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John Candy as Divine as Peter Pan
09.11.2011
07:45 pm

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Amusing
Heroes
Music
Queer
Television

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From the Canadian sketch show SCTV, this clip has been causing some confusion among Divine fans as it’s labelled on YouTube “Divine as Peter Pan”. Thankfully original Dreamlander Mink Stole was on hand to help clear the matter up:

That’s not Divine— I think it’s actually John Candy doing a Divine parody—which is in itself a tribute.

Who knew Candy made such a good drag queen?!
 

 
BONUS! Here’s Candy, again as Divine, doing “Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me”
 

 
via I Am Divine with thanks to Mink Stole

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle’ for your viewing pleasure
09.11.2011
05:51 pm

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Movies
Music
Punk

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Julian Temple’s 1980 mockumentary The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle attempts to drain the last bit of blood from the corpse of The Sex Pistols. With Pistols’ Svengali Malcolm McClaren as his accessory in this crime against historical fact, Temple depicts the Pistols as a sham act with little or no bona fide talent foisted on an easily manipulated youth culture. Of course, he was wrong and would later do penance by directing the far more accurate documentary The Filth and The Fury 20 years later.

McClaren may have constructed The Sex Pistols but once his monster was out of the lab it was a genuine force to be reckoned with. The Pistols influence is as potent now as it was the day they were born. McClaren had a genius for promotion and anticipating/creating trends, but he was mad for thinking that the Pistols were solely a product of his own ego-driven machinations. The raw material was already there.

The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle may have been intended as a joke, but the joke ended up being on its creators, not the band or its fans. Temple may have been trying to make a satirical film about a rock band as pop culture product along the lines of Bob Rafaelson’s Monkees’ flick Head, but he did so without any of Rafaelson’s imagination, wit or charm. While Head was a surreal and entertaining romp, Swindle has the stench of something gone sour.

Chaotic, tiresome, but not without moments of brilliance (Temple is no hack) and great live music, here’s TGR&RS in its entirety. Very nice quality.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Subverting American Apparel: an interview with the amazing Nancy Upton
09.11.2011
02:25 pm

Topics:
Activism
Fashion
Feminism
Food
Heroes

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You might have seen the name Nancy Upton trending online in the last few days. After taking offence at the language in a recent talent-hunt campaign by American Apparel (a company whose image is already a source of much controversy, and who are looking for a plus-size model to advertise their new range), Nancy decided to do some satirical beauty shots of herself sexily consuming food and enter them into the contest. Well, the photos came out very well and have proved wildly popular with the public, who have voted Nancy into first place in the competition (even though she has stated that she would not accept the prize if the judges chose her to win). 

All in all this is a pretty awesome story, which touches on female sexual empowerment, body image, sexist corporate branding and the acceptability of sizeism within the mainstream. I sent Nancy some brief questions for Dangerous Minds, and she was kind enough to answer them in some detail:

How did you feel about American Apparel before their “plus size” competition? What was it about this particular campaign that made you want to enter?

I feel like they’ve always gone above and beyond other companies in objectifying women. Basically it was the fact that they were trying to take advantage of a new market but make it seem like they were doing people a favor. I answered this a bit with my Daily Beast article.

“The company was co-opting the mantra of plus-size empowerment and glazing it with its unmistakable brand of female objectification. The puns, the insulting, giggly tones, and the over-used euphemisms for fat that were scattered throughout the campaign’s solicitation began to crystalize an opinion in my mind.
...
American Apparel was going to try to use one fat girl as a symbol of apology and acceptance to a demographic it had long insisted on ignoring, while simultaneously having that girl (and a thousand other girls) shill their products.”

 

 

What’s your reaction to being voted no. 1 by the public?

Complete and utter shock. I never expected to actually be accepted into the contest, and I certainly never expected for people (other than friends who knew what I was doing and why I was doing it) to want me to win.

You’ve taken a bit of flack for supposedly insulting large women with the pics - how do you respond to that?

It’s actually very upsetting for me to hear from women that they feel insulted by what I did. I feel like, being a plus-sized woman myself, it should be very apparent that the photos are done to mock people who are the ones judging overweight men and women. Also, that they were done in the spirit of silly shenanigans and having fun being yourself. I feel like watching a plus-sized model get brutally airbrushed or only shot from one specific, slimming angle for an ad campaign is way more insulting. It’s interesting that by insulting a company that has a history of negativity towards women, I’ve managed to insult the same women the company marginalizes.

You have already said that if you do win you wouldn’t accept the prize - but wouldn’t it be better if you did?

Would it be better? I’m not sure. I wouldn’t appear for American Apparel because I disagree with their business practices, specifically their system of advertising. I feel like putting your face on a product or brand you can’t actually get behind is pretty gross. I’m also not sure it would send a great message. I feel like I’ve had an opportunity to make a statement about standing up (or at least satirizing) for what you believe in, and if I turned around and accepted a job from AA, that statement would be negated to a degree.
 

 
Do you have any favourite other models in the comp you think should win?

I’m not going to play favorites, but I definitely think the person chosen should ACTUALLY be unknown, especially since there’s no monetary compensation. Some of the women in the competition not only had modeling experience, but are actually signed with agencies. I’ve always been under the impression that once you have representation, you should avoid contests and stunts like this. But what the hell do I know about the world of modeling?

What do you think as to how large people are treated in mainstream culture and fashion in general, and is there anything anyone can do to affect this?

I feel like it’s a dialogue/presence that is always in a flux between shrinking and expanding. For every “fat best friend” throw away character on television, we get one who is brilliantly written and portrayed. Increasingly we see different shapes and looks being incorporated into major ad campaigns and runway work. Are large people treated well across the board? No. Has their level of representation and respect grown from where it was 10 years ago? Yes.

I think people are becoming more and more outspoken about the role of the plus-sized model in fashion, as well as in other aspects of entertainment and art. If we continue to keep those lines of communication open and express our desires directly and dynamically, change will happen.
 

 
Are there any designers/labels/outlets you think DO respect plus size people?

I think some designers have cuts that are more generous or have become more generous as time has gone on. Diane Von Furstenberg, for example. I believe they go up to a 14 now, as does Kate Spade, which is interesting considering their clothing line isn’t even the company’s main selling point.

I’m a big fan of the Dove campaigns. They’re very natural and don’t feel patronizing or cheap. They’re honest, simple and encourage individuality. The Gentlewoman had a great article on Adele earlier this year, and I’m a big fan of the way they profile strong, interesting women in their magazine. Target has a great selection of sizes and, I swear, every time I walk in there, the clothes are better and better.

And finally the photographs are beautiful - can you tell us more about the photographer?

Shannon Skloss, the magnificent. She has a website that will be launching soon, but for now you can find her business page on Facebook. She’s incredibly funny, vibrant and talented. We had so much fun on the shoot, and her work is just outstanding. We were introduced through a mutual friend when I needed some headshots done a few months ago, and I’m so glad it worked out that way.

Voting has now closed on the American Apparel “Next Big Thing” campaign, though we await with interest any kind of statement from the company. Shannon Skloss’ Facebook photography page is here.

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Iggy does the dog at Virgin Megastore Paris 1990
09.11.2011
02:41 am

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Punk

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Iggy performs “I Wanna Be Your Dog” solo at the Virgin Megastore in Paris and the crowd goes wild. 1990.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Floh de Cologne’s anarchic lo-fi Krautrock
09.11.2011
12:29 am

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Music
Politics

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Krautrock meets political theater in Floh de Cologne’s anti-capitalist rock n’ rant “Die Luft Gehört Denen Die Sie Atmen” (The air belongs to those who breathe it) recorded in 1971.

Floh de Cologne’s anarchic politics and free-form musical experimentations evoke The Fugs, Beefheart, Lothar And The Hand People and Frank Zappa, while visually resembling something concocted by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

The lyrics of “Die Luft Gehört Denen Die Sie Atmen” essentially make the case that the earth we live upon belongs to all of us or to no one and cannot be owned by entities like corporations or institutions. Not a new idea but one drolly communicated through the deadpan Floh de Cologne. 
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
New York’s The Group Image: Wild psychedelic punk from 1968
09.10.2011
11:56 pm

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Music
Punk

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Undeniably influenced by the West Coast psychedelia of The Jefferson Airplane, New York’s The Group Image released one album in 1968, A Mouth In The Clouds, that managed to go largely ignored by critics and rock fans. Despite having a wild stage show and a dynamic lead singer in Sheila Darla, the band received little national exposure.

The Group Image played for two years in various locations in Manhattan, NYC, including its own productions / shows at the Palm Gardens, and the Cheetah Club, and shows with the Grateful Dead in Central Park and the Fillmore East, and other outdoor shows in parks such as Tompkins Square Park in the East Village.”

While Sheila Darla shares some of Grace Slick’s hippie allure and a similarity in vocal style, her stage performance bears a striking resemblance to Patti Smith rather than the cool and collected Slick. One wonders if Patti ever saw Darla in action.

Time Magazine reviewed A Mouth In The Clouds in their November 18, 1968 issue. I don’t know who the reviewer is, but it’s amusing how hard he/she tries to get down with hipster lingo. “Liquid Eden” indeed.

This is the first recording by the Manhattan hippie tribe that has been turning on with sound and light in a couple of off-Broadway ballrooms; it will soon open its own permanent ballroom in the East Village. The five-man band has a driving, express-train beat, and a sharp and shimmering harmony, and a high voltage singer named Sheila. Their sound is all their own, but there are some familiar touches of The Lovin’ Spoonful (Grew Up All Wrong) and Jefferson Airplane (Banana Split). In Banana Split, two electronic zaps project the listener, as through a time warp, into a liquid Eden of tinkling bells and clicking percussion. The Group Image calls it the Twinkie Zone, and it’s a pretty good place to be.

By the end of the video, the band erupts in a punk rock frenzy worthy of the Plasmatics.

Presenting The Group Image performing “Hiya,” featuring my new obsession Sheila Darla.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Cigars Speak: What your cigar says about you
09.10.2011
07:17 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Drugs
History

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image
 
DM pal, Maria Guimil shared this guide to what your cigar says about you, from the Garo Habana site, where it is claimed “Cigars speak”:

And the attentive ‘listener’ can learn much from them about their owner. The way people hold their cigar can reveal much about their characters and moods.

In the early nineteen twenties an issue of the Italian almanac, Il Tabacco, contained an interesting column under the heading Sigaromanzia - twelve positions of the hand holding the cigar with captions showing the psychological characteristics of the smoker.

The Italian psychologists of the last century were, apparently, right. At our request, a number of modern experts conducted a similar experiment and came to approximately the same conclusion. So take a closer look at the people you talk to, and maybe you’ll find out something about them you didn’t know before.

 
With thanks to Maria Guimil
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop performs ‘Bang, Bang’ on German TV, from 1981
09.10.2011
06:49 pm

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Heroes
Music
Punk
Television

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image
 
Iggy Pop’s performs “Bang, Bang” on Germany’s Bananas TV, from 1981. The odd mix of young girls with a distracted, tooth-missing, slightly addled Pop makes this clip all the more intriguing.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Epic live performance by Peter Tosh in L.A. 1983
09.10.2011
06:01 pm

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Music

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Peter Tosh, October 19, 1944 – September 11, 1987

 
September 11 is a date heavy with tragedy not only for the absolute horror that befell New York but because it also marks the date that Peter Tosh was murdered in 1987. While most attention will be focused on the tenth anniversary of the death and destruction surrounding the World Trade Center, I thought I’d share something in honor of Tosh.

One man’s death does not equal 3000, so I am not making any comparisons between the two events beyond the fact that they share a month and day and were tragic.

I’ll be avoiding most of the media hype surrounding September 11, 2001. It’s too painful and too exploitive. I think it best to remember 9/11 quietly and solemnly. I am somewhat sickened by the media’s attempt to profit (via TV ratings and book, magazine and newspaper sales) on the wrenching events of that day. I’ve seen enough photos of the burning towers, debris-covered victims, shocked faces and falling bodies to last more than a lifetime. And politicians using the devastation of 9/11 for political gain is beyond nauseating, it’s obscene.

Anyway, here’s a scorching 60 minute set by one of reggae’s greats: Peter Tosh live at L.A.‘s Greek Theater in 1983. Featuring “Pick Myself Up,” “African,” “Glass House,” “Get Up, Stand Up,” “Not Gonna Run,” a dynamic cover of “Johnny B. Goode” and more. Directed by Michael C. Collins.

“I’m like a flashing laser and a rolling thunder”
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Peter Watkins’ ‘The War Game’, 1965
09.10.2011
04:25 pm

Topics:
History
Hysteria
Politics
Television

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image
 
You had 3 minutes to close the windows, pull the curtains, fill basins with water, then collect together foodstuffs, torches and radios, before removing the door from its hinges, leaning it against a wall, covering with cushions or sandbags, and sheltering with your loved ones underneath.

Three minutes.

Time enough for one last smoke, and a tumbler of that 25-year-old Macallan - a dash of spring water, no ice.

At school in the 1970s, we were shown Civil Defense Films on flickering Super 8 projectors that depicted the seeming inevitability of nuclear war. Now it’s localized terrorism, back then it was the annihilation of the country, the planet, us.

Of course, through time, we became inured to all of that, and the thought of an all-out nuclear war became a hovering shadow - sometimes we noticed it, sometimes not. It only seemed real when presented as a film The Day After, or as a TV drama, Threads. But it would have hit home hardest, if the BBC had ignored the pressure from the Labour government, and shown Peter Watkins’ film The War Game.

The BBC withdrew the film from its planned transmission on August 6 1965, the twentieth anniversary of Hiroshima, claiming:

“...the effect of the film has been judged by the BBC to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting…”

“Too horrifying” was one of the reasons it should have been aired. Instead we were shown those strangely surreal Civil Defense Films, Duck and Cover, Protect and Survive, in dusty, distracted classrooms, where they had little lasting effect.

The War Game was given a limited cinema release, making it eligible for the Oscars, where it won the Best Documentary Feature award in 1966. Watkins was so outraged by the BBC’s cavils, that he quit the UK for Sweden, and continued to make his distinct, powerful and political films - most recently La Commune (2000), a “6-hour re-enactment of the 1871 Paris Commune which examined the role of media in the modern global economy.”

With The War Game, Watkins continued his:

...experiments in blending fiction and documentary techniques which he had begun with his earlier play Culloden (1964), Watkins presented data drawn from his detailed research - encompassing interviews, Civil Defence documents, scientific studies and accounts of the effects of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts and the non-nuclear devastation of Dresden, Hamburg and other cities during World War II - in the form of charts, quotes and vox-pop style face-to-face interviews with ordinary people. These he embedded into his own imagined scenario of the impact of a blast in Kent following the escalation of an East-West conflict.

The War Game was eventually transmitted in Britain on July 31 1985.
 

 
Bonus Civil Defense Films, after the jump…
 
With thanks to Damien Smith
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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