Creative Culture Journal

The best site on the web for what is real in the world of arts & entertainment

Volume 2 - 2021

SXSW Breakouts

 In this edition, the CCJ takes a look at some of the acts on this year's virtual SXSW Music Festival bill that strike us as particularly appealing. See videos and read more at SXSW 2021 - CCJ Reviews.

Sir Paul Stories

 

For those "Paul is Dead" conspiracy people out there, who have been living off an expectation of pending disclosure (similar to what UFO people are expecting in their realm), there are two prominent projects soon to appear that seem designed to ensure Paul McCartney's continued reality (whatever it is). 

"Lord of the Rings" Producer/Director Peter Jackson will be premiering his re-edited version of the Beatles' "Let It Be" film, using 1969 footage filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. And Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, who is a professor at Princeton and for years was Poetry Editor at the New Yorker magazine, is working on a book with McCartney. (Muldoon has given way at the New Yorker to Kevin Young, who is the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.) 

Peter Jackson's stated purpose in re-imagining the "Let It Be" sessions is to re-tell the story, which McCartney conspiracy people argue Sir Paul has been doing for years. The Lindsay-Hogg film left viewers with the sense that they had witnessed the melt-down of a band that had risen to fame on the extraordinary chemistry that existed among the Fab Four. That energy was clearly absent from the "Let It Be" film. It was as if refugees from Sgt. Peppers were struggling to figure out how to put a band together. 

The Jackson film (“The Beatles: Get Back”) tells us that "Let It Be" got it all wrong, leaving folks with a false impression for the "Let It Be" sessions were a really happy time. The Lindsay-Hogg film was just edited in an unfunny way. 

The Muldoon/McCartney project is called “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present”, which will be McCartney telling his life story through his song lyrics. Paul is Dead people will be paying close attention to McCartney's stories around songs written between 1956 and 1966, as they will feel certain those were written by "biological Paul", "the cute Beatle" whose songwriting ended in 1966 with a car crash. 

Leaning toward the likelihood that both of these projects are pure spin, I don't think Sir Paul is planning on ripping off his mask and revealing himself anytime soon. Mike Williams, Tina Foster, and the rest of the sizeable army of PID authors may be broken-hearted, though there may be a deception there that for them will be the gift that keeps on giving.

Apps for Communicating the Wonder that is You

Did you ever look at the options in social media for communicating whatever it is you have to communicate and wonder which are the most effective?

According to Kristen Lucas, talent manager at Bohemia Group, and event producer Tara Gore the ones that work best for filmmakers, actors, musicians, and promotors of same, are Clubhouse, Instagram, Twitter, Stage 32, IMDB, and LinkedIn. 

Clubhouse is the new app (audio) of the bunch, gaining popularity during the Covid-19 crisis as an invitation-only platform. You need a friend to invite you to join, and when you join you get to accept two others. That filtering device, mimicked by Twitter with its Twitter Spaces, separates the in-crowd from the hoi polloi. Clubhouse has become popular among celebrities, but a couple open source variations on GitHub may socialize the whole thing. The app has 10 million users after year one.

Instagram, with 140 million users in the U.S., covers the association through pictures aspect of promotions. You post images intended to generate likes and so generate a community of the like-minded.

Twitter works for celebrities around whom there is a curiousity factor, but hard to imagine that it works to promote anything else. I could be wrong, ask Kristen and Tara who sell seminars on the subject.

LinkedIn is that space in which civil engineers mix with musicians in a way that seems to make everyone a job applicant. Some folks use LinkedIn as a commentary platform, but it is word-limited and doesn't strike me as a great tool for any other than maintstream worker bees. Again, Kristen and Tara have apparently found ways to make it work for the creative community.

IMDB is the website where people go for information on cast members in movies, but anyone can add their own page for a fee:  $19.99 a month or $149.99 a year for an "individual", probably as opposed to a page launched to provide information about a specific feature. Just guessing.

Lastly, Stage 32 is a site for independent filmmakers, craftspersons, actors, and other, and it has numerous contributors who offer advice through blogs. They also devote a great deal of space to promoting seminars, which is where I got this information.      

  

PIANO CONCERTO NO. 9 (MOZART)

I wish I could find an in-depth piece written by someone who took a little time to dissect this ridiculously brilliant work by Mozart. 

I was just listening to it on Sirius XM, performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, and I grinned and laughed aloud through the whole first part, was held breathless through the Andantino second section, and found the third as majestic and freeing as anything I have ever heard. The whole thing is endlessly inventive, corny in all kinds of ways, thick with personality(s), and often wonderfully funny. 

I have no idea what Mozart was thinking when he wrote the piece in 1777, but much of it sounds to me like a royal sendup, particularly the Allegro. That feels to me like a conversation between an impetuous and ornery youth and a scolding authority figure. It is the kind of thing Disney animated so effectively in Fantasia. 

I believe the pianist, on the recording I listened to, is a young Russian named Daniil Trifonov, who to my ear has a sense for the sublime so finely tuned that it hurts. He has huge feeling, not in a corny dramatic way, because that wouldn’t be Mozart, but in a humanly emotional way that teases your heart strings with your own sense of anticipation. He is absolutely intoxicating. 

I am not a knowledgeable fan of classical music, but I have been playing instruments and writing music for over 50 years, so feel sort of at ease with my own insight, and I can’t imagine achieving what Trifonov has with this Mozart piece. 

It isn’t hard to imagine why some people equate Mozart with the voice of God, not that he was omnipotent but rather that he was completely in touch with those magical vibrations that rule the universe and somehow fire the neural impulses. Trifonov’s ability to translate this makes me quiver, and I can’t say that much of music ever does that to me.

Mozart supposedly was commissioned to write the piece for a dancer friend of his, who apparently was also an accomplished pianist. I am trying to imagine him showing up and saying, “Hey, I wrote you a little something” and this girl unfolding the rolled-up sheets of music and beginning to play. It is beyond my comprehension. I can’t believe anyone can play the piano with the uber personality of Trifonov, which must have matched Mozart’s own extreme brio. 

This YouTube isn't the best, but if you get a chance, find this recording and listen on good equipment. It is just ridiculous the degree to which it will make you believe in the full wonder and capacity of humans.

Corey Landis Gets Gothic

 Have you seen the new Corey Landis video?

Many know Landis from his "Five Hour Energy" commercials, or from the many roles he has played in low-budget thriller flicks on the ScyFy Channel, in independent films, and internet projects . Or some may even recall his brief but effective turn on "That 70s Show" as the young Red Forman.

Those are all significant resume credits in the incredibly competitive L.A. entertainment world,   but for my money the Corey Landis that deserves the greatest notice is the one who is the singer/songwriter. He has done spectacular work on four LPs, writing and performing beautiful ballads and witty ditties    , but in his latest outing - with this video "Animal", done as a member of Black Angel - Landis takes a sharp right into a role in which he has cast himself against character in terms of his established musical persona.      

Respected as a piano man in the Billy Joel tradition, he dives into early MTV mode with "Animal", which has the edge of Billy Idol coupled with the theatricality of The Cure. Is he revealing a side to himself that has always been there? (He has demonstrated a fondness for David Bowie.) Or is this simply a creative force expressing himself in a way different than he has before, just stretching a bit, like good actors do?  

    Check out Corey's impressive resume and  find his albums on Amazon and elsewhere.

Burning Curtains

The folks over at Noisy Ghost PR say "Put this debut album on and you will hear the past 40 years of rock poured into a blender on high, ghosts swirling into future forms. Inhale each song, let the smoke pass through the lungs and live in the heart, exhaling little at a time".

Wow, that's poetic. If you are an artists looking for a promotions team, you'd do well to check out Noisy Ghost. Here they are promoting the San Francisco Bay Area band Burning Curtains, not to be confused with The Burning Curtains from Manchester, England.   The Californians do have a certain sound that to my ears synthesizes the sounds coming out of the Central Valley 20 years ago. That's not a bad thing.  

 

rickoLus

 

 

Northeast Florida singer-songwriter rickoLus has a new LP, Bones, which adds to his ouevre of nine previous releases (EPs and full-length).

He is self-produced and mostly his own studio band, playing most of what you hear on his recordings. He has an authentic quality in his songwriting and performance style.

Collaborations with notable peers like Radical Face, Ceschi Ramos, and Bleubird, along with solo U.S. and European tours, have kept the 40-year-old musician constantly on record and perpetually on the road. 


Why Sci Fi?

Writing for the Script website, Jenna Avery makes a compelling case for for the unique value of science fiction.

She quotes Arthur Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey):   "There's no real objection to escapism, in the right places... We all want to escape occasionally. But science fiction is often very far from escapism, in fact you might say that science fiction is escape into reality... It's a fiction which does concern itself with real issues: the origin of man; our future. In fact I can't think of any form of literature which is more concerned with real issues, reality."

Avery makes these points:

 1. Sci-fi makes us think, wonder, and ask what if and why.

 2. Sci-fi allows us to ask hard questions about gender and racial equality and how we treat each other.

 3. Sci-fi looks ahead to the future and asks, is this where we want to end up?

Read the article at Script

10 Electric Guitar Brands Compared and Explained

Beginner Guitar HQ is a website focused on educating those getting started on learning to play the instrument. They offer instruction, overviews of guitar accessories, and profiles of the "best" guitarists and guitars. 

The content of the site is varied, in part pitched to novices, and overview in nature, but also including rig reviews of top players, so there is depth. Players at any level might enjoy reading through their article "The 10 Best Electric Guitar Brands, Compared and Explained". One can take exception with some of their insights, and their 10 best list is all about the most commercial properties, but who doesn't love to read about guitars?  

Trash Theory

The CCJ offers a sincere shout out to the Trash Theory YouTube channel. The music essay channel does an entertaining and knowledgeable job of dissecting elements of pop culture. They explore such consternations as "How Goth Became Goth" and "The Smirking Revenge of the Sisters of Mercy & THIS CORROSION". You would likely need to be a music nerd to care, but the U.K. project is nicely done and has an authoritative voice. The site boasts 202,000 subscribers, and a new visitor can find her or his self watching one episode after the next.

Happenin' Harry in Difficult Times

Remember Happenin' Harry? Now there is the type of question that would strike terror in the heart of any denizen of West Hollywood, of which Harry is a principal example.  
Harry has been a primary impresario on the Sunset Strip for many years, working regular rotations at the area's more colorful venues, but particularly at the Cat Club. That venue was home to Harry for over a decade before the owner, Slim Jim Phantom of the Stray Cats, sold it and the place became Rock & Reilly's, "an Irish bar with personality". That didn't include Harry and the Haptones, a collective of star metal rockers. Things were changing on the Strip and it apparently boded ill for Harry's future. The pandemic has killed live entertainment, and Harry has been tweeting from his car, reporting on life on the streets of L.A. He and his two black cats, his cancer, and his liver disease. He has a Facebook page, along with other social media, and has been getting some support as he awaits a surgery. The CCJ interviewed Harry years ago, when he was surrounded by well-known friends. Jennifer Egan had a point about time being a goon. Sometimes "happenin'" just means staying alive.


 

Welcome to our guide on the history of music. Here we’ve composed the historical origin of the musical genres we know and love today, along with how classical music is crucial to many music types through its establishment of musical theory. We’ve gone even deeper than composed music, however, as we’ve also had to explain how music itself as a social phenomenon first came to be. 

We have a lot ahead of us, so we’ll start at the beginning with the inventions of music and musical instruments, which aren’t as connected to one another as many would think. Then we’ll discuss the expansion of music types and provide examples of how the most influential music genres started, including classicism. Finally, we’ve engaged in some speculation on what the future of music holds, and what effects the social and cultural climates in the modern world will have on the development of music.

CONTINUE READING RICHARD ALLEN'S ARTICLE AT THE EVERGREEN WORKSHOP 

 

Sarah Marie Barron 

 

The CCJ would cop to not really knowing what to make of Sara Marie Barron's "Pretty Girl" video. It is sort of hypnotic, owing to Barron's soft and soothing vocal, though the lyrics are a little hard to absorb. Maybe that's the point, it's like a lush parody, on some levels, a most un-2021 type of offering to the extent that it seems like a fetish.

She is said to be deeply involved in the production of her sound, which is pleasing. And she may be a thematic artists, as she has an analog on YouTube to her "Pretty Girl" video. It's called "Pretty Boy" and it's dynamite. Weird, though. What's with the lingerie?   


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