At the height of Simpsons-mania in the early 90’s, a wave of bootleg merchandisers made a mint off of black market Simpsons’ clothing and toys, all over the world. Bootleg Bart has been categorizing every bit of bootleg Simpsons merch it can find, and while I vaguely remember “Stoner-Barts” and “Rapper Barts,” this “ACT UP Bart” is officially the most esoteric Simpsons’ knock-off I’ve ever seen.
November 20th is the annual Transgender Day Of Remembrance, the day we take time to remember all our gender variant brothers and sisters who have died in the last 12 months.
Sadly, in the last year alone, over 250 people have died as a result of transphobic hate crime (and that’s just the reported cases.) These aren’t just statistics—these are people—and you can see their names, addresses and causes of death for yourself, right here.
As I have stated in previous columns, I do not speak on behalf of trans people, I would rather use whatever platform I can to let them speak for themselves. This statement on TDOR is from the transgenderdor.org website, and originally appeared on rememberingourdeadorg:
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.
Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.
We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events of September 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.
VIgils are being held all across the US (and the world) today, there’s more information available on the transgerderdor.org website.
For today’s Notes column, I have decided to post two videos, two separate talks by two very interesting people who both appeared at Canada’s IdeaCity conference in 2010.
Just to be clear, I am not claiming that either of these people are representative of all gender variant people in the world (how could any one person claim complete authority over such a wide range of experience?) but rather that their own, very particular stories are hugely interesting and make for great listening.
The first talk is by the performance artist, writer, actress and lecturer Nina Arsenault, and is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a radical thinker. Arsenault seeks not to “make the world a better place” or to offer trite answers to scoiety’s questions, but instead wants to confuse the world, and by objectifying herself make the viewers question our own presumptions about her body and, by extension, “femininity”:
The second talk is by the well known adult movie performer Buck Angel, who has made a very decent living carving out his own particular niche in the pornogrpahy business. His tale, and delivery, is very different to that of Nina Arsenault, but both share a determination of spirit and sense of pride in their own being (not to mention their own bodies) that is inspirational:
When the artist Sig Waller was a child, she experienced intense fever hallucinations. It possibly explains something about her paintings, which are beautiful, brightly colored, fluid, dreamlike, visions of reality. I find her work addictive, and am drawn back, time and again to certain paintings - paintings which seem as if she has made real some fragment of my dreams.
Waller’s first major exhibition was in 1996, and since then she has exhibited her paintings across the world. Her work is fabulous, intense, politicized yet often darkly amusing. There is a great intelligence at work here, which can be seen in such varied series as: Dreamlands (1999-2001) a series of channel-hopping images taken form television; Hotel Romantica (2002), sensuous paintings based on a pack of nude playing cards, which was stowed away on the Apollo 12 spacecraft during its November 1969 voyage to the moon; All That Is Solid Melts Into Air (2011) a series of paintings examining different forms of protest; which ties in with Burning Desire (2102) a series of paintings based on mobile ‘phone photographs of the Tottenham riots in 2011.
Sig (originally “S.I.G.” or “Spectrum is Green” from Captain Scarlett and the Mysterions) Waller divides her time between Brighton and Berlin, and is about to start an artist’s residency in Italy. I contacted Sig to find out more about her life, her inspiration and her childhood.
Sig Waller: ‘I grew up mainly on the Gower Peninsula near Swansea, Wales. My parents were foreign intellectuals - my father an American historian who dressed like a tramp and my mother an obsessively Francophile, German psychologist. Our house had no TV or telephone; pop music was banned, as were cinema visits. The only contact my sister and I had with popular culture was via comic books and story cassettes sent from Germany. We spent a lot of time at our grandparent’s house in the Saarland and I grew up bi-lingual with my mother’s French-influenced regional dialect as my first language.
‘My mother was horrified by life in South Wales and tried to create her own “Little Germany” within the walls of our house. This resulted in me reading Gothic tales in old German script dressed in Bavarian costume while my classmates wore t-shirts and watched Top of the Pops.
‘When I was 8 there was a period when I experienced some quite intense fever hallucinations. At the same time, I had Hauff’s dark tales swirling around in my head and this came to form the root of my fascination with the macabre and the grotesque. Stories such as “The Tale of the Hacked-off Hand” or “The Tale of the Ghost Ship” are still with me today.
‘One of my most formative childhood experiences was that of alienation. If a kid is different, the other kids will point and I got used to being pointed at. Later things changed and my parents got hip, dragging us to experimental theater performances and art movies. I remember the day I told them I wanted a record and their dumbfounded reaction. Prior to this, I’d been secretly listening to music on a small transistor radio in bed. Surprisingly, my mother entered into the spirit of things and started buying Brian Eno records and taking us to the ICA. At around this time I began to dye my hair and decided that it was okay to be different.
‘When I was little I wanted to be a clown or an artist. I loved Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy and was fascinated by the idea of the circus but as I was also quiet and shy I must have decided that art was the better option. I spent hours studying reproductions of paintings and imagining my future life as an artist. I didn’t think I was very good at drawing but held onto my fantasy and at around age 13 something strange happened and suddenly I could draw. I then spent most of my adolescence listening to obscure music, drawing and nurturing my teenage melancholia.
‘My first truly artistic (and coincidentally also comic) act took place in the baby cot, where I – left unattended – picked up one of my baby-poos and using it as a colouring stick, expressively daubed at the bars of my confinement. This event has been recounted to me on many occasions, usually in the presence of a new boyfriend, so it must be true.
Paul Gallagher: Tell me about Art College?
Sig Waller: ‘I was barely 18 when I moved to London to study Art and Art History at Goldsmiths. Back then the art college was at the Millard building in Camberwell and that place had an incredible atmosphere. I remember one afternoon, a guy came into the bar with a pistol and yelled, ‘Everybody get their hands up,’ and everyone just ignored him, it was that kind of place. People were generally too busy polishing their egos to notice the guy with the gun.
‘I started going to warehouse and squat parties and halfway through my first year at college I began living in squats. I continued with this life for the next 7 years and this gave rise to my interest in protest and rebellion.
‘While at college I began to paint with oils and use elements of my clothing in my work. I would walk around with slogans pinned to my back and these would eventually make their way into my paintings. One of my jackets became part of a painting too – I wore some very strange outfits; I guess it was a kind of performance I was engaged in, though it was more organic than contrived.
‘After college, I stopped painting and started making hats and other fluffy rubbish and selling these through markets and designer shops. I also did a Photo / Video foundation course, worked on music videos and animation and wrote a few film scripts.’
Paul Gallagher: From college, you moved to berlin, why and what happened?
Sig Waller: ‘I’d been fascinated by Berlin for years, its new wave and industrial music scene excited me and so many things seemed to be happening there. I first went to Berlin in 1989, just after The Wall came down and was there over the New Year, which was an incredibly intense experience. In 1995 my friend Volker Sieben invited me to live in his run down studio complex in Brunnenstrasse in Berlin-Mitte, so I packed my bags and drove there with a car full of fake fur, which I was going to turn into stuff to sell.
‘In 1996, I moved into a place on Reinhardstrasse, which was a stone’s throw away from the Reichstag. A new project space called C4 opened round the corner and in early 1998 I curated Blut & Blumen (Blood and Flowers) there. This marked a turning point for me as I began to revisit my childhood dream of being an artist. Some months later, I had a solo show at the Tacheles and painted my first oil paintings in 10 years.
‘In late 1998 I moved back to Brunnenstrasse, which is where I painted my extensive Dreamlands TV-zapping series which I showed as part of the Z2000 Festival in Berlin and also in New York in 2001. The flat on Brunnenstrasse was documented in a book called Berlin Interiors: East meets West.’
Paul Gallagher: What inspires you?
Sig Waller: ‘Dark things inspire me. And things that make me laugh. I find the combination of dark and funny particularly inspirational but I am also interested in art history and cultural theory; junk and found materials; chance encounters; future studies and science fiction; fairy tales, horror and the paranormal; expressionist cinema, cult movies and television; and obviously books and the internet are an endless source of inspiration, as are conversations with artists and friends…
‘Some of my work may appear to be quite militant, this is because I find a lot of political issues quite infuriating, so in a way my work is also a form of personal anger management and these more radical pieces are an expression of some of that rage.
‘Right now I’m feeling inspired by needle-crafting grandmothers everywhere, by all the people who spend hours making stuff in their living rooms, by my son’s infallible sense of humor, by the encouragement of others and by the many great and wonderful artists I’ve stumbled across over the years whose time has yet to come.
‘I’m also still a fan of Kippenberger, his work resonates to this day and a lot of the art I’ve seen in the past 20 years is simply imitation Kippenberger.
Out of the exhibitions I’ve visited recently, I found the Deller show at the Hayward the most engaging. Art can be political, but on some level it should also be enjoyable.
More from Sig Waller’s life and art, after the jump…
No, this isn’t a joke. This is official Slayer merchandise, available from backstreet-merch.com, and a snip at only £49.99. It’s only available in the UK, mind you, but if you’re really really nice, Santa might be good to you.
When I first became aware of reality TV mess Tila Tequila—ten years ago I’d see her at a restaurant where I used to eat at a lot and she made herself very hard not to notice—there was no telling that the future MySpace maven, host of Pants-Off Dance-Off and performer of “I Fucked the DJ” would one day reinvent herself as a pint-sized, Illuminati-exposing slutty/nutty version of Alex Jones or David Icke with “bolt-ons”... but this is exactly what happened after her brush with death earlier this year due to a drug overdose/brain aneurysm… She’s the Brice Taylor of her generation!
Looking back at her career over the past decade, it seems, however, almost… inevitable that something like this might happen. You can tune-in to her wavelength regarding the Illuminati, the endtime prophecies of Nostradamus, the reptilians, the Anunnaki and the mysterious “others” at her blog and via her rambling podcasts and YouTube videos
I think the less said about this, the better. Draw your own conclusions.
Paul posted this clip last year, but it’s worth another airing: After eight years with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, in 1970 Vivian Stanshall formed the short lived BiG GrunT with fellow former Bonzos Dennis Cowan on bass and Roger Ruskin Spear on wind instruments and infernal machines, plus “Borneao” Fred Munt, the ex-Bonzo roadie, on conga drums and saxophone.
The group, seen here in this amazing performance of “11 Mustachioed Daughters” from March 30, 1970, didn’t last long as front-man Stanshall was sadly sidelined with a hospital stay for a nervous breakdown.
The intersection of Radio Soulwax and David Bowie should be enough to pique even the most casual music listener’s interest, but fear not, the brothers Dewaele have delivered something truly special with the dj-set-cum-art-film Dave.
Dave is a 60 minute long megamix of Bowie music, arranged and mixed by Soulwax in their own inimitable stye, and accompanied by visuals put together specially for the piece by film maker Wim Reygaert. In true gender-bending fashion, Bowie is portrayed by a woman in the film, which takes its visual cues from some of the most recognizable moments in Bowie’s long career.
Soulwax are the undisputed kings of the audio/visual mash-up (it’s hard to believe the 2manydjs “As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2” album is ten years old already!) Here’s their reasoning for dedicating a whole hour of their work to David Bowie:
Our homage to the man whose ability to change whilst remaining himself has been a massive influence on us. There are many legends in the music industry but for us, there is no greater than the mighty Dave. We’ve included all things Bowie, whether that is original songs, covers, backing vocals, production work or reworks we made, to attempt to give you the full scope of the man’s genius.
For the visual side to this mix our friend Wim Reygaert (who also made the amazing film for Into The Vortex) came up with the most ambitious film for RSWX, taking us on a fever dream time travel through the man’s career starring the amazing Hannelore Knuts as Dave. We’ve got to extend a special thank you to the cast and crew and everyone involved for putting so much time and energy and heart and soul into this amazing film, it is a pure labour of love for the phenomenon that is Bowie.
There are lots more treats available at radiosoulwax.com, including apps for iPhone and Android, but before you go rooting around in there, check out Dave:
With all of the red state vs blue state data that’s been parsed—and is still being parsed—post Election 2012, one of the more fascinating examples of all that number crunching comes, not from Nate Silver, but via a former federal auto safety researcher named Louis V. Lombardo and public safety watchdog group Fair Warning:
The nation’s red and blue states often are miles apart in social attitudes and, of course, political outlook.
It turns out that they also divide into distinct camps when it comes to a grimmer measure — fatal traffic accidents.
To an extent that mystifies safety experts and other observers, federal statistics show that people in red states are more likely to die in road crashes. The least deadly states – those with the fewest crash deaths per 100,000 people – overwhelmingly are blue.
In the absence of formal definitions for red or blue states, we labeled as red the states that favored Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and as blue those that supported the reelection of President Obama.
The 10 states with the highest fatality rates all were red, while all but one of the 10 lowest-fatality states were blue. What’s more, the place with the nation’s lowest fatality rate, while not a state, was the very blue District of Columbia.
Massachusetts was lowest among the states, with 4.79 road deaths per 100,000 people. By contrast, red Wyoming had a fatality rate of 27.46 per 100,000.
“This is someplace where you would not expect to see a partisan divide.”
What if it’s not a partisan divide at all and something closer to variance in regional IQs? I’d love to see those red state vs blue state stats, wouldn’t you?
Of course there are other factors to take into consideration, such as driving distances, seasonal weather conditions and the fact that many red states have more lax speed limits (Texas, for instance, has a toll road where you can drive 85mph). What time states makes bars shut also comes to mind. So would the proximity to hospitals… population density…
But still, think about it: Voting Republican (and all that implies about intelligence)... Significantly increased per capita auto fatalities... it would seem to me that factoring in IQs might shed at least some additional light on this subject.
There are a lot of ways you could slice and dice something like this, of course, but the most basic factors (as opposed to ideology or a specific belief in, say, Creationisn) would obviously be the most relevant. They might never be able to “prove” a statistical connection—perhaps thick people make better drivers and it’s the red state Democrats doing the bulk of the car crashing, the study obviously didn’t drill down that far, and I doubt they asked these dead people who they were planing to vote for—but it’s probably worth the effort to factor in IQs.
I do wonder what J.G. Ballard would make of all this!
It’s not too early to start Christmas shopping for that special craftsman in your life! While many instructions for DIY drug paraphernalia designs are available on the Internet, rarely will you find such a well-articulated and attractively diagrammed collection of field-tested models. Build This Bong: Instructions and Diagrams for 40 Bongs, Pipes, and Hookahs is so simple, even a child could make their own cannabis vaporizer!
The Amazon reviews are glowing:
Warning: Do not attempt while stoned, or your craft will look like crap. Lots of fun craft to make your custom water pipes and smoking accessories all just a Lowes stop away. Great for lovers of Do-It-Yourself projects
A great book for DIY enthusiasts, the projects were not hard at all. Most of them only took a day or two to build. I managed to create 23 of them so far and sold some on Ebay.
See? You don’t even need to be a smoker to enjoy bong-artistry; and you can even start your own business!
Give the gift of American ingenuity, resourcefulness and DIY drug paraphernalia this holiday season!