Burning Man 2007: Recap

photo credit: John Curley

photo credit: Colleen Morgan

photo credit: John Curley

Largest turn-out ever this year with over 45,000 people, perhaps the most press ever due to the early burning of the man, and certainly the most live and archived media produced on site since its inception in 1986.

I was planning on going – would have been dragging a drum or two of biodiesel via Metrolina Biofuels for a generator, sound system and video projector to meet up with the people from Green Society. In the end I didn’t go for a number of reasons, but in bowing out I am regrouping in force for next year.

If you didn’t go or if you’re just now getting back, there’s a lot of digital remnants from this year’s Burn. I’ve been following it all fairly closely and am posting the best of what I’ve seen. Please let me know if I’m missing anything cool.

Live Earth: 7/7/07

Live concerts in all seven continents broadcasted live on television and the internet around the world, raising money and awareness for climate change and environmental activism.

It’s broadcasting right now at MSN.com as well as the following TV networks:

  • Bravo: 8p-11p est
  • Uni HD: 4a-2a est
  • Sundance: 4a-2a est
  • MSNBC: 8a-4p est (continuing coverage)
  • CNBC: 8a-2a est
  • Telemundo: 7p-8p est
  • Mun2: 5p-7p est

Update: Video archives available on the MSN site, including the performance from Antarctica.


Kecak (pronounced: “KEH-chahk” …), a form of Balinese music drama, originated in the 1930s and is performed primarily by men. Also known as the Ramayana Monkey Chant, the piece, performed by a circle of 100 or more performers wearing checked cloth around their waists, percussively chanting “cak”, and throwing up their arms, depicts a battle from the Ramayana where monkeys help Prince Rama fight the evil King Ravana. Kecak has roots in sanghyang, a trance-inducing exorcism dance.


The clip above is from the 1992 film Baraka.

Mstislav Rostropovich Dies at 80

This slipped by me unnoticed until today. Mstislav Rostropovich, former director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC and virtuoso cellist died last Friday morning in Moscow, the city he considered home. Included in this post is a recording of him playing Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

Update: Encore: Bach’s Suite No. 2 for Cello in D Minor – a piece he’s better known for and something more demonstrative of his skill. Podcast updated.

Live Webcast from Coachella 2007

Tis the season for music festivals. AT&T is broadcasting live video from this year’s Coachella in Indio, California starting this Friday, the 27th of April and ending on Sunday the 29th.

The acts this year read like a hall of fame: Björk, DJ Shadow, Rufus Wainwright, Nickel Creek, Of Montreal, Amy Winehouse, The Noisettes, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arcade Fire, Ghostface Killah, CocoRosie, The Roots, Damien Rice, Infected Mushroom, Lily Allen, Mika … I don’t know, a lot.

Predictions from 1900

image: Grand Central Station, September 8, 1908, credit: Shorpy

From the December, 1900 issue of The Ladies Home Journal, an article by John Elfreth Watkins Jr. reads:

These prophecies will seem strange, almost impossible. Yet, they have come from the most learned and conservative minds in America. To the wisest and most careful men in our greatest institutions of science and learning I have gone, asking each in his turn to forecast for me what, in his opinion, will have been wrought in his own field of investigation before the dawn of 2001 – a century from now. These opinions I have carefully transcribed.

Predictions include:

There will probably be from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 people in America and its possessions by the lapse of another century. Nicaragua will ask for admission to our Union after the completion of the great canal. Mexico will be next. Europe, seeking more territory to the south of us, will cause many of the South and Central American republics to be voted into the Union by their own people.

The American will be taller by from one to two inches. His increase of stature will result from better health, due to vast reforms in medicine, sanitation, food and athletics. He will live fifty years instead of thirty-five as at present – for he will reside in the suburbs. The city house will practically be no more. Building in blocks will be illegal. The trip from suburban home to office will require a few minutes only. A penny will pay the fare.

Strawberries as Large as Apples will be eaten by our great-great-grandchildren for their Christmas dinners a hundred years hence. Raspberries and blackberries will be as large. One will suffice for the fruit course of each person.

Grand Opera will be telephoned to private homes, and will sound as harmonious as though enjoyed from a theatre box. Automatic instruments reproducing original airs exactly will bring the best music to the families of the untalented. Great musicians gathered in one enclosure in New York will, by manipulating electric keys, produce at the same time music from instruments arranged in theatres or halls in San Francisco or New Orleans, for instance.

Way too much to keep quoting …

São Paolo Brazil Bans Public Advertisements

image taken 2 days ago in São Paolo, credit: Tony de Marco

Imagine a modern metropolis with no outdoor advertising: no billboards, no flashing neon signs, no electronic panels with messages crawling along the bottom.

Come the new year, this city of 11 million, overwhelmed by what the authorities call visual pollution, plans to press the “delete all” button and offer its residents unimpeded views of their surroundings.

(…) Since “it is hard in a city of 11 million to find enough equipment and personnel to determine what was and wasn’t legal, we decided to go all the way, to zero things out,” Kassab said. “When you prohibit everything, society itself becomes your partner in enforcing the law” and reporting violations.

I don’t really mind advertisements, especially in large cities where survival-of-the-fittest insures only the best ones rise to the top. On the other hand a city with no ads is an attractive idea.