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Children of Paradise: Life With The Cockettes
06.07.2011
02:45 pm

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This summer in downtown Los Angeles there’s a photography show at the drkrm/gallery that explores the history of the acid-gobbling, show-stopping star-children of the infamous Cockettes drag troupe. From Frontiers:

For those who neglected to Netfix their eponymous 2002 documentary, here’s the skinny on the Cockettes—they debuted on New Year’s Eve 1969, as part of a midnight showcase in San Fran’s Palace Theatre. Combining Broadway parody, cross-dressing and LSD-fueled choreography, their performances soon gained high profile media attention in Rolling Stone and the Village Voice. In the Chicago Tribune, critic Rex Reed described the show as “a nocturnal happening comprising equal parts of Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street, Harold Prince’s Follies and movie musicals, the United Fruit Company, Kabuki and the Yale Variety Show, with a lot of angel dust thrown in to keep the audience good and stoned.” Kitsch aficionado John Waters recounted, “It was complete sexual anarchy. You couldn’t tell the men from the women. It was really new at the time, and it still would be new.” On the Tonight Show, novelist and professional dandy fop Truman Capote simply stated “The Cockettes are where it’s at.”

Cashing in on this unexpected fame, the Cockettes moved their show to New York. Unfortunately, the troupe’s free-spirited hippie aesthetic was perceived by elite Manhattanites as unprofessional and sloppy. John Lennon, Liza Minelli and Angela Lansbury were some of the many celebrities to walk out on the opening night performance. Gore Vidal hammered the final nail in their patchouli-scented coffin when he infamously proclaimed, “Having no talent isn’t enough.” The group returned to the West Coast and disbanded in 1972.

The photographs in Children were shot before the East Coast snafu. Consisting solely of black and white portraiture by longtime Cockettes member Fayette Hauser, the exhibit depicts her various castmates flower-powering around ‘Frisco—bearded men in boas and evening gowns performing on ramshackle stages; women with theatrical beat smeared across their face lounging in antiquated Haight-Ashbury houses; fierce tranny geishas frolicking through Golden Gate Park. Each picture is a crystalized moment from an artistically and culturally groundbreaking epoch.

Children of Paradise: Life With The Cockettes. Photographs by Fayette Hauser, drkrm/gallery, 727 S. Spring St., Downtown L.A. June 4-July 2

Below, the trailer from the excellent 2002 documentary, The Cockettes,
 

 
Via World of Wonder

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The world’s most dangerous playground
06.07.2011
01:20 pm

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YouTuber KirkCliff2 says, “In Soviet Russia, toy throws YOU!”

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Jason Silva: Musings on Terence McKenna’s Emergence of Language
06.07.2011
01:17 pm

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Dangerous Minds pal Jason Silva—you may know him from Current TV—sent me this epic rant, caught on video recently. He writes, “I wanted to share this video not as an empirical scientific presentation, but rather an imaginative interpretation of an idea that captured my imagination. The goal was to share an enthusiastic reflection on a wild hypothesis. This is what I would call a moment of ‘ecstatic awe.’”

Terence McKenna wrote in Food Of The Gods that language is a synesthetic technology that allows us to encode information in sound patterns and transmit it wirelessly through time and space. It is, in essence, the first information technology. He believes the catalyst may have been the boundary-dissolving effects of psychedelic mushrooms ingested by early hominids. It’s a wild idea, but it inspired this expository discourse.

In Tron, the main character longs for a reality of his own construction:

“The Grid. A digital frontier: I tried to picture clusters of information as they flowed through the computer.. what did they look like? Chips, motorcycles? Were the circuits like freeways? I kept dreaming of a world I thought I’d never see.. And then… One day… I got IN.”

 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Heads Up Their Asses: ‘Human Centipede II’ banned in the UK
06.07.2011
10:01 am

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Hysteria
Media
Movies

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Picture from Needles and Sins.
 
Well, it feels like quite a while since we’ve had a genuine “ban this filth” furore kicked up over a horror film in the UK. Moral panic over celluloid work is something the British do very well - and not just the infamous Video (Nasties) Recording Act of 1984, but also the public and private reactions to films such as Reservoir Dogs, A Clockwork Orange, Child’s Play 3, The Exorcist, Visions of Ecstasy and more. Now there’s a new film to be added to that list, or if you will sown on to the end of the chain. The British Board of Film Classifications (the BBFC) has taken the decision to place an outright ban on director Tom Six’s soon-to-be-not-released Human Centipede II (Full Sequence).

According to the BBFC’s website, here are the reasons for the ban:

*Spoilers Alert!*

The principal focus of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims. Examples of this include a scene early in the film in which he masturbates whilst he watches a DVD of the original Human Centipede film, with sandpaper wrapped around his penis, and a sequence later in the film in which he becomes aroused at the sight of the members of the ‘centipede’ being forced to defecate into one another’s mouths, culminating in sight of the man wrapping barbed wire around his penis and raping the woman at the rear of the ‘centipede’. There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalised, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience. There is a strong focus throughout on the link between sexual arousal and sexual violence and a clear association between pain, perversity and sexual pleasure. It is the Board’s conclusion that the explicit presentation of the central character’s obsessive sexually violent fantasies is in breach of its Classification Guidelines and poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers.

 

 
I saw Human Centipede (First Sequence) at the cinema, and enjoyed it a lot (it was in fact a first date, and we are still very much together). While I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was a classic, it was well made, delivered some good scares (mostly centred around the excellent, unhinged performance by Dieter Laser as herr doktor, above) and it wasn’t as gory as I was expecting. The horror did indeed come from the central idea, a rare feat in today’s saturated, torture-porn market. While last year’s A Serbian Film featured some very heavy sexual violence, and was heavily cut by the BBFC, it still played in cinemas and on DVD systems across the land. It seems that mere graphic sexual violence is not enough to get a film banned, it is indeed about the film maker’s intent. And herein lies the problem.

Personally I do not believe in the power of prohibition, and feel particularly irked by the thought that there are a group of people somewhere making decisions on what I can and cannot watch without knowing a single thing about me (and yet assuming the worst about my character). What is the point in this day and age when uncut versions of pretty much anything can be obtained at the click of a mouse? However, I also know how the horror industry works, and absolutely any whiff of scandal that can be created must be exploited for maximum exposure. Human Centipede II (Final Sequence) was shot in England, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that director Tom Six knew the BBFC guidelines and decided to deliberately flout them. The UK has a relatively small market but a powerful media presence, and let’s face it, the film will get a hell of a lot more column inches now than it would have otherwise. For a series of horror films based on a truly disturbing central idea, getting one banned is a masterstroke. Because no amount of onscreen depravity will ever match up to the dark fantasies we create in our heads when imaging how bad a banned film might be.

Writing this post (which I wouldn’t have done were it not for the ban) I decided to look up the trailer for HC2FS, and was rather dismayed at the result. It’s all going a bit Von Trier for my liking - that is when a director’s ego and persona becomes much larger, and more of a focal point, than the actual work they are creating and promoting. Thus bad film making can be excused through a cult of personality. And before any fan people jump on me for that statement, it’s acknowledged that Von Trier has used his own persona, and people’s perception of it, to break his films out of the Danish art market and on to the international stage. It’s not a crime per se, but it still pisses me off, especially if the directors are just not as interesting as they think they are, as is the case here. So, principle photography and at least the first edit of HS2:FS must be ready for the BBFC to pass a judgement, but when it comes to trailers all the public can we see is this rather self-indulgent and poorly executed “personality director” clip. Is this supposed to brew disturbing images in my mind and make me want to see the new film? Sorry Tom Six, but it doesn’t. It bores me and makes me want to see it less: 
 

 
Thanks to Keith Jukes for the headline!

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Has Armchair Astronomer Discovered Evidence of Life on Mars?
06.07.2011
07:34 am

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A structure, said to be neither “rock nor mountain” nor “fabricated structure”, has been discovered on Mars by “armchair astronomer” David Martines, [who] discovered “a mysterious structure on the surface of the red planet - by looking on Google earth,” reports the Daily Mail:

David Martines, whose YouTube video of the ‘station’ has racked up over 200,000 hits so far, claims to have randomly uncovered the picture while scanning the surface of the planet one day.

Describing the ‘structure’ as a living quarters with red and blue stripes on it, to the untrained eye it looks nothing more than a white splodge on an otherwise unblemished red landscape.

He even lists the co-ordinates 49’19.73"N 29 33’06.53"W so others can go see the anomaly for themselves.

In a pre recorded ‘fly by’ video of the object, Mr Martines describes what he thinks the station might be. He said: ‘This is a video of something I discovered on Google Mars quite by accident.

‘I call it Bio-station Alpha, because I’m just assuming that something lives in it or has lived in it.

It’s very unusual in that it’s quite large, it’s over 700 feet long and 150 feet wide, it looks like it’s a cylinder or made up of cylinders.

‘It could be a power station or it could be a biological containment or it could be a glorified garage - hope it’s not a weapon.

‘Whoever put it up there had a purpose I’m sure. I couldn’t imagine what the purpose was. I couldn’t imagine why anybody would want to live on Mars.

‘It could be a way station for weary space travellers. It could also belong to NASA, I don’t know that they would admit that.

‘I don’t know if they could pull off such a project without all the people seeing all the material going up there. I sort of doubt NASA has anything to do with this.

‘I don’t know if NASA even knows about this.’

 
image
 
ksby.com reports:

Martines calls the apparent structure, Biostation Alpha but planetary geologist Alfred McEwen from the University of Arizona says not so fast. McEwen thinks Biostation Alpha is simply a glitch in the image caused by cosmic energy interfering with the camera.
McEwen says, “with space images that are taken outside our magnetosphere, such as those taken by orbiting telescopes, it’s very common to see these cosmic ray hits.”

Martines says he’s not an astronomy expert and doesn’t know what the image is but isn’t sold on McEwen’s explanation.

“He says that it’s a glitch caused by the reflection of the sun, but even he doesn’t know what camera took the picture and even he doesn’t know where the raw data exists” says Martines.

While Reno Berkeley at technology.gather suggests more possible answers:

A man who believes he’s discovered proof of life on Mars has named the cylindrical structure he claims to have found on the planet as Bio Station Alpha. The video of his discovery, found via Google Mars, has received nearly a million views. But, is it really an artificial structure? Scientists say, ‘no.’

Martines, who uploaded his video to YouTube on May 28, pondered the supposed structure’s purpose. “It could be a power station,” he said in his video, “or it could be a biological containment or it could be a glorified garage—hope it’s not a weapon.” Oh, dear, please spare the world from idiotic alien invasion conspiracy theories!

Anyway, Alfred McEwen claims that the “bio station” is actually nothing more than a “linear streak artifact created by a cosmic ray.” McEwan is the lead scientist in the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), which is a powerful telescope orbiting Mars. The rays are energetic particles emanated by the sun and other stars. When orbiting telescopes take photos of Mars or other things in space, the images go through a compressing process in the camera, making the rays look as if they’re cylindrical. McEwan couldn’t tell which orbiting telescope took the photo, so he wasn’t sure what the raw data showed.

Clearly miffed at this, he said, “The people at Google need to document what the heck they’re doing. They should be able to identify what the source of their information is, and let people know so they can go back and look at the raw data.”

Another critic of Martines’ Bio Station Alpha theory is another YouTube user who goes by the name of buzzology1990. Buzzology1990 posted his own video of screen caps, showing how the image Martines claims is a structure is actually just a mineral or salt deposit. Others think it is a dry ice deposit, as this image is near one of the poles on Mars.

Whatever it is, David Martines and his YouTube video have generated a lot of interest and speculation about life on Mars and on other worlds.

On YouTube Martines writes:

This could be the most important discovery on Mars yet! This structure is 700’ x 150’, and is colored white with blue and red stripes against the red Martian soil.

This is not a rock or mountain. It is a manufactured structure. This is not something that I created, this is something that is currently on Google Mars. NASA wont talk to me about it. I’ve sent them a few emails, and no reply.

Go see for yourself.

The coordinates are: 71 49’19.73"N 29 33’06.53"W

 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
She texted, they kicked her out
06.06.2011
10:29 pm

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At the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas, when they say “no talking” or “stop texting” during a movie, they really mean it. This is hilarious:

As many of you know, I really can’t abide people who talk during a movie. A couple of years ago I was accosted in the Village parking lot by a patron who was warned for talking in a movie. I’ve nearly come to blows more than a few times over the years with rude customers over the same issue. When we adopted our strict no talking policy back in 1997 we knew we were going to alienate some of our patrons. That was the plan. If you can’t change your behavior and be quiet (or unilluminated) during a movie, then we don’t want you at our venue. Follow our rules, or get the hell out and don’t come back until you can.

Recently, we had a situation where a customer persisted in texting in the theater despite two warnings to stop. Our policy at that point is to eject the customer without a refund, which is exactly what went down that night.  Luckily, this former patron was so incensed at being kicked out, she quickly called the office and left us the raw ingredients for our latest “Don’t Talk or Text” PSA. You can check it out below, or come to the Alamo this weekend where the video will be playing before all of our R-rated movies.

Ma’am, you may be free to text in all the other theaters in the Magnited States of America, but here at our “little crappy ass theater,” you are not. Why you may ask? Well, we actually do give a f*$k.

Sincerely,

Tim League
Founder/CEO
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

 

 
Thank you Adam Parfrey!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Love Exposure: Japanese auteur Sion Sono’s epic masterpiece
06.06.2011
08:55 pm

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“It’s too bad words like ‘masterpiece’ and ‘epic’ have been so overused by excitable film critics, because Sion Sono’s Love Exposure is an actual epic masterpiece that is going to dominate the filmscape for decades.” - New York Asian Film Festival

“Japan’s eroto-theosophical answer to the allegorical journeys of Alejandro Jodorowsky”—Film Four

Los Angeles cinephiles have always had it good, but when the Cinefamily crew took over the old Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax and Melrose a few years back, the city became especially blessed. I know I’ve said that before, but it’s true.

This week is no exception to the steady stream of celluloid riches they program there as zany Japanese auteur Sion Sono, the director of the amazing Love Exposure—not to mention Noriko’s Dinner Table, Hair Extensions and the most recent, Cold Fish—will be there in person for a screening of several of his films with either an introduction or a post screening Q&A with Sono himself!

I watched 2009’s Love Exposure last week and I’ve been telling all my friends that they have to see it. Last month, during the film’s week-long LA theatrical run, after I couldn’t convince anyone to go with me to see a four hour film, Cinefamily’s Hadrian Belove was kind enough to send me a DVD screener and the film absolutely blew my doors off. Even if someone doesn’t love it, surely they would appreciate it. It’s such an unusual experience.

Love Exposure is the extraordinarily epic—yet whimsical—story of Yu Honda, “king of the perverts.” Yu is the ninja master of the “up skirt” photograph. After his mother dies, Yu’s father becomes a Catholic priest. He insists that his son confess his sins to him. Yu has nothing really to confess and he makes stuff up that his father doesn’t even believe. Eventually he falls in with a new crowd and soon his transgressions are a bit more… sinful. Still, Yu himself is not aroused by his “panty shots” and lives an otherwise chaste life as he patiently awaits the arrival of his true love. He’s only “sinning” for the sake of his relationship with his father.

Yu loses a bet and he is obliged to dress as a woman and kiss a girl he likes. As the boys are goofing off, they come across a young girl who is about to be attacked by a gang. Yu is instantly smitten with Yoko and—still dressed as a woman—he jumps into the fight and together they kick the gang’s collective ass. To fulfill the conditions of the bet, Yu kisses Yoko who begins to think she is a lesbian and crushes hard on Yu’s disguise of “Miss Scorpion.” Yu believes he has finally met his one true love… and she thinks he is a woman!

Yu then finds out that his father the priest has a girlfriend and will be leaving the priesthood. Guess who his new sister is going to be?

And that’s only the first hour. The Scientology or Aum Shinrikyo-like cult religion, the violence and the explosions all happen later…

It’s a pretty epic love story. I’d recommend it to anyone with a taste for unusual world cinema, which is not to say it’s esoteric in any way, because it’s not. Love Exposure is a real crowd pleaser and I highly recommend the experience. It’s an event! It may run for four hours, true, but it felt like two, trust me. Don’t be intimidated by the length, think of it as a single film made into a double feature… or something, just see it!

No really, event is the right word, especially with the director flying in all the way from Japan. If you love movies and live in LA, you’d be crazy to miss this. The Cold Fish screening is even free with pre-registration (to register, click here).

Friday and Saturday at Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles

The trailer for Sino Sono’s Love Exposure:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Weird Sex Video: Shiny Pants
06.06.2011
08:35 pm

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What do we make of this?
 

 
More Sugar Bean Time, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Clever skate video from the skateboard’s perspective
06.06.2011
07:15 pm

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Really cool video from a skateboard’s perspective. I believe the camera is mounted underneath the deck. Directed by Eli Stonberg, skateboarding by Aryeh Kraus with music by Blackbird Blackbird.

 
Thanks, Syd Garon!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Anthony Weiner: What a dickhead!
06.06.2011
06:23 pm

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Current Events
Politics

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At this point there is no defending Rep. Anthony Weiner. He’s a fucking idiot. I always liked the guy, but he’s made a goddamned buffoon of himself.

His wife must be furious and I’ll bet Bill and Hil are PISSED, too! I can’t wait to hear what Jon Stewart does tonight!

And he had to apologize to Andrew Breitbart! What an idiot, Weiner is. He has single-handedly helped Andrew Breitbart get a brand-new shiny media make-over. Way to go, idiot!

It pains me to have to say that about a liberal Democrat who was willing to go to bat on the single-payer healthcare option. I like Weiner, and as a former New Yorker, I always have, ever since he first got elected to the city council at the age of 27. He’s a gutsy Democrat who’s willing to play ball on Fox News for sport and I just love that in a Democrat… but for Christ’s sake, Anthony Weiner is a fucking idiot!

For a politician, in this day and age to think even for a split millisecond that something like this wouldn’t come back to bite him in the ass is farcical. It’s preposterous. It speaks VOLUMES about his shitty judgement that these photos exist AT ALL. [Note to Congressman Weiner: You are a United States Congressman, from one of the single SAFEST Democratic districts in the country—you want to be the mayor of New York—and you take photos of your johnson and send it off to women—not women who you have fucked, I might add—but that you have never even met???? WHAT IS WRONG IN YOUR HEAD, MAN? You didn’t even meet them, let alone fuck them, you fool! What a loser! And you used social media! What a fool you are! It’s mind-bending how reckless you were with your reputation and your marriage! You deserved to be caught, dumbshit!]

I never thought I’d say this, but better Michele Bachmann than Weiner on the House Intelligence committee, eh?

His effectiveness as an anti-Republican jabber has been greatly compromised by this entire sordid affair and that’s really too bad. I don’t think Weiner did anything so bad that he should resign, but good luck staying married, pal.

And have you seen his wife? She’s one of the best-looking women in Washington, DC and an honorary Clinton, to boot. Screwing up a marriage to this babe is a fuck-up of epic proportions!

Anthony Weiner’s a dickhead, no two ways about it. (Did I mention that he’s an idiot, also?)

The best part of the press conference was when a reporter asked, “Were you fully erect!?”

WHY didn’t he come clean about this a week ago? Because he’s a fucking idiot, that’s why!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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