Saturday, December 17, 2016

Carolyn Ferris and Wes Wilson Collaborate To Create Psychedelic Rock Poster Art

The queen of the surreal and the father of the rock '60s concert poster had worked together before, but in July this year Carolyn Ferris and Wes Wilson officially teamed up to design a sublimely surreal poster for the Doobie Decibel System show at The Westcott Theater in Syracuse, NY. As Carolyn described it, “This is Wes Wilson’s and my first copyrighted image together in true collaborative/team effort. We had great fun designing it and bringing it into its vividly full and magical life.” The DDS collaboration was followed shortly after by another poster, this time for Roger McNamee’s other band, Moonalice

Carolyn who used to live in Fairfax, California, recently moved to Missouri near to where Wes is based.  Describing her career in art Carolyn said, “I worked with Timothy Leary over a span of about six years, and have created work for Santana, The Fillmore, and The Warfield. I joined the incredible Moonalice poster artist pool in 2009; within it, I find sanctuary with great music and adventure. In the years I’ve been with Moonalice, my style to date has now changed three times!  I started making posters with computer art using photoshop. In 2013, I used acrylic on canvas to create posters.  By 2015, I put away those acrylics and I’m now creating posters using ink on paper. I totally enjoy using ink, and now I even hand draw the lettering!” 

Wes Wilson, who is generally acknowledged as the father of the '60s rock concert poster, was born Robert Wesley Wilson on July 15, 1937 in Sacramento, California. He helped pioneer what is now known as the psychedelic poster. His style of filling all available space with lettering, of creating fluid forms made from letters, and using flowing letters to create shapes became the standard that most psychedelic artists followed. It helped put the “psychedelic” in the art. Today, Wes Wilson creates paintings, but still occasionally does new posters or new art of interest. 

Recent collaboration between Carolyn and Wes includes the amazing poster art below for Doobie Decibel System, Moonalice and for #yeson64.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Moonalice's New CD - HIGH 5 - Will Help You Live A Little

As Moonalice fans who call themselves "The Tribe" will affirm, Moonalice is more than a band - it's lifestyle lived in tie-dye technicolor as glorious as the video wall which makes its appearance at many Moonalice shows. Fans check the sepia of everyday life at the door of Moonalice concerts, and enter an emotional oasis where for a few hours the world seems like a kinder, happier place - an oasis that they can then access and relive at will on the band's social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - or on the band's own radio station, Moonalice Radio

Moonalice is Roger McNamee, Pete Sears, Barry Sless and John Molo -  a seasoned ensemble of talented jam and rock scene musicians blending evocative lyrical prowess with blistering instrumental mastery. Everyone, both the band and audience are part of the experience - feeding off each others' energy while the music inspires dancing and other acts of self expression.

Roger McNamee recently talked to Digital Journal about the band's new CD called "HIGH 5" which was officially released with a concert at the Terrapin Crossroads' Grate Room on October 6th. He said, "Even though we have released CD's before, this is where we went back to the full-album LP style. In our previous CD's we didn't have much rhyme or reason, thought or input. It was just getting songs out there."

He added, "With 'HIGH 5' it is much more. In this CD we have something deeper. In my mind, 'HIGH 5' is a notion of breaking out of the usual routine in the hopes of making things better. The songs on this CD could have been written when we were young," noting that, "In youth the goals are more about simple things. But in maturity life has more complexity. This new CD forms the core of our repertoire, in that we want to help make a positive impact." 

Moonalice is about having fun and sharing music but as Roger pointed out, "The songs on this CD are reflective of a full lifetime; a life that has matured and come to an understanding of things." 

He mentioned that in society right now, there is "lack of trust, people are really struggling just to survive (financially and for some emotionally). There is an uncertainty about the future. These are things that are effecting everyone." 

As a musician, he said, "It is not everyday where we can write songs like this. And, as I see it, it is our opportunity to share these songs, their meaning and to see how our audience/fans receive them."

A GratefulWeb review of HIGH 5 describes CD highlights: "McNamee’s vocals on the opening track “Live A Little” are reminiscent of the finest classic Eagles and Byrds singles. The next track “Summer Rain’ yearns for those beautiful memories past, evoking and provoking imagery in the vein of Bruce Cockburn’s early material. The Pete Sears led tracks “Unsung Heroes” and “Lady of the Highlands” show off the modestly understated vocal range of the multi-instrumentalist. The album’s title track is a remarkable Barry Sless composition, inspired by Joe Morello/Dave Brubeck’s canonical original “Take 5.” Always consistent as the rhythmic heartbeat of Moonalice is John Molo who takes each unalike track with such precision that no other percussionist could realize."

"Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?" is a personal favorite. One of the best-known American songs of the Great Depression, it is a bittersweet reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

The HIGH 5 CD is available for $10 in the Moonalice Store.

Track Listing:

Live A Little (That's Right)
Summer Rain
Unsung Heroes
Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?
Lady Of The Highlands
High Five
I Can't Help But Wonder (Where I'm Bound)

A live performance of "HIGH 5" by Moonalice at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco, 2014.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Amazon Go - Experimenting Really Does Matter Says Investor Roger McNamee on CNBC

Image: Amazon Go
With the announcement of Amazon Go, the company is taking e-commerce to a whole new level. "Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning," the company explained in a press release today. "Our Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you're done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt.”

Stores will comprise of a compact 1,800 square feet of retail space so that busy customers can get in and out fast. All consumers need to shop is an Amazon account, a supported smartphone, and the free Amazon Go app. The first store is located at 2131 7th Ave, Seattle, WA, on the corner of 7th Avenue and Blanchard Street and is currently open to Amazon employees in a Beta program. It will open to the public in early 2017. To be notified of when the store opens, click here.

Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Alley, Roger McNamee, co-founder of technology investment firm Elevation Partners, said, “I think this is part of a continuum that began a number of years ago when folks like Home Depot and then CVS and Albertson's and others like Walmart have experimented with self-checkout. That has been a mixed experience. I think the most compelling consumer experience was the one at Home Depot. Unfortunately, the technology they used to do it was then exploited by hackers to basically get access to all their corporate accounts. That didn't work out so well.”

Image: CNBC Squawk Alley
He continued, “These things have all had rough moments. The consumer experience has been everywhere from fantastic for the person who otherwise would've been in line for a long time, to just dreadful. I don't think that it's been as good for the company as they'd like to think. Amazon's model, which appears to be kind of a closed system, the whole thing is controlled by them, is way more consumer friendly. I really do hope it works. I'm not going to sit there and assume it's going to move the needle much for Amazon because Amazon's really big and really successful. I think moving the needle for them is hard. I think this is another example of Amazon really pushing the envelope in really interesting ways. I like this better than Dot and some of the other things they're doing.”

Human beings are really a positive part of retail

Answering a question about the comparison of Amazon Go with self-checkout at Apple stores, Roger said, “The early results from self-checkouts suggests that, in fact, self-checkout works in a relatively narrow set of circumstances with today's technology. Amazon's moving the technology forward. In principle it should enlarge the number of cases where it works. The reality is, having human beings in the retail experience is actually one of the more positive things for many retailers. Imagine Tiffany, there's a place where the sales person is really important. At Apple the human beings are really a positive part of the experience. I think there are other circumstances and grocery stores might be an example, where it's a mixed blessing. I don't expect this to take over the world. It just doesn't seem like an earth-shattering thing.”

Really hope Amazon Go works

Experimenting really does matter

In conclusion Roger said, “I'm just glad they're doing it. I think variety's a cool thing. I think experimenting really does matter. I do think that the employment impact is going to be something. Hopefully not terribly huge. I think what it will show, as the CVS thing has shown is that humans are actually a really positive part of retail.”

According to CNBC sixty-five percent of U.S. consumers who have never purchased groceries online said they simply preferred shopping in a store, based on a survey of 2,500 U.S. consumers taken by Cowen analysts.