Listening Post: Weird New Year

Sun Ra (AKA Herman Poole Blount)

Dale HobsonI’m not very organized about the holidays, and rarely manage to produce anything as useful as an online wish list to guide friends and family in gift selection. But somehow, they seem to know what I like. For example, one bullseye book offering this year was This Planet Is Doomed, the science fiction poetry of Sun Ra, which according to blurb, “serves up a traumatic torrent of future shock.”

Sun Ra, the noted Afrofuturist poet and extraterrestrial jazz explorer, was allegedly born to the Angel Race of Saturn, and led an ever-shifting jazz Arkestra from the 50s to the 90s. In his poetry, inner and outer space comprise the single surface of the Klein bottle of consciousness. The alien outsider is in, and the earthman is out. In his yearning to just blast off from here, Sun Ra satisfies the keenest appetite for deep weird.

Proof "This Planet is Doomed"--the Mayan Calendar stone

In a few days, the calendar will click over to 2012, a year so deeply weird the Mayans decided to stop the clock there. This has led some people to speculate (using the same laws of physics that apply in Roadrunner cartoons) that the world will end along with it. But I think Mayan astronomers were just like the computer programmers of the 60s and 70s. The year 2000 was so far away in their minds, they figured the pale hairless big-domes of the future, gliding to work on their plutonium-powered roller skates, would solve the Y2K problem in a snap. Which of course, they did.

And no doubt they’ll manage to cobble together a year 2013 at the last minute, too. Until then, enjoy all your new goodies, and have a weird New Year.


2 Comments on “Listening Post: Weird New Year”

  1. Ellen Beberman says:

    While you’re waiting for the end, you might want to try some recipes from this cookbook,

  2. Claudia MacDonald says:

    Wow, Dale, you never cease to pique my interest, bring back memories or interest me in the forgotten.
    I saw Sun Ra at Artpark some 30 years ago. The most amazing performance I’ve witnessed to date.
    A very small gathering front and center of Artpark’s rather large theater. Each performed piece followed by audience foot stomping, smattering of applause and snapping of fingers.
    A glorious man, indeed coming on stage with arms raised, cloaked in rainments of gold.

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