• Couple documents Capitol siege, horrified by what they saw/heard

    A historian (Terry Bouton) and his photographer wife (Noelle Bouton) have been traveling to protests, both left and right, documenting what they see and hear. They were at the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by Trumpists and what they experienced left them deeply shaken and concerned for what comes next. They took to Twitter to share their experience and to offer their 5 top takeaways.

    We eavesdropped on conversations for hours and no one expressed the slightest concern about the large number of white supremacists and para-military spewing violent rhetoric. Even the man in the "Camp Auschwitz" sweatshirt wasn't beyond the pale. They were all "patriots."

    I'm sure there were Republicans there who were horrified by what was happening. But the most common emotions we witnessed by nearly everyone were jubilation at the take over and anger at Democrats, Mike Pence, non-Trump supporting Republicans, and the Capitol Police.

    There is no doubt the Capitol was left purposefully understaffed as far as law enforcement and there was no federal effort to provide support even as things turned very dark. This contrasts sharply with all of other major protests we have attended.

    Read the Twitter thread unrolled here.

    Image: Noelle Bouton

  • Was Melania's WH tennis pavilion based on the one from The Beverly Hillbillies?

    As presidential historian, Michael Beschloss, points out on Twitter, the tennis pavilion at the White House, a project spearheaded by Melania Trump, sure does look a lot like the pool pavilion in The Beverly Hillbillies. No sign of the ce-ment pond.

    Image: Twitter

  • Interview with Mondo 2000's RU Sirius on the internet's techno-utopian past and clusterf*cked present

    On the Document Journal magazine website, writer Claire Evans has an interview with Boing Boing compatriot and Mondo 2000 founder, RU Sirius. In it, they talk about the hazy, crazy days of Mondo as a print magazine, the utopian, pioneering fervor of early cyberculture, and the computer-powered bizarro world we find ourselves in today.

    It's wildfire season in California. My home, ten miles from an active fire in the San Gabriel Mountains, smells faintly like barbecue; up in the Bay Area, the smoke from a convergence of fires hangs greasy and thick in the air, filtering the sunlight through a diffuse orange haze. The San Francisco skyline has never looked more cyberpunk. Geeks on the internet are grimly mashing up drone footage of the city with selections from the Blade Runner soundtrack. It all feels oddly predictable, as though the dystopian pronouncements of a generation of leather-jacketed science fiction writers and techno-cultural prophets were now plodding, exactly as written, toward their tedious end. "I've been trying to warn people that the apocalypse is boring," R.U. Sirius emails me, from Marin, on a 109°F day.

    As the founding editor of one of cyberpunk's foundational texts, Mondo 2000 magazine, Sirius—born Ken Goffman—is one of those leather jackets, a longtime observer of the confluence of technology's utopian aspirations and their inevitable collapse. In its 18-issue tear through the early 1990s, Mondo brought an anarchic, drug-addled sensibility to the geeky world of computers, drawing a wiggly line from the gonzo rock journalism of the 1970s to the novelty-chasing prognostications of glossy tech publishing (in comparison, its closest descendant, Wired, reads like the operating manual for an IBM mainframe). Mondo 2000 publisher and "domineditrix" Alison Kennedy, who went by the moniker "Queen Mu," once called the magazine "the Rolling Stone of the '90s," but it was closer to that decade's Whole Earth Catalog—a generation-defining tool kit for understanding the new edge of tomorrow.

    R.U. Sirius, Queen Mu, and a rotating cohort of writers, designers, hackers, musicians, futurists, dope peddlers, and kooks ran Mondo 2000 from Kennedy's mansion in the North Berkeley Hills, a wooden Maybeck furnished in the Victorian style. The Mondo House was legendary for its parties, where the Bay Area's nascent cyberculture experimented with designer psychedelics and engaged in animated conversational cross-pollination with the likes of Timothy Leary, John Perry Barlow, and VR pioneers and science fiction writers including Jaron Lanier, Brenda Laurel, William Gibson, and Rudy Rucker. From this interpersonal stew emerged a magazine that confidently covered fringe nootropics, cybernetics, hypertext, techno music, and teledildonics in equal measure.

    Read the rest.

    Image: Mondo 2000 cover inset

  • Nurse posts pic of 101-year-old COVID patient and asks for birthday wishes, gets 25K

    Here's a sweet thing in the midst of a swirl of shitty and awful things. Happy Birthday, Aunt Sue!

    Note: In case you were wondering, yes, of course, LyndaG got permission from Aunt Sue and her family about the tweet before posting it and they were enthusiastic about it.

    Image: Screengrab

  • Analysis of Drumpf's incitement to insurrection speech

    Here's a roll-up of the thread.

    Image: Screengrab

  • A look at Jack Kirby's Dingbats of Danger Street

    Before seeing this episode of Cartoonist Kayfabe, I have to admit to not knowing anything about Jack Kirby's Dingbats of Danger Street, a comic that he did towards the end of his time at DC (1975).

    Allegedly inspired by his own youth, Dingbats follows a gang of young toughs, depending on each other to survive, while sort of backing their way into crime fighting.

    Originally slated as a series, it was cancelled and turned into a "1st Issue Special"—where more would be produced if enough readers wrote in and requested them. They didn't. Kirby drew two additional issues, but they were never lettered or inked.

    Image: Screengrab

  • Leigh French aka "Goldie Keif" on The Smothers Brothers

    Some weeks ago, I posted a video to Facebook of Rob Reiner playing a flower child on an episode of Gomer Pyle USMC. Several people pointed out that the female hippie with him was comedian and actress, Leigh French.

    French was a regular on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the 1960s. The above video was her introduction to the show, an audience plant named "Goldie Keif" (both slang terms for pot).

    When she became a regular on the show, doing a segment called "Share a Little Tea with Goldie," the censors made them change her last name to "O'Keefe."

    Here is French 20 years later (1988), on The Smothers Brothers reunion show.

    Image: Screengrab

  • David Bowie musical, Lazarus, to be streamed on his birthday

    On January 8th (David Bowie's birthday), the play Lazarus, written by David and Enda Walsh, will be streamed (for the low, low price of US$21.50). The stream is a recording of the King's Cross London production of the play.

    In this Guardian piece, they speak with theater producer Robert Fox about the play and working with Bowie.

    Lazarus continues the story of Thomas Newton, who Bowie played in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth. What was it about Newton that inspired him?
    The character must have had a big effect on him to want to make a musical based on him all that time afterwards. David had a sense of being "other". The character's isolation and fame are probably an aspect of it and he probably identified with the fact that Newton was a huge drinker – David had been in his time and then got clean and sober. Playing Newton had a profound effect. He was obsessed by the character and took an option out on the novel of The Man Who Fell to Earth a long time before he came to me with the idea of turning it into a musical.

    What was Bowie like as a collaborator?
    The overriding feeling I got from him was one of creative generosity. He loved the people he worked with and he trusted them – he gave them 100% loyalty and was their champion. When we started rehearsing the show in New York, I got a message to meet him at a studio in Brooklyn. I went to the address and it turned out that it was the day he was shooting the video for his version of the song Lazarus, directed by Johan Renck. He was so professional and incredibly well-mannered to everyone on the crew, really polite and involved. I went back to the dressing room and David said he was tired and had to rest. I realised that not one person on that set knew that they were filming a man who was about a month away from not being around any longer. There was no fuss, bother, attention-calling or drama. That's kind of remarkable.

    Read the rest of the piece.

    Image: Promotional art inset