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A young Jim Jarmusch reports on Cleveland’s foremost post-punk heroes, Pere Ubu, 1977
05.27.2015
10:10 am

Topics:
Movies
Music
Punk

Tags:
Jim Jarmusch
Pere Ubu


 
In the early 1970s, Akron native Jim Jarmusch, born in 1953, transferred from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University to Columbia University, receiving his diploma in 1975. He took full advantage of the opportunitis Columbia afforded him, editing The Columbia Review and moving to Paris for a stretch, which is where his lifelong love of film was born. After his return to NYC, Jarmusch enrolled in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and also hung out at CBGB’s a lot.

At some point he had the bright idea to return to the big midwestern metropolis from his home state of Ohio—that is, Cleveland—and report on some of the major rock doings going down in that city. In the 7th issue of N.Y. Rocker, which came out in the spring of 1977 (May-June), there appears a lengthy interview with Pere Ubu’s resident genius David Thomas with the byline “Jim Jarmusch.” As I read through it, it took an effort of will not to call to mind the wintry, winsome, and downtrodden feel of the Cleveland section of Jarmusch’s 1984 breakthrough (I would also say masterpiece) Stranger Than Paradise.

I’m currently a resident of Cleveland, having moved here from NYC (reverse trajectory to Jarmusch’s, hmmm) in 2013. I put on Pere Ubu’s 1978 12-inch Datapanik in the Year Zero, which I purchased in Cleveland last year, before writing this post. I’ve met people in the current incarnation of Pere Ubu and visited the Agora, where Ubu played in December 1976, but much more to the point, Jarmusch’s interview with Thomas resonates in a far more general way with me, now that I live here (and like it). On the second page of the interview is a blurry, wintry snapshot of Cleveland’s most prominent building, the Terminal Tower, with a raised drawbridge in the foreground, and you know, that picture now has a homey familiarity for me.

One portion of the interview was conducted at Tommy’s Restaurant on Coventry Road, and that restaurant is still there and thriving. The first part of the interview was conducted at the Pirate’s Cove in the Flats district of Cleveland, which is no more; Cobra Verde frontman and Cleveland Plain Dealer writer John Petkovic described it as a venue that “will go down in Cleveland rock lore as the host of shows by the Dead Boys, DEVO and Pere Ubu—back when the Flats was a rough-and-tumble working-class drinking spot.”

In the interview, Jarmusch and Thomas (winkingly identified as “Crocus Behemoth” throughout) discuss the finer points of Laverne and Shirley, the appeal of Nero Wolfe and Raymond Chandler, and the “repulsive” nature of poetry. At one point Thomas/“Behemoth” appears to set up Pere Ubu as a kind of Beach Boys for the industrial midwest:
 

A lot of our songs are about driving. Like “Street Waves” is like, you know, in California they got the surf, and in Cleveland, in the summer, if you work real hard at it, there’s a surf that comes down the streets. And if you work real hard, you can ride that surf. And in Cleveland, that’s real bizarre. You get out on West 25th and Detroit and ride the surf and its real good. Really good. That’s our big summertime thing—you get out there in a car with a radio in it, “a car that can get me around,” and you know, we dress in our swimming trunks and just surf down the streets…...

-snip-

We’re not innocent, like the Beach Boys are innocent, cuz nobody can be innocent anymore. But we know what innocence is, and we know we have to try to get back there, even if it is tinged with reality.

 
In the third and final part of the interview, Jarmusch and Thomas are cruising around the city in a 1966 Dodge Dart. They have the AM radio station CKLW on, which is cycling through some recent hits, to which Thomas reacts. When Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s the Night” comes on, it spurs Thomas to a mini-manifesto of sorts:
 

This is one of my big faves, too. I like all kinds of shit. I think ABBA’s real superb. I like all kinds of crap. Like, I consider Pere Ubu to be a pop band. Like, we don’t really do long songs. Pop is an art—to do something really new with pop is an art.

 
Read the original article after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Walking Dead’ and more reimagined as old VHS covers
05.27.2015
08:41 am

Topics:
Art
Movies
Television

Tags:
VHS tape
VCR


 
French artist Julien Knez has whipped up a handful of delightful VHS covers for popular post-DVD-era TV series and movies like The Walking Dead or The Wolf of Wall Street. Anyone who was around in the early 1980s, when VHS tapes were first widely introduced to the market and cable TV dramatically expanded its audience will remember cheesy-ass covers just like these.

On his Instagram feed Timeless VHS, Knez has uploaded several of the lovingly re-created what-if VHS covers. As evidenced by the bottom picture in this post, Knez actually made these in real life, rather than just as Photoshop mockups. Unfortunately, he’s only done nine of the gorgeous covers, and hasn’t uploaded any since early April. We’d love to see more! 

Knez has done a truly remarkable job recreating the “magic” of a bulky, plastic VHS cassette cover that spent most of its time on a shelf in a store with a name like “Super Video Palace.” VHS distribution was a pretty bottom-up business (Hollywood had initially regarded home video as a threat to its movie theater business, and only belatedly embraced VHS as a second, thriving channel of distribution), and the puzzling array of companies represented in these covers (“Regal Video, Inc.”) is a spot-on evocation of the wild and woolly world of home video during that era.

Wired points out that the Gravity cover was inspired by the original VHS cover for the 1979 James Bond movie Moonraker, just as Interstellar apes the cover for the sultry 1980 classic starring Vanity known as La Bete d’Amour, and Game of Thrones is a reworking of the cover of 1983’s Yor, the Hunter from the Future.
 

 

 
More VHS covers after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Bloody Geography: Horror maps that detail what fright flicks were set in your home state
05.27.2015
06:42 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
horror


 
This week someone sent me this really cool map of the United States, in which an imgur user has placed visual representations of horror films set in each state. It’s quite a piece of work:
 

Click on image for larger version.
 
I did some searching to learn more about this map and the work that went into it, when I accidentally stumbled across THIS even more detailed, meticulously researched, map which lists around 250 horror films for all 50 states (and Washington, D.C.).
 

Click on image for larger version.
 
The host website horroronscreen.com clarifies:

The map represents where the stories take place in the movies, not where the actual filming locations were. Nowadays, most horror movies are filmed in California, but the setting could be totally different. For example, Halloween was filmed outside of Los Angeles but the movie is set in Illinois.

This is a true labor of love, and I actually learned about a couple of new movies when I checked out my own home state.

So peep both of these bloody good horror maps and let us know: What’s the scariest state?

Via Horroronscreen.com and Bloodydisgusting.com

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Vintage cinema sleaze: Remarkable ‘neo-retro’ video covers and poster art
05.25.2015
10:31 am

Topics:
Art
Movies
Pop Culture

Tags:
VHS

They Live BluRay box art, 2014
John Carpenters’ They Live Blu-Ray cover art (UK), 2014
 
In the early 80’s it was rumored that the UK had the largest number of VHS players per household, than anywhere else in the world. This interesting and perhaps plausible factoid (since the first home video recorder, The Telcan hit the UK consumer market in 1963), comes straight from the mouth of UK born illustrator, film poster designer and VHS aficionado, Tom Hodge, aka “The Dude Designs.
 
King of New York for DVD/BlueRay art for Arrow 2012
King of New York DVD/Blu-Ray cover art for Arrow, 2012
 
Like so many of us, Hodge’s obsession with cinema began thanks to easy access to VHS (Video Home System) tapes and frequent visits to his local “video van man.” Much like the movies themselves, the glorious cover art that continues to entice VHS collectors from all over the world, was quickly burned into his psyche. In 1995 Hodge began his formal education with graphic design and visual communication before launching his career as a professional designer in 2000. Since then, Hodge has designed dozens of DVD and Blu-Ray covers as well as salacious film posters for titles put out by Arrow Films, Scream Factory, and Magnet, among others. His art is seemingly possessed by the spirit of the seedy underbelly of vintage grindhouse, horror and exploitation cinema.
 
Brian DePalma's Obsession DVD/BluRay cover 2011
Brian De Palma’s Obsession DVD/Blu-Ray cover art, 2011
 
If you also love all things VHS with a passion as Mr. Hodge, Yale University’s film archive would make you weep. The Ivy League school boasts a collection of almost 5,000 titles; 2,700 of them on VHS. Of particular interest in Yale’s archival is the fact that it is primarily comprised of horror films, thanks due in part to the “direct to video” marketing tactic used by fringe filmmakers in order to circumvent the Hollywood machine. What is also significant about both Yale and Hodge’s cultural curation of VHS, is that there are an endless number of VHS titles that simply cannot be found (or never will be released) on DVD or Blu-Ray. In other words, the only way to see many of the films that reside in Hodge’s or Yale’s archives requires that you pull your VCR out of storage, and view it on old-school magnetic tapes. 
 
Hobo with a Shotgun movie poster for Magnet, 2011
Jason Eisner’s Hobo with a Shotgun. Movie poster for Magnet, 2011
 
Recently, Hodge put together an archival of his own that is chronicled in his book, VHS Video Cover Art: 1980’s to Early 1990’s. Nearly half of the VHS films featured in the book are straight from Hodge’s own collection. Although many of the titles in Hodge’s book may be more recognizable to a UK video junkie, any child of the 80’s will undoubtedly recall many of the hundreds of images of VHS tapes (front and back mind you, squeee!) within the books covers.
 
From Parts Unknown film poster, 2014
From Parts Unknown (Fight Like a Girl) film poster, 2014
 
Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla (Australia) film poster, 2013
Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla (Australia) film poster, 2013
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
East beats West: Sensational Japanese posters of popular 70s films
05.25.2015
09:28 am

Topics:
Design
Movies

Tags:
Japanese film posters
seventies

019rollerballjpnpost5647832019.jpg
 
Japanese movie posters of the sixties and seventies kick ass. They always seemed more exciting than their American or British counterparts, managing to take choice images and compose them like frames from a comic book. Even when the posters were just cut and paste jobs there always a sense of drama, as if you have joined the story at a key scene—explosions blossom, machine guns rip, heroes do battle.

This little mix of classy posters show how good graphic art can make average movies like Caged Heat, Serpico, Black Belt Jones and Dracula A.D. 1972 seem like masterpieces.
 
009deathrace2000jpnpst09875rtgv009.jpg
 
008logansrunjpnpost097656789008.jpg
 
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More Japanese movie posters, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Watch the first silver screen portrayal of Aleister Crowley in 1926’s ‘The Magician’
05.22.2015
05:43 am

Topics:
Movies
Occult

Tags:
Aleister Crowley
W. Somerset Maugham


 
W. Somerset Maugham based Oliver Haddo, the titular character in his 1908 novel The Magician, on Aleister Crowley, whom he had met in literary circles in Paris. It was not an altogether flattering portrait, and Crowley, writing in Vanity Fair as “Oliver Haddo,” argued that Maugham had plagiarized multiple sources in a scathing review of the book.

Almost 20 years later, Rex Ingram brought The Magician to the silver screen with the German actor and director Paul Wegener as the bloodthirsty Haddo. Crowley was living in Paris at the time, and he sought to prevent the movie’s French premiere by legal means. Richard Kaczynski’s definitive Beast biography, Perdurabo, mentions the incident in connection with Crowley’s student Gerald Yorke (the brother of the novelist Henry Green):

[...] Yorke kept AC’s pipe dreams in perspective: one such scheme involved Metro-Goldwyn’s film adaptation of Maugham’s The Magician, which was opening on the Grand Boulevard March 23. Since Crowley received no compensation as the model of Oliver Haddo, he filed an injunction against showing the film. However, when representatives from the film company offered to pay Crowley, he refused. “The lawsuit is a pretext for a business deal,” he explained to Yorke. “I’m holding out for publicity and power.” Crowley wanted a contract to produce a series of educational films on magick. Yorke was pessimistic about the scheme.

(In the event, Crowley got nothing. “I cannot say that I think you will get any damages from Metro-Goldwyn over The Magician film,” Yorke had warned Crowley. “Your reputation is too bad to be damaged by that.”)
 

Paul Wegener as Oliver Haddo: finally, an unbiased cinematic portrait of Aleister Crowley
 
“He looks as if he had stepped out of a melodrama,” the movie’s hero says when he first meets the sorcerer, giving the game away. Briefly: a diabolical sculpture crumbles in a Latin Quarter studio, crushing artist Margaret Dauncey’s spine. Her dashing lover, the famous surgeon Arthur Burdon, cures her paralysis with a scalpel. We first see Haddo in the audience at the operating theater, looking at the beautiful young quadriplegic on the table as if she were a hamburger. Poring over occult books in search of the secret of creating life, the magician has discovered an alchemical working that requires “the Heart Blood of a Maiden.” Can you guess whom he might have in mind for a donor?

There are many visual treats in store—among them a freak show and a snake charmer—but if you’re impatient or easily bored, skip to the 29-minute mark, where Haddo brings Dauncey under his spell, magically transports her to a rite of Pan, and awakens an unnatural lust within her.
 

 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
There’s a Roku channel just for cheesy old sex-ed and exploitation films


 
When streaming players boast about their huge numbers of channels, I’m generally even less impressed than I am by the “wealth” of offerings on the grossly overpriced wasteland that is cable TV. I have absolutely no use for thousands of impossibly granular channels like The Christian Comedy Channel, Firewood Hoarders, NRA Women, and Cruise Addicts. Those are all real. But in their favor, I don’t have to pay $75 a month to not watch them.

But sometimes, that nanoscopic specificity does pay weirdness dividends. The Shout Factory channel proffered by the music/video label of the same name holds some treasures, as do the handful of channels that compile old cartoons that have passed into the public domain. And not so long ago, I ran across a channel, called Stop It Or You’ll Go Blind!, devoted exclusively to old sex ed films, with some “educational” exploitation thrown in. (Why is “Sex Ed-sploitation” not a term? It’s a thing, it needs a word…)
 

 

 
Unsurprisingly, a lot of these are a riot. There’s “Miracles in Birth,” a graphic depiction of live births shot in grainy black and white so blown-out it looks less like a miracle and more like outtakes from Begotten. There’s “Dance Little Children,” a creepy VD scare flick directed by Carnival of Souls auteur Herk Harvey, which teaches us all a valuable lesson about not letting slimy rich dudes boink us on the first date. The 1938 Sex Madness, Dwain Esper’s follow-up to Reefer Madness is streaming, as is the bizarre Test Tube Babies, a tale of swinging and sterility. And the ‘60s classic “Perversion for Profit” is there, the notorious and INSANE 30 minute anti-indecency screed in which L.A. newsreader/talk show host (and, later, NewsMax columnist *shudder*) George Putnam blames pornographers for everything from juvenile crime to child molestation. The brilliant thing about “P4P” is that if anyone actually held on to even half of the smut rags displayed for *ahem* viewer edification, they could be an eBay millionaire today.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Orson Welles talks about the conspiracy to suppress ‘Citizen Kane’ in 1960 interview
05.21.2015
07:08 am

Topics:
Movies
Politics

Tags:
Orson Welles
Citizen Kane


 
This short interview from 1960 has some fascinating comments from Orson Welles on the uphill battle he faced getting Citizen Kane into theaters. It was often speculated of course, that the titular character was based on publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst, who only exacerbated this notion by using all his resources to try and prevent the film’s release—this is without ever having seen it. (You’d think a strategy of denial might be a little less self-incriminating!) Welles manages to get in a snide jab with: “Kane isn’t really founded on Hearst… in particular,” specifying that Kane was a composite character.

Even more fascinatingly, Welles does not shy from the more explicit politics of the film, admitting “it was intended consciously as a sort of social document, as an attack on the acquisitive society, and indeed on acquisition in general.” This clear critique of power managed to get him branded as a Communist in the states and banned in the Soviet Union—can’t win for losing, I suppose. As it was, Hearst actually did succeed at limiting the run of the film in the US—by a lot. Few theaters even showed the film. The box office numbers suffered, and though Citizen Kane is now considered one of the greats, it damaged Welles’ career from the very start.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Unsettling t-shirts and skateboard decks celebrating 20th anniversary of ‘Kids’
05.20.2015
12:30 pm

Topics:
Fashion
Movies
Sex

Tags:
Harmony Korine
Kids
Larry Clark
Supreme


 
That startling movie by Larry Clark and Harmony Korine, Kids, turns 20 years old this year, indeed older than all of its characters. It’s rare to see a movie with a worldview this bleak enter the popular discourse so brazenly, and that the movie is just as bracing now as it was then would tend to indicate that the conscious act of infecting someone with a fatal disease is never going to be anything less than a massive attention-getter.

Among its other virtues, Kids introduced the world to such talents as Chloë Sevigny and Rosario Dawson.

Supreme is offering a special suite of skateboard decks and shirts to celebrate the movie. The tees feature the movie’s closing summary statement—“Jesus Christ. What happened?”—on the back. The items are already available in L.A., London, and NYC, and online consumers get their first chance to buy them tomorrow (May 21).

Here’s Supreme’s somewhat literate press announcement:
 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Larry Clark’s debut film, KIDS, the portrayal of NYC youth’s escapades in the early 90’s. Some were offended by the raw and anarchic world Larry Clark documented, for those that weren’t, the film became an important document of the time, place and culture.

Through photographing skaters in NYC, Larry Clark came to meet the film’s writer, Harmony Korine and star, Leo Fitzpatrick. The rest of the cast was pieced together with a variety of downtown New York characters including original Supreme team riders Justin Pierce and Harold Hunter. It is a testament to KIDS cultural impact that it resonates today just as much as it did in 1995.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary, Supreme is proud to release a collection of items featuring stills from the iconic film KIDS. The Collection will consist of a Hooded Sweatshirt, Long Sleeved T-Shirt, two graphic T-Shirts, and three Skateboards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
via The World’s Best Ever

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Unseen Cinema of H.R. Giger
05.20.2015
07:32 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
H.R. Giger


 
It’s been a year since the amazing Swiss surrealist painter H.R. Giger was lost to us. He was best known for his “Xenomorph” creature design for the film Alien, album art for Emerson Lake and Palmer and Debbie Harry, and for the notorious poster included in Dead Kennedys’ Frankenchrist LP, the utterly preposterous censorship repercussions from which derailed that band’s existence. To mark the first anniversary of his passing, the Museum of Arts and Design, on Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan, is hosting a three program festival of Giger documentaries, and rare films to which he contributed design work. The films will run over Memorial Day weekend, with a program on Friday, May 22, 2015, and two programs on Saturday the 23rd. If you’re not a New Yorker, keep an eye out; a traveling version of the festival isn’t out of the question.
 

H.R. Giger and Debbie Harry, 1981

The Friday 7:00 PM program is notable for its inclusion of A New Face of Debbie Harry, the FM Murer documentary about Giger’s videos for Debbie Harry’s KooKoo LP, and it will be introduced by Harry and Chris Stein. (DM told you about those videos last year.) But even more importantly, it also features Murer’s amazing 1969 film Swissmade 2069. The strange 40-minute work is a look at a dystopian future in which nonconformists and maladapts are exiled to reservations, while valued citizens are subject to insanely granular levels of central planning—right down to actual mind-reading—viewed through the Bolex-lens eyes of an alien visitor, which was designed by Giger (his credit is for “Future-Design”). It’s has never been screened in the USA before, which blew my mind to learn—after the Alien films made Giger famous among civilians, you’d think there’d have been at least an arthouse interest in a prior film with a Giger alien design!

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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