Amoeblog

Sing a song of eiderdowns

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 26, 2014 05:12pm | Post a Comment
It's blustery and breezy in Los Angeles today. A barely measurable amount of precipitation fell which inevitably resulted in chaos on the county's concrete freeways. I climbed out of bed at 5:30, an act made almost Olympian due to the combination of pre-dawn darkness, drops and drizzle, and the warmth offered by my eiderdown. 

Little Nemo in Slumberland
Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland

An eiderdown (according to the Collins English Dictionary) "a thick warm cover for a bed, made of two layers of material enclosing a soft filling" and thus not necessarily stuffed with the epidermal growths of the Common Eider for which the garment is named.

Eider Ducks
Eider duck female and chicks (with their eider down intact -- source: Thomas Reich)


As I fried hashed browns and veggie bacon in a wok and brewed coffee in the French press, my thoughts returned to eiderdowns, and to the songs which have celebrated... or at least mentioned them. "It's an eiderdown kind of day," as they say.

Shifters and sugarcubes -- Happy Bicycle Day!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 19, 2013 03:53pm | Post a Comment
Albert Hofmann Bike Ride Blotter 1943

Today marks the day that Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann discovered the properties of LSD, on 16 April, 1943, and rode his bike home.

THE DISCOVERY OF LSD

Sandoz Laboratories - Basel, Switzerland (demolished)
Sandoz Laboratories - Basel, Switzerland (demolished)

Albert Hofmann first synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in his Basel laboratory in 1938 working for Sandoz Laboratories whilst studying scilla and ergot in an attempt to purify and synthesize the active constituents for use as pharmaceuticals.

siberian scilla
Siberian scilla (image source: Digging RI)

He set aside his discovery for five years at which point he accidentally absorbed a quality through his fingertips and reported feeling dizzy, intoxicated, stimulated and seeing kaleidoscopic shapes and colors when he closed his eyes.


HOFMANN'S TRIP AND BIKE RIDE

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Laurel Canyon

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 16, 2009 03:30pm | Post a Comment
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of Hollywood
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Hollywood, showing the approximate location of Laurel Canyon

This blog entry is about Laurel Canyon. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods, click here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, click here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.
Streets of Laurel Canyon

The woodsy area in the Hollywood Hills now known as Laurel Canyon was originally inhabited by the Tongva. A spring-fed stream attracted Mexican shepherds in the 18th century. After the region became part of the US, Anglos arrived. About 100 years ago, the area was divided up, cabins were erected and the area was marketed to vacationing tourists. The first movie made in Hollywood was shot in Yucca Corridor in 1910. Though the film industry remained centered in Edendale for a few years, it gradually shifted to Hollywood and Laurel Canyon became the home of some of the burgeoning industry's photo-players.
Laurel Tavern

Famed cowboy star Tom Mix bought the Laurel Tavern and converted it into his residence. Mary Astor had a love nest on Appian Way. Gay Mexican "Latin Lover" Ramón Novarro lived there until his murder in 1968.

Der Blutharsch's Psychedelic Farewell

Posted by Aaron Detroit, November 18, 2009 02:30pm | Post a Comment

Austrian apocalyptic-industrial collective Der Blutharsch have just released their follow-up to last year’s The Philosopher’s Stone. The appropriately titled, Flying High!, reaches a peak in the bad-trip psychedelic heights the group began maneuvering towards on 2005’s When Did Wonderland End? (which remains the group’s most accessible album to-date). High’s CD slipcover uncharacteristically features a tongue-in-cheek photo of a presumably hallucinogenic, heart-shaped cake with the album’s title written in blue icing - preemptively answering the question one might ask upon first listen of this disc: “What kind of drugs are these people on?!?”

Der Blutharsch began as a one-man project featuring only Vienna-based Albin Julius just prior to leaving the medieval/ritual duo, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud, in 1999. Over the last decade, Der Blutharsch sojourned through phases of dark-ambient, post-Industrial, martial-industrial, and neo-folk collaborations with Death In June’s Douglas P. before settling into the gloomy apocalyptic-rock the now-expanded-to-a-4 member group plays. Julius has caught a lot of flack over the years for his various aesthetic and stylistic choices, from the Laibach-like controversy caused by critiques over military-related artwork and samples to angering fans over his apparent all-together abandonment of martial-industrial, a genre he is often credited with helping found. Julius, seemingly unfazed by any of this, has delivered one of the strongest albums in his discography. This means the band will end on a “high” note, now that Julius has announced that this will be the last Der Blutharsch album of new material as he plans to retire the name and move on to other projects.

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The evolution of the music video, part II (1950s - 1960s)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 6, 2009 01:45pm | Post a Comment
As persuasively and incontestably argued in The evolution of the music video, part I  (1890s - 1940s), the music video began not in the '80s, as is often wrongly assumed, but the '90s... the 1890s (if we accept the basic concept of videos being one stand-alone work of one song/one visual). From the humble sound experiments at the dawn of the celluloid age through the artistic flowering of Soundies, many musical promos were created of high historical and artistic importance. In the 1950s and '60s, videos moved from bars and clubs to the living room, as television became the new venue for music promotion.

Cineboxes, Scopitones and Color-Sonics
According to the Quixotic Internet Accuracy Project, the term "music video" was coined by DJ (VJ?) J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson in 1959. That year, the Cinebox hit the scene, essentially following in the footsteps of Soundies by manufacturing videos for what was essentially a jukebox with a visual component. In 1965, the Cinebox was re-branded the Colorama in the US. The following year it was again re-branded, this time as the Cinejukebox.

Cinebox Brochure  Frankie Avalon and a Cinebox Cinebox highlights

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