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Kiss your free movies and music goodbye: Is the era of digital piracy over?
07:20 am

Current Events

digital piracy

If you’ve been illegally downloading movies, music, software, e-books, pr0n or anything else from the Internet’s various file sharing cyber-locker services like Megaupload or Filesonic—and you know who you are—then I hope you got your fill, because you can pretty kiss those days goodbye.

After the arrest in New Zealand last week of German-born Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (AKA Kim Schmitz), several—most—of the file-sharing businesses are opting to close suddenly or greatly modifying their business models. Although Anonymous rallied to defend Kim Dotcom (who’s more than just a bit of a freak) taking down the websites of CBS, Universal Music, the U.S. Department of Justice,,, the U.S. Copyright Office), Hadopi (France’s copyright-enforcement agency), Warner Music Group, BMI and the FBI, over the weekend many—most—of the companies who provide server space for much of the world’s digital piracy have suddenly ceased doing business or are restricting their domains from US visitors. Less cautious companies have merely dropped money-making affiliate programs that encourage top pirates and leave them more open to prosecution:

From Oh No They Didn’t:

What are they closing these programs?

Most filesharing hosts have legalspeak in their Terms of Service that make users/uploaders responsible for all uploaded content, instead of the host itself. The monetary incentives offered to uploaders from affiliate schemes could potentially give them massive legal problems.

Due to the Megaupload case (as well as Hotfile & Rapidshare) it has been shown that these Terms of Service loopholes are not considered valid by the USA / FBI. What the authorities dislike more than rights infringement, is people earning money from rights infringement.

Megaupload is said to have had more than 1 billion visitors, more than 150 million users and 50 million daily visitors. The service was said to account for 4% of Internet traffic alone and Kim Dotcom is apparently worth half a billion dollars.  If they can take down a guy twice as rich as Mitt Romney, they can take down anybody.

SOPA and PIPA might have been DOA, but it’s no surprise whatsoever that the Obama administration has opted to pay its debt to Hollywood by going after the file-sharing services. Of course it was just a matter of time, and that time is now, I suppose. It was inevitable. What IS surprising is that it was allowed to flourish this long!

It will certainly be interesting to see where this goes next.

Thank you Mr. Steven Daly of New York City, New York!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Steven Tyler’s ‘Bizarre Spangled Banner’
01:03 am


Steven Tyler
National Anthem'

Had I seen this as a young impressionable kid, I would have opted to be a jock instead of a rock and roller.

The agonized expressions on the faces of the Patriots and Ravens seem like the prelude to an ass-kicking. Fortunately, for those among us who find this silly fellow some kind of legend and wish him no ill, Tyler got out alive. The rest of us will have to wait for next year when Tyler attempts to sing “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba at a football game in Liverpool.  

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Ramones on Manhattan public access TV 1978
10:21 pm


The Ramones
Efrom Allen
Underground TV

Joey and Dee Dee Ramone appear with their artistic director Arturo Vega and longtime buddy Michael Mckenzie on Efrom Allen’s Underground TV program in 1978.

This is classic Manhattan public access; chaotic, anarchic and fun. I used to call this cocaine TV because I was generally zooted to the gills when I was watching it. This show is particularly good. Instead of the usual assholes that would call in to insult the artists that were being interviewed, the callers on this night seem genuinely curious about The Ramones and the scene revolving around CBGB. This was a time when something very fresh and unpredictable was happening in the downtown clubs and the bands and their audiences were all discovering it together. Even the cynics were starting to pay attention.

Along with Robin Byrd and Al Goldstein, Efrom Allen was one of the pioneers of NYC cable TV talk shows. With its mix of porn stars, punk rockers and nightlife impresarios, Underground TV was always reliably weird entertainment on those nights when you just wanted to stay home and get fucked up.

Enjoy the roots of Youtube.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Sez Les’: What John Cleese did after ‘Monty Python’

If John Cleese hadn’t gone into Monty Python, then he would “have stuck to his original plan to graduate and become a chartered accountant, perhaps a barrister lawyer, and gotten a nice house in the suburbs, with a nice wife and kids, and gotten a country club membership, and then I would have killed myself.”

Ah well, the best laid plans of mice and men. Sensibly, Cleese opted for plan B, and all the success that entailed. It was therefore a surprise when Cleese quit Python in 1973, after its third TV series, and joined up as a supporting player to stand-up comic called Les Dawson, in his comedy sketch show, Sez Les.

Dawson and Cleese could not have been more dissimilar - Dawson short and plump, Cleese tall and skinny. Dawson was working class and self-educated, who had worked a long apprenticeship of stand-up in the working men’s clubs in the north of England, while maintaining his day-job as a Hoover salesman. Cleese was middle class, university educated and was upper-middle management, white collar material.

Dawson had originally wanted to be a writer, inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, he had hitched the highway to Paris, where he found work as a pianist in a brothel. Unable to find a publisher for his poetry, Dawson returned homewards, and inspired by his experiences as a pianist, tried his hand as a comic. Though he made his name with mother-in-law jokes, Dawson was a clever and verbally dextrous comedian, who dismantled jokes, only to recreate them in a funnier form. Cleese described Dawson as “An autodidact, a very smart guy who was fascinated by words.”

After a winning run on the talent show Opportunity Knocks, Dawson earned his first TV series, Sez Les (1969-1976), and fast became one of Britain’s best loved comics. In 1974, Cleese joined Dawson on the series, and the pairing (like a hybrid Peter Cook and Dudley Moore) proved highly successful. Both men had great respect for each other, and more importantly had a genuine affection which came over in their performances together.

Cleese eventually left to make Fawlty Towers, but for 2 series of Sez Les in 1974, Dawson and Cleese were top drawer comedy entertainment.

More from Dawson and Cleese, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Wolfgang Riechmann’s ‘Wunderbar’ in a video mega-mix
01:40 pm

Pop Culture

Wolfgang Riechmann

Here’s something from the Dangerous Minds’ archives that was originally posted on March 4, 2011.

Wolfgang Riechmann was part of the German electronic scene of the 1970s centered in and around Düsseldorf . He started composing music in the 60’s in a group called Spirits of Sound with Wolfgang Flur who later became a founding member of Kraftwerk.

Riechmann released only one album, the brilliant Wunderbar, just one month before he was tragically stabbed to death in a random act of violence.

In Wunderbar, which was released from Sky Records in 1978, the influences of the so-called Berlin school (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze etc.) and the so-called Düsseldorf School (NEU!, Kraftwerk, La Düsseldorf) can be recognised. The main elements of his compositions are simple sequencer and drum patterns, filtered through Riechmann’s personal harmonies and simple (even simplistic) but mature melodies. The music in Wunderbar has been described as ‘‘modern, electronic pop, in a league with Kraftwerk and NEU!.”

The following video consists of all six tracks of Wunderbar.

1. Wunderbar (5:40)
2. Abendlicht (4:21)
3. Weltweit (7:00)
4. Silberland (7:41)
5. Himmelblau (8:38)
6. Traumzeit (1:11)

The video is a collage of vintage European erotica that contains some nudity that most viewers will find more campy than sexy. But I think it works nicely with Reichmann’s music.

Previously on DM: Brad Laner on Wolfgang Riechmann

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
What’s wrong with British cinema: ‘Kevin Curtis is a Dead Man’ explains NSFW

A spoof trailer explaining in a nutshell what’s wrong with British independent cinema. NSFW.

Via Scheme Comix

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Francis Bacon’s women

On occasion, Francis Bacon settled outstanding restaurant or bar bills with one of his paintings. It didn’t always satisfy the creditor, as a certain London restaurateur, not taken with the Irishman’s work, sold each painting on as quickly as he received them. What then would this dear gentleman make of the news that a single portrait by Bacon is expected to reach £18m at auction?

Described as “seductive and sexually charged,” the painting shows one of Bacon’s famous muses, Henrietta Moraes, slightly tipsy, lying naked on a rumpled, stained bed, in some Soho apartment. The image was based on one of a series of photographs Bacon commissioned from Vogue snapper, Colony Room habituee and chronic alcoholic, John Deakin, who ensured he took enough photos to hock around as under-the-counter porn at ten bob a print.

Though he lived an exclusively gay lifestyle, women were central to Bacon: they were his muses, who loved, nurtured, inspired and developed his talents. Indeed, Bacon surrounded himself with strong women, almost replacements to the mother who had been callously indifferent to her son’s brutal beatings, when caught as a child dressing-up in her clothes, and flirting with the stable boys.

In moments of fancy, I think Bacon had the hawk-like look of Joan Hickson’s Miss Marple, especially when all glammed-up for a night on the piss. I can imagine him solving an Agatha Christie, or board game mystery—Professor Plum, in the library, with a candle-stick - for there was the shadow of country house and prim maiden aunt (doling out make-up tips to younger girls, and at night reading Mrs Beeton recipes in bed), at the heart of him.

These grim childhood beatings opened Francis up to the delights of S&M—he fucked all the grooms who had horse-whipped him, and fantasized about his father (whose purple face screams form so many Popes, or glowers from under blackened umbrellas)—and a long life of violent relationships with his lovers. 

Even so, it was the women who shaped him.
“Portrait of Henrietta Moraes” (1963)
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Notes towards a portrait of Francis Bacon

More on Francis Bacon’s women, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Shady Love’: Sick new Scissor Sisters/Azealia Banks team-up
02:05 pm


Azealia Banks
Scissor Sisters

I’m an unabashed Scissor Sisters fan. I fucking love them. Like Gorillaz, Spice Girls, Pet Shop Boys, Human League, ABBA and the Bee-Gees before them, the Sisters are practitioners of a polished brand of pure pop perfection that makes it nearly impossible not to give into their music and sing along. The Scissor Sisters write pop hooks like nobody’s business. Their production is flawless, the musicianship as good as it gets. The put out albums with no filler. They’re here, they’re queer—well, some of them are, anyway—so why can’t they score a proper breakthrough in the US despite being massive superstars the rest of the world over?

And it’s not that they’re “too gay for America”—that doesn’t mean shit anymore. Why haven’t they had a hit record here? It boggles the mind. You’d figure that there’s about an 85% overlap between their fans and Lady Gaga’s in the rest of the globe. Just not in America. I can’t figure it out. Even the biggest grouch could find something to like in their bag of tricks. They’re the best pop band in the world right now and they get no respect at home.

Maybe things will change with the release of their latest single “Shady Love,” a sick collaboration with hot property Azealia Banks (performing under the pseudonym “Krystal Pepsy”). She really keeps Jake Shears on his game here. Sublime!

I’ve been playing this like crazy for the last week. “Shady Love” could be the first monster song of 2012. It’s about time for the Scissor Sisters to have a hit in America. They deserve it. The country deserves them!

Awesome “Shady Love” video directed by Hiro Murai.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Cat Soup’ with David Cross
11:54 am


David Cross

Comedian David Cross makes light of the Internet’s obsession with… cats. NSFW.

(via BuzzFeed)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Andy Warhol’s ‘Kiss’
11:28 am


Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol’s Kiss is probably the artist’s earliest film work that was screened in public. Harkening back to the time when Hayes Office censors would not allow lips to touch and linger for more than three seconds in Hollywood films, with Kiss, Warhol decided to shoot male/female, female/female and male/male snogs that went on for three minutes. The concept was likely also influenced by a 1929 Greta Garbo film called The Kiss which apparently was screened at Amos Vogel’s influential Cinema 16 experimental film society right around the time that Warhol bought his first Bolex film camera.

The Kiss films were started in 1963 and shown in installments during weekly underground film screenings organized by Jonas Mekas. Eventually a 55-minute long version of Kiss was assembled. Among the participants were Ed Sanders of The Fugs, actor Rufus Collins from the Living Theatre, sculptor Marisol, artist Robert Indiana, as well as several of the outcasts and doomed beauties who would come to comprise the Factory’s “superstars.” The woman who you see kissing several guys, is Naomi Levine, who probably also came up with the concept (many of the kisses were also shot in her apartment). Andy Warhol referred to Levine as “my first female superstar.”

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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