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America’s worst nightmare: Donald Trump in the White House, acted out by marionettes
03:29 pm

Pop Culture
Stupid or Evil?


It’s definitely worth your time to watch “Hail to the Trump,” Vanity Fair’s darkly funny Team America-esque glimpse of what a Donald Trump presidency might be like, performed by marionettes.

Produced and directed by Condé Nast’s Rachel Samuels and written by longtime Vanity Fair editor Bruce Handy, the marionettes were operated by a fellow named Scott Land. The first episode debuted on YouTube on November 9th with the latest installment coming out today.

I like how they parachuted into this with an outgoing President Barack Obama welcoming President-elect Trump to the Oval Office. It’s even more of a satiric gut-kick picturing Obama, of all people, having to play nice with the short-fingered vulgarian “birther” billionaire before his swearing in, because you know damned well Trump probably would act just like this.

After the jump, President Trump gets into a Twitter-war with the Kardashians and HATES his Secret Service code name…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Thrill to the covers of Boris Karloff’s ‘Tales of Mystery’ comic
11:43 am

Pop Culture


E.C.‘s Tales from the Crypt was long dead and buried by the time I’d picked up my first Spider-Man comic and attempted web-slinging off the garage roof. If I’d known about Tales from the Crypt then, I would have abandoned Peter Parker to life as a useful flyswatter and hung my star to the Crypt Keeper. All things horror were a childhood obsession—and though with hindsight some graduate of Psychology 101 might give my predilection for nasty thrills an asshat theory about using horror movies as a means to control personal fears—the truth is—I just fucking loved ‘em.

Of course, the possibility that out there—somewhere—was a happy marriage of comic book and horror story was a pre-pubescent fantasy as remote as the coupling between Cinderella and Prince Charming. Then one day I discovered Boris Karloff’s Tales of Mystery at the back of a rack of comics and knew the Prince’s luck was looking up.

Ye gods, the covers alone were enough to put my imagination into overdrive—like a hyperactive kid popping bubble wrap—the images of prehistoric beasts devouring fishermen on storm-tossed seas, gruesome subterranean creatures clambering out of crypts, devils torturing unrepentant souls, and a viscous ooze devouring all. The fact that each cover had a passport photo of the debonair Mr. Karloff—a man who looked like he worked at a bank or sold life insurance to the over 50s—only made the thrills more enjoyably fun, as I knew this kindly old man would never, ever, go overboard with the horror. Or would he?

Boris Karloff’s Tales of Mystery was originally a spin-off from his TV series Thriller. When the series was canceled, publisher Gold Star re-titled the comic as Boris Karloff’s Tales of Mystery. It continued to be published after Karloff’s death in 1969, and ran into the seventies—around about the time when I picked-up on it. If you want to have a swatch of the whole set of covers available have a look here or here.

This little bundle of goodies culled from everywhere and beyond brings back fine memories of the pure joy to be had imagining the possible terrors that were about to unfold—and appreciating the best thrills are all in the mind.
More fabulous Karloff kovers, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
I’m with the Band(s): Intimate photographs of punk legends at CBGBs
09:05 am

Pop Culture


Whether it’s the Left Bank, or Bloomsbury, or Sun Records in Memphis, the Cavern Club in Liverpool, or London’s King’s Road, there is always one location that becomes the focus for a new generation of artists, writers and musicians. In New York during the 1970s, this creative hub could be found in a venue called CBGBs where different bands came to play every night spearheading the punk and new wave movement and bringing about a small revolution which changed everything in its wake.

Amongst the musicians, writers and artists who played and hung out at Hilly Kristal’s club at 315 Bowery were conceptual artists Bettie Ringma and Marc H. Miller. Bettie had come from from Holland to the US, where she met Miller—a writer and photographer whose passion was for telling “stories with pictures, with ephemera and with a few carefully chosen words.” Together they started collaborating on various multi-media and conceptual artworks.

In late 1976, Marc and Bettie were drawn to the irresistible pull of creative energy buzzing out of CBGB’s. Most nights they went down to the venue and started documenting the bands and artists who appeared there:

Our first photograph of Bettie with the movers and shakers at CBGB was taken during our very first visit to the club in late 1976. Standing alone by the bar was one of Bettie’s favorite performers, the poet-rocker Patti Smith. At home at CBGB and a wee bit tipsy, Patti was more than happy to oblige our request for a picture with Bettie. Soon we were CBGB regulars, checking out the different bands and slowly adding to our collection of pictures.

Marc and Bettie’s original idea of creating “Paparazzi Self-Portraits” at this Bowery bar developed into the portfolio Bettie Visits CBGB—a documentary record of all the bands, musicians, artists and writers who hung out at the venue, with photographs becoming:

...a reflection of the new aesthetic emerging at CBGB, a contradictory mix of high and low culture energized by fun and humor, the lure of fame and fortune, and a cynical appreciation of the power of a good hype.

More of Marc and Bettie’s work from this punk era can be seen here.

Patti Smith was hanging around at the bar, but no one was taking pictures of her because she was super-shy. She posed with me and then just went away: some musicians are like that, they’re not into socialising. They’re just artists.


Debbie Harry is a really great singer. She had a very different style from what was emerging there at that time. She was not shy, but she was very aloof: you can see that in the picture, hiding half her face behind her hair. It wasn’t something she needed, because she was very pretty, she was the frontwoman. But it gave her safety.


I just love the Ramones. When their music starts I can’t sit still, I just have to start hopping and dancing, and I’m 71 now. We saw them live about 10 times: we would go out of our way to see them perform.

More of Marc and Bettie’s work after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Hail Satan!: Posable Anton LaVey action figure
10:29 am

Pop Culture


I’ve blogged about this posable, handmade Anton LaVey action figure before about four years ago. Apparently, since my blog post, the action figure has been unavailable for years due to the “inability to find quality clothing sellers.”  Well guess what? This mini-LaVey is back for a second edition by Etsy seller Stexe.

...dressed in a higher-quality ensemble and with a complete re-sculpt of the head. ‘Cause I’m a better sculptor than I was three years ago, when I made the first edition.

$85 is way more than I want to charge, but I’m paying over $45 for the clothing alone. Factor in the cost of the figure and a solid resin cast of the head, and I’m not making much profit for the sculpting and painting. Let us be clear… I’m doing this for you, not me.

There are five of these available, then they’ll be gone indefinitely. Don’t wait, get a MAN-TON for that special creep in your life while you can.

I mean, the holidays are coming up. This could make a pretty impressive stocking stuffer to say the least. Get him here.



Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Linus and Lucy’: Los Straitjackets’ revved-up cover of the beloved ‘Peanuts’ theme song
08:55 am

Pop Culture


The luchador-masked garage/surf band Los Straitjackets have been a popular live act for over 20 years, thanks to tight musicianship and energetic, theatrical stage shows. They’re known for sharing stages with other showy, dynamic performers like the burlesque troupe The Pontani Sisters, but lately they’ve begun working with someone altogether different—Nick Lowe, the great songwriter and producer who lived the transition from pub rock to New Wave and beyond. Los Straitjackets were a feature of Lowe’s Quality Holiday Revue tour last year, and will be again this year. Further, a show recorded on last year’s tour will be released as a Record Store Day LP on November 27th.

That album will contain Los Straitjackets’ version of the immortal Vince Guaraldi number “Linus and Lucy,” famous as the theme music from the Peanuts TV specials, starting with A Charlie Brown Christmas 50 years ago. Thanks to the Peanuts connection, that song is by far pianist Guaraldi’s best-known work, and there are abundant covers out there, by artists as varied as yuppie jazz institution Wynton Marsalis and indefatigable skate-punks JFA. But if it’s all you know of him, do yourself a favor and pick up Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus or even just a best-of. He was pretty amazing.

Los Straitjackets are hardly strangers to holiday music—in the late ‘90s, a Straitjackets Christmas appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien was an annual tradition, and in 2002 they released ‘Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets. Guitarist Gregorio El Grande discussed the appeal “Linus and Lucy” held for the band to DM in an email exchange:

We listen to all different kinds of instrumental music and always loved the Vince Guaraldi score for A Charlie Brown Christmas. One of the discoveries working on “Linus and Lucy” was finding out the opening riff sounds exactly like the opening riff in “You Really Got Me by The Kinks” when you rock it up. You would never think of those two songs being similar! The best thing about covering this song is seeing everybody doing the Peanuts dances when we play it.


Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Dangerous Men’: Transdimensional gutter-action classic is the holy grail of holy fucking shit!
04:14 pm

Pop Culture



“I foresee no possibility of venturing into themes showing a closer view of reality for a long time to come. The public itself will not have it. What it wants is a gun and a girl.”
― D.W. Griffith

There are no more grindhouses on 42nd St. and few surviving drive-in movie theaters left in the USA. The era of the exploitation film is over. Filmmakers who consciously make films in the spirit of the grindhouse like John Waters and Quentin Tarantino have been so imitated they can no longer surprise or shock us. But periodically a new film is unearthed that satisfies the hunger for something “so bad it’s good” and connoisseurs of cinematic junk food rejoice. In recent years, we’ve been satiated by Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, kung fu disco crime saga Miami Connection, Timothy Carey’s delirious The World’s Greatest Sinner and now the almost indescribably weird Dangerous Men directed by John Rad. Described by its most devout champions as “the holy grail of holy fucking shit,” Dangerous Men is about to crawl out of from the tomb of obscurity and make its way to a theater near you. Resistance is futile.

I saw Dangerous Men at this year’s Fantastic Fest in Austin. A lost film discovered by Cinefamily’s Hadrian Belove, Dangerous Men is the creation of an Iranian architect who came to America in the 1980s to pursue his true passion: making movies. Jahangir Salehi Yeganehradm changed his name to the Hollywood-friendly John Rad and began working on Dangerous Men, an otherworldly action thriller that would take him 26 years to complete. With no formal knowledge of film making, Rad fearlessly threw himself into the project with the relentless zeal of a man possessed. He not only directed the film, he wrote it and created the synth-driven brain melting score. The result is a movie that truly warrants being called independent and in its fly by the seat of its pants lunacy take its place among the pantheon of cinematic jaw-droppers like Glen Or Glenda and The Strange World Of Coffin Joe.

After all those years of struggling to complete Dangerous Men, Yeganehradm finally released his labor of love in 2005. It was a very limited release in Los Angeles and died at the box office. But L.A. film fanatic Belove saw Rad’s movie several times and was blown away by its delirious energy. Belove went on to found Cinemafamily which put him in a great position to champion lost treasures like Dangerous Men. Which is exactly what he did.

With several successful screenings at Cinefamily, it seemed time for the film to break out and be seen by a larger audience. It took the combined efforts of several movie obsessives, including the folks at the Alamo Drafthouse, to put all of the elements together to resurrect Dangerous Men. The result of all that love and care will come to fruition this coming Friday the 13th (perfect) when Dangerous Men gets its second chance at blowing the doors off of movie theaters everywhere. Sadly, John Rad/Yeganehradm won’t be around to witness the fulfillment of his dream. He died in 2007.

John Rad
If the rest of the world’s reaction to the film is anything like it was at this year’s Fantastic Fest, Dangerous Men will be a cult hit. It uses well-worn action tropes and dramatic clichés we’ve seen a thousand times but it does so through a prism where logic and craft take a backseat to the kind of do-it-yourself primitivism we associate with punk rock. It’s not about how well you do it, it’s about how committed and passionate you are about what you’re doing. The lack of self-conscious filters results in a purity of vision that can be far more exciting and satisfying than professional perfectionism. What Dangerous Men lacks in filmmaking chops it makes up for in the adrenaline rush of not knowing what the hell is going to happen next. You get the sense that Rad had no idea himself! This is filmmaking done in a trance—the kind of surrealistic flights taken by David Lynch where scenes and images detonate in the subconscious and burst to the surface like synaptic fireworks.

Fantastic Fest programmer and author Zack Carlson was among the movers and shakers who spearheaded efforts to bring Dangerous Men back into circulation. His description of the movie as “transdimensional gutter-action”  is a perfect distillation of the movie’s wide-ranging pleasures. You want bikers, broads, belly dancers and untamed bush? You got ‘em! You want scenes that seem to exist in an alternate reality where aliens have taken on human form and spew dialogue as if they’ve never heard the English language before? Check! You want to see what a movie edited by William S, Burroughs using his cut-up technique (and oven mitts) might look like? Here you go. The cost of admission? Your fucking mind.

In one paragraph, Carlson manages to communicate his passion for what makes Dangerous Men something special…

Some people love to laugh at what they consider to be “bad movies.” But the fact is that there are hundreds of thousands of movies in the world, and the majority of them are bad. Whether or not a film is good or bad, what gives it its value — what makes it persevere — is just when it entertains the audience, or when it does something that no other movie has done before. Dangerous Men does both of those things at a staggering, impossible level. It’s a film shot over two decades that tells a story that takes place over ten days. It’s an ambition-powered time machine that rewrites human behavior, sexuality and logic. It’s an electric bolt of pure vision from the mind of one man, the late John S. Rad.

An exclusive clip of ‘Dangerous Men’ after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
In Their Own Write: Handwritten lyrics by Nick Cave, David Bowie, Joey Ramone, Kate Bush and more
10:46 am

Pop Culture


Beat writer Alexander Trocchi was wise to the easy money to be made from selling handwritten drafts of famous works of literature. When short of cash for his drug habit, Trocchi would write out in longhand one of his novels (Young Adam, White Thighs, whichever) and sell it on to some collector as the one and only original handwritten manuscript. It kept him from finding a job or worse, from writing something new. Across London and Paris there’s probably dozens of these supposed “originals” cobbled together by Trocchi in his moment of need.

If Trocchi had lived and tried the same today, he would probably have been found out for his ruse as the market for original handwritten drafts to books, poetry and pop songs is now a mega business.

Last year, Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics for “Like A Rolling Stone” was sold at auction for $2 million. In 2005, John Lennon’s pen-drafted words for “All You Need is Love” made $1.25 million at auction, while in April 2015, Don Maclean’s handwritten lyric sheet for “American Pie” sold for $1,205,000.

Handwritten pop lyrics are as valuable as works of art—in fact they are works of art—as in this digital age where everything is written by keyboard, the value of such pen-scrawled texts on legal pad or hotel note paper only increase in value year on year. Though the top ten most expensive lyric sheets are about 2/3 the work of John Lennon (4) and Bob Dylan (2), there are plenty of other musicians out there who are finding their first drafts to popular songs offer them or their inheritors a comfortable pension.
David Bowie’s handwritten lyrics for ‘Jean Genie’ made $29,063 at auction.
Bowie: Lyric detail for ‘Jean Genie.’
Ziggy jams with a ballpoint pen: David Bowie’s handwritten lyrics for ‘Ziggy Stardust.’
One of Nick Cave’s many notebooks with original lyrics for ‘No Pussy Blues.’
Cave’s typed lyrics for ‘Push the Sky Away.’
No notebook or typewriter for Joey Ramone—the lyrics for ‘Disassembled’ were written on an old Alka Seltzer box.
More original pop lyrics, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Smartphone Suck: Photos depict evil screens that are stealing your soul!
10:26 am

Pop Culture


Perhaps the disparaging “Smartphones and IPhones are ruining our society and slowly turning us into zombies” fad is getting a bit stale. I do understand why many people see phones as a brainsuck (and if you text while you drive, you’re a supreme asshole who might as well be drunk driving). But as I’ve said before, I love my iPhone. I just use it in moderation. That’s the key. It’s not rocket science. If I’m having dinner with someone, I put my damn phone away and concentrate on the person or people I’m sitting with. I don’t check my phone. Not even once. (My husband refuses to carry one to begin with, which is taking it to an extreme probably…).

Now on to the “SUR-FACE”  the photo series by French photographer, Antoine Geiger. What you see are seemly casual photos of people using their smartphones that turn somewhat sinister once the face is stretched and pulled into the phone. Like our phones own us, not the other way around.

“It [places] the screen as an object of ‘mass subculture,’ alienating the relation to our own body, and more generally to the physical world,” Geiger writes in his description of the series.



More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Stones & Alice Cooper add zest to vintage documentary on Canadian music scene from 1973
09:50 am

Pop Culture


During the opening sequence of this documentary on the Canadian music industry from 1973, The Rolling Stones rip through “Jumping Jack Flash” as the crowd at the Montreal Forum go wild. Mick Jagger struts across the stage, before dousing the audience with a bucket of water and handfuls of rose petals—why? I dunno, each to their own, I suppose…

Not to be outdone, Keith Richards plays his guitar as if each chord struck will bring pestilence, plague, death and disaster down on some faraway land. Richards plucks at his guitar with great gothic dramatic posturing—while in the background Mick Taylor plays the tune.

By 1973, the rock ‘n’ rollers of the early 1950s were middle-aged, mostly married with kids. The new generation of youth who filled their place were long-haired, turned on, tuned in, many believing that music could change the world. Where once rock had been about having a good time, now the feelings it engendered were the driving force for political change. Pop music made the kids feel good—and that feeling was how many thought the world should be.
Well, it never happened, as music—no matter how radical—is in the end… entertainment. Those who took their political education from twelve-inch vinyl platters were quickly disappointed and soon awakened by pop’s utter failure to liberate the world, bring peace and harmony and all that. Nice though this idea certainly was, it was all just a pantomime—like Keef having fun hamming up his guitar playing.

Of course, the music industry is a far more sinister business than this—as this documentary Rock-a-Bye inadvertently points out. From the start, our choice of music was manipulated by long hairs with no taste in fashion as shown by their suits and ties and ill-fitting tank tops. These men picked the records that received the necessary air time to guarantee their success—thus making billions for the music industry. As Douglas Rain quotes one cynical record plugger in his commentary, who claimed if he played the British national anthem “God Save the Queen” on the radio often enough it would be a hit. The youth were only there to be manipulated and sold product—plus ça change….

This is a good illuminating documentary and apart from The Stones, there are performances from Ronnie Hawkins (plus interview), Muddy Waters and Alice Cooper. There’s also an interview with Zal Yanovsky of the Lovin’ Spoonful who lets rip a four-letter word (mostly bleeped out) tirade on the state of music in the 1970s. What Yanovsky forgets is that music is a business and only the amateurs and the rich will play for free.
Watch the entire documentary, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Sympathy For The Devil’: The True Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgment

The Secret Teachings Of Sam Walton

How do we give form to the formless? How do we name that which is unnameable? How do we describe the indescribable? These are challenges that religion, the occult and magic have addressed since humanity first appeared on this planet. In an effort to communicate the divine, the transcendent, the psychedelic, we use devices like art and ritual. We cloak the mystical in words and images in the same way that GOD cloaks itself in the visible world to tell its story. Is life a great metaphor representing something that we cannot see, but know is there? Anyone who has had a “spiritual” experience has had a glimpse into, or a sense of, something greater that we are all a part of. Some go toward this experience alone—St. John or Jesus. Some go as a group, feeling that the odds are better that someone among them will serve as antennae, to dial into the radio of the gods and share the signal. These groups require focus and ceremony (a process) in order to cement the bonds of community, to attain a group consciousness that elevates one and all. We see this kind of collective mindset in everything from sports to business teams to religious organizations. But communities we don’t understand, that we deem weird or esoteric, we pejoratively call “cults.” The fervent devotion of sports fans, the mind-obliterating, soul-destroying Wal-Mart cheer forced upon its employees, the idolization of Steve Jobs and sheep-like behavior of Deadheads, Ben Carson and his groupies for God, all have cult-like aspects to them. But we dare not call them cults. We reserve the word to marginalize and demonize spiritual movements we do not understand or forms of art considered degenerate. “Cult” is a dirty word.

Confessions Of A Teenage Hippie Pervert

I’ve often wondered if I’ve ever been a cult member. During the Summer Of Love I lived in the Haight with a dozen or more teenagers my age who dropped acid, fucked each other and danced to psychedelic music in the glow of black lights and incense haze. We chanted “OM” and passed joints and waited for some kind of magic to happen. And it was happening. It just wasn’t the dramatic type of magic we were hoping for. I do think we collectively levitated once. I lived in a Los Gatos home owned by an ordained priest of The Church Of Tomorrow. He had the best LSD and his stream of consciousness talks seemed to be filled with all kinds of mindblowing heaviness. He had a gravitational pull that seemed superhuman. Young beautiful women flocked to him and I flocked to them. Was this a cult or was it just a groovy hangout? I lived in L.A. in 1967 and worked for a telemarketing agency (definitely a cult) and my young longhaired co-workers were the kinds of Southern California hippies that seemed more like extras from Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls than actual hippies. I spent a night tripping with them in a suburban ranch house and all they talked about was having rough sex with each other involving beatings, leather and whips. I love all kinds of sex, but this talk was brutal, chilling. The words coming out of their mouths were ugly,  flailing through the room like syntactical succubi. What the fuck was I hearing? I fled the scene and ended up having a seriously intense trip in a telephone booth trying to call the only other people I knew in L.A. to come rescue me.

To this day I’m not sure that what I experienced with those “kinky perverts” actually happened. I may have been projecting my id into the situation, my repressed fantasies. After all I was raised in one of the biggest cults of them all, Catholicism. Were they a sex cult? Was what I was hearing all in my own head. Cults are crazy that way. They’re open to interpretation and are often victims of what people think they’re perceiving as opposed to what’s actually happening. Cults are often the repository for the desires we fear. And some cults are created to fuck with those fears, fantasies and projections.

Altamont: Hitler’s Woodstock

The French surrealists and dadaists employed occult imagery to shake up the status quo.They were called a “movement.” They could have just as easily been called a cult. New York’s Living Theatre used confrontational ceremony and transgressive ritual to tear apart the restraints that bound their audiences to dead and archaic modes of thinking. As a theater group, they worked intensely and constantly with each other and often lived communally. Were they a cult? Was Altamont the biggest black mass ever held and were those of us who attended unwitting members of some kind of Satanic sacrifice? (I was there. It sure looked like Hell to me.) Is Facebook the ultimate cult, dwarfing any cult or religion known to man or woman, unstoppable in its indoctrination of every living breathing human being on this earth? I see more devotion directed toward Facebook than any religion I’ve ever encountered. More people are facing their monitor screens than Mecca or reading from their Bibles.

The Living Theatre

Facebook: The Bible Of The Damned

Dr. Timothy Leary was vilified for turning on a generation of young people to the vast beauty and possibilities of their own minds. Mark Zuckerberg is celebrated for reducing our consciousness to the dimensions of a 14-inch screen filled with pictures of food, cats, obituary notices and forlorn pictures of aging rock and rollers. Jesus (who had a cult of just 12) was crucified for being a weirdo. Joel Osteen has made a fortune playing Jesus in a Brooks Brothers suit. Given the choice between Aleister Crowley   or Ted Cruz for President, The Beast gets my vote. I always go with the Devil I know. They turned David Koresh and a bunch of innocent children torched to a pile of ash and yet war criminal Dick Cheney still walks among us, his mechanical heart still beating, his rictus smirk still mocking us all. Donald Rumsfeld lived in Taos, New Mexico within spitting distance of where Marshall Applewhite leader of the Heaven’s Gate suicide cult ran a health food restaurant. Did Rummy eat Beezlebub’s bean sprouts? Did he dream of weapons of mass destruction hurtling toward us like a comet. In a world where companies make billions selling video games (talk about cults) in which teenage boys roleplay as carjackers, murderers and thugs, a kid named Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school. The mass hypnosis taking place in this world right now makes Charles Manson look about as intimidating as Chuck Woolery. Most Americans have been, and will continue to vote for a government that is actively working against their best interests. Under what spell have we fallen? We follow blindly, faithfully, surrendering our will to higher powers, both political and religious. Welcome to the biggest cult of them all: the United States Of America. Rant over.

Crazy Wisdom Drove Me Crazy

Back in simpler days when a cult was a cult and easily identifiable—they wore robes or funny hats—a group of young men and women gathered together in 60s London to form The Process, a quasi-religious group that were part spiritual seekers, part performance art and more than a little bit rock and roll. They had long hair, were beautiful and dressed like priests styled by a Carnaby Street tailor. Their methods were a mashup of Scientology, occultism, psychedelia, pop culture and dada. The members of The Process Church Of The Final Judgement were genuinely on a path to find out the answers to life’s most profound questions: how did we get here, what are supposed to do here and where the fuck are we going? But unlike most religious folk, the members of The Process realized that the journey was the goal and didn’t have to be deadly serious. The Process was all about the process. Enjoy it. In many respects it resembled Chogyam Trungpa’s teachings on crazy wisdom. I was a student of Trungpa’s. From an idiot’s point of view, Trungpa was a cult leader.

Chogyam Trungpa

Attack Of The Hooded Snuffoids

In their zeal to shake things up, The Process occasionally went off the deep end and this is where they ran into problems. People, particularly the British press, could not separate the theatrical from the real. And the The Process was very theatrical. Like Antonin Artaud or Andy Kaufman, The Process was adept at elaborate mindfucking. They were the mystical turd in the very bland punch bowl of British society. In mocking religious hypocrisy, they were often mistaken for being the very thing they were mocking. Their shock tactics often backfired. Surrounding themselves with the iconography of Satanism was a heavy metal move years before Black Sabbath had ever released a record. But try explaining that to the tabloids who called them Satan worshippers and sex deviants. Or worse, Ed Sanders’ hate-filled description of The Process as “hooded snuffoids” and “an English occult society dedicated to observing and aiding the end of the world by stirring up murder, violence and chaos, and dedicated to the proposition that they shall survive the gore as the chosen people.” I’m as big a Fugs fan as anyone out there, but Sanders really missed the irony of him, of all people, writing this shit. Sanders’ band The Fugs were themselves quite skilled in the art of the mindfuck. Using majikal incantations to Egyptian gods, The Fugs attempted to levitate the Pentagon in protest of the Vietnam war. When you’ve successfully conned a con artist like Ed Sanders, you’ve managed something to be quite proud of.

Power to The Process. And Ed, to quote the title of your once infamous literary ‘zine, fuck you.

Ed Sanders’ exorcism chant
Skinny Puppy Housebroken By Satan

While I’m not an expert on any of this cult stuff, like most people, I find it immensely fascinating. The Manson Family creeps me out in ways that deeply disturb me, although groups like The Source, The Process and even Scientology provide me the kind of amusement that diffuses some of the darker shit. If you want to delve further into The Process from the point of view of someone who knows far more than me and does it objectively and with just enough wit and empathy, check out filmmaker Neil Edwards’ insightful and thoroughly entertaining new documentary Sympathy For The Devil. Full of interviews with surviving members of The Process and various experts in the field of all things “cult,” Edwards’ film will introduce you to the real truth behind the head games, rumors, bullshit and theater. And as Edwards told me, like its subject, the movie is a work in progress. There is more to be told and probably more that will never be told.

After the jump, an interview with director Neil Edwards…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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