Category Archives: Music and Art

30 Days of Gratitude: #12

#12 What texture are you grateful for?

Hmmm…this is an interesting one. I’ve never given it much thought. I’m grateful I still have my sense of touch.

I guess if I really thought about it, it would have to be the smoothness of a piano keyboard that’s the texture I’m grateful for.

I had my first piano lesson at age 4. By the time I was 14, I’d completed Grade 8 of the ABRSM system. We’re talking about me tickling those ivories up to 4 hours a day, every day, for 10 years. Practice makes perfect, right? ūüėČ

Well, they do say that in order for anyone to be good at anything, you need at least 10,000 hours of practice. Practise, practise, practise!

My father then decided I should pursue Music as a career, and pushed me to doing Music at Diploma level. Which I dutifully did, and then later at University level. 

And then I spread my wings and flew away. I did my own thing, tried things my own way. I decided that I should at least make my own mistakes, tread outside the carefully laid out path before me, test the waters, find out what else the world had to offer.

And yes, I fell off the bandwagon, got lost in the wilderness, went off track. Well, by Society’s norms anyway. 

And yet I’m grateful to The Universe for everything that has happened to me thus far, everything that I’ve experienced and will experience. For I now know that The Universe truly always has my back and my best interest at heart. Every experience, whether good or bad, is a lesson to be learnt, and if I failed to learn the lesson the first time, why then surely I’ll find myself facing it again sometime soon. 

And so on and so forth, until I’ve mastered the lesson. 

Quite a bit like practising the piano, actually. Practise, practise, practise!

So yeah, you could say that the texture I’m most grateful for is the feel of a piano keyboard underneath my fingers. For that’s how I started out, and that’s how I learnt about the benefits of “Practice makes perfect”. It’s been years since I last played the piano, but I reckon it’s like riding a bicycle. Muscles have great memories.

Of course, in some aspects of my life I’m still practising. And perhaps I’ll always be practising something or the other. Such is Life, right ūüėČ.


 

The Words of the Prophets

…are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls…and whispered in the sound of Silence.

(Image source: Google)

A cautionary tale of today’s Society. Please, please let’s do something to leave this world a better place than how we found it. 

Be The Change! Wake Up before it’s too late!

Disturbed’s version of the Simon & Garfunkel favourite “The Sound Of Silence” is by far the most powerfully moving I’ve come across. If this doesn’t stir you into action, then you’re as good as dead on the inside.

https://youtu.be/u9Dg-g7t2l4

Here are the Lyrics to the song, so you can follow along if you wish:

“The Sound Of Silence”
(originally by Simon & Garfunkel)

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp

When my eyes were stabbed
By the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening

People writing songs
That voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools,” said I, “you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you.”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
And the words that it was forming

And the sign said,
“The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.”
And whispered in the sound of silence

Mad World

‚ÄčDepending on which country you’re in, and which moghul empire runs the Media Circus, you’ll have heard one side or the other of so-called “current affairs” aka “The News”. You’ll have been fed exactly the type of propaganda the Elite need for you to start sowing the seeds of discord amongst yourselves. Neighbour against neighbour. Parents against children. Race. Religion. Sexual Orientation. Gender. Age. Etc etc. 

United we stand. Divided we profit the Elite. 

Meanwhile, the rich get richer off the backs of the working classes. We are no longer born free, but rather into a lifetime of servitude to the Almighty God called “Money”. The same God sometimes goes by the innocent sounding names of “Progress”, “Industry”, “Retail”, “Sales”, and the not-so innocent sounding names of “Profit”, “Greed”, “Consumerism” and “Materialism”. Different countries have different colloquial names for it too – “Dollar”, “Pound” etc. 

It’s all the same thing. A diversionary tactic. Like War. 

Instead of Humanity standing together, helping each other, working for the greater good, we, our forebears before us, and our children after us, are taught the value of Money. From school age we learn that it’s best to study hard and get good grades, so we can then later study harder and get better grades and become doctors, scientists, engineers…”Useful People”…so that we can then earn lots of Money, buy lots of houses, cars, yachts, holidays abroad etc…and then spend lots of time working and working to pay it off again. 

And if you’re poor and penniless, it must mean you either flunked school, lost your job, are too lazy and never worked in your life, are retarded, are sponging off social security benefits, gambled it all, lost it all on bad investments. Shame on you, being a burden to the rest of Society!

Only, it’s never that cut and dried. There are a myriad of reasons for people struggling to make ends meet. But the Haves would rather slap one label on the Have Nots and turn their backs, than spend another minute wondering how they could help raise up their fellow humans. If only they could spare that precious minute thinking up ways to help the homeless, the poor and destitude, if only they would think about others rather than themselves…

But no…we live in this Mad World. The lyrics of the pop song “Mad World” are posted here, because they are very relevant to today’s Society. Perhaps we could learn a bitter lesson or two.

Apathy and Ignorance are no longer valid excuses. Wake Up!

(Image source: Google)

Watch this video of the song Mad World, featuring Gary Jules.

https://youtu.be/4N3N1MlvVc4

Tears For Fears (Gary Jules) ‚Äď Mad World 

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
And their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
‘Cause I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very
Mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy birthday, happy birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what’s my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
‘Cause I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very
Mad world

Artist Inspiration : Melissa McCracken

Artist with synesthesia paints music on canvas. I came across the vibrant abstracts of Melissa McCracken on an article in My Modern Met that appeared on my Pinterest feed. Having heard of synesthesia before during my University days studying Music, I was curious to find out more.

People with the rare condition called Synesthesia can not only hear¬†Colour, they can also feel and even taste them. Words, numbers, even feelings have colour. Music to a synesthete or a person with synesthesia, appears as moving swirls of colour splashes. It’s hard to imagine, and it must be very confusing for some people who have the condition. Or maybe not, I can’t tell because I don’t have the condition and can’t put myself into the shoes of those who do. I don’t see it as a disability, just like I don’t consider dyslexia a disability either…it’s just the way some people’s brains are wired. It’s what makes us all unique as human beings.

Melissa McCracken has taken her condition to a higher level, and paints colourful, bright abstracts on canvas. Her paint splashes, runs, drips, etc literally burst off the page.

¬†Here’s the link to Melissa’s website, and below is an excerpt from her front page, where she explains her condition and how it affects her:

“I paint music.¬†

Until I was 15, I thought everyone constantly saw colors.¬†Colors in books, colors in math formulas, colors at concerts. But when I finally asked my brother which color the letter C was (canary yellow, by the way) I realized my mind wasn’t quite as normal as I had thought.¬†

¬†Basically, my brain is cross-wired. I experience the “wrong” sensation to certain stimuli. Each letter and number is colored and the days of the year circle around my body as if they had a set point in space. But the most wonderful “brain malfunction” of all is seeing the music I hear. It flows in a mixture of hues, textures, and movements, shifting as if it were a vital and intentional element of each song.

Having synesthesia isn’t distracting or disorienting. It adds a unique vibrance to the world I experience.”

To fully appreciate how Melissa’s Art ties in with the Music she hears, start with her website, where you can click on the “Listen” button next to each piece, to perhaps “hear” the colours.

But here are some of my favourite Melissa McCracken artworks, which I admire for their energy and vibrancy.

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GRAVITY

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LUCKY

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SEEMS SO LONG

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JOY IN REPETITION

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IMAGINE

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AT LAST

Artist Inspiration : Larry Carlson

Unless you’ve been living under a coconut shell, chances are you would have at some time come across the psychedelic work of Larry Carlson. Yes…THAT artist who makes your brain go all trippy. Oh, and have you heard his music? Surreal is an understatement. Collages done the traditional, good old-fashioned way? Check! Digital photographic art? Check! Larry is a veritable powerhouse of creativity, as you will find out.

Here’s what Larry says about his art on his own¬†site:

G4Tech TV called him ‚ÄúThe Salvador Dali of the Next Century‚ÄĚ, and High Times magazine labeled him an ‚ÄúArtistic Mastermind‚ÄĚ. Larry Carlson is a legendary visionary¬† artist who utilizes a vast range of mediums to create mind boggling art that will make you think twice about how you see the world. He is a modern day renaissance man with revolutionary work that pushes the possibilities for consciousness exploration within contemporary art. Few artists can rival him in terms of innovation, vision, talent, and high-yield experimentation.
His work spans a variety of forms including photography, film making, web-art, collage painting, digital art, animation, video-art, text-art, and sound design. What ever art form he’s working in Carlson’s greatest strength is in artfully depicting the mystical dimensions of consciousness, coaxing us into sweet spiritualized epiphanies one moment then plunging us into completely bizarre surreal frenzies the next. His artwork fuses together aspects of mysticism, surrealism, psychedelia and the technological resulting in sublime juxtapositions that can totally bend one’s perception.
A pioneer in experimental multimedia web-art, he first started exhibiting his artwork online in 1997. In 2000 Carlson published the legendary art web sites Virtual OM and LarryCarlson.com which featured his original full screen psychotropic entertainment.
Larry Carlson has been featured in magazines like Vice, Juxtapoz, High Times, Cracked, NY Arts, Beautiful/Decay, and US weekly. International newspapers like Montreal’s Mirror, Istanbul’s Vatan News, and London’s Guardian, have done features on his unique awe-inspiring art.
He has exhibited his collage artwork, digital photo artwork, and video art in the U.S., Japan, Canada, Sweden, Brazil, France, the U.K.,  India, and Germany. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City exhibited some of his handmade collage art books in the show Book/Shelf. His movies have been screened at  The Paço das Artes Museum in San Palo, Brazil, the Brattle Theater in Boston, Alex Grey’s COSM gallery in New York City,  A.T.A. in San Francisco, and other galleries and theaters around the world.
Larry Carlson creates his own original music and soundtracks and so far has released eight albums. In 2008, Portland, Oregon’s KBOO 90.7 fm hosted two Larry Carlson music specials featuring his surreal soundtracks.
Larry Carlson graduated from Cooper Union School of Art in New York City, where he studied painting and video-art. He currently lives and works in his studio in the green mountains of Vermont.

It’s worth checking out Larry’s site, which is very comprehensive and contains a plethora of examples of his work, all neatly categorised. Here are just a few of my favourite ones:

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larry-carlson

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What interests me most about Any Artist’s work is their process, techniques and workflow, and also what goes on inside their heads. Luckily for us all, Larry is very forthcoming in this regard, and his site even has a Frequently Asked Questions section, which I quote verbatim here for your convenience:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

(taken verbatim from http://www.larrycarlson.com)

What is your process for making the images?

Sometimes I see a clear vision in my mind’s eye of the image I want to make and then I set out and take the photos and do the  computer effects to make it happen. Most of the time I just experiment and have fun with combinations of filters, images, and 3-D rendering. I do a lot of the work with the image editing program Photoshop. I also use 3-D rendering programs to make computer generated objects and settings to use in my work.

I always have a lot of unfinished works on my hard drive that I work on for a while and then put away until the inspiration hits me to work on it again. So most of my finished pieces are the result of months of on and off work. I follow my own vision and try to make something new everyday. Even if I dont feel like working, I still work on my art daily, because it helps me stay focused and continue to make new fresh work.

I am mostly left-handed and use an electronic pen on a tablet to actually draw and paint on my digital images. Sometimes I also use a mouse with my right hand at the same time.

As well as using computers to make images I also make old fashion cut and paste collages. This really influences the style of my digital work, as it helps me use Photoshop in a ‚Äúreal hands on‚ÄĚ way, and not be dependent on digital effects only.¬†I strive to have my work describe life as positive, elusive, and rich with wonder and possibility.

What inspires your work?

I let intuition and improvisation be the main guiding forces in the creation of my art. Many of the ideas for my art come to me in dreams and visions, so i spend a lot of time cultivating a mystical state of mind. I often go out in nature, hiking, camping and taking photos, being a part of the mother nature system has a deep influence on my work.

Do you take your own photos?

Yes. I take photos with a digital camera that I use in my work. Sometimes I do shoots in a studio, other times I take shots outdoors. I retouch, fix up, composite, and alter the photos in Photoshop. In the city or up in the mountains, its always an adventure getting new shots to use in my work.

How do you create your collage artwork?

With glue and scissors, I take a tiny little bit of something from a piece and put it together with a lot of other pieces and make a distinct whole. The result is a juxtaposition of the familiar and the fantastical. I hunt for old books and magazines for material to use and I print out images from the computer. I cut and splice these samples into new formations that reconstruct culturally constructed meaning of the original samples, opening up the images to a multiplicity of interpretations. I am inspired by the infinite permutations of visual images which parallel the infinite nature of the imagination.

How do you make the soundtracks?

Like my visual artwork it’s a collage process. I make my soundtracks by mixing and processing sound samples on the computer. I use several different sound programs to put the tracks together. I collage samples from everywhere and anywhere, the TV, the web, radio, phone messages, you-tube videos, turntables and musical instruments. Sometimes I use programs to generate sounds to mix in the work. I also play around with the KORG MS2000, a really cool Pink Floydish sounding synthesizer.I even like to mix in sounds I get from an ol’ school ATARI 2600 console. All my soundtracks are available as a free mp3 downloads. And I have a SoundCloud music page and an iLike music fan page.

Where do you exhibit your work?

I show different forms of art, like interactive web sites art, video installations, large high quality prints of digital art, collage paintings and handmade collage books. Recently my movies were presented at Alex Grey’s COSM gallery, and were publicly displayed on a pair of outdoor video screens at Harvard. Last year, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City showed some collage art books I collaborated on in the show Book/Shelf. In 2002, The Paço das Artes Museum in San Palo Brazil exhibited a version of my web site LARRYCARLSON.COM projected on a wall in a gallery where visitors could interact with it. In Stockholm, Sweden, Galleri Loyal has exhibited my collage paintings. My movies have been screened in festivals around the world in places like New York City, Austin,Texas, France, Canada and Germany. And I have had many exhibitions of my digital images at festivals and shows around the world.

How do you do your live VJ shows?

Basically I mix a collage of videos and animations in much the same way that DJs mix records. The techniques and equipment are different then a DJ, but the basic principles are the same (eg selecting, cross fading, scratching, cutting, sampling to the rhythm). I burn my own custom made DVDs and much of my VJing now is me mixing content on several DVD players through a video mixer device to the rhythm of the music. As well as the DVD players I also use a VJ software program to mix and manipulate digital video clips. In the past I have played live on tour with musical groups like The Kottonmouth Kings, and at major electronic music events.

How and when did you get into computers?

My early experiences with computers begin when I was a kid, messing with the old Commodore 64 home computer. Later on in college I did a big experimental video collage piece with the Amiga video editing system as well as experiments with Adobe Premiere. I spent a lot of time creating digital images with Photoshop. During this time i started making music with the computer and more then any thing I wanted people too see this cool stuff, so publishing on the net became a must. I quickly learned how to make web pages and my early web sites were online galleries of my digital images. So by the time Flash came out , I was ready to really rock the system! After having spent years of exploring so many different fields of computer art, now its all kind of melting together into one ‚Äúmultimedia‚ÄĚ experience.

Did you go to school to learn how to do this?

I  graduated from Cooper Union School of Art in New York City, where I studied painting and video-art. A lot of the artwork I do now, I learned on my own. I love learning new programs and experimenting with them to make something new.

How can people stay updated on what your doing?

I am active on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter and post new work there often. Connect, add your feedback, and stay updated on new work that is posted daily.

 

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Cymatics

Awesome video! And based on fact, not fiction. Science meets Music meets WOW!

http://youtu.be/Q3oItpVa9fs

Cymatics is the study of visible sound. It was first pioneered by Dr Hans Jenny, a Swiss scientist. Today there are a growing number of fans and proponents of this fascinating new(ish) genre in music. Nigel Stanford is an electronic musician based in New Zealand, who specialises in trance and ambient music. The video above of Nigel’s, which I first saw on a friend’s Facebook wall, ably demonstrates the physical manifestation of music. Also remember to check out and download Nigel’s other tracks.

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Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of Cymatics:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymatics

Cymatics is exciting, as it is happening Right Now. And it continues to be researched and developed by different people from different walks of life, each with an aim of their own – scientists, mathematicians, visual artists, musicians. And when everything comes together, that’s when pure Magic happens.

Happy Christmas, everyone! May 2015 bring all your dreams and aspirations to fruition.

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The World Is Coming To An End

I must admit I’ve never been a great fan of rap. Eminem spoiled it for me, with his messages of crime, violence and drugs. But having said that, I guess I haven’t heard enough rap to really form an opinion. Because now, after watching this video, I realise rap can be a powerful way to convey positive messages of Hope and Love too. I stand happily corrected.

Please take the time to watch this very powerful video by rapper and activist Richard Williams aka Prince Ea. Listen to the words, and Be The Change. Share it! Namast√©.🙇

http://youtu.be/BzV1FzixSmw

And even if you haven’t got time to watch the video, at least pay heed to the very meaningful words. Here’s the transcript of the lyrics, from Prince Ea’s website:

The world is coming to an end
The air is polluted, the oceans contaminated
The animals are going extinct, the economy’s collapsed
Education is shot, police are corrupt
Intelligence is shunned and ignorance rewarded
The people are depressed and angry
We can’t live with each other and we can’t live with ourselves
So everyone’s medicated
We pass each other on the streets
And if we do speak it’s meaningless robotic communication
More people want 15 seconds of fame
Than a lifetime of meaning and purpose
Because what’s popular is more important than what’s right
Ratings are more important than the truth
Our government builds twice as many prisons than schools
It’s easier to find a Big Mac than an apple
And when you find the apple
It’s been genetically processed and modified
Presidents lie, politicians trick us
Race is still an issue and so is religion
Your God doesn’t exist, my God does and he is All-Loving
If you disagree with me I’ll kill you
Or even worse argue you to death
92% of songs on the radio are about sex
Kids don’t play tag, they play twerk videos
The average person watches 5 hours of television a day
And it’s more violence on the screen than ever before
Technology has given us everything we could ever want
And at the same time stolen everything we really need
Pride is at an all time high, humility, an all time low
Everybody knows everything, everybody’s going somewhere
Ignoring someone, blaming somebody
Not many human beings left anymore, a lot of human doings
Plenty of human lingerings in the past, not many human beings
Money is still the root of all evil
Yet we tell our kids don’t get that degree
The jobs don’t pay enough
Good deeds are only done when there’s a profit margin
Videos of the misfortunes of others go viral
We laugh and share them with our friends to laugh with us
Our role models today
60 years ago would have been examples of what not to be
There are states where people can legally be discriminated against Because they were born a certain way
Companies invest millions of dollars hiring specialists to make Little girls feel like they need ‚Äúmake up‚ÄĚ to be beautiful Permanently lowering their self esteem
Because they will never be pretty enough
To meet those impossible standards
Corporations tell us buy, buy, buy, get this, get that
You must keep up, you must fit in
This will make you happy, but it never does for long
So what can we do in the face of all of this madness and chaos?
What is the solution? We can love
Not the love you hear in your favorite song on the radio
I mean real love, true love, boundless love
You can love, love each other
From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed
Perform an act of kindness because that is contagious
We can be mindful during every interaction
Planting seeds of goodness
Showing a little more compassion than usual
We can forgive
Because 300 years from now will that grudge you hold against Your friend, your mother, your father have been worth it?
Instead of trying to change others we can change ourselves
We can change our hearts
We have been sold lies
Brainwashed by our leaders and those we trust
To not recognize our brothers and sisters
And to exhibit anger, hatred and cruelty
But once we truly love we will meet anger with sympathy
Hatred with compassion, cruelty with kindness
Love is the most powerful weapon on the face of the Earth
Robert Kennedy once said that
Few will have the greatness to bend history
But each of us can work to change a small portion of events
And in the total of all those acts
Will be written in the history of a generation
So yes, the world is coming to an end
And the path towards a new beginning starts within you

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Burning Man

(Excerpt taken from the website of the Burning Man):

What is Burning Man?
Once a year, tens of thousands of participants gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, having left no trace whatsoever. Burning Man is also an ever-expanding year-round culture based on the Ten Principles.

What Isn’t Burning Man?
Burning Man isn’t your usual festival, with big acts booked to play on massive stages. In fact, it’s more of a city than a festival, wherein almost everything that happens is created entirely by its citizens, who are active participants in the event.

This year’s Burning Man is from August 25 – Sept 1, 2014

I came across this video which captures the spirit and principles of Burning Man accurately: it’s by
KQED and it won an Emmy award recently. Here it is:

<a href="http://youtu.be/DHW8zydRV4M“>http://youtu.be/DHW8zydRV4M

I want to be a Flaming Lotus Girl, and I want to go to the Burning Man so badly! But it would cost me thousands of dollars, which I don’t have. It will also be a trip halfway round the world, and I’ll have to get (child+pet+house)sitters in, more expenses I just cannot afford. SIGH. So, I’ll have to contend with living the festival vicariously through videos and photos shared by the lucky, lucky ones who get to go. If you DO go, feel free to post me some photos and I will add them here.

Watching videos of previous Burning Man festivals, out there in the desert with the strange lights, music and people in out-of-this-world costumes doing fantastically weird things, I’m reminded of the time I took my son to Disneyland Paris. One evening, at dusk, there was a musical troupe playing near the spaceship ride. They were dressed in layered burlap, and the instruments they played were modified saxophones or similar. On their heads they wore strange miner’s hardhats with attached (literally) overhead lights that moved as they played. The headgear was strangely reminiscent of angler fish. As it was dusk and the natural light was failing, I didn’t get any decent photos of them. But I remember that experience as if it was yesterday and not 6 years ago; the images are indelibly etched into my mind. It was, to put it simply, a magical experience.

It felt like a scene out of Star Wars, and I was transported to dusty Tatooine amongst its unwashed Jawas and Tusken Raiders. The musicians could have been a cross between the two races.

That is the sort of feeling I believe I would experience at the Burning Man festival.

Burning Man leans strongly on 10 Principles (excerpt taken from this link):

Burning Man Founder Larry Harvey wrote the Ten Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed Regionals Network. They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception.

Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Gifting
Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

Decommodification
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Radical Self-expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Participation
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

Immediacy
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

Anything goes at Burning Man. I recall Episode 1, Season 7 of my favourite comedy series, Malcolm in the Middle, where the entire family go to the festival in an RV. Each member of the family has their own epiphany whilst there. Malcolm, for one, gets born again…literally passing through an obstacle course simulating the contractions of a womb, complete with pink jelly.

Some Google images of past Burning Man (Men??):

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Women in Art; Women in Film

I wanted to share these brilliant videos by Philip Scott Johnson, celebrating women in Art and Film. The first video takes the viewer through¬†500 years of Western Art, encapsulated by the faces of 90¬†celebrated¬†paintings of women. ¬†The music is Bach’s Sarabande from Suite for Solo Cello no.1 in G Major, BWW 1007, played by acclaimed cellist¬†Yo-Yo Ma.

If you’re wondering who the women are in the video above, check out this site¬†for a comprehensive list with¬†descriptions. In 2010, Philip Scott Johnson¬†created a sequel of sorts to “Women in Art”. ¬†“Women in Film”¬†uses¬†Bach’s Prelude from the same Cello Suite as above, again played by Yo-Yo Ma, but this time morphing the faces of famous actresses of the Western world, past and present, spanning a period of 80 years.

The actresses used in the making of Johnson’s video are: Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Gloria Swanson, Marlene Dietrich, Norma Shearer, Ruth Chatterton, Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn, Carole Lombard, Bette Davis, Greta Garbo, Barbara Stanwyck, Vivien Leigh, Greer Garson, Hedy Lamarr, Rita Hayworth, Gene Tierney, Olivia de Havilland, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Crawford, Ginger Rogers, Loretta Young, Deborah Kerr, Judy Garland, Anne Baxter, Lauren Bacall, Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Kim Novak, Audrey Hepburn, Dorothy Dandridge, Shirley MacLaine, Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, Janet Leigh, Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, Ann Margret, Julie Andrews, Raquel Welch, Tuesday Weld, Jane Fonda, Julie Christie, Faye Dunaway, Catherine Deneuve, Jacqueline Bisset, Candice Bergen, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sigourney Weaver, Kathleen Turner, Holly Hunter, Jodie Foster, Angela Bassett, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, Salma Hayek, Sandra Bullock, Julianne Moore, Diane Lane, Nicole Kidman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, Halle Berry

Both videos captured the public’s imagination so much so that to this day there exists several different versions of them, some set to contemporary music. ¬†The versions in this post, however, are the original ones by Johnson himself. Philip Scott Johnson’s handle on YouTube is eggman913. ¬†He has more “morph animations” that you can watch, as well as a whole list of other interesting artistic videos.

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My new friend Ryan

I made a new friend today. Not a virtual one on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media sites, but a real life person.

I was at my local Rockingham Hungry Jack’s (those of you in Europe and America will know this as Burger King) having breakfast, when I noticed a young man with a violin case and a huge backpack just settling into the seat opposite. So I struck up a conversation with him, as I was intrigued about the violin and the backpack.

His name is Ryan Langley. He’s 22 and hails from Port Angeles, right on the border between the USA and Canada. Take the ferry across the water and you’ll be in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. For “Twilight” afficionados, Port Angeles is the town near Forks, where Bella goes to that esoteric bookshop, gets waylaid later by some youths, is rescued by Edward and ends up having dinner with him at a restaurant.

My new friend Ryan is trying to work his way back home by busking. It’s halfway around the world, from one WA (Washington state) to another WA (Western Australia). He has 3 months to get together his airfare home, but he’s going to see as much of Western Australia as he can meanwhile…on a shoestring budget.

Ryan is into sailing and already has his Captain’s licence. He hopes one day to have his own boat and to sail from one WA to another WA.

Having travelled around the region where Ryan intends to visit, I was able to highlight for him several unmissable tourist attractions and towns where he could busk.

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This is Ryan’s map of WA showing the train and coach routes down the southern corridor. Among the sites he intends to visit are the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury, Busselton Jetty, Hamelin Bay, the Margaret River region, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in Augusta, the Diamond Tree, Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree and Gloucester Tree in Pemberton, the Treetop Walk in Denmark, and the historic port city of Albany.

I bought Ryan lunch at our local shopping mall. Before that, I brought him to Dick Smith to get a US-AUS adapter for his laptop, as he hadn’t been able to charge his laptop since landing in WA a week ago.

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When it transpired that his DSLR camera was broken and he didn’t have a mobile phone or any other visual way of recording his travels, I brought Ryan to JB HiFi and bought him a basic Olympus camera and an 8GB SD card. (It may be “basic” but it boasted a 14 MP camera, nothing to sniff about). You just can’t go to places that you’ll probably never go to again, without being able to capture the moment.

I then put Ryan on the bus to the railway station, so he could catch the train to Mandurah, the next stop on his journey.

What a lovely chappie he is. I hope he keeps in touch with me, so I can share his journey vicariously with yourselves! Bookmark me to keep updated. If you wish to donate money towards Ryan’s airfare home, drop me a line.

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