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Indian comic book heroine is a rape survivor who fights violence against women and rides a tiger
12.17.2014
12:21 pm

Topics:
Art
Feminism

Tags:
India
comics
violence against women


 
Two years ago, a fatal New Delhi gang rape inspired mass protests all over in India, but the the legal reforms (which include things like the banning of acid sales) have done very little to protect women, and most of the more programmatic promises (tracking public transportation, more women cops, better lighting in urban areas, etc) have gone largely unimplemented. Feeling discouraged by the purely legalistic approach to rape, New York-based filmmaker Ram Devineni decided to fight violence against women on the cultural front—starting from childhood education.

Devineni has produced Priya’s Shakti, a graphic novel available online and in print, featuring a rape survivor protagonist who is aided by a goddess and her faithful tiger steed. The book is currently available in Hindi, English and Marathi, but will be translated into other languages to better serve India’s diverse population. The concept is a masterful utility of traditional values to further humane ends, and I’d argue something aimed at younger readers is going to have the greatest long term effect on culture at-large. 
 

 

The storyline focuses on Priya, a human woman and ardent devotee of the Goddess Parvati who has experienced a brutal rape and the social stigma and isolation resulting from it. The Goddess Parvati is horrified to learn about the sexual violence that women on Earth face on a daily basis and is determined to change this disturbing reality. Inspired by the Goddess, Priya breaks her silence. She sings a message of women’s empowerment that enraptures thousands and moves them to take action against [gender-based violence] around the world. This project highlights the threat of sexual harassment and violence that women face on a daily basis unless deeply rooted patriarchal norms are challenged.

 
The discussion of sexual assault in far-away lands often results in a lot of projection and avoidance of more home-grown violence, but I think we in the US could learn a lot from this project. The anti-rape movement here has only just begun to move beyond telling women “how to not get raped,” but I’ve yet to see a childhood sex education project that instills ideas of bodily autonomy and consent. Then again, I suppose our growing commitment to Abstinence-Only Education kind of precludes talking to kids about how to have mutually agreed upon sex.
 

 
Via NPR

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The scream of a thousand corpses: Horrifying sounds of the Aztec death whistle
12.17.2014
10:26 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
Aztec death whistle


 
The Aztec death whistle, sometimes described as “the scream of thousand corpses” is a frightening sound indeed. The skull-shaped whistles, discovered only 20 years ago by archaeologists, were dismissed as toys or burial trinkets. THAT IS, until someone decided to blow into one and… oh my god that horrifying sound came out


 
Archaeologists and historians still aren’t exactly sure what the Aztec whistles were specifically used for. Some suggest the terrifying sound the whistles make were used as a weapon of psychological warfare to scare the shit out of their enemies. Imagine hundreds of these whistles going off at the same time. Horrifying, right? Others suggest these whistles were used as a sendoff to the dead during burial ceremonies or perhaps for human sacrifices.

The video below, lets you hear what a single Aztec death whistle sounds like and then imagines what hundreds of these things going off at once might have sounded like.

 
h/t Kevin K

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Nick Cave’s handwritten dictionary
12.17.2014
08:56 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Music

Tags:
Nick Cave
lexicography


 
Few musicians are as word-drunk as Mr. Nick Cave from Warracknabeal, Australia, wouldn’t you agree? As a younger man Cave kept a journal in which he jotted down new words he wanted to remember and arranged them in alphabetical order. It’s definitely a good tip for writers starting out, you’re always learning, there’s always something to learn. Take notes endlessly and don’t waver!

A section from the A’s and a section from the M’s was made available a few years ago, words include AUTOCHTHON (“primitive or original inhabitant”) and MICTURITION (“morbid desire to pass water”). I’d dearly love to see the whole thing. I hope that will happen someday.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Butthole Surfers, Wire, The Fall, Pere Ubu and Fugazi on SNUB TV
12.17.2014
08:28 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
SNUB TV


 
If ever a televised music program was ripe for a digital-media anthology, it’s the wonderful SNUB TV. Originally a segment within the USA cable network’s storied Night Flight from 1987-88, SNUB TV soon became a show in its own right on BBC2, helmed by journalist Brenda Kelly and director Peter Fowler. Its existence in that form, from early 1989 to mid 1991, falls almost exactly in the gap between the end of the era in UK pop dominated by the likes of the Smiths and Echo and the Bunnymen, and the ascendancy of Britpop. Accordingly, it became a go-to for coverage of the Madchester/baggy scene and the early stirrings of shoegaze. Segments featuring Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, My Bloody Valentine, Ultra Vivid Scene, Ride, the Darkside, Spirea X, and Stone Roses are on YouTube, and they show a program committed to intelligent coverage, one that took the aesthetic merit of new movements as a given, without condescension. They even jettisoned presenters. There were a couple of VHS anthologies released in the early ‘90s (which is the only way I knew about its continued existence post-Night Flight), but they’ve been out of print about as long as the show’s been off the air. A DVD/Blu-ray set is desperately overdue.

SNUB TV’s strengths weren’t limited to showcasing the new noise. Kelly and Fowler did inspired features on established independents from the early punk and hardcore scenes, as well. This Butthole Surfers segment rivals any of the band’s interviews for sheer weirdness, gives us a peek at the group in the studio, and contains rare live footage of the demented downer-psych freakout “Jimi,” from the Hairway to Steven LP.
 

 
After the jump, The Fall’s Mark E. Smith, Pere Ubu’s David Thomas, Wire, and Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Higher Revolutionary Mutation with the Jefferson Airplane, 1970
12.17.2014
07:51 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Jefferson Airplane


 
If push came to shove and I had to pick the ONE—just one—rock group whose message I most “resonate” with, I think I would ultimately have to pick Jefferson Airplane. Outside of the MC5, their lyrics were the most overtly revolutionary—as well as being deeply weird, intellectual and futuristic—of the classic rock era. Their druggy image was completely uncompromising and the way they flouted the rules of polite society was both bratty and brave for that era. The notion of a bunch of rich, indulgent hippies preaching rebellion while living in a mansion in San Francisco being driven around in a Rolls Royce on RCA’s tab was very appealing to me when I was young. The Airplane beat the capitalist system on its own terms and embraced the contradictions that went along with that.

Jefferson Airplane had a contract with the label (they and Elvis were RCA’s biggest selling acts of the 60s) giving them complete creative control, so they were able to get away with lots of things other groups couldn’t. Dig the revolutionary communiqué of a song like “Crown of Creation”:

In loyalty to their kind
They cannot tolerate our minds.
In loyalty to our kind
We cannot tolerate their obstruction!

That’s “Us vs. Them” (or smart vs. dumb, if you prefer) put as starkly and as radically as possible. Those lyrics will always be relevant, I suppose, but in the context of the 1960s, they were incendiary. When the band performed this number on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968, Grace Slick wore blackface and did the “Black Power” salute at the end. It was a completely insane thing to do. What were the powers that be at CBS thinking to let something like that slip into America’s living rooms? What was she thinking to do such a thing (and what did the rest of the group think?)? A year later, Slick would be the first person to say “fuck” on television (technically she sang “motherfucker”) when the group did “We Can Be Together” on The Dick Cavett Show.
 

 
The Airplane could be wildly erratic in concert as anyone who has listened to more than a handful of their live performances can tell you. They could be punky and powerful, sloppy and jammy or else razorsharp and inspired. Maybe it had a lot to do with the quality of the LSD on a given night, eh? Who knows? In any case, this short set, filmed at Wally Heider’s studio in San Francisco in 1970, is the group playing at near their peak efficiently as a revolutionary rock and roll unit.
 

 
Go Ride The Music includes interviews with band members and Jerry Garcia (credited as “the Guru”) between songs—you’ll note that Marty Balin is sick to death of talking about “the Revolution”—and utilizes a similar editing technique to the multi camera /multi screen thing that was so effective in Woodstock. The only complaint I have is too much Marty and not enough Grace. She looks goddamn gorgeous here and the camera is always on him. Numbers, in order, “We Can Be Together,” “Volunteers,” “Mexico,” “Plastic Fantastic Lover,” “Somebody To Love,” “Emergency” and “Wooden Ships.” (This version of Go Ride The Music has all of the Quicksilver Messenger Service material edited out. If you want to see them, I direct you here.)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Mike Kelley fronts Sonic Youth, 1986
12.17.2014
07:36 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Sonic Youth
Mike Kelley


 
The first time I visited New York’s SoHo district in 1992 I remember seeing a large print of the cover art for Sonic Youth’s Dirty hanging in a loft window. Earlier that year, my art teacher had complained about Sonic Youth’s use of Mike Kelley’s “Ahh. . . Youth!” on the Dirty sleeve, so I probably wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that Kelley had fronted the band during a 1986 performance.

In the mid-‘80s, Kelley worked on a project called Plato’s Cave, Rothko’s Chapel, Lincoln’s Profile. It consisted of a series of paintings, a cave-like installation called The Trajectory of Light in Plato’s Cave, and a poetic text. The project culminated a December 1986 performance of the text by Kelley and an actress named Molly Cleator, backed by Sonic Youth.
 

 
Alec Foege’s old Sonic Youth bio Confusion Is Next gives some background on the collaboration:

In December 1986 Kelly invited the band to provide sound effects and incidental music for three performances of his piece Plato’s Cave, Rothko’s Chapel, Lincoln’s Profile at Artists Space in New York. Kelley recited an hour-and-a-half poem he had written and dramatized with the help of actress Molly Cleator while the band droned on.

Plato’s Cave had begun “as a project about the possessive,” Kelley said in one interview, “about how ascribing a quality of possession to something would equalize everything. Like, if I said that this was an exhibition of everything from Lincoln’s house, it links all this random stuff together that has no link except as a possible way to psychoanalyze Lincoln. Everybody asked me why I picked those three people. I made a whole list of possessives that were in common usage and I just picked the three that sounded best together. . . . Then I wove a set of associations between them.”

The band got together with Kelley a couple days before the performance. Kelley went through the script and told the band what he wanted at certain cues—a chunky rock sound, a bang, a spooky noise.

“I wanted to play with rock staging,” Kelley says. “For a lot of the performance, they were behind a curtain, so you didn’t even see them. I was trying to play against this rock-star thing, where there’s a shift of focus to somebody who in normal kind of rock-theatric terms would be the singer.” Kelley’s actions made him the center of focus—the singer, as it were—even though Sonic Youth’s accompaniment accentuated his actions and words with kabuki-like synergy, rather than in the traditional way in which a rock band interacts with a vocalist.

 

 
Kelley and Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo discussed the show in a 2009 interview:

Then, to connect your and Mike’s practices—I understand that Sonic Youth provided the soundtrack for Mike’s piece Plato’s Cave, Rothko’s Chapel, Lincoln’s Profile at Artists Space in 1986. How did that collaboration come about?

LR: I think Mike and Kim [Gordon] had been friends in LA. Mike was coming to New York to do this piece at Artist Space and asked us if we would work with him. Steve [Shelley] had just come aboard as our permanent drummer, and we were at the point where we were past just trying things, and had really formed a language that we were all comfortable working with.

MK: That’s right—I knew Kim in LA before she moved to New York. At that time she was not yet a musician; she was a visual artist.  I watched the development of Sonic Youth, and I liked the music and I liked them as people. In that particular performance I wanted to have a live sound element modeled after kabuki theater, where there are musical sections that play off the language in a quite disjointed way.  I also wanted to play with the idea of rock staging. A lot of the audience was there to see Sonic Youth specifically, because at that point they were a known band, so I had some parts where the band was really foregrounded and others where they were completely hidden—behind a curtain, for instance—so you couldn’t see them. And it was great, because they sometimes were doing music not at all typical for Sonic Youth—at one point, for example, I asked them to repeat a riff from “Train Kept A-Rollin’” over and over.

Kim Gordon reminisces about her relationship with Kelley in the video clip below, produced as part of this year’s Mike Kelley retrospective at MOCA. (Kelly committed suicide in 2012.) She says a few words about the performance:

Plato’s Cave, I felt like we were some kind of a Greek chorus to it, and I always thought of Mike as a performance artist more than a visual artist. And at some point, I realized the work was the performance.

 

 
You can listen to the 38-minute (not hour-and-a-half, pace Foege) Plato’s Cave performance in its entirety here. A CD is available from Kelley’s label Compound Annex.

 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘Pulp Fiction’ underwater
12.17.2014
06:38 am

Topics:
Amusing
Movies

Tags:
Pulp Fiction
Samuel L. Jackson
The Kloons

01samjacpultion.jpg
 
The Kloons have recreated an iconic scene from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction shot-for-shot but with one major difference—they did the whole thing underwater. It’s the scene in which Marsellus Wallace’s henchmen (Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta) visit some double-dealer Brett to collect a briefcase. Apart from the novel approach, what makes this brief clip supremely enjoyable is hearing Samuel L. Jackson’s spellbinding performance as Jules Winnfield recontextualized and blub-blubbed in this aquatic setting:

“Say ‘what’ again. Say ‘what’ again, I dare you, I double dare you motherfucker, say what one more Goddamn time!”

Truly wonderful.
 

 
Via Nerdcore!

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Screaming Phantoms, The Dirty Ones & The Satan Souls: Check out this 1974 map of Brooklyn gangs
12.16.2014
04:26 pm

Topics:
History

Tags:
New York City
NYC
Brooklyn
gangs


The Dirty Ones, because Williamsburg has always been chic.
 
1979’s The Warriors became a cult classic by creating a fantastically dystopian world of lawlessness roamed by stylized gangs of the Romantic variety, but the reality of 1970’s NYC gangs was… well, actually… not that much different from their epic, fictionalized versions onscreen. In fact, the fear of gang violence at the time was so fevered, the film was actually blamed for crimes committed against people who were coincidentally coming from or going to the movie. This map from The New York Times is dated August 1, 1974, and the names of the gangs are so dramatic, it’s easy to see how fact and fiction could blur in the eyes of a terrified populace. 

The folks over at The Bowery Boys blog even dug up a few details on the “activities” of some of the gangs listed, including The Young Barons (an altercation that ended in one death and the slicing off of someone’s nose, 1972), a battle between the Devils Rebels and the Screaming Phantoms (two rebels were killed, 1973), and the 1974 extortion dealings of the Outlaws, the Tomahawks, the Jolly Stompers and B’Nai Zaken. If that last one threw you for a loop, B’Nai Zaken is a phrase largely associated with Ethiopian Jews, and not (as I had hoped), a bunch of Hassidim with nunchucks.

There was a even a 1973 report that a few local gangs had been cast in an autobiographical gang film,The Education of Sonny Carson, perhaps paving the way for Walter Hill to later do the same thing with The Warriors
 

 
Via The Bowery Boys

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
People who paid six bucks for shit from Cards Against Humanity were startled to receive just that
12.16.2014
10:00 am

Topics:
Amusing
Games

Tags:
Cards Against Humanity


 
Everyone’s favorite grassroots card game company Cards Against Humanity pulled off a neat trick a couple of weeks ago, grossing—hehe, “gross”—$180,000 (!) by offering some addlepated customers an opportunity to buy “Bullshit” for six dollars on that most maniacally consumerist day of the year, Black Friday. They removed all of their products from their online store on the day after Thanksgiving and instead sold 30,000 instances of “Bullshit.” People can’t say they weren’t warned, either—the product billed as a “once-in-a-lifetime offer” promised to include “literal feces, from an actual bull” that “looks, smells, and tastes like shit. Because it is.”

Over the last week or so the boxes of poop have been distributed all over the country—nay, the world—and customers are somehow still poleaxed that their promised packages didn’t actually contain some awesomely fun surprise gift, like when you paid to see that band South of Hell because your asshole cousin swore that it was actually Slayer playing a super secret gig but it turned out to be just a regular satanist speed metal band? Yeah, it was a lot like that.

Here’s a mildly repulsive and hilarious “unboxing” video that shows some dude using his fingers to break apart the poop to see if there is an excellently nifty secret Cracker Jack prize hidden in the poop. But there isn’t, because he spent six bucks for bullshit “hand-packaged inside a custom bullshit box,” and that’s what he got.
 

 
via Uproxx

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Anti-propaganda street posters tell the truth about the police

001totalpolicingstrike1.jpg
 
A series of posters questioning the London Metropolitan Police’s record on racism, violence and corruption have appeared on advertising hoardings across London. The billposters are the idea of STRIKE! Magazine, which produced them in response to the Metropolitan Police’s own promotional campaign—as the magazine explains:

The Metropolitan Police Force spend ridiculous sums of our money trying to convince us – and themselves – that they’re not violent, racist and corrupt. In 2012 it was £12.6m and in 2013 it was £9.3 – in two weeks alone last year they wasted nearly half a million pounds of public money on pointless poster campaigns. This is from the webpage promoting the local policing pilot scheme:

“Evidence tells us that giving people very local information about police action in their area may increase the confidence they have in police. These boroughs were chosen as places where confidence in policing is lower than average.”

It’s propaganda pure and simple: they want us to forget that they murdered Mark Duggan, an unarmed civilian, and caused the 2011 riots; they’d rather you didn’t talk about being 28 times more likely to be stopped and searched in London if you don’t have white skin; and if the heavily redacted Operation Tiberius report is anything to go by, they definitely don’t want you to know about the 42 corrupt senior Metropolitan Police officers caught literally letting criminals get away with murder. Their entire barrel is rotten, so they want to keep the lid tight shut.

STRIKE! Magazine is a bi-monthly anti-profit, advertisement free newspaper covering politics, philosophy, art, subversion and sedition. The magazine launched the campaign two months ago, but claim they do not know who is behind printing the posters and putting them in bus shelter advertising hoardings.

However, one designer from STRIKE! told Vice UK that he had seen about twenty posters since they first appeared on Saturday December 13th, and was “[e]normously pleased” with them. Photographs of the posters have been shared by many users on Twitter.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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