Sunday, November 29, 2015

Lunar Meanders

Dale Pendell speaking at Breaking Convention: July 2015

You want a privileged backstage pass to this spectacular God and Goddess mystery play? You want to watch for yourself how loving/enemy angels create your Universe moment by moment while you occupy yourself with mundane tasks? You want to experience cosmic physics -- to feel in your mind and in your body WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON deep beneath this fabulous tragic/comedy show?

Then watch this video: which will satisfy a bit of your curiosity for this kind of forbidden knowledge but will leave you hungry for more.

No better guide into these unspecified spaces than Dale Pendell, inspired poet, psychic physicist and friend who once lived on Laurel Street in Santa Cruz and has now moved his research lab into the high Sierras.

Thank you, Dale, for this unique glimpse into the primal Uncertainty Principle that governs every one of our lives and loves.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Trek's End

Event Horizon by Iona Miller
One of science fiction's most fascinating topics is First Contact. How closely will alien bodies and minds resemble our own? And how will they differ? For my money, one of the finest first contact stories in the business is John Walker's Trek's End. Check it out immediately if not sooner.

John Walker, the founder of Autodesk, now lives in Switzerland where he is pursuing his eccentric interests including web-based tests of psychokinesis, esoteric computerness, consciousness studies, reading a large number of books on every topic under the rainbow and publishing insightful book reviews on his blog which he calls fourmilab. After being introduced by Walker to many new-to-me authors writing on exotic topics, I make a habit of reading his book reviews as soon as they appear.

On another front, my Irish band Blarney's recent performance at the Art League theater in Santa Cruz was a great success. Our audience was enthusiastic, appreciative, laughed and applauded at all the right times. Thanks to each of you for enhancing this event with your presence. Thanks to T. Mike Walker and the Art League staff for providing a salon-like atmosphere, complete with wine, snacks and an exciting lion-king-sized gallery of animal-themed art. And thanks to Carlito Sutton for inviting us into this splendid venue and for his on-stage Irish tales which added to our music a touch of Celtic humor.

Blarney Band (Credit: Alan & Sun Lundell)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Blarney on Broadway

Blarney rehearsing on the Broadway stage.

One of the brightest stars of Irish music in America was Francis O'Neill (1848--1936). Born in Tralibane, County Cork, he immigrated to Chicago where he worked as a police officer and soon rose to become Chief of the Chicago police force. He played the flute, fiddle and pipes, loved Irish music and was inclined to hire Irish cops who played instruments. But what made Francis famous was his zeal in collecting and publishing tunes that he and his buddies heard played by their fellow Irish immigrants. O'Neill's Music of Ireland (1903), his magnum opus, contains 1,850 pieces of music, which even today forms the backbone of traditional Irish music performances.

Chief O'Neill, prodigious Irish tune collector

By the 1950s Irish traditional music was rarely heard, even in Ireland itself, being considered outdated and old-fashioned, and supplanted by modern pop music and rock and roll. But in the 1960s, Irish composer and radio personality Sean O'Riada, was determined to bring this traditional music back into Irish consciousness through his Gaelic-inspired theater music, his radio broadcasts and his support of various music groups, most prominently The Chieftains. Through the efforts of O'Riada and others, Irish traditional music has spread throughout the world and one can now find Irish bands and music sessions everywhere from Croatia to surf city Santa Cruz.

Following in the footsteps of Chief O'Neill, Santa Cruz's own Mike Long collected 1006 Irish tunes he heard played at Santa Cruz sessions in King Street Sessions Tunebook (more tunes than are good for you) (2000) which Mike has generously made available on the Internet.

Sunday, Nov 8, from 2 - 4 pm, at the Santa Cruz Art League theater (located at 526 Broadway Ave), a group of four musicians calling themselves Blarney will be playing an assortment of tunes in the Irish tradition. Some of the tunes are new; most of the tunes are not. And many of the tunes appear in Chief O'Neill's collection (and Mike's as well). It would be almost impossible for anyone to play Irish music today without including more than a few tunes published by this scholarly Irish-American police chief.

In the gallery adjacent the theater, the Art League will be hosting Beasts on Broadway, an exhibit by artists from all over America representing in many media animals both real and imagined. The gallery opens at noon on Sunday.

Come early for the concert and enjoy the art beforehand.

Blarney performance info (click for larger image)