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Not your average weekend bags
01.16.2017
10:54 am

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Amusing
Fashion
Pop Culture

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Bea Arthur

 
Here are some interesting “weekend bags” that will certainly grab people’s attention. The bags are by 99 Wooster and they’re delightful, in my opinion. I’m really liking the Elizabeth Taylor in Boom! bag. Or even the Bea Arthur bag. I mean, how many of these are you going to see around town? You’d be truly an original with one of these puppies.

I’d probably use mine as a gym bag because who in the hell has time to take weekend trips anymore?

The bags are selling on 99 Wooster’s site for $75 each. I didn’t post all of their bags. You can check out the rest of them out here.


Mommie Dearest
 

Donny & Marie
 

Elizabeth Taylor in BOOM!
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The crazed death disco of Germany’s Warning, the scariest band you’ve never heard of
01.16.2017
10:30 am

Topics:
Music
One-hit wonders

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The early 80s was prime time for scary music. Blame it on Reagan and his itchy nuclear trigger finger, but in its darkest corners, rock n’ roll devolved from the freeballing hedonism of disco and the happy computer blips of new wave into the gnashing teeth and ripping claws of hardcore punk, industrial, death-rock and extreme metal. Bands like Black Flag, Hellhammer, Christian Death, Venom and Whitehouse were making records so aggressive, unhinged, or suicidally depressed that they sounded like the work of actual lunatics. But, you know, rock n’ roll is supposed to be edgy. Dance music, well, you’re just supposed to dance. But in 1982, a year that birthed Negasonic teenage warheads like Venom’s Black Metal, Walk Among Us by The Misfits, and the Birthday Party’s Junkyard, it was a mysterious synth-pop band from Germany who released perhaps the most unsettling album of the year.

It was right there in the title of the band, really: Warning. That basically says it all. The cover of their self-titled debut album is both campy and terrifying. Two black-caped, space-helmeted figures—half Black Sabbath’s Never Say Die pilot, half Darth Vader—descend an escalator, presumably to kill you when they reach the lower level. Amazingly, the music contained within is just as unnerving. A sort of unholy g(h)oulash of horror-prog, clanging disco-metal and woozy electro-pop, Warning is dance music made by people who have never danced in their entire lives. Forget new wave or even cold-wave, this was harrowing doom-wave, anchored by the alternately hilarious and soul-piercing croaks of frontfiend Ed Vanguard.
 
Ed Schlepper
 
Except that there was no “Ed Vanguard”...

It was actually the work of the positively jovial Edgar Schlepper, a turtleneck-wearing producer/songwriter known mostly for writing minor hits for minor pop singers and for “solo” records like 20 Disco Hits in Super Sound. Schlepper made happy, boring music for elevators and mall food courts, but along with his pal Hans Muller (AKA “Mike Yonder”) he created an inexplicable alter-ego so dark and disturbing that it hardly seems possible that this goofy asshole in the beige slacks could be responsible for it. Only Germans could come up with shit this wack. Warning’s crazed opener “Why Can the Bodies Fly” surged up the German pop charts, peaking at #11, despite the fact that it’s seven minutes long, has no hook, and is totally fucking crazy. It was like Daft Punk after a weeklong bath salts binge watching only Teutonic skat videos. It was also their only hit, but since when did Darth Vader care about the pop charts anyway?
 

 
A year later, Warning returned with Electric Eyes, a (very) slightly more accessible album, but it still sounded like two fleshy robots short-circuiting during the climax of Saturday Night Fever.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Boss Babes: A Coloring & Activity Book for Grown-Ups
01.16.2017
09:06 am

Topics:
Books
Feminism

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Since the Women’s March on Washington is coming up on January 21, I thought that it be a good time to blog about this coloring book: Boss Babes: A Coloring & Activity Book for Grown-Ups. The fun-filled book is by Michelle Volansky and it’s an ode to strong women.

BOSS BABES is a coloring and activity book filled with fun facts and whimsical black-and-white line drawings celebrating female powerhouses from Beyonce to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Dolly Parton to Malala, Tina Fey to Serena Williams. On every page is a portrait to color or an activity to complete: Connect the dots to conjure J.K. Rowling’s patronus. Complete the Beyonce crossword (12-DOWN: Who run the world?). Decorate Flo-Jo’s nails, decode Cher’s most recent tweet, design a new jabot for RBG, color in Frida Kahlo’s flowers, and more!

Even though it says in title that it’s a book for “grown-ups,” I think it would be an awesome activity book for little girls (and boys, too). Kids are wiser and hipper nowadays, so I’m sure they’d totally get the references in it. Be warned, though, there are a few “naughty” words.

It’s a 96-page paperback activity book and sells for $10.95 here. Dig it.


 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
An unexpected William S. Burroughs/Beatles connection
01.16.2017
08:57 am

Topics:
History
Music

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We all know that author William S. Burroughs is one of the “people we like” on the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album cover, but did you know that Burroughs was actually around when Paul McCartney composed “Eleanor Rigby”? Apparently so. Over the weekend, I noticed the following passage in the book With William Burroughs: A Report From the Bunker by Victor Bockris:

Burroughs: Ian met Paul McCartney and Paul put up the money for this flat which was at 34 Montagu Square… I saw Paul several times. The three of us talked about the possibilities of the tape recorder. He’d just come in and work on his “Eleanor Rigby.” Ian recorded his rehearsals. I saw the song taking shape. Once again, not knowing much about music, I could see that he knew what he was doing. He was very pleasant and very prepossessing. Nice-looking young man, hardworking.

The connection here was, no doubt, author Barry Miles. Miles started the Indica Bookshop in London with McCartney’s financial backing. Miles states in his book In the Sixties that Burroughs was a frequent visitor to the shop. When the Beatles started their experimental label Zapple, with Barry Miles at the helm, the idea was to release more avant garde fare, such as readings by American poets Michael McClure, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Richard Brautigan and comedian Lenny Bruce. McCartney set up a small studio that was run by Burroughs’ ex-boyfriend, Ian Sommerville, who also lived there, and this is why Burroughs would have been around.

It’s always thought that John Lennon was the far-out Beatle, but it was in fact Macca who was the one obsessed by Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage and Morton Subotnick, not Lennon (he got there later, via Yoko).
 

The “Eleanor Rigby” section from ‘Yellow Submarine.’

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Satan teens, blood, guts, LSD, murder and chaos: ‘Where Evil Dwells’ has it all but a plot
01.13.2017
12:42 pm

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Art
Movies

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01whereevil.jpg
 

“Ricky was of the devil. When he was on acid, he’d go back into the dark woods, up in Aztakea, and he would talk to the devil. He said the devil came into the form of a tree, which sprouted out of the ground and glowed. I tried to question him about it, but he said, “I don’t like to talk about it. People think I’m nuts.”

Ricky would take ten hits of mesc in a night. He would take three; ten minutes later he’d take another three; and two hours later he’d take four more. He’d figured it out in his mind how to take the most without ODing Ricky is the acid king. “

—Mark Fischer, friend of “Acid King” Long Island teen murderer Ricky Kasso, in Rolling Stone magazine.

What the fuck did I just watch? is often the response to Tommy Turner and David Wojnarowicz‘s cult 1985 no wave/transgressive film Where Evil Dwells. Not because some viewers of this splatterfest are uncool dickheads but because there is no real cohesive story or structure to Turner and Wojnarowicz’s film—and people really do prefer things like structure and stories. Just ask James Patterson. Our savvy public are none too appreciative of being buttonholed by a would-be weirdo rambling incontinently about conspiracy theories, Satan, murder and devil dolls—people get enough of that shit on the evening news.

Moreover, to give 28 minutes over to watching this is a considerable investment of time for something that may not be that good after all—especially true in a world that’s marked out in 140 characters or less. But wait, let’s not be too hasty or too cynical, for there’s a reason there is no real story to Where Evil Dwells. It is (apparently) because this is all that remains of a much longer intended feature length project which was lost in a fire. The only footage that survived was put together for the Downtown New York Film Festival in 1985, which makes Where Evil Dwells interesting for what it could have been. And it certainly does contain some very interesting things.
 

 
Where Evil Dwells was loosely based on the PCP-fuelled murder of young Gary Lauwers in Northport, New York, on June 16, 1984. His killer, 17-year-old hesher Ricky Kasso was painted by the press as an occult dabbling, drug-addled Satan freak, and not without good cause. In an attack that went on for longer than an hour, Kasso burned Lauwers, gouged out his eyes and stabbed him somewhere between 17 and 36 times. At some point during the attack, Kasso is said to have commanded Lauwers to “Say you love Satan,” but Lauwers is said to have replied, “I love my mother.”

After Kasso bragged about Lauwers’ murder to several of his friends, claiming the killing was a “human sacrifice” that Satan (via a black raven) had commanded him to carry out, even taking some of them to see the decomposing body, an anonymous tip was made to police. On July 7, two days after his arrest, Ricky Kasso committed suicide by hanging himself in his jail cell.

The Long Island Satan teen murder case was made famous nationally in a widely read 1984 Rolling Stone article (”Kids in the Dark” by David Breskin in the November 22 issue) and in the (nearly fictionalized) lurid “true” crime novel Say You Love Satan. Kasso—basically a troubled AC/DC loving idiot who became a very sucessful fuck-up—was almost made out to be the “new” Charles Manson by the likes of Sonic Youth, Big Audio Dynamite, the Electric Hellfire Club and the Dead Milkmen. Where Evil Dwells is not the only film or documentary to be made about Ricky Kasso, although it was the first.

More murder, LSD and Satan teens after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Probes’: Chris Cutler’s podcast is a free course in contemporary music
01.13.2017
11:31 am

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Art
History
Music

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Chris Cutler in Toronto, 1987 (via some old pictures I took)
 
The English percussionist Chris Cutler has been a member of Henry Cow, Pere Ubu, and Art Bears, to name just a few of his bands. He played on the Residents’ Eskimo and Commercial Album, founded Recommended Records (now better known as ReR Megacorp), and pioneered the use of electrified drums.

Cutler is also a scholar and theoretician of music, and his podcast Probes considers the present state of the art in relation to two crises, one having to do with the collapse of tonality, the other with the mechanical reproduction of sound. If that makes it sound boring, understand that Probes really amounts to a free college course in music appreciation and history. Broadcast by Ràdio Web MACBA, the online radio station of the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Probes illustrates Cutler’s lucid analysis with excerpts of records from his wide-ranging collection. Each episode is accompanied by a transcript and another PDF with the episode’s playlist and, when relevant, bibliography. This month’s episode “traces the immense impact Indian instruments and aesthetics had on both thinking and playing, across all forms of western music from Messiaen and La Monte Young to John Coltrane and the Beatles.”

Here’s Cutler introducing the series at the beginning of the first episode:

If you had asked anyone in the eighteenth century what music was, you would have met with broad consensus; music came in three basic forms then – as it had for at least six hundred years: church music, art music, and what we now call folk music – all three of them pretty closely integrated, with many of the same melodies migrating back and forth between them.

If you asked the same question today you’d be met with a tortuous attempt at an abstract definition, which would still fail to contain the vast mass of activities – and the diverse aesthetics – now aimed at our ears. Indeed, claims for music today have expanded to include not only anything that you can hear, but kinds of silence too.

Should we take this to imply that a once integrated culture is slowly degenerating into a chaotic and unregulated marketplace? That would certainly be the political reading. But actually I think something more interesting is going on, something quite unusual. What we are living through is a paradigm change. We just can’t see it because life is too short and such events normally take centuries to work through.

But here’s the argument: for the last hundred and twenty years or so, music and musicians, at least in the industrialised world, have been struggling to come to terms with two catastrophic and destabilising upheavals. The first is the collapse of tonality, which principally affects formal composition and art music; the second the brute fact of sound recording – which has so far utterly transformed everything it has touched.

To find an historical precedent for this, we would need to go back at least 700 years – to the last time European music had to deal with the emergence of a new memory technology. Then it was writing; today it is sound recording.

Memory has this power because it stands at the root of all systems of conscious communication. Without memory, music could not be produced or reproduced, circulated or understood. And different forms of memory will engender different forms of music – that is the underlying thesis of this series.

Cutler on The Residents, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Here’s a dirty little song to play while you get that $13 tattoo today
01.13.2017
11:28 am

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Fashion
Music

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Many tattoo parlors across the country offer Friday the 13th specials, most often offering small flash art for $13. If you decide to visit your local tattoo shop today, be sure to play this classic slab of Americana from a 1950 78 rpm record on the Fortune label. The artist is Skeets McDonald (spelled “Skeet’s” on the label), and the song is “Tattooed Lady.” Next to The Who’s “Tattoo” (and Groucho Marx’s “Lydia the Tattooed Lady,” of course) it’s the most awesome song ever written about tattoos.
 

 
The tune details a man’s marriage to a woman who is tattooed with a map of the United States. The lyrics seem to indicate that the map is laid out pretty strangely—I’m not sure if there’s any way to imagine this being “geographically correct”:

Once I married a tattooed lady
Twas on a dark and windy day
And tattooed all around her body
Was a map of the good ol’ USA
And every night before I’d go to sleep
I’d jerk back the covers and I’d take a peek:
Upon her leg was Minnesota,
On her knee was Tennessee,
And tattooed on her back
Was good old Rack-em-Sack (Arkansas)
The place where I long to be.
And on her (wolf whistle) was West Virginia
Through those hills I just love to roam;
But when I saw the moonlight on her Mississippi
That’s when I recognized my home sweet home.

West Virginia likely seems to be the woman’s boobs or ass. One would assume she has Mississippi on her hoo-ha, but then again, maybe my mind’s just in the gutter. Wherever it is, clearly there’s some distortion going on with this particular map.

Listen after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Nope, these are NOT photographs they are OIL PAINTINGS
01.13.2017
10:22 am

Topics:
Art

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Isräel-based oil painter Yigal Ozeri paints better than my iPhone can take photos! Seriously, I’ve stared at this work for over an hour now and still can’t believe these are oil paintings. I know “hyperrealism” is an overused word in the blogosphere world, but holy shit if it’s not totally appropriate in this circumstance! His work is absolutely jaw-dropping.

I wouldn’t say his work is exactly “dangerous” per se (beautiful, angelic women in outdoor settings), but it’s a damned dangerous talent to be able to paint this way. To fool the human eye like this takes some serious skills and patience. I’d love to see Ozeri in action. Perhaps a nice time-lapse video of him creating one of his pieces.


 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
A totally sexist guide of ‘How to Succeed with Brunettes’ produced by the U.S. Navy in 1967
01.13.2017
08:56 am

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Amusing
History
Movies

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Marlene Dietrich, as ‘Bijou Blanche’ in a feminine version of a Navy officer’s uniform from the 1940 motion picture ‘Seven Sinners.’
 
Before you watch this sixteen-plus minute training video put out by the Navy in 1967, you’ll need a little background on this vintage piece of sexist “how to.”

How to Succeed with Brunettes’ is one of nearly 3000 training films produced by the U.S. Navy during the 1960s that range from topics such as “good hygiene” to how women enlisted in the military should “conduct” themselves around their male counterparts. It’s also said that the film was lampooned by the television news program 60 Minutes in its early days and that the show even presented the Navy with a “faux Oscar” for How to Succeed With Brunettes for being the most “unnecessary” and “fiscally wasteful” film on record for the time. For you see, back in 1966 it was tax dollars that covered the $64,000 tab for creating this cringe-worthy film.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
A child’s murder ballad: Tanya Tucker sings ‘Blood Red and Goin’ Down’
01.12.2017
07:00 pm

Topics:
Music

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Tanya Tucker was kind of like the Britney Spears of country music in the 1970s, a teenage chart-topper who underwent a “sexy” image make-over as she got older (and who did her share of hard partying). Her massive hits like “Delta Dawn” and “What’s Your Mama’s Name” were fairly ubiquitous on jukeboxes, AM radio and TV at the time. Tucker’s voice was instantly recognizable from the first note and her formula followed nicely in the Tammy Wynette-trod footsteps of the narrative country tear-jerker, often with the something ominous lurking in the story-line. And the twist was that they were being sung by a kid.
 

“Innocent” young Tanya, aged 14.
 
Tucker’s 1973 hit record, “Blood Red and Goin’ Down,” tells the tale of a young girl who watches her distraught father gun down her cheating mother and her lover in a bar. “Southern Gothic” at its finest. It’s also something you might hear the likes of Nick Cave sing, but Tucker would have been all of fourteen years old when the song was recorded and about seventeen in the video clip below. Imagine watching a kid perform this song in 2017 on America’s Got Talent or something… Jeezus K. Reist. These days the social justice warrior types would be having conniption fits, but in the 1970s this was a #1 hit!

In the late 80s, I was visiting my parents in Wheeling, WV with my then girlfriend who, for whatever reasons, was really into Tanya Tucker. As fate would have it, Tucker was playing a concert at the famed Capitol Music Hall while we were in town and so we went. It was a fucking blast and a really good show (and honestly not the kind of thing I’d have gone to see on my own in a million years).
 

Tanya after her ‘sexy’ make-over, still not old enough to drink…
 
I can recall three things about it vividly. One, it was Tucker’s 30th birthday that night and a conga line of about a dozen goofy guys dropped red roses at her feet as she sang “Delta Dawn.”

Two, the concert was stopped twice while a commercial for “Country Time Lemonade” ran (the show was being broadcast live on the legendary country music station, WWVA’s “Jamboree USA” radio show, and Country Time Lemonade was the sponsor). Tucker and her band just walked offstage and a slide was shown as the ad was pumped over the PA system. When the commercial was over they came back onstage and started up again.

Third, nearly everyone in the audience save for us had cowbells. I swear.

Just a few hours ago it was announced that Tucker, now 58, is postponing tour dates after fracturing a vertebrae and injuring a rib during a fall while on tour.
 

“Blood Red and Goin’ Down,” 1975.
 
More vintage Tanya Tucker after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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