The Kraftwerk shows (April 10–17, 2012) at The Museum Of Modern Art are completely sold out and fans of the band are pissing and moaning about the shortsightedness of the shows organizers. The general consensus is that the performances should have taken place in a much larger venue than the museum…Madison Square Garden, for instance. In addition, a computer glitch made it impossible for people to get tickets online.
Over eight consecutive nights, MoMA presents a chronological exploration of the sonic and visual experiments of Kraftwerk with a live presentation of their complete repertoire in the Museum’s Marron Atrium. Each evening consists of a live performance and 3-D visualization of one of Kraftwerk’s studio albums—Autobahn (1974), Radio-Activity (1975), Trans-Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978), Computer World (1981), Techno Pop (1986), The Mix (1991), and Tour de France (2003)—in the order of their release. Kraftwerk will follow each evening’s album performance with additional compositions from their catalog, all adapted specifically for this exhibition.
People who tried to obtain tickets via the Internet were stuck in computer hell.
Fans hoping to score tickets to one of Kraftwerk’s eight performances at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in April have, by and large, found themselves flat out of luck. The site hosting the ticket sales, Showclix, seems to have experienced a massive technical fail – with users reporting the site failing to load, experiencing time outs and keeping them trapped in an unmoving queue.
Someone with a wicked sense of humor responded to the debacle with the following video.
Another curio from the Jim Henson vaults, this time the audition tape of a 14-year-old Jennifer Connelly for the 1986 cult classic Labyrinth. You gotta admit Connelly totally nails this audition, selling the action with her own reactions when there is literally nothing there. When he speaks near the end, you can tell Jim Henson is impressed:
You know what? A daily moisturizing routine is really, really important and can work wonders for the skin. This guy knows what I’m talking about.
YouTuber George Twopointoh who captured this brilliance says, “One morning, while riding the C Train through Brooklyn, I witnessed a terrifyingly hilarious ball of confusion so intriguing that I rode an extra subway stop to film it for y’all. You’re welcome.”
Cassetteboy “are a double act who edit footage they’ve nicked off the telly”. Famed for their cleverly edited piss-takes of such odious people as the BNP’s Nick Griffin, and spoofs of The Apprentice, and for making Gordon Brown swear. Now, Cassetteboy take on the BBC News with childish glee, in this short clip made form 15 editions of the Beeb’s flagship 6 O’Clock News from January 2012.
Oh boy, first we were treated to a Rick Santorum portrait made entirely out of gay porn, and now an animated GIF of him “enjoying” a frothy whipped ice cream cone. It doesn’t get much better than this. Oh wait, it does. The GIF comes with its own soundtrack, “Lollipop” which you can view and listen to here.
This Ain’t California is a 90-minute documentary by director Martin Persiel that takes “original clips of the “wheel-board-riders” – straight out of the East German scene in the 80s – and mixes it with animations and reencounters with the protagonists today. It is not just a well thought out story on its own – this film also raises the aesthetic bar.”
Life in the GDR as it has never been seen: a film that shows a unique generation from the GDR in the 80s which has never before been shown in a film. It is free from the classic GDR clichés, which are often adopted by the occidental point of view.
A film in which the East takes a look at the West, right up to the year 2011 – always with one theme clearly in focus: friendship.
“You know you talk so hip man! You’re twistin’ my melon man!”
Although, of course, they are still well-loved and known as one of the two defining bands (along with The Stone Roses) of the so-called “Madchester” rave era in the UK, for the majority of American rock fans, Happy Mondays are seen more as early 90s British one-hit-wonders for “Step On” and just that. For a brief spell they looked set to breakthrough here, too, with their incredible third album, Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches, but that never happened. Today, in the US, Happy Mondays are no better recalled than, say, the Soup Dragons or Jesus Jones, something you might see flipping past Vh1 Classics.
I had the good fortune to see Happy Mondays do one of the greatest live sets, like, fucking ever, at the Sound Factory in New York in 1990. The Sound Factory was a legendary dance club catering mostly to black and Latino gay men. Hallowed House music DJs like Frankie Knuckles and Junior Vasquez spun there and the place was known the world over for having one of the most insanely powerful, bass-heavy sound systems that you could ever possibly experience at top volume while tripping your face off on Ecstasy. It was the sort of place where the bar sold mostly bottled water and the crowd spilled out into the streets as the sun was coming up. Although not generally thought of as a live music venue, the Sound Factory seemed to be THE place where all of the British “Acid House” and rave-related groups wanted to play when they came to New York in the late 1980s/early 1990s.
Dee-lite were the (perfect) opening act and they killed it, as they always did (I saw them dozens of times during that era), leaving the E’d up crowd good and energized for the headliner’s set. The Mondays came out and absolutely blew the roof off the place. From the minute they walked onstage, hundreds of joints were lit up and with that crazy Sound Factory BASS moving the crowd as one, it was a high-energy, you had to be there to believe it experience. It was you might say, a memorable evening of music being made for people on drugs by people who were on drugs themselves. A crazy good time was had by all and this was on a week night!
As far as rock shows go, their druggy, trippy, shamanistic set was a triumph by any standard and the Happy Mondays must’ve felt like they were the kings of New York that night. They were! From low-level Manchester hoodlums and drug dealers to the top of the pops at home and being welcomed as heroes in New York City? What an experience that must have been for them.
But it didn’t last long. Singer/lyricist/ringleader Shaun Ryder—whose surreal wordplay Factory Records boss Tony Wilson compared to W.B. Yeats—was deep into a heroin habit that turned into crack addiction in Barbados as the band recorded Yes, Please! the follow-up to Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads. The idea was to get Ryder to a place where drugs would be difficult for him to find… like Barbados?
Chris and Tina usually get the blame for Yes, Please! but believe me when I tell you that when I saw Happy Mondays around the time of that album’s release—I think it was at the Manhattan Center that time—they were but a hollowed-out shell of the scrappy, confident to the point of being arrogant group from just a few months prior. In contrast to the Sound Factory gig, this time The Mondays performed what could barely be called a perfunctory set, standing under a large neon sign that said “DRUGS” in chunky letters. To say that they seemed “tired” or “uninspired” would be too kind, they were like burnt-out ghouls. They were fucking horrible! The best thing about the show was that neon sign.
Nevertheless, through tabloid drama, drink, drugs, reality TV, more drink, more drugs and a guest spot on the classic Gorillaz single, “Dare,” Shaun Ryder inexplicably lives on. A few weeks ago it was announced that the band’s original line-up would reform for some UK tour dates in 2012.
For those of you who might’ve missed out on their charms back in the day, here’s a sampling of classic Happy Mondays from, uh… when they were peaking…
An interesting curio from the back catalog of the Jim Henson estate here - the first ever (pilot) episode of The Muppet Show, which was recorded late in 1974 for broadcast in 1975. From the Muppets wikia:
The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence aired on ABC on March 19, 1975, and was shot on December 10-16, 1974.
It was one of the two pilots produced for The Muppet Show. The other pilot, The Muppets Valentine Show, aired in 1974.
In this half-hour variety special, the Muppets parody the proliferation of sex and violence on television.
Subtitled “An End to Sex & Violence,” this first ever episode of the world’s favourite puppet theatre seems a bit racy for a supposed family audience. However, watching this pilot it’s clear that Henson and co. were aiming for a more adult-orientated, risqué edge to the material, akin to the sketches they provided in the very early years of Saturday Night Live (and which were deemed, in the end, not to work.)
Obviously some more fine tuning was needed on this material before it became the international hit we all know and love. Not least a honing of the format and pacing of the show. This early version is a lot more fast-moving, with quicker cuts between multiple sketches, which we return to numerous times. The show had also yet to make musical numbers its main focus, perhaps explaining the later decision to constrain the sketches to single slots allowed to play out in full.
That’s not the only thing that’s disconcertingly different though: the usual Muppet Show host Kermit is relegated to just a bit part, even though by this stage he had become well known through appearances on Sesame Street. Sam the Eagle has a lot of screen time, and an early variant on Miss Piggy makes a brief appearance.
The main presenting duties go to a humanoid Muppet called Nigel, who is backed up by right hand man by Floyd Pepper, better known as the bass player in Dr Teeth’s Electric Mayhem and the popular character Janice’s main squeeze. The main Muppets’ to-camera addresses are a lot more knowing and audience-literate than Kermit’s let’s-get-this-show-on-the-road style, again hinting at the influence of a more grown-up, hip comedy aesthetic influenced by Lorne Michaels and even Monty Python.
Still, flawed as it may be, this is well worth a watch for Muppet fans and even the more curious viewer. Below is part one, while parts two and three are after the jump:
The Muppet Show: Sex & Violence Parts 2 & 3 after the jump…
Chris Jagger presents a short film on Michael Joseph and his famous photo-shoot of The Rolling Stones’, for their Beggars Banquet album at Swarkestone Hall Pavilion, in 1968. Though Joseph’s photographs are now considered “among the best ever” taken of The Stones, a dispute between the band and their record label saw a plain R.S.V.P. invitation card used for the cover, which was later replaced by the infamous photograph of a graffiti-covered toilet.