The Concept Album

March 12, 2010 at 8:24 am | Posted in art, music | 1 Comment
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This post is inspired by an article about Pink Floyd’s recent victory over EMI. They have successfully asserted their right to distribute their earlier 1970’s so called concept albums only in their entirety. That is, they don’t want to sell singles from these albums; if you want to buy, say, their song Money, you have to buy all of the album, Dark Side of the Moon.

The comments on the story discussed other great concept albums of the time. Pink Floyd has certainly had their share: DSotM, Wish You Were Here, Animals and, of course, The Wall. Then there’s Jethro Tull’s Thick As a Brick, Songs From the Wood, and Aqualung; Yes had Close to the Edge; Styx had Paradise Theater. What’s your favorite?

Some comments went in another direction. Is Pink Floyd being backward or out of touch by insisting in an outdated mode of music distribution? The album might be going by the wayside; everything seems to be about the single nowadays. And singles are only a buck. Why make someone spend $10 or more for the one song they want?

It could also be said that they are unreasonable, that they are dictating to the consumer how they should get their music, they they are effectively building their own “wall” between themselves and people who would enjoy their music. (Thanks for the turn of phrase, Irene.)

I say Pink Floyd certainly has the right to distribute their art in whatever way they please, and I’m glad the courts saw it that way, too. Full disclosure: I am a fan of the concept album. I used to listen to those albums all the way through. (Wow, that sounds positively luxurious!) Granted, it was 15 years or so after the heyday of the concept album, but there is quite a bit of nostalgia for me there. Maybe that is influencing my view, but I am 100% behind Pink Floyd in this.

What do you think?


November 13, 2008 at 6:45 pm | Posted in art, math | 4 Comments

This past Tuesday, 11/11/08, the SUNY Potsdam Math Alliance hosted its first Origami Night!  Four professors in the Math department do a non-trivial amount of origami, and they generously agreed to lend their expertise to what turned out to be a VERY well-attended event.

I made a stellated icosahedron.  Below is a picture of one, though it’s not the one I made. Here is a website that explains how to make some modular origami projects out of pieces, or modules, called Sonobes. Here is a picture of two made with pretty paper, made by Future Girl. I didn’t take a picture of mine before I gave it to my sweetie as a present.

I can’t wait to make more!

Stellated Icosahedron

I’m a trekkie.

June 14, 2008 at 10:02 pm | Posted in art, life, quirky, tattoos | 9 Comments

Ok, how many people do you know who are trekkies?

No, I mean REAL trekkies. Real science-fiction convention attending, episode memorizing, trekkies. Folks with more than just a casual appreciation for the series. Borderline fanatics, you might say.

I suspect I may be among that group.

I have a Star Trek tattoo. How freaky is that?

I watched Star Trek on Saturday afternoons on channel 11 with my Dad in the late seventies when the original series was on reruns. Of course I loved Mr. Spock. I was the logical, math, computer nerd in middle and high schools. I went to a technical college, and when Star Trek: The Next Generation started, my friends and I were glued to the TV set. We had Star Trek parties in the dorm. The first two seasons sucked, but we still watched them, because it was Star Trek. It didn’t start strong, but it had the lineage. And, by some miracle, Paramount didn’t sabotage the series in the third series like it did the original, and the third series was the best yet. They actually started writing continuing storylines and fleshing out and evolving characters. They created Worf’s Klingon heritage and the associated socio-political drama. Wesley stopped being quite so damn annoying. And Picard built up some muscle and got some of the babes instead of Riker. And there were four more awesome seasons after that, including the Borg. And three more whole series. And movies.

Anyway, the point is, I’ve been a trekkie for a long time. I don’t have a star trek uniform. I haven’t gone to a Star Trek convention. I don’t even have any cast member’s autograph.

But I think I’ve finally “joined the club.” I have a Star Trek tattoo.

Here’s the thing. Jenny, my partner/wife, first got hooked on Star Trek: Voyager, the fourth series. [EDIT: Jenny originally got into Next Gen, and followed Voyager from the beginning.] She was way into it. I didn’t like it so much. After all, the first season or two sucked. Oh, wait, but then it got good. She showed me that, and we bonded over Trek. (Among other things.) Add to it all that we have been trying to find a joint tattoo design for years. We tried infinity rings, pi symbols, celtic knotwork … and it just didn’t click. Finally, we came together on Star Trek.

Jenny saw two Star Trek tattoos online. Well, more than just two, but two of them had the insignia on the upper left chest, just where it is on the uniform. One from the original series, and one from one of the later series. Almost a year later, we decided that we would get our matching tattoos, and they would be … wait for it …

Star Trek comm badges!

I got a modified Next Gen comm badge, and J got a modified Voyager comm badge. We’re hoping they can still talk to each other. 24th century comm badges would be advanced enough to have backwards compatibility, wouldn’t they?

I’ll post pics later.

I’m so giddy! (And in a little bit of pain. Tattoos still hurt a bit.)

Amazing Poi Spinning

April 18, 2008 at 12:40 pm | Posted in art | 4 Comments

This guy is just inspiring.

Thanks, Lee!

Fire Art

December 8, 2007 at 10:39 am | Posted in art, festivals, memories | 1 Comment

Years ago, I went to Glendale Glitter and Glow, a block party like festival in Glendale, Arizona. (The next one is in January; here is where you can get info on it.) I went in 2004 when Flam Chen, Tucson’s pyrotechnic theater troupe performed there. (Here’s a promotional video for Flam Chen.)

It was fun, but seeing Flam Chen perform was absolutely amazing. Adjectives that come to mind are mystical, magickal, otherworldly, entrancing. On the one hand, the inherent danger of what they do with fire and the technical proficiency required to do it are impressive. But even though the awareness of that never goes away, their handling of the fire is not the point, it is their medium. They are not there to dazzle you with their abilities of handling fire, their purpose is art. And their performance is mesmerizing.

I will not see Flam Chen for a while, living in the North Country as I now do, but I am on the lookout for anyone performing with poi in the area.

I have also become aware of a group based in San Francisco called Flaming Lotus Girls. Their brand of fire art is not based in performance, but in sculpture. Their media for creating their sculptures is metal and fire, and some of their art is interactive to a degree. I have not seen them in person; I became aware of them through an old school friend Lee, who made a bold life-changing move from New Jersey to San Francisco about 5 years ago. He obviously fell in with the right sort of “wrong crowd,” and has made the most of it. Rock on, Lee!

FLG has had their art featured at Burning Man and around the world. They now have an impressive two year calendar, the proceeds of which go to improving their current project, Serpent Mother (video), and continuing its world tour. I really want a calendar. I’ll probably get one after the holidays.

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