Pretty much every government uses culture as propaganda, so it should not be surprising that the United States did so throughout the Cold War. As a superpower involved in a multi-pronged proxy war for the hearts and minds of each and every inhabitant of Earth, how could it not? And the CIA was behind most of it.
While Hoover and his FBI men were busy red-baiting, tapping phones, and compiling dossiers on just about any American with even the most minuscule of leftist leanings, the CIA was simultaneously funding and promoting art by many of the same people the FBI was watching. Meanwhile, Joe McCarthy was attacking anything [...]
"Researchers think that a volcanic eruption on Sumatra 75,000 years ago may have wiped out most clouded leopards. One group survived in China and colonised the rest of mainland Asia. Another hung on in Borneo, becoming the Sunda clouded leopard. This evolved into two types after a group colonised Sumatra via glacial land bridges, and then became cut off as sea levels rose." —There are more different types of clouded leopards than you previously thought. They are all stunningly beautiful. The one above is in Borneo.
You've probably seen this. But just in case you haven't: here's Kanye West performing his new song "Runaway" with a ballet troupe and Pusha T on Saturday Night Live. Against a heavenly white-draped set (that's my big question: was this in fact in front of the studio audience, or fed in on a screen? I hope people got to see it live), dressed like Eddie Murphy in Delirious, Kanye proved why he's the most captivating pop star on the planet right now. He also performed "Power," with choreography reminiscent of the nude album cover of Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland. That was terrific, too. But since "Runaway" [...]
Today would have been the day guitarist James Marshall Hendrix turned 70. Who knows what he would be doing now had he survived? Ugh, probably putting out an autobiography and a "dubstep" album. Maybe things happen for a reason. Anyway, I'm partial to this but you will have your own favorites.
"As pieces began to be set in place, Mr. Saraceno sneaked a visitor inside and up a twisty staircase about 20 feet above the roof garden. Some of the floors were transparent, and the walls were mirrored steel, acrylic or open to the air. Suddenly buildings, people and trees were upside down or sideways, sometimes almost spinning around from the perspective inside this giant futuristic construction." —While I am slightly disappointed that it is not aStar Wars themed exhibit, I want to go see Tomás Saraceno’s "Cloud City" installation that's being built on the roof of The Met right now. Relatedly (sort of), I had never until [...]
Okay. Just two weeks to go. Everybody's sniffling and coughing and more regularly and severely hungover than usual. And feeling guilty about all the extra baked good they're eating. And too busy with planning and shopping and going to holiday parties to even really enjoy any of it. And it's so cold. (Will winter never end??!! Oh, right it hasn't even started yet.) Worst of all, perhaps, the music. Which, if the world made any sense, we'd only be just starting to hear on the radio and TV commercials and piped into in the aisles of our corporate convenience stores, but instead have already been subjected to for [...]
Here's the new thing from True Panther Sounds, the San Francisco label that brought us one of last year's fun new things, Girls, and their terrific album Album. The newer new thing is Rainbow Bridge, a "multi generational A B Original duo."
Oh hey it's Veterans Day, America's most ambiguously celebrated federal holiday. Everyone (mostly) professes to love "the troops," especially if it's not too close to a news cycle about the troops urinating on the war dead or burning Korans or having sexytime with a lady biographer. But lots of people are bummed out by what the troops are expected to do, which is fight in imperial wars to secure oil supplies for people who won't use the subway or get a Prius. What to do? Luckily, the day is almost over, so there's nothing really "to do" except enjoy this video jukebox of surprising famous/infamous military veterans, such as [...]
The video for this song from Duck Down Records' indie-rap supergroup Random Axe is good looking but sort of confusing. It takes place in a hotel, where, in one room, rapper Guilty Simpson keeps a man tied to a bed while he builds a Rube Goldberg machine with which to kill him (kind of like if OK Go were James Bond villains.) Next door, Sean Price makes anthrax powder to send to record label offices and, for some reason, decides to taste some (!) as he's concocting it. And in another room, Black Milk, who produced the track, plays poker. The coolest thing about all of [...]
Man, what a storm! The howling wind woke me up at 5 o'clock this morning, and then I couldn't go back to sleep. So, maybe because I still had Merry Clayton's gale of a voice in mind, I made a list of songs that fit the scene. Nothing else to do today but watch the videos. Certainly, no one should go outside.