Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Japanese beatboxer Aibo

I'm not a huge fan of the musical form known as beatboxing, but this is pretty awesome:

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Josh Ritter's "Love Is Making Its Way Back Home"

Here is a very sweet video, done in a remarkably low-tech style:

For a little more background on the making of this video, go to the original article on the Atlantic's website.

Shared by June

Thursday, March 01, 2012


On January 8, 1931, Wolodia Grajonca was born in Berlin. His father died two days later. His family and friends called him Wolfgang. It was not a particularly good time to be a Jewish boy in Germany. After Kristallnacht, his mother sent Wolfgang to an orphanage to protect him. As the Nazis grew stronger and advanced, he was sent first to France, then to Casablanca, then to Dakar, and finally, to New York City, sleeping on the deck of an ocean liner for nearly three weeks. On the streets of New York City he worked hard to learn English and exchanged his German accent for a perfect New York accent. He also learned to hustle, to work the angles Рhe became the clich̩ of "street smart."

Young Wolfgang Grajonca found that Americans didn't much care for the name "Wolfgang" and couldn't pronounce "Grajonca." More or less at random, he changed his first name to "Bill" and picked the name "Graham" out of the phone book because it was close to "Grajonca" alphabetically.

After a stint in the army during the Korean War, Bill Graham drifted from job to job and back and forth between New York and California. He tried acting, but when he became the business manager for the San Francisco Mime Troupe, he started on the path that would shape not only his own life , but those of a generation of musicians and performers.

When the Mime Troupe was busted for "obscenity", Bill put on a fund-raiser for their defense, featuring performers like Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the Fugs, Allen Ginsberg, and Jefferson Airplane. This went so well that Bill did another fund-raiser for the Troupe, then started putting together more and bigger concerts at other venues, eventually owning the legendary Fillmore Auditorium. You hadn't really made it as a rock artist until you played the Fillmore. And they all did, from the Beach Boys to Frank Zappa and everyone in between. He treated the performers with respect – sometimes more than they deserved – and treated his concertgoers as valued guests.

Graham also gained a reputation as a fierce competitor, employing strong-arm tactics and engaging in business practices that bordered on monopolistic.

A classic Fillmore concert poster
Graham always insisted on having top-quality sound and lighting for his concerts. He hired budding psychedelic artists to create posters for his concerts (frequently overprinting them with an entrepreneurial eye to the future). Graham saved absolutely everything. He recorded nearly every concert given at his venues, using the best sound equipment available at the time. Unused posters were stashed away. Ephemera of every kind was locked away in storage lockers and vaults.

In 1991, Graham was flying home from a concert in his private helicopter when a sudden storm drove it into power lines, where it exploded, killing Graham, his girlfriend, and the pilot. An estimated 300,000 people attended a memorial concert for Graham in Golden Gate Park.

Oh, and all that stuff Graham saved? Through a series of deals and swaps and buyouts too complex to even begin to detail, it all ended up being owned by a fellow named Bill Sagan, who created a company called "Wolfgang's Vault" to curate and – unlimately – to merchandise the vast collection.

If you are a fan of rock'n'roll – particularly LIVE rock'n'roll, you must get on the Wolfgang's Vault mailing list! Every week brings new links to stream wonderfully recorded live performances of every significant rock artist from the '60s through the current era. Original posters and photos are available, too. Just browsing the samples brings back great memories.