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Unbelievable! Holy grail footage of The Shaggs from 1972 FOUND!

Of all outsider music, none is further outside than The Shaggs. Three young sisters from Fremont, New Hampshire whose harrowing story is like no other pop music story in history, is known at this point far and wide. Their father took them out of school, harassed and abused them to force them to “make music,” hoping to hit it rich off that new rock and roll fad. Since they didn’t have one iota of knowledge about music, the girls invented their own music. An amazing otherworldly music like nothing anyone’s ears have ever experienced! And being that they were young girls, this music had a great innocence to it, coming through guitar bass and drums. Now I don’t just mean they wrote songs, but that they reinvented music almost in an autistic way. Not knowing their back story early on, it’s amazing that this was created under duress. Everyone that heard it thought it was just the bizarre childish ramblings of the weirdest teens on earth! And they were, but still…
To implement their father’s bizarre plan, these girls (Dot, Betty, and Helen Wiggin) were also forced to play every weekend at Fremont Town Hall where, it is said, that they were endlessly abused by rotten kids for doing the “Shaggs’ Own Thing,” yet they soldiered on weekend after weekend because they had to. Next was to record an LP and here is where their magic was set in stone. Released in 1969,The Shaggs’ Philosophy Of The World came and went and legend tells of them being thrown in a dumpster by the studio owner/co-producer (with their dad, Austin Wiggin). Either way 900 of the thousand LPs disappeared, so right off the bat it was incredibly rare. Being the most famous weirdo of his time the record made its way into the hands of none other than Frank Zappa who went on a radio interview in 1970 with the Shaggs LP under his arm and famously during the interview proclaimed “this band is better than the Beatles” and then made them play a song—the first public mindblower the band created. They kept playing until the day their father died of a massive heart attack in 1975 and then just stopped.
Ten years after its original release, at the end of the first punk wave, mega record collector Terry Adams, singer for cult rock-n-roll band NRBQ, got his record label (Rounder Records) to re-release the LP. The minds punk opened were endlessly searching for weirdness in records, movies and pop culture. People like myself scarfed up the Shaggs LP and were mesmerized by its unique weirdness. It started being used as the measuring stick for weird music. People like Kurt Cobain put it in his top five favorite records of all time. In 1999 for the 30th anniversary NRBQ celebration concert they put on a show in New York That was one of the greatest and most bizarre nights of my life. I went with Shaggs megafan and one of my best friends, the late Bill Bartell (aka Pat Fear of California punk band White Flag) and it was a true mind bender. The Shaggs, playing their first show ever outside of Fremont, NH had the middle spot between Sun Ra’s Arkestra and NRBQ! Possibly the weirdest bill ever. I secretly recorded it, and it sounds exactly like the record. They read the music off of the original handwritten charts and only did four songs because they could only find those four pieces of sheet music! I had Dot Wiggin recreate the drawing of her cat Foot Foot from the back cover of the LP—made infamous in their “biggest hit” song “My Pal Foot Foot”—on my ankle and had it tattooed on the very next day! (I already had a tattoo on my actual foot foot.)
Here’s Pat’s recounting of the show on Popshifter

Pat Fear: When I went to New York in 1999 to see the Shaggs when they played with NRBQ at their 30th Anniversary concert, I ended up getting to know them. They didn’t understand that they were going to be mobbed and I ended up being their handler. They had never experienced anything like being mobbed for autographs, so I set them up with a table for merch and stuff and ended up being their manager for a day. So I got to know them pretty well over the course of the two days.

They were really nice. It was only two of them; Helen wasn’t well enough to play [The Shaggs were comprised of three sisters: Dot, Betty, and Helen Wiggin; Helen died in 2006] so it was just Betty and Dot. That was the first time they had played since they broke up in 1975. I went to the soundcheck because I was not going to miss one second of Shaggs performances!

I met them and they were just standing around, these two, nice, older women—normal people who looked like middle-aged housewives—but they had guitars with them. And I barely recognized them. I said, “Look I don’t want to bother you but I came from California to see you. This is a big thrill and I’ve always liked your music.”

And they were like (adopts Shaggs-like accent), “Oh, that’s so nice!” They talk just like they do on the records. I was like, “Wow, this is actually happening.”

Dorothy [Dot] had a PeeChee folder in her hands and she opened it up right before they were about to do the sound check and she said (in Shaggs voice), “Oh, we’re only gonna do four numbers because we didn’t have time to study them.” And she opened this PeeChee folder and there was handwritten sheet music to “My Pal Foot Foot.”

Popshifter: Oh my goodness.

Pat Fear: Those songs were written out and scored on sheet music, by hand! And when she said “study” she meant, study the sheet music.

Popshifter: How is that even possible? (laughs)

Pat Fear: Jaw on the floor! I was with Howie Pyro [D Generation] and we were both like, “Oh. My. God. You don’t know how much I want that piece of paper.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Feminist performance art VS Black Flag, Sabbath, and other culturally masculine institutions

Jen Ray’s paintings of “sparring Amazonian women who inhabit decaying, semi-surrealist and strangely beautiful wastelands” evoke the late ‘70s avant-post-psychedelic science fiction worlds one would associate with Heavy Metal (the magazine, not the music), but with a decidedly feminist bent—both in subject matter, and, some might argue, in form as well. Angry, jagged, “masculine” lines are filled in with soft, “feminine” washes of color—that is if colors and lines can even be described as “masculine” or “feminine” in the 21st century.

Untitled. 2007. (Detail)—Click on image for larger version.
Ray seems to delight in playing with gender stereotypes, and it’s all the more obvious in the exceptional performance pieces she constructs to augment her magnificent large-scale works of fine art.

North Carolina born, Ray was based out of Berlin for nearly a decade before recently returning to her home state. Her exhibitions of painting and performance have been presented in Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf, Wolfsburg, Paris, Copenhagen, Mexico City, Amersfoort (Netherlands), and most recently, at New York’s Albertz Benda gallery

Ray’s newest exhibition, Deep Cuts, runs at Albertz Benda until November 7th. The presentation which accompanied the opening, directed by Ray, featured a performance by Honeychild Coleman and Amor Schumacher along with a chorus of women backing up détourned renditions of Public Enemy’s “Countdown to Armageddon” and The Guess Who’s “American Woman.”

In a world where the mere mention of the phrase “performance art” sends eyes rolling with assumptions of self-indulgent, pretentious, mess-making (and add the word “feminist” to that phrase and you’ll likely lose even more dudebro interest) it’s remarkable how entertaining, as well as conceptual and thought-provoking, Jen Ray’s productions are. It’s very nearly as populist as it is powerful in its approach.

Give it a couple of minutes to ramp up and stick with it till the end… this is killer:

The first of Jen Ray’s performance works that I viewed (and still my favorite) was Hits which takes Black Flag’s tongue-in-cheek 1987 macho party-anthem “Annihilate This Week” and turns it on its ass. My remark upon first viewing this piece was “this is more interesting than any (punk band’s) show I’ve been to in the past five years.” The sterile atmosphere of the gallery space and its attendees being invaded by singer “Mad Kate” out-Rollins-ing Rollins somehow makes the proceedings even more “punk.”

This may not be safe for some work environments:

Much more after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
There’s a giant pink vagina couch for sale on Craigslist
02:56 pm


Home decor
vagina couch

If you’re in the market for a giant pink vagina couch, boy do I have the perfect one for you! For sale in Portland for a measly $600 you can now have one of your very own.

From the listing:

Beautiful pink “vagina couch” that I made in art school and no longer have space for. The couch is large: measures 5’ 3” long, 3’ 3” wide at the middle, and stands 2’ 3” tall (and is heavy like a couch). The pics are from my portfolio and are several years old; as a result, the couch has some scuffmarks and stains, but otherwise is in excellent shape. A professional upholsterer helped me build the couch, so it is also functional and durable as a piece of furniture.

If you want to buy it, you’re responsible for hauling it.


Via Sarah Mirk on Twitter


Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Trading cards: Professions for women of the future imagined in 1902
12:03 pm


trading cards


French artist Albert Bergeret’s collection of trading cards from 1902 titled “Women of the Future” tries to imagines women’s jobs and professions of the modern era. I’d imagine back then these were quite inspirational to young girls and women. However, I do find some of the wardrobe choices quite suspect. Especially the scantily clad military-themed ones. They seem to be more for the boys.

A member of a light-infantry corps in the French army

Military-fencing Master


A doctor

A member of the Assemblée
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Woman tries to deter cat-callers by wearing a garbage bag on the streets of NYC
09:03 am


street harassment

Cat-calling is not without gradient, and not all uninvited attention from a strange man is threatening or really even obnoxious. For example, the besuited senior citizen who once shouted “God Bless America” at me from his milk crate throne was perfectly charming—namely because he wasn’t vulgar, didn’t expect a response, and made no move to follow me. On the other end of the spectrum you have guys who trail behind you as you walk, pester you for acknowledgement, become enraged at your evasion, or just plain disgust you with graphic harassment. Yesterday I had some rando yell at me, “What that mouth for?” and while I always hope I would be quick enough to yell “for biting off dicks!” in such a situation, I was thrown by the sudden shock of being screamed at by a stranger, and I didn’t gain my composure quickly enough for a decent riposte.

So how is one to avoid cat-calling? Comedian Jessica Delfino tried wearing a garbage bag, and it kind of worked! I have to say though, I see a few fatal flaws to her experiment’s conditions. One, this does not look like a trash bag. I mean kudos on the draping and everything, but that is a very fashion-forward interpretation of the medium—even without the figure-flattering benefit of the patented cinch sack! Two, she’s obviously traveling with a cameraman, and despite her attempts to be discreet, you’re way less likely to get cat-called when you’re with a friend, especially a male friend with a camera. Finally, I feel like there has got to be a dude out there with a trash bag fetish for whom this would only be a serious turn-on.

Still, her initial results are compelling, and further trials are encouraged. Personally I’d like to explore the repellent properties of a pregnancy prosthetic—again, you’d get some fetishists, but you can’t avoid every perv.

Via Dazed

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Blood, Sweat, and High Heels: Vintage photos of women boxing in high heels
12:17 pm


high heels

Occasionally, while searching for photos and images for Dangerous Minds, I will sometimes—often—inadvertently stumble across remarkable images that have absolutely nothing to do with my original search. Like women boxing in high heels! Apparently women boxers can throw blows in the ring like men, except we can ALSO do it in pumps!

Eat their stiletto dust, Floyd Mayweather!


From the 1939-1940 records of the New York Public Library’s digital archives

Clara Bow, 1927

More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Barbie Swiss Army knife
11:09 am


Swiss Army knife

American parents have become increasingly nervous about sharp objects over the generations, and I think it’s time the culture eased up a bit. I’m not saying toddlers should be wielding machetes (although that is totally a thing in quite a few cultures), but a simple pocket knife was a pretty significant part of my own childhood (even if its actual use was limited to absentmindedly whittling sticks to points). At the same time, there are aspects of more traditionally “girly” toys that I think are great too, so why not combine them in one handy-dandy multi-tool/toy? Behold, the DIY Barbie Swiss Army knife, brought to you by Instructables user Mikeasaurus, who says of his unholy union:

Empower young girls to expand their horizons beyond playing with stereotypical gender reinforcing toys by combining a everyone’s favourite pink girl-centric doll with something a little stabby.

A multi-tool is hidden inside the torso of the Barbie, where the blades can be pulled out from a slit in her side. The body also separates at the waist to reveal a screwdriver hidden in the legs. The two halves of this doll are connected by magnets, so she holds together when fully assembled. Barbie never looked so good!

I doubt these are actually particularly safe for kids—a knife mounted in a doll’s abdomen is probably a bit less stable (and therefore more dangerous) than the knife alone, but it’s so darn cute and creepy, I may just have to make one to keep in my purse. You know… for protection.

Via Instructables

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Sexism,’ a disturbingly accurate board game from 1971
11:02 am


board games

Sexism board game - 1971
Sexism. A board game from 1971
Sexism was a board game, conceived back in 1971 by Carolyn Houger, a resident of Seattle, Washington. With the creation of Sexism, Houger hoped to “bring out the humor in the Women’s Liberation movement.” The idea for the game came to Houger after her four-year-old daughter returned home after playing the card game “Old Maid” with her friends and made the statement, “wouldn’t it be terrible to be an old maid?

According to the folks over at Board Game Geek, the goal of Sexism is to move from the “doll house,” to the White House (flash-forward 44 years and we’re still waiting, but I digress). The first player to move into the White House, wins. Sexism is compelling on so many levels it’s difficult to know where to start. Just take this game board square from Sexism called “Abortionist.” The square itself depicts a pregnant woman and a clothing hanger(!) with the following game instructions if you land on it:


The bill didn’t pass.

Go to the Maternity Ward

Laundry Service and Part-time You Know What!

Sexism encourages players to play as their opposite gender as it is known to produce “hilarious role-playing situations.” So, if you win as a “woman” the game will instruct the other players that, “You are now a person, and must be treated as such for 24 hours. Non-winners may be treated as usual.” If you play as a “man,” you are greeted by a cartoon of a large thumb pushing a woman down with the following message: “Congratulations, you’ve won — or have you?” Wow.
White House or Playboy Club game squares from Sexism
Decisions, decisions. White House or Playboy Club game squares from Sexism

When it comes to the cards that you might draw while playing Sexism,  playing as a woman you might draw a card that says “Go back two steps because you’re a woman. You’d just as well get used to this.” Whereas a man might draw a card that makes this incredible statement:

I staunchly defend motherhood, God and country. I’m against giving more money to ADC (Aid to Dependent Children) for each child. I’m against abortions. I’m against women earning as much as men. I’m against paying taxes for free child care centers. Go ahead three steps.

In an interview with Houger from 1972, she said that her intention wasn’t to create an “anti-male” game. In addition to enlightening folks to Women’s Lib, Houger had high hopes that the game would start a dialog about sexism, as well as help people understand that both men and women should be treated as “people.” Houger also said she wanted to highlight the fact that women can also be sexist, by “reinforcing sexism” with their actions or attitudes, especially when it comes to assigning gender-specific roles - a point that she makes rather directly on many of Sexism’s game squares.

More on Sexism after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
What if that Human League song were only ‘you were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar’?
04:39 pm


The Human League

File under “so dumb it’s genius.”

You Tuber svantana has reduced the lyrical content of Human League’s 1981 hit “Don’t You Want Me” to the catchiest and, perhaps, most thematically important line: “You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar.”

The gist of the entire song boils down to that anyway, right?

At 1:35 into the song Susan Ann Sulley takes up her half of the duet with Philip Oakey and responds “I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, that much is true. I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar. I guess it’s just what I must do.”

What’s clearly important here is that both sides understand that the woman was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar.


Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Feminist psychodrama ‘Felt’ examines sexism, gender and violence
09:35 am


Amy Everson
Jason Banker

When I was a university student there was a slogan chanted by the more militant feminists:

All men are rapists.

Their suggested solution to this problem was to “Cheese wire all sexist bastards.” (i.e. cut off all male genitals). It was a provocative response but revealed how many women perceived the world as a hostile place, experiencing sexism, chauvinism and oppression on a daily basis. Move on three decades and little appears to have changed. Today figures were released by the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK that show a record number of prosecutions in England and Wales for violence against women and girls. The figures include cases of rape, domestic violence and honor killing, while figures released by the University of Michigan show that more than 20% of female students experienced “some sort of nonconsensual sexual behavior in the past year,” with around 12% experiencing “nonconsensual sexual penetration.” It’s dispiriting reading to think for all the progressive politics, feminism and political correct agendas, little has really changed in the relationship between men and women.
Amy Everson in opening sequence of ‘Felt.’
A new film Felt by documentary filmmaker Jason Banker and artist Amy Everson highlights the issue of endemic sexism and the extreme responses it can inspire. Felt is the story of a young woman Amy (Amy Everson) who is disconnected from the world and finds her everyday life is a “fucking nightmare.” She is (apparently) recovering from some kind of sexual trauma—what this may be is never made explicit—other than her character saying around halfway through the movie that women are brutalized by men and invalidated for not having a dick. To cope with the sexism and hostility she feels around her, Amy designs herself a “man suit”—think Buffalo Bill’s skinsuit, but this one’s made of nylon—in which she parades around her secret hideaway in a local wood—experiencing her new identity and having dreams of being a “superhero.” Her close female friends think something is wrong and try to help, but Amy believes she is just expressing herself—or exorcising her demons—as she thinks best.
You kinda feel this ain’t gonna end well…
The men and women around Amy tend to be little more than caricatures: they’re either dumb or douchebags. An emo rambles on about roofies and rape; a Christian woman wants to pray for Amy; a friend’s abusive boyfriend, an engineer, demands respect for being, well, an engineer, a useful part of society and a man; the photographer objectifies women but is disgusted by their bodily functions (farting); and so on. We are dropped into this world without any back story—the man suit appears first appears around fifteen minutes in—or a real emotional connection with Amy and therefore Felt demands the audience bring a lot of understanding/sympathy for Amy and her experience of the world.
If you go down to the woods today…
Felt has the feel of a hybrid, which in essence it is. Originally intended as a music video, the film developed into a documentary about Amy Everson and her art, which is inspired by her own sexual trauma, before becoming an improvised film. Being improvised means some of the actors appear to be merely reacting to Amy’s performance rather than presenting real characters.

Everson gives a very good performance, though at times it seemed as though I was watching Everson being Everson rather than Everson being “Amy,” and there is good support from the cast especially by the scene-stealing Roxanne Lauren Knouse. Jason Banker’s direction (and camerawork) is highly assured and very impressive—the opening montage of images is like a short art film. Overall, Felt is a feminist tale for today and has many good things to recommend it. You can judge for yourself as Felt goes on release from tomorrow details here.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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