“It was a different era, in some ways. For one, reflexively anti-statist billionaires from Silicon Valley had not quite reached the level of grandiosity and largesse to grant cool new media start-ups to journalists who challenged the national security state. Corporate media consolidation was at an all time high and the relationship these monoliths shared with the rest of the power structure was stable and comfy cozy.”—Jeremy Renner’s Goatee Is an Insult to This Dead Journalist’s Legacy
Popular street artist Shepard Fairey — who created the “Hope” posters widely used during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign — says New York City’s high cost of living is driving artists out of town to Los Angeles, and making LA the country’s new cultural hub.
“You can’t be in New York and not have either a trust fund or a good enough job to live,” Fairey explained at a Hennessy V.S luncheon at Soho House New York celebrating his label design for a limited-edition bottle. “Artists are screwed in New York right now,” he said.
Asked about LA’s growing popularity as a center for emerging artists, Fairey noted, “The reason why LA is becoming a hub is because LA still has affordable spaces for artists to have studios.”
“A while back there were plans to make what is now the Purple Line extend to the beach. As far as I can remember, the plan was halted because some Beverly Hills people were worried about underground methane gas pockets that could supposedly explode. But I heard the real reason was because some people didn’t want folks not from the area popping up from the underground, like ethnic Ninja Turtles, or Morlocks from the X-Men comics. This is when it hit me that public transportation issue in L.A. was a class issue.”—Public Transpo Is Getting Good in L.A. and I’m Proud | West Coast Sound | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
Over fifty years ago, a group of pranksters founded a satiric religion devoted to creating conspiracy theories so insane that nobody would ever believe in conspiracies again. They called themselves the Discordians. And their weird ideas are still influencing us today.
Welch’s reaction when he received a letter on Bavarian Illuminati stationery in 1970. Welch was the founder of the John Birch Society, a conservative group with a paranoid bent, mostly focused on communist conspiracies but also willing to expand its gallery of villains to include other secret cabals. The Illuminati are an 18th-century secret society whose alleged efforts to control the world were regularly decried by groups like, well, the John Birch Society.
Welch may have been a nut but he wasn’t a fool, and he was probably pretty sure someone was pulling his leg by the time he saw that the note had been written by “Ho Chi Zen, Cong King of Gorilla Warfare.” But I like to imagine that curiosity compelled him to read on.
“Before the civil war in Syria destroyed ancient religious sites — and scattered some of the oldest Christian communities in the world — Jason Hamacher made several trips there, taking photos and recording ancient Sufi and Christian chants. The project got its start when Hamacher read in a book about “the world’s oldest Christian music.” He tracked down From the Holy Mountain author William Dalrymple, who told him there were no recordings of the music — and that “it’s not a monastery in the desert; it is a Syrian Orthodox church in the middle of the city of Aleppo.” Hamacher ended up staying at that church as a guest of the archbishop, who has since been kidnapped by rebels. As Hamacher tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, he is planning a series of albums called Sacred Voices of Syria. The first, which was released this summer on his own Lost Origin Productions, is called Nawa: Ancient Sufi Invocations and Forgotten Songs From Aleppo. Hamacher isn’t coming at this from the perspective of a musicologist, or as a member of a religious community. He’s a drummer who’s played in several punk bands in the Washington, D.C., area”—Before War, A Punk Drummer Preserved Syrian Chants : NPR
The Apollo 11 astronaut makes the case for a permanent settlement on the Red Planet.
I just interviewed Buzz Aldrin for work. Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan was standing a few feet away, and we were at a landmark Beverly Hills house best known for standing in as Jackie Treehorn’s pad in The Big Lebowski. Aldrin is in his eighties and more spry and active than most people half his age. And the interview turned out great.
Jimmy Carr is by no means the first person to run into trouble putting on a gig in Dubai. In the 90s there were attempts to stage a Cure concert in the Emirate. All was going well - tickets selling briskly, venue booked - until the Ministry of Culture asked to hear some of the band’s songs.
'Killing an Arab' was the first song on the CD unthinkingly sent from London by the record label. The concert was cancelled.
FYI: Russell Brand intended to kick off his Messiah Complex world tour in Abu Dhabi last year. As soon as the authorities got wind of what he would be discussing, plug pulled.
”—Popbitch explains the difficulties of setting up concerts in Dubai.
There’s no common center to Los Angeles life. Los Feliz, Downtown, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Burbank, etc. are self-contained entities where people don’t really mix and every neighborhood exists autonomously.
Come on, Los Angeles. We can make common spaces for the city. We can make this happen.