Summer in Athens, 2012. New video upload.

In this video, we see representative clips of the great variety of street musicians in Athens. We take an upbeat tone, edited for ease on the mind, leaving out the gangrenous swollen legs of the begging junkies and all of that because it’s a drag. Here is the kind of Balkan weirdness Athens is best at.

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JJ La Rue Memorial Page

On this day, July 15, 1998 JJ La Rue (nee Janet Beth Shulnes) left this shabby film set and set about continuing the rest of her journey somewhere we cannot know. She had been my heart’s delight and my boon companion for 18 years. We had endured some cruelly lean years, we travelled the world and we laughed a hell of a lot. Now I dream of her often.

On this date every year, I like to evoke the memory of the wave in the great sea of being that temporarily bore her name. Damn, girl! Wish you were here!

JJ La Rue Memorial Page and gallery.

My 59th Birthday

Me before my gastroscopy in the hospital holding pen.

Yes, friends, Tuesday, July 10,2012 marks the 59th anniversary of the birth of Blaine Leslie Reininger, your humble narrator, your working boy, me. On this day in 1953 at Corwin Hospital in Pueblo, Colorado I fought my way out of Virginia Reininger. nee Vigil and was displayed to Blaine Morton Reininger who no doubt thought that I would do, though I was covered in blood and mucus.

If astrology is to be believed, the following people must somehow be exactly like me since we all share a birthday.

Nikola Tesla 1856

Tesla before his mobile telephone prototype.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fred Gwynne, 1926

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marcel Proust, 1871

 

 

 

 

 

and Finally

Neal Tennant of the Pet Shop boys, born a year later in 1954

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here are some others I am too lazy to supply links to

  • David Brinkley 1920
  • Jake La Motta 1921
  • Arlo Guthrie 1947
  • John Calvin, 1509

Members Area

Today, on the eve of a trip to Crete to play with legendary Greek musician Psarantonis, I am diddling around trying to put a vip area up on mundoblaineo. I am uncertain to what end. I suppose all shall be revealed.

There is a members area of the blog and a password-protected area of the website proper.

This may be found here VIP AREA. Now you know.

 

Japanese weirdness

It’s been a long time since I was in Japan. I first went there in 1986 on a Crepuscule package tour and then again in 1988 with Tuxedomoon. We were all floored by the impenetrable alien blade-runner sci-fi jetlagged out and out weirdness of the place. Memorable sights: David Byrne cavorting in his big suit on television to sell canned iced coffee, a crucified pop singer multiplied a thousandfold on the inhouse video network at Parco, the massive Tokyo department store atop which we played in 1988. Too much.

Steven came up to me on the bullet train with a strange triangular origami object. On the back he had written “On this planet this is a drinking cup.”

These videos will prove that things haven’t changed over there.

JPCMHD 2.0The largest online database of japanese commercials in high definition ready to… WATCH!

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Uneasy Listening New Bandcamp Release!

NEW BANDCAMP RELEASE TODAY!!

“Uneasy Listening is the result of my 1999 collaboration with Athens stalwart Coti K. a few months after we finished “The More I Learn the Less I Know”. In September of that year I had been approached to do a show at a now-defunct club in Psirri called “Pinakothiki”. I asked Coti along and we decided to write all-new material for the occasion. We set to work at his studio in Pangrati, armed with my newly acquired random sentence generating program “Fiction Magician”, my trusty Japanese 5-string violin and his new Nord Modular synthesizer.
Our sessions were amazingly prolific, songs flowing forth from our fingers with slippery ease. In ten days it was ready to perform.
Coti had the foresight to record the live show, and we were so pleased with the results, we decided to release it as a CD. As Coti suggested we say on the sleeve

“Uneasy Listening was performed live somewhere in the 20th Century by BLR and CK.”

And now you can download it here.”

Greek TV Documentary about Blaine L. Reininger

This documentary was aired in 2009 on Greek television on the venerable Greek documentary series “Paraskinio”. Titled “Blaine L. Reininger an American Friend” it was directed by my friend George Skevas, whom I met while filming with Nicholas Triandafyllidis in 1994.

I relate my story, Tuxedomoon’s story, and other stories that swim by my mind’s eye and I even polish my violin. There is a lot of Tuxedomoon concert footage and clips from other documentaries about us, including Steven Brown’s DVD from his video “The Super 8 Years” and clips from my Greek movie work.

Did anyone actually see the candidate eat the rat?

I have been looking for this cartoon for years. It made a lasting impression on me. It is by a cartoonist named M.K. Brown and it ran in the National Lampoon in August 1972. I hope it is sufficiently legible that I won’t have to explain it. Put Romney’s head there (or one of the more rabid contenders) and you will see that this cartoon is not dated in the slightest.

The candidate eats rat.

Build the Enterprise (Geeks Ahoy!)

I am from the generation which grew up watching the exploits of the Americans (and the Russians) in space. How thrilling for a 10 year old boy to watch real life Buzz Lightyear types floating in space over the earth, walking on the moon! And then the dour cost-cutting Republican overlords intervened, those who would rather spend those billions devising novel ways to pulverise the human body. The vision was dimmed and the dreamers ridiculed. We were taught not to get uppity and know our place.

Here is a website which proposes that we rediscover that inspiring vision and build the Starship Enterprise for real. We could use it to explore our solar system over the next two centuries. This is well thought out and worth a look, not to mention very exciting. Geeks Ahoy!

BuildTheEnterpriseClick below for 1g gravity Gravity of 1g, the same as on earth, is possible inside a 1st generation Enterprise by using a magnetically suspended wheel rotating at 2.0 RPM. Click here to enlarge blog to full page I've been reading emails like crazy trying to catch up.

Musin' (Joey Ramone's birthday)

 It’s been raining here. got cold all of a sudden. I am just kind of drifting in some kind of moody mood. maybe you need to see this picture.
In the 2007 production of "Rain" for the Athens Festival.

This is from this play I was in for the Athens Festival in 2007. In this scene, I have just finished running around the stage in a clown mask, and now I try to convince the guy on the left to turn into a woman again and marry me. Ah, the theatre!

Today i have a couple of theatre-related meetings. Some guy wants to talk to me about a film bit. If he pays and I keep my clothes on, I’m ready to rock. Also meeting with the director of my recent greek tragedy commission, music for Antigone by Sophocles. He will finally brief me on just what he wants.

And now this:

All hail Joey Ramoey. Homey would have been 61 this birthday. Born on this day in 1951. Exit 2001. Hey! Ho! Let’s go!

 

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Musin’ (Joey Ramone’s birthday)

 It’s been raining here. got cold all of a sudden. I am just kind of drifting in some kind of moody mood. maybe you need to see this picture.
In the 2007 production of "Rain" for the Athens Festival.

This is from this play I was in for the Athens Festival in 2007. In this scene, I have just finished running around the stage in a clown mask, and now I try to convince the guy on the left to turn into a woman again and marry me. Ah, the theatre!

Today i have a couple of theatre-related meetings. Some guy wants to talk to me about a film bit. If he pays and I keep my clothes on, I’m ready to rock. Also meeting with the director of my recent greek tragedy commission, music for Antigone by Sophocles. He will finally brief me on just what he wants.

And now this:

All hail Joey Ramoey. Homey would have been 61 this birthday. Born on this day in 1951. Exit 2001. Hey! Ho! Let’s go!

 

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Out on the Veranda

I got out my old tripod, the cunning small one that I bought at Rome airport while flush with tuxedomoon tour gelt. Then this photo sort of happened while Maria and some of her girl friends were having a wee glass o’ wine out on the veranda. We are so lucky to have this view without being millionaires. We see the mountains from one direction and the Acropolis et al from the other. Woo hoo.

ol' guido against a majestic sky
ol' guido against a majestic attic sky.

Biking in Athens (from an article for the Athens Voice)

The only authentic bicycle path that I know of in Athens (in Palio Psyxiko)

I love to ride a bicycle. I love to ride a bicycle in Athens because I live here and it is here that I must express this love. Not because Athens is a great place to ride a bicycle. In fact, it is fairly difficult to ride here for a number of reasons. First off, there are no bicycle paths here (or so few that they amount to almost nothing). Second, and this should really be first, The drivers here are like some kind of wild animal. They won’t see you, and they will run you down and back over your corpse if they think they will get to their destination 5 seconds faster. You have to watch your ass carefully, paranoically. Your perception must be ever-acute. It helps to expect the worst. In any given situation, expect the driver to do the stupidest possible thing and you will never be disappointed.

Continue reading “Biking in Athens (from an article for the Athens Voice)”

Biking in Athens (from a soon-to-be published article for the Athens Voice)

The only authentic bicycle path that I know of in Athens (in Palio Psyxiko)

I love to ride a bicycle. I love to ride a bicycle in Athens because I live here and it is here that I must express this love. Not because Athens is a great place to ride a bicycle. In fact, it is fairly difficult to ride here for a number of reasons. First off, there are no bicycle paths here (or so few that they amount to almost nothing). Second, and this should really be first, The drivers here are like some kind of wild animal. They won’t see you, and they will run you down and back over your corpse if they think they will get to their destination 5 seconds faster. You have to watch your ass carefully, paranoically. Your perception must be ever-acute. It helps to expect the worst. In any given situation, expect the driver to do the stupidest possible thing and you will never be disappointed.

When I bought my first bicycle here, back in 2000, I would see almost no one out on a bicycle. I get the impression that people thought that riding a bicycle marked you as an ignorant peasant who could afford no better, a throwback to more primitive times, or that biking was for children and not real men. I never saw women riding back then. I have watched appreciatively as the number of cyclists out braving the traffic in Athens has increased steadily over the years. I suppose it is because cycling has become trendy and because gasoline has become expensive for people with no money. I have even seen the time pass when cyclists passing one another on the street would ring their bells at each other in solidarity.  Cycling has become nothing all that remarkable.
I even took part in a demonstration of sorts, back in November, 2007 when hundreds of cyclists rode through town out to the ministry of transport to ask (not demand, not throw stones or firebombs) that bicycles be allowed on the Metro. It was the most peaceful demo I have ever heard of. It seems to have worked. Bicycles are now allowed on the Metro all the time, as well as the Tram and the Proastiakos Suburban Railway. Because of this, Maria and I have taken some really excellent, eco-warrior bike trips on the Suburban Railway line to some of the towns on the sea between Athens and Corinth, Kinetta and Agioi Theodori, for example. There is excellent beach there and the trip is fabulously cheap.
We also found out how to get to the sea in Athens by bicycle. One may just take the Treno to Palio Faliro and take the sometimes vague and uncertain path to the sea. The good way must be taught. One does eventually arrive at the beach. There is also a non-metro path I have recently found which I really love. It includes one of the few genuine bike paths to be found here. One rides along the concrete course of the ancient Illisos River where some excellent little Tavernas and cafes can be found. I will include the link to my map.
So, with a lot of stamina, perseverance, and eyes in the back of one’s head, a cyclist may find some really excellent and strangely beautiful rides in this city.

Links
My map to the sea and around Acropolis http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=201776415499290380618.0004be679c7de156e3940&msa=0

Bike Rental in Athens
http://www.athensbybike.gr/en/

Map My Ride (some other rides in Athens)
http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/?location=Athens%20Greece

Suicide at Syntagma

Suicide tree at Syntagma
The tree where Dimitris Christoulas shot himself.

I like Syntagma square. It used to be really nice before it got all….bummed out. The nice new marble waterfall fountains that were put in for the Olympics in 2004 were just what this polluted noisy town needed, a little grace, some good Feng Shui from the falling water and some white noise to drown out the perpetual angry hubub. Now those fountains are ripped apart, flung in the faces of the police who fling tear gas grenades back. And now this. A 77 year old retired pharmacist named Dimitris Christoulas put a gun to his head and killed himself next to a tree in Syntagma, one of the very trees that had been decorated for Christmas this year, (in lieu of a municipal tree which would surely have been burnt down).

He left this note

“The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival, which was based on a very dignified pension that I alone paid for 35 years with no help from the state. And since my advanced age does not allow me a way of dynamically reacting (although if a fellow Greek were to grab a Kalashnikov, I would be right behind him), I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance. I believe that young people with no future, will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945”

 

 

 

Candles at the suicide tree.
Candles at the suicide tree.

“Tsolakoglou government” is a reference to the first collaborator government of Greece, under the Germans during WWII.

I got nothing much else to say, but what a bummer. I have been saying that a lot these days.

 

Suicide on Syntagma | Athens NewsThe man, believed to be aged from 50 to 70 years, took his own life shortly before 9am, as people went about their business on the square A man took his own life using a pistol on Syntagma Square, in central Athens, on Wednesday morning.

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