Anyone who grew up in record stores knows the cast: the guy who stood next to the register and talked, without surcease, to whoever was stuck behind the counter. The army-jacketed loafs who kept trying to shoplift the same album. The girl who would walk in every day, ask for a single and then walk out, disgusted, until the record arrived. And the guy, sometimes older, who would walk up quietly during a pause in the not-very-active action and say “Have you ever heard…?” Invariably, whatever he was asking about was the most obscure thing you’d encountered that day. Much better, some of these things were worth tracking down and learning from: Sun Ra’s “Disco 3000,” the full-length version of Television’s “Little Johnny Jewel,” or Siouxsie and the Banshees’ cover of Ben E. King’s “Supernatural Thing.”
You’ll notice that the original 1975 seven-minute-plus version of “Little Johnny Jewel” isn’t on YouTube, and neither is the 1981 B-side version of Siouxsie’s “Supernatural Thing.” (Both are on Spotify, though, and I’ve put them on this list, which will change throughout the year and attempt to hold your attention.) But if they did show up on the Web, Dangerous Minds would find it before you. Footage of Morrissey appearing on “Pop Quiz” in 1984, and knowing more about Billy Fury than any American would? Got it. Deborah Harry playing trumpet with Blondie on German TV in 1977? Check. The site leans towards pop detritus from the seventies and eighties but also dips into political commentary and cultural zingers such as this fantastic video about a beauty product called “Fotoshop, by Adobé.”
Read more: Enthusiasms 2012: The Minds Behind Dangerous Minds (The New Yorker)
The four classic comedy albums created by Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner are probably amongst the five most influential “things” that determined how I speak and write as an adult (The other four factors are Lenny Bruce, The Firesign Theater, Kurt Vonnegut and rock critic Lester Bangs, if you care). I listened to a lot of comedy records when I was a kid. I’d listen to them over and over again with headphones on, unintentionally memorizing every word. To this very day I still use lines from Lenny Bruce or the Firesign Theatre, probably serving only to confuse everyone around me, but I don’t care. I think this is also the reason I sound more like a Jewish comedian from the Catskills when I speak and not a West Virginia hayseed. Those records are really a part of my DNA.
The most famous sketches from the Reiner and Brooks records, obviously, were “The 2000 Old Man” routines. Legend has it that the idea was hatched when Reiner was visiting Brooks in the hospital after a painful surgery. Brooks exclaimed that he felt like a 2000-year-old man. Reiner made like an interviewer, held an invisible microphone under Brooks’ chin and asked him what it was like to have been born before the time of Christ.
Brooks improv’d about the “discovery of women” (“A guy named Bernie…”), the development of language, how cavemen decided what was edible or not and various historical figures the 2000 Year Old Man had encountered, like Joan d’Arc (“Know her? I dated her!”), Benjamin Franklin and Moses.
Soon the duo was trying this material out at Hollywood parties and eventually a tape of their “2000 Year Old Man” bits started getting passed around town.
That’s one story, there are other, competing versions of this legend, but suffice to say that Brooks and Reiner created an enduring classic of stand-up comedy. As a double act, Brooks and Reiner were never less then off-the-scale brilliant and their material was as tight as a drum. I knew that the pair had performed short versions of the 2000 Year Old Man sketches on television several times—and there was the cartoon version in the 70s—but I’d never seen any of it. Of course these days, all one has to do is dial up YouTube and there it is…
“The 2000 Year Old Man” is an enduring comedy classic. It will never really date and it will always be as funny as it was when it first came out.
A Japanese artist, who goes by the name “Photographer Hal,” takes these really bizarre photographs of real couples in vacuum-sealed plastic bags which he considers to be the ultimate union. Apparently the couples are without oxygen for 10 seconds, just long enough for him to snap three photos.
This has a weird Dexter vibe to it.
See more of Photographer Hal’s “Flesh Love” on Nerdcore.
Great news for people living in NYC, Bjork is bringing her phenomenal Biophilia live experience to the city next month. The shows will be taking place over two different residencies; one at the New York Hall of Science (six dates in all, between February 3rd and 18th) and one at the Roseland Ballroom (four dates there, between February 22nd and March 2nd).
While the Roseland Ballroom is more intimate, the grapevine tells me the Hall of Science will be better as it will facilitate the whole 360 degree stage show, which should hopefully incorporate giant tesla coils, homemade instruments, a large female choir and the full surround sound PA and plasma screens. I was lucky enough to catch a Biophilia show last year in Manchester, and it ranks as one of the best live shows I have ever seen. I reviewed it for Dangerous Minds, and you can read that here.
There have also been Biophilia shows announced at various European and South American festivals over the summer - for more info on the shows (and links to buy tickets for individual performances), visit the Facebook page for Bjork events.
Here’s an inkling of what you can expect:
Bjork “Joga” (Live at Manchester International Festival 2011)
A short video from Big Think wherein Henry Rollins describes the actions he would take if he were President of the United States of America. Say what you like about Rollins’ music and his stand-up (or even his views about the younger generations) but he seems to have a pretty good grasp of what would be expected of him in office. So, would you vote Rollins for President?
Political junkies alert: If you haven’t seen Newt Gingrich’s epic 27-minute-long violent disembowelment of Mitt Romney, When Mitt Romney Came to Town, holy shit will it will take your breath away!
I mean… WOW. I can only imagine the look on Romney’s face when he saw this puppy. He probably broke down and cried! This shit is hardcore. Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment has been repealed.
Rating the political damage this film does to Romney on a scale of one to ten with one being merely annoying and ten being castrated and then having your balls shoved down your throat for the whole world to see? When Mitt Romney Came to Town is probably an eleven or twelve. Think I’m exaggerating? See for yourself!
This has to be the single meanest, most vicious political hit piece ever made. It’s a cold, cruel masterpiece of character assassination.
It makes the worst things Lee Atwater did in his career look warm and cuddly in comparison. “Willie Horton”? That’s amateur hour compared to When Mitt Romney Came to Town.
I suppose it’s a bit disingenuous to call it “Newt’s” film because he was just the highest bidder. The film was also offered to the other campaigns—they all had their chances—but it was Gingrich, or rather the “Winning Our Future” Super PAC supporting him, that allowed Gingrich to be the one to get all Ed Gein on Romney’s ass and deliver the axe to his head.
When Mitt Romney Came to Town was directed by Jason Killian Meath, an associate of Romney’s during the 2008 Republican primary who made ads that year that were pro-Mittens. He must have seen something in Romney that he didn’t like, or maybe not. Maybe When Mitt Romney Came to Town was simply a way for Meath to cynically sell his services to the highest bidder and enrich himself personally at Romney’s expense. Loyalties can be very flexible in Washington. The film looks like it cost no more than $50k to make, but surely Jason Killian Meath was well-compensated for this expert hit. The film’s all-out annihilation of its target positions Meath nicely as the “Scaramanga” of political operatives. In the future pols from both parties will be clamoring for his services. Why hire anyone but the very best? No one else comes even close to this guy’s mad satanic skillz! He’ll burn your opponent to the fucking ground.
Truly I don’t see how Romney will be able to counter this. It’s like the box that rips your face off in Hellraiser.
The thing is, When Mitt Romney Came to Town inadvertently goes to great lengths to expose the moral and intellectual bankruptcy at the heart of today’s Tea party-led GOP: Free market Capitalism, seen in the human form of Mitt Romney and the rest of his mega-rich cronies at Bain Capital, are such hideous and loathsome creatures that the unavoidable “takeaway”—even for conservative viewers, I should point out—is that Capitalism is an evil system rigged to benefit the people at the top of the food chain and fuck over anyone who gets in their way.
The rest of us are just their food. When Mitt Romney Came to Town makes that very, very clear… even for the most dumbshit Republicans. Freedom? You think you’re free? You’re free to lose your house, health insurance and starve is what you’re free to do, according to the message of this film. It’s called “creative destruction” and Mitt Romney will tell you all about it. It’s how he made his vast fortune: from the misery of hardworking Americans. The next time you hear some asshole going on about impersonal market forces and all that blather, show them When Mitt Romney Came to Town—this is an impersonal market force that has a first name, a last name, a social security number and a street address, albeit one that’s probably behind a big gate with security guards.
But it’s not just Mitt Romney’s mouth that this film pisses in. When Mitt Romney Came to Town dramatically and clearly indicts the entire way BUSINESS is done in America. The film is of a set with anything that Michael Moore has ever done and seems far more in tune with the Occupy Wall Street movement than anything we’d normally associate with Republicans. Who wrote the voice over script, Trotsky? Yes, I mean to tell you that When Mitt Romney Came to Town is that much of a wildcard to throw into the GOP primary. Even Ron Paul might have his doubts about the free market after viewing this one.
Ultimately, though, I don’t think this film benefits Newt Gingrich in any way. It utterly destroys Mitt Romney, true, it absolutely skullfucks him and leaves him bleeding from his anus and shivering on the ground in a fetal position, but you’d have to be an absolute idiot if the only question you had when When Mitt Romney Came to Town is over was which one of the other Republicans you were going to vote for!
Looking like a delightfully naughty schoolboy, David Hockney explains, in this interview from Andy Warhol’s TV, why he never really wanted to be anything else but an artist, discussing his background, his early work, his heroes, his paintings, his art, his working methods, his interests, and in his involvement in designs for Ubu Roi, The Rake’s Progress and Parade. These clips usually disappear quite quickly, so watch it while you can. With subtitles in Spanish.