Scenius

from The New Yorker

AMBIENT GENIUS

The working life of Brian Eno.

BY 

In January, 1975, the musician Brian Eno and the painter Peter Schmidt released a set of flash cards they called “Oblique Strategies.” Friends since meeting at art school, in the late sixties, they had long shared guidelines that could pry apart an intellectual logjam, providing options when they couldn’t figure out how to move forward. The first edition consisted of a hundred and fifteen cards. They were black on one side with an aphorism or an instruction printed on the reverse. Eno’s first rule was “Honour thy error as a hidden intention.” Others included “Use non-musicians” and “Tape your mouth.” In “Brian Eno: Visual Music,” a monograph of his musical projects and visual art, Eno, who still uses the rules, says, “ ‘Oblique Strategies’ evolved from me being in a number of working situations when the panic of the situation—particularly in studios—tended to make me quickly forget that there were other ways of working and that there were tangential ways of attacking problems that were in many senses more interesting than the direct head-on approach.”

Eno is widely known for coining the term “ambient music,” and he produced a clutch of critically revered albums in the nineteen-seventies and eighties—by the Talking Heads, David Bowie, and U2, among others—but if I had to choose his greatest contribution to popular music it would be the idea that musicians do their best work when they have no idea what they’re doing. As he told Keyboard, in 1981, “Any constraint is part of the skeleton that you build the composition on—including your own incompetence.” The genius of Eno is in removing the idea of genius. His work is rooted in the power of collaboration within systems: instructions, rules, and self-imposed limits. His methods are a rebuke to the assumption that a project can be powered by one person’s intent, or that intent is even worth worrying about. To this end, Eno has come up with words like “scenius,” which describes the power generated by a group of artists who gather in one place at one time. (“Genius is individual, scenius is communal,” Eno told the Guardian, in 2010.) It suggests that the quality of works produced in a certain time and place is more indebted to the friction between the people on hand than to the work of any single artist.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Tucker Pukes Up Mama’s Wedding Ring

from WAOW Wisconsin

Diamond dog returns missing wedding ring

By Rose Heaphy

doginnards

STEVENS POINT (WAOW) – A Stevens Point woman found a special surprise in an unlikely place.

Five years ago, Lois Matykowski lost her wedding ring. Matykowski had given up all hope finding it, until her dog, Tucker, led her to a shocking discovery.

Tucker is your typical mutt. He likes playing with his frisbee and rolling on the grass on a hot summer day. “You wouldn’t think he’s ten years old by the way he acts,” said Matykowski.

Like every pup, he likes getting into trouble. “He’s known in the family to be the food burglar,” said Matykowski.

Two weeks ago, Matykowski and her granddaughter were eating popsicles outside.

“After I turn around and look at my granddaughter and the popsicle is gone and there’s Tucker smacking his jaws,” she said. The “Food Burglar” had struck again, swallowing the popsicle whole.

But the snatched food soon came back up and two days later, Tucker started vomiting again. Only this time, it wasn’t a popsicle stick.

“I look in the paper towel and here is my wedding ring,” Matykowski said. “I kid you not. My wedding ring was in Tucker’s puke!”

[ click to read full article at WAOW ]

“The lunatic, the lover, and the poet…”

from The Atlantic

Secrets of the Creative Brain

A leading neuroscientist who has spent decades studying creativity shares her research on where genius comes from, whether it is dependent on high IQ—and why it is so often accompanied by mental illness. 

by Nancy Andreasen

Kyle Bean

As a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who studies creativity, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many gifted and high-profile subjects over the years, but Kurt Vonnegut—dear, funny, eccentric, lovable, tormented Kurt Vonnegut—will always be one of my favorites. Kurt was a faculty member at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the 1960s, and participated in the first big study I did as a member of the university’s psychiatry department. I was examining the anecdotal link between creativity and mental illness, and Kurt was an excellent case study.

He was intermittently depressed, but that was only the beginning. His mother had suffered from depression and committed suicide on Mother’s Day, when Kurt was 21 and home on military leave during World War II. His son, Mark, was originally diagnosed with schizophrenia but may actually have bipolar disorder. (Mark, who is a practicing physician, recounts his experiences in two books, The Eden Express and Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So, in which he reveals that many family members struggled with psychiatric problems. “My mother, my cousins, and my sisters weren’t doing so great,” he writes. “We had eating disorders, co-dependency, outstanding warrants, drug and alcohol problems, dating and employment problems, and other ‘issues.’ ”)

While mental illness clearly runs in the Vonnegut family, so, I found, does creativity. Kurt’s father was a gifted architect, and his older brother Bernard was a talented physical chemist and inventor who possessed 28 patents. Mark is a writer, and both of Kurt’s daughters are visual artists. Kurt’s work, of course, needs no introduction.

For many of my subjects from that first study—all writers associated with the Iowa Writers’ Workshop—mental illness and creativity went hand in hand. This link is not surprising. The archetype of the mad genius dates back to at least classical times, when Aristotle noted, “Those who have been eminent in philosophy, politics, poetry, and the arts have all had tendencies toward melancholia.” This pattern is a recurring theme in Shakespeare’s plays, such as when Theseus, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, observes, “The lunatic, the lover, and the poet / Are of imagination all compact.” John Dryden made a similar point in a heroic couplet: “Great wits are sure to madness near allied, / And thin partitions do their bounds divide.”

Compared with many of history’s creative luminaries, Vonnegut, who died of natural causes, got off relatively easy. Among those who ended up losing their battles with mental illness through suicide are Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Vincent van Gogh, John Berryman, Hart Crane, Mark Rothko, Diane Arbus, Anne Sexton, and Arshile Gorky.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

“With that tush, who’d need to be literate?”

from The NY Daily News

Olivia Wilde responds to GQ film critic claiming she is too hot to portray a writer: ‘Kiss my smart a–’

Olivia Wilde has a witty response for someone who claimed she couldn’t have beauty and brains.

The actress portrays a writer in the romantic thriller “Third Person,” but GQ film critic Tom Carson didn’t find her believable in the role due to her looks.

“She’s supposed to be a writer … but your belief in that won’t outlast (Olivia) Wilde scampering naked through hotel corridors,” Carson wrote in his review of the film. “With that tush, who’d need to be literate? Who’d want to?”

When Jezebel tweeted about Carson’s backhanded compliment, Wilde responded with acerbic humor.

“HA,” she tweeted Tuesday. “Kiss my smart a–, GQ.”

[ click to continue reading at NYDailyNews.com ]

Custodial Revenge

from artnet

Over 60 Artworks Trashed at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf

Alexander Forbes

Some of the 60 works destroyed at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf that were later brought back into the building Photo: Andreas Endermann via RP

A disgruntled janitor or group of janitors at the renowned Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf Academy of Art) has destroyed over 60 artworks, the Rheinische Post (RP) reports. Mostly canvases, many of the pieces were slashed with a knife and stomped on to break their stretchers. They were then thrown in a dumpster in the academy’s courtyard.

Understandably, the students whose work was trashed are outraged. “The whole situation is extremely emotional,” their chosen representative, Sabrina Straub, told the RP. Many of the works that were destroyed had not yet been assessed by the students’ professors. Others were to be sold.

Considering the consistently illustrious careers of the academy’s alumni—among them some of Germany’s most expensive, such as Gerhard RichterJoseph BeuysSigmar Polke, Günther Uecker, and Thomas Schütte, as well as recent star David Ostrowski—the long-term economic impact of the destruction could be in the millions. (For the perpetrator’s sake, we hope none of current-professor Peter Doig’s works happened to fall into the fray.)

The Kunstakademie Düsseldorf’s director, Rita McBride, was similarly floored by the incident. “It’s just terrible for the students,” she told the paper. “The works are irreplaceable.” However, in a letter to the academy’s student body the administration’s contrition was more measured. It read, “Relevant members of the janitorial staff have been spoken to about their flawed approach,” in this matter.

[ click to continue reading at artnet.com ]

Felix Dennis Gone

from The Financial Times

Felix Dennis, the improbable magazine entrepreneur

By Matthew Engel

Felix Dennis, center, with James Anderson, left, and Richard Neville, editors of Oz, after being found guilty of corrupting public morals in 1971. (United Press International)

Felix Dennis, whose death aged 67 was announced on Monday, was one of Britain’s most successful media entrepreneurs and by a long distance the most improbable. Reaction varied from amazement that he had lived as long as he did, to shock that such a seemingly unstoppable force had allowed a mere disease to get the better of him.

John Brown, a friend and business associate, compared him to Richard Branson in his willingness to court failure and, if it happened, shrug it off. “Felix had irrepressible energy, loads of ideas and faith in his own abilities. And he just charged ahead.”

He charged ahead out of the office too. Dennis had revelled in the Sixties lifestyle: “Free sex with no downside,” he would recall. “Women were walking down the street in miniskirts, in what looked like their underwear. It was almost too much for anyone to stand.” All his life there were a lot of cigarettes and whisky and wild, wild women – and drugs, including a spell as a crack addict. Some, however, thought that Dennis was inclined to overstate the quantity of drugs and sex, just a bit. He once claimed, in a newspaper interview, to have pushed a man over a cliff. And no one seemed to believe that at all.

He did find the time for a remarkably varied set of achievements. Dennis was a popular performance poet (particularly when he offered free wine from his cellar as well). He established the Heart of England Forest near his Warwickshire home, which now has more than 1m saplings. And he had a large, themed collection of bronze sculptures.

[ click to read full article at FT.com ]

Giant German Vagina Engulfs Exchange Student

from The Guardian

US student is rescued from giant vagina sculpture in Germany

More than 20 firefighters free exchange student from the artwork Chacán-Pi (Making Love) by Fernando de la Jara in Tübingen

by  in Berlin

The student waits to be rescued from the giant vagina sculptureThe student waits to be rescued. Photograph: Erick Guzman/Imgur

On Friday afternoon, a young American in Tübingen had to be rescued by 22 firefighters after getting trapped inside a giantsculpture of a vagina. The Chacán-Pi (Making Love) artwork by the Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara has been outside Tübingen University’s institute for microbiology and virology since 2001 and had previously mainly attracted juvenile sniggers rather than adventurous explorers.

According to De la Jara, the 32-ton sculpture made out of red Veronese marble is meant to signify “the gateway to the world”.

Police confirmed that the firefighters turned midwives delivered the student “by hand and without the application of tools”.

[ click to read full article at The Guardian ]

INTERVIEW: Kenneth Anger

from Interview

KENNETH ANGER

HARMONY KORINE
SEBASTIAN KIM

To describe Kenneth Anger as a “cult filmmaker” seems requisite but incomplete. The 87-year-old native Angeleno is indeed the writer and director of the surrealist shortsInauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954-66), Scorpio Rising (1963), and Lucifer Rising (1970-81)—some of the wildest and most profoundly influential experimental films of the last century. But his salacious narrative history of the industry, Hollywood Babylon, originally published in 1960, is also kitsch-famous, a kind of gossip gospel in the land of holy celebrity. His film and video works are in the permanent collections of various museums of modern art. And he is also the most famous living practitioner of Thelema—the ritual-based doctrine dictated to Aleister Crowley by the spiritual messenger Aiwass.

Over the course of his multivalent career, Anger has worked with and befriended such artists as Marianne Faithfull (a collaborator on Lucifer Rising), the surrealist Jean Cocteau, guitar god Jimmy Page, sexologist Alfred Kinsey, and Tennessee Williams, as well as fellow Thelemite Marjorie Cameron—star of Pleasure Dome and onetime wife of Jet Propulsion Laboratory founder Jack Parsons. Anger is the godfather of homoerotic cinema, having made his pioneeringFireworks in 1947. He has been famously obscene (and charged as such for Fireworks in California), happily hallucinogenic (his Invocation of My Demon Brother from 1969 was famously evocative of an acid trip), and quite consciously provocative (see all). Inside the industry, he’s never found a place to rest—he has Lucifer tatted on his chest. And he’s seen UFOs—three times.

Painter and filmmaker—and something of a hell-raiser himself—Harmony Korine has long appreciated the work and legend of Anger, but the two have never really had the chance to speak. We thought they should, so in April, Korine called Anger from his home in Nashville to discover that his hero is still working outside of the mainstream, still a scabrous critic of Hollywood, and still speculating about that Malaysia Airlines flight.

[ click to continue reading at Interview ]

Roach Coaches No More

from TIME

Study: Food Trucks May Be Safer Than Restaurants

by Aleksandra Gjorgievska

Food trucks gather at Nathan Phillips SquareFood trucks gather at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto on April 2, 2014.Andrew Francis —Toronto Star/Getty Images

Food trucks in 7 cities performed better than or the same as restaurants on food safety inspection reports

Grabbing your lunch from a food truck may be a safer option than sitting down at a restaurant, according to a new study.

After examining over 260,000 food inspection reports, researchers from a public law interest firm in Virginia foundthat in each of the seven examined cities—Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Seattle and Washington, D.C.—food trucks performed better than or as well as restaurants.

In every city except Seattle, food trucks averaged fewer sanitation violations than restaurants. In Seattle, the number of violations for food trucks was also lower but was not statistically significant, which means that food trucks and restaurants performed approximately the same. The study, called “Street Eats, Safe Eats,” looked at cities where food trucks and restaurants are obliged to follow the same health guidelines.

[ click to continue reading at TIME ]

Sprey Unleashed On The Turkey

from SPLOID

The designer of the F-16 explains why the F-35 is such a crappy plane

by Casey Chan

According to the Pierre Sprey, co-designer of the F-16, the F35 is a turkey. Inherently, a terrible airplane. An airplane built for a dumb idea. A kludge that will fail time and time again. Just impossibly hopeless. And judging from the bajillion times the F-35 fleet has been grounded, well, he’s probably not wrong. It’s a trillion dollar failure. Watch Sprey eviscerate the F-35 in the video above.

[ click to read at gizmodo ]

Etna Erupts

from The Telegraph

Mt Etna eruption disrupts tourist flights to Sicily

Eruption of Mt Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, results in delays and disruptions for tourists trying to reach Sicily

By Rome

Flights into and out of the Italian city of Catania have been disrupted by the eruption of Mt Etna, Europe’s most active volcano.

Catania airport remained open but two air space corridors were temporarily closed on Monday, resulting in delays and disruptions for tourists trying to reach Sicily.

The volcano, which looms over Catania, put on an impressive pyrotechnics display, belching molten lava and sending plumes of ash into the sky.

Most of the activity came from a crater on the south-east side of the mountain.

This latest eruption began on Sunday and was the first major activity this year.

Dominating the landscape in eastern Sicily between Catania and the popular tourist town of Taormina, Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

The fertile volcanic soils on its flanks support extensive agriculture, including vineyards and orchards.

[ click to continue reading at The Telegraph ]

People Suck Ass

from The Telegraph UK

Poachers kill one of the world’s largest elephants in Kenya

Poachers hack the face and tusks off Satao, one of Kenya’s most famous elephants, as conservationists warn elephant poaching “is at least 10 times the official figures”

Satao, believed to have been the world's largest living elephantSatao’s enormous tusks classed him among the largest elephants left alive in the world Photo: RICHARD MOLLER/TSAVO TRUST

By Zoe Flood, Nairobi

One of Africa’s last ‘great tuskers’, elephants with ivory weighing over 100lbs, has been poisoned to death by poachers in Kenya after years of adapting his behaviour to hide himself from humans.

The bull, named Satao and likely born in the late 1960s, succumbed to wounds from poison darts in a remote corner of Tsavo National Park where he had migrated to find fresh water after recent storms.

His carcass yesterday lay with its face and great tusks hacked off, four legs splayed where he fell with his last breath, left only for the vultures and the scavengers.

Conservationists told how he moved from bush to bush always keeping his ivory hidden amongst the foliage.

“I’m convinced he did that to hide his tusks from humans, he had an awareness that they were a danger to him,” said Mark Deeble, a British documentary filmmaker who has spent long periods of time filming Satao.

The elephant’s killing is the latest in a massive surge of poaching of the mammals for their ivory across Africa.

Richard Moller, of The Tsavo Trust, who had been monitoring Satao for several months confirmed that the elephant found dead on May 30 was indeed Satao, whom he called “an icon”.

“There is no doubt that Satao is dead, killed by an ivory poacher’s poisoned arrow to feed the seemingly insatiable demand for ivory in far off countries,” Mr Moller said.

“A great life lost so that someone far away can have a trinket on their mantelpiece.”

[ click to continue reading at The Telegraph ]

Poetry Is The Key – and Not The Money.

from NY Times

Poetry: Who Needs It?

By 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — WE live in the age of grace and the age of futility, the age of speed and the age of dullness. The way we live now is not poetic. We live prose, we breathe prose, and we drink, alas, prose. There is prose that does us no great harm, and that may even, in small doses, prove medicinal, the way snake oil cured everything by curing nothing. But to live continually in the natter of ill-written and ill-spoken prose is to become deaf to what language can do.

The dirty secret of poetry is that it is loved by some, loathed by many, and bought by almost no one. (Is this the silent majority? Well, once the “silent majority” meant the dead.) We now have a poetry month, and a poet laureate — the latest, Charles Wright, announced just last week — and poetry plastered in buses and subway cars like advertising placards. If the subway line won’t run it, the poet can always tweet it, so long as it’s only 20 words or so. We have all these ways of throwing poetry at the crowd, but the crowd is not composed of people who particularly want to read poetry — or who, having read a little poetry, are likely to buy the latest edition of “Paradise Lost.”

This is not a disaster. Most people are also unlikely to attend the ballet, or an evening with a chamber-music quartet, or the latest exhibition of Georges de La Tour. Poetry has long been a major art with a minor audience. Poets have always found it hard to make a living — at poetry, that is. The exceptions who discovered that a few sonnets could be turned into a bankroll might have made just as much money betting on the South Sea Bubble.

There are still those odd sorts, no doubt disturbed, and unsocial, and torturers of cats, who love poetry nevertheless. They come in ones or twos to the difficult monologues of Browning, or the shadowy quatrains of Emily Dickinson, or the awful but cheerful poems of Elizabeth Bishop, finding something there not in the novel or the pop song.

This is not a disaster. Most people are also unlikely to attend the ballet, or an evening with a chamber-music quartet, or the latest exhibition of Georges de La Tour. Poetry has long been a major art with a minor audience. Poets have always found it hard to make a living — at poetry, that is. The exceptions who discovered that a few sonnets could be turned into a bankroll might have made just as much money betting on the South Sea Bubble.

[ click to continue reading at NYTimes.com ]

Supermensch

from PASTE Magazine

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon

By Brent Simon

<i>Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon</i>

A documentary about its titular talent manager, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, directed by writer-actor Mike Myers, has the potential to be a slice of yawning, self-congratulatory star-fuckery of the highest order. After all, in addition to its famous director, it has plenty of recognizable celebrities who all line up to sing the praises of its subject. And yet, thanks to whip-smart pacing, this warm-hearted and unfussy nonfiction valentine emerges as an engaging portrait of a life less ordinary—a man who embraced and promulgated selflessness, even while, in his early days, indulging in druggy partying and frequently sporting a T-shirt that read, “No head, no backstage pass.”

Gordon looks like your average Florida retiree but sounds rather like the late Sydney Pollack, erudite and measured, except when his laugh—halfway between a chuckle and a goose’s honk—comes bursting forth. What helps further differentiate him is the fact that wild yarns trail him like a speedboat’s wake. A self-described social liberal who graduated from the University of Buffalo but quickly abandoned his dreams of becoming a probation officer, Gordon tells a story of occupational focusing so random and fanciful that it defies belief: a day after arriving in Los Angeles and taking a room at the Landmark Motor Hotel, he took some LSD, and later responded to the screams of a woman he thought was being sexually assaulted. She beat the crap out of him (turns out she was merely in the throes of ecstasy). The next day the duo apologized to one another, and since Gordon had a lot of marijuana, he shared it. The guy she was with suggested he become a manager. It turns out that woman and man were Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, respectively, and within a week Gordon was managing Alice Cooper and Pink Floyd.

Though the latter relationship would only last nine days (Gordon freely admits he had no idea what he was doing), his relationship with shock-rocker Cooper would endure decades. Gordon was less interested in the music than the manipulation of the moment, ginning up controversy wherever they went—trying to get Cooper arrested for wearing see-through clothes, and insisting on wrapping the vinyl records of Cooper’s 1972 album School’s Out in panties. He saw the value in marketed rebellion, but Gordon also had a conscience. Later, working with Teddy Pendergrass and other African-American artists, he sought to break free from the constraints of the so-called “chitlin’ circuit,” in which artists were frequently stiffed performance fees.

[ click to continue reading at PASTE ]

Picking Up Indecent Pecans and All Kinds Of Things With Animals

from BREITBART NEWS

THAD COCHRAN: I GREW UP DOING ‘ALL KINDS OF INDECENT THINGS WITH ANIMALS’

by MATTHEW BOYLE

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) provided his latest head-scratching comment in public, this time joking he engaged in illicit activities with animals as a child.

“[We’d] get back [to the Pine Belt-Hattiesburg area of Mississippi] as often as we could because it was fun—it was an adventure to be out there in the country and see what goes on,” Cochran said of his childhood and how parts of his family lived in the central part of the state. “Picking up pecans, from that to all kind of indecent things with animals.”

The audience laughed at that point, video published by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger shows. Cochran’s facial expressions did not change, nor did his stance or demeanor. “I know some of you know what that is,” he continued. “The whole point of the story is not just coming here to visit cousins and get to know aunts and uncles better, you absorb the culture and you know what’s important to people here. I feel very comfortable here and have an identity with this area of the state that’s different than any other.”

[ click to continue reading at Breitbart.com ]

The Shawshank Rainbow

from The Wall Street Journal

The Shawshank Residuals

How one of Hollywood’s great second acts keeps making money

By RUSSELL ADAMS

Bob Gunton is a character actor with 125 credits to his name, including several seasons of “24” and “Desperate Housewives” and a host of movie roles in films such as the Oscar-winning “Argo.” Vaguely familiar faces like his are common in the Los Angeles area where he lives, and nobody pays much attention. Many of his roles have been forgotten.

But every day, the 68-year-old actor says, he hears the whispers—from cabdrivers, waiters, the new bag boy at his neighborhood supermarket: “That’s the warden in ‘Shawshank.’ ”

He also still gets residual payments—not huge, but steady, close to six figures by the film’s 10th anniversary in 2004. Since then, he has continued to get “a very substantial income” long past the age when residuals usually dry up.

“I suspect my daughter, years from now, will still be getting checks,” he said.

[ click to continue reading at WSJ.com ]