Archive for 2008-11


02008-11-30 @ 09:11

Kulturkirche in Köln
Kleiner Musiksaal in Hamburg
Frankfurter Hof in Mainz

On Flickr you can also find this photo of me playing in the Spiegelzelt (Mirror Tent) in Munich – by Gudrun and this photo Boris took inside the tent.

Last Viridian Note

02008-11-30 @ 08:11

Worldchanging: The Last Viridian Note
Rather than “thinking globally and acting locally,” as in the old futurist theme, I now live and think glocally. I once had a stable, settled life within a single city, state and nation. Nowadays, I divide my time between three different polities: the United States, the European Union and the Balkans. With various junkets elsewhere.

The 400-year-old Westphalian System doesn’t approve of my lifestyle, although it’s increasingly common, especially among people half my age. It’s stressful to live glocally. Not that I myself feel stressed by this. As long as I’ve got broadband, I’m perfectly at ease with the fact that my position on the planet’s surface is arbitrary. It’s the nation-state system that is visibly stressed by these changes – it’s freaking out over currency flows, migration through airports, offshoring, and similar phenomena.

Wikipedia link to Westphalian System:

Westphalian sovereignty is the concept of nation-state sovereignty based on two principles: territoriality and the exclusion of external actors from domestic authority structures.

It’s not just the music business that is changing so fast that it’s hard to get a new foot-hold in the wall of time… As Sterling points out the basic system of nation-states is evaporating. Transcend and include. Families to tribes to alliences of tribes to cities to states to nations… and now the step(s) to a world-culture of some sort, with people moving between states and countries and continents with as much ease as salesmen used to move from village to village, city to city.

But, at the same time we have to find a way to honor and value the here and now, which starts with the location, the sense of place, querencia, heimat, home – even if home is where you lay your hat, or home is where my guitar sleeps… (((the working title for my next album might be “Querencia/Heimat”. But that’s all I am going to say now. If I were to describe my inspiration to you, you might think I am carzy…))) In other words, I feel we need to expand in two directions at the opposit ends of this double-sided arrow: a new structural layer above (but including) nations that allows us to move freely between countries, and at the same time a reclaiming of the local sphere: oral history, local foods etc.

One can only hope that nations slip into the future with more agility and wisdom than the music business, but that is most likely not possible…

Read the whole thing and see this excerpt from the Last Viridian Note.

Pierced Tower

02008-11-25 @ 00:11

Water-tower pierced by artillery during the last battle of the Spanish Civil war.

It’s Tuesday Morning in Freiburg. Really enjoyed performing at the Jazzhaus last night. I should have taken some photos of the vaulted ceilings. In a little while we will drive to Köln and right now I’ll go to find coffee…


02008-11-24 @ 14:11

Enjoyed the coffee at Caffè Nero, not far from the hotel, but at Fernandez & Wells on Lexington Street the coffee was really excellent, especially the “Stumpy”!!

Showed up at the club at 15:00 sharp as noted in our tourbook (((the book of lies!!!))), but the doors were locked, the place was dark and nobody answered the doorbell. Called the contact number we had, but there was only an answering machine. Called our manager, who called my U.S. agent, who called my European agent. No news by 16:15. Not worried, because it will only take us 30 minutes to set up the sound, and since they don’t have a vid projector we won’t need time to set that up, but inconvenient as it is a nice afternoon and one would have enjoyed walking about. Walked back to the hotel, which was conveniently down the street.

At 16:45 the doors were still locked. London completely dark by now.

Finally got in around 18:00. Nice club and good food. Enjoyed playing guitar for the audience… it’s how most of my music is born anyway: just me and my guitar in a room. Even nicer when it’s a room full of people.

Sneaked out through the back entrance of the Pigalle right after the show and started packing, but could not fall asleep until after midnight. At 04:30 we left for the airport still dead tired.

Didn’t buy coffee at Heathrow, because we hoped to sleep on the plane. I guess that worked, sort of… lots of micro-sleep.

The German tour manager picked us up and drove us to Freiburg.

Priorat, Catalonia

02008-11-23 @ 08:11

Long journey. Bumpy ride over the Atlantic. Read this marvel of an insightful poem by Gary Snyder:

As the crickets’ soft Autumn hum
is to us,
So are we to the trees
As are they
To the rocks and hills.

Arrived in Barcelona, where my friends picked me up at the airport and drove 1 1/2 hours in a South-Western direction. The Priorat is contained in a large bowl of granite, a handful of small towns – some with less than a hundred residents – that produce grapes, almonds and hazelnuts. Because there is only dry-farming, meaning that there is no irrigation, and the ground is not rich dirt, not even dirt really, just rock into which the vines drop roots up to 30 feet down to obtain water, the fruit is very concentrated and intense. Similarly the nut-trees are small, but with very flavorful almonds and hazelnuts.

On my last day in the area we drove to Corbera D’Ebre, a town which was the location of the last and deciding battle of the civil war. We took the long route and briefly visited a cave that served as a makeshift hospital. Coming to Corbera we crossed a river in which many of the retreating forces drowned because they could not swim. The town abandoned the buildings bombed during the civil war, which recently have become an art project, the alphabet of liberty.

Here is a link to a Flickr slideshow I put together. I first read about the history of this town here:

Route to Peace – LIME
Like most medieval towns, Pinyeres is situated on the highest point of land in its valley, the better to see danger approaching. Throughout the centuries, the more modern town of Batea grew up around it. When destruction came in the 20th century, it came not by land but from the air, delivered not by invading foreigners but by Spanish countrymen.


02008-11-23 @ 07:11

Siurana is an old mountain village where the last Moorish princess rode over the cliff, persued by Spanish soldiers.

Torroja, Spain

02008-11-22 @ 08:11

This photo was taken on Tuesday in back of a hermitage near Torroja, the Priorat, Spain.

Raíces y Alas by Carmen Linares

02008-11-15 @ 14:11

Raíces y Alas, Carmen Linares
Listen to the fourth selection: “Álamo Blanco”.
The song has that sentimental and slightly melancholy quality that I find so irrestistably beautiful.
I will be in Spain next week. Must find that CD.

Talking about Drumming

02008-11-15 @ 10:11

Jon sent me a link to this video of Bill Cosby on the Dick Cavett show in 1973. What a great storyteller.

Miranda now available

02008-11-14 @ 12:11

At this time the album is only available in our ListeningLounge, but it will be available from all other download stores within a few weeks. Just click on the image to go directly to the album in the LL. Here is what Stevo had to say.

Apple and Gift

02008-11-13 @ 16:11

No, this is not about poisoned apples

I would like to write an ode to apples, but how could I top Pablo Neruda’s ODA A LA MANZANA (Ode to the Apple) from 1956. What a perfect Autumn fruit! Braeburns, Fujis, Honey Crisps… I could go on. An apple a day etc.

Rode about 12 miles this morning. Rode into town to pick up meds for my dog, then to Counter Culture for breakfast with my favorite bass player. Two more stops along the way and grocery shopping… When one bikes one is a Mensch and I find that people react different to bicycle traffic. Pedestrians smile, other bikers wave, even people in cars sometimes roll down their window and smile. A bicyclist is part of the world, not riding around in an “armored car”, seperated and protected from life, listening to loud music or hiding behind tinted windows… You know what I mean? Santa Fe was not known for being particularly bike-friendly in the past, but – knock wood – I have had only good experiences.

Need more juice for your iPhone? I am looking into this and this option.

Looking for a gift for the holidays?
This is a great idea. And here are two more:
Travertine’s Shea Hand and Nail Cream rocks. Great gift for dry Winter skin. No Parabens!!
Or how about something from Pangea Organics. I use all of their their face-products and the best part is that they are perfect for traveling. The bottles lock up and never open in transit. No parabens, all organic and recyclable glass bottles.

Oh, and we will soon release “Miranda”, Stevo’s first album, wonderfully remastered by Jon Gagan (((if you are working on an album you owe it to your music to contact Jon about mastering your recording!))). “Miranda” contains the music from Steve Stephen PLUS two additional previously unreleased tracks. Stevo also created a new sequence which has a great flow, and I just told him this morning that it feels like a whole new album. We will add “Miranda” to the LL soon, maybe even this week. Other digital download retailers should have the album in a few weeks. We have no plans to manufacture CDs.

Mixed Bag

02008-11-12 @ 13:11

Nice O.

From this Ping Mag article.

Photos of the Field of Light installation in Cornwall, England.

Remember the Nirvana baby from the Nevermind album?

The Nirvana baby, now 17, recreates iconic ‘Nevermind’ photo | PopWatch Blog |
The baby is now a SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD man. Digest that fact with your morning cup o’ joe (or prune juice, as it were).

That’s not difficult for me. Twenty years ago next February Jon and I recorded Barcelona Nights.

And regarding whales and the Navy’s sonar:

U.S. top court rules for Navy in whales-sonar case | Science | Reuters
The U.S. Navy can conduct sonar training exercises off the southern California coast without restrictions designed to protect whales, dolphins and other marine mammals, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in a defeat for environmentalists.

In the most significant environmental case of its new term and its first ruling of the term, the high court threw out a federal judge’s injunction that had required the Navy to take precautions during submarine-hunting exercises.

I think that is sad news. Will dead whales wash up on California’s shores?

Related links here and here

Andreas Gursky exhibition, New York

02008-11-12 @ 13:11

Andreas Gursky exhibition, New York – Art – – International Design Interiors Fashion Travel
While art cannot be fairly judged on the basis of commercial standing alone, it’s difficult not to be captivated by a photograph with a $3.34 million price tag. Andreas Gursky’s ’99 Cent II Diptychon’ – a two-part, digitally-altered image depicting crammed supermarket aisles – set the record at Sotheby’s in February, 2007, for the highest price ever paid at auction for a single photograph. It was the third from the series of six identical prints to fetch above $2 million.

It’s always a question of timing. Would it fetch that much this year, now?

Gursky at the Matthew Marks Gallery in Manhattan.

Identifying People By Odor

02008-11-12 @ 09:11

Identifying People By Odor As Effective As Fingerprinting
A study has found that everybody has a unique body odor, like their fingerprints, that could be used as an unique identifier. The study showed that a persons unique odor stayed the same even if they varied their diet with strong smelling foods such as garlic and spices. “These findings indicate that biologically-based odorprints, like fingerprints, could be a reliable way to identify individuals,” said Monell chemist Jae Kwak.
(Via Slashdot)

And while finger-print ID requires touch and a retina-scan requires a person to stand still, scent-ID would require neither – assuming that each person carries a cloud of odor with them. I wonder how much info is contained in the scent. Weight, health, sex?

Did you find the Easter Egg?

02008-11-12 @ 08:11

Watch the re-designed homepage decay in about 9 minutes.
Or find the Easter Egg that speeds up the process.

Haven’t found it? OK, I’ll tell you. Click on the horizontal bar of the L in the OL logo at the top – right where the L and O intersect. Find it?

Related link

Looking for a Gift?

02008-11-12 @ 08:11

Many stores started playing Christmas music on November 1st. We think that is much too early, but maybe it is not too early to suggest that music makes a wonderful Holiday gift. You can buy gift certificates for our ListeningLounge, or you can purchase CDs including Winter Rose, the most subtle of Holiday albums (3 Christmas songs, 3 classical pieces + 7 original compositions) from our store.

The Santa Fe Sessions is a great introduction to my music and includes Luna Negra XL studio recordings of “Snakecharmer”, “Barcelona Nights, “Heart Still/Beating” and more. You can order the CD only here.

Gift is a funny word for somebody who speaks German and English…
Gift in English means present or talent
Gift in German means poison
Both are pronounced the same way.
Then there is Mist, which means a light fog in English and manure in German…

Plastic Bags

02008-11-12 @ 08:11

New York Mayor Proposes Charge on Plastic Bags
Recently New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed that NYC begin charging shoppers 6 cents for each plastic bag issued at the register. The policy is the latest attempt by the city to go green and reduce its environmental footprint, and it comes several months after Ireland introduced a similar tax that cut the use of plastic bags by 94%.
(Via Inhabitat)

Big City – 6 Cents Is 6 Cents, but Time? That’s Something –
My husband and I weren’t particularly green at the time, which was seven years ago. Nor was anyone else in that rural part of France, as far as we could tell. What they were was frugal. “Everyone has porcupines in their pockets,” a neighbor there once told me — in other words, it really hurt to reach for their wallets. That mattered when it came to plastic bags, because you had to pay for them at the store.

Shoppers should have to pay for plastic bags and I think each bag should cost more than 6 cents. Maybe 20-30 cents with 14-24 cents going to a charity. A person at Whole Foods replied to my inquiry that their policy might change and that they will charge for bags rather than giving refunds for people who bring their own bags. Good.


02008-11-12 @ 08:11

Contrary to the way that the bodhisattva path is often understood, Buddhist social engagement is not about deferring our own happness to help others who are less fortunate because they happen to be suffering. That just reinforces a self-defeating (and self-exahusting) dualism between us and them. Rather, we join together to improve the situation for all of us. As a Native American put it: “if you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is tied up with mine, then let us work together.”
– David Loy

From the Upaya newsletter.

100,000 Cars Running on Windpower

02008-11-12 @ 08:11

100,000 Cars Running on Windpower in 2013
Denmark has long been a world-leader in wind energy and now the country will act as a laboratory for the development of infrastructure for electric cars, using wind power to charge the new vehicles.

The main reason is that in five years Denmark will have wind turbine capacity enough for 1 million homes. This goal will be reached when the world’s largest offshore wind turbine farm opens in 2012, between Anholt and Djursland.
(Via – The Copenhagen Bike Culture Blog)

Do you know why Denmark is a leader in renewable energy? Because when Ronald Reagan tore down the solar panels Jimmy Carter had installed on the White House, he also removed tax incentives to renewable energy companies, who had to sell their technology to… companies from Japan and Denmark. Check this out:

“It is one of our fastest-growing export areas,” said Hedegaard. It is one reason that unemployment in Denmark today is 1.6 percent. In 1973, said Hedegaard, “we got 99 percent of our energy from the Middle East. Today it is zero.”

More bike-related stuff…

02008-11-12 @ 08:11

Nice ad from a Bike Shop in Portland. See more of their ads here.

Bicycle Design at Core 77

Active Transportation For America Report : TreeHugger
Walking and biking could save anywhere from $10 to $65 billion annually by decreasing U.S. Financial aid towards health care (people would become healthier with exercise), exhaust emissions in the air, and oil and fuel consumption/dependency.

Currently two-thirds of every errand made in the U.S. under one mile are made with a four-wheel vehicle. One reason for this remains that many neighborhoods lack the proper infrastructure to make such trips safely and conveniently. Reducing these numbers could save 2.4 billion gallons of fuel, and between 21 and 45 million tons of CO2 a year.

A single bicycler riding 5 miles to and from work four days a week, can save on average 100 gallons of gasoline, 2,000 lbs of CO2 emissions, and reduce their carbon footprint on this earth by as much as 5 percent.

While current funding represents 79 percent allocated to roads and highways, 20 percent to public transportation, and only 1 percent to bicycling and walking, RTC recommends funding roads by only 37 percent, public transportation by 41 percent, and finally bicycle and walking paths by 22 percent.

With the current projection of our children’s health, they should be expecting about a 5 year decrease in life expectancy, increased risk of cholesterol problems, fatty liver disease, diabetes, asthma, and higher medical costs per year. All these can significantly be reduced with the introduction of exercise, via biking or walking.


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