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‘Freeze, you dirty dopers’: The ‘Heroin Haikus’ of William Wantling
12:46 pm


William Wantling

If the American poet William Wantling (1933-1974) had not existed, it would have been up to Charles Bukowski  to invent him—in fact, the two men did know each other. Wantling spent most of his life in Illinois but served in Korea and also did time in San Quentin for unspecified crimes, although it may have been forging prescriptions, which would make him the original drugstore cowboy. (His inmate number in the California Dept. of Corrections system was A45522.)

After prison, Wantling studied and eventually taught at Illinois State University. Samuel Zaffiri said of Wantling that his post-prison life was “a constant search for things which would get him drunk or high.” Zaffiri also wrote of Wantling, “He was a manipulator and all with whom he came in contact, whether best friend or casual acquaintance, were game for his wiles. He wheedled, begged, lied.” According to Kevin E. Jones, who wrote his doctoral dissertation on the poet, “Wantling lied, cheated, ripped off his friends, shat in their bathtubs.” Sounds like quite a guy.

And, as it happens, exactly the guy to think up the idea of writing haikus about the heroin life. Spero was a literary magazine published in Flint, Michigan, in 1965 and 1966. The first issue featured William Burroughs and LeRoi Jones; the second issue had a tiny little booklet tucked into a tiny little pocket—the booklet was Wantling’s Heroin Haikus.

William Wantling
It should be noted that Wantling’s understanding of the haiku form was looser than yours or mine, most likely. Wantling ignores the line lengths and focuses on the syllable count, the poem has to have 17 syllables. I guess that’s why, in a beautiful bit of purposeful modesty, they’re called “some seventeen-syllable comments.”

Here are three of them:


Give me the moment
that will join me to myself
in a mad embrace


I bring a can of weed.
Grady brings pills and peyote.
Party time!


A knock, the door
flumps down.
Shotguns, the heat screams—
Freeze, you dirty dopers!

At the Division Leap bookstore and gallery in Portland, Oregon, you can buy a copy of Spero #1 and #2—complete with Heroin Haikus tucked in a little pocket—for just $350.






More heroin haikus after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Check out ‘The Internet Show,’ an hour-long PBS special from the dawn of cyberspace
11:59 am



A YouTube user named Andy Baio has collected a number of explanatory videos dating from the very dawn of the commercialized World Wide Web (roughly 1995 for our purposes here) and created a killer playlist featuring them. Here’s Baio on the group of videos:

A while back, I started collecting old VHS tapes about the Internet from the early- to mid-1990s. While most of these are pretty corny, they also inadvertently captured pieces of the web that don’t exist anywhere else. The Internet Archive’s earliest snapshots were in late 1996, so anything before that is extremely sparse. The videos, silly as they are, still represent valuable documentation of the early web.I digitized the VHS tapes using a VCR connected to a MiniDV camera’s pass-through feature to my Macbook Pro. After I started putting these online, a couple more were sent to me, which I’ve included in the collection. And then my VCR broke.

As Baio writes of this delicious video, which dates from 1995, “Ripped from VHS, The Internet Show is an hour-long introduction to the mid-90s Internet from PBS Home Video, hosted by writers Gina Smith and John Levine.” It’s impossible for such videos not to appear hideously dated, but this program isn’t too horrible. Smith and Levine do a decent job walking newbies through the history of the Internet (ARPANET etc.) and some technical aspects no ordinary end user needs to know about (packet switching) as well as the nuts and bolts of writing an email and so forth. They bandy about a whole lot of scarcely familiar slang, such as “Internaut” (???) as well as well-nigh obsolete terminology like “cyberspace.” But you can hardly blame them for that. Pre-iPhone, pre-Facebook, pre-Google, pre-Netscape even, the Internet in 1995 seems awfully arcane to us today but in fact the essential components of the Internet were already present, including email, chat, newsgroups, spam, political activism, mapping programs, emoticons, and e-commerce—Smith and Levine touch on them all.

The general tone and the graphics and the clothing styles are purest mid-1990s, which is always amusing. One of the most surprising aspects of the video is that it’s shot not in Silicon Valley but in Texas, at Houston’s Rice University. At about 20 minutes in, there’s a nice Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference, which is all the better for the hosts not calling attention to it.


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Short animation describes what drug addiction is like
10:57 am



Without giving too much away, here’s a short animation by Andreas Hykade that shows in a very simplistic way what drug addiction is sorta like.

The more the bird-like creature chases the high, the less he’s able to fly and the fall to earth gets bumpier each time. I’m not certain what the creature’s drug of choice is—it’s represented by a golden nugget—but I think it’s safe to say you can fill in the blank with anything addictive, even caffeine, gambling or an addiction to making money.

via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
David Bowie’s early appearance as Ziggy Stardust, 1972
09:49 am

Pop Culture

David Bowie
Ziggy Stardust

RCA records paid $25,000 to fly the “cream” of America’s rock press over to see the label’s up-and-coming star David Bowie perform at the Friars Club, Market Square, Aylesbury, England, in July 1972. The record company hoped the scribes from Rolling Stone, CREEM, New York Times, Andy Warhol’s Interview, and the New Yorker, would be sufficiently impressed to spread the word about Bowie back home. It certainly worked as Bowie, along with his Ziggy line-up of Mick Ronson (guitar), Trevor Bolder (bass) and Woody Woodmansey (drums), delivered a blistering set, which been a source of mythical tales and innumerable bootlegs ever since.

Also in the crowd that fateful night were Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor of Queen, who were just starting off on their career. Taylor later recalled the gig for MOJO magazine in 1999:

...Freddie and I saw the first Ziggy gig at Friar’s Aylesbury. We drove down in my Mini. We loved it. I’d seen him there about three weeks before in the long hair and the dress. Suddenly you saw this spiky head coming on stage. You thought, wha-a-at??? They looked like spacemen.

The band’s appearance was not just a shock to the audience as Bowie later explained:

Woody Woodmansey was saying, “I’m not bloody wearing that!” [Laughs] There were certainly comments, a lot of nerves. Not about the music - I think the guys knew that we rocked. But they were worried about the look. That’s what I remember: how uncomfortable they felt in their stage clothes. But when they realized what it did for the birds… The girls were going crazy for them, because they looked like nobody else. So within a couple of days it was, “I’m going to wear the red ones tonight.”

Bowie’s performance at the Friar’s Club was voted the greatest gig to be held at the venue.
While Glenn O’Brienn described the concert in Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine:

The Aylesbury town hall is the size of an average pre-war high school gym…There were perhaps a thousand peers in the hall when we entered. At first I thought it was remarkable that RCA had spent at least $25,000 to bring a select group of writers to a concert at which there were no seats for them, save the floor… David Bowie did not come on unannounced. He was in fact preceded on stage by a handsome Negro and his attendants who attempted to work the audience to a fever pitch by tossing them balloons, pinwheels, and hundreds of Bowie posters. The audience needed little prodding, though, and anxiously awaited David Bowie and The Spiders From Mars, while the giant amplifiers sounded a recording of old Ludwig Von’s Song of Joy from the Ninth Symphony. David appeared on stage with his band to what could fairly be called a thunderous ovation. And he deserved every handclap… His hair was a vibrant orange… And the band played on… And David proved himself to be a unique performer.

Bolder and Bowie on stage at Aylesbury, being filmed by Mick Rock.
The Aylesbury gigs was a key moment in Bowie’s career and photographer Mick Rock filmed it all on 16mm. This footage was apparently thought lost until 1995 when it “discovered” and transfered onto video by MainMan. It has not been made officially available although it currently circulates amongst collectors.

While the footage available on YouTube is raw, the camerawork sometimes iffy, and the sound, well, about what you’d expect from a concert, but as an historic document of early footage of David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust it is a delight.

Track listing: “Hang On to Yourself,” “Ziggy Stardust,” “Queen Bitch,” “Song for Bob Dylan,” “Starman,” “Five Years,” “Waiting for the the Man.”

The color footage is believed to be from the July 15th gig at the Friar’s Club while the b&w footage is from the June 21st gig. Audio taken from July 15th performance.

More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Grandma Lo-Fi: The Basement Tapes of Sigríður Níelsdóttir
09:20 am


Sigríður Níelsdóttir
Grandma Lo-Fi

Grandma Lo-Fi: The Basement Tapes of Sigríður Níelsdóttir is a sweet documentary about an elderly Icelandic musical icon who didn’t even start making music until she was seventy. The film has been exhibited to great acclaim—and charmed audiences—all over the world, including a screening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Working in her living room, “outsider musician” Níelsdóttir used a simple electronic keyboard and then creatively layered her cheerfully eccentric compositions with sound effects that she made using toys, her pets and common household and kitchen items. Before you laugh, that’s exactly what Pink Floyd tried to do with their aborted “Household Objects” sessions—their ill-fated 1974 follow-up to Dark Side of the Moon. But where they failed, Sigríður Níelsdóttir succeeded!

Before her death in 2011, “Grandma Lo-Fi” recorded nearly 700 songs and released almost 60 albums. Sigríður Níelsdóttir’‘s unlikely cult following includes Bjork and Sigur Rós and her boundless creativity still provides inspiration to younger Icelandic musicians.

Grandma Lo-Fi: The Basement Tapes of Sigríður Níelsdóttir was shot in old-fashion “low fi” film, both Super8 and 16mm by Orri Jónsson, Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir, Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir. 62 min.

Below, the trailer for Grandma Lo-Fi. You can rent or buy the film on Vimeo.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘BobbyQue’: Cooking with Black Panther Bobby Seale
07:07 am


Bobby Seale

You may have been born too late for radical chic, but you’re just in time for, uh, radical chicory? Yes, Bobby Seale, founding chairman and national organizer of the Black Panther Party, has a cookbook, cooking show and “BobbyQue” website, all devoted to the lost art of barbecue (or “barbeque,” as he insists it should be spelled). Seale has even formulated his culinary principles in the “Barbeque Bill of Rights”:

WHEN IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT it becomes necessary for us, the citizens of the earth, to creatively improve the culinary art of barbe-que’n in our opposition to the overly commercialized bondage of “cue-be-rab” (barbecuing backwards); and to assume, within the realm of palatable biological reactions to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle us, a decent respect for all the billions of human taste buds and savory barbeque desires; we the people declare a basic barbeque bill of rights which impels us to help halt, eradicate, and ultimately stamp out “cue-be-rab!”

As the commercialized backwards “bottle-back” recipe methods pursue and invariably evince a design to reduce our backyard-picnics into burnt, half done, bland, badly seasoned, improperly pit-qued entrees, then it is the right of we the barbeque lovers of the world, to alter the cue-be-rab phenomenon and creatively change our recipe process for a more righteous saucy, down-home, wood-smoking, delectable, baste-marinating, barbeque’n methodology.


Seale oversaw one of the Black Panthers’ most ambitious and popular projects, the People’s Free Food Program.
Filmed in front of a live studio audience in Philadelphia, Barbeque with Bobby Seale is co-hosted by Seale and his wife Leslie. Sun Ra Arkestra trombonist Tyrone Hill and his band, the Deep Space Posse, are live in the studio. You can watch the cooking show on Seale’s YouTube channel. (The video is low-resolution and the sound is out of sync—if you want a hi-fi experience, it looks like you’ll have to buy the DVD.) Meat-eating radicals can find six free recipes here and a couple more here. You’ll have to tell me what it tastes like; I’m vegetarian.

As you will have guessed, not everyone loves the idea of one of the world’s most famous black revolutionaries selling BBQ recipes, though accusing Seale of “selling out” by writing a cookbook strikes me as more than a little silly. When the first edition of Barbeque’n with Bobby was published in 1988, Seale told the Chicago Tribune that Jerry Rubin first suggested the idea while the two were in jail during the Chicago Conspiracy Trial. Seale talks about how he responds to cries of “sellout” in this interview clip:


Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The artist formerly known as Dean Ween spearheads epic 37-minute cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Echoes’
06:27 am


Pink Floyd
Dean Ween

Photo credit: Beta Klein
The great and inventive band Ween broke up in 2012, but both parts of the group have remained musically active. Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) put out Marvelous Clouds, an impressively catchy album of Rod McKuen covers as well as an album called FREEMAN. For his part, Mickey Melchiondo (Dean Ween) has been touring to support his side project Moistboyz’ fifth album, appropriately titled 5. (In that band, which also features Nick Oliveri of Queens of the Stone Age, Melchiondo goes by the name Mickey Moist.)

On February 21 of this year, Melchiondo “fulfilled a long-held wish,” according to Ultimate Classic Rock, when he took the stage at John and Peter’s in New Hope, Pennsylvania (long Ween’s base of operations) and cranked out a monster 37-minute version of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes,” which occupies side 2 of their 1971 album Meddle. That version lasted a paltry 23 minutes, so judging from that metric alone, Melchiondo’s version is obviously 61% better. On Live at Pompeii, the song is broken up into “Echoes, Part 1” and “Echoes, Part 2,” and the two tracks together clock in at about 25 minutes.

Photo credit: Beta Klein
Joining Melchiondo for the performance are Guy Heller (vocals), Bill Fowler (guitar and vocals), Ray Kubian (drums), Sean Faust (keyboards), and Chris Williams (bass). If you have any doubts about Melchiondo’s ability to write and execute a lengthy hard-rock guitar piece, I urge you to listen to “Woman and Man,” an epic 11-minute slab of ass-kicking rock that constitutes the penultimate track of Ween’s 2007 album La Cucaracha

As Melchiondo explained, “We grew up watching Live at Pompeii all the time and finally got to execute this song properly.” I’m no Pink Floyd authority, but I listened to the Pompeii version and the Deaner version back to back, and I think the 2014 version holds up pretty well.


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Meet The Fleshlettes, a loving family of hyper-realistic body horror mutants
03:05 pm



“This is Tonya, she’s the matriarch of the Fleshlette family.”
Los Angeles sculptor Jonathan Payne produced these lovely little Cronenbergian trinkets—The Fleshlettes—with polymer clay, acrylics and human hair, but man if they don’t look like actual flesh. The Fleshlettes are distinctly sentient in concept; not only did Payne name each one, he attributed to them their own unique personality traits—I captioned what descriptions I could find, but some remain anonymous. What about the warty fingerball with some sort of intestinal sphincter? She kind of looks like a “Hortense” to me. Perhaps a “Louise?”

These “tumorous little balls of flesh,” as Payne calls them, lack a dominant form, instead melding body parts into masses so seamless, you almost miss some of the distinct anatomy. I almost put a NSFW up for Richanda, but really, her phallic/areolar nature is hardly the most disturbing thing about her. Besides, have you heard her sing?!? The voice of an angel, that one.

“This is Toni. She smells. None of the other girls pick her to be on their team. She can type 90 wpm.”

“She is named Eileen (for obvious reasons).”


“Here is Richanda, the 6th fleshlette. She is similar to the others except for one key difference: her singing voice.”

Via Disinformation

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
You can run, but you can’t hide: Watch this wild heat-vision police pursuit helicopter footage
02:25 pm


heat vision

Last Friday, in the Haller Lake neighborhood of Seattle, police identified a stolen SUV and went into pursuit. The driver and his passenger abandoned the vehicle and ran into Washelli Cemetery. The suspected criminals could be forgiven for thinking that they had the upper hand—the cemetery was pitch-dark and they had no shortage of places to hide. What they weren’t counting on were the high-tech contributions of the King County Sheriff’s Office Guardian-One helicopter unit armed with a heat-vision camera that turns any human being into a glowing white beacon in an expanse of black and gray.

“Looks like I got a couple of hiders…. if you go, third row in, I believe, and just like 20 feet in….,” says the helicopter pilot to the two policemen on the ground in pursuit of the alleged SUV thief hiding under a bush—within seconds they’ve got the first suspect in custody.

Two cops, at top, zero in on the perp
According to the Seattle PI website:

“A police dog performed a track after officers arrested the pair and found a gun among the gravestones, reports say. Officers determined the gun was stolen and seized it from the scene. Police booked an 18-year-old man into King County Jail for investigation of vehicle theft and eluding, and a 19-year-old man for obstruction and a warrant.”

If the video doesn’t change your expectations of getting caught the next time the police are after you, it might remind you of an especially cool video game or action movie, just because it looks so incredibly awesome.

via Vocativ

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Unimpressed man calmly sits in restaurant while it’s invaded by masked gang
11:37 am



There’s not too much information about this video which surfaced on the Internet yesterday of an unimpressed man sitting in a restaurant while 35 armed and masked men invade the place. The whole thing went down somewhere in Russia. 

“Couldn’t Care Less Guy” just calmly sits there, casually sipping on his bottled water… waiting for the whole thing to blow over. He doesn’t even flinch.

Perhaps he was in on it?

via Daily Dot

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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