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DEVO becomes public art, streets of Akron, Ohio are overrun with Booji Boys
08.17.2015
07:04 am

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Amusing
History
Music

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On Saturday August 15, 2015, Akron Ohio’s finest post-rubber export DEVO were honored in their hometown with the dedication of a piece of public art. The iconic 1978 Janet Macoska photo of the band in full stage uniform in front of the late, lamented hot dog stand Chili Dog Mac was colorized, enlarged to life size, and placed over that onetime landmark’s former facade next to the Akron Civic Theatre. This dedication is the first part of a planned renovation of that entire block, which has become a bit rundown and suffered vacancies despite having an anchor in the popular theater.

The event was a stone hoot. DEVO’s bassist/co-mastermind Jerry Casale and photographer Macoska were present, free chili dogs were available to all assembled, and the event began with a surreal and hilarious stunt, the Running of the Booji Boys. A couple dozen revelers in identical Booji Boy masks and blue jumpsuits danced in the middle of South Main St while a DJ pumped out DEVO music. The masks, not incidentally, are recreations by Akron’s SikRik Masks. DM has told you about them before. (All photos are by Ron Kretsch except where noted.)
 

 

 

 
Much more DEVO after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Just a nice Jewish boy: A young Gene Simmons on ‘The Mike Douglas Show,’ 1974
08.14.2015
08:12 am

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Music
Television

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A couple of weeks ago, DM’s Amber Frost showed us a pretty ridiculous TV news feature taking the gargantuan ‘70s arena rock band KISS to task for having the temerity to market themselves. The whole thing was full of tedious old-fart tut-tutting, and it frankly felt like the band wasn’t actually being scolded for their publicity machinery, but rather for being young and nothing at all like Tony Bennett.

So when I ran across this Gene Simmons interview on the old Mike Douglas show from 1974, I expected more or less the same vibe—the show, after all, was one of the champs of a soon-to-be-obsolete style of daytime variety programming that gave a reliable home to fading stars and alter kocker holdovers from the late vaudeville and early television eras for a demographic of stay-at-home housewives that was about to shrink significantly. So when it turned out that Douglas and his other guests reacted to Simmons’ startling kabuki-ghoul appearance in stride and just joked with him like anyone else, it was quite a surprise.
 

 
This was in the early days of KISS, so Simmons didn’t really have his schtick nailed down yet, and his efforts to project a menacing, demonic character fall WAY flat, as if to answer the question of what shock-rock looks like without shock. His professed desire to drink the audience’s blood and his self-characterization as “evil incarnate” barely seem to elicit much more than a shrug from the audience.

The interview is saved by a pretty amazing exchange between Simmons and old-school comedienne Totie Fields, who joked that it would be funny if Simmons, under the makeup, turned out to be “just a nice Jewish boy.” Simmons, of course, is not just an actual Jewish boy, but an Israeli sabra born Chaim Witz, and he drolly (and pretty Jewily) retorted “You should only know…” Fields owned the moment by interjecting “I DO! You can’t hide the hook!” Fields herself was born Sophie Feldman, and could probably spot a Member of the Tribe using a showbiz pseudonym a mile away.

The appearance also includes Douglas interviewing the winners of a kissing contest (*eyeroll*), and a band performance—as in an actual live-in-studio performance, it’s not mimed—of the early song “Firehouse.”
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Peek inside Cecil B. DeMille’s bizarro 1930 master-flop, ‘Madam Satan’
08.14.2015
08:10 am

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Movies
Occult

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Madam Satan movie poster, 1930
Madam Satan movie poster, 1930
 
Cecil B. DeMille was a peculiar, yet lovable, producer of Hollywood balderdash, and Madam Satan just might be his most bizarro film.
 
Kay Johnson as Madam Satan
Actress Kay Johnson as the alluring “Madam Satan”
 
The black and white film came out in 1930 and had originally contained Technicolor scenes that were sadly somehow lost. Despite its occult-sounding title, Madam Satan is a vintage romcom that tells the story of a married couple, Angela and Bob, who are having a relationship crisis. When Angela finds out that her husband is screwing around with a chick named Trixie, she creates an alter-ego of herself called “Madam Satan.”
 
Actor heodore Kosloff in Madam Satan, 1930
Actor Theodore Kosloff as “Electricity” in Madam Satan
 
After Madam Satan makes her debut at wild masquerade ball, the film just gets weirder and more wonderfully excessive as it goes along. There are elaborate song and dance routines, flirtations with electricity, and actors dressed in boundary-pushing and visually stunning costumery (much of which was created by the head of wardrobe for DeMille’s studio, Adrian Adolph Greenburg) that were far beyond their time. Madam Satan is truly a film that must be seen to be believed. A remastered version of Madam Satan was released on DVD in 2010 and I highly recommend tracking down a copy so you can see it for yourself. You can also take a peek at more stills from Madam Satan, as well as a clip from the movie that will likely induce a good old-fashioned case of the bed-spins. Hail Satan!
 
Madam Satan actress Kay Johnson strikes a pose with her masks
Madam Satan star Kay Johnson strikes a pose with her masks
 
A strange chorus line from Madam Satan
A strange chorus line of cats from Madam Satan
 
More great stills from the curious classic after the jump…...
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Heavy Ned-al: there’s a Ned Flanders themed metal band called Okilly Dokilly
08.13.2015
06:24 am

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Music
Television

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God save us all, some Simpsons fans in Phoenix have started a Ned Flanders-themed metal band called Okilly Dokilly. They’ve only been together about a month, so they seem to have more band photos than songs at this point, but what band photos!
 

 

 

 
The band is singer Head Ned, keyboardist Red Ned, bassist Thread Ned, guitarist Stead Ned, and drummer (and pseudonym winner) Bled Ned. Head spoke with Rip It Up about the band’s formation.

Myself and our drummer were in line at a grocery store, entertaining ourselves by coming up with really cutesy names for really hardcore, brutal bands. The name Okilly Dokilly came up and was very funny to us. We ran with it. I contacted a few friends, and here we are. Most of us have played in other bands around our hometown. This is definitely the heaviest sounding project any of us Neds have done.

And in case the thought crossed your mind, yes, Head Ned is left-handed, so hooray for cosplay authenticity. The band’s debut performance is scheduled for September 5th, so Phoenician DM readers, mark your calendars. The rest of us will have to be content with scouring YouTube on the 6th, to see if Okilly Dokilly is as good in concert as all-time dork-metal champs BlöödHag.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Like a great big chicken just waiting to be plucked’—‘Scarface’ edited for TV is plucking HILARIOUS
08.12.2015
07:24 am

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When I’m King of the Universe, it will be a law that all home video releases of films must include the option of watching the edited-for-broadcast version wherever one exists. I first began to lean toward this policy when, stoned as fuck, I caught The Breakfast Club late at night on a local UHF station (yeah, I’m kind of old.…) and found myself howling with laughter at some of the preposterous dialogue substitutions—for example, the immortal “hot beef injection” line was bowdlerized into “some hot wild affection,” as if the original line wasn’t a euphemism in the first place. But the need for such a law was confirmed to me when, one Christmas, my then-girlfriend gifted me a boxed set of the 1983 Al Pacino remake of Scarface.

It merits mentioning, so I may as well mention it here: Scarface isn’t nearly as good a movie as its reputation would suggest. Which is not to say that it’s bad. It’s not. It’s just not a great movie. If you’re in the mood for astoundingly over-the-top tough-guy posturing and GIANT FUCKING MAYHEM, it’s one of the single most badass films in history, but as a narrative work in the immigrant crime drama genre, it’s far eclipsed by plenty of films you could name, a fair few of which also star Al Pacino. And of course, it distinguished itself in its day as one of the most unabashedly profanity-laden mainstream films ever released, almost in a class all it’s own before the f-bomb-a-thon The Big Lebowski emerged as a challenger. And one of the DVD extras in that boxed set was a montage comparing the original dialogue to the censored scenes in the movie’s broadcast TV version. It’s some pretty entertaining shit. I honestly would have thought it couldn’t be done, and really, I was kinda right.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Ennuigi’: Nintendo for pretentious existentialists
08.06.2015
11:29 am

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Amusing
Games
Science/Tech

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English-speakers might say “existential despair,” among a number of different terms. Germans refer to Weltschmerz. As is often the case, the French have the perfect term to represent a somewhat intellectualized world-weariness that positively cries out for a pack of Gitanes. The term is ennui, and it’s so useful that we’ve incorporated it into our language. Using a French term gives the depression that extra bit of useless panache.

A game designer named Josh Millard has created the perfect Nintendo-style game to match that mood—it is called Ennuigi, and in it you can “spend some time with a depressed, laconic Luigi as he chain smokes and wanders through a crumbling Mushroom Kingdom, ruminating on ontology, ethics, family, identity, and the mistakes he and his brother have made.”

Did I mention you can play it? Yes. You can play it.

Here is the complete list of controls:
 

left/right: walk around
up: ruminate
down: smoke

 
That’s right. You can walk left or right, but jumping? Jumping is not consistent with ennui!

 

Ennuigi in mid-rumination
 
Here’s Millard’s fuller description of the game:

This is a shot at a collection of ideas I had a few years ago, about looking critically at the universe of Super Mario Bros. in light of the total lack of explicit narrative in the original game in particular.  Who are these strange men?  What motivates them?  By what right do they wreak the havoc they do on this strange place?  What do they feel about where they are and what they’re doing?

And so, this is one lens through which to look at all that, with Luigi, the second brother, the also-ran, as a complicit onlooker, wandering now through some fractured, rotting liminal place in this strange world, reflecting on it all in scattered fragments.

 
The slow, tinny music is a perfect complement to this dreary, Beckettian video game.
 

 
via Internet Magic
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
That time David Bowie mailed a pig fetus to a writer at Rolling Stone
08.06.2015
07:47 am

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David Bowie
 
On a recent episode of Adam Carolla’s podcast, writer and Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild revealed that David Bowie once sent him a most unusual gift.
 

“I was doing a story with David Bowie when he was in Tin Machine. This is early ‘90s. He was somehow there when I got a gift from Tom Petty, who sent me an Indian peace pipe. He [Bowie] goes, “I gotta get you a gift at the end of this piece?” I said, “No, no. You don’t have to do that.” He then went on tour with Tin Machine, and was somewhere in Asia, and he called and goes, “I just got you the perfect gift.” It was a pig fetus in glass. He sent this to me…. The border police, they absolutely shut it down, and it never got to me. But there were weeks and weeks of him checking in to see if a pig fetus had ever arrived. I personally was actually very glad it never came.”

 
So, apparently Bowie meant this offering to be a genuine “thank you”? It sure seems that way. How would you feel if David Bowie mailed you a pig fetus in glass? On one hand, it’s gross and weird, but on the other hand, you’d have a gift from David Bowie!! It’d sure make for an interesting conversation starter…
 
'Heroes' cover shoot
 
Below is a fan-shot video of Tin Machine from a concert held at Civic Hall in Wolverhampton, England on November 2nd, 1991. In the clip, the band is covering the Pixies number “Debaser,” which was part of their live set at the time, though they never released a recorded version of the tune. Perhaps the gruesome imagery conjured up by the lyric “slicing up eyeballs” was part of what endeared the song to Bowie.
 

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
San Francisco group proposes 300-mile, $7.3B wall to keep Burning Man attendees from returning
08.06.2015
07:29 am

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Activism
Amusing

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“The week of Burning Man is the only week that the rest of us don’t have to hear about Burning Man. What if that week could last forever?” asks a spokesperson for Cultivated Wit.

The group has created a crowd-funding site asking for a mere 7.3 billion dollars to build a 300-mile wall, from from Point Reyes to Santa Cruz, around the Bay Area during the week of Burning Man to keep the Burners from returning.
 

 

We want to help Burning Man attendees continue their favorite week of the year, and allow them to keep experiencing the genuine community and deep connections they can only feel while at Burning Man. To do this, we will build a 300-mile wall around the entire Bay Area during Burning Man.

For the rest of us, what’s normally our favorite week of the year… lasts forever!

 

 
Their (yeah, bogus) crowdfunding site, MegaGoGo,  also features projects like rerouting the Mississippi River to California to solve the drought, building a tunnel under the “boring” Midwest, and deploying a fleet of blimps in Los Angeles to alleviate traffic.

If such a project were actually gotten off the ground, it would certainly go a long way toward lowering some of the astronomical rent prices in the Bay Area. The team at Cultivated Wit seems to think it’s doable if everyone pitches in:

Building a 300-mile wall in one week will be difficult, but if we can get just 50% of the Bay Area population (minus Burning Man attendees) we’ll have about 3.5 million volunteer wall builders. That’s less than half a foot of wall per person!

So what do you say San Francisco? Are you up to the challenge? Just don’t tell the Burners what you’re up to.

You’ve got less than a month to put this thing together!

Here’s their modest (and hilarious) proposal:
 

 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Hetfield’: The Garfield/Metallica mashup that was just waiting to happen
08.05.2015
10:28 am

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Music

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I have to salute my friend, the brilliant and affable Annie Zaleski, for finding this complete and utter gem and quite properly celebrating it on the AV Club. As Zaleski noted, the new mashup comic strip Hetfield the Cat blends the glum, overfed ennui of America’s favorite tabby cat, Garfield, with the glum, overfed rage of America’s favorite metal act, Metallica.

Sure, most of the strips are just disposable riffs on Metallica’s songs coming out of “Hetfield’s” mouth—but it works so well in part because tons of adult Americans grew up inhaling the essence of Garfield over a period spanning decades. A lot of us probably couldn’t say anything particularly articulate about how the strip works, but we know subconsciously exactly how the strip works. You know?

The creator in question here is Chicago cartoonist/musician Jimmy Two Hands. If the style seems familiar, you might remember Danziggy, which we highlighted last year.  I urgently await his next (purely imagined) jape of mashing up those “Love Is” cartoons with King Diamond lyrics.

Below are a few of my faves, but you can see more at the Hetfield the Cat Tumblr and Facebook presences.

If you click, you’ll spawn a more readable version of the strip.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Dystopia is boring: Creepy images of our vaguely Orwellian lives
08.05.2015
09:12 am

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Amusing

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Mark Fisher is a lecturer at Goldsmiths at the University of London, working in the Department of Visual Cultures. He specializes in “the voice and horror; the relationship between 90s cyber-theory, speculative realism and contemporary materialism; and music and attention.”

If I have my facts correct—parsing Facebook always requires some degree of guesswork—Fisher started a “Community” on Facebook dedicated to documenting the pervasive feeling of unease and discontent, often including an aspect of bland social control, in the form of mildly “coercive” signs that you might see at the airport, but sometimes simply showing processes and buildings in a state of disrepair.

A few weeks ago he upgraded it to a “Public Group,” mainly to allow his fellow dystopia documenters to upload pictures freely. All of the images on this page come from that second thing, the Public Group.

The “About” page of the first entity is admirable in its brevity and lack of pomp. All it says is, “Neoliberal England is a boring dystopia. Here’s why.” After all, if the images don’t communicate it, then no amount of rhetoric will make the group one worth visiting. There is little partisan emphasis on Labour vs. Tories as the source of any of this, which makes the critique somewhat more potent, and it’s the case that the images almost uniformly derive from the U.K.—this group is not about documenting the U.S. culture of “IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.” No, the great elders of dystopia, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, both happened to be British, and this project feels most of all like a tempered, less hyperbolic presentation of the IngSoc of Airstrip One, for those who remember the setting of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Paul Bareham, who runs the blog called Island of Terror where I first learned of this page (and who has contributed to the group), coins the clever phrase “The Evil of Banality” and comments astutely,
 

This dystopia is held in place by neglect, by apathy, by a lack of resources, by a lack of interest. Everything is falling apart, but we lack the money and energy to make it right. …

Local authorities and other central civil organisations are not instrumental in the boring dystopia, they are subsumed by it, just like everybody else. Lacking money, resources and motivation, their interventions are confined to putting up signs, or erecting fences and barriers to keep members of the public away from areas that they already have no interest in.

 
My favorite aspects are (as often, for me) the texty bits, the bland, over-reaching signs, which attempt to placate the reader into submission. Whether the tone is one of literally impossible friendliness, manipulative assurances of competence, or bald-faced directives to obey, the persistent tone of (at best) benign, incompetent control is maintained.

Here is a selection of “Boring Dystopia” images. In all cases you can click on the image to see a better view.
 

 

 
Many, many more of these fascinating pictures after the jump…..
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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