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The Godmother: Queen of cocaine Griselda Blanco, shot dead at age 69
09.04.2012
09:47 pm

Topics:
Books
Crime
Drugs

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One of the most influential drug lords of all time, Griselda Blanco has been shot dead. Credited as the “innovator” of drive-by shooting on motorcycle, Blanco was eventually felled by her own technique. She was known as much for her ruthlessness as the massive amounts of cocaine she smuggled; her body count included multiple late husbands, and her ex-lover said she killed a 10-year-old after his parents refused to pay his ransom.

Outliving Pablo Escobar and serving her time, Griselda Blanco had some of the bloodiest hands in Colombia. Her life was chronicled in 1990’s gloriously pulpy (and-now-out-of-print-so-be-jealous-I-have-one) The Godmother, as well as the 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin’ With The Godmother, the sequel to the more comprehensive, Cocaine Cowboys.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
UKNova gone: Another torrent tracker bites the dust
09.04.2012
08:00 pm

Topics:
Television

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Private membership torrent tracker UKNova, a community entirely devoted to UK television programming, has been voluntarily closed by the proprietors. One of the older torrent trackers on the Internet, UKNova launched in 2004 as a place where British expats could get their fix of soap operas like Coronation Street and EastEnders, football matches and BBC comedy.

UKNova has long had the reputation as an “ethical” torrent tracker, bending over backwards not to encourage digital piracy. Torrents expired there after 30 days and anything out on DVD was prohibited, or immediately removed once a DVD release was even announced.

Since last week, the following message has greeted members when they’ve logged on:

To the members of UKNova.

UKNova is being forced to change. We have been issued with a “cease and desist” order by FACT (The Federation Against Copyright Theft).

Despite our efforts to cooperate with the UK media companies, FACT have stated: “ALL links or access to content provided by UKNova are infringing, unless it can be proven that explicit permission from the copyright holder for that content has been obtained”.

Whilst we believe that they are wrong both legally and morally on account of the strong ‘no commercial content’ stance that we have always taken, we are not in a position to be able to risk lengthy and costly court battles to prove this. Therefore we have no other option but to close down the trackers. It has not been an easy decision to take, but it is apparently our only option.

The forums will remain open for business as usual. Torrents and their associated pages will disappear over the next few hours.

Our heartfelt thanks go to all, past and present, who have worked tirelessly, often thanklessly, for the good of our community.

Memo to BBC: If your iPlayer was on offer in the US of A, I would happily pay $5 a month for the pleasure. Just sayin’.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Wendy James: Exclusive interview and new tracks with James Williamson & James Sclavunos
09.04.2012
07:22 pm

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

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Wendy James has been busy. Since the release of her superb album I Came Here to Blow Minds last year, Wendy has been traveling the world, writing, performing and recording across New York, London, Paris, and Los Angeles. She has also been working on her next album and single with the legendary James Williamson and James Sclavunos.

In an exclusive interview, Wendy James tells Dangerous Minds about working with Williamson and Sclavunos on her latest Double A-side single, which we premiere below.

DM: What are you working on just now?

Wendy James: ‘I’m getting this single out, which really is a Double A side speciality to be released on beautiful Vinyl and Download.

‘It’s a speciality as I don’t usually do cover versions and of course, because of the line up of the players. It’s the first and only time James Williamson from The Stooges has recorded anything other than a Stooges or Iggy record. And I got ‘Big’ Jim Sclavunos from the Bad Seeds and Grinderman on drums. Steve Mackay, the famed Baritone Sax player from the Stooges, does a great part too. Between us we hand in a pretty powerful sound I think!! We started off thinking ‘Why not go into the studio and make a Single?’ Well the Bob Dylan track “It’s Alright Ma” is 7 minutes long so instead of it being a 45” single we have put it onto 10”. Literally there are not enough grooves on a 45” to allow for that length of song!

‘The other song “You’re So Great” is a cover of Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith’s number from his band Sonic’s Rendezvous Band. The more space the better on a 12” or 10” vinyl so you can make great artwork, read the credits etc… It’s all very tactile once you’re on Vinyl. You master differently, you mix differently, you actually strip away a lot of the artifice of an overly-compressed digital sound, you really get bass end, you really get depth of field. It’s very, very exciting in the studio to as you literally the hear the compositions coming together.’

DM: How did you decide to cover Dylan’s ‘I’m Alright Ma’?

Wendy James: ‘I have a whole new album of original numbers, plus my choice of one cover: “You’re So Great” by Sonic’s Rendezvous Band. I was talking through the whole thing with James and he looked at his Stooges touring diary at that time (June) and he figured he could carve out a number of days for us to work, not enough time to make a whole album then, but enough to make a single. It seemed obvious to me that James should play “You’re So Great” which is tailor made Detroit attitude from Fred Smith and even to the point that Scott Asheton from The Stooges played in that line-up, so, we agreed to do that song and then just through conversation, James asked me what my favorite Bob Dylan number was, and I said “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding”. You know the clarity and purpose of those lyrics have never been bettered and never will be. They are finite. They are IT. So… just like that, we decided to do both these covers and make it a special, and of course put the numbers onto my album later, and to deal with recording the whole album a few weeks later.

‘So that is how it came together, in a series of babbling enthusiastic sentences propelled by both of us that resulted in us then blocking time in a recording studio and saying ‘Ok, see you in 3 weeks.’ Believe me we took on more than seemed apparent at first! To tongue twist your voice around all Dylans’ words and then at the speed at which James plays guitar, and for 7 minutes, and make it flow naturally and mean it! In the end, I understood every breath, every intention of Dylans’ phrasing and choice of words, but for a good week or so, I was the crazy lady in Washington Square Park walking around the periphery of the park muttering lyrics to myself, learning them!! (But… it’s not unusual in Washington Square Park to see muttering bums! So I generally went un-noticed!)’

And Fred ‘Sonic’ Smiths You’re So Great’ - why’d you choose that?

Wendy James: “You’re So Great” is just perfect pop. Three minutes of power and attitude. I love it, it’s always been a favorite of mine. I love Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, largely un-championed, except for us musicians and fans that revel in all things Detroit and Ann Arbor! They never recorded this in a studio so I had to rely on myriad live recordings and it was impossible to understand all the lyrics, so… James asked Scott Asheton and Patti Smith if Fred ever wrote them down, but he didn’t, and Patti said ‘Go ahead and fill in the blanks’. I think we got pretty damn close! And James just plays it so good! It’s his kind of thing, and mine too… So, it worked out very well, you know jumping around the studio saying ‘This is it, This is it’.

‘My friend in NYC has DJ’d it out in New York now to 1000 + people and he said the dance floor was slamming… I got texts through the night saying ‘Your Track Rules’! Very encouraging!’
 
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DM: How did you become involved with Williamson and Sclavunous?

Wendy James: ‘James Sclavunos and I know each other socially from NYC and West London. James Williamson and I met around December last year. My friendships with both men just naturally evolved based on music and the tentative early discussions of doing something together. I share with both of them, and especially with James W, a very similar kind of look at things and taste in music, even humor, literature, you know, those typical conversations about ‘What’s your favorite movie?’ What book are you reading?’ etc etc… so. There was plenty of friendship there between all three of us when we finally walked into Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California.’

DM: Tell me about working with them on ‘It’s Alright Ma’ and ‘You’re So Great’?

Wendy James: Well, we’re all pretty fluid musicians, so… it’s literally what it sounds like. Jim played Drums and Percussion, James played Guitar and Bass, I sang and played keyboards… and between the three of us, playing live together and Jesse Nichols at the helm behind the mixing desk moving as quickly and as frenetically as we did! Keeping tabs on all the stuff that was going down, we really did just play both songs live until we reached a peak. Then you know, go back in the control room, listen back, identify any improvements and overdubs, and… yeah… musicians working. That’s what you do, That’s how you do it.

DM: What are you working on with them?

Wendy James: ‘Now it’s my whole album. The songs are nearly complete, I definitely have two left to write. Then it comes down to scheduling: Whether we have to grab time in pieces, or block book for a period of weeks, I expect to be underway in a matter of weeks and delivered by beginning 2013. Released Spring 2013. In the meantime this single will come out.’

DM: When will ‘I’m Alright Ma’ / ‘You’re So Great’ be released?

Wendy James:  ‘October/November. The company people are debating the best time for them now, it’s got little to do with me, but it’s coming up quick! So, in preparation, I’m doing a couple of photo sessions, finishing up my song writing, and finalizing artwork choices. You know six weeks go by very quickly when you’re planning an album or a single release, and so, with something like this, there hasn’t been any let-up since James Williamson and I decided to do it!’

We look forward to hearing more from the always welcome Wendy James.

Thanks to Ricardo Gomes for the fab photograph of Wendy James.
 

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Wendy James wants to blow your mind


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Alice Cooper’s unused 1974 James Bond theme
09.04.2012
04:43 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

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Alice Cooper’s pretty awful attempt at a title tune for the James Bond film, The Man With The Golden Gun, was given to Bond producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, but they chose instead to go with Lulu’s far more lascivious number, the raunchiest of all the Bond themes.

I think they made the right call. Some people hate the Lulu song, but it’s one of my top favorites, up there with Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” and Tom Jones belting out “Thunderball.”

“The Man With The Golden Gun” would appear on the final Alice Cooper group album, 1974’s equally tired Muscle of Love.

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Thunderball’ opening credits with the theme song that Johnny Cash submitted

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Puke-worthy Pier 1 Imports ‘rap’ retail training and motivational video
09.04.2012
02:54 pm

Topics:
Amusing

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According to the YouTube description, this Pier 1 Imports rap-style “Let’s” Coaching (their name not mine) training video was made in 2003! Normally these kind of craptastic rap gems are from the late 80s and early 90s!

I can’t believe some ad agency (in this case, the comically named RAProductions) actually got paid to come up with an idea like this in 2003…

Now, let’s connect with the customer and make a sale y’all!
 

 
With thanks to Glen E. Friedman!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘The Man from Bloomfield Hills’: The story of Mitt Romney
09.04.2012
02:41 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Class War
Idiocracy
Politics

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In case you missed that “humanizing” biopic of Mittens at the convention last week, this should suffice…

An ART NOT WAR production starring Kerri Kenney as Ann Romney. Narrated by Alex Fernie. Produced by Daron Murphy & David Ambrose. Directed by Laura Dawn. Written by Laura Dawn, Eddie Geller, & Daron Murphy.

More at www.manfrombloomfieldhills.com.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Pimpin’ Aint Easy: Electrifying 1977 Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson show
09.04.2012
02:07 pm

Topics:
Music

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Johnny “Guitar” Watson, who took his stage name from the campy Joan Crawford western Johnny Guitar, was a highly influential soul, blues and funk guitarist whose career began in the early 1950s. Watson attacked his guitar strings so hard (“stressified on them,” as he put it) that he would often have to replace them during a performance. Listen to his 1954 number “Space Guitar” and tell me this isn’t the most crazy, sci-fi advanced guitar playing that was done in that entire decade. The man is beating the shit out of his guitar here. He’s also pioneering the use of feedback and reverb as well:
 

 
Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Frank Zappa were known to be aficionados of Watson’s innovative guitar technique and showmanship. In a 1979 interview, Zappa stated that Watson’s 1956 song “Three Hours Past Midnight” was his favorite song of all time and “inspired me to become a guitarist”:
 

 
Watson’s “Gangster of Love” was covered by Steve Miller and referenced, too, in Miller’s AM radio classics “The Joker” (“Some call me the gangster of love”) and “Space Cowboy” (“Some call me the a gangster of love”; “Is your name “Stevie ‘Guitar’ Miller?”)

In the late 1960s, Watson’s slick soulster style pompadour hairdo gave way to a new look: fedoras, gold teeth, bell-bottom suits, platform shoes, huge sunglasses and flashy jewelry. Watson dressed like a pimp and acted like a pimp and according to Sam Cooke biographer, Peter Guralnick, Watson was an actual pimp (because it “paid better” than music!).

The mid to late 1970s was the time of Watson’s biggest fame. He died in 1996 while touring in Japan.

This 45-minute performance on the German TV series Musikladen from 1977 absolutely tears the roof off the mother. His band is insanely good, too.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Barbie© Anatomy Model
09.04.2012
01:17 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:

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This Barbie© Anatomy Model by Jason Freeny is all kinds of great and horrifying at the same time.

Too bad this model isn’t available for purchase. However prints are, and you can check ‘em out at Freeny’s site.
 
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Via Laughing Squid

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Creationist goofball thinks ‘Bill Nye really doesn’t understand science’!
09.04.2012
12:35 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Belief
Science/Tech

Tags:

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Creationist tool Ken Ham—who believes that the Earth was created 6000 years ago and in the literal truth of Noah’s ark and the great flood (where did the animals on the ark shit, Ken?) has some fightin’ words for Bill Nye, “The Humanist Guy” in response to Nye’s Big Think “Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children” viral video.

Oh dear…
 

 
Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Handwritten Captain Beefheart poem: ‘Progress is Chanel No. 5 on the rocks’
09.04.2012
11:28 am

Topics:
Art
Heroes
Music

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This is from a now closed auction at Record Mecca, by way of the Zappateers site:

“A very large poem handwritten by Captain Beefheart on the back of a concert poster, signed “Don Van Vliet ‘75,” with a drawing of a foot surrounded by musical notes. This is the most extraordinary Beefheart item we’ve seen, and the letter of authenticity from music writer and label executive Bill Bentley explains it all: “In 1975 I interviewed Captain Beefheart at the Armadillo World Headquarters for the Austin (TX) Sun. Beefheart was appearing there with Frank Zappa’s band, recording a live album (Bongo Fury.) After the interview I asked Captain Beefheart to draw me a picture, since he was doodling as we spoke. He got a poster from another Armadillo show and on the back quickly wrote out this poem. The words flowed out of him spontaneously. He signed it and handed it to me, and then took it back. He added at the end, “Progress is Channel No. 5 on the rocks,” and then drew a foot around those words with notes circling it. He called it his “footnote.” As I got ready to leave, I started to fold the poster. He said very loudly, “No!” He took it from me and rolled it up before handing it back, and said “Some day you’ll thank me.” He didn’t want me to crease the poster, knowing it would adversely affect the value. We ran the poem along with the interview shortly after in the Austin Sun.” Written on the back of an Armadillo poster for the band Greezy Wheels, 11 1/2” x 17 1/2”, in very good plus condition with some tape pulling around the edges and a missing bit of paper on the top right edge. Unique. With our written lifetime guarantee of authenticity.”

Larger view here.

The Magic Band will be performing live at the three-day Greg Dulli/All Tomorrow’s Parties-curated “I’ll Be Your Mirror” music festival in NYC on Sunday, September 23rd.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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