Friday, December 30, 2011

10 Significant Historical Events on New Year’s Eve







1. The British East India Trading Company is chartered (1600)

2. Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time (1879)

3. US President Harry S. Truman officially declares the end of the Second World War (1946)

4. The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in Longacre Square (now known as Times Square) in New York City (1904)

5. Opening of Manhattan Bridge (1909)

6. The Central African Federation (Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland) dissolves, splitting into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia (1963)

7. Dissolution of Czechoslovakia results in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia (1992)

8. The ERM (European Exchange Rate Mechanism) freezes the values of the legacy currency in the Eurozone, establishing the euro currency as the sole legal tender of the European Union (1998)

9. Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first President, hands in his resignation, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President (1999)

10. Official opening of Taiwan’s Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper of its time (2004)

History of New Year's Day



With most countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar, New Year's Day is the closest thing to being the world's only truly global public holiday.

January 1 st is considered New Years Day in today's society. But this is a fairly new concept because up until the time of Julius Caesar, the Romans celebrated the New Year in March because it was the first month in the Roman calendar. However, January 1 marked the time when the Romans changed their governmental figures and new consuls were inducted into office. And, they had games and feasting to help celebrate the new officials. But, they still used March 1 as their official mark of the new year and had a festival to their god, Mars (God of War).

It was Caesar who changed the Roman New Year's Day to January 1 in honor of Janus, (God of all beginnings and gate keeper of heaven and earth). Janus was always depicted with two faces: One looking back to the old year (past) and one looking ahead to the new year (future). One of the customs in the festival honoring Janus was to exchange gifts and then make resolutions to be friendly and good to one another.

When Constantine ruled the Romans and accepted Christianity as their new faith, they kept the Festival of Janus as the New Years Day ( Not March as before) and turned it into a day of prayer and fasting and not parties etc. It was a day for all good Christians to turn over a new leaf. However, the Romans may have accepted January 1 and Janus as the New Year, but many did not accept the turning over a new leaf, prayer and fasting part of it.

However, even in 1582, Great Britian and the English colonies in America still kept March for the beginning of the year. (Spring as a beginning?) It wasn't until 1752 that Britian (and it's colonies) adopted the new Gregorian calendar and January 1 as the beginning of the year. But many Puritans in New England felt Janus was an offensive pagan god and chose to simply ignore January 1 as a New Years Day. Instead they just made the entire month of January as "The First Month" of the months.

And, today no one really considers January 1 a fasting day. Ironically, for many it is a major day of feasting on junk food and watching football games on television.

How did New Year's Resolutions all begin?


Once again, we go back to the wild and crazy parties of the ancient Romans. :) They indulged themselves in alcoholic and sexual excess as a way of acting out all the chaos that they hoped a new year would get rid of. So, the New Year's festival was a way to start over. By purging yourself of all this so-called excess energy and confessing your sins, there was a hope that you would be much better in the next year ahead.

Now, the Puritans never did approve of all this New Year's hoopla. So of course they went for this religious renewal of cleanse, purge, fast, confess idea. So they encouraged young people not to waste the new year on foolish things but to use it as an opportunity to make a good change in their lives for the good. So, like some Christians, they made New Year's vows or pledges focused on overcoming their own weaknesses, to enhance their god-given talents and to make them better citizens to others.

The custom of making New Year's Resolutions came into vogue in the 20th century. But most of it was done with jest and an understanding that they would not be kept (for long anyway) since humans were naturally backsliders by nature to their naughty habits and ways.

The resolutions today are simply a secular version of the religious vows made in the past toward spiritual perfection. They are often made with good intentions and broken with a sense of humor and renewed annually.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

FOOL by Christopher Moore, reviewed by BL Kennedy


Fool
Christopher Moore
HarperCollins
New York, NY
311 pgs
$26.99
ISBN: 978-0-06-059031-4


“Tosser!” cried the raven.
There’s always a bloody raven.

Christopher Moore, the author of Lamb, A Dirty Job and You Suck, No Offense is at it again. Fool is a bawdy tale of shagging, murder, spanking maiming, treason, and all unexplored heights of vulgarity. There. This book will have you falling off the couch with laughter as you follow The Fool, a man of infinite jest and wisdom. Crazy Wisdom, that is. I have to admit, I am prejudiced: when a Christopher Moore book comes out, I am first in line at the bookstore. I cannot think of a more fun read than a new novel from this author.

I think Fool is currently available in a trade paperback edition. But if you’re lucky, you can probably find one of any number of sales tables at any major chain book store, and then you can ask yourself who is really the fool in that situation. Buy the book, do not pass this up. And did I mention, there’s a fucking ghost in the book. A fucking GHOST! In the middle of the book!

Yeah, this is an insanely funny tale of moronic delight. Think of when you first discovered the Three Stooges, or your introduction to the Marx Brothers. That is how important I think the writings of Christopher Moore are, and Fool is one of his best books to date.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The History of the Night Before Christmas




According to history, the poem, The Night Before Christmas, also known by the name of A Visit from St Nicholas was written by Clement Moore on the eve of Christmas for his family in 1822 without any intention of publishing it. Miss Harriet Butler, a friend of Clement Moore, on hearing about this poem from Moore's children, copied the poem and after making it a part of her album, gave it to the editor of the Troy (New York Sentinel) The poem got published in the Troy (New York Sentinel) on 23rd December in 1823.

Later on this poem came to be reprinted in various magazines as well as newspapers. For the first time, the song appeared in the book, The New York Book of Poetry, in 1837 and Charles Fenno Hoffman was the editor of this book. Authorship of this poem was attributed to Clement Moore only in 1844 and was made a part his own volume of work entitled Poems.

The poem got published in the Troy [New York Sentinel} on 23rd December in 1823. Later on this poem came to be reprinted in various magazines as well as newspapers. For the first time, the song appeared in the book, The New York Book of Poetry, in 1837 and Charles Fenno Hoffman was the editor of this book. Authorship of this poem was attributed to Clement Moore only in 1844 and was made a part his own volume of work entitled Poems.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Story of White Christmas by Jody Rosen



When Irving Berlin first conceived the song "White Christmas," he envisioned it as a "throwaway" -- a satirical novelty number for a vaudeville-style stage revue. By the time Bing Crosby introduced the tune in the winter of 1942, it had evolved into something far grander: the stately yuletide ballad that would become the world's all-time top-selling and most widely recorded song.

In this vividly written narrative, Jody Rosen provides both the fascinating story behind the making of America's favorite Christmas carol and a cultural history of the nation that embraced it. Berlin, the Russian-Jewish immigrant who became his adopted country's greatest pop troubadour, had written his magnum opus -- what one commentator has called a "holiday Moby-Dick" -- a timeless song that resonates with some of the deepest themes in American culture: yearning for a mythic New England past, belief in the magic of the "merry and bright" Christmas season, longing for the havens of home and hearth. Today, the song endures not just as an icon of the national Christmas celebration but as the artistic and commercial peak of the golden age of popular song, a symbol of the values and strivings of the World War II generation, and of the saga of Jewish-American assimilation. With insight and wit, Rosen probes the song's musical roots, uncovering its surprising connections to the tradition of blackface minstrelsy and exploring its unique place in popular culture through six decades of recordings by everyone from Bing Crosby to Elvis Presley to *NSYNC. White Christmas chronicles the song's legacy from jaunty ragtime-era Tin Pan Alley to the elegant world of midcentury Broadway and Hollywood, from the hardscrabble streets where Irving Berlin was reared to the battlefields of World War II where American GIs made "White Christmas" their wartime anthem, and from the Victorian American past that the song evokes to the twenty-first-century present where Berlin's masterpiece lives on as a kind of secular hymn.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman, reviewed by BL Kennedy


The Magicians: A Novel

Lev Grossman

Viking Press

New York, NY

402 pgs

$26.95

ISBN: 978-0-670-02055-3




Quentin did a magic trick. Nobody noticed.

They picked their way along the cold, uneven sidewalk together: James, Julia and Quentin. James and Julia held hands. That’s how things were now. The sidewalk wasn’t quite wide enough, so Quentin trailed after time, like a sulky child. He would rather have been alone with Julia, or just alone period, but you could have everything. Or at least the available evidence pointed overwhelming to that conclusion.

I really want to make a stupid joke, but the joke would be in bad taste and offend too many people. I wanted to say “Move over, J.K. Rowling, and make room for Lev Grossman and The Magicians”. Oh what can I tell you about this book, people seem to like it, and people think it’s kind of a New Yorker’s take on Harry Potter. I mean, after all the protagonist finds himself very unexpectedly admitted to a very secret and strange college in upstate New York.

This is a complex and adventurous book that is bound to fill your appetite for fantasy and good writing; The Magicians is, in my opinion a book filled with all the enthusiasm of a drunk Irishman on St. Patrick’s day. I just loved the book, which is a great combination of both fantasy and mainstream fiction. I think that Lev Grossman is an up and coming talent, and I am recommending a lot of attention be given to this book. So if you like adventurous reading and magic and all those other things that walk between worlds, this book is for you. I highly recommend The Magicians. Let’s just pray they don’t make a movie.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Alejandro González Iñárritu's Biutiful, movie review by Travis Hedge Coke




Starring Javier Bardem as a seriously damaged, dying, and lifelong criminal trying to do right by himself and his children, Biutiful is as cruel a sentimental film as can be. It wants to be nice, it drives its audience to want the world these characters inhabit to be nice, if only for awhile, but it rarely is. If not the cruelty of reality, the harshness of need, than the weight of guilt, the acid of guilt gets into everything and destroys any pure hope.

And, it it for that reason that it should be watched without ever hitting pause.

Biutiful
is as terminally and centrally damaged as its title. “Biutiful” itself, the misspelling, comes from Bardem's character, Uxbal, attempting to help his daughter with her English homework, and instead revealing his own ignorance and inadvertently passing it down to that daughter. We all probably pass as much of our missteps and ignorance to the next generation, just as we are like Uxbal in his flawed evaluation of those around him from his boss to his brother, seeing our hopes as realities or our fears, but rarely acknowledging that both are part of the true existence. The movie is made more difficult for us to sit through because of its earnestness.

It is not that Uxbal does not love his children, his family, lover, and colleagues and acquaintances enough, or that he does not wish them all the best. The guilt that he has been raised in, occupied with, is so strong that his acts of love, his acts of aggressive optimism are greatly infected with that guilt, with a lack of perspective inspired by avoiding the pain and perhaps the lessening of love that such a perspective could bring. We love easier and more fully, perhaps, when we focus on parts of a person, moments in a situation, and not the entirety. We certainly sleep easier.

And, that is why the movie is worth watching, beyond the immense beauty of the cinematography, the thorough elegance of its pacing and direction, and the idiosyncratically lifelike acting, it is an anti-cathartic film. It is a movie that uses our hope for escapism and our desire for a righting of wrongs to move us in our own lives and not simply with a swell of music and cinematic cues to cheering.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Atomic Angel Theory: Art by Donna Surles




ON VIEWING A COSMIC THREAD



Long before I had a name, I was a Surrealist.

Long before I grasped reality, I was a philosopher.

Long before I held a brush, I was a painter.

Long before I felt the applause, I was an actor.

Long before I touched fire, I was a musician.

Long before I became human, I had a soul.

Long before I sang, I knew my song.

Long before I could speak, I began my journey.


I could go on and on…I will go on and on…I was taught by my father how to draw books and beer cans, all the while “looking” at reality in a curious way. As I work on a piece, I experiment with mediums, surfaces, found objects, and of course, color.

As I journey I study with magical artists and musicians. Each of them gives me a piece of the dream that holds my work together. In return I give them a true vision of the dream. My direct focus is on the Communications influence on what we know as civilization and the directions those influences are preparing us to journey. We are a small part of the entire structure, but the impact that we as individuals have on it is astounding.

My never-ending journey through visions of the dream brings me here the weave the universal knowledge on a canvas of space and time. As a writer…communicator…artist, I see in my past the paths that have led me here, and I will illustrate, words and images in a constant state of change, the force of life.

Thank you for subjecting yourself to this collection. “The invention of the game caused concern among the players, as this was the first time that live targets were used.” Please join us for supper. I learn, I teach and I reflect the passions of my identities.

(Check out Donna's website.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Book of Cthulu: Tales Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, reviewed by BL Kennedy


The Book of Cthulu: Tales Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft
Various Authors
Edited by Ross. E. Lockhart
Night Shade Books
San Francisco, CA
525 pgs
$15.99
ISBN: 978-1-59780-232-1





“The Black [words obscured by postmark] was fascinating—I must get a snap shot of him”.
--H.P. Lovecraft, Postcard to E. Hoffman Price, 7/23/1934


Okay, I admit it; I am addicted to everything about Howard Phillips Lovecraft, better known as the author of the Cthulu mythos, H.P. Lovecraft. You might say these are tales of tentacles, terror, and madness. And what’s even better, this book includes a whole bunch of mythos inspired stories that I have never had the opportunity to read, or stories I have read before, like Black Man with a Horn by T.E.D Kline, which still manages to crawl up my spine after at least ten years.

This book is handsomely put together, and edited by Ross E. Lockhart, and the stories are by the best authors in the genre, such as the late Michael Shea and the ever entertaining Joe Lansdale, what would a Cthulu anthology be without the work of Brian Lumley? I cannot tell you how much I truly enjoyed this wonderfully edited collection. If you have the chance to find a copy, either online or at your local bookstore, my advice is to grab it. It will be a secret between us. Happy horrors, babies.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Return of the Sorcerer by Clark Ashton Smith, reviewed by BL Kennedy




The Return of the Sorcerer: The Best of Clark Ashton Smith
Clark Ashton Smith
Edited by Robert Weinberg
Prime Books
347 pgs
$14.95
ISBN: 978-1-60701-209-2





We had been friends for a decade or more, and I knew Giles Angarth as well as anyone could purport to know him. Yet the thing was no less a mystery to me than to others at the time; and it is still a mystery.

Up until now, to find a collection of Clark Ashton Smith in any edition was a daunting task. Now a publisher called Prime has re-released some of Smith’s stories in this very handsome edition titled The Return of the Sorcerer: The Best of Clark Ashton Smith. I had first heard of Smith as a teenager reading the horror and science fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. I had heard of Smith through his association with Lovecraft, and there was the rumor that Lancer Books was going to publish four paperback editions of Clark Ashton Smith’s work, which indeed, they did. Copies of those collections are extremely hard to find today, even in some of the best used book stores.

But this edition of Smith’s work has some of his best stories. You can travel with the Return of the Sorcerer, and enter the City of the Singing Flame. You will meet the Enchantress. This is one of the best collections of Clark Ashton Smith’s work that I have ever seen. “During his lifetime (1893-1961), Clark Ashton Smith was best known as a poet and ladies man”: these are the opening lines of an excellent introduction by Author Gene Wolf. Throughout Smith’s life, we find that he was primarily known for his poetry and publishing a handful of short stories in pulp magazine such as Weird Tales. But these stories are so much more than mere horror and fantasy. The language that Smith employs is always poetic and illuminating to the sensitive reader. I cannot say enough as to how much I have enjoyed this collection. Whatever you have to do, get a copy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Frontera Bugalú CD by TJ-ENGLISH



One year ago this week I had the pleasure of producing and hosting an event in NYC called the Irish-Mexican Alliance. The night was designed to call attention to the plight of journalists, both Mexican and American, who put their lives on the line while attempting to report on the narco war in Mexico. We raised money for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which has set aside a special fund for legal representation of Mexican journalists forced to flee across the border into the U.S. seeking asylum from harassment, death threats and murder.

My interest in the issue came from reporting I had done in the Ciudad Juárez-El Paso borderland region for an article I wrote entitled NARCO AMERICANO that appeared in Playboy magazine (January, 2011.)

While in El Paso in the summer of 2010, at an outdoor plaza downtown, I happened to hear a local band called Frontera Bugalú. The band was relatively new, having been pieced together from a couple different local bands, but I was immediately struck by the originality and sabor of this band that mixed traditional cumbia (from Colombia) bugaloo (from New York City), and norteño music, which is specific to northern Mexico and the borderland region of South Texas and New Mexico. They also mixed in mambo and a few other Latin styles that were new to my ears. Led by the ubiquitous accordion of bandleader Kiko Rodríguez and the soaring vocals of Amalia Castro, they were fun and infectious, an eclectic mix of folkloric music, but with a sound and musical point-of-view that was very contemporary and hip.


MUSICAL INSPIRATION

I returned to NYC with the idea of devising a fundraising event that would call attention to the infernal narco war in Mexico. I also brought back the sounds of Frontera Bugalú in my head and in my heart. I knew that if we were to stage an event calling attention to the hardships being shouldered by people in the borderland of Northern Mexico and the Southwestern U.S., then it would need to have the appropriate soundtrack.

The Irish-Mexican Alliance event was sponsored by an organization called Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc, of which I am a co-founder and co-director. Earlier in 2010, we had organized a highly successful fundraising event for earthquake relief in Haiti. That event, called Island People Supporting Island People, created the template that we hoped to reproduce by using Irish and Irish American entertainers (musicians, bands, writers, and poets) mixed with the particular culture with whom we were interfacing for that event. For the Haiti event, we had some great Irish bands, both rock and traditional, on the bill alongside a muscular 20-member Haitian rara band that blew the roof off Connolly’s Pub in Times Square.

For the Irish-Mexican Alliance, again, we had some fantastic Irish music; a traditional Mexican mariachi band with members from around the NYC area; and, much to my delight, we were able to fly in all the way from El Paso the one and only Frontera Bugalú. Everyone in the room that night, which included not only Irish Americans but also activists from NY’s Latino Diaspora (Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Mexicans, etc.) marveled at hearing what we knew was an authentic voice of a very unique region of the U.S that is rarely represented in popular American culture.


THE NEW CD

All of this is a very discursive and round about way to inform you, dear reader, that Frontera Bugalú now has released its first CD, entitled simply FRONTERA BUGALÚ. If you happened to catch this band in NYC at the Irish-Mexican Alliance event, or if you are a fan of Latin dance music in all its many shadings, or simply a lover a great percussive instrumentation and vocals, than you must check out the new 7-track CD. You will want to be among the growing number of people who can honestly say, “I discovered this group! I have their very first CD!”

From the opening track, “Sácame a Bailar,” the band announces itself as something fresh and original. A cascading piano solo by Joel Osvaldo leads in to a brief duet with the harpist, Adrian Pérez, and then – bam! – the band’s signature instrument, the accordion, played by Kiko. The vocals are spare, as the entire 8-piece band coheres around a sultry, sensual groove that continues through every song of the CD, regardless of tempo.

“Embarazar” is a classic cumbia, with lyrics written and sung by Amalia, whose voice ranges from the folkloric to jazzy, with an extended scat (yes, you can scat in any language) right out of the Ella Fitzgerald playbook. On this cut and others, the musical transitions are tight, based around the funky Latin bass of Ramón Villa-Hernández and smoking percussion by Jesús Güereca (congas and timbales), Mykol Nelson (guiro), and Louis Speaking Eagle Sarellano (bataría.)


BOOTY SHAKING, CHICANO STYLE

Frontera Bugalú is, above all, a dance band. It is nearly impossible to listen to their music without moving, the rhythm taking hold of the body like a spectral spirit, as was certainly the case at the Irish-Mexican Alliance event in NY. The dance floor that night was a rainbow-colored, multi-cultural mix. In some ways, to get the full Bugalú experience you need to see the band live, but, on the other hand, the CD – with the benefit of studio time and multi-track recording – is layered with instrumentation and depth of sound not present at the live shows. This is most apparent on a cut like “Rompe Las Cadenas” – my favorite on the CD – which is rooted in Cuban son, familiar to most New Yorkers as salsa (and I don’t mean the condiment!)

Without being preachy or pedantic, Frontera Bugalú is, by nature, a political band. Comprised mostly of Chicanos, they have chosen to preserve certain cultural traditions in their music, to honor those traditions, to promote and celebrate them, which is, by its very nature, a political statement. The fact that they can do this and still be, first and foremost, a contemporary party band dedicated to the principles of rhythm and booty shaking, is a testament to the power of the music. Frontera Bugalú is a celebration of life in the most universal sense, meditative music, hypnotic, designed to inhabit the spirit, work its way through the body, and bring about a physical expression on the dance floor that will leave you with the sweet kiss of human perspiration on your brow.

To listen to a few tracks and to purchase FRONTERA Bhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifUGALÚ, as a CD or a computer download, go to the following link: http://frhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifonterabugalu.bandcamp.com/

Check out T.J on Jon Stewart Show talking about his latest book:

http://www.myvidster.com/video/1311894/TJ_English_The_Daily_Show_with_Jon_Stewart_0

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baum by Rebecca Loncraine


The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baum

Rebecca Loncraine

Gotham Books

New York, NY

327 pgs

$28.00

ISBN: 978-1-592-4-449-0




Reviewed by BL Kennedy

In my memory, there isn’t a time before The Wizard of OZ. I still have my battered old copy of the book, which is illustrated with particular and unforgettable drawings. When I leaf through them now, as I did so often as a child, it’s as though the pictures are a map or a pathway back to childhood itself.

I am a fan of Oz; not the doctor, but Oz, the land. You know, munchkins, Tin Men, Scarecrows, Cowardly Lions, one shyster Wizard, and one annoying girl. So I guess what I’m saying is that I love the books of L. Frank Baum. So it was a real treat for me to be a library sale and find this biography The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baum.

Up until now, I had only read the books, and knew some but very little of Baum’s actual life. So this book, for me, has been one of the most enjoyable reads that I have ever had with an author as subject matter. That is not to say I have not enjoyed other biographies of other writers; but this book, because of my love for Oz, holds a special place. So if you are so inclined to purchase an enjoyable read,I would suggest you find a copy of The Real Wizard of Oz. If you can find the book at your local bookstore, find a copy at the library. This is a must read for anybody who is curious of or a fan of the Yellow Brick Road.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Short Tails by Yuriy Tarnawsky, reviewed by BL Kennedy


Short Tails

Yuriy Tarnawsky

Journal of Experimental Fiction

Geneva, IL

321 pgs

ISBN: 978-1884-0974-2-3






One day he closes his left eye and notices that he doesn’t see worse but, rather, better.

A body gradually shrinks to an eye that sees its own end. A man screams with pain as if singing and Indian Raga to entertain others for pittance. Another man tries to force his body to adapt the shape of a cube because it seems witty.

Short Tails by Yuriy Tarnawsky is another one of those fabulous collections from the Journal of Experimental Fiction, who, in my opinion, is sitting on the forefront of contemporary American literature. In these short prose pieces, Tarnawsky seems to seduce the reader in his performance of the absurd. I like this collection, and I truly like the writing style of its author. I do not know exactly how one finds books from the Journal of Experimental Fiction.

I highly recommend this volume. I think that Yuriy Tarnawsky is an author that you’re gonna have to watch for. I see many positive doors opening for him in the future. If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, the only way I know is to go to the website www.experimentalfiction.com , or even write the publishers at

The Journal of Experimental Fiction

12 Simpson Street, Apartment D
Geneva, Illinois 60134

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and its Quest to Spread Peace, Love and ACID to the World


Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and its Quest to Spread Peace, Love and ACID to the World

Nicolas Schou

St. Martin’s Press

New York, NY

206 pgs

$24.99

ISBN: 978-312-55183-4




Reviewed by BL Kennedy


Eleven years ago an unusual story appeared in OC Weekly, the alternative newspaper in Orange County, California, where I work as a staff writer. It concerned a three day rock festival in Laguna Canyon that began on Christmas Day 1970. The article “Laguna on Acid” by Bob Emmers, briefly noted that a mysterious group of hippie drug smugglers who were friends with Timothy Leary and known as the Brotherhood of Eternal Love had used a cargo plane to drop thousands of tablets of LSB over a crowd of twenty five thousand.

Okay, kiddies, it’s back to the sixties, and there are a few stories in the annals of American Counterculture that are as intriguing or dramatic as that of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. These guys were dubbed “the hippie mafia”. The Brotherhood began in the mid 1960s as a small band of peace loving , adventure seeking surfers in Southern California, who, after discovering LSD, took to Timothy Leary’s mantra of “Turn on, tune in, and drop out.” They resolved to make that vision a reality by becoming the biggest group of acid dealers and hashish smugglers in the nation, providing the fuel for the psychedelic revolution in the process.

I dunno, call me kinda nostalgic, being the big time acid head in my youth, but Orange Sunshine reads so much like a classic Thomas Pynchon novel, filled with mind bending and hilarious tales of a secret society of mystic surfers who bombed Southern California with LSD. The book is literally a roller coaster ride through many of the Brotherhood’s smuggling adventures, and also provides hilarious details into daily life in Dodge City. Nicholas Schou has truly uncovered a bizarre piece of American History that seems to come straight outta easy rider, except this shit really happened.

So, in conclusion, if you wanna time travel, if you want to revisit those LSD days of your youth (and I’m primarily talking about my generation), I highly recommend Orange Sunshine. This is one hell of an ass kick and fun filled read. So buy it. In-joke has it that if you lick the third paragraph of page 143, you’ll get off.

Orange Sunshine Preview @ Kickstarter from William Kirkley on Vimeo.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rectangular Stacks of Lightning by Henry Denander, reviewed by BL Kennedy


Rectangular Stacks of Lightning

Henry Denander

Ringvagen 8

Stockholm, Sweden

$12.00





I am consistently impressed by the work of Henry Denander. This little book Rectangular Stacks of Lightning: Watercolors by Henry Denander, is just a fabulous treat. Mr. Denander is not only an artist, but in the tradition of Kenneth Patchen, he works in the unique area of picture poems. This pocket sized book is a beautiful collection of Mr. Denander’s craft, both in the literal sense and the artistic. I have to admit my surprise upon receiving it in the mail, and the delight of having such a beautiful collection of artwork upon which to meditate. If you are familiar with any of the work of Henry Denander, then you know what I’m talking about. This book is an absolute treat which causes the reader to delve deeply into the artwork and poems enclosed. If you have the opportunity to purchase a copy of this limited edition, I would get on my computer and do so immediately.
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