Yesterday, I caught the end of NPRs coverage of the death of Captain Beefheart, and instantly was reminded why I consider him one of my musical icons. He was one of the most creative, innovative, iconoclastic, and downright weird artists of any genre, medium, or dimension who has ever lived.
In 1982, I was lucky enough to see him live with the last incarnation of The Magic Band, and it was hands-down one of my favorite shows ever. They were amazing!
Unfortunately, he was soon to be diagnosed with MS, complications of which eventually ended his life, but he was able to return to painting for many years in the interim (and achieving success that always eluded him in music). An artist with countless fans far more famous than he ever was - including everyone from Frank Zappa to Tom Waits to Matt Groening to Jack White - the Captain left a lasting impression on music and art well beyond his renown.
@CaptBeefHeart maintains a huge trove of information and content, the Langdon Winner RS cover story above. YouTube also curates a Captain Beefheart Playlist featuring 40 videos, one of which is now included in the Permanent Film and Video Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC.
Finally looking ahead, Gary Lucas, who played guitar in the final Magic Band lineup, will present a Captain Beefheart Symposium in Los Angeles on January 13. (Lucas’ page announcing the event also contains several excellent paintings and videos, and a poem from 1982, “Hollow Smoke.”
What is Technorati anyway? It’s a blog influence database? A blog search engine? No, it’s a blog? Or a buncha Blog Critics? What would it mean to blog for them? Who knows, but claiming my new tumblelog as a first step… 9SB8A6XYMR7Y
A good friend and a great teacher, activist, and leader, Gary Chapman (bio) will be dearly missed. My heart goes out to his wife, Carol Flake Chapman, and everyone else in his universe. I wrote this appreciation on his LBJ School remembrances page, and share his story here with my social media friends.
Gary Chapman played a pioneering role in studying and writing about the impact of computers on society, organizing computer professionals to examine these issues, and later working to promote positive outcomes and teach others to continue this work. I was fortunate to meet Gary at an early conference of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, and was so inspired by what I learned the people I met that I proceeded to co-found the DC Chapter and serve on CPSR’s board of directors (twice!). That organization, which he led during its heyday, has since been eclipsed by numerous larger and better funded groups such as EFF and EPIC, which in different ways inherited its ideas and took them to new levels. The Computers Freedom and Privacy Conference also continues, nineteen years later, to explore the leading edges of the same issues – now under the auspices of the Association of Computing Machinery.
I had few opportunities to work with Gary after he left CPSR, but I continued to follow his work and read his newspaper columns, and I was fortunate enough to reconnect with him on a trip to Austin last year. We started out meeting for drinks at my hotel, but he wouldn’t let me off that easily – he then invited me along to meet Carol at a party at The Texas Observer, then they took me to dinner at a great “typical Austin” restaurant. He even sent me off to a night of music down 6th and Red River Streets, armed with several tips on where to go, who to see – the consummate host. I feel blessed that I was able to spend several hours with him catching up, talking politics, computers, music, and food, and also fortunate to meet Carol, who was wonderful.
A major influence, even a hero, he will truly be missed.