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How to dance to Kraftwerk: All you need to know
01.27.2013
05:41 pm

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Music

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From the Dangerous Minds archives:

Yes, this is how it’s done.

Dancing to Kraftwerk’s “Numbers” on the legendary Detroit cable TV program The New Dance Show.

The only problem with this video is it’s too short. I could have watched this for hours.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
A nitty gritty and poetic documentary on the Mississippi blues
01.27.2013
03:29 pm

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Art
Environment
History
Music

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In 1983, French director Bertrand Tavernier took a road trip through the American south. Along for the ride was veteran film maker Robert Parrish (who was born in Georgia). Together they documented the customs, folklore, religion and music of rural areas in and around Oxford, Mississippi. The result is Mississippi Blues, a lively, beautifully filmed movie that is permeated with the soul and spirit of a rapidly disappearing part of America.

The yin/yang of the two directors creates a nice balance between Tavernier’s romanticism (he seems to find poetry in everything) and Parrish’s down-to-earth sense of a culture he knows well.

This is truly a wonderful bit of film making that offers not only marvelous imagery but a beat you can dance to.

Mississippi Blues is out of print on VHS and has inexplicably never been released on DVD. Here’s a rare opportunity to watch it.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Warhol’s ‘Get Smart’ art for TV Guide
01.27.2013
03:01 am

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Art
Media
Pop Culture
Television

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TV guide commissioned Andy Warhol to design a cover and a series of fashion pages with Get Smart star Barbara Feldon using photographs by fashion photographer Roger Prigent.

Warhol certainly made the March 5th, 1966 issue of TV guide pop!
 
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Thanks Charles Lieurance.

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‘Kubricks’: Premiere of feature trailer for the Dean Cavanagh/Alan McGee film
01.26.2013
07:17 pm

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Movies
Occult
Unorthodox

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The first full-length feature trailer for Dean Cavanagh’s Kubricks has been released. And its producer, the former Head of Creation Records, Alan McGee is in shock.

‘I think I’m in shock, well I know I am in shock, and I think even Dean’s in shock and he’s made films before.’

Written by Dean and Josh Cavanagh, Kubricks stars Roger Evans, Joanna Pickering, Gavin Bain, Chris Madden, Matthew Blakey and Alan McGee. It deals with a director’s obsessive fantasies, and is part Kenneth Anger, J. G. Ballard and Stanley Kubrick.

‘The whole thing was like an experiment really,’ McGee explains. ‘I actually didn’t know if we could do it, because we had never made a full length feature film before. I thought we’d probably have something that we could show people, but we’ve done much better than that—we’ve made a film. It is genuinely out there, but I think it’s really good.’

Cavanagh agrees and tells me Kubricks is ‘A no budget experiment that didn’t end in disaster and taught all involved that Turner’s quote in Performance “The only performance that makes it, that makes it all the way, is the one that achieves madness” was really on the money.’

‘I suppose the way you can look at it is, we’re Scritti Politti doing “Skank Bloc Bologna”,’ adds McGee. ‘It’s total D.I.Y. Dean had never directed. I had never produced a film or organized it, or been in one all the way through. Joanna Pickering had never had a major role in a film before. Roger Evans had never had a lead role in a film before. And I don’t think Gavin Bain had even been in a film before. So, you have all these people who are living the dream, so to speak, they’re all wanting to be in a film and wanting it to be great. But probably deep down in our hearts, we thought we’ll be lucky if we come out with something, but let’s try it anyway. And unbelievably, it’s good. It’s really good.’

Kubricks Written & Directed by Dean Cavanagh & Josh Cavanagh; Produced by Alan McGee; Director of Photography Tom Mitchell; Starring Roger Evans, Joanna Pickering, Gavin Bain, Chris Madden and Matthew Blakey.

Coming soon.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Dean Cavanagh: Exclusive interview with the writer and director of ‘Kubricks’


Alan McGee: Talks Magick, Music and about his new Movie ‘Kubricks’


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
When heroes stumble: Lou Reed’s perfectly awful rap song
01.26.2013
03:56 pm

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Music
Punk

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The Guardian’s website has an amusing article on the five worst rap songs ever, of which I’ve chosen one to ruin your day. Sadly, it’s from one of my heroes: Lou Reed.
 
Now we all know that Lou can straddle the line between being brilliant and being absolutely awful. His recent collaboration with Metallica being an example of the awful. As is the tune “The Original Wrapper” from Reed’s rather wretched 1985 album Mistrial. The song’s title is a pun on the fact that Reed could arguably be considered one of music’s original rappers, at least when it comes to white guys. When he’s insincttively doing his thing, like in “Walk On The Wild Side,” Reed’s style has a nice flow. It’s when he tries to put quotations marks around what he does and attempts to rap in a style that is overtly “rap” that he looks the fool. This is where rap becomes “wrap” - contained, sealed and insensate.

“The Original Wrapper” isn’t just a bad rap song, its a bad 80s song. Listen to the generic syndrums, processed guitar licks and overall tawdry production. The sound of Reed’s de-evolution.

And the colored girls go “oh no.”
 

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O, You Pretty Things: Terence Stamp and Jean Shrimpton model knitwear, 1967
01.26.2013
10:06 am

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Fashion
History

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Such a beautiful couple. Shame about the knitwear.

Terence Stamp and Jean Shrimpton model for Ladies Home Journal, September 1967.
 
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Previously on Dangerous Minds

Terence Stamp on Being, Nothingness, Acting and the Devil: A rare interview from 1978


 
Via Jean Shrimpton Tumblr
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Getting over the creeps: An interview with Bush Tetras’ Cynthia Sley
01.25.2013
11:07 pm

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Music
Punk

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The Bush Tetras were a formidable force in Manhattan’s downtown rock scene. A deadly serious quartet that were loud, funky, intense and more than a little bit intimidating, particularly to those of us male rockers who couldn’t quite figure out if we were among the ones giving the Tetras the “creeps” - that jittery mixture of raw nerves and repulsion that figured into the bands best-known song “Too Many Creeps.”

Chick bands had mostly been a joke until punk came along. Suddenly guitars were wrenched from the sweaty hands of a bunch of guys whose last dominion was being shattered right in front of their faces. Even the Tetras’ male drummer, Dee Pop, looked nervous. Rock ‘n’ roll swagger was now, like CBGB’s bathroom, no longer gender specific. The Bush Tetras had ripped the doors off their hinges.

I recently had the pleasure of shooting the cybernetic shit with Bush Tetras’ lead singer Cynthia Sley. Along with the obligatory rock ‘n’ roll banter, we discussed the bands’ newly released album Happy, a project recorded in 1998 but lost in record company hell.     

Marc Campbell: Talk a little bit about the history of Happy. The recording, writing, etc.

Cynthia Sley: Happy was recorded in 1998 with Don Fleming producing. We had lost Laura Kennedy as our bassist in 1997 and asked Julia Murphy to join soon after. With her, we wrote the majority of Happy in a rehearsal studio owned by Paul Simon’s son in Soho. The lyrics were mostly written by me on this one, but we did our usual “jam” type of writing in that studio – a riff from Pat (Place) would trigger some lyrics; a drumbeat would trigger a bass line. I think the record reflects Pat and my interest in some of the bands that were around then – Soundgarden, Alice in Chains… without losing any of our sound. It was a great experience recording with Don. He is so creative and fun, and really helped us refine the songs.

Marc: A lot of young punk bands got major deals only to have the labels drop the ball and blow it, costing many of those bands their careers. There was a scramble to find the next Blondie or Talking Heads. Sadly, the labels had no idea what to do with the bands after they signed them. Was this your experience?

Cynthia: Back in the day, we were always on indie labels and I think we were out of the majors’ radar, even while we were on Polygram. It just happened that Beauty records took over the deal with Tim/Kerr after the first album came out and Beauty was a subsidiary of Polygram. We had just finished the artwork when we were, very unceremoniously, dropped by Polygram… along with many other bands. And that was the end of that. We even disbanded for a few years – it was that heartbreaking. But we never could quite give up the Tetras. Something always brings us back together. Then we finally got the okay for releasing the Happy record in 2012. It’s such a wonderful thing to have it out there for people to hear.

Marc: The Bush Tetras seem as relevant and fresh as ever. What is it about your band and some of the other bands to come out of Manhattan in the late 70s and early 80s that make them so vital even today?

Cynthia: Who knows? I always think we are such an anomaly of a band. What we did was not purposefully anything. We just always did what we did. It was a creative hub there in Manhattan at that time, and it did provide a good breeding ground for innovative music and art.

Marc: Do you miss the New York of that era?

Cynthia: Sure. But as Robert Frank said to me once when I asked him that same question, “New York always changes and it always will. If you don’t like it, you just have to leave. You can’t stop the changes.” I have learned it’s not great to keep looking back too nostalgically. You can start to sound like those sad old people who long for their high school years.

Marc: Any bands you’re really digging these days?

Cynthia: I like some of the noise rock I hear through my son, Austin. He has a band called Sediment Club I love. I like the minimal sound and the raw energy of it. I like Black Keys and the Kills. I saw the Raveonettes recently and loved their set.

Marc: Other than play music, what do you do? What’s your day gig?

Cynthia: I teach second graders at a charter school in a Mexican neighborhood here. The kids are amazing and the rewards are huge, but it is a lot of work.

Marc: What’s in the future for Bush Tetras.

Cynthia: We will be playing in NYC on March 29th and 30th at the Slipper Room. We are planning on writing some new songs this summer, hopefully.

Marc: Favorite writers, films, musicians?

Cynthia: Yikes. I would have to say I loved Beasts of the Southern Wild this last year, but can’t say I have a favorite movie, as I am a huge movie fanatic. Neil Young continues to be my favorite. My favorite writer is a hard one, too. It may have to be Luc Sante.

Marc: Cool. Thank you Cynthia.
 
If you’d like your very own copy of Happy, you can purchase one here.

And here’s a taste: Fan-made video for “Heart Attack,” my favorite track from Happy.
 

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Dr. Feelgood with Wilko Johnson raw and live in Finland, 1975
01.25.2013
08:24 pm

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Music
Punk

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Despite choosing not to submit himself to chemotherapy as a treatment for his terminal pancreatic cancer, Wilko Johnson is not going quietly into that dark night. The former Dr. Feelgood lead guitar player will be doing a series of sold-out farewell gigs in England. That’s one hell of a way to say “fuck you” to cancer and quite a testimony to Johnson’s love of music.

If you haven’t been seduced by the tightly wound rhythm and blues of Dr. Feelgood, here’s a video of the band live that was broadcast on Finnish TV in 1975 that will show you why the band was embraced not only by fans of r&b, but punks as well. The audio is a bit thin, but you’ll get the idea. Includes an interview with a very young Wilko and lead singer Lee Brilleaux.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Shishani: Award-winning Soul artist releases video for her new LGBTI Equality anthem ‘Minority’
01.25.2013
08:11 pm

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Activism
Feminism
Music
Politics
Queer

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The excellent blog Spectra Speaks reports that award-winning African artist Shishani, has just released a video for her new LGBTI Equality anthem “Minority”.

Award-winning acoustic soul artist, Shishani, has just released the music video for her latest single titled, “Minority”, a catchy, upbeat, acoustic track that calls for freedom and equality for all people despite perceived differences.

Shishani got her big break when she performed at the 2011 Namibian Annual Music Awards in the capital city of Windhoek, where it’s still illegal to be gay. And though, she says, she’s made no real attempts to hide her sexuality, she hasn’t come out as an “out lesbian artist” till now.

“I wanted people to get to know my music,” she says, “Sexuality doesn’t matter. It’s like pasta — asking if you prefer spaghetti or macaroni. It just doesn’t matter… I’m an artist first, before being a gay artist.”

Nambia is one of several African countries where Homosexuality is illegal, and “LGBTI people risk harassment and violence due to a strong culture of stigma in part reignited by religious leaders and government officials.”

As an African musician who identifies as being a part of the LGBTI community, the lyrics of “Minority” no doubt challenge the infamous meme “Homosexuality is unAfrican.” But, Shishan insists, her song is about much more than being gay.

“In Namibia, it also makes a difference what ethnicity you are. “Minority” argues for equal rights for all people regardless of their cultural backgrounds, economic status, sexuality, religion,” she says, “There is so much systemic discrimination against people, for so many reasons.”

The release of “Minority” is timely; January is the month in which outspoken Ugandan LGBT activist, David Kato was bludgeoned to death in an anti-gay attack three years ago, sparking an outcry from fellow African human rights activists. January is also the month in which people in the U.S.–perhaps even all over the world–celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a powerful civil rights leader and icon. His call for freedom and equality of all people has been taken up by activists all over the world, including Shishani, whose lyrics echo his principles of love and unity.

“Homophobia all over the world comes from the same place; colonialism, apartheid, racial segregation. All our struggles are connected.”

Read the interview with Shishani at Spectra Speaks.

Follow Spectra Speaks on Twitter. Shishani on Facebook.
 

 
With thanks to the wonderful June Millington
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Happy Burns Night: Here’s a documentary on the People’s Poet Rabbie Burns
01.25.2013
06:18 pm

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Art
Books
Literature
Politics

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Today is Robert Burns’ birthday, and across the world traditional suppers are held to celebrate the life and poetry of Scotland’s national Bard.

I have never been one for those couthy ritualistic gatherings, where toasts are given to the lads and lassies, and where some elder with a tartan to match his face, gives an address to the haggis. For me these suppers have little to do with Burns the man and poet, who could write such beauty as:

But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, its bloom
is shed;

Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white - then melts
for ever;

Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;

Or like the rainbow’s lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm. -

Nae man can tether time or tide;

No, I prefer to see Robert Burns as great poet, a revolutionary, a socialist, an egalitarian, who believed ‘a man’s a man for a’ that’ and wrote to inspire a better world:

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a’ that,)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.

For a’ that, an’ a’ that,

That man to man, the world o’er,

Shall brithers be for a’ that.

Burns’ idealism was often compromised by the financial demands of his everyday life - and what a life. A poet, a ploughman, a lover, a drinker, a revolutionary, a government lackey, a hero, a destitute. As Andrew O’Hagan points out in this excellent documentary Robert Burns: The People’s Poet, Burns was the equivalent of a rock star in his day, a writer of songs (“Auld Lang Syne”, “Ae Fond Kiss”, “My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose”, “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye”) and poems (“Tam O’Shanter”, “Holy Wuillie’s Prayer”, “To A Mouse”, “Cock Up Your Beaver”) that enchanted a nation and the world.

It was his ability to touch the heart and mind of his readers and to make them empathize with his subject matter, whether this was love, revolution in France or simply a mouse:

That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,

Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

He was idolized by the public, and was a hero and inspiration to the likes of Beethoven and Byron. At a time of great oppression he spoke out against slavery, inequality, and poverty. Burns wanted liberty and fairness for all. Yet he died in poverty, hounded by creditors, and near-broken as a man.

That Rabbie Burns is still read, performed and celebrated 200 years after his death, says all about his importance as a poet and the relevance of his belief for a better world, where all are equal and share the common wealth.

O’Hagan’s documentary Robert Burns: The People’s Poet is no hagiography, but controversially questions many of the assumptions made about this radical poet, and examines the incredible dramatic and often tragic circumstances of his life.

A selection of Burns poems read by the likes of Brian Cox, Robbie Coltrane and Alan Cumming.

Portrait of Burns by Calum Colvin.
 

 

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