Category Archives: music

LOS ANGELES,  CA - FEBRUARY 11:  Musician Prince speaks onstage at 2011 MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute to Barbra Streisand at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 11,  2011 in Los Angeles,  California.   (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage) *** Local Caption *** Prince

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 11: Musician Prince speaks onstage at 2011 MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute to Barbra Streisand at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 11, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. ( Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage ) 

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 240 user reviews.

stolen / borrowed photo of Danny DeVito laughing

maybe i just need to laugh a little more often

ya know?


Me and Marco as Beware the HaberdashMarco came out to Boston this week from Seattle and i have to say — i don’t think i’ve laughed so hard for a long, long time

and i think for the amount of time he was out this way we actually laughed more often than i normally do on your average daily or weekly basis


i feel a little better because of it, too

and it was all about completely silly shit, too

we didn’t need to go to a comedy club or listen to CDs of stand-up comedy in the car or anything

i think we’re just both imbued with this kind of comedic outlook on life

certain perfectly inane sequences of events can set off huge bombing guffaws of hilarity at times — and i know a lot of it is kind of just in our minds, if you know what i mean — its a particular sensibility that you collectively cultivate with a friend or a small group of colleagues or acquaintances that quite naturally develops and grows within the space and experience of the relationships we build in life — and its something unique to just certain friends, just certain groups of people in your life, based on the time you’ve spent and the amount of discussions you’ve shared over the years

sometimes just a look can set it all off, ya know?

a knowing nod

you know the deal, right? 

as a friendship builds — as any relationship builds, crumbles, ebbs and flows — the mutually-shared experiences and the things you talk about build up a sort of pre-verbal vocabulary that is very much based on a private language that each of us develops without a need for words

and its a phenomena that can really only occur with live presence

at least that’s my feeling about this concept

here’s Marco — a photo i took of Marco — when we lived out at The Church Street Apartment in Watertown back in the mid-90s


the photograph could be called A Portrait of Marco with a Shovel, Plastic Watering Can and a Guillotine — that’s the title i would probably give it if i were including it in an exhibition in some local café, full-well knowing that nobody would purchase the photo or anything, but that coffeeshop-going viewers might spend a few minutes looking and fabricating their own interpretation of the private language Marco and i were using on that rather mild, Autumn day

you can just see it in the photograph, too, right?

the expression on his face isn’t due to a conversation we were engaged in, i wasn’t holding up and squeezing a rubber duck or anything like that, in the way they would at a Sears Portrait Studio back in the 70s

there’s a familiarity between us — between me, as the photographer, and Marco, my subject here — that you can feel if you really tune in to the warm details of the end image — i don’t know if you’d consider the photograph to feel casual or friendly, but you can see a certain kindness being expressed by Marco

i believe you can’t develop that depth of emotional connection and feeling without actual, live, human presence

when Marco and i wrote, recorded and performed as Beware the Haberdash back at about that time — in the early to mid-90s — i know that our connection through the music-makingour connection: through vibration and rhythm; through composition and improvisational, collaborative interplay; through talking about the music or planning for a show — our connection dove into a far deeper subconscious zone where speech, instruction, conversation — all of these things — were no longer necessary for us to actually communicate with each other through our shared live and present space 

its a rather fascinating phenomena

and its a phenomena that i am currently trying to better understand through my research into another very closely-related, uniquely human phenomena — the phenomena of laughter

my own personal beliefs — as informed by both my currently-collected, active research and from my gut — indicate that laughter, like poetry, is both immediately mutually-understood by a group of people at the higher, signal level within a given social context and is also involved in such a complex intersection of intellectual, cultural and physiological systems that simultaneously shatter that understanding due to all of the actual environmental and behavioral life experience we bring into the live and present social moment

to back up just a little bit here, let me first establish a background concept, a simple definition, if you will, that helps set the stage in a better light

humor and laughter exist as a living, breathing,
organic and found cybernetic, social system

its a system that learns and grows and develops and ebbs and flows just like any relationship that gets established between any 2 or more organisms in the world

at one point in human history — one could guess from the research done to-date — laughter evolved

we developed a way to laugh

we most likely started laughing as a human beings for the verySame reasons that any species begins to mutate or discover a new special skill or feature — we started laughing as a means for survival — as a way to endure certain psychological tensions that come embedded in our earthen, natural environment or that pulse within our sociological and cultural ecosystems

laughter came before humor

there’s no chicken and the egg that i can fathom from what we know about the theories and vast, eclectic academic areas that touch upon the phenomenas of humor and laughter, which include:

  • humor theory;
  • laughter theory;
  • tickle theory;
  • comedy;
  • psychology;
  • philosophy;
  • sociology;
  • neurobiology;
  • phenomenology;
  • language and linguistics;
  • natural selection and the theory of evolution;
  • cybernetics;
  • conversion, translation and interpretation;
  • and energy;


unfortunately this blog veryMuch reflects the rather powerful subconscious manner in which i produce and pursue my work as an artist, designer and performer — bits and pieces come to me in a rather random and sometimes chaotic fashion — i believe in chasing my inspiration in the actual moments when she whispers to me, so this means many pieces will feel undone, messy, but hopefully vital and real { or at least as real as you can get on the internetz }

so i leave you here with my thoughts from today to reflect upon

much of my previous thoughts on these subjects can be found on a myriad of other websites i publish to — for more on this thread of research and thought on laughter, humor and the areas in-between, check out Laugh Institute up on the webz — or you can always check back here to poke around some more and read up on my progress on the laughterLife, my continued experiments, writings, design and research into laughter as a human phenomena

Check out Beware the Haberdash online

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well — about 4 years after The Artist formerly know as Prince officially declared to the world:

The internet’s completely over. I don’t see why
I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else.

— Prince, 2010 in an interview with the Daily Mirror

it seems as if his Purple Badness went all twisty turvy in the entirely opposite direction

with his new resigned / reworked business relationship back with Warner Brothers Prince is slated to release 2 new albums on September 30th, 2014 — he’s releasing the long-awaited Plectrum Electrum under the project name 3rdEyeGirl, which is a far more gritty rawk outfit with a live an’ trippy sense of delivery and performance, as well as the old school all-Prince album Art Official Age done up in the every instrument done up by Prince studio-style that the master musician grew to fame

you can go pre-order both albums up on the 2 official websites as: CDs with MP3s; MP3s; or as WAVs from the site and you can also pre-order up via iTunes and Amazon as well — and, not to mention all the social mediatized hype His Royal Badness put up on the interwebz like some sort of messianic 5 foot 2 inch purple yoda Obama mad on the ultra-webbified campaign trail, live streaming concert footage with 3rdEyeGirl up on LiveStream { the account is now interestingly deleted, hmmmm }, single pre-release samples up on various sites via SoundCloud, live clips of 3rdEyeGirl via Dr. Funkenberry via SoundCloud sounding’ all stripped down ‘n funkyCool, there’s literally been a strange Prince Revolution brewin’ an’ in the works now for over a year that’s been building such fervor and excitement for the fan-base — its truly incredible

i’m obviously really lookin’ forward to the new tracks i got comin’ in the mail an’ via the webz ;]

‘sGonna be so, so good


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for the most part when we think about design for our mobile devices we have an image like the one above in mind — its a bit of a personal relationship we’ve developed with our smartphones, and the interactions are considered ‘micro-interactions, ’ quick, task-based little spurts of use to check a little buzz or beep that went off in our pocket — we’ve got a little friend on us at all times now, and that little friend brings us the magic of real-time updates of information and some simulated sense of ‘being social’ through experiences like Twitter, Facebook and the like

a lot of the graphics you’ll find pertaining to using smartphones in particular show the one-to-one — person to machine — sort of relationship — and the person engaged with looking down at the little magic screen in the palm of their hands is either smiling and content, as if staring into a good friend’s or lover’s face directly or somewhat serious if the visual story being told is more about critical business communications


we get the picture though — we all know the experience, the interaction, that’s going on between the facial expression, the position of the hands and fingers and the general body language and position of the neck and gaze

its a rather solitary experience, though, right?

even with the advent and common, everyday use of the supposed social web, the interaction is really between you and the data being displayed on a tiny shiny screen


in her book Alone Together — Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, MIT Psychologist Sherry Turkle takes a deep look at the worlds of sociable robotics and social media in their current state and the general effect these technological advances are having at a societal level — and as amazing as our inventions may be, the overall experience we end up having as human beings engaged with our technologies is unfortunately one largely steeped in isolation, loneliness and a sort of transactional behavior between people as mediated through the interactions we’re afforded to interact through

of course, we can also still participate and interact with each other in the moment, face to face, the old fashioned way, right? the analog means are always there for us to fall back upon, thank goodness — being in the same place at the same time can actually foster a certain vibrant energy and more efficient and active way to communicate, collaborate and get things done — but we can’t always meet face to face, in the current moment in today’s fast-paced society, unless, of course, we make the time and travel happen — at the end of the day, the feeling our device-driven world often leaves us with is a strange jumbled aftertaste of miscommunication, misunderstanding and an awkward, near-real-time, off-kilter distance between the actual people interacting through the devicery invented to facilitate better communication that can happen ‘anytime, anywhere’ according to the hypertechnophilic marketingSpeak we swim through on a daily basis

i would love to take the expertise i’ve built up over the last 20 sum odd years to try and steer the course in an entirely different direction

if our smartphones and other mobile paraphernalia are instruments of communication, might we then compare our iPhones and Androids to something more akin to a musical instrument? like a banjo, for instance?


or maybe the comparison we try to draw is to something more like an orchestral instrument like the french horn


whatever the metaphor might be — i would like to change how our interactions through these technologies feel and hopefully even change the actual way we use them

i’d like to take ’em and shake up the paradigm in a big way, ya know? and why not? i’m a fucking rather accomplished experience design architect and designer after all — i want to change the story of these technologies before we become more isolated and distant from each other

if we think of our smartphones and mobile devices more along the lines of music-making machines, as tools for thinking and collaborating together in real-time and space, we just be able to retell the story a bit and design for more orchestral synergistic ways to use these truly phenomenal technologies


i don’t know what the actual experience or interface for these new interactive paradigms might be quite yet, but shouldn’t our devices and our interactions through them feel more like this beautiful photograph of this string trio as opposed to this business dude getting some off-sync email back in the city office?


i actually think we need to start designing ways to allow our experiences through mobile and other new or evolving technologies actually better work in a together-like fashion, right? so instead of all the clutter and drowning information over-saturation of email and other truly horrendous collaborative cloud environments that only offer up a sandbox of confusion and uncoordinated, often disjointed collaborative team efforts — our new experiences should feel a lot more like what happens within the context of a real team — agility, muscle memory, easy means to pass the ball back and forth

or maybe better yet — maybe, just maybe — we might be able to think even bigger than that and design for interactions as graceful and wonderful-feeling as the coordinated, collaborative music-making of an orchestral ensemble


i know its entirely possible — we just need to aim for that level of collaborative platform design — i don’t know that there’ll even be a Microsoft or Apple to take on this high task, as i’m sure its an enormous effort, but a truly wonderful one at that — i know that i would personally like my interactions and collaborations with all the people i work with to feel that powerful, fun and harmonious — and this is what i’ll be dreaming up through a storyFirst, iterative, human-centered process in my ample free time

i think this is gonna be a fun project to take on — i think its one of many projects that we need to design for in the world, one of many, too, that i personally want to dream up, brainstorm, workshop and design for — i can’t wait to share the progress as my efforts bear even little grapes and cumquats along the way as i’m sure its going to be an interesting journey

won’t you come and join me? 


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on Saturday, June 8th — Lee Todd Lacks, Tom Swafford and i will appear at Matt Samolis‘ ‘Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise, ‘ a new and interdisciplinary performance works events out at Nave Gallery in Somerville

Check out more info up on The Book,  aight?

we’ll perform a new composition of Lee Todd’s written in A flat minor with relative wholetone flourishes and micropolyrhythmic, purposely dissonant percussive undertone accompaniment with a slightly woody taste wildly reminiscent of 1984 or so aptly entitled ‘Ghost Mall’ — you won’t want to miss it — i’m serious — well, okay, i really have no idea who you are right now, right? the technology i used to put this blogpost together can’t really dynamically detect who might be reading this post in the moment and then, based upon your innermost desires and personal likes or dislikes in music then assess whether you might or might not want to miss it, this ‘Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise’ that Matt Samolis is putting on out at that wickid cool Nave Gallery in the general Somerville districts of Massachusetts and all, but, hey, i have the write to pretend and play and let’s pretend for just a second that WordPress allowed for that post-humanic, überCreepy and simulated predictive functionality, okay?



that’d be, like, kind of simultaneously amazing, this kind of stuff we dream up and invite, but also a little bit annoying and probably a little bit broken


it might not get it EXACTLY right, right?

but we’d kind of ignore the fact that it’d be a little ‘off, ’ right? like we normally do — and we’d probably think, like, woah — oh my gawd, that’s pretty fucking awesome — who the hell dreamt this cool, new innovative trick up? how’d they implement that? was there some sort of direct emotional sensor that somehow reached out via webcam into my retina to pull out my wants, needs and personal tastes in music and performance art?

probably not

i bet it’d just be kind of random, but we’d believe there’d be this wonderfully creative and epically smart algorithm of pure genius behind it all — that somehow data answers every question we have and that any tiny miraculous event can be somehow utterly dewonderfied through scientific conjecture and fully quantifiable proof of anything seemingly magical, real or exciting


i’d go out to this ‘Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise’ — ‘sGonna be off da hook ‘n shit

i can tell it is

probably the best way you can spend your Saturday night { unless, of course, you’re going out to that competing Mobius event happening on the verySame night — jeez! }

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 283 user reviews.


right now Boston is quite literally dripping with eclectic and wonderful creative talent in the Boston music scene — and music right now in this town quite nicely blends out into other equally interesting, mind expanding genres of live entertainment, with many bands and music acts blurring their onstage presentation into the realms of performance art, burlesque, theatre and pure provocation

any MassHole out there right now can head into Cambridge, Boston, Somerville, Jamaica Plain and any of the other wonderful buroughs of Boston proper and see an evening overbrimming with live mulitband original independent musicianship that will simply blow your mind

and you can enjoy both a wide variety of music genre as well as a depth and breadth of pure live stage presentation and dynamics that i believe far surpass what you would see out of any other metropolis around the world

i mean, i’d call it a Boston music renaissance at this point

its THAT fucking good

drop on into Lizard Lounge, Church, Middle East Café, Club Passim, Midway Café, Precinct, PA’s Lounge, and so many others on any night you have some free time and you’re bound to see a set of world-class, life changing independent music all for the ridiculously reasonable price of a small door fee and a few pints of beer — the kind of bang you get for your buck is utterly INSANE for all you music fans out in the Boston area, and you all know it

its interesting, too, as a huge fan of the Boston music scene that’s pretty much lived in this area since my humble birth at Malden Hospital back in 1969, to see the evolution and many revolutions of an artform over the span of so much time

with the gentle decline of the actual auspices of the Record Industry overlordage, too, the rise of this independent spirit of the musician truly flourishes

i don’t know about you, but i really never go into Aerosmith and Boston and all that classic rock, big dick-waggin’ arena shit from the previous Boston music scene in the heyday of the record bizz — i don’t own Toys in the Attic on cassette or More Than a Feeling, this shit makes my skin crawl and it just reminds me of sports arenas and people acting like social retards, needing to smoke a joint before any sense of real creative expression or alternative views enter the common man mindSpace, like this fucking era and genre of music is still somehow fucking radical and wild where, to me, its all about heroin and the general numbness of the masses, a numbness that drugs and music gives us all permission to suddenly feel something, to maybe move our white-ass bodies to the beat and scream out Dream On at the top of our lungs while totally ripping up our vocal cords with a big bottle of Bud Lite in our left hand and a fist raised and pumping with our right — those sly sideways gay looks we give our classic rawkin’ buddies, like, ‘Yeah, we live for these moments, man!’ while flushing a hundred dollars away for the Great Woods ticket knowing i’ll be back in the office with a hangover and SO many wacky Margaritaville tailgating stories like a good neo-serfed citizen of suppression, despair and crushed hopes — i guess its not THAT bad, really, it just makes for really good writing and the judgment is right in line with the level of individuality and freedom we get to experience or express in the United States

fucking Aerosmith

don’t get me wrong, though, i used to really love The Cars

i think they’re sonically far more interesting than bands like Aerosmith — it might be more of a textural thing for me, and the fact that big guitar solos just remind me of a bunch of guys with mullets, beer and wife beaters all hanging out on their parents’ back porch talking about women in a disrespectful yet totally hilarious and caricaturist way — good fodder for me as an unprofessional part-time comedian and someone just trying to get to any sense of real, valuable time and more intellectually stimulating discourse

all that’s beside the point, though — the music scene in Boston right now excites me — its Alive! and real and there’s such variety in the mix of what you can see on a nightly basis — and the parade of talent seems neverending, prolific and truly unique on so many levels — and alongside the performance art scene and the revival and rise of burlesque as a renewed national medium for political commentary, sexual and current event awareness, movement art and comedy, the music scene in Boston passionately conveys the energy and spirit of this city and the larger New England area in general — if we’re no longer revolutionary as Joe Citizen in this day and age, our musicians carry the torch to that vital sense of defiance and rebellion so sorely needed right now in the world, and our musicians lead the way

Mascara, Schooltree, Count Zero, Jaggery, Amanda Palmer and the Dresden Dolls, Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys, Goli and Bury Me Standing { previously Fluttr Effect }, Sarah Rabdau and the Self-Employed Assassins, What Time is It Mr. Fox?, Do Not Forsake Me My Darling, Gene Dante and the Future Starlets, Endation — I could go on and on and on with the list of band names, both researched and simply known off the tip of my brainstem — i’ve seen almost all of these bands in one form or another out at Johnny D’s or The Cantab Lounge or elsewhere, and there’s both the current state of each genius band of musicians as well as the rich history of the individual acts, the mythos, if you will, and the rather prolific creation story that’s moved each band and musician from their mythical origins to the place each act finds themselves in today

there’s a richness and texture and a performative delivery i witness out at the clubs that’s like no other era in the Boston music scene


i’m a bit of a broken dabbler myself when it comes to music — so i totally get what’s happening up on stage from the unique perspective of someone that knows the language and knows all of the activities, exercises and elements that go into putting together the music, putting together an ensemble and putting on a show — but these musicians, i don’t know, they really make it seem too easy, its all so effortless on the surface, which goes to show the level of craftsmanship and professionalism the Boston scene delivers

and the genius also comes from a very humble place for these acts — they’re all SO giving to their audience, and all so appreciative — its very apparent and transparent to me that the musicians and performers have a nurturing and beautiful little family up there on stage, and that sense of family extends to all of the offstage real life preparations and social aspects of this art, that too, shows through in the work and in the seamless delivery of such a complicated form of expressive communication

and you, as a person in the audience, you feel part of that family every step of the way — you’ve been invited into the heart and soul of each act and as they come off stage or get up there to set up everyone takes the time to say hello, to thank you for coming out to support their work and their vision of what a show can be, and there is no sense of separation, of fourth wall hierarchical disparagement, of any better than airs or politics — i think there’s a thoughtful sense of understanding how integral the audience, the performer and the work itself come together to create the actual live experience and completion of the work — there’s a deep, almost Duchampian comprehension of the craft and of this amazing sense of community that all timeless artwork must strike with the audience, viewer and ultimately the participant of the entire experience — and at this moment in time, whether its all entirely on the subconscious level of each musician’s mindflow or whether its at the forefront and deepest concern of each iterative performance, the Boston music scene emotionally succeeds in this spirit of inclusivity in the work — we’re invited in through the window to a party that’s illicit and raucous and vulnerable and realthis is where real life is, not on reality television or on the social web { that’s all just a mere performance of reality }, its right up here on center stage under the spotlight or not, but up here where these universal themes play out for us all, to relive personal scenarios and to re-examine the human spirit of our existence and the general chaos of nature and the world

its such a beautiful thing to see


Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 284 user reviews.

i just recently finished editing up the official exhibition catalog for mediaLuscious Design + Art Review — thanks to everyone for not only showing your work and participating in such an amazing gallery exhibition, but for also patiently putting up with my random email requests for photos, writings, input and feedback over the last few weeks

i have to say — this is probably the best book i’ve put together to-date, much better-looking in my mind’s eye than my own thesis even, which can probably be contributed to the fact that this project of capturing the spirit, energy, community and fun of this show was done for DMI and The DMI Family moreso than myself

anyhow, after a few more tweaks here ‘n there, i will be sure to post this up to Blurb and get a print proof to deliberate — and then and only then the book will be open for more public consumption via Blurb, ISSUU or wherever

[: what a show :]

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 171 user reviews.

last night i found a box in the basement, a treasure

as much as Marco and i buckled under the legal pressures brought on by our contractual relationship to XeXeX | OBLiViON back in the ’90s and stopped recording our beware the haberdash material on carefully planned, sequential schedule — we did move forward in our secret underground recording studio to capture that haberdash magic on tape to create a veritable bucketful of bootleggy sounds

only select tracks made it to any official releases over the years, however, as litigation got rather nasty and we both chose to focus on the positive experience of making music over fighting against ‘The Man’ every step of the way to merely preserve this rather eclectic and strange post-deathmen project we both still treasure to this day

so here you have it — the visually-designed artifactual remains of the overarching master gameplan for every pre-Sewingbox beware the haberdash release as envisioned and begun back in the late 1990s / early 2000s

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that’s Deb + i … you could probably recognize the shot of Deb from the previous one, eh? ;] … anyhow … smiles everyone, smiles …

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Deb + Chris Mascara from at least a year back … just before a rawkin’ show at The Abbey … i think Mascara appears this Friday night { might even be the same venue } …

i fall out of social circles too easily it seems … i know i was singin’ in the car on the ride into school tonight, thinking about the many open mikes that Deb + i hit up last year w/ our ‘art rock’ Group of 9 pieces … it was nice to hurt my throat again after such a long, long time of riding silent on my commutes along the Bermuda Triangle

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 187 user reviews.