Friday, May 29, 2015

Peanuts to Paranoia! On PBS, Science Sanctions Dread and Fear ... At the Circus, Alienation Acrobatics on the Rise


It’s a digital hell we are headed for if I, hopelessly unscientific, understand the very scientific PBS darling, NOVA.
Other night, NOVA’s teeth-rattling Rise of the Hackers swept me into provisional hysteria, going deep into the ever-expanding world of Hacking and the Hacks who make it happen.  Worst case scenario: Our enemies out there might hack into our nuclear software, ordering our missiles to self-launch in REVERSE COURSE, thus turning on -- US!

Okay, calm down.   It’s a “PARANOID FUTURE,” I learned watching this shock doc.  Well thank you, Nova.  So, I have time to prepare for my paranoid date with backfiring bombs?    Let your darkest fears take flight, Kids.    We are at the brink, quoting NOVA here, of  “ULTRA PARANOID COMPUTING.” 

Do you get my digital drift?  Let me spell it out, while Nova has me in its grips: Big Picture from yours unruly, sneer if you wish: Every time one of us flexes the latest electronic gizmo, joins another mad Apple line to stay stupidly in the cool, that person contributes to a digital doomsday, saith I.  So, then, are you ready for a little old-fashioned danger?

Back in the land of human flesh: China goes high wire crazy, one of its own making headlines treading the steel thread over city streets ... Clyde Beatty Collection, gathered over decades by Dave and Mary Jane Price, headed for The Milner at ISU ... Aerial legend Elvin Bale, breaking a leg in his bus, recently, back on the Cole Circus lot and recovering, confined to the bus ... Chicago’s Contemporary Circus Festival, back for a second season, June 17-21, this offering said to be framing 13 shows featuring “world class” action from several European cities and the U.S.  The aim being to foster “a deeper artistic process.”  All of it aimed to help performers  “compete in the global marketplace,” on a more “intellectual and visceral level.”  The drive to cerebralize continues apace, to wit ...

Acrobat Aliens:    Another circus from Down Under going – down under?  From the land of extreme innovation that gave us Circus Oz, another ensemble troupe, Circa, seems bent on bleeding that thread to death.  None too impressed with the group’s latest, What Will Have Been, is one Douglas McPherson, reviewing what hadn't been much in London’s venerable The Stage.  Enduring an evening of what sounds like stilted pretentiousness punctuated with heavy primal pauses, McPherson wraps up tartly: “Alas, this show is so safely aimed at the arts brigade that it dares not do anything as shamelessly populist as amuse.”

Danger in a Globe of Death: What I have long feared could happen with this daredevil stunt does happen, though rarely.  Fate knocked a globe into perilous mayhem when two riders collided at Uncle Sam's Great American Circus, a Brit show sporting an American slant.  Both riders suffered broken bones, and were stitched back up.  Ah, just like a pair of invincible robots ...

Strike up your all-human band, Circus Bella!  Oakland’s own now prepping for its annual summer dates in Bay Area parks.   Lineup looks promisingly diversified, what with, among a radiant wave of fresh faces, a clown bearing a Chinese name.  Yes, a Chinese clown?   Now, that alone should be cutting edge.  Show’s divinely delightful big little band, five pieces including and led by ebullient composer Rob Reich, returning.  Ah, I can’t wait.  The music sometimes alone is worth a visit.   Juggling director Judy Finelli  has a career arc spinning back through directing some of the old Pickle Family Circus shows, before that, performing on the Circus Vargas of Mr. V. 

Back to Dread and Fear:  Millions of Chinese workers being replacde by robots. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak granting that, yes, in time, robots WILL take over the World.  Let me not be around when that day arrives.

It may not be too late to stave off Hacker Hell.   The promising young --- Watch them!!! -- are open to the old, having rediscovered VINYL records with a vengeance, sparking a niche-market return of the LP record album. Turntables appearing in store windows.   Perhaps, we will one day be forced to default, away from the dangers of the Now, to the relative safety of the Before.  Bring back, before it’s too late, rotary telephones, Maytag washers, fly swatters and wind up clocks, post-it notes, push mowers, fountain pens and stick shift covered wagons – for starters.

 And may the iForce Not be with you.

[all hacked photos from Nova website]

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