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Upside down photographs of faces become intriguing, introspective works of art
02.17.2017
07:21 am

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Amusing
Art
Unorthodox

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A photograph from the series ‘Alienation’ by South African artist, Anelia Loubser.
 
Anelia Loubser is a photographer from South Africa who has only been working in her chosen medium for fewer than ten years. During that short time period, her photographs have been seen in publications all over the world.

According to Loubser, she credits her twin sister with providing her with much of the inspiration that enables her to continue to create her art. In 2014 her fledgling photographic series Alienation created quite a stir as it featured unconventional black and white images of people—including members of her own family—taken at close range allowing them to become something other than what they are. Loubser’s composition of her subjects and their faces cut off just before you can see the formation of their noses—creating a powerful, otherworldly way for something as common as a human face to be perceived by the viewer. While the seemingly simple-sounding concept of photographing someone’s face upside down may seem uninvolved, Loubser’s enigmatic results are impossible to ignore. Here’s more from Loubser on the photographs you are about to see from Alienation:

I saw eyes on unfamiliar faces, and in them lies a whole galaxy of tales to tell. In their eyes, I saw happiness, sadness, excitement, pain, love, curiosity, wisdom and wonder - all these familiar human emotions on unearthed faces. This had such a tremendous impact on me because symbolically they summarized how I seldom feel living in a conflicting inner and outer universe with my own being. And it made my madness seem less messy.

A selection of Loubser’s topsy-turvy faces for you to lose yourself in follow.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
That time the ‘world’s dumbest’ terrorist blew up the Rolling Stones’ equipment
02.16.2017
01:10 pm

Topics:
Crime
History
Music

Tags:


 
Despite what recent political rhetoric would have you believe, terrorism is hardly the sole property of Muslims from the Middle East. Timothy McVeigh and his pals blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the left-wing Red Army Faction in Germany killed as many as 34 people in multiple incidents, and the Weather Underground destroyed the sub-basement furnace room of a townhouse on West 11th Street in 1970. One can multiply the examples.

Indeed, depending on the time and place, there have been terrorist incidents where the most likely suspects—the suspects many would have instantly guessed—were radical French separatists in Canada. Such a case occurred in the summer of 1972 during the Rolling Stones’ legendary American Tour that year, when a bomb destroyed part of a truck and several speakers of the group’s gear several hours before a gig.
 

New Musical Express, July 22, 1972
 
Rolling Stone reported at the time:
 

The two equipment vans had arrived from Toronto and were parked on a ramp at the Montreal Forum. The dynamite blast that exploded under the ramp blew out a slew of windows in a nearby apartment and the cones of 30 speakers inside one of the trucks.

“Whoever it was was the world’s dumbest bomber,” said press agent Gary Stromberg. “First he put the bomb under the ramp instead of the truck, and the other truck was the one with most of the stuff inside.”

 
Air Canada bumped luggage from a flight out of Los Angeles to accommodate the replacement cones, and the show was able to go on just 45 minutes later than planned. However, some sort of unrelated snafu left 3,000 disappointed Stones fans outside the venue without a ticket—they proceeded to engage in significant civil unrest, including pelting the building and police with rocks, wine, beer bottles, and bricks. Jagger himself was hit by a flying bottle inside the venue.

In his essential book S.T.P.: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones, Robert Greenfield provides this account:
 

Later that night the phone rings in Peter Rudge’s room. He picks it up, talks for a while, then begins making phone calls. “Rudge-O here,” he tells Gary Stromberg. “This is rather important. Could you come down to the hall? We’ve been bombed.”

Some person (or persons) has placed one to three sticks of dynamite underneath one of the trucks. Fortunately, it is the one that holds the steel loading ramp, so all it does is blow a four-by-eight hole in the bottom of the truck, disintegrate the ramp, and destroy all the cones in the speakers. The driver, who usually sleeps in the rig, is off somewhere, which saves him from at least a heart attack, if not actual death. All of the windows are broken in the apartment buildings on the street facing the Forum where the truck is parked.

The street is roped off. The police are making diagrams and gathering shards and pieces and a very French Sergeant de Detectif is in charge. Rudge persists in calling him “captain.” Someone says to him, “Certainly this is the work of one of your French separatists.”

“OH NO M’SEIU!” he replies with classic Gallic outrage. “C’est une American draft dodgeur. Zey are all over. Zey come up here with impunity.”

-snip-

The bomb at the Forum was just the first of four timed to go off at intervals during the day. They wake Jagger up to tell him about it. “Who did it?” he asks sleepily. No one knows. “Well,” he yawns, “why the fuck didn’t they leave a note?”

But he’s shook. The French separatists, it is well known, are cray-zee. They’ll stop at nothing, and all day long he keeps referring to the event uneasily, worried that they plan to pull something off at the show. But the show itself goes off peacefully, the bomb squad having turned the building upside down more than once. Outside the hall, the kids and the cops get down to it and fourteen people are injured, thirteen arrested, and a TV news cruiser is set on fire. UPI, in an inspired piece of fiction, reports that the Stones leave the Forum by means of a helicopter that takes off from the roof and circles the crowd announcing, “THEY HAVE LEFT THE BUILDING: GO HOME” in both French and English.

 
This difficult stretch of the tour was by no means over with. The very next day, in Rhode Island, the Stones’ entourage got into a fight with photographer Andy Dickerman, landing Jagger and Richards in jail.

New Musical Express image courtesy of the Library and Archives of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Southern Gothic: The musical genius of Bobbie Gentry needs to be rediscovered
02.16.2017
01:06 pm

Topics:
Music

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One of the first major country “crossover” artists, Bobbie Gentry became an overnight sensation with her massive 1967 hit single, the hauntingly enigmatic “Ode to Billie Joe.” Sultry and sexy yet obviously whip-smart, the smoky-voiced Gentry was also one of the first female country artists to write and produce her own music. Additionally she could play guitar (with an immediately recognizable hard finger-plucked style), piano, banjo, bass vibraphone and other instruments. She was as gorgeous as she was talented, a poised and classy Southern belle born in Chickasaw County, Mississippi and raised on her grandparents’ farm in a home with no electricity. But when Billie Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge he pushed even the Beatles from the top of the pop charts. The song sold over 50 million copies, and Gentry was instantly among the most famous people in America, winning four Grammy awards for her debut.

Bobbie Gentry was a nearly ubiquitous presence on American (and British) television of the 60s and 70s. You might see her one night singing a duet with Johnny Cash, the next night she’d be on The Hollywood Palace clowning around with Bing Crosby. Or on Ed Sullivan. Glen Campbell’s show. A Bob Hope special. The Smothers Brothers. Tom Jones. Andy Williams. The Carol Burnett Show. Morecambe & Wise. The Grammy Awards. Her own BBC series The Bobbie Gentry Show or her own CBS program The Bobbie Gentry Happiness Hour.
 

 
If you look back at the albums she released at a rapid clip in the years between 1967 and 1971 there are two obvious categories to divide Bobbie Gentry’s music into: the incredible songs she wrote and produced herself, which were catchy, deep, funny, sexy, bluesy, often rockin’ and sometimes even somewhat sinister, versus the songs Capitol Records had her record—the same pop covers as everyone else and duets with Glenn Campbell—to keep pumping out the product. She only really actively recorded for about five years. Throughout the 1970s she was one of the biggest-drawing acts on the Las Vegas strip, but she largely stayed out of the recording studio after 1971’s lost masterpiece concept album Patchwork.
 

The cover of her final album, 1971’s ‘Patchwork’ was an uncredited self-portrait.
 
More Bobbie Gentry after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Realistic sculptures of free-floating body parts, ‘humans’ trapped in formaldehyde & other oddities
02.16.2017
12:57 pm

Topics:
Art
Unorthodox

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‘Migrants OVIS.’ A sculpture by Sara Renzetti and Antonello Serra.
 
The artististic duo of Sara Renzetti and Antonello Serra hail from Sardinia, Italy where they have been creating thought-provoking sculptures of humans that are as bizarre as they are startlingly realistic. 

Though their work is rather disturbing at first glance, there is also a distinct sense of serenity emanating from their sculptures even as they lay in impossible positions or are conjoined in unorthodox ways—as you will see in the duo’s three-part-series entitled Mentalese-ATTO. And since Renzetti and Serra’s work has left me struggling to find words powerful enough to describe their idiosyncratic life-size (or larger) sculptural creations, here are a few words from the artists themselves on what guides their unique creative direction: 

The body shape here understood as a landscape, it opens to the death of the subject by virtue of investigations, alterations, and tumbles, to which the single vision - experience - not corporal, is able to guess at the beginnings and the boundaries. The subject and the object, from which all the challenges. Look and just becomes a form of expediency in relation to what is continually postponed, suspended and expected. We are on the apocalyptic Tiber, intended as a viewing experience, revelation of a dream that is given to dream.

I am endlessly fascinated by craftsmen that are able to elevate their medium to the level that Renzetti and Serra have with their sculpture, which if I were to attempt to describe it would be something like if the fictional vivisectionist Doctor Moreau enacted his monstrous medical procedures on people, instead of mashing them up with animals. That said, pretty much everything you’re about to see in this post in one way or another are very NSFW.
 

 

‘Horror Vacui.’ 
 

‘I am my Son, my Father, my Mother, and I.’
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
An erotic alphabet based on the Kama Sutra (NSFW)
02.16.2017
11:54 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Sex

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In 2012 Penguin published a new “deluxe” edition of the Kama Sutra translated by A. N. D. Haksar. For the cover art Penguin hired a brilliant graphic artist named Malika Favre, who incontestably came up with a marvelous and witty design by inventing an entire sexy alphabet based on the positions in the book.
 

 
If you take the jacket off of the hardcover edition and spread it out, it spells “KAMA SUTRA” in Favre’s alphabet.

There’s a website dedicated to the alphabet in which you can see the entire alphabet ... in motion! On the site you could once purchase lovely prints of individual letters, but it looks like they’re all sold out.
 
A closer look at the individual letters, after the jump…...
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Young kid’s EPIC rant on why ‘We Need Communism!’
02.16.2017
10:24 am

Topics:
Amusing
Politics

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Ladies and gentlemen, meet YouTuber, Dylan AKA “Sceneable.” I have absolutely no idea how old he is, but I’m guessing around eleven or twelve years old. He’s posted numerous videos of himself on YouTube discussing weighty topics such as “God CAN`T be Omnipotent,” “Woman ARE Oppressed WEST AND EAST,” “We Still Need Black History Month,” “Trump`s Muslim Ban” and many, many more. Anyway, today I’m posting his EPIC rant on why he thinks we need communism.

I’m not posting this because I necessarily agree with him (entirely), I’m merely posting it because it’s something to behold! Just look at his political passion! He’s a star in the making! MSNBC producers, are you watching? Bill Maher’s bookers, have you seen this little guy yet?

YouTube commenter Kraig Adams sums up this video nicely:

“When you’re woke AF but still worried your parents might be watching you from the back door window.”

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Grim postcards of executions and dead bodies from the Mexican Revolution 1910-17
02.16.2017
10:23 am

Topics:
Class War
History
Politics

Tags:

00mexpostexecution.jpg
 
The Mexican Revolution began as a middle-class protest against the oppressive dictatorship of the country’s President Porfirio Diaz (1876-1911). In 1910, wealthy landowner Francisco I. Madero (1873-1913) stood against Diaz in the presidential election. The election was rigged by Diaz and his cronies who then attempted to have Madero arrested and imprisoned. Madero escaped to San Antonio, Texas, where he wrote Plan de San Luis (Plan of San Luis de Potosí), a political pamphlet that denounced Diaz explaining why he should no longer be president.

Madero’s Plan was a rallying cry that asked the Mexican people to rise up against Diaz on Sunday, November 20, 1910, at 6:00 pm and overthrow his government. This is how the Mexican Revolution began. What followed was a bloody and ferocious civil war and one of the greatest upheavals of the 20th century. An estimated 1.5 million people died. Two-hundred-thousand were made refugees.

During the revolution (1910-20) hundreds of commercial and amateur photographers documented the events on both sides of the war.

Using glass plate cameras and early cut film cameras, primitive by today’s standards, the photographers faced injury and death to obtain negatives which would be printed on postcard stock and sold to the soldiers and general public on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Some of the views were obviously posed, and others showed the death and destruction resulting from the violence of a nation involved in a bloody civil war.

The following postcards are part of a collection held by the Southern Methodist University archive.
 
010mexpost.jpg
 
06mexpost.jpg
 
More postcards from the Mexican Revolution, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Tim Buckley and Jean Renoir meet Beau Bridges in 1971’s ‘The Christian Licorice Store’
02.16.2017
09:50 am

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Movies

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After The Monkees TV series ended, 33-year-old director James Frawley went to work on his very first motion picture. The Criterion-worthy Christian Licorice Store stars Beau Bridges as floppy hair, bushy-browed, tennis superstar Franklin Cane and follows the ups and downs of his turbulent Hollywood lifestyle. Inspired by the great French New Wave and Italian neorealists of the late 1950s and 1960s, the film sadly never reached an audience and was shelved by Cinema Center Films just after a few screenings in Boston and Greenwich Village in 1971.

Director James Frawley spoke with me over the phone from his retirement home just outside Palm Springs this week and we discussed the rarely seen film that is still near and dear to his heart. “I came to L.A. first as an actor in an improvisational group called The Premise which was Buck Henry, Ted Flicker, George Segal, and Joan Darling. So the introduction to directing was very improvisational one in which we had a great camera, great writers, terrific young guys, and I had two years of apprenticeship directing with The Monkees. So when I went to make The Christian Licorice Store we took a very improvisational approach to it.”

The story follows Beau Bridges success in the professional tennis world: competing for prize money, entertaining the press, and fielding endorsement offers by day. By night he attends superficial Hollywood parties where he meets love interest, photographer and socialite Cynthia Viestrom (played by Swedish actress and future James Bond girl Maud Adams). For the party scenes, Frawley called on favors from several friends to come in and play themselves as party goers. “The party is full of show business celebrities, producers, writers, psychiatrists, and different characters from Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. I pretty much just improvised the scene and then put it together in the editing room. But it really catches the flavor, I think very much of L.A. Everybody kind of agreed to do it, I looked at the list last night and it’s amazing, I mean Mike Medavoy for chrissakes, Howard Hesseman who’s a friend of mine that was in the second party, George Kirgo, Robert Kaufman, a lot of really amazing people. And it was fun, we did it in one night.” Director Monte Hellman of Two-Lane Blacktop and future Barney Miller creator Ted Flicker also make an appearance.

The Christian Licorice Store makes fun of the superficial showbiz side of Hollywood, while also painting a beautiful portrait of the city using incredible locations from William Pereira‘s LACMA and Theme Building, Johnie’s Coffee Shop, and up the Pacific Coast Highway to the scenic views of Soledad Canyon and Morro Rock. To add to the realism, Frawley used urban, guerrilla filmmaking to capture real L.A. pedestrians walking down the street, driving around, and going about their everyday business. “You put a camera out on a street and just shoot some stuff and just intercut it with the scenes just to get the flavor of L.A.” Then there are nighttime scenes in the film that perfectly capture the strange emptiness of the city after dark. “I love their kind of romantic ballet in the cars coming down the hill from the party. It was kind of a very romantic feeling I had about Los Angeles and, being a New Yorker, you know, the light, the romance, the sexuality. I love the architecture, I mean La La Land, the recent movie, is very much like that in terms of its appreciation of L.A.”
 

 
Frawley tells screenwriter Floyd Mutrix’s story using a very unconventional, avant-garde approach. “I’m a film buff and I grew up with European movies. I loved Godard, 400 Blows, Breathless, Fellini, all of the Italian realists. That was my education and my influence because it does have a very European feeling to it.” The director and screenwriter make many bold decisions, such as opening the film with the dramatic ending scene of the film, a gull-winged Mercedes-Benz wiping out in a tunnel alongside the PCH. Frawley accomplished this with a delicate style of filmmaking that does not spoil the entire movie. “I wanted to frame the film in a way so that you had a sense of foreboding that kind of holds over this whole movie. There’s kind of a sadness to the picture too, a sense of things are not going to turn out well here.” In yet another bold move, the opening credits don’t appear until nearly twelve minutes into the picture and are contained in the movie-within-the-movie when the party-goers are summoned to the screening room of the swanky, modern house.

It certainly helps to make a European influenced film in Hollywood when you have the approval and participation of one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Executive producer Michael Laughlin was then married to the French movie star Leslie Caron, who knew Jean Renoir‘s family in France. They asked him if he would agree to make a cameo appearance in The Christian Licorice Store and surprisingly, he said yes… it would end up being the final feature film Renoir was ever involved in before his passing.

“There’s a lot of things I love about the movie, and there are some things that feel awkward because it’s a first film, but the presence of Jean Renoir in the movie is unbelievable. If the movie existed only for Jean Renoir it would be enough for me. A lot of this movie was about people saying yes when we asked them, ‘Would you do this?’ Because a lot of it was favors, and Jean Renoir was a favor, and he’s like Picasso, one of the great men of all time and a great filmmaker. And so we were allowed to be in his house for an afternoon, and again this is totally improvised. As we drove up the hill to his house and drove down afterward, you see those shots, and he talked about film, and he talked about Beau and Maud, and what he did so brilliantly, he talked about how attractive they were to one another in real life. He said, ‘You two could be lovers in real life’ which was wonderful because he acknowledged the fact that we were making a movie.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
‘Sex Pistols Number 1,’ the punk propaganda reel from 1977
02.16.2017
09:36 am

Topics:
Movies
Music
Punk

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Poster by Jamie Reid, via Recordmecca
 
Lordy, lordy, look who’s 40! Before The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle—before The Punk Rock Movie, D.O.A., Rock ‘n’ Roll High School and Rude Boy, for that matter—there was Sex Pistols Number 1, a “show reel” of the Pistols’ TV appearances compiled in 1977.

Julien Temple reused much of this footage in his features about the Sex Pistols, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle and The Filth and the Fury, but this is the movie that opened for the Pistols and the Slits at the Screen on the Green and was projected before the last show at Winterland. Russ Meyer signed on to direct Who Killed Bambi? after seeing it.

IMDB credits Temple and soundman John “Boogie” Tiberi as the film’s directors. In England’s Dreaming, Jon Savage sheds light on what that actually meant, and how Number 1 came to be:

After the EMI sacking, McLaren began to assemble news and performance footage of the Sex Pistols for a possible short film. ‘Malcolm asked me to get hold of these bits of footage from the Anarchy tour to make a show reel,’ says Tiberi. ‘He had this idea to sell the group as a visual act. We were very aware of the group’s potential to get fired from record companies, and TV was a new direction. That’s why I was there, knocking on the door.

Number 1 was all re-filmed. It was very early days in home video technology. The only place we could get the Grundy programme was from a Country and Western promoter whom Sophie [Richmond, Glitterbest secretary] had phoned up to record it. Julien Temple did the refilming, he shot the video image on to film and edited it into chronological order at film school, overnight, and we showed a cutting copy the next night. It was very stirring stuff, propaganda-oriented.’

The brilliance of Number 1 was in replaying the media’s curses with a mocking laugh. The twenty-five minute short tells the story of the scandals from the group’s side, cutting supercilious youth presenters, pompous chat-show guests, mealy-mouthed academics, with simple, stark footage of the group playing and talking. It closes with ‘God Save the Queen’ playing over speeded Pathé footage of Royal Circumstance Past. The final shot pans from the glittering coach to sweepers . . . shovelling horse shit.

Watch it, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
In 1977 Paul McCartney released a cover album of ‘Ram’—and kept his involvement secret for years
02.15.2017
01:17 pm

Topics:
Music

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When it comes to someone of the staggering musical achievements of Paul McCartney, there’s a whole lot to document, and a great deal of it has indeed been exhaustively documented. If you want to know what city Paul and the other members of the Beatles were in on any given date in 1966, you just have to look it up.

And yet, some stories fall through the cracks, escape wider attention. Take for example the full instrumental cover album McCartney released in 1977 under the name Thrillington, the one that was a track-by-track cover of his 1971 album Ram. It wasn’t until 1989 that he admitted in public that he was responsible for the Thrillington album.

Remarkably, the album was recorded in 1971 during the Ram sessions but got shelved when Paul and Linda McCartney turned their attentions to the formation of Wings. Six years later the album was released to modest (very modest) fanfare—but officially, McCartney had nothing to do with it. The only hint that he might have been involved was the painted image of his face in the control room on the album’s back cover art.
 

Paul and Linda McCartney looking dapper
 
The conceit of the Thrillington album was that it was the product of a “fictitious socialite” named Percy “Thrills” Thrillington. Skiffle lover McCartney couldn’t resist reimagining Ram as an album from the 1930s, so he redid the album as something you might find in an Agatha Christie book, complete with Art Deco typeface and a cover image of a swank dude in a tuxedo (and a ram’s head) playing the violin.

As stated, all of the songs lack a lead vocal track, but some of them employed a chorus along the lines of a barbershop quartet or a Swingle Singers-type outfit—the group McCartney used called the Mike Sammes Singers. McCartney was quite familiar with their work, as they had contributed background vocals for “I Am the Walrus” and “Good Night,” the last song on the White Album.

There’s not a thing wrong with this album from a musical standpoint. For instance, “Monkberry Moon Delight” isn’t the only track to feature some truly ass-kicking horn work, and “Dear Boy” sounds uncannily like a Pet Sounds outtake. McCartney was arguably the most gifted producer of pop music of his generation, and this album certainly reflects that.

Wikipedia states that many people had a strong suspicion that this was a weird McCartney lark. There’s a report on the album in a June 1977 issue of Rolling Stone that seems to wink its understanding of the real creator of the music. For instance, the article states that the PR bio “claims” Thrillington to have been born in 1939 and to have studied in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for several years. “Percy Thrillington” is such an obviously invented name that it’s not quite clear whether the author knows that Thrillington is McCartney or just that something hinky is up. The item ends with what might be taken as a knowing reference to McCartney’s image on the back cover.
 

Back cover, Thrillington
 
Obviously a lot of people had their suspicions and then some, but the real story of the Thrillington album is that it mostly ... just got forgotten. In late 1989 journalist Peter Palmiere asked McCartney about it at a press conference in Los Angeles. Paul cried, “What a great question to end the conference! The world needs to know! But seriously, it was me and Linda—and we kept it a secret for a long time but now the world knows! You blew it!”

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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