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Art classes (with naked models) help Japanese virgins get to the next level
06.30.2015
08:01 am

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Art
Sex

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It’s almost impossible to write about this story without referencing The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the successful 2006 movie that did so much for Steve Carell’s career. In Japan, it seems, the proliferation of Andy Stitzers (Carell’s character in that movie) has become something of an active social problem. According to the Japan Times, “A 2010 survey by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research found that around a quarter of unmarried Japanese men in their 30s were still virgins — even leading to the coining of a specific term, yaramiso, to describe them.”

For anyone who is not in that position, the heartache of being in such a situation, a fully grown adult with little experience to draw on and few prospects to look forward to, can be a devastating psychological toll of failure. One 49-year-old whose name was withheld in the Japan Times article felt romantic and sexual feelings for a woman only twice in his life, and both times the woman in question rejected him. “It was devastating,” he said. “It seemed to invalidate my life and take away my reason to live.”
 

Shingo Sakatsume and his Virgin Academia textbook.
 
Statistics for a straightforward comparison across international boundaries are scarce, but a superficial look at the numbers suggests that the Japanese do have less sex than most western countries. For instance, a poll conducted by Durex found that 68 percent of Japanese respondents of the ages of 18 and 19 were virgins, whereas the typical figure for Germany was closer to 20 percent, in Turkey 37 percent.

To help alleviate this problem, Shingo Sakatsume, whose company White Hands specializes in finding ways for “people with severe disabilities find an outlet for their sexual needs,” has turned his attention to what he can do for those who are sexually frustrated for more parochial reasons. His motto is “Sexual maturity means social maturity. ... Even if the person has disabilities, one who recognizes and accepts his own sexuality tends to be able to build balanced relations with others. ... People who are not sexually mature tend to get timid socially.”
 

 
Sakatsume’s program for adult virgins has been dubbed “Virgin Academia.” One of the main tools for helping such men has been art classes, pictured here, with live models—without clothes on—in order to help them get more familiar with the female body. As Takashi Sakai, a 41-year-old virgin, commented, “The first time I did this, in autumn last year, oh . . . I was so amazed. Their bodies are incredibly beautiful. ... One thing I learned is that there are many different shapes of breasts and even genitals.”

As Sarah Cascone of Artnet reports, “The correspondence course comes with a 100-page textbook, Virgin Breaker!, and runs for a full year, with participants keeping a counselor apprised of their progress in their efforts to meet women.” Cascone continues: “The figure drawing sessions, which take place every other month in Tokyo, allows the yaramiso to encounter a naked woman in a neutral environment, free of romance and pressure to perform sexually.”

Here’s a report from AFP News Agency about the yaramiso phenomenon:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
National Pornographic: Beautiful paintings of vibrators in the wilderness
06.29.2015
06:51 am

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Art
Sex

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Silver Panther
 
As a sexual Luddite, I’ve never seen the appeal of vibrators. Maybe it’s the tacky synthetic materials, maybe it’s just the idea of electricity near my vulva, but there’s just something about bringing machinery into the boudoir that leaves me feeling like an old-fashioned girl. Even higher-end models like “The Rabbit,” with its little fuckable fauna accessory on top for extra clitoral stimulation, it looks a bit… bestial, for my tastes. No, I was never able to see the aesthetic value of the vibrator until coming across Alexandra Rubinstein‘s tranquil oil paintings.

Rubinstein’s work is all pretty sexual. She does legitimately beautiful portraiture of smutty old skinflick stills, and she has some seriously not safe for work collections, like “Celebrity Cunnilingus,” which features famous guys (you guessed it) just going to town. My favorite though is “Into the Wild,” which she matter-of-factly describes as a “series of animals found on vibrators juxtaposed with their more natural environments.” Rubinstein’s menagerie isn’t exactly sophisticated erotica, but it is a high-brow dick joke, and that’s the sort of thing the arts should aspire to more, if you ask me.
 

Busy Beaver
 

Red Hot Robin
 

Snow Bunny
 
More good vibrations after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Death metal logos for America’s 2016 Presidential candidates
06.25.2015
09:08 am

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Art
Politics

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The presidential election is 17 months away—egad—so that means that according to recent tradition, it’s the season of “lots and lots of candidates.” This time around, the Democrats have a strong presumption that Hillary Clinton will be the eventual nominee, and that has limited the number of potential candidates willing to enter the race. But on the Republican side, no worries—the New York Times currently lists 16 people who either are running or are “probably” running as Republicans. Because that Times page will change over time, let’s record here what those names are: Jindal, Trump, Perry, Graham, Pataki, Santorum, Huckabee, Fiorina, Carson, Rubio, Paul, Cruz, and Bush are listed as “running,” with a trio of governors, Kasich, Christie, and Walker, listed as “probably.”

Fast Company, a business website that has often championed “branding” as the key to corporate success, hired well-known death metal logo artist Christophe Szpajdel to create new branding identities for some of the contenders. Szpajdel, who is from Belgium but lives in the U.K. has been a professional logo designer since 1977 and is responsible for the logos of more than 7,000 (!) black metal bands, including Morgawr, Anamorph, Fistula, Arcturus, Old Man’s Child, and Moonspell. It sounds like Fast Company got the right guy, at least. Here’s a coffee table book of Szpajdel’s logos.

Here are side-by-side views of each campaign logo with Szpajdel’s black metal-style creation. For Trump, amusingly, they used a toupee in lieu of his actual “TRUMP” logo. In every case you can click on the logo to see a larger view.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Moe Gets Tied Up,’ Andy Warhol’s ultra-rare 1966 movie starring the Velvet Underground
06.25.2015
07:16 am

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Art
Movies
Music

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A very, very seldom-seen Andy Warhol movie, called Moe Gets Tied Up or, alternatively, Moe in Bondage, is up on YouTube, and it has had a scant 89 views as I type. While this Velvet Underground footage is not quite as much fun as A Symphony of Sound, Warhol’s must-see film of a VU and Nico rehearsal jam—mainly since there’s no music in this one—boy, it sure is seldom encountered. Shot in 1966, it predates their once-despised, now-lionized debut, The Velvet Underground & Nico.

The “Moe” of the title is the Velvets’ drummer, Maureen Tucker, whose bandmates have tied her to a chair and are now hanging around nibbling on sandwiches and pieces of fruit. It is sure to disappoint the pain fetishists among you. Look at it this way: if you’d never heard “Venus in Furs,” this film might give you the impression that the Velvets’ sex kicks consisted not so much of S&M as benign neglect.

Very little information is available about this movie because so few people have seen it, but the 32-minute version below seems to be missing a large chunk. A Velvet Underground filmography claims that the original is “a two-reel set for double screen projection” and notes the existence of “35-minute unofficial video copies,” one of which is likely the source of this vid. When MoMA screened Moe Gets Tied Up in 2008, the Village Voice reported that it “begins with Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison tying Moe Tucker, quite inexpertly, to a chair.” Since Tucker is already tied up at the start of the video below, and since the Voice review gives the movie’s length as one hour and six minutes, I’m going to bet that this is roughly the movie’s second half. (Incidentally, the review says nothing about double screen projection.) The Voice writer, who is mysteriously identified in the byline as “Village Voice Contributor,” also complains that almost none of the movie’s dialogue is audible, so don’t blame the buzzing soundtrack of this bootleg if you can’t make out what Sterling Morrison is mumbling about sandwiches. If you really need to know what people were talking about at the Factory, you can always read a.

Now if someone could please upload Velvet Underground Tarot Cards...
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Feminist psychodrama ‘Felt’ examines sexism, gender and violence
06.25.2015
06:35 am

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Art
Feminism
Movies

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

All men are rapists.

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

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

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Woman transforms her face into Frank Zappa, Iggy Pop, Keith Richards and more
06.24.2015
09:49 am

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Art
Music
Pop Culture

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Lucia Pittalis before transformation

As RuPaul once said, “You’re born naked and the rest is contour and shading.” And Italian portrait painter and artist Lucia Pittalis proves that point with these insane makeup transformations. Lucia uses her own face as a canvas and turns herself into these iconic characters that are simply fan-fucking-tastic. She nailed Keith Richards, IMO.

If you want to see more of her work, you can follow Lucia on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Frank Zappa
 


Iggy Pop
 

Bette Davis
 

Keith Richards
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Blood’: An eerily hypnotic tour through Europe’s largest ‘blood factory’
06.24.2015
05:44 am

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Art
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In my most dire of days, my friends and I could always make a little extra scratch at the local plasma center. Payment would vary, but it was usually $40 for the first “donation” of the week, and $60 for the second, meaning an underemployed dirtbag like myself could make an extra $400 a month for sitting back and just letting the blood flow. It was fairly painless and only took about 2 hours. The machine would draw the blood, separate the plasma, then send the blood right back to your veins—zero actual blood loss. It was nearly entirely automated too, and as we lay in orderly little rows, one got the distinct feeling we were being “harvested.”

If the plasma center was a farm, it was a tiny, sustainable, mom and pop set-up. Compared to Europe’s largest blood center, it was downright pastoral. Photographer Greg White put together this hypnotic little short film, Blood, which focuses almost entirely on the non-human aspect of blood collection, storage and processing. The setting so robotic and industrial, it’s easy to see why White calls the blood center a “blood factory.” That’s inaccurate of course, since the human body is the actual blood factory, but one can’t help but admire the mechanical ballet orchestrating such precious and human materials.
 

 
Via Fast Company

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘The Sonic Assassins’: Groovy psychedelic comic starring Hawkwind, 1971
06.23.2015
10:54 am

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Art
Music

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This fantastic two-page comic appeared in the British underground magazine Frendz in November 1971. At the start this comic credits Michael Moorcock for the “words” and Jim Cawthorn for the “art.” Moorcock is a highly respected sci-fi writer who produced several classic sci-fi novels in the 1960s and 1970s, including The Knight of the Swords, The Hollow Lands, and Gloriana. Cawthorn was a frequent collaborator with Moorcock, both as an artist and as a writer—Cawthorn actually did many of the original covers for Moorcock’s novels.
 

Michael Moorcock
 
Frendz was a weird duck, an underground magazine with ties to Oz and International Times—its original name, dating from 1969, was (weirdly) Friends of Rolling Stone, which was then shortened to Friends and later changed to Frendz.

According to John Coulthart, who found these Hawkwind images several years ago, this comic was “done largely as a promotional piece for that year’s new album, In Search of Space, the Sonic Assassins tag was one which stuck, becoming almost a secondary name for the band in later years. The name Void City also recurred later as the name of a track on the Choose Your Masques album.” “Sonic assassins” is a marvelous turn of phrase, isn’t it? Here’s a poorly Xeroxed gig poster from 1977 referring to Dave Brock’s band as “Sonic Assassins.” 
 

 
The cover for In Search of Space was executed by Barney Bubbles, whom we highlighted a few days ago. Coulthart himself designed several Dave Brock/Hawkwind covers starting in the 1980s.

This “Sonic Assassins” cartoon (a.k.a. “Codename: Hawkwind”) has a wonderful “MAD Magazine on acid” feel, note King Kong in the background of the first panel bowled over by the lameosity of the sounds of Engelbert Humperdinck, Simon and Garfunkel, Donovan etc.

Click on both images for a larger view.
 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Can you identify these pixelated versions of famous works of art?
06.23.2015
08:59 am

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Art
Design

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Alexis Poles’ pixelated version of René Magritte’s 1964 painting ‘The Son of Man.’ 
 
If you have ever fancied hanging a great work of art on your wall but thought a mass produced copy too tacky, then these pixelated prints by Alexis Poles might just be the answer.

Using famous paintings as his starting point, Alexis has produced his own pixelated masterpieces—from Leonardo’s well-kent face of “Mona Lisa” to Andy Warhol’s “Chairman Mao” and Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.” I find these pixelated masterpieces rather appealing—in part because of the original source material but also because of the way in which each picture have been rendered into beautiful cubes of color.

Poles is a graphic design student at Central Saint Martins, London, and his images are all available for purchase via his site Pixology. Each image would be printed on 160gr matt inkjet thermal wax paper and is available in any size.
 
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Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ (1893).
 
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Unmistakeable: Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘La Gioconda or Mona Lisa’ circa 1503-06.
 
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Another recognizable face: Andy Warhol’s ‘Chairman Mao’ (1972).
 
More pixel perfection, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh predicts the rise of matriarchy
06.22.2015
12:17 pm

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This interview with Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO has been bouncing around for a while but with inexact provenance information. Yesterday Televandelist uploaded a better copy and usefully marked it as coming from The Cutting Edge Happy Hour, an MTV show started by the I.R.S. record label in 1983. For most of its existence the host of the show was the Fleshtones’ lead singer, Peter Zaremba, whose flat Long Island accent can be heard at the start of the clip.

It’s safe to say that this clip dates from 1987—Televandelist labeled it as 1987-1988. First off, Wikipedia explains that The Cutting Edge Happy Hour went off the air in 1987. Furthermore, Mothersbaugh was being interviewed to promote an exhibition of his postcard paintings—the astute Dave Thompson mentions in his book Alternative Rock that Mothersbaugh had just such an exhibition of his postcards in Los Angeles in 1987, so that’s certainly what we’re looking at here. 
 

 
These are the same postcards featured in Mothersbaugh’s 2014 book Myopia, which we wrote about last November.
Towards the end of the interview Mothersbaugh offers his views on the future of society—not so strongly in the hyperbolic Mothersbaugh “character”—and they’re pretty darn interesting:
 

I’m anticipating a matriarch system, where women finally say, “We’ve had enough of this shit [bleeped] with men in control,” and they take over. I mean, they’re smarter, they’re prettier, they live longer, they’re healthier, they don’t need men to have children anymore, they don’t need us as beast of burdens anymore even, they got machines to take care of all that, and so I think men should be ready to assume their logical place on the planet, and that is as objects of pleasure for females.

 
Amazing! Mothersbaugh accurately anticipated much of this decade we are in—women are increasingly the breadwinners in many families, and the question of machines supplanting workers in general has already become a pressing issue for unions and politicians for the foreseeable future.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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