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NYC subway dancers are so beautiful & hypnotic, I forget my fear of being kicked in the head
11.03.2014
02:03 pm

Topics:
Dance
Sex

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I have an uneasy solidarity with the New York City subway dancers. On the one hand, I appreciate most forms of public entertainment, including (but not exclusive to) mariachi bands, accordionists, cellos, operatic sopranos, those Chinese violin thingies and the rare special occasion when some one drags a whole damn marimba down the subway stairs. On the other hand, the Z train goes approximately 4,000 mph, and the presence of a flailing body on a crowded, high-speed car puts me in an anxious frenzy. On the other hand, proto-fascist “broken windows” policing techniques have facilitated a major crackdown on these (mostly black teen male) performers. On the other hand... limbs flying near my skull.

To really enjoy the charisma and artistry of subway dancers, I have to watch something like this little film for boutique clothing line Fair Ends, featuring the moves of three amazing subway dancers in hypnotic slo-mo. Here there is no danger of traumatic brain injury, and I don’t have to experience the vicarious anxiety of some one perpetually bracing themselves to witness a farcically unjust arrest. 
 

 
Via ANIMAL

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Somewhere in this world is a Psychic TV Zippo lighter and I totally want it
11.03.2014
12:13 pm

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Amusing
Music

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Via William Caxton Fan Club, the marvelous Tumblr of author and Mountain Goats’ honcho John Darnielle (and if you’re not a Mountain Goats fan yet, you really need to get to work on that), here’s an evidently unique Psychic TV Zippo lighter. Finding an original source has proven difficult, but I like to imagine it was engraved by a gothy rogue employee at a Things Remembered in a sleepy midwestern mall. The inscription is a Psychic Cross logo with the epigram “Our aim is wakefulness. Our enemy is dreamless sleep,” a PTV slogan found in the liner notes of the live Temporary Temple LP.

Check out this 1984 PTV segment from the TV show “Earsay,” which includes some footage of the band’s intense and ritualistic live shows.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Steve Jobs memorial dismantled for fear that it would turn Russia gay


 
This gets the eyeroll of the week award. Not as bad as when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted that there were no gay people in Iran, but still, it’s up there. There was a six-foot-tall iPhone St. Petersburg, Russia, to honor Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple who passed away of pancreatic cancer in October 2011. The current CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, came out of the closet last week in the form of an editorial for Bloomberg Businessweek in which he wrote that he is “proud to be gay.”
 

 
That was it for the memorial. The touch-screen monument was designed to emit free Wi-Fi in temperatures as low as negative-30 as well as take photos via a built-in camera. After Cook’s announcement, Maksim Dolgopolov, director of West European Financial Union, the Russian company that originally commissioned the memorial, said that it was now “gay propaganda.” In addition the fact that Edward Snowden used Apple products to leak NSA documents in 2013 also played a role in the decision to remove the monument.

Hilariously, Dolgopolov said that he would reinstall the monument if it can be modified to instruct people to use products made by Apple’s competitors.

Eyeroll.

You can watch workers removing the big black slab here:
 

 
via Vocativ
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
J. Mascis singing Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade into You’
11.03.2014
07:51 am

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Music

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Flood Magazine reported this week that J Mascis will be releasing a cover of Mazzy Star’s classic 1994 single “Fade Into You” on Record Store Day. The article doesn’t specify this, but the release will happen on RSD’s Black Friday event on Nov. 28, not the regular RSD in April. The clip they posted of a live version of the song is every bit as wonderful as Mascis’ years-ago cover, with Dinosaur Jr, of the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” which itself got the RSD treatment earlier this year.

DM readers in the Southwest and West Coast of the USA still have a chance to catch Masics on his Tied to a Star tour through November. He’ll be in Europe in December, and the UK in January.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Listen to four electronic music tracks, supposedly by Aphex Twin’s young son
11.03.2014
07:38 am

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Music

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Earlier this year Aphex Twin (Richard D. James) released Syro, his first studio album since 2001’s Drukqs. Evidently the name of the album came from an utterance from one of James’ young sons—as James indicated in an interview with Dave Noyze, “My eldest son just looked at me one morning and said syrobonkus, I asked him what it meant he said he didnt know” (typography as in the original—this was an email interview, apparently).

In the same interview James revealed that his six-year-old son has made an entire album which had been published on Bandcamp but has now been removed. James stated, “He was 5 when he did most of it n all! I never showed him a thing, he worked it all out himself, mind boggling, 5!” Four of the tracks have since been moved to the Aphex Twin Soundcloud page.

In Rolling Stone two months ago, James gushed about the music his sons (plural) are generating. James said, “I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of an artist called Mark Fell—it’s avant-garde techno, not danceable. Someone said [my son’s music] sounds like a cross between that and Holly Herndon, who’s another experimental electronic artist. That’s really accurate, actually. He was five when he did it.”

James is known for perpetrating harmless media games—the announcement of Syro was executed via a number of viral pranks—so it’s hard to know if this is in that category. As Wikipedia drily notes, “He is known for untruths, including a claim that he sleeps only two or three hours a night.” Personally I think James is probably telling the truth here; he’s not unveiling a new album and the news came from a smallish blog. ... and, how shall I say, the music isn’t really interesting or elaborate enough to justify that kind of ruse, it’s just four tracks of melody-free electronic thumpery. It actually seems plausible that a youngster would compose it, given the technology that’s available today.

“Not danceable” is accurate, to be sure. Check out the tracks here:
 

 
The other three tracks after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Myopia: New art book by Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO
11.03.2014
06:17 am

Topics:
Art
Music

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Is there such a thing as a natural-born pop artist? I don’t really think there is, but the voluminous graphical art of Mark Mothersbaugh, well known to Dangerous Minds readers as the frontman and co-founder of DEVO, is enough to give me pause.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver on Thursday opened Myopia, a very large exhibition showcasing the art of Mark Mothersbaugh that runs through April. (If it rings a bell, it may be because we wrote about it last winter.) Adam Lerner, director of the museum and curator of the show, takes pains in the book accompanying the show published by Princeton Architectural Press, to emphasize Mothersbaugh’s almost preposterous productivity: “Mark Mothersbaugh is a fountain of creative energy. He creates postcard-size drawings and collages on a daily basis (more than 30,000 of them so far) and uses them as the basis for other works. ...”

It’s well known that the spark that led to DEVO’s formation was the tragic shooting at Kent State in May 1970, which Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale witnessed. Mothersbaugh puts it well in the book: “For a lot of reasons, the shootings gave me a focus.” To flip through Myopia is to wonder just what button that event pushed in Mothersbaugh’s brain—there seems to be no cessation of the combinations of icons and slogan-like textual elements that Mothersbaugh can’t put together in an arresting image. Lerner wants to emphasize that DEVO is merely one channel for Mothersbaugh’s creativity, with the works featured in Myopia representing some of the others, and that’s perfectly true. It may not be “fair” that DEVO overshadows the entirety of Mothersbaugh’s other output, but that’s the nature of showbiz. A less curmudgeonly way of thinking about it is that Mothersbaugh has found success in the opposed worlds of pop culture and high art in ways that reinforce each other.

It kind of goes without saying for anyone who knows his or her DEVO, but Mothersbaugh’s sloganeering impulse is strongly influenced by advertising. Picking almost at random from the images, you can find phrases in Mothersbaugh’s pictures such as “Don’t Bullshit God, Padre!” “Press My Tummy, Buttwipe!” “I’m Keeping Score, You Fiend!” “Soiled Linen Pantaloons, Yakety Pants,” and on and on. The exclamation points aren’t incidental—there’s a hectoring quality that maybe prevents Mothersbaugh’s images from penetrating the upper echelons of art, but he’s awfully adept and they function really well below that threshold. Hell, even the ones without words are almost as emphatic—the man understands his icons. As for originality, obviously Mothersbaugh owes a huge debt to the pop art movement of the 1950s and after: The Ben-Day dots, visible on the cover, are obviously a nod to Roy Lichtenstein and through him to pop art in general.

My guess is that 90% of DEVO’s fans have no idea just how startling and accomplished an artist Mark Mothersbaugh is. If you take DEVO’s output and convert it to a collection of paintings, it would look a lot like the pieces in Myopia—possibly just because of the sheer number of postcard-style paintings and doodles Mothersbaugh has produced, the graphical art ranges a little wider and more freely than DEVO’s catalog, for reasons that should be mostly obvious. Also, the pretense of the Devolution schtick isn’t quite as present—the levels of pessimistic irony are a little flatter in the paintings, so you can apprehend it a little easier. It’s still about showing you the ugliest side of our noisy culture somehow, but you can admire it purely as an aesthetic thing without the oxytocin hit of DEVO’s spastic 4/4 beat.
 

Riggs’ Class Record No. 101 (No D) (pages 18 and 19), 1971
 

Untitled, 1984
 

LuAnn, ca. 1984
 

Untitled, 1991
 

Untitled, 2001
 

HA, 2004
 

Kiss Me, 2004
 

Untitled (Censor), 2004
 

Are We Not Men?, 2004
 

Untitled, 2010
 
(Most of the images in this post can be clicked on for a larger version.)

Here’s the first section of a roughly 75-minute interview conducted at the Museum Of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles a month ago:
 

 
(All images from Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia edited by Adam Lerner, published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2014. The book goes on sale November 4 but you can pre-order it before then.)

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
DC Comics release cannabis-smelling scratch ‘n’ sniff Harley Quinn annual
11.03.2014
05:57 am

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Amusing
Books

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11harleyquinndopeann11.jpg
 
DC Comics’ launch of the first-ever Harley Quinn annual is certain to raise a major stink with readers—quite literally, as the seasonal special is a “Rub ‘n’ Smell Spectacular,” giving readers the chance to scratch ‘n’ sniff such aromas as pizza, leather, suntan lotion, and “what’s referred to in the story as “cannabisylocibe 7-A”—that is to say, cannabis.

Yes, the waft of cannabis will emanate from the noxious pages of the Harley Quinn Annual this festive season, but only for those readers in America. Can you imagine the trouble DC Comics might find themselves in if they exported this weed-smelling comic book to, say, the UK, where sniffers would be scrabbling and salivating over the “Rub ‘n’ Smell” contents?

As DC warns “you, readers”:
 

This issue stinks! Seriously! Like, unpleasant odors are literally in the story! In this first-ever HQ ANNUAL, take a trip to Harley’s home of Coney Island in a groundbreaking “scent-ticular” issue, featuring actual, honest-to-gosh smells. This issue comes polybagged to contain the stench.

 
Harley Quinn is a supervillain created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm and voiced by Arleen Sorkin for Batman: The Animated Series starting in 1992. Harley then reappeared in the comic Batman Adventures from 1993 on, where she often turned up as the girlfriend of the caped crusader’s arch nemesis the Joker and as an accomplice/friend to Poison Ivy.

The “Rub ‘n’ Smell” content is a certainly novel way to get free advertising from news and blog copy for Harley Quinn’s debut annual and also to generate a few extra sales from the curious. If you want a sniff, you can order your copy here. For those who want to know before they buy ... you can read a review here. Below, everything you need to know about Harley Quinn….
 

 
H/T Nerdcore
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Unsettling photo series of animals in their pointedly artificial zoo habitats
11.03.2014
05:43 am

Topics:
Animals
Art

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Zoos are a sort of moral conundrum in the animal rights debates. Some zoos rehabilitate or rescue animals unable to survive in the wild, and nearly any larger zoo is active in conservation efforts. At the same time, there are some sad zoos out there, where whatever pleasure you might derive from the observation of a wild and beautiful beast is mitigated by the distinct impression that this animal looks… depressed?

For his series, In Situ, the Latin for “in its original place,” Parisian photographer Eric Pillot shoots animals in the bleakest of zoo habitats; the effect is incredibly disquieting. From his website, a (rough) translation:

The animals placed in these indoor runs seem to represent something of the “animal in us,” in all their diversity: ones we can cuddle, pamper, fear… those from tales and myths. Colorful, geometric or “pictorial,” it finally seemed that the facilities that I have endeavored to represent, that have been carefully designed to allow us to see the animals they house, could be a reflection of man himself.

The series is certainly unnerving—isolated creatures in poor facsimiles of their native lands—but without expertise on the animals themselves, we’re left in the dark, wondering how happy or sad they really are in such a subective context.
 

 

 

 

 
After the jump, more of these powerful images….

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Casa Susanna: Charming casual pix of a cross-dressers’ haven in the 1950s and 1960s
10.31.2014
02:47 pm

Topics:
History
Sex

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“Casa Susanna” was the name of a house in Hunter, New York, a town that is a good hour-plus north of Poughkeepsie, which is itself a couple hour’s drive from NYC. The given name of “Susanna” was Tito Valenti, and he created a safe haven for heterosexual males who liked to dress as women, a setting where they could indulge something approximating their true selves, an act that would be scorned in the regular society in which the Don Drapers of the world operated.

Michel Hurst and Robert Swope discovered a trove of photographs from Casa Susanna at a flea market, an event that prompted them to do some research into these mysterious, charming pictures. It turned out that Susanna was a professional female impersonator—at least that was what the business card affixed to one of the photo albums suggested. A substantial group of cross-dressers enjoyed visiting on the weekends to play-act as housewives, tending to the tacky trappings and maybe playing some Scrabble.

I think these pictures are just great. You can see in the directness of the gaze a complete lack of self-consciousness that, maybe, can come only from the indulgence of a hard-won security. Everywhere in life these men had to put on masks and play roles they didn’t want to play—but not at Casa Susanna.

All of these pictures are © Michel Hurst and Robert Swope. You can purchase their picture book documenting the house from powerHouse Books—it’s called, appropriately enough, Casa Susanna, and it was first published in 2005 (the second edition came out earlier this month).
 

 

 

 

 

More pictures after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Listen to ‘Montage of Heck,’ Kurt Cobain’s mind-blowing music montage—made years before his fame
10.31.2014
11:04 am

Topics:
Music

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Nobody better represented the young, angry, art school punk better than Kurt Cobain—a glance at his Journals is enough to convince that his desire to fuck shit up was bone-deep. Fortunately, his tastes for fuckuppery in music were broad and wide—as he put it after Nirvana broke big in 1991/1992,  “All in all, we sound like the Knack and the Bay City Rollers being molested by Black Flag and Black Sabbath.” The key there is that Kurt liked all four of the acts he mentioned, on some level—his fondness for ABBA, for instance, is well documented.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Kurt was enamored of putting together diverse mix tapes but, more to the point, unbelievably wacked-out sound collages that went way beyond anything as mundane as a mix tape. If mix tapes get off on juxtaposition, then sound collages are mix tapes on mescaline, with the juxtapositions colliding with each other every which way.
 

Photo: Krist Novoselić
 
Kurt assembled “Montage of Heck” around 1988 using a 4-track cassette recorder. It features sounds from Kurt’s wide-ranging collection of LPs, manipulated recordings of the radio, elements of Nirvana demos, and sounds created or recorded by Cobain. The list of artists that Kurt appropriated for “Montage of Heck,” reproduced at the end of this post, is fairly mind-blowing for a 21-year-old punker with (remember) no access to Napster, Spotify, Discogs, or Allmusic.com. In short, Kurt was the real deal—as if we didn’t already know.

Kurt actually made two versions of “Montage of Heck,” which are quite different, even though they share some audio material. There’s the short mono version, which clocks in at 8 minutes, and the long stereo version, which eats up about 36 minutes. For more technical information on the tracks, definitely check out this informative post over at United Mutilations.

True to Kurt’s insatiable appetite for music, “Montage of Heck” includes snippets (and more) from Frank Zappa, Shocking Blue, Queensrÿche, the Barbarians, William Shatner, and Daniel Johnston, alongside more tried and true classic rock acts like Simon & Garfunkel, the Beatles, the Velvet Underground, Led Zeppelin, Iron Butterfly, and Van Halen. But even there, while they’re popular acts, most punks weren’t talking about Cher, Sammy Davis Jr., or the Monkees in 1988.

Just click “play” and let the weirdness take you over......
 

 
After the jump, a fascinating list of the source material Kurt used in making “Montage of Heck”.....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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