Archive for 2009

December 29th, 2009

Help Debo Band Return to Africa!

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Friend of Mutable, the Debo Band, have been given the incredible opportunity to bring Ethiopian music for the first time to East Africa’s largest music festival: “Sauti za Busara” on the island of Zanzibar, February 11th-16th, 2010. The festival, now in its 7th year, draws over 18,000 attendees and showcases 30 performing groups from Africa and 10 groups from the rest of the world. They would bring with them 4 native Ethiopian musicians and dancers living in Addis Ababa. This is a major opportunity for them to reach a wider audience and make further connections and collaborations with music in Ethiopia and East Africa, while presenting Ethiopian music for the first time to this festival.


To pay for their upcoming African tour they’ve launched a fund-raising campaign, and now have 17 days to raise just under $6,000! They’d love you to watch their video and help spread the word. The success of this effort depends on this news reaching people far and wide.


Watch the video here.


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December 28th, 2009

Podcast 53: Bedroom Theater Revisited

The Crucible as a Oneman Show, Pt. 1

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Arthur Miller, wherefore art thou? Very probably turning over in your grave at this minimalist interpretation of your classic play by Mutable’s own Gabriel Boyer, done in the same manner as it was done for Bedroom Theater some six years ago to an audience of two. This is the first of five installments of the Crucible, and the first of a series of Bedroom Theater re-enactments. Enjoy the antiquated language, the muppet-like voices, the Morton Feldman score, and general witchery with the knowledge that you are safe several centuries in the future of these dramatically reproduced historical events, a time when you can laugh, cry, and reproduce at your leisure.

You can download the first installment here or click below to listen.

Audio MP3

December 22nd, 2009

The Pigeon Game

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“The Pigeon Game” is a documentary on the disappearing culture of homing pigeon racing in New York City made by Mutable favorite, Annie Heringer. Unknown to most people, there are still men and women who raise birds on their rooftops and race them from distances up to 600 miles. The scenes of Marlon Brando at his pigeon loft in “On the Waterfront” may have secured the sport in the history of the city, but “The Pigeon Game” proves that the tradition still exists today among a small but dedicated group of fliers.

To view the trailer go here.

December 6th, 2009

Manifesto of the Month

Confessio Fraternitatis

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(The below manifesto is the earliest I’ve discovered yet, a founding document for the Rosicrucian faith, and a wopping good read. It was published anonymously and in latin in the seventeenth century and gave rise to a movement that Dame Frances Yates has called the “Rosicrucian Enlightenment.” Enjoy!)


Chapter I.


Whatsoever you have heard, O mortals, concerning our Fraternity by the trumpet sound of the Fama R.C., do not either believe it hastily, or willfully suspect it. It is Jehovah who, seeing how the world is falling to decay, and near its end, doth hasten it again to its beginning, inverting the course of Nature, and so what heretofore hath been sought with great pains and dayly labour He doth lay open now to those thinking of no such thing, offering it to the willing and thrusting it upon the reluctant, that it may become to the good that which will smooth the troubles of human life and break the violence of unexpected blows of Fortune, but to the ungodly that which will augment their sins and their punishments.

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November 30th, 2009

The Patchwork Girl of Oz

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Long before the more famous Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland, L. Frank Baum himself made a series of Oz films with his company, The Oz Film Manufacturing Company. The above film was released in 1914, and was directed by J. Farrell MacDonald. It was the first film made by his esteemed company, and after its failure, Baum found it increasingly more difficult to find distribution, and eventually his production company went under, but we can still enjoy this amusing fantastical romp with its rectangular cardboard cat, or “Lonesome Zoop”, the seductive statuette, and the loopy Patchwork Girl herself. Enjoy!

November 29th, 2009

The assemblyman of ephemera revealed!

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Recently we here at Mutable were introduced to a website full of all sorts of neat goodies from the image-making world of the past. Above is an example from their collection of prints from the Russian underground, circa 1905-1906, but you can find everything from tibetan anatomical drawings to vintage matchooks. To explore their archives go here.

November 23rd, 2009

A Bravely Newer World

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Ladies and gentleman, the distinguished author, Mr. Alduous Huxley, “Brave New World is a fantastic parable about the dehumanization of human beings. In the negative utopia described in my story, man has been subordinated to his own inventions.” Here is presented the CBS Radio Theatre of the Mind recording with Alduous Huxley himself narrating! Below can be downloaded the first half-hour episode. Original music is composed and conducted by Mr. Bernard Herman. “Everybody’s happy these days.”

Download Brave New World here, or listen below.

Audio MP3

November 22nd, 2009

The Review of Contemporary Fiction

A Survey of My Failures This Far Reviewed
D. Quentin Miller

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The size of this tome makes one think of Wallace’s Infinite Jest, or Stein’s The Making of Americans. Boyer’s iconoclastic style would seem to bear out these comparisons, yet the subject of this book does not pretend to the coherence of Stein’s or Wallace’s. There is no single consciousness bringing the work together, which may be part of the point: the second sentence of the book reads, “I am so many different sorts of people it makes me want to stick my fingers in your mouth.” The surreal, absurd non sequitur here is a consistent feature of a book that is, ultimately, a mystifying miscellany. A Survey of My Failures This Far is seven books in one volume. Each is markedly different in terms of genre as well as style and subject matter. “Chewing in the Land of the Bonobos” is written as absurdist drama in the manner of Beckett; “Shorthand with Periodic Tenderness” is a collection of poems reminiscent of Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues. Boyer’s experimental impulse occasionally yields nuggets of philosophical wisdom or narratological insight, but a large part of the appeal of this work is musical and imagistic. Much of it operates according to the logic of nonsense: even individual sentences plunge us down into a new rabbit hole. In the central book within the book, “The God Game,” Boyer gives us some sense of his method in the form of a playful instruction manual about creation itself: “[W]e are using words in a manner similar to their original meaning, while simultaneously giving a new twist for our purposes. This level of involvement is post-culture creation, or rather simultaneous with culture creation.” Got that? This is Barthian postmodernism on crack, or one man’s insistence that printed narrative may not be exhausted, but it can be exhausting.