Katy Perry really should record this.
Via Planet Paul
Alien vs. Predator skateboard deck from Skate Mental.
September 9, 1971 saw the population of Attica State prison in western New York state rise up and seize the facility, taking 33 staff hostage. Attica was infamous at the time for both being stuffed at twice its capacity, and for the inhumane living conditions of its majority-black and Puerto Rican community. Prison officials allotted one bar of soap and roll of toilet paper per month and a bucket of water per week as a shower. Inmate mail was regularly censored, visits were highly restricted, and prisoner beatings happened constantly. Responding to news of the imminent torture of one of their fellows who’d assaulted a prison officer, a group of prisoners freed their brother and rose up after guards denied yard-time to the full population.
After four days of negotiation, Governor Nelson Rockefeller—who refused the prisoners’ requests to come to the prison and hear their grievances—blessed Correctional Services Commissioner Russell G. Oswald’s order to retake Attica by force. This resulted in the death of nine hostages and 28 inmates in an episode that shocked the conscience of a nation wearied by war, assassination and urban unrest. It also saw the birth of modern prison reform.
The episode is chronicled in four feature film adaptations—and famously referenced in Dog Day Afternoon)—alongside numerous documentaries, the best being Cinda Firstone Fox’s recently preserved 1973 piece. That one isn’t up on YouTube, but here’s a short doc from the great grassroots media hub Deep Dish TV.
After the jump: Muhammad Ali recites and John & Yoko sing out on Attica…
Today is the 39th anniversary of the start of the Attica prison riots. In this clip from the documentary William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, attorney Kunstler is called in to negotiate on behalf of the prisoners. The film was directed by Kunstler’s daughters, Emily and Sarah.
You can watch the entire film at the Point Of View website, click here. It will be streaming until midnight Pacific Time on September 21, 2010.
From the press release on William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe:
The man who had marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., and who had defended the Chicago 8 anti-war protesters, Native American activists at Wounded Knee and prisoners caught up in the Attica prison rebellion was now seen kissing the cheek of a Mafia client and defending an Islamic fundamentalist charged with assassinating a rabbi, terrorists accused of bombing the World Trade Center and a teenager charged in a near-fatal gang rape. The sisters remember the shock of disenchantment they felt. Disturbing the Universe is Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler’s attempt to reconcile the heroic movement lawyer from the past with the father they knew.
“I’m not a lawyer for hire. I only defend those I love.” William Kunstler.
Wonderful 1967 promotional film for Traffic’s acid rock classic, “Hole In My Shoe,” which reached #2 in the UK singles chart that year. Apparently Traffic leader Steve Winwood always hated this song.
In 1984, actor Nigel Planer, in character as “Neil the Hippie” from The Young Ones television program, also reached #2 with his humorous cover version.
This is rather brilliant! YouTube user bd594 describes his inspiration below:
This is dedicated to all fans of The B-52’s who are also known as the “Worlds Greatest Party Band”. This idea has been simmering in my mind for the last couple of years and after many months of procrastinating it is finally complete. I was also motivated to finish my robot band after seeing a YouTube Video from “The Trons” from New Zealand.
The Bit-52’s consist of:
Fred’s Vocals - TI99/4a computer, speech synthesizer and terminal emulator ii module
Kate and Cindy’s Vocals - Two HP Scanjet 3C scanners, UBunto and sjetplay written by NuGanjaTron
The Guitar, Keyboard, Cow Bell, Cymbal and Tambourine are all controlled by various types of push/pull solenoinds for a total of 23. The Solenoids are powered by four ULN2803 darlington drivers and everything is controlled by two PIC16F84A microcontrollers
(via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk)
During the decade of the 1980s, I saw Lydia Lunch perform maybe 15+ times and I caught some pretty seminal performances of hers, including the premiere of Fingered, the gleefully violent porn film she made with Richard Kern and South of Your Border, the two-person play she did with Emilio Cuberio that ended in a blood-covered, naked Lydia trussed up on a giant “X” onstage pissing all over him! To truly appreciate the aggressively confrontational nature of her performances, you had to be in or near the front row. Like Eric Bogosian or my late friend Brother Theodore, it was fucking scary and intimidating to be anywhere near the stage for one of her performances, but I always figured why not get all of the Artaudian benefits from having someone scream in your face for an hour? If anyone can deliver on the the cathartic promise of Theatre of Cruelty, it’s Lydia Lunch.
Audiences leave her shows limp. What do you say in the cab going home about a show that unexpectedly ends in blood-stained golden showers? (Incidentally, she drank an entire six-pack during the play’s penultimate scene. What she unleashed on Cuberio was not a trickle, okay?)
Lydia Lunch’s The Gun Is Loaded video, long out of print, is now available online as a video rental. I actually saw this show twice when she did this material at the Performance Garage space in New York (and yes, I was in the front row both times). Here’s how the filmmakers describe the project:
THE GUN IS LOADED is a 37-minute performance video featuring former punk rocker, political satirist and sexual provocateur Lydia Lunch.
This video trails Lydia in 1988 through a series of staged sets and location shots in New York City as she fires her spoken word manifesto directly into the eye of the camera, and in haunting voice-over. Underscoring Lydia’s onslaught is cinema verité footage of bottom-rung Americana: racecar crowds, dead-end streets and meat packing plants effectively illustrate her ruthless examination of “the American dream machine turned mean.” J.G. Thirlwell’s ominous score magnifies this brutal desolation.
Identifying herself as “the average, all-American girl-next-store gone bad,” Lydia vivsects her own sustained damage as a product of this emotionally ravaging environment.
Co-director Joe Tripician wrote to me on Facebook:
This was partially shot at the Performance Garage, but without an audience. Lydia asked me and my former partner Merrill Aldighieri to record her show, but we wanted to expand the production from its theatrical base and exhibit her in an outside environment. So, this video is also a document of the ‘80s NYC street life—from the 14th Street Meat market to Wall Street. We called it a “video super-realization” of her spoken word performance.
In the video she fires her venom directly into the camera lens, and in an intimate voice-over. J. G. Thirlwell supplied the original music score - a one-of-a-kind aural onslaught.
It was released on VHS in the late 80s, but has never aired on TV. The one response we received was from PBS, who called the video in their rejection letter “exceptionally unacceptable.”
They were probably right about that! You can rent The Gun is Loaded here.