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composers Eerie Spatiality epoch-defining Geniuses Jazz Keyboardists Music music videos photography pianists Thelonious Monk

The Mysteries of Monk.

Unquestionably one of the titanic figures of 20th century music, Thelonious Monk composed and performed mountains of material that now has classic status, but during his initial heyday in the 40’s, it was often dismissed as too quirky, too dissonant, too…weird. Well, Monk’s work is indeed all of those things, but in just the right amount. There is an uncanny air of ineffable mystery that permeates his playing that is striking. His style is angular, uses silence beautifully, and is deeply personal and idiosyncratic. Although hugely influential, no one has ever sounded remotely like him.

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Actors Actors of Greatness David Thewlis Dr Moreau existentialism Film Geniuses Marlon Brando photography

The Island of Dr. Moreau.

Marlon Brando and David Thewlis engage in a mostly courteous exchange of ideas, and find said ideas to be at loggerheads. Various snouts, hooves, and outrageous spectacles are discussed. From The Island of Dr. Moreau, 1996. Both actors are at the pinnacle of their craft.

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Beta Band Geniuses Indie Music music videos Neutral Milk Hotel

The Indie.

King of Carrot Flowers, part 3.

Titans of so-called Indie music display their awesome gifts. Featuring Jeff Mangum, Steve Mason, James Mercer {and the rest…}.

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Charisma Geniuses Guitarists Music music videos

Guitarists, of Note.

The twin titans, Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew, share amusements and dovetail perfectly in these performances.

Then, Terry Kath of Chicago. Hendrix had high praise for this great man.

Well. Hendrix himself.

Mr. John McLaughlin and Co.

The mighty and eternal Allan Holdsworth.

Studio version. Holdsworth godlike simplicity and bearing.
“Fred”.

And, of course, the great Pat Martino.

Sunny.
Strings.

Indeleble performances from giants of the art.

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Charisma composers Eerie Spatiality Electronica epoch-defining Eternal Gary Numan Geniuses Music music videos performers photography Singers Synth-Pop Terminal videos vocalists

The Gary Numan: βˆ°.

Praying To The Aliens. {studio}.
Live, 1980: Santa Monica.

Let ∰ = “The High Priest of quasi-androgynous Synth-Pop/Electronica, the Impassive Alien Deity, The Gary Numan.” What heretofore had been used to calculate Flux Densities, and whatnot, now is more—much more—much, much more.

He created aural landscapes which allowed access to the unfathomable. His performances have been described in so many ways. Strikingly “robotic”. Otherworldly. Mesmerizing. And moreover, there’s an unease, a disquiet, accompanying his trenchant intelligence; a wariness. Aware of a certain danger we cannot grasp. The ritual held out in the open, hauntingly obvious, yet impenetrable. A language we’ve forgotten; mind-argot beyond our ken.  

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Audio Charisma composers dancing Eerie Spatiality Eternal existentialism Geniuses Ian Curtis Joy Division Music music videos performers photography Poetic Genius Poetry Punk Singers Terminal videos vocalists

The Differently-Realmed Ian Curtis, and Joy Division.

Go ahead. Choose a realm, any realm. Ian’s not from there; he’s never taken up residence there, and, for that matter, spends precious little—if any—time there. Yes. It’s been proven.

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David Byrne Eno Geniuses hit singles Music music videos new wave performers photography Singers Talking Heads videos vocalists

Talking Heads: The Mad Professor-ism of David Byrne.

Mind. Montreux, 1982.

A few comments on our selections {NOT all of them!!}: Cities {1983, 1982, *and* 1980 versions} *might* be David Byrne’s high-water mark as an “umm, what???” (followed by audible hysteria, in my case…) vocalist. The Impossible writ upon a landscape. Pulled Up and Mind, at the very least, are looking uneasily over their shoulders. The “He’s come undone” staggerings/lurchings in Psycho Killer {1983} are also enough to keep one alive for several epochs; the 1979 Mudd Club version is electrifying, mystique-laden; ridiculously brilliant. Both versions of Drugs have an eerie, haunting element all of their own; Dollette McDonald and Adrian B contribute mightily. Crosseyed is simply a collective singe-fest.

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athletes Charisma Geniuses photography Roger Federer sport tennis videos

Roger Federer.

2011 French Open Semifinal vs. Djokovic here.

This masterful, stylish, dominant Swiss athlete, Roger Federer, has achieved such towering heights, in tennis, that he is generally considered the sport’s greatest ever practitioner. He has given many, many thrills over the years…with his nonpareil artistry and creativity; his indomitable will; his uncanny proclivity to produce his best when it matters most, when so many others wilt. Always so aware, so ready to seize command of the point. There’s just an extra gear/dimension to his game we’ve not seen before. An undeniable sense of synergy pervades his shotmaking. He has a unique way of taking time away from his opponent with his feet and timing. Winners from every court position flow from his racquet. His touch is exquisite. At his best, Roger’s game was—and, is—nothing short of poetry, the poetry of a genius…a slightly mad one, at that.

I’ll always recall my first viewing, against American Andy Roddick, in the 2003 Wimbledon semi-finals. His preternatural grace and *feel* for the game I simply found astonishing. Magical. When Federer closed out the second set with, really, something no one had seen—a running, forehand half-volley {usually a defensive shot} utterly whipped into the corner for an uncontested winner—both men had to smile. Commentator John McEnroe, quite capable of producing his *own* magic with a racket, was incredulous. “That’s not possible.”

On a personal note, I was fortunate enough to partake of the Great Man at very close quarters; a practice session. Being at such proximity to Mr. Federer would have to be included in one’s rather intimately scaled coterie of “Religious Experiences”. Plus, he also rather casually did something impossible. He’s like that.

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Andy Partridge Geniuses Music music videos performers photography Singers videos vocalists XTC

XTC, featuring Andy Partridge.

Few bands can match XTC’s accomplishments as far as writing/performing memorably quirky, intellectual, and, yes, catchy songs. Lead vocalist Andy Partridge provides the oddball genius charisma to generate a potent cocktail of aural nirvana.

Most of these are live performances, with the Rockpalast Senses being fairly rare.

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Actors Actors of Greatness Brad Dourif epoch-defining Film Geniuses performers Photo-Editing photography Police Procedurals Predators Psychopaths Sci-Fi serial killers TV X-Files

The X-Files: Beyond the Sea.

The brilliant actor Brad Dourif gives a mind-boggling portrayal of convicted—and soon to be executed—serial killer Luther Lee Boggs. In this story, there’s a catch—a quite big one—in that the murderer claims to have acquired psychic powers, and might be able to help capture a predator who has abducted two people, and has killed ritualistically in the past. Mulder (David Duchovny), for one, is less than convinced.

In these two subsequent scenes, firstly… although Agent Scully would dearly love to converse with her recently deceased father, it’s quite possible that Luther Lee Boggs’ (Brad Dourif loses his mind, in the best possible way) intense aversion to the electric chair has even greater motivational potency. Lastly, in the poignant, haunting final scene (the final scene *we’re* going to present…), the correct warning Boggs had given to Scully ended up saving her life, and convinces her that he’s been telling the truth. He’s only willing to convey her father’s message if she is his witness when he’s strapped to the chair in a few hours. Is this one last trick, one potential last act of cruelty? Or does he truly value the agent whose life he saved? This ambiguity is part of what makes him such an intriguing character…and Dourif’s masterful performance makes Boggs truly indelible.

Amen. Simply one of the greatest performances I’ve seen, ever.