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Dennis ‘Stalking Cat’ Avner, body modification ‘tiger,’ dead at 54
11.13.2012
02:46 pm

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R.I.P.

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Dennis Avner AKA “Stalking Cat” (his Native American name), passed away on November 5. He was 54.

Via Flayrah:

A former US Navy sonar technician, and programmer, Stalking Cat was famous for having had extensive cosmetic surgery to adopt the likeness of his totem animal, the tiger, in accordance with Huron traditions. His body modifications included a split lip, transdermal whisker-holding implants, dental surgery, and silicone injections. He was also extensively tattooed.

It is believed Avner took his own life.

Dennis ‘Stalking Cat’ Avner (1958 - 2012)

Via Arbroath

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It
11.13.2012
01:56 pm

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Books
Economy
Thinkers

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With the holiday shopping season about to shift into high gear (I’m sure I’m not the only one who heard Christmas carols prior to Halloween… what’s that all about anyways?) here’s an early tip for that thoughtful, philosophical type on your list, the newest book by our esteemed, super-smart pal Charles Hugh Smith, Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It:

Things are falling apart—that is obvious. But why are they falling apart? The reasons are complex and global. Our economy and society have structural problems that cannot be solved by adding debt to debt. We are becoming poorer, not just from financial over-reach, but from fundamental forces that are not easy to identify or understand. We will cover the five core reasons why things are falling apart:

1. Debt and financialization
2. Crony capitalism and the elimination of accountability
3. Diminishing returns
4. Centralization
5. Technological, financial and demographic changes in our economy

Complex systems weakened by diminishing returns collapse under their own weight and are replaced by systems that are simpler, faster and affordable. If we cling to the old ways, our system will disintegrate. If we want sustainable prosperity rather than collapse, we must embrace a new model that is Decentralized, Adaptive, Transparent and Accountable (DATA).

We are not powerless. Not accepting responsibility and being powerless are two sides of the same coin: once we accept responsibility, we become powerful.

This week only there is a 20% discount on the Kindle edition: $7.95 (normal retail $9.95). There is also a print edition of Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It.

Read daily essays from Charles Hugh Smith at his Of Two Minds blog.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Conspiracy theory’s final frontier: Iran’s Ahmadinejad and ‘The Fonz’?
11.13.2012
11:38 am

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Kooks
Occult

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No offense to any actors out there – as it happens, I’ve always found you to be a perfectly charmin’ bunch of narcissists – but I can’t imagine a more frightening conspiracy theory than one that posits that they secretly rule the world, which is exactly what Ed Chiarini, aka DallasGoldBug, suggests in his hilarious, bizarre and entirely entertaining “research.” 

It can often seem as if conspiracy theory secretly aspires to transform everything into cinema. Apollo 11 – which many conspiracy theorists would like to see added to Stanley Kubrick’s Wikipedia filmography – is an obvious example, as are the array of special effects that populate 9/11 conspiracy theories, ranging from holograms to exploding buildings.

July’s Aurora shootings faced plenty of this sort of speculation. Here, after all, was a massacre that occurred in a cinema during a Batman screening, executed by a Joker copycat. A few days later, Batman himself (well, Christian Bale) would swing by the hospital. For the victims and perpetrator alike the line between cinema and reality was already smudged, and many conspiracy theorists have since asserted that the entire event was a kind of meta-hoax, with some even suggesting that the following impromptu press conference with an Aurora emergency doctor is a cameo by Tom Cruise! 
 

 
Personally, I can’t see it (a pity – I love the idea), but whatever your reaction to the above – “fuck off!” or “fuck me!” – plenty apparently experience the opposite, while the idea that public life is riddled with doubles, doppelgangers, actors and clones currently finds itself in a kind of conspiratorial vogue.     

Which brings us to Ed Chiarini. Many contemporary conspiratorial “researchers” have their own gimmick nowadays, and Chiarini’s is a selection of “biometric” techniques including voice recognition, handwriting analysis and ear comparison, that he uses to argue that numerous figures in the public eye, from politicians to famous felons, are actually played by actors who frequently reappear in other high profile roles.

We’ll get to some of these shortly. They’re pretty fucking out there. Chiarini’s three-hour, three-part magnum opus, The Truth EXPOSED , however, begins quite reasonably, gently taking the open-minded viewer by the hand, and leading them to the edge of the deep end before hurling itself in and attempting to pull them down with it.

After a cursory explanation of ear biometrics (the ears never lie, got it?) the documentary begins by arguing that various US “reality” television characters – none of whom I’d ever heard of – were played by actors who also appeared in other reality shows. It then moves on to the news, arguing that the actors from the “reality” shows also crop up as witnesses and protagonists in current affairs, alongside other recurrent performers. Chiarini supplements the amateur biometrics with other examples of apparent staging in the news, with particular events – like 9/11 and the Occupy protests – ostensibly swarming with plants and choreographed coverage.

At this point, my politely suspended doubt was meandering further and further afield, and I was quite comfortably ensconced in Chiarini’s world of luridly fraudulent news…

All of a sudden, though, it was back, and hammering madly on the window. Out of the blue, Chiarini seemed to be arguing that JonBenét Ramsey grew up to be Lady Gaga, and that Lady Gaga “was” (the supposition here is that they’re all played by an actor) none other than Amy Winehouse! As a Brit, this rather offended my pop music patriotism, but maybe, if he’d left it at that, Chiarini could have reeled me in a little further. As it was, the revelations were coming in so thick and fast you didn’t even have the chance to finish laughing at the last one.

Here, off the top of my head, are some of the best…

Matt Stone and Trey Parker “are” Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold

Barack Obama “is” Osama Bin Laden.

Karl Rove “is” Mark Chapman.

David Ike “is” Richard Branson.

And my own and any other reasonable person’s personal fave….

Henry Winkler – aka the Fonz – “is” Iran’s President Ahmadinejad…

Which prompts the perfectly reasonable supposition that Ed Chiarini “is” taking the piss.

For many fellow travelers in the conspiracy racket – at first extremely hospitable to Chiarini and his biometric party pack – the above claims and the many others like them stretched even their extremely flexible credulity to breaking point. Chiarini didn’t do himself any favors with this target audience by treating many of their heroes to a DallasGoldBug mash-up, suggesting that…

JFK “is” Jimmy Carter

Bill Hicks “is” Alex Jones

and

William Cooper “is” Jordon Maxwell (I can actually see where he’s coming from here).

The predictable result of these was that Chiarini was accused of being a shill sent by the secret government to make conspiracy theorists look like a pack of dickheads. In other words, they accused him of being an actor! Excluding a small hardcore of followers who’d probably believe him if he said Jon Bon Jovi was Albert Einstein, the sense was that Chiarini had gone rogue, madly folding his folded world while hollering “sue me” at anyone who objected to reading that they weren’t real.

Personally – and I’m quite possibly on my own here – regardless of whether he’s a nut-job, a spy, or a prophet in the wilderness, I find something oddly sublime in Chiarini’s claims, and the concept they throw up of an entirely artificial world in which the heroes and villains that constitute history, from Churchill (Lionel Barrymore) to Hitler (Kermit Roosevelt – who also played Walt Disney), are theatrical inventions seducing us from precipice to precipice in a daze of bogus love and loathing.

My imagination enjoys itself in Chiarini’s parallel universe, too. Take, for example, the aesthetic logic in Obama “being” Osama. What I love about this one is how experimental the latter’s assassination becomes – one character cannibalizing the other to enhance their essence, while their real consanguinity is hidden in plain sight by the near – and extraordinarily improbable – correspondence of their names. This showbiz Illuminati, it would appear, are not immune to a touch of l’art pour l’art.

There are, also, times when Chiarini’s parallel universe impinges upon this one. His commentary (see below) over that famous flick known as The Lonesome Death of Lee Harvey Oswald (starring Jim Reeves as Oswald and David Rockefeller as Jack Ruby) is a case in point, and leaves it looking – well, for a glorious moment or two – laughably, transcendentally phoney…
 

 
Thanks to Mark Reeve at ORB Editions

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
So apparently cross-dressing Mexican wrestlers is a thing
11.13.2012
07:38 am

Topics:
Queer
Race
Sports

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Pimpinela Escarlata, “The Scarlet Pimpernel”
 
There are some things that enrich our lives so much upon learning of them, we wonder how we ever functioned without knowledge of their existence: Cross-dressing luchadors is one of those things.

In this video, we see “Pimpinela Escarlata” at her most fabulous, battling “Pasion Kristal” and “Yuriko,” alongside “La Braza.” I’m not totally up on every aspect of the gender politics of luchadors, but apparently cross-dressing is commonplace for wrestlers that are more charismatic than athletic, so to speak.

Like luchador culture in general, it’s very rooted in theater and spectacle, just with hefty dollops of added camp and the fabulosity of drag. Frequently, the drag wrestlers compete in women’s matches as well. Most recently, “Pimpinela Escarlata” lost to a woman wrestler called “Sexy Star,” which resulted in Escarlata’s head being shaved.

¡Viva Escarlata!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Gone and Forgotten’: Amazing anthology of comic book failures
11.13.2012
07:29 am

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Books
History
Pop Culture

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You haven’t heard of him, and that’s probably for the best

Even if you’re not a comics fan, you can appreciate the steady stream of train wrecks featured in Gone and Forgotten.

Many of the pieces are simply characters that never made it past a couple issues, like “Dash Dartwell, the Human Meteorite,” who has super-human speed, but eschews the cool superhero garb for a fancy suit. There’s also “Minimidget,” whose power is… being very small. That’s really it. It makes sense; there’s sort of a finite amount of superhuman powers one could have, and when the writing ran a little thin, introducing a new character might have seemed like the way to go.

What’s more interesting for comic fans though, are the horrible plotlines, spinoffs, and projects of our old favorite characters and canons. For example, did you know there was a Spider-Man musical? Oh no, not that one. We’re talking a 1975 rock opera album, Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero, that makes that U2 detritus look like La Traviata. It’s clearly one of Stan Lee’s more experimental projects, and while this sort of daring creativity is the reason the man is a genius, we’re talkin’ about some very dated stuff, to put it kindly.

In fact, why don’t you play us out, Spidey?
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Epizootics!’ from Scott Walker’s upcoming album is breathtakingly awesome
11.13.2012
12:20 am

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Music

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“Epizootics!,” from Scott Walker’s new album Bish Bosch, showcases the artist working at the peak of his powers. Hard to believe that the enigmatic recluse will be 70 years old next January. The voice, lyrics and attitude are more powerful than ever. Simply amazing.

The video directed by animator Olivier Groulx does a marvelous job of integrating image with sound in a rare and artful way that expands rather than diminishes the song. Future collaborations between Walker and Groulx is an exciting prospect.

Bish Bosch will be released on December 4 and is available here.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Ron and Russell Mael: Documentary on Sparks made from found footage
11.12.2012
07:53 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Pop Culture

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I do love Sparks, those delightfully talented brothers Ron and Russell Mael, whose music has made the world so much better. They arrived in my life at the moment The Bonzos left, and offered a similar wit and sophistication with a syncopated beat. This documentary is made from found footage, for a journalism class in 2010, by jedenobel. It’s seems somehow right that Sparks should have a homemade fan documentary, and this one doesn’t disappoint, being both entertaining and informative, and with plenty of clips.

The fab image of Sparks above comes via the lovely Lady Is Lingering site.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Demonoid returns?
11.12.2012
06:53 pm

Topics:
Crime
Pop Culture

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Given up for dead earlier this year, just a few hours ago, the heart of Demonoid, the legendary bit torrent tracker, has improbably started beating again.

Via TorrentFreak

After three and a half months of downtime Demonoid’s tracker is now back online. The unexpected revival of the tracker is the first sign of life in weeks and suggests that the Demonoid team is working to bring the full site back online. While the index and forum remain offline, the many thousands of torrents tracked by Demonoid have been brought back to life.

When Demonoid went down at the end of July, the site’s admin blamed a DDoS attack. This initial attack resulted in a series of problems that were not easy to fix.

However, at the time the tech admin of the site was determined to get the site back online.

“You know how it goes with Demonoid. It might take a while but it will come back,” the admin told us.

Due to pressure from Interpol’s criminal investigation, Demonoid’s ISP, ColoCALL, which is located in the Ukraine, stopped hosting the site over the summer.

This news comes hot on the heels of another story reported by TorrentFreak:

The RIAA has welcomed a mind-boggling jail sentence handed to a man who sold pirated movies and music. The 37-year-old man pleaded guilty to six felony counts of selling counterfeit media after he sold five movies and one music CD to an undercover investigator without the permission of copyright holders. As a result he will go to jail in Mississippi for 15 years to be followed by three years of supervised release.

RIAA Celebrates 15 Year Jail Sentence For Movie and Music Pirate (TorrentFreak)

Thank you, Bee Tea!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
1967: Documentary on ‘The Summer of Love’

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The joyful hedonism of the 1960s was in part a response to the trauma to the Second World War. The same way the twenties swung after the first great conflagration. And like that decade, it was primarily the white, upwardly mobile, metropolitan, middle class that enjoyed the sex, the drugs and the rock ‘n’ roll.

London may have been swinging in 1967, but for the rest of the country not a lot changed. It would take until the 1970s for most of the country to get a hint of what London experienced. The most important changes, apart from pop music and American TV shows, were the legalization abortion and de-criminalization of homosexual acts between consenting adults - both of which set the scene for bigger and more radical changes in the 1970s.

Yet, as so many of the media are Baby Boomers, the love of all things sixties ensures TV fills its schedules with documentaries on that legendary decade. 1967: The Summer of Love is better than most, as it covers the cultural, social, and political changes that the decade brought. With contributions form Germaine Greer, Donovan, Nigel Havers, Bill Wyman, John Birt and Mary Quant, together with some excellent color archive, this documentary is a cut-above the usual retro-vision.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Horror Europa’: an excellent trawl through the history of European horror cinema
11.12.2012
06:18 pm

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Movies

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The Hallowe’en season seemed pretty drawn out this year. That’s fine with me though, ‘cos I love it! What other chance to do we get to celebrate all those freaky and ghoulish things we normally hide under our beds and in our broom cupboards?

If you want to keep the chills running down the back of your spine, check out this excellent, BBC-produced documentary looking back over the last century of European horror cinema, taking in works by major directors from Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, the UK and Belgium.

Presented by comedian Mark Gatiss (of The League Of Gentlemen and Nighty Night infamy, and thus no stranger to the dark side himself) it is a follow up to his series A History Of Horror, which was originally broadcast on BBC4 in 2010.

Although Horror Europa has been liberated from behind the BBC server wall and uploaded to YouTube for all to see, here is what the official website has to say about the show:

Actor and writer Mark Gatiss embarks on a chilling voyage through European horror cinema. From the silent nightmares of German Expressionism in the wake of World War I to lesbian vampires in 1970s Belgium, from the black-gloved killers of Italy’s bloody Giallo thrillers to the ghosts of the Spanish Civil War, Mark reveals how Europe’s turbulent 20th century forged its ground-breaking horror tradition. On a journey that spans the continent from Ostend to Slovakia, Mark explores classic filming locations and talks to the genre’s leading talents, including directors Dario Argento and Guillermo del Toro.

I have to say that there are A LOT of spoilers in this show, but if you can deal with the ending of some films you might not have seen being given away, then this is a real treat for horror hounds:
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
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