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Girls and guns: Brave female freedom fighters from around the world on the battlefields of war


The first female combat veteran Margaret Corbin helping to load a cannon being shot by her husband John Corbin during the Battle of Fort Washington on Manhattan Island, 1772. Though Corbin is depicted in the painting above wearing a dress she disguised herself as a man in order to contribute to the efforts on the battlefield.
 
During the Revolutionary War it was commonplace for the wife of a soldier to accompany her husband to war only to mostly perform activities such as doing laundry, preparing meals and attending to he injured. Though this is exactly what Margaret Corbin did initially when she joined her husband John as a member of the Pennsylvania military at the age of 21, four years later Corbin would disguise herself as a man to help her husband load his cannon during the Battle of Fort Washington on Manhattan Island. During the fighting John was killed leaving Margaret alone to “man” the cannon. Which she did until she nearly lost her left arm due to British army fire. Corbin would survive and for her participation in the Battle of Fort Washington she was officially recognized as the first woman “combat veteran” and subsequently became the first woman to receive a military pension.

Many other women would follow in Corbin’s pioneering footsteps including Deborah Sampson who dressed as a man in order to fight in George Washington’s army in 1782. Sampson’s heroic charade lasted for a year until she became injured and was no longer able to hide the fact that she was a woman and was honorably discharged. During the Civil War and the Spanish American War in 1898 there are several accounts of women masquerading as men in order to fight on the front lines along with their male counterparts, as well as serving their country assisting with war related activities such as espionage. Though women would participate in WWI and WWII and lose their lives as a result, it was not until 1976 that women were allowed to enlist in the military. Instances of women fighting in other wars and acting as snipers, and members of resistance efforts in places like France during WWII were common.

Speaking of snipers, the story of Red Army sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko is a compelling one. Pavlichenko was an expert female sniper from Ukraine who fought the Nazis during WWII and was credited with killing 187 Germans during her first 75 days as a member of the Soviet resistance. That number would grow to 309 with 36 of her total kills being German snipers, though it’s widely believed that her actual kill count is likely much higher as there was not always a third-party to witness them all. The German army was rightfully so terrified of Pavlichenko they took to broadcasting appeals over loudspeakers to have the 25-year-old killing machine join their troops instead of wiping them out. Pavlichenko would of course turn down the offer (which according to historians included the promise of “candy”). There were 2000 female snipers who fought with the Red Army during WWII—and Pavlichenko would be one of the 500 who walked away with their lives.

Below, I’ve included some pretty stunning images of women taking up arms. I’ve also posted the trailer for the 2015 film based on Lyudmila Pavlichenko’s brave exploits Battle for Sevastopol. Stay strong, sisters.
 

Red Army sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko.
 

Armenian guerilla fighters during the Hamidian massacres, 1895.
 
More after the jump…

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Abbie Hoffman’s mournful musings on watching Janis Joplin shoot up


 
Abbie Hoffman’s 1969 Woodstock Nation is an essential read for students of the intersections of rock music and politics. Hoffman wrote it in 1969 while he was awaiting the Chicago Eight conspiracy trial in which he was a co-defendant for inciting the 1968 Chicago DNC riots, and it’s a stream-of-semiconsciousness musing on the state of American youth culture, specifically as of the massive and zeitgeist-altering Woodstock music festival.

That festival was famously full of bummers—rain, the brown acid, goddamned Sha Na Na—and Hoffman himself was one of them, too. He worked hard to establish a “Movement City” on the Bethel, NY concert site, intending to try to radicalize concertgoers. But the tent was so far from the stage as to seem to marginalize politics from the festival. Hoffman, in protest, famously took the stage during The Who’s set to scold the audience for having fun while John Sinclair rotted in jail for having two joints. (In fairness there were probably way more than two joints worth of weed per audience member on that site so he maybe kinda had a point, though he was inarguably a peevish dick about making it. Also, interrupting THE WHO for fuck’s sake seems a poor way to win converts.) Just as famous as Hoffman’s tirade was Who guitarist Pete Townshend’s unequivocally disapproving removal of Hoffman from the stage—by swatting him off with his guitar. That move alone earned a huge swell of applause.

Hoffman targets Townshend in one of Woodstock Nation’s more memorable passages, but what concerns us today comes from “The Head Withers as the Body Grows,” an epilogue Hoffman wrote especially for the 1971 Pocketbooks reprint of the book. Excerpts from it were reproduced in the October 1971 issue of Circus under the provocative title “Woodstock: a Tin Pan Alley Rip Off,” and they offer a poignant view of Hoffman’s disillusionment about the failure of the revolution, the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, and the ascension to complacent millionaire stardom of most of the other important rockers. And the article opens with a terribly sad, elegiac passage about watching Joplin shoot heroin, and what her death would mean, not to music, but to the music business.
 

 

Somewhere deep inside the bowels of the monster born in Bethel also lay the kernel for its destruction. Perhaps it was the egocentric greed of the Rock Empire itself. Maybe it was the strain of cannibalism inherited from our parents and exaggerated when cramped into railroad flats in the slums or on muddy shoes in front of the gargantuan stages. The rapes, the bad acid burns, stealing from each other, they, too, were part of the Woodstock experience, if not the Nation. Smack and speed didn’t help. “Shooting up” is more than just a casual expression. It is symbolic of the suicidal death trip, the frustration, the despair. It is another way to bring the apocalypse a little closer.

Janis was the heroine of the Woodstock Nation. Bold and sassy, her energy could ignite millions. I saw her perform all over the country. In the funky old Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, in the Fillmores West and East, on TV, backstage where she would line up a row of twenty studs, in the Chelsea Hotel bar and on the street. She used to drop into our place at all sorts of weird hours when we lived around the corner from the Fillmore East. She was the only person I ever saw use a needle. When she popped in a load and pulled out the works, she’d cluck her tongue making a sucking noise and her face would break out into a shit-eatin grin. The very thought of it makes me shiver. You couldn’t know Janis without knowing her death was near and you couldn’t know the Rock Empire without knowing her death would mean a bundle to the horde of enterprising vultures who choose to pick at the corpse.

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘A Pig is a Pig’: Wendy O. Williams on sexism and female objectification in 1981


The Plasmatics at The Rathskeller in Boston. Photo generously provided by Mike Mayhan.

 

You Can Dress Up In Disguises
You Can Try To Mesmerize ‘em
You Can Surround
Yourself With Friends
Who Tell You What You Want To Hear
But In The End No Matter What You Do
You Will Come Shining Through

 
A few lyrics from the Plasmatics 1981 song “A Pig is a Pig”
 
I wasn’t old enough to truly appreciate Plasmatics vocalist and heavy metal crusader Wendy O. Williams during her punk-era heyday. But by the time I figured out who I wanted to be sometime in the late 80s I was fully in awe of her.

Williams was an inspiration for me back when I had become brave enough to put myself out into the world—writing about music, weirdness and other lowbrow pursuits. She was confident, strong and never ever took a backseat to anyone. Not the press who hounded her, people who flat out didn’t understand her and chose to label her as “obscene,” or the cops who sent her to the hospital when she defied them. Last week was a challenge to me as a human. I know I wasn’t the only one who laid in bed a lot because the contemplation of what our future looks like was too much for me to handle while standing up. I’m now past my “mourning” period and have moved on to being very fucking angry.

Basically, I hate conformity. I hate people telling me what to do. It makes me want to smash things. So-called normal behaviour patterns make me so bored, I could throw up!—W.O.W.

As a woman, forward thinker—and a mother—I want you to listen to Wendy share her feelings spoken some 35 years ago about sexism and female objectification—two negative attitudes that have become even more magnified (as well as seemingly completely acceptable to half of the residents of the U.S.) of late. They echo the spirit of lyrics of the Plasmatics powerful (and timely) song, “Pig is a Pig” (from the band’s second release Beyond the Valley of 1984) which Williams’ references during the short interview with Jeanne Beker on the Toronto-based The Music Show back in 1981. While trying to sort through all the madness that has been the past week, like many of you I relied on music to get me through as nothing else made any fucking sense. When I came across the footage of Wendy O’s interview I felt a distinct wave of reassurance thanks to her powerful words and point-blank fuck-this-bullshit attitude which are very much reflective of the many emotions I’ve been rollercoastering through myself.

More after the jump…

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Dancing on the grave of civilization (New York in the 80s & why I refuse to remove my boogie shoes)


Paradise Garage
 
When I got to New York in 1977 it was to play on a Monday night with my band at CBGB. At the time, CBGB was becoming a magnet for bands from all over the world. But despite its growing rep as a music mecca, CBGB’s early days had the feel of a clubhouse for a very specific type of rock fan: A hang for rebels who loved rock distilled to its essence, poets who found their muse in the mayhem of loud amps and the thunder of drums and a handful of rock critics who desperately needed something fresh to wrap their heads around. Playing to a nearly empty house, my band saw CBGB in a less romantic light. It was a dump. But on those nights when The Ramones, Patti Smith, The Damned, X-Ray Spex, The Dead Boys etc. played, CBGB was the center of the rock and roll universe.

Whether playing CBGB or not I probably spent most nights in 77/78 either there or at Max’s. It was the last great era of rock and roll as far as I’m concerned. We’ll be talking about The Ramones, Talking Heads and Patti Smith long after grunge bands like Alice In Chains and Soundgarden are long forgotten (if they’re not already). As far as music of this new century goes, I’m not sure much of it will be remembered 20 years from now. I’m not hearing anything that really blows me away. I wish I did. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just an old fuck living in the past. But that past, particularly the glorious whole of the New York Club scene of the 70s and early 80s, was pretty fucking wonderful. Seen from a passing satellite I can imagine Manhattan, Brooklyn and The Bronx looking like a giant throbbing meatpit glimmering with copious amounts of sweat and dripping with… (use your imagination).

Punk, rap, disco and Latin music were drifting in and out of each other and the barriers separating uptown from downtown were being shattered. Blondie, B-52s and DEVO were being played at Studio 54 and bands like Liquid Liquid, Bush Tetras and Konk were taking disco’s four-on-the-floor beat and putting some angsty urban edge into the mix. The bottom line is people were dancing everywhere, even in clubs where people had been too cool to get crazy. Leaning on the bar and striking hipster poses looked pretty square when hundreds of people were going mad on the dance floor to The Gun Club’s invocation to “explode to the call… move, move, sex beat, go…!”

My own circuit included Danceteria, Peppermint Lounge, Mudd Club, Club 57 and Hurrah’s where new wave, post-punk and ska bands played regularly and deejays like Mark Kamins, Anita Sarko and Dany Johnson kept the crowds in perpetual motion.The segue from live bands to vinyl was an art that was being mastered as the scene unfolded and the best deejays were being born on the spot.

At downtown clubs like The Paradise Garage and The Saint deejays Larry Levan and Alan Dodd spun dance floor filling beats for predominantly gay clienteles who embraced divas Loleatta Holloway, Donna Summer, Grace Jones and Sylvester as well as euro-disco and the very beginnings of house music. These were the test markets for new singles by new artists and the latest dance re-mixes. If a 12-inch extended dance mix worked at The Paradise Garage it would work anywhere. It wasn’t long before rock bands like The Clash and Blondie were hitting the studios to re-work their tracks into dance mixes. No one was listening to radio. We were all too busy nightclubbing.
 

 
Tim Lawrence’s epic new history of nightlife in the city that never sleeps, Life And Death On The New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983, captures everything I’ve been talking about and so much more. In its six hundred thrilling pages, Lawrence gives us a close-up view of a scene that lasted from 1980 to 1983 before AIDS blew out the lights on a party that felt like it would go on forever. San Francisco in the 1960s had hippies, free love and psychedelics. It was the place to go to shake off the straightjacket of religious repression and cultural oppression for a generation of young people. In the less sunny and distinctly more frightening New York of the seventies and eighties, young people also gathered but with fewer support systems in play and far more obstacles than the free-flowing Aquarian era. Still, we made our own new version of paradise. It was rough-edged and more cynical but it was alive with energy that made us all feel that the future was ours. If there’s anything that makes Lawrence’s book ultimately a sad one is how quickly it all ended and how random and bewildering that end was. The openness and freedom we were all feeling was suddenly thrown under the wheels of some demonic subway train that had come rumbling out of nowhere.

When AIDS descended on New York it was a quiet bomb that shattered our world. For me, it hit home when I got a call that a friend of mine was dying from this new mystifying disease. I put down the phone not knowing exactly what it all meant. What the fuck was going on? My friend who was dying was Klaus Nomi. I had known Klaus for several years and had encouraged him in the very early stages of his music career. I helped him pick out a guitar (blue Fender Jaguar) and taught him three chords, enough to get him started. Ironically, we ended up on the same record label. Klaus epitomized New York’s multi-faceted music scene by crossing every possible boundary and creating something modern and new. He was ahead of his time, both wonderful and tragic.

Life And Death On The New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983 is a remarkable achievement as history and as entertainment. A sequel to his Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979, it’s a celebration and a eulogy of a New York that we may never see again. Dance floors and rock clubs have been replaced by chain stores and condos. The funky storefronts and theaters that housed music venues and discotheques are now homes to the rich and fabulous. No one dances anymore. Everyone is too busy making money to pay for their little bit of real estate that once was the breeding ground for artists, musicians and writers. Where bodegas, pizzerias, bakeries, dive bars and cheap ethnic restaurants once stood we now have Starbucks, The Gap and $100 sushi handrolls. Tim Lawrence’s book is a reminder that the heart and soul of any culture, any city, is in its art. From the great Times Square jazz clubs to the Boogie Down Bronx and CBGB on the Bowery, New York has always been one of the world’s great music centers. Once we lose touch with that magic we’re left with an island of commerce and concrete. We not only lose part of our soul we lose our collective identity. The value of cities are measured by their art. No one comes to New York because it has a better Starbucks or Chili’s. People flocked to Manhattan even in the worst of times because we had clubs, theaters and museums no one else had. People were willing to brave the Bowery because there was something magic going on in a dive bar that stank of beer and urine but seemed like heaven to fans of adventurous new music. CBGB’s heyday really only lasted a couple of years but those years were game changers for rock music and musicians. The good stuff is eternal.

In the past few days I’ve been in a state of shock and awe. Despondent to point of paralysis. This piece I’m writing now is helping me get a grip on myself. As I write it, I am remembering all the battles I’ve fought since I was 15 and marched on the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam War. I am remembering Nixon and Reagan and I’m also remembering that during every dark era the arts have flourished. As war raged and friends were drafted and killed, we saw a golden age of rock and roll emerge in the sixties. The Beatles, Fugs, Sly Stone, Jefferson Airplane all sang songs of peace and insurrection based on liberating our bodies and minds. The art scene of the ‘60s was a massive detonation of mind-expanding paintings, films and literature. In the 1970s, when New York was dying and the government under Ford fucked us off, there seemed to be no light nowhere. But punk rock reared its beautiful spiky head like a pus-filled boil bursting and expelling the poisons that had been building in a city and citizenry under siege. We didn’t run, we didn’t hide. We partied! Dance floors exploded with free spirits moving, grinding, slithering to beats that were sexy, tantric, primal and emancipating. The songs were anthemic invocations to stand up against the machinations of death and doom. Gloria Gaynor led the charge with lyrics that were a call out to each and every one of us to not despair, to not lose hope and to survive!

Do you think I’d crumble
Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
And I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive
I will survive

So as we face this very uncertain time it’s important to not crumble to not lose your anger. For me, my anger right now is what clarifies who I am and what I believe in. This is not a time to go soft and get warm and fuzzy and talk about healing. Keep your anger close. Consider it an ally. But be precise and informed when you use it. In the meantime, this is the perfect time to find avenues to articulate and express your feelings without risking your freedom and safety. Nixon once quoted the old proverb “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  Fuck him. I have a different angle: “when the going gets tough, the tough get down.” Let’s dance this mess around!
 

Dany Johnson
 
Here’s a mix to get down to. It’s based on a set list from Dany Johnson who was the house DJ at Club 57 circa 1980. Get happy, get healthy and get ready. We have work to do.

Blondie – I KNOW BUT I DON’T KNOW
Joe Cuba Sextet – BANG BANG
Delta 5 – MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
Bootsy’s Rubber Band – BOOTZILLA
Talking Heads – WARNING SIGN
Lynn Collins – ROCK ME AGAIN….
Pylon – GRAVITY
The Cramps – I’M CRAMPED
Spoonie Gee – MONSTER JAM
B52s – DANCE THIS MESS AROUND
Frankie Smith – DOUBLE DUTCH BUS
Marie and Les Garcons – RE-BOP
Fatback Band – KING TIM III
Lulu – THE BOAT I ROW
Bush Tetras – TOO MANY CREEPS

 

 
Update: New York City dance club visionary DJ David Mancuso who hosted groundbreaking Love Saves The Day dance parties and opened The Loft on Lower Broadway in 1970 died yesterday (Nov.14). He was 72. He created an inclusive club scene where everybody felt at home and set the tone for virtually every dance club that followed in his wake.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Your pre-debate musical playlist inspired by Donald Trump!

 
gergenv
 
Hey America! Here’s a wild Donald Trump-inspired playlist that all the hip kids are tuning into! I did an expanded version of this on my Intoxica radio show on Luxuriamusic.com. This should keep you in “the mood” until the debate!

And here we go!
 

 
More Trump-inspired music for all you hepcats and pussycats after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
What a Buzzcock did next: Drummer John Maher’s stunning photographs of abandoned homes

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‘Rust in Peace.’

The chance decisions we make in our teens can sometimes bring wondrous returns.

John Maher was just sixteen when he was asked to play drums for a local band called the Buzzcocks in 1976. The Buzzcocks had been formed by Peter Shelley and Howard Devoto in Manchester in late 1975. Maher didn’t really think about it—he just said yes. His first gig playing drums with the band was supporting the Sex Pistols at their second (now legendary) appearance at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, Manchester, in July 1976.

When he was eighteen, Maher bought his first camera—an Olympus Trip—just prior to the Buzzcocks tour of America in 1978. Photography was something to do on the road—but for Maher it was soon became a passion.

After the Buzzcocks split in 1981, Maher played drums for Wah! and Flag of Convenience. But his interest in music waned. When the Buzzcocks reformed in 1989, Maher opted out—only ever making occasional guest appearances with the band.

Maher had an interest in drag racing which led to his launching an incredibly successful business making high performance engines—John Maher Racing. His engines and transmissions are described as the best built in the UK. The success of his company allowed Maher to retire. It was then that he returned to photography.

In 2002, Maher relocated from Manchester to the Isle of Harris in Scotland. The beautiful, bleak Hebridean landscape was in stark contrast to his busy post-industrial hometown of Manchester. The land inspired Maher and he became fascinated with the deserted crofts dotted across the island. Homes once filled with working families and children now lay abandoned in disrepair—belongings scattered across wooden floors, empty chairs faithfully waiting for a new owner, wallpaper and paint drifting from the walls, windows smashed, and gardens long untended.

Maher started documenting these abandoned buildings that spoke more to him about human life than most museums. He took long exposures to achieve a certain look—often blending analogue and digital images to create the best picture. For example, the photograph TV Set was created from “a compilation of nine separate exposures.”

His fascination with the deserted crofts started an idea to have these homes reclaimed and reused bringing new life back to the island. As Maher told the BBC earlier this year:

“What started out as a personal project—documenting abandoned croft houses in the Outer Hebrides—has had an unexpected side effect.

“As a result of displaying my photographs, there’s now a real possibility of seeing at least one of the properties becoming a family home once again.”

Maher’s photographs led to a joint venture by the Carnegie Trust and the local housing association to start renovating some of Harris’s derelict buildings for habitation. Maher’s photographs have been exhibited on the isle and across the UK. “It shows,” he says, “that looking through a lens to the past can help shape things in the future.”

See more of John Maher’s work here.
 
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‘Waiting Room.’
 
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‘Blue Chair.’
 
More of ex-Buzzcock John Maher’s work, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Obama finally handing out pardons, and after 22 years for pot and acid, this Deadhead will go free


 
Barack Obama has been (somewhat notoriously) light on pardons and commutations of sentence throughout his administration. As of March he had only granted 70 pardons (the lowest since John Adams), and 180 commutations, a record that the Washington Post speculated might earn him the legacy of “one of the most merciless presidents in history.” I supposed you could argue that if he did extend mercy to those incarcerated at the hands of a ridiculously punitive justice system he might get a reputation for being “soft on crime,” and then he might not get elected again… for a third term?

It’s some small comfort however that Obama is on a bit of a spree during his final months as President, recently bringing his record up to 673 commutations and providing a light at the end of the tunnel for a number of non-violent drug offenders, including Timothy Tyler, who was busted in 1994 for selling pot and acid to an undercover cop and sentenced to life. He’s been in jail for 22 years. His sister has been fighting for his freedom, collecting over 423,000 names on his behalf—from her petition:

My brother Timothy Tyler was just 25 years old when he was sentenced to die in prison for a nonviolent drug offense. He’s watched murderers and rapists leave prison while he has no chance of ever leaving. He is now 45 years old and I want to bring him home. Timothy was a young Grateful Dead fan, who in May of 1992, sold pot and LSD to a friend who turned out to be a police informant. He had never been to prison before, but a judge was forced to give him double life without the possibility of parole because of two prior drug convictions — even though both those convictions resulted in probation.

Tyler’s case was followed pretty closely by activists against mandatory minimums and long sentencing, likely at least partially because as a Deadhead he’s a poster boy for non-violent offenders. After growing up with an abusive stepfather, he saw his first Grateful Dead show at 17, and began following the band and and doing acid fairly regularly. Tyler also dealt with bipolar disorder and psychotic episodes, at times believing Jerry Garcia was God, and once ending up in a psych ward for trying to build a dam naked on the side of an Arizona highway. In prison he became a vegetarian, and though he previously dated women, he began having sex with other inmates to escape the isolation and oppressive claustrophobia of prison.

He is set to be released in August of 2018, where he will be required to spend nine months in a residential drug treatment program, after which his mother and sister will be his support network.
 
Via Death and Taxes

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Freedom for the Wolf’: The rise of Illiberal Democracy

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Earlier this year, at the opening ceremony for the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament, makar or national bard Jackie Kay read from her poem “Threshold.” The poem is a rallying call for people to come together and protect the nation’s “incipient democracy”:

Find here what you are looking for:
Democracy, in its infancy: guard her
Like you would a small daughter -
And keep the door wide open, not just ajar…

Though I don’t regard Scotland as nation with an infant democracy—our history tells us otherwise—it is fair to say the poem’s sentiment is well-intentioned—if a tad cutesy. Democracy must be guarded responsibly if we are to enjoy its freedoms.

The issues of freedom and democracy are at the heart of a new feature-length documentary by writer and director Rupert Russell. His film Freedom for the Wolf is epic in scale—covering events on four continents—finely made, thoughtful and nuanced. It examines how different people across the world—from Tunisian rappers to Indian comedians, from America’s #BlackLivesMatter activists to Hong Kong’s students—are joining the struggle for “the world’s most radical idea—freedom—and how it is transforming the world.”

This sounds all very exciting—though I don’t think the struggle for freedom as something new—it has been a central thread of human history for millennia. Yet every generation comes afresh to politics (most recently the Occupy Movement and Bernie Sanders revolution) and sex (Fifty Shades of Grey)—and so it is with Freedom for the Wolf.

That said, Russell’s film does highlight how different movements, primarily youth movements, are fighting the threat of governments combining dictatorships with democracy to create what is termed “illiberal democracies.” In other words, countries replacing real democratic freedom with consumerist choice—the right to liberty exchanged for the right to shop—or, as Juvenal put it, “bread and circuses.”
 
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Occupy demonstrator in Hong Kong.
 
Rupert Russell was born and raised in England. He is the son of the brilliant film director Ken Russell. Rupert graduated from Cambridge University before he went on to study for a PhD in sociology under Orlando Patterson at Harvard University.

Patterson is a preeminent historical and cultural sociologist—best known for his work Freedom in the Making of Western Culture (1991), which won a National Book Award. Born in Jamaica, Patterson has long had an interest in the cultural meaning of freedom. His interest was inspired by his birth country’s association with slavery. Slavery has shaped our understanding of freedom. Patterson examined slavery from a long historical perspective pointing out that the derivation of the word slave comes from the ethnic group Slavs. Blond, blue-eyed Slavs were once the main ethnicity of slaves—further the “vast majority of slaves for over 2,000 years of Western history were white.” But it’s a different kind of slavery that threatens democracy today.

Patterson appears in Russell’s documentary and his work on freedom—what is it? what does it mean? how is it being eroded today?—underpin some of the film’s central themes—as Russell explained to me when I spoke with him over the phone:

Rupert Russell: Our original intention was to examine what freedom meant in different cultures around the world. I’d been thinking about freedom and the paradox of freedom for quite a while and I decided to do a bit of exploration into not only what freedom means in different cultures but how does it relate to power.

My advisor at Harvard during my PhD was Orlando Patterson who had already done quite extensive research on this. For example, he examined how ordinary Americans when you ask them to talk about “freedom” there were all kinds of things they said from being naked on a beach to driving their car. But invariably what they they didn’t talk about was voting.

Orlando’s hypothesis actually explains how people such as George Bush and other politicians of the Iraq war era were able to use the idea of freedom in the forefront of their rhetoric while at the same time eroding democratic institutions through things like the Patriot Act.

I was already aware there was a very sophisticated way to think about the relationship between freedom and power—the different definitions of freedom and how they can interplay with each other. How we may emphasise in a culture too much of a personal version of freedom and not connect that with a democratic or institutional version of freedom upon which our personal freedom depends.

More from Rupert Russell on ‘Freedom for the Wolf,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
NUDE Donald Trump statue glued to the ground in several cities


 
Members of the anarchist artists collective INDECLINE have unveiled life-size statues of Donald Trump naked—and with no testicles and a teeny weenie—in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Seattle. “The Emperor Has No Balls” is the name of their multi-city guerilla installation.

What I like best about this is that clearly these wonderful pieces of ostensibly “public” art were made, really, for just one person’s dubious pleasure: Donald Trump’s! That the rest of us might find them amusing seems like a bonus.

Via the Washington Post:

The eyes scowl, the mouth pouts and the veiny, almost reptilian skin looks like it was torn off a human-size frog and dipped in bronzer.

The job of conceptualizing and creating the statues fell to a man who goes by the name “Ginger,” a Las Vegas-based artist. Ginger told The Post that he has a long history of designing monsters for haunted houses and horror movies.

In addition to doing makeup for a Busta Rhymes video, Ginger’s résumé includes another source of great pride for the artist: He’s a regular keynote speaker at haunted house conventions across the country. (We checked and, yeah, they’re a thing.)

“When the guys approached me, it was all because of my monster-making abilities,” he said, referring to INDECLINE members. “Trump is just yet another monster, so it was absolutely in my wheelhouse to be able to create these monstrosities.”

The statues were commissioned in April. The INDECLINE pranksters said they wanted Trump’s effigy to appear to have a “constipated look.” Each statue was glued to the ground using industrial strength epoxy.

Genius!
 

The “saggy old man butt” view from NYC’s Union Square.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Naughty nuns, Nosferatu and BDSM: Surreal works by the master of ‘anything goes’ Clovis Trouille
07.01.2016
10:58 am

Topics:
Activism
Art
Sex

Tags:
Surrealism
1930s
Clovis Trouille


‘Religieuse italienne fumant la cigarette’ (Italian nun smoking a cigarette) by Clovis Trouille, 1944.
 
According to legend a work called “Remembrance” (1930) by fanatical anarchist and painter Clovis Trouille was on display during an art show for the French Communist Party in the early 1930s the piece caught the eye of none other than Salvador Dali himself. Which makes perfect sense as the painting (pictured below) features a church cardinal wearing an open coat that reveals his womanly legs, red garter belts and black thigh-high stockings—to say nothing of the levitating nude contortionist just to his left. Fantastic stuff.
 

‘Remembrance’ 1930.
 
“Remembrance” was one Trouille’s first paintings—done when the painter was already 41 years old. Prior to discovering his true calling, Trouille was employed as what could be best described as a sort of mannequin “makeup” artist for department stores. A job that allowed him to stay true to his anti-establishment ideology and disdain for anything systematic—a sentiment that Trouille instantly developed after he was drafted into service during WW1 and returned traumatized by what he had seen. During his long career Trouille would continue to admonish authority figures by way of his brush by painting religious leaders, police and government officials into sordid scenes full of lowbrow debauchery with distinct BDSM undertones.

Quite fond of his own work, according to noted French surrealist art collector Daniel Filipacchi, Trouille once asked him to return a painting he had purchased from him “Rêve Claustral” that featured two nuns kissing. To which Filipacchi though confused, obliged. The painter would return the painting to him noting that he had added some detail to it (in this case Trouille added two prayer books that had been cast on the ground below the nuns exposed legs). This was a request, Filipacchi said, that would be asked of the collector on several other occasions resulting in a few other additions to “Rêve Claustral” including a peeping-Tom version of a nun watching the lurid scene go down.

Trouille was tragically overlooked during his own lifetime and if you’re going to be in Paris this coming week, you can see some of his work at the Grand Palais at the Champs-Élysées through July 4th. If you like what you see, Trouille’s art has been compiled into a few books including “Parcours à Travers l’oeuvre de Clovis Trouille, 1889-1975” and “Clovis Trouille; Un Peintre Libre et Iconoclaste.”
 

One of the most famous paintings by Clovis Trouille provided the title and poster art for Kenneth Tynan’s notorious erotic Off-Broadway revue ‘Oh! Calcutta!’ (The title is a pun on “O quel cul t’as!” French for “What an ass you have!”). It was also used on the cover of the original cast soundtrack album.
 

More spellbinding examples of Trouille’s work follow after the jump—most are NSFW…

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