Saturday, January 31, 2009

how do I watch thee, let me count the ways

Soaked to the bone in a cathode sea where the furthest waters include reruns of Hawaiian Eye and Car 54, Where Are You?, I'm still swimming in anything broadcast or online hosting can slosh about.

In the Homerically Simpsonian way of a rosy-fingered dawn being found in some old test pattern, I see in digital TV's birth some fringe enjoyment.

Much like UHF channels that seemed constantly up for grabs (like the early nineties' incarnations of the Boston area channel 68--first as a flagship station for the Christian Science Monitor and then as a part of Boston University [WABU]), the spare lo-res digital channels seems another bit of culture in the margins.

The .2 SD channel of WJAR Channel 10, the NBC affiliate in Providence/New Bedford, was for a while just a weather channel with occasional feeds of local and national forecasts.

Now it's started running cool old reruns on what it calls the Retro Television Network (RTN).

Love the '80s? There's the A-Team & Magnum P.I.

Crave something older? There's The Rockford Files and Emergency!

Get back even further to Ironside, It Takes a Thief, Adam-12 and Dragnet. And awaiting in the still & distant waters of TV syndication are Wagon Train, Bachelor Father and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

One can float in this for quite some time (esp. when trying to recover from a bad cold).

Being older shows they allow less ad time. And it's funky if oft repeated ads for Elvis and Johnny Cash gospel CDs or cheap hearing amplifiers. Or PSAs with Suze Orman speaking for the FDIC or Howie Mandel for Adult ADHD awareness.

In this time of HD/Surround saturation, who can resist all that?

Join the truly TV addicted, the Luddite and the shut-in.

Swim in that from whence all pixels flow.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Catherine Carter gives artist talk @ Opening Lines

Above is one of several artist talks presented last Sunday at the Opening Lines show at the New Art Center in Newton, MA.

There's more about the show here. A review in the Boston Globe.

And this video overview of the show from a MetroWest Daily News article:

clearly visible

Two new video favorites . . .

Paco Camino brings on the Lite Brite ad from the '70s.

FABULON takes it to the Top of the Pops with Martha and the Muffins doing "Echo Beach".

The song's signature chorused guitar riff I think I somewhat snagged in gut-bucket fashion here. Or not, who knows.

And meantime, I'm Learning To Share! is all about the groundhogs (who I fully expect to see--when the snow melts) and Spring of '62.

In lieu of anything not cold & white, one can follow the vintage breadcrumbs to reruns that may yet prove to be a powerful boost to the immune system.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

the 5 year old within asks

I'm sure if this crossed my mind, it has crossed a few others. All the same, I'll take the credit and the blame:

Q: What is the most presidential green vegetable?

A: Broccoli Obama.

what is our gamelan?

With a new president, our new president now sworn in, there are all sorts of questions and notions going forward.

My meme to offer rides the back of the previous post:

What is our gamelan?

Or, if you prefer, your gamelan, or mine?

(Again, leave it to Wikipedia to provide the contextual details.)

I'm still guessing as to mine, but the notion overall is:

Where for anyone does the creativity of one join in with and foment the creativity of many? Where does anyone go again and again, day-to-day or whenever possible, to offer the fruits of who she or he is to comprise an even broader harvest?

This is humbly presented as an organizing question, something that may lack any one clear or definite answer but will present any number of operative principles or best next actions.

The metaphor means to offer both community and play, structure and variation.

With the let's get together and work things out themes of late, we may want to whistle while we work. Or work as we whistle.

The whistling itself maybe being the work. The play that moves us forward.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I sing the gamelan electric

Okay, not me . . . It's The Music of Sound that's groovin' on Gamelantron, a MIDI-controlled robotic gamelan created by Zemi17 (aka Aaron Taylor Kuffner). The post has cool links to video, Gamelatron's MySpace (which, yes, is recommended).

Briefly raining on the cool parade, I would mention that in my vague understanding of the culture of Gamelan performance in its native Indonesia many community performers practice and play their various interlocking parts together in order to form a complex & shimmering musical unity. Being that we have laptops and solenoids galore, leave it to the West to rig it all up to one person's sequenced control.

That said, I'm listening to and digging what the oneness of Zemi17 is laying down on the MySpace tracks. However many people are playing, I'm a gamelan fan.

As a very amateur garage muso/person who thinks too much, I've often wondered about (tho' have yet to read about) the advent of the drum kit.

Again, much like the traditional, non-robocized gamelan, the drums within the modern drum kit were once played by several individuals. Even nowadays, think of the marching band with a bass drum player, a snare drummer, someone playing cymbals, and so on. Before the drum kit was set before the coordinated limbs of a single drummer, the deal seemed to be one drum to a person and many people playing together.

Jus' sayin': As in the case of so many feats of technological leverage, more & more sound is made and/or marshalled by a single person.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

stepping (down) off the grid

If life beneath the high tension wires is not for you, maybe let La Monte Young (via Singer-Saints) bring it down a little closer to home.

grid worthy

InfraNet Lab posts about the electrical power grid both as big damn infrastructure and the natural world's marginal respite from humanity.

Also mentioned is the On The Grid photo show ongoing in Providence RI, which seems more than a good case for the latter.

My agoraphobic, Stilgoe-esque reaction is that the world is too much with us sentient bipeds as well.

If you too are ready to switch off/on/out/whatever, you'll see me there. But only if I don't see you first.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

way too many dead folk

Pat Hingle . . .

Eartha Kitt, on Christmas Day, of all days . . .

Now Patrick McGoohan. Remembered on PCL LinkDump. And on Deadlicious with plenty of Prisoner related & other follow up.

Don't anyone else go dyin' if you know what's good for ya . . .

my cathode youth vol. 2

Looking for the theme to It Takes A Thief, I fell further back into the snowy standard def. recollections of way too much TV viewing.

At Mark Little's MyThemes.TV, there's a scary amount of TV themes awaiting. The Prisoner, F Troop, Petticoat Junction or whatever'll match your nostalgia jones is there.

Found via a collection of It Takes A Thief opening clips on mystery writer Chris Well's blog, Learning Curve.

And now this gratuitous embed of the opening credits to Cimarron Strip courtesy saishutu . . .

Monday, January 12, 2009

my cathode youth

Some say it takes a village to raise a child.

I'd say It Takes a Thief . . .

Meaning the late '60s/early '70s TV show starring Robert Wagner (the above epi featuring none other than Susan Saint James).

And co-starring Malachi Throne, an oft-time heavy who had indeed played the heaviest of such, Niccolo Machiavelli, jus' y'know hanging out in the American Civil War in this episode of The Time Tunnel:

Anyway, in It Takes a Thief, Malachi works for Uncle Sam and has Robt. Wagner doing the same with cool theme music, international locales and so on.

And if the online rerun gods are kind, maybe they'll get around to posting my favorite ancient TV memory.

A third season episode in which nogoodniks force Marilyn McCoo of The Fifth Dimension to add a trippy coda to "One Less Bell to Answer" that will cause a glass sculpture to shatter and kill some dude they want dead.

Looking forward to that . . .

Saturday, January 10, 2009

the days of wine & Peggy Lipton

While continuing to (sort of) recover from a bad chest cold/flu/Lord-knows-whatever, I deplete's precious supply of Psych and Burn Notice reruns (my spouse, in like condition, reads about cholera stricken London).

Time for serious anti-viral entertainment . . .

An episode of Ironside featuring Lee Grant and a Quincy Jones cameo (not just his excellent theme music).

Having avoided respiratory distress for some years, I've only now realized that Barbara Anderson, who played Ironside's cop gal friday, also did a great bit on Star Trek as the wiggy daughter of a mass murderer turned Shakespearian actor. She puts the high gloss on psychotic break.

Meanwhile, Raymond Burr seems not surly enough by half in these less gentle, House-crazy times, but suffice it to say he's knocking it out to the cheap seats circa 1967. And doing it for the orchids.