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LOLA Festival in London

I just found out about this free festival in London, Ontario. This is from their myspace blurb:

We're transforming our city's downtown area into an outdoor Public Art Gallery and indie concert space for you to Love. LOLA is a free festival to all those who attend, it happens from September 20-22 2007 in London, Ontario Canada.

Sounds awesome. Here are some of the bands they have lined up:

The Acorn, Akron/Family, Barmitzvah Brothers, Laura Barrett, Beach House, Geoff Berner, Basia Bulat, Constantines, DD/MM/YYYY, Brian Eno, Feuermusik, Figure & Ground, Final Fantasy, Great Aunt Ida, Grizzly Bear, Holy Fuck, Hylozoists, Jenny Omnichord, Mantler, Carolyn Mark, Meligrove Band, Ohbijou, Old Man Luedecke, OK Cobra, Patrick the Bunny, Sandro Perri, Prefuse 73, Raised By Swans, Shadrach Kabango Snailhouse, Stop Die Resuscitate, Thesis Sahib, Toolshed, Torngat, Tusks, Two Minute Miracles, Video Hippos, Wooden Stars.

And if thats not enough for you, Brian Eno will be premiering his latest generative art installation titled “77 Million Paintings”. There's plenty more to check out so see the website for more information. The festival is free but I suspect you may have to pay to see the bands.

LOLA Festval Website
LOLA Festval myspace page

Disk of the Week


Drums And Guns

by Low

Released : March 2007
Label : Sub Pop
myspace :

Well, I generally always like a new Low album, but to put to words what's wrong with this one. Something's lacking, there are no stand out tracks that you can o.d. on (track 7 is kinda close). Maybe its Zak Sally's absence (Matt Livingston is in his place). Maybe its the synthetic drums and keyboard prominence where guitar-drums-bass always worked before. The whole album seems to lack something i can't quite pinpoint...

Thats not to say I don't like it, it's good and I do - I just don't like it as much as other stuff they have, and probably the last thing I need is yet another Low album - but i'll take it anyway.

The Hipster Olympics


"An epic battle of apathetic grandeur."

Speaking of hipsters, this is pretty funny. I love how they don't realize the race has started until they get a text message telling them the race has started. Ladies pull your socks up!

Go to youtube.

When Kerouac Pointed Out The Road


It took Jack Kerouac 3 weeks to write On the Road, and 6 years to get it published. The original manuscript was written on a 120 foot-long scroll as one long paragraph with no breaks. At the time Kerouac was stuck on how to write his road book. Inspired by the letters of Neal Cassady, Kerouac developed a style of writing he called Spontaneous Prose. With SP, you don't stop to think about what you write you just write everything that comes into your head. Kerouac said "by not revising what you've already written you simply give the reader the actual workings of your thoughts about events in your own unchangeable way."

Why did it take it so long to be published? The original was too difficult to read, because of its format. Kerouac wanted to give us a paragraph that we could experience with him. One long breath of everything that was in him at the time. He wanted us to feel like the road after reading it. While this sounds like an amazing idea, its no wonder it was rejected. Imagine reading this (click to see an image of the scroll).

In addition its content was considered racy at the time. Publishers were conservative and unconvinced. Kerouac had no choice but to revise it. By the time 1957 rolled around the Beat movement could no longer be ignored. The ideas that were unpublishable in '51 became fashionable in '57. As Burroughs said:

"After 1957, On the Road sold a trillion levis, a million espresso machines and also sent countless kids on the road. This was of course due in part to the media, the arch-opportunists. They know a story when they see one, and the Beat movement was a big one... the Beat literary movement came at exactly the right time and said something that millions of people of all nationalities all over the world were waiting to hear. You can't tell anybody anything he doesn't know already. The alienation, the dissatisfaction were already there when Kerouac pointed out the road."

Now in 2007, to coincide with the 50 year anniversary of On The Road, the text from the original scroll has been published. Everything coalesces. In a world where reality tv passes for culture, publishers can finally feel its safe to publish the original manuscript. To the iPod-and-messenger-bag toting hipsters of today, the beat generation is a historical fact, and On The Road is good tame fun. Not to mention attention spans have plummeted. Whether the scroll finds its audience remains to be seen, but somehow I suspect its too little too late.

Tidbits: Shameless, Vice, and Penguin

Help Stacy May Choose a Book Cover
Stacey May of Shameless magazine has written a book and is inviting readers to choose between two book covers. Congrats, Stacey. If you want to cast a vote go here.

Vice wants to save you from your TV
If you haven't done so already, you might want to head on over to VBS.TV. Vice launched their online channel back in February and if you've ever read Vice you know you can count on it to be irreverent and unique. Everything from robotic and sexual active girlfriends in Japan to what's going on in Darfur. The series "Spike Spends Saturday With..." launched yesterday and has Spike talking with MIA.

Penguin Music is Closing its Doors
According to Eye Magazine, Penguin Music (on McCaul - will be shutting it down due to a dispute with their landlord. Not sure how long they have been in business but its a shame when that happens. Landlords can raise the rent as much as they want, and only give a store 30 days notice. There are no restraints whatsoever when it comes to commercial leases - so even a successful store is vulnerable to this. It just ends up killing retail diversity on the street. I guess they can always move, thats what Zoinks! did last year. Funny this was just going to be a one sentence news link but it turned into a rant. Guess I just had to get that off my chest.

Anyways, if anyone knows if there is anything that can be done about this I would really like to hear about it.

Here is a link to the news story in Eye Magazine.

Review: Buddha, Volume 1: Kapilavastu


Buddha, Volume 1: Kapilavastu

by Osamu Tezuka

Just finished reading the first book in Osamu Tezuka series called Buddha. The Buddha series of graphic novels retells the origins of Buddha and his life. I highly recommend this book - I almost read the entire thing in one sitting and I can't wait to get into the second book. The book follows the intermingling storylines of Chapra a slave who goes against the caste system, Tatta a pariah with special gifts, and Naradata a monk searching for answers. Each character is distinct, complex and likable. Tezuki captivates by switching from one character's adventures to another, leaving us hanging on to find out more. The language is modern, which seems strange, but works since the focus is on action. Tezuki also takes the time to explain historical concepts - like deadly locust swarms - that might be foreign to some readers. He leaves no one behind and it is clear to see why he is renowned for his storytelling. I have always been meaning to read about Buddha so this is an excellent introduction. I highly recommend it even if you are not a fan of graphic novels.

Christopher Hitchens Talk

Here is video of author Christopher Hitchens discussing his book "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" as a part of the Authors@Google series. It is over an hour lond but includes a lively question and answer period a towards the end.

Is Toronto the Unofficial Zombie Mecca?


Diary of the Dead , the independent film by George Romero, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 8, 2007. I don't usually get excited about movie premieres but as a long time Romero fan this is definitely get-there-early line-up and brave-the-crowds exciting. As far as I know this movie doesn't even have a distribution deal yet, so zombie-lovers here in Toronto are pretty lucky to be able to see it first.

The idea of zombies first originated in Haitian folklore. Witch doctors were said to have the power to create zombies using a special powder. They would then have complete control over the zombie and use them as slaves. Since then the idea of zombies has morphed - partly due to Romero's classic1968 film Night of the Living Dead. Romero's zombies are created by an infection that has spread quickly leaving only a few survivors who must fend for themselves. (This is very much like the situation in Richard Matheson's I am Legend, to the extent that some people consider that book part of the zombie genre even though it is about vampires. Go figure.) Today's zombies are cannibals who prefer brain but will eat any part of you. They are only dangerous in large numbers - and can be easily outwitted. They used to always be slow and unable to think but there is a disturbing new trend towards quicker smarter zombies. Its interesting that they have been around long enough to evolve.

Zombies seem to be very popular right now. From Filipino prisoners recreating Thriller to organized walks - zombies are turning up everywhere. Zombie walks are much like flash mobs where groups of people dress up like zombies and stumble through streets and malls. The idea originated in Toronto in October 2003 and has since spread to many major cities across Canada and the U.S. Some walks are tied in with causes like blood donations or anti-shopping days but most are just for fun and coincide with screenings of zombie films. According to Sarah at the blog unknowntoronto the last Toronto sighting of zombies was at the premiere of Fido back in March 2007.

Another indication zombies are hot stuff right now, is the number of zombie movies that have been made recently. This year alone we have had:
  1. 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to 28 Days Later (which was written by Alex Garland) where all the zombies move like they are on speed.

  2. Fido - a dark comedy where thanks to a special collar zombies help out around the house. This movie goes back to the idea of zombies as slave.

  3. Resident Evil: Extinction

  4. Day of the Dead - the remake. Made as an homage to the original.

  5. Diamond Dead

  6. Planet Terror, Robert Rodriguez's contribution to the double feature, Grindhouse, is a straight up zombie movie.

  7. Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane (awaiting wide release) - think Snakes on a Plane crossed with Day of the Dead. Beware, these zombies also move quickly.

As I write this I wonder why I like zombies so much. Maybe its because they bring about a complete breakdown of society or maybe they create the perfect anti-hero or maybe it has to do with their brain eating cannibalism. There are many reasons but mostly I'd like to think that in the event of an all out zombie outbreak, I would be well prepared. I can't be the only one who feels this, there is actually a book titled The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks that has been on the best-seller list. All this begs the question: Is it just me, or is it just Toronto or is the whole world infected with zombie fever?

Disc of the Week


The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn

by CocoRosie

Released : April 2007
Label : Touch and Go
myspace :

This is the third album from Brooklyn-based CocoRosie. Their unique blend folk, indie and lo-fi electronica is quirky yet accessible. The two sisters have contrasting styles, Bianca being a classically trained opera singer and Sierra with her free spirited child-like warbling. Together they create a fairy tale world of dreamy fuzzed out beats, with ethereal melodies punctuated by the tinkling of bike bells and music boxes. Imagine two grown elves getting drunk in a rich kids romper room. There are some hip-hop elements - especially in the first two songs - but overall the album is too minimal and down tempo to be called that. If you like Joanna Newsom or Sparklehorse than I think you'll like CocoRosie.

The Weird List

The weirdest albums series. Each month I will ask an audiophile to compile a list some of the strangest albums they have ever come across. Here is this months list (in no particular order) brought to you by Bart.

Skip Spence - Oar

Oar by Skip Spence

Originally Released: 1969
Category: Acid-drenched

This is from :

The only solo album by the former member of Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Moby Grape, "Oar" has achieved legendary status not only for it's stark, quiet ramblings, but also for the story surrounding its acid-drenched creation. After a six-month incarceration in Bellevue Hospital, Spence cut Oar's wispy folk in a mere two weeks. The results flopped commercially, but over time have garnered admirers the likes of Tom Waits, Robert Plant and Beck. An utterly unique and compelling record.

Brent Spiner - Ol Blue Eyes is Back

Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back by Brent Spiner

Originally Released: 1988
Category: Celebrity

Everyone knows that William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy have put out some campy albums - but Data? Apparently its all 40's style crooning and Data can barely hold a note. It even has back up vocals by some of his co-stars including Patrick Stewart.

Hermann Nitsch's Orgies Mysteries Theater

Hermann Nitsch's Orgies Mysteries Theater - (Musik Der 80. Aktion)

Category: Avant-Art

According to B: It goes from being Ooom-pah-pah to drone. This is "noise ecstasy" music involving bull sacrifice, crucifixions and is not for the faint of heart. We're talking 6 day orgiastic ritual that takes place in the composer's castle in Prinzendorf, Austria. The events are recorded and put out on Cortical Foundation - which also puts out stuff by Terry Riley, The Poetics, Nihilist Spasm Band, John Cage, Derek Bailey. Nitsch is well respected as an artist and composer so if you are serious about your orgy music this is your man.

More pics.
Offizielle Homepage (in german).

Jim Jones

Jim Jones - Audio Recordings

Category: Cult

This is one of those sad moments in history that happens to be well documented. There are thousands of audio tapes in addition to some recordings of the reverend himself. This blog does a nice job of summarizing and providing mp3s.

The Shaggs' - Philosophy of the World

The Shaggs' - Philosophy of the World

Originally Released: 1969
Category: Outsider Music

The original all girl group. The girls were put together by their father, Austin Wiggin, Jr. In the mid-1960s he withdrew his daughters from school, bought them instruments, and arranged for them to receive music lessons. The next year, the girls went into the studio and recorded their album, Philosophy of the World. The album was lost ignored at the time. In 1999 it was released on CD and became a cult classic especially among those who love outsider music (Daniel Johnston, Caroliner).
Source: Wikipedia

YaHoWa 13

Ya Ho Wa 13 - The Lovers and the Chariot

Originally Released: 1974
Category: Cult

Founded in 1969 in the Los Angeles area, Ya Ho Wa 13, otherwise known Yahowha 13, is now regarded as one of the best American psychedelic bands. Fronted by Father Yod, spiritual leader of the religious cult/commune, The Source Family, the band recorded 9 LPs and demonstrated their extreme psychedelic sound with tribal drums and distorted guitars, all completely unrehearsed and unedited.
Source: Wikipedia

More trippy album covers and details.
Visit Father Yod at

Uri Geller Album

Uri Geller (Self-titled)

Originally Released: 2000
Category: Kitsch

Uri Geller is best known for using his mind to bend spoons. He even has a Cadillac adorned with bent cutlery given to him by various celebrities. Released on the label Forkbender(UK) this album is so bad its good.


Tidbits: Keith, Hunter and Harry Potter


Keith Richards Signs Book Deal Keith Richards, of the Rolling Stones, is getting $7 million to write his memoirs. It should come as no surprise since he has had a very interesting life, lets just hope he doesn't leave out the good bits. Click here for more

Charles Simic named as 15th U.S. poet laureate
Click here for more

The Rum Diary Hunter S. Thompson's autobiographical novel "The Rum Diary" is being made into a movie with Johnny Depp.
Click here for more

Commuter writes novel on the Way to Work Robert Bernocco has wriiten a science fiction novel on his cell phone. Bernocco used his time commuting to work to write the book by saving paragraphs on his phone and editing them later at home. The book can be found at for $17.95. (I don't know whether to be inspired by this.)
Click here for more

In case you hadn't heard by now...
Sales of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" reached 11.5 million copies in the U.S. in its first 10 days and "The Simpsons Movie" is leading the pack at the box office.

Review: I am Legend by Richard Matheson

I am Legend What makes a Legend?

I just read the book I am Legend and was pleasantly surprised that it went way beyond my expectations. What was I expecting? I guess I was expecting a book about vampires with a lot of blood drinking, stakes driving through hearts, and lusty metaphors about what happens when one partakes in sinful behaviors. That wouldn't have been all that bad but by staying away from stereotypes this book goes beyond all that and dares to ask some pretty big questions. Today, Matheson's book continues to gain a wider audience, inspire writers and film makers and its the universal questions it asks that make it a classic.

Richard Matheson is considered a master of suspense and has had a long and varied career writing novels and television episodes (The Twilight Zone, Star Trek). Many of his books have been turned into films including I am Legend which has had three films made so far. The latest film is due out soon and is sparking a renewed interest in the novel. I remember watching Omega Man a long time ago so I was eager to read the original story.

First, here's a little synopsis, which hopefully does not give away too much. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been all but wiped out by vampires. Robert Neville appears to be the only survivor. He has lost his wife - and is in constant danger. He spends all his time drinking, killing and trying not to be killed. To keep himself sane, Neville decides to research the science behind his hellish new reality in the hopes of finding a solution. The futility of his situation makes him question whether it is worth all the effort it takes to survive in this world.

Genre-wise this novel is difficult to pinpoint. It is at times horror, science fiction and psychological thriller. It is to Matheson's credit that he can cross genres and I think this is in part why the story has such mass appeal. Another reason is that despite being written in the 50's it is still relevant today and doesn't feel dated. I found it easy to read because of this.

Surprisingly this is a dark novel with very little action. My one complaint with the novel is Matheson's sparse style made it feel like I was reading a laundry list at times. Despite this, Matheson's skill for plot twists and building suspense makes for an unpredictable story. It definitely saves the book and kept me reading. While it is not be a literary masterpiece, it does ask the fundamental question: is life worth living? And any book that does that is worth reading.