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Too soon: Urban Outfitters selling ‘Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt’ complete with blood splatter
09.15.2014
07:33 am

Topics:
Fashion
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Ohio
Urban Outfitters
Kent State


 
“Four dead in O-HI-O. Four dead in O-HI-O.”

Companies love to stir up a lil’ controversy. If you’re old enough, you’ll recall Calvin Klein’s “heroin chic” campaign as well as another late 90s campaign that was widely decried as “porn.” Well it’s one thing to flirt with such imagery, it’s quite another to jump off into the deep end into something so stupid that it turns people off to your brand, like Urban Outfitters has with their totally obnoxious “Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt”:

Kareb Farkas writes at The Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Urban Outfitters is facing a public backlash after offering for sale a “Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt” with red blotches that could be interpreted as blood stains.

Twitter lit up as people blasted the company for its insensitivity for selling an item citing a university nationally known as the site of the May 4, 1970 deaths of four students by the Ohio National Guard during Vietnam War protests.

“We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit” the university said in a statement Monday. “This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”

The tragedy at Kent State was a national disgrace, inspiring Crosby Stills Nash and Young’s “Ohio” as well as DEVO, whose Jerry Casale was an actual witness to the event. Casale told the Vermont Review in 2010:

Vermont Review: Going back to your early days. You were present at the Kent State shootings in 1970. How did that day affect you?

Jerry Casale: Whatever I would say would probably not at all touch upon the significance or gravity of the situation at this point of time—it would probably sound trite or glib. All I can tell you is that it completely and utterly changed my life. I was a white hippie boy and then I saw exit wounds from M1 rifles out of the backs of two people I knew. Two of the four people who were killed, Jeffrey Miller and Allison Krause, were my friends. We were all running our asses off from these motherfuckers. It was total, utter bullshit. Live ammunition and gasmasks - none of us knew, none of us could have imagined… They shot into a crowd that was running away from them! I stopped being a hippie and I started to develop the idea of devolution. I got real, real pissed off.

VR: Does Neil young’s “Ohio” strike close to your heart?

JC: Of course. It was strange that the first person that we met, as Devo emerged, was Neil Young. He asked us to be in his movie, The Human Highway. It was so strange - San Francisco in 1977. Talk about life being karmic, small and cyclical - it’s absolutely true. In fact I just got a call from a person organizing a 30th Anniversary commemoration. Noam Chomsky will be there and I may go talk there if I can get away. I still remember it so crystal clear, like a dream you will never forget . . . or a nightmare. I still remember every moment. It kind of went in slow motion like a car accident.

VR: You said that the Kent State shooting sort of served as a catalyst for your theory of Devolution, which spawned Devo—

JC: Absolutely. Until then I was a hippie. I thought that the world is essentially good. If people were evil, there was justice… and that the law mattered. All of those silly naïve things. I saw the depths of the horrors and lies and the evil. The paper that evening, the Akron Beacon Journal, said that students were running around armed and that officers had been hurt. So deputy sheriffs went out and deputized citizens. They drove around with shotguns and there was martial law for ten days. 7 PM curfew. It was open season on the students. We lived in fear. Helicopters surrounding the city with hourly rotating runs out to the West Side and back downtown. All first amendment rights are suspended at the instant the governor gives the order. All of the class-action suits by the parents of the slain students were all dismissed out of court, because once the governor announced martial law, they had no right to assemble.

And now it’s an ironic tee-shirt for dipshit hipsters! Urban Outfitter’s “Helter Skelter” fashion line inspired by the Manson Family murders are on hold for now, apparently. They may want to rethink those “beheaded journalist” and “Jerry Sandusky Telethon” tees, too.
 

 
via Daily Kos

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Black Belles’ Olivia Jean did an Al Jolson song, and it’s big, garagey fun: A DM exclusive premiere
09.15.2014
06:38 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Jack White
Third Man
Black Belles
Olivia Jean


 
Since the Black Belles’ gained prominence on Jack White’s Third Man label a few years ago, singer/guitarist Olivia Jean has distinguished herself not just as that band’s front-person, but as a side player for the likes of White’s now ex-wife, model/singer Karen Elson, the great rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson, and Mr. White himself. (Age test: did “Mr. White” make you think of Reservoir Dogs or Breaking Bad?)
 

 
Given that Jean’s shown skill with pretty much every rock instrument, a solo album was probably inevitable. Produced by Jack White (also inevitable), it’s called Bathtub Love Killings. As it’s on Third Man, there will of course be a limited colored vinyl edition on top of the usual LP/CD/digital release. The first single is “Reminisce,” and DM is pleased to be debuting it for you today. Like any given Black Belles song, it owes a lot to garage rock and ‘60s girl groups, but to my surprise, it’s a good bit less dark in its tone than the work the Belles are known for. Judge for yourself below.

The non-LP b-side is a marvelous cover of “Toot Toot Tootsie,” a song made famous by Al Jolson (though an earlier version was recorded by Eddie Cantor) in the groundbreaking 1927 film Jazz Singer. The first ever feature film with synchronized sound dialogue and music, it basically killed off the silent film era. Before we all take to the comments, yes, I’m aware that Jolson was best known as a blackface performer, and that this is now recognized by reasonable people as racist and offensive. Accordingly, I’m sharing a Jazz Singer clip wherein Jolson sports his natural Jewface.
 

 
Here are those Olivia Jean tracks for your consideration. Both songs, by the way, are downloadable, via the graces of ScionAV. Bathtub Love Killings is due for release on October 14.
 

 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
If everyone wore this mask, Big Brother’s facial recognition software won’t work


 
As with so much else, William Gibson got there before just about everyone else. In his 1984 novel Neuromancer, which despite its deservedly huge rep probably still doesn’t get name-checked as often as it should, Gibson foresaw the utility of citizen camouflage, the political necessity to stay anonymous, to hide in plain sight. Here are a couple of quotations from Neuromancer:
 

The Panther Modern leader, who introduced himself as Lupus Yonderboy, wore a polycarbon suit with a recording feature that allowed him to replay backgrounds at will. Perched on the edge of Case’s worktable like some sort of state of the art gargoyle, he regarded Case and Armitage with hooded eyes.

-snip-

The precis began with a long hold on a color still that Case at first assumed was a collage of some kind, a boy’s face snipped from another image and glued to a photograph of a paint-scrawled wall. Dark eyes, epicanthic folds obviously the result of surgery, an angry dusting of acne across pale narrow cheeks. The Hosaka released the freeze; the boy moved, flowing with the sinister grace of a mime pretending to be a jungle predator. His body was nearly invisible, an abstract pattern approximating the scribbled brickwork sliding smoothly across his tight one piece. Mimetic polycarbon.

 
Those things were written thirty years ago. It’s now 2014, and we’ve all seen Facebook find the faces in our pictures with alarming alacrity.

Leo Selvaggio wants to do something about it, and he wants to use the logic of crowdsourcing to do it. Using 3D printing technology, Selvaggio has developed a simple, hard resin mask based on his own face, and he would like as many people as possible to use it in public settings, to confound the cameras that are always watching us and tracking our movements. It’s called the URME Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetic. The mask is an abstraction, but a highly effective one. If you saw someone with this face on the street, you wouldn’t stop to take notice—which is part of the point. It faithfully reproduces Selvaggio’s own pasty skin tone and understated stubble in a way that blends in. The mask costs $200 but you can also procure a paper version if that is too pricey for you. The whole idea is radical enough that some countries have anti-mask laws.
 

 
You aren’t the only who benefits when you wear an URME mask in public—you’re also helping Leo himself hide. “What is actually happening is that you’re creating disinformation,” he says. “What happens when there’s a hundred Leos walking in public spaces, all from different parts of the country? What is an automated system going to say about me then?” But it doesn’t—can’t—stop with Leo’s face. Responding to a questioner who volunteered to be his “black face” on the video for his Indiegogo project (see below), which was successfully funded, Leo wrote back, “Actually the next phase of the project involves asking others to donate their faces so that there is a variety of prosthetics and masks available.”

Selvaggio hails from Chicago, which he asserts is “the most surveilled city” in the U.S.—it’s home to Operational Virtual Field, a system of 24,000 cameras all networked into a single hub that enables users—the police—to find a specific individual and then bring up any other relevant records in the system. The ACLU has called Operation Virtual Field, “a pervasive and unregulated threat to our privacy,” even as Richard M. Daley, Chicago’s last mayor, gleefully predicted that by 2016, there will be a camera on “almost every block.”

As always, it’s virtually impossible to navigate the Scylla of the right to privacy and autonomy and the Charybdis of public safety. Will the URME mask enable bank robbers and bombers of the Boston Marathon type to do their business? Will the teenagers who tagged your local high school use it to perpetrate their harmless mayhem? Very likely, yes. We’re all worried about that. But the flip side is, do we let the authorities monitor our every movement at all times? Do we do so without weighing in on the process?
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Adorable/creepy child converts his dead rat into into an adorable/creepy ‘ratcopter’
09.12.2014
03:09 pm

Topics:
Animals
Science/Tech

Tags:
rats


 
We all mourn the loss of a loved one in our own time and in our own way, but rarely does the death of a pet inspire such… aerial commemorations. After his pet rat, Ratjetoe was diagnosed with cancer and put to sleep, 13-year-old Pepijn Bruins was absolutely devastated. Then he remembered a tribute that he thought might befit his varmit friend. In 2012, an artist named Bart Jansen collaborated with radio control helicopter flyer Arjen Beltman to turn Jansen’s taxidermied cat Orville into an Orvillecopter.

Pepijn consulted his father and reached out to the duo, who were more than happy to oblige, with Beltman saying, “when I heard how upset he was, I just knew I had to help.” The technical difference between a lightweight ratcopter and a more wind-resistant catcopter proved a challenge of design, but with dedication and innovation, Ratjetoe was reborn and now soars like a glorious bird, a fitting memorial for a dear departed friend. Check out the Ratjetoe copter below, and try not to think of the terror a flying rat could inspire in an unsuspecting passer-by.
 

 
Via artnet

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Just say BO-NO: Mark Hosler of Negativland on Apple’s ‘U2rusion’
09.12.2014
01:44 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
Apple
Negativland
U2
Mark Hosler


 
A guest editorial from Mark Hosler of Negativland on Apple’s ‘U2rusion’

1) Of course it’s very entertaining and amusing to me to see the backlash that U2 is getting for doing this.

2) I actually like some of U2s music, and always have. Yet have no interest in paying to hear what they are up to now ( I think I’ve paid them enough! About $45,000, to be exact. That is how much their lawsuit against Negativland cost us), so getting it for free sounded fine to me.

3) The way they are “forcing” it on the users of Apple products is actually a very curious thing! Certainly *someone* was going to do this sooner or later, at least as an experiment, so I am not surprised. That a band this large is giving away its music to pretty much everyone who will want it and many who won’t (regardless of what Apple paid them to do so, which is a separate issue) is also curious as a “business” model. For Apple, perhaps it’s the largest “loss leader” in history. And curious that something that is digitally free is made to look like the test pressing of a real world vinyl LP. How many folks out there even know what a test pressing is or looks like?

4)  Given the endless ways we all often willingly grant these corporations and our government access into to our lives by how we use and sign up for these fucking devices and apps, I am unclear as to why so may folks are so shocked and angry about this. We all get SPAM and we delete it, so… .. is this any different? Maybe it is. Or maybe not.  I am still pondering that one.

5) I use iTunes as a music player and a way to store a bit of the music I listen to, but I have never signed up for their service and never purchased anything from their store. So…guess what?  When I opened iTunes and looked for the dreaded U2 intrusion ( a U2rusion) into my iTunes app, there was nothing there. So this felt to me more like I had unwittingly opted out of being on iTunes mailing list, whereas all of you have signed up for it have opted in.  (BTW, my understanding is that what gets dropped in to your player is a playlist of U2’s new album, but not files. You still have to click something in to download the files.  A nuance, possibly, but one that is being missed in all the hoo ha).

6) Regardless of what anyone thinks, I’ll be curious if the overall outcome is seen as good or bad, plus or minus, by Apple and U2. WIll Apple do this again as a way to push product, or will it seem like such a bad press headache resulting from such arrogant tone deafness that they never do it again?
 

 
Below, Mark Hosler discusses Negativland’s adventure with U2 and their lawyers:

 
Mark Hosler and Negativland were famously sued by U2 and their record company. The upcoming Negativland album, the two CD set It’s All in Your Head, comes packaged in a Holy Bible, with a limited edition Koran also available. (Reviewed here)

Here’s “Right Might” from the new album:

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘All Women Have Periods’: Incredibly strange instructional video from 1979
09.12.2014
12:23 pm

Topics:
Movies
Sex

Tags:
menstruation


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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Garden: A tour of cult filmmaker Derek Jarman’s home, a living work of art
09.12.2014
11:38 am

Topics:
Art
Environment

Tags:
Derek Jarman

01derjargar.jpg
 
In his latter years, the film-maker, artist, diarist and writer Derek Jarman bought a small cottage on the shingle beach at Dungeness, in south-east England. It was a place of respite, a studio where he could write and paint, and a setting in which he created a beautiful garden amid the harsh, sea-lashed landscape.

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

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

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

Jarman described the cottage in his collected journals Modern Nature:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Beatles get wild on untamed (and unreleased) outtake of ‘She’s a Woman,’ 1964
09.12.2014
11:14 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Beatles

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
DRUGS: Trippy photos from a ‘unique’ volume of the ‘LIFE Science Library,’ 1969
09.12.2014
11:13 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Design
Drugs

Tags:
Drugs
LIFE


The cover of Life Science Library: Drugs

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

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


 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
There’s some doo-wop goin’ on:  Listen to Sly Stone’s racially integrated high school vocal group
09.12.2014
10:55 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Sly Stone
doo-wop


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

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

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

 

 
More early Sly after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
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