Full Intensity Of Hendrix’s Genius Burns Bright On Fiery ‘Live At Woodstock’ DVD

MTV reviews the Live at Woodstock DVD Jimi below. I can’t wait to see it.

Source: MTV.com – Movies – News – Full Intensity Of Hendrix’s Genius Burns Bright On Fiery ‘Live At Woodstock’ DVD.

Thirty-five years after his death, Jimi Hendrix is still The Man. The howling winds of his talent — his breathtaking guitar technique, his eloquent melodic gift, his astral songcraft and his wrangling of raw feedback into a revolutionary new kind of music — still surge and roar through the four studio albums he managed to record in the course of a solo career that lasted little more than three years.

The iconic Hendrix performance, of course, is his bombs-away rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. But Hendrix played a full set at Woodstock; in the famous 1970 documentary of the event, "The Star Spangled Banner" is all that remains (with a bit of lyrical, minor-key improvisation edited on at the end). What happened to the rest of it? Well, the missing footage turned up on an overseas-only DVD in 1999, and now it’s finally been released here, in a two-disc set called "Jimi Hendrix Live at Woodstock," with the music remixed into Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. What took so long? And has it been worth the wait? Let’s see.

Hendrix was supposed to close the three-day Woodstock Festival at midnight on Sunday, August 17. However, the event was so chaotically disorganized, and running so late, that he didn’t actually walk out on stage until 9 a.m. the following morning, by which time much of the crowd of 400,000 people had departed, leaving behind a vast, blasted landscape of mud and garbage, and a much smaller contingent of blitzed fans clumped up around the front of the stage.

Hendrix and his group were announced as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but in fact only drummer Mitch Mitchell remained from that classic trio, which had erupted out of London just two years earlier. Now Mitchell was joined by not one, but two other percussionists (essentially conga players) and two of Hendrix’s old Army buddies: Billy Cox, a bare-bones bassist, and Larry Lee, who had the thankless job of rhythm guitarist. The new band had only been rehearsing for about 10 days, and Mitchell says that when he arrived for the gig they were still pretty sloppy. Hendrix called them Gypsy Sun & Rainbows, and it’s a blessing from the gods of musical history that they are audible here in only the most elementary way. It’s all about Jimi, and his guitar.

"I see that we meet again," he says, stepping up to the microphone in that flamboyantly fringed white-suede shirt and blue velvet bell-bottoms. Then he cranks up the famous white Strat and takes off, starting with "Message to Love," a blazing funk exercise that was brand new at the time, and ripping on through the hits: "Purple Haze," "Foxey Lady," "Fire," "Spanish Castle Magic" and, as an encore, "Hey Joe." There’s also a pretty fabulous rendition of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" and of course "The Star Spangled Banner," during which Hendrix manages to keep playing while repeatedly reaching up over the neck of the guitar with his picking hand to adjust string tunings. (The Fender Stratocaster of that time was a famously hard guitar to keep in tune, and the wet, cruddy weather at Woodstock no doubt exacerbated the problem.)

The material Hendrix played at Woodstock was what you’d expect — as always, it was the execution that set heads spinning. The footage here is filled with close-ups of his outsize hands, and you can see him bend screaming strings from one side of the fretboard all the way across to the other. His fingers sail up and down the neck with supreme ease, and yet his soloing never devolves into cliché — it’s put together and paced with lightning intelligence. And his rhythm playing is every bit as amazing: At one point, wailing all over the bedrock three-chord blues, "Red House," he lays back to let Larry Lee take a solo — an act of remarkable, if entirely unnecessary, generosity — and, since the camera stays riveted on Hendrix, we see him restlessly charging the song with high-flying chord inversions and rhythmic stings that are more fascinating than anything Lee could possibly be playing. (He’s barely audible.) At another juncture, Hendrix gets so carried off into the music that he simply spirals away from the band, spinning off an ever-evolving series of genius riffs embellished with beautifully elaborated Eastern-tinged melodic motifs.

All of which is to say that, as woefully inadequate as the band here may be, Hendrix himself is an astonishment — there are times when you look at what he’s doing and you truly can’t believe your eyes. Or, more to the point, your ears.

So is "Jimi Hendrix Live at Woodstock" worth owning? Absolutely. There are problems, though, the worst being the glaring daylight in which it was shot. The stage, cluttered with equipment and crowded with wiped-out, gawking onlookers, has the ambience of a car-repair shop, so that no matter how many angles we get on the action (there were 15 cameras rolling at Woodstock, but by the end of Hendrix’s set, only two were still functioning), the visual texture of the performance grows monotonous. I think we can also assume that the cameramen, after three long days of working in the most squalid and trying conditions, were exhausted, which would account for the languidly drifting pans, the sometimes shaky framing and the occasional focus problems. The filming of "Woodstock" was a pioneering enterprise, and under the circumstances, the filmmakers probably did as expert a job as was humanly possible. Only hindsight allows us the luxury of carping.

Basically, this film captures the most innovative guitarist in rock history surmounting a third-rate band and a dismal performance environment, and getting over on sheer, spectacular talent. If you’ve never seen Jimi Hendrix play before, then you’ve never seen anything like this. And chances are pretty good that you’ll never see anything like it again.

— Kurt Loder

For more on Jimi Hendrix, check out the MTV News Archive.

Eco-friendly real-estate entrepreneur?

Here’s a rare bird. 🙂

Source: Martin Melaver, eco-friendly real-estate entrepreneur, answers questions | Grist Magazine | InterActivist | 26 Sep 2005.

What work do you do?
I’m CEO of Melaver, Inc., which is a third-generation, family-owned real-estate company based in Savannah, Ga.

What does your organization do?

We really do a bit of everything in real estate, which I guess is typical for a business with roots in a smallish town. We develop, acquire, renovate, manage, broker, and own commercial and residential properties. And we’re trying to do it all sustainably, which is a mouthful.

What, in a perfect world, would constitute "mission accomplished"?

It’s easy enough to develop, manage, acquire, and rehab sustainably (if you’re committed to the idea), because these are decisions you make on your own dollar. Much more challenging is trying to become a sustainable third-party brokerage firm, because you’re simply putting together buyers and sellers. As a middleman, you really don’t have a lot of control over what happens. In a perfect world, we would have sufficient inventory of sustainable real estate such that our brokers made a nice living simply representing this inventory. That would be cool.

What environmental offense has infuriated you the most?

I was in a taxi one day in Chicago, and the driver was listening to one of those "vent radio shows" (calling it talk radio would be overly generous). And the shock jock was saying, "We’re the wealthiest damn country on the planet, and no one’s gonna tell me what I can and can’t do. If I want to drive a car that gets two miles to the gallon, then damn it, it’s my god-given right."

It’s this mind-set that I find the most infuriating.

Who is your environmental hero?

Paul Hawken came to a small one-day seminar my company sponsored about four years ago when our family was at a crossroads: Should we sell our real-estate holdings and invest in mutual funds that practice socially responsible investing? Or should we somehow try to create a socially responsible real-estate company? Paul’s answer was stunning in its simplicity: Why give over your hard-earned assets to someone else to do your thinking for you and manage as he/she deems appropriate, when you can do the things you feel most passionate about? It was a pivotal moment for me personally and for our company.

My other environmental hero is Ray Anderson, who sits on our board. Ray, to my mind, is a true mensch: humble about his own remarkable accomplishments, entirely forthcoming about his pre-environmental tendencies as a self-described "plunderer," tireless in guiding others along the path he is committed to, and generous with his time in mentoring others.

If you could institute by fiat one environmental reform, what would it be?

I’d like to see an energy-usage tax, based on the efficiency of whatever mechanical system is being utilized.

Homeland Security

I feel safer now.

Excerpts from an editorial in Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper:

Source: Anti-vegan patrol hard to swallow | ajc.com

In 2003, apparently short on terrorists to monitor, the Homeland Security division of the DeKalb Police Department dispatched an undercover detective to spy on a few vegans holding an animal cruelty protest. Police ended up arresting two who had been handing out anti-meat leaflets near a HoneyBaked Ham store.

In rounding up vegans, the county’s Homeland Security division not only looks foolish, it looks pointless. If homeland security employees have time to spy on sandal-wearing, tofu-loving vegans, then there’s apparently not a whole lot of work for them to do. They end up wasting time on petty and embarrassing arrests that can lead to federal lawsuits like the one filed Thursday by Caitlin Childs and Christopher Freeman.

The Tragedy of the Commons

Atanu reminds us that problems must be identified before they can be solved.

When I read The Tragedy of the Commons several decades ago I didn’t fully understand the implications of the message. On our recent vacation in Yellowstone National Park we witnessed the effects: overuse and degradation of a public resource. In simple terms, too many people.

Perhaps the entrance fee should be significantly higher….

Source: Atanu Dey on India’s Development – Living Within Limits.

Garrett Hardin’s 1968 Science paper The Tragedy of the Commons introduced many to the problem implicit in open access to common-pool resources. I believe that every thinking person must understand the tragedy of the commons because living in a world which is getting congested, we have to know the causes of our problems if we have to have a chance at solving them.

Here is Hardin within in his book Living within Limits:

… Professional publicists know there is always a good living to be made by catering to the public’s craving for optimistic reports. Such behaviour finds no justification in the attitude of the Buddha, expressed five centuries before Christ: “I teach only two things: the cause of human sorrow and the way to become free of it.” The present
work, though written by a non-Buddhist, proceeds along the Buddhist path—first to reveal the causes of human sorrow in population matters and then to uncover promising ways to free ourselves of the sorrow.

Hearing the Buddha’s statement today many people think, “How depressing! Why accept such a pessimistic outlook on life?” But they are wrong: it is not a pessimistic view if we reword it in terms that are more familiar to our science-based society. Reworded: “Here is something that isn’t working right. I want to fix it, but before I can do that I have to know exactly why it doesn’t work right.” One who looks for causes before seeking remedies should not be condemned as a pessimist. In general, a great deal of looking for causes must precede the finding of remedies.

Above the Law: Legislator claims he has immunity from DUI charge | ajc.com

Every law should have an expiration date!

Source: Legislator claims he has immunity from DUI charge | ajc.com.

After Rep. David Graves was charged with drunken driving for a second time, he and his lawyer offered a surprising defense:

As a lawmaker, Graves cannot break the law — at least not while the Legislature is at work.

The Macon Republican is using an obscure provision in the state constitution to argue that he should not be prosecuted for a DUI he received in Cobb County in February, during the 2005 session of the General Assembly.

The centuries-old provision holds that a lawmaker cannot be arrested during sessions of the General Assembly, legislative committee meetings or while they’re "in transit," except in cases of "treason, felony, or breach of the peace." Such provisions were generally written to protect lawmakers from political intimidation.

Cobb State Court Judge Irma B. Glover is expected to make public her ruling today on Graves’ "legislative immunity" defense. His trial is set for today.

Graves — chairman of the House committee overseeing laws governing the alcohol industry — has said that on Feb. 15, he and other committee chairmen went from the Capitol to a dinner meeting, where they conferred about the status of legislation and plans for the next legislative day. His lawyer, William C. "Bubba" Head, argues Graves should have been granted immunity from arrest because he was leaving a gathering that was tantamount to a committee meeting, according to legal filings.

Gary Jones, the assistant solicitor in Cobb State Court assigned to prosecute the cases, said his office is fighting the contention.

John Muir’s Farseeing Nature

Source: Investor’s Business Daily BY JOANNE VON ALROTH

John Muir didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. Until he blinded himself.

As a youth, he loved wandering the hills and woods around his native Dunbar, Scotland. He had a passion for doing the same in the Wisconsin countryside where his family settled after emigrating to the U.S.

But exploring wasn’t a job. And despite his intelligence and an inventive streak, he didn’t have a clear career direction.

Then, while working for an Indianapolis carriage maker in 1867, Muir accidentally stabbed himself in the eye with a file. The remaining eye lost its sight too, plunging Muir into total darkness and depression.

Some months later, Muir’s uninjured eye regained its vision. Feeling as if he’d been reborn, he vowed to spend the rest of his life gazing at the natural beauty he’d been denied while recuperating from his injury.

His aim established, Muir (1838-1914) devoted the rest of his life to preserving and conserving that natural beauty on a large scale. His efforts led to the formation of the U.S. National Park System and the U.S. Forestry Service. He also founded the Sierra Club, a grass-roots organization for protecting wilderness and the environment. He headed it until his death.

Stamina Building

Muir spent his childhood preparing to be the inventor, naturalist, explorer and writer he became as an adult, he wrote in his 1913 book, "The Story of My Boyhood and Youth." While sweating in the fields for his father, Muir built the stamina he’d later rely on during his travels. He watched the natural world and mentally filed his observations: The way mice scurried as they stole the grain that fell from his reaper, the tang of the autumn air.

Innately curious, Muir loved to learn. He had little formal schooling after age 11, but that didn’t matter: He lobbied his father to let him get up at 1 a.m. — hours before the rest of his family — so he could read. He also tinkered with his inventions, such as the "early-rising machine" he built that tipped him out of bed.

"I had gained five hours, almost half a day! Five hours to myself!" Muir wrote in one of his notebooks. "I can hardly think of any other event of my life, any discovery I ever made that gave birth to joy so transportingly glorious as the possession of these five frosty hours."

Muir’s first journey after recovering from his injury was a 1,000-mile walk from Kentucky to the Gulf Coast, and he intended to keep walking down to the Amazon.

But after catching malaria while in Florida, he decided to explore by sea and eventually found his way to San Francisco. He asked directions to the most beautiful area: On the advice of a stranger, he walked through waist-high brush and wildflowers in the San Joaquin Valley to Yosemite.

Its magnificent vistas captured his heart immediately. "It seemed to me the Sierra should be called not the Nevada, or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light . . . the most divinely beautiful of all the mountain chains I have ever seen," he wrote.

Muir took jobs in Yosemite as a sheepherder and a sawmill hand to learn as much as he could about the area, biographer Don Weiss noted in a 1997 Ecology Hall of Fame article. Muir spent his days working and studying; at night, he carefully wrote down his observations and thoughts in a series of notebooks.

The Industrial Revolution was chugging ahead full steam: Muir feared that the hunger for more resources would strip the natural world of its wonders like Yosemite. It wasn’t just conservation: Muir believed that humans needed to connect with nature for mental, physical and spiritual health, noted biographer Harold W. Wood, Jr.

"Keep close to nature’s heart . . . and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods," Muir wrote. "Wash your spirit clean . . . Come to the woods, for here is rest."

He scaled numerous peaks, riding an avalanche down a mountain and hunting out the source of waterfalls.

When Muir wanted to draw more attention to the devastation wrought on the Sierra by sheep and cattle, he wrote a series of articles for the then-influential Century magazine called "Studies of the Sierra." He also wrote to public officials, urging them to help.

But the best way to sway others was Muir’s full-immersion treatment. Mother Nature would do most of the talking.

"He told me that when (Ralph Waldo) Emerson came to California, (Muir) tried to get him to come out and camp with him, for that was the only way in which to see at their best the majesty and charm of the Sierras," President Theodore Roosevelt recalled in "Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography."

The Great Communicator

Muir didn’t just encourage philosophers and world leaders to come camping. He held camping trips for Sierra Club members to show them what they were working to save.

Once he had someone by the campfire, Muir started talking. He underscored the importance of conservation, relying on solid scientific facts he’d researched but avoiding strident or harsh tones.

"Muir bore himself with dignity in every company. He readily adjusted himself to any environment," Century magazine publisher Robert Underwood Johnson wrote in a 1916 Sierra Club Bulletin.

The approach worked like a charm. After a three-day camping trip, Roosevelt and Muir devised a conservation plan. During his term, Roosevelt established 148 million acres of national forest, five national parks and 23 national monuments, including Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest.

"John Muir talked even better than he wrote. His greatest influence was always upon those who were brought into personal contact with him," the 26th president wrote in Outlook magazine in 1915.

While thousands lauded his efforts, Muir preferred to downplay his influence. "Muir saw himself as an ordinary citizen of the universe, and in fact wrote his address as ‘John Muir, Earth-Planet, Universe,’ " Wood wrote.

Muir felt the credit belonged elsewhere, said Wood. "To some, beauty seems but an accident of creation: to Muir it was the very smile of God."

Ten Years Ago — Hiking to the Top of Half Dome in Yosemite


On September 21,1995, Ann and I hiked to the top of Half Dome. The hike is not easy: 17 miles round trip with an elevation increase of 4,800 feet from Yosemite’s Valley Floor.

We started early and arrived at the last ascent around noon. The last 500 yards to get to the top of Half Dome consist of a pair of cables about 4 feet apart on a steep, slick rock face. The cables are mounted on parallel pairs of steel poles that are embedded in the rock, about 10 feet apart. Wooden boards on the upper side of the steel poles provide traction on the slope.

As we approached the cable route, Ann started getting cold feet about climbing the slope. I really needed to convince her to go all the way because I planned to propose to her when we got to the top. I pointed out that a couple who looked to be about 70 years old had started up. She reluctantly agreed to continue. We each grabbed a pair of gloves from the pile and started climbing.

When we got to the top we walked over to the view from the steep side. Here’s what we saw.

After we had lunch, I popped the question. Fortunately, she said yes — she was quite surprised.

The hike down was tough. The rocks are slick from the dust and grit — your feet can slip easily, especially when the legs are sluggish.

It was a great way to start autumn, one of those days I’ll never forget. Thanks to Chet and KO for recommending the climb.

Here’s a link with some more pictures of the hike to the top.

Note: None of these pictures are mine. Thanks to the people who posted these pictures on the web.

Great Photos by Brad Washburn

If you like Ansel Adams’ photos, check this out.

View Brad Washburn’s gallery

Source: Brad Washburn Photos | Outside Online.

From the September issue of Outside magazine, an article about the life and photography of climber, explorer, and mapmaker Brad Washburn, courtesy of the Panopticon gallery in Boston, Massachusetts. To get your copies of Washburn’s work, check out Panopticon’s Web site at www.panopt.com

Jimi Died 35 Years Ago Today

Last night I was at a party talking to an experienced guy. He said that he was awakened one rainy morning by someone tuning a guitar. The person tuning the guitar was Jimi Hendrix; he was getting ready to play the Star Spangled Banner on the last day of the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969.

Jimi died on September 18, 1970, a huge loss for those of us who feel he created some of the most original music in rock history. We will not let his music die.


Government Cannot Save the World

Below are some excerpts from Dave Pollard that point out an intuitive truth that we often forget when we listen to politicians. And the question Why are we in Iraq? takes on new significance.

Source: How to Save the World.

Suppose Bush was impeached or forced to resign for his wrongdoings, or suppose he so discredited the Republicans that they lost the presidency and both houses in 2008. Suppose the new leaders immediately ratified Kyoto, and radically reformed campaign finance, gerrymandering, voting machine and corporation law. Suppose environmental laws were restored to their strongest, and social and environmental travesties like NAFTA were scrapped. Suppose even that corporate subsidies were scrapped worldwide and government pork became unacceptable and impossible. Suppose Europe and Canada elected Green governments and ushered in bold plans to eliminate the use of non-renewable energy through a combination of alternative energy and serious conservation.

Then what?

The ten most intractable problems: Unaffordable health care, dysfunctional education systems, unsustainable energy and food systems, corporate psychopathy, lack of viable self-managed communities, the tragedy of the commons, overcrowding and overpopulation, poverty and violence, lack of innovation and loss of wilderness and biodiversity, would all still be with us.

There is not, and never has been, a government that has been able to push the world to do what it wants to do, to make people behave. From the Romans to the British to the Soviets, those that have had the most power have faltered and collapsed like overinflated balloons when they simply got too big to sustain the illusion that they were somehow in control. The people just said no. Sometimes it was the colonized who started the revolution, sometimes it started right at the centre, sometimes nature lent a hand, using plagues or disasters to tear a hole in the thin veneer of ubiquitous might.