Archive for May, 2008

R.I.P. Will Elder 1921-2008

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

“Will Elder, a legendary illustrator and co-founder of Mad magazine, has died. He was 86. An influence on subversive comic artists like R. Crumb and Daniel Clowes, Elder “could render anything he could see with the precision of a photograph,” writes David Hajdu in his new book The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America, “yet he had no inclination to waste his time on anything other than his overriding interest, pranksterism.” Inducted into the Comic Book Hall Of Fame in 2003, Elder also worked for E.C. Comics and Playboy, who published his Little Annie Fanny comics for more than 25 years.” -The AVClub


Heat Wave

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Interesting stuff going down in Motown. Kwame Kilpatrick, dubbed “The Hip-Hop Mayor”, was caught cheating on his wife with an aide (complete with hilarious intercepted text messages, and doing it on the city’s dime, no less. A few days ago, the Detroit City Council voted to request the Governor of Michigan to remove him from the post.

Interesting stuff, but why am I posting about it on the KWUR blog? Because one of the members of the Detroit City Council is Martha Reeves. Yes, that Martha Reeves.
I know Ms. Reeves voted for the council to take serious action regarding the affair a few months ago, but I can’t seem to find out how she voted on this latest measure, does anybody know? In any case, I think it’s fascinating to see where soul artists (the ones who didn’t burn out but faded away, in any case) ended up after their careers peaked. Some are still touring, and many do other, equally fascinating things. Anyhow, Ms. Reeves, in her past life:

Subversive Cinema: John Whitney’s Permutations

Monday, May 12th, 2008

John Whitney was an experimental animator and composer. He is widely considered to be one of the fathers of computer animation.

After studying music composition in Paris, he returned to the U.S. and began collaborating with his brother, James, to produce abstract animations. Their work, Five Film Exercises (1940-45) was awarded first prize at the First International Experimental Film Competition in 1949. By 1950, he was creating animation sequences for television.

In 1958, he collaborated with title-sequence pioneer, Saul Bass, on the spirographic opening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. In 1966, he was awarded IBM’s first artist-in-residency. Until the 1970s, most of Whitney’s animations made use of a complex analog computer. By the mid-1970s his animations were made completely with digital technologies. His work often uses self-composed music that explored mystical or Native-American themes. He continued making films until his death in 1995.

Permutations (1966)

“In PERMUTATIONS, each point moves at a different speed and moves in a direction independent according to natural laws’ quite as valid as those of Pythagoras, while moving in their circular field. Their action produces a phenomenon more or less equivalent to the musical harmonies. When the points reach certain relationships (harmonic) numerical to other parameters of the equation, they form elementary figures.”- John Whitney


Album Review: Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed and The True Loves, "Roll With You"

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Blue-eyed soul revival out of Massachusetts, sounds like James Brown, Muscle Shoals. Hard to know how to judge soul revival records, since even the best records mostly aim at imitation. But Reed’s at least cribbing from the right people, and doing a good job of it, too. He goes for the James Brown shrieks and can’t quite make it, which almost makes it better. Good record, sincere, soulful record, do play.

Play: 1+++(Yeah!). 3+ (see: Wilson Pickett), 4++, 6+++(lovely ballad, sweet bass), 8, 10++(he does these ballads really well)

Tom Waits in St. Louis

Monday, May 5th, 2008

If you missed seeing Tom Waits on July 5, 1974 in St. Louis and assured yourself that he would come back to town soon, I’m very sorry because you were quite mistaken. After an absence from St. Louis of over 30 years, Tom Waits will play the Fox Theater on June 26th. The wait is over, at long last! No details about tickets yet, but these are sure to go fast.