Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rudy Rucker, hanging out with RAW and Terence McKenna

Rudy Rucker, who went to Portugal in 1994 to make a movie called "The Manual of Evasion" that co-starred Robert Anton Wilson and Terence McKenna, has just posted a 30-minute homemade documentary about the experience. Having sat down to watch it, I can report that apparently all women in Portugal are beautiful, or at least all women involved in making weirdo movies. There's even a bit of music -- Rucker singing "Duke of Earl." Rucker and McKenna seem to be having a good time, although RAW seems a bit more conflicted, matching an account Rucker wrote which described RAW as being rather grumpy during the filming. If you don't know him, Rucker is really good writer who has an excellent story in the new Hieroglyph science fiction anthology.

Friday, December 19, 2014

New book by the Ultraculture guy

Jason Louv

Jason Louv, founder and head honcho of Ultraculture,  has a new book out, Hyperworlds, Underworlds, a collection of his "futurist, outsider journalism."

If you've checked out Mr. Louv's website, or some of his work, you'll notice pretty quickly that Robert Anton Wilson is a big influence on his work. The table of contents lists a piece I previously wrote about. His political stuff has a strong left perspective. If you take advantage of Amazon's invitation to read the preface and check out the table of contents, you probably conclude, as I did, that you'll need to get around to reading this book.

R.U. Sirius wrote the preface. Sirius says it's "really excellent."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Chelsea Manning birthday message from "occult charlatan" Alan Moore

Alan Moore, referred to by John Higgs and others as the "greatest living Englishman"

The Guardian on Tuesday ran birthday wishes to whistleblower Chelsea Manning from a variety of artists, intellectuals and activists, including Edward Snowden, Michael Stipe, Molly Crabapple, Terry Gilliam and others. But I'm guessing that many of your who bother to read this blog will be particularly interested in Alan Moore's contribution, which you should go read.

"My name’s Alan Moore and I’m an occult charlatan and writer living in Northampton, England’s furthest inland point," Moore explains.  

A bit further along, Mr. Moore writes, "You are, reluctantly I’m sure, a heroine to millions and, it can be safely said, to further millions yet unborn. I’m also relatively certain that there are those moments when that knowledge offers only the most threadbare wrap of consolation and I wish, along I’m sure with many of your other correspondents, that I could provide something more tangible. Alas, in a communication such as this it’s only words and ideas that can be relied upon to not set off the X-ray scanners. Fortunately, occult charlatans are as a group more comfortable with the intangible, so if it’s not presumptuous may I at least offer you this, the idea of a cake that has the idea of a file concealed within it: human beings can never experience reality directly, but instead only experience their own perceptions of reality in the vibrations of their tympana, in signals from their nerve ends and in the photon bombardment of their retinas. To any individual, the outer universe – from its most minute quanta to its furthest, oldest galaxies – is a phenomenon occurring only in their mind. This is not solipsism, but simply a recognition that each man and woman is positioned at the centre of a cosmos that is theirs alone, with the individual as its pivot and its governing intelligence. Our inner world is, in this sense, the only world that we can ever know or live in, but our inner world is endless and immeasurable, and is also the mysterious fountain from which most of the apparent outer world around us has emerged. The territory inside is the most potent and astounding human territory of all, and is accessible by anyone, regardless of their tangible, material circumstances. As the great American philosopher and entertainer Robert Anton Wilson once had his fictional character John Dillinger remark: 'The only way to escape from a locked cell is to walk out through the wall, into the fire.' You have proven in so many ways already that the fire inside you is a powerful one, and I’m convinced it will sustain you."

Hat tip, John Higgs.

Incidentally, Higgs' book on the KLF, ""la banda que quemó un millón de libras," is becoming available in Spanish.

CAOS Y MAGIA: la banda que quemó un millón de libras from Gramaciones Grabofonicas on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Happy Beethoven celebration

One of the reasons I am interested in Robert Anton Wilson is because he was interested in many of the same things that I am. One of those interests is classical music.

I'm going to write about Beethoven today (and a little bit about Bach and Mozart), so you can skip this post if you don't like classical music. Before you go out the door, though, you may be interested in this video of a cough drop commercial that featured music by Frank Zappa:

A little of info about the commercial is here.

Anyway, Dec. 16 is Ludwig van Beethoven's presumed birthday because he was baptized on Dec. 17, and Eric Wagner sent out a "Happy Beethovenmas" message to me and a few others. RAW wrote a lot about Beethoven, as Eric has documented, and see also here and here, and search "Beethoven" on this blog if you want more.

Amazon has some extremely cheap Beethoven compilations; there are also cheap Mozart and Bach sets (as many of you know, Mozart appears as a character in the "Historical Illuminatus!" novels). And for what it's worth, Spotify is offering three months of premium service for 99 cents. Free Bach albums are available here and here.  See also the links at my favorite classical music blog. Whatever you think about the digital music revolution, it's made life easier for classical music fans who don't have much money.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bavarian Illuminati letterhead and movie list

Kate Winslet. Quintessential manic pixie girl? 

Adam Gorightly has a post on a new OM letter, which is particularly worth linking to for the news that Adam provides a free Bavarian Illuminati letterhead (in the form of a PDF -- I'll have to figure out if I can insert it into a computer document.)

Jesse Walker, meanwhile, has a post on the best movies of 2004 (Mr. Walker likes to have a chance to mull whether his favorites have withstood the test of time.) He lists "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," a movie I've always wanted to see, as "the best of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl movies," a genre I am unfamiliar with.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 43, Illuminatus! online reading group

(This week: "It's time for you to see the fnords," he replied, page 437, to page 446, "Suddenly Joe was looking at a brightly-lit computer screen.")

Here we come to the episode in which Joseph Malik sees the fnords.

"Fnord" is a word that has acquired more than one meaning; Wikipedia says it "s a word used in newsgroup and hacker culture to indicate that someone is being ironic, humorous or surreal. Often placed at the end of a statement in brackets (fnord) to make the ironic purpose clear, it is a label that may be applied to any random or surreal sentence, coercive subtext, or anything jarringly out of context (intentionally or not)." In many instances, I see it used as a signal that someone is familiar with Discordianism or Illuminatus!

But in the passage we're talking about this week, it seems to have a specific meaning. It's the messages in the media designed to feed the power of the government by creating fear, usually of "them." Crime is out of control, so it's regrettably necessary for police to shoot unarmed people dead. The Muslim terrorists are out to get us, so the government has to spy on everyone in order to protect us. 

Or as the book says, (page 439), "Of course, the essence of control is fear. The fnords produced a whole population walking around in chronic low-grade emergency, tormented by ulcers, dizzy spells, nightmares, heart palpitations and all the other symptoms of too much adrenalin ... No wonder the poor bastards believe anything they're told .... "

"If I pointed out a fnord to anybody who hadn't been deconditioned, as Hagbard deconditioned me, what would he or she say?" (page 439.) In America, it seems as if only a minority of "deconditioned" people question whether it really makes sense to fight endless wars halfway around the world.

A couple of notes: 

"I turned the radio to WBAI and caught some good Vivaldi," page 438. WBAI, a public radio station, has gone mostly news talk like every other public station in the U.S. Obviously, the top down "impose culture on people" model for classical music hasn't worked, but I hate the fact that classical music is seen as boring and irrelevant. Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" is a particularly popular work. Schroedinger's Cat also has references to Vivaldi. [Update: While I accurately describe a general trend, I'm wrong about WBAI in particular; see Jesse Walker in the comments.]

"It's time you took those pictures of the Rolling Stones off your wall," page 440. One of Timothy Leary's favorite bands.

"We don't expect C.L. Sulzberger to grasp the importance of Fernando Poo ... " page 445. Foreign affairs writer for the New York Times.

(Next week: "WHEN ATLANTIS RULED THE EARTH," page 446, to "THE END," page 462. On to Atlantis!)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

RAW 360 relaunches

Steve Pratt

Steve "Fly Agaric" Pratt has revamped and relaunched his remarkable Robert Anton Wilson tribute site, RAW360, which uses both sound and vision in interesting ways. Check it out if you haven't visited it lately. You can roam in all directions, entering the Chapel or the Kitchen, listening to music, checking out an Alan Moore video, etc.

Steve recently served as music director for Daisy Eris Campbell's production of the Cosmic Trigger play. He reports that footage was shot of the last performance in London, although there's no news yet about availability.