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They Sold Their Souls for Rock N Roll: The Michael Jackson, Aleister Crowley, Liberace connection


 
They Sold Their Souls for Rock N Roll is a mildly notorious 2004 Christian indoctrination video series meant to scare kids away from Satanic rock music, and even apparently some easy listening and country and western as well. (Young people have eclectic iTunes playlists and the devil’s minions know this.)

With an awful lot of screen time to fill, the producers of They Sold Their Souls for Rock N Roll didn’t just go for the more obvious targets—KISS (aka “Kids in Satan’s Service”). Led Zeppelin, Ozzy, Judas Priest, etc—they dug deeper into the Satanic morass, managing to pull Garth Brooks, Billy Joel and even Liberace into their rambling and logically spurious “thesis” which is spread out over either four or ten volumes (there are two versions):

Is it true that Satan is the master musician working behind the popular music scene and influencing our youth?

Fasten your seat belts as you go on an eye-popping ride upon the roller coaster of Rock, and find out how Rock’s most popular artists have Sold Their Souls for Rock and Roll. In this mind-blowing exposé Pastor Joe Schimmel reveals just how Satan has been effectively using popular music to undermine God’s plan for the family and ultimately heralding the coming of the Antichrist and his kingdom on earth.

This full-length video series contains 10 hours of eye-popping, rare, and some never before seen footage that will leave you picking your jaw up off the ground, as you see hundreds of artists (most of whom are not covered in the abbreviated 3-hour version) being used by Satan to destroy many lives. Come behind the scenes with us as we expose the deceptive agendas of many of yesterday and today’s secular artists, such as: Elvis, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, U2, Creed, Madonna, Britney Spears, DMX, Tupac, Tori Amos, and many more.

It’s time to remove the blinders - guard yourself and those you love from one of Satan’s most powerful tools!

Ooh, talk about earnest. Naturally Marilyn Manson gets blamed for a lot of this devilish devilry and figures prominently, but ascribing all that infernal power to a dude who spends two hours doing his make-up before he leaves the house never seems to strike the producers as even the teensiest bit silly…

Pastor Joseph Schimmel is not actually the host of the series, as stated on the box cover—it’s actor Grant Goodeve who you might recall from The Love Boat, Eight is Enough or Northern Exposure. But if that is Schimmel breathlessly reciting the voice over—you can hear his saliva hitting the mic throughout the entire thing, as he repeatedly trips over his words—he should have paid Goodeve the extra bucks to narrate as well as host. It sounds like he’s amped up on crank and drooling the entire time. Say it, don’t spray it, Reverend…

Here’s one particularly good short sample of the, er… charms, I guess, of They Sold Their Souls for Rock N Roll that explains how Michael Jackson used an Aleister Crowley-style ritual to contact the spirit of Liberace! Crowley gets blamed for everything here, don’t you know? Scroll in to about 2:20 to start.
 

 
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Part one of They Sold Their Souls for Rock N Roll. Should you wish to torture yourself with more, it’s easy enough to find the rest. I recommend the Amazon reviews.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Extremely detailed miniature ‘Addams Family’ set
05.05.2014
10:20 am

Topics:
Design
Television

Tags:
The Addams Family


 
I like teeny-tiny things. I especially like this handmade scale model of The Addams Family set by Los Angeles-based Etsy seller Everyday Miniatures. Paper, foam board, printed paper, time, glue and a lot of patience were used to make this wee set.

You can buy the finished model here or you can purchase the instuctions here to make your own.
 

 

 

 
Below, some rarely-seen color photographs of The Addams Family set from an old TV Guide. I would have never guessed their digs were so… vibrant?! Totally unexpected color choices. Gomez And Morticia Addams liked pink?! Who knew?
 

 

 

 
Via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘What motherf*cking color are writers supposed to be?’: The righteous rage of Chester Himes
05.05.2014
09:09 am

Topics:
Books
Race

Tags:
Chester Himes

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Chester Himes’ early life was as disjointed and chaotic as the crime fictions he later wrote. Born in into an African-American family in Jefferson, Missouri 1909, Himes was witness to the racism endemic in the States at the time. His father worked as a teacher; he was the son of a slave and wanted to instil the value of education in Himes and his brother, Joseph Jr. Their mother thought she had married beneath her worth, and believed that being of lighter skin was the only way to progress in America—his mother’s emphasis on white skin color caused Himes some confusion (later reflected in Himes’ novels) of what it actually meant to be black. This mismatch of parentage led to an unsettling acrimony between his mother and father that pervaded Himes’ childhood. His mother eventually made a rent in the marriage by over-nighting in a “whites only” hotel, the following morning she told the management she was black. Word of the scandal caused Himes’ father to be fired from his teaching post and it was the start of his long and slow decline into failure.

The event that Chester Himes claimed filled him with guilt and anger was Joseph Jr.‘s blinding at school in a tragic accident. The brothers were to attend a chemistry class where they were to make gunpowder. After misbehaving, Himes was barred by his mother from attending the class. Joseph Jr. went alone, mixed the wrong chemicals and they exploded in his face. Joseph Jr.  was refused treatment at the first available hospital because of segregation and by the time he reached a black hospital, it was too late to save his sight. As Himes later wrote in The Quality of Hurt:

“That one moment in my life hurt me as much as all the others put together. I loved my brother. I had never been separated from him and that moment was shocking, shattering, and terrifying…. We pulled into the emergency entrance of a white people’s hospital. White clad doctors and attendants appeared. I remember sitting in the back seat with Joe watching the pantomime being enacted in the car’s bright lights. A white man was refusing; my father was pleading. Dejectedly my father turned away; he was crying like a baby. My mother was fumbling in her handbag for a handkerchief; I hoped it was for a pistol.”

Himes left high school with below average marks, but had ambitions to continue with his education and passed entrance exams for Ohio State University. Here Himes was shocked to see the way in which his fellow African-Americans accepted the way they were treated by racist whites. His anger drove him to action, and he was eventually expelled after a fist fight with a lecturer. Himes drifted and fell into a criminal life as a pimp, bootlegger and bank robber. He was eventually caught and sentenced to 20-25-years for armed robbery. Chester Himes was only nineteen years old.

In prison he started writing short stories about prison life, which were published in various black magazines, and eventually in Esquire magazine. Prison also showed him how humans will do almost anything to stay alive.

“There is an indomitable quality within the human spirit that can not be destroyed; a face deep within the human personality that is impregnable to all assaults ... we would be drooling idiots, dangerous maniacs, raving beasts—if it were not for that quality and force within all humans that cries ‘I will live.’”

 
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Released from jail after seven years, Himes started his career as a writer. His early books, If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945) and Lonely Crusade (1947) examined elements of Himes’ ambiguous relationship to ethnicity and class.

“The face may be the face of Africa, but the heart has the beat of Wall Street.”

In later years, a friend wrote Himes saying he was “the most popular of the colored writers.” Himes responded:

“What motherfucking color are writers supposed to be?”

Himes was not easily swayed by simplistic political argument, and was critical of Left as much as he was of the Right. Instead he viewed his life as “absurd”:

“Given my disposition, my attitude towards authority, my sensitivity towards race, along with my appetites and physical reactions and sex stimulations, my normal life was absurd.”

This wasn’t the kind of absurdity Camus or Beckett would have recognized, but it was a response to life that was to reverberate with European audiences.

Himes never had the respect he deserved when resident in America, and it was only after his move to France that he was rightly acclaimed as a writer of great importance, power and true originality. It was also in France that Himes began the series of crime novels (the classic “Coffin” Ed and “Grave Digger” Jones series, which included A Rage in Harlem and Cotton Comes to Harlem) that placed Chester Himes on par with Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.

The following video clips give a good introduction to Chester Himes his life and work.
 

 
More on Chester Himes, after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Tabloid headlines rewritten not to be sexist!
05.05.2014
08:57 am

Topics:
Feminism
Pop Culture

Tags:
sexism

Normalizing headlines
 
The smart feminists over at Vagenda Magazine (slogan: “Like King Lear, but for girls”) asked their Twitter followers to fix the reflexively, egregiously, hyperbolically, breathlessly sexist tabloid headlines by creating new ones that seem to adhere to the actually humdrum events that happened. The celebrity press can’t exist without maintaining a continuous state of hysteria or high dudgeon over what is really nothing, and we certainly appreciate the corrective measures.

There’s no hashtag, apparently, but just go to the Vagenda twitter feed and you’ll see a bunch of them mixed in with other things.
 
Normalizing headlines
 
Normalizing headlines
 
Normalizing headlines
 
Normalizing headlines
 
Normalizing headlines
 
Normalizing headlines
 
Normalizing headlines
 
via HUH.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘101 things to love about New York City’ list from 1976 is mostly incomprehensible
05.05.2014
08:45 am

Topics:
Amusing
Media

Tags:
New York City

New York City
Garbage piles up between buildings during the 1976 strike of Local 32B-32J members in New York City.
 
1976 was a real interesting moment for the New York Times to commission a disposable little one-pager on “101 Things to Love About New York City,” but commission it they did. In the mid-1970s New York famously almost declared bankrupt, leading to the immortal Daily News headline of October 30, 1975: “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD,” and aside from that, New York’s image (not without reason) was of a violent, cramped, dirty hellhole. It was also something of a creative mecca for artists, musicians, comedians, and what have you—artists could afford cheap lofts in Soho, and the tensions of the city were or would soon be reflected in a remarkably wide-ranging and multicultural brew of rap, punk, avant-garde art, salsa, disco, graffiti, and who knows what else.

The Times piece, by Glenn Collins, appeared in the June 16, 1976, edition. Today such items are commonplace, but one imagines they weren’t so common before the advent of consumer-friendly “alternative” newspapers and the like. The article is amusing for several reasons: the highly mordant tone of the article, the difficulty of thinking up 101 actual reasons to like living in NYC (although such padding is almost a requirement of the genre), the lack of overlap with the reasons some of us would have liked to live in New York, and the utter incomprehensibility of a good portion of the list. The world’s gone from analog to digital, moneyed interests have taken over Manhattan and much of Brooklyn, and well, some things just change.
 
New York City
 
Here they are in a more readable format:
 
New York City
 
Now, first things first. I was a resident of Staten Island for several years until quite recently, and I’m having difficulty imagining a New York City where the Staten Island Advance, SI’s hardy daily newspaper, is the #6 thing that occurs to a person writing about why to love New York. Thanks to the good works of the ScoutingNY blog, which discovered the list in the first place, and its readers, we know that 873-0404 was the “Dial-A-Satellite hotline, providing you with daily information about passing satellites.”

Anyone know what #45, “Degree days,” signifies? I must confess, I enjoy #46, “More movies, plays and ballet than anywhere else, and not going,” there is nothing more New York than that. Do people remember #12, which referenced strange PSAs the local news would run, or something. I don’t know if they were a local thing or a ‘70s thing in general. I do remember them quite well. The entry at #22, “New York’s proximity to Montauk,” is kind of interesting because the whole Long Island experience has been utterly transformed in the last decade or two; I don’t think anyone actually finds it charming anymore.
 
New York City
 
Over on this half of the list, I really enjoy the concept of #85, “the rabbit hanging out near the World of Birds at the Bronx Zoo.” The diaspora reflected in #69, “East Siders on the West Side,” will puzzle anyone who isn’t aware that the Upper West Side was something of a wasteland as far as posh people were concerned, before the creation of the Lincoln Center arts complex in the mid-1960s. “A winning OTB ticket,” at #60, is a little hilarious, considering I’ve never set foot in an Off-Track Betting outlet and would never desire to.

Overall, this is a cranky, creaky, weary list. At least twenty or thirty of the items signify what an awful place New York is, and a handful directly reference the fiscal problems New York was going through.

But most of all, there’s pretty much no mention of the things the average reader of DM would be likely to think of, which probably isn’t very surprising: great music, great art, great food, accessible drugs, an AIDS-free social-sexual environment (can’t fault the NYT for missing that one), cheap downtown rents, the assertion of Latino and African-American and queer identity, public eccentricity everywhere, and on and on.

Not quite contemporaneous but close enough, here’s the annoying 1982 “I Love New York” promotional ad campaign:
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The avant-garde art of Issachar Ber Ryback
05.05.2014
08:34 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Jewish art


 
Issachar Ber Ryback was a Russian Jewish painter, sculptor, art critic and arguably the spokesman for the Yiddish avant-garde movement. These lithographs are from his series, Shtetl, My Destroyed Home: A Remembrance. It’s a beautiful work of spastic geometry and destabilizing perspectives, depicting Ryback’s Ukrainian village before its destruction in a pogrom. One might interpret the style as echoing the precariousness of life in the shtetl, even as Ryback depicts a dynamic community, rich with vitality.

Ryback did this work in Russia, but went to Berlin in 1921 after the murder of his father in the Petliura pogroms. There he became a member of the collective of expressionist artists Novembergruppe and he had a very successful career, traveling around Europe and Russia until his death in 1935 from a chronic disease. The work reminds me a lot of the German Expressionist film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari which in turn was a big influence on The Night of the Hunter—check them both out if you haven’t already, I implore you. It’s also worth noting that although Shtetl, My Destroyed Home was published in 1922, most of these lithographs were done in 1917, three years before Caligari. Ryback really was on the cutting edge.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Before he skewered McCarthy, Edward R. Murrow told US civilians to watch out for Soviet planes
05.05.2014
07:36 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
nuclear war
Cold War
Edward R Murrow


 
Ah, Edward R. Murrow, the staid, chain-smoking voice of reason with a haircut you could set your watch by! Most famous for his 1954 See It Now exposés on Joseph McCarthy, Murrow produced the first major media critique of the Senator’s Red Scare witch hunt. Not a man to pull punches, he concluded the first of his three episodes on McCarthy with this condemnation: 

“His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men.”

The next episode focused on Annie Lee Moss, a black army clerk brought to trial by McCarthy under accusations of communist activity. The absurdity of his charges catching up to him, McCarthy made an appearance on See it Now a few weeks later, only to accuse Murrow of communist collusion, accelerating the wane of his creditability. That December, his reputation shot, he was effectively censured by the Senate, thanks in no small part to Murrow’s critical work.

However, like most Americans at the time, Murrow was not immune to the pervasive fears of the Cold War, and was a frequent participant in US civil defense propaganda. His 1953 film, One Plane, One Bomb was made just a year before his indictment of McCarthy, and although the film uses the name and format of his trusted newsmagazine program See It Now, it was commissioned by the The US Air Force and only aired in theaters. For anyone familiar with the genre, the film is a fairly predictable simulation of a terrifying doomsday scenario—New York is bombed for lack of adequate citizen vigilance.

One Plane, One Bomb “encouraged” every day Americans join the Ground Observer Corps, a civilian volunteer program put together in World War Two. Though the Ground Observer Corps reached 750,000 in ranks by 1952’s Operation Skywatch, it’s a little baffling that the US invested so much in training private citizen volunteers to sit at posts and basically “look up,” in hopes of alleviating (or perhaps even preventing) nuclear attack. The film is one of a slew of civil defense videos produced at the time, and while it’s not the only one Murrow had a hand in, it was the only one that conflated a piece of paid military propaganda with actual broadcast journalism. Aside from the obvious conflict of interest in associating a military film with the journalism of See It Now, it’s fascinating to watch Murrow, a man most revered for his cool-headed critique of Cold War panic, producing the very material that exacerbated nuclear anxieties.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Death & Candy: The most adorable skulls you’re likely to see this entire month
05.05.2014
06:55 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
skulls
Cristina Burns

Cristina Burns
 
These remarkable photographs are by Italian artist Cristina Burns, who clearly has a knack for a saccharine brand of thanatopsis (that’s right, I went straight to “thanatopsis”). They’re part of her “Through the Mirror” series, which is obviously a reference to Lewis Carroll (there’s even a Queen of Hearts), but not all of the photos reference that, some of the imagery draws from the Easter Bunny, Sleeping Beauty, or general mythology. Burns’ wonderful, sickly-sweet dioramas, for lack of a better word, feature all manner of flowers, candy, birds, eggs, hearts, and who knows what else.

How original, to present a world of death entirely in pastels…...
 
Cristina Burns
 
Cristina Burns
 
Cristina Burns
 
Cristina Burns
 
Cristina Burns
 
More of Burns’ meticulous masterpieces after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Four monks breakdancing to honor Beastie Boy Adam Yauch
05.05.2014
06:20 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Beastie Boys
Adam Yauch
monks

MCA
 
Saturday was the third annual MCA Day in New York City, a day of remembrance for the most enlightened Beastie Boy, Adam Yauch, who succumbed to a three-year battle with cancer on May 4, 2012, at the age of 47. A group of Tibetan monks decided to honor Yauch, who over the last couple decades may have done more than any other celebrity to put Tibet’s liberation struggle into the consciousness of twentysomethings, by breakdancing in Union Square. They look pretty good to me.

The track is “Ch-Check It Out” off of the Beasties’ 2004 album To the 5 Boroughs.

Here’s a video taken by a spectator, which is unfortunately in portrait mode (booo):
 

 
via Gothamist

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
David Bowie’s million dollar advice to Rick Wakeman led to his ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’
05.05.2014
06:12 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Rick Wakeman

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David Bowie gave Prog Rock’s “Caped Crusader” Rick Wakeman the financial advice that helped the keyboard wizard make millions.

Wakeman tinkled the ivories for Bowie on such seminal tracks as “Life on Mars,” “Changes,” “Oh! You Pretty Things” and had played the Mellotron on “Space Oddity.” However, Wakeman harbored ambitions beyond being a session musician and after joining prog rock band Yes, he decided he wanted to produce his own solo work. This led to his first solo concept album The Six Wives of Henry VIII, but when he planned a follow-up album based on a novel by Jules Verne that would involve an orchestra and narration by actor David Hemmings, Wakeman was frustrated by the lack of interest and financial support from his record company. It was then that Bowie’s advice inspired Wakeman into action.

Undoubtedly listening to David Bowie who said: “Be your own man and don’t listen to people who don’t know a hatchet from a crotchet and try to fulfil their own ideas through you because they haven’t got any.” I wanted to do Journey to the Centre of the Earth with an orchestra but there wasn’t enough money from the record company. I ended up mortgaging my house, selling everything I owned. I begged, borrowed and stole to do it. But the record company didn’t want it and I faced losing everything because I was so heavily in debt.

Eventually my record company in America loved it, insisted it was released and it sold 15 million copies and that really taught me to be my own man. Spending money I didn’t have was simply my best financial decision because if I hadn’t done it, 40 years on, I wouldn’t be doing my shows now.

The success of Journey to the Centre of the Earth made Wakeman a solo star, and he went on to record The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, No Earthly Connection, White Rock and Rick Wakeman’s Criminal Record. He also memorably worked with film director Ken Russell on the soundtrack for his film Lisztomania (Wakeman also appears in the film as Thor, the god of thunder.

I always quite liked Wakeman, in particular his Wives of Henry VIII, Criminal Record and Myths and Legends of King Arthur being very enjoyable fayre of excellent quality. This is the “Caped Crusader” performing Journey to the Centre of the Earth with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, when the blonde-haired maestro was the height of his fame.
 

 
Via the Daily Telegraph

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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