Trump inauguration, not even fake Bruce Springsteen music


This music video says about itself:

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Born In The USA.

Pro-shot vid filmed at Nou Camp, Barcelona, Cataluña, Spain. 3-8-1988.

This music video from the USA is called Born in the USA – Jew Springsteen and the B Street Band Live at Taste of Beber 2016.

From the New York Daily News in the USA:

B Street Band cancels plans to play Trump inauguration gala over loyalty to Springsteen

Monday, January 16, 2017, 3:20 PM

BY Adam Edelman

January 20 won’t be a glory day for the B Street Band after all.

The well-known Bruce Springsteen cover band that had been booked to play one of the several inauguration galas this week, has canceled its performance, citing its loyalty to “The Boss” himself …

“With deepest apologies to our fans and the New Jersey Inaugural Ball committee, the B Street Band is withdrawing from performing at this year’s inauguration Gala,” the band said in a statement to Backstreets, a Bruce Springsteen fan website.

“Our decision is based SOLELY on the respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band,” the band said.

The B Street Band, which has been playing since 1980 and who also played both of President Obama’s New Jersey inauguration balls, had been slated to play the Thursday night Garden State Inaugural Gala, one of at least 14 unofficial balls schedule[d] on top of the three official Trump inaugural balls.

But news of the gig sparked outrage among some members of the E Street Band, whose leader had himself been an outspoken Trump critic.

Last week Garry Tallent, the bass player in the E Street Band, expressed displeasure over the news.

“Please tell me this is more fake news. Or at least a joke,” Tallent tweeted Thursday along with a link to a news story about the B Street Band’s engagement.

Springsteen himself didn’t weigh in on the gig, but has continued to criticize Trump.

“I’ve felt disgust before, but never the kind of fear that you feel now,” Springsteen said earlier this month on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast about Trump.

“It’s as simple as the fear of, is someone simply competent enough to do this particular job? Forget about where they are ideologically. Do they simply have the pure competence to be put in the position of such responsibility?”

The New Jersey rocker has also described Trump as a “flagrant, toxic narcissist.”

Maybe Trump wil now try to find a tribute band to the B Street Band?

Scalper taking loss on tickets to Trump inauguration as secondary market interest on the mogul’s swear-in wanes: here.

Blue-throated macaws in Bolivia


This video from Bolivia says about itself:

Alternative feathers save macaws!

24 November 2016

Armonía’s educational program empowers the Moxeño native communities to protect the Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaws by promoting the use of alternative feathers for the traditional Moxeño headdresses used in the machetero ritual dances. Since 2010, Armonía and Moxeño communities have saved over 6000 Macaw individuals of four macaw species and engaged thousands of local youth in the conservation of other Bolivian species while promoting their indigenous culture.

Armonía has been able to conduct alternative feather training workshops in the largest Moxeño towns, but the killing of macaws for headdresses continues in more rural areas.

Please consider supporting Armonía to organize additional training workshops in 2017 to save the lives of many more macaws.

At the following link you can make a tax deductibe donation to Armonía.

From BirdLife:

A new hope for the Blue-throated Macaw

By Irene Lorenzo, 13 Jan 2017

The discovery of a new roosting site for Blue-throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis coupled with an innovative and successful programme geared towards promoting the use of artificial feathers in ceremonial headdresses, gives renewed hope for the survival of this charismatic parrot.

The Blue-throated Macaw is one of South America’s rarest parrots, with a population estimated at around 250 individuals. In the last decade, Asociación Armonía (BirdLife Partner in Bolivia) has been tackling the main threats affecting it: habitat loss, the lack of breeding sites and ending illegal poaching. But their approach to ending the latter has been especially unique and very successful: to give locals an alternative to using real macaw feathers for their headdresses.

During their traditional celebrations, the inhabitants of the Moxeño plains in Bolivia’s Beni department perform with colourful headdresses as they move to the rhythm of bongos and flutes. The dancers, so-called macheteros, dedicate their movements and attire to the colours of nature. Unfortunately, those headdresses are made of macaw tail feathers from four different species, including the Blue-throated Macaw.

This is where Armonía’s Alternative Feather Programme comes in; it consists of an educational campaign promoting the use of artificial feathers made of organic materials among the macheteros through workshops held in local schools. …

Since the Moxeños consider themselves to be the guardians of nature and all of its creatures, they were quick to understand the importance of using substitutes.

“Each headdress is made of an average of 30 central tail feathers; that means that one headdress of artificial feathers saves at least 15 macaws,” explained Gustavo Sánchez Avila, Armonía’s Conservation Programme coordinator for the Blue-throated Macaw in Trinidad.

The programme, which started in 2010 with the support of Loro Parque Foundation, not only protects this critically endangered Macaw, but also empowers local craftsmen and women to preserve their natural heritage and their culture.

Furthermore, after seeing the mesmerising dances, many tourists buy the alternative headdresses as souvenirs, providing locals with much needed additional income.

Since 2010, the Moxeño people and Armonía have saved over 6000 individuals of four macaw species and engaged thousands of local people in the conservation of Bolivian nature. Most big Moxeño towns already host alternative feather training workshops, but rural areas still use real feathers.  If you wish to help, you can support Armonía so that they can organise additional training workshops this year and save even more macaws.

The new roosting site

While conserving the already established populations of the Blue-throated Macaw is essential to their survival, further research remains vital to make sure none of its habitat is left unprotected.

However, entering the Bolivian northern Department of Beni during the rainy season is a huge adventure. As seasonal rainfall merges with melt water from the Andes, the grasslands become extensively flooded, making it impossible for cars to travel around the area for three to five months every year.

The situation forces locals to revert to their old ways, using horses to get across a savannah that is speckled with pools of water, knee-deep mud and head-high grasses. As a result, conservation research becomes complicated and expensive.

But this was not going to stop our team of conservationists at Asociación Armonía, supported by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Loro Parque Foundation, when they set off last summer to search for more roosting grounds of the macaw in this remote region.

The truth is that the team had had many rough failed trips in the region to verify sites where owners swore they had seen the parrot, only to find they got the wrong bird. So, when they got a call from a local ranch owner who claimed to have seen the Blue-throated Macaw in his fields, the team reacted with some disbelief.

They had seen this happen a few times already: while many ranch owners proudly believe that they have seen the Blue-throated Macaw, to the untrained eye it is often confused with a more generalist species, the Blue-and-yellow Macaw Ara ararauna.

Surprisingly, when they arrived on site, it turned out that at least 15 Blue-throated Macaws had made a small forest island their home. This new roosting site was confirmed only forty kilometres north of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve: the largest concentration of macaws in the world live here, with yearly counts of over 100 individuals.

At one of Beni’s most important events of the year, the Chope Piesta, the macheteros are getting ready to start their traditional dance. Today, headdresses with alternative feathers outnumber natural ones nearly five to one. In the meantime, conservationists rejoice about the new discovery of a roosting site. Developments worth dancing about.

Free speech threatened in Turkey


This video says about itself:

Turkish author Pamuk ‘worried about free speech in Turkey’

31 March 2016

Orhan Pamuk is Turkey’s most famous author. The Istanbul native was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006. His books, such as “Snow” and “My Name Is Red”, have been translated into more than 60 languages. We caught up with him in Paris, where he is promoting director Grant Gee’s film “Innocence of Memories“, based on his novel “The Museum of Innocence”.

Orhan Pamuk gave us his point of view on the current political climate in Turkey.

By Steve Sweeney and Caroline Stockford in Istanbul, Turkey:

Turkey: Writers defiant as trial is adjourned

Friday 13th January 2017

Three facing terrorism charges pledge to defend free speech

THE trial of three prominent Turkish writers was adjourned in Istanbul on Wednesday as the defendants vowed to defend the “basic human right of freedom of speech.”

Ahmet Nesin, Professor Sebnem Korur Fincanci and Reporters Sans Frontieres journalist Erol Onderoglu appeared at the Caglayan High Criminal Court in Istanbul on Wednesday, charged with “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” — namely the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The three had acted as guest editors of the pro-Kurdish newspaper Ozgur Gundem as a symbolic act of solidarity with Asli Erdogan and Necmiye Alpay, who were recently released on bail.

A packed courtroom, with international writers’ and solidarity groups from Germany, Italy and Welsh PEN present, heard the judge adjourn the trial until March, when the case will be heard alongside others related to Ozgur Gundem.

Following the adjournment, the defendants addressed people gathered outside the court. Prof Fincanci said: “We are here to defend the basic human right of freedom of speech. There can be no freedom for us while journalists are still in prison.

“Our solidarity struggle is to create a better environment both in Turkey and the world. International solidarity shows that we are all struggling together.

“We thank all of our colleagues from abroad and we have had thousands of messages of support from people saying that we are in their hearts. So feel this support and feel powerful.”

Newspaper Evrensel editor-in-chief Fatih Polat said: “There is not much difference in being inside or outside prison for journalists in Turkey at the moment.”

Earlier, in the same Istanbul court, the trial of Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dundar and journalist Erdem Gul was also adjourned.

They face charges over a story in 2015 in which they alleged to have uncovered the smuggling of arms to Syria by intelligence services.

Mr Dundar did not appear at the court as he is in exile in Germany.

But Mr Gul remained defiant, stating: “The only evidence in our case is journalism. The media is on trial.

“All journalists should be freed immediately from prisons in Turkey. The only organisation we are members of is the journalists’ organisation.”

He finished by quoting the words of poet Can Yucel: “However much we are able to live without lies, so much the better.”

See also here.

New ‘Star Wars’ ape species discovered in China


This video from India says about itself:

Conservation of the Eastern Hoolock Gibbon

6 June 2011

Now wouldn’t that call make just the perfect mobile ring tone?

In the jungles of Arunachal Pradesh‘s Mehao national park, Wilderness Films India sent a team to film the Hoolock Gibbon in its natural habitat.

The Hoolock gibbon or Uluk, belongs to the ape family. It is only found in the deciduous forests of China, Bangladesh, Myanmar and India. The average lifespan of these gibbons is thirty years in captivity. A male Hoolock Gibbon is recognized by his black fur and a white strip above his eyes while the female gibbon is recognized by her pale fur with shades of tan.

The gibbons move around by using their arms. They are mostly found in trees and rarely come onto the ground. Hoolock gibbons are primarily omnivorous and consume various types of plants, insects and birds’ eggs. The various activities of the gibbon during the day include feeding, resting, foraging, travelling with the rest of the troupe. They indulge in other activities such as calling for territorial behavior and play. Territories are defended through disputes usually led by the group’s adult male.

Intergroup encounters occur often and usually consist off vocalisation and counter vocalization with the males chasing one another. Grooming is often seen during the group’s social activities and it serves in the maintenance of social bonds. Mating usually occurs during the summer season with births during the winter.

Gestation occurs for around 6-8 months followed by the birth of an offspring. For the first two months, the infants cling on to their mother’s belly. The infant starts showing signs of independence at the age of 6-8 months. However, the bond is so strong between the mother and child that the infant continues to sleep with the mother until the birth of a new infant. The infants emigrate from their group when they become mature adults.

Out of all the gibbons, the Hoolocks have the most haunting call. The calls of these Gibbons are not sex-specific, a fact that differs them from all other species of gibbons. Calls are usually uttered during long call outs or duels and occur mainly in the morning. Once calling commences, call outs are often responded to by other hoolock gibbons throughout the forest. Functions of calling include the maintenance of the pair bond, mate attractions, defense, mate solicitation, territorial reinforcement and the maintenance of social ties.

Some of the proposed steps for conservation of the gibbons are: restoration of degraded landscapes, combining efforts made by the government industry, NGOs and communities in Northeast India. Increasing and nationalizing existing protected area network and protected area management. It is important to ensure the enforcement of these goals for the protection of this incredible species and to prevent them from disappearing from the surface of the earth.

This video was researched by Saurabh Bhatia of The Shri Ram School, Gurgaon, during a summer internship with WFIL, in May-June 2011.

From the BBC:

‘Star Wars gibbon’ is new primate species

By Rebecca Morelle, Science Correspondent, BBC News

4 hours ago

A gibbon living in the tropical forests of south west China is a new species of primate, scientists have concluded.

The animal has been studied for some time, but new research confirms it is different from all other gibbons.

It has been named the Skywalker hoolock gibbon – partly because the Chinese characters of its scientific name mean “Heaven’s movement” but also because the scientists are fans of Star Wars.

The study is published in the American Journal of Primatology.

Dr Sam Turvey, from the Zoological Society of London, who was part of the team studying the apes, told BBC News: “In this area, so many species have declined or gone extinct because of habitat loss, hunting and general human overpopulation.

“So it’s an absolute privilege to see something as special and as rare as a gibbon in a canopy in a Chinese rainforest, and especially when it turns out that the gibbons are actually a new species previously unrecognised by science.”

Hoolock gibbons are found in Bangladesh, India, China and Myanmar. They spend most of their time living in the treetops, swinging through the forests with their forelimbs, rarely spending any time on the ground.

But the research team – led by Fan Peng-Fei from Sun Yat-sen University in China – started to suspect that the animals they were studying in China’s Yunnan Province were unusual.

All hoolock gibbons have white eyebrows and some have white beards – but the Chinese primates’ markings differed in appearance.

Their songs, which they use to bond with other gibbons and to mark out their territory, also had an unusual ring.

So the team carried out a full physical and genetic comparison with other gibbons, which confirmed that the primates were indeed a different species.

They have been given the scientific name of Hoolock tianxing – but their common name is now the Skywalker hoolock gibbon, thanks to the scientists’ taste in films.

Dr Turvey said the team had been studying the animals in the Gaoligongshan nature reserve, but it was not easy.

“It’s difficult to get into the reserve. You have to hike up to above 2,500m to find the gibbons. That’s where the good quality forest usually starts – everywhere below there has been logged.

“Then you have to wake up really early in the morning and you listen out for the haunting song of the gibbons, which carries in the forest canopy.

“And when you hear it, you rush through the mud and the mist, and run for hundreds of metres to try and catch up with these gibbons.”

The researchers estimate that there are about 200 of the Skywalker gibbons living in China – and also some living in neighbouring Myanmar, although the population size there is currently unknown.

The team warns that the primates are at risk of extinction.

“The low number of surviving animals and the threat they face from habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and hunting means we think they should be classified as an endangered species,” said Dr Turvey.

In response to the news, actor Mark Hamill – the original Luke Skywalker – said on Twitter that he was so proud to have a new jungle Jedi named after his character.

Yemeni graffiti artist palliates wounds of Saudi war


Dirty Legacy: graffiti art by Murad Subay

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Banksy‘ of Yemen: with my graffiti I want to cover up bullet holes in walls

Today, 10:00

If you’re walking down the street in Sanaa, capital of Yemen, you can not ignore the works of the ‘Banksy of Yemen’. The buildings may be destroyed by all the bombing, but they are not ugly: on the walls is still the graffiti art of Murad Subay.

“When in 2011 the war began, it broke many hearts,” Murad tells the NOS. “But not only hearts were broken, also houses and streets. At that moment I decided to go on the road and to start making graffiti art. I wanted to cover up the ugliness of the war. To make the bullet holes disappear into the wall. I succeeded in that through graffiti.”

Some works by Murad are purely artistic, others have political overtones. The artist invites residents of Sanaa also to help with the artwork. “So people can make their voices heard and express their opinion about the war. Art is not just entertainment, it can be used for so much more stuff. Art gives a voice and provides communication, especially if people can see it so clearly in the street.”

Graffiti by Murad Subay

Drawing

The 29-year-old Murad lives with his parents, three sisters and four brothers in a house in Sanaa. He studied English and got his diploma in 2012.

“I started drawing when I was 13. My parents encouraged me, and thus I could teach myself a lot of things. In 2012 I made my first graffiti work, resulting in a campaign so I could make work all across Sanaa.”

The war has changed a lot, he adds. “It has so much effect on me. On all people.” Murad cites the shortage of basic necessities such as electricity and water, and the economic consequences of the war.

“These things have a big impact on me personally, but also on my work. It is no longer possible to travel freely in Yemen. It is also sometimes far too dangerous to be on the street to make the work.” …

Graffiti by Murad Subay

Murad has already gained much fame in Yemen, he is also called the ‘Banksy of Yemen’. “Banksy is a great artist, a genius. My work resembles that by him because we use the same technique. But the way we work is different,” Murad says.

“I want to involve as many people as possible in my art. If I make a work of art and people walk past, then I invite them always to help me and give their opinion. This allows us to launch a political debate in a non-violent way.”

British art critic John Berger, RIP


This video says about itself:

John Berger or The Art of Looking (2016)

7 November 2016

Art, politics and motorcycles – on the occasion of his 90th birthday John Berger or the Art of Looking is an intimate portrait of the writer and art critic whose ground-breaking work on seeing has shaped our understanding of the concept for over five decades. The film explores how paintings become narratives and stories turn into images, and rarely does anybody demonstrate this as poignantly as Berger.

Berger lived and worked for decades in a small mountain village in the French Alps, where the nearness to nature, the world of the peasants and his motorcycle, which for him deals so much with presence, inspired his drawing and writing.

The film introduces Berger‘s art of looking with theatre wizard Simon McBurney, film-director Michael Dibb, visual artist John Christie, cartoonist Selçuk Demiral, photographer Jean Mohr as well as two of his children, film-critic Katya Berger and the painter Yves Berger.

The prelude and starting point is Berger‘s mind-boggling experience of restored vision following a successful cataract removal surgery. There, in the cusp of his clouding eyesight, Berger re-discovers the irredeemable wonder of seeing.

Realised as a portrait in works and collaborations, this creative documentary takes a different approach to biography, with John Berger leading in his favourite role of the storyteller.

Director: Cherie Dvorák

By Chris Nineham in Britain:

Seeing red: the world view of John Berger

Thursday 5th December 2016

CHRIS NINEHAM reflects on the hugely influential life and work of the radical writer and art critic, who died on Monday at the age of 90

JOHN BERGER played an implausible, almost impossible, role in late 20th-century culture.

Self-exiled from Britain in the early 1960s and living half his time in a French mountain village, his words from afar provided an intimate and engaged commentary on some of the defining injustices and outrages of the era and some of the most important radical art criticism ever produced.

He wrote a series of books about the lives of peasants and migrant workers, including the photo documentary with Jean Mohr called A Seventh Man, which should be required reading in schools around Europe today.

The opening note to the reader prophetically suggests that “to outline the experience of the migrant worker and to relate this to what surrounds him — both physically and historically — is to grasp more [than any survey of] the political reality of the world at this moment.

“The subject is Europe. The meaning is global. Its theme is unfreedom.”

Despite his supreme distance from intellectual fads or fashions, he directed probably the most important experiment in the documentary form ever made for British TV.

The four-part series Ways of Seeing was a mind-blowing assault on the elitist, sexist assumptions of the capitalist cultural establishment.

It managed to be both iconoclastic and deeply insightful at the same time by insisting on locating art and artist both in their historical moment and the relations of artistic production.

Strong stuff for the BBC.

He followed it up with a stream of essays and books on art and culture that have proved, perhaps more than any other body of work in the English language, the enormous importance that creatively handled Marxism has for the appreciation of art and culture. Some of the best of them have recently been published in two excellent Verso volumes, Portraits and Landscapes.

Ever sensitive to individual artists’ dilemmas and achievements and, at the same time enraged by the barriers to self-expression produced by a society based on profit rather than need, Berger was the wise alter ego of every artist struggling to bear witness to a more and more degraded world.

His book The Success and Failure of Picasso and the recently republished essay The Moment of Cubism together constitute one of the most convincing accounts of the potential and the limits of artistic liberation.

Because he perceived culture as the active interplay between human creativity and stubborn, given reality, again and again his essays shed light on both the artists’ work and their world, as exemplified in this comment on the Romantics:

“Romanticism represented and acted out the full predicament of those who created the goddess of Liberty, put a flag in her hands and followed her only to find that she led them into an ambush: the ambush of reality.

“It is this predicament which explains the two faces of romanticism: its exploratory adventurousness and its morbid self-indulgence.”

Berger tended to radicalise with time. Looking back in 1979 to an essay he wrote in 1968 about the importance of a political approach to art, he admitted that in some respects he might have become more tolerant:

“I now believe there is an absolute incompatibility between art and private property, or between art and state property — unless the state is a plebeian democracy. Property must be destroyed before imagination can develop further.”

His radicalism was wholly reliable and outspoken. Awarded the Booker Prize in 1972 for his novel G, on air he denounced the slave-derived wealth of the Booker family and donated half the prize money to the British chapter of the Black Panther Party.

It is said that he was accompanied to the ceremony by a member of the organisation, who urged him to “keep it cool.”

See also here.