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T-shirt honors NYC mayor’s boneheaded ‘Stop-and-Frisk’ tabloid headline


 
On Friday, June 28, 2013, Michael Bloomberg, then serving out the last few months of twelve loooong years as mayor of New York City, made one of those comments on his weekly radio show that politicians sometimes make when circumstances have forced their hand on a policy position that is neither tenable nor reversible. For some years stop-and-frisk had outraged citizens over baldly racist N.Y. Police Dept. practices of detaining minority citizens, policies that yielded superficial improvements in crime statistics as well as a great deal of busywork for police officers. Rather than own up to the inherent disgrace in treating minorities as criminals, Bloomberg reached for one of those counterintuitive defenses politicians sometimes favor when they’re about to dismiss the rights of a great number of people.

Bloomberg said, “We disproportionately stop whites too much. And minorities too little.”

The next day, in the curious “headline-ese” of the N.Y. Daily News, that sentiment ran as follows: 
 

We stop
TOO
many
WHITES

 
Democratic candidate for mayor Bill de Blasio, then still in a primary hunt, blasted that statement, and some observers have credited that specific moment of distancing himself from the excesses of the Bloomberg administration with his later electoral victories. Four months later, Bill de Blasio, famously married to an African-American woman and the father of two biracial (and highly entertaining) children, was elected mayor of New York, a choice that was widely seen as a rebuke to Bloomberg’s handling of the NYPD. The era of stop-and-frisk was over—at least so went the hope. We all know that such policies have a way of being tenacious. (De Blasio has had considerable success in reducing the policy.)
 

 
Suffice to say that while the rest of the country might find all of this rather picayune, a certain subset of liberal New Yorkers remembers those months fondly. De Blasio became the first staunchly “liberal” mayor of the city since unfortunate David Dinkins, the only African-American mayor the city has ever had, who had the misfortune to preside at the absolute pinnacle of the crack epidemic and a major recession. His perceived failures ushered in Rudy Giuliani, who, suffice to say, looked a whole lot better at the time. In any case, Bloomberg’s comment, the headline, it all is a product of one of those charged moments that maybe only New Yorkers care about (even if they do become noticed by the nation at large): Bernie Goetz, Lizzie Grubman, Sully Sullenberger, Dr. Jonathan Zizmor, Robin Byrd….

Enter Ashok “Dapwell” Kondabolu, of the currently defunct and oddly timely NYC alt-hip hop outfit Das Racist. He’s designed a T-shirt with the Daily News cover. You can get a T-shirt for $20 and a sweatshirt for $40. As Dapwell says on the site, “Remember this guy? Remember when he said this shitty thing? ... Commemorate New York City’s gone but (sadly) not forgotten Mayor Mike with one of these high quality, screen-printed, and 100% ultra cotton sweatshirts and t-shirts featuring the ACTUAL June 29, 2013 cover of the Daily News.”

Rush as fast as you can to get one, because there ain’t many left—indeed, it may be too late. Dapwell says that there is “VERY LIMITED QUANTITY”—no kidding, just yesterday he said on Twitter that there’s just one sweatshirt left and “a dozen” shirts.
 

 
via Animal

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll
10.21.2014
06:52 am

Topics:
Music
Occult

Tags:
Peter Berbergal


 
Author Peter Bebergal’s new book, Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll examines a wide swath of subcultural history to explore the marriage between mysticism and music in the rock era. Covered in-depth are David Bowie, Killing Joke, King Crimson, Arthur Brown, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. And of course Aleister Crowley and underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger loom large over the proceedings. I asked the author a few questions over email.

What’s the book’s overarching thesis in a nutshell? How did the occult save rock and roll?

The essential spirit behind rock and roll, especially in the early days, is rebellion. It was a social, sexual, political, and even an artistic agitation. The book’s main claim is that at the root of this is a spiritual rebellion. Even rock’s physicality—driven by sex—was condemned as sinful, a temptation by the devil to lure kids into deviant behavior. Fears of rock were also driven by racism as the rhythms and energy of rock were—rightly—seen as coming from African American music, but was believed to be barbaric, tribal, and wickedly pagan. For musicians and fans to push forward was a deliberate, albeit often unconscious, middle-finger to mainstream ideas about what was godly. The Beat Generation, who a decade or so earlier were using art as a form of personal and social revolt, had already paved a path laden with drugs, Eastern mysticism, and occult imagery. It made perfect sense that when artists, and by extension the culture of rock, were seeking a spiritual identity to give weight to their music and meaning to their own lives, they would turn towards alternative spiritual practices.

Furthermore, there is something deeply human that what we call occult practices have given expression to. I would call this a desire for ecstasis, for having an unmediated experience with the divine. Magic and religion were once inseparable, but even when these practices were outlawed, people continued to find ways to have their own personal agency in regards to their spiritual lives. But I think we would prefer to do this in the context of community, as had once been done. This drive will always find a way to manifest, and rock and roll provided a most potent vehicle to reignite the echo of the earliest forms of worship; theater, dance, performance, shouting, drumming, and even intoxication and the shadow of madness, of being possessed by the gods.

All of these elements come together in what I define in the book as the “occult imagination,” which includes not only the way musicians and fans together created a mystique and mystery around the music, but the negative responses often found in the media and the mainstream religious communities. At the crossroads of all these things is where a potent spell has been cast over popular culture. The occult is the spiritual salvation of rock and roll, and I believe if you were to pull out this thread, popular music would sound and look very different.
 

 
How pivotal was the role Kenneth Anger played in all this? When I was a kid reading about his misadventures with the Rolling Stones and Jimmy Page, he seemed like such a far-out, fascinating and glamorous character to me. My own lifelong interest in Aleister Crowley probably starts there.

Kenneth Anger’s arrival into the midst of rock and roll culture couldn’t have been better timed. Here were young musicians like Jimmy Page and Mick Jagger, at the top of their game and feeling on top of the world, finding themselves often characterized in the media as dangerous, as bringers of chaos by way of their music and their colorful lives on and off stage. Here comes this controversial filmmaker, this “glamorous character” exactly as you say, talking about magic and how art can be a form of ritual. Anger was also older by almost twenty years, so anything he said about Crowley or the occult must have been heard as dark wisdom. Page loved this stuff, but I don’t think he ever actually practiced magic in any serious way, if at all, but Anger was the real deal. And he wasn’t a hermit. He didn’t require you to give up your fame and fortune to be initiated. In fact, for Anger, the fame and fortune were part of magic’s appeal and had the ability to transform culture through art. Jagger liked the Baudelaireian dandyism of Anger, and imagined himself the same. For Page and Jagger, Anger elevated fanciful ideas of the occult into something that could be perceived as serious and real. And their association with him, despite the various falling outs they each had with the filmmaker, only fueled the public’s speculations about Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones being occult devotees or even Satanists. Even though Anger was in no way a Satanist, it was during this time that the conflating of occultism and devil worship was becoming solidified. It was only deepened when Jagger would swagger like a prideful Lucifer when singing “Sympathy for the Devil.” In the end, Anger is a shadow figure that is responsible for giving both the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, two of the most influential rock bands of all time, an aura of magic and mystery that would shape so much of rock’s identity and the way the media and public responded to them. In this sense, Anger’s magic was successful.
 

 
Which rockers do you find really consider themselves as occultists working in the rock idiom—occultist first, musician second—versus some who it’s all an act for them. Coil, for instance, seemed equally about the spell-casting and the music.

Coil certainly fit this definition, as well as Psychic TV, who for a time created a kind of virtual magical lodge via Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth. I think for a time Jinx Dawson saw her band Coven as being a vehicle for her occult practice, and later the band Tool integrated their own beliefs about magic into their music. But for some, while they saw their music has having potential to work magic, they still saw themselves first and foremost as musicians. Arthur Brown, best known for his song “Fire” believed a rock concert could function as a shamanic rite. He used every element of the performance, from his makeup to the staging to the way he moved, as an attempt to channel and then release what he believed was magical energy. Others would later copy his stage antics, but had no occult intentions at all, such as Alice Cooper and KISS (although they would of course be accused of being in league with infernal forces). I also think David Bowie for time believed he was working a kind of magic, but again, it was the music and the performance where it was wholly realized.
 

 
What’s the weirdest thing you uncovered when researching the book?

I was quite surprised to learn that the members of Killing Joke, following the lead of their singer Jaz Coleman, went to Iceland to await what Coleman believed was a coming apocalypse. I also learned that after Arthur Brown had disbanded his first band the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, he had a mescaline vision in which he was visited by an angel in armor, holding aloft a sword. Brown interpreted this as any real rock musician should: God was telling him to start another band. But I think the weirdest thing was how so much of rock’s association with the occult started by a simple problem of translation. In the 1840s, a young African named Samuel Ajayi Crowther from a Yoruba who had converted to Christianity wanted to start a mission back in his homeland, so he set out translating the bible into Yoruban. Of course not every word had a corresponding one in the other language, and so when he came to the issue of what to call the devil, he chose the name of his people’s trickster god, the closest the Yorubans had to a god that could not be trusted, that might tempt you. This god’s name was Eshu, and by the time the deity travelled with other converted Yorubans back to the American South, the god of the crossroads became Satan.

Below, Cerith Wyn Evans video for Psychic TV’s “Unclean”:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The year Dizzy Gillespie ran for president—spoiler alert, he didn’t win
10.21.2014
06:09 am

Topics:
Music
Politics

Tags:
Lyndon Johnson
Dizzy Gillepsie


 
In 1964 the “fate of the free world,” ahem, came down to a contest between two men, Democratic President Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Republican challenger, Barry Goldwater, U.S. Senator from Arizona. History tells us that the contest was decided in favor of Johnson, but the whimsically inclined can entertain another outcome in a parallel universe—John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie as U.S. President.

In that heady year the notion of Dizzy for President was a little bit of a thing in the culture, as the famous trumpeter, by then synonymous with bebop itself, announced his intention to become chief executive of the land. Dizzy even announced that his running mate would be Phyllis Diller.
 

 
As Barry McRae wrote in Dizzy Gillespie: His Life and Times:
 

Goldwater was a conservative who had voted against the civil-rights bill and exploited the ‘redneck’ backlash or favouring the “freedom not to associate.” At a Republican meeting he declared that “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

That such a man could be considered for the presidency worried Gillespie enormously, and when jazz writer Ralph Gleason suggested that Dizzy himself had better credentials for the job, he began to take the idea seriously. Gleason began to use his jazz column to promote his possible candidate. He pointed out Gillespie’s skill with people of all nationalities and the success of the State Department tours. Jon Hendricks put presidential words to Salt Peanuts and Dizzy himself thoroughly enjoyed the whole operation. …

He postulated a change of colour for the White House, suggest Bo Diddley as secretary of state and told doubters that he was running for president because “We need one.”

 
Gillespie promised that if he were elected, the White House would be renamed “The Blues House.” He proposed the following provocative positions: Duke Ellington (Secretary of State), Miles Davis (Director of the CIA), Max Roach (Secretary of Defense), Malcolm X (Attorney General—“because he’s one cat we definitely want to have on our side”), Charles Mingus (Secretary of Peace—“because he’ll take a piece of your head faster than anyone I know”), Ray Charles (Librarian of Congress), Louis Armstrong (Secretary of Agriculture), Mary Lou Williams (Ambassador to the Vatican), Thelonious Monk (Traveling Ambassador). The campaign buttons that Gillespie’s booking agency had produced some years earlier “for publicity, as a gag” were now enlisted in the effort; proceeds from them would benefit the Congress of Racial Equality, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Martin Luther King Jr. He advocated U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, promised free education and health care, and pledged to put an African-American astronaut on the moon (if none could be found, Gillespie volunteered to go himself).
 

 
In 1963 Gillespie released Dizzy for President, which included as its final track “Vote Dizzy,” for which singer Jon Hendricks supplied new political lyrics to Gillespie’s trademark tune “Salt Peanuts” as follows:
 

Your politics ought to be a groovier thing
Vote Dizzy! Vote Dizzy!
So get a good president who’s willing to swing
Vote Dizzy! Vote Dizzy!

 

 
via Lawyers, Guns & Money

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
King Tut—would the ladies love him?
10.20.2014
02:44 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
History
Music

Tags:
King Tutankhamun
King Tut


 
Steve Martin cashed in on the Tutankhamun mania with his 1978 novelty hit “King Tut,” which reached #17 on the U.S. charts and poked fun at the pop culture phenomenon the boy pharaoh had become after the massive Treasures of Tutankhamun traveling exhibit that toured the United States at that time. Martin told us that the “ladies love his style,” but would King Tut in fact be considered so dreamy today? Science suggests no, he’d have been something of an Uncle Fester-like loser, at least if his physical appearance by 21st-century standards is any indication.

BBC One undertook a “virtual autopsy” of the legendary pharaoh in preparation for a documentary called Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered, and the results were a surprise for anyone who can recall “Tut Fever.” The process required the use of over 2,000 computer scans as well as a genetic analysis of his parents, who were, ahem, brother and sister.
 

 
If you were dating him, you would have gotten a man who controlled everything in the Egyptian empire in roughly the year 1330 BC, but you would also have had to put up with buck teeth, a club foot, and a generally saggy build. Wide hips, manboobs, a tendency to wear diapers and frequent use of a cane aren’t the kind of traits you ordinarily see men bragging about on OKCupid, but I’m going to surmise that some guys probably brag that they “rule.” With this goofball, though, he’s not bragging.

All of this new “information” about Tut is just speculation, of course, but it’s fun to think about. King Tut’s allure a couple of generations back was just as much based on guesswork, mainly stemming from the breathtaking mask of Tutankhamun’s mummy, who cut a dashing figure indeed, equally seXXXy in 1330 B.C. and A.D. 1977.

The next thing you’ll tell me, King Tut wasn’t even born in Arizona.
 

 
via Gawker

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Beatboxing classic album covers come to life
10.20.2014
02:03 pm

Topics:
Animation
Music

Tags:
album covers


 
Israeli artist and director Vania Heymann started creating videos when he was a student at Bezalal Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. He has been praised by the likes of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and atheist author Sam Harris. His latest video (made with his frequent collaborator Israeli musician Roy Kafri who provides the beatboxing with his song “Mayokero”) has a series of classic albums covers from bands like The Smiths, ABBA, David Bowie and Prince move their “mouths” and sing along.
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Big dude gets a moth AND a tick buried in his ear
10.20.2014
11:06 am

Topics:
Animals

Tags:
tick
moth
ears


 
Oh dear god, I watched this video TWICE (not because I wanted to) but to make sure I heard correctly that he also had a damned tick in his ear! Which he does!

In the video you see a large man on the floor and nearly in a fetal position because a moth had flown into his ear canal. The constant buzzing and flapping of its wings was driving the poor guy insane. Instead of taking the guy to the hospital, his friends—all of whom are in a bar (oh gods)—Googled that shit to figure out how to extract it. Aaannnnd… the rest of it is up to you to watch. You’ll wince and want to wear earplugs for the rest of your life after watching this.

Trust.

When I was in Mexico City a few years ago I had a similar experience with mosquitoes. One flew into my ear while I slept and buzzed for about five hours. I never did get that fucker out. I think he just died in there. I can relate to what the guy with the moth in his ear was going through. It truly makes you feel like you are losing your mind.
 

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Saturn Drive’: When Alan Vega met Ministry, 1983
10.20.2014
11:03 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Alan Vega
Ministry
Al Jourgensen


 
Saturn Strip, Suicide frontman Alan Vega’s third solo album and his first for a major label (Elektra), kicks off with the single “Saturn Drive,” a six-minute hybrid of early Ministry synth and sequencer sounds and Vega’s futuristic rockabilly. Co-written by Vega and Alain Jourgensen, the single was recorded with the whole With Sympathy team: Jourgensen plays keyboards, his original Ministry partner Stephen George drums, and Ian Taylor and (former Psychedelic Fur) Vince Ely are credited with producing the song’s basic tracks. Vega’s staunch supporter Ric Ocasek, who produced Saturn Strip (as well as the second, third and fourth Suicide albums), also appears on the song playing guitar and keyboards.
 

 
Vega’s lyrics to this time-traveling sci-fi epic aren’t easy to find online, so I’ve transcribed them for you from my tear-stained copy of Cripple Nation:

Wild stormy Monday
A gray rain came
Touchin’ Infinity’s prison
The creature made a war
Take the plane to Saturn
Celebrate their comin’
Lord knows Mr. Cheyenne
It’s a crucified photo
Of the wrong century

High price soldiers
Knockin’ down Eternity
Soda city delusions
Snake knows for sure
Winning by confusion
It’s a losin’ game
Saturn’s rings of reason
So’s a lonely street
Profits by the billions
Got the mornin’ line

Momma’s future children
Buy a bad machine
The computer knows nothin’
It’s feelin’ sympathy
What price glory
It’s too much infinity
Take the plane to Saturn
Follow the Indian
Lookin’ for that comet
Feel that fantasy
Huh oh yea fantasy
Yea

The creature’s nothin’
Just a stain on a wall
Death Row gets a window
Here comes Eternity
A million candelabras
Ya gotta have a scheme
Dr. Doom got a lash
It’s a time machine
That comet got religion
Yesterday
Snake eyes
Layin’ on the shore
It’s a losin’ game
It’s lonely streets
I got that mornin’ line
Yea what price glory
There’s too much infinity
Take the plane to Saturn
Lord knows Mr. Cheyenne
It’s a crucified photo
Of the wrong century
Yea, it’s the wrong one
The wrong one

I had really hoped Jourgensen’s memoir would shed some light on how this collaboration came to be, but I found no mention of Vega. Maybe Al will reveal all in one of the upcoming sequels?

I realize the fruits of this collaboration might not be to everyone’s tastes. But look at it this way: if Vega and Jourgensen hadn’t worked together on “Saturn Drive,” Vega never would have delivered this completely insane performance of the song on Spanish TV, which must be seen to be believed.
 

 
Click here for Vega and Marc Hurtado’s 2010 remake of the song, “Saturn Drive Duplex.”

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Insane Salvador Dalí haircut & other follicle follies


Salvador Dalí
 
San Antonio-based artist and hair stylist Roberto Perez AKA Rob The Original creates these pretty nutty haircuts with the scalp as a blank canvas and a photo of the subject to work off of for reference.

A lot of Rob’s subjects crafted on heads are of pop stars, sports stars and reality TV dum-dums (none of which I care about). I did, however, find of few of his works I really dig like Salvador Dalí, Bruce Lee, Cesar Chavez and a few others. I’d imagine the two dudes who got the Cheech & Chong hairdos would always have to stand together though, because it would be rather confusing to onlookers if they were separated with just a Tommy Chong on the one head. Where’s Cheech, dammit?!

I would also like to see these haircuts after two weeks of hair regrowth. Do they all turn into the Wolfman? I mean Tupac as the Wolfman would be kinda of hilarious and inexplicable to sport on yer head, no? You’d still have a lot of explaining to do. 


Bruce Lee
 

Cesar Chavez
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Bukowski’s last stand: Hank’s final poetry reading from 1980
10.20.2014
09:04 am

Topics:
Literature

Tags:
Charles Bukowski
poetry

bukcarsung11.jpg
 
Good and original poets spawn bad and imitative poetry.

Look at all the verbiage spewed out by those green and dappled flecked imitators after Dylan Thomas had one too many on a New York afternoon; or all the poems about PMT, swollen ankles and the indifference of men that came forth after Sylvia Plath’s sad demise; or the short men who swaggered after Charles Bukowski died, juggling six-pack and pen, writing long anaemic poetry about drinking, fighting and love. Yes, good poetry does often inspire bad poets.

It doesn’t always appear after death, sometimes it rubs shoulders with the living poet in hope of capturing some of their spark. I recall when the cool got hip to Bukowski and he appeared in Andy Warhol’s Interview talking with actor Sean Penn, that everyone including Penn was writing long three word a line poems about nothing much in particular, but this how it is if you’re a poet and you know sensitive and you gotta live that kinda life on the edge kinda thing blah-de-blah-de-blah. Suddenly it was hard to find a magazine that didn’t have some sub-Bukowskian ode in it, that looked like the stuff from high school poetry clubs and always made me think of G.K. Chesterton’s line that:

To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.

Bukowski did not give many readings during his lifetime. Biographers have claimed he hated giving readings, but did it for the two hundred or three hundred dollars to keep him in booze, smokes and a wager on the horses. But this all changed in the 1980s, when money started coming in via checks and royalties for books and film options and Bukowski no longer needed that extra couple of hundred to tide him over. Bukowski gave his last poetry reading at the Sweetwater music club in Redondo Beach, California on March 31, 1980, almost a decade and a half before he died in 1994. The whole reading was (thankfully) filmed by Jon Monday, who left the performance unedited as he believed the sections between Bukowski reading his poems gave some insight into the man and his temperament. It certainly does, as Oliver Hardy would say, and shows why the original poet will always be better than the imitators.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Think Pink: Angelyne, the billboard queen of Los Angeles
10.20.2014
07:34 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Angelyne
Robinson Devor


 
All over Los Angeles in the mid-1990s were high-hoisted billboards in tribute to a pneumatic blonde named “Angelyne,” who peered over sunglasses to her admirers below. This was when I first visited the city in fall of 1994 and found that no matter where I traveled there was always a giant monument to Angelyne, the billboard queen—or as I thought of her, Our Lady of Los Angeles. When I asked who and what and why? no one knew much other than to say in that kinda laid back Angeleno way, “Oh, that’s Angelyne—she’s famous for being famous,” as if this somehow explained everything.

Famous for being famous?

I suppose it did in some kind of a way make sense and captured something of the hope people have for the great American dream, where anything or everything is supposedly possible. And in an unconsidered way, she seemed an appropriate metaphor for LA and Hollywood. For many years Angelyne’s billboards were LA landmarks, even earning her a cameo (via one of them) in the opening to the 80s TV series Moonlighting with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.
 
ang2billelynebrdla.jpg
 
Angelyne is an actress and a model and a singer and an artist and… she even ran for governor of California in 2003, where she polled 2,536 votes. She still sometimes appears in movies and exhibits her childlike portraits in galleries across LA, but no one really seems to know any more about her than they did back in 1994, or even 1984 when those giant pink “Angelyne” billboards first blossomed over Sunset. (For instance WHO was footing the bill for these billboards?)

In 1995, a young filmmaker named Robinson Devor made a short film about Angelyne. Devor is a highly talented, genuinely brilliant maverick filmmaker whose work includes the movie The Woman Chaser and the disturbing award-winning hybrid documentary Zoo about the death of a man after intercourse with a horse. But long before all this (and sadly many other unrealized projects), Devor shot a grainy B&W documentary on Angelyne, which looks almost like a taster tape for a longer doc—but still its five minute + running time probably says all that needs to be said about Our Lady of LA, Angelyne.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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