Things that go bump in the night: Vintage 1920s stereoview images of ghouls and goblins
04.18.2014
08:48 am

Topics:
Art
History

Tags:
stereoviews


 
These vintage stereoview images from 1923 of a little girl sleeping while goblins and boogeyman creep around her bed and hover over her are a little silly looking, yes. But, they’re still psychologically disturbing, tapping into the primordial fear of something under the bed like some kind of proto-David Lynch type imagery.

I’d imagine these scared the shit out of plenty of children—and probably some adults, too—back in the day. Heck, I’m a little a-scared of ‘em right now!

Wake up! Wake up!
 

 

 

 

 

 
Via eBay

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Marks of a genius: Ray Harryhausen’s incredible creature drawings
04.18.2014
08:06 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Ray Harryhausen

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If it wasn’t a monster movie, then it wasn’t worth watching. That was my narrow view of cinema when I was a kid. There was the usual suspects of werewolves, vampires, gelatinous blobs from outer space, and stitched-together cadavers, but nothing thrilled quite as much as seeing one of Ray Harryhausen’s animated creatures move across the screen. Whether it was those ghoulish skeletons in Jason and the Argonauts; the Ray Bradbury-inspired Rhedosaurus that tore up New York City in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; the leathery terradactyl that picked up Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.; or the octopus that brought down the Golden Gate Bridge; this was the kind of movie that made so many childhoods happy—mine included.

Harryhausen sketched out each of his ideas before turning them into models, and this is a small selection of his drawings for the films Jason and the Argonauts, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, the unmade War of the Worlds, Valley of the Gwangi, 20 Million Miles to earth, and One Million Years BC.
 
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More of Harryhausen’s incredible drawings after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Every Rolling Stones clip British Pathé just uploaded to YouTube
04.18.2014
07:52 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones
 
On Sunday newsreel archivist British Pathé uploaded 85,000 films, in high resolution, to its YouTube channel. An incredible, if sometimes a bit stodgy, resource that will be viewed countless of thousands of times in the years to come. Lots of things like the Hindenburg.

And pop culture too. I scoured the British Pathé YouTube presence for all of its Rolling Stones footage (mostly by entering in the term “Rolling Stones” in the appropriate place). This is what that quest produced: 12 videos covering the years 1964 to 1970. Some of them are collections of raw footage that made up some of the completed items you can also see here. A few of them have no sound at all. The concert footage from 1970 isn’t very good, esp. the sound (which is glumly conceded in the YouTube “About” area), but a number of the clips are excellent in their way.

The “Rolling Stones Gather Moss” video captures the Stones in their “Hard Day’s Night” phase, so to speak. They’re still in the Beatles mold—until you get to the performance section, where nobody would ever mistake these guys for the Beatles. The footage from Australia is pretty solid and the Hyde Park concert after the death of Brian Jones is also very good.

My favorite, though, is the weird footage of the audience at the Stones’ 1964 Hull concert. Someone’s going to make a pretty dandy experimental movie out of that someday.

In each instance I have pasted the “About” text underneath the video. In one case there is a duplicate, the two Hyde Park videos appear to be identical, but we strive to be complete.
 
“Rolling Stones Gather Moss” (5:51, 1964)

Full title reads: “Rolling Stones Gather Moss.” Technicolor Material. Hull, Humberside.
 
More where these came from, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Six-year-old boy with a tail is worshipped as a god
04.18.2014
07:51 am

Topics:
Belief

Tags:
Gods

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Amar Singh may appear like an ordinary six-year-old boy, but to the villagers of Nijmapur in India, Amar is an embodiment of the Hindu god Lord Hanuman.

Amar is worshipped as a god because he is believed to have a foot-long tail growing out of his back. The tail is in fact a patch of hair, but as Amar’s father, Ajmer Singh has explained that although the hairs could easily be shaved off, the family do not want to do this because they consider the tail as a “gift from god.”

“Amar is a very loving child… Everybody sees him as a symbol of god.”

Another explanation for Amar’s tail is the birth defect spina bifida, which means the spine does not fuse properly, leaving a gap which can result in a growth in the lower back.

The youngest in a family of five children, Amar is also considered god-like as he is said to have the “face of a cow,” and enjoys spending time with the village cattle.
 
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Via India Today

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Swans’ Michael Gira on their forthcoming triple album ‘To Be Kind’
04.18.2014
07:38 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Swans
Michael Gira


 
Michael Gira’s band Swans have shape-shifted but plenty. They made their reputation with an extraordinarily punishing and shockingly nihilistic take on no-wave music in the 1980s, culminating in the colossal masterpiece Children of God. They then curve-balled their fans with relatively introspective and quietly mournful LPs at the decade’s turn. The ‘90s saw further experimentation, ending with the final album of their first incarnation, Soundtracks for the Blind in 1996. But whatever Swans’ approach, be it the bludgeoning riffs of their early years, the tape loop experiments of the mid ‘80s, or the early ‘90s acoustic efforts, the band’s oeuvre has been united, partly by musical and lyrical darkness, certainly, but also by the ability of all the band’s many lineups to conjure the elemental.

Swans went silent in 1997, after which Gira continued to work both solo and in The Angels of Light. Then, in 2010, Swans reappeared, with Gira and stalwart guitarist Norman Westberg leading an otherwise entirely new lineup. Quoth Gira, from a recent phone conversation:

I just wanted to continue making music. I was doing the Angels of Light project for 13 years and I was growing a little bored with it. I wanted to do something a little more all-consuming, intense. So I started to think seriously about reconstituting Swans, I thought that was the best path. There are certain ways of making sound, and avenues that were maybe started that weren’t fully explored that I wanted to continue, and that pushed into new things. Once we started working on Swans it became its own new entity, and opened up in ways that I never would have anticipated.

 

 
This reinvigorated Swans released My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, an album that met with instant acclaim. As if to prove that this was no fluke, they followed it with the triple-LP The Seer, an album so successfully ambitious it easily equalled Children of God at the absolute top of the band’s discography. In mid-May, the band will release a second triple-LP, To Be Kind, with a heavy-friends lineup that boasts vocalists Al Spyx, St. Vincent, and Little Annie, and Ministry/R.E.M. drummer Bill Rieflin. I wonder, who else has done two consecutive triple-LPs? Anyone? And furthermore, who has done two consecutive stunningly awesome ones?
 

 
Having only gotten all the way through it twice, I’m still just going to commit to this: To Be Kind is very nearly as astonishing as its predecessor, and with exceptions noted below, it’s just perhaps a bit less musically diverse—many songs here share a noticeably similar emotive arc (21st Century Swans seem to have taken a liking to post-rock crescendoes), though fortunately it’s a compelling and effective one. And most of these songs are loooooong, but this, too, is a good thing; every musical element is treated as though it has great value, and is given plenty of room to grow and breathe and live before new ideas and dynamic shifts creep in. Both albums have half-hour set pieces, and my chat with Gira revealed that the new one is actually an outgrowth of the previous.

”Bring the Sun/Toussaint L’Ouverture“ grew out of playing “The Seer” live. As that song was winding down, we started improvising, and what you hear on this album is what came out of that over a year of playing. These pieces kind of developed along the way, and I gradually developed words for them. I was reading a friend’s book about one of the instigators of the slave revolt in Haiti, Toussaint L’Ouverture, and so I started throwing in signifiers for that gentleman, and it became that song.

Though it parallels The Seer in other ways, and it’s easy to conclude that two oceanic-sounding triple albums could work as a matched set, Gira holds that the albums aren’t meant to be taken as a pair:

I don’t conceptualize how things fit together with what came before, or the next thing. The one thing I do try to accomplish is not to repeat ourselves exactly, just to take certain threads from what we’ve done and move forward with those and leave other things behind. I tried to avoid the kind of long soundscape kind of passages that were on The Seer, I felt that would be redundant to do again, and wanted to push more of the groove aspect that was nascent in the touring band.

The groove-oriented songs are a welcome surprise. Passages in “She Loves Us” and “Oxygen” have moments that could pass for straightforward rock, moreso than any other Swans songs I could name off the top of my head, and “A Little God in My Hands” sounds like a new direction altogether. Even when toying with decidedly not-so-Swans ideas, though, Swans, as always, sound unequivocally like Swans. Here are “A Little God…,” which has been online for a few weeks now, and “Oxygen,” which debuted earlier this week on The Quietus. (Incidentally, if you’re not already reading that site, good lord, get on that already, it’s fantastic.)
 

Swans, “A Little God In My Hands”
 

Swans, “Oxygen”
 
Lastly, here are early live versions of “Just A Little Boy” and the title track, recorded in Barcelona last summer.
 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
‘Heaven Is For Real’ kid’s interview on Fox News is COMEDY GOLD


 

Sean Hannity: Do you think everybody goes to Heaven?

Colton Burpo: Um…. No. Not everybody does go to Heaven.

Sean Hannity: How do you know?

Colton Burpo, the little boy who had an NDE on an operating table a few years back and claimed to have been to Heaven, has had his experiences “there” recounted in several Heaven is for Real books that have sold like hotcakes to people desperate to believe they will live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven, eternally youthful, kickin’ it with their homeboy Jesus C. and all the dead people they ever knew.

Watch this clip of Colton promoting his parents’ books (his dad is a minister and radio broadcaster, natch) and a major Hollywood film about to come out based on this fiction. From where I’m sitting it seems rather obvious that this kid is lying through his teeth and Sean Hannity is just too stupid not to uncritically believe every word of it.

This is truly remarkable, Marjoe Gortner-level hoodoo nonsense. Even by the admittedly sad standards of Fox News, this is riveting in its abject stupidity…

Colton Burpo: Heaven is… such an amazing place and… and you just want to be there for a long time. I mean, I didn’t wanna come back.

Sean Hannity: What’s the difference… in other words, what did you see? What did you feel? Who did you meet?

Colton Burpo: Well, I saw a lot of stuff… In Heaven there are a lot of colors, but there’s even more than we have down here on Earth. Also I got to meet my great grandpa and my sister who was miscarriaged and… it just feels like home.

Hannity: And she came up to you? Are you there physically or spiritually?

Colton Burpo: You are there physically. You do have your own body.

Hannity: You were there in your body?

Colton Burpo: Well, not my earthly body, they were working on my earthly body.

Hannity: It’s the same? You look the same, relatively speaking?

Colton Burpo: Relatively speaking. If you die an old man or an old woman, you’ll be in your prime, like your late 20s, early 30s.

Hannity: And you say that you met Jesus Christ and God. (Colton nods) Can you describe God and Jesus Christ?

Colton Burpo: Well, Jesus was more like the humanoid version. He’s the one you can relate to because he… loves you so much and he’s actually your size, so you can like walk with him and talk with him.

Hannity: And you talked with him?

Colton Burpo: Yes.

Hannity: And he talked to you?

Colton Burpo: Yes.

Hannity: What did he say?

Colton Burpo: Well, I can’t remember what all it was that we talked about because some of it he even taught me! God has not allowed me to remember what Jesus has taught me.

Hannity: You saw God?

It just gets worse—and even more painfully funny—from there…

You can easily see why Hannity’s audience would eat this shit up, because it sounds exactly like something they already believe. Of course every mean old Archie Bunker watching Fox News will be young again in Heaven. Forever and ever! Throw away that Viagra! No need for it in Heaven, you’ll be 30 again soon, dude…

This is why there needs to a separation between church and state: America is a country full to the bursting point with idiots.
 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Party Monster: Club kid murderer Michael Alig to be paroled
04.17.2014
11:38 am

Topics:
Crime

Tags:
Michael Alig


 
According to Steve Lewis’s blog at Black Book, Michael Alig, the notorious “club kid murderer” and “Party Monster” (played by Macaulay Culkin in the 2003 cult film of the same name) is about to be paroled. Alig pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of drug dealer Angel Melendez in 1996 and was sentenced to ten to twenty years in prison.

Club kid founder Michael Alig is to be released from jail on May 5, according to sources in the know. A check of official prison site by Alig friend Victor Corona confirmed the news. Alig, of course, has been serving time for the murder and dismemberment of drug dealer Angel Melendez on March 17,1996. He has been eligible for parole since 2006, but has been denied until now. The release, although not a surprise, has sent waves through a community who knew him and loved him, as well as those who knew him and hated him. He will be staying with a close friend, and has been recruited for creative jobs by many. His transition to the real world will be eased by a support group who, for the most part, have stuck by him for more than a decade and a half. Michael has never used a computer or cellphone but he has remained keenly aware of the world we live in. There is no chance that he will return to clubs as a way of life, but he will paint and write, and as always, try to impact the way we think.

The reason there’s “no chance” that Alig would return to club life is that there isn’t any to return to—at least nothing even remotely resembling the scene he would remember from the 90s. Forget about computers and cell phones, New York City itself will be practically unrecognizable to him. The state of mind once known as “downtown” simply doesn’t exist anymore. It’s but a faded memory. The real estate has long since moved on. Last I heard Limelight was some sort of flea market. I wonder how long it will take before one of the cable television networks gives the green-light to Michael Alig: Reality Sets In ?

I was for many years Michael’s friend. Like so many others, I left him behind when drugs and power created a “Party Monster.” We reconnected in recent years, and during my visits to him in prison I observed the Michael Alig that I loved—the Alig prior the downfall. I believe he is ready to enter the world, and that reentering will be a good thing. No one, no act, no time, no hatred will bring back Angel, but Michael has served a great deal of his adult life in a bad place. I believe he has been rehabilitated. I believe he is forever remorseful and I look forward to his redux. To those who say nay, I respect that, but hope chances are given, and that we can move on. It is a time to remember Angel and reflect on the meaning of life. For me, forgiveness is part of it.

I met Michael Alig at the Danceteria nightclub on the very first day that I moved to NYC at the end of 1984. Later that night he got me and several other people into a celebrity-studded opening party at AREA. After asking if I wanted to meet Andy Warhol—implying that he knew him—Michael proceeded to shove me from behind, full force with both arms right into the Pope of Pop. I was completely flummoxed and tongue-tied, but Warhol had seen Michael push me and directed his annoyance towards him and not at me.

Michael was smart, charming and funny when he was young, but frankly, as my ignominious “introduction” to Andy Warhol demonstrated, he was also untrustworthy. And erratic. He could be really thoughtful—he alerted me to an apartment for rent that I ended up leasing, for instance—but he also stole several items from that very same apartment! When confronted—I literally shoved him up against the wall in Limelight by his neck and threatened to beat him up—he returned my stuff, but lied and blamed his boyfriend—who had never even been in that place. That was Michael before he disappeared down a permanant K-hole.

To be sure, the fucked up, drugged-out decadent person portrayed in Party Monster, well, that movie is damned accurate, let me tell you. (The filmmakers, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato knew Michael quite well themselves, and even the layout of the furniture in their movie conforms exactly to my own memory of two of his apartments.) Having said that, I always maintained a level of sympathy and begrudging affection for Michael, even during his downward spiral, because he just seemed so needy and desperate for attention. There was a bit of a “Lost Boy” or Peter Pan quality to him, and I recall him recounting a conversation that his divorced parents were having about his tuition to Fordham when his father, balking at the costs, apparently said “Look, I love the kid, but I don’t love him that much.” This speaks volumes about where Michael ended up, probably. That all-consuming need for attention was both his genius and his undoing.

A strange bit of “true crime” trivia is that Michael was the first person I knew who had a VCR. His was a Betamax and he had just two videos and both were directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis: 2000 Maniacs and Blood Feast.

Just sayin’.
 

 
Below, the 1998  Party Monster “shockumentary” that preceded the 2003 feature film:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Artists’ brains are ‘structurally different’ new study claims
04.17.2014
09:11 am

Topics:
Art
Science/Tech

Tags:
brain
artists

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A study has revealed that artists’ brains are ‘structurally different’ from the rest of us. The small study, published in the journal NeuroImage, detailed the results of brain scans taken from 21 art students and 23 non-artists. The scans used a voxel-based morphometry to reveal that artists have more neural matter in the parts of their brain relating to visual imagery and fine motor control.

Lead author of the study, Rebecca Chamberlain from KU Leuven, Belgium, told BBC News that she was interested in finding out how artists saw the world differently.

“The people who are better at drawing really seem to have more developed structures in regions of the brain that control for fine motor performance and what we call procedural memory,” she explained.

The brain scans were accompanied by different drawing tasks, which revealed those who performed best at the tests had more grey and white matter in the motor areas of the brain. Grey matter is mainly composed of nerve cells, while white matter is responsible for communication between the grey matter regions. However, it is not clear what the increase in neural matter means, other than artists have enhanced processing in these areas due the functions involved in drawing and painting, Dr Chamberlain added:

“It falls into line with evidence that focus of expertise really does change the brain. The brain is incredibly flexible in response to training and there are huge individual differences that we are only beginning to tap into.”

One of the study’s other authors, Chris McManus from University College London, said it was difficult to know what aspect of artistic talent is innate and how much is learnt:

“We would need to do further studies where we look at teenagers and see how they develop in their drawing as they grow older - but I think [this study] has given us a handle on how we could begin to look at this.”

One scientist, not involved with the study, Ellen Winner of Boston College told BBC News that the study “put to rest the facile claims that artists use ‘the right side of their brain’ given that increased grey and white matter were found in the art group in both left and right structures of the brain”.

“Only a prospective study could get at the question of innate structural brain differences that predispose people to become visual artists, and this kind of study has not been done as it would be very difficult and very expensive to carry out.”

 
Via BBC News

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Small Town Noir: Mugshots and true crime stories from New Castle, Pennsylvania, 1930-60
04.17.2014
08:33 am

Topics:
Crime
History

Tags:
mugshots

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The small town of New Castle, in western Pennsylvania, was once a boom town way back at the start of the twentieth century. Its population had tripled between 1890 and 1900, as immigrants from across Europe and America came to the town in search of employment in its tin plate mills, steel factories, ceramics works, foundries and paper mills.

The 1930’s Depression hit New Castle hard, but its manufacturing base was kept going by WWII and the Korean war. The population peaked in 1950 at 48,834. Since then it’s dropped to around 28,000 today. The boom years are long gone and the unemployment average in New Castle is twice America’s national jobless rate.

The site Small Town Noir curates the mugshots of petty criminals whose lives unraveled in sad, tragic, grim, bizarre and often disturbing ways within the boundaries of New Castle’s borders. Each entry is well-written and the biographical information has been painstakingly researched from various sources.

Small Town Noir is a fascinating place to visit, to while-away a few hours, as you get to know its citizens.
 
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James Dagres, “B & E”, 28 April 1934

James Dagres was sixteen, when he was arrested for breaking an entering. Dagres, together with two chool friends James Cook, LeRoy Shoaff, removed various items from the house—tables, chairs, a gas heater, a clock, a world atlas—and sold them to second-hand dealers in town. They were caught when the owner of the house, a local teacher, passed by and saw them carrying furniture out of the place. All three boys were minors. There is no record of any sentence. When James left school, he got a job at American Cyanamid & Chemical. LeRoy Shoaff went on to become a colonel in the US army. There is no further record of Jack Cook.

 
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Homer Chrisner, “Bank Holdup”, 7 Feb 1935

Homer Chrisner lost his business during the Depression. A respected figure, borough councilman and pigeon fancier, Chrisner decided to rob a bank in New Castle, as he reckoned it would be the easiest place to rob.

With his his accomplice Edward Scales, aka Jack of Diamonds, a Youngstown barman and numbers writer who had recently been released from prison after serving a sentence for the attempted rape of a minor. Together, they planned the details of the hold-up and enlisted the help of a woman called Nellie Sellers who would act as their getaway driver.

In February, 1935, Chrisner and Scales walked into the bank and held it up. Chrisner lost his nerve and the bank teller pulled his own gun on the pair. Chrisner and Scales absconded in a car driven by Sellers. They were chased and soon arrested. Homwer was jailed for five years.

 
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David Clemons, “Dis. Cond”, 20 Sep 1936

David Clemons was a 28-year-old was arrested for disorderly behavior in 1936. Eight-years later Clemons murdered his father, Wilson Clemons, a minister in the Church of God in Christ, with an axe.

David had a mental age of nine and had recently been discharged from the army in the build-up to the D-Day Landings. Clemons killed his father after an argument over an alarm clock. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was moved to Fairview state hospital for the criminally insane, where he remained for the rest of his life.

 
More tales of New Castle’s criminals, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
I think I’m too old to play with Crampy Carla the Menstruation Barbie
04.17.2014
08:25 am

Topics:
Art
Feminism

Tags:
Crampy Carla


Yeah… pretty sure I’m gonna be okay, but thanks for the warning.
 
Fact: I love disturbing feminist art. I love irreverant feminist art. I especially love gross-out feminist art! Yet, Crampy Carla the Menstruation Barbie, the Instagram art project of feminist zine collective Fourth Wave Freaks just doesn’t do it for me, and I’m not sure why. The aesthetics are very Riot Grrrl (not my favorite genre)—one of her pictures even features a poster with the lyrics, “I believe in the radical possibilities of pleasure, babe” from the Bikini Kill song “I Like Fucking.” It’s possible this is just an issue of personal preference.

I might just be too old. I’m well past the point where anyone in my life is squeamish about menstruation and so this bombastic rage against people who feel vaguely icky about periods feels even more dated than Riot Grrrl itself. Nowadays, a casual mention of of menses illicit not the slightest of squirms, and if anyone did flinch, they’d probably be mocked outright—“Oh come on! Grow up!” Consequently, Carla’s affirmation of, “I have blood on my underwear, I don’t care. Pro-period, pro-choice. Fuck you tampons, fuck you pads - if you stop this girl’s flow, I will be mad” rings a little unnecessarily aggro for me—it’s not as if your monthlies relegate you to some kind of culturally-mandated menstrual hut. No one really cares if you’re bleeding everywhere Carla. Just don’t get it on the couch.
 

 

 

 

 

 
Via Bust

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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