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‘Fragments of a Portrait’: Classic documentary on Francis Bacon from 1966
05.14.2013
06:33 pm
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Francis Bacon indulged the myths about his life. All those tales of Bacchanalia were always far more preferable to the hushed reality of his rising at 6am and working till early afternoon, while his drinking buddies slept-off hang-overs in the watery, morning light. Bacon was no slacker, but he tended to hide his industry and discipline behind endless tales of excess. As for the drinking, well, I have been told that often while out boozing Bacon would pay a visit to the gents, where he would tip the contents of his glass down a sink. Bacon preferred to watch others disintegrate, rather than fall apart himself.

That’s not to say he wasn’t reckless, no, Bacon was often in debt to casinos, and painted pictures to pay off his losses. His studies of Vincent Van Gogh in the late 1950s, were rushed out to help pay his massive gambling debts. The canvases were still wet when first exhibited, and it was claimed by Bacon’s friend and biographer, Dan Farson, that at the exhibition’s preview, as the drink flowed and the legs stumbled, some became so drunk that they leant against the canvases and left with fresh Bacon’s imprinted on the back’s of their jackets.

It’s worth pointing out that most of Bacon’s canvases are exhibited behind glass, though this may have only started after he joined the Marlborough Gallery in the 1960s. Whether true or not, it’s the kind of tale Bacon would have enjoyed. Yet, Bacon was incredibly serious about his art, which can be seen from this documentary Francis Bacon: Fragments of a Portrait, from 1966, which gives an excellent insight into Bacon’s working processes, obsessions and influences, as discussed by the artist with writer and critic, David Sylvester.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Francis Bacon’s women


Notes towards a portrait of Francis Bacon


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.14.2013
06:33 pm
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Scott Walker singing Will.i.am’s ‘Scream and Shout’ featuring Britney Spears
05.14.2013
05:33 pm
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British comic Adam Buxton does deadpan readings of YouTube comments on his Adam Buxton’s BUG TV series. He shows videos—some really good ones, too—-but the real draw of the show is the hilarity Buxton wrings from ordinarily mundane YouTube comments, especially when anonymous people with ridiculous web handles start arguing and insulting each other. He’s really funny. It’s a low budget program with some of the deepest laughs belly-laughs of anything currently on television. I highly recommend it.

But comedy renaissance man Adam Buxton does a lot of things beyond merely making me laugh so hard I cry, he’s also a musician, and a bit of a mimic. Here’s his imagined version of Scott Walker singing Will.i.am’s “Scream and Shout” featuring Britney Spears:
 

 
Someone called soudofjura quipped:

“The only thing that would improve this is if it were actually Scott himself.”

Close your eyes and it is!

Standing ovation!

Below, an episode of Adam Buxton’s BUG. The YouTube comments start at about 7:00 in:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.14.2013
05:33 pm
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What A Drag It Is Getting Old: The Rolling Stones, then and now…
05.14.2013
04:54 pm
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The recent Rolling Stone cover story on The Rolling Stones alludes rather bluntly to something that, frankly, I think about with every new clip I watch (in horror) of the current Stones tour: Can Keith even still play?

This time, before there could be any serious preparations for a 50th anniversary tour – something Richards wanted to see happen – Jagger made it plain that there would have to be some sort of reckoning. The details of whatever transpired between the two men remain private, but as Wood commented, things were “tense and awkward.” There was even a rumor that Richards’ position as the Rolling Stones’ rhythm guitarist might be in peril. Some thought he was having trouble playing – that perhaps his hands were growing afflicted with arthritis or that his steady intake of alcohol affected his musical agility. Following a critical review of his performance at a 2007 Rolling Stones concert in Gothenburg, Sweden, in which it was suggested that the guitarist was “super-drunk,” Richards demanded an apology from the reviewer, Markus Larrson, who replied that he wasn’t going to apologize to “a rock star who can hardly handle the riff to ‘Brown Sugar’ anymore.” According to a source close to the band, when the Rolling Stones convened in London in December 2011, it wasn’t merely for rehearsals but, as far as Jagger was concerned, to see if Richards could still get the job done.

These days Keith sounds like the “shredded” version of his guitar playing. Listen to this, it’s fucking diabolical. Does his left hand even function anymore? He can’t even play Chuck Berry riffs! How hard can that be?
 

 
Yikes! Doesn’t Keith sound like a drunk Jandek? And Gwen Stefani? Keith Urban? This is whole thing seems so preposterously godawful. The current Stones tour could be the last time, it may be the last time, it bloody well should be the last time (but I don’t know…).

At least Mick and the boys will be eternally youthful on YouTube, even if this 50th anniversary victory lap is rather obviously a consumer fraud… In the clip below, David Frost introduces the Stones performing “Honky Tonk Women” when it was high in the charts in 1969. Nevermind if the band is actually playing live, or else this is a doctored track with live vocals (I really can’t tell), in 1969 Keith Richards was one of the greatest rhythm guitar players alive. Time waits for no one…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.14.2013
04:54 pm
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The incredible power of concentration and… balance
05.14.2013
04:16 pm
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Simply sublime. If you haven’t seen Japanese dance artist Miyoko Shida’s hypnotic performance on the Spanish TV program Tú Sí Que Vales—it’s been making the rounds for a while now—it’s well-worth the seven minutes you’ll spend on it.

You’ll feel like you took a Xanax afterwards, trust me…

As someone points out in the YouTube comments, “I would not like to play this woman in Jenga.”

Probably not.

You can subscribe to Shinda’s Facebook profile here.

 
With thanks to Red Cell!

Posted by Tara McGinley
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05.14.2013
04:16 pm
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A Guide to Hobo Symbols
05.14.2013
03:35 pm
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I don’t remember if we called them “hobos,” but I do recall occasionally seeing “hobo marks” made in chalk or charcoal on walls or the sides of houses, when I was a child growing-up in Scotland. The marks were mainly lines, circles, or arrows, and rarely anything elaborate.I thought there was something exciting, even romantic, about these simple marks, mainly because I knew here was a secret code that denoted some act of kindness or, gave a warning to others who followed. 

These few men were itinerant workers, who chapped doors in search of odd-jobs, or offered to sharpen tools, mend fences, mow lawns. They passed through towns in summer and fall, moving on to farms, where they picked fruit. My grandmother told me of how she had made “jeely pieces” for such men, and had given them sweet tea and a “tanner” for their pocket. She said some were ex-military, who had lost their way after the War.

There was also Highland travelers (“Summer walkers”), who migrated south for work, and “onion Johnnies,” traders who cycled over from France to sell onions and garlic. All of these men seemed to have a nobility and were different from the “jakeys” or winos, who congregated around railway stations and town centers, mooching for change.

In America it was different, hobos first appeared at the end of the Civil War, and they moved across country in search of work with the arrival of the railroad. By 1911, it was estimated there were 700,000 hobos in America. By the 1950s, this number had dramatically fallen—as Jack Kerouac, who was no stranger to the hobo-life, noted in Lonseome Traveler:

“The American hobo has a hard time hoboing nowadays due to the increase in police surveillance of highways, railorad yards, sea shores, river bottoms, embankments and the thousand-and-one hiding holes of industrial night. - In California, the rat pack, the original old type who goes walking from town to town with supplies and bedding on his back, the “Homeless Brother”, has practically vanished, along with the ancient gold-panning desert rat who used to walk with hope in his heart through struggling Western tons that are now so prosperous they dont want old bums any more. - ‘Man dont want no pack rats here even though they founded California’ said an old man hiding with a can of beans and an Indian fire in a river bottom outside Riverside California in 1955.”

Today, the hobo life continues, and every second weekend in August, a Hobo Convention is held, with races, carnivals and the crowning of the Hobo King and Queen.
 
With thanks to Sig Waller
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.14.2013
03:35 pm
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Illuminati knapsack
05.14.2013
02:37 pm
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Embroidery and acrylic on a recycled US army bag by Hardy Blecman. It’s called “Voodoo Doll” and can be yours for a mere £2760.00 ($4210.66) at Maharishi.

While I like the bag and the attention to detail, it’s a tad bit pricey for my tastes.


 

Posted by Tara McGinley
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05.14.2013
02:37 pm
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‘White Bird’: The ultimate 60s hippie anthem?
05.14.2013
02:36 pm
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Thomas McGrath’s post this morning about Kenneth Anger, Bobby Beausoleil and the Manson Family reminded me that I should look for a live clip of It’s A Beautiful Day’s classic “White Bird” and post that. It’s been lingering on my DM “to do” list for quite a while now.

White Bird” is a song that most music fans (at least those of us of a certain age) will instantly recognize. It’s a Beautiful Day were “Summer of Love” San Franciscan contemporaries of The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Santana and their lilting rock, jazz, folk, classical style was unique in that context. They were neither very “proggy” or “fusiony. They certainly weren’t very psychedelic, either, but they made lovely music that still evokes an era splendidly, even if they are remembered primarily for just this one song. “White Bird” is one of the ultimate hippie anthems and has been a staple of FM radio for decades.

Ironically, bandleader and violinist David LaFlamme later said of “White Bird,” that the oh so pretty ditty was inspired by living in gloomy, soggy Seattle without a car:

“Where the ‘white bird’ thing came from ... We were like caged birds in that attic. We had no money, no transportation, the weather was miserable. We were just barely getting by on a very small food allowance provided to us. It was quite an experience, but it was very creative in a way.”

The group was managed by Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape minder Matthew Katz, but the association was apparently an unhappy one and the band went through various personal changes before finally breaking up in 1974. Lead singer Patti Santos died in a 1989 automobile accident, but LaFlamme keeps the It’s A Beautiful Day flame burning with occasional live appearances and reunion shows.

In the clip below, taken from the 1972 documentary Fillmore, It’s A Beautiful Day perform “White Bird” while Bill Graham pontificates on the flower power generation. Sadly, they cut away to Graham speaking just as LaFlamme was about to go into his violin solo.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.14.2013
02:36 pm
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Puke-provoking rich people hire the handicapped so their kids can cut lines at Disney World
05.14.2013
01:56 pm
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Who knows what event, large or small will cause the tipping point to be reached and trigger the long-overdue revolution, but frankly, when I read something like this, I can’t imagine that it’s going to take all that much longer before the general population wants to parade the 1% down Fifth Avenue… with their bloody heads on spikes.

From The New York Post:

The “black-market Disney guides” run $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day.

“My daughter waited one minute to get on ‘It’s a Small World’ — the other kids had to wait 2 1/2 hours,” crowed one mom, who hired a disabled guide through Dream Tours Florida.

“You can’t go to Disney without a tour concierge,’’ she sniffed. “This is how the 1 percent does Disney.”

The woman said she hired a Dream Tours guide to escort her, her husband and their 1-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter through the park in a motorized scooter with a “handicapped” sign on it. The group was sent straight to an auxiliary entrance at the front of each attraction.

Disney allows each guest who needs a wheelchair or motorized scooter to bring up to six guests to a “more convenient entrance.”

How about that, huh? Hands up, if there would be no legal repercussions from kicking this woman to death, how many of you would put the boot in?

Dr. Wednesday Martin, a social anthropologist discovered that the Dream Tours line-cutting scheme was something well-known to Manhattan’s wealthy elite:

“It’s insider knowledge that very few have and share carefully,” said social anthropologist Dr. Wednesday Martin, who caught wind of the underground network while doing research for her upcoming book “Primates of Park Avenue.”

“Who wants a speed pass when you can use your black-market handicapped guide to circumvent the lines all together?” she said. “So when you’re doing it, you’re affirming that you are one of the privileged insiders who has and shares this information.”

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.14.2013
01:56 pm
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Pillville: ‘Oxyana’ looks at West Virginia’s ‘hillbilly heroin’ epidemic
05.14.2013
01:12 pm
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As someone who was born and raised in Wheeling, WV, I saw a bustling steel and coal town, where good jobs were once plentiful, turn into a pretty fucking bleak place in under a decade. Downtown Wheeling had several movie theaters, upscale department stores, one of the best international magazine stores that I’ve ever been in, and even some pretty good record stores. It was always difficult to find a parking space and I have memories of my parents driving around forever looking for a spot.

By the time I left—at the age of 17 in 1983—many residents were abandoning the town for better jobs elsewhere. The population today, I think, is about exactly half of what it was thirty years ago. The folks who stayed saw their $30 an hour plus benefits union-secured livelihoods disappear to be replaced by minimum wage positions as Wal-Mart associates and in fast food chains. Within a very short time most of the stores in Downtown Wheeling were closing and their windows were boarded up.

One Christmas I returned to my hometown to visit my family and a friend drove me around to show me just how much things had changed for the worse since I’d been gone (about five years at that point). He took me to (literally) Main Street and imagine if you will, a scene of happy middle-class families, busy stores, tinsel Christmas decorations on streetlights and a general small town America holiday shopping hubbub.

Well, that’s the way it used to be. That’s what I remembered. Now transpose that over some empty sidewalks, 2x4s nailed across broken windows and a guy we both went to high school with working as a prostitute in front of what was once the store were the rich people in the town shopped.

That’s a nasty picture, isn’t it? But Wheeling had it lucky compared to most of the state where clear-cutting, fracking and mountaintop removal mining have turned parts of West Virginia into lunar surfaces, polluted the drinking water and probably accomplished much worse. Who can blame the often dirt poor rural people who sold their land to the coal and gas barons to become instant Jed Clampetts, but seriously, this is like The Lorax in real life. When they’re done depleting the state of its precious natural resources, what’s left behind ain’t gonna be pretty.

Who knows how long it will take to extract every last penny of energy out of Appalachia, but one thing is quite certain: Once this has occurred, as it inevitably will, there will be virtually nothing left. No jobs, no mountains, no communities, no clean water, fuck all. When the capitalists have finished raping West Virginia, there’s going to be a big gaping hole there, plenty of devastation, and not a lot more.

Chances are you don’t know this and probably wouldn’t care much if you did. MTV’s Buckwild aside, light is virtually never shed on what is going on in West Virginia. That’s why Sean Dunne’s new documentary Oxyana, about the state’s so-called “Hillbilly Heroin” epidemic is so important.

Oceana, West Virginia, sits squarely in one of God’s blind spots. It’s one of the old coal mining communities that feeds the nation’s insatiable appetite for energy. Set in the middle of unbelievable natural beauty, a beauty that in the last number of years has been marred by the Appalachian scourge of Oxycontin. Life persists, but it’s a living that few Americans could explain or even believe - closer in kind to the world of a medieval plague. Men and women die epidemically. The addicts — who are the vast majority and all nice enough people — sell, scramble, and steal in an economy of nigh-endtimes desperation. Worn down and out by the pills, the mines or the indignity of both, everyone looks twice their own age and is unable to imagine an existence outside of coal, subsidies and prescription narcotics. Things could hardly get darker than in this place called Oceana. Nevertheless, there it is. A little village in the valley of Death, where children are born, groceries are still purchased and festivity is expressed through firearms and poor decision-making. But is this enough to live for? Is it enough to provide anyone with any hope or deliverance? OXYANA is an unflinchingly close focus on the anguish and horrors of a community that the rest of the country would just as soon forget, a nearly Biblical narrative of American forsakenness.

That last phrase there says it all, if you ask me, “a nearly Biblical narrative of American forsakenness.” Fuck.

In 2009, interviewing Julien Nitzberg, director of the (AMAZING, must-see) documentary The Wild Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (on Netflix), I asked him about a scene in his film where one of the protagonists is seen in a hospital—only moments after delivering a baby—grinding up an Oxycontin pill and snorting it with her friend while her newborn sleeps but a few feet away! I wondered if he felt, you know, bad or exploitative to have been there shooting that and he said no because that pill would have been crushed up and snorted regardless of whether or not his camera had been recording the deed. (During the film a young redneck guy looks into the camera and asks “Ever hear a Boone Country mating call?” and then he shakes a bottle of Oxycontin pills and laughs).

Oxyana received a Special Jury Mention at the recent 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. Sean Dunne is also the director of the exellent American Juggalo short, which we featured on DM back in 2011.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.14.2013
01:12 pm
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Internet troll diagram (NSFW-ish)
05.14.2013
12:52 pm
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It certainly captures the… essence of Internet trolldom, wouldn’t you say?

As former Dangerous Minds blogger Jason Louv quips:

Just remember, whatever you do on the Internet, legions of this guy will see it and respond “MEH.”

With thanks to Jason for this gem!

Posted by Tara McGinley
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05.14.2013
12:52 pm
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