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February 6, 2015
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Take a cool look inside the Museum, and hear from some of our staff and friends about what the NHM Next transformation means to them.
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Synthesizing thirty years of research, Michael Shermer upends traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. Simply put, beliefs come first, and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. Using sensory data that flow in through the senses, the brain naturally looks for and finds patterns — and then infuses those patterns with meaning, forming beliefs. Once beliefs are formed, our brains subconsciously seek out confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, accelerating the process of reinforcing them — and round and round the process goes in a positive feedback loop. Shermer provides countless real-world examples of how this process operates, from politics, economics, and religion to conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and the paranormal. And ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not our beliefs match reality.[ ]
Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University. Dr. Shermer’s latest book is The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies — How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. His last book was The Mind of the Market, on evolutionary economics. He also wrote Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design, and he is the author of The Science of Good and Evil and of Why People Believe Weird Things. Dr. Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University (1991). He was a college professor for 20 years, and since his creation of Skeptic magazine he has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, and Larry King Live (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!). Dr. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown.
Los Angeles based punk band "The Bronx" — aptly named after the left coast borough — has for the last six years redefined what punk means, sounds like, and doesn't look like. After thre self-titled full lengths, countless tours all over the world, more seven-inches and EPs than one can count, the band returns with their latest offering, yet another self-titled full-length: Mariachi El Bronx.
Mariachi El Bronx was probably conceived in August of 2006 in Los Angeles' infamous "Downtown Rehearsal." It all started as a way to flip the Electric-goes-acoustic performance garbage, because that's never good. We were invited to play live on television but decided that a cheesy acoustic version of our song was not what we wanted to do. The Original El Bronx line up, or at least as it appeared on TV, featured guest appearances from Zander Schloss ( Wierdos, Circle Jerks) and Keith Douglas (Mad Caddies). The project triggered something inside all of us that was unexpected. It's almost impossible to explain, but it felt like discovering a second soul within you. We instantly started writing new songs. The body of this record was written all over the world. As the Bronx played, El Bronx wrote. Inspired by the jungles and beaches of New Zealand, "sleepwalking" was one of the first songs written, along with "my brother the gun." The music for Quincenera was written under the German summer sun. And so on, and so on. Once we were home the territorial pissings of punk once again worked their way into our lives as we completed writing what was to become Bronx III and Mariachi El Bronx. we discovered that we had more than enough songs for a record, now it was time to cement the sound. Vincent Hidalgo, son of David Hidalgo (Los Lobos, Latin Playboys) joined El Bronx in late 2007. Vincent really helped bring everything together. as a unit we poured our heart and soul into every song, musically and lyrically. Jon Avilla (Oingo Boingo) was picked out of a prison line up to produce the record. It was at his studio in the San Gabriel Valley where we put the finishing touches on the record. What had started as an act of rebellion had become something bigger than the sum of its parts. Alfredo Ortiz (Beastie Boys / Money Mark) plays percussion and an unnamed string quartet that did us a "solid" but wouldn't give us their names due to contractual obligations to the television show "American idol". Mariachi El Bronx touches on many facets of mariachi music, the most well know being norteno as well as jorocho, wasteka, bolero and corridos. It may seem strange for a band that blasts the audience into outer space every night to take this direction, but mariachi music is every bit as much of a soundtrack to southern California as punk. They are seamlessly intertwined.
The band will perform in a variety of different ways, sometimes incorporating mariachi into their punk set, sometimes two nights at a venue performing each band respectively, often times having one band open up for the other. Check your local listings.
We very much enjoyed making this album, and we hope that you receive the same enjoyment out of listening to it.
- Mariachi El Bronx (the Bronx)
Matt Caughthran - vox
Joby J. Ford - vihuela
Ken Horne - guitar
Brad Magers - trumpet
Vincent Hidalgo - guitarron
Jorma Vik - drums
KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez and Travis Holcombe join us in the lounge where you can get your groove on and enjoy the dioramas of the African Mammal Hall.
Anthony Valadez is a Los Angeles based DJ/Producer and visual artist with residencies at Little Temple, Zanzibar and Federal Bar. His latest musical projects include remixes for David Bowie and Ozomatli. He has released two full length albums on indie label Recordbreakin. He is a resident DJ at Dublab.com and has a regular program on 89.9 FM KCRW and KCRW.com where he mixes future beats, soulful keys, and tomorrow's samples and sounds.
Perhaps a fitting prelude for a future DJ, Travis Holcombe's American father and Japanese mother met and fell in love in a discotheque in Osaka, Japan. Travis grew up in Atlanta where he explored all levels of music geekery, particularly the area’s underground hip hop sound. He got his start on-air at Athen’s student-run radio station WUOG before heading to California and discovering KCRW. After years of volunteering at the station, he became KCRW’s newest DJ in the summer of 2011. Travis also has a steady presence in the Eastside music scene and is now the talent buyer for Los Globos in Silver Lake. Hear him on Tuesday nights/Wednesday mornings from midnight to 3am.