Monday, June 30, 2008

Will Smith Is A Moron

Are you as sick as I am of seeing this dudes face plastered all over everything? Hancock??? Are you kidding me? Anyone that goes to see that movie should be shot. Besides having never made a good film, and being pals with the leader of an evil cult, here is the main reason I do not like this guy: He is opening a Scientology school but wont admit it. This fall him and his wife are opening the New Village Academy in Los Angeles that will employ Scientology teaching methods. Many of the teachers will be Scientologists. But he wont admit he is in the cult because it would be bad for his stupid image. The school also denies being involved with CoS, though they are using a Hubbard philosophy called "Study Technology." They claim Study Technology is a way to teach and learn but it is actually base level initiation into Scientology brainwashing. Very dangerous. One of its education methods is to not have children "read past words they don't know." Isn't that counter intuitive to the idea of learning? If you come across a word in a sentence you would look it up to learn the meaning, discover the context it is used in, and enrich your vocabulary. Not stop reading. Scientology is anti-education and anti- intelligence because the dumber people are, the more likely they are to give them money. Beware of schools like this and programs like ABLE, HELP, and Narconon that are nothing but fronts for the Church. Church members have been trying to get these programs in California schools, with varying degrees of success, for years. I remember being told I would ooze purple goo if I did drugs by a Narconon representative that came to my school in 3rd grade. Even back then I knew they were full of shit. Thank God that twisted program is out of our schools now. We need to stop these people.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Story of Honzagool

Our story begins with a man named Sam Sloan, a writer and chess teacher:

In Pakistan in 1980 he married Honzagool in her family home. They came to America for a few years and had a child, Shamema:

They enjoyed American things like Las Vegas. This is a pregnant Honzagool at Circus Circus:

One day a man named Aziz that Sloan had helped get into the country took Honzagool and tried to extort money out of Sloan. As Sloan was dealing with this a Pakistani lawyer and known member of anti American group Jamaat-e-Islami, named Raja Abdul Rashid, wanted Honzagool as his second wife. Second, as in he already had one, and wanted another. Honzagool was sent back to Pakistan under the false pretense of a two week visit to see her mother. She never returned. Rashid began petitioning to nullify Sloan and Honzagools marriage because in Pakistan adultery is punishable by death by stoning. Him and his cronies wrote hundreds of articles for local papers defaming Sloan’s character. He didn’t have much luck until he found a corrupt judge and bribed him. Sloan claims the men that did this were very dangerous people and he tried to tell the FBI about them but they wouldn’t listen. After 9/11 some of these same men were blamed for the attacks on the World Trade Center. In 1990 Shamema was kidnapped by two Christian Fundamentalists associated with Jerry Falwell named Cindy and Charles Roberts. This is Cindy with the captive Shamema:

They took her under the guise of adoption, and with help of the FBI, got her to America and enrolled her in Lynchburg Christian Academy. Sloan has been fighting to get her back ever since. He has even been jailed for claiming untrue kidnapping charges. The FBI thinks he is nuts, he says the FBI is in on the whole thing. Shamema is now in the US Military, loading and unloading bombs onto jets in the Middle East.

She acknowledges Sloan is her father but claims she was not kidnapped. Honzagool is back in Pakistan and probably jailed or dead because of the American attacks in the area:

The Internet is a strange place. I don’t know if this story is true. If you go to Sam Sloan’s site there are hundreds of pages about every little detail of it. You can click link after link after link. Down the rabbit hole of the Web and one mans obsessed mind, not unlike Ongs Hat.

Friday, June 13, 2008

P-Lords Music Mix #6: Ketamine Brothers

The new Ketamine Brothers mix is available for download for a short time. I'll post it for streaming later but you can get it here for now. It unintentionally encompasses forty years of dance music. 1968- 2008. We recorded it around 4 or 5 in the morning last month on two turntables and a cheap mixer.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Documentaries Part 3: Music

Here is Part 3. After I wrote this I realized most of the films are about punk. I guess punk makes better doc material than jazz or soft rock. If I am not aware of, or forgetting any great music documentaries- feel free to post something in the comments section.

The Devil and Daniel Johnston

A riveting portrait of insanity, DIY ethic, and the life of an artist. Daniel Johnston has been an underground icon for 20 years. His story is inspiring, sad, and often times very funny. He started out making films, comics, and music in his bedroom. He moved to Austin and worked at McDonalds while he went all over town playing his classic tape Hi, How Are You? to anyone who would listen. He went to a Butthole Surfers concert (who were in their psychedelic prime- see the concert film Blind Eye Sees All) and got dosed on LSD. As it usually happens when mentally imbalanced people trip, this led to him getting even crazier. There is some priceless footage of him having free association revelations while hanging out with Gibby Haynes. Eventually he gained popularity for his beautiful songwriting and even got mildly famous when Kurt Cobain wore a Hi, How Are You? T-shirt all over the world. This film is so incredible because Daniel obsessively recorded his life. Most the major events discussed here are captured on video or cassette. When Daniel gets caught drawing hundreds of Jesus fish all over the statue of liberty, he records the cop yelling at him with a handheld recorder. When he starts preaching in tears about Jesus during an in store performance in NYC- we see it all. One of my favorite parts of the film comes in the beginning. We see footage Daniel shot of his long lost love, Laurie, and he narrates some beautiful poetic memories over it. The extras are great- we see him re-united with Laurie and we see his reaction to watching the film at the premier. Definitely one of the better documentaries I have seen.

Westway to the World

The story of The Clash, as told by them. The film is mostly a series of intimate interviews with all four members with little live clips thrown in. Some complain about this format for a documentary about them but I found their stories so engaging I didn’t care about the lack of music. The Clash came from nothing, went all the way to the top, then the drummer got all fucked up on heroin and ruined it. The drummer, Topper, is in obvious distress over this and he looks 20 years older than he is, due to drugs. Paul Simonon, on the other hand, might be the coolest dude ever. He brought the heavy reggae influence to the band. He tells a memorable story about going to Jamaica, or the “promised land” as he calls it, and trying to record in Studio One. The entire film rides on the incredible story telling abilities of the group. I much prefer this to the recently released story of Joe Strummers life- The Future is Unwritten (reviewed elsewhere on this site). And as another reviewer put it: “For anyone ragging on this rockumentary...just thank Christ the film makers didn't include some cheesy interview footage with the insufferably pompous Bono giving his blessing to The Clash.”

The Filth and the Fury

The best film about punk ever made. It really paints a picture of punk rock as a social movement and a Cultural Revolution. The filmmaker, Julien Temple, gets deep into the motivations and reasons why punk happened in late 70’s London. The film focuses on the movements first major band- the Sex Pistols. The legendary footage of them misbehaving on TV and performing in seedy clubs is all here. Bands today are just so Goddamn boring compared to these guys. In Jr high my hero was Sid Vicious. My buddy Tim got arrested for spray-painting SID LIVES on a statue near school. Anyway, Temple paints a really nice portrait of him here and we see what he was really like- outside of all the stories about him. Even if you're no into punk or the Sex Pistols, this is a fascinating story of rebellious youth that changed the world.

The Decline of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years

The bands aren’t as cool as part one and the music isn’t as good, but this film is a bit more entertaining. The metal heads in this are just classic. Part one was a pretty serious film about Los Angeles punk rock. It had interviews and footage with Germs, Black Flag, etc.. Part two was filmed at the height of metal mania. You have to remember in the 80’s hair metal ruled Hollywood. All the shops on the blvd catered to rockers and there were headbangers everywhere you looked. In the film we get a little bit of each style of metal: Glam with LA Guns and Faster Pussycat, hard rock with Aerosmith and Ozzy, and strait ahead metal with Megadeath. There are also interviews with people that weren't famous yet but are absolutely convinced they will be one day. There is some great footage of groupies too. I first saw this when it aired on MTV in the late 80’s around the time I actually listened to this music. It was on instead of Headbangers Ball one night. There are lots of other movies about metal to check out. The creative process and egos of Metallica are explored in Some Kind of Monster. There was an excellent overview of metal that came out recently called Metal: A Headbangers Journey. Also the cult classic Heavy Metal Parking Lot is pretty rad. Unfortunately, Decline is not on DVD yet so you may have to catch it on cable or break out your VCR.

The Last Waltz

This is more a concert film than a documentary; I’ll include it here because the behind the scenes footage is so classic. Martin Scorsese directs the last concert, at the time- 1976, of The Band. They are in excellent shape and give an outstanding performance. Levon Helm has one of the greatest voices ever and him singing The Night They Drove Old Dixie down is downright phenomenal. Many guests come out and do their thing including Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan. Legend has it Dylan would only play if the cameras were turned off. Since Dylan hadn’t performed much in public for a while and Dylan-worshipping was at its peak, Scorsese let the cameras roll against his wishes. Thank God he did. The backstage antics are amazing. Apparently there was a cocaine room with hundreds of plastic noses taped to the wall and sniffing noises playing on a recording. There are tons of great interviews, my favorite being with the keyboard/singer Richard Manuel. He is hysterically out-there and talking about bands called Chocolate Subway and Marshmallow Overcoat. He seems like a real cool cat, it was shocking to learn he hung himself a few years later.

Hated: G.G.Allin and the Murder Junkies

G.G. Allen is a legend. Born Jesus Christ Allen to abusive and crazy parents, he is known as the most extreme front man in punk history. Violence, shit, and rape all played a part in this wild mans performances. The film tracks his disastrous upbringing to his death by heroin in 1991. This is the one and only film about him. The guy that made it went on to direct big name Hollywood comedies. The film includes clips from his legendary appearances on the Jane Whitney Show and Jerry Springer. He brings his groupies with him who are so messed up it’s unbelievable. He says one of his favorite pastimes is having them piss in his mouth before he goes to sleep. When Tim and I were in high school the depravity of this dude fascinated us. We almost had a chance to see him perform on a bill with Reverend Budgreen (known for throwing joints out into the audience) but the club was 21 and over so we couldn’t get in. We had VHS tapes of his shows and spoken word performances and a bunch of 7”s. I remember the liner notes of one told a story of him grabbing a woman from the audience by the hair and raping her on stage. This may be folklore but if it happened that is real fucked up. Sometimes I felt bad buying this freaks records. Like the film, I in no way condone this mans behavior. He always said he would mark "the end of punk rock" by killing himself on stage on Halloween. But each year he was in jail when the time came around. Too bad, that would have been kind of cool.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Random Internet Quote #1

I pulled this one from Verne Troyers IMDB bulletin board.

"He's not as short as he seems in the movies. They use special effects to make him seem shorter than he actually is, which is a normal height."
-a poster named Jowel

The Aphrikan

Here is the trailer for Potion Lords contributer Tim Hicks' film The Aphrikan. It will be screening at festivals in New York and Los Angeles this summer.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Photo of the Day

A drunk Mexican guy drove directly into a bicycle race June 4th. Somehow, only one person died. Click photo for bigger image.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Warren's Song of the Month

It's been many months since Warren selected a song for us. But he returns with this one from 1976. Once again, the theme is magic.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

It's Neither Chilean. Nor Sea Bass.

I have been alerted to the plight of the Patagonian Toothfish. It is sold under the name Chilean Sea Bass but it is not bass- or found in Chili. Apparently the first guy to import them didn't like the look or name of the fish so he made up a new one. The fish is threatened with extinction and over 80% of the them are illegally caught. In the Antarctic there are Toothfish pirates hiding them under crayfish for illegal import. In the 80's and 90's the fish became a high-end favorite. Rich folk gobbled them down. But, once the word got out the "sea bass" were illegally and extremely over fished, Whole Foods and Wal-Mart stopped selling the fish. A sea bass backlash occurred. Even Mr. Environment himself, Al Gore, was caught scarfing down the fish at his daughters wedding rehearsal dinner. It wasn't until 2006 that the Marine Stewardship Council certified 4000 tonnes of it had been legally caught that the stores began to sell it again. Still, it is not bass, nor Chilean. Don't be fooled. The pirates have returned and the Toothfish is still a threatened creature. After a three week chase, a 40 person Uruguayan crew was recently caught in Australian waters (pictured below) with 40 tonnes of fish, worth over two million on the black market. Ever heard of "Seafood Awareness?" From 1999 to 2004, the Seafood Choices Alliance has invested $37 million in seafood consumer awareness campaigns, partially out of exasperation with the government's failure to regulate fisheries or seafood imports. I guess it doesn't matter- people will be eating fish no matter what- until the end of time. "We did not co-evolve with fish they way we co-evolved with mammals," says Daniel Pauly at the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre. "Therefore, we cannot wrap our minds around fish or our hearts around them either." That reminds me of something Philip K Dick wrote in VALIS: "Fish Do Not Ride Bicycles."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Documentaries Part 2: Artists

Here is part two of an ongoing series about documentary films. This one is about the artist, whether it be a writer, filmmaker, cartoonist, painter, inventor, or a combination of all five. Next time: music.

F for Fake

Orson Welles’ final film is a documentary like no other. He begins with the story of Elmyr de Hory, an art forger. Elmyr lives in Ibiza and perfectly re-creates classic art masterpieces. When many people think they own the same painting- chances are one, or both, are Elmer’s work. This leads to a critical look at the idea of “experts” and the difference between “truth” and “facts,” and how they can be distorted and manipulated to create new realities- usually to the benefit of the “expert.” He goes on to discuss forgery and the nature of art. He discusses Clifford Irving’s fake Howard Hughes biography. Welles is one of the original pranksters; his War of the Worlds radio show was the first major media trick. He creates another mind-bending experience with this film- worth seeing just for the absolutely stunningly beautiful Oja Kodar. This was Robert Anton Wilson’s favorite movie, he writes about it extensively in his Cosmic Trigger book series. Those are life-altering works, check them out.

The White Diamond

A Werner Herzog film from 2004. Astonishingly beautiful, insightful and wacky at the same time. I don’t know how Herzog does it. His camera just pays attention to the right things and then lingers for the appropriate amount of time. The story is focuses on aeronautical engineer and inventor Graham Dorrington and his massive helium balloon he built to sail over the forests of Guyana. The guy is nutty. He is extremely animated and enthusiastic, to say the least. We follow him to Kaietur Falls and throughout various forest canopies in Guyana. In the jungle Herzog comes across a man chilling out watching the balloon sail. As the camera approaches he starts talking and what he says is so hip and fascinating a lot of the film focuses on him from there on in. It is mesmerizing. If you have even the slightest interest in the world around you, I highly recommend this. It doesn't really matter what it is about- this is Herzog at his best. Check out any of his other 40 or so documentaries. My other favorites are Bells of the Deep, Little Dieter Needs to Fly, and Fata Morgana.

The Cruise

Speed Levitch is a mad genius, a modern beat poet with extraordinary knowledge and humor. This man has read every book I’ve ever talked to him about. Ideas are flowing from this guy like water. Until last year he was couch surfing for 12 years strait- and proud of it. He has slept on my couch many times and we would often spend all night discussing life and hatching plans. He is also a master tour guide of New York and more recently San Francisco. This film centers on a New York tour. Its more than a tour, it’s a life philosophy— Cruising. Watch it. Read his book Speed On New York On Speed. He’s been working on a new one too- a book of one-liners. He told me this film did more bad than good for him. It kind of pigeon-holed him as the director portrayed him in the movie- when he’s really got so much more going on. There is another film Richard Linklater did of him touring Ground Zero after 9/11. Its called Live From Shiva’s Dance Floor. His idea was to put grass with live bison grazing where the buildings were. "The idea is that the central monument should not be an inanimate piece of stone but it should be something that's alive, that has a heartbeat and that propagates." He also does the Shakespeare Delivery troop, a home delivery Shakespeare theater group. Check out his band Sexual Vietnam if you ever get the chance. But start with The Cruise.


This is a very in depth character study of cartoonist Robert Crumb. He is not the most likable guy and his family is really messed up. But director Terry Zwigoff goes deep into the mans psyche and creative process. Even if you don’t like Crumb or cartoons this is a fascinating look into the life of an artist. I haven’t seen this since it came out in 94 but I remember really being moved by it. Check it out.

Burden of Dreams

This is Les Blanks documentary about Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski making Fitzcarraldo together in the Amazon jungle. Required viewing. Fitzcarraldo is most famous because they pulled a boat over a mountain. No stupid CGI shit here. This is the real thing. Obsessed artists on a serious journey. We see Herzog get super philosophical about the jungle. We see Kinski get super emotional when the boat starts moving over the mountain. We see the natives stare in confusion. Just incredible, historical stuff. Make sure and check out Herzogs film about Kinski that uses some of the same footage- My Best Fiend. And of course the masterpiece itself, Fitzcarraldo.

Born Into This

The last time I remember tears falling from my eyes was in a theater during the end of this movie. The poetry was so beautiful, especially the way it was presented in that context, I actually wept at its power. They were the words of Charles Bukowski, one of the great poets. I don’t know where to start if you’re not familiar with his life and work. Read his novels Post Office or Women. Check out any one of his poetry books- The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills is an early favorite of mine. Or check out this movie, the filmmakers did and excellent job. It is pretty much the definitive documentary on his life. There is tons of rare footage of readings, interviews,and drunken behavior. Did you know Buddhist monks performed his funeral rites? I just learnt that. I asked fellow fan Tim Hicks for a quote about him, he sums everything up eloquently… "Bukowski is the quintessential spokesman for the underdog. If you thought that you had it bad, try reading Ham on Rye or Factotum. Better yet, don't try. He is a master of prose and a totally original poet, who listens to nobody and follows no trend. He truly didn't give a fuck what people thought, he couldn't, it would hurt too much."

Monday, June 2, 2008

Disaster Capitalism

Naomi Klein has written a book called The Shock Doctrine. It is about private companies taking advantage of natural disasters for profit. For example, when the Tsunami hit India, in the immediate shock afterward, while the local fisherman that lived on the beaches were displaced, companies came in a sold the beach front property to build resorts on. The fishermen never got to go home. A similar situation occurred with the privatisation of the school system in New Orleans after the levees broke. And of course Blackwater and Halibuton in Iraq after the invasion. She is doing some important work by exposing some very fucked up and outrageous behavior. Here is a short excerpt from the book:

"What happened on September 11 2001 is that an ideology hatched in American universities and fortified in Washington institutions finally had its chance to come home. The Bush administration... seized upon the fear generated to launch the "war on terror" and to ensure that it is an almost completely for-profit venture, a booming new industry that has breathed new life into the faltering US economy. Best understood as a "disaster capitalism complex", it is a global war fought on every level by private companies whose involvement is paid for with public money, with the unending mandate of protecting the US homeland in perpetuity while eliminating all "evil" abroad.
In a few short years, the complex has already expanded its market reach from fighting terrorism to international peacekeeping, to municipal policing, to responding to increasingly frequent natural disasters. The ultimate goal for the corporations at the centre of the complex is to bring the model of for-profit government, which advances so rapidly in extraordinary circumstances, into the ordinary functioning of the state - in effect, to privatise the government."
-Naomi Klein

There is short film about it you can watch here.