The Neon Rebel
Red Door Magazine, #19
INITIATION … with LY DE ANGELES
Ly de Angeles is an author scholar witch mystic … wild woman.
She is an acclaimed published writer of books, academic papers, screenplays + theatre productions of which she has also directed + produced. She reads tarot like no one Ive ever encountered + has a lot to say about mysticism + the magical arts. Do not come to her if you want to hear about fairy dust + angels, although you might get that, you’ll also get served a sincere dose of realism.
Her latest offering Initiation, is not just a book or tale of one’s life … it’s an initiation in itself reading it … A path of discovery … The language + way in which Ly has written it, the phrasing, leads the mind to the ideas + energy behind them, rather than strictly an intellectual understanding.
“Witch people, like magicians and sorcerers, conjurers, druids and hoodoo hexers, like cunning women and cunning men, kadaicha, shaman, manitou, angakok, curandera, bruxa, enchanter and shapechanger are needed in this world.” Initiation, A Memoir.
These days the idea of “witch” is quite trendy. Along with being a vegan + septum rings.
So many social media instagram + tumblr accounts are full of #witchy tags with girls in vegan cruelty free makeup + silver or teal “unicorn mermaid” hair, which is kind of great that mainstream culture has embraced some type of social conscience … What’s missing however, is the real magic, true understanding of the Earth + Her power. The totally superficial image of a witch is being perpetuated via a fashion statement with this generation that doesnt ‘seem’ to understand this power or have any inner connection to it, or to myth or culture. They have not taken Initiation.
They dont even know what it is.
Initiation: definition … A ceremony, ritual or test into a society or way of being, a path or rite of passage …
Today’s rite of passage for most modern kids is to own an iphone + get snapchat.
The separation we have from the Earth, as a whole race means we have not only separation from where we came from at a profound organic + energetic level but it also means we have separation from ourselves as a collective, from each other + personally with our innermost selves.
This separation leads us to act as though we are individual entities disconnected from one another … self interested, self effacing, self absorbed, self loathing …. The Age Of The Selfie.
The Shallow World.
Ly talks alot about the shallow world + takes us through her experiences with it.
“I raged until things became dire but in the end there was no recourse. I climbed down to my cave in myth world, my pride in a small cage for now. Once back in the shallow world I slipped on the mask that all was fine…”
“What happens in the shallow world affects the mysteries in the deep. Causes confusion. The shallow world draws magic and awe into a trap of pointlessness. The tune is loud and brash and thoughtless. Casually but intentionally cruel. The upholder of loneliness and shatterer of beauty. The shallow world smothers poetry with the ash and the rubble of broken places.” Initiation, A Memoir
I chat to Ly about all manner of things + events happening in the world right now … We as a race seem on the precipice of great change + we have the choice whether to be altruistic + rise above our shallow world impulses + evolve or are we headed for more dark times? … From the madness of the US presidential election to the plight of the Native American Sioux First Peoples protecting their land + water, which could have such dire consequences to so many on so many levels, if the oil pipleline goes ahead through the Dakotas …
I asked Ly what she thought about us humans as a species, whether we were being initiated right now …
Ly: Yes. We’ve (coven) been aware of it since 1990. There is no logical answer as to why. It actually began with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and has escalated since then. It is getting faster and faster. It’s epicentre is Standing Rock in America. What happens there is going to determine humanity’s fate for hundreds of years … The Trump election victory was predicted in tarot by at least two of us? Those of us who have the savvy to look beneath the tabloid bullshit, though, can see something repeating itself. The Byzantine era. This was destiny.”
“The more we learn about the world the more embarrassed we will feel. To be using devices and whitegooods and plastic bottles that end up suffocating oceans and creating monster mountains in the Philippines. To feel okay, as corporate entities, feeding people poison. To acknowledge the helplessness of vivisection and to eat the products of cruelty. To live in lands not of out indigenous ancestors and to know we are losing our skills of independence. I could go on but this is a beginning. An initiation is a beginning.”
Is it through a lack of Love that we treat The Earth + each other so badly? Do we as humans not really understand the true nature of Love?
Ly: Of course we do. But the brainwashing! The concept of the nuclear family? Rubbish. Love is a feeling. It’s not dependent on anyone or anything else. If we do not experience it internally it is because of demand. That’s not love.
Ly’s tales of Love + experiences with it do not follow the ‘conditioned by society way’. We see how a woman with all her independence + strength + power, follows her own path.
Ly has always rebelled against mindless authority since childhood.
Not to be obtuse but because blindly following orders is not in her being.
“I dont do what Im told” … Says Ly as we chat away …
I laugh out loud.
“Drink, said the teacher.
No, I said.
We played ping pong like that for a while but she was always going to win and I finally did what I was told. I vomited on her.” Initiation. A Memoir
Ly’s online presence is getting alot of hits.
Ly: “They’re not commenting though, silence. Then I realised Ah, they’re reading.”
If they’re reading, they might be learning + digesting.
If they’re digesting they might be forming new neural pathways of understanding.
The understanding plants the seeds for the new trees to grow, to spread its roots deep into the Earth + its branches into lush forests.
The new ways are the old ways.
The ways of The First Peoples.
The indigenous across the world over have always known how to live in harmony with the planet + hold the key to us getting through this thing called Life.
If only ‘modern man’ would stop killing them + taking their land + disrespecting their ways + ignoring all the precious knowledge they possess.
In Ly’s case, her ancestors are The Priteni, a deep part of her work is in discovery of the culture + language lost through history.
These times have presented all of us who live in privileged western countries with choice …
Once we know, we cannot unknow.
Once we’ve seen, we cannot unsee.
“She is an edge walker, one who walks between the worlds. Her work is on the edge, as she has one foot in this world and one foot in the other. She travels between them walking the edge. She connects those of the spirit world with those of this one. Her work is to serve her tribe, to heal, to honour the gods of the people, to talk with the spirits, helping to keep life in balance and in harmony with all.” Initiation, A Memoir.
Previous issues below:
Red Door Magazine, Information Issue – #17
This Neon Rebellion is dedicated to all the people who live in pursuit of freedom of speech… xxx
Top 10 List Modern Revolutionaries …
This issue of The Neon Rebel pays respect to the new Revolutionaries, the Cyberpunks, the Activists, The Innovators, The Gamechangers … They have challenged the way information is disseminated into mainstream society, many times risking their personal freedom + safety to speak their minds + expose those that would conceal their true motivations. They are also the initiators + the pioneers, bringing forward new ways of thinking for the planet + its inhabitants.
They are the new thought pirates, sailing our information highways, offering up new ideas, thoughts, truths + exposing corruption … the ones that have used the media in its many forms to expose the media + its muppets + present alternative viewpoints to ones being spoon-fed by governments, religions + corporations via media machines + to spread messages of hope for a better world … We Salute You!
“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter …”
- Julian Assange ~ Australian Whistle Blower
- Russell Brand ~ The Yogi Revolutionist Comedian
- M.I.A. ~ Tamal Tiger Cub
- John Greenewald Jr ~ X-Filer
- Pussy Riot ~ Putin’s Punks
- Peter Sunde ~ Pirate Politician
- Yoko Ono ~ Imagineer
- Richard Branson ~ Original Virgin
- Eli Pariser ~ Worthy Mover + Shaker
- Malala Yousafzai ~ Kids Champion
Julian Assange ~ Australian Whistle Blower
Australian publisher + journalist, hacker + programmer + best known as Editor In Chief of website WikiLeaks. Troublemaker.
From an early age, at 18, Assange had already hacked into NASA, The U.S. Dept. of Defense, the Pentagon + other multinational corporations as part of ethical hacking group The International Subversives + faced 31 counts of hacking + related crimes.
WikiLeaks was established in 2006 + began publishing material that exposed governments + corporate dodgy endeavours.
In 2010, WikiLeaks reached international mainstream notoriety through publishing classified U.S. Military + diplomatic documents leaked by U.S. soldier /intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning.
Assange has been under criminal investigation of espionage by the United States Justice Dept. since then + has been in political asylum at The Embassy Of Ecuador in London shacking up in the ambassador’s office after sexual misconduct allegations appeared in Sweden, looking conveniently timed attempting to discredit him + distract attention away from his whistle blowing.
Assange is an advocate of information transparency, testimony to this alongside WikiLeaks is his book Cypherpunks (2012) + obviously his appearance as himself on The Simpsons.
Collateral Murder: WikiLeaks ~ Iraq
WARNING: This is seriously fucked up!
Russell Brand ~ The Yogi Revolutionist Comedian.
English comedian, actor, author, radio host + activist, reformed drug addict, Transcendental meditator, yoga enthusiast. Bigmouth.
Brand started out acting as a teenager in tv shows + moved into stand up comedy where he found his way into presenting + currently political platforms.
With his own rock star swagger + kit, Russ came to international fame presenting music award shows in 2006 MTV Music Video Awards, Brit Awards + NME … He continued his shows on the stand up circuit, interspersed with radio + tv specials + gaining roles in international films, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” + “Get Him To The Greek”.
His first autobiography was published in 2007 + was followed by “Articles Of Faith” in 2008, a selection of his writings from his column in The Guardian offering his views on pop culture + events.
He got hitched to pop star Katy Perry in 2009, elevating his media status + continued to do Hollywood films “Arthur” + “Rock Of Ages”.
By 2012, after divorce, returning to tv comedy with Brand X + doing more films he continued to speak out + also offer sponsorship + support to people going through issues of drug addiction + recovery.
2014 saw the release of his book Revolution + launching his youtube channel “The Trews: True News With Russell Brand” where he comments on global + social issues + ideas of political + economic measures that need to be addressed for cultural change + a more sustainable future.
Russell practices TM (Transcendental Meditation) twice daily + yoga for maintaining balance after kicking addictions + promoting awareness + God consciousness within.
Russell Brand Vs Jeremy Paxton
M.I.A. ~ Tamal Tiger Cub
Multimedia artist ~ rapper / singer songwriter / recording artist, performer, visual artist, activist, record producer, photographer, fashion designer, model. Bad Girl.
Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasm aka M.I.A. (Missing In Acton) is seen as one of the first underground artists that built a large fanbase purely through exposing people to her music via the internet. She rose to popularity through My Space + file sharing + college radio, when her music was being played at dance clubs + fashion shows. She is known for her political + outspoken lyrical content + guerilla style art + fashion.
Hailing from Northern Sri Lanka, the daughter of an engineer, writer + activist father + seamstress mother, M.I.A. lived until she was 11 in Jaffna mostly in poverty + displacement as a result of the Sri Lankan Civil War. Her mother moved the family to London for safety where they lived as refugees while her father stayed there working as a peace mediator, (he was a founding member of a group affiliated with the LTTE ~ Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealum.
Trained at Central Saint Martins, Maya has a Fine Art Degree in Film + video + painting. Her work featured graffiti + was characterized by realism, Tamil political street art, images of London life + consumerist culture. She was nominated for a “Turner Prize” + a book was made of her graduating collection in 2002 for painting.
M.I.A. got her start in music when her pal from college, Justine Frischmann, singer of Brit band Elastica asked her to design the band’s album cover + come on tour with them + make a video documentary. There she met Peaches, who encouraged her to start making music. Her first 6 track demo was made on Justine’s Roland MC-505, with a 4 track tape machine + radio mic. She cites her earliest influences from the radio broadcasts playing at the council flats where she lived + hip hop + dancehall, Brit Pop, electroclash + punk while at college.
In her avant garde style M.I.A. likes to incorporate her multi media aesthetic, live instrumentation, traditional dance + folk music like soca (Carribean Calypso from Trinidad), bootlegged Tamil film music which featured Urumi drum + Gaana song + rave beats with original political guerilla influenced imagery, painting + nu rave fashion.
M.I.A.’s dedication to humanitarianism + education about war crimes continues through her work in music + film + philanthropic support.
Her video for “Born Free” has received over 30 million hits despite it being banned by YouTube as too graphic.
M.I.A : Bad Girls
Documentary Trailer about M.I.A.
John Greenewald Jr ~ X-Filer
Researcher, activist, author, tv + internet radio show host, website developer of The Black Vault. Free informer. UFO Believer.
John Greenewald Jr is a researcher, net activist who has been investigating UFO + government conspiracies since he was 15 when he developed his website in 1996 called The Black Vault, which has been referenced as one of the greatest technological achievements on the internet + wrote his first book at 20 called Beyond UFO Secrecy.
theblackvault.com contains the largest collection of documents, photographs + articles about UFO phenomenon + sightings + govt. conspiracies publicly available online. Greenwald started out by writing to the CIA, NSA + Defense Intelligent Agency requesting government document using the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA Law).
FOIA requests require Federal agencies to provided declassified information to any citizen who requests it.
Greenewald made over 5000 requests + has acquired more than 1.4 million documents from the government, highlighting govt. coverups, CIA experiments, + political maneuvers.
He collected more than 130,000 pages of documentation on Project Blue Book which was the US Military + govts. official investigation into UFO Phenomenon which dates back to 1940s.
Greenewald made some requests that took years to fulfill + some were deemed “classified”.
Greenwald says the Blue Book was basically the military having to respond to all the sightings that started happening in the 1950s. He says the govt. used the investigation as more of an explanation to quash public anxiety by closing cases due to lack of evidence. What he finds interesting is 100s of the unexplained sightings happen over military + nuclear installations with military witnesses trained in air activity. His question then is, if no one can explain the activities then there is a topic of conversation worth exploring here. The documents presented in The Black Vault continue that conversation.
What makes The Black Vault so unique is Greenwald’s creation of a giant database that’s searchable.
To date, there is no other existing online like it.
For each document, he had to convert them into pdf form + then scan + archive, then build a search engine to accommodate the data to program into the website.
Greenewald thinks of himself as a skeptic which propels him to researching with documented evidence that he then makes freely available to the public.
He argues that with social media + its viral nature, it’s easy for govts. to dish out misinformation to confuse the public + distract them away from what may really be behind events + policies + tactics.
There is also a huge section of The Black Vault on 9/11 + Greenwald is not buying the line the govt. fed the public about events. Also with the Benghazi attacks of 2012 in Libya, he says he has documentation + public record to show it was one of the biggest govt. conspiracies in decades.
I Want to Believe …
Pussy Riot ~ Putin’s Punks
Punk Rockers, feminists, protestors, performance artists. Jailbirds.
Their notoriety became widespread on Feb 21, 2012 when they did a performance in Moscow’s Cathedral Of Christ The Saviour. They developed the musical performance into a music video piece called “Punk Prayer – Mother Of God, chase Putin Away” a protest aimed at the Orthodox Church leader’s support for Putin’s election campaign.Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk rock group collective of about 11 performers + 15 technical people who stage situationalist ~ guerilla style art performances + film their protests in unauthorized locations + edit them into music videos which they post online. Their art deals with feminism, LGBT rights + opposing the politics of Russian President Vladimir Putin (whom they consider a dictator) + the Russian Orthodox Church. Their signature balaclavas represent their part in a media activist subculture + as conceptual artists, their message that ideas matter becomes more important than their individual identities.
Following this, members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina + Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested + charged with “hooliganism … motivated by religious hatred” + sentenced to 2 years imprisonment.
Samutsevich was released on appeal with probation.
Human rights groups rallied for the women, Amnesty International deemed them “prisoners of conscience” + they were released after 21 months with amnesty granted by the State Duma.
They cite the Riot Grrrl movement of the 1990s + punk bands, particularly Bikini Kill as an inspiration in continuing the feminist discourse + representation of non-standard female imagery but say the difference is they hold unsanctioned concerts instead of shows in music venues.
Pussy Riot’s ideals speak out in anger over the Govt.’s policies that discriminate against women + the LGBT community…
“Our performances can either be called dissident art or political action that engages art forms. Either way our performances are a kind of civic activity amidst repressions of a corporate political system that directs its power against basic human rights + civil political liberties…”
Pussy Riot: Punk Prayer Music video
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (2013) Documentary Feature Film trailer
Peter Sunde ~ Pirate Politician
Co-founder + spokesperson The Pirate Bay (TPB), computer expert, multi lingual vegan, politician. Messenger. Alias Brokep.
It was established in 2003 by Swedish anti-copyright organization Piratnyrån (The Piracy Bureau) + ran independently since 2004.Peter Sunde is best known as a founding member (2003) + spokesperson (2003-09) for bit torrent search engine + peer to peer sharing site, The Pirate Bay. The Pirate Bay, during Sunde’s time, used to be the most popular website for illegal file sharing in the world, standing by the ethos of freedom of speech, freedom of information + openness of the internet.
On May 31, 2006, The Pirate Bay was first raided by police, having servers, hardware + equipment seized + the site shut down, after having criminal complaints about copyright made against them in Sweden by US media + entertainment companies + the accusation they were profiting from distributing copyright material, mostly in way of movies, music, games, books + entertainment files.
In 2009, TPB operators were sentenced to 1 year in prison + 3.1 million euros each in damages for “assisting in making copyright content available …”
After the verdict, in a press conference, Sunde wrote IOU on some paper + declared that’s all the damages that would never be paid + that he would rather burn everything he owned + not even give them the ashes.
After an appeal, a Swedish court decreased their prison terms but increased their fines up to 4.9 million euros.
TPB users started sending in donations to help pay fines but were returned citing the fines “will never be paid”.
In 2010, Sunde, started a micropayment system called Flattr, where it allows small donations to be offered to developers on sites, to encourage people to share money + content across the internet to projects valued. Flattr was a supporter of Wikileaks + donated money where possible.
By 2013, Sunde was involved in a project called Hemlis, a free private messaging platform that allows the users to message privately just between each other, without Governments nosing around or their agencies.
In 2014, Sunde tried his hand at politics + ran for European Parliament with The Pirate Party Of Finland. Ahoy!
On May 31, 2014, just after the elections, Peter Sunde was arrested in Malmö, Sweden.
The Pirate Bay was raided by police on Dec 9, 2014 + taken down. They left a coded message on the front page of their site with a counter winding down to Feb 1 2015. When the code was cracked it was a link to youtube, to Arnold Schwartzenegger’s “Ill Be Back” Supercut, indicating TPB’s intention.
Yoko Ono ~ Imagineer
Performance + Multimedia Artist, peacemaker, activist, campaigner, musician, icon, pioneer, philanthropist. John Lennon’s missus.
Yoko Ono is best known publicly for being the partner of John Lennon, her avant garde art + performances + being a campaigner for peace. She uses social media platforms to inform, educate + inspire humanity to peaceful living + a sustainable world + to continue the humanitarian work, she started with Lennon through her Imagine Peace organisation. She is a world reknowned multimedia artist with a body of work spanning more than 50 years + is active in promoting + being a patron for artists globally.
Ono grew up in Tokyo + spent some time in the U.S. with her family. Her father, a banker + one time classical pianist, was positioned in San Francisco from 1933-37 + during 1940 (age 7) in New York City.
She studied piano lessons from age 4 to 12 + was enrolled in exclusive schools.
In 1945, her family was forced to move to the mountains because of the war, where they lived in poverty. This became one of the darkest times for Yoko where she experienced life as an outsider + went hungry as a product of war + the emotions she had would become the theme of much of her artistic work + later the foundation of her work as an activist + campaigner for peace.
Yoko was accepted into Gakushuin University in 1951 as the first female to study Philosophy. She left to move back to New York City after her family relocated there again. It was here she studied art + met her mentor John Cage + started to perform in the loft space of American avant garde artist composer musician, La Monte Young.
Yoko Ono is considered to be one of the most prolific + original female artists in the experimental + conceptual art scene since the 1960s, with artists like Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp + Peggy Guggenheim being among her friends coming to her shows.
She has received many accolades for her museum shows to distinguished women in art + had her huge body of works displayed globally for over 50 years.
Yoko is famous for her performance artworks, “Cut Piece” 1964, invites the audience to come + cut her clothes from her, it characterizes relationships between artists objects + viewers + invokes the idea of trust + responsibility. Yoko has reprised this performance piece many times, most recently in 2013 when singer Peaches performed it at Meltdown Festival in London.
Her piece “Wish Tree” 1981, also invites participation from the public in the active creation of art … a tree native to the piece installation site is installed + Yoko invites people to make a wish, write it down on a piece of paper + tie it around the branch of the tree…Yoko has installed this piece in many locations … in MOMA in NYC in 2010, London, St Louis, Washington D.C. San Francisco, Japan, Venice + Dublin.
Yoko Ono has been married 3 times.
1956: married Toshi Ichiyanagi, a composer in Tokyo’s experimental scene.
1963: married Anthony Cox an American composer, film producer + art promoter. They had a daughter Kyoto Chan in late 1963.
1969: married John Lennon. They had a son Sean in 1975.
Ono collaborated with Lennon on many projects + is blamed for being responsible for the break up of The Beatles.
In 1969, during the last 2 years Lennon was still with The Beatles, they used the media attention for peace campaigns protesting against the Vietnam War + making political / performance art statements such as “bagism” (where they wore bags on their heads satirizing prejudice + stereotyping while encouraging a disregard for physical appearance + judging others. Their week long performance piece “Bed-In For Peace”, was initially done on their honeymoon in Amsterdam + then again in Montreal where the pair in their pjs invited visitors and the media, to talk about and promote world peace + also where they recorded “Give Peace A Chance”. The song quickly became an anthem for the anti Vietnam war + counter culture movements.
By December 1969, the two continued to spread their message of peace with billboards in 12 major world cities reading “WAR IS OVER! If You Want It – Happy Christmas from John & Yoko.”
John Lennon himself says in many interviews, he outgrew what The Beatles were doing + felt that the work with Yoko was truly his greatest work.
“Imagine” John Lennon’s most successful solo record + his gift to humanity, one of the most famous ballads of all time, he says was lyrically inspired by Yoko’s action poetry book “Grapefruit” 1964 … “Imagine the clouds dripping, dig a hole in your garden to put them in” …
Yoko Ono continues John Lennon’s legacy of their peace + humanitarian work with philanthropy, charity foundations + memorials in his name through her organisation Imagine Peace.
She built the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland, a tower of light projected from within 10m wide wishing well + a stone monument with “Imagine Peace” carved into it in 24 languages. It contains beneath, a million wishes from people all over the world from Yoko’s “Wishing Tree” installation pieces. The tower is powered by Iceland’s eco friendly geo-thermal energy.
Yoko awards The Grant For Peace in conjunction with the lighting of the tower every 2 years to artists “living on regions of conflict”. Recipients have been anti globalization author + Environmental activist Vandana Shiva + Russia’s Pussy Riot.
At 81, Yoko Ono is still one of the most dedicated activists + peacemakers on the planet. Yoko has a strong + active social media presence. Her Twitter, Facebook + Instagram accounts reach millions of people daily. She speaks directly with people every Friday with a Q + A session on Twitter, her account exceeds over 4.5 million followers.
In 2012, she + son Sean created a group Artists Against Fracking which protested against the not- environmentally sound practice of Hydraulic Fracturing. They gathered nearly 150 fellow artists to join them in protesting, including actors Mark Ruffalo, Alec Baldwin + Susan Sarandon + Lady Gaga.
Through constant protests + public demand, Hydraulic Fracking was banned in New York State in 2014, citing health risks.
This week Texas, The Home Of Fracking, has banned it citing environmental impact + health dangers. Go Yoko!
John Lennon + Yoko Ono: Give Peace A Chance
Yoko Ono: Walking On Thin Ice
Imagine Peace Tower, Iceland
(Sir) Richard Branson ~ Original Virgin
Businessman, Investor, Pioneer, Humanitarian, founder of The Virgin Group.
“Tie-loathing adventurer, philanthropist & troublemaker, who believes in turning ideas into reality. Otherwise known as Dr Yes at Virgin”
(Richard Branson / Twitter) … Hot-air Balloon Guy, I like to call him Dicky B!
Richard Branson is best known as the head honcho for virgin.com that comprises over 400 companies worldwide. He is a global pioneer who started out with a record store + a dream, it grew into a chain of megastores + the Virgin Records label. His ventures expanded into Virgin Atlantic Airways + Virgin Mobile (now Virgin Media) + Virgin Galactic (Space travel), Virgin Produced (Multimedia) + the non-profit foundation, Virgin Unite. He is also known for his philanthropic + eco conscious conservation + humanitarian endeavours, hosting events + conversations with world leaders + entrepreneurs about global conflicts, resource management + initiatives.
Branson started out running a music magazine when he was 16 called The Student with interviews + reviews + sold records through the mag.
Eventually he opened a store in London + making enough from that, bought a place in Oxford + turned it into a recording studio + started the Virgin Records label. He recorded struggling artists like Mike Oldfield (Tubular Bells) + The Sex Pistols + Culture Club.
Through the 1980’s, he grew a successful record label + the subsequent megastore chain.
He sold Virgin Records (later started V2, to continue his involvement in music) to finance Virgin Airways, a company today that aims for excellence in aviation + innovation. Together with Virgin Fuels (a response to Global Warming) the idea is to find revolutionary ways to offer cheaper fuel + alternatives. Branson pledged to invest the $3 billion estimated profits from Virgin Atlantic + Virgin Trains to research for environmentally friendly fuels.
In 2006, Branson announced a new $25 million global science technology prize, The Virgin Earth Challenge to encourage technological advancements for the good of mankind.
Branson is involved in a mentoring + coaching program in South Africa. His School Of Entrepreneurship together with Virgin Unite is among a few projects there that aims at teaching skills + supporting financing startup businesses to improve economic growth in the region.
Branson has been involved with so many initiatives …
He is also a signatory of the Global Zero campaign, a non-profit international initiative for the elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide.
Since 2010, he has been the commissioner for The Broadband Commission For Digital Development, a UN initiative which promotes universal access to broadband services.
In 2013, Branson urged companies to boycott Uganda due to their anti-homosexuality bill, citing it was against his conscience to support this country + Govt.s dictating who you can love.
In 2014, he joined with WildAid + The African Wildlife Foundation to campaign against trafficking+ poaching.
Sir Richard Branson was honored the title of Knight Batchelor for his services to entrepreneurship.
Branson has always had a unique, innovative + pioneering drive that is behind all of his Virgin ventures … He has championed social media + sent his positive innovative message out via his blog + on Twitter with nearly 5 million followers.
The Virgin America safety instruction video won the 2014 Shorty Award for Best Brand + Agency on Social Media.
Its a song + dance musical style choreographed piece designed to put the fun back into flying + presenting important information that is usually seen in a dull + uninspired way.
When the video came out it went viral across all platforms. People were encouraged to make their own 15 min Instagram videos with the hashtag #VXsafetydance. Within 24 hours, the video had over 1.5 million views, the first week over 7000 people had tweeted with the hashtag, + 75 million people had been exposed.
The Virgin vibe is filled with english schoolboy smartass humour, (obviously have a look at virgin.com) testament to Branson’s youthful spirit + the brands market placement.
When not at the helm at Virgin, Dicky B likes to fly hot air balloons around the world + often shows up in films + tv shows as himself or caricatured versions … Superman Returns, Casino Royale, Friends, The Simpsons.
Virgin America Safety Video #VXsafetydance
Eli Pariser ~ Worthy Mover + Shaker
Political + internet activist, author, protester, Mover, Chief Executive of Upworthy. Bubble popper.
Eli Pariser is an online organiser, activist, current CEO of viral content site Upworthy + Board President of MoveOn.org, co-founder of global civic organisation Avaaz.org + author of New York Times bestseller, The Filter Bubble.
Eli came to prominence as a political activist just after the September 11 attacks when he created a website calling for a multilateral approach to fighting terrorism. In just 2 weeks over half a million people, in 192 countries signed the online petition.
At just 20 years old, Eli was asked by founders of MoveOn.org to merge with them + direct their foreign policy campaigns. He increased MoveOn.org’s member base threefold + The New York Times referred to him as the leader of “the mainstream arm of the peace movement”.
During the 2004 U.S. Presidential Campaign, Eli co-created the Bush In 30 Seconds ad contest + became Executive Director of MoveOn.org. He increased action to over 5 million members + raised over $120 million from donors for progressive political candidates + campaigns. In 2008, he handed over the the directorship + became president of MoveOn’s board.
In 2007, in conjunction with MoveOn, Eli co-founded Avaaz.org, that promotes activism on issues like human + animal rights, climate change, conflict, poverty + corruption. It operates in 15 languages in 194 countries with over 30million members. It is considered the largest online global activist network.
The campaigns are organised through email + online petitions, a system of online organising that Eli pioneered + is now used widely in online organising.
In 2011, Eli announced Upworthy (Things matter, pass ’em on). A social media, viral content site that features progressive non – traditional social + political issues. It is arguably one of the fastest growing media sites in history, it produces daily stories + aims to be “social media with a mission” featuring videos on environment, community, economy, diversity, health, science + technology, LGBTQQ, Gender + more … that are uploaded to Facebook, Twitter + social media sharing sites.
In late 2011, Eli wrote The Filter Bubble: What The Internet Is Hiding From You… it explores his idea of “web personalization”, that people do not get exposed to ideas different from their own though search engine algorithm responses, due to past internet searches, location + past click behaviour, like with Google personalised search + Facebook personalised newstream. Eli maintains that this bubble effect has negative impacts on civic + social discourse.
In 2013, Eli joined the board of advisors for tech company State.com, a global opinion network that seeks to give even representation to each persons opinion.
Malala Yousafzai ~ Kids Champion
Blogger, activist, campaigner, educator, freedom fighter, survivor, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Badass. I Am Malala.
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education + at 17, is the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (2014). She is known for her human rights campaigning, in particular for women + education in Northwest Pakistan when her valley was under Taliban occupation. Her advocacy has since become an international movement.
Malala started writing her blog in 2009, when she was just 11. She wrote for the BBC under a psuedonym about life under the Taliban + their attempts to take over Swat Valley. Her family ran schools in the region + the young educated Malala wrote about her views on promoting education for girls.
In 2010, during the time the Pakistani military was moving in to engage in The Second Battle Of Swat, a journalist for The New York Times made a documentary about her life + views. Malala’s public profile rose as she gave a lot of media interviews + she was nominated by South African activist Desmond Tutu for the International Children’s Peace Prize.
In 2012, Malala was shot on her school bus by a gunman. She was transferred to a London hospital in a critical condition, after the bullet went into her the side of forehead + exited into her shoulder.
A fatwa was declared by 50 Islamic clerics following the attack but the Taliban only reiterated their intention to kill Malala + her father.
Some Pakistani’s believe the shooting was a C.I.A. Setup.
Malala received a lot of national + international support after the assisination attempt. Her courage to speak out was only strengthened after surviving being shot in the face. When she went to The Whitehouse to meet President Obama she said she was concerned that drone attacks were fueling terrorism … and that “innocent victims are killed in these acts + lead to resentment among the Pakistani people…”
A UN petition was launched using the phrase “I Am Malala” to see all children in school by the end of 2015 which led to Pakistan passing the First Right To Education Bill.
In 2013, Malala won Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize + was on the cover of Time Magazine. She was invited to speak at the United Nations + was awarded the Sakharov Prize For Freedom Of Thought by European Parliament.
Malala is the first ever Pakistani recipient of The Nobel Peace Prize, she continues her work fighting for childrens’ + womens rights + to education + has been offered an honorary citizenship from The Govt. of Canada.
Malala Yousafzai speaking at the UN
Red Door Magazine, #16
A Force Of Nature …
Interview with visual artist + DJ Jedda Selke aka Chin Bindi
Jedda Selke is a Melbourne based Visual Artist + DJ whose work has been described as entheogenetic inspired, in nature.
I started our conversation by asking Jedda how visionary artists like José Arguelles, Alex Grey + Terence McKenna have been an influence on her work …
Ive met Alex + Terence before … I’ve toured with Terence…
Alex is + Terence was, awesome human beings.
Im really strongly connected with them. I feel in a sense I share a spiritual calling with those guys, that’s how I feel connected with them but we have our different ways of expressing that.
It is primarily a need to help humans reconnect with nature + themselves.
Do you feel you experienced the same sort of consciousness leap at the same time as them given the similarity of the nature of your work?
Definitely. I feel like there was something triggered during The Harmonic Convergence of 1987 that really cemented my journey, not just as an explorer of the dimensions + as a servant of The Earth but also as an intermediary, a connector, as a person who took the journey. Around that time my own journey went from being a very personal inner development into incorporating a community vibe.
* The Harmonic Convergence is the name given to the world’s first globally synchronized meditation, which occurred on August 16–17, 1987, which also closely coincided with an exceptional alignment of planets in our solar system… see José Arguelles, Harmonic Convergence, Mayan Prophesy.
Is that when you discovered music + DJing?
Yeah. Well when we all first started having gatherings everybody brought a drum or some kind of instrument… and then somehow the whole idea of creating the soundsystem + the outdoor kind of throbatron just took of. It wasn’t immediate but at some point I got the message I had to be involved in that, had to do it.
Do you think through the use of sound that was a really integral medium to reach people as opposed to visual or other artforms you’d been practicing?
Well, it was interesting coz Ive always been a painter, an oil painter, made my own paints + I developed an allergy towards the solvents I’d been using + I kinda had to be forced to looking at other ways to express my creative energy which led me to music.
Unlike alot of DJs your music is about creating a space + a layered soundscape where people have a certain type of experience rather than just unconscious thumping beats …
“I like to create an environment for people to be in rather than dominated by…
It is a pleasure + an honour to be able to give that to people”
Did you go back into your visual arts more when you moved back to a city? (Melbourne, after a long period in Northern NSW, Australia)
When Im living in the middle of paradise + the natural world, so engrossed by the music + gardening + the dance, I didn’t feel much need to add any extra beauty to the world that’s almost perfect already. (But) within that beauty, there’s an aspect that nature strikes you, the sense of mystery that makes it so alluring. I want to bring something of nature + The Earth, as Ive experienced it + the interdimensional nature into a beautiful work that can trigger that feeling in other people.
Lately you’ve made a movement from painting to textiles …
Ive been very inspired from native Mexican shaman, mushroom + peyote Indian design technique.
Ive always loved tapestries + needlework + I felt compelled to try it.
I started making what I call Nature Faces.
They’re mask like, based on beetles but there’s all kinds of faces within them.
The process is so long + exacting, almost sent me blind.
I found glass seed beads, its where the Mexican tradition linked me up. Im exploring wax + resin mediums with the beads, im loving it.
Masks are currently a theme in your work …
Well, as humans we try to master at least one persona that we present to the world in order to interact + interface.
The idea of the mask is primordial where we inherently understand it.
Most people don some sort of mask to do their jobs while a shaman will wear one in ceremony + be able to take on a different psychology + go between the layers of worlds, the masking + unmasking process.
“The concept behind the mask on a planetary scale holds a deep resonance.
The true horror of what’s happening to Nature + then to ourselves via what humanity has done to nature.”
Maybe in my own human + feeble way I can somehow reflect nature back out through the faces, or nature itself reflects back + triggers something in us or opens to itself.
Red Door Magazine #15
So due to extreme lack of time + sleep deprivation I havent been able to bring you the usual Neon Rebellion interview with someone amazing but I have compiled a little Australian music playlist of some of The Neon Rebel’s über faves … xo
The Birthday Party
Nick The Stripper
The Black Ryder
Sweet Come Down
Beasts Of Bourbon
The Dolly Rocker Movement
Changing The Timeline
Roland S. Howard
– Previous Issues—
Europa … featuring THE ART …
Interview with Azaria Byrne
“We play Rock’n’Roll and aren’t apologizing for it!”
THE ART pic by Chris Pollack
This latest Neon Rebellion comes off the back of a couple of months in Europe playing gigs with my pals in the Electric Set from NYC, who are based for now in Copenhagen + meeting new friends + discovering a whole new community of artists, musicians + writers doing amazing things, that Red Door is featuring in this issue.
We also had the fortune of timing to see our Australian friends THE ART play a gig in Copenhagen whilst on their European tour with U.S. band Faster Pussycat. I love these bands, its pure rock’n’roll in its grittiest unpretentious form, these guys can really play + entertain a crowd. They tour the world + work their asses off to get their music to the people. They are not spoilt or living in luxury by any means, just dedicated musicians who share themselves + their energy with gratitude for each + every person who comes out to see them. Major respect!
The band’s sound has been said to be like a mix of “heavy Cure, with a splash of glam, the Bolan/Bowie side of glam but “not 80’s butt-rock…” (Azaria Byrne) … Ha! Their influences span from Bauhaus + Sonic Youth to The Ramones + KISS
I was hanging out with my pal Azaria, lead singer, guitarist + songwriter with The Art, the other day + this interview conversation followed …
TNR: I saw you play in Copenhagen with the legendary Faster Pussycat, it was such a great night + feeling from the stage with you all, how is it touring with them?
ZAR: When we ran into you there, we were in the midst of the 30 date European tour and prior to that was the tour of the USA with Faster Pussycat, so by that time we were all really comfortable, as both bands had become like family.
Put it this way, members from both bands, and road crew walked away from the American tour with matching tattoos.
I personally generally get anxiety on the road but with the Faster Pussycat guys, I felt right at home playing music on stage, eating sleeping and sharing everything with my brothers.
Everyone from THE ART and vise versa gravitated towards their favourite person/s in the band. That sometimes correlated with musical, drug, alcohol, food, ect tastes and sleeping patterns.
Even though I had amazing connections and moments with everyone in Faster Pussycat, I found myself sitting on the bus watching WW2 docos and talking about how amazing the combo of Dan Ash and Peter Murphy of Bauhaus was, with Faster’s guitarist Xristian Simon. We spoke about art and photography and all that, as he is a photographer and I’m a painter when we’re not being road dogs.
Alot of Xristian’s photography happens on the road for him, so he can have an outlet and document his journeys (http://xristiansimon.com/type/gallery/). I was honoured to be inducted into Xristians’ personal family, as I walked away from the European tour with the same tatt as him and his wife.
Taime and I shared alot in common and mutual interest, in our love for motorbikes and our love for a mutual manager he had and I currently have, Vicky Hamilton.
His leadership is similar to mine. Make sure everyone has fun, but no one dies, heads to be cracked when Crack is involved – smoke that shit and it makes you late, a delusional asshole and you fuck with everyone else’s vibe, the road is not for dead weight. Do that shit in your private time!
Most of all, the road has to be fun or what the fuck is the point!?
THE ART pic by Xristian Simon
TNR: So how did you find the tour in Europe different to the U.S.A.?
ZAR: The American tour, every show seemed more consistent in audience size + venue size + we had a sleeper bus.
On the Europe Tour, we played many shows from a punk venue with broken back line, to sharing beds and friends floors to playing 100 000 people festivals with hotel rooms and hookers added to the rider!
It was a triple juxtaposition and you never knew what was going to happen next.
I was just sleeping alot until it was time to play because I was sick.
We had some mind blowing experiences both on and off stage this tour. You never knew what you’re going to experience and that’s the fun of it.
Azaria + Ronnie …
In Italy the band was allowed to drive the Italian promoter’s boat drunk through the canals of Venice. It really is like stepping onto a UFO and having unidentifiable experiences…
TNR: You guys have played some amazing supports here in Australia + now you’re thinking about relocating to L.A. for a stint, (I know we’ve talked about this alot…)
So, what do you think is missing about the Australian music scene, apart from cash, audience + vision from record companies…? And the obvious lack of style + taste …
Is it just a numbers game as well, not enough people here to support indie music..?
ZAR: I could go on and on forever on this answer. Hahaha yes, we have spoken about this a lot.
Firstly, I would like to say even though we get few to zero radio play in Australia, we have loyal fans and have had alot of success in Australia in my mind because our shows have always been full, and we are very lucky and grateful in that respect.
I believe a Iive show is an intangible moment of time and is something experienced in the present between us and and the audience that can’t be taken away by the bean pushers and slave makers that want our country to listen to sleepy time hipster music zzzzzz boring.
We play Rock’n’Roll and aren’t apologizing for it.
Azaria + KJ Swillfest @Frankie’s pizza pic by Jessica Salt
Ronnie Simmons @ Black Cherry Halloween pic by Andrew Pittman
Once I was on tour with Marilyn Manson and he came up to me after after a show and told the shy nerd that was I …
” You know what we both have in common” he paused as I was waiting for a profound resolution … he then continued in all seniority and a serious straight face, “We both make music that makes chicks with black panties wet!”
So whenever I’m down about the crickets and wallpaper music on the radio in Australia and not hearing much too interesting I think to that comment, and in my head I think “Marilyn Manson thinks I’m cool”… reminds me when Millhouse from The Simpsons say’s “my mum thinks I’m the coolest kid in the playground” … ha ha ha.
Anyway, the point is, that the musicians I respect and grew up listening to have dug our band, and that means more to me than some guy who works at a radio station and hates your band for what ever reason. I love music, I love Australia and I hope that The ART work here one day. But for now, the tours we have done in our own country have been given to us by overseas bands requests.
The coolest kids in the playground … Zar flying on KJ’s shoulder mid gig + she can still play like the badass she is … pic by Vali Fuller-Quinn
We are being played on Radio station KROQ in the states by Rodney Bingenheimer “The Mare of the sunset strip” He was the guy that first introduced, Bowie, Joan Jett, Nirvana, etc, to American mainstream radio on his show on KROQ and tours can last up to 3 months in The States, so you get your music out to more people, also our management/label and publicist who actually gives a shit about us is based in the U.S. We are a working rock band… So, I guess you gotta go where the love is and where the work is. But in saying this, I hope it works for us one day in OZ.
Well, I do too … the struggle for original independent artists or any performing or visual artists here, who’d like to make a decent living from their craft, is an old one …
Most artists here do travel overseas to find an audience for their work + more opportunites, simply due to population + a larger cultural appreciation.
Personally, all of the Australian artists I really like in whatever discipline have left these shores in search of support + a place to practice their art, as the mainstream culture here for the most part doesn’t have the greatest range of aesthetics + there is way less cash being thrown around for The Arts than there is in say, sport.
You can basically have a Masters in Music or the performing or visual arts here + devote your life to your craft + but you will never be sponsored as much as the guy who can run really fast with a piece of pigskin.
The way to support artists is go to their live shows buy their music or their art + support their work.
THE ART @ Black Cherry Halloween pic by Jessica Salt
TNR: So you’ve been recording an E.P. did you write this new stuff in Europe or the U.S.A. ?
ZAR: The E.P is THE ART’s last group of songs we wrote + were playing live in the set in the European last tour. The recordings are live, recorded by Stevie Knight of Sydney band, The Dead Love and Shane Edwards of Electric Sun studios.
The Dead Love and THE ART often find ourselves playing shows together, so he really knows the songs and what this band is and how to capture a recording.
TNR: Do you find travelling is good inspiration for songwriting or does it just come naturally out of playing together alot?
ZAR: I do (find traveling good) for the initial idea of a song only. I need the noise to stop and the people to go away to finish a song! However, I’m always making up songs on the spot and singing them to whoever is around ha ha ha…!
TNR: The Neon Rebel section is about Australian music + film I always try + introduce Red Door readers to artists interviewed here …
So, if you were to sum up THE ART in a sentence, what would it be?
ZAR: THE ART is what it is, and aren’t what it aren’t. Life is art as art is life. Loud noises!
Don’t just YouTube us like a hipster wanking in front of a computer, fuck it for real and see a show!
p.s. I do see the irony of this sentence as this is an online readership hmmm maybe I need to think of something better to say..? Nope… too late, already said …
THE ART possess a great sense of humour as a band + about themselves individually… when you tour together + go through such intensity of relationships your humour is your armour + will get you through the shitty times + also allow you to soar so high on the good times.
When you see THE ART play live, their music + generous natures + awesome performances are the things that set them apart from other rock bands + makes this band one of Australia’s best exports + obviously given their loyal following + all the international bands that ask them to support them, they think so too!
THE ART live… “Figment Of Your Imagination” Skogsröjet Festival, Rejmyr Sweden (fan film)
THE ART pics by Chris Pollack
THE ART …
Azaria Byrne ~ vox + guitar
Jordan McDonald ~ drums
Ronnie Simmons ~ lead guitar
K.J. ~ bass
In My Life …
Interview with Mark McEntee from Divinyls about their music
+ the amazing Chrissy Amphlett…
Chrissy Amphlett (25.10.59 ~ 21.4.13)
+ Mark McEntee … Divinyls
I had a dream about a week after Chrissy Amphlett passed away, she was sitting in a park on a bench.
I found a Hopi Native American silver storyteller cuff bracelet in the grass + gave it to her, she put it on … She told me to “… talk to Mark.”
Then I found some gold bars + ruby rings in the same hole in the grass + I gave them away.
The meaning of this dream was clear to me, that even if I had all the money + riches in the world it doesn’t mean anything, you wont be happy if you are not doing what you love.
Chrissy loved her music + performing. A natural + a pure original.
I took her advice + I talked to Mark.
Growing up in Australia in the 80’s, everyone knew Divinyls. They were the rock band with the menacing chick singer with the neon blue tube mic stand in the school uniform + the wild haired blonde dude thrashing on guitar + they had the killer songs.
I remember “Boys In Town” was the first song of theirs I heard, I had it on a mixed tape (Yes really a tape, played over + over on a tape recorder, not the hipster phrase with a digital playlist!)
Its still such an iconic rock song, there was never anyone that sounded like Divinyls.
The look Chrissy had in this clip was her signature style, with red rock hair + long fringe she glared from under snarling, she would take this + the attitude that she really didn’t seem to give a fuck about what people thought of her, she just did what came naturally to her + became arguably Australia’s best rock female performer.
Chrissy had talent, beauty + a rare extraordinary voice that along with Mark’s guitar style gave the band their originality + edge.
Boys In Town From album Desperate
Written by Mark McEntee + Chrissy Amphlett
I asked Mark about their successful songwriting partnership + where their inspiration for those original songs came from …
“We just did what felt right… Chrissy was a poet, she could really write.
She would write whole songs. I could be writing a melody + chords in one room + she’d walk out of the other room with a beautiful poem + would just fit, boom, it would go… we didn’t have to try + work out which bits went where …
Like with Sleeping Beauty + Love School, she’d sorta hear music + be writing lyrics at the same time…
I guess you could say it was spiritual … the connection.
We were never that clever to use a formula… it was all about feel…”
Chrissie Amphlett live circa 1983
Mark said they had a very difficult time of it too. They had a much publicized volatile relationship. That really, they were like brother + sister they had a lot of very bad arguments but the band played much better when they were arguing. The tension + high emotions gave the band their intensity + rawness.
Chrissy owned the stage, strutting around with large theatrical gestures + blazing looks of fury + seduction. She was reknowned for diving into the crowd + provoking reactions, the schoolgirl persona gave her a bravado + freedom to express her musicality + sexuality. She was unpredictable, dangerous + seemingly batshit crazy. Totally rock’n’roll!
I asked Mark if he thought this quality in Chrissy’s live performances was a factor in people not always recognizing just how good she was as a songwriter.
“Yes I think so, she was like a rock poet y’know, she was like Bon Scott but more romantic. Chrissy was a real original with her lyrics, she wasn’t like a lot of girls these days she wouldn’t sing just anything, she created her own stuff …”
Elsie LIVE 1984 from album Desperate
Written by Mark McEntee + Chrissy Amphlett
I asked Mark about his + Chrissy’s favourite Divinyls songs if it was at all possible to pick a few, there are so many… He cited “Only Lonely”, “Science Fiction” + “Boys In Town” among the early stuff that he loved what they did together on these songs … + “Love School”, “Lay Your Body Down” + “Sleeping Beauty” as faves… “Talk Like The Rain” “is a cute lil fucker…”
None of these tracks sound anything like each other + yet they are all so distinctly Divinyls. The voice, the emotion + those guitars!
Chrissie Amphlett live circa 1989
I get stormy when things bore me
I get steamed up when you ignore me
I don’t need some blank sky staring back at me
I need a bad guy I want some electricity …
Love School LIVE 1993 from album Divinyls
Written by Mark McEntee + Chrissy Amphlett
I met Chrissy when I was a teenager doing a musical in Sydney in the same theatre she was doing the musical Blood Brothers.
I was both in awe + scared as hell.
She always looked like she would bite your head off at any moment but she was actually just always deep in thought preparing for her performance. Times I did speak with her she was always charming + beautifully eloquent.
I loved Chrissy in Divinyls, but when I saw her in Blood Brothers I couldn’t believe it, she was an incredible actor + she was singing like I’d never heard her before, she was amazing. I knew Chrissy could act after I saw the film Monkey Grip she had a major part in + featured Divinyls + their music as the soundtrack but her characterization in Blood Brothers was a complete transformation.
I remember one night, I was in the wings about to go on + someone walked up, I turned to look + it was Chrissy, she was staring so intently at the young actress on stage belting out the lead song + she sighed “phew” shaking her head obviously impressed at this singer’s power. It was a 15 year old Toni Collette in her first show.
Chrissy dropped by to see our show a few times, as we did hers, I was more blown away each time I saw Blood Brothers at just how she completely morphed into this character, that was so far away from the roaring tearaway rock’n’roller… given Chrissy’s early years in dance in the theatre + her naturally theatrical live performances with Divinyls, it was really no surprise she would be so good on stage in musicals.
She went on to star as Judy Garland in “The Boy From Oz” to much acclaim, which Mark jokingly said to me “ shouldve been called The Chick From Geelong!” Yeah!
Chrissy Amphlett + The Divynls in Monkey grip 1982
I asked Mark if he had one dream for Divinyls what was it or would it have been?
“You know really, it would be for Chrissy to get the recognition she deserves, for people to hear the songs that we liked, that would be cool … to hear her lyrics + get to know more of the songs not just the hits… Chrissy was a lot more deep than “I Touch Myself” + “Pleasure + Pain”, she had a hell of alot more to her. Her lyrics were so sensitive … she was a still pond than ran deep …”
Chrissy Amphlett ~ Rock Poet, singer, performer, actress …
Chryssie Amphlett passed away 21st April 2013, in her home in New York City from her battle with breast cancer + after a long struggle with Multiple Sclerosis.
She will always be remembered as Australia’s First Lady In Rock.
These days you’re doin’ very well
No time for me, well, I can tell
You live in heaven, I live in hell
Come down to earth, angel
These days you’re moving very fast
You treat me like I’m second class
You try + pass me by but I wont let you pass
Come down to earth, angel
Come Down To Earth (excerpt) from the album Underworld
The Divinyls Albums
1985: What A Life!
by: Melaine Knight – The Neon Rebel, 2013
A Sacred Flame ~ Vali Myers …
“like a comet burning bright and fast…” a personal retrospective
by: Melaine Knight.
Vali Myers 1930 ~ 2003
In one of my darkest times it was Vali who came to me… She came to me from beyond this plane from the spirit world, hearing my cry…
It was during this time I started to create some of my most personal music + lyrics + connected with the artist in me that lives during times of isolation + deep sadness …
At the time, it was winter, I was living on a mountain with my animal friends, a magpie + a snake… my partner at the time was mostly absent + I was there alone, chopping wood every night with the snake watching, he didn’t say much, silent + deep guy, making art + writing, trying to purge myself of all the emotions arising from loneliness + abandonment. It was in the first year after Vali’s passing + I was talking to her, about this life on the mountain… I could feel her presence around me + hear her speaking, she showed me this was real, coz there was moments I thought I was bonkers, I will explain …
For those that don’t know Vali Myers, she is an Australian artist, born in Sydney, a gypsy, bohemian, witch, a wild feminine flame … Vali was a self taught artist, all of her talent + inspiration coming from within + the natural world around her. She grew up in the bush, the closeness she developed with the land was fundamental to Vali’s awareness + from a young age (like myself) growing up in nature connects you to the spirits of the land + things unseen.
She took herself to Paris in the 1950s + hung out with artists in the cafés, most of her beautiful black + white ink drawings were done then. She held court at The Chelsea Hotel in New York thru the 60’s into the 80’s for stints where she sold her art but made her home in the wilderness of Positano, a valley on the coast of Italy with all her animals + consorts, where most of her works were produced.
Vali Myers, Chelsea Hotel NYC ~ by Joel Eskins circa late 60s
“Do like to put on my war~paint before beginning to draw. Its always like making love sweet and ecstatic, or like a battle…”
Vali’s persona + image for those that love her, is as mesmerizing + intoxicating as her art + all she stood for. Her makeup ritual each day was for her, the fabric of who she was.
She represents freedom not just for woman but for all our kind, she was named a “walkabout” spirit that always followed her heart + passion that people are inherently drawn to.
Vali wasn’t into dogma or social trends + always danced to her own tune wherever + whenever she wished… Vali loved to dance. She was the lead dancer of a Melbourne modern dance company before she left for Paris in 1949… She loved to ecstatically dance + hoot like an owl or jump high on all fours like her beloved Foxy, allowing her spirit to fly wild + connect with the greatness of all things…
Vali’s dreams + visions + raw shamanic relationship with nature was the subject of her art, her beautiful meticulous ink drawings + paintings accompanied by poetry were done with fine English nib pen attached to a goose feather, its beak dipped into Chinese Ink, watercolours + gold leaf on handmade paper …
Queen Of Thorns ~ Vali Myers 1973~74 (590x390mm)
Pen, ink, burnt sienna + watercolour
Lammas Tide 1958~64 (375x180mm)
Pen + ink
My personal connection with Vali started through one of my dearest friends an artist, who introduced me to the beingness of Vali…
She had become friends with her when she moved back to Melbourne + had a studio. She found a kindredness with Vali immediately + would visit her often + watch her draw in her cage + chat with her about life. Vali always had her cage, her sacred space where she made her art usually by night with an oil lamp, that symbolized
“the wild untamed heart within the ribcage…”
On one of her visits, it was my birthday + they sent me this card, it lives in the centre of my altar, one of my most cherished belongings …
Birthday card from Vali, 1996
Photo by Anthony Caronia 1993
Once Vali came into my life, I met many close friends who knew her + had visited her in Positano … like attracting like … of the same ilk …
During that winter on the mountain, one night I was completely despairing, writing a song, struggling with life + feeling totally tormented + stuck in my situation … I looked to my altar + asked Vali, where was the beauty, the inspiration..? I wished that I had her book of paintings, the limited edition hardcover that was out of print …
A clear feeling of her presence came around me + I heard her say
“there’s one there, just for you, Love…”
So I called Vali Myers Trust, they said they did not have any they were limited copies back in 1980 when the book was published, very occasionally they show up on ebay or somewhere if I was lucky but it would be quite pricey.
I looked on ebay + a hardcover book had just been put up for auction in the U.K!!
I didn’t know anything about ebay then, I was living in the trees, I was asking Vali what do I do, the answer was always…
“it’s yours, it’s a gift for you, don’t worry…”
I also didn’t have any money really, Id have to sacrifice the rent that week …
I contacted the seller to ask if he’d post to Australia + put in a little note how much I loved Vali’s art + he said he didn’t do international shipping but if I won it, he’d make an exception…
I guess you know the story … the book was mine, Vali said so, it was a race to the last 30 seconds, a bidding war, I nearly had a heart attack, but indeed we prevailed + the book was sent, mint condition, for the original cost back in 1980. I have only seen it turn up a couple of times since for hundreds of dollars.
I was so grateful for Vali, her magick + presence all through that time, showing me to believe in life greater than the physical… she still comes to me when I need a strong piece of advice from a warrior spirit or inspiration.
“Next person who makes me sad or mad is going to get it in the neck.”
Vali took up tattooing in the late 50’s in Paris, her already striking appearance intensified with face, hand + feet tattoos…
The figures in her artworks were often tattooed + the design style was already present in the flourishes + delicate ink work in her artworks.
She tattooed Patti Smith at The Chelsea Hotel in 1971. Patti was a collector of Vali’s art + was quite in awe of her, she too believed in the magic of destiny that brought Vali into her life… she tells in her amazing book “Just Kids”!
“Brooches and finger rings, not less than nose rings and tattooing are totems of primeval savageness which ever slumbers in humankind, civilized or uncivilized.”
Patti Smith photo by Robert Mapplethorpe 1973/75
Houdini 1971 (270x215mm)
Pen, ink + watercolour
After that long dark night of the soul, I left the mountain + had with me the most part of a album of songs.
One song was dedicated to Vali called The Quick + The Dead …
It was used on the soundtrack for a tv show here in Australia called Underbelly. It can also be found on a compilation called Ear Pleasure on Norwegian label Chill Tribe Records …
I love this photo of a live rock theatre show I did, sitting at the grand piano where Vali + I look like spirits hovering in space singing the song inspired by her, timeless, floating, a moment remembering this unforgettable lady…
The Quick + The Dead ~
Black and white
yet not defined
it’s the chequer board room of time
A caberet, diary of dreams,
played out in an ongoing scene
It tells of fortunes
and prophetic legends
released from flesh
with no control
who is narrator
and the tightrope walker?
Deep dark secrets
bodies get burned
Fury and fire are blood brothers
of the quick and the dead
A dark angel said …
When its as though there’s no use
your life has been reduced
to an uncertain truth
it’s the Quick and The Dead
And you face the truth
that its just no use
can be no excuse
for The Quick and The Dead
And you find no more use
for anything but truth
and you are reduced
to The Quick and The Dead
And things have been reduced
to having no truth
its beyond excuse for
The Quick and The Dead
Lyrics by Melaine Knight ©2007
from Vali Myers Diary
I could not complete this retrospective without showing my favourite artwork from Vali, if it’s even possible to have one, but the one that speaks to me, that I feel aligned to Vali from deep in my childhood, is through the Aboriginal dreaming + indigenous spirit of Australia.
The Bullroarer is a sacred instrument in Aboriginal cultures, it is considered secret men’s business in certain tribes used in initiation ceremonies + burials to ward off evil spirits. It represents the sound of The Rainbow Serpent of creation.
Bullroarer (1978-79) (425x340mm)
Pen, burnt sienna, black ink
Vali is just like that… powerful + free, an eternal spirit in tune with the land, dreaming her world into being …
Retrospective by: Melaine Knight – Neon Rebel, 2013
NEON REBEL –
ROCK’N’ROLL PHOTOGRAPHY IS THE NEW TRAINSPOTTING…
Interview with Legendary Rock’n’Roll Photographer, TONY MOTT…
BY: Melaine Knight
Kurt Cobain, Nirvana… by Tony Mott
John Lydon, P.I.L… by Tony Mott
KISS… by Tony Mott
Tony Mott is arguably Australia’s finest Rock’n’Roll photographer, certainly the most legendary, he has photographed all the big international acts in rock music from The Rolling Stones to Prince, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Queen, Guns n Roses + Madonna.
He also has an impressive catalogue of Indie bands both locally + overseas he has photographed capturing historic moments.
Originally from the U.K. Tony has been in Australia since the late 70’s. He is famous for his live shots + candid portraits, his ability to get musicians + rock stars to pose as pals or at least be comfortable enough that they let him into their intimate sphere.
Tony started photographing bands in the 80’s when Sydney had a vibrant + happening live music scene, that he cites as “the best in the world at that time…”
He got his chops up literally being out there + being part of the music scene he loved so much.
I met up with Tony + his gorgeous 4month old twin babies + over breakfast… we talked about his influences, stories, book release + upcoming exhibition in NYC…
“There’s no single influence…everything influences you…if I had to name people, Penny Smith would be my original influence, she was an NME, London photographer from the late 70’s, famous for her B+W grain photos of the punk period. Her most famous piece would be “London Calling”, The Clash’s album cover. I just went to see Mick Rock’s exhibition recently… it was inspirational…
Back in the late 80’s, early 90’s I spent a lot of time in New York, I think New York as a city is inspirational, its an adrenalin pumping city, that just makes you want to take photos…”
“I learnt photography as a direct result of traveling, I went to about 50 countries in 4 years in the late 70’s + I wanted to capture where I was traveling. I had an art student friend back in England + he did B+W portraits + I got him to teach me basic black + white photography…”
Chryssie Amphlett, The Divinyls… by Tony Mott
It was never a calculation with Tony to become a famous rock photographer. It was literally through a love of music, going to see a lot of live shows regularly in Sydney, namely The Divinyls + in particular photographing lead singer, Chryssie Amphlett, that he got his break. Through trial + error, by the time someone asked to see his photos, he was pretty good.
Young people are always asking him how to get a press pass to shoot Lady GaGa or whoever, they never seem to want to shoot local bands + talent + work their way up. Paying dues has always been something that the music + entertainment industry respects + mostly you need to understand the beast before you can successfully play with it.
We go on to talk about how Tony’s career grew with the beginnings of the festival culture which first emerged at the end of the 80’s /early 90’s. Having learnt his trade in the sweaty pubs of Sydney with the bad lights, to get access to such a wide array of bands at once was wonderful. These days of course, it is the way + it has, in many respects been a contributing factor that killed the local live music scene, certainly here in Sydney, along with electronic dance music culture.
Tony talks about how it is a photographer’s dream to tour on a festival with bands, with the familiarity + time spent, you can develop that all important rapport that is so needed for those killer shots. It’s so difficult to find that connection instantly, no matter who the artist is, when you just meet in a hotel room + have 5 minutes. Tony does do this all the time though, it goes with the territory, but says if he has an hour with an artist he’d prefer to spend 35 minutes chatting with them + 25 minutes at the end photographing…
“ I always say there’s 3 things to get that rapport going…
one is, talking about music, breaks a barrier so they’re interested, I give them a copy of my book, so they can see Ive photographed lots of famous musicians, they like that, two is humour + three, is alcohol … when they’re really difficult, a combination of all three…”
Iggy Pop… by Tony Mott
Mick Jagger, The Rolling Stones… by Tony Mott
Mick Jagger once said to me “always treat rock stars like ordinary people + ordinary people like rockstars + you’ll be fine…”
That’s not to be disrespectful but so one can achieve that one on one connection.
Knowing Tony’s photography background I had to ask the all important question, Film or Digital?
“I was dragged into digital kicking + screaming and I still love film but once Nikon brought out the Nikon D3, I got converted to digital, its an amazing camera, its so susceptible to light… I do always feel I’m cheating coz its so bloody easy with a digital camera + that’s the greatest thing about the digital camera, the ease… you still have to have the eye + understand lighting but all the shots come out!
In the days of film, when you shot a live concert, if you got 10-20% back that were useable, you were happy, if you got 6 killer shots, that’s a great night, where as now, its almost ridiculous how much you get back…
On the other hand, you can process digitally to make it look like you shot on film, its ironic, we go through this whole process to end up looking like it did when we started but that’s fine. The huge difference + advantage of using digital, is the expense. It doesnt cost anymore to take unlimited photos apart from time.
When I’m doing portraits, I still try + shoot a roll of black + white, the one thing I love is a grainy black + white portrait, its better than a digital…
From a purely work point of view companies wont wear the expense of shooting on film… in my early days record companies used to print up black + white 8x10s for meet + greets, now they send it out digital on the net… digital has changed things…”
We get to talking about the spontaneity that is a factor in shoots. As a photographer, one is always noting locations for prospective shoots + seeing things in frames, many photographers do a lot of preproduction, Tony isn’t one for scouting locations too much + uses that spontaneity in his work, he says he is a great believer that he can shoot anyone anywhere, that everywhere is a potential location because ultimately,
“the subject you’re photographing is way more important than the location”
Bjork… by Tony Mott
Tony is married to Libby Sharpe, a film production manager (Animal Kingdom, Australia) + these days he is shooting stills on films which is a completely different photography gig to doing rock shows. The process involves an enormous amount of patience waiting for the moment to jump in + interrupt their filming process + learning to read the call sheet is important to navigate possible times for shots. He says it can also be a photographer’s dream as the D.O.P (Director of Photography) on set has already lit the scene, so one only has to take the shots + not think about all those other elements.
Tony has just recently done stills on “A Few Best Men”, directed by Stephan Elliot (Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert) with Olivia Newton John.
He said the huge fundamental difference technically between music photography + that on a film set is
“when shooting for a music cover, like Rolling Stone, one of the most important things in rock’n’roll photography is eye contact, to get it straight down, eye down the barrel, film is the opposite because theoretically the camera’s not there, you are just documenting…”
Tony Mott is in New York in October launching his photography book
“Rock’n’Roll Photography Is The New Trainspotting – A Retrospective Of Work From The Last 30 Years” + an exhibition of accompanying works…
Opening night is Tuesday 18th October + goes for 2 weeks at
Red Bull Space, 40 Thompson St (at Watts St) Soho, subway A,C,E,1 to Canal St
The Cult Of Venus…
By: Melaine Knight.
Sam Townsend a.k.a Venus Mantrap
The Cult Of Venus… Editorial, Melbourne 2008
The Neon Rebel loves a multi-talented artist that finds ways to express innate creativity over many disciplines.
Sam Townsend is one such artist.
Photographer, performer + writer are but a few of the award winning talents Sam has.
Sam’s alias Venus Mantrap is an edgy rocknroll motherfucker. Think Ziggy Stardust meets Justin Bond, a smart, witty entertainer who can hold down the M.C. role + get a venue rocking out.
I was interested in asking Sam about his creative processes + what drives him to express through a particular medium…
“I remember being a student in my late teens at college and taking photography and film making classes. I’ve always loved the ‘captured’ image and during this time I realized that some mediums express what you’re trying to say better than others.
That was a really important lesson for me…
understanding the power that certain mediums hold over a viewer or audience.
For me it’s about being sensitive to the creative process and treating your ideas and concepts like a collage or jigsaw puzzle, they need to be moved around until they find their place, whether it’s in a photographic image, piece of writing, a performance or film.”
I find this to be the essential quality of the artist, the ability to be a channel for creative energy to flow through the vehicle + effortlessly move between mediums.
Given Sam’s broad spectrum I ask him what artists he cites as his main influences…
“I like to cast my net far and wide and take inspiration from all art forms…
Photographically my hero’s would be Wolfgang Tillmans and Nan Goldin. I loved Sam Taylor Woods Crying Men series too. Outside of photography, I draw huge amounts of inspiration from performers like Meow Meow, Joan Rivers and Justin Bond. I need comedy and balls in my life! I have a huge crush on the iconoclastic hot mess that is Christeene Vale. Her live shows need to be seen.
Also, it’d be rude not to mention the greatest artistic Ménage à trios to ever bless us with their greatness. I’m talking about Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe and Sam Wagstaff. Obviously Robert and Sam are no longer with us but their contributions to the world of photography and art, not to mention their boldness and bravery in pushing the lives and lifestyles of gay men into the picture (so to speak) must be acknowledged. As for Patti, she is still as potent as ever. She single handedly encourages me to carry on.
I share Sam’s deep reverence for Patti Smith.
In 2008, creative pursuits were fused when Sam exhibited a photography series in a group show + Venus Mantrap opened the public art exhibition,
Domain – Canberra, a City for the Future.
Donned in a suit with a wedding vale, Venus recontextualized Patti Smith’s 1978 political anthem, Rock N Roll Nigger.
“The fight for equality was ripe and the sentiment seemed perfect
I don’t fuck much with the past, but I fuck plenty with the future.”
The Cult Of Venus… Editorial, Melbourne 2008
In the same year, Sam was in a group exhibition, Parade: Manufacturing Selves in Photography, curated by Dr. Martin Jolly.
Fannii Minogue Starring In… was a collection of images of one of Sam’s aliases “Fannii Minogue” a character who’d suicided backstage during one of her performances the previous year. The images capture a fragile lonesome heroine off stage in hotel rooms, out of the glare of nightclub strobes.
Fannii Minogue Starring In… Photograph by Sam Townsend 2008
Exhibition: Parade: Manufacturing Selves in Photography, A.N.U School of Art Gallery. A.C.T 2008
I was fortunate enough to be in Melbourne when Sam had a photography exhibition happening, + got to see it up in the space. I asked him about the inspiration behind “Boys In Spaces”…
“Boys in Spaces was a series I made for an exhibition that existed on the fringe of the Midsumma Festival, Melbourne’s annual celebration of queer culture. I thought it was important to explore the darker or more sleazy side of gay male sexuality. The viewer becomes an active element in the work as they are invited to participate by using their imagination, which I think is quite fun.”
“Boys In Spaces” Photographic Series, Samuel Townsend 2010
Besides this strong narrative, Sam has a strong horizontal geometric theme that leads the eye towards the light source, how much is that an emotional feeling you are shooting or a deliberate technique in theme you are exploring?
“Yeah, it’s a total emotional reaction that I have to existing spaces. I was explaining to my class the other day that I never construct a scene or manipulate an image with lighting techniques. I get off on the visceral reaction I have to an interior space or a landscape. It’s a beautiful thing when the elements align to show you a scene or an unfolding dialogue. “
Sam’s love of unfolding dialogues continued into 2010, when he took off to Austin, Texas for a semester of cultural exchange study. He documented his travels with hilarious installments of his personal journals entitled Postcards From Texas. He is working towards a solo exhibition this year that focuses on his time living in America with a collection of new photographic images that serve as a visual link to Postcards…
“Everyone in my classes seem smart, so I’m fitting in nicely. NOT! I do my best to look as if I comprehend what’s happening, when really all that’s whizzing
around my head are questions like… ‘I wonder if Winona Ryder has some sort of passive income to live off? She hasn’t really worked much since Reality Bites.’ Hopefully I’ll be able to charm them with my Aussie accent and big teeth…” (excerpt from Postcards From Texas Vol 2)
The Cult Of Venus… Editorial, Melbourne 2008
It also coincided with the birth of his online fortnightly zine, Mothership, which celebrates the philanthropic works of iconic female figures in pop music, such as Madonna, Patti Smith, Cyndi Lauper + Tori Amos.
“The concept was born from the nauseating saturation of tabloid trash and celebrity gossip that seems to feed the masses.”
Sam is also in the working stages of writing his first book …
“When I came back to Australia after some exciting adventures in America I came down with the post holiday blues. I took off on a road trip to the south coast to spend some time with my aunty and uncle who are both artists. We were having lunch down on the beach and as I looked out across the lagoon this story started downloading itself into me. I remember feverishly blurting out to my aunty and uncle, ‘Wow, this is the most amazing setting for a romance! Imagine two men escaping their city lives over the summer and setting up camp on either side of the river… and meeting in the water!’
The story has a working title, Drawn by Water, and I’m plodding away at it. But don’t hold your breath!”
The desire for travel + enriching experiences as inspiration is so much a part of the very fabric of a creative life. The broadening of one’s view of the world + the lens through which we can document our passions + understandings drives us to constantly evolve. Sam told me about his dream to travel to regional Indigenous Australia…
“During my Masters at the university of Melbourne, I took an elective subject that dealt with Australian Indigenous Education. I’ve always had an interest in Indigenous history and with this comes a feeling of frustration, mostly in regards to the lack of awareness or understanding that white Australians hold towards our Indigenous communities.
Obviously, I would be there in an educational capacity as a teacher, yet my real motivation for wanting to move to the Northern Territory is born from a desire to educate myself in their histories and cultures. I have family and friends whose knowledge and perspective is very warped on these issues, all thanks to mistruths and shallow illustrations created by the media. I’d like the ability to share an alternative perspective through lived experiences…”
A refreshing outlook, where balance exists for this artist, whether Sam is watching cabaret in New York, doing his own glamour rock’n’roll shows or shooting intimate personal narratives + vulnerability or learning to empathise with the lives of those closest to the vast land he sprung out of, its clear a dedication to Art + her creative living process is why Venus is the brightest star in the sky.
By: Melaine Knight, Neon Rebel – Red Door Magazine, 2011.
The Poetry Issue… Alternate Realities
I want to dedicate this Neon Rebellion to the people of Japan, + send them our Love + Prayers xxx
Donations + messages can be left @Yoko Ono’s site: http://imaginepeace.com/home
Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
“Others call you love, I call you the king of love; O you who are
higher than the imagination of this and that, go not without me…”
Sacred Art + Divinations…
Interview with Zoriaan
Great artists have always drawn from their mystical experiences.
It is their communication with the Divine + the soul’s inner deeper knowledge that has given them strength, ability, vision + a unique voice to deliver the message from a world beyond mundane day to day living, something that can inspire the masses + fuel hearts.
They have sought to portray their communion through their art.
Zoriaan is a metaphysical artist from Australia who is also a practicing sound + light energy healer. He produces static artwork in the mediums of photography, calligraphy, sketches + sound recordings.
He has an arts trained background, holding a Batchelor of Media Arts + has spent a great deal of time in Northern California over the last years doing performances + workshops at festivals + events that inspire, activate + produce mass healing in people.
In metaphysical circles Zoriaan is called a channeler. To most non-metaphysical people or non- lightworkers the whole idea of channeling seems allusive + difficult to believe in… People struggle with their beliefs on the spirit world, of Life + Death in general, let alone deal with the reality that people interact with the spirit world at will + make art + music from that place, with the intention to heal + uplift others.
I asked Zoriaan to explain the physical fundamentals of what happens when he focuses on this process…
“Ultimately I can feel a vibration within my body, its like a very fast engine or something, it runs up and down my body and through my skull…
I express that vibration through writing a type of script of symbols and codes with calligraphy pens.
(With sound work) Vocally, I allow the vibration to move through my mouth and combined with breath, air and vibration, a type of language is produced, that in its core I feel comes from purely vibration and frequency. Sometimes this language would feel to be coming from some ancient stories from another timeless dimension or space, other times it feels like it is purely initiating or healing with its sound. I can also write it in English (the information that is script).”
[sound samples see…]
I asked Zoriaan when did he start producing art from a conscious metaphysical inspiration?
“Vocally it started coming through around 2004 during an Ayahuasca ceremony. And then I began writing the script with calligraphy inks on paper directly after another ceremony in 2007… “
Ceremony is an integral part of the lives of people who honor the Way of the Spirit,
all the indigenous tribes of this planet have all used art to portray their spiritual beliefs + cosmology + how they fit within the great wheel of life.
The Ayahuascero shamans originating from Amazonian Columbia + Peru always used the Ayahuasca plant (or vine) in ceremony for divinatory + healing purposes to commune with the spirit world + understand the nature of reality.
[Their art is documented so profoundly by the recently late José Argüelles (24.1.1939- 23.3. 2011), shows the levels of layers of how they see reality + life.]
Zoriaan’s relationship to the plant + it’s ceremony ignited a deep memory within him that helped initiate to birth the language + sound that comes through him now…
[see keywords Ayahuasca ceremonies, shamanism…]
I asked Zoriaan if there was a difference in his process of making art from when he is not “channeling” pieces?
“I guess to me its always been coming through myself, ever since I was around 22 after I had a random accidental kundalini experience.
[Kundalini (kuṇḍalinī, Sanskrit: कुण्डलिनी) literally means coiled. Kundalini is described as a sleeping, dormant potential force in the human organism. It is described as being coiled up at the base of the spine…Through meditation, and various esoteric practices, such as yoga, the kundalini is awakened, and can rise up inside or alongside the spine. The progress of kundalini through the different chakras leads to different levels of awakening and mystical experience, until the kundalini finally reaches the top of the head, producing an extremely profound mystical experience.]
Nowadays I can sit and focus to intentionally do a specific piece on call, where in earlier years it would just come through at certain random moments, and in a way it was out of my control. I have learnt to be able to raise the frequency in my body through a focused mediation and open the channel.
This was encouraged by friends and once I realized I could do that then I also started to work in live performances across the world.”
The performances Zoriaan does involve him using the language + sound toning to create a space + field. He has collaborated with other artists + musicians performing + channeling pieces to thousands of people at a time.
Can you relay some of the experiences you witnessed people having in these events & your own?
“It’s hard to say what I have seen, as I have never really been able to see the audience and am usually out of my body while I am performing. But I have had people tell me that they have had Kundalini experiences during it, also people cry, many people seems to think it comes from an alien place, or it sounds to various different people like languages from many different cultures combined into one. People seem to say they know the language, its as though it sparks a memory inside them of a part of themselves they have forgotten.
Mainly I see it as inspiration for others to open themselves up to allowing their own consciousness to expand. This is my hope that with this work I can provide some type of keys that can help people in this powerful time on earth right now to remember their full potential as humans.”
“Anka” (collaboration with Anka)… digital with ink calligraphy
With all the massive earth changes happening now, do you see artists at the forefront of unifying humanity?
“I see artists & musicians as having the same, if not more influential power as anyone in government. A musician sending out revolutionary messages to thousands of people in an audience or on TV, online etc can help influence massive change. Artists working in all forms of media can dream and shape concepts and deliver them to the world through the internet now on a mass scale.
I feel that at this time right now on earth, Humanity is going through a major awakening and shift in consciousness. Each and every person has a gift to share to help redesign and birth a new paradigm that is happening now. I feel that the earth changes are happening to restore balance on earth, not to destroy us. As each earth change or natural disaster happens, we must align our hearts to the people and the land of where it is happening, this psychic focus combined with compassion, I feel does something to an invisible grid-form across the planet which will hold a frequency and that at the right time it will open up a multidimensional reality for all humans on earth. And balance will be restored on both personal and environmental levels.”
Zoriaan facillitates international healing workshops called Keys Of Light + can be contacted through his blog Wings Of Elysium… regarding future workshops, performances, art + private healing sessions.
Neon Rebel – correspondent
by melaine knight
twit me: http://twitter.com/#!/TheNeonRebel
Girl’s got POWER!!!!!
Interview with Gemma Lee…
Multi-talented Australian director, writer + multi skilled artist illustrator/designer, Gemma Lee is out there doing some amazing work. It has been said of this uber talented gal that her directing style is street-chic + provocative. She combines beautiful art direction with an extraordinary graphic eye + creative innovation.
She is currently making her own films heading up a production company, writing + directing + working with top-drawer clients directing music videos + television commercials.
I met Gemma recently in Melbourne at an opening for new swimwear label,
“Muther Of All Things.” Gemma had just made a fashion film for the brand,
which is really the hottest thing in Fashion P.R. right now + cutting edge in cross promoting art, fashion, music + style.
I asked Gemma about her artistic work + being a girl in the Industry…
What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
I’ve always loved film as a medium to communicate. I actually started out as a visual artist and I studied drawing and painting at university. I found painting restrictive and even before I knew that I wanted to become a filmmaker I was dabbling in digital and video art. Not long after I finished art school I got really into European and Dogma movies and this fueled my desire to become a storyteller.
I still see myself as an artist, however my medium is now the moving
image. My aim is to capture reality, both honest and beautiful, with film.
Apart from Gemma’s abilities as a director + writer she is also an amazing graphic artist + illustrator, she also holds a Masters in Narrative storytelling which gives her amazing insight into working with actors.
Is it to have so many feathers in your cap in this country to stay in constant work..?
I tend to go a little crazy if I’m not constantly making something. If I don’t
feel exhausted and creatively drained at the end of the week then I don’t feel
content. For me it’s not about what the industry wants, I just really love finding
different ways to express myself. I really enjoy collaborative nature of
filmaking, working with other artists whether they are composers, production
designers or other people in my industry.
In the past my art and illustration have been quite separate to my filmmaking,
this is something I intend to change this year. I’m working on creating media that
is cross platform and using some of my fine art training to inspire some more
conceptual film work.
Fashion films are doing that exactly now. In this era of social networking + multimedia, cross pollinating is a given. Think the new Thierry Mugler menswear collection with Lady GaGa at the creative music helm or Dior’s collaboration with French DJ producer’s Justice…how did you hook up with Muther Of All Things?
I met Joceline and Marisa when I was on a short vacation to Byron and I was
staying with artist David Bromley. (David also created a unique set of painted surfboards for the collection, used at the opening + through the fashion film.) Bromley told me about the girls and their new brand and I though what they were doing sounded pretty cool. I asked if I could meet them and the following evening we all got together for drinks and spent the entire night discussing art, film and fashion. That night we came up with idea of collaborating on a film that would capture the spirit of the brand and also sell the unique lifestyle of Byron.
I wanted to create three distinct characters, each girl needed to have their own
individual style and personality. The three models were street cast and are Byron
Bay locals. We crafted the concept for the film over many phone conversations in
the lead up to the shoot. It was an extremely enjoyable collaboration.
How is it as a woman working in production the predominantly male film industry?
There are not enough female directors; I’m not quite sure why this is.
I don’t like to distinguish myself as a female director. I don’t see what I do as any
different from any male director out there. However, before I got into the
industry I did feel that it might be a hindrance. I had an image of a director in
my mind as a script-weilding bearded man! I think directors like Kathryn Bigelow
have helped change the perception that it’s a male industry and I hope more women
are inspired to give it a go.
Gemma has just finished a short film called The Bride, which will be entering into
local and international film festivals and is involved with a feature film
project that will hopefully go into production soon. Until then you can find her making TV commercials and music videos and looking for some interesting collaborations. Travel is on the cards this year to work and, as always, be creatively challenged. Personally Im hoping I might get to work with this extremely talented lady on something soon!!!!
By Melaine Knight, 2011.
Ly de Angeles… Wings
A black comedy about The Angel Of Death…
Music by Mojo Juju & The Snake Oil Merchants
Neon Rebel – Melaine Knight
Writer, director, mystic tarot reader, witch… almighty force of female, that is
Ly de Angeles…
On paper Ly’s bio is at first impressive + arresting + then you delve further + you realize this is one of those people that have come to this planet to help with its enlightenment…
Im not saying this in a hippy dribble kind of way either, there is nothing dribble about Ly… or her work!
In the last 10 years she has written 7 screenplays + published over 11 books, been awarded + accoladed + shared her prophetic vision through her creative offerings + individual readings.
In person Ly is a tiny lady with a huge energy field + a lot to say.
When she reads your tarot she’s always accurate + she doesn’t mess around.
Wings is the latest offering from Ly de Angeles + Full Story Productions.
It has been said that “ it is both awful + beautiful at the same time…
parts are very funny, others break your fucking heart..”
It follows the story of the Angel Of Death…
I have a personal empathy to this film, the Angel Of Death is rocking my huge black archangel wings I made many years ago, they were always destined for him!
The film is currently in its last stages of production…
I asked the Lady Ly about her new creative baby…
Given you are an esoteric writer, master reader of the tarot + deep magic woman, how much of your characters in Wings reflect the understandings you have of the human condition?
“Heaps. I don’t want to give the plot away but what I do know is that in our small part of the universe we have a major problem with accepting the inevitability of death and therefore disdain that which is natural…
Advertising and even many health practitioners don’t help, making being dead out to be almost criminal just like aging. This attitude makes us sick while living…
It evokes fear, it’s like Santa. Is that obscure? Think about it. I shudder. We don’t eat unless we kill something. None of this is in denial of grief. We all despair.”
It’s obvious where Ly’s point of view sits… accepting the cycles of life like the cycles represented in the tarot. Many people might consider this viewpoint dark or negative + yet, is it not the denial Ly speaks of that is in fact dark + negative? In accepting all life one can accept the light + dark equally without the conflict of duality, which lies at the heart of the man’s struggle with his own humanity + the collective condition.
What were you’re main inspirations for “Wings”?
“It came out of the blue, complete, between the bathroom and the bedroom one night about two months ago. Everything fell into place so completely that it is all so totally supernatural…
Lots of people around here died lately. Most young. The angel started out just plain hillarious and a little bit arrogant. Shit, did, he teach me something! He’s brilliant. You’ll love him.”
Its true. A lot of young people have passed lately in Ly’s hometown of Mullumbimby, New South Wales, a country town in Byron Bay Shire, where the film was shot. The community is reknowned for being tight knit + alternative in it’s thinking, it attracts a certain type of person, looking for some spiritual discovery + closer bond with nature.
It is not uncommon to find a couple of hundred people dancing in the bush all night long to loud techno music on a solstice, celebrating life + freedom of expression or these days with authority restrictions, at least several drumming circles… so when one of its young kin passes the whole town shows up in memorial grieving the loss of its own.
We’re living in some pretty intense times, 2012 bolting around the corner, with prophesies of great planetary change afoot, how do you see the themes in your films reaching + affecting the mainstream public?
“It’s art. It’s all about the art. It’s like the 6 o’clock news meets Rembrandt…”
At least, that’s the vision. We’ll all know when the editing’s done and the soundtrack is attached. Oh, talking of soundtrack some of the music is by Mojo Juju and what were the Snake Oil Merchants. She’s so clever. The experience of film is about sensation. Feeling. We give you feeling!”
When is the film due out + what hopes do you have for its release?
“Completion date is early February for the film festival circuit. There’s a whole video been shot of the Making of Wings by Eliot Hall, that’ll be available on the website early next year.”
Keep checking into both websites for film release dates + where this beauty is gonna fly…
“Wings” feature film
GO GCUMHDAÍ IS DTREORAÍ NA DÉITHE THÚ
“May the gods guard and guide you”
By Melaine Knight
Red Door NY, 7th issue.
New film by young Award winning Aussie director Adam Wareham
Adam Wareham just turned 30 + already has been working in the film industry for over 12 years, honing his directing skills by wearing a variety of hats in the production world including writing, editing, camera & production.
His passion lies behind the camera as a film director + is for great film making.
His first film, which he wrote & directed, was officially selected into theLos Angeles International Short Film Festival (2006), titled Charlie & Ginger. Adam was then commissioned by Jam Music to direct a multi-camera shoot, capturing the buzz and hype of Good Vibrations Music Festival (2007). Following on from there he wrote & directed his second self funded short film, called Broken Glass (2010).
Adam’s work reflects his talent of creating stories that take the viewer on an emotional and real journey, harnessing strong talent direction and the ability to capture beautiful images, even in the everyday life.
Broken Glass looks at the journey of a young teenage mother + her struggle with motherhood + life as an ordinary teenager + her choices that affect the future,
Adam shows an amazing sensitivity in capturing Lou’s story, for such a young male director, as the perspective of the story is intensely female, I asked Adam about his inspiration for the film + how he researched the psychology behind it…
“When I set out I didn’t really say to myself “This is my subject and I HAVE to talk about it”, it grew from snippets I had bouncing around, I had always talked about these ideas with my mates and partner…
At the time of writing I had a close friend give birth to a baby girl (who ended up in the movie!) and I saw how hard it was for her to cope with her new found role as a mother and she was as well equipped as anyone. It made me think, if its hard for her, then what is it like for someone who has nothing and or no one, especially a young girl who has her whole life ahead of her.
I found this one website where young mothers from all over the world wrote about their experiences and struggles. Some stories were truly shocking and gut wrenching to say the least …
I read this one story that stuck in my mind of a fifteen year old girl in the USA and her struggles of young motherhood and dealing with the drop kick father who rather than supporting her, he mocked her. He came and went for months and she let him do so until one day he never returned. Her closing line was about how happy she was to finally have a new guy who cared for her and her son. She went on to say…
“ He likes to get drunk and kiss other girls…. But beggars cant be choosers huh and I love him…” That stayed with me for a long time.
The sad thing was most stories that I read the father was never around and never really would be either – that’s why I decided not to feature the dad in this story.
As I grew up in a predominantly male household, I suddenly found myself surrounded by women, many from my partner’s side of things…
I drew inspiration from the women I have around me… I was fascinated by their strengths, their weaknesses, their habits & their stories…
My partner’s sister was 15 at the time I was making the film, so I watched her with a keen eye, asked her questions, watched the way she communicated with her mum and her sister (my partner). I took photos of her bedroom for reference, the posters, the mess & anything else that jumped out to me. I asked her about her experiences with friends also.
As with all my scripts, the characters really write it themselves. I sit down with my pen in hand and hope that they will take me on their journey, rather than me forcing them down a certain path, I let them lead me.”
Adam was just 22 when he made his first short feature Charlie + Ginger, that was selected for the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival (2006), not bad for the first thing you ever write,clearly this boy’s got things goin on…I asked him about how his process of making Broken Glass differed from Charlie + Ginger…
“It was very different… While I’m very proud of what I did with “Charlie & Ginger” I think the lack of development shows in parts… I didn’t do any kind of script development and the story didn’t change at all from the first draft. I just wrote it and shot it. “Broken Glass” preparation was much more thorough, from the script process to the final sound mix. If there is one thing I learnt from my first film, the camera doesn’t miss a thing and certainly doesn’t lie. So I spent a lot more time with reference to art direction, wardrobe & the overall vibe of the picture…
It’s been a long time between drinks, 6 years in fact, and there was a lot of growing to be done, personally and professionally at that time. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t want to wait this long between films but when you’re doing it independently with no budget besides your own wallet (which has some BIG holes in it) its very difficult to get anything made.”
All artists feel the challenge of starting out + trying to get things off the ground without patronage, Australia is a small country in population + its Arts have always struggled to exist without the supportive numbers, I asked Adam his thoughts on being an artist, plus young filmmaker living in Australia, how he saw himself in the current landscape?
“Unfortunately filmmaking in Australia is very dire, we have everything we need here, great locations, talented crews, up and coming writers, directors & actors but for some reason there is very little happening in the way of film.
Australia should be producing great work much more often than it is which to me is very sad since there have been some brilliant Australian films in the past.
The Australian film industry needs a big kick up the backside because I believe we have a sleeping giant that needs to be woken.
I’d love to be the one who does it, but to me it feels like if you want to do anything in this industry at a creative level you best start looking overseas. In saying that, give me one shot at making an Aussie feature and I’d take it with both hands.”
Broken Glass is just about to be sent out to the international festival circuit, I personally couldn’t stop thinking about it for days, it was a really powerful + entertaining piece, Adam has an uncanny ability to capture movement + emotion in his camera angles, picking up the biorhythms of his characters + drawing you in… when it ended, I wanted to see more!
If his past accolades continue to pave his golden path, we can pretty much bet that we will see both of this young maverick’s hands making an amazing badass Aussie feature very soon!