Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Fine Art of Goofing Off

Last night, my wife and I learned a valuable life lesson, a deep philosophical revelation, an instruction of epic proportions: Don't delay, start goofing off today! We have now been transfixed and mesmerized by the artistic genius of Henry Jacobs.

"Henry Jacobs is a legend, at least among fans of 1950s radio satire and electronic music. He was a West Coast composer, radio host, and a friend and collaborator of philosopher Alan Watts. His legacy might have existed mostly in the hazy memories of his fans -- had not some of his tapes been rediscovered, and just released in a CD/DVD combo, The Weird Wide World Of Henry Jacobs.

Beginning in 1953, Jacobs hosted a music program for KPFA in Berkeley, Calif. The Folkways record label later released highlights from this show on an LP, Audio Collage, in 1955. His work represented a patchwork of skits, soundscapes and mock interviews.

Jacobs co-organized the Vortex Experiments, a series of mind-expanding sound and light concerts at a San Francisco planetarium starting in 1957. In 1970, he moved to a stretch of remote coastline north of San Francisco. Now 80 years old, he says he's trying to live as if it's the 19th century -- or possibly the fifth."

The above introduction accompanies an excellent interview with Jacobs on NPR's All Things Considered.


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