Friday, May 30, 2008

Monsters of Downtown Los Angeles

I took these pictures on a short walk from Disney Concert Hall to Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles.

Poulty Market sign in Los Angeles Chinatown - (c)David Ocker
Gateway Dragon to Los Angeles Chinatown - (c) David Ocker
The New High School Overlooks the Freeway in Downtown Los Angeles (c) David Ocker
No signs of Godzilla, but the last picture seems to be his robotic cousin. I didn't know they made Erector Sets that big.

Click each picture to make the monsters bigger.

Monster Tags: . . . . . .

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Second Second Story Series - Concert Four

(This is the 5th article in a series. Skip back to the first article here.)

As a society we decide what pieces of music will become "classics". Most so-called Classical Music was chosen by people long dead but we living humans get to sneak new pieces into the canon occasionally.

These days one of the pieces we the people are making "classical" is Terry Riley's In C - an orchestra piece of utter simplicity and massive power. It speaks to us of musical patterns and formal structures, it hints at changes in social relationships and organizational hierarchies. There ought to be no podia in In C. Every performer in In C has to be creative. It marks the passage of time (about the only thing every single piece of music does one way or another) in a way no other piece ever had before. Written in 1964, it is clearly one of the most talented children of the sixties.

On May 28, 1978, (30 years ago today) In C was the centerpiece of the final concert of the Second Second Story Series. Without it the entire series would have merited little attention back then - and even less now. But the energy generated by this one performance became a kind of landmark for the ICA, an inspiration in seasons to come. It was the sort of success every beginning arts organization needs.

Here is a portrait of Terry Riley taken by Robert Jacobs back in 1978. At the end of this post is a picture of Terry today and some links to information about him and his music.

ICA Second Second Story Series 1978 - Terry Riley Portrait by Rob Jacobs

In C was already well known by 1978. It had been released on a Columbia album - which had been a personal inspiration and refuge for me in my graduate student years at the Herb Alpert School of Music, a musical relief that I might listen to twice or three times after many a hard day studying ugly comtemporary music. But In C had had few performances in Los Angeles (actually none that I'm aware of).

We tried to get as much publicity for our concert as we could. I ran across a promotional article that I had saved from a magazine called Neworld (about which I remember nothing). This article ran prior to the entire series. It was written by Jo Ann Smith. Here's a quote describing the plight of independent composers: is difficult for composers to get their work performed. Especially if they are young and unknown. (Perhaps if they were very young - twelve or thirteen - it would be different. Audiences tend to put up with a lot of nonsense from pre-pubescent musicians.) The ways around this are not legion. You can have your parents buy you an orchestra; you can stay in school forever, being performed on the obligatory student composer concerts and heard by practically nobody; you can threaten to hold your breath until Zubin Mehta agrees to perform your piece; or you can organize and try for a frontal assault.
Click here to read the entire article about the Independent Composers Association written by Jo Ann Smith in Neworld 1978, No.2

ICA Second Second Story Series 1978 - David Ocker in a panic

I also discovered an aircheck of a regular Saturday night KPFK radio show called Zymurgy. It was hosted by Carl Stone and Leni Isaacs (now Leni Boorstin, an important honcho of the Los Angeles Philharmonic). The night before the In C concert the guests on Zymurgy were Anna Rubin, Robert Jacobs and myself, "Dave" Ocker. We sounded very young and earnest. I've extracted a few quotes from the interview down below somewhere.

I've uploaded the show as an MP3. I probably made this tape myself using some sort of automatic timer to record off the air onto two crappy cassettes. I've cut all the music selections down to one minute or less. The recording quality was not good enough for music. The two hour show lasts about 50 minutes, including a commercial for a strident Helen Caldicott in a futile effort to speak truth to power at the end.

The musical snippets will give you a vague idea of the diversity of music on this series - with the emphasis on "vague". As this is the only Second Second Story Series audio document which I'll be posting to Mixed Meters you'll just have to make do with vagueness.

Click here to listen to Leni Isaacs Boorstin interview Anna Rubin, Robert Jacobs and David Ocker on KPFK radio Zymurgy program, May 27, 1978.

ICA Second Second Story Series 1978 - empty chairs

The final concert received four separate print reviews. The most amazing was by the late Daniel Cariaga of the Los Angeles Times. I once heard Ara Guzelimian (who now rules much of the music world somewhere in New York City) express amazement at Danny's "revelation" at this concert. Recently Mark Swed recalled watching Danny sitting Buddha-like under a statue of the Buddha during In C. Wish I had a picture of that.

Danny wrote:
Under half-dimmed lights in a second-story yoga classroom, between a Safeway and a Baskin Robbins, this extraordinay event took place. To one observer, the impressive closing of a second series cosponsored by the Independent Composers Assn. and Larchmont Center (the yogic connection) cause regret that earlier visits to an obviously enterprising impressarial entity had not been made. Clearly, ICA is making some things happen.
Read the entire review by Daniel Cariaga "ICA Series Ends with Riley's 'In C'", Los Angeles Times, May 31, 1978

Read Mixed Meters obituary of Danny Cariaga here (including the story about the second ICA concert Danny attended.)

ICA Second Second Story Series 1978 - Robert Jacobs Kathryn Ando
Mark Swed, the current Martin Bernheimer of the Los Angeles Times' music criticism department, also covered the concert for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, now the perfect example of a second newspaper in a large city. Mark is a long-time Terry Riley fan. Here's part of what he wrote:
For the first time in recent memory, there was a real sense of occasion at a new music concert. The Independent Composers' Association pulled off this minor coup in the unlikely but pleasant Larchmont Center for Yoga at the final concert of their second season Sunday night. The uncommonly large and excited crowd came for a rare local appearance by Terry Riley, who led a performance of his "In C."
Read the entire review by Mark Swed "A rare taste of Terry Riley 'In C'", Los Angeles Herald Examiner, May 30, 1978

ICA Second Second Story Series 1978 empty chairs & Susan Palmer
Even more amazing to a an old new-musician with a bad attitude (such as myself) 30 years afterwards, this concert was reviewed by a newspaper from Long Beach, California, a large suburb of Los Angeles. Someone named Bill Arthur wrote:

I saw that the '60s never ended, and in fact began a creative musical tradition, at a concert put on by a group of young musicians called the Independent Composers Association in Los Angeles Sunday night. That the program took place in the Larchmont Center for Yoga suggest how the avant-garde (this part, at least) has matured beyond the need to be outrageous. Despite the outrageous heat, the young, hip listeners (some with infants in arm) displayed as serious musical concerns as the very committed musicians.

Read the entire article by Bill Arthur, "Independent Composers performs in Los Angeles", May 30, 1978, in the Long Beach Independent and Press-Telegram (a newspaper with both morning and evening editions).

ICA Second Second Story Series 1978 - Scott Fraser Lois Vierk
Months later a magazine called Synapse published this review by Colin Gardner. It was entitled "Terry Riley, In C".
This particular performance was something of a revelation. The excellence of the musicianship was aided by the receptive condition of the audience, our sensual perception having been heightened by the incredibly hot evening and the absense of air conditioning in the hall. Most people were beginning to feel groggy by the beginning of In C and the perpetual pounding rhythm of the pulse and repetitive overlays of the 53 figures produced an intense experience as if being pounded into submission all the more effectively to appreciate the nuances of the orchestration. One's mind drifted into a dreamlike state for long periods, overwhelmed by the totality of the piece while at other times on could concentrate on the rhythm or on each indivicual instrument. In C is not an electronic piece, yet it somehow seems electronic, conjuring up the electronic pulses of the German sequencer-dominated music of Hoenig Schulze and Tangerine Dream.
As you can tell, Colin was writing for a different type of reader than the three newspaper critics. You can read Synapse back issues here.

ICA Second Second Story Series 1978 Anna Rubin resting

Being exposed to my 30-years-ago self is a bit of a shock. But a few things said in the KPFK interview got me thinking.

Leni asks us several times whether the members of the ICA have any artistic discussions among ourselves or musical influences on one another. I suppose she was thinking that a group of composers might have some artistic commonality or requirement, possibly even a specific manifesto.

Question: "Do you find that you have to have any common agreements of new music?". Anna replies:
My experience of the group is that what seems to bind us together is the desire to produce our music, to put our music out. And we have endless informal discussions on aesthetics and whatever, but it hasn't had to be a part of our formal process. We haven't had to battle out a lot around new music.
Leni asked each of us "What has been the biggest change in your compositions?" Here's my answer:
I learned to be dissonant, I think. I started off with a fairly melodic, harmonic idea, conventional thoughts about music. Gradually learned that there were really no rules.
At another point I said:
It's in the nature of independent composers to be obscure.
Now, 30 years on, many of us have found ways to continue composing somehow or at least we've found ways to wish we had more time to start composing again. A few have become composition teachers - thereby, to my mind, losing their "independent composer" status.

We are all still really good at being obscure. And we now live in a musical world where "no rules" is even more "the rule" than it seemed to be in 1978. In other words, things haven't changed much.

And I gather that, these days, composers 30 years younger than I am are still thinking they might form ICA-like groups. The purpose now, as then, would be "to produce our music, to put our music out" (as Anna said.) My advice - "Guys, don't expect to lose your obscurity. That will just make you frustrated and unhappy." (Read an earlier Mixed Meters rant on this subject.) (Be sure to read the wonderful comments.)

I'm not sure I can remember any more why we expended all that energy to create concerts of new music. There must have been lots of hopes and dreams and ego and a sort of criminal naivete about the place of modern music in society. But in spite of all that I am completely sure that I'm glad I did it.

By the way, these quotes from the radio show have a large number of "uhs" and "ums" edited out. You're welcome.


Terry Riley recent picture
Terry's Homepage

Terry Riley entry on Wikipedia (source of the recent photo)

In C entry on Wikipedia

Download the score and instructions to In C from Other Minds
(there were no written instructions in 1978, just one page of music and a performance tradition passed verbally.)

Read about In C, Chinese Version

You can download a free long version of In C here (recommended, but there's no info on who's performing. after a few minutes research I can tell you that bad performances of In C are easy to find on the Internet)

Buy a copy of the original In C LP

Terry recently gave a solo organ recital in Walt Disney Hall. For a few days you can read Mark Swed's review here for free. Predictably, Mark liked it.

Read all Mixed Meters posts about The Second Second Story Series here.

Read all Mixed Meters posts about the Independent Composers Association (including the S.S.S.S) here.

Only the first picture (Robert Jacob's picture of Terry Riley) was taken the day of the In C concert. Click on any picture for an enlargement. The other pictures were taken by "we don't remember who". Special thanks to that person.

In C Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Doodles Around the House - Part Two

Because we love our four cats (and also the little birds outside which our healthy, fluffy, well-fed predators might hunt and kill) we do not let the cats outside .. ever.

Shark Magnet Doodle (c) David Ocker
Problems arise with multiple always-indoor cats. For example: getting the kitties to pee in appropriate places. We provide them with boxes of cat sand which they use instinctively.

Venn Diagram Magnet Doodle (c) David Ocker
Inside a cat's walnut-sized brain, however, it apparently seems just as instinctive to use the soft absorbent seat of an overstuffed chair. We have several overstuffed chairs and two couches. Those are sort of like boxes of cat sand ... to a cat. I guess.

Mushroom Magnet Doodle (c) David Ocker
To protect our overstuffed cat-box-like-to-a-cat furniture we cover it with pee-impermeable materials. An excellent easily available chair-size sheet of impermeable plastic is the common vinyl shower curtain liner. Available in a wide variety of mostly garish colors.

Abstract Phallus Magnet Doodle (c) David Ocker
I can tell you from experience that store checkout clerks will ALWAYS ask why you are buying a half dozen or more shower curtain liners. My first answer: "We have a lot of bathrooms"

Then I tell the truth.

Face in the Balloon Magnet Doodle (c) David Ocker
Each shower curtain liner comes equipped with three little magnets at the bottom designed to hold the curtain against the tub. When the liners become torn (think cat claws) and thus non-impermeable, we toss them out.

But I try to rescue the three magnets first. These wind up on our kitchen refrigerator.

Abstract Magnet Doodle (c) David Ocker
Recently our came-with-the-house-when-we-moved-in refrigerator stopped refrigerating. We replaced it. The old one was sent off with some nice men who promised it a good home.

But first the nice men made me take down all the various magnet-held pictures and coupons and memorabilia and stuff which was attached to it.

One-eared Bunny Rabbit Magnet Doodle (c) David Ocker
When the new unit was in place I started to reattach the pictures and coupons and memorabilia and stuff. But it seemed wrong to hide this brilliant, gray, metallic, functional and, most importantly, NEW refrigerator with all that crap.

So all we did was put the cat-pee protecting vinyl shower curtain magnets on the fridge and nothing else.

Round Face Magnet Doodle (c) David Ocker
Nature took its course, of course. Instinctively I started forming designs out of the magnets and taking pictures of some. Please do NOT click on any picture above for a closer view of these Refrigerator Magnet Doodles. There's no reason to. There's nothing you can't see already.

Here's a wide-angle shot of doodle workspace shown in the kitchen. You might want to click on just this one to see more detail. You might also want to read Doodles Around the House - Part One which has nothing to do with cats.

Film projector Magnet Doodle In the Kitchen (c) David Ocker

Refrigerator Magnet Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Friday, May 23, 2008

Doodles around the House, Part One

This is the first of two posts documenting small doodles which I do at odd moments around the house. This post contains Phone Message Doodles. I do these while I listen to your endless messages on our answering machine. (You know who you are.)

Two Faces Doodle (c) David Ocker
My doodles are not intentional representations. Sometimes, however, they end up looking like something. For example the first one looks like two faces, one floating in mid-air and the other squashed into the ground while wearing a pointed German military helmet.

The next one looks to me like a cow's skull.

Cow Skull Doodle (c) David OckerOthers will see different things in these little drawings. For example, Leslie will think this is a drawing of one of her sea worms.

Polychaete Doodle (c) David OckerDear reader, please share your own ideas about what these pictures really are. Just add a comment at the end of the post (or email me at the link in Hey, Over Here On The Left).

Next doodle: Pooh Bear, missing an eye and with an inverted-heart shaped heart.

Pooh Bear Doodle (c) David Ocker
Happy Heart Face Doodle (c) David Ocker
This is obviously a Turtle. That's because Leslie added the shell. I only drew the long, extended phallic neck and face part of it.

Turtle Doodle (c) David OckerThe most problematic one comes last. I'd say it was a picture of a man, wearing a huge court jester's hat while skiing downhill backwards. Yes, that must be it. I know these things. I'm the artist.

Skiing With Oversize Jester Hat Doodle (c) David Ocker
The yellow ones were drawn on Post-It notes. Click any picture for a horribly larger version.

You can also read Doodles Around the House, Part Two.

Phone Message Tags: . . . . . . . . .

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fallen Avocados 5

Fallen Avocados, an ancient Mixed Meters regular feature, is back from its long hiatus. Sort of like Indiana Jones.

See all the Fallen Avocados episodes by clicking on this sentence.

For those of you who don't remember what Fallen Avocados was, the format is to combine a picture of an avocado which has fallen from a tree (and is often half-eaten and which I photograph just as I find it) with some video or other link, the sort that you might get in an email from an annoying friend.

Fallen avocados are a common sight in Pasadena. And in other places as well, I'm sure. The avocados have often been a meal for wild animals such as squirrels or raccoons or possums or our dog Chowderhead, who isn't actually wild. Our neighbor's avocado tree drops avocados into our back yard and I say "the backyard feeds our dog automatically".

Fallen Avocado #5 on a wall in Pasadena (c) David Ocker
This video link is to a compendium of all the Simpson's television show couch gags. The "couch gag" is that little bit of the Simpsons introduction just after Homer is chased through the garage by Marge's bad driving and the whole family tries to sit down on the couch in front of the television. Generally each episode has a different couch gag. The compilation goes on for a while. It's like the funniest episode ever.

Be sure to listen to the sound track as you watch - the constant repetition of the same bit of music from Danny Elfman's brilliant theme is interrupted occasionally by bits of pop culture music. What a wonderfully unpretentious minimalist score. Too bad minimalist pieces in concerts don't have a similarly free spirit.

Here and here and here are some MM posts which reference the Simpsons.

Fallen Couch Gag Tags: . . . . . . . . .

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Modest Proposal - Increase Gas Taxes Now

In my dozen years in Pasadena I must have driven past the undistinguished intersection of Green and Chester Street a thousand times. But a couple weeks ago I walked past it for the first time. I took a bunch of pictures. Here's a Google map view.

Green and Chester Street Sign - Pasadena CA - (c)David Ocker
On the northeast corner of Green and Chester is an old unused gas station. I can't call it "abandoned" because it's kept up. Here's a picture which I took today. (Click any pic for an enlargement.) The place is swept. The garage doors painted. Electric lights were burning during the day.

What, I wonder, is the story with this place?

Old gas station panorama shot Pasadena CA - (c)David Ocker
It seems even stranger if you compare todays pic with what's visible in Google Street View. Go back to the above map link, click on Street View and then click the arrows until your little avatar is facing northeast. There's no green paint and no old fashioned gas pumps. The Google street view can't be that old. Things have been changing at this station.

Here's the funky old clock with numbers askew which is located above and to the right of the garage doors. The garage-door building housed a vintage clothing store about a year ago.

Old gas station clock Pasadena CA (c)David Ocker
Next picture is a closeup of the three gas pumps in front of the little hut with a big air-conditioning unit on top of it. The remaining pictures in this post are all shots of the individual pumps - getting closer and closer and finally ending with the price per gallon of gasoline on the Fire Chief pump very easy to read.

My best guess is that this lot was used for a movie shoot and that the pumps will disappear as mysteriously as they appeared. Got a better guess? This blog encourages comments.

Three old gas pumps - Pasadena CA (c) David Ocker
Meanwhile, lets talk about politics. Hillary Clinton, who is not the next president of the United States, has been trying to buy our votes by suggesting the gas companies should pay our gasoline taxes for a few months. Money in our pockets. Silly plan, Hil.

How much is the gasoline tax? Currently we in Los Angeles pay 18.4 cents Federal tax plus 18 cents state tax plus 8 3/4% sales tax and maybe some other little tax bits per U.S. gallon. That's about 71 cents on a $4 gallon - around 17% tax. Not a heavy tax. (Check your state's gas tax here.)

Texaco gasoline pump logo Pasadena CA (c)David OckerDid you know California is in deep shit state budget-wise - not enough money is coming in to meet expenses. You probably have a similar problem on a day to day, paycheck to paycheck level.

California's governor, an actor trained to ignore reality, has brainstormed his way out of the problem. (His real problem is actually how to leave office without causing a societal collapse rather than balancing the budget.)

Texaco gas pump Pasadena CA (c) David Ocker
Governor Borrow and Spend wants us Californians to vote. He's giving us two options. He wants us to choose how to get out of the crisis so he and the other officials we elected won't have to do their job by coming to an agreement. Gov says "either/or."
  • Either we can vote for the state to borrow more money (this time from our own Lottery because banks won't loan money to California again. Note that the Gov got us out of the last crisis a year or two ago.) ... OR ...
  • We can vote to raise the sales tax on ourselves. (Sales taxes are a breeze for rich people to pay - they hurt poor people the most. Remember that there are more poor people than rich people and everyone thinks they will win the next lottery.)

Texaco Sky Chief logo Pasadena CA (c) David Ocker
But I am here today, my fellow Americans (or my fellow Californians), to suggest an alternative.

We should increase the gasoline tax immediately.

But here's the twist - pass the law now but don't start the new tax until the price of gasoline starts to fall.

The price of gasoline will fall eventually - partially because of supply and demand (when EVERYONE owns a Prius no one will want much gasoline) but mostly because George II will stop being our President in just eight months - and everyone, all over the world, is going to want to take a nice relaxing bath and have a cup of high-anti-oxidant green tea once George is back in Crawford. I hope.

Texaco Sky Chief and Fire-Chief pumps Pasadena CA (c)David Ocker
Here's how the Ocker Tax would work. For every two cent drop in the price of gas the tax would go up one cent. It works through the magic of statistics and mathematics. Don't worry - someone somewhere understands numbers. You and I don't have to. Our only job will be to pay at the pump. These days there's actually a television cop show you can watch starring people who understand Numb3rs. so you don't have to worry your innumerate head about it.

As the price of gasoline drops and the tax goes up, the price we pay at the pump will still drop. Just not as much as it might have. We will still all personally benefit from lower prices while the government gets increased revenue. This could be spent on hiring an extra police officer. But most likely the money will just pay off the debt.

What's the trick? There are no benefits until the prices drop.

But when they do there will be new tax revenue and it will come at the same time as falling prices. If the total price of all gasoline sold drops by a gazillion dollars the government gets half a gazillion and we consumers split the other half gazillion.

Texaco Fire-Chief logo Pasadena CA (c) David Ocker
The real trick is getting the legislature to think ahead into the future and pass a law contrary to common stupidity. (There is no such thing as common wisdom.)

People tend to think that the prices which have been rising steadily for a while will always rise higher and higher. Just like ever-increasing real estate prices which have kept our banks and brokerage houses rolling in profit. (um, that's a joke.)

Remember, things go in cycles.

Another cycle predicts that eventually the Knee-Jerk Republicans will get elected again.
The Republicans are Knee-Jerkers because they answer every question with the same involuntary jerk - "we'll cut taxes". They can only get elected by offering to cut our taxes. And most of us will vote for a tax cut.

Maybe we can talk the Republicans into only cutting the gasoline tax by a quarter-gazillion dollars. Public revenue still comes out ahead by the final quarter of a gazillion dollars. That's a lot of money. Well, in truth, a quarter gazillion doesn't go as far as it used to.

The price of gas long ago Pasadena CA (c) David Ocker
In my fantasy this plan would work. It's perfect. It can't fail.

It does depend on people accepting the counter-intuitive notion that "things are cyclical". Like the universe which goes around and around in circles, big rocks circling thermo-nuclear explosions.

I don't know why people figure tomorrow will be exactly like today only more so. But they do. Is it a tenet of Christianity or something?

The beauty of the Ocker Tax is that if I'm wrong about the cyclical thing and the price of gasoline does continue to go up in perpetuity then my modest tax proposal will only COST NOTHING. People do vote for things which cost nothing. Although we'll have to suffer through naysaying hot air typhoons from politicians who can only think as far into the future as the next election.

On second thought, forget I said anything. This is a lame-brain idea and it's not going to happen.
Sorry to have wasted your time.

The price of gas long ago Pasadena CA (c) David Ocker
My apologies to those people who never fail to mention how much they hate it when I write about politics.

Ocker Taxes: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Second Second Story Series - Concert One Pictures

Here are more pictures from the first concert of the Second Second Story Series on April 16, 1978. Well, this first picture of Carl Stone looking up to Jan Greenwald's Mobile 4 John Cage was posted before. It's still kinda cute.

Second Second Story Series - Carl Stone and Jan Greenwald's Mobile 4 John Cage 1978N ext are two shots of a rehearsal of Song for Three Clarinets by Lois Vierk (now known internationally as Lois V Vierk). Lois is conducting in the first shot. The clarinetists, left to right, are Laurel Hall, "Dave" Ocker and Alan Solomon.

Lois is listed in Wikipedia. Follow the links to more interesting reading.

Second Second Story Series - Song for Three Clarinets by Lois V Vierk 1978
In this shot you can see the screen for the film in Carey Lovelace's Crotchets and Contrivances performed by Stuart Fox, guitar and James Hildebradt, percussion - but there are no pictures of them.

Second Second Story Series - Song for Three Clarinets by Lois V Vierk 1978
Two shots of Songs to Death by Anna Rubin with Joan Collopy, soprano, Erika Duke, cello and Lori Alexander, piano.

Second Second Story Series - Songs to Death by Anna Rubin 1978Second Second Story Series - Songs to Death by Anna Rubin 1978

(Mandala) by Pauline Oliveros was the final piece on the concert. Here's Pauline's website.

The title drawing was a map of the players' locations. Four percussionists positioned around the bass drum. Four clarinetists positioned towards the four directions and eight glass players, two in each quadrant. Apparently the soprano started on the outside and spiraled in towards the center during the piece. That's how I interpret it now with my very foggy memory. If your memory unit is better please leave a comment. Judging by these pictures everyone wore white.

Anyway, the next picture is of me, "Dave" the clarinetist, at my location on the far side of the white bass drum. White was never my color.

Second Second Story Series - (Mandala) by Pauline Oliveros 1978Here are a few other performers in the Oliveros piece milling around. With one hand on his hip the other holding a glass is Tom Recchion, well-known these days for his membership back then in the LA Free Music Society .

Second Second Story Series - Tom Recchion and (Mandala) performers 1978
All these Polaroid pictures were taken by Robert Jacobs - find him online here and here.

There will be at least two more posts in the Second Second Story Series Series. The next will include more pictures - polaroid headshots taken by Rob Jacobs and the story of how a few of them have become portraits one of which hangs in my home. And then, on May 30, the final concert - featuring Terry Riley's In C - with its three press reviews.

Click this link to see all the Second Second Story Series series posts.
Click this link to see all posts about the Independent Composers Association.
You can download the entire series program book as a 17 meg. pdf file by clicking this sentence. It has more information about every piece, composer and many of the performers.
Clink any picture to see it get bigger.

Second Story Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, May 08, 2008

One Year of Mixed Messages

Hey, over on the right where it says "Hey! Over here on the right.", is Mixed Messages - a whole other blog. My other blog. One of my other blogs.

Today (May 8, 2008) is the one-year anniversary of my first post to Mixed Messages. In 29 more years I'll make a big deal out of it.

Click here to see the initial Mixed Messages post. Or just look at this picture. The three little duckie squeeze-water-pistols are still in their individual cat-food-tin boats buffeted by the waves of our kitchen counter.

three duckies in cat food tins (c) David Ocker
Mixed Messages is a TumbleLog hosted by Tumblr. Go start your own. I started mine because I wanted a way to post single pictures or little items frequently and easily. Each post here on Mixed Meters takes too much time and thought.

If you go to Mixed Messages most recent post you can scroll back through page after page of previous Mixed Messages posts using the hard-to-find "previous" or "next" links at the very bottom of each page.

Starbucks table with half-eaten Starbucks treat (c) David Ocker
Mixed Messages posts automatically appear in the right hand column here at Mixed Meters through the miracle of RSS, whatever that is. For a while the Mixed Messages pictures re-sized automatically when they appeared at Mixed Meters - but something changed and I can't fix it. So Mixed Meters readers can only see the left half of every Mixed Messages picture. Click on them to enable the workaround. It's a burden I'm willing to have you bear.

Gradually I settled on two principal categories for Mixed Messages content:
  • my own original pictures
  • music-related quotes which I found amusing (either because of their profundity or because of their utter stupidity. Can you tell the difference? Try it with this one.)

The most popular Mixed Messages post falls into neither category. (It gets a lot of hits from the search engines.)

Many of my Mixed Messages pictures (and hundreds more) can be see at my Flickr Blog.

Message Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Second Second Story Series - Part Three

Today we continue Mixed Meters' exciting series on the 30th anniversary of The Second Second Story Series, four concerts in April & May 1978 produced by the Independent Composers Association (ICA) in Los Angeles. You can read the second Second Second Story Series post here. Read the first one there.

Here is a picture of composer Carl Stone looking up at Mobile 4 John Cage by Jan Greenwald, performed on concert one. The mobile is the score for her piece. At first I thought Carl was holding a drum - but what he's really doing is trying to shine light on the mobile using a lampshade. Lighting was a problem in the venue. This was before Carl started his website

Carl Stone with Jan Greenwald's Mobile 4 John Cage Second Second Story Series
Today, May 7, is the anniversary of the third concert. Music by Anna Rubin, Carl Stone, Richard Amromin, Stephen Mitchell, Robert Jacobs, Scott Fraser and someone named DAVE Ocker. (Soon after these concerts I stopped calling myself "Dave" - but I don't object if others choose to call me that. The reason I stopped will require a separate blog post. )

Credit for the pictures in this and the other Second Second Story Series posts goes to Robert Jacobs who is currently living the life of the creative visual artist. He took the color photos with his Polaroid camera. And he saved the black and white ones (photographer unknown) all these years. Please visit Rob's websites at Robert Jacobs Art and Angels of Protection.

There are SO many pictures that I've decided to add at least one extra Second Second posting - probably between now and the last concert (the highly successful series finale) on May 30. Click any picture for an enlarging experience.

Here are composers Scott Fraser (wearing his summery Koss Pro-4AA headphones) and Stephen Mitchell.

Scott Fraser and Stephen Mitchell at Second Second Story Series
PROGRAM THREE - May 7, 1978

TRIX OCARINAS for three ocarinas and percussion (1978) -- Anna Rubin
(world premiere)
ocarinas by Susan Rawcliffe

LIM for magnetic tape (1972) -- Carl Stone

for magnetic tape (1974) -- Dave Ocker

for piano (1967-1978) -- Richard Amromin
(world premiere)


LAZULI for magnetic tape (1977) -- Stephen Mitchell

EL DIA for two clarinets and piano (1977) -- Robert Jacobs
(World Premiere)

RECITATION for magnetic tape (1978) -- Scott Fraser

TRIX OCARINAS for three ocarinas and percussion (1978) -- Anna Rubin

The program book for the entire series (which you can download as a pdf here) contains the full program with performers' names, program notes for every piece, composer biographies and other exciting stuff.

Here are composers Anna Rubin (at left) and Susan Palmer and bassoonist Carolyn Beck. Carolyn belonged to the CSUN Contemporary Ensemble which performed on the second concert. Below is a picture of conductor and CSUN professor Daniel Kessner (now retired, I believe).

Anna Rubin, Susan Palmer, Carolyn Beck - Second Second Story Seriesconductor Daniel Kessner - Second Second Story Series
Next is a group shot of seven ICA members on the "stage" of the Center for Yoga. Left to Right: Richard Amromin, Anna Rubin, Dave Ocker, Robert Jacobs, Susan Palmer, Lois Vierk (with improvised eyeglasses) and Stephen Mitchell (on a folding chair separated slightly from the others for reasons unknown.)

ICA members at Center for Yoga - Amromin Rubin Ocker Jacobs Palmer Vierk Mitchell
The next two pictures seem to have been taken at ICA meetings in someone's home or apartment. Going to meetings was the primary activity of an ICA member. We had countless meetings. The first shot shows Stephen Mitchell and Jan Greenwald; the second Lois Vierk and myself.

ICA Members at meeting - Steve Mitchell and Jan GreenwaldICA members at meeting - Lois Vierk and David Ocker

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