Still punk after all these years...one of the original punk provocateurs, Vivienne Westwood, co-owner of the London boutique Sex together with Malcolm McLaren, where the punk scene incubated...now a world famous designer...
September 9, 2015, the 74-year old, as part of a protest against fracking, drives a tank through David Cameron's constituency in Oxfordshire to his home in Chadlington.
Wonderful article in the LA Review of Books, by Loren Glass (May 7, 2015).
Some key quotes:
The Beats were the first generation of writers for whom cannabis was
central, both to the experiences they recounted and to the prose style
in which those experiences were rendered (and, insofar as Kerouac,
Ginsberg, and Burroughs frequently wrote while stoned, to their
compositional methods as well). Furthermore, cannabis was central to the
cross-cultural contacts, not only in Mexico but in the African-American
community as well, that informed their countercultural sensibilities...
The central figure for both the culture and the circulation of cannabis
in the United States prior to its countercultural apotheosis is the jazz
clarinetist Mezz Mezzrow, born Milton Mesirow in Chicago in 1899, who
became the principal supplier of Mexican marijuana to Harlem in the
Mezzrow, according to Wolfe [who collaborated with Mezzrow on his autobiography], “came to believe he had actually,
physically, turned black,” and is both an underappreciated inaugural
example of Norman Mailer’s “White Negro” and a crucial antecedent to the
Beat fascination with jazz and African-American culture more generally.
Really the Blues, which went through numerous printings and
was read by all the Beats, reveals how crucial marijuana use was to this
well-known cross-cultural and, for the most part, homo-social complex...
Most significantly, though, Really the Blues illustrates a
somewhat underappreciated claim in “The White Negro”: there Mailer calls
marijuana the “wedding ring” in the interracial marriage whose “child
was the language of Hip"...Mezzrow represents jive as emerging due to cannabis, which is why
much of its vocabulary refers to the substance that at least partially
Marijuana was also crucial to the music...
Marijuana also facilitated cultural exchange...
Mezzrow’s marijuana network was legal until 1937 when, after aggressive
lobbying on the part of Commissioner of the Bureau of Narcotics Harry
Anslinger, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act, making cannabis
illegal across the United States. Soon after, in 1940, Mezzrow was
arrested. In jail, he insisted on being housed with the African-American
inmates, with whom he promptly formed an interracial band. Their
jamming was enhanced by marijuana smuggled into the jail by
Mexican-American WPA workers running a sewer pipe under the building...
...as Really the Blues amply documents, cannabis was crucial in
establishing the social networks, cultural contacts, insider
vocabularies, aesthetic styles, and compositional techniques that the
Beats would introduce by way of the counterculture into the American
mainstream. Cannabis was central to, as Mezzrow put it, “a whole new
These would appear to be the most anodyne of pop culture artifacts, the antithesis of what would cause a riot. I mean, Gidget?
A Summer Place?
Jazz on a Summer's Day? (A documentary of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival.)
An article in the Wall Street Journal called "Riot in Newport" (July 1, 2010), explains.
As for Jazz on a Summer's Day: 'Filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, "Jazz on a Summer's Day" was
released in late March 1960. The color documentary glamorized jazz and
its hip audience, inadvertently creating the impression that seating was
limitless and free.' It does look terminally cool, especially the footage of Anita O'Day (above). To me, that's the most memorable segment of the film.
As for the other two films: 'Also at movie houses that spring was "A Summer Place," starring Troy
Donahue and Sandra Dee as teenage lovers rebelling against hypocritical
parents. Percy Faith's yearning instrumental, "Theme From a Summer
Place," was No. 1 on Billboard's pop-singles chart for a staggering nine
And then there was "Gidget." Released a year earlier, the
film starred Sandra Dee and was the first in a series of popular
teens-know-best beach films. While the Beach Boys' first hit song was
still nearly two years off, "Gidget" instantly established the beach as a
teenage proving ground.'
According to Dangerous Minds: In this fine documentary directed by Don Letts (who knows a thing or
two about punk rock) a bunch of aging punkers talk about the roots of
the punk scene and their love of the music they make. There’s not much
new here but it’s good to see Steve Jones, Pete Shelley, Howard Devoto,
Siouxsie Sioux, Captain Sensible, Mick Jones Jones,David Johansen, Jello
Biafra, Wayne Kramer, Thurston Moore, Legs McNeil and Tommy Ramone,
among many others, wax poetic about the music explosion that was
detonated in the mid-70s. It’s amazing how many survived. And deeply
saddening that since this film was made in 2005 we’re down to zero
“Punk is not mohawks and safety pins. It’s an attitude and a spirit, with a lineage and tradition.” Don Letts.
Initially, the crisis was portrayed as a local story, a reflection of
New York and its “mongrel” population, liberal social policies,
profligate spending, and powerful unions. But the means of its
resolution became a template for the imposition of neoliberal policies
around the world. Ruling elites took seriously the call to “think
globally, act locally,” making a municipal finance problem into an event
of world significance.
In Austin last week, the salty, cheesy wonder of Doritos was brought to
you by the sweet, uplifting allure of Lady Gaga. Or was it the other way
In a streamed world where music itself has very little value, selling out is far from looked down upon, it’s the goal...
consumer wants all the music that he or she desires — on demand, at a
cost of zero or close to it — and we now live in that perfect world.
doesn’t feel perfect, though. At this year’s festival, historically a
place of artistic idiosyncrasy, music labels were an afterthought and
big brands owned the joint. Venues were decked out with a riot of
corporate logos, and the conference’s legacy as a place where baby bands
played their little hearts out to be discovered seemed quaint in a week
in which Jay Z and Kanye West kicked it for Samsung, Coldplay headlined
for Apple’s iTunes and Tyler, the Creator played a showcase for
new order evolved because when music moved into the cloud, not much of
the revenue came with it. CD sales are a fraction of what they once
were, and the micropayments from streaming services have yet to amount
to anything meaningful...
Given that Bob Dylan, of all people, recently made a big-money commercial
for Chrysler, none of this is surprising, but it still has
implications. No one will miss the stranglehold the large music labels
had on the industry, but having shoe and snack food companies decide
what is worthy could strangle the new, unruly impulses that allow the
music business to prosper...
For South by Southwest, Lady Gaga filmed something of an infomercial for
Doritos, urging people to use the hashtag #boldstage and submit a video
of themselves doing something “bold” to compete for access to her performance...
could say it was a new low, but last year, I saw Public Enemy, musical
heroes of my youth, perform “Fight the Power” inside a mock Doritos
her keynote address on Friday, Lady Gaga thanked Doritos and said
plainly, “Without sponsorships, without all these people supporting us,
we won’t have any more festivals because record labels don’t have any”
Brownstein, the star of “Portlandia” who played in the rock band
Sleater-Kinney for years, was in town with her co-star Fred Armisen to
speak on a panel. Like many, she marveled at the number of brands that
wallpapered the festival.
almost felt like I was in festival-land and the bands were there as
part of the theme park,” she said. “Still, it’s good there is a physical
place where people gather to watch music because so much of it seems to
come from nowhere at a cost of nothing”...
“The willingness of artists to partner with brands happened because
revenues dried up from physical discs,” [Peter Gannon] said. “The labels are not
going to get a lot of sympathy because they were not very good to
artists. At least when a brand is involved, there is an understanding
that we are borrowing the cachet that the artist has built and we try to
make high-quality projects that give value to both the client and the