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‘All Women Have Periods’: Incredibly strange instructional video from 1979
12:23 pm



Back in his Channel 101 days, Dan Harmon learned of the wisdom of Joseph Campbell and would preach the building blocks of storytelling constantly. This eventually led to his famous story wheel, which he uses to break down every story on his shows Community and Rick & Morty. In explaining the importance, indeed ubiquity, of story structure, Harmon cited an interesting-sounding instructional video from the Seventies:

[Rob] Schrab has this video we watch all the time: It’s an orientation video designed to teach mentally retarded girls about their period. The protagonist is a retarded girl. She starts asking questions about periods. She’s led into a bathroom by her older sister, and after a very uncomfortable road of trials, things take a turn for the bizarre. I won’t go into detail. Not only is the protagonist going on a journey, the audience is, too.

I’ve tracked down the movie, and it’s a beaut. It’s about ten-minutes long, and doesn’t have credits but must have as a title “All Women Have Periods.” In it a little girl with Down syndrome named Jill asks her mother, father, and older sister Suzy about what a period is and receives a full-blown tutorial in the bathroom from her sister.

The following must be one of the greatest dialogue exchanges in movie history:

“Suzy? What’s a sanitary pad?”
“Come on, Jill, I’ll show you. I’m having my period now.”

I’ll say this: It’s a testament to the power of repetition—everything in the movie is explained four times. The next time someone asks me what a period is, I’m going to say, “Blood from inside a woman’s body comes outside from an opening between her legs. All women have periods about every four weeks for three or four days…..” I hope no one asks me.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Garden: A tour of cult filmmaker Derek Jarman’s home, a living work of art
11:38 am


Derek Jarman

In his latter years, the film-maker, artist, diarist and writer Derek Jarman bought a small cottage on the shingle beach at Dungeness, in south-east England. It was a place of respite, a studio where he could write and paint, and a setting in which he created a beautiful garden amid the harsh, sea-lashed landscape.

Jarman first saw Prospect Cottage “on a springtime drive through Kent for a bluebell wood to Super-8 for the film which would become The Garden” in 1986. His partner, Keith Collins (HB) described the discovery of the cottage in the preface to Derek Jarman’s Garden:

Derek suggested eating at the Pilot Inn, Dungeness—renowned for serving ‘Simply the finest fish and chips in all England’.

Charmed by the landscape, we decided to visit the old lighthouse. Derek said: ‘There’s a beautiful fisherman’s cottage here, and if ever it was for sale, I think I’d buy it.’ As we neared the cottage, black varnished with bright yellow window frames, we saw the green-and-white ‘For Sale’ sign—the improbability of it made the purchase inescapable.

Jarman described the cottage in his collected journals Modern Nature:

Prospect Cottage, its timbers black with pitch, stands on the shingle at Dungeness. Built eighty years ago at the sea’s edge—one stormy night many years ago waves roared up to the front door threatening to swallow it… Now the sea has retreated leaving bands of shingle. You can see these clearly from the air; they fan out from the lighthouse at the tip of the Ness like contours on a map.

Prospect faces the rising sun across a road sparkling silver with sea mist. One small clump of dark green broom breaks through the flat ochre shingle. Beyond, at the sea’s edge, are silhouetted a jumble of huts and fishing boats, and a brick kutch, long abandoned, which has sunk like a pillbox at a crazy angle; in it, many years ago, the fishermen’s nets were boiled in amber preserve.

There are no walls or fences. My garden’s boundaries are the horizon. In this desolate landscape the silence is only broken by the wind, and the gulls squabbling round the fishermen bringing in the afternoon catch.

There is more sunlight here than anywhere else in Britain; this and the constant wind turn the shingle into stony desert where only the toughest grasses take a hold—paving the way for sage-green sea kale, blue bugloss, red poppy, yellow sedum.

Inside: Prospect cottage had four rooms. Jarman called his writing room and bedroom the “Spring room” a 10-foot by 12-foot space of “polished tongue and groove with a single window facing the sea.”

In front of the window is my desk: a simple 18th century elm table. On it is a reading lamp of tarnished copper, two pewter mugs full of stamps, loose change, paper clips, several bottles of ink, and pens, envelopes, scraps of paper on which to make notes for this diary, an iron spittoon used as an ashtray; in the centre a lead tobacco box in the shape of a little Victorian cottage, in which I keep my chequebook and money.

The cottage was overlooked by Dungeness nuclear power station that loomed like “a great ocean liner moored in the firmament, ablaze with light: white, yellow, ruby.”

Jarman started work on his garden “accidentally” from the “beach-combed treasures” found on the shore at low-tide. With the arrival of his friend the photographer and “keen plantsman” Howard Sooley Jarman’s plans for his sea-sprayed, shingle garden progressed:

[Howard] gave up London weekends to chauffeur Derek—via the nurseries of the south of England—to Prospect Cottage. With his collaboration the garden entered its second phase: the unexpected success of new plants and bulbs, flint and scallop-shell edged beds, honey bees enclosed in a raised herb bed, and more seashore-rusted metal and wind-twisted wood.

In the mid-1980s, Jarman had been diagnosed as HIV-positive. As the illness took hold, Jarman’s work in the garden took on a new meaning:

...the plants struggling against the biting winds and Death Valley sun merged with Derek’s struggle with illness, then contrasted with it, as the flowers blossomed while Derek faded.

Howard Sooley photographed Derek Jarman’s garden from the first day he arrived at Prospect Cottage in 1989, when the land looked like the surface of the Moon. Sooley documented Jarman’s unstinting hard work that changed the garden from shingle shore to hardy burst of beauty and color. Most recently, Sooley made this film about Jarman’s garden for Nowness, and together with Keith Collins he continues to tend to Derek Jarman’s last great living artwork.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Beatles get wild on untamed (and unreleased) outtake of ‘She’s a Woman,’ 1964
11:14 am



Beatles picture sleeve
By October 1964, the Beatles were already veterans of the recording studio. When they entered Abbey Road to cut “She’s a Woman” they had released three albums and numerous singles. They had been working at a furious pace and dealing with incredible fame. Surely the Beatles were looking to cut loose.

Written primarily by Paul McCartney (years later, John Lennon remembered writing some of the words—maybe), “She’s a Woman” was recorded on October 8th, 1964. Take six of the song would be deemed best and came out in late November 1964 as the b-side to “I Feel Fine” in the UK, but in the US the sides were flipped, with “She’s a Woman” reaching #4 on the charts in the states.

Take seven was their last stab at the song. Possibly sensing this attempt wasn’t up to snuff, they might have looked at each other and figured: “Why not get crazy?” Maybe they were finally comfortable enough in the studio to goof around and blow off some much needed steam. Or were the Beatles just giddy over writing their first drug reference? Here’s John Lennon referring to the line “Turn me on when I get lonely” in a 1980 interview:

We were so excited to say ‘turn me on.’—you know, about marijuana and all that, using it as an expression.

Ten days later the band recorded “I Feel Fine,” with a happy accident leading to the use of guitar feedback as the song’s intro—widely regarded as the beginning of the Beatles experimenting in the studio. Perhaps the hair-raising joy heard at the conclusion of the final “She’s a Woman” is the moment when they gained the confidence to take a shared step into the abyss.

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
DRUGS: Trippy photos from a ‘unique’ volume of the ‘LIFE Science Library,’ 1969
11:13 am



The cover of Life Science Library: Drugs

Back in the 60s LIFE had a series of hardcover books—26 volumes total—called the LIFE Science Library that tackled many subjects like Mathematics, The Mind, Health and Disease, Time, Food and Nutrition and so on. One of the volumes printed in 1967 was simply titled Drugs and it gave the history of medicines and how drugs affect the human body. Now if you were to judge a book by its cover, the LIFE hardback cover on drugs looks pretty boring, right? I woulda walked right past it without a second thought! The thing is, if you’d open it up, it’s chock full of trippy eye-candy delights.

Why such a boring cover with such delicious psychedelic imagery on the inside?




More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
There’s some doo-wop goin’ on:  Listen to Sly Stone’s racially integrated high school vocal group
10:55 am


Sly Stone

Last week we posted recordings of a nine-year-old Sly Stone performing with his family in a kiddie gospel group—a testament to the Family Stone’s raw talent to be sure. However Sly’s childhood musical ventures weren’t limited to projects of familial kinship. During his teenage years he was active as a singer and in quite a few bands. One was a high school doo-wop group called “The Viscaynes,” a nod to the Chevy Biscayne, with the “V” added in honor of their hometown of Vallejo, California.

As you can see, the group was an early model for Stone’s vision of a racially integrated band. The multi-racial line-up worked in their favor, and The Viscaynes enjoyed quite of a bit of regional success around the Bay Area, getting sent to LA by a small label to re-record their songs professionally, getting some radio play, playing school dances and local TV and doing backup for other groups’ recordings.

The tracks below, “You’ve Forgotten Me,” “Yellow Moon” and “Maybe I’m Wrong” (all from 1961) are just a sampling of a pretty expansive discography. They’re dreamy and yearning, featuring Sylvester Stewart’s voice to great effect, flush with youth.


More early Sly after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Beyond Good & Evil: The Pop Group’s Mark Stewart, the Dangerous Minds interview
09:54 am


The Pop Group

The Pop Group is unequivocally back. After reuniting four years ago for festival shows and limited UK and European tours, the band’s singer Mark Stewart has told Dangerous Minds that their long-promised album of new material is at last being recorded this month, and that wider tours are in the works. This news comes fairly quickly on the heels of the announcement that the band is reissuing their 1980 album We Are Time and a rarities collection called Cabinet of Curiosities this autumn.

The Pop Group began in Bristol, UK, in 1978, and established a niche all to themselves with an unabashedly abrasive ruckus of No Wave and free jazz noise, punk’s ethos of confrontation, and a rhythm section devoted to dub and straight-up funk. Atop all that, singer Stewart chanted far-left declamations in a voice that lurched without warning from warble to shriek. The effect of this melee could be caustic, disorienting, and exhilarating. The band became influential despite its volatility, and in 1981, it fractured, jettisoning its members into the bands Rip Rig + Panic, Glaxo Babies/Maximum Joy, Pigbag, and the Slits. For his part, Stewart has recorded solo and with his band the Maffia. The Pop Group’s albums Y, For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder, and We Are Time have, in the USA, at least, been only intermittently available and sometimes ridiculously expensive to obtain, so the news of impending reissues is most welcome. Because it’s 2014 and this is how it’s done now, there’s a pledge drive afoot for the releases, and some of the premiums are mighty cool. (I’m pretty sorely tempted by the Signed Ultimate Boxset Bundle.)

Earlier this week, Mark Stewart was kind enough to talk to DM at length about the band’s origins and future plans.

DM: Just this morning, I came across a news item that references The Pop Group, and I was wondering if you were aware of it— the Washington Post was reporting on a corrupt politician, and they posted a video of “We Are All Prostitutes.”

Mark Stewart: Yeah. I haven’t had a chance to check out all the details of the story yet, but a very important confidante of mine, who writes books about conspiracies in politics, says it’s the most important story the Washington Post has run since Watergate, is that true?

Possibly. The ex-governor of Virginia and his wife have been convicted of fraud and selling access. It’s pretty huge. He was a presidential hopeful once, and now this blatant corruption comes to light. But I wondered if you were aware of the Post using your song in that context, and whether you think that speaks to the Pop Group’s continued relevance?

The lyrics to that song are timeless. The second real album that we made, For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?, was a bit more time-sensitive. It was talking about things that were happening in real time in Indonesia, and coups that were happening with ITT and Allende in Chile, things that were happening in Cambodia. That was more a real time, newspapery kind of album. But the other stuff, like “We Are All Prostitutes” and Y and the stuff we’re re-releasing now, it’s weird, because for me, I’m looking at it that way as much as you, because it’s like listening to something that’s out there now.

It’s quite bizarre. Me and [Pop Group guitarist] Gareth Sager, we spent two years going through, trying to find the best stuff from that period—and I’m a fan, I’ve realized recently, with all the music I’ve made, I’m making it for myself because I have an idea of what I’d like to hear. Like mashing up a free-jazz saxophone against a funk beat with Arabic wailing or something, I’m doing it for myself, because I’m only hearing those things in my head, and making things up like a little kid, and I just want to make those things. I’m having to analyze this stuff and see it again and it’s weird. But the We Are Time album sounds like new bands I’m hearing out of London now.


Well in terms of the songs’ political content, over the last thirty years, I’m not sure so much has changed or gotten better…

Hold on! You’re like my girlfriend! I think a lot has got better! Are you a pessimist?

Ha, maybe! Some things have gotten better on the social front, sure, but in terms of the oligarchs’ takeover? At least in the United States, oh my GOD, they are winning.

Yes. And, as far as I can see some of the battles in the Middle East are between different factions in America, like an American proxy war going on there, oil companies acting like medieval dynasties, it’s bizarre. And they’re backing jealous militias.

So are you an optimist, then? What do you see getting better?

Generally I think people across the world are genuinely more aware. Right now I’m in this fishing village, and the guy who lives in a shed at the bottom of the garden knows as much about the world as I did in 1979. There’s access to more media, and people, as far as I can see, are seeing through the illusion. Back in the day they used to think politicians were correct, and they’d tip their caps in a kind of regal way. People are kind of owning and feeling the responsibility and making the connections, that the things that are happening aren’t so far away. There’s blowback, and the actions we make in everyday life are a result of these actions across the world, funding our avarice.

It’s easier to put these ideas into songs!

More with Mark Stewart after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
More, more, Moore: How much is a Henry Moore sculpture REALLY worth???
09:19 am


Henry Moore

So, how much is a Henry Moore sculpture really worth?

Well, if we were to judge this by the money some criminals have made from the theft of a few of Moore’s best known works, then we may be surprised to find that a giant bronze statue can be bought for as little as a few thousand dollars.

This was how much thieves made on one of Moore’s most revered sculptures “Reclining Figure” (1969-70) after it was stolen from the 72-acre Henry Moore Foundation estate in Much Hadham, England in 2005. Weighing over 3-tons and standing six feet in height and ten feet in length, this elegant bronze statue was valued at $5 million. The theft baffled police, who originally suspected the statue had been stolen to order, but on investigation discovered it had in fact been taken by “a group of travellers from Essex” who sold the giant bronze to a scrap metal dealer for $2,500. A bargain considering the value of the art work and the Henry Moore Foundation’s offer of $18,000 reward for the statue’s safe return.
‘Reclining Figure’ (1969-70).
Over the past decade, Moore’s beautiful sculptures have been the unfortunate focus of thieves across England and Scotland who hope to make quick buck selling these giant art works for scrap metal. In 2012, two men were jailed after stealing Moore’s piece “Sundial” once again from the Much Hadham estate. The dastardly duo sold the sculpture for a mere $75. While “Standing Figure” (1950) was stolen from the Glenkiln Sculpture Park, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, and is also believed to have been melted down and sold for scrap.

So, it’s true—crime doesn’t (always) pay and thieves, it would seem, have no idea of the value of art.
Moore by Allan Warren.
Henry Moore was one of the twentieth century’s greatest sculptors. Born in July 30th, 1898, the seventh of eight children, Moore was encouraged by his father and mother to be self-reliant and to value hard work:

She [his mother] had tremendous physical stamina. She used to work from morning till night until she was over seventy. To be a sculptor, you have to have that sort of energy and that sort of stamina. Sculpture is of all the fine arts the one which you have to have an absolute physical fitness. You can’t—in the early stages at least—be tired or ill if you want to be a sculptor.

Moore later described his childhood as “a very good time” filled with “the warmth and friendship of a large family.” This was when he made his first tentative steps towards a career as a sculptor, playing games with friends at a local quarry where they made small wooden carvings and built clay ovens (“little square boxes with chimneys and a hole at the side, and we’d fill these with rotten wood and light it and blow on the fire to warm our hands in winter”) .

Moore was encouraged in his artistic ambitions by his father, on the condition that he had an alternative career to fall back on. In 1915, Moore became a teacher at his elementary school until he was called up to fight in the First World War, which he later described with characteristic understatement:

For me, the war passed in a romantic haze of hoping to be a hero. Sometimes in France there were three or four days of great danger when you thought there wasn’t a chance of getting through, and then all one felt was sadness at having taken so much trouble to no purpose; but on the whole I enjoyed the Army…After I was gassed at Cambrai I was in hospital for three months and it still affects my voice at times, but as they made me a PT instructor afterwards I suppose I must have got pretty fit again.

After the war, Moore attended the Leeds School of Art in 1919, where he considered himself “very lucky not to have gone to art school until I knew better than to believe what the teachers said.” At college he was influenced by such artists as Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Picasso, Epstein, and Eric Gill, and in his sculpture he intended to get rid of the:

..complete domination of later, decadent Greek art as the only standard of excellence.

Moore won a Royal Exhibition Scholarship in sculpture to attend the Royal College of Art, London, in September 1921. Here he fell under the influence of RCA Principal, Sir William Rothenstein, who encouraged creativity, originality and the belief that his students should not be held back by England’s class structures as “a man was what he made himself.” Rothenstein also introduced his students to established artists, writers and politicians. This was how Moore found himself one evening talking to the Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald:

Rothenstein gave the sense that there need be no barrier and no limit to what one can embark upon, and that is very important to a young student. Here was I, a student straight from Yorkshire, and it seemed perfectly natural for me to be standing in front of the fire and talking to the Prime Minister.

This new environment offered Moore the opportunity to try out different ideas in his work:

When I first came to London I was aware of Brancusi, Gaudier-Brzeska, Modigliani and the early Epstein, and of all that that direction in sculpture stood for. I couldn’t help—nobody can, after all—being a part of my own time. But then I began to find my own direction, and one thing that helped, I think, was the fact that Mexican sculpture had more excitement for me than negro sculpture. As most of the other sculptors had been moved by negro sculpture this gave me a feeling that I was striking out on my own.

Animal Head.
Much more Moore after the jump, including The Art of Henry Moore documentary

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Plastic Surgery Disaster: Powerful animation about trying to obtain ‘female perfection’
08:39 am

Current Events

plastic surgery

This disturbing, powerful and eye-opening animation, “Supervenus” by Frédéric Doazan doesn’t mince… meat with getting its message across, does it?

In it, a female anatomical drawing goes for plastic surgery. She is cut up, given botox and liposuction, and is finally transformed into a blonde bombshell. The procedures do not stop there, however, and take on nightmarish proportions.

This animation is painful to watch—it documents the pressure that women face as they feel like they have to look a certain way, as well as their love-hate relationship with their bodies.

Living in Los Angeles this is something you’re faced with every single day in the most mundane places. Supermarkets, the car wash. There’s a Jocelyn Wildenstein in every yoga class in town. The only minor quibble I have with the piece is that’s is not just women who are feeling the pressures of “unattainable beauty”—due to all the photoshop nonsense in magazines—but men are too. I mean, look (try not to gawk) at Bruce Jenner, Mickey Rourke, Sylvester Stallone and so forth. Clearly they’ve also been “infected” with the body dysmorphic virus.

Thank you Alice Lowe, of London, England!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Trapped between realms: The ghostly photos of Christopher McKenney
08:02 am


Christopher McKenney

Human figures, their identities concealed with sheets, half their bodies missing, what remains suspended in air, as though they were transitioning between planes of existence, or between life and death, or, more horrifyingly, trapped between them. The eerie photography of Wilkes-Barre, PA artist Christopher McKenney recalls the portentous surrealist otherworlds of De Chirico and Magritte. His works, as you’ll see below, are dramatically staged, horrific tableaux. Knowing nothing about his working methods, I assume these are digitally crafted, though it’s far from impossible to achieve identical effects with film and darkroom skill.

McKenney, unsurprisingly, maintains a presence on Flickr and Instagram. Both are well worth following.



More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Beach Ball’: Having a beach party with Scott Walker, 1965
07:10 am


Scott Walker
Walker Brothers

When you listen to Scott Walker, do you think “beach party”? No? Well, long before “The Electrician,” before “The Plague,” even before “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore,” the Walker Brothers appeared in the drive-in movie Beach Ball (1965), starring Edd “Kookie” Byrnes of 77 Sunset Strip.

Scott Walker sings “Doin’ the Jerk” in Beach Ball
Even by the standards of the beach party genre, Beach Ball is pretty bad, though it’s considerably enlivened by the musical guests. The Supremes, the Four Seasons, the Righteous Brothers, and the surf band the Hondells (whose every song endorsed Hondas) all take higher billing than the Walkers, who had as yet no hits to their name.

The Walkers play one of Scott’s first compositions, “Doin’ the Jerk,” a tribute to the dance craze of 1964. Because their performance at the movie’s climactic rock ‘n’ roll/hot rod festival is intercut with a car chase, “Doin’ the Jerk” stretches over six minutes of film. Scott Walker-loving hodads like me will want to skip directly to 1:06:40, though I wish the best of luck to those brave souls who settle in for the whole thing.

Jazz those glassy sets!

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
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