Michael sez, "One of my all-time favourite composers was a blind street musician, Louis T Hardin, who went by the stage name Moondog and who performed on the streets of Manhattan from the 1940s through to 1974. Philip Glass, Charlie Parker, Benny Goodman and Steve Reich were all apparently fans; Janis Joplin and the Kronos Quartet have covered his songs; and he's admired by modern musicians from Jarvis Cocker to John Zorn to Mr Scruff (and I reckon I can hear his influence on Stereolab, too, as well as on a whole host of loop-based electronic music)."
He performed his music - which combined minimal odd-time rounds and Bach-ian fugues with a jazzy swing he said was derived from Native American drumming - on self-invented instruments on the corner of 6th Avenue and 23rd St. After someone told him his long beard made him look like Jesus, he started trying to look like a Viking instead, with a spear, flowing cape, and horned helmet.
A book about him called 'The Viking of 6th Avenue' came out a few years ago (the compilation record which accompanied it is an excellent intro to his music), and I've heard rumours for years about a documentary of the same name in the works; now it turns out one is being crowd-funded. Footage of him is impossible to find elsewhere, so it'd be amazing if this got made! It's also fitting, since as a busker he was a crowdfunded musician. (He wrote his music in braille, and used the proceeds from busking to get it transcribed for sighted musicians to perform.)
The Viking of 6th Avenue
Brett from Mozilla writes, “Codemoji, a game and learning tool that lets you encode secret messages in emoji and then send them to friends for deciphering.”
Mur Lafferty, an amazing author and podcaster, had her mainstream publishing debt in 2013 with the wonderful Shambling Guide to New York City, about a travel writer who gets tapped to write a guidebook for spooks, haints, vampires and werewolves.
Kyle writes, “The Volt is a fully open source, arduino-based, handmade analog clock that tells time with meters. Available in a DIY install kit, 2 pre-made models, and a mix & match hardware option. The clocks are but with solid black walnut and maple, with faceplates produced in brass, copper, and steel. Only on Kickstarter!”
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