Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Vaslav Nijinsky

Vaslav Fomich Nijinsky (Вацлав Фомич Нижинский; transliterated: Vatslav Fomich Nizhinsky; Polish: Wacław Niżyński)was born on 12 March, 1889 in Kiev, Ukraine and died on 8 April, 1950 in a London clinic and was buried in London until 1953 when his body was moved to Cimetière de Montmartre, Paris, France beside the graves of Gaetano Vestris, Theophile Gautier, and Emma Livry. Tombstone of Vaslav Nijinsky in Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris. The statue, donated by Serge Lifar, shows Vaslav Nijinsky as the puppet Petrouchka.

Vaslav was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer of Polish descent. Vaslav Nijinsky was one of the most gifted male dancers in history, and he grew to be celebrated for his virtuosity and for the depth and intensity of his characterisations. Vaslav could perform en pointe, a rare skill among male dancers at the time (Albright, 2004) and his ability to perform seemingly gravity-defying leaps was also legendary. The choreographer Bronislava Nijinska was his sister.

Vaslav Nijinsky was born to a Polish dancer’s family of Eleonora Bereda and Tomasz Niżyński. Vaslav Nijinsky was christened in Warsaw. In 1900 he joined the Imperial Ballet School, where he studied under Enrico Cecchetti, Nicholas Legat, and Pavel Gerdt. At 18 years old he was given a string of leads. In 1910, the company’s Prima ballerina assoluta Mathilde Kschessinskaya selected Vaslav Nijinsky to dance in a revival of Marius Petipa’s Le Talisman, during which Vaslav Nijinsky created a sensation in the role of the Wind God Vayou.

A turning point for Vaslav Nijinsky was his meeting Sergei Diaghilev, a member of the St. Petersburg elite and a wealthy patron of the arts, promoting Russian visual and musical art abroad, particularly in Paris. Vaslav Nijinsky and Sergei Diaghilev grew to become lovers, and Sergei Diaghilev, a controlling, dominant personality, became heavily involved in directing and managing Vaslav Nijinsky’s career. In 1909 Sergei Diaghilev took his dance company Ballets Russes, company to Paris, with Vaslav Nijinsky and Anna Pavlova as the leads. The show was a great success and increased the reputations of both leads, as well as Sergei Diaghilev’s, throughout the artistic circles of Europe. Sergei Diaghilev had created Les Ballets Russes in its wake of public response, and with choreographer Michel Fokine, made it one of the most well-known companies of that time.

Vaslav Nijinsky’s talent showed in Michel Fokine’s pieces such as “Le Pavillon d’Armide” (music by Nikolai Tcherepnin), “Cleopatra” (music by Anton Arensky and other Russian composers) and a divertissement “The Feast”. Vaslav’s expressive execution of a pas de deux from the “Sleeping Beauty” (Tchaikovsky) was a tremendous success; in 1910 he performed in “Giselle”, and Michel Fokine’s ballets “Carnaval” and “Scheherazade” (based on the orchestral suite by Rimsky-Korsakov). partnership with Tamara Karsavina, also of the Mariinsky Theatre, was legendary.

Vaslav Nijinsky went back to the Mariinsky Theatre, but was dismissed for appearing on-stage during a performance as Albrecht in Giselle wearing tights without the modesty trunks obligatory for male dancers in the company. The Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna complained that his appearance was obscene, and he was dismissed. It is probable that the scandal was arranged by Sergie Diaghilev in order that Vaslav Nijinsky could be free to appear with his company, in the west, where many of his projects now centered around him. Vaslav danced lead roles in Michel Fokine’s new productions Le Spectre de la Rose (Weber), and Igor Stravinsky’s Petrushka, in which his impersonation of a dancing but lifeless puppet was widely admired.

Vaslav Nijinsky took the creative reins and choreographed ballets, which slew boundaries and stirred controversy. Vaslav’s ballets were L’après-midi d’un faune (The Afternoon of a Faun, based on Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune) (1912), Jeux (1913), Till Eulenspiegel (1916) and Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring, with music by Igor Stravinsky (1913). Vaslav Nijinsky created choreography that exceeded the limits of traditional ballet and propriety. For the first time, his audiences were experiencing the futuristic, new direction of modern dance. The radically angular movements expressed the heart of Igor Stravinsky’s radically modern scores. Unfortunately, Vaslav Nijinski’s new trends in dance caused a riotous reaction at the Théâtre de Champs-Elysées when it premiered in Paris. As the title character in L’après-midi d’un faune the final tableau (or scene), during which he mimed masturbation with the scarf of a nymph, caused a scandal; he was accused by half of Paris of obscenity, but defended by such artists as Rodin, Odilon Redon and Proust.

Vaslav Nijinsky was never filmed while performing. When it was suggested to Sergie Diaghilev to record Vaslav Nijinsky’s performances on films for later generations, he declined, saying that the later generations would find a way to take care of themselves.

Sergie Diaghilev did not make this fateful journey, because he was told by a fortune teller in his younger days, that he would die on the ocean if he ever sailed. Without his mentor’s supervision, Vaslav Nijinsky entered into a relationship with Romola Pulszky, a Hungarian countess. An ardent fan of Vaslav Nijinsky, she took up ballet and used her family connections to get close to him. Despite her efforts to attract him, Vaslav Nijinsky appeared unconscious of her presence. Finally Romola booked passage on board a ship that Vaslav Nijinsky was due to travel on, and during the voyage Romola succeeded in engaging his affections.

Numerous speculations as to the true reason for their marriage have arisen, including the suggestion that Vaslav Nijinsky saw Romola’s title and supposed wealth as a means to escape Sergie Diaghilev’s repression.

Romola has often been vilified as the woman who forced Vaslav Nijinsky to abandon his artistry for cabaret fare, her pragmatic and plebeian ways often jarring with his sensitive nature. In his diary, Vaslav Nijinsky famously said of Romola “My wife is an untwinkling star …” They were married in Buenos Aires: when the company returned to Europe. Sergie Diaghilev is reported to have flown into a jealous rage because he and Vaslav Nijinsky were supposed to be lovers, and he fired Vaslav Nijinsky. Vaslav Nijinsky tried in vain to create his own troupe, but a crucial London engagement failed due to administrative problems.

During World War I Vaslav Nijinsky was interned in Hungary. Sergie Diaghilev succeeded in getting Vaslav Nijinsky out for a North American tour in 1916. During this time, Vaslav Nijinski choreographed and danced the leading role in Till Eulenspiegel. Around this time in his life, signs of his dementia praecox were becoming apparent to members of the company. Vaslav Nijinsky grew afraid of other dancers and imagined that a trap door would be left open.

Vaslav Nijinsky had a nervous breakdown in 1919, and his career effectively ended. Vaslav Nijinsky was diagnosed with schizophrenia and taken to Switzerland by his wife, where he was treated unsuccessfully by psychiatrist Eugene Bleuler. Vaslav Nijinsky spent the rest of his life in and out of psychiatric hospitals and asylums.

Vaslav Nijinsky’s daughter Kyra married the Ukrainian conductor Igor Markevich, and they had a son named Vaslav. The marriage ended in divorce.

Vaslav Nijinsky’s Diary was written during the 6 weeks he spent in Switzerland before being committed to the asylum. Obscure and confused, it is obviously the work of a schizophrenic, but in many ways reflects a loving nature, combining elements of autobiography with appeals for compassion toward the less fortunate, and for vegetarianism and animal rights. Vaslav Nijinsky writes of the importance of feeling as opposed to reliance on reason and logic alone, and he denounces the practice of art criticism as being nothing more than a way for those who practice it to indulge their own egos rather than focusing on what the artist was trying to say. The diary also contains a bitter exposé of Vaslav Nijinsky’s relationship with Sergie Diaghilev.

As a dancer Vaslav Nijinsky was clearly extraordinary for his time. Towards the end of her life his dance partner Tamara Karsavina suggested that any young dancer out of the Royal Ballet School could now perform the technical feats with which he astonished his contemporaries. Vaslav Nijinsky’s main talent was probably not so much technical (Stanislas Idzikowski could leap as high and as far) as in mime and characterization; his major failing was that, being himself unable to form a satisfactory partnership with a woman, he was unsuccessful where such a relationship was important on-stage (in, say, Giselle). In epicene roles such as the god in Le Dieu Bleu, the rose in Spectre or the favourite slave in Scheherezade he was unsurpassed.

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Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Roger Kynard

Roky Erickson was born Roger Kynard Erickson on 15 July, 1947. Roky Erickson is an American singer, songwriter, harmonica player and guitarist from Texas. Roky Erickson was a founding member of the 13th Floor Elevators and pioneer of the psychedelic rock genre.

Roky Erickson was interested in music from his youth: he played piano from the age of 5 and took up guitar at the age of 12. Roky Erickson attended school in Austin and dropped out of Travis High School in 1965, 1 month before graduating, rather than cut his hair to conform to the school dress code. Roky Erickson’s 1st notable group was The Spades, who scored a regional hit with Roky Erickson’s song “We Sell Soul”; this song is included on the compilation album Highs in the Mid 60s, Volume 17(although the songwriter is identified as Emil Schwartze on the track listing on this album).

Roky Erickson co-founded the 13th Floor Elevators in late 1965. Roky Erickson and bandmate Tommy Hall were the main songwriters. Early in her career, singer Janis Joplin considered joining the Elevators, but Family Dog’s Chet Helms persuaded her to go to San Francisco, California, USA instead, where she found major fame.

In 1966 (Roky Erickson was 19 years old) the band released their debut album The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. Psychedelic Sounds had the band’s only charting single, Roky Erickson’s “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” A stinging post-romantic breakup song, the single remains probably Roky Erickson’s best-known work: it was a major hit on local charts in the U.S. southwest, and appeared at lower position on national singles charts as well. Critic Mark Deming writes that “If Roky Erickson had vanished from the face of the earth after The 13th Floor Elevators released their epochal debut single, ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me,’ in early 1966, in all likelihood he’d still be regarded as a legend among garage rock fanatics for his primal vocal wailing and feral harmonica work.”

In 1967, the band followed up with Easter Everywhere, perhaps the band’s most focused effort, featuring the epic track “Slip Inside This House”, and a noted cover of Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.”

After the band’s 3rd album, Live, which featured audience applause dubbed over studio recordings of cover versions and older material, The 13th Floor Elevators released their 4th and final album Bull of the Woods in 1968. Due to Roky Erickson’s health and legal problems, his contribution to the album is limited, with guitarist Stacy Sutherland taking more of a leading role.

In 1968, while doing a stint at Hemisfair, Roky Erickson started speaking nonsense. Roky Erickson was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and sent to a Houston psychiatric hospital, where he involuntarily received electroconvulsive therapy.

The Elevators were vocal proponents of mescaline (peyote), LSD, and marijuana use, and were subject to extra attention from police. In 1969, Roky Erickson was arrested for possession of 1 marijuana joint in Austin. Facing a 10 year prison term, Roky Erickson pled not guilty by reason of insanity. Roky Erickson was 1st sent to the Austin State Hospital. After several escapes, he was sent to the Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where he was subjected to more electroconvulsive therapy and Thorazine treatments, ultimately remaining in custody until 1972.

When released from the state hospital, Roky Erickson’s mental outlook had changed. In 1974, he formed a new band which he called Bleib Alien, Bleib being an anagram of Bible and/or German for Stay, and “Alien” being a pun on the German word “Allein” (“alone”) – the phrase in German therefore being “Remain alone”. Roky Erickson’s new band exchanged the psychedelic sounds of The 13th Floor Elevators for a more heavy metal sound that featured lyrics on old horror film and science fiction themes. “2Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer)” (produced by The Sir Douglas Quintet’s Doug Sahm) was released as a single.

The new band renamed itself Roky Erickson and the Aliens. In 1979, Roky Erickson recorded 15 new songs with producer Stu Cook, former bass player of Creedence Clearwater Revival. These efforts were released in 2 “overlapping” LPs – TEO/CBS UK, and The Evil 1/415 records. Stu Cook also played bass on 2 tracks, “Sputnik” and “Bloody Hammer.” Roky Erickson also performed with The Nervebreakers as his backup band at The Palladium in Dallas in 1979. A recording was issued on the French label New Rose and was recently re-issued elsewhere. In 1982, Roky Erickson asserted that a Martian had inhabited his body. Roky Erickson later reported to friends that aliens were coming to Earth to harm him, and asked a Notary Public to witness an official declaration that he was himself an alien, hoping that this would convince the aliens to leave him alone.

In an unmedicated state, Roky Erickson began a years-long obsession with the mail, often spending hours poring over random junk mail, writing to solicitors and celebrities (dead or living). Roky Erickson was arrested in 1989 on charges of mail theft. Roky Erickson picked up mail from neighbours who had moved and taped it to the walls of his room. Roky Erickson insisted that he never opened any of the mail, and the charges were ultimately dropped.

Several live albums of his older material have been released since then, and in 1990 Sire Records/Warner Bros. Records released a tribute album, Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye produced by WB executive Bill Bentley. It featured versions of Roky Erickson’s songs performed by The Jesus and Mary Chain, R.E.M., ZZ Top, Julian Cope, Bongwater, John Wesley Harding, Doug Sahm and Primal Scream. According to the liner notes, the title of the album came from a remark Roky Erickson made to a friend who asked him to define psychedelic music, to which Roky Erickson reportedly replied “It’s where the pyramid meets the eye, man!” (the quote is also a reference to the Eye of Providence).

In 1995, Roky Erickson released All That May Do My Rhyme on Butthole Surfers drummer King Coffey’s label Trance Syndicate Records. Produced by Texas Tornado bassist Speedy Sparks, Austin recording legend Stuart Sullivan and Texas Music Office director Casey Monahan, the release coincided with the publication of Openers II, a complete collection of Roky Erickson’s lyrics. Published by Henry Rollins’s 2.13.61 Publications, it was compiled and edited by Casey Monahan with assistance from Henry Rollins and Roky Erickson’s youngest brother Sumner Erickson, a classical tuba player.

Sumner Erickson was granted legal custody of Roky in 2001, and established a legal trust to aid his brother. As a result, Roky Erickson received some of the most effective medical and legal aid of his life, the latter useful in helping sort out the complicated tangle of contracts, which had reduced royalty payments to all but nothing for his recorded works. Roky Erickson also started taking medication to control his schizophrenia.

A documentary film on the life of Roky Erickson titled You’re Gonna Miss Me was made by director Keven McAlester and screened at the 2005 SXSW film festival. In September of the same year, Roky Erickson performed his 1st full-length concert in 20years at the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival with The Explosives.

In the 30 December, 2005 issue of the Austin Chronicle, an alternative weekly newspaper in Austin, Texas, Margaret Moser brings up to date the story of Roky Erickson’s recovery with the aid of his brother Sumner. According to the article, Roky Erickson weaned himself off his medication, played at 11 gigs in Austin that year, obtained a driver’s license, owns a car (a Volvo), voted the previous year, and planned to do more concerts with The Explosives in 2006.

In 2007, Roky Erickson played his 1st ever gig in New York City, as well as California’s Coachella Festival and made a stunning debut performance in England to a capacity audience at the Royal Festival Hall, London. Roky Erickson continued to play in Europe, performing for the 1st time in Finland at Ruisrock festival. According to the article in Helsingin Sanomat 8 June 2007, the performance was widely considered the highlight of the festival day.

According to an interview on Sound Opinions on Chicago Public Radio with You’re Gonna Miss Me director Kevin McAlester (7/24/07), Roky Erickson is currently working on a new album with Billy Gibbons, singer and guitarist of ZZ Top, and a longtime admirer of Roky Erickson; Billy Gibbons’ earlier band The Moving Sidewalks had a hit with “99th floor”, which was a tribute of sorts to the Elevators.

On 8th September 2008, Scottish post-rock band Mogwai released the ‘The Batcat EP’. Roky Erickson is featured on 1 of the tracks, ‘Devil Rides’.

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Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Bob Mosley

Bob Mosley was born James Robert Mosley, on 4 December, 1942, in Paradise Valley, California, USA. Bob Mosley is principally known as the bass player and one of the songwriters and vocalists for the band Moby Grape. Bob Mosley has also developed a career as a solo artist. 3 of his best known songs with Moby Grape are “Mr. Blues”, from the 1st Moby Grape album (1967), “Bitter Wind”, from Wow/Grape Jam (1968) and “Gypsy Wedding”, from 20 Granite Creek (1971). Bob Mosley has had a varied career, including a period in 1977 playing with Neil Young in a band called The Ducks, which had a brief life and lamented demise.

Bob Mosley’s career has been plagued by the challenges of schizophrenia, as was the case with Moby Grape bandmate Skip Spence. Both musicians were homeless for several years. Bob Mosley’s schizophrenia was 1st diagnosed after he left Moby Grape in
1969,following the release of Moby Grape ’69. Bob Mosley shocked the remaining band members, in leaving the band to join the Marines. It was during basic training with the Marines that Bob Mosley was 1st diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. Bob Mosley was discharged from the Marines 9 months after basic training.

In 1996, 3 of Bob Mosley’s fellow band members, Jerry Miller, Peter Lewis and Don Stevenson, in part reformed Moby Grape with the objective of helping Bob Mosley recover emotionally and financially. Bob Mosley describes the circumstances as follows: “In 1996, Peter Lewis picked me up along the side of a San Diego freeway where I was living, to tell me a ruling by San Francisco Judge Garcia gave Moby Grape their name back. I was ready to go to work again.”

Unlike bandmate Skip Spence, whose musicial output largely ceased within a few years of the onset of schizophrenia, Bob Mosley has been able to continue to write songs and record music for much of his life. Bob Mosley’s most recent solo release is True Blue, released on the Taxim label in 2005.

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Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Peter Green

Peter Green, Peter Allen Greenbaum, was born on 29 October 1946, in Bethnal Green, London. Peter Green is a British blues-rock guitarist and founder of the band Fleetwood Mac.

A figurehead in the British blues movement, Peter Green inspired B. B. King to say, “He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.” Peter Green’s playing was marked with a distinctive vibrato and economy of style, as well as a unique tone from his 1959 Gibson Les Paul. A result of the guitar’s neck pickup magnet being reversed to produce an ‘out of phase’ sound. Peter Green used a Fender Stratocaster on the track “Albatross”, and used a National resonator guitar on “Oh Well Part I”.

Petr Green played lead in Peter Bardens’ band, Peter B’s Looners, in 1966. After a 3month stint, he had the opportunity to fill in for Eric Clapton in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers for 3 gigs. Upon Eric Clapton’s permanent departure not long after, he was hired full-time.

Peter Green made his full album debut with the Bluesbreakers with A Hard Road. It featured 2 compositions by Peter Green, “The Same Way” and “The Supernatural”. The latter was 1 of Peter Green’s 1st extended instrumentals, which would soon become a trademark.

In 1967, Peter Green decided to form his own blues band, and left Mayall’s Bluesbreakers after appearing on just 1 album (just as Eric Clapton had done).

The name of Peter Green’s new band was Fleetwood Mac. Originally billed as “Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac”; it originated from the band’s rhythm section that comprised Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. In the mid 1970s the re-organised band topped the charts with mainstream pop/rock, but initially it was a straight-up blues-rock band playing blues classics and some original material. Peter Green wrote the song “Black Magic Woman” that was eventually picked up by Santana. Peter Green was the leader of the group throughout its initial period of success in the late 1960s, with hits including “Oh Well”, “Man of the World”, “The Green Manalishi” and the British Charts #1 hit, “Albatross”.

Following the release of “Albatross” and his consequent rise in fame, Peter Green struggled with success and the spotlight. After a gig in Munich while touring Europe, Peter Green binged for 3 days on LSD. In his own words, he “went on a trip, and never came back.”

Communard Rainer Langhans mentions in his autobiography that he and Uschi Obermaier met Peter Green in Munich, where they invited him to their “High-Fish-Commune”. They were not really interested in Peter Green. They just wanted to get in contact with Mick Taylor; Langhans and Obermaier wished to organise a “Bavarian Woodstock.” They wanted Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones as the leading acts of their Bavarian open air festival. They needed the “Green God” just to get in contact with The Rolling Stones via Mick Taylor.

Peter Green’s personality changed drastically after the episode: he began wearing a robe, grew a beard, and wore a crucifix on his chest (this last despite having been raised Jewish). Peter Green’s use of LSD may have incited his schizophrenia. Peter Green quit Fleetwood Mac in 1970, performing his final show as a member on 20 May 1970. Peter Green recorded a jam session The End of the Game and faded into obscurity, taking on a succession of menial jobs. It was during this period that Peter Green sold his trademark 1959 Sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard to Irish guitarist Gary Moore.

Peter Green had a brief reunion with Fleetwood Mac when Jeremy Spencer left the group (Peter Green flew to the USA to help them complete the tour) and he was also an uncredited guest on their 1973 Penguin album on the track “Night Watch”. Peter Green also appears on the track “Brown Eyes” from 1979’s Tusk.

Peter Green was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a mental illness commonly characterised by hallucinations and paranoia, and he spent time in psychiatric hospitals undergoing electroconvulsive therapy in the mid-1970s. Many sources attest to his lethargic, trancelike state during this period. In 1977, he was arrested for threatening his accountant, Clifford Davis, with a rifle, but the exact circumstances are the subject of much speculation, the most popular being that Peter Green wanted Clifford Davis to stop sending money to him. After this incident he was sent to a psychiatric institution in London. This was prior to his re-emergence as a recording artist with PVK Records in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Peter Green suffered a relapse in 1984 and effectively lived the life of a tramp-like recluse for 6 years until he was rescued by his brother Len and his wife, going to live with them in Great Yarmouth and regaining some of his former health and strength.

Apart from his solo work in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he contributed to “Rattlesnake Shake” and “Super Brains” on Mick Fleetwood’s solo album, The Visitor, and recorded various sessions with a number of other musicians. Despite some attempts by Sunburst Gibson at a German trade show to start talks about producing a Peter Green signature Les Paul, Peter’s instrument of choice at this time was in fact a Sunburst Gibson ‘Howard Roberts’ Fusion, very often seen accompanying him on stage in recent years.

A 1990s comeback saw Peter Green form the Peter Green Splinter Group, with the assistance of fellow musicians including Nigel Watson and Cozy Powell. The Splinter Group released 9 albums between 1997 and 2003. It was in the latter part of this period that Peter Green picked up a black Sunburst Gibson Les Paul again. Peter Green signed and sold this ebony Les Paul.

A tour was cancelled and recording of a new studio album stopped in early 2004, when Peter Green left the band and moved to Sweden. Shortly thereafter he joined The British Blues All Stars, but their tour in 2005 was also cancelled. Peter Green has said that the medication he takes to treat his psychological problems makes it hard for him to concentrate and saps his desire to pick up a guitar; whether there will be any more public ventures remains to be seen.

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