Friday, October 29, 2010

What's that you're wearing?

In India, as of 2010, a small percentage of even the urban population dress up like they were going to be on Michael Jackson's Thriller remake for Halloween, but a good number do too.  And it is not like every one needs to come in star wars slave costumes either.  Flavors change from year to year and it is fun to get ready for.

You can dress me up as a robber, but I won't be in disguise.  Only love is a robber, and he lives within your eyes, ooh ee ooh.

You can dress me up as a sailor but I'll never run to sea.  As long as your love is available to me, what do I do with a sea of blue.  Ooh ee ooh.

You can dress me up as a soldier, but I wouldn't know what for.  I was the one who told you he loved you, don't want to go to another war.  No, no, no.

Paul McCartney, Dress Me Up As A Robber from Tug Of War. (released 1982, work started on it 1980)

Today the pumpkin patch, tomorrow the turkey!!

Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to a (mostly idle) "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. In some parts of Scotland children still go guising. In this custom the child performs some sort of trick, i.e. sings a song or tells a ghost story, to earn their treats.

I usually end up watching reruns of my childhood horror classics if there are any good ones on tv.  Trash like Moustapha Akkad or the Jason series.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don McLean's Vincent

 American Pie (180 Gram Audiophile Vinyl)

A bitter/sweet romance of Vincent Van Gogh with his life painted by Don McLean and his acoustic guitar. Released in October 1971, Vincent is a stanza out of the poetic album (American Pie). From the introductory track (American Pie) that swoops you over with the jive-friendly beat and an easy strumming guitar , the album simmers down to an embracing silence with a heartfelt emotion making its way out of the shell. The smooth varnish of Don’s vocals follows the shy notes played on his mystic treasure. The song journeys through the different shades of Van Gogh’s painted life. From his paintings to his traumas, from the people around him to his state of disbelief.

Van Gogh and the Colors of the NightRavensburger Van Gogh, Café Terrace at Night - 1500 Piece PuzzleVincent Van Gogh (Vase with Twelve Sunflowers ) Art Poster Print - 13x19Vincent Van Gogh (Cypresses) Art Poster Print - 13x19Self-Portrait 11 By Vincent Van Gogh Tile TrivetVincent Van Gogh Self Portrait Decorative Switchplate CoverVincent Willem van Gogh (Self-Portrait with Straw Hat) Art Poster Print - 11x17

This is a must hear song, and the lines above are from sundry anna over at not just junk by the bay and his excellent writing on mumbai music.  The Vincent post is here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Dazu Rock Carvings

The Dazu Rock Carvings, located in the southeast portion of the Sichuan Basin in China, is a stunning example of grotto art dating back to the 7th century. Containing more than 50,000 statues and over 100,000 other figures, it is one of the most fabulous examples of archaeological treasure listed as a World Heritage Site, and beautifully illustrate the daily life of 9th to 13th century China.


Read More about The Dazu Rock Carvings

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nichiren Daishonin

Nichiren Daishonin (February 16, 1222 – October 13, 1282) with his life and work, established the simple truth that access to the means of attaining enlightenment was public domain and needed no priests or organization or commission agents.

Through his early years, he studied the Buddhist commentaries available to him, and in the face of hostility to his disagreements with the prevailing schools of buddhism in the 13th century, he established what we now know as Nichiren buddhism, spearheaded globally today by the SGI with about 20 million practitioners.

While commenting at length on the correct teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha as contained in the Lotus Sutra, he focused on Buddhahood not only being accessible but contained by default within all living beings.  My having been able to encounter his writing in this lifetime is the greatest benefit I can ever imagine receiving.  I trust you will find out more about him, a lot of my references to him are scattered in my writing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Omar Mukhtar: The Lion of The Desert

Moustapha Akkad was working on his next big project, The Lion of the Desert when he teamed up with director John Carpenter in 1977 to produce Halloween, a low budget babysitter meets slasher film with a difference, a tip of the hat to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (including Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Janet Leigh who starred in Psycho). No one could have imagined the success that this film would have at the box office. The franchise generated seven sequels, none of them notable for artistic excellence or social relevance, but all of them making money.

While often dismissed as inconsequential pandering to teenage pop sensibilities, the Halloween series does address some basic issues about interpretation of morality and gender politics.

Omar Mukhtar: The Lion of the Desert was released in 1981. This film will remain one that made a major impression on me as a teenager whose role models were from the 60s and who had to fit into the senseless consumerism of the 80s and 90s.  Read more about the film by clicking here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Janis Joplin, a Blue deeper

When I first got hold of the Cheap Thrills album, I had never seen any album art that came close to it.  For those not familiar with LPs, these were large hard board sleeves, often with additional sleeves, printed or plain, paper or polythene, inside, and within that lay the black vinyl record, with its label which also was often used as part of the artists creative expression.  Like CD covers and booklets, these albums were another avenue to express what the band or singer wanted to convey through the album itself.  During the 60s and 70s, these album covers often became very strong statements of personal belief.  We had seen the likes of Sticky Fingers and Bitches Brew, but this was something else.  Straight out of pages of EC Comics, the cover art by Robert Crumb of Fritz the Cat fame (Harvey Kurtzman actually published Crumb’s work at one point), set the tone by demolishing any expectation that one might have had.  The music set out as standard 60s psychedelic rock till Janis sang.  
 
John Lennon received Janis Joplin’s gift for his 30th birthday after she died on October 4, 1970.  Along with Mercedes Benz, her recording of Happy Trails to send to Lennon for his birthday about a week away, was the last song she would sing.  Forever plagued with a poor self image and filled with distrust and doubt, she died without knowing that her songs would live on, to be discovered and re-discovered, to be revered and imitated, for generations to come. 

Read more about Joplin.

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