Category Archives: Music

Two UCLA rallies against the War in Vietnam


Both star-studded, as only Los Angeles rallies can be.

Both are represented in remarkable audio recordings from the 1960s and early 1970s in the wonderful online archives of the University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Communications Studies [and do browse, there’s everything from Bucky Fuller and Timothy Leary to Robert Oppenheimer and Richard Harris].

The first recording is from the 15 October 1969 Vietnam Moratorium Day rally, one of scores held on campuses and in cities throughout the country.

Among the speakers are Los Angeles Urban coalition chair Martin Stone, actors Burt Lancaster and Candice Bergin, several students [including the daughter of a South Vietnamese politician jailed for advocating peace], U.S. Rep. George Brown Jr. [D-CA], Harry Bellafonte, and comedian Stanley Myron Handelman, plus some brilliant performances by esnl’s favorite radical folkie Phil Ochs [previously].

From UCLA’s Department of Communications Studies:

Moratorium Day Rally at UCLA 10/15/1969

The second event is the Vietnam Day rally of 15 May 1972, and features an impassioned speech by Jane Fonda, the actress who became a lightning rod of the American right and was used to discredit John Kerry during his presidential run, a story we covered at the time for the Berkeley Daily Planet.

Fonda’s remarks are prefaced by those of Dong Hong Cai [phonetic], a Vietnamese native awarded a Harvard scholarship, followed by an architectural scholarship to MIT, who delivers an impassioned plea on behalf of his country, and an illuminating perspective on American ignorance of the culture they professed to protect.

His is a remarkable speech, and we still haven’t learned as a nation the lessons he imparted so eloquently.

On with the event:

Jane Fonda speaking at a rally against the war in Vietnam 5/15/1972

Two visions of the 1960s, seen from the Bay


The San Francisco Bay Area was a cultural stew in ferment in the 1960s, with the early years of the decade consumed in political unrest, most notably on the Berkeley campus of the University of California where the Free Speech Movement was to galvanize the nation, and neatly dressed and conventionally barbered students rose up over suppression of tables where student groups leafleted and cajoled students about causes and campaigns of all persuasions.

Our first video is a talk by the biographer of the movement’s seminal figure, Mario Savio, which we’ll preface with a clip of Savio himself, delivering the lines for which he is best-remembered. Via Anything that defies my sense of reason…..:

Mario Savio: Sproul Hall Steps, December 2, 1964

Excerpt:

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

“Savio’s moral clarity, his eloquence, and his democratic style of leadership inspired thousands of fellow Berkeley students to protest university regulations which severely limited political speech and activity on campus. The non-violent campaign culminated in the largest mass arrest in American history, drew widespread faculty support, and resulted in a revision of university rules to permit political speech and organising. This significant advance for student freedom rapidly spread to countless other colleges and universities across the country.” Via stonecast, see here:

More here: http://tinyurl.com/3b46o2

Savio’s passion sparked an ongoing interest by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, resulting in a large collection of files now posted online.

Robert Cohen, social studies and history professor at New York University, is the author of the 2009 biography Freedom’s Orator: Mario Savio and the Radical Legacy of the 1960s, and he spoke at Berkeley 23 September at the university’s On the Page forum for new students. He was the logical choice given the Free Speech’s Movement’s 50th anniversary now underway.

From UC Berkeley Events:

Can Students Change the World? Mario Savio and the Radical Legacy of the 1960s

Program notes:

Author Robert Cohen delivers the keynote address for the 2014 On the Same Page program. This year’s theme is the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, and the selected book is Cohen’s biography of Mario Savio, Freedom’s Orator.

The Human Be-In, 14 January 1967

Our second video is historic, captured two years on the other side of the Bay Bridge, at the San Francisco Polo Grounds.

It lacks the fervor of Savio’s speech, with some speakers notably unfocused and others endeavoring to gain an entirely new focus. Many of the musical groups skyrocketed to stardom, and some of the speakers would be reviled in mainstream media.

But the event would prove transformational, gathering the attention of the world’s press and triggering an obsession with all things Hippie [a neologism by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen]. The media feeding frenzy would reach orgasmic levels later that year in San Francisco’s famous Summer of Love.

The Allen Ginsburg Project recounts the Human Be-In through the perspective of Michael Bowen, key organized an event that electrified the rapidly emerging psychedelic movement in the counterculture and showcased legendary musicians, including a trumpet solo from Dizzy Gillespie:

“There were some old rugs and inexpensive Indian cloth prints laid out on (a) flatbed truck along with some pillows. The well-known spiritual, intellectual, and writer friends that Michael Bowen had talked into coming to the event from all over America, sat on those pillows and on those rugs in a human-tableau designed as a piece of living art. They included Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Gary Snyder, Jack Weinberg, Michael McClure, Richard Alpert, Lenore Kandel, Suzuki Roshi from the local Zen Center, and Jerry Rubin, along with Bowen’s good friends, the drummers with their drums from the mountains of Big Sur, California. The people who were arriving could see that those “famous” individuals, whose work they had read directly, or read about in the media, had also journeyed to the Be-In to simply sit and be with them as equals.”

Cohen – “The Gathering of the Tribes” in a “union of love and activism” was an overwhelming success, Over twenty thousand people came to the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park. The psychedelic bands played – Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Poets Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Lew Welch, and Lenore Kandel, read, chanted and sang. Tim(othy) Leary told everyone to “Turn on, Tune in and Drop out”, the Diggers gave out free food. The Hells Angels guarded the generator cables that someone had cut, Owsley Stanley gave out free acid; a parachutist dropped like an angel from the sky and the whole world watched on the evening news.

More here and here.

We can remember avidly reading accounts of the event as they poured out of the noisy teletypes at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where we were 20 years old and less than a year into our first job at a daily newspaper. We had dropped our first hit of acid at a college prof’s Christmas party.

With that, from Docs&Interviews on MV:

Human Be-In – Full Program – 1/14/1967 – Polo Fields, Golden Gate Park

H/T to Open Culture.

One key difference between the audience at Sproul Hall was the LSD mentioned by the Allen Ginsburg Project.

It their marvelous 1985 history Acid Dreams, the Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond [out of print but online here], Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain note that Be-In organizer Bowen was a member of “a small but dedicated band of acid evangelists known as the Psychedelic Rangers,” evangelists for LSD who baptized recruits with large doses.

But many other seminal figures, including Ginsburg himself and novelist Ken Kesey, got their first hits of acid as subjects in research funded by the Central Intelligence Agency [which once ran an operation dosing prostitutes’ clients in San Francisco and secretly filming the results]. In the words of John Lennon, “We must always remember to thank the CIA and the Army for LSD, by the way.”

LSD was cool, the Free Speech Movement had been hot.

Both movements would recede in subsequent years, though their legacies would linger. While Savio spoke of active resistance, Timothy Leary preached a gospel of Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out [a perfect strategy, one might note, for blunting the edge of those who might otherwise Turn On, Tune In, and Stay In.

For your weekend listening enjoyment


How about some Mozart and Brahms?

From UC San Diego television and La Jolla Music Society SummerFest 2014, two wonderful performances delivered 16 August and just posted online.

First, there’s Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Oboe Quartet in F Major [K. 370], followed by Johannes Brahms’ Trio in E Flat Major for Piano, Violin and French Horn [Opus 40].

They are, in a word, delightful.

From University of California Television:

The Great Classics: Mozart and Brahms- La Jolla Music Society SummerFest 2014

Program notes:

The essence of the classical form resides in the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johannes Brahms, as interpreted in this concert by a gathering of renowned musicians at the La Jolla Music Society 2014 SummerFest.

EconoWatch: Whales, climate, fires, nukes


A relatively small collection today, starting with another sort of environmental woe from Newswise:

Living in a Disadvantaged Neighborhood Worsens Musculoskeletal Pain Outcomes After Trauma Exposure

Individuals living in disadvantaged neighborhoods have worse musculoskeletal pain outcomes over time after stressful events such as motor vehicle collision than individuals from higher socioeconomic status neighborhoods, even after accounting for individual characteristics such as age, sex, income, education, and employment status.

These were the findings of a multi-site research study led by Samuel McLean, MD, MPH, associate professor of anesthesiology and emergency medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. The results of the study were published online by the journal Pain.

“We all like to believe that we are immune to the circumstances of our environment,” said Dr. McLean. “These results suggest that when it comes to chronic musculoskeletal pain development after traumatic/stressful events, th

The Asahi Shimbun covers Japanese chutzpah:

Whale meat now on the menu at LDP’s headquarters

Ruling party advocates of whaling tucked into whale meat curry at a restaurant inside the party’s headquarters in Tokyo on Sept. 19 to thumb their noses at the International Whaling Commission.

The IWC on Sept. 18 adopted a resolution calling on Japan to postpone its resumption of “research” whaling in the Antarctic Ocean to 2016 or later.

The restaurant added whale curry to the menu at the request of Toshihiro Nikai, who heads the Liberal Democratic Party’s General Council. He is from Wakayama Prefecture, the cradle of Japan’s whaling industry.

From the Guardian, all hat, no cattle:

US will not commit to climate change aid for poor nations at UN summit

  • Rich countries pledged to find $100bn a year by 2020, but so far only Germany has made a significant contribution

Barack Obama will not be pledging any cash to a near-empty fund for poor countries at a United Nations summit on climate change next week, the UN special climate change envoy said on Friday.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has challenged the 125 world leaders attending the 23 September summit to make “bold pledges” to the fund, intended to help poor countries cope with climate change.

The UN has been pressing rich countries to come up with pledges of between $10bn and $15bn.

Agence France-Presse covers climate action in India:

Climate change rally held in India ahead of UN summit

Program notes:

Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming.

From the Los Angeles Times, Golden State aflame:

King fire burns more than 80,000 acres in Northern California

The massive King fire in Northern California has now burned more than 80,000 acres, according to CalFire.

The fire, in the forest east of Sacramento, has forced the evacuation of more than 2,800 people since it ignited last Saturday. It is now 10% contained.

More than 7,600 firefighters continue to battle nine major wildfires in California, most of them in the northern part of the state. But officials consider the King fire the most dangerous after it doubled in size overnight Wednesday to about 114 square miles, becoming California’s second largest wildfire this year in a matter of hours.

From the Guardian, Aussie ruling party arrogance [whale meat, anyone?]:

Green groups accused of trashing Queensland’s reputation overseas

  • State environment minister claims the main aim of conservation groups is to shut down Queensland’s resource industry

Queensland’s environment minister has accused conservation groups of “trashing” the state’s reputation overseas.

Andrew Powell, who is responsible for protecting Queensland’s natural assets, has gone to Paris for talks with Unesco over the status of the Great Barrier Reef.

Unesco has given Australia until February to show that it is properly managing the reef. If it’s not satisfied the reef could be listed as a World Heritage site “in danger”.

On to Fukushimapocalypse Now!, sending the fox to guard the henhouse, via the Mainichi:

New regulator vows to secure independence of nuclear safety body

Satoru Tanaka, who became a commissioner of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority on Friday, vowed to proceed with safety screenings of nuclear facilities with independence, brushing off criticism he has close ties with nuclear power companies.

Tanaka has come under fire for receiving payments and donations in the past from bodies including one linked to Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi plant. Critics say the regulator’s fairness and independence could be compromised with his addition to the NRA decision-making panel.

A former chairman of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, Tanaka said at a press conference he will do his job “on the basis of science and technology” and he will show that stance through “my language and behavior.”

NHK WORLD covers a setback:

Completion of nuclear fuel plant to be delayed

The operator of a spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in northeastern Japan is expected to postpone completion of the plant by about 18 months due to the ongoing government screening.

NHK learned that Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited is making final adjustments to a plan to delay completion from October to early 2016.

The plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, has been undergoing screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority since January. Regulators are trying to determine whether the facility meets new requirements for nuclear plants introduced after the 2011 disaster in Fukushima.

But regulators say they have not been able to conduct screening. They say documents submitted by the operator are insufficient.

From the Asahi Shimbun, a vote in opposition:

Tochigi town passes water-protection ordinance to block nuclear waste plans

A town in Tochigi Prefecture has found a novel way to block the construction of a final disposal site for radioactive waste from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis by passing an ordinance that will protect its natural resources.

The ordinance, passed unanimously by the Shioya town assembly on Sept. 19, will protect an area that includes local springs, as well as mountain forest that was designated by the Environment Ministry as a candidate for the final disposal facility.

The ministry plans to use the site to store designated waste which contains more than 8,000 becquerels of radioactivity per kilogram.

From the Los Angeles Times, nuclear woes on this side of the Pacific:

Energy Dept. faces major hurdles to reopen New Mexico nuclear dump

The Energy Department has identified 7,000 steps needed to reopen its badly damaged nuclear waste dump in New Mexico, but cannot say how long it will take or how much it will cost.

The agency was expected to release a written recovery plan Thursday, but instead provided a few details about the plan, which awaits formal approval by the department.

Outside experts say that the dump will probably not reopen until well after the start of 2016 and that the cost of the accident will approach $1 billion.

Although they didn’t talk about the cost, Energy Department officials reiterated at a briefing in Carlsbad, N.M., on Thursday that there was “strong support” in Congress for putting up the unspecified amount of money required to restart the plant. A Senate aide declined a request by the Los Angeles Times earlier this month for details about the cost negotiations.

More from the Carlsbad Current-Argus:

LANL identifies second nuclear waste drum like container that was breached at WIPP

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have identified another nuclear waste drum similar to the drum that caused the February’s radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

Terry Wallace Jr., the LANL WIPP recovery leader and principal associate director for global security, testified that the chemical reaction was likely caused by a discarded glovebox glove on Tuesday in front of the New Mexico Legislature’s Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee in Carlsbad.

Because scientists have not been able to re-create the chemical reaction, Wallace said he was unsure about the future of the second drum that currently sits underground in Panel 6 at WIPP.

From the Mainichi, ancient fallout heats up:

‘Missing’ documents reveal 1954 U.S. H-bomb test affected 556 more ships

Recently released government documents reveal that the crews of 556 Japanese ships were tested for radiation exposure in the wake of the United States’ 1954 hydrogen bomb tests around the Bikini Atoll — one of which irradiated the crew of the Daigo Fukuryumaru tuna boat from Shizuoka Prefecture.

The records were released by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on Sept. 19 in accordance with the Access to Government Information Act, following a freedom-of-information request by a citizens group in Kochi Prefecture known as the Pacific Ocean Nuclear Disaster Assistance Center and other organizations.

According to representatives from the group and the health ministry, the national and local governments conducted the testing between March and December 1954 on fishing and cargo ship crews from a total of five Japanese ports that had been in waters affected by the U.S. nuclear test in the central Pacific.

And we close on an upbeat Latin note from Agence France-Presse:

New music with recycled instruments at Colombia fest

Program notes:

Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the “RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival”, in Colombian city of Cali.

Take Five: Variations on a Brubeck theme


For a generation of white youths outside a few big cities in the late 1950s, jazz was a somewhat distant concept, usually associated with big bands or else in Noir mysteries. Ballads, then the Rock revolution launched with Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” in 1956 [esnl, then 10, ground his 45rpm disc into dust, giving equal treatment to “Don’t Be Cruel” on the flip side, altogether the best 45 we ever owned].

While Elvis appealed to a 10-year-old growing up in a Kansas farm town, we didn’t discover jazz until we were in high school in a somewhat large college town at base of the Rocky Mountain foothills in Colorado.

The album that made us an instant convert was Dave Brubeck Quasrtet’s Time Out, which we first heard on the 1961 rerelease of the 159 original.

And one song turned into an earworm, subtly syncopating the way we strolled down the street or pedaled our bike.

Herewith, “Take Five,” with Brubeck on piano, Paul Desmond on alto sax, Eugene Wright on bass, and Joe Morello on drums, via vlogger TheDathi:

Dave Brubeck – Take Five

Contrast Brubeck’s performance of his Paul Desmond’s composition with this incredibly intense 1976 rendition by Al Jarreau via vlogger omgadd:

Al Jarreau 1976 -Take Five

Program note:

Super Rare – from a German TV Broadcast

Next, George Benson applies his impressive guitar chops at the Montreaux Jazz Festival via vlogger Vicente Garambone:

George Benson playing “Take Five”

Program note:

George Benson’s insane performance.

Next, Brazilian guitarist Diego Figueiredo lays it out, via DRProduções Artísticas:

Diego Figueiredo – Take Five

Program note:

Diego Figueiredo e Alexandre Martins 2007. Ibirapuera

And to round things out, a radically different version from Lahore, Pakistan’s Sachal Studios:

Sachal Studios’ Take Five Official Video

Program note:

Recorded at Sachal Studios, Lahore, Pakistan – the premiere of Take Five’s Official Video!

Berkeley World Music Festival, free this weekend


Coming this weekend here on the shores of San Francisco Bay, the Berkeley World Music Festival, a free public event featuring musicians representing a wing range of musical traditions.

Here’s the official poster, and you can find the program here:

BLOG Music

And then a butterfly decided to flutter by


One of those wondrous things you simply couldn’t script happened Monday during the Carl Nielsen International Music Flute Competition in Odense, Denmark.

Yukie Ota was performing Pierre Sancan’s Sonatine for Flute and Piano when an uninvited guest showed up.

From Kanal tilhørende Odensesymfoni:

Butterfly fails to faze flautist

The competition’s website describes what happened next:

Japanese flautist Yukie Ota had almost completed her programme in the first round of the 2014 Carl Nielsen International Music Flute Competition when a butterfly alighted on her hair. From there it proceeded to her forehead, where it perched for more than a minute as Ota played to the jury. Yukie Ota refused to let this extra company on the concert platform rattle her and simply went on playing. Meanwhile the butterfly remained put, enjoying the concert as it opened and closed its wings. And yes, it was a pretty sight.

While Ota’s full performance isn’t on line, here’s another performance of the French composer’s work via vlogger and flautist Ory Schneor:

Pierre Sancan – Sonatine for flute and piano – Ory Schneor – Flute