The Band ft Paul Butterfield Mystery Train

Levon Helm, the drummer / vocalist for The Band, has died after a long battle with throat cancer. He was 71.

Helm was born and raised in Arkansas. He grew up in a musical household where he learned to play multiple instruments. As a teenager, he became the drummer for rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins' band the Hawks. In the early 1960s, four Canadian musicians joined the Hawks: Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, and Garth Hudson.

In the mid-1960s, Helm, Robertson, Manuel, Danko, and Hudson parted ways with Hawkins, at which point Helm became their leader for a short period, they were called "Levon and the Hawks." They made a few records, but none were hits. In 1965, Bob Dylan hired them as his backing band. Shortly after, Helm left the band when Dylan was famously booed during his first electric tour.

In 1967, Helm rejoined the others, and Dylan, in Woodstock, New York. They took up the moniker "the Band". They recorded a series of ragged bootlegs, which eventually became The Basement Tapes, as well as the legendary 1968 album Music From Big Pink. The Band went on to major success with classic songs such as "The Weight", "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", and "Up on Cripple Creek".

The Band toured and recorded until their farewell performance on November 25, 1976 at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. It served as the basis for Martin Scorcese's concert documentary The Last Waltz as well as a live album. The concert featured performances from Ronnie Hawkins, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, Emmylou Harris, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Ronnie Wood, and several others.

Following the Band's last performance, Helm released a string of solo albums, and in 1989, Helm and Danko joined Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. He also started a career as an actor in 1980, he played Loretta Lynn's father in Coal Miner's Daughter. In 1983, the Band reformed without Robbie Robertson. Manuel passed away in 1986 and Danko died in 1999.

In the late 1990s, Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer. Shortly after, Helm began a series of performances at the Barn, his home and studio in Woodstock, where he performed with an ever-changing cast of guest musicians. His voice recovered, he went on tour, and he recorded 2007's Dirt Farmer and 2009's Electric Dirt.

[source Pitchfork.com]


Insane Slow Mo Yo-Yo Attack

This week, we have a conversation with San Francisco-based artist Doc Pop. Professional Yo-Yoer. He explains the intricate thought process behind his crazy routines as well as answers the question: was the yo-yo originally a Philippine weapon?


Internet Archive

Archive is a documentary focused on the future of long-term digital storage, the history of the Internet and attempts to preserve its contents on a massive scale.

Part one features Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and his colleagues Robert Miller, director of books, and Alexis Rossi, director of web collections. On a mission to create universal access to all knowledge, the Internet Archives staff have built the world's largest online library, offering 10 petabytes of archived websites, books, movies, music, and television broadcasts.

The video includes a tour of the Internet Archives headquarters in San Francisco, the book scanning center, and the book storage facilities in Richmond, California.

Directed by Jonathan Minard

Cinematography by John Behrens, Alexander Porter, and Fearghal O'dea

Produced at the Internet Archive on October 22-26, during the Books in Browsers Conference and 10 Petabyte Celebration.

Project supported by Eyebeam


Stamen Here

Navigate San Francisco, London, Berlin, and New York in various modes including photo, wireframe, and pinstripe.

Requires a WebGL browser but the maps appear to be accurate.


Ultra-HD San Francisco Fly Over

From the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz to the Bay Lights at night, see the Bay Area's most iconic locations like you've never seen them before. Shot in 4K/"Ultra-HD," Teton Gravity Research presents the first footage from their new RED Epic-equipped gyrostabilized camera platform: The GSS C520. The GSS C520 is a portable 5-axis system that houses a range of leading digital cinema cameras, like the Epic and Sony F55, while also capable of integrating future advancements in camera technology.

Directed by: Todd Jones

Aerial DP: Carston Bell

First AC: Brian Wulf

Editor: Blake Campbell

Produced by: Teton Gravity Research


T Bird and the Breaks: SXSW 2013

T Bird and the Breaks are one of those gangs of people who could have easily banded together to steal hubcaps or hustle you out of your last dollar in a game of street craps. Lucky for all involved, they chose to make music.

The core of this band of musical miscreants consists of Tim Crane on vocals and piano and an unstoppable rhythm section consisting of longtime partner in crime Sammy Patlove on drums and Cody Furr on bass. Johnny "Too Bad" Allison on guitar and vocals add the icing on the red velvet cake.

With a sound that pulls from the origins of hip hop, the alleyways of the Crescent City, the grease and grime of an old-school soul review, and all seven of the deadly sins, the Breaks have developed into a locomotive; slowly pumping across America, leaving crowds drenched with sweat and walking funny the next morning.

By playing show after sold-out show, T Bird and the Breaks have amassed a die-hard following of fans from Texas to the Bird's home state of Massachusetts to San Francisco and back again.

Currently, the band is hoarding miles of tape song after song with a new sound waiting for the moment when the people are ready to hear the sickness that plagues T Bird and the Breaks: chunk music.


Aaron Swartz: The Network Transformation

San Francisco, April 2007 // Categories: networks, search

Here Swartz describes the nature of the shift from centralized one-to-many systems, such as broadcast television, to the decentralized many-to-many topography of network communication. The end of scarcity in transmission capacity poses the question of how to finance information production and how people can find their way through the abundance; search engines and collaborative filtering mechanisms have become both essential tools and points of control. These systems paradoxically exercise a renewed centralizing influence due to the social entrenchment of the 'hit' phenomenon. Can technical design help to counteract this tendency?


Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge

A short video about a CHP officer that helps people who think about ending their lives while on the Golden Gate Bridge. Suicide is NOT a permanent answer to temporary problems!

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255.


Bill Maher: Be More Cynical (2000)

Bill Maher: Be More Cynical is Bill Maher's fifth HBO special, filmed in the summer of 2000 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, months before the 2000 US presidential election.

Topics that he covered during his performance included religion, attack ads, candidates Al Gore, John McCain, and George W. Bush (about whom he states, "I don't like this little prick, I gotta be honest, drugs, gun control, and outgoing President Bill Clinton.

It was released on DVD on April 5, 2005 and has a runtime of approximately 60 minutes.


Punk Accordion Player and Some Nuns

Only in San Francisco, I caught a punk accordion player performing and a couple of nuns clapping along. It's Renee De La Prade who plays for Culann's Hounds. She's performing on Jack Kerouac Alley in San Francisco in front of Vesuvio's Cafe.


High-Res Images of Cities at Night

(from ISS)

City lights broadcast our existence into the night of space. Imagine how the Earth will look to astronauts in a century's time or longer? These images are incredibly difficult to take from a spacecraft traveling along at almost 28,000 kilometers per hour. The images are held at NASA's Johnson Space Center in a special archive for astronaut photography. Watch for the great cities of Beijing, Istanbul, Melbourne, Montreal, London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Buenos Aires, Brasilia (one of our favorites), and more.