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Does surrealism belong in music: BiG GrunT’s ‘11 Mustachioed Daughters,’ 1970
11.20.2012
01:10 pm

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Music

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Paul posted this clip last year, but it’s worth another airing: After eight years with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, in 1970 Vivian Stanshall formed the short lived BiG GrunT with fellow former Bonzos Dennis Cowan on bass and Roger Ruskin Spear on wind instruments and infernal machines, plus “Borneao” Fred Munt, the ex-Bonzo roadie, on conga drums and saxophone.

The group, seen here in this amazing performance of “11 Mustachioed Daughters” from March 30, 1970, didn’t last long as front-man Stanshall was sadly sidelined with a hospital stay for a nervous breakdown.
 

 
Dozens more Bonzo Dog Band, Vivian Stanshall and Neil Innes related clips—in great quality—at NellyM’s YouTube channel.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Radio Soulwax presents ‘DAVE’ - a video tribute to all things Bowie
11.20.2012
12:44 pm

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Heroes
Movies
Music

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The intersection of Radio Soulwax and David Bowie should be enough to pique even the most casual music listener’s interest, but fear not, the brothers Dewaele have delivered something truly special with the dj-set-cum-art-film Dave.

Dave is a 60 minute long megamix of Bowie music, arranged and mixed by Soulwax in their own inimitable stye, and accompanied by visuals put together specially for the piece by film maker Wim Reygaert. In true gender-bending fashion, Bowie is portrayed by a woman in the film, which takes its visual cues from some of the most recognizable moments in Bowie’s long career.

Soulwax are the undisputed kings of the audio/visual mash-up (it’s hard to believe the 2manydjs “As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2” album is ten years old already!) Here’s their reasoning for dedicating a whole hour of their work to David Bowie:

Our homage to the man whose ability to change whilst remaining himself has been a massive influence on us. There are many legends in the music industry but for us, there is no greater than the mighty Dave. We’ve included all things Bowie, whether that is original songs, covers, backing vocals, production work or reworks we made, to attempt to give you the full scope of the man’s genius.

For the visual side to this mix our friend Wim Reygaert (who also made the amazing film for Into The Vortex) came up with the most ambitious film for RSWX, taking us on a fever dream time travel through the man’s career starring the amazing Hannelore Knuts as Dave. We’ve got to extend a special thank you to the cast and crew and everyone involved for putting so much time and energy and heart and soul into this amazing film, it is a pure labour of love for the phenomenon that is Bowie.

There are lots more treats available at radiosoulwax.com, including apps for iPhone and Android, but before you go rooting around in there, check out Dave:
 

RSWX presents Dave from Radio Soulwax on Vimeo.

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:

Start me up: Radio Soulwax’s brilliant ‘Introversy’

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Red States vs Blue States: Guess who wins in number of per capita auto fatalities?
11.20.2012
12:24 pm

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With all of the red state vs blue state data that’s been parsed—and is still being parsed—post Election 2012, one of the more fascinating examples of all that number crunching comes, not from Nate Silver, but via a former federal auto safety researcher named Louis V. Lombardo and public safety watchdog group Fair Warning:

The nation’s red and blue states often are miles apart in social attitudes and, of course, political outlook.

It turns out that they also divide into distinct camps when it comes to a grimmer measure — fatal traffic accidents.

To an extent that mystifies safety experts and other observers, federal statistics show that people in red states are more likely to die in road crashes. The least deadly states – those with the fewest crash deaths per 100,000 people – overwhelmingly are blue.

In the absence of formal definitions for red or blue states, we labeled as red the states that favored Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and as blue those that supported the reelection of President Obama.

The 10 states with the highest fatality rates all were red, while all but one of the 10 lowest-fatality states were blue. What’s more, the place with the nation’s lowest fatality rate, while not a state, was the very blue District of Columbia.

Massachusetts was lowest among the states, with 4.79 road deaths per 100,000 people. By contrast, red Wyoming had a fatality rate of 27.46 per 100,000.

They even got a pull quote from What’s the Matter with Kansas? author Thomas Frank, who deemed the study “amazing” and added:

“This is someplace where you would not expect to see a partisan divide.”

What if it’s not a partisan divide at all and something closer to variance in regional IQs? I’d love to see those red state vs blue state stats, wouldn’t you?

Of course there are other factors to take into consideration, such as driving distances, seasonal weather conditions and the fact that many red states have more lax speed limits (Texas, for instance, has a toll road where you can drive 85mph). What time states makes bars shut also comes to mind. So would the proximity to hospitals… population density…

But still, think about it: Voting Republican (and all that implies about intelligence)... Significantly increased per capita auto fatalities... it would seem to me that factoring in IQs might shed at least some additional light on this subject.

There are a lot of ways you could slice and dice something like this, of course, but the most basic factors (as opposed to ideology or a specific belief in, say, Creationisn) would obviously be the most relevant. They might never be able to “prove” a statistical connection—perhaps thick people make better drivers and it’s the red state Democrats doing the bulk of the car crashing, the study obviously didn’t drill down that far, and I doubt they asked these dead people who they were planing to vote for—but it’s probably worth the effort to factor in IQs.

I do wonder what J.G. Ballard would make of all this!
 
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Thank you kindly, Em!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Build This Bong: Instructions and Diagrams for 40 Bongs, Pipes, and Hookahs’
11.20.2012
09:36 am

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Drugs

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It’s not too early to start Christmas shopping for that special craftsman in your life! While many instructions for DIY drug paraphernalia designs are available on the Internet, rarely will you find such a well-articulated and attractively diagrammed collection of field-tested models. Build This Bong: Instructions and Diagrams for 40 Bongs, Pipes, and Hookahs is so simple, even a child could make their own cannabis vaporizer!

The Amazon reviews are glowing:

Warning: Do not attempt while stoned, or your craft will look like crap. Lots of fun craft to make your custom water pipes and smoking accessories all just a Lowes stop away. Great for lovers of Do-It-Yourself projects

A great book for DIY enthusiasts, the projects were not hard at all. Most of them only took a day or two to build. I managed to create 23 of them so far and sold some on Ebay.

See? You don’t even need to be a smoker to enjoy bong-artistry; and you can even start your own business!

Give the gift of American ingenuity, resourcefulness and DIY drug paraphernalia this holiday season!

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Vincent Price instructs Sears Roebuck employees on the sale of fine art
11.20.2012
09:19 am

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Art
Movies

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The first surprising part of this video is that Sears actually sold art; apparently the department store chain had been selling oil paintings since the the early part of the 20th century. I suspect that as the mass availability of affordable art reproductions became available to the middle class, Sears decided to rebrand purchasing original art for the home, with the help of that consummate sophisticated gentleman, Vincent Price.

Price was not only a household name, but an avid art collector and gallerist (think of him as the Dennis Hopper of the 1950s). The Vincent Price Art Museum in East Los Angeles houses the actor’s vast collection in a 40,000-sq. ft. Arquitectonica building that opened on what would have been the actor’s 100 birthday, May 27, 2011. From the Sears archives:

Price was given complete authority to acquire any works he considered worthy of selection. He searched throughout the world for fine art to offer through Sears. He bought whole collections and even commissioned artists, including Salvador Dali, to do works specifically for this program.

At first, the idea of a large merchandising organization, such as Sears, maintaining a serious, top-quality art collection met with skepticism. But the public - and the artists themselves - soon learned that Sears would not compromise with good taste or artistic quality.

On October 6, 1962, the first exhibit and sale of “The Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art” took place in a Sears store in Denver, Colo. Original works of the great masters - Rembrandt, Chagall, Picasso, Whistler and more - as well as those of the best contemporary artists at the time were offered for sale in this first exhibit and throughout the program’s existence.

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Savilegate: Some troubling questions for the new CEO of ‘The New York Times’
11.19.2012
08:25 pm

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Crime
Current Events
Media
Sex
Television

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I wonder if Mark Thompson had anything to declare when he went through customs en route for his new job at the New York Times? Probably not.

And now he is ensconced as CEO at the NYT, I wonder if Thompson has anything to declare over the Jimmy Savile scandal that has engulfed the BBC?

Probably not.

Even so, I can’t help thinking that this is not the end of the story, for I find it hard to believe that Thompson knew nothing about those stories regarding Jimmy Savile, or was not at least aware of them. It now appears that I am not the only one who thinks this. Allegedly former BBC journalist, Keith Graves, finds it hard to believe, as he, or someone commenting under his name, posted on the Daily Mail:
 
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Mark Thompson says that during his time at the BBC he “never heard any allegations” about Savile. During his years in the television newsroom, culminating in a period editing the flagship evening new, rumours about Savile being ‘into little girls’ were rife as were often crude comments about hims and his behaviour. It is inconceivable that those rumours, which were, I recall, often discussed in the BBC club bar by news staff, did not reach his ears.

- Keith Graves, Valencia, Spain, 28/10/2012 13:27

Even Mike Hollingsworth, the man who first employed Thompson as his assistant at the BBC, said in the Daily Telegraph, Thompson would have had to been “tone deaf” not to have heard rumors about Jimmy Savile.

“He must be mad denying that he’d heard anything about Saville. We had all heard the rumours. You would have to have been tone deaf not to have heard them…

“I know that Mark has a strong Catholic faith, but it wasn’t as if this was something that people would whisper about when he came into a room – he is a man of the world. You just have to look at the programming he put out when he took over at Channel 4 to see that he wasn’t in the least bit squeamish when it came to all kinds of discussions about sex.”

This incredulity from former colleagues has only increased the growing disquiet over the “baggage” Thompson is perceived to be bringing to his new job at the New York Times, as one of the paper’s editors, Margaret Sullivan wondered in a blog: 

“How likely is it that [Thompson] knew nothing?....His integrity and decision-making are bound to affect The [New York] Times and its journalism – profoundly. It’s worth considering now whether he is the right person for the job, given this turn of events.”

The questions hinge on what Thompson knew about the Jimmy Savile scandal, when he was Director General at the BBC. It’s an important issue, one that saw his replacement, George Entwisle (or “Incurious George”) resign his position over not knowing about a Newsnight item that led to a gross libel against an innocent man. If Entwistle was considered guilty for not knowing about the serious allegations broadcast by his flagship news program, then where does that leave Thompson, who claims he knew little or virtually nothing about a planned Newsnight investigation into abuse allegations involving Jimmy Savile?

What little Thompson did know he dismissed in a letter to Conservative MP, Rob Wilson:

“What did happen is that, at a drinks reception late last year, a journalist mentioned to me the existence of the investigation and said words to the effect of “you must be worried about the Newsnight investigation?” This was the first I had heard of the investigation…Although I recall hearing at the time of his death that BBC Television might do something (a tribute) about Jimmy Savile in due course, again I had not been briefed about the programmes themselves. I assume they were commissioned and broadcast by BBC Vision, the BBC’s television arm, in the usual way.”

This is obvious buck passing. Moreover, as it was Thompson who tightened up BBC procedure after the scandalous Brandgate affair - where 2 BBC presenters (Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross) were involved in a prank call that was deemed to be offensive and “a catastrophic breakdown of editorial and compliance control by the BBC” - it seems incredible that Thompson did not take any real interest into a planned BBC investigation into serious allegations of pedophilia involving a major BBC star. 
 
More questions for ‘NYT’ CEO Mark Thompson, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Patti Smith on The Mike Douglas Show, 1977
11.19.2012
06:45 pm

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Music
Television

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I’m sharing this again because the previous videos I linked to on Youtube disappeared. Here’s a chance to catch them while you can.

One of my most vivid rock ‘n’ roll memories was seeing Patti Smith’s first performance on The Mike Douglas Show in 1977. Imagine how dumbstruck daytime TV viewers must have been seeing The Patti Smith Group popping up between episodes of As The World Turns and re-runs of Dobie Gillis. Hell, I was even blown away!

I actually had to go to a friend’s house to watch Patti on the Douglas show because I didn’t own a TV set. It was the first time I saw her perform live and it confirmed everything I imagined The Patti Smith Group would be: wild, inspired, unadulterated rock n’ roll. And part of what made this particular performance so bona fide is Patti and the band didn’t condescend to or mock the daytime TV format they were operating in. They put their hearts into it. Every fucking show mattered to them, whether it was sandwiched between soap operas or on the stage of legendary Manhattan punk clubs. Patti was a punk without the wiseass, holier-than-thou bullshit. She wanted to spread the rock gospel throughout the nation, from the Bowery to double-wides in middle America. Everybody was invited to the party.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Feel the Fear: Text of goofy 1970s conservative fund-raising letter

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In Rick Perlstein’s excellent article The Long Con: Mail-order conservatism, the author of the classic Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America discusses the odd world of mail order conservative fundraisers who prey on gullible older people, parting them from their pensions by agitating them with nonsense.

This revealing text of a 1970s conservative fundraising pitch originated from Heritage Foundation founder Paul Weyrich’s “Free Congress Research and Education Foundation”:

Dear Friend,

Do you believe that children should have the right to sue their parents for being “forced” to
attend church?

Should children be eligible for minimum wage if they are being asked to do household
chores?

Do you believe that children should have the right to choose their own family?

As incredible as they might sound, these are just a few of the new “children’s rights laws” that could become a reality under a new United Nations program if fully implemented by the Carter administration.

If radical anti-family forces have their way, this UN sponsored program is likely to become an all-out assault on our traditional family structure.

Perlstein’s analysis of this sort of goofy vintage mail order entreaty is, uh, right on the money, so to speak…

Following the standard scare-mongering playbook of the fundraising Right, Weyrich launched his appeal with some horrifying eventuality that sounded both entirely specific and hair-raisingly imminent (“all-out assault on our traditional family structure”—or, in the case of a 1976 pitch signed by Senator Jesse Helms, taxpayer-supported “grade school courses that teach our children that cannibalism, wife swapping, and the murder of infants and the elderly are acceptable behavior”; or, to take one from not too long ago, the white-slavery style claim that “babies are being harvested and sold on the black market by Planned Parenthood”).

Closer inspection reveals the looming horror to be built on a non-falsifiable foundation (“could become”; “is likely to become”). This conditional prospect, which might prove discouraging to a skeptically minded mark, is all the more useful to reach those inclined to divide the moral universe in two—between the realm of the wicked, populated by secretive, conspiratorial elites, and the realm of the normal, orderly, safe, and sane.

Weyrich’s letter concludes by proposing an entirely specific, real-world remedy: slaying the wicked can easily be hastened for the low, low price of a $5, $10, or $25 contribution from you, the humble citizen-warrior.

These are bedtime stories, meant for childlike minds. Or, more to the point, they are in the business of producing childlike minds. Conjuring up the most garishly insatiable monsters precisely in order to banish them from underneath the bed, they aim to put the target to sleep.

OUCH. He nailed it. And this sort of practice continues thirty years later, not that the come-on message has become any more intellectually sophisticated, because it hasn’t…

From Fox News, to Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Glenn Beck on the radio, not to mention Internet conspiracy theorists like Breitbart.com and the lowest of the low, WorldNetDaily, the reichwing mediasphere is all about keeping people ill-informed, stupid and fearful.

Having a large audience who doesn’t know shit from shinola is a big plus when you’re flogging exorbitantly over-priced gold coins, half-priced Ann Coulter books and prepackaged food rations that require no refrigeration and remain edible for up to four decades in your nuclear bomb shelter.

Like Rick Perlstein, I subscribed to a number of far-right mailing lists myself when the Tea party movement first exploded onto the scene (Obviously these emails provide great fodder for a blog like this one to poke fun at). The best ultra-conservative daily emails, by far, I think, come from WND, mainly because editorially speaking, it’s probably the dumbest and most comically paranoiac of all the major reichwing blogs—and yet, conversely, WND is the best organized from a business and e-commerce standpoint.

There’s a comically formulaic structure to the WND emails—I get about a dozen per day—they’re as strict and singsong as limericks, usually posing the subject line’s topic in the form of a burning question like “Guess which one of Obama’s Commie BFFs will be named Secretary of Assassinating Conservatives? Michael Savage spills the beans!” or some bullshit like that. (As I’ve been typing this, a new one has come in: “HOW OBAMA CAN BE STOPPED IN ELECTORAL COLLEGE Exclusive: Judson Phillips offers constitutional means to put Romney in office Jan. 21”)

And then there are some links to a new “Bible Codes” book revealing the identity of the Antichrist (who can this mysterious “BO” character be???), an “explosive” DVD expose about Barack Obama being a homosexual crackhead or pricey dietary supplements that you can take and then throw away your insulin shots forever!

The Long Con: Mail-order conservatism (The Baffler)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
You talkin’ to me? Or this Travis Bickle doll?
11.19.2012
06:28 pm

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Amusing
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Or the “Cab Driver” doll, to be more precise, which is part of the Brother Production company’s “Crazy Killers Collection”.

The 12” doll comes with two heads, replica army jacket, sunglasses, four different kinds of gun and even a miniature recreation of Travis’ infamous arm brace/gun rig. It’s actually pretty neat!

And it can be yours, via Ebay, for only $350.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘The Incredible String Band’: When hippies ruled the Earth
11.19.2012
04:19 pm

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Movies
Music

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Produced in 1969 for the BBC but never aired, Be Glad For The Song Has No Ending features the Incredible String Band performing tunes and aimlessly frollicking in Aquarian Age splendor. The music is good, of course, and the theatrical segments are photographed in the rich and earthy tones of a Sergei Paradjanov film - it’s quite beautiful and more than a little silly. ISB have always been one of my favorite bands and there was a time I wholeheartedly gave myself over to the communal vibe of their concert appearances. Live, they had the ability to create a genuinely mystical atmosphere and the purity of their intentions made up for some of their goofy hippie earnestness.

Warning: if you have an aversion to macrame, flower children and patchouli, your gag reflex will get a healthy workout watching this video, otherwise you’ll probably find the counter-culture hi-jinks quite enjoyable if a bit twee.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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