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Like ‘Gummo’ with real people: William Eggleston’s ultra weird ‘Stranded in Canton’
02.13.2013
12:53 pm

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Art
Movies

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The work of the great American photographer William Eggleston focuses in on the mundane. Famous Eggleston images include the contents of his refrigerator, the ceiling of a friend’s house, parking lots, old trucks, old houses. Ordinary stuff.

The beholder of his art sees what Eggleston’s eye saw as he has gone about his grand five-decade project of documenting the American South, but his quirky choices (photography is as much about framing as editing, of course) become amplified by his hand-dyed magic in the darkroom. Eggleston’s work is all about capturing the vividly ordinary moment.
 
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Many admirers of his work feel that Eggleston’s main strength is his use of color, that the colors are the most important thing, but I’m not one of them. Eggleston is much more than that, as his sprawling, deeply weird B&W 1974 video work, Stranded in Canton demonstrates. He’s the ultimate ethnographer of the South.
 
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Shot using one of those (huge, by today’s standards) B&W Sony Porta-Pak units, the kind where the deck was slug over the operator’s shoulder, Stranded in Canton was basically just footage that Eggleston shot of people he knew. Eggleston equipped his camera with an infra-red video tube so he could shoot in dark places without lights, and this is what gives the handheld video its glowing, otherworldly quality.

The dreamlike 77-minute-long Canton achieves an accidental narrative as it drifts from one scene of Southern Gothic weirdness to another. Hard-drinking rednecks staggering around on Quaaludes, a low rent Memphis drag queen by the name of “Lady Russell Bates-Simpson” mugs for the camera, sauntering around a working-class bar; a couple loudly argues; Alex Chilton appears; so does blues singer Furry Lewis; a geek bites off the head of a live chicken. Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley even make cameo appearances. Stranded in Canton ends with a totally wasted Jerry McGill, the bank-robbing country singer, playing Russian roulette with his pistol as someone makes a guitar noise that sounds like Sonic Youth.

It’s a very strange trip, indeed. Obviously it was a huge influence on Harmony Korine (as he has said himself many times).

35 years after its initial screenings, the obscure Stranded in Canton, was revisited and remastered—with a wonderful anecdotal narration in Eggleston’s deep Southern drawl—for the Whitney Museum’s survey of his work in 2008. There’s a great coffee table book about Stranded in Canton, too, with a DVD of the film, extra footage, blown-up frames from the video and an essay by Gus Van Sant.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Earnestly square local news series on punk rock, 1983
02.13.2013
10:47 am

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Punk

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This man will explain punk to you
 
While 1983 may feel pretty late to “break” punk as a cultural phenomenon, Los Angeles Fox affiliate KTTV put together their five part feature covering the recent onslaught of California Hardcore as a bold new movement, and understandably so. Like every generation of olds before them, the historical patterns of youth culture were suddenly forgotten, since apparently this was the first time kids ever got rowdy to music their parents didn’t understand.

The initial event covered was a riot at an overcrowded show with The Exploited (who they just call “Exploited”), and LA legends Channel 3, The Vandals and Youth Brigade. “Did the punkers start the battle, or were local Hispanic gangs at the root of the problem?” (Was that some sort of popular racist rumor surrounding punk?) And yes, they say “punkers.” Over and over again.

It. Is. Adorable.

It’s unclear just how self-aware the actual copywriters of the story were. At times, they seem to be placating older audience, acknowledging that these kids are downright out of control; at other times they insist they feel the riot was an isolated incident, borne of poor planning. Later, as they start trying to chronicle the evolution and trajectory of punk, it becomes fairly obvious that they’re making a concerted (if ham-fisted) effort to treat it with legitimacy and gravity, rather than sensationalism. What do you know? WTTV cares about the kids?

Ah, the mysteries of punk! What can we know for sure? Only that this reporting is predicated on the existence of a media that appears to have never been young in their lives!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Stevie Wonder and David Bowie: One of the great missed opportunities in color photography
02.13.2013
10:21 am

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Music

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Not saying they aren’t glorious in black and white, but can you imagine the full effect of these looks in kodachrome?!?

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Talking In Bed With Faye Dunaway: And other conversations
02.12.2013
08:15 pm

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Amusing
Movies
Superstar
Television

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Two interviews with the iconic Faye Dunaway: the first in bed from 1987, just after she had made Barfly; while the second comes from 1994, when the work was mainly coming from TV series and films.

If Ms. Dunaway had been a man or, had the title “Dame” before her name, I’m sure she would be better appreciated for her talents, rather than put-down as a “ball buster”, or one of those other sexist terms men with small dicks, or people with no talent, use to describe strong women.

Good for her if she is a ball buster, for Faye Dunaway is one of Cinema’s true greats, who rightly deserves to be cherished.
 

 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Wang Dang Sweet Talibang: Sign Petition to Draft Ted Nugent and send his dumb ass to Afghanistan!
02.12.2013
05:13 pm

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Idiocracy

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As everyone in America no doubt knows by now, the Motor City Madman, gun enthusiast and all-around draft-dodging dickhead “patriot” Ted Nugent will be attending tonight’s State of the Union address:
 

 
Douglas Anthony Cooper, writing at the Huffington Post, has the right idea of how to use that “We The People” petition thing:

Mr. President, draft the Nuge. Let them know what the Great American Satan looks like turned up to eleven.

Imagine you’re a shy, cave-dwelling Talibanista, and you’re confronted by a yowling Motor City staple of classic rock radio stations, shouldering a bazooka and clutching the Second Amendment and making that face that you see on the cover of Cat Scratch Fever.

(How do you say “gosh, that’s quite something” in Pashto?)

President Obama, you owe it to the United States of America to draft this hunk o’ has-been rockstar. Let the Nuge serve proudly and loudly on the front lines, before the war ends and he is forever denied this headlining gig.

Moreover, it is time to clear the Nugent name. As the Ted Nugent Draft is shouted from the mountaintops, let there also be proclaimed a bitchin’ presidential pardon, forgiving Mr. Nugent for whatever caused him regretfully to decline active duty during the Vietnam War.

You’re good to go, Ted. No cowardice in your past, and none in your future.

And when the last of the troops comes home, Colonel, we’ll leave you to Wango Tango in Tora Bora, armed to the canines, and you can personally scour the caves for left-over bad guys: solo like Rambo. You’ll have all the big-bored gun tech you could possibly dream of. There ain’t no ban in the ‘Stan—you won’t be prosthetically neutered by chickenshit small-capacity liberals. This will be the unfettered Nuge, a one-man death-dealin’, cat-scratchin’ war machine: the guy immortalized by Guitar World magazine for playing #7 in the “100 Worst Guitar Solos” of all time. Surely it’s time to add to that honor a posthumous purple heart.

To sign the “Draft Ted Nugent” petition, please click on:

Conscript Ted Nugent to Serve on the Front Lines in Afghanistan

H/T Wonkette

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Beatles present John Tavener’s classical music curiosity, ‘The Whale’
02.12.2013
02:55 pm

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Music

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Although John Lennon is always thought of as the “arty” Beatle—which is unfair to Paul McCartney, who was actually more of an avant garde culture vulture than Lennon was—it was actually Ringo Starr who brought John Tavener’s “dramatic cantata,” The Whale to Apple Records.

Here’s how the YouTube uploader, DarcoEddie descriped the work:

The Whale is a challenging, two-part, half hour mix of esoteric, avant garde classical adventurism—a kindred spirit of 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s “Lux Aeterna” (for 16 unaccompanied voices) and Frank Zappa’s later, neo-operatic musings for 200 Motels.

That’s a pretty dead-on description. I thought the Wikipedia description was amusing:

The Whale is loosely based on the biblical allegory of Jonah and the Whale, although Tavener admitted that “The ‘fantasy’ grew and perhaps at times nearly ‘swallowed’ the biblical text: so the swallowing of Jonah became almost ‘literal’ in the biblical sense.”

The libretto includes the words of an encyclopaedia entry describing certain facts about the whale, and this is contrasted with themes within the music which attempt to portray the reality of the whale itself, whose existence is greater than the sum of all the facts about it.

The Whale has eight sections: I. Documentary, II. Melodrama and Pantomime, III. Invocation. IV. The Storm, V. The Swallowing, VI. The Prayer. VII. In the Belly, and VIII. The Vomiting.

The Whale premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on January 24, 1968 when the composer was just 24 years old. It was recorded in July of 1970 and released as an album by Apple Records that same year.

From Tavener’s own website:

The Whale represented new territory for me.   Previously I had set straight biblical texts as in Credo and Cain and Abel, but in the story of Jonah and the whale it was interspersed with a surrealist section with the opening encyclopaedic entry on whales. These occurred throughout the biblical narrative of The Whale, at the stomach and inside the belly of the whale. The Whale was dedicated to my wild Irish adopted godmother Lady Birley. It made a great impact at the inaugural concert of the London Sinfonieta with Alvar Liddell the great wartime broadcaster reading the encyclopaedic entry on Whales. Although The Whale is a far more musically radical work, I feel closer nowadays to the simple, less radical Donne Sonnets.

During Tavener’s long career he has become one of the best-loved British composers of his generation. Tavener became “Sir John” in 2000 when he was knighted for his services to music. He is the winner of an Ivor Novello Award.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The William S. Burroughs/Beatles Connection
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Ghosts… Of The Civil Dead’: Nick Cave’s psychotic cameo in harrowing 1989 Aussie prison drama
02.12.2013
01:58 pm

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Movies
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Last week I blogged about “Jubilee Street,” the new Nick Cave video directed by John Hillcoat (The Road, Lawless, The Proposition) and in that post I mentioned that Cave had appeared, in an extremely striking cameo role, in Hillcoate’s 1989 feature debut, the gripping prison drama Ghosts…Of The Civil Dead.

It’s a really amazing film, but one that is sadly little-known outside of Australia (and extreme Nick Cave fanboys—admittedly I saw Ghosts…, alone, at a midnight screening in NYC—I think it was the only one there was—back in 1989.)

Perhaps it is a misconception, but due to the worldwide popularity of films like Chopper and the classic camp TV of the 1980s women-in-prison soap opera Prisoner: Cell Block H,  I can be forgiven, I hope, for assuming that Australians, on the whole, are a bit obsessed with criminals, violent crime and incarceration. I guess it’s in their blood, so to speak. (I kid, I kid, Aussie readers! Please don’t kill me!) Loosely based on the life and writing of Jack Henry Abbott, the psychotic murderer turned literary protégé of Normain Mailer turned psychotic murderer once again, Ghosts… Of The Civil Dead features an ensemble cast of real-life ex-convicts, former prison guards and tough-looking motherfuckers they found in local Melbourne gyms. This film is realistic. Scary realistic.

Narrated by a (fictional) former prison guard, Ghosts… takes place deep in within the bowels of a maximum security prison, somewhere in the Australian outback. The place is an incessantly humming, fluorescent-lit nightmare. There has been a three-year lockdown that is still ongoing. The tension is palpable, the place is a claustrophobic, concrete Hell that no sunlight penetrates, a hatred and resentment-fueled timebomb waiting to go off.

As events transpire, the viewer begins to see that the prison authorities are actively trying to provoke the prison population, and that they are pitting the guards against the inmates, preying on both to escalate the violence in order to crack down on the prisoners ever harder and to justify building a fortress even more fearsome, inescapable and “secure.”

Ghosts… has layers of unexpected meaning. Although the script (co-written by Hillcoat, Cave, one-time Bad Seeds guitarist Hugo Race, Gene Conkie and producer Evan English) tells a reasonably straightforward tale of the prisoners—captive in a high security fortress that escape from seems impossible—versus the authorities who manipulate them into chaos, there’s a wider allegorical message of the power dynamic inherent in Western capitalism: Conform. Do exactly what we tell you to do, or there will be consequences. Like this high security Hell on Earth.

Michel Foucault would have most certainly approved of Ghosts…Of The Civil Dead, I should think.

Although contrary to the way Ghosts… was marketed, Nick Cave is onscreen for just a short appearance, but having said that, it is a cinematic moment of pure genius. Cave plays “Maynard,” a violent psychotic who paints with his own blood. Maynard is an absolute fucking lunatic deliberately brought in by the prison authorities to make an already bad situation much, much worse. His psychotic ranting and raving riles up the situation into complete murderous chaos. Although he is seen just briefly in the film, it is Cave’s Maynard who lights the bomb’s ever present fuse.

Ghosts… Of The Civil Dead is extraordinary film, as as bleak and as uncompromising a work of art as I have ever experienced. Unforgettable, really, but perhaps difficult for the squeamish to sit through. Once seen, it can never be forgotten.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Who said it: Ted Nugent or Charles Manson?
02.12.2013
01:51 pm

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Kooks
Politics

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The answers are at the bottom of the image.

h/t Lawrence LaFerla via Ayn Rand collected Social Security

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Heavy meta: A Slayer meets Richard Pryor tee-shirt?
02.12.2013
12:31 pm

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Amusing
Fashion
Music

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Only 200 of these puppies have been manufactured by California-based artist Aye Jay.

The “Pryor” tee-shirt is selling for $26.00 at Shirts and Destroy.

Via Cherrybombed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
If ‘Star Wars’ was a samurai movie
02.12.2013
08:51 am

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Amusing
Movies
Pop Culture

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If Star Wars was a samurai movie…well, George Lucas was influenced by Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Star Wars dating tips: Luke Skywalker, sex machine


 
Via ‘Total Film’ Tumblr with thanks to Duglas T. Stewart for the clip!
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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