Archive for the ‘musings’ Category
One wonders about the veracity, or authenticity, of purported UFO sighting videos. I tend to think that the comments made by witnesses are usually telling… these guys, obviously not UFO people, nonetheless do point out that a helicopter shows up and circles near one of the stationary objects. Although they note that the helicopter is military, it’s impossible to tell by watching the footage.
“That orb of energy is still chillin’.” “That one right there is like a gangster…”
The second video finds the guys exclaiming that the main object shot off or disappeared, although at the time, the camera is pointed at one of them, checking the day’s date on his iPhone, and then relates a story that “he knew” something was going to happen, as an inordinately large murder of crows had gathered on a nearby roof… and then flew off in formation.
I devoured Mr. David’s books, Eye of the Phoenix: Mysterious Visions and Secrets of the American Southwest and The Orion Zone: Ancient Star Cities of the American Southwest. He resides in Arizona and I am thanking my proverbial stars that he’s coming to Los Angeles to speak at MUFON Los Angeles.
“After being intrigued by the Four Corners region of the United States for nearly fifteen years, Gary David moved to Arizona in 1994 and began an intensive study of the ancestral Pueblo People and their descendants, the Hopi. Join Arizona author and independent investigator Gary A. David as we explore Native American cosmology and prophecy traditions that might be able to tell us something important about Earth changes that may be coming our way.
Orion dominates the winter sky, flanked by Taurus the Bull on one side and Canis the Great Dog on the other–three key constellations for the Hopi and prehistoric Pueblo Peoples of the American Southwest. When these stars appear in the entryway to the kiva roof, they synchronize the sacred rituals being performed below. Here we see how a complex ceremonial cycle mirrors the turning of the heavens.
Gary A. David has travelled extensively throughout the Desert Southwest, studying the archaeological ruins and the rock art of the Anasazi and the culture of their descendants, the Hopi. David is familiar with fascinating and little-known facts about the Hopi, one of the most mysterious and secretive tribes on the North American continent. Gary will be discussing how a group of ancestral Hopi stone villages was constructed over a period of centuries in a pattern that mirrors the shape of the star constellation Orion. He will talk about Hopi kachinas, various cryptozoological creatures of Hopi legend such as the Ant People, the Hopi underworld god who resembles an ET Grey, Hopi “flying shields,” and rock carvings depicting “star elders” and their craft. You will come away with a deep appreciation of how the Ancient Ones viewed the world above.”
“Mic check. MIC CHECK!”
The now-familiar chant of OccupyLA protesters wafted through the warm night air outside the south-side steps of City Hall, as a lanky man with corkscrew hair drew closer to the mic. Old men in track pants, hippie girls with hula hoops, young men in suits and the now ubiquitous Guy Fawkes’ masks, were asking him to speak up. Hundreds of others, their dome tents sprung up like a blanket of mushrooms on the lawn, faced his direction. For the second night, a consensus failed to be reached on the subject of courting unions. “In New York, they came to Zuccotti Park. We don’t even have a list of demands yet,” he argued, noting that local media had erroneously attributed a recent protest at a downtown BoA to OccupyLA. “We can’t afford to get hijacked.”
As Occupy Wall Street entered its fourth week, the movement has spread to some 840 cities, and a fair criticism—lack of cohesive message—nipped at OccupyLA. In late September, a new maxim was proved: he who registers ye olde domain name first, wins. A cyberspace kerfuffle between Occupylosangeles.org and OccupyLA.org resulted in a vote being taken on the location of the main action before the great unwashed had a voice in it, irking many of the nearly 100 folks who showed up for the first publicized “General Assembly” in Pershing Square. A “focus on minutiae” dogged early GA meetings; audible giggles were heard as a sort of “protest semaphore”—hand signals to indicate confusion, disagreement, and the like—took eons to work out; protesters clutching sheets of cardboard wandered around LA Historic Park, looking for a poster-making event; a mistyped announcement had directed them to the post-Burning Man Decompression party by mistake.
A week and a half into ‘official’ Occupation, and with ten times the initial participants, OccupyLA boasts the support of city council members, supplies donated by the LAPD, laudable organization—but still, what some complain is a lack of focus on the core issues: Wall Street’s blatant raping of the country, overturning the notion of corporate person-hood, wealth distribution more grossly unequal than that of Tunisia, Yemen and Egypt–the last point articulated in the chant, “We are the 99%”–as in 1% of Americans control 40% of the nation’s current wealth.
The sparkling weather adds a touch of surrealism not found in Boise, DC, or Portland, just as the mirage of what’s nebulously referred to as Tinseltown is never far off. Political protest, Los Angeles style: news vans nestled nearby on the eve of OccupyLA’s march to City Hall were parked there, in fact, to resume coverage of Conrad Murray’s trial the following Monday. For a time, the mayor’s office had been occupied by the crew of Gangster Squad, a period noir recounting LAPD efforts to keep the mob out of town, and while star Ryan Gosling snubbed the protest, plenty of celebs brought their support—Chuck D, Shepard Fairey, Danny Glover. Dr. Cornel West spoke; Tom Morello performed “This Land is Your Land;” Fox poked microphones into the faces of the least articulate and most outlandishly dressed.
“We’ve got every kind of ideologist from Marxists to Tea Partiers here,” Dan, an out of work carpenter says, underlying the difficulty in even reaching a “democratic consensus.” Posters demanding campaign finance reform and reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, signs dissing the bank bailouts, student debt, dependence on unsustainable energy, the endless wars, the mortgage crisis, drug policy—all vie for eyeballs. On that first day at City Hall, 911 theorists had a presence. Eight days later, a screen on the lawn was projecting the horrors of factory farming, a table was set up to promote “The Zeitgeist Movement,” and some feared the focus was being lost before it had been found. “This is like the whole city’s soap box,” Max, a CSLA junior, half-way complained, his gaze settling on a hand-lettered list of demands which included Roosevelt’s lost 2nd Bill of Rights, universal healthcare and free education. “We all had issues we were pissed off about coming down here. But if we can’t focus, we’re toast. We have to present an articulate message.”
While chanting “we are peaceful,” various activists believe corporate interests are planning infiltration of the movement. While Fox News bellows that OWS has cost NYC taxpayers $2 million in additional police work, they fail to mention JP Morgan recently “donated” over twice that amount to the NYPD. It’s different here: today’s LAPD is not Daryl Gates’ LAPD, although potential police brutality had been a primary concern. (Before OccupyLA had been granted their permit last Thursday, which among other things, allows for sound amplification, a splinter group of self-described “anarchists” claiming responsibility for the MacArthur Park May Day mini-riot in 2007 blasted music after midnight in an unsuccessful attempt to bait the cops.)
Amid speculation that even one single interloper could unleash all kinds of ugly (right-wing turd/American Spectator editor Patrick Howley having bragged about infiltrating the Washington DC Air and Space Museum protest, his lone, aggressive attempts to “mock and undermine” the Occupy movement resulting in clouds of pepper spray unleashed on peaceful marchers), protesters are on their best behavior. Murmurs of Bush’s 2008 Mutual Military Agreement with Canada, of FEMA-run camps for dissidents , wind their way through the crowd. “People blaming the Bilderbergs, the CFR, the Trilateral Commission—some of that seems closer to real now,” an anonymous security committee member notes. “But who needs ‘em, when we know what the Koch brothers and Lloyd Blankfein do blatantly.”
Just as organizer Stephen Box rightly had reminded everyone that “the Declaration of Independence arose from a list of problems Americans stood up against,” it is understood that “we’re up against a monster, not a unicorn,” but, as someone had noted at Pershing Square, “This is a national grassroots movement still in its infancy. We’re not gonna come out with a magna carta in two days. We’re here because we’re fed up with this convoluted mess.”
With no consensus reached on union involvement, the GA moves on. “We have a special guest,” the night’s moderator says. Antonio, a participant in Madrid’s civil uprising six months earlier, approached the mic. “Am I dreaming?” he said. “We had the same questions that you have here… we debated for weeks. What is important is… the difference between leadership and representation. Focus on the main questions. There are two things to do first: create a solid structure, and then address the issues. Ideologies—we are not talking about Left and Right, but about changing the system.” In Spain, this has resulted in a new political party with parliamentary representation; in Italy, it’s led to a transparency counsel, in Iceland, the creation of a new constitution. America could use a system over ride, but one wonders just what can be changed in this deranged, imbalanced republic. Amid cheers, Antonio continued: “It took Spain two months to get to where you are in nine days.”
Any film which enlightens the viewer is a good thing. From the new documentary, The Truth is Out There, this writer learned that fluoridated water causes a substantial IQ drop, that the United States is nearly alone in the world operating on 120v/60hz electrical current due to a sweetheart deal with the copper industry, and that actor Eric Roberts witnessed the controlled demolition of WTC Building 7.
Seemingly far-flung facts, perhaps, but not to actor/inventor Dean Haglund. Best known for his portrayal of Langly, one of the three Lone Gunmen who graced the X Files, is affable and inquisitive as cameras capture his 15-month quest to uncover the truth. Examining “what it’s like to live life so closely identified with a role [linked with] conspiracy culture,” the truth reveals itself in pieces, as this cinematic sampler finds Haglund first flitting from sci-fi fan conventions and UFO conferences—interviewing a string of folks either touched by angels and extraterrestrials or making a business of investigating them. Intercut with Haglund’s visit to psychotherapist Dr. Nicki Monti, are his interviews with Pete Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Service, David Sereda, the ubiquitous Richard Dolan (“How has the government hidden [UFOs] for 60 years? Through media, academic and political manipulation”), and Bob Dean, who opines, “The reason we have freedom of speech is because nobody knows anything.”
Northern California L.O.W.F.I. bureau chief Adam Gorightly and radio wizard Vyzygoth invited me on their show Untamed Dimensions last Saturday, as I was trailed by a spook at the Mutual UFO Network Symposium held in Irvine, California. I will post my MUFON report shortly, but in the meantime, listen to me blather on about the Bigfoot press conference I recently attended in Fresno, the L.O.W.F.I. hike to Devil’s Gate Reservoir, and how serial killers pop up in polite dinner conversation.
California, as one might suspect, consistently outnumbers every other state for UFO sightings; add our sacred native sites, a history of megalomaniacal capitalists, tectonic tangos and the phantasmagoric entity known as Hollywood, and you’ve got one bizarre metropolis. (Investigator Nick Nocerino notes that there are more “demonic” entities in Hollywood than anywhere else on Earth. How else do you explain the Smurfs movie?) Preston Dennett is a Renaissance man of the weird: homegrown MUFON field investigator, paranormal researcher, “out-of-body explorer” and the author of 10 books, including the indispensable Supernatural California. Dennett delved into 110 cases where humans had been “cured” of everything from the flu to cancer after their interaction with an unidentified flying whatsit, or its occupants. Tonight, he presents a lecture based on the book and his findings.
Unitarian Universalist Church, 12355 Moorpark St., Studio City. Tues., July 19, 8 p.m.; $15 non-members, $10 members. (818) 483-0864, mufonla.com/meetings.htm.
“Imagine growing up watching the person you love most being bludgeoned, immolated, dunked in boiling wax… or doing those things to other people,” remarked Victoria Price, the willowy daughter of Vincent, as an eclectic mix of art patrons and horror buffs looked on. Gathered recently at the Downtown Independent, they were celebrating the 100th anniversary of her father’s birth.
Price–who appeared in 105 movies and has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—is best known for his ghoulish performances. But the St. Louis-born, Yale-educated actor, gourmet cook, “grey-listed” activist and art collector, was also, unbeknownst to most Angelenos, responsible for creating the first public art institution in Los Angeles.
The Vincent Price Art Museum opened before the Getty was exactly a museum, before LACMA, before the Fowler, and sits on the campus of East Los Angeles College, “a major art legacy that hardly anyone knows about.”
Vincent and his wife Mary were fixtures of the emerging So Cal art world. After accepting an invitation to visit the modest art program at ELAC, the Prices were so impressed by the multicultural, working-class student body that they donated 90 pieces (then valued at over $5 million) to the campus, which Vincent described as “two Quonset huts on a mud flat.” Opening in 1957, the Museum now boasts a permanent collection of over 9,000 pieces (2,000 of which were later donated by Price, many donated by the artists themselves), and includes works by Howard Warshaw, Arnold Mesches, and Kaethe Kollwitz.
In 2009, campus growth dictated that the museum’s large, one-room space be re-purposed. This past May, over 1,000 people celebrated the museum’s grand re-opening, in a thoroughly modern four-story building which features three floors of gallery space for temporary exhibitions as well as displays from the permanent collection. Director Karen Rapp has taken into account “the artistic and cultural legacy of the area,” she says. “I think about what the audience needs to know.” The Museum serves students, first and foremost, and to that end, gallery walls include more information than your average museum.
The evolution of Mexican cultural identity can be traced in The Makings of Mexican Modernism,” which hangs in one of three galleries devoted to objects from the permanent collection, and includes works from influential artists including Jose Guadalupe Posada, Rafael Coronel, Jose Luis Cuevas and Rufino Tamayo. The Pre-Columbian pottery and sculpture of Form and Function in the Ancient Americas, which opened June 21, focuses heavily on pieces from West Mexico and Peru, and is among the most impressive collections of its kind. Rapp recalls a meeting where the collection’s largest piece—a crouching incensario from Veracruz—sat on the table. “Pete [Galindo] said, ‘what are we going to do if there’s an earthquake?’ Right after he said that, there was a 5.2 temblor.”
Print maker and painter Sonia Romero chose “consumption” as the first theme for Hoy!, which Rapp calls a “freebie space” highlighting contemporary issues through art. The Museum also boasts a lecture hall and non-circulating art library.
Round Trip: Eight East Los Angeles Alumni Artists, was a no-brainer show for the grand re-opening. Price, who passed away in 1993, knew most of the artists personally, and in general, “took immense pride in the art careers of the students.” In the early ’70s, three of the artists featured in Round Trip—Gronk, Willie Herron III, and Pattsi Valdez—co-founded ASCO with Harry Gamboa, Jr., which, as Max Benavidez writes in the show’s catalog, used “guerrilla street performance, video, film, photography and conceptual art to upstage the mainstream art world and proclaim the outsider existentialism of Chicana/o artists.” East LA native Pete Galindo sits on VPAM’s Board of Directors. “So many ELAC students have gone on to become artists, curators, thanks to this access to world-class art.” He notes how amazing it is to “finally see the state putting resources into this place that Price had done decades ago,” but it was not without a struggle. Cue arts advocate Wallace Albertson, a spitfire of a woman at age 87, the founding (and still sitting) Chair of VPAM’s Board of Directors. Albertson, who sat on the Board of Trustees for the LA community college district, fought tooth and nail to ensure that VPAM became it’s own foundation. (This mean that when Thomas Silliman, VPAM director from 1957 to 2006, passed away leaving his entire estate to the Museum, it went to the Museum.)
Back at the Independent, Victoria, a willowy designer based in Santa Fe, explained that her father—who studied to be an art historian–“didn’t want to be a matinee idol.” Price turned down a $1 million contract… in 1935. “He made really bad movies in really bad places,” Victoria joked, claiming that he chose roles based on the quality of the art found on location.
After Price was ‘grey-listed,” alongside such notable anti-Nazi sympathizers as Eleanor Roosevelt, he returned to the big screen in House of Wax, a rare 3D screening of which closed the evening. In it, Price plays an artist driven mad. He took obvious delight in his horror roles, while at the same time, lecturing on art around the country. Price even opened his own gallery. A home for, “as he said, ‘intellectuals and inebriates,’” which included his patronee, Henry Miller.
The impact Price’s exuberant philanthropy has had on Los Angeles in immeasurable, and one can’t help but wonder why, in this age of uber-wealth, no celebrity has taken his cue. Contemplating this, Mike, a fan dressed as a Victorian pallbearer and snacking on hors d’oeuvres created from the Prices’ 1965 best-seller, A Treasury of Great Recipes, attempted an explanation. “It’s almost like, back then, it was in color, and now it’s in black and white.”
As with many things, Southern California was ahead of the pack when a rash of UFO sightings occurred just inland of Los Angeles in the days before the crash in Roswell, New Mexico.
Joe Blackstock, reporting for the Daily Bulletin, wrote yesterday:
Think the Inland Valley is the last place a flying saucer would visit?
Then consider the July 6, 1947, experience of the R.V. Allen family of Riverside Drive in Ontario:
“The rancher said that while he and Mrs. Allen and their daughter Dolores were seated in their motor car about 9:30 p.m., they saw a whole `school’ of the strange discs overhead from south to north and insisted that they `played about in the air just as perch do in the water,”‘ wrote the Ontario Daily Report the next day.
How about B.A. Runner who saw – and heard – some strange things that same night on West California Street? ”Runner reported that several of the discs sailed over his house about 8 p.m., circled about and returned, one of them flying so low that the sound of an attached motor could be distinctly heard,” wrote the newspaper.
And this was the day before the startling announcement in Roswell, N.M., of the recovery of a “flying disc” by the Army. That disclosure (which was quickly refuted by military officials) has helped spawn decades of UFO sightings, invaders- from-Mars movies and conspiracy theorists.
Whether you believe in UFOs or not, it was obvious people locally – fueled by fear or wonder or too many stimulants – saw something up there.
On July 8, a “spinning platter” was said to have crashed into an almond grove near Lancaster. Redlands truck driver H.J. Stell reported “silvery eggs in a straight line” flew over March Field near Riverside. Jerry McAdams saw a disc as “big as a house” in Beverly Hills: “It seemed to give off a low whistle as it disappeared.”
On the morning of July 10, Pomona residents on West 10th Street told the Pomona Progress-Bulletin they saw three tumbling objects in the air, each sparkling as the sun reflected off them.
Now, not everyone was impressed by all this flying saucer talk – the Progress-Bulletin reported on July 8 that an irreverent skywriter drew two giant circles in the sky and spelled out the word, “Saucers,” to mock the frenzy.
All this uproar wasn’t easy for newspapers to keep straight.
According to a front page wire service story in the July 7 Daily Report, a plane shot down a flying saucer over Montana and the story quoted both the pilot and his cameraman. But on the next page of the same edition was a last-minute bulletin saying it was a hoax – the story grew from the pilot and his friends sitting around telling tales.
On July 8, a reward of $1,000 was offered for anyone who could capture one of these flying things – an offer that only made things more crazy: San Francisco designer Frank Borel produced a new women’s hat drawn, he said, from a flying saucer he claimed he saw in a nightmare.
Newspapers and radio stations were swamped by callers, though Kansas officials bragged that none of its residents saw UFOs because as a “dry” state it barred alcohol consumption.
A North Hollywood man planned to ask for the $1,000 prize after a 30-inch disc conveniently landed in his garden. It contained a radio tube and two exhaust pipes and spewed out a lot of smoke.
In the interest of serious science, though, I must report that a flying saucer was indeed captured in the Inland Valley that week. Pomona police about 10 p.m. on July 8 caught two young men atop a building under construction at Second Avenue and Gibbs Street. Two others were nabbed in the street below.
They had made a 20-pound saucer fabricated from two plow blades on which they had attached some batteries and wires to add to its look. They had planned to set the saucer afire and hurl it into the intersection below, hoping to panic the good folks of Pomona.
The four – in their early 20s from Pomona, San Dimas and Covina – even stenciled “SBAAB” and “XP85″ on the saucer to imply it was some kind of strange experimental craft gotten loose from the San Bernardino Army Air Base (Nevada’s Area 51 was still something far in the future for that sort of thing).
They were questioned and later released, perhaps because that kind of out-of- this-world crime was something for which no law had yet been created.