I kind of wanna, wanna drown…

· James Booker, Musicology

I just donated to the Kickstarter project for the editing of Lily Keber’s documentary on the life of James Booker, Bayou Maharajah:

(I am hosting the website for the film at my longstanding jamesbooker.com domain and also donated to support the shooting of the initial footage)

It was at a Jazzfest in New Orleans long ago with B that I first heard of Booker by watching Dr. John and Allen Toussaint trading yarns about the man while sitting back to back at dueling grand pianos so they could demonstrate many of his techniques. From that point on I was hooked, even before I heard the legendary, ultra-brief collaboration with the Jerry Garcia Band.

A corridor of flickering light

· Music

float_masthead.jpgThe Illuminated Corridor meets the Internet Archive. What does that even mean? To find out, I went to the source, Oakland artist, musician, and impresario Suki O’Kane:
wake up!: What is the Illuminated Corridor?
Suki O’Kane: The Illuminated Corridor is a next step in outdoor cinema: a nomadic public art installation that creates site-specific illumination of public space, drawing on local traditions of film and live music. Using the model of temporary public art intervention, we mask street lighting and relight facades with projected video and film, accompanied by live musical performance.
Launched in the Summer of 2005 and involving a collaboration of over 75 Bay Area filmmakers, media artists, sound artists and musicians, the Illuminated Corridor catalyzes new work, showcases diverse collaborations between performative projectionists and performing artists, and covers a vast territory of film and music genres.
That sounds really interesting. How do people respond to it?
They perambulate, mostly, caught in the various gravitational pulls of the simultanous work the way folks are drawn to, or driven from, works in a gallery setting. Two unique things happen: the viewers walk among the performers who are set up in the middle of the street, unmediated by stage or velvet rope; and the view is not traditional. No projection screen or makeshift shower rod proscenium is used. The image goes directly onto facades, which absorb and reflect in very different ways, bitten by age, use and grime.
We’ve been asked, and by as many artists as audience members, why we would permit light to get swallowed up by the facades when we could cloak, Christo-stylee and light a place up like, well, Christmas. We might someday, but for now we’re confusing matters by experimenting with the perception of where illumination is coming from in a Corridor. Is it what the artists are applying? or is it what the facades are releasing?
How many times have you done this before?
We are Number Six. From the original Bayennale version at Jack London Square to the encyclopedic circus of Oakland Ironworks we moved to an exquisite corpse model: a righteous cut-up of Vertigo outside the LAB built from a deft edit of the film by Sarah Lockhart and assignment of notes from Bernard Hermann’s score. We reconvened at the spiritual home of the IllCorr, 21 Grand Art Gallery, in the Fall of 2006 with Mobility, a themed performance that asked artists to consider the range of meaning in the word: from the darkened lot of Saturns to the creeping gentrification of Northgate to the iconic story of 21 Grand itself, displaced three times yet continuing to grow as a central force in Oakland arts.
Then, with enormous irony, we were the inaugural performance on The Great Wall of Oakland, an 8-story windowless facade addressable only from the rooftop of the Broadway Grand, a condo project that evicted and razed 21 Grand as a first step in realization. Good Times, which they were, was the name of the piece we commissioned local composer Dan Plonsey to create for an eight-piece string ensemble.
What’s the theme this time?
Prelinger on Prelinger. This Corridor seeks to illuminate the Prelinger Library, a private research library open to the public with collections encompassing some 50,000 books, periodical volumes and printed ephemera. The Library is linked to the Prelinger Archive, a collection of ephemeral films that are a key creative resource to artists of the Illuminated Corridor, and serve as a touchstone for the broader community of film, sound and bricolage artists. For many of the artists participating in this Corridor, it’s a love letter to the Prelingers for their contributions to the creative commons, their stewardship of the artifact, and their encouragement of appropriation and associative discovery.
The Corridor will take place during the Library’s traditional Wednesday Open House evening hours, where we are inviting people to lose themselves in the stacks of an extraordinary library turned inside out for an evening.
Why? No really. Why why why?
Corridors have a lot of subjects in them: public art, expanded cinema, intermedia, cultural intervention and reclamation, and this particular Corridor is meant to press questions straight from archive.org: how do we protect our right to know and our right to remember. But we try to never forget that it is simply fun to watch movies outside with the neighbors. Innocent, ad Hoc, unfiltered, community-based, with a transgressive overtone (we were meant to use the building to hold the contents, but we’re using it to show some cinema), it’s hard to walk away from a Corridor without feeling like you just got away with something. We want to transform these spaces, so that when we all return there in the course of our normal day, we can never see it in the same way again. Ephemerally imbued. Like that.
So there you have it. The Illuminated Corridor, a collision of public art, live music and film, next happening on Octoer 3, at the Prelinger Library, bounded by Eighth, Folsom and Rodgers Streets in San Francisco, CA.

Today ze show, tomorrow ze world!

· Web Gossip

Unsurprisingly, Ze Frank is going all Hollywood in the near future.
Last year at SXSW (at least I think it was last year, and not 2005), I ended up going out to dinner with my Austin guru, some folks from WorldChanging, and I think David Pescovitz or maybe I just chatted with him at some party later on, and a very tall witty guy who I felt like I should know but didn’t, who was talking about the work he was doing mainly giving talks on creativity.
It was much later (that night) that I realized this was Ze Frank, the Ze Frank. Probably because he is so much taller than I, the angle on his face was different from his usual bug-eyed unblinking full frontal in his videos and more recently on The Show.
I’m kind of glad I didn’t recognize him and go all fanboy. Instead I probably acted aloof, and that’s cool, right? After all, did he really want another person saying, “Hey, I got your How to Dance animated gif forwarded to me back in the day. I’ve been a big fan for yea long!”
Meanwhile, he is a creative force of nature who should make me feel envious and insecure but who instead inspires me not to get hooked on brain crack and I’m not surprised he is about to cross over to the mainstream and I’m sure he’ll knock him dead in Hollywood town.

Netflix me baby

· Music

Gradually, b and I are entering the 21st century. We just got a DVD player (but not a TiVo or other PVR yet, and we still don’t have cable or satellite – how to choose by the way?). So of course I just signed us up for a free NetFlix trial. Our queue should now show up as one of my offsite feeds somewhere in the sidebar here.

The devil plays harp

· Music

I handn’t bought the Greendale record or heard any of it yet, nor seen the live stage show, but I did just see the movie this evening with Scot and some of his cool friends. Everyone noticed how literally the images tracked the lyrics – and the lipsyncing was better than Britney’s. I could easily see Mike Watt filming Contemplating the Engine Room using essentially the same technique.
Weird coincidence: the Acts I and II movie theatre in Berkeley has a vintage French language Soylent Green poster on which the movie is called Soleil Vert, which literally means Sun Green, the name of one of Neil Young’s protagonists.

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