Jordan Belson – 5 Essential Films on DVD

“Jordan Belson is one of the greatest artists of visual music. Belson creates lush vibrant experiences of exquisite color and dynamic abstract phenomena evoking sacred celestial experiences.” (William Moritz)


1. “Allures” (1961). An early masterpiece of Non-Objective Cinema.

“I think of Allures as a combination of molecular structures and astronomical events mixed with subconscious and subjective phenomena – all happening simultaneously. the beginning is almost purely sensual, the end perhaps totally nonmaterial. It seems to move from matter to spirit in some way.”

“…it took a year and a half to make, pieced together in thousands of different ways….Allures actually developed out of images I was working with in the Vortex Concerts.” (Jordan Belson, quoted in Expanded Cinema by Gene Youngblood, p. 160-162).

The soundtrack is a collaboration with Henry Jacobs. Allures was preserved with the support of the National Film Preservation Foundation.

2. “Samadhi” (1967) evokes the ecstatic state achieved by the meditator where individual consciousness merges with the Universal.

“I hoped that somehow the film could actually provide a taste of what the real experience of samadhi might be like.” (from Scott MacDonald’s interview with Belson in A Critical Cinema 3).

Belson adds “It is primarily an abstract cinematic work of art inspired by Yoga and Buddhism. Not a description or explanation of Samadhi.”

3. “Light” (1973) is based on the continuity of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is a ride through space and light. This is the last film for which Belson composed his own soundtrack. This film was preserved with the support of the National Film Preservation Foundation.

4. “Fountain of Dreams” (1984) – never before released. A bold synchronization to the Transcendental music of Franz Liszt.

5. “Epilogue” (2005).

By way of a pure Visual Music experience, the Hirshhorn Museum (Smithsonian Institution) commissioned a major new work from abstract film artist Jordan Belson, who distilled 60 years of visionary sound and images into a twelve minute videofilm, synchronized to a symphonic tone poem “Isle of the Dead” by the great lyric composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. Produced by Center for Visual Music, with support from the NASA Art Program. Epilogue was installed in the Visual Music exhibition at the Hirshhorn, Washington, D.C., June – September, 2005.

"Vermont was once an independent republic, and it can be one again."

(A sorta-followup to Peter Lamborn Wilson’s piece in Arthur Vol. 1 No. 16….)

The Once and Future Republic of Vermont

By Ian Baldwin and Frank Bryan
Sunday, April 1, 2007; B01


The winds of secession are blowing in the Green Mountain State.

Vermont was once an independent republic, and it can be one again. We think the time to make that happen is now. Over the past 50 years, the U.S. government has grown too big, too corrupt and too aggressive toward the world, toward its own citizens and toward local democratic institutions. It has abandoned the democratic vision of its founders and eroded Americans’ fundamental freedoms.

Vermont did not join the Union to become part of an empire.

Some of us therefore seek permission to leave.

A decade before the War of Independence, Vermont became New England’s first frontier, settled by pioneers escaping colonial bondage who hewed settlements across a lush region whose spine is the Green Mountains. These independent folk brought with them what Henry David Thoreau called the “true American Congress” — the New England town meeting, which is still the legislature for nearly all of Vermont’s 237 towns. Here every citizen is a legislator who helps fashion the rules that govern the locality.

Today, however, Vermont no longer controls even its own National Guard, a domestic emergency force that is now employed in an imperial war 6,000 miles away. The 9/11 commission report says that “the American homeland is the planet.” To defend this “homeland,” the United States spends six times as much on its military as China, the next highest-spending nation, funding more than 730 military bases in more than 130 countries, abetted by more than 100 military space satellites and more than 100,000 seaborne battle-ready forces. This is the greatest military colossus ever forged.

Few heed George Washington’s Farewell Address, which warned against the danger of a permanent large standing army that “can be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.” Or that of a later general-become-president: “We must never let the weight of [the military-industrial complex] endanger our liberties or democratic processes.” Dwight D. Eisenhower pointedly included the word “congressional” after “military-industrial” but allowed his advisers to excise it. That word completes a true description of the hidden threat to democracy in the United States.

The two of us are typical of the diversity of Vermont’s secessionist movement: one descended from old Vermonter stock, the other a more recent arrival — a “flatlander” from down country. Our Vermont homeland remains economically conservative and socially liberal. And the love of freedom runs deep in its psyche.

Vermont seceded from the British Empire in 1777 and stood free for 14 years, until 1791. Its constitution — which preceded the U.S. Constitution by more than a decade — was the first to prohibit slavery in the New World and to guarantee universal manhood suffrage. Vermont issued its own currency, ran its own postal service, developed its own foreign relations, grew its own food, made its own roads and paid for its own militia. No other state, not even Texas, governed itself more thoroughly or longer before giving up its nationhood and joining the Union.

But the seeds of disunion have been growing since the beginning. Vermont more or less sat out the War of 1812, and its governor ordered troops fighting the British to disengage and come home. Vermont fought the Civil War primarily to end slavery; Abraham Lincoln did so primarily to save the Union. Vermont’s record on the slavery issue was so strong that Georgia’s legislature resolved that a ditch be dug around the “pestiferous” state and it be floated out to sea.

After the Great Flood of 1927, the worst natural disaster in the state’s history, President Calvin Coolidge (a Vermonter) offered help. Vermont’s governor replied, “Vermont will take care of its own.” In 1936, town meetings rejected a huge federal highway referendum that would have blacktopped the Green Mountain crest line from Massachusetts to Canada.

Nor did Vermont sign on when imperial Washington demanded that the state raise its drinking age from 18 to 21 in 1985. The federal government thereupon resorted to its favored tactic, blackmail. Raise your drinking age, said Ronald Reagan, or we’ll take away the money you need to keep the interstates paved. Vermont took its case for state control to the Supreme Court — and lost.

It’s quite simple. The United States has destroyed the 10th Amendment, which says that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The present movement for secession has been gathering steam for a decade and a half. In preparation for Vermont’s bicentennial in 1991, public debates — moderated by then-Lt. Gov. Howard Dean — were held in seven towns before crowds that averaged 230 citizens. At the end of each, Dean asked all those in favor of Vermont’s seceding from the Union to stand and be counted. In town after town, solid majorities stood. The final count: 999 (62 percent) for secession and 608 opposed.

In early 2003, transplanted Southerner and retired Duke University economics professor Thomas Naylor gave a speech at Johnson State College opposing the Iraq war. When he pitched the idea of secession to the crowd, he saw many eyes “light up,” he said. Later that year, he and several others started a loosely organized movement (now a think tank) called the Second Vermont Republic, which has an independent quarterly journal, Vermont Commons, and a Web site.

In October 2005, about 300 Vermonters attended a statewide convention on the question of secession. Six months later, the annual Vermont Poll of the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies found that about 8 percent of respondents replied “yes” to peaceful secession, arguably making Vermont foremost among the many states with secessionist movements (including Alaska, California, Hawaii, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Texas).

We secessionists believe that the 350-year swing of history’s pendulum toward large, centralized imperial states is once again reversing itself.

Why? First, the cost of oil and gas. According to urban planner James Howard Kunstler, “Anything organized on a gigantic scale . . . will probably falter in the energy-scarce future.” Second, third-wave technology is as inherently democratic and decentralist as second-wave technology was authoritarian and centralist. Gov. Jim Douglas wants Vermont to be the first “e-state,” making broadband Internet access available to every household and business in the state by 2010. Vermont will soon be fully wired into the global social commons.

Against this backdrop, secessionists from all over the state will gather in June to plan a grass-roots campaign to get at least 200 towns to vote by 2012 on independence. We believe that one outcome of this meeting will be dialogues among different communities of Vermonters committed to achieving local economic vitality, be they farmers, entrepreneurs, bankers, merchants, lawyers, independent media providers, construction workers, manufacturers, artists, entertainers or anyone else with a stake in Vermont’s future — anyone for whom freedom is not just a slogan.

If Vermonters succeed in once again inventing vibrant local economies, these in turn may reinvigorate the small-scale democratic town meeting tradition, the true American Congress, and re-create the rudiments of a republic once again able to make its own way in the world. The once and future republic of Vermont.

Ian Baldwin is publisher of Vermont Commons. Frank Bryan, a political science professor at the University of Vermont, is author of “Real Democracy: The New England Town Meeting and How It Works.”

Action Alert from Earthjustice re Yellowstone Grizzlies

Help Save Yellowstone Grizzlies

Dear Friends:

On March 29, 2007, the Department of the Interior removed federal protection for Yellowstone’s grizzly bears under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). On April 29 this “de-listing” will take effect. Only a challenge in federal court can stop this final ruling.

I believe this decision will mark the beginning of the end of the grizzly in the contiguous states. Here are three reasons:

Insofar as the Yellowstone population’s de-listing is based on estimates of the number of bears, the removal of ESA protection for the grizzlies in and around Glacier Park (where the data on numbers is considered more reliable) will soon follow.

Second, de-listing may represent one of the most destructive actions this administration has yet taken against the natural world, largely because the Yellowstone grizzly delisting policy was developed hand-in-hand with the government’s denial of the existence of global warming—an unimaginable firestorm approaching us all—and this proposal reflects that lingering ignorance.

Finally, the myopic and political removal of Yellowstone’s grizzlies from the Endangered Species list effectively eliminates practical discussion of the linkages necessary for countless species of plants and animals that will need to move northward and higher to survive. I’m saying that our best chance of keeping alive and pragmatic the visionary idea of interlinking corridors (like those proposed by the Wildlands Project, Yellowstone to Yukon, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act and others) is the attainable goal of connecting the isolated grizzly ecosystem of Yellowstone northward to Canada. Without the protection that was afforded the bear under the ESA, the opportunity to complete those linkages will soon be cut off by human development and Yellowstone will remain the island that refutes our grand dreams for connectivity. The grizzly still affords the widest available biological shoulders upon which countless plants and animals may hitch a ride in their struggle to adapt to rapidly shifting habitats.

The decision to remove Yellowstone’s grizzlies from the ESA can now only be reversed by a suit in federal court. Legal arguments will revolve around about bear biology. Here are some concerns:

* The greatest climatic changes in history are now facing the Yellowstone ecosystem and already threaten major bear foods. Whitebark pine, and the nuts it produces, is arguably the grizzly’s most important fall food. A two-degree warming since the 1970s has rendered these trees vulnerable to blister rust and beetle infestation; whitebark pines are dying and could be eliminated from Yellowstone Park within a few decades. Remnant stands of trees would survive only in the coldest outlying regions of the ecosystem, namely the Wind River Range of Wyoming. With de-listing, management of this last refuge for pine nut eating grizzlies will be turned over to the state. Wyoming’s bear management plan would not permit significant numbers of grizzlies anywhere in the Winds and none at all in the southern half of the range.

* The Forest Service and Wyoming post de-listing management plans are inadequate for grizzly survival. The number of bears in Yellowstone has rebounded because the grizzly was listed on the ESA in 1975. The Federal Wildlife Service has credibly administered this policy and they should keep doing it. The FWS currently claims that it can make “adjustments” or re-list the bear if the Yellowstone grizzly population again plummets. But it will be too late by then. The states lack the resources to monitor the number of grizzlies. This is not the time for a change in the great bear’s status.

* There are other issues, other food problems, but the nut remains this: the Yellowstone grizzly is an island ecosystem surrounded by a sea of human industrial and commercial development chewing up the remaining habitat needed for the genetic and physical linkage to northern populations and necessary for long-term survival. On top of that, great and uncharted changes driven by global warming are coming to us all.

* Grizzlies are touted for their adaptability and ability to find new food sources. They should be as well suited to survive the predicted wave of extinction as any wild animal—except for the attitudes, personified by intolerance and greed, of people who historically have killed them and destroyed their habitat. Sometime in this century Homo sapiens must contend with real threats to our own survival and may recognize in the face of the adversary those same human attitudes. During these times, a vigilant generosity towards the natural world is not inappropriate; may we hope for a distant reciprocation.

This note is my first, and perhaps last, fundraising letter. I wrote it because of the enormous and destructive importance of this governmental action: We cannot afford to allow the final ruling to remove the bear from the ESA to slip through uncontested. I also wrote it because of my unmitigated faith in the people of the Bozeman office of Earthjustice to do the work.

You can support the legal efforts to protect this magnificent species by writing a check to Earthjustice, indicating that your contribution should be allocated to the Grizzly Delisting case. The cost of expert witnesses, court costs and attorney time for a case of this magnitude will likely exceed $500,000. If you have the means and might consider making a substantial donation toward this case, please call Doug Honnold at Earthjustice, (406) 586-9699, with any questions or to discuss it further. All levels of support are greatly welcomed: checks may be sent to Earthjustice, 209 S. Willson Ave., Bozeman, MT 59715.

I urge you to contribute to this fund in any way you can, including sending a copy of this letter to all similar-minded friends. If you are with a group or organization that has other urgent priorities, please forward this letter to appropriate supporters who may be inclined to help. Please feel free to contact me personally at any time.

For the wild,

Doug Peacock

Don Bolles update

April 10, 2007 press release from Dr. Bronner’s

“Germ” Wrongly Jailed Over Soap

Absurd GHB Drug Charges for Don Bolles, Drummer of the “The Germs”, Stem
From a Bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap Found in Van During Police Stop

ESCONDIDO, CA – The Bronner family, makers of the popular organic Dr.
Bronner’s Magic Soaps are shocked and disturbed by musician Don Bolles’
April 4th arrest for felony drug possession after police alleged an 8oz
bottle of peppermint Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap tested positive for the
illicit drug GHB (Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate). The notion that anyone would put GHB in a rinse-off liquid soap product is beyond belief, and the police field test used must have been flawed or tampered with. GHB, which produces euphoria and is an alleged aphrodisiac when ingested, of course has absolutely no effect in a soap product that is rinsed off the hands and body.

Mr. Bolles, drummer of the legendary punk band The Germs, was arrested following a police traffic stop and spent three and half days in various jails in Orange County before being released early Easter morning. During a consented search of Mr. Bolles vintage 1968 Dodge A-108 van, Newport Beach police found a bottle of peppermint Dr. Bronner’s soap which is made with organic coconut, olive, hemp, peppermint and jojoba oils. Felony drug possession could mean 20 years in prison if convicted. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Friday, April 13, 2007 at the Harbor Justice Center, 4601 Jamboree Road Newport Beach , CA at 8:30am.

“I’ve used only Dr. Bronner’s soap for 35 years,” says Mr. Bolles. “I use it for everything – bathing, washing my hair, washing my clothes – it goes everywhere I go. I’m scheduled to go to Europe to tour with The Germs this summer, but these felony charges could keep me from traveling out of the country. This whole thing could be really devastating to a 50 year old guy just trying to make a living. I told the officer ‘its soap, it smells like peppermint soap,’ but he seemed intent on arresting me.”

“It is totally outrageous that the police could be this malicious and
idiotic,” says Michael Bronner, Vice-President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. “This clearly is a case of profiling by the Newport Beach police of a person who doesn’t look like the people who live in that town. We are paying the cost of Mr. Bolle’s lawyer, and we demand the charges be dropped or proof from the police forensics lab of GHB contamination be immediately provided to us,” said Bronner. Adds brother David Bronner, President: “We cannot imagine anyone putting GHB, or any other drug for that matter, into a rinse-off soap product that is lathered and rinsed off the body immediately. The Newport Beach police should see how much of a buzz putting beer in their shampoo gives them, and get a grip and apologize on their hands and knees to Mr. Bolles.”

At the time of the arrest Mr. Bolles was driving his girlfriend, and fellow musician Cat Scandal to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Newport Beach. “I had heard of GHB but the police had to tell me what it was,” said Bolles. “I’m going to fight these charges.”

Farmlab Public Salon Double Feature this Friday…

Urban Permaculture Design and Community: Cultivating Relational Intelligence and Practical Solutions for a Climate-Changing World
Farmlab Public Salon
Kat Steele
Friday, April 13 @ 5pm

Hear from a leader in the next generation of bay area permaculture designers as she shares perspectives on the evolving holistic design system and process. What is this design system? Why is it unique? How can it work in our suburbs and cities? How can Permaculture help address the issues of sustainability and community food security in our urban ecologies? Kat offers living and working examples of how projects integrate permaculture principles with green building, affordable housing, new technologies, green businesses and education, and social and economic justice! Hear how Permaculture can be used to best prepare and respond to the climatic and social transitions that we are facing today. In addition to her own work she’ll screen a short film about the innovative City Repair project of Portland, Oregon and lead a discussion about this evolutionary place-making phenomena

About Kat Steele
Katherine “Kat” Steele is a permaculture activist, designer, educator and founder the Urban Permaculture Guild in Oakland, California. She facilitates workshops on natural building and permaculture as well as publicly speaks about eco-social design, city repair and the power of placemaking. Trained in Ecovillage Design with the Findhorn Foundation of Scotland, Natural Building with Kleiwerks International and Permaculture Design with the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center she also holds an MA in Creative Arts from San Francisco State University. She presently serves on the board of two Bay Area Non Profit Organizations devoted to Peace, Justice and Sustainablity, the NorCal Chapter of Architects, Designers, Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) in Berkeley and Bay Localize in Oakland.

“How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World”
Farmlab Public Salon
Paul Stamets
Friday, April 13 @ 7:30pm

As we are now well engaged in the 6th Major Extinction (“6 X”) on planet Earth, our biosphere is quickly changing, eroding the life support systems that have allowed humans to ascend. Unless we put into action policies and technologies that can cause a course correction in the very near future, species diversity will continue to plummet, with humans not only being the primarily cause, but one of the victims. What can we do? I think fungi, particularly mushrooms, offer some powerful, practical solutions, that can be put into practice now.

Paul Stamets will discuss the evolution of mushrooms in ecosystems and how fungi can help heal environments. As environmental health and human health are inextricably interconnected, fungi offer unique opportunities that capitalize on mycelium’s diverse properties. Forest dwelling mushroom mycelium can achieve the greatest mass of any living organism – this characteristic is a testimonial to its inherent biological power.

Mushroom mycelium can replace chemical pesticides, break down toxic wastes, including petroleum-based products such as diesel, dioxins, and numerous other toxins into non-toxic forms. Understanding mycelium’s production of antibiotics is useful not only to compete with bacteria in nature but has also proven useful for treating animal diseases. Since bacterial can be vectors for viruses, interesting strategies emerge for supporting ecological health using mycelium as ecological medicine.

About a dozen species of medicinal mushrooms will be explored from a historical perspective leading to the clinical studies in which Paul is participating. Moreover, he will discuss his work with the U.S. Departments’ Bioshield BioDefense program, wherein his extracts were the first natural products from hundreds of thousands of samples tested found to be potent inhibitors of pox and other viruses. The field of mushroom-based medicines is rapidly expanding and this talk will show how mycomedicines can be incorporated in daily living to improve the quality of life while protecting the biosphere.

About Paul Stamets
Paul Stamets has written six mushroom-related books. Several are used as textbooks around the world by the gourmet and medicinal mushroom industries. He is the author of many scholarly papers in peer-reviewed journals (The International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms; Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM, Oxford University Press); Herbalgram, and others).

He has written more than twenty patents. He started a mushroom wholesale and retail sales business, Fungi Perfecti, LLC, in 1980. (See The business has four laboratories, 10,000 sq. ft. of clean rooms, and is equipped with 20+ laminar flow benches for doing in vitro propagation work. Paul has received several environmental awards. He is an advisor to the Program of Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Medical School, Tucson; on the Editorial Board of The International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, and was appointed to the G.A.P./G.M.P. Board of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia. Dr. Andrew recommends his products. Stamets is the supplier and co-investigator of the first two NIH funded clinical studies using medicinal mushrooms in the United States. His strain collection is extensive and unique, with many of the strains coming from old growth forests. He is involved in several other research trials ongoing and pending. Married to Dusty Yao, whose shares a passion for fungi, and their love of the Old Growth forests.

Farmlab Location

Farmlab / Under Spring, 1745 N. Spring Street #4, LA, CA 90012
Across the street from the site of the Not A Cornfield project, in a warehouse colocated at Baker Street and N. Spring Street

Salons are always free-of-charge, all ages welcome.
Refreshments will be served.

This shit has to stop.


Sunday, April 08, 2007
Another Enemy of the People?
Mark Graber

I am posting the below with the permission of Professor Walter F. Murphy,
emeritus of Princeton University. For those who do not know, Professor
Murphy is easily the most distinguished scholar of public law in political
science. His works on both constitutional theory and judicial behavior are
classics in the field. Bluntly, legal scholarship that does not engage
many themes in his book, briefly noted below, Constitutional Democracy,
may be legal, but cannot be said to be scholarship. As interesting, for
present purposes, readers of the book will discover that Murphy is hardly
a conventional political or legal liberal. While he holds some opinions,
most notably on welfare, similar to opinions held on the political left,
he is a sharp critic of ROE V. WADE, and supported the Alito nomination.
Apparently these credentials and others noted below are no longer
sufficient to prevent one from becoming an enemy of the people.

“On 1 March 07, I was scheduled to fly on American Airlines to Newark, NJ,
to attend an academic conference at Princeton University, designed to
focus on my latest scholarly book, Constitutional Democracy, published by
Johns Hopkins University Press this past Thanksgiving.

“When I tried to use the curb-side check in at the Sunport, I was denied a
boarding pass because I was on the Terrorist Watch list. I was instructed
to go inside and talk to a clerk. At this point, I should note that I am
not only the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence (emeritus) but also a
retired Marine colonel. I fought in the Korean War as a young lieutenant,
was wounded, and decorated for heroism. I remained a professional soldier
for more than five years and then accepted a commission as a reserve
office, serving for an additional 19 years.

“I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to a very polite clerk
for American Airlines. One of the two people to whom I talked asked a
question and offered a frightening comment: ‘Have you been in any peace
marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that.’ I explained
that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at
Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush
for his many violations of the Constitution. ‘That’ll do it,’ the man

“After carefully examining my credentials, the clerk asked if he could
take them to TSA officials. I agreed. He returned about ten minutes later
and said I could have a boarding pass, but added: ‘I must warn you,
they’re going to ransack your luggage.’ On my return flight, I had no
problem with obtaining a boarding pass, but my luggage was ‘lost.’

Airlines do lose a lot of luggage and this ‘loss’ could have been a mere
coincidence. In light of previous events, however, I’m a tad skeptical.

“I confess to having been furious that any American citizen would be
singled out for governmental harassment because he or she criticized any
elected official, Democrat or Republican. That harassment is, in and of
itself, a flagrant violation not only of the First Amendment but also of
our entire scheme of constitutional government. This effort to punish a
critic states my lecture’s argument far more eloquently and forcefully
than I ever could. Further, that an administration headed by two men who
had ‘had other priorities’ than to risk their own lives when their turn to
fight for their country came up, should brand as a threat to the United
States a person who did not run away but stood up and fought for his
country and was wounded in battle, goes beyond the outrageous.
less lethal, it is of the same evil ilk as punishing Ambassador Joseph
Wilson for criticizing Bush’s false claims by ‘outing’ his wife, Valerie
Plaime, thereby putting at risk her life as well as the lives of many
people with whom she had had contact as an agent of the CIA. …

“I have a personal stake here, but so do all Americans who take their
political system seriously. Thus I hope you and your colleagues will take
some positive action to bring the Administration’s conduct to the
attention of a far larger, and more influential, audience than I could
hope to reach.”