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Amazing early punk document: Johnny and the Dicks live in, um, ‘concert’?
07:16 am


Johnny and the Dicks

In the almost pathologically defiant, rules-free autonomous zone that was the early Cleveland punk scene, John Morton was probably the single most antagonistic figure. In 1972, when the term “punk rock” was only being used in Creem and Who Put the Bomp?, and only to describe ‘60s garage bands, Morton’s band the electric eels—always lowercase, in homage to e e cummings—were making noisy, primitive, highly charged, confrontational rock music, with shows so violent they only managed to book five gigs in their three-year run, but they’d serve as key musical and personal inspiration to the people who’d go on to form the Dead Boys and Pere Ubu.

In between the eels and his artier noise-punk band X__X (we’ve told you about them before), Morton joined with guitar deconstructionist Andrew Klimeyk, future Bush Tetras Cynthia Sley and Laura Kennedy (RIP 2011), future Psychotronic publisher Michael Weldon, and a few others to form an ultimate in anti-rock bands, Johnny and the Dicks. The group was succinctly described by Jon Savage in Punk: An Aesthetic: “No instruments, no rehearsals, no music, no noise.”

This, it turned out, was meant quite literally. Johnny and the Dicks were a “band” that made no actual music, preferring performance art stunts like Mortons “Tool Jazz,” a “song” wherein he sawed 2x4s in half lengthwise while the rest of the members sat at a table eating cake. Other performances saw the band simply posing with instruments, or miming songs by other Cleveland bands.

The band released an “album,” but true to their conception, the sleeve did not contain a record.

Morton described the band and its “art terror” ethos to MAXIMUMROCKNROLL in 2011:

I loved being an artist, but it didn’t fulfill the exhilaration of performance, so I decided I would form a band that didn’t play music, but did “art!” Visual art songs like making polyester resin sculpture, posing for photos (one of the dicks was a professional photographer) and lip-syncing to the tape of a song I performed with The Styrenes. We did release a self-titled album that didn’t contain a record, each one unique with a smattering of polyester resin on it. Michele, (Wife # 1) was a Dick, along with my friend and Mirrors drummer, Michael Weldon, future Bush Tetras, Laura Kennedy and Cynthia Sley, Andrew Klimek and his sister, Karen K. Karen Karen, and photographer/artist Charles Gilchrist. Oh yeah, and a guy named Paul Paternoster. In retrospect, these people following me into the void was pretty amazing.

Art Terrorism was a purposeful quantification or updating of the Dadaist agit-prop nihilist/annihilation twisty band thing. When conceptual art was just beginning, there were two strata, in both divisions, the “Object” was deemed un-important simply the by-product of the more golden idea. (down with the Mona Lisa! It’s just some very old canvas with some fucking paint on it. Fuckin’ lumpen objet d’art worshippers!), The path I chose (also known as “The wrong path”) was based on the Dada/absurdist sensibility that the object is not important and neither is the idea, The successful branch Conceptualists were the effete [pseudo] intellectuals making cherished “golden and geniused” and oh so collectable ideas. Conceptual artists, reading Wittgenstein (which they had no fathom of) and drawing fucking numbers on the wall AND FUCKING SELLING the fucking photographs of the fucking numbers (photographs, which, by the way ARE objects.)



Johnny and the Dicks lashed out only very briefly in 1978 before Morton and Klimeyk split off to form X__X, and Kennedy and Sley moved on to the Bush Tetras (BTW, if you don’t know them, start with “Too Many Creeps,” it’s a no-wave/dancepunk classic), but one of their three performances was extremely well documented.

In 1978, SPACES was an insidery, guerrilla alt-art space, located on an empty floor in the building above a McDonalds in Cleveland’s theater district, at the time a rather bleak place apart from the actual theaters. (SPACES grew as an entity, and still exists today as an upstanding, grant-funded citizen of the arts scene.) One of Johnny and the Dicks’ performances took place there, but with a wrinkle—the band was in a different room from the audience, who took in the show via closed-circuit television.

As it happens, that feed was recorded by SPACES founder James Rosenberger, and with some audience shots and other footage of the set, it found its way to YouTube earlier this year. After viewing it, Morton told DM in an email exchange, “We performed it around the corner from the audience. They could hear the live action, but had to watch it on a monitor. I got to say, I was impressed by the video. It was a lot more complex and angry and chaotic then I remembered.”

Here there be nudity and bad words, so please proceed with discretion.

Many thanks to Paul Weaver for bringing this to our attention.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Tiny stud earrings of Steve Buscemi, Bernie Sanders, Jack Torrance & other oddballs

Bernie Sanders stud earrings
FEEL THE BERN! Bernie Sanders stud earrings
Now your ears can also “Feel the Bern,” thanks to Seattle artist, Thais Marchese. Marchese makes some of the strangest, coolest studs for your ears (like the ones of Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, above) that I’ve seen in a long time.
Jack Nicholson as
Jack Nicholson as “Jack Torrance” from The Shining
Steve Buscemi stud earrings
Steve Buscemi
Marchese uses images of pop culture heroes like Steve Buscemi, Jack Nicholson (as Jack Torrance, both above), and director Wes Anderson, and like many of us, it appears that Ms. Marchese is quite a devotee of Anderson, as many of her studs feature colorful characters from Anderson’s many films, such as Margot and Richie Tenenbaum from The Royal Tenenbaums, and runaway teens Sam Shakusky and Suzy Bishop from Moonrise Kingdom.

Each pair will run you nine bucks and can be obtained over at Marchese’s shop, Sleepy Mountain. A small price to pay to have Steve Buscemi quite literally in your ear.
More images of the other tiny studs in Marchese’s shop after the jump…...

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Read the comic book of Robert Anton Wilson’s ‘Illuminatus!’ online

I know how it is: you read the trilogy of sci-fi novels, saw the play, listened to the audiobook, even picked up the card game, but you still can’t get enough of Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson’s conspiracy epic, Illuminatus! Where is the balm that will soothe your hurt?

Back in 1987, underground comix publishers Rip Off Press—the persons responsible for the fourth edition of the related sacred text Principia Discordia, not to mention The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers—put out Eye-n-Apple Productions’ comic book adaptation of Illuminatus! A few months ago, Eye-n-Apple (which seems to be identical with one Mark Philip Steele) announced plans for a digital reprint on its Facebook page:

Good news, folks, the ILLUMINATUS! comic I published back in 1987 is now in e-comic format, including text commentary. It’s a zip file available for download, and may end up at other sites in other formats. If you’re interested, download the comic and contact me about it. Some of the comments MAY be posted in further editions. There was one self-published issue, then 3 with Rip Off Press, and an unpublished 4th issue. Plans are for us to release one a month from now till we’re done.

No word yet on subsequent numbers, but you can download a free PDF of the first issue here, and it seems this is the space to watch for updates. Below, Robert Anton Wilson and Rev. Ivan Stang of the Church of the Subgenius discuss the consolations of the Discordian faith on Hour of Slack.


Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
New York City 1977 is a living, breathing thing in Chantal Akerman’s ‘News from Home’
05:58 pm


Chantal Akerman
News From Home

Chantal Akerman has died. Cause of death was suicide. She was 65 years old. I wrote about Akerman’s News From Home a few years ago here on Dangerous Minds. As a tribute to her fine work as a director, cinematographer and writer, I am sharing it again. 

The films of Chantal Akerman are meditations on space, interior and exterior, and the emptiness within the clutter of both. There is a sense of alienation and distance in her films that can be chilly and desolate. The camera moored to the urbanscapes and architecture she sets her eye upon. Her art records the simple drama that exists in the day to day rhythm of life as lived, rarely pumped up by any narrative or cinematic gimmickry. Under the steady gaze of the camera the ordinary can be quite magical. 

In Akerman’s News From Home , the main character is New York in the rough and tumble ‘70s. Akerman, a young woman alone in the city during perilous times, uses the camera as a means of dealing with a new and alien reality.  As Akerman reads from letters sent from Belgium written by her concerned mother, we watch Manhattan in constant movement, a living, breathing thing. Among the people, buildings, automobiles and streets of the city, there is the quiet, lonely soul who observes and feels apart from it all - watching detached, without engagement but great curiosity. The letters create an intimacy that contrasts profoundly with the coolness of the imagery.

Shot in 1977, News From Home, captures New York at a time when many artists, like Akerman, were coming to the city to tap into the energy and to be challenged by the prospects of living in the belly of the beast. It was a wonderful time, but it was also a dark time. In these images, you see a city on the cusp of transformation…for the good and the bad. From a purely historical point of view, to see 90 uninterrupted minutes of Manhattan in the mid-70s is a treat for my eyes. Rich with memories. This is the New York that informed revolutions in popular arts and spawned the arrival of punk culture.

Click the option to watch it in high definition, the clarity is stunning.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Renoir haters descend on Boston to stop the scourge of Impressionism
10:40 am


Pierre-Auguste Renoir

This is weird, but I get it: a group of protestors took up signs against the Impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The protest was organized via an Instagram called “Renoir Sucks at Painting,” which yesterday published a call for the resignation of BMFA’s curators. Via the Boston Globe:

It’s nothing personal, says Ben Ewen-Campen, he just doesn’t think French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir is much of a painter. Monday, the Harvard postdoc joined some like-minded aesthetes for a playful protest outside the Museum of Fine Arts. The rally, which mostly bewildered passersby, was organized by Max Geller, creator of the Instagram account Renoir Sucks at Painting, who wants the MFA to take its Renoirs off the walls and replace them with something better. Holding homemade signs reading “God Hates Renoir” and “Treacle Harms Society,” the protesters ate cheese pizza purchased by Geller, and chanted: “Put some fingers on those hands! Give us work by Paul Gauguin !” and “Other art is worth your while! Renoir paints a steaming pile!” Craig Ronan, an artist from Somerville, learned about the protest on Instagram and decided to join. “I don’t have any relationship with these people aside from wanting artistic justice,” he said. The museum hasn’t commented on the fledgling movement, but a few folks walking by Monday seemed amused. “I love their sense of irony,” said Liz Byrd, a grandmother from Phoenix who spent the morning in the museum with her daughter and grandchild. “I love Renoir, but I think this is great.”



That Instagram is loaded with detail shots of Renoir paintings purporting to show the artist’s ineptitude, and, far more amusingly, museumgoers flipping off paintings. And again, I get it. While Impressionism is correctly heralded in art history as the birth of the avant-garde for its rejection of academia, I personally—apart from a huge soft spot for Degas—kinda fucking hate it. It’s great for museums, as it’s the one movement that’s guaranteed to earn loads of admissions from affluent suburbanites who otherwise know approximately dick about art, but all that damned pastel-iness is nauseating. Its historical importance aside, that shit is why we now suffer the infernal art of Thomas Kinkade. When I read the news of this protest, I flashed back to a 20-year-old piece in The Baffler #8 called “Pelf and Powder Blue,” completely torpedoing contemporary reverence for the movement as the basis for a colossal scam:

Monet—and Impressionism generally—is a cultural miracle-worker capable of triggering pious, near-unanimous wonder on a scale Americans rarely encounter anymore. Decades pass, the economy slips, but Impressionism remains the golden genre, the magic formula capable of drawing the sturdy bourgeoisie of our homeland up in reverent mannered lines stretching placidly around the block. In those soft-focus Victorian scenes we catch a glimpse of that prelapsarian time when the rebel yawp of modernism—later to become so menacing and theoretical and satanic—resulted in nothing more threatening than pastel colors and nice renderings of lawn parties.

The appeal of Impressionism is a simple thing, really. More successfully than almost any other cultural offering available in America today, Impressionism brings the two most potent elements of consumerism—safeness and rebellion—together into a commodifiable whole duly certified by almost ridiculously sanguine market approval. This is why it’s the lawn parties and flower gardens of Monet and Renoir that win the public’s plaudits—never the dark Communard tones of Courbet—and why any exposition of their works must always make loud and public declarations of their subversive, radical, even revolutionary, daring.

The magic of impressionism, the secret formula that keeps its prices so eternally high, is that it gets it both ways, enjoying the eternal approbation of both Oldsmobile and art professor alike. On the one hand it is nice art, profoundly appealing to the very people artists strive endlessly to offend. (Relax with the smiling soft-focus ladies of Renoir, always enjoying a vacation at some modest pleasure spot. Luxuriate in the pleasant pastels of Monet, those soft pinks, purples, blues, and turquoises that can be found to match any suburban bathroom.) On the other hand, just as the Red Dog never appears without prudish tamers of some kind for him to defy, one never reads a discussion or sees an exhibit of Impressionism that neglects to mention over and over again the Impressionists’ exalted status as the very first bourgeoisie-shockers, orthodoxy-resisters, and rule-breakers. Their famous rejection by the French Salon is viewed by many as the starting point of modernism, the original cosmic exchange between intolerant patriarchs and rebel bohemians. With Impressionism you can have nice pictures of flowers and fantasies of persecution by an intolerant establishment, all in the same package.

So there’s that. Here are some images from “Renoir Sucks at Painting.” We at DM wish them all the best in their future endeavors.





Via ArtNet News

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Bizarre paintings of mecha robots attacking East European peasants of the early 20th century
08:36 am


mecha robots

The Polish artist Jakub Rozalski, who goes by the sobriquet “Mr. Werewolf,” has produced an amusing series of steampunk-ish canvases in which serene and idyllic rustic landscapes of what seem to be Eastern Europe (Rozalski’s very back yard, you might say) in the early decades of the 20th century feature the prominent and inexplicable existence of completely fictitious giant mecha robots.

Various iconographies are jammed together, the imagery of peasant life in the early years of collectivization, the imagery of science fiction, the imagery of modern warfare…. add it all up and you might find yourself calling to mind, ohhh, the first few scenes of The Empire Strikes Back, set on the icy terrain of Hoth, perhaps?

Rozalski’s intent is “to commemorate this sad and tragic period in history, in my own way, to light on this parts of history that usually remain in the shadows of other events… remember and honor the history, but live in the present.” He adds, “I like to mix historical facts and situations with my own motives, ideas and visions. ... I attach great importance to the details, the equipment, the costumes, because it allows you to embed painting within a specified period of time.” 

Clck on any image to get a larger view.








via Hi-Fructose

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
A gallery of the paintings from Rod Serling’s ‘Night Gallery’
06:21 am


Rod Serling
Twilight Zone
Night Gallery

“Something in the Woodwork”—click image for larger version
When it comes to innovators who have managed to push the medium of television to its absolute limits, the name Rod Serling has to top the list. In his groundbreaking series The Twilight Zone, he used his own original stories (as well as adaptations of works by some of the most imaginative writers in history) to teach simple moral truths by wrapping them up and disguising them in the various cloaks of fantasy, science fiction and horror. You might think you were merely watching a science fiction story, when, in fact, Rod Serling was busy teaching you how to be a more decent human being. The disguise made the truths somehow more interesting and easy to digest, but make no mistake, The Twilight Zone was teaching important lessons about topics as diverse as war, racism, xenophobia, and even standards of beauty.

Night Gallery, Rod Serling’s follow up to the highly successful Twilight Zone series, only lasted for three seasons before imploding under the pressure of internal conflicts. It seems that in a complete lapse of sanity, Jack Laird, the show’s producer, forgot a fundamental maxim of making great television: allow Rod Serling to do whatever he wants to do. Nevertheless, the show managed to squeak out a run on NBC from 1970-72.

The premise of Night Gallery centered around Serling as the curator of a Museum of the Macabre, and he would introduce the shows various segments with a piece of art that represented the basic story on canvas. These stories still mined the areas of fantasy, science fiction and horror which Serling knew so well—again utilizing his own original teleplays as well as adapting works by such writers as H.P. Lovecraft, August Derleth, and Robert A. Heinlein for the small screen—but at an hour’s running time, the show could present multiple segments, some of the more whimsical segments clocking in at under five minutes.

Unfortunately, the show was severely butchered for syndication. It was trimmed down from an hour to a mere thirty minutes, and many of the original segments suffered as a result. Longer pieces had to be edited down to fit, and shorter pieces had to be expanded to fill time. Also, the syndication package damaged the Night Gallery franchise further by coupling the original Night Gallery segments with an inferior show starring Gary Collins called The Sixth Sense and presenting them under the Night Gallery banner. Rest assured; they are not even close to being Night Gallery episodes. The Sixth Sense, too, was originally an hour in length, but it featured a single storyline each week. Editing these awful hour-long shows down to thirty minutes proved to be an example of how presenting less of something horrible can sometimes result in something even worse. Many episodes became downright incoherent.

The three works of art used in the pilot episode of Night Gallery were painted by Jaroslav “Jerry” Gebr, who was later brought back to paint the works used to introduce the episodes of The Sixth Sense that were combined with Night Gallery in syndication. The rest of the paintings for the Night Gallery series proper were done by Tom Wright, who currently works as a TV director (The X-Files, Millennium, The Wire, NCIS).

After Night Gallery was cancelled, many of the artworks used to introduce the stories were either altered for use in other productions, or sold by Universal Studios. Most of them remain in private hands, but occasionally, one will surface at an auction house. Surprisingly, there have been known cases of forgeries of some of these paintings. In December of 2002, two forgeries were offered in an online auction from Sotheby’s through eBay. One of the forgeries was pulled before the auction began, but the fact that forgeries even exist, and that people are willing to risk purchasing one serves as proof that these iconic paintings still generate public interest.

Well, just like in an episode of The Twilight Zone or Night Gallery, your wishes have come true. Now, you can study these paintings online at your leisure. The Night Gallery website has recently published the original pieces used in the series (excluding the pieces that accompanied episodes of The Sixth Sense in syndication, of course). You can now gaze and marvel at these incredible works of art in-between watching episodes of Night Gallery online at

These paintings REALLY creeped me out as a kid. Somehow, they aren’t quite as pants-shittingly scary as an adult viewing them on a crystal clear office monitor instead of as a kid absorbing them through a staticky 26-inch cathode-ray-tube in a darkened room, but they’re still fascinating works. All of them are available for viewing on the Night Gallery site, but here’s a small day gallery of the best works.

You can click on the image to see a larger version.

“The Cemetery”

“Eyes” (Joan Crawford, obviously)
The ‘Night Gallery’ gallery continues, after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Weegee’s photos from the set of ‘Dr. Strangelove’

Weegee is most renowned for his brilliant photos of crime scenes as well as other urban subjects from the 1940s, but what you might not know is that Weegee was a “technical consultant” on the set of one of the greatest movies ever made, Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb. Furthermore, it seems that Peter Sellers’ vocal pattern for the eponymous character owes more than a small debt to Weegee, whose Hungarian/NYC voice Sellers recorded and apparently inspired him in creating Strangelove’s distinctively foreign accent.

Here is Ed Sikov, in his book Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers, on their vocal collaboration:

As though a satire about bombing all of humanity to death wasn’t gruesome enough, Kubrick brought in as technical consultant the photographer Weegee, who was known for having taken stark, emotionally charged photographs of an estimated five thousand murder scenes over the course of his grim career. Named Usher Fellig at birth, Weegee moved with his family to New York at the age of ten; officials at Ellis Island changed his name to Arthur. As a photographer, he seemed to be clairvoyant in terms of knowing where crimes had been committed; Weegee often arrived on the scene before the police. Hence his nickname (inspired by the Ouija board). Officially, Weegee’s technical consultations involved Dr. Strangelove’s periodically harsh, crime-scene-like black-and-white cinematography, but because he had an unusual accent—German overlaid with New York, all with a nasal, slightly strangled, back-of-the-throat quality—he inadvertently provided technical assistance for the film’s star as well.

I vas psychic!,” Weegee told Peter on the set one day—a conversation Peter was taping for research purposes. “I vould go to a moidah before it vas committed!” Peter’s vocal model for Strangelove was Weegee, whom Sellers pushed further into parody.


Among other things you can see shots of the famous “pie fight” sequence that was filmed but did not make it into the final cut of the movie.

There is a book available called Strangelove’s Weegee, but I don’t know what is in it.



Many more pics, plus a ‘making-of’ documentary of the movie, after the jump…......

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Cuddly and gross knitted dissection specimens
07:23 am



Emily Stoneking says, “If my hands aren’t busy, I’m not happy.” Currently studying German and History at the University of Vermont, Stoneking has an Etsy store featuring crocheted jar cozies and knitted whimsical anatomical studies has allowed her “the freedom to not work for someone else full time, so I can attend school.”

Here we can see Stoneking’s knitted versions of dissected frog, lab rat, earthworm, little alien dude, fetal pig as well as two anatomical studies.


More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Keith Haring tequila bottles
01:43 pm


Keith Haring

For the last 7 years 1800 Tequila has released a series of tequila bottles done up in the style of well-known recent artists. The project is called 1800’s “Essential Series.” In the past, their bottles have featured the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gary Baseman, Tara McPherson, Shepard Fairey, and Ian McGillivray, among many others.

This year 1800 selected Keith Haring for a spiffy set of 6 tequila bottles that look mighty handsome.

Each bottle costs $34.99 at a reputable online liquor purveyor.


Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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