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Extremely dark Soviet-era Stephen King animation
10.30.2014
01:29 pm

Topics:
Animation

Tags:
animation
Soviet
Stephen King


 
There are some amazing cinematic adaptations of Stephen King’s writing. There are also some… less impressive examples. This 1986 animated short, “Battle,” is not only a fine example of the former, it has the distinction of being the only Stephen King adaptation produced in the famously dark genre of Soviet animation. Based on King’s short story, “Battleground” (first published in a magazine in 1972, then compiled in his 1978 Night Shift anthology), the story is a classic revenge tale with a supernatural twist. A hitman is hired to kill a toymaker, and toy soldiers come to life in the murderer’s home to avenge their father’s death. Their artillery is tiny, but their warfare is relentless, and the hitman meets a brutal end.

“Battle” touches on the fear of the small, and “golem terror”—a sort of childlike anxiety around anthropomorphic objects and the irrational fear that they will become both animate and malevolent. You can see thematic similarities in both the third installment of King’s 1985 trilogy, Cat’s Eye, (where the titular cat protects a young Drew Barrymore from a tiny troll), and the brilliant “Amelia” tale from the 1975 TV movie Trilogy of Terror, where Karen Black is terrorized in her home by a Zuni fetish doll come to life. (A 2006 adaptation of “Battleground,” (starring William Hurt, and also quite good/intense), actually shows the Zuni fetish doll in the background of Hurt’s apartment multiple times as a sort of Hidden Mickey.)

The cartoon itself is a beautiful horror-noir, much of it done via rotoscoping, which gives it the fast-action fear it needs without sacrificing great animation. At any rate, you could definitely use it to scare children into putting their toys away, right?
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Shania Is a Punk Rocker: Celebrities wearing Ramones t-shirts
10.30.2014
10:30 am

Topics:
Fashion
Pop Culture

Tags:
The Ramones
celebrities

Joey Ramone
Joey Ramone

It’s been a good decade-plus now, but at some point wearing faded band t-shirts from the 1970s and early 1980s started to become a trendy thing to do. Eventually celebrities got in on the act, and these days the very famous are frequently photographed sporting vintage (or faux vintage) band tees.

The t-shirt that’s all the rage amongst actors and pop stars is the one featuring the classic Ramones logo (seen above). The iconic tee has been worn with pride by faithful Ramones fans for nearly forty years, and that logo is so freakin’ awesome that its coolness couldn’t help but rub off on the punks who wore the shirt—partially due to the fact that even members of the Ramones could be seen in a Ramones t-shirt.

But now the rich and powerful want a piece of the hip pie, too. Knowing the group’s music doesn’t even seem to be a prerequisite for these celebs (does anyone really think Paris Hilton listens to the Ramones?).
 
Paris Hilton
 
Who knows, maybe Harry Styles from teen pop sensation One Direction actually likes the leather-clad punks from Queens, but he seems to over-compensating or something, as there’s a shit-ton of photos of him online dressed in the iconic t-shirt.
 
Harry Styles
 
Like Harry, most opt for the classic logo, but really any Ramones shirt will do.
 
Megan Fox
Megan Fox prefers Marky Ramone

Image-conscious celebrities co-opting cool isn’t anything new, so we shouldn’t be surprised. Maybe they genuinely appreciate the Ramones and are using their platform to expose the masses to the band. Perhaps we should be thanking them for keeping the spirit of punk alive?

Nah.
 
Fergie
Fergie
 
Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan
 
More celebrities in Ramones t-shirts after the jump…

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Discussion
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Dead Creepy: Family portraits with deceased relatives

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Whenever a relative died when I was a child, we would gather around their body, sometimes laid out on a table, a coffin or slowly cooling under the bed sheets, and say five decades of the rosary for the repose of their soul. I attended at least half a dozen funerals before I was twelve: my father’s side of the family were descendants of fertile Irish-Scottish Catholics. The dead always looked more peaceful before they were wheeled off to a funeral home, where make-up was applied, cheeks rouged and lipstick smoothed around mouth. These applications usually gave the deceased the appearance of an eerie ventriloquist’s doll, waiting to yap their mouths and roll their eyes. Death was just a common part of life. But now the relationship between the living and the dying and the dead has become once removed, with the undertakers and funeral homes taking control of those once natural rituals that connected us all together.

In Victorian times, it was common for grieving families to be photographed with the deceased. It was a way of commemorating the dead loved one. With high child mortality rates, most of these portraits were of parents and children. The images are often moving, even heartbreaking, and there are some that may seem bizarre to modern tastes.
 
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More portraits of the living and the dead, after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Why DID Bad Brains frontman H.R. duct-tape himself to a chair?
10.30.2014
09:11 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Punk

Tags:
Bad Brains
H.R.


H.R. smoking the good stuff with a Brooke Shields look-alike (or is it really her?)
 
Bad Brains bassist Darryl Jennifer recounts the tale of one of the band’s more memorable shows… This happened sometime in the 80s when frontman H.R. had himself duct-taped to a chair while the band performed on stage. According to Darryl, no one knew in the band exactly why H.R. had decided to do this. They were a little surprised themselves:

So I know this one night my big brother H.R. seemed a little uncomfortable. And you know I, you know everyone knows H.R. can be eccentric, you know? But he seemed a little uncomfortable. So I was like ‘What’s up?’ and he said, ‘I’m good, I’m good.’”

snip~

I see my man sat down on stage and on top of that my man had one of the techs come out and duct-tape him to the chair. So you know, I figure it’s Bad Brains. Even me I’m in the band and I’m like what happens must be some wild punk shit I don’t even know about.

Annnnd, the rest is history, folks. Watch this amusing animated tale below to find out the real reason why H.R. had himself duct-taped to a chair.

 
Via The World’s Best Ever

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Hugs for nugs: Dress your baby as a pot leaf for Halloween!
10.30.2014
08:40 am

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
marijuana
Halloween
pot
babies


 
Brandsonsale are selling an infant sized pot leaf Halloween costume.

This Halloween dress up your baby in our most outrageous costume yet! The baby marijuana plant costume is just the right combo of cute and edgy that is sure to get stares and laughs from everyone.

I don’t know about “edgy”—isn’t weed how you’re supposed round those edges off?

Of course, the predictable pearl-clutching from the predictable prigs is happening. I won’t link to Fox News here, but the dumb people on one their crappy shows had an inane discussion about it to an ultimately boring end. I say whatever, it’s one day out of the year and it’s not like anyone’s naming their child “Dank Sticky.” At least I hope no one is. And most people dress their kids to reflect their own tastes and project their own values—no baby has ever chosen to wear a Ramones onesie.

Brandsonsale have a full line of pot-related costumes for adults, too: There’s the basic-bro pot leaf:
 

 
They also offer the hilarious-to-no-one-I-would-trust “baked potato”...
 

 
...and the totally racist Rasta outfit. Tell me that’s not blackface—at least in spirit if not in actual fact—but the baby pot leaf, people complain about. Because priorities.
 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Time of the Assassins’: William S. Burroughs’ cut-up version of Time Magazine, 1965
10.30.2014
08:23 am

Topics:
Art
Books

Tags:
William S. Burroughs
Brion Gysin
Time Magazine


 
One of the favored forms of Beat author William S. Burroughs was that of the “cut-up,” basically fancy talk for “collage.” After the Dadaists pioneered the technique in the 1920s, the midcentury artist who had done the most with it was Brion Gysin, a close friend of Burroughs, who once called Gysin “the only man I ever respected.” Gysin stumbled on the technique on his own around 1954 when he slashed a newspaper page and noticed that the page underneath created interesting juxtapositions. Gysin showed Burroughs the cut-up concept in the late 1950s, as he related in Cut-Ups: A Project for Disastrous Success:
 

William Burroughs and I first went into techniques of writing, together, back in room No. 15 of the Beat Hotel during the cold Paris spring of 1958. ... Burroughs was more intent on Scotch-taping his photos together into one great continuum on the wall, where scenes faded and slipped into one another, than occupied with editing the monster manuscript. ... Naked Lunch appeared and Burroughs disappeared. He kicked his habit with apomorphine and flew off to London to see Dr Dent, who had first turned him on to the cure. While cutting a mount for a drawing in room No. 15, I sliced through a pile of newspapers with my Stanley blade and thought of what I had said to Burroughs some six months earlier about the necessity for turning painters’ techniques directly into writing. I picked up the raw words and began to piece together texts that later appeared as “First Cut-Ups” in Minutes to Go (Two Cities, Paris 1960).

 

William S. Burroughs, photograph by Brion Gysin
 
In 1965 Gysin and Burroughs collaborated on a cut-up version of Time Magazine that would end up being 27 pages long. According to Jed Birmingham, “Time was published in 1965 in 1000 copies. 886 copies comprised the trade edition. These copies were unnumbered and unsigned. 100 copies were signed by Burroughs and Gysin. 10 copies numbered A-J were hard bound and contained a manuscript page of Burroughs and an original colored drawing by Gysin. 4 more were hors commerce. ... An hors commerce print was used as the color key and printing guide that the printer would use to insure consistency of the print run.”

Apparently, Burroughs and Gysin chose the November 30, 1962, cover of Time to mess with because that issue contained a dismissive review of Naked Lunch under the title “King of the YADs,” where “YAD” stood for “Young American Disaffiliates.” Burroughs was greatly irritated by the review.
 

 
The Time cut-up was described as follows in Robert A. Sobieszek’s Ports of Entry: William S. Burroughs and the Arts:
 

Burroughs created his own version of Time magazine, including a Time cover of November 30, 1962, collaged over by Burroughs with a reproduction of a drawing, four drawings by Gysin, and twenty-six pages of typescript comprised of cut up texts and various photographs serving as news items. One of the pages is from an article on Red China from Time of September 13, 1963, and is collaged with a columnal typescript and an irrelevant illustration from the ‘Modern Living’ section of the magazine. A full-page advertisement for Johns-Manville products is casually inserted amid all these text; its title: Filtering.

 

Here we can see what the cover originally looked like in color. Photograph: Stephen J. Gertz
 
The first few pages (after the “copyright page”) are pretty much pure typewritten text—the metaphor of this being a version of Time doesn’t really obtain until you get to page 5, which has the word “REPUBLICANS” across the top as well as the words “Democratic Governor John Swainson,” who was the Governor of Michigan when the original issue came out (but not in 1965). After that you spot the familiar non-serif typeface here and there. Page 6 is titled “THE WORLD” and is about Red China. Page 8 is simply an unmolested full-page ad for Johns-Manville. Page 10 has a picture of a bunch of dignitaries at Peking Airport and another one with “John and William Faulkner.” Pages 13-16 are a series of ideogrammatic doodles by Gysin, after which the text reverts almost entirely to typewritten text by Burroughs.

Page 22 may be the most interesting page, as it features several short paragraphs of true automatic writing, as for example: “moo moo. .Tally Tillie Valspar Vent flu flu..doo do do. .Ding Dong Bell. .Sell sell sell. .Knee Wall fell. .sell sell sell. .Tele tell yell. .Sell sell sell. .Pell Pow Mell. .Sell Sell Sell. .Pel Tex Mell.”

Here is Burroughs and Gysin’s Time cut-up in its entirety:
 

 

 

 
The rest after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Working Women: Portraits of WWII’s female factory workers
10.30.2014
07:30 am

Topics:
Feminism
History

Tags:
WWII

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Miss M. Greatorex: a war worker in the manufacture of 17-pdr anti-tank guns, 1943.
 
The coloring and composition of some of these photographs look like paintings by the great Dutch masters, but they were taken by photographers from the Ministry of Information to document working life on the British homefront during the Second World War.

Women workers were essential to the war effort, and although working class women had been working prior to the war, the number of British women workers involved in heavy industry increased “from 19.75% to 27% from 1938-1945.” The number of skilled and semi-skilled female workers working in the engineering industry increased from 75% to 85% between 1940 and 1942. However, as documented in The Economic History Review the rates of pay for women—surprise, surprise—were less than their male counterparts.

The photographs are part of the Imperial War Museums’ history of modern Britain’s “wartime experience,” and more images can be seen here.
 
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Mrs. C. Graham, war worker in the manufacture of 17-pdr anti-tank guns, 1943.
 
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Unnamed war worker involved in milling breech blocks, 1943.
 
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Miss Miriam Highams welding the saddle of a 25 pounder gun.
 
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Women at work in a makeshift factory, 1943.
 
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Mrs. Chaulkey, portrait of a war worker, 1943.
 
More women war workers, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Blackout! The mysterious story behind Black Sabbath’s first US gig
10.30.2014
07:26 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Black Sabbath
folklore
mysterious

Black Sabbath 1970
Black Sabbath, 1970
 
On this day 44-years ago, Black Sabbath played their first-ever show on US soil. However, as the subject of this post insinuates, the actual location of the gig is some debate, depending on the sources you choose to believe.
 
Black Sabbath London 1970
Black Sabbath, London 1970
 
Riding (quite literally) high on the huge successes of their first two albums, Black Sabbath (released on February 18th, 1970), and Paranoid (released on September 18th, 1970), both Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne historically credit the location of their first US show in their respective autobiographies as legendary Manhattan club, Ungano’s. In Iommi’s 2012 autobiography, Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath Iommi recalls showing up to Ungano’s and was horrified at what a “shithole” the club was. Their roadie plugged their Euro gear into Ungano’s US only-sockets and subsequently blew the clubs fuses. After a short unplanned pre-show intermission, the power was back on and Black Sabbath’s first gig was history. Or was it?
 
Black Sabbath at Glassboro Esby Gymnasium, October 30, 1970
Black Sabbath jamming at Esby Gymnasium at Glassboro State College?
 
Other sources claim that the band’s first gig took place at Glassboro State College (now known as Rowan University) in New Jersey. And the story is quite similar to Iommi’s. Claims made by rock promoter Rick Green, the brother of Stu Green who with his brother ran Midnight Sun an influential music promotion company that started out in Pennsylvania in early 70’s, has been quoted as calling himself the “promoter” of Black Sabbath’s “first US gig” at Glassboro. On the surface, it’s not hard to believe. The Greens booked everyone from Lou Reed and Alice Cooper to the Patti Smith Group at the historic Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, not far from Glassboro State.

In an interview that Rick did in 1992 with The Philadelphia Daily News, he spoke about the gig in strangely similar detail to Iommi’s recalling that Sabbath blew out the power at Tower after plugging in their amps into incompatible sockets. This caused the gig to be rescheduled until the end of Sabbath’s inaugural tour. Hmmm. So what about Glassboro? Was it real, or was it just a bad memory? Here’s another version of the Glassboro story according to an article from The Seth Man, a journalist who writes over at Julian Cope Presents Head Heritage. The post also cites Rick Green’s Daily News interview as a source, but includes more detail:
 

The band’s (Black Sabbath’s) passage through customs at Kennedy Airport in New York proved to be “a day-long trauma that left the group tired and humiliated,” causing them to be three and a half hours late for the gig. Finally appearing onstage at 1:00 in the morning, the power to their sound system cut out during the first song. It was fixed within a few minutes, but once they recommenced they caused a second power outage that not only knocked out their sound system but the power to the gymnasium, the campus and “...most of the power in the neighborhood. The street lights were out and there was darkness.” Appropriately enough, the date was Mischief Night: exactly half a year away from Walpurgisnacht on October 30th.

 
Is this Black Sabbath? The SG Gibson may provide a clue
Black Sabbath perhaps snapped during the Esby show
 
As I mentioned earlier there are many resources, some trustworthy, that credit Glassboro as Sabbath’s first American gig that include British author Garry Sharpe-Young (specifically in the book, “Metal: The Definitive Guide”) and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s timeline on Sabbath. I’ve even read accounts that seem legit that tell the tale of a young Ozzy Osbourne, who was allegedly so distraught during the Glassboro gig that he wandered off into a messy pile of tears in corner of Glassboro’s Esby Gymnasium (where the mythological gig was held), while shouting “I hate America and I want to go home!”. Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that said article spelled Ozzy’s name “Ozzie”, and also notes that Ozzy was 20 at the time, when he was actually 22. I’m probably nitpicking but for what it’s worth, I’d like to present another piece of this very weird puzzle.  Below is a strange show poster for the Glassboro show supposedly created by promoter Rick Green’s little sister. The poster went to auction at Christie’s in 2007. The auction items bio states a bit of maybe-history noting that after the power went out during the first song, Sabbath wasn’t able to continue and the show was made up later at neighboring Montclair State University.
 
Black Sabbath Glassboro show poster Christies
Black Sabbath show poster for Glassboro State College. Christies auction 2007.
 
So what to believe? In my mind, it’s hard to conceive that Tony Iommi’s recollection of Sabbath’s first gig would be incorrect. I mean, he was there, man. And despite the fact that it’s nothing short of a miracle that Ozzy remembers anything from those early days (although in his book “I Am Ozzy” which I’m currently reading, he remembers a lot), the fact that he corroborates Iommi’s heavy metal history lesson just adds credibility to the show taking place at Ungano’s. So let’s put an end to this folklore once and for all. In the pages of the the Fall 1998 issue of Rowan Magazine the University historians took a look back at the many famous visitors they have hosted through the years such as Blondie, Elton John and Jane Fonda. The publication, that the University publishes itself, makes no mention of Black Sabbath. So there you have it. Black Sabbath’s first live US show PROBABLY took place in a small, skuzzy club in Manhattan on October 30th, 1970, not some upper-crust college in New Jersey that was more accustomed to the stylings of Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra. The END (or is it?).

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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The psychedelic madness of Louis Wain’s cats
10.29.2014
04:18 pm

Topics:
Animals
Art
Unorthodox

Tags:
cats
Louis Wain
Schizophrenia

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Though I do prefer dogs, I cannot but help but love Louis Wain’s cats—those beautiful playful wide-eyed felines that slowly evolve (disintegrate?) into psychedelic creatures of the electric night. These paintings have inspired considerable speculation with the oft-cited suggestion that Wain’s paintings show his gradual psychosis and descent into schizophrenia.

Louis Wain was born into a working class family in Victorian England in 1860, and died just prior to the Second World War in 1939. He was born with a cleft palate and was kept off school during a large part of his childhood. When he did eventually go to school, he spent most of his time playing truant, wandering the city, people watching. However, he must have been clever for he attended the West London School of Art and became a teacher. When his father died, Louis became the chief breadwinner and decided to make his living as an illustrator for the various top line London magazines. He had his own style and wit, and produced satirical cartoons and illustrations of cats in various human situations: playing golf, singing opera, having a tea party, singing carols, eating cake. He explained the inspiration for his work:

I take a sketch-book to a restaurant, or other public place, and draw the people in their different positions as cats, getting as near to their human characteristics as possible. This gives me doubly nature, and these studies I think my best humorous work.

Yet despite his success, Wain was always in financial difficulties—some of his own making, but most by those business people around him who exploited, used and literally stole from him.

When he was thirty, his sister was committed to an insane asylum—it was the first rumble of the fate that was to befall Wain. He continued providing for his mother and sisters, but he spent long seasons in asylums caused by his psychosis and schizophrenia.

News of his circumstances were publicized by H.G. Wells, who organized the funds to move Wain into a nicer hospital with a colony of cats, along with Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald who personally intervened on Wain’s behalf.

There has been some speculation that Wain’s schizophrenia was caused by toxoplasma gondii—a parasite found in cat’s excreta. Whatever began the illness, Wain was incarcerated in various asylums and mental hospitals for years at a time. The changes to his life were reflected in his art. His paintings of cats took on a radiance and vitality never before seen: the fur sharp and colorful, the eyes brilliant, and a wired sense of unease of disaster about to unfold.

But these paintings look normal compared to the psychedelic fractals and spirals that followed. Though these are beautiful images, startling, stunning, shocking—they suggest a mind that has broken reality down to its atomic level.

Though it is believed that Louis Wain’s paintings followed a direct line towards schizophrenia, it is actually not known in which order Wain painted his pictures. Like his finances, Wain’s mental state was erratic throughout his life, which may explain the changes back and forth between cute and cuddly and abstract and psychedelic. No matter, the are beautiful, kaleidoscopic, disturbing and utterly mesmerizing.

Beginning in the late 60s, Wain’s work came into fashion again and has become sought after by collectors. In 2009 Nick Cave, a Wain enthusiast since the late 70s, organized the first showing of Wain’s work outside of England when he exhibited his work as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties concert series in Australia. Artist Tracy Emin and musician David Tibet are also prominent collectors of Wain’s work.

For images from Louis Wain’s children’s books check here and for more cats check here.
 
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More of Louis Wain’s fabulous cats, after the jump…
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Leigh Bowery TV commercials
10.29.2014
01:51 pm

Topics:
Advertising
Fashion

Tags:
Leigh Bowery


 
Leigh Bowery, the Australian-born, London-based artist, club promoter, pop star, model, fashion designer and dancer in Michael Clark’s ballet company was one of the most influential figures in the fashion world of the 1980s and 90s. Before his death at the age of 33 from an AIDS-related illness, Bowery was famously a model/muse for painter Lucien Freud and after, he was a central character of Boy George’s ill-fated Broadway show Taboo (the one Rosie O’Donnell financed). The documentary about his life by Charles Atlas, The Legend of Leigh Bowery is a must-see.
 

 
I knew Leigh Bowery casually dating back to 1984, when I’d see him and his friend Trojan (who was dressed by Leigh) when they’d be out and about at London clubs like White Trash or Phillip Salon’s Mud Club (where I spent most Friday nights of my 18th year). At the time I met them, they had a stall selling make-up in the Great Gear Market on King’s Road and they’d be dressed head-to-toe as you see them dressed above. After that, Bowery became well-known for his Taboo nightclub, the infamous “Where’s Pepe?” TV jeans ads (see below) and his association with Michael Clark. For someone who appeared so monstrous, Leigh was an extremely friendly and affable person who always remembered me when I’d see him in New York.

Little Britain’s Matt Lucas is currently developing a dramatic film about Bowery’s life. He’s the perfect actor for the role.

These Pepe Jeans ads from 1989 were directed by mega-genius Tony Kaye. There were actually five commercials in the series, but one’s not on YouTube and Leigh Bowery isn’t in one of them.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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