Tag Archives: Video

Jonathan Franzen Interview: Books Made Me Survive, Louisiana Channel, 2016, video, 33:24

Notes from The Louisiana Channel:

We visited Jonathan Franzen at his California home, where he shared his approach to writing character-driven novels and his thoughts on being a writer in America: “I play for ‘Team Literature’ and so I’m on the lookout for things that threaten the team.”

Franzen had a miserable time at junior high school and felt a need to dissociate, which reading books for hours on end made possible: “… that was how I survived.” Reading gave him a sense of a social life, which he didn’t have much of back then: “You have a community of real people and then you have a community that you form as a reader…”

“Pages are more interesting if you’re blowing something open.” Franzen considers himself to be a character-driven author, and compares creating fictional persons whom the reader will experience as real persons to a sort of drug: “There’s something deeply wonderful about setting out to create a character from scratch.” Moreover, he has come to realise that a writer’s abilities are “not a whole lot bigger than the sum of what you’ve lived, or what you’ve encountered, the people you’ve encountered, the situations you’ve been in, the emotions you’ve experienced.”

Technologically mediated relations are becoming a growing part of our lives, which essentially means that we have “increasing interactions with robots,” which Franzen finds problematic for literature: “I do worry that the power of technology is so strong that we will see fewer people able to find the private space in which to develop a relationship with books.”

Jonathan Franzen (b. 1959) is an American novelist and essayist. His novel ‘The Corrections’ (2001) received widespread critical acclaim and earned him a National Book Award, a James Tait Black Memorial Prize and placed in in the final for a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Franzen is also the author of the novels ‘The Twenty-Seventh City’ (1988), ‘Strong Motion’ (1992), ‘Freedom’ (2010) and Purity (2015).

Jonathan Franzen was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at his home in Santa Cruz, California in January 2016.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken Edited by: Klaus Elmer Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016

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DEVONTE HYNES & PHILIP GLASS: When You Gonna Get A Real Job?, NPR MUSIC, video 6.5 min.

‘When You Gonna Get A Real Job’: Philip Glass And Devonté Hynes Compare Notes

by THOMAS HUIZENGA

At first glance, Devonté Hynes and Philip Glass might appear like musical opposites. Hynes, the 31-year-old British producer and songwriter who performs under the name Blood Orange, makes hit records with Solange and Carly Rae Jepson. Glass, the 80-year-old Baltimore-born New Yorker who writes operas and film scores, is one of classical music’s legendary artists.

But walk into Hynes’ third floor loft in New York’s Chinatown and you’ll find a photo of Glass on his piano. Hynes, it turns out, is a fan. He discovered Glass’ music by chance as a London teenager, when he bought the 1982 album Glassworks on the strength of its crystalline cover image alone. What he heard after he brought it home transfixed him. Today, he says Glass’ influence “seeps” into his music — the interlocking marimba parts in “Best to You” or the feather light ostinato that ignites “Better Than Me.” Last year, he surprised a few ears when he played excerpts from Glass’ solo piano suite Metamorphosis during a live session on SiriusXM.

This spring, Hynes invited Glass to his apartment where they sat at a piano, compared chords and traded stories. Ninety minutes later, their wide ranging conversation had touched on the pulse of New York City, the pains of striking out on your own as a musician, what role the arts play in society today and Hamilton. Plus about a hundred other ideas.

Perhaps the most potent virtue Hynes and Glass share is an instinctive ear for collaboration. Glass has worked with everyone from Ravi Shankar and Paul Simon to dozens of filmmakers, dancers, poets and visual artists. Hynes moves adroitly, too. These days he pairs up with Sky Ferreira, FKA Twigs, Haim and ballet dancer Maria Kochetkova, but in his teens he joined a dance-punk band named Test Icicles, then moved on to the quirky folk-pop of Lightspeed Champion.

Maybe it’s that willingness to let something unknown percolate into a new idea. And maybe that’s why these two musicians, some 50 years apart in age, decided to meet on a cloudy April afternoon in Chinatown to let yet another intriguing collaboration blossom.

 

REBELS: A JOURNEY UNDERGROUND, EPISODE 1, “SOCIETY’S SHADOW”, 47 MIN

Rebels: A Journey Underground is an excellent Canadian documentary history of “the counterculture” produced for television in the late 1990s and narrated by Kiefer Sutherland. It’s the work of writer/director Kevin Alexander, who did a great job with it. More people should see it. I’m happy to see that the series has been posted in full on YouTube.

The six-part series covers a wide swath of historical countercultures moving from William Blake and 1830s Parisian bohemians to mostly 20th century movements like hippie, Jazz, Beatniks, punk, and what was at the time the series was produced, the brave new world of cyberspace. Continue reading REBELS: A JOURNEY UNDERGROUND, EPISODE 1, “SOCIETY’S SHADOW”, 47 MIN

LAO TZU: A CONDENSED SUMMARY BY THE SCHOOL OF LIFE, 4.5 min.

Some spend a lifetime developing an understanding of the Tao, and in the light of that, a four and a half minute synopsis of Lao Tzu and his teachings seems comically philistine.  But as with most School of Life videos, Lao Tzu and his teachings are summed up responsibly and accurately, albeit far from exhaustively.  Go School Of Life!

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR :: MOYA (GORECKI) Live at The Metropolis, Montreal, 1.19.14

Godspeed You! Black Emperor is a Canadian experimental music collective which originated in Montreal, Quebec in 1994. They release its recordings through Constellation, an independent record label also located in Montreal. Film loop projections are an important aspect of the group’s live show, explained by Efrim Menuck as “[putting] the whole into context”.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor was formed in 1994 in Montreal, Quebec, by Efrim Menuck (guitar), Mike Moya (guitar), and Mauro Pezzente (bass), taking its name from God Speed You! Black Emperor, a 1976 Japanese black-and-white documentary by director Mitsuo Yanagimachi, which follows the exploits of a Japanese biker gang, the Black Emperors. The band initially assembled after being offered a supporting act for another local band named Steak 72. Thereafter, the trio performed live on a few separate occasions, before ultimately deciding to produce an album. The cassette, All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling, was self-released in December 1994 and limited to thirty-three copies.

After the limited release of the cassette, the band quickly expanded and continued to perform live periodically. According to Menuck, joining the group was quite simple: “It was like if anyone knew anybody who played an instrument and seemed like an okay person, they would sort of join up.” In short order, the group’s numbers ebbed and flowed. Local musicians would often join the band for a handful of performances, then depart. The revolving door nature of the group’s membership frequently caused it strain before the release of F♯ A♯ ∞.  After that release, the group stabilized around a nine-person lineup with Menuck, Moya and David Bryant on guitars, Pezzente and Thierry Amar on bass guitars, Aidan Girt and Bruce Cawdron on drums, and Sophie Trudeau and Norsola Johnson on violin and cello respectively. Moya would depart in 1998 to focus on HṚṢṬA, being replaced by Roger Tellier-Craig of Fly Pan Am.

Although various members of the band are often pinned down as anarchists, for a rather long time no one in the band explicitly subscribed to this label; however, as of 2014, Menuck was calling himself an anarchist. In any case, there is a strong political component to the band’s music. For example, the liner notes to Yanqui U.X.O. describe the song “09-15-00” as “Ariel Sharon surrounded by 1,000 Israeli soldiers marching on al-Haram Ash-Sharif & provoking another Intifada,” and the back cover of that album depicts the relationships of several major record labels to the military-industrial complex. Several of its songs also incorporate voice samples which express political sentiments, most notably “The Dead Flag Blues” (on F♯A♯∞) and “BBF3” (on Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada).

Members of the group have formed a number of side projects, including Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, Fly Pan Am, HṚṢṬA, Esmerine, and Set Fire to Flames.

-wikipedia, GSYBE, edited

Images: Ian Cameron, Mathieu Lavoie, Scott Thiessen, Yuani Fragata, Alex Leclerc

Sound: Saaela Abrams, Alex Leclerc, Scott Thiessen, James Parker

Leon Russell, r.i.p

We lost Leon Russell (born Claude Russell Bridges; April 2, 1942 – November 13, 2016) yesterday.  Saluting and waving goodbye to a talented and influential musician, composer & producer who helped shape an era in rock and popular music.

Here is a clip from the documentary The Wrecking Crew in which Leon’s early days as a session player are remembered:

Leon as part of the Mad Dogs and Englishmen band, 1969 -70

An excerpt from the Homewood Sessions, 1971

Leon & Elton John, performing a song from their album, The Union Pt2, 2012

According to a statement on his website, Leon died in his sleep at his Nashville home November 13, 2016, at the age of 74.  He was convalescing from heart surgery in July.