Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And Now a Special Announcement

Good days and day dreams daemons and deities alike.

In my last post on this illuminated scroll, I alluded to some workings that were in the works and asked you to keep your eyes open for a new upcoming and tomorrow.

We are now at that tomorrow.

I am pleased to announce that I have been asked to contribute to the Disinformation World News Podcast. I have been a fan of this site and this 'cast for ages and I am really looking forward to contributing to this alternative news/occult/Fortean/ultracultural stew of goodness.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the site, Disinformation - IMHO - was one of the first great websites that made use of the internet as a kind of feedback engine, pointing the curious toward the ever more curious-er and creating a sort of clearing-house of counter-cultural information and energetics.

The Disinformation Podcasts are the evolution of the popular Out There podcasts that were pioneered by Raymond Wiley and Joe McFall at the University of Georgia. This show was a huge hit in the occult/weirdness scene and Disinfo smartly tapped them to develop their new podcasts about a year ago.

Check out our first episode together. My segment covers the psychedelic implications of artist R. Crumb's new Book of Genesis project that will be released this fall.

If you just can't get enough of my golden voice, take a listen to my latest CD and pick up a few downloads at your favorite digital music provider...


Use this player to listen to my new CD. Purchase a song or two at your favorite digital outlet and help us stay awake here at Insomnia!

Find the archives to my Sleepless Film Festival, and more at my You Tube channel: Imagicon

Listen to my earlier releases, and enjoy free downloads here!

Please consider supporting this site by making a PayPal donation and check out our friends using the links on the right.

Joe Nolan

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Like Iron Mike

Hello small babies,

God bless us every one.

So last night I had the pleasure of enjoying the new Mike Tyson documentary, Tyson.

Tyson is directed by James Toback, one of the most eccentric, challenging directors working today.

This is Toback's first doc, but Tyson explores themes of sexuality, racism, madness and drug use that permeate his body of work. If you are interested in exploring his work I recommend watching all of his films, but Fingers (starring Harvey Keitel as a pianist/mob enforcer) and Black and White (a sprawling, Altmanesque exploration of race and class that features Mike Tyson as himself in a supporting role) are both particularly good.

Toback - who wrote a notorious biography of NFL great Jim Brown - befriended Tyson years ago and his film gives Iron Mike a chance to tell his side of his sad, maddening, bizarre story. In fact, Tyson is mostly just our eponymous anti-hero speaking on camera, telling his own story in his own words. Toback's masterful use of split-screen, audio editing and found footage creates a gripping setting for the loquacious ex-champ to express himself - sometimes laughing, sometimes crying - in his own unique way.

Tyson comes off as a troubled man who was driven to become Heavyweight Champion of the World not through a sense of mission or a striving for greatness, but by a terrible, gnawing insecurity for his own physical safety that resulted from experiences he had as a child, growing up in a particularly brutal section of Brooklyn, NY.

The Tyson we see in the film, is poetic, thoughtful, humbled, regretful, joyous when he speaks about his 6 children and generous when he speaks about his fellow fighters. He is also, clearly a complex, sensitive man who may always be haunted by his own peculiar demons, but Tyson makes no apologies. In much the same manner that Mike used to enter the ring with no robe save for a lather of sweat or a kind of improvised tunic fashioned from a gym towel, Tyson wastes little time with formalities. This film comes out swinging and its a knockout.

If you live in Nashville, you missed your last chance to see the film last night. However, I understand the movie has already been released to DVD and is available on Netflix. Check it out.

In the meantime, here are two Tyson docs I am hosting on my YouTube channel.

This first one from ESPN's excellent Beyond the Glory series of boxing career retrospectives.

This next doc is a film made for The Learning Channel entitled The Mike Tyson story.

If all that punching has you wanting to rock out. Check out my newest CD...


Use this player to listen to my new CD. Purchase a song or two at your favorite digital outlet and help us stay awake here at Insomnia!

Find the archives to my Sleepless Film Festival, and more at my You Tube channel: Imagicon

Listen to my earlier releases, and enjoy free downloads here!

Please consider supporting this site by making a PayPal donation and check out our friends using the links on the right.

Joe Nolan

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The "I's" in Activism: A Chat with Nate C (Part 2)

Ca vas, Comrades

I have been in touch with Nate again after a lull in our conversation due to his being preoccupied with a recent move to a City in the Sky.

A few how-you-dos and a couple restaurant recommendations later and we are back up to speed with our ongoing discussion. For the uninitiated, Nate is a friend of mine who recently left Nashville. More accurately, Nate was a guy I met one time at a party who I promptly had an hour of engaging conversation with concerning his upcoming wedding, his impending move and - most importantly for our purposes - his upcoming trip to Greece to make a film about the civil unrest that had erupted in Athens following the police shooting of a teenage boy that occurred last December.

To catch up on our earlier installment, simply click the "Nate C" label at the bottom of this post.

I got the last word in our last post, addressing the idea that people in America are to prosperous to revolt in the way we've recently seen in Iran. Nate touches on this idea and then we get back to our talk about Greece.

And now, back to our conversation...

The "I's" in Activism: A Chat with Nate C (Part 2)

NC: The Iranian people seem to have a pretty miserable daily existence. I'm poor in this country and I can still manage to eat out some, have a couple of drinks, and pay for an education. Iranians also believe in a god, and that leads them to believe in justice and absolutes. Religion makes people militant.

In Greece, the Greek Orthodox church runs the show. They own real estate that they rent out to the Greek Government. To believe in the State is to believe in the Church. Inversely, to not believe in the Church is to not believe in the State. Kids in school there are reading the existentialists. They read classical philosophy in middle school. They were wearing black, riding scooters, smoking cigarettes, and drinking red wine before it was cool. The educated youth are godless and stateless, unbound by any sense of dominance or other assortments of damnation.

JN: I would assume that this plays into the appeal of Anarchistic ideas among the young. There is universal yearning among all young people everywhere, you can see the literary echoes of the idea of this kind of Children's Paradise in Burrough's Wild Boys or among Peter Pan's Lost Boys. However, the Greek youth obviously have their own particular circumstances in regards to the way the State and the Church affect their lives. In America, these forces also wield tremendous power, but not officially. It's far more subtle, and ultimately, can't really be compared. Apples to Oranges. Of course, they are living within a historic shadow that is so vast and ancient that it literally stretches across the ideals, values and foundations of our own country. Contemporary Americans have a hard time comprehending the weight of that kind of history.

NC: The word paradigm starts to address the question, but it's even broader than that. The paradigms of Athens are influenced by the cultural heritage and history, and vice versa. The Athenian lifestyle would be a good starting place toward understanding.

From what I was able to gather, my perception of Athenian culture is that it's very leisurely. Wait staff in restaurants there are paid a healthy hourly wage, so rushing around to earn the highest amount of gratuity possible within a shift is alien to them. Friends stop by to visit waiters in the cafe, and they sit and have coffee together while on the clock. At cafes in the U.S., I've seen owners disable electrical outlets to keep people from "camping" with their laptops. It's not that way at all in Athens.

They take vacations regularly--little weekend excursions to an island or the countryside. That sort of thing isn't cordoned off and reserved for a week each year like in U.S. working culture.

Television is very new in Greece. The teens didn't grow up in front of it, and the mid-thirties is the beginning of the main TV-watching demographic. The difference between the TV watchers and the others is shocking; early teens are taking up the styles and lifestyles they see on MTV-- a fairly new development in Greece. When people are not watching television, they are engaged in active forms of entertainment, rather than passively watching pictures of other people being active. I would argue that this creates a predisposition toward action, such as what culminated in political action.

JN: This is an important point. As we began to address in our last conversation, revolt is rarely the result of cause and effect. There has to be an underlying predisposition that will allow for people to activate for change. There may be a demand, but a willingness to answer that call cannot be assumed. Clearly many factors go into such decisions, but the passivity of American media culture can undermine activism on many levels including physical health, education, political awareness etc.

NC: We can't make the mistake of putting too much stock in the types of entertainment available there though. Education in Greece is free. Even college is free, and without limits on the amount of time they can continue their studies if in good standing. Many young people are very well read and educated. Most speak a few languages, and know their history and government. Their "classics" are not puritanical popular novels and poems but philosophical tracts thousands of years old about free thought, democracy, and the nature of man's existence. They have a better shot from the beginning reading Plato than Edgar Allen Poe.

JN: Although I have read and enjoyed much of the Am. Lit. canon, your point is well taken. Another continuing irony is that our culture shares the same common roots, but I don't think I would've read Plato until late in high school - if not college - if it hadn't been for the library of books my father had collected. It's become such a cliche - especially in the last 8 years - but people who don't know their past are truly doomed to create wrong-headed tomorrows or at least let them be created in their name.

NC: In a town where there's a sense of a past, there's also a clearer idea of the future perhaps. Athenians want their mark on the world to be minimal, and the mark they do leave to be positive, like all healthy humans. When they see their government threatening that with their actions, they take it very seriously. An awareness of what effected change in the past makes "true believers" that believe in future reforms.

JN: There is a sense of empowerment in this kind of recollection. Successful civil actions build on themselves. I find it so odd that America is still trying to decide whether is was right for the radicals in the '60's to protest the Vietnam War.
This gets very Chomskyan. There is a constant battle over which version of history we will honor. Members of the Labor Movement literally fought and died in the streets of this country so that children were no longer employed in factories and so workers could work only 40 hours with a weekend. Today, many Americans will ignorantly talk down unions, but you can bet they'd never give up their weekends. There is a lack of understanding/knowledge about events that aren't even 100 years old.

The unrest in Greece began with the police shooting of a teenager in Athens. America isn't immune to such brutality. What is the relationship between the average Athenian and the police?

NC: Law in general in Greece is not taken very seriously. In the U.S. we have the most skilled guns in the world pointed at us every time we step out of line. The cops in Athens are twenty-something college drop outs. They lounge in the shade on street corners flirting with the one or two female soldiers stationed with the group, hassle immigrants, smoke cigarettes, drink frappes and play with the many stray dogs in the city. They don't write speeding tickets. Public intoxication, assault, etc. are par for the course. People drink beer walking down the streets and the police won't even bother to put down their cigarettes.

JN: How does the economic situation compare to America or to Guevara's Argentina and Cuba as per our last discussion?

NC: In the Cuban struggle, and the ones in Argentina where Guevara spent his formative years, people were poor, desperate, hungry, bored, and informed. That's similar to how things are in Greece.

To have a perfect storm for radical social change, we need a few factors:
1. An accessible geography. The United States is too damn big.
2. Dominant modes of transit that are communal.
3. A culture where death is a part of life, not something alien to be feared.
4. A leisurely pace that allows people to catch their breath and look around.
5. Graffiti and wheat pasting as street media forms, or access to other media.
6. Civil unrest due to unemployment--especially among the educated.
7. A widespread awareness of exactly how fucked up the system is.
8. Enough anonymity to organize effectively in underground resistance movements.
9. An awareness of, and an environment dominated by, the history of one's civilization.
10. Interaction with people from other parts of the world.

Now, what of these factors above can we change in the States? Which factor are changing on their own? Who controls the factors that seem here to stay? A good beginning would be to:
1. Turn off the television.
2. Start organizing community social events that are available at little or no cost.
3. Make education free and open to all, both practical skills and the traditional fields of study.
4. Make politics fun and interesting.
5. Liberate stigmatized words from the conventional lexicon.
6. Eat less, drink less, and ride bikes more.
7. Never pay for another permit of any sort.
8. Write letters and send books to prisoners.
9. Just like when you were fighting with your little sister, ignoring her is the best way to fight back. The government is insecure and craves your attention. "You're a terrorist!" "I know you are, but what am I?" "Stop it!!!!!" Works every time.
10. Drink, fuck, smoke, eat good food, and dance.


More to come...


Use this player to listen to my new CD. Purchase a song or two at your favorite digital outlet and help us stay awake here at Insomnia!

Find the archives to my Sleepless Film Festival, and more at my You Tube channel: Imagicon

Listen to my earlier releases, and enjoy free downloads here!

Please consider supporting this site by making a PayPal donation and check out our friends using the links on the right.

Joe Nolan

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Miguel Angel Torres VS Brian Bowles

Hey everybody,

Tonight's the night. Miguel Angel Torres and Brian Bowles are just about to meet in the cage for the third challenge to Torres' WEC Bantam Weight title.

Going into this fight, I am - of course - in favor of Torres: my vote for best pound for pound fighter in the world. However, it may not be so simple.

Bowles is less experienced than Torres, but he is undefeated, he's never gone the distance, he has proven that he can take a punch.

Torres is coming off a very close win against Mizugaki - also covered on this blog...

You can bet that Bowles studied that fight and will try to bring some strategy to the fight tonight. Mizugaki confounded Torres by taking his shattering punches better than previous opponents while also standing up Torres, pushing his own agenda, showing little fear of - and little respect for - Torres formidable striking skills.

Look for Bowles to pressure Torres right off the bat looking for a quick knockout. This won't be easy. Torres is as tough as they come.

The fighters are being announced and we're about to begin...

Round One:
Both fighters look to be in amazing condition. Neither fighter shows any signs of rushing in, both waiting for the other to make a move. A full minute has gone by with NO contact. BOWLES DROPS TORRES WITH HIS FIRST PUNCH OF THE NIGHT, but Torres immediately jumps up and appears to be pissed. Bowles gets Torres to the cage and manages a takedown. Torres attacks Bowles with heel kicks from the guard, Bowles stands up and eats a few up kicks. Bowles and Torres are back on their feet. One minute and a half to go. Bowles moves in, Torres connects with a hard right driving Bowles back. Torres chases him to the cage with a flurry of blows, but Bowles is covering up and backing up before scoring a solid right to the chin of Torres. Torres buckles and rolls to the ground. Bowles follows him down scoring right punches and elbows to the face as Torres attempts to maneuver into a position where he can utilize his up-kicks. Bowles lands a very clean right to Torres chin and he appears to go limp just before Bowles lands a series of hard lefts and gets the TKO.


Congratulations Brian Bowles. An amazing fight. First Faber loses two in a row, now Torres 17 fight winning streak comes to a close.

Fighters like Faber and Torres remain two of the most exciting fighters in the sport, but it is a credit to the evolution of mixed martial arts that even such amazing fighters can lose a given fight in a given night.

I feel like Torres amazing jab has been absent during both of the last two fights. Not to take anything from Bowles, but I think Torres can take this belt back if he is willing and able to go back to fundamentals, putting an emphasis on the techniques that lead him to the championship in the first place.


Use this player to listen to my new CD. Purchase a song or two at your favorite digital outlet and help us stay awake here at Insomnia!

Find the archives to my Sleepless Film Festival, and more at my You Tube channel: Imagicon

Listen to my earlier releases, and enjoy free downloads here!

Please consider supporting this site by making a PayPal donation and check out our friends using the links on the right.

Joe Nolan

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Radio Radio

Hey y'all and then some,

Hope everyone is enjoying a lazy Sunday. I am marinating some chicken thighs in anticipation of my potluck supper later with a girl from a faraway land. We will also be frying green tomatoes and assembling ravioli while staring longingly into one another's eyes and trying not to laugh.

Wanted to say thanks again to all the good people who came out to my latest show at Ugly Mugs cafe in Nashville last night. We had a real blast and this was definitely the funner-est show I've had on this recent run of performances this spring and summer.

Here's the set list:

San Fransisco Girl
Like I never Knew You
The Wicked
See About You
Rush Hour Blues/Goodnight Irene

A few of these tunes (The Wicked, Like I never knew you) are songs I've been playing a lot lately. I am currently working on them for my new CD. Not sure when that will be done...

Also I have some fun news coming soon regarding a great podcast that I have been asked to contribute to. I should be making an announcement soon so stay tuned. In the meantime, whet your appetite on this fun interview with Austin Gandy from the Invisible College segments on Disinformation Podcasts.

I am also planning on making the recent recording of my show at the chapel in the Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville available online soon. There is a new site I've been wanting to investigate and I am contemplating creating a kind of bootleg clearing house where I can post live recordings, outtakes and demos for download, stream etc. Of course, I already have a similar archive on the jukebox page at my website, but this would include more material like my recent performance at the Kalamazoo Art Hop in Michigan and more.

Also, take some time to listen to my latest report for Nashville Public Radio. I recently did a story about Nashville's visual art scene, focusing on the economics of running a gallery during tough times.

Here is the transcript:

The Arts Economy – A Tale of Two Galleries (transcript)
Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

By Joe Nolan

As the economic recession continues, the always-risky art business has proved particularly vulnerable. In January, art sales were down by half at the Christies and Sotheby’s auction houses in New York. Here in Nashville, WPLN’s Joe Nolan reports on the fortunes of two local galleries trying to attract the difficult art dollar.

Audio for this feature is available here.

dotted line

(SOUND: Twist Gallery)

In downtown Nashville, the 106 year old Arcade building has become the epicenter of the city’s latest art scene. The first Saturday of every month, art fans head downtown for a Gallery Crawl, visiting the fourteen art spaces that call the Arcade and Nashville’s 5th Avenue of the Arts home.

Twist Gallery was one of the first venues to help transform the mostly-vacant Arcade, and was one of a handful of galleries that participated in the inaugural Art Crawl.

CARLISLE: “I’m Caroline Carlisle with Twist Art Gallery and we’re standing in the front room of Twist…”

The storefront gallery at Twist is displaying a show of drawings by two artists from Atlanta’s Beep Beep Gallery. Jason R. Butcher’s odd-ball narratives feature characters like a man whose his inner-child’s arms and legs are growing out of his chest. The exhibit spills into the gallery’s back room where an inventory of small retail items helps to pay the rent for Twist’s more challenging shows.

CARLISLE: “….handmade items, artist created things, t-shirts, vinyl record bowls, note cards, handmade bags and whatnot, all priced below $250. It could go from $3 on up, but we try to keep things affordable for people.”

By executing this one-two punch of challenging programming and savvy retail, Carlisle says Twist is effectively weathering a current dip in sales.

CARLISLE: “I would say we’ve seen a little bit of a slow down this year. The funny thing is we’ve seen more people in the gallery – less sales.”

Despite lean times, Twist has added an additional gallery on the Arcade’s upper level, adding to its space in the real world while it simultaneously increase their reach online.

CARLISLE: “We just recently added several features that we’re excited about. One is our shop button that takes you to our Etsy shop. I’ll click on that now.”

Etsy.com is an Internet bazaar where the gallery can sell their artist’s work online. Twist also employs a blog, social networking profiles and Twitter to carry their exhibits beyond the gallery’s walls extending the Twist brand well beyond the Arcade.

CARLISLE: “That’s just how you do it now. You can’t just have a website or just have a blog or you can’t just have a physical bricks and mortar space. We haven’t quite figured out what it is, but I think we’re trying to and I think that’s the next step.”

Another gallery contemplating its next step is only 6 blocks from the Arcade. Although the two galleries are within walking distance from one another, Ruby Green has a different, longer story to tell, one that can sometimes feel a world away from the Avenue of the Arts that Ruby Green also calls home.

CAMPBELL: “I am Chris Campbell and I’m the founding director of Ruby Green, and this is what we call the main gallery. We have divided our entire gallery space into 5 working artist studios. We’re just trying to survive and pay our bills right now.”

The studios recall the venue’s roots as a collection of ramshackle artist spaces that Campbell transformed into a non-profit art gallery in 1998. Ruby Green quickly became known as one of the largest, most engaging art gallery spaces in Nashville. The gallery’s art-for-art’s-sake programming offered challenging installations, video art and experimental live music.


The interest generated by bands like German Castro as well as the gallery’s well-attended exhibits paid off in 2005 when the Andy Warhol Foundation recognized the gallery’s achievements.

CAMPBELL: “It was one of the best things that’s ever happened to I think Nashville’s contemporary art scene personally, because we’re in the books. We’re in the history.”

The Foundation provided Ruby Green with $135,000 dollars, allowing the gallery to hire some of its loyal volunteers.

CAMPBELL: “So for a few years we had paid employees and we were able to reach out and do a lot more and serve a lot more artists. But like all non-profits you still always have to cover all of your operating costs. It’s very rare to get money that’s going to go just for rent and electricity.”

Today at Ruby Green, the main gallery has come full circle. The newly-erected walls fill the formerly spacious room, and the artist studios are linked by a common hallway. Although this latest effort is creating income for the space, the gallery is facing greater challenges.

Campbell worries that possible downtown development plans for green spaces and new Convention Center parking may mean the end of the building that is the gallery’s ten-year old home, forcing Ruby Green to find a new venue even further removed from 5th Avenue and a Gallery Crawl that they already feel a world away from.

CAMPBELL: “I was told that 5th Avenue of the arts is a big elephant and that they can only eat a bite at a time and they’re starting up at TPAC so, you know, we’re at the end of the elephant. The other end (laughs).”

As of the airing of this report, the doors were locked at Ruby Green. The gallery has put in a 30 days notice with their landlord and will be leaving their space to search for a new home in the coming weeks.

For Nashville public radio, I’m Joe Nolan.


Use this player to listen to my new CD. Purchase a song or two at your favorite digital outlet and help us stay awake here at Insomnia!

Find the archives to my Sleepless Film Festival, and more at my You Tube channel: Imagicon

Listen to my earlier releases, and enjoy free downloads here!

Please consider supporting this site by making a PayPal donation and check out our friends using the links on the right.

Joe Nolan

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Real to Reel

Yes and what up?

A quick update on some of what's going down with what's coming up...

First of all, I have played several shows in the past months and have been enjoying a musically active summer playing festivals and other such gigs that have been embedded in sunny funny goings-on.

This last weekend I played at the Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville during the First Saturday Gallery Crawl. The 'Crawl draws 1000's of folks downtown for art gawking, free wine and live tunes.

The guys from Eastern Block played in the Arcade while David Hellams, Harvey Gerard and myself played the Church along with the Team from Welcome to 1979.

The cats from '79 are an analog recording collective/full blown studio on the west side of our fair city. The guys came in with the reel to reel and we recorded each of our sets to shiny, black tape; curling around itself like a noisy little viper. I just found out that I am also going get my filthy little hands on all the audio from my performance at the Kalamazoo art hop earlier this summer.

All of this archiving is inspiring me to find a new outlet for all this live/demo material. I recently began digitizing a bunch of stuff that I have on cassettes from the early 90's.

More on that soon.

For those of you in Nashville, I'll be doing a short set at Ugly Mugs coffee in East Nashville at 6:30 PM this coming Saturday, August 8.

See you there?


Use this player to listen to my new CD. Purchase a song or two at your favorite digital outlet and help us stay awake here at Insomnia!

Find the archives to my Sleepless Film Festival, and more at my You Tube channel: Imagicon

Listen to my earlier releases, and enjoy free downloads here!

Please consider supporting this site by making a PayPal donation and check out our friends using the links on the right.

Joe Nolan

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