Thursday, May 31, 2007
He had created custom artwork on a sheet for the backdrop. We managed to get it up under the outdoor space we were to perform under. It was a cold winter evening with some on and off again drizzle and someone had set up a fire pit but it was just far enough away that we could see the heat but not feel it. We didn't mind we were artist about to enjoy the process and invite others to play.
He got his recording set up which was a unique blend of singing and music. A small crowd gathered under the cover and another crowd near the fire. Once he began he turned on a projector that cast an image on the backdrop. Then he positioned himself so that visually he was layered betweent the image projected and the image behind him.
As the music started he began to paint on himself and added paint to the background to emphasize the sounds and meanings of words and rhythms. He painted on his face, his clothes, the background, and his arms. He moved in front of the canvas so that the images all seemed to dance with him.
The crowd was mesmerized. We we all so drawn in, that at the end of the performance you felt as if you were part of the creation. We had all just shared an intimate experience.
I've just skimmed over this latest issue, and so far the highlights for me were Johnny Payphone's article on the Penny Fakething, or how to hack together your own modern take on a Penny Farthing, those sweet old bikes where the front wheel is significantly larger than the first. Also for the tinkerers and mad machinists, there is a great interview with I-Wei Huang, the genius behind the lovely steam-powered automatons of Crabfu.
Libby Bulloff's "Steam Gear: A Fashionable Approach to the Lifestyle" is a lovely piece on crafting a Steampunk persona, and creatively draping it in the appropriate garments. Bulloff's piece is also beautifully illustrated by Colin Foran. Nice job, kids!
Also of note is a great history of Steampunk by Cory Gross. If you are newly attracted to the steamy aesthetic, this a great overview of literature, film, games, and music which have marked it's evolution.
Though I have yet to read the whole magazine (the fiction pieces will of course be approached at a more liesurely pace) I'm even more impressed with this issue than the first. This mag is shaping up to be something extraordinary.
Oh and the article on Steampunk body hair is great, with a fantastic chart of various Victorian facial hair styles.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
And my favorite of the Piaggio family's three wheeled black sheep, the Gilera Fuoco, the MP3's ugly bigger brother.
I swear, slap some rock guards on the lights, and make Ruckus owners everywhere green with envy.
Somebody needs to come out with aftermarket crashbars for these scoots. Coated in bedliner... oh, yeah!
This is a much longer clip of what looks like a coupla British geezers putting an MP3 through its paces in a parking lot. Some good drool-worthy shots here, including the best illustration of the MP3's cavernous (for a scooter) storage capacity.
Here's an educated, unsensationalistic look on the issue from The Straight Dope:
Dear Straight Dope:
What in blazes is going on with the world's bees? I keep reading all these stories about how a significant percentage of the world's beehives are failing and that all the bees are dying. No one seems to know why, but there are explanations aplenty, ranging from global warming to mites to, of all things, cell phones! What's worse, some of these stories quote Albert Einstein's predictions that if the world's bees were ever to die off, owing to the lack of pollinators, humanity would follow about four years later. Is there anything we can do about this? If the bees all die, are there any substitute pollinators we can use? Or is Einstein right and we're all doomed? —Rich Swank, Orlando,
FLSDSTAFF Doug replies:
Not to brag, but thanks to Wikipedia I've become the #1 authority on disappearing bees. Type "colony collapse disorder" into Google and hit return – the top hit is the Wikipedia page I maintain on the subject. (In real life I'm an entomologist with the University of California at Riverside.) Here's a summary.
First and most important: There are some 20,000 species of bees in the world, and many thousands more types of pollinating insects. What you're hearing about, "colony collapse disorder," affects one species of bee – the European honey bee. That species happens to be the one global agriculture relies upon for about 30% of its pollination requirements. So while we're not talking about losing all the world's pollinators, we are talking about losing a significant fraction of them. That's the worst-case scenario, with the species wiped out completely.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
For many years Vic Wiley and Stacey Mackey WERE the Little Rock punk scene to me.
Oh, there were many other giants in that scene, forming and booking bands, writing zines, and doing all the thankless work that keeps a scene alive. But when I think of Lil Rok Punx from the 90's, I always end up thinking about Vic and Stacey.
I can't remember exactly when I first met Vic. Some sweaty, hazy all-ages show in the late 80's probably. He really burst into my world when he and Stacey hooked up. Bringing Victor into my life was just one of many blessings of knowing Stacey.
Because Vic was truly a blessing. Mischevious and innocent, righteously indignant at the world's injustices but not cynical, Vic didn't just walk his talk, he danced it, slam danced it.
Victor Wiley was the man with the coolest name in the world. Like a thinking man's "Max Power."
Victor Wiley was a punk rawk art-warrior. A man whose creative energy and integrity were truly staggering. He could find the beauty in the most mundane and banal, and what's more he could share it with you, make you see it, too. If you spent any time with him and didn't have to adjust your understanding of beauty and ugliness, then you weren't paying attention.
The man deserves a huge $100 Taschen art book of his oevoure, with about 40 cds to cover his musical works. He deserves a huge retrospective in MOMA. Instead he got a no-cover, all-ages show. I think he'd be pleased.
I didn't keep as close ties with Vic when I moved to Olympia. I figured being in Oly, and him being who he was... I'd just happen to catch him playing le Voyeur or the Midnight Sun or something... And now well, though I never thought I'd say it... I wish I was in Arkansas right now... cutting through the unbearable heat to find Stacey, and stand in line to give her a hug...
From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (subscription required):
“He always drew the best out of the people he played with,” said Mackey, who eventually founded and operated an underground Little Rock music hall, Das Yutes a Go-Go, along with Wiley. “You couldn’t just hang in there and diddle around. He was all over the place. He was on the floor, he was in your face, he would get on the tables.”
Wiley’s silhouette was familiar to many Little Rock residents whether or not they had a context for his status within the city’s music-fueled counterculture. A longtime resident of the Capitol View/Stifft Station area, Wiley frequently pedaled his bicycle along MarkhamStreet between downtown and midtown. In this way, he sprinkled the city with his striking visage, a look distinguished by lanky limbs, a narrow triangular haircut and no-nonsense eyeglasses reminiscent of the Brownline styles favored in the 1950s by politicians, scientists and Malcolm X.
Matt Floyd, who played bass to Wiley’s lead vocals in a band called The Looks, remembers a man whose style and charisma blended to make him indelible anywhere, but especially on stage.
Performing with Wiley “was electrifying,” said Floyd. “We had a song called ‘Electrify.’ Every time he sang it, he was electric. It was like you plugged him in.
“If you were in the room and he was on stage,” Floyd added, “you were looking at Victor.”
The doctors say he had stroke brought on by congestive heart disease.
A really good writeup of Vic's accomplishments can be found on Localist:
Victor Wiley was a post-modern renaissance man, drawing his inspiration from Egyptology, as well as entomology, from the Greeks as well as the freaks. He lived by the real code of do-it-yourself ethics, always ate a vegan diet, and rode his clankity bike rather than own a car. He spent everyday of his life creating, giving, and inspiring everyone he met. He was a true romantic that delivered his art with a chaotic style that assaulted us with the beauty of creation, only to have us surrender to its destruction.
He spent over 15 years feeding the homeless every Sunday with Food Not Bombs, he played in over 20 different bands and musical projects, he was the co-founder of Das Yutes A-GO-GO, and hosted hundreds of shows at his house on Park Street. A great lyricist, he wrote songs for most of his bands. He also wrote zines, comics, and jokes. Every Tuesday night for several years, he hung wall size pieces of art behind the bands at the Whitewater Tavern. At the end of the night he would take it all down only to return next week with new stuff.
He is probably one of the greatest rock-n-roll front men the South has ever seen, like the love child of Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Victor’s performances were balls out and in your face, yet stylistic and artsy, cocky and sensitive. He had a great sense of humor, loved animals, lollipops, and every year he dressed as a bug for Halloween. He gave his entire life to his art and his community and never concerned himself with monetary reward.
In his last act of giving, Victor donated his organs and his kidney was a perfect match for a stranger in need.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Oh bOINGbOING, you just redeemed yourself for the bookshelf wallpaper!
They have a post up about Elton and Betty White, a couple I remember well from Open Mike nights at a Little Rock punk club in the late 80's. You would see them around town too, in their sequined swimsuits and sombreros. Some of the crustiest, most cynical, and "hate the world" kids in the LR punk scene at the time, regarded the White's as sort of proxy grandparents, non-judging, nurturing, and a haven from the close-minded conformity which was the status quo in the region at the time. (Or at least so it seemed to teen-agers with green hair.)
I remember no less a crusty than Bircho, at the time drummer for Crooked-But-Responsible and later to move onto punk-rock infamy as member of Trusty, waxing nostalgic about the warmth and safety the Whites offered him as a runaway on Little Rocks unkind streets, and especially about Betty's homemade cookies.
Every once and a while, I Google the Whites, though Betty has passed, because I need a little of the sanity they provide me. That's right folks, the Dragon said it regarding the Whites... SANITY! They proved to this young lizard, that you can be your own person with style, humor and grace, that sex can be a good thing worth talking about, and that the truths of the heart are far more important than conventional wisdom.
Dang, I'm actually tearing up, writing this.
Anyway, so it looks like the Whites have a MySpace page, which you can find by clicking on the title link.
The Whites later moved to Venice Beach, where I understand they were no longer quite the big weird fish in a small pond, though they did have a public access TV show.
Here's a clip of them in Venice Beach.
And here's one from their Public Access show.
Several years ago I found a video of fellow Arkansawyer, Janor Hypercleats of the Church of the Subgenius on their TV show, but I can't scare it up now. If anyone has access to it, the Dragon would be eternally in your debt.
From the Whites' MySpace Page:
Elton and Betty White were a musical duo from Little Rock, Arkansas who charmed the hearts of all who would listen with their disarmingly honest and hilarious songs. Not only were they and their music extremely weird, but they also lived (and chronicled in their music) one of the greatest, most touching love stories in the annals of history (or at least Arkansas). Much of what is known about the two at this point is conjecture or rumor, but a rough outline of their legend goes as follows:
In the early 1980's, Betty was a more or less normal, married secretary in her late 50's/early 60's at a Little Rock law firm (allegedly working with Hillary Clinton) with a slight psychiatric problem for which she took medication. At some point, though, she stopped taking her medication and experienced a psychic and sexual renaissance of grandiose proportions: out with the husband and respectable job, in with the matching hot pink hair-do and spandex pants.
Elton, meanwhile, was a much younger (30 years younger, to be exact!) man renowned in Little Rock for his phenomenal basketball skills until the day he claims someone "put something in his drink." Elton met Betty in a homeless shelter, and it was love at first sight. The two were married and became notable Little Rock eccentrics, playing music all around town while sometimes delivering newspapers on the side. Elton ran for a seat in Congress, while Betty challenged Bill Clinton in an Arkansas gubernatorial race with the sole platform of lowering the age of consent to 14.
During this time they recorded at least three albums: "The Best of Elton and Betty" (which is not a compilation), "Sex Beyond the Door," and the mysterious, elusive "Hard Deep Sex Explosion." Each album - but "Sex Beyond the Door" in particular - is a searingly honest, bizarre gem in which the two expound on aspects of their daily lives and sexual inclinations while playing dubiously-tuned ukuleles and tiny guitars. "I Am the Master of Love," "I'm In Love With Your Behind," "I Don't Really Like Oral Sex Much at All," "The Little Dicks Fit Me Best," "My Three Feet Red Hot Tongue Is Sweet as Sugar," "Your Breast, I'd Love to Carresst [sic]" - it is through songs such as these that the true depth of their love for each other is revealed, in the process making their oeuvre arguably the most listenable and entertaining in the entire genre of Outsider Music.
Having had their fill of Little Rock and frustrated by the sometimes provincial nature of its entertainment industry, the pair moved to California's Venice Beach sometime in the early 1990's, where they delighted tourists on the famous boardwalk and even got their own public access TV show.
Betty died in 2004, never having known the level of respect or success she deserved. Her legacy of brilliant, hilarious music, though, lives on, and plans to revitalize Elton's career are in the works.
From their immortal classic "Climaxation (is a Sweet Sensation)":
Don't hold back your good feelings, In sweet love there is healing.
bOINGbOING has a post up about these handprinted bookshelf wallpapers...
I'm really torn on this idea... it has a certain surrealist vibe that I can appreciate... but I have feeling this wallpaper doesn't come cheap... and well wouldn't you be better off just -- you know--- covering your walls with actual books?
OK, so I'm a little biased, I have friends like this, him, these folks, this pack of rabble rousers, this miscreant, these madmen, and these fine buccaneers of the literary seas. Which basically means in the Dragon's meatspace reality books get exchanged like handshakes at a Masonic Lodge. Yes, many of those links are different masks of the same bibliophile ninjas, which actually goes to prove my point all the more, rather than discredit it.
A full bookshelf of handpicked titles is a thing of joy, wonder, and dedication, as well as the most rewarding home insulation available.
My mother, who like many matriarchs is so lacking in vice as to be saintly, is so addicted to the printed word that bookstores provoke from her the same rationalizations and mental gymnastics as a lapsed friend of Bill W. at a wine-tasting. "Oh well, this one is so high quality... it can't hurt." "but I've been looking for this one forever." and "but i've heard such praise about this one... I'll just save it for a rainy day."
OK, I'll shut up now.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
And plotters are awesome for this kind of thing... the only problem is they start at around $1.5K!
A!RBRUSH over on the Kustom Kulture Lounge has posted a great trick for doing some similar things armed only with a desktop printer and some automask.
I can see this coming in handy for artists who don't use airbrushes even...
Apparently film was released in 2001, though I'm guessing the distribution wasn't so great, because there is little info available about it online. The title link will take you to the film's official website.
Definitely sounds interesting, though.
From the director of SLC Punk comes this road-movie about two friends, Peter and Chris (Michael Goorjian and James Duval, respectively), in their late 20's, one incredibly idealistic and optimistic; the other cynically nihilistic and negative. They pick up a Vespa in South Dakota and travel with it to Los Angeles. As they travel through the northwest to the southwest, they see their country through different eyes. Chris has high expectations and romantic notions of America. Peter sees the emptiness of America with lost ideals and lost people. While they do not discover the identity of America on their road trip, they ultimately find themselves...
DVD available for pre-order here.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
That's John Rana (of Who Rides a Vespa), and I assume his beautiful family, on his PX150e.
The pic is not from John's Blog though. It is from a great site he turned me on to, Ciao Vespa: You and Your Vespa.
This site invites Vespa riders all over the world to send pictures of their scoots with some commentary.
Some guaranteed smiles-per-gallon perusing this site.
Good find, John!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
A Peaceful Solution
Willie, here's to you, from one red-headed stranger to another.
Edit: 5:39 A.M. 5/10/07 OMG! This year Willie's 4th July Picnic is gonna be at the Gorge! And Son Volt, and the Drive By Truckers will be there! Don't know how I'm gonna fit that in with AmeriVespa in the same month... but you can bet your sweet tuckus if there is a way to swing it, I'ma gonna figure it out!
What did you think all those saddles and boots were about?
Old Bill Pickett's gone away,
If they check his brand like I think they will
Old Bill Pickett's a long time gone
He'd jump a steer from a runnin' hoss
He grabbed Old Toro by the horns
I’m working on a different, but related web-project, which should be unveiled soon.
Whilst working on this project, I been gettin’ in touch with my roots, touchin’ base with my heroes, most of whom, you might have already guessed, “have always been cowboys.”
So some searching for inspirational material along a cowboy theme, turned up a certain gentleman who goes by the self-applied moniker of “Kid Rock.”
Now, I gotta admit, I really wanted to dislike Kid Rock, at first. I ain’t too keen on the mid 90’s metal rap fusion super groups. Limp Biskit and like, really do nuthin’ for me.
But a couple of years back I came across a duet called “Last Stand in Open Country” by the aforementioned Mr. Rock, and the original Red-Headed Stranger, Willie Nelson. And I gotta admit, it’s a right fine song. So, when my cowboy searching turned up Kid Rock this time, I decided to explore that tangent a bit, as I am wont to do.
Since I found that Willie and Kid duet, I gotta say, Kid Rock has become something of a guilty pleasure. And like a lot of guilty pleasures, I didn’t really seek it out, I just milked as much enjoyment out of it as I could when it randomly appeared. But since I started this tangent and started really listening to what I could find of Mr. Rock, I gotta say, I’m not ashamed anymore. As the kids are apt to say, Kid Rock is the shizzit.
Now the Dragon has no hometown. I was raised in the sticks, and in the city. My people been on Turtle Island for over 300 years on each side, but we ain't never been anything but "poor green trash." And Kid Rock speaks to me on that level. Whether you from the hood, or from the trailer park, he ties it all together, into one sweet package of Americana. 'Cause I don't don't give a rat's rectum if your folks came over on the Mayflower... America's the land of the outcast, the unwanted, the outlaw, and Kid Rock is just the latest bard to sing the outlaw song. So like usual, the Dragon is "a day late and dollar short" with these links, on account of living under a rock. Still I think a few of you might find something of interest here, which like me, you might have missed due to misinformed preconceptions.
So I got a monster bandwidth hog of a multi-media post here. It aint work safe, unless you got headphones, cause of some dirty woids, but heck pilgrim, you know the dragon is apt to "Cuss like a sailor...drink like a Mick."
Last Stand in Open Country
The rest of these are sequenced in order of loudness and hardness. If you are an acoustic, country fan, the first ones will be more musical to your ears, while the later ones will be more, as my Grandma (God bless her) refers to Hendrix, "noise."
Hank & Kid explain that in country music you just can't use the F-Word in Country Music
Kid Rock and Jerry Lee Lewis: "Honky Tonk Woman"
Kid Rock Performance with Willie Nelson
FAMILY TRADITION HANK WILLIAMS JR & KID ROCK
WHISKEY BENT AND HELL BOUND HANK WILLIAMS JR & KID ROCK
Only God Knows Why
"Black Chick, White Guy"
American Bad Ass
I like AC/DC and
Bocephus, Beasties and the kings of rock
Skynard, Segar, Limp,
Korn, the Stones
David Allen Coe and no show Jones
that bottle around
Got the rock from Detroit
Soul from Motown
underground stoned f***** Pimp
We trash the mack and slap back the
Never snort away
I dont play with crack
But watch me rock with
Punk rock's a clash
Boy bands are trash
Johnny Cash and Grand Master Flash
I ain't no G, I'm just a regular failure
I ain't straight outta compton I'm straight out the trailer
And for my hoods of the world misunderstood
I said it's all good and it's all in fun
Now get in the pit and try to love someone
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Big trouble at night in the city. A gang of Vespa-riding vampires are killing San Franciscans so indiscriminately they threaten to not only drain the city dry—but risk the discovery of vampires everywhere. Gay vampire cop Valentino is called upon to stop the group calling themselves The Very Bloody Marys before the situation gets worse. Unfortunately, it already has. You see, Valentino is still only a trainee who is in way over his head now that Pogue, his mentor, is missing. And this brutal gang is tough, smart, and very, very bloodthirsty. To do his job, Valentino must move quickly—and carefully—otherwise he may just get himself killed. What's a creature of the night to do? The only thing he can: track the gang through the haunts of some very odd characters, unravel the mystery, and try to stay out of the sun.
The Very Bloody Marys is a comic horror novel about vampires, ghouls, faeries, and the undead that move around after dark. Part chase, part gallows humor, part shivery excitement, this new story from the wildly imaginative M. Christian is funny, frightening, and very entertaining.
Vampire Vespa Gang? Gay Vampire Cop in SF?
Dude, you had me at hello.
The Very Bloody Marys at Amazon.com
The Concise Overview of "The Household, a series of interviews, production images, and information on the two follow-ups completing the Dodo trilogy as well as the following trilogy(Bear) are at SiouxWIRE: http://siouxwire.blogspot.com/
I gotta tell ya folks, this interview is AWESOME!
Focusing on the design of a particular element, Eddy the Engineer, the white mouse with flowers for a tail who and six legs who sails around on a bunch of bananas and a spoon. How did this design come about and do you create the designs freely or do the others have input or guidance into how the character should look?
Many of my drawings are unplanned. I pick up a pen, start drawing and get to surprise myself with what appears. Eddie and his family are the result of one of these unplanned wriggles. Eddie is definitely one of my favorite characters - if i were to describe him I would say he is a cross between MacGuyver, Buddha and God. His tail is constantly falling off and then crawls along the ground before burying its tip into soil and growing into a pink flower. Thus wherever Eddie wanders a trail of pink flowers remains. Eddie is the creator of the Household. (see the pic entitled Eddie and Family)
I love these kinds of interviews with artists that get into that messy, chaotic part of their psyche where ideas are born. There are a lot of cool production sketches (like the one above) with the interview as well. Really cool stuff.
And well I couldn't resist a little creative Photoshopping...
I think in this context, this is fair use. I wish I could make up t-shirts, though. That would really rock! Unfortunately, I don't think that would be fair use, by a long shot...
Saturday, May 05, 2007
via Treehugger because like David St. Hubbins, "I've always been against devastation."
Youtube user Bubbledesign is really going to town today. This video and the previous two, were all uploaded today, and Bubbledesign is promising more from their collection soon.
This time the video features classic Lambretta advertisments and photos. With, of course, some great soul music to accompany.
A nice collection of old scooter themed postcards, set to Northern Soul.
These appear to be all European in origin. Some are cutesy, some are a little racy, and there are some repeats towards the end, but definitely worth checking out.
The Dragon loves me some trolling YouTube. Some great gems out there, like this vid of classic cheesecake Vespa Calendar ads.
If you are a longtime Honky-Tonk reader, some of the pics featured here will look familiar. But come on! Everybody knows, pretty ladies and pretty scooters always deserve a second look.
What's more geeky than comic books? How about comic book satire?
Not geeky enough for ya?
How about parodying computer commercials with comic satire?
Oh yeah, now you're talking!
These little vids are great. There are five of them to date, and you can check them all out here.
An interesting tip from this latest podcast is that the old print zine editions of 2StrokeBuzz are available online. I think I remember hearing something about the Buzz starting as a print publication, but I didn't know those issues were really available in any format...
(hmmm... I wonder if one could scare up some originals in the Olympia Zine Library...)
Anyway these are really cool. The design and production values are fantastic, the first issue looks like an old school vespa manual!
So if you're curious about a slice of scootering history, check out the title link, or click here.
Check out this online article, the first part in what looks to be a fairly indepth documentation of one guys project to build an electric assist recumbent trike. Lots of good detail here on the planning and electronics that go into a project like this.
I'm looking forward to the rest of this article.
via the Make Zine Blog
Venerable electric vehicle company ZAP has a new "high-performance" electric car, which they are currently accepting reservations on. I couldn't pin down an estimated price for the Zap-X, but the reservation deposit is $25k USD, so expect it to cost a bit more than a Geo. The car is being produced in parternship with Lotus, and is complete with all sorts of technological innovations and goodies, including:
- all wheel drive, from four hub motors with regenerative braking
- 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds with top speed of 155 mph
- 350 miles per charge; about 1 cent per mile; rapid 10 minute re-charge
- Photovoltaic glass:thermoelectric, for heating and cooling, energy collecting windows and windshields to harness solar energy
- On Board Carputer with Windows XP, Wi-Fi, Blue-tooth, High definition video, iPod ready, Fire wire, USB2 and Mini USB ports
Pretty heady stuff...
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Australian Scooter portal ScooterSales has been posting a variety of scooter related videos on YouTube. Even better, they are apparently going to be producing a series of vids called Scooter Talk.
Above is the first installment, a discussion of safety gear for scootering with Australian Scooter writer and publisher Jeremy Bowdler.
They also have posted this video (standard high gas prices = more scooter sales story) from the CBS Early show.
Scooters in Ridgefield, Conn. is cool, but "you used to be considered a geek if you rode a scooter?"
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Old Pictures.com is just an amazing resource of historical photography. Pictures from the advent of photography until about the early 40's from all over the world. Lots of cool classics like Matthew Brady and Edward Curtis, and a bunch of other stuff as well. A wonder look at the world when places really had a since of place.
Fantastic resource for Steampunks, Dieselpunks, artists, photographers, and just about anybody who loves 'em some eyecandy.
Above is a classic portrait of Buffalo Bill Cody.
We have compiled a collection of thousands of the most important photographs of the last 150 years; pictures of our struggles, trials, and triumphs. We can only fully understand our history by gazing into the eyes of the people that made that history. Their eyes will tell a story that no words can.