Rüdiger Nüchtern’s short film Amon Düül II Spielt Phallus Dei dates from 1968 and is a single camera documentation of the Krautrock legends performing the title track from their soon to be released first album. This is the earliest known footage of the band, who perform in a studio in Munich against a wall with psychedelic projections, with shots of a sunrise, sunset, clouds, trees and the German countryside added in.
The personnel here are Christian ‘Shrat’ Thiele (bongos, vocals) Peter Leopold (drums), Dieter Serfas (drums), John Weinzierl (guitar), Falk Rogner (organ), Chris Karrer (violin, guitar) Renate Knaup (vocals) and Dave Anderson (bass).
Although the film, which apparently was shown at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1972, is in crappy condition, it’s worth watching (once) if you’re a fan of the band.
This short film created by a collective of film makers, writers, and actors in Boise, Idaho may be the best horror movie of 2011. It’s certainly one of the most intelligent.
Three sad couch potatoes find comfort in the familiar commercials they watch every day of their boring lives. Their reality comes at them in 30 second bursts of hypnotic, frantic and indelible visual and audio propaganda. In the Television Commercial Network, they have found their perfect drug: a station where non-stop jingles, slogans and catch-phrases, assault the viewer with promises of better things to come while reminding us of just how shitty things are right now. They have pills that will make you feel better if they don’t kill you. They have food that will satisfy your cravings for instant gratification while filling your body with the same kind of toxic sludge that the commercials are injecting into your brain matter. The whole fucking thing is insidious.
How many Americans diagnose themselves as having physical and mental problems as a result of seeing countless upon countless commercials pitching drugs for depression and erectile dysfunction? Suddenly millions of perfectly healthy men are suffering from performance anxiety and taking mood elevators to deal with it. As women are made to feel neurotic about their weight, age and beauty. We’re being sold products that pit us against nature and if we’re not winning we’re not fully human.
As TCN reveals, the commercials are a drug, which eventually need to be countered by another drug in order to cope and feel better. And if you don’t leave the room or medicate yourself to a far off island, today’s quick cut frantic back to back commercials of corporate snuff, pill popping propaganda and padded butt panties, will easily leave you suffering from similar effects to that of a horrible acid trip.
You can read more about the folks who made this video at their website: American Films. They’re part of a group of absurdist video artists who are keeping it real and unreal in Idaho.
The Commercial Network exists right now. Turn on your TV set late at night. What do you see? And how long can you watch it before you lose all sense of who you are?
Andrew Kaczynski has dug up yet another buried video, a 1998 John Birch Society documentary starring none other than Ron Paul — a classic example of far right paranoia and conspiracy theorizing, as Dr. Paul calmly explains that the United Nations is plotting to take over America, create a New World Order, confiscate every red-blooded patriot’s guns, abolish all churches, and replace the US Constitution with the UN Charter.
For America, the misunderstanding was over the lyrics. Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Get Down” was assumed to be a nudge-nudge reference to oral sex, tied-in, perhaps, to the coincidental release of sex film, Deep Throat.
‘...very British and to me the girl in “Get Down” is behaving like a dog - she’s jumping up on him, so “get down!”’
That’s his story, and he’s, you know. Though he did admit, if it had been about oral pleasures, then:
‘...we should sell 10 million and put it on the soundtrack of Deep Throat.’
Top of the Pops resident dance troupe, Pan’s People understood the song perfectly and reflected it in their innocent interpretation. With such a literal approach, the mind boggles how the girls would have choreographed the song if it had been about blow jobs.
Genesis performing their epic, seven-movement progressive rock sonata “Supper’s Ready” onstage at Shepperton Studios in 1973.
“Old Michael went past the pet shop, which was never open, into the park, which was never closed, and the park was full of a very smooth, clean, green grass. So Henry took off all his clothes and began rubbing his flesh into the wet, clean, green grass. He accompanied himself with a little tune - it went like this…”
There are still several screenings left of Kinji Fukasaku’s bloody, over the top cult film, Battle Royale, at Cinefamily in Hollywood this week:
The most controversial Japanese film of the millennium comes to The Cinefamily over the extended Xmas weekend in its first North American theatrical run EVER! In A Clockwork Orange for the 21st century, the late, great Japanese auteur Kinji Fukasaku tackles the anti-authoritarian Battle Royale — a gorefest with a purpose, an astonishing opus of teen rebellion, generation-gap satire and gleeful bloody anarchy. Seasoning the time-honored “Most Dangerous Game” scenario with an adults vs. teens twist, Fukasaku tells the dystopian tale of a depressed society run rampant with teen violence, as the government decides to tame insubordinate youngsters by shipping entire 9th-grade classes to a remote island for the ultimate test in survival. Whether goody-goody or troublemaker, the kids must prepare to kill or be killed. Shocking, hilarious and as thrilling as any classic Spielberg or Scorsese epic, it is one of the most incredible and explosive action films of the last few decades, made even better by a devious, ice-cold performance of a lifetime by Beat Takeshi (one of Japan’s greatest movie stars). Withheld from U.S. distribution since its original release in 2000 due to its disturbing teen-on-teen carnage, Battle Royale will blow you away. Whether it’s your favorite film, or you’ve never before witnessed this masterpiece of mayhem, join us for the theatrical experience of the season!
Below, the Cinefamily-created trailer for their exclusive theatrical run of Battle Royale:
... was a member of Frank Zappa’s original Mothers of Invention. He appeared on all the group’s early albums, up to and including Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970), as well as on Zappa’s solo disc Lumpy Gravy. He later performed with the Grandmothers, a group of musicians who had accompanied Zappa during different phases of his career.
Born in Arkansas City, Kansas, Sherwood first met Zappa in 1956 when both of them were attending Antelope Valley high school in California. Sherwood was in the same class as Frank’s brother: “Bobby found out that I collected blues records and he introduced me to Frank, and Frank and I sort of got together and swapped records.”
At the time, Zappa was already in a band called the Blackouts, but this soon disintegrated. Then the brothers moved to Ontario, California, and started a new band, the Omens, which also included Sherwood. He would regularly jam with Zappa in a string of different groups, and eventually, in 1964, the Mothers. The following year, the band signed a recording contract with MGM records, and set about the lengthy process of recording their first album, Freak Out!, with producer Tom Wilson. At the time, Sherwood was not a fully fledged member of the band, which changed its name to the Mothers of Invention. He described his role on Freak Out! as “just making sound effects on some of the songs”.
After the album’s release in June 1966 on MGM’s Verve label, the band went on tour, then in November that year took up a six-month residency at the Garrick theatre in New York, during which they played 14 shows a week. Sherwood was working for the band as equipment manager and roadie, and sometimes operated the lighting during the Garrick shows. These were a bizarre mix of music and performance art, featuring puppet shows and interludes when the band would pelt the audience with fruit.
It was when the Mothers made their first trip to England, in mid-1967, that Sherwood was finally hired as a full-time musician. It was the band’s vocalist and percussionist Ray Collins who gave Sherwood the nickname “Motorhead”, through his love of working on cars and trucks and motorcycles: “He said ‘it sounds like you’ve got a little motor in your head’, so they just called me Motorhead and that seemed to stick.”
Sherwood contributed on baritone and/or tenor saxophone, and sometimes percussion and vocals, to Absolutely Free, We’re Only in It for the Money, and the doo-wop album Cruising with Ruben & the Jets, taking in the Zappa solo album Lumpy Gravy en route. Zappa disbanded the original Mothers of Invention in 1969 for financial reasons and what he perceived as public apathy, but Sherwood appears on the albums Uncle Meat, Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Weasels Ripped My Flesh, recorded before the split but released subsequently.
File this one anywhere you want: A soon to be published biography of Richard Nixon by former UPI reporter Don Fulsom makes the claim that Nixon was bisexual. Yeah, Nixon. Insert your own “Tricky Dick” joke here, I can’t be bothered:
Due out next month, Fulsom’s racy bio, Nixon’s Darkest Secrets, asserts that Nixon carried on a decades-long affair with Mafia-connected Floridian Charles “Bebe” Rebozo, unquestionably one of the 37th U.S. President’s closest confidants. Rebozo often vacationed with Prez Dick in Key Biscayne, both with Nixon’s wife Pat along and not. During the men-only visits, the twosome reportedly frolicked together in and out of the water, and gushed over their shared passion for Broadway musicals.
But was there ever anything more than a strong bromance between the dark duo? Nixon’s final chief of staff, Alexander Haig, reportedly joked about the pair being lovers and threw in an imitation of Rebozo’s limp wrist for good measure.
Of course this could easily be chalked up to Haig’s jealousy over Rebozo’s unshakably close connection to the president. But what of the repeated journalistic whispers—like the Time magazine reporter quoted by Fulsom, who claimed that when he once bent down to retrieve his fork at a Washington dinner, he realized that Nixon and Rebozo were holding hands under the table?
Richard Nixon once called San Francisco “the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine,” and he blamed the fall of Rome on homosexual emperors. Anyone who has read the transcripts of the Nixon tapes knows how many times “[expletive deleted]” appears in the text, quite often in place of the word “cocksucker,” an expletive Nixon apparently loved to throw around. The man was clearly not comfortable about the topic of homosexuality. The idea that Nixon was bi seems as utterly preposterous to me as the idea of Nixon being sexual at all (although of course, he did have two children so we know he got laid at least twice).
In the completely ridiculous tape below, John Ehrlichman, Bob Haldeman and Nixon discuss homosexuality and “Archie Bunker” in the Oval Office on May 13, 1971. There is a 14-second bleeped out section where Nixon is meant to be running down a list of supposedly gay entertainers. It starts to pick up steam in the latter part of the clip, at around 5 minutes in, in terms of the yucks value.
It’s Even Worse Than It Looks is the title of a new book co-written by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstrein that examines today’s hideous, almost universally hated Congress, by comparing it to not-so-great times in American history. As Mann told NPR recently, “there have been battles, delays, brinkmanship — but nothing quite like this.”
“There were a few really bruising periods in American congressional history, not only the run-up to the Civil War, but also around the War of 1812,” he says.
A Gallup poll published earlier this month found that just 11 percent of Americans approve of Congress’ performance. A whopping 86 percent gave a thumbs-down. That’s the lowest rating since Gallup started taking the public pulse on this issue in 1974. A similar poll conducted by The Associated Press registered a 12 percent approval rating, and a CBS/New York Times poll in October placed Congress’ approval rating at 9 percent.
Lawmakers are acutely aware of the failing grades they’re getting from the pundits and the public alike. After punting two months down the field on the payroll tax cut, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) clearly registered his disgust.
“Washington needs to stop adding confusion and more uncertainty to people’s lives,” he said.
Somewhat ironic coming from a craven son-of-a-bitch like Eric Cantor whose sole role in civic life seems to be actually causing it…
“t’s disappointing, but not surprising,” was the reply when NPR asked another Virginia politician, Senator Mark Warner (D), what he made of the poll numbers registering record public disapproval:
“For most of my lifetime growing up, America was so far ahead of every other country — economically, educationally, on infrastructure,” he says. “But those leads don’t exist any more.”
Warner says he’s looked for the people who say they approve of Congress’ performance.
“I go out and I ask people, ‘Are you part of the 9 percent that thinks we’re doing a good job?’” he says. “And I have yet to find anyone who will raise their hand.”