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Archive for May, 2010

Often, as the night-sights of fire flies fall away, leaving only the smell of clean sheets and the cool air coming through my window, I have a recurring dream.  So it was with surprise that I learned that I share this dream with Lou Reed’s wife, Laurie Anderson, who recently remarked: “Wouldn’t it be great, if you were playing a concert and you look out and you see all dogs?”  Unlike Ms. Anderson, I’m lazy and also have no musical talent (when I tried to learn guitar in middle school, my dog would bark at me until I stopped), so I’ve never quite got around to organizing this, but she made her dreams come true by putting on an up-coming “high-frequency concert” called Music for Dogs in Sydney, Australia.  The BBC has the run-down here.

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Music is a powerful political tool; it both has aesthetic appeal and the ability to project a message.  It is then easy to understand why candidates for public office play music at rallies, appear with iconic musicians, or include songs in their commercials.  The impact of these tactics varies, but there have been some notably positive results: take, for example, the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign’s use of Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.”  Not only did it help to propel Clinton into the White House (though I will not go so far as to claim that the Mac is responsible for that achievement), but Clinton was apparently able to convince the then-broken-up band to play at his inaugural ball.

However, not all is well at the intersection of politicians and pop music.  Playtonic favorite David Byrne (who kinda looks like Charlie Crist nowadays) has filed suit in the Federal District Court in Tampa, Florida against Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who has been serving in that capacity as a Republican and is currently running for the open Senate seat as an Independent.  The charges stem from the alleged unauthorized use of the Talking Heads song “Road to Nowhere” in an online campaign ad that attacked rival Republican Marco Rubio.  Byrne has alleged both copyright infringement and false endorsement and is seeking $1 million in damages.  Unfortunately, the video has been removed from both Youtube and the Crist campaign website. (more…)

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Yes.

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Mornin’ Playtonics,

Last week I wrote about the New York Time’s exclusive online opinion series ‘The Stone.’ Well, since the blog’s first post, What Is a Philosopher?, it appears that a number of blogs and websites have launched criticism at both the article and the series’ moderator, Simon Critchley. (more…)

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With the death of Ronnie James Dio yesterday, it may also be appropriate to recognize that today is the 30th anniversary of the death of Ian Curtis, the front-man of Joy Division.

In recent years, there has been resurgent interest in Curtis, whose life inspired a 2007 biopic called “Control.”  Perhaps a few interesting tidbits about his career and death are in order. (more…)

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Mornin’ Playtonics,

If you are like me and enjoy a daily dose of philosophy, you’re going to love The Time’s new  exclusive online opinion series ‘The Stone.’ According to the homepage for ‘The Stone,’ it “feature the writings of contemporary philosophers on issues both timely and timeless — art, war, ethics, gender, popular culture and more.” Furthermore, “The series moderator is Simon Critchley, chair of philosophy at The New School for Social Research in New York, who introduces The Stone tonight with an examination of the question, What Is a Philosopher? In coming weeks, The Stone will include contributions from a rotating group of philosophers, including Nancy Bauer, Jay Bernstein, Arthur C. Danto, Todd May, Nancy Sherman, Peter Singer and others.” Check out the homepage here and except to hear a lot more about this opinion series from the PD staff.

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Dio Dead

It is with a heavy heart that I learned this morning that Ronnie James Dio has died at the age of 67.  Dio is one of those rock solid artists who are the cement that holds a genre together.  Not only did he enjoy success independently, as a member of Elf, Rainbow, and eventually Dio, but was able to put together a fairly good album with Black Sabbath in the aftermath of Ozzy’s exit.  The New York Times has fine obituary here (the description of his cameo in “Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny” sounds hilarious).  For the title track off of his first album with Sabbath, go here.  For the epic ‘Holy Diver,’ with his band Dio, go here.

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