A pleasant evening.  In fact a pleasant whole early weekend to celebrate the coming of summer, starting with a screening Thursday evening of JODOROWSKY’S DUNE.  This was courtesy of the IU Cinema, a documentary about the Chilean surrealist (who made the cult classic EL TOPO, among others) who was going to make the movie of Herbert’s jodorowsky_dunenovel (but with a really different ending as we find out, and one which I think I would have liked) until the studio took it back from him and gave it to David Lynch instead.  I found it fascinating, including accounts about how he talked Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine, and Salvador Dali (yes, that Salvadore Dali, to play the Emperor) into acting in it,  Pink Floyd for music, artists HR Giger and Jean (Moebius) Giraud, etc., with maybe the most interesting being about how it, even if never actually filmed, influenced science fiction movies from the 1980s on, including ALIEN and STAR WARS.   But also even more fascinating was just listening to the artist himself.

“For me, DUNE will be the coming of a god.  I wanted to make something sacred, free, with new perspective.  Open the mind!” — Alejandro Jodorowsky

So maybe one doesn’t really top that, but I’ve just been back home for a couple of hours from a Saturday Midsummer’s Night double header. Science fiction, fantasy, witchcraft, jazz . . . magic and light.  The first part for magic, having to do with a special display at the Indiana University Lilly Library on “Spiritualists, Sorcerers, & Stage Magicians.”  To quote their blog: “In addition to the uncanny display, the opening reception will include a magic show with self-proclaimed ‘spooky magician’ Steve Bryant.  With disembodied ‘stage hands’ to help him with card tricks and eerie illusions, Bryant ensures there will be at least one scream during the show.”  And there was at least one scream, having to do with a snake in a bucket — or was it really?

“’Any magic trick really well done is kind of spooky because it kind of shocks your system,’ Bryant said. ‘Some magicians like laughs, some like applause, I occasionally like screams.’”  As for me, while most of the presentation was with cards (and the occasional disembodied hand), I liked the basketball in the briefcase at the end as well.

But if that weren’t all, at just about the time that ended, to which were added brief talks by the exhibit’s curators plus at least a cursory look at the displays themselves (granted that by then the place was crowded, but there will be time to come back at leisure until August 30), the Art Museum — more or less just across the street — was beginning its own celebration, the return and relighting of the Light Totem.  For this, a bit of history via Wikipedia:


The Light Totem

“The Light Totem installation at the Indiana University Art Museum was completed in 2007.  It was commissioned as a temporary installation to celebrate the 25–year anniversary of the [I.M. Pei designed] Indiana University Art Museum building.  Due to its popularity with the campus and community, Light Totem was approved by the Board of Trustees to become a permanent fixture outside the museum in 2010.  Artist Robert Shakespeare used LEDs (light-emitting diodes) to illuminate both the 70-foot freestanding tower, and the 40-foot tube within the atrium of the museum.

“The Light Totem also illuminates the wall of the Art Museum with a computerized display of changing colors.  Each of the lighted sections can be programmed to project any color and change color up to every tenth of a second.  The entire display uses only 3,000 watts of electricity, about the amount used when a hair dryer and toaster are running simultaneously, according to the artist.  Students often can be seen lying on their backs with their feet up on the wall, watching the colors change.

The thing was, though, the original tower had been intended to be temporary which meant, among other things, some of the welding, etc., wasn’t really up to the standard for a permanent outdoor structure.  So down it went in the spring of 2013 for re-engineering, and now, at the summer solstice 2014, it was time for its resurrection.

In short, from about 7 p.m. on it was party time (though — a perk for having a house practically next to a major state university — I did bug out for about an hour to go home for a snack, as well as make a sandwich for a late supper for when I returned for good), dancing outside or just listening to jazz by local band The Dynamics, self-guided art tours inside (I mostly contemplated sculptures of the Buddha in the Gallery of the Art of Asia and the Ancient Western World, on the second floor, which seemed somehow right), until 9:30 and near-dark.  And then a few speeches, including by artist Rob Shakespeare, a sort of relaxed pseudo-ceremony, and . . . the re-lighting!

For more, enjoy its picture.


  1. Wow! Sounds like such rare fun to view! I’m reminded of that tower (California?) that a man made from pieces of glass — was it in Venice, CA? A documentary about it’s construction –he did it all with scrap metal and broken scrap glass. Here, we have another take on a tower of lights. Magnifique! Can’t check Google ’cause I do not have an I-phone or smart phone when on line.

  2. Oh, I think it was the Watts Tower — long before the Watts riots.

  3. Thanks for the reference. Should I ever be in Los Angeles, I now have something I’ll need to go to! (Several towers, actually, now with an arts center in a park in the Watts neighborhood, also sometimes called the Rodia Towers after their builder. So, yes, I just looked it up on Google.myself. 😉 )

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