HARDTalk is an in-depth interview program from BBC News, something akin to Larry King Live with a sit down, face-to-face, half hour format (perhaps there’s a better reference point here, but my knowledge of American news broadcasters is limited.) In this edition, which aired last week, host Stephen Sackur talks to Alan Moore, who may be a hero to many but is still a fringe presence in this kind of mainstream news setting.
Moore has nothing in particular to promote, so this isn’t a kiss-ass puff piece, and being a “serious” show there is no talk of magic and mysticism. Instead, Sackur picks issue with Moore’s characterisation of the comics industry as gangsters, and has pertinent questions to ask him about the subjects of his works Lost Girls and V For Vendetta. Moore responds very well to being taken this seriously, answering with an unusual frankness and striking honesty:
HARDTalk with Alan Moore (part 1)
HARDTalk with Alan Moore (part 2) is after the jump…
Oregon -based artist Kay Petal makes these whimsical sculptural needle-felted rock star dolls. Kay says, “Using single, barbed felting needles I sculpt wool fibers into solid felted wool characters with heart and soul. My characters are soft and flexible yet strong and durable.”
And guess what? Kay will even make one of YOU! You can contact her on the website Felt Alive for more information.
Akira Kurosawa with another director mentioned in the song
In Bollywood films, it’s quite common to see a dance number at the end of a movie that has little to do with the plot called an “Item number.” This item number, from a popular comedy called Chintu Ji, instead of using tribal gibberish—which was apparently the original idea—employs the names of international film directors:
Star Maidens, the long forgotten UK/German sci-fi/comedy TV series from 1975 takes place on the “highly advanced” retro-futuristic planet Medusa, where women live a life of luxury and the males are their subservient slaves. Two grunts steal a spaceship from one of their mistresses and set off for Earth, a planet where the equality of the sexes is—hey—a way of life!
Star Maidens was campy and cheap—the sets were reused from Space 1999 and incorporated tennis balls and air fresheners. The security guards all wore hot pants and platform shoes… How is it possible that Star Maidens was all but forgotten about until it was released on DVD in 2005?
Eagle-eyed otaku-types will recognize Gareth Thomas, who would soon go on to fame on Blake’s 7 and Judy Geeson, first seen as a teenager in From Sir to Love and later as the annoying British neighbor in Mad About You, as Fulvia, the Supreme Councilor. Dawn Addams as Clara, President of the Grand Council of Medusa, is recalled by fanboys for her roles in Hammer’s The Vampire Lovers, the Amicus portmanteau Vault of Horror and as the female lead in Charlie Chaplin’s last film, A King in New York.
After thirteen episodes, Star Maidens was toast, but the show aired sporadically in other parts of the world until the early 1980s. I think Star Maidens, like Baywatch, would translate pretty easily, don’t you? Someone should revive it!
From a wild art installation titled “Too Good to be True” by German artist Meike Harde. Meike designed these masks in order to raise questions about contemporary beauty standards. The work asks: How much is too much plastic surgery?
When put on, however, they cause a contortion of the face. This is meant to show that artificially produced beauty is not always beautiful; instead it can evoke the very opposite. Furthermore the pressure to be beautiful is to be questioned and denounced.
I noticed there were no plastic surgery-style masks for men. Apparently, Meike has never seen Bruce Jenner or Kenny Roger’s mugs. Men can take it too far too, ya know!
Below, “Madame Hollywood” by Miss Kittin and Felix Da Housecat.
This might be an example of something that he did because he was “only in it for the money,” but Zappaheads will rejoice to see this piece.
Producer Ed Seeman (who posted this on YouTube) writes:
“I first met Frank when He was playing a steady gig at the Garrick Theater in Greenwich Village. I hired him to score a 30-second animated TV commercial I was animating and producing for Luden’s cough drops. He requested $2,000 plus a studio for a day with a wide variety of instruments plus a guy to do cough sounds.”
This commercial won a Clio award for “Best Use of Sound.” At a time when most people still didn’t have a color TV set, this must have been a striking spot indeed.
I’m not entirely sure when Sex Gang Children and their charismatic leader, Andi Sex Gang, first came into my life but ever since, the magic and texture behind this man has entranced me. Often sounding like the exotic love child of Bowie and Brecht, but firmly remaining to this day his own man and artist, Andi Sex Gang is undoubtedly one of the most underrated figures in music. All of that despite his band charting repeatedly on the UK indie lists in the 80’s and then going on to work with the legendary Mick Ronson. (The latter must have felt invigorated to work with someone truly unique,vital and not expecting him to rehash the Diamond Dogs blues.)
The journey of any artist with bone-bred integrity and an unwillingness to whore is going to be a rocky one and Andi is no exception. Luckily for us all, his life and musical journey has been covered in one hale and hearty documentary, Bastard Art. Before getting to watch this film, I was just excited to know that someone took the time and energy to cover the man. After watching this film, I was excited to know that a guy like Andi Sex Gang is featured in a well made, lovingly researched and incredibly accessible documentary. It’s the perfect mix of being thorough and surprising enough to woo the hardcore fans but pieced together in such a way that it will lure anyone unfamiliar with Sex Gang Children.
In Bastard Art, we get to see Andi go from a little boy with a natural instinct for song writing and singing to a squatter in the punk scene. In fact, it was his friend from that same scene, George O’Dowd aka Boy George, that gifted the band name, Sex Gang Children, to him. (A name undoubtedly with origins from music savant Malcolm McClaren, who had worked with a pre-Culture Club George.) From there, we get interviews with former band mates, friends and musical peers. But most importantly, we get and receive a bounty of interview footage from the man himself, Andi Sex Gang.
The man is the star of the show, not just because he is the subject matter, but because his natural charisma, smarts and sheer will of survival draws you to him. There are performers that are good artists but have rocks for personality but that is far from the case with Andi Sex Gang. The amount of bowling balls this man has had to jump, ranging from bad music deals, facing fake criminal charges that ranged from rape to carrying explosives and an industry that acts more like the ravenous center in the lake of ice in “Dante’s Inferno”, is harrowing. Weaker souls have been eaten by that very machine, but weak is not a word associated with ASG. Scrappy and tenacious, absolutely, but not weak.
Director Vince Corkadel, who has worked previously with both Andi and Sex Gang Children, has a lot to be proud of here. The key to any truly great music related documentary is having the music paint the right picture over the canvas of information. For me, there are few things more frustrating than a documentary about a musician that features little to none of their music. It would be like watching a bunch of people talking about a painter and never showing even a scrap of one of their paintings. Beyond frustrating, but Bastard Art is a film that thankfully does not suffer that fate.
The pacing is tight and flows very well. There are zero lulls and it does exactly what this type of film should do; leaving you wanting more and wanting to devour more of the great art featured. Safe to say, Bastard Art is one of the best documentaries to have come out in the last few years. What’s inspiring about this is that guys like Corkadel and Larry Wessel (Iconoclast) have proven that one can make a vital and culturally rich documentary while sticking to a true independent, DIY approach. This is no Sundance indie, which is safe in its bigger budgets and often homogenized layers. Instead this is a film born out of pure love, determination and years of hard work and research.
No matter what labels people will throw on the works of Sex Gang Children and Andi, none can ultimately stick, proving not only the folly of “genres” but also the folly of trying to box in an artist you love. A guy like Andi Sex Gang, who continues to be as prolific and active as ever, will set fire to that box, and like a pale faced shaman with a mind of darkness and heart of light, will continue this fight of life. And nowhere is this ever more present than in Bastard Art.
In Kill Your Idols director Scott Crary attempts to find some connection between No Wave bands of the late 1970s like Teenage Jesus And The Jerks, Suicide and Swans with contemporary post-punkers Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Black Dice, Liars and others. The link is too tenuous to stand up to close scrutiny, but the movie is fascinating none-the-less for its exciting archival footage and compelling interviews with New York City’s avant-garde old guard. Listening to Lydia Lunch’s bilious rant about rock and roll’s new breed of hipster bands as a “pandering bunch of mama’s boys” who are “desperate to have their music used in the next car commercial” is a hoot. As are similarly contemptuous critques from Lee Ranaldo and Arto Lindsey.
Contrasting the newer bands with their older influences hits a resonant chord when DNA’s Lindsey describes the 1970’s NYC scene as an era when “we didn’t have a whole industry selling us back to ourselves.” This is the significant difference between creating and re-creating. In their self-consciousness, the new bands lack the vision, fearlessness and recklessness that no-wave’s pioneers brought to the mix every time they stepped on stage. It is impossible to replicate the “shock of the new.” Nothing seems dangerous anymore because everything has been radiated in the pasteurizing glow of our retro-obsessed culture. Rock and roll is disappearing up its own asshole. It wasn’t always this way. With every note, No Wave hit the self-destruct button. Gone. This doesn’t mean that the new groups aren’t good - I love Yeah Yeah Yeahs - but trying to find the link between them and the original no wavers is like trying to find fingerprints on water.
Update: The numbnut who uploaded Kill Your Idols pulled the movie from their Youtube channel. If you have a Netflix account, it is available to stream here.
What the hell, why not a little more music from Coachella 2012?
The Black Keys El Camino was one of my favorite albums of 2011 and in that I was hardly alone. It continued the Keys ascent into the rock and roll stratosphere. Over the course of 11 years (an eternity in today’s rock scene), Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have managed to do something few bands accomplish these days: stick around. Here they are joined by Gus Seyffert on bass guitar and keyboardist John Wood in a dynamite performance (with a very cool lightshow) at Coachella on Friday. It was a cold night in Indio but The Keys brought the heat.
Setlist: Howlin’ for You, Next Girl, Same Old Thing, Dead and Gone, Gold on the Ceiling, Thickfreakness, I’ll Be Your Man, Your Touch, Little Black Submarines, Money Maker, She’s Long Gone, Nova Baby, Ten Cent Pistol, Tighten Up, Lonely Boy, Everlasting Light, I Got Mine.
To enjoy the whole blistering set, go to the Youtube channel and follow the prompts in the upper right hand corner of the video.