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Dan Aykroyd’s Screen Test for ‘Saturday Night Live’ from 1975
09.24.2011
12:38 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Heroes
Television

Tags:
Comedy
Seventies
Dan Aykroyd

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The lovely Dan Aykroyd runs through a selection of voices in search of a punchline, in his screen test for Saturday Night Live from 1975. It’s an impressive turn, showing his considerable talent, versatility, and a mustache that made him look older than his twenty-two years of age.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid

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Was it a case of more money than sense that led Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, formerly of the KLF, to burn 1 million pounds sterling on the Isle of Jura in 1994? It’s a question neither man has fully answered.

After the event, both said they wouldn’t talk about it for twenty-three years. Since then, Drummond has spoken about it twice: once in 2000, when he said he was unrepentent; then in 2004, when he admitted to the BBC he regretted burning the cash.

The money allegedly came from royalties Drummond and Cauty made through the success of their band the KLF - the world’s most successful band in 1991. After retiring from music, Drummond and Cauty reunited the K Foundation, and established an award for the “worst artist of the year”, which they gave as a £40,000 prize to that year’s Turner Prize winner, Rachel Whiteread.

The following year, the pair carried out their biggest stunt - burning a million quid of their own money.

Was it real? Did they actually burn a million? Or, was the money bogus?

One theory suggests it was all a hoax and the notes burnt had been intended for incineration, being purchased from the Bank of England by the K Foundation for £40,000.

Seems possible, but Drummond and Cauty were accompanied by journalist Jim Reid who wrote the whole event up in the Observer newspaper:

“The money is not beautiful, and it is only intimidating for a while. It is impossible, looking at it, to imagine what you might buy with it. Four bundles for a nice flat in Chelsea, the whole lot for a lifetime not working. It doesn’t look that impressive. The next thing you feel is the need to do something, not to let it just stand there. Because, of course, I, like anybody else with healthy appetites, want it.

“Lying on the floor in its proud plastic packages, the money represents power. But it is a power that is painfully vulnerable. Cauty separates two fifties from a bundle, hands one to Drummond, and taking his lighter, lights them both. Despite the rain and wind outside, the money is going to burn. In fact, nothing could burn better.

“Drummond is standing to the left of the fireplace throwing fresh bundles in, Cauty is to the right, screwing up three or four fifties at a time. After five minutes their actions become mechanical, almost like it is peat or coal that they are fuelling their fire with. But this is going to take some time. ‘Well that’s OK,’ says Cauty, rolling a cigarette. ‘It’d take a long time to spend it. Can I spend an hour out of my life to burn a million quid? (Drummond laughs)... All the time you say about things: ‘I haven’t got the time to do that.’ Well, I’ve definitely got time to do this.’

“The fireplace is a rough affair. Occasional fifties get wedged in crevices above the fire before they eventually fall down to be destroyed. Cauty is poking at the fire with a stick, moving the bigger bundles into the heat. Whole blocks of 50 grand remain resolutely unburnt: singed, charred, but perfectly legal. We have a bottle of whisky with us and it is passed round as if nothing could be more natural than burning £1 million on a remote Scottish island in the middle of the night. This is the truly shocking thing about the evening. It almost seems inevitable.

“It took about two hours for that cash to go up in flames. I looked at it closely, it was real. It came from a bona fide security firm and was not swapped at any time on our journey. More importantly, perhaps, after working with the K Foundation I know they are capable of this.”

A few days later, a total of £1500 in charred notes were washed up on the shores of Jura, much to the islanders’ disgust.

Did they actually burn £1m? And what did it mean? Julian Cope called the stunt “intellectual dry wank”, while the Observer in 2000 returned to it stating:

“It wasn’t a stunt. They really did it. If you want to rile Bill Drummond, you call him a hoaxer. ‘I knew it was real,’ a long-time friend and associate of his group The KLF tells me, ‘because afterwards, Jimmy and Bill looked so harrowed and haunted. And to be honest, they’ve never really been the same since.”

Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid questions our strange and fetishistic relationship with money - who has not considered how they would spend a million? - as it reaffirms a moral responsibility wealth (in any form) brings, by exploring a one-off event that now runs counter to the current global obsession with failing banks, bankrupt economies and corrupt financial markets.
 

 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Amazing Rolling Stones jam session, 1972
09.23.2011
03:45 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Rollings Stones


 
Fly on the wall footage of the world’s greatest rock and rock band rehearsing in Montreux on May 21st, 1972, prior to their world tour of that year.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Timothy Leary: New religion will be the religion of intelligence
09.23.2011
02:34 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Thinkers

Tags:
Timothy Leary


 
Oh that this were true…

Utah-based maverick filmmaker Trent Harris, who we recently covered on Dangerous Minds when we posted about his cult film The Beaver Trilogy, shot this forthright interview with psychedelic guru Timothy Leary in 1978, still railing against the powers that be even after his time spent in federal prison.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday John Coltrane
09.23.2011
01:26 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Jazz
John Coltrane
Free Jazz
Be Bop

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Happy Birthday John Coltrane, musician, composer, innovator, artist and space traveler, who rocketed “off the surface of the earth towards more specialized, little explored, and potentially dangerous atmospheres”.

Born today in 1926, Coltrane has been described as “the last great figure in the evolution of jazz”, who opened jazz up into a language of possibilities. He progressed from Be-Bop to Hard Bop to Free Style, and brought a spiritual sense to his music the culminated in his genius work Love Supreme.

Coltrane didn’t question his innate talent or technical brilliance, he allowed it to develop organically, seeing himself as part of a larger creative community as he descibed in a letter to Don DeMichael, in 1962:

The “jazz” musician (you can have this term along with others that have been foisted on us) does not have to worry about a lack of positive or affirmative philosophy. It’s built in us. The phrasing, the sound of the music attests this fact. We are naturally endowed with it. You can believe all of us would have perished long ago if it had not been so. As to community, the whole face of the globe is our community. You see, it is really easy for us to create. We are born with this feeling that just comes out no matter what conditions exist.

...

Truth is indestructible. It seems history shows (and it’s the same today) that the innovator is more often than not met with some degree of condemnation.; usually according to the degree of departure from the prevailing modes of expression or what have you. Change is always hard to accept. We also see these innovators always seek to revitalize, extend and reconstruct the status quo in their given fields, whatever is needed. Quite often they are rejects, outcasts, sub-citizens etc. of the very societies to which they bring so much sustenance. Often they are people who endure great personal tragedy in their lives. Whatever the case, whether accepted or rejected, rich or poor, they are forever guided by that great eternal constant - the creative urge.

Here’s Coltrane playing “My Favorite Things” - the crossover track that broke free of Be Bop, brought him a mainstream audience, and demonstrated complex harmonies and repetitions into “a hypnotic eastern dervish dance”. 
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Police might bring charges in bullying-related suicide of gay teen
09.23.2011
11:46 am

Topics:
Current Events
Queer

Tags:
bullying
Jamey Rodemeyer


 
Police in the Buffalo area are weighing whether or not to file criminal charges against the students who allegedly bullied 14-year-old gay teen Jamey Rodemeyer into killing himself. I hope they do. I think this story, as sad as it is, has a chance to educate conservative people who were on the fence about how to deal with gay bullying. There is a chance that some minds can be changed here.

The thing is, of course—despite what Michel Bachmann and her cronies might think—there should be a zero tolerance policy in the schools where this sort of behavior is concerned by the administration and teachers, but you can also point the finger at the students who knew this was going on and didn’t put social pressure on the bullies to stop what they were doing. Had a few of his classmates stood up to the jerks, or had they been ostracized for their behavior, Jamey might be alive today. It might have actually gotten better for him. I’m sure it would have, but he never got a chance to find out…

I can’t imagine what his pain felt like. I can’t even go there…

Police have opened a criminal investigation in the suicide death of Buffalo, N.Y., 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, who was bullied online with gay slurs for more than a year.

The teen’s parents, friends and even Lady Gaga, who was his idol, have expressed outrage about what they say was relentless torment on social networking websites.

The Amherst Police Department’s Special Victims Unit has said it will determine whether to charge some students with harassment, cyber-harassment or hate crimes. Police said three students in particular might have been involved. Jamey was a student at Heim Middle School.

Jamey had just started his freshman year at Williamsville North High School. (Both Amherst and Williamsville are just outside Buffalo.) But the bullying had begun during middle school, according to his parents. He had told family and friends that he had endured hateful comments in school and online, mostly related to his sexual orientation.

Jamey was found dead outside his home Sunday morning, but Amherst police would not release any details on how he killed himself.

Below, Diane Sawyer on ABC News, discusses the tragic death of young Jamey Rodemeyer:
 

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Via Joe.My.God

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Soft Machine live on the French TV, 1967
09.23.2011
11:10 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Soft Machine


 
More terrific footage of early Soft Machine. Robert Wyatt on drums and vocals, Kevin Ayers on bass and Mike Ratledge on organ. Killer, brutal take on “We Know What You Mean.”

For a band that were never that commercially successful, there certainly was a great deal of visual documentation of the group made throughout their existence and various incarnations. Not that I am complaining!

There is a bootleg DVD called Dada Was Here that I highly recommend looking out for on the various torrent trackers if you’re a Soft Machine fan. It’s the best anthology of their early performances as you are ever likely to find.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Mind-blowing Early Soft Machine footage, 1968

Via Robert Wyatt and Stuff

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Becky Fischer of ‘Jesus Camp’ infamy teaches kids to ‘raise the dead’


 
“I command you to come back to life in the name of Jesus!”

Creepy Pentecostal kids minister Becky Fischer, as seen in the documentary Jesus Camp, was somehow allowed into the Republic of Singapore recently where she offered her “special” Christianist skull-fucking to a group of defenseless children. Seen here, Fischer teaches children how to raise the dead!

Fischer, whose ministry has been described as fundamentalist “brain washing” or “child abuse” by many people, believes in speaking in tongues, exorcism, battling everyday “demons” and THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. She’s a brainless bigot who should not be allowed near children. Imagine what the parents of these kids must’ve thought seeing this video after the fact… Oddly, after all the mockery, abuse and criticism aimed at Fischer after Jesus Camp, these videos were posted on her own YouTube channel. You’d think she’d be more circumspect about how she shares “the good word.”

This is all kinds of wrong. You really have to see it to believe it. At around 6 minutes in this Christian, uh, liar, basically, tells the children that she knows kids who have prayed dead pets back to life.
 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Human Centipede 2’ world premiere and Dangerous Minds is there: Video and review
09.23.2011
12:47 am

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Tags:


 
Dangerous Minds is once again covering the action at Fantastic Fest, the best damn movie festival in the known universe.

The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) had its world premiere tonight at Austin’s Fantastic Fest and director Tom Six was there to take questions at the end of the screening. I filmed the Q&A and you can watch it below. But first I’ll share my thoughts on the film.

I have not seen The Human Centipede (First Sequence) which was released in 2009 to mostly scathing reviews and howls of disapproval from cultural watchdogs all over the globe. Roger Ebert called it “depraved and disgusting. (It) occupies a world where the stars don’t shine.”  Both the original and the sequel have been banned in England.

The new film is certainly graphic in more ways than you can imagine, however I think the outcry has less to do with violence than the fact that people simply cannot handle anything that subverts all notions of order in an increasingly disorderly world.

Since the first film got a shitload of press, most of you probably know what it’s about, but for those who don’t, here’s how the film’s distributor, IFC, describes The Human Centipede (First Sequence):

During a stopover in Germany in the middle of a carefree roadtrip through Europe, two American girls find themselves alone at night when their car breaks down in the woods. Searching for help at a nearby villa, they are wooed into the clutches of a deranged retired surgeon who explains his mad scientific vision to his captives’ utter horror. They are to be the subjects of his sick lifetime fantasy: to be the first to connect people, one to the next, via their gastric system, and in doing so bring to life ‘the human centipede’.

The sequel has a pretty nifty premise: A demented and delusional fan of The Human Centipede named Martin perceives the film as an instruction video and sets out on a mission to create his very own multi-legged monstrosity made out of hapless victims he lures to a warehouse under the pretext of conducting a casting call for the next Quentin Tarantino movie. Played with maniacal abandon by Laurence R. Harvey, who resembles a pudgy and bleached Peter Lorre, Martin performs all kinds of primitive surgery on his captives to create his centipedal masterpiece. This includes the removal of kneecaps, teeth, tongues and employing a staple gun and duct tape to attach mouth to ass to mouth to ass. You get the idea. It’s a particularly messy affair because, unlike the original mad doctor in First Sequence, Martin has no skills as a surgeon. His tools consist mostly of kitchen utensils and stuff you’d find in a tool box. The results resemble an explosion in a butcher shop.

Now I know for most of you this all sounds kind of tired. Torture porn is so 2005. But there’s something more going on in Six’s mad brain. First of all, the film is shot in stunning high definition black and white video by David Meadows. It has the stark glistening dankness of George Franju’s 1949 masterpiece Le Sang des bêtes which was filmed in a slaughterhouse. The scenes where Martin is at home with his deranged mother are clearly inspired by David Lynch’s Eraserhead, both in psychological tone and visually. Six is very skilled at controlling atmosphere and using camera angles to create a sense of disorientation and dread. The perspective is often from the point of view of something hovering in the corner of a ceiling like a ghost.

As to the film’s extreme transgressions, I may be going out on a limb here, but I think Six is up to something that is consciously political, a culture bomb dropped in the popcorn with the intent to detonate in the lap of the the status quo, to fuck with peoples’ heads, to dislodge the repressed from the dead formulas that no longer equate with freedom of thought and expression. The sight, in Centipede, of a throng of naked bodies lashed together, covered in blood and shit, and writhing on a grimy warehouse floor brought to mind films and images from the 1960s and 70s of the Vienna Actionists who were using violence to comment upon and mirror the carnage in Vietnam and sex and nudity as a tool to pry open those repressed areas of humanity’s collective psyche that keeps us domesticated like neutered poodles. I get the sense that Six’s provocations may actually be, like the Actionists, a deliberate attack on the new puritanism that is restraining our freedoms with the rusted chastity belt of religion and the uptight, politically correct, social standards that keep us civilized but miserable.

I also wonder if Six might not be using the torture porn genre to let us not forget, particularly Americans, that we do indeed torture people. There are moments in Centipede 2 where one is reminded of photos taken at Abu Ghraib. The piles of bodies, duct-taped mouths and hands bound by barbed wire.

On the other hand, maybe Six is just an exploitation film maker with a good measure of skill and no agenda beyond titillating a bunch of mouth-breathing teenagers. If so, he may have accidentally made an art film.

As an entertainment Centipede is about as much fun as diving into a tub of razorblades. Although I did find myself laughing out loud at certain scenes, most likely causing the people around me to question my sanity, the movie is not the kind of comedy that most so-called well-adjusted people will enjoy (which is probably the point). It’s too sick. As a horror flick , the plot has the slimmest of narratives is devoid of tension and not even remotely frightening. And it’s unimaginable as a date movie unless you’re dating Casey Anthony.

Ultimately, The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) is not a very good movie movie, but as pure cinema it is a force to be reckoned with. It will probably be shunned by a majority of film goers, disappear, and be resuscitated years from now as some kind of transgressive masterpiece. Or maybe not. The one thing I know for sure is that people are going to hate it. Which may be exactly what Tom Six is aiming for.

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) opens October 7 in select theaters in the USA. If you live in England, forget about it.

The New York Times reports:

When it, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) , was presented over the summer to the British Board of Film Classification, the equivalent of the Motion Picture Association of America, the board refused to give it any rating at all, meaning that the movie cannot be shown or sold legally in that country. Explaining its decision, the board said: “There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalized, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience.” It added that any further editing of the film would not make it acceptable for presentation.

Tom Six and cast members interviewed by Fantastic Fest founder Tim League and members of the audience:
 

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‘If you don’t like ‘Snuff Box,’ you’re an asshole’


 
I’ve practically been an evangelist for Snuff Box for these past five years, so I’m happy to report that at long last one of the decade’s hidden comedic gems will finally be coming out on DVD stateside. Snuff Box will be released in the US by Severin Films on October 11th.

What is Snuff Box? It’s the legendary BBC series written by and starring Britain’s Matt Berry (The IT Crowd, Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place) and American Rich Fulcher (The Mighty Boosh, The Sarah Silverman Program) that only aired once yet instantly entered cult infamy. It’s a combination of depraved sitcom about a pair of jovial hangmen and twisted sketch comedy ala Monty Python, filled with bad first dates, time travel, sex, whiskey, awkward moments, random beatings, snappy musical numbers, one very long white hall, rampant swearing and other pleasures. It’s the show critics have called “one the best kept secrets in the history of British comedy,” now on DVD for the first time ever in America!

Featuring commentaries from Berry, Fulcher and director Michael Cumming, “testimonials” from well-known fans of the show, behind the scenes featurettes and outtakes. There’s even a separate CD of Matt Berry’s striking original Snuff Box soundtrack music, a treat in itself.

Have a look at the new trailer featuring Simon Pegg, Paul Rudd, Noel Fielding, Rob Coddry, Rob Schrab, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Paul Scheer and yours truly. What Paul Scheer says at the end is, of course, totally true…
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Snuff Box: The Best Sketch Comedy Show You’ve Never Heard Of

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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