Category Archives: Music

Graphic representation: California dreamin’

The first of our pair of graphic offerings deals with the cash-strapped University of California turning for extra cash to high tuitions from non-resident students, implicitly at the cost of turning down California students.

From the editorial cartoonist of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Steve Breen: Education for the One Percent

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And a look at the Golden State through the eyes of presidential visitors from the editorial artist of the Sacramento Bee:

Jack Ohman: Obamas experience the wilds of California

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Finally, and just because, that song referenced in our headline.

The Beach Boys — California Dreamin’

And now for something completely different. . .

Would you believe a trio of entertaining videos, two with political themes and a third that’s just delightfully unexpected.

First up, from Mike Diva [the creative name of self-styled MAKER OF VIDEOS/MUSIC/MEMES/DREAMS Mike Dahlquist], a faux Japnese Doald Trump campaign commercial.

From his YouTube account:

Japanese Donald Trump Commercial

Program notes:


Directed by: Mike Diva

Shot by: Jan-Michael Losada

Starring: Chloe Doan

Next up, the best eight grade commencement speech we’ve ever heard, via Claudia HD:

8th Grader Impersonating Donald Trump , Cruz , Obama , Hillary & Sanders

The explanation from NBC Chicago:

Jack Aiello is a young teen with big dreams ahead of him — and potentially a slot on “Saturday Night Live” or in the White House.

The Arlington Heights middle schooler has quickly garnered Internet praise for his hilarious graduation speech, which included impersonations of the 2016 presidential candidates.

Aiello’s entire roughly 350-student graduating class was tasked with writing a graduation speech as part of an English assignment. The speeches were then evaluated by teachers and staff before three finalists were selected.

“He was hands down No. 1 because it was going to speak to the kids,” principal Brian Kaye said.

Finally, just an impromptu moment of beauty from the streets of Italy via Assad Baransi:

Palestinian tourist dancing in Italy

Program notes:

This is the stunning moment a proud father encourages his daughter to dance with a street entertainer – with a beautiful end result.

The video shows the Palestinian family watching the man playing the violin before a man’s voice begs the girl to join in.

And it doesn’t take much encouragement before the girl, dressed in a floaty grey dress, agrees to her father’s suggestion and begins dancing to the music.

Passers-by stopped to watch, enthralled by the spontaneous performance.

More from MON ÉVASION:

Rima Baransi, a Palestinian tourist wandering the streets of Italy till she stopped to the playing of Yann Tiersen’s “Comptine d’un autre été: L’aprés-midi” and with the encouragement of her father, she danced ballet to the melody like a butterfly.

And now for something completely different. . .

When esnl came to California in 1967 to consult an attorney about fighting the draft, one of the first things we noticed after flying into San Francisco was the profusion of extremley colorful posters announcing rock concerts.

Particularly fascinating to a buddy 20-year-old journalist was the way these graphic announcements intentionally concealed from first the information you’d want to know if you were pondering attending the concert.

The information was there, but it took real effort to read, thanks to the curious hand-drawn lettering and the way the shapes flowered into each other, or were virtually concealed by contrasting, well, psychedelic colors.

There’s a delightful Tumblr call Psychedelic sixties filled with all manner of photos, posters, and other images of those turbulent years, and we picked a few for today’s post.


We’ll begin with one that’s not associated with the San Francisco Bay Area, except for the band involved. The Be-Ins were events at which Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters greeted the audience at this Los Angeles happening with LSD-laced Kool Aid.

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And to conclude, another icon of the age couldn’t resist offering its own take on the San Francisco psychedelic scene. . .

BLOG Hip Mad

Recording stars shill for unhealthy food sellers

Yep, if you see your favorite singer itching the virtues of something to eat or drink, odds are it ain’t good for you.

That’s the conclusion of Some NYU researchers who actually looked at the stuff being hustled and found it severely wanting in nutritional value and heavy on stuff that’ll make you fat.

Their research follows on earlier work that reached the same conclusion after examining the nutritional value of food and drink shilled by celebrity athletes.

Here are the two researchers describing their study, via Newswise:

More on their research from New York University’s Langone Medical Center:

Recording artists are frequently the face of commercial products—and children and adolescents are frequently their target audience. Now, a new study by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center finds that the vast majority of the food and beverage products marketed by some of the most popular music stars are unhealthy. This type of advertising is contributing to the alarming rise in childhood and teen obesity, the authors warn.

Soda and other sugary drinks, fast food, and sweets, are among the most common food and beverage products endorsed by famous music personalities, according to the descriptive study, published June 6 in Pediatrics [$25 to access — esnl]. Equally alarming, none of the music stars identified in the study endorsed fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. Only one endorsed a natural food deemed healthy—pistachios.

This is believed to be the first study to use a rigorous nutritional analysis to evaluate healthfulness of food and drinks marketed by music stars, reviewing dozens of advertisements that were disseminated over a 14-year period. Lead author Marie Bragg, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone, conducted a study three years ago of celebrity athlete endorsements using similar methods.

“Because of our nation’s childhood and teenage obesity public health crises, it is important to raise awareness about how companies are using celebrities popular with these audiences to market their unhealthy products,” says Dr. Bragg, who is also a faculty member at the NYU College of Global Public Health. “Research has already shown that food advertising leads to overeating, and the food industry spends $1.8 billion per year marketing to youth alone.”

Study Methods: Identifying Pop Stars and their Endorsements

To identify popular music stars, the investigators went through Billboard Magazine’s “Hot 100” song charts from 2013 and 2014. The researchers also verified their popularity and marketing appeal with teens by reviewing Teen Choice Award winners and quantified the number of YouTube video views associated with the celebrities’ food and nonalcoholic beverage brand endorsements.

The investigators then catalogued every endorsement between 2000 and 2014 using AdScope, an advertisement database that contains all forms of ads, including television, magazine, and radio, and also searched for official commercials or endorsements on YouTube and in media sources. Endorsements were defined to include a celebrity’s participation in a concert sponsored by a product.

After sorting the endorsements into different marketing categories, the authors found that 65 of 163 identified pop stars were associated with 57 different food and beverage brands. Food and nonalcoholic beverages were the second-largest endorsement category, comprising 18 percent of endorsements and ranking after consumer goods at 26 percent and ahead of retail at 11 percent.

There’s more, after the jump. . . Continue reading

And now for something completely different. . .

We’ve always loved the guitar stylings of Pepe Romero, and we’ve likewise always been fond of Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez. So what could be a more delightful diversion than their pairing in a performance with the The Danish National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.

Via music vlogger mugge62:

Concierto de Aranjuez (1939) – Joaquín Rodrigo – DRSO – Pepe Romero – Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos

And now for something completely different. . .

Would you believe underwater music.

Yep, music played by musicians immersed in large aquaria and played on specially developed musical instruments.

From FuturePerfect Productions:

Between Music / AquaSonic Tour Begins May 27-29 2016 at Operadagen, Festival of New Music, Rotterdam

Program notes:

AquaSonic is the most ambitious project to date from Danish musicians Laila Skovmand and Robert Karlsson, in collaboration with members of their ensemble Between Music. The work presents five performers who submerge themselves in glass water tanks to play custom-made instruments and sing entirely underwater. Transformed inside these darkly glittering, aquatic chambers, they produce compositions that are both eerily melodic and powerfully resonant. AquaSonic is the culmination of years of research into the exciting possibilities of submerged musical performance, breaking barriers and challenging existing paradigms. The artists conducted countless experiments in collaboration with deep-sea divers, instrument makers and scientists to develop entirely new, highly specialized subaqueous instruments. These include an underwater organ or hydraulophone, crystallophone, rotacorda, percussion and violin. The team also perfected a distinctive vocal technique for underwater singing. The result is a concert experience completely out of the ordinary; a deep dive into a magical new universe of images and sounds.

The 2016 tour begins in Rotterdam, Holland at the Operadagen Festival of contemporary music.

FuturePerfect is a New York-based interdisciplinary production company focused on the intersection of live performance, media, visual art and technology. Wayne Ashley, the former Director of Arts in Multimedia at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), founded the company in 2008.

FuturePerfect develops works through close and often long-term relationships with some of today’s most interesting artists, scientists, researchers and organizations. Through ongoing collaborations FuturePerfect generates and supports new directions in performance and visual culture through commissions, touring, consulting, residencies, presentations, and conferences. / /

Heavens above!: Hubble captures clusters

From NASA:


Hubble Sees a Swarm of Ancient Star Clusters around a Galaxy

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows star clusters encircling a galaxy, like bees buzzing around a hive. The hive in question is an edge-on lenticular galaxy NGC 5308, located just under 100 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear).

Members of a galaxy type that lies somewhere between an elliptical and a spiral galaxy, lenticular galaxies such as NGC 5308 are disk galaxies that have used up, or lost, the majority of their gas and dust. As a result, they experience very little ongoing star formation and consist mainly of old and aging stars. On Oct. 9, 1996, scientists saw one of NGC 5308’s aging stars meet dramatic demise, exploding as a spectacular Type la supernova.

Lenticular galaxies are often orbited by gravitationally bound collections of hundreds of thousands of older stars. Called globular clusters, these dense collections of stars form a delicate halo as they orbit around the main body of NGC 5308, appearing as bright dots on the dark sky.

The dim, irregular galaxy to the right of NGC 5308 is known as SDSS J134646.18+605911.9.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt
Text credit: European Space Agency