Wednesday, October 31, 2012

oh yeah

thanks to anonymous

what it is: thanks to anonymous
where i found it: in the middle of a hurricane

I am not really interested in hacking, but about  year ago i signed up for the anonymous feed because they had the most interesting news about occupy wall street when it was all feverish and still had a park to squat in. All I can say is that on Tuesday night while the NY Times had the same dramatic headline and pictures for hours on end and 1010 AM news radio was droning on about the fact that they didn't have lights (eventually fading off the air), anonymous was giving second my second accounts of things like areas where 911 didn't work, street reports of flood levels, up to date transformer explosions and debunking photoshopped photos and bullshit reports. Thanks anonymous!

Monday, October 29, 2012

my neighbor the cannibal cop

what it is: my neighbor the cannibal cop
where i found it: work

When I showed up to work last Thursday they had the street blocked off and news crews were everywhere. It turns out one of the cops from the precinct next door to my office, who I saw on the block form time, time had plans to become a cannibal. And he appeared to be a perfectly nice guy. You can read about him here. His name is Gilberto.

Oh yeah, and there's a big hurricane coming.

Friday, October 26, 2012

demon overlords who need to do sit ups

what it is: demon overlords who need to do sit ups
where i found it: youtube

Overlords Abbath and Demonaz Doom Occulta of Immortal get five stars in my book. I respect their dedication to awesome facial expressions, Blashyrkh worship and beer. However, if they're going to continue the shirtless white painted torso look, they really ought to do a few sit ups.


P.S. there seems to be some kind of youtube in-joke going on here as they've encoded GAY in all caps within the page address.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

spooky masterpieces

what it is: spooky masterpieces
where i found it: the village

Every year the kiddies in my village paint these masterpieces on the downtown shop windows. I love this stuff.















Tuesday, October 23, 2012

interview #2 - melodie provenzano

The Mr. Becos interview series continues with Melodie Provenzano, a Harlem-based artist whose paintings recently filled the windows of Saks 5th Avenue and who has an upcoming solo show at Lyons Wier Gallery in NYC (opens Nov 15) that you ought not to miss.  She also records off-kilter lo-fi songs under the name Connie Acher.
Mr. Becos: I recently saw one of your business cards, which features a frog pleasuring a woman.
Provenzano: Ha ha ha ha, how did that make you feel?
Mr. Becos: It made me feel uncomfortable and ashamed. I'm the one giving the interview here.
Provenzano: The business card is based on a painting entitled Green Frog Scene, 24 x 48 inches,
oil and acrylic on canvas. A collector and gallery owner from Spain, Jean Paul Perrier, purchased the
painting at my 2011 show at the Marketplace Gallery in Albany.


Mr. Becos: Do you feel guilty about making animals engage in erotica to sell art to Spaniards?
Provenzano: No guilt here, as Magritte might say, "Ceci n'est pas une grenouille." The painting was
made in 2008, as a metaphorical reflection of aspects of my love life at that time, no potential buyer was
conceived of during its making. It was icing on the cake when that particular phase of my life ended and
the painting found a home in Europe.
Mr. Becos: I looked up grenouille and it means frog. It's also short for "grating-eliminated no-nonsense
observation of ultrafast incident laser light e-fields", some kind of laser gating technique. Have you in
any way ever used awesome lasers in your work?
Provenzano: Concerning "grenouille" in the "laser" sense, here is an image of a detail of a painting
entitled London, Paris, New York, Beverly Hills, Rome, Athens, Geneva, Hong Kong, which I am currently finishing for my upcoming solo show. I think that if you use your imagination you may be able to see the explosive stillness or "observation of ultra-fast incident" and laser like qualities highlighting the bow.


Mr. Becos: I see what you mean. But I also really have to ask, in a blunt way, how the hell do you have
the patience to paint something like this? Or is patience one of the points? I have the same thought
when I see the way you capture glass objects. In an indirect way it makes me think of Buddhist sand
paintings, at least in terms of focus.
Provenzano: Practice. My mother taught me how to color and stay in the lines at a young age. It was
positive reinforcement when I was 3 years old, and I won a coloring contest competing with 5 year
olds. The prize was $10. I remember how happy I was to buy a LITE-BRITE with my winnings. I think that
experience, along with the constant approval of my parents for me to be an artist, conditioned me. It
felt meaningful and good to be painting or drawing and even more so today, so through practice I have
acquired patience with myself and the work. I have little knowledge of Buddhist sand paintings, but my
process is very meditative, focusing intensely on the object, observing and rendering it until it's clear and
singing so to speak.
Mr. Becos: Well, a bunch of monks get together and create a big mandela one grain of sand at a time. It
takes forever, then when they're finished they immediately destroy it.
Next question: I understand that you sometimes listen to the stand up comedy of Sinbad while
artmaking. In what way has Sinbad influenced your work? Have you ever sent him a piece? Is he dead?
Provenzano: Dead? In spirit, never! Sinbad has probably influenced my relationship with my husband
more than my artwork. There is a particular sketch in which Sinbad asks his wife if he can go play
basketball with the guys and he says to her in this dopey voice, "You can see me from the window." I say
this to Hans when he informs me that he is going to do something without me, like play soccer or see a
band... and we laugh! Maybe someday I'll send Sinbad a thank you card for being funny and enriching
my marriage, and I'll definitely send him a piece of art after he buys it. The question is will Sinbad's wife
let him purchase a piece of my art?
Mr. Becos: In all this excitement about Sinbad I think I skipped the question about how you select all
of the objects in your paintings. In your more recent work you've tended towards incredibly fine and detailed renderings of seemingly random objects: glasses, broken figurines, knick knacks, etc.. How do you select these things? Do you consider the symbols? Select intuitively? Does each have a personal meaning?
Provenzano: Thank you for noticing the "incredibly fine and detailed renderings". The objects,
although "seemingly random" are chosen deliberately as a result of some level of attraction. I
am visually stimulated by the way things look, and I feel an unexplainable resonance with their
implied meanings, whether it be a plastic skeleton or an empty glass vase, something about them is
magnetizing. There are certain reoccurring objects that I have a strong self-identification with, such
as "the prayer girl". See her depicted in the detail of "Bermuda Triangle", another painting being
featured in my upcoming exhibition. I intuitively set up still lifes with these objects, as you say, "making
them into a kind of transformational reality," then paint directly from observing them. There is no
particular story to illustrate, no definitive symbology, just a reflection of my current emotional reality as
I conceive of it visually through a given composition. My paintings are like a catalog of dreams, which are
open to a multitude of interpretations by viewers.


Mr. Becos: What can you tell me about deep sea diving?
Provenzano: I dove deeply in the conventional sense one time, while visiting the Galapagos Islands.
We went 30 ft. below sea level, after a five minute crash course in scuba diving. I sucked up all of my
nervousness and gave the enormous fears I was having over to the experience. It was amazing, like
being suspended in a transparent cloud, floating along with giant turtles, little sharks, innumerable
varieties of fish... absolutely beautiful, just shy of literally being breath-taking, thankfully.

Monday, October 22, 2012

finely crafted nightmare

what it is: finely crafted nightmare
where i found it: reviews and stuff

Over the last couple of months I keep stumbling across reviews and references to the writing of Edward St. Aubyn and his Patrick Melrose novels. At first it just sounded like boring aristocratic British tripe, but enough people that I respect mentioned it that I decided to dive in. Ouch. Yes it is British tripe, but of the extremely painful  and well written kind. Unless it was so nicely crafted it would simply be a sequence of indigestible scenes of massive drug and alcohol abuse, rape, violence, addiction, incest, hatefulness and pain. But it's narrated so well that it sort of seems like a nice English picnic. A very confusing, but refined, experience that happens to also be wrenching. A bit like American Psycho in that it depicts somewhat empty people with obscene amounts of money doing obscene things, if you're into that you might be into this. You can also now get the whole series in one volume. Don't be thrown off by the lame pink cover.


not a fun romance novel

Note: you can also skip the third novel, Some Hope, other than the last scene.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

happy birthday pierrot l.

what it is: happy birthday pierrot l.
where i found it: music school

Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire turns 100 this week. An odd  series of pieces based on poetry and altered speech sequences that are carefully notated, this dates from my favorite period of classical music, when things had not gotten completely free, but were making traditional form and tonality real stretchy. Berg, Webern and Schoenberg are my heroes (at least in one pocket of the musical universe) and are always worth revisiting. Even with the addition of computers, electric guitars, psychedelics and multi-tracking I'm not sure that music has gotten any weirder, complex or more inventive in the last 100 years.  

Here's the first part of Pierrot Lunaire with score following along. Happy Birthday.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

vintage audition

what it is: vintage audition
where i found it: mr. a dubin of new jersey

It took me a minute to figure out what's going on here, but it eventually became clear that this is a homemade audition tape some poor drummer in the 80s made and sent to glam metal bands to try to "make it". The theatrics really take off after a while. My guess is that the guy spent his whole paycheck on making this and that the person scampering in the background who you're probably not supposed to see is his brother. Or some friend that he bought one can of beer for helping out with this (also probably promising to share future profits and groupies).

EVERY DRUMMER SHOULD BE HYDRAULICALLY LOWERED DOWN TO HIS DRUM SET

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

interview #1 - jake from georgia

Mr. Becos has decided to do some interviews.
Here's the first, with Jake from Georgia, a professional in the carpet industry and a new father.


Mr Becos: Tell us what you know about carpet

Jake from Georgia: About Carpet. Carpet isn't just floorcovering. It's the way we bomb when we just want something to go away.  It's what lesbians munch, and for me over the past 11 years, it is how I make a living.  There are a lot of different kinds of carpet out there.  In the eastern part of the globe they have been weaving amazing carpets for thousands of years.  Where I'm from (Georgia, USA) carpet has been big shit since the 70s.  Most of the wall-to-wall carpet you walk on comes from Georgia.  A peculiar combination of weight, innovation and hillbilly knowhow has kept carpet strong even as other manufacturing has drifted overseas.  

The carpet I sell is made of Nylon.  Nylon is made from oil.  There is a gigantic plant in Pensacola Florida that was built by Monsanto many years ago.  It sits next to an inlet and big boats filled with oil pull up next to it and pump oil into the factory.  From there it is refined in a complicated process that involves robots, chemistry and a three-story chute filled with air-conditioners. Eventually it comes out in giant bales that look like cotton.(http://www.globaltextiles.com/tradeleads/detail/017/383741/Buy-Thread-waste.html)  It is twisted into yarn and sent for dying.  The plant has run continuously for decades.  They have a quality control and testing facility in the plant.  There are many different ways they evaluate the worth of their product.  The strangest involves a long rectangular room that measures about 50 feet on the long side and twenty on the short.  There is a bank of windows one side so you can see the testing as it proceeds.  In the room different runs of nylon that have been spun into yarn and tufted into carpet lay on the floor. Around ten people in sneakers walk in a circle around the room for eight hours a day.  I toured the factory three times over the years and these people were always the grim highlight.  You only see them through the glass, a few usually look up and wave and someone says it must be a great way to stay in shape.  On one tour we were told that most of the walkers gain weight on the job due to the vending machines positioned right outside the room.  I am told they make minimum wage.

Once the nylon looks like a proper piece of yarn it is taken to the tufting facility.  Most are located in North Georgia.  Dalton, GA is the carpet capital of the world.  During the first carpet boom in the late 70s it had more millionaires per capita than any other city in America.  It also had a 50% high school drop out rate.  For the first few years of my career, I worked in the marketing department at the plant.  I smoked at the time and you could still smoke in the plant so I spent a lot of time on the factory floor hanging out.  There are a lot of amazing people on the floor, but if I get off on that tangent I will never finish this answer.  The yarn is on big spools and they are all put on a creel (http://www.izumiinternational.com/creel/index.htm) The creel is located just behind the loom and all of the individual threads are put into individual needles.  There are often over 1000 needles (http://yeolin.en.ec21.com/offer_detail/Sell_vander_wielle_carpet_loom--9374510.html?gubun=S).  The whole thing goes "chucka chuka chuka chuka" really fast and unbacked carpet comes out.  From there they put some latex on the back and glue on the secondary backing.  Then they roll it up and send it to the warehouse, where it waits for sales people to sell it.

I have to stop now the baby is freaking out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

bye bye black dirt

what it is: bye bye black dirt
where i found it: upstate


I got a sad notice the other day that Black Dirt Studio (also record label) in upstate New York will be closing its doors. This was a special place where a lot of great music was made, one of a kind. Run by a member of the noneck blues band who decided to escape city life and spend his time in the woods recording weirdos, the place had an extra special vibe. You could go stay in the extra apartment, camp in the yard, focus on recording and sometimes eat gourmet chow prepared by the host. You could also use the garage as a reverb chamber and make use of hoes and shovels for percussion. Hopefully Sir Black has some grand future scheme in mind. In the meanwhile, below there's an impressive list of some of the releases that were midwifed there. You should also check out Black Dirt's Natch series, an archive of collaborations put together by the host, recorded at the studio and posted for free on this blog.

Amolvacy 'Ho-Ho-Kus' (Black Velvet Fuckere)
Amolvacy 'A La Lu La' (Ultramarine)
The Assault 'Greatest Hits' (self released)
Aswara 'Untitled' (Azriel)
Black Twig Pickers 'Yellow Cat' 7” (Thrill Jockey)
Black Twig Pickers 'Whompyjawed' (Thrill Jockey)
Black Twig Pickers & Charlie Parr 'Glory in the Meeting House' (House of Mercy / Klang Industries)
Black Twig Pickers & Charlie Parr 'EastMont Syrup' (Thrill Jockey)
The Bloodletters 'Die Pfalz' compilation (Team Love)
Blues Control 'Snow Day' 7” (Sub Pop)
Blues Control 'Local Flavor' (Siltbreeze)
Blues Control 'Valley Tangents' (Drag City)
Blues Control & Laraaji 'FRKWYS 8' (RVNG Intl.)
Nathan Bowles 'A Bottle A Buckeye' (Soft Abuse)
Charalambides 'Exile' (Kranky)
Hans Chew 'New Cypress Grove Boogie' 7” (3Lobed / Divide by Zero)
Hans Chew 'Tennessee and Other Stories' (3Lobed / Divide by Zero)
Christian Family Underground 'For the Depth of Your Union' (Woodsist)
Coach Fingers 'No Flies on Frank' (Locust)
Coach Fingers 'Molly Moonbeam' 7” (Sound at One)
Coach Fingers 'One Jack Shy of a Cycle' (Black Dirt)
Deer Tick 'Black Dirt Sessions' (Partisan)
Deer Tick 'More Fuel for the Fire' (Partisan)
Eleven Twenty-Nine 'S/T' (Northern Spy)
Eleven Twenty-Nine 'In the Sunlight' 7” (Drawing Room Records)
Expo70 'Where Does Your Mind Go?' (Immune)
Expo70 'Journey Through Astral Projection' (Immune)
Eye Contact 'War Rug' (KMB Jazz)
GHQ 'Everywhere at Once' (3Lobed)
Golden Jooklo Age & Peaking Lights 'S/T' (Holidays)
Steve Gunn / John Truscinski 'Sand City' (3Lobed)
Steve Gunn / John Truscinski 'Ocean Parkway' (3Lobed)
Headdress 'Lunes' (No Quarter)
Hototogisu 'Under the Rose' (Heavy Blossom)
K Salvatore 'Tsar Ova Elk' (Kellipah)
Matta Llama 'The Witch Channel' (Black Dirt)
Anders Nilsson 'Night Guitar' (Sound at One)
NNCK 'Clomeim' (Locust)
Nymph 'S/T' (Social Registry)
Pelt 'Effigy' (MIE)
Pigeons 'Virgin Spectacle' (Black Dirt)
Pigeons 'Si Faustine' (Olde English Spelling Bee)
Pigeons 'No Shore' cass. (Sixteen Tambourines)
Pigeons 'They Sweethearts Stammer' (Soft Abuse)
Prince Rupert's Drops 'Run Slow' (Beyond Beyond is Beyond)
Psychic Ills 'Catoptric' (Social Registry)
Rangda 'Formerly Extinct' (Drag City)
Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers 'Teenage and Torture' (Knitting Factory)
Jack Rose 'The Black Dirt Sessions' (3Lobed)
Jack Rose 'Luck in the Valley' (Thrill Jockey)
Jack Rose with D Charles Speer and the Helix 'Ragged and Right' (Thrill Jockey)
Rhyton 'S/T' (Thrill Jockey)
Rhyton 'The Emerald Tablet' (3Lobed)
The Sea Donkeys 'Live at the SS Marie Antoinette' (Assophone)
D Charles Speer and the Helix 'After Hours' (Black Dirt)
D Charles Speer and the Helix 'Past or Beyond' 7” (Sound at One)
D Charles Speer and the Helix 'Distillation' (3Lobed)
D Charles Speer and the Helix 'In Madagascar' (Sound at One)
Stellar Om Source 'Rise in Planes' (Black Dirt)
Talk Normal 'Secret Cog' (self released)
Carter Thornton 'Ten Fingers for Forefathers' (Black Dirt)

Monday, October 15, 2012

RIP the prince of sealand

what it is: RIP the prince of sealand
where i found it: the ny times, etc.

When I read about guys like Roy Bates I really feel that I'm lacking some essential ambition. Fed up with the UK and its restrictive broadcasting policies he occupied an old rig/military base off the coast of England, kicking off the pirate radio broadcasters camped there, starting up his own pirate station, naming it "Sealand", declaring the platform a sovreign nation and naming himself the Prince. A few years later some Germans attacked with speedboats, took his family hostage and tried to take over the tiny nation for themselves, only for Roy to somehow repel them and win over some German diplomats for his sovereign nation cause in the process. And guess what? Roy is dead now, but Sealand is still there. You can become royalty for a small fee on their website.  It just goes to show that with a little imagination and bravery (and money), you can create your own reality. Even if it looks like this:

Friday, October 12, 2012

getting better all the time

what it is: getting better all the time
where i found it: sweden

If you were in an extreme metal band and you called your album Total Soul Rape what would be your next move? You could up the ante with a release called Fuck the Universe. And then what? Well, you could make an album simply called Void (I guess this is what remains after the soul got raped and the universe got fucked) with a picture of a guy celebrating in the glow of a mushroom cloud. Still available on double vinyl (though one side is totally blank, the void I guess) !!!




Thursday, October 11, 2012

merzbow in the morning

what it is: merzbow in the morning
where i found it: bright and early

There's nothing like a little (or a lot) of Merzbow in the morning as you're enjoying a fresh cup of coffee. I like to try to forget that it's on and pretend that my head has turned into a big radio receiver. Not all of his work is suited for this, but here's a good one for the early morning hours:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

hey look!

what it is: hey look!
where i found it: west 11th street


Hey look! The old house that the Weather Underground managed to blow to smithereens back in to 60s is for sale! For probably 5 million or so you can live in this fine pre-exploded home conveniently located on the same block as a house Charles Ives used to live in, an Jewish cemetery dating back to the early 1800s and the weirdly named Charlie Mom Chinese restaurant!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

arch enemy bottom feeding

what it is: bottom feeding
where i found it: barnes and noble, the arch enemy

I blame Barnes and Noble (the arch enemy) and Amazon almost equally for the lack of decent small bookstores remaining on the face of the Earth. However, driven by rain and boredom into the music section of a Barnes and Noble this weekend, I found a small supply of CDs remaining for sale, two thirds of which were regularly priced at $4.99. Benefiting from the music industry's near total collapse I was able to pick up some Elvis, Blue Oyster Cult and Bob Dylan's Self Portrait for what amounted to pocket change. I had always heard Self Portrait was a piece of junk, but I was pleasantly surprised by it's mish-mash of cover material, resulting in something like a cross between John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline and a 1960s crooner record. The whole thing seems like a weird, great joke, especially the head scratching opener, hinting that maybe Dylan sustained a brain injury (the good kind) in that motorcycle wreck. Try to imagine being a 60s Dylan enthusiast, excitedly buying his new record that would support your lame, youthful political convictions and getting this as the opening track:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

mono!

what it is: mono!
where i found it: not in an old truck in texas

I used to live in Texas and drive an old pickup truck with one working stereo speaker. One day I discovered the preposterous stereo splitting on old Beatles records when I popped in Sgt. Pepper and only heard a snare drum and some ghostly reverb of Paul's voice in the distance, which was actually good and became my preferred Beatles listening method for a while. Now that I'm a grown up record dork I decided to buy a few of the mono mix albums and guess what? They're much better (at least up through the White Album). Come to find out (in talking to some other grown up record dorks) that the Beatles had little to do with the stereo mixes in the first place and that the tracks were arbitrarily split and hard panned to please people who were spending a bunch of money on brand new "hi-fi" stereo systems at the time (which looked like pieces of furniture and were advertised in hi end lifestyle magazines like Playboy to guys who smoked pipes, see below). Back to mono!



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

theory of bm

what it is: theory of bm
where i found it: while doing very important research

Black metal theory is stupid. But this article has some pretty good points and I like the picture of the guy on the iceberg.

Monday, October 1, 2012

$25 = happiness

what it is: happiness
where i found it: jsp records

The Carter Family kick I've been on recently has been enabled in a a major way by JSP records of London, who sells big box sets of public domain music for 25 bucks. If you've never seen these cheap little boxes around you can take a look at their website, one of the worst pieces of garbage I've ever seen, but all the goods are there.

Boxes of Jimmy Rodgers, Blind Blake, Big Bill Broonzy, Duke Ellington, early Cajun collections, early Greek collections, Charlie Patton, Lighnin' Hopkins, Bill Monroe, Uncle Dave Macon, Lonnie Johnson, Ernest Tubb, something called Mountain Frolic, Django Reinhardt and I'm going to pass out now.