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A final ‘Fuck You’ from 2016
12.05.2016
12:43 pm

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Current Events

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As we all know 2016 has been a spectacularly shitty year. Bowie. Prince. Leonard Cohen. President Trump. Okay, scratch that, it’s been the fucking worst year ever in the history of humankind. To add insult to injury, this annus horribilis (pronounce that however you wish) just got even worse, as Joseph Sudiro points out on Twitter: All the holidays in December fall on the weekend. No one gets a goddamned day off work.

I can’t wait for 2016 to be behind us, although frankly I see no silver lining for 2017 either. Shit’s just going to get worse. It’s in the air, ain’t it kids?

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop singing ‘Surfin’ Bird’ to his cockatoo is exactly what the world needs now
12.05.2016
12:22 pm

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Amusing
Animals
Music

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So OK, if you’re not following “Biggy Pop,” the eponymous Instagram Iggy Pop made for his pet bird Biggy earlier this year, you’re missing out. Go do that now. We’ll wait.

OK, then, having done that, you’ve seen that Pop’s Instagram is a series of home movies of the proto-punk godfather with his feathered companion (who looks to be a salmon-crested cockatoo, if you’re interested in that sort of thing). And it’s pretty wonderful. Biggy is the same bird who appeared in Pop’s Christmas video a couple of years ago…

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Pixies telepathically host ‘PostModern MTV’ in 1989
12.05.2016
12:20 pm

Topics:
Music
Television

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After the arrival of Surfer Rosa in 1988, Pixies became the unavoidable new darlings of the college rock circuit—as this segment from MTV’s PostModern MTV from early 1989 amply demonstrates. PostModern MTV was kind of a truncated weeknight edition of their long-running 120 Minutes, which offered “underground” rock for a two hour programming block on Sundays.

In an MTV News segment hosted by Kurt Loder, the band is introduced purchasing knishes on the sidewalk in midtown Manhattan. Still known officially then as “Black Francis,” Frank Black is quoted as saying “We just wanna make everyone spine-tingly and everything.”

The original host of the show, Kevin Seal, kicks things off but then the four Pixies themselves take over—this YouTube video shows their bumpers and video intros but not the videos themselves. The bits were taped at the much-missed Scrap Bar on MacDougal Street in the West Village following a highly “clever” conceit that actually just comes off as “awkward.”
 

 
Seated behind a heavy iron grate, the band members were tasked with presenting their palaver “telepathically”—that is, keeping their mouths shut and gesturing emphatically in sync to pre-taped audio bits imparting the relevant info. Just watch it, you’ll see. It’s a good reminder of the tryin’-too-hard ethos of what would soon become associated with Generation X. In retrospect, perhaps the band members’ obvious discomfort with the setup was itself kind of a coded message to their collegiate (and college-adjacent) faithful.

Towards the end of the episode the band runs through the top ten “PostModern” videos, whatever that means, and based on the tracks that made the list that week, I’d peg this segment at June 1989, which was a couple of months after the release of Doolittle and also around when “Here Comes Your Man” came out. Anyone born during the Nixon administration is likely to have some strong opinions about the bands that charted that week…

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Iconic: Movie posters for classic films redesigned around their famous props and sets
12.05.2016
11:15 am

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Art
Design

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‘Amelie.’
 
Most movie posters plug their product with suitably emotionally involving imagery from their content. You know the kind of stuff—action heroes with all guns a-blazin’; or slightly forlorn yet still ridiculously upbeat figures battling through some deep emotional trauma; or smug smiling idiots who want you to believe their comic misadventure is going to be really really funny.

Photographic artist Jordan Bolton has kicked that approach into touch with his series of iconic and beautiful film posters which use only the props and sets as seen on the screen. It’s a novel approach that certainly works.

For each movie poster, Bolton selects and creates the relevant props or set as featured. Each object or room is handcrafted. The finished objects are displayed together and then photographed. Bolton describes his work this way:

By focusing purely on the objects and colour palette of the film, I see the posters as providing an interesting and fresh perspective on the film’s themes and characters even for someone who has seen the film many times.

More like especially for someone who has seen one of these films multiple times.

It’s fair to say, Bolton has created a kind of dialogue with the viewer—but it’s one that’s self-reflective and that probably works best after you’ve already seen the film, and not before. Then the viewer knows what all these objects mean and how they reflects on their taste and intelligence. That said, I do admit that having missed out on the joys of a couple of these films—one look at Bolton’s splendid posters has placed these movies on my “must see” list.

Jordan Bolton’s posters are available to buy on Etsy and more of his work can be seen here and here.
 
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‘Fantastic Mr. Fox.’
 
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‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.’
 
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‘The Shawshank Redemption.’
 
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‘Carol.’
 
More of Jordan Bolton’s “iconographic” posters, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The greatest/worst heavy metal video of all time
12.05.2016
10:40 am

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Amusing
Music

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Behold the bizarro heavy metal band from Australia, Barbariön!
 
Heavy metal band Barbariön hails from Melbourne, Australia and have been serving up their special brand of WTF since 2007. To me if you add one part Twisted Sister, shake in a little vintage Manowar (because loincloths) and a heavy heaping of GWAR with a side of Lordi, then you’ve pretty much got Barbariön.

With a catalog full of songs with manly sounding titles such as “Bare Knuckle, Bare Chest,” ‘Cocaine Maiden,” and “Touch the Devil” it’s kind of hard to knock a band that are inspired by fire, pyrotechnics, medieval costumes, meat, and lots of facial hair. The video for the subject of this post comes from the band’s three song EP from 2011, My Rock and it’s nothing short of insane heavy metal teenage fever dream. Though it’s clearly influenced by many videos from the past such as Twisted Sister’s 1984 screw you anthem, “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” Dio’s “Holy Diver” and pretty much any video by GWAR, it’s utterly fantastic to behold and makes me miss the days when bands made videos that resembled mini B-movies.

If you happen to reside in or near Adelaide you can catch Barbariön at the aptly titled Fringe Festival on February 13th.

And you can watch their video for ‘My Rock’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Stunning images of pagan costumes worn at winter celebrations around the world
12.05.2016
10:18 am

Topics:
Art
Belief

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‘Lucifer and little devils,’ Tauplitz, Austria. Photograph by Charles Fréger.
 
In a recent interview, French photographer Charles Fréger revealed that he has always been fascinated by European tribal traditions. This fascination inspired the well-known artist to travel all around Europe to capture images of people dressed in ritualistic costumes honoring the arrival of winter another other seasonal celebrations.

Fréger began his journey in Austria and to date has photographed stunning costumes and rituals from 21 countries around the world. According to Fréger there are many celebrations that mark the arrival of winter that take place in the Czech Republic and, say, Italy that are quite similar when it comes to the materials that are used to create the costumes. Such as the incorporation of animal pelts, branches from trees, horns and bells into the costumes. Though they may share similar appearances, the story behind each living piece of folklore varies from country and location. Here’s more from Fréger about why so many of these celebrations often involve a human masquerading as an animal:

It is not about being possessed by a spirit but it is about jumping voluntarily in the skin of an animal. You decide to become something else. You chose to become an animal, which is more exciting than being possessed by a demon.

Following his exhaustive tours of Europe, Fréger headed to Japan to photograph both winter and spring celebrations in Japan which showcase the country’s “theatrical” take on their celebratory costumes that have remained intact over the course of many centuries. The images from his travels to Japan reveal mythological “monsters” such as ogres and demons menacingly blending into landscapes, fields and the water or wielding machetes . Fréger’s exploits with international folkloric entities are the subject of two gorgeous books, Wilder Mann: The Image of the Savage, and Yokainoshima: Island of Monsters. I’ve included many images of Fréger’s scary monsters and mythical entities taken in Italy, Czechoslovakia, Finland and Japan as well as other destinations that celebrate the coming of winter and other seasonal changes with characters way more interesting than Santa. Enjoy!
 

Slovenia.
 

Portugal.
 

Switzerland.
 

Croatia.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Anton LaVey tree ornaments will help you have the most Satanic Christmas ever!
12.05.2016
10:08 am

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Amusing
Occult
Stupid or Evil?

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Ceramic Anton LaVey Christmas ornament. Get it here.
 
Here we have another example of something you never knew you needed that actually already exists—ceramic ornaments featuring the very serious mug of a certain Anton Szandor LaVey. Though I shouldn’t have to explain who LaVey was, he created The Church of Satan back in 1966. He was also the church’s first High Priest. During his lifetime LaVey was many things and now, nearly twenty years after his death he’s been immortalized as a Christmas tree ornament.

There are several different versions of LaVey ornaments including ones shaped like a heart, a star and even a few featuring quotes attributed to LaVey that will not get you in the Christmas spirit. Which is probably okay with a lot of you out there these days. While I’m pretty sure that LaVey wouldn’t be thrilled about this development I won’t lie, I love the portrait ornaments. A lot. Prices range from $10 to about $24 bucks each and you can even customize them color wise or add text. Like “Hail Satan” or something cheerful like that. I’ve included links below the images in this post where you can pick up your own Anton LaVey ornament which if you act fast should arrive just in time for the holidays.Yay!
 

Star-shaped Anton LaVey ornament. Get it here.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Big hair and lipgloss: Unsung girl groups of the 70s and 80s
12.02.2016
02:27 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Pop Culture

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Many are called. Most end up in the bargain bin of the local thrift store. For all the great bands like Fanny, The Slits, L-7, The Go-Gos, The Bangles, and so on, there are several dozen—nay, several hundred—who score one hit (or fewer) and then disappear before the ink’s dried on their record contracts.

Then there are bands like these—who manage the record deal, have the hit single and even go on to produce a handful of albums—sometimes well received albums.

These are the sometimes forgotten girl bands of the 1970s-1980s who may have looked like they took their style from a lycra catalog but actually had greater success and in some instances a greater influence on other bands than is recognized….or should I say, admitted.

For example, the Love Machine (above) were originally dancers on the Benny Hill Show and not to be ocnfused with the Italian Love Machine. The Love Machine were one-hit wonders like that other notorious dance group Hot Gossip—who had a major hit with “Starship Trooper.”
 
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Phantom Blue—Heavy Metal band who released four albums between 1986-1997.
 
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The Orchids were a rock/pop/New Wave formed and managed by Kim Fowley—they never quite managed the heights of The Runaways.
 
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Cice-Mace—a Serbian disco-pop band produced by synth pioneer Miha Kralj.
 
More forgotten girl groups, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
That time Orson Welles met Andy Kaufman
12.02.2016
02:12 pm

Topics:
Movies
Television

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Orson Welles and Andy Kaufman were arguably the two greatest pranksters in American history. Welles infamously sparked an intense bout of public hysteria when his 1938 radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds conned thousands of radio listeners into believing that a Martian invasion of Earth was actually occurring.  Welles’ final finished feature film, 1974’s documentary F for Fake, about the notorious art forger Elmyr De Hory is a dazzling, intellectuality challenging masterpiece that can never quite decide if it’s a fake documentary about a painter of fake masterpieces who himself was the subject of a true biography written by a fake biographer (Clifford Irving)… or what it is.

Meanwhile, Kaufman’s legendary ability to take a premise beyond its breaking point was so developed that to this day many people still believe that he faked his own death 32 years ago.
 

 
The two men not only met, but Welles interviewed Kaufman when he served as a replacement host on The Merv Griffin Show. Despite his notably curmudgeonly behavior in his advanced years, Welles genuinely gushed about Kaufman’s remarkable acting talents. The date of the show was June 25, 1982. Observing the proceedings was Barney Miller actor Ron Glass, who passed away earlier this week.

I was happy to learn that Welles appreciated the comedic heights achieved by Taxi, which he calls one of the few things on TV that is not a “criminal felony,” but it’s even more interesting to notice the man behind the Mercury Theatre, possibly the greatest theatrical ensemble ever put together, observe that Taxi, despite its marvelous cast, often fell short of its potential as an ensemble show because the plots were seldom confined to the taxi depot (which would have the effect of forcing multi-character interactions).

Welles acutely observes that “Nobody ever came from nowhere as completely as” Kaufman’s character Latka Gravas did. Kaufman comes out wearing a neck brace but never makes anything of it—this was no doubt a product of his wrestling escapades with countless female opponents.

Roll tape, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Fantastic vintage Japanese movie posters
12.02.2016
10:51 am

Topics:
Art
Design
Movies

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12hardsdaynight1964.jpg
‘A Hard’s Day Night’ (1964).
 
A friend collects Japanese movie posters. He’s rich enough to afford it. The walls of his house are almost covered with these bright, garish, beautiful film posters. Last time, I visited him I asked why he never exhibited them or at least scanned them digitally to share on the Internet. He said he thought of them as art—and as art they had to be viewed in person and not through a screen. I thought he was just being a pretentious twat—but there you go.

Fair to say, it was an impressive collection—a mix of Japanese features and American/British imports. But his collection went no further than the late-seventies to early-eighties. I wondered why? This, he explained, was because the best Japanese movie posters originated during the Shōwa period—the time of Emperor Hirohito’s reign 1926-1989—when the printing process meant the posters were by artists creating collages from cut-up photographs. These were airbrushed and colorized to glorious effect. There was an art and craft to making these posters—which remained roughly the same from the twenties to the seventies—which the digital era no longer employs.

Inspired by my dear friend’s collection, I’ve collated together a mix of images which exemplify some of the best in Japanese poster design—and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want one of these hanging on their walls?
 
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‘Batman’ (1966).
 
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‘Bedazzled’ (1967).
 
More fantastic Japanese movie posters, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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