aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, May 05, 2006
Good for Patrick
Andrew Sullivan gets it exactly right:
[Patrick Kenedy] has acknowledged his addiction problem; he is going into rehab; and Kennedys have human rights too. They’re human beings as well as celebrities and politicians. I guess I’m biased because I’m old friends with some members of the family. But I have deeply admired how some Kennedys have sustained sobriety. It’s not easy for addicts. And as a society, we should do more to support sobriety and less to demonize and criminalize addicts. Patrick deserves no legal special treatment; he shouldn’t be let off the hook if he did something wrong. But he also needs help. I hope he gets it.
I don’t count any Kenedy’s among my friends, but I’ve known and loved a good many addicts. The criminal model does no good, the medical model is no better. Andrew’s right, we’ve got to understand rather than demonize addiction and act to support and sustain sobriety.
The aural equivalent of Christo
I’ve loved Times Square since I was a boy; I like it just as much today in its gussied up “Disneyfied” version as I did then. The Neuhaus piece was was there from 1977 to 1992 and reinstalled in 2002:
Pedestrians hurrying over a grate in the triangular median where Broadway and Seventh Avenue converge in Times Square, just south of 46th Street, rarely seem to notice anything out of the ordinary.
But Max Neuhaus hopes that, subliminally, their lives are being changed.
Mr. Neuhaus is a sound artist, a trained musician and formerly famous percussionist who now shapes what he calls intangible sound in space, rather than the tangible sound of a composer working in time. ‘’Times Square’’ is, if not necessarily his masterpiece, then at least his only work still up and running in his native United States.
Or down and running, in this case. The piece consists of sound generators and a loudspeaker installed in a subway ventilation chamber, which is covered by the grate that pedestrians scurry over.
What people hear, if they hear anything, is a dappled, organlike drone, several overlaid pitches that shift as pedestrians pace about the grate, depending on which overtones are reinforced by the resonances. The sound is beautiful if concentrated on, but lost in the din of New York if it isn’t. If you hear it, you keep hearing it: every sustained drone from traffic and machinery sounds like an after-echo. ‘’Once you’ve been there for 10 minutes,’’ Mr. Neuhaus said, ‘’you hear the work for the rest of the day.’’
Amidst teenagers trying to get on MTV and tourists waiting to get discount tickets to Broadway shows, sandwiched between the New York Times and Conde Nast Buildings, the subtle tones that emit from Neuhaus’s installation are easy to miss when there is so much already going on. Nonetheless, Neuhaus provides a deep and complex sensory experience. With our aural senses piqued, Times Square heightens the sensory experience of being in Manhattan. The sounds, the smells, the visuals of the city are all more intense because Neuhaus enhances the sounds of the city. Times Square demonstrates just how our position in life is understood by both our visual senses and our aural senses.
The next time we’re in New York I’ll be taking Doug there.
An organ tribute to John Cage
I’ll be going on an organ tour next week in the Czech Republic. Doug, an organist, would love it; to me, most any organ recital feels like John Cage’s “As Slow As Possible.” The organ’s not my instrument
Like the imperceptible movement of a glacier, a chord change was planned for Friday. Two pipes were to be removed from the rudimentary organ (which is being built as the piece goes on, with pipes added and subtracted as needed), eliminating a pair of E’s. Cage devotees, musicians and the curious have trickled in to Halberstadt, a town about two and a half hours southwest of Berlin by train known as the birthplace of canned hot dogs and home to a collection of 18,000 stuffed birds. [...]
For anyone keeping records, the performance is probably already the world’s longest, even though it has barely begun. The organ’s bellows began their whoosh on Sept. 5, 2001, on what would have been Cage’s 89th birthday. But nothing was heard because the musical arrangement begins with a rest - of 20 months. It was only on Feb. 5, 2003, that the first chord, two G sharps and a B in between, was struck. Notes are sounding or ceasing once or twice a year - sometimes at even longer intervals - always on the fifth day of the month, to honor Cage, who died in 1992.
Here’s an audio slideshow. Doug goes to Germany in June. Maybe he’ll visit.
Apple & the RIAA
The other day I pointed to Apple for saving the 99Ã‚Â¢ song. Today we know those songs drive sales of the iPod; but some see a future where that is turned around. Apple’s planning for that future; is the RIAA?
The RIAA is screwing up the music business. Their hatred of Napster has led to a jihad on free mp3s that is slowly but surely killing the music business. The major labels will continue to merge, consolidate, and put out increasingly irrelevant music.
Something needs to change and this is what needs to happen. The RIAA needs to drop its fight against free mp3s. They need to accept that music sold online needs to be as portable as music sold offline is.
I mean how stupid is it to continue to sell CDs with no copy protection on them but to DRM the hell out of online music… The RIAA needs to accept that some proportion of their customer base will consume pirated music. They need to just eat that as the cost of doing business.
They need to focus on the majority of music consumers who will pay for music, but want a better deal, and want the music portable so they can play it wherever they want.
The RIAA needs to stop playing into Apple’s hand.
Maybe, but I see the relationship as more symbiotic. I’ll agree that Apple’s hanging on as long as it can but Apple knows its monopoly is temporary; the RIAA doesn’t have a clue.