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Where’s Kenneth?: Anger films The Rolling Stones
12.16.2012
08:27 am

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Amusing
Heroes
History
Movies
Music
Pop Culture

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Kenneth Anger filming The Rolling Stones at their Hyde Park concert, for his film Invocation of My Demon Brother, in 1969.
 
Via and with H/T to Making Light Of It
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Just three more days to enter the Dangerous Minds ‘12 Days of Zappa’ Xmas giveaway!!!
12.15.2012
11:57 am

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Heroes
Music

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UPDATE: The winner is Richard Swanson! Congratulations!

Thanks to the kind folks at the Universal Music Group, Dangerous Minds will be giving away TWELVE, that’s right, TWELVE Frank Zappa CDs, personally selected by yours truly, the arch Zappa freak who is sitting beneath a painting of Frank and the Mothers of Invention above my desk as I type this.

Did I say twelve? I meant THIRTEEN Zappa albums (and some selections contain multiple discs)!

My selection concentrates on my favorite era of Zappa’s vast oeuvre, the early years when he worked with his best collaborators, in my opinion at least, the original Mothers.

“These Mothers is crazy. One guy wears beads & they all smell bad.”—Suzy Creamcheese

The lucky winner will receive:

Freak Out!
Absolutely Free
Lumpy Gravy
We’re Only in It for the Money
Uncle Meat
Hot Rats
Burnt Weeny Sandwich
Weasels Ripped My Flesh
Ahead of Their Time
You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 5
The Lost Episodes
Mystery Disc

Plus one glorious example of Zappa’s admittedly sketchier, mid-period: the sprawling 3-CD set, Läther, making this prize a BAKER’S DOZEN of Zappa goodies for one lucky reader!

To enter, it’s simple: First you must be signed up to receive the Dangerous Minds Daily Newsletter via email (look for the sign-up widget in the top toolbar of this page) and “like” the official Frank Zappa Facebook fanpage. Then you have to leave a comment below, telling us why you deserve to win. (If you’ve already commented on the earlier post, it’s not necessary to do it twice).

One newsletter subscriber will be chosen by the editors of Dangerous Minds to receive this musical bounty. The winner will be picked on Monday, December 17th, 2012. Good luck!

Below, a fantastic 1971 Dutch documentary that spends a day with Frank Zappa from Holland’s VPRO.
 

 
Big thanks to UMe’s Adam Starr!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Watch the five best cult British movies you’ve (probably) never seen - selected by Julian Upton
12.15.2012
10:10 am

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Movies

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Picture this. Someone’s got a gun to your head, and you’ve got to recite great British bands. The second you stop, you’re dead… Well, it’d be an awkward way to go about your life, but I daresay you could still enjoy a surprisingly long innings. Now imagine it was films. Cripes! “Ummm, Brief Encounter, Withnail and I, The Life of Brian, Performance, The Wicker Man… ummm…4 Weddings and a…” BANG!

Don’t get me wrong, the Brits have made many good flicks, but they feel so over-familiar that you can find yourself suspecting that they constitute a fig-leaf covering a peculiar national nudity…

Enter Julian Upton and his terrific new book Offbeat, a guide to the predominantly uncharted terrain of great cult British cinema, with sparkling reviews of over a hundred lost classics, along with other interviews and essays documenting the highs and lows of the British film industry “from the buoyant leap in film production in the late fifties to the dying embers of popular domestic cinema in the early eighties.”

Months in advance of the worldwide paperback release, one hundred copies only were released yesterday by Headpress, in a beautiful fully illustrated, hardcover, heavy paper edition, with head and tail bands, plus a ribbon (!) available right here and here only for the special price of £22.50 (which is like $33-and-a-tiny-tiny-tiny-bit, plus a couple of dollars US postage). And Mr Upton has been good enough to personally compile and introduce - exclusively for Dangerous Minds - five of the best cult British movies you’ve (probably) never seen. Plus, you can watch them all here, one after the other over the course of your weekend, or at least until some lawyer somewhere gets them taken the fuck down

1. Cash On Demand (Quentin Lawrence. 1961)
 

 

“This taut little thriller about a stuffy bank manager, Fordyce, hoodwinked into helping to rob his own bank on Christmas Eve is perhaps the ne plus ultra of the 60s British B Movie. The premise is ingenious, the pacing drumskin-tight and the performances from Peter Cushing (as the angular, priggish Fordyce) and Andre Morell (as his louche, villainous tormentor) first rate. Imagine a well-mannered Dog Day Afternoon without guns or loosened clothing. But Cash On Demand is no less tense, gripping and enjoyable. It’s just that the English prefer their bank heists to have rather less shouting and carrying on.”

 
2. Night of the Eagle (Sidney Hayers. 1962)
 

 

“Often compared to — but too often overshadowed by — Jacques Tourneur’s 1957 similarly-titled British classic Night of the Demon, this is a minor masterpiece in its own right. A heady tale of horror set on a university campus, Night of the Eagle sees supernatural skeptic Professor Taylor (Peter Wyngarde) shocked to discover that his own wife is a fervent practitioner of the occult arts. Eagle moves at a faster clip than most British films of the period but it doesn’t stint on atmosphere, building effectively to a crescendo of terror as Taylor finds himself embroiled in a modern-day nightmare of sorcery and witchcraft.”

 
3. The Reckoning (Jack Gold. 1969)
 

 

“Released a couple of years after The Reckoning, Get Carter trod the same path and ultimately stole its thunder. But The Reckoning is arguably the better film. Much more than just a brutal revenge drama, it astutely juxtaposes the violent honor of the provincial slums with the aggressive backstabbing of the business world. Its anti-hero Michael Marler (Nicol Williamson) is a northern thug-made-good-down-south, but he hasn’t forgotten his roots, and when he discovers his dying father has been worked over by a couple of hoods back home, he hotfoots it to Liverpool to administer some justice. Williamson gives a powerhouse performance, and The Reckoning is as deep (and, occasionally, as funny) as it is tough.”

 
4. The Lovers! (1972)
 

 

“The ubiquitous 1970s big-screen sitcom spin-off was not noted for its cinematic style or wit, but there were a few examples of the genre that stood out: Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais’ The Likely Lads (1976) and Porridge (1979), and Jack Rosenthal’s The Lovers! (1972). But where the former are still staples of the Christmas TV schedules, The Lovers!, based on a Granada sitcom starring Richard Beckinsale and Paula Wilcox (in their first major roles), sadly never gets an airing. This is a pity as this film version is laugh-out-loud funny and stands up a lot better than many a British sex comedy of the era, accurately capturing a post-sixties’ mood of frustration where provincial men were continually scuppered in their efforts to locate any actual evidence of ‘the permissive society’.”

 
5. The Black Panther (Ian Merrick. 1977)
 

 

“This harrowing dramatization of the life and crimes of armed-robber-turned-murderer Donald Neilson — who became known as the Black Panther and was finally captured following the kidnap-murder of teenager Lesley Whittle in the Midlands in 1975 — was roundly dismissed as exploitation upon its release. But in fact it is a sober and measured reconstruction of the events in question, with admirable attention to detail and a striking central performance by Donald Sumpter as Neilson. In its exploration of an unhinged, loner psyche, it also works as something of a British companion piece to Taxi Driver. Definitely ripe for reappraisal.”

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
‘Art is a means of feeling our way forwards’: Oskar Kokoschka’s letter to a prisoner of war
12.14.2012
08:46 pm

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Art
Belief
Politics
Thinkers

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The artist, poet and playwright, Oskar Kokoschka sent the following letter to a young German prisoner of war, in 1946. In it he advised him to be warmed by love ‘the sight of our neighbor, other people, a foreign nation, another race,’ in which the ‘embrace of love will illumine the choice, form and shape of a new order of humanity.’ Kokoschka understood the young man’s trauma, having himself served as a Dragoon in the Imperial Austrian army, during the First World War, where he slithered in trenches through ‘bottomless mud,’ until he was seriously wounded and considered too mentally unstable to fight - the twisted logic of this was not lost on Kokoschka. Later, he was the focus of hatred and bigotry, when his art was deemed ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis. It forced Kokoschka to flee Austria for Prague, before then moving to Ullapool in Scotland, where he remained for the duration of the Second World War.

In this letter, Kokoschka expounds his belief in the importance of art and the artist that could show the ‘way up from subjection of blind obedience to human freedom.’

To a German Prisoner-of-War (Fritz Shahlecker)

[London,] 4 July 1946

A close friend showed me the drawings you made in the camp in England. He told me of your prospects of soon regaining your freedom and returning home to Tübingen. Like many of your fellow-Germans, you were abused in your early youth by a criminal demagogy and thrown into a war of aggression, during which the authority of human precepts was thoroughly and totally suspended, and which appears even now to threaten the future validity of those same precepts.

As an older man, I am in a position to make comparisons which shed light on the changes that have taken place in the moral sphere. That gives me a right to offer a younger man some advice that may come in useful when you are home again. After every great disappointment - in your case, when one has been the victim of a betrayal - one’s insight is clouded, because one is always overcome by weariness at the same time. The tendency to feel sorry for oneself is only a natural consequence of that weariness. You are honest in your drawings, but it seems to me that you tend towards the idealized view which comes from being in the center of a world that one is trying to rebuild. In your drawings you are trying to give shape to a new world with artistic expressive media available to you, after the reduction of your old world to ruins. You want it to be a human world, in contrast to the physical, materialistic world where naked force ruled, and in my view that is the hopeful and promising aspect of your experiment.

But the advice I would like to give you, however great your present need and poverty may be, is this: stop surrendering to a tendency to study yourself alone and to forget that a sentimental outlook is just as sure to lead to waste and failure as the entire order that is collapsing before our eyes today. That order sprang from individual egoism, and was helped to ripen by nationalistic narrowmindedness. Humanism was believed dispensable. This materialistic attitude found its complete embodiment in Fascism. Bear in mind that your personal need and poverty, both physical and spiritual, are nevertheless infinitesimal compared to the need and poverty of the children abandoned to savagery in today’s world. If your heart turns in hope to the work of rebuilding, because you are young and want to do good, you must help to make a better world for these children. You saw for yourself that what was achieved by the sword came to nothing in the end, therefore take up your pencil in the hope of doing better. You do not succeed in expressing anything about the pain throbbing in mankind today, because you are not yet able to give shape to genuine emotions. It will be like that for as long as you idealize yourself as a man of sorrows, instead of looking for the redeemer in every innocent child. The child can truly be the redeemer, if we can genuinely believe in the possibility of a better world. Sentimentality does not help us to discover new worlds, it makes us cling to the past in fascination. The new world can only be given shape if we love our neighbor. If we are warmed by love, the sight of our neighbor, other people, a foreign nation, another race, will enable us to shape a new image of the world, in the contemplation of which the isolation of the individual and his nameless torment in a ruined world will give way to the splendor in which the embrace of love will illumine the choice, form and shape of a new order of humanity. All art, that of the great epochs as well as that of primitive cultures, that of colored races as well as our own folk art, is rooted in this soil, in which the moral man has vanquished dust, decay and force. Man overthrows the dictates of physical laws and the dominion of blind elements, and by that means fights his way up from subjection of blind obedience to human freedom.

Art is a means of feeling our way forwards in the moral sphere, and it is neither a luxury of the rich nor the rigid formalism that comes out of the theories of the academies. The modern art of the present time also tends towards arid formalism. Art is like grass sprouting from the frozen earth at the end of winter, like growing corn, and like the spiritual bread in which the human inheritance is passed on to future generations.

In hope that you will find the inner strength to practice the spiritual office of an artist in the future, I leave you with my best wishes,

Yours, Oskar Kokoschka

‘Oskar Kokoschka Letters 1905-1976’ is published by Thames and Hudson.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Lemmy’s pre-Motorhead hippie trip
12.14.2012
05:45 pm

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Drugs
Music

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In 1968, tabla player Sam Gopal started a band with Lemmy Kilmister (guitar/ vocals), Roger D’Elia (guitar) and Phil Duke on bass. Together they recorded the album Escalator, which is sitar-less raga-rock with typically vague mystical lyrics and a stoned vibe. On a psychedelic scale of purple to brown, I’d rate this one maroon.

Strange to see Lemmy this mellow. Though, as you see in the following quote, Lemmy was spending a lot of time on speed. I love the fact that he keeps referring to tablas as bongos.

That was in 1968. It was very rushed, obviously. But the speed was very good in those days. I sat up all night and wrote all the fucking songs. Eleven of them, I think.

Honestly, I have never been able to get into this record, and it’s entirely due to the drumming being bongos instead of a conventional drum set. I realize that Sam Gopal is the bongo player, so the whole project is based around him, and I’m totally missing the point. But I just want to hear some real drums behind these songs, damn it!

No one will ever mistake this dreary rain-drenched b&w clip for Yellow Submarine.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The world is not ending, but YOU are: New from Lumerians, ‘The Bloom’
12.14.2012
05:23 pm

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Music

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Behold “The Bloom,” the latest synapse-melting video from Lumerians.

Their new Horizon Structures EP (Knitting Factory Records) comes with Lumerians 4D portal viewing glasses with instructions for watching the video which was shot in Chroma Depth High Definition. Directed by the group and Kerry Laitala.

WARNING: Viewing may cause 4DHD (4th Dimensional Hyperspatial Disorder).

The funky Bay Area spacerockers are playing with Psychic TV tonight and tomorrow night in Oakland, CA.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Ukulele orchestra perform ‘Anarchy In The UK’
12.14.2012
04:09 pm

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Music
Punk

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The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain has taken the Sex Pistols insurrectionary anthem and turned it into a schoolyard sing-a-long…which may essentially be the same thing.

Anyway, have a laff and do participate in the fun.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Mull of Kintyre’: Paul McCartney’s sweet holiday perennial
12.14.2012
02:38 pm

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Music

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“Mull Of Kintyre” was written by Paul McCartney (with Denny Laine) about his farm at the eponymous Scottish headland. McCartney bought the 183 acre High Park Farm in 1966 as an investment to foil the British tax man, and the song’s lyrics are about traveling and longing to return to his remote, beautiful home. The song was performed by Wings (well, if by Wings you mean Paul, Linda and Denny along with local bagpipe players from Kintyre’s Campbeltown Pipe Band, as by this time the rest of the group had left) and released as a double A-side Christmas single in 1977 along with “Girls School” (which was the hit in the US).

The record spent six weeks at the #1 spot on the British pop charts that year, was the first single to sell over two million copies in the UK and is still a perennial holiday favorite.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Catholic Church endorses murder as Pope blesses Uganda’s ‘Kill The Gays’ Minister
12.14.2012
02:19 pm

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Stupid or Evil?
The wrong side of history

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Via Joe My God:

Ugandan Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who last month promised the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act as a “Christmas gift to Christians,” yesterday appeared in Vatican City to receive the motherfucking blessing of the Pope. From the website of the Uganda Parliament:

Kadaga who led a delegation of Ugandan legislators to the Vatican expressed delight at meeting the Pope and visiting St Peter’s Basilicca. “I think this is a moment that cannot be repeated. We have been reading about him, hearing stories about St.Peter’s Basilica but now we are here physically. I think it is something that I will remember all my life. Its a very great moment and I thank God for this opportunity,” she said minutes after meeting the Pope. The Speaker dedicated to all Ugandans readings from the book of St. Mark which the Pope quoted in several languages during the Vatican mass.

And there you have it. A blessing from the Pope upon the woman who wants you executed. It can’t get any plainer than that, can it?

WOW.

The pope has “blessed” a woman who actively wants me dead. A woman who is seeking to make her murder of me, and others like me, justifiable by law, and a legally sanctioned action. Fuck you, Pope Benedict. You’re a real stand-up guy.

Strongly worded, yes, but why the hell shouldn’t it be? If someone is asking for YOUR death and one of the most powerful institutions in the world endorsed them, wouldn’t YOU be just a little bit pissed?

Of course, there will be Catholics and Christians who read the headline to this blog post and will find ways to absolve the Catholic Church, the Vatican and the Pope of any complicity in the oppression and murder of hundreds of thousands of people. Well I have three words for you. And guess what? They don’t even come from the Bible. They don’t need to.

SHAME ON YOU.

That you could find a way in your mind to justify this act of endorsing murder and oppression says more about the stranglehold the Catholic Church has on your mind, and its primary function as a death cult used for social control, than it ever could about notions of “love” and “acceptance,” of so-called “Christian” values.

CATHOLICS, I AM TALKING TO YOU.

Look at this picture, where a smiling Pope Benedict is happily holding the hand of a woman who actively wants me, and people like me, dead, as he blesses her. Go ahead, tell me that he did the right thing, that his blessing of this bigot is somehow NOT the endorsement of a head of state who seeks to make the murder of other people legal. GO ON.
 
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I’m waiting.

Oh, and while you’re there, here’s something that DOES come from the Bible, four words that come (supposedly) from the mouth OF GOD HIMSELF and trump anything that’s written in Levictus: 

THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

Funny how Pope Benedict managed to ignore that little commandment while blessing Rebecca Kadaga. I guess we know where his priorities lie now, and it’s not with following scripture.

And isn’t it funny how two references to homosexuality in the Bible (if even that many, as is widely and strongly debated) somehow trumps untold references to love and forgiveness, to not casting stones, to not judging people lest ye be judged, to live and let live, to love they neighbor, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah?

If it’s not acceptable for Christians to “pick and choose” which bits of the Bible they adhere to, how come it is OK for the anti-gay bigots to ignore what is basically THE WHOLE DAMN POINT of that book in favor of a couple of contested quotes? I mean, seriously?!

Because, as I stated above, the Catholic Church is NOT about love. If it truly were, why isn’t there an uprising within the church of Catholics actively rejecting oppression in ALL its forms, just as Christ himself told us to do?

For my sins, I was raised a Catholic in Ireland, so I know how these things work. Following orders that are handed down to you IS more important than acting with genuine Christ-based values. The Catholic Church is NOT about rejecting hate, it is about corralling people’s hatred and aiming it at subjects that the church endorses. That simple fact is how a person can claim that passing an act legalizing murder and oppression is “a Christmas gift to Christians.”

Thankfully, I have left the Catholic Church behind, because, frankly, I don’t need them to have a personal relationship with any deity. That is strictly between me and my God. If ze wants to judge me, ze can, and I’m sure ze’ll do it to my face, and not through an intermediary in an ecclesiastic frock riding around in a clown car.

Besides, being stuck in an abusive relationship with someone who wants you dead is worse for your mental, and physical, health than sucking a thousand dicks or licking a thousand clits ever could be.
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Haunting images of Detroit’s decline through past and present photos
12.14.2012
01:42 pm

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Current Events
History

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Once what was full of life and thriving, is now forgotten, abandoned and graffitied. These haunting images of a Detroit high school from when there were still students in the classrooms are composited with what the abandoned, decaying building looks like today.

The unions know what they’re fighting for in Michigan: their lives.

Images by Detroiturbex.
 
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More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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