe. And now this latest project – particularly in its live manifestation – is essentially an Afrobeat jazz band: songs effortlessly unwind; soloists get their spots, and Allen simply collapses the groove when he decides he’s had enough.

During the quieter moments his hands barely hold the sticks – sometimes merely tickling the snare or drawing a whisper from the ride cymbal. And then suddenly there’ll be a thunder of toms and we’re back into a chorus. The rest of the musicians relax into each groove, rather than being intent on chasing it, or driving it forward. This approach was reflected in this concert’s head-nodding audience, who seemed blissfully happy.

ERIK BLUHM on Coastal California Fictions

Zeitlist: Culture
5 Overlooked Literary Sketches of Coastal California
by Erik Bluhm

There’s nothing wrong with skimming through The Grapes of Wrath or Two Years Before the Mast the night before your book group meeting, but California belles-lettres offers so much more than the oft-told tales of the family Joad. There’s a whole sagging shelf, in fact, of obscure printed-page pleasures out there in your local used book shop.

Moran of the Lady Letty by Frank Norris (1899). Best known for penning the Golden State’s other geo-socialist epic — the 688-page, aptly titled The Octopus — this Bay Area adept delivered a half-dozen novels in his brief lifetime, before ceding the title of California’s literary Man o’ War to an up-and-coming Jack London. This particular novella — a love story between an effete city boy and a Scandinavian sea captain’s lusty daughter — unfolds in great cinematic form, panning from genteel Frisco life to scenes of violent shanghaiing, high seas roguishness, and swarthy pirates shivving each other on Baja beaches. A turn-of-the-last-century page turner!

The Dolphins of Altair by Margaret St. Clair (1967). Sixty-eight years later, science-fiction writer Margaret St. Clair bettered Norris’ offshore chicanery by throwing in a pod of vengeful dolphins armed with purloined explosives. Tired of being poked and prodded by scientists, the rogue sea mammals team up with some antisocial humans to extract a little payback. They start by dropping a mine in an offshore earthquake fault, and then get more creative, melting the icecaps with some sort of magically charged quartz crystals. The result is rapidly rising sea levels and pretty much total destruction of the human race, all with front row seats for the victorious home team. “We swam closer,” recalls one dolphin. “The California current [was] alive with sharks, and no wonder. Among the floating timbers, sides of houses, sheets of plastic and uprooted trees were many bodies. The sharks slashed and tore at the fresh dead, greedily delighted, and when one body was stripped as clean of flesh as its clothing would allow, there was always another body to take its place at the sharks’ feast.”

Comrades by Thomas Dixon (1909). Egged on by a modern-day Joan of Arc named Barbara Bozenta — whose incendiary speeches ignite the ire of self-respecting California capitalists statewide — a cadre of red flag-wavers plop down enough bread to buy their very own island off the coast of Santa Barbara, where they set up a real-life Commie paradise with self-sufficient farming, rough-hewn attire and equal wages for all. The Brotherhood of Man’s hopes to attract 5,000 loyal workers, send out its own bohemian emissaries, and conjure “a new social order, a higher civilization, a new republic!” are dashed when the greed from the mainland manages to paddle across the channel. Even Bozenta’s inspiring doggerel (“Nations are but the dung-heaps out of which the fair flower of world-democracy is slowly growing.”) is no match for the seductive hum of capitalism.

High on Gold by Lee Richmond (1972). The story of two California dreamers a century apart. First, Joshua Aarons mingles with Mormons and digs for treasure in the Gold Rush. Disheartened by the greed and avarice around him, he retreats to an island called Anahita off the Golden Gate to ponder his mortal existence. One hundred twenty years later, Boston acid-head Gerveys Lecompte, on a quest for gold of a leafier variety, stumbles into Anahita — “now the mecca of hippiedom” — only to lose himself “in a fog of dope and disillusionment.” Try and imagine James Michener adapting Been Down So Long It Seems Like Up to Me into a romance novel. Then pull a tube and try again.

Street Magic by Michael Reaves (1991). When the Queen of Fairie “locked down the gates of her land to all but the highest born,” the cast-out “scatterlings” somehow found themselves trapped in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district dodging junkies, skinheads and tranny hookers. Follow the sad-eyed waifs as they huddle in their “magic nests” in the Panhandle, shivering in threadbare Velvet Underground T-shirts. Or root them on as they trick “round ears” into handing over their Muni fare with “sparkly magic from their fingertips.” The best (if not only) portrait of late ’80s S.F. before the interweb blitzkrieg killed The City dead. Who knew the gateway to the Fair Realm was right down the street from The Stud?

SATURDAY AT NEW IMAGE.

“70 MORE ARTISTS TO BE ANNOUNCED !!!”

FEBRUARY 18 – MARCH 18, 2006

Opening – SATURDAY FEBRUARY 18, 2006 7-10PM

Live performances by the Artists!!!!

West Coast Release Party Extravaganza
For the Paper Rad Book!!!!

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New Image Art Gallery presents: 70 MORE ARTISTS TO BE ANNOUNCED!!! a group show of artists from Providence, RI and Philadelphia, PA. The artists include Brian Chippendale, Devin Flynn, Leif Goldberg, Jung Hong, Takeshi Murata, Paper Rad, Erin Rosenthal, and Andrew Jeffrey Wright.

Leif Goldberg and Erin Rosenthal will present “Pictures From A Dark Mirror,” paintings and collages on wood panel accompanied by a short text/poem.

Current and founding member of Philadelphia’s Space 1026, Andrew Jeffrey Wright studied animation at RISD and has won the top prize at the New York Underground Film Festival. Wright’s highly limited edition handmade books have gained an international following. He will be showing paintings, drawings, photos and video.

Brian Chippendale, worse half of the music duo lightning bolt will be presenting silkscreened prints, collages and debuting the diorama record shack stocked to the brim with a CD or two.

Jung Hong, renowned for channeling rare birds in her sleep will be showing silkscreened prints, collages and flip books, and will perform a real live flip!

Paper Rad The artist collective from Massachusetts will have a book signing during the opening. Paper Rad members have collaborated on everything from books, and videos to installations and their amazing website since they met in Boston as students. They are inspired by the throwaway culture of the 1980’s.