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Ken Russell: A documentary tribute to his life and work

Ken_Russell
 
There was an interesting letter in that scurrilous rag, the Daily Mail yesterday, printed under the headline, “Let Ken’s movies inspire a new audience”. It was written by Paul Sutton, of Trumpington, Cambridgeshire, who gave a passionate plea for the BBC to stop using edited clips of Ken Russell’s early TV work to liven-up crap shows made by today’s lesser talented directors:

These Ken Russell films aren’t entertainment fit only for ‘found footage’. They’re films, works of very real cinema in which every frame,pictorial composition, cut and music cue has been thought through with a craftsman’s hand and an artist’s mind and eye. They constitute a body of work which stands with the best of any director working anywhere in the world between 1959 and 1970.

Mr. Sutton went on to explains how both Lindsay Anderson, in If…, and Stanley Kubrick, in A Clockwork Orange, lifted from Russell’s TV work, and concludes:

Every one of Ken Russell’s 35 BBC films displays the master’s art. We should be boasting about them and using them to inspire the next Lindsay Anderson, the next Stanley Kubrick and the next Ken Russell.

I for one, certainly do hope the BBC listen up and release all of Ken Russell’s TV films for all of us to enjoy, very soon.

Most recently, the Beeb made this fine documentary Ken Russell: A Bit of a Devil , and while it doesn’t cover all of the great, genius director’s work (no Savage Messiah, no Crimes of Passion, no Salome’s Last Dance) it does manage to show why Ken Russell was England’s greatest film director of the last 50 years, and one of the world’s most important film directors of the twentieth century.

Presneted by Alan Yentob, this documentary tribute includes interviews with Glenda Jackson, Terry Gilliam, Twiggy, Melvyn Bragg, Amanda Donohoe, Robert Powell and Roger Daltrey.

Read Paul Sutton’s blog on Ken Russell, Lindsay Anderson and Stanley Kubrick here.
 

 
With thanks to Unkle Ken Russell
 
More on L’enfant terrible Msr. Russell, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
FDR: American Badass! (plus ‘Werewolf Hitler’)
01.19.2012
01:10 pm

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Movies

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Jesse Merlin
FDR: American Badass


 
Taking its cues equally from Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and the campy 60s Batman TV series, the upcoming FDR: American Badass! stars Barry Bostwick as Franklin Delano Roosevelt who “rides a ‘wheelchair of death’ to stop the world from werewolves who carry the polio virus.”

Dangerous Minds pal Jesse Merlin (who I mentioned in the post about Sherman Hemsley and Gong recently) plays Werewolf Hitler!

I do hope he doesn’t get typecast…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Hackgate: News International pays out to 37 victims

hackgate_news_of_the_world
 
The announcement that Rupert Murdoch’s News International has agreed to pay-out to 37 victims of the News of the World phone hacking scandal (Hackgate) should come as no surprise. It only confirms what has been suspected all along - that Murdoch’s papers were up to no good.

The 37 who will receive payments include: the actor, Jude Law who will receive $201,000 (£130,000); Labour politician Lord Prescott $62,000 (£40,000): and former actress and designer Sadie Frost $77,000 (£50,000). The full total of settlements are likely to land the publisher with a bill around $2m. Small potatoes to Murdoch, yes, but the inference is damning.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Today’s allegation that senior management at News Group Newspapers (NGN), the subsidiary of News International that published the News of the World, took part in an orchestrated cover-up by “deliberately deceiving investigators and destroying evidence” is certain to bring criminal prosecutions against journalists and management. Moreover, the fact that NI lawyers did not contest this claim tells us everything.

Full details of pay-outs can be found here.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Boy God’: Freaky Filipino kids flick, 1983
01.19.2012
12:23 pm

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Movies

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Boy God


 
A immortal little boy with superpowers battles witches, werewolves, vampires and a cyclops to free his parents from the limbo where they are doing penance for their sins in Boy God (also known as Stone Boy and Roco, Ang Batang Bato), an utterly insane Filipino children’s film from 1983.

Here’s a synopsis from Films from the Far Reaches:

The convoluted, yet linear story begins as baby Rocco (played by local child star, Nino Muhlach) is born the same night that his parents are viciously gunned down (exactly by whom is never made clear… to me, anyway). Fast forward eleven years and Rocco is being raised by his grandmother. She warns him not to display his newly found powers (which includes superhuman strength and the ability to croutch down like a ball and roll violently into things) and weakness (he loses his powers when exposed to water). Turns out easier said than done however because the evil scientist, Dr. Meagele has been conducting experiments on the locals, transforming them into either vampires or werewolves. After defending his home against one said lycanthrope, word spreads about Rocco, the Stone Boy. He is lured by a trio of witches who after weaking him by dousing him with water, tie him to a spit and prepare to dine on him like a Roast Pig (this is by far the most disturbing image in the movie). As the witches turn into wolfies, the heat from the fire that our hapless hero is basting on restores his strength. Fighting them off (as well as huge vampire bat that attempts to carry him off) Rocco seeks refuge in a cave. There he bumps into Vulcan, an elderly immortal who tells Rocco of his legacy; that he is himself, half immortal (on his father’s side) and must travel to the land of the little people to free his parents souls which are in limbo. Allying himself with said little ones and recieving help from a suspiciously Darna-like woman warrior, Rocco is off to the rescue, battling a Cyclops and various other nasties in his quest to free his parents’ souls.

You can download the entire movie at the My Duck is Dead cult film blog.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Ghetto Man ‘roasts’ the super heroes, 1979


 
Legends Of The Super Heroes was the name given to two Hanna-Barbera-produced live action TV specials from the late 1970s. Batman’s Adam West and Burt Ward once again donned their capes and cowls (which fit a bit tighter by that time) for these atrocities which were about on the same level as Donny & Marie and featured a laugh track.

In the second special, “The Roast,” Ed McMahon served as the master of ceremonies while various lame insults are leveled at the chuckling, good-natured Super Friends.

In this clip, uh… “Ghetto Man,” an inner-city super hero tries to bring the funny and fails miserably.
 

Ghetto Man Roasts SuperheroesUCBcomedy.com
Watch more comedy videos from the twisted minds of the UCB Theatre at UCBcomedy.com
Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Bono and ‘The Hypocrisy of the Filthy Rich’


Bono ‘Twat’ t-shirt by publicgriefjunkie

I really dislike Bono. Not for the usual reasons - he’s not cool, he’s not sexy, he’s not funny, etc - no, it’s none of those. Well, it’s a little of those…  No, this excellent article from today’s Independent newspaper by James Bloodworth, should go some way towards explaining why I, and a fairly large chunk of the population of Ireland, hate this guy:

Another type among the super-rich, however – some would say the dominant type – is the wealthy individual who very publically gives generously with one hand while ruthlessly seeking to minimise what they pay in tax with the other. The moralising hypocrite, you might call this lot.

Perhaps the most well-known figure in this mould is Bono, the lead singer of U2. As well as being the frontman of one of the world’s biggest rock bands, Bono fancies himself as something of an anti-poverty activist, and can often be heard urging people to give generously to a number of causes. Bono has even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times for his charity work.

In 2006, however, on the back of the massive Live 8 concert the year before – which U2 played a large part in organising and which was supposed to “make poverty history” – Bono’s band moved part of their tax liability from Ireland to the Netherlands. The move came after Ireland scrapped tax breaks that allowed musicians and artists to avoid paying taxes on royalties. When asked about the decision, U2’s lead guitarist David Evans, aka “The Edge”, said that of course the band were trying to be tax-efficient, because “who doesn’t want to be tax-efficient?”

The answer, at a guess, would be those who spend a great deal of time moralising about the world’s poor. Away from the self-congratulatory press conferences where Bono smugly demanded we send our money to the dispossessed, U2 were simultaneously cutting the feet from under their own government’s ability to help the world’s most desperate people– the same people Bono was proclaiming such grave concern for.

This makes for a great read - it’s not all about Bono, mind you, some of it’s about Princess Di - and you can read it all here.

Thanks to Helén Thomas!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
U Pay Your Tax 2’

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Union of Opposites: Aleister Crowley meets performance art


 
Dangerous Minds pal artist/filmmaker/musician Brian Butler will be premiering an ambitious live performance art piece this Saturday, January 21 in Los Angeles at the Ruskin Theatre in Santa Monica. His muse, Annakim Violette (daughter of rockstar Tom Petty) will be at the center of this black magic occult ritual.

From the press release:

Union of Opposites is an experiment in ritual magick, combining the use of sound and light with the intent of creating a collective out-of-body experience. A film screening will transform into a live performance in which the artist and his team execute an occult rite inspired by Aleister Crowley’s mysterious Ritual of the Mark of the Beast. In this incantation, Butler explores ideas of reversal and the use of geometric figures as channels of occult power. The work will feature a spontaneously improvised soundtrack that experiments with the effects of sound frequencies and rhythmic chanting on our chakras and mental state.

Butler’s interest in expanded cinema will fold the performance space into the work. He views the film, performance and musical accompaniment as a singular entity, where the performers will “expand from two dimensional screen to three dimensional existence” as themes of astral projection and projective geometry interplay with the auditory and visual stimuli.

Butler—who has communed and consulted with occultists and magicians from Europe to South America—explains that “magick is an art unto itself. In a sense, is the art of living in a creative and free way.” Influenced by the work of British arch-occultist Aleister Crowley, Butler believes that magick is conducive to and “complements” all manner of creativity, helping practitioners access different parts of the mind as well as spiritual realms. Butler explains: “The occult is defined as the hidden levels of the mind or the hidden information about how things work…A really intense performance is like hypnosis. You go to a certain state of mind and your presence brings those around you to the same place.”

A part of Art Los Angeles Contemporary, in the Ruskin Theatre at the Santa Monica Airport, 3000 Airport Ave, 5pm. Produced in conjunction with Annie Wharton Los Angeles.

Below, Butler’s 42-second film “Night of Pan” from the OneDreamRush collective show, featuring Kenneth Anger, Vincent Gallo and Twiggy Ramirez.
 

 
Thank you Susan von Seggern!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘You’re a Creep, Charlie Brown!’
01.19.2012
09:21 am

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Tags:
Radiohead
Peanuts
Charlie Brown
Creep


 
Good grief, Charlie Brown! Could your life get any bleaker? Once you hear Vega Choir’s cover of “Creep” set to visuals of Charlie Brown’s oh so very tragic life, you’ll see just just how bleak it can get. :’( 
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Vera Brosgol: ‘What were you raised by wolves?’

vera_brosgol_wolves_1
 
She may be only starting out, but Vera Brosgol is one of the most talented comic artists around. Her first graphic novel Anya’s Ghost kicked ass, and last month she made available the whole of her brilliant What were you raised by wolves? on-line. This is a fantastic story of a girl who….well, you’ll find out, and can be read here.

Born in Moscow, Vera moved to the United States when she was 5. She currently works at Laika Inc. in Portland, Oregon drawing storyboards for feature animation. For more information on the divinely talented Ms Bee (and on how to get started as graphic artist) here. And look here for her books and for prints.
 
vera_brosgol_wolves_2
 
With thanks to Steve Duffy
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Dream homes of alleged drug lords
01.19.2012
12:03 am

Topics:
Current Events
Drugs
Environment

Tags:
Drugs
Meth
El Narco


 
Today’s issue of The New York Times has a fascinating article on the interior design sensibilities of alleged Mexican drug lords.

Drugs, like oil, can produce piles of cash in a hurry. And in several Mexican cities, there are massive homes with domes that have an Arabian flourish. The desert mansion of Amado Carrillo Fuentes — a drug lord famous for transporting cocaine in jumbo jets, and for dying after botched plastic surgery in 1997 — has even been called the Palace of 1,001 Nights, after the book of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories that included Aladdin.

Conspicuous consumption, fueled by meth and coke profits and a strip club aesthetic, results in an El Narco world upholstered in fine Corinthian leather, animal prints, gaudy swaths of velveteen and automobiles in aspic.

What happens when the deal goes wrong and money can’t buy you out of some serious bad karma? These photos tell the tale. Graveyards of the Dope Gods.
 
 
 

 
More photos after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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