Happy Beatles Rooftop Concert Anniversary Day!

beatles-rooftopRemember those friends of mine I’ve written about twice before (here and here), my buddies from high school and college back in New Jersey who share my deep obsession with music?

Well, two days ago one of those friends messaged this to me on Facebook:

Keith: This Wednesday will be the 44th anniversary of the Beatles rooftop concert. Time for a F&B post if you ask me.

Much to my great shame, I admit here and now, in full view of the public, the date had slipped my mind.

So, I responded to my friend, and the following exchange occurred:

Me: Brilliant idea! Thanks for the tip! Still one of the greatest performances…EVER!

Keith: When I get my hands on a time machine, I’ll save you a seat. First stop Abbey Road, January 30, 1969.

Me: I’m SO there. Top five time machine destinations, for sure!

Especially telling, revealing the level of obsession and devotion to the music and it’s many trivial details, this was not to be the 40th anniversary or 50th or even 45th. No, Keith felt it was important and blogworthy that this will mark 44 years since the Beatles, in the midst of recording and filming Let It Be, performed a surprise 42-minute show on a rooftop in London, January 30, 1969. (For details, check out this great fanpage, full of juicy details and quotes concerning the event, including the reveal that Keith got the location wrong. The concert was performed on the rooftop of the Apple Records building, not the Abbey Road Studios building.)

Anyway, here we are! It’s Beatles Rooftop Concert Anniversary Day, and it is, indeed, a day to celebrate, for it WAS one of the greatest performances ever, great for the music as well as the gimmick, and I stand by my conviction that, should a time machine make itself available to me, one of my first stops WILL be that rooftop, on that day, 44 years ago.

By way of celebrating, here’s some video from that hallowed day:

…Oops!!! Sorry, that wasn’t The Beatles, that was a Japanese Beatles tribute band band called The Beans! (I knew something was wrong when I noticed the guy playing Paul McCartney was playing righty, when Paul’s a lefty, and, of course, the guy playing Billy Preston isn’t black.)

Let’s try this again.

By way of celebrating, here’s some video from that hallowed day:
(Note: The video and audio are out of sync, this is only part of the show, and it will probably be removed from YouTube for copyright reasons, but it’s still an amazing document.)

Eyecatchers: Transient Sand Art

Tony Plant

Tony Plant

In past posts, I’ve twice mentioned one of my favorite artists, Andy Goldsworthy (Post 1, Post 2), both times in the context of art works that were intentionally designed to be impermanent.

Well, today, via Colossal, I’m pleased to share the work of three artists who embrace the idea that all things must pass, creating amazing works of art in the sand, on beaches, where tides assure a lifespan for the works of only a few hours.

Several things are striking about these artists, but the thing that sticks out the most to me is that their work is BIG, and they seem to be gifted in their ability to be on the ground, working with precision, while keeping the big picture in mind. It would be totally impractical, too time-consuming, for them to hike up to higher ground with any regularity to check on how things are going. That’s mind-boggling to me!

Anyway, I’ll let their work do the rest of the talking.

Enjoy!

Tony Plant

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Jim Denevan

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Andres Amador

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Tweet of the Day: #ColinStetson

colin-stetsonPeeps, this video of Colin Stetson is unfrickinbelievable.

It’s just about the most freakishly awesome musical performance I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, that’s a bass frickin’ saxophone!

As the description of the video on YouTube points out:

If you look closely, you can see he’s miked all over the place, including his throat and several other spots on the sax besides the business end.

Innovative and amazing. Check out the second video, where Colin mechanically breaks down some of what he’s doing.

Upcycling: Plank Sofa Table

sofa-table-1It’s been a LONG time since an installment in my Upcycling series featured a project of my own making. (See: More Fun With Shipping Pallets)

I’ve done a few small projects since then, nothing really post-worthy, but today I’m excited to share this simple sofa table, made entirely of recycled building materials, obtained at the RE Store here in Bellingham.

The plank for the top was actually purchased nearly a year ago. I was browsing around the reclaimed lumber shed, spotted this wonderfully weathered, thick hunk of wood, knew instantly that I wanted it, took it home, stored it in the garage, and there in the garage it embarrassingly remained for WAY too long.

In the meantime, I’d made numerous trips to the RE Store and elsewhere, looking for additional materials, originally thinking I’d make a bench, deciding instead on a sofa or side table, but, alas, the design for the legs eluded me.

You can’t tell from the photos, but that top plank is frickin’ HEAVY, and every time I thought about how tall this table would need to be and how narrow the plank is, I knew four screw-in legs weren’t going to cut it, and I just wasn’t finding the materials or the inspiration for another solution.

Fast forward to this past Saturday, when, browsing at the RE Store, I found four black metal brackets with pre-drilled holes, I have no idea what they were originally used for, but they finally gave me the idea I was looking for. All I needed to do was go back to the lumber shed, pick out some weathered 2″x2″ material, and I was off.

(In all fairness, some credit for this project should go to my wife, as she provided invaluable input, helping me tweak the design for the legs when I got stuck at several points.)

It’s estimated that the total cost of materials for this project was less than $10.

Needless to say, I’m pretty happy with the outcome!

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Video Fridays: Benjie Howard’s Latest

benjieI’ve written twice before about my friend, singer/songwriter Benjie Howard, once at the completion of his new album, Secrets Like Bones, then again, when the album became available for purchase online: iTunes, Amazon.

Benjie’s, been out doing shows, promoting Secrets Like Bones, and, shout out to all you Bellinghamsters out there, Benjie and Gentri Watson are playing in town this week:

When: Wednesday, January 30th, 9:30pm
Where: The Green Frog, 1015 N. State Street

Additionally, here’s a new video that Benjie’s just released, a song, Arizona, performed here in collaboration with his New Wilderness Project partners, Maketa Wilborn (percussion) and Wade Colwell-Sandoval (vocals).

In keeping with the New Wilderness Project’s social justice mission, to quote Benjie, “This song…speaks to the crazy injustice that has been and continues to be perpetrated in that state.”

Have a good weekend, everyone, anda locals, go and see Benjie on Wednesday if you can.

Robin Hood Tax! Yes!

robin-hood-taxNow THIS is a great idea!

Via RobinHoodTax.org:
(Warning: Their servers are getting slammed today, as word about this campaign is spreading fast. So, if you can’t reach the site right now, please check it out later.)

The Robin Hood Tax campaign is calling for a tax of less than half of 1% on Wall Street transactions that could generate hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

A Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street will provide funding to kickstart the economy and get America back on its feet by creating jobs and strengthening public services like health care, education and infrastructure at home while tackling AIDS, global health, poverty and climate challenges around the world.

This is a tax on Wall Street, which created the greatest economic crisis in our nation, and globally, since the Great Depression. The same people who have returned to record profits and bonuses while ordinary Americans, the 99%, continue to pay the price of their crisis.

It’s not a tax on the people, but a tax for the people.

It makes so much sense, and anyone who opposes the idea is either:

  • Protecting the 1% at the expense of the 99%, which, I’d hope by now most people would agree, is wrong; or…
  • Brainwashed into believing in trickle-down economics, the thoroughly debunked idea that if we protect the wealthy (i.e. cut their taxes, provide them with massive tax loopholes, provide their businesses with massive subsidies) their prosperity will trickle down to those who are less wealthy; or…
  • Brainwashed into distrusting the government thoroughly, therefore not wanting the government to tax anyone, because they believe that the government can’t be trusted to use tax dollars wisely.

As with anything like this, it’s important to not take it on face value, and to find out know who’s behind it.

Conveniently, RobinHoodTax.org has a page on their website titled Who’s behind it?

Yeah, I can get behind these people and this movement!

David Attenborough: Plague On The Earth or Robot?

SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGHListen, I LOVE nature shows on TV.

And if you’re talking TV nature show hosts, two guys that I grew up watching were Marlin Perkins on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and Sir David Attenborough, host of many, many BBC nature series.

Well, today I’ve had the unpleasant experience of coming across a rather bleak statement from Sir David, a man who knows a little bit about these things.

Via RadioTimes:

“We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so,” warns David Attenborough in an interview in the new issue of Radio Times magazine.

“It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde.”

So, if we, meaning humans, are a plague on the Earth, that means that David Attenborough is either a plague on the Earth as well, or he’s a very sophisticated robot or an extraterrestrial.

Regardless, I REALLY don’t think we need his pessimistic alarmism right now.

Personally, I wish Attenborough would stick to his voice-over narration of shows that help us appreciate the beauty and wonder of the planet we live on, shows that inspire people to do more to protect it.

And that voice! It really is iconic, so lovely and so British!

I’ll never forget that time I was watching episode 7 of the Planet Earth series, titled Great Plains, I was watching with my son who was then 10-years old, and as the show transitioned from the bison of the North American prairie to the foothills of the Himalayas, Sir David introduced this fella, without a trace of irony, as a:

“Wild Tibetan Ass”

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…and it was amazing, because he made it sound like something he was presenting to the Royal Geographical Society rather than the surreal title of a disturbing porn video.

Video Fridays: Elvis Costello

elvis-costelloOk, hold the presses!

I’ve discovered the solution to our dependency on declining supplies of fossil fuels.

All we have to do is tap into the intense energy created by the following performance of Elvis Costello & The Attractions from 1978.

Seriously!

There’s enough electricity running through this band and these songs to power a small city, and there’s only 45 minutes of music here.

Even when Elvis is standing perfectly still, the driving of the beat propels, and you can feel the power boiling up inside of him, oozing from him with his sweat, spitting out of him with his forceful and relentless vocal delivery.

My band just added Elvis’ classic rendition of Nick Lowe‘s (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding? to our repertoire, working on it for the first time last night, and I can still feel the buzz from it.

The energy is for real, man! Watch it and you’ll see.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

“The Hobbit” Redux

HobbitThis is frickin’ hilarious!

Ok, so, last month I wrote about my experience having seen The Hobbit in IMAX 3-D at the new local multiplex movie emporium, wherein I put forth the proposition that these new generation of movies, with their myriad visual technology gimmicks, more closely resemble amusement park rides than cinema. (This was actually a follow-up of sorts to a post I wrote in November 2011 in which I declared my preference for old school 2D analog film.)

Well, this morning I read a piece at McSweeney’s by Martin Azevedo titled “An Unexpected Screening Format Decision” that perfectly captures the absurdity I see in these current trends in movie making.

The whole thing must be read to fully appreciate it, but here are some of my highlights:

“Two tickets to The Hobbit, please.”

“Which version would you like to see?”

“Which version? What do you mean?”

“At 1:30 it screens in theater seven in 3D with THX sound. At 1:55 it screens in theater one in 48-frames-per-second IMAX 3D with 16 Channel Dolby sound and seat-quake technology, for a special fifteen-dollar admission. At 2:20, it screens in theater twelve in conventional 2D digital projection.”

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”Which version would you recommend?”

“I’d wait for the 4:15 screening in theater fifteen, presented in 2D Action Focus format. It has a running time of 70 minutes with no dwarf songs, Silmarillion flashbacks or long nights of dramatic hesitation experienced in real time.”

“I was hoping to get started by three o’clock.”

“Would 3:05 work? In theater eight, we’ll start the Extended Journey Final Cut version in Hi-Res Digital Cinemascape. It expands each of the epic battle scenes by showing their impact on minor characters who had to stay home.”

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“Have you got anything that runs two hours or less, balances character with action into a compelling fantasy narrative, costs eight to twelve dollars, can be seen with the naked eye, won’t trigger my epilepsy, and starts before three o’clock?”

“2:45, theater nine. Swallow this capsule thirty minutes before show time.”

“I’ve got my ten-year-old nephew with me.”

“Oh—my mistake! With your nephew, you’ll want the Frodo Family Edition, playing at 1:45 in theater three. It runs 110 minutes, features two extra dwarf songs, and introduces six animated talking animal characters. Also, CGI safety rails have been added to the treacherous cliff passages. And Gandalf’s pipe blows bubbles.”