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The Residents sing the Blues: Elvis, Hank Williams and demented cowboys
08.28.2012
11:53 am

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Art
Music

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In spring of 1989, The Residents brought their “History of American Music in 3 EZ pieces” tour to Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York for that year’s “Serious Fun” avant-garde music/performance art festival  It was the second time I saw The Residents live and it was a memorable musical theatrical experience, I can assure you. Either the night before, or the night after, I can’t recall, I saw Diamanda Galas in the same theater performing her “Masque of the Red Death” trilogy and nearly bringing the walls down.

Avery Fischer is a plush, intimate(ish) recital hall (approx 2000 seats) that normally hosts the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Because of the “classy” setting, the show promised to be “more” than previous live Residents outings. Seeing The Residents at Lincoln Center seemed irresistible, but I didn’t know anyone who wanted to go, so I went alone [I’ve never been able to rope in a friend to see The Residents with me, not once! The first time I’d caught The Residents, also alone, was a few years earlier, during their 13th anniversary tour at The Ritz nightclub (now Webster Hall). About ten minutes into the show, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat arrived and stood near me on the balcony. About 20 minutes later they said something to each other and left immediately.]

The performance consisted of three-acts: “Buckaroo Blues” told the story of American music through cowboy music, “Black Barry” via slave songs, blues and jazz and in the final Elvis section, “The Baby King,” The Residents essayed a senile Elvis telling his grandchildren (“Shorty” and “Shirley,” two freaky ventriloquist’s dummies) about his life before the British Invasion kills him. The show featured elaborately choreographed dance numbers and back-lit sets. As you might expect, the acoustics were pretty near perfect in a place like Avery Fisher Hall.
 

 
The video below comes from the out-of-print Residents box set, Cube-E and features several numbers from the “History of American Music in 3 EZ pieces” tour as they were performed on NBC’s Night Music program, German TV and in 1989 rehearsals shot in San Francisco and New York.
 

 
Thank you, Paul Gallagher!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Insectes: Dreamlike insect women by Laurent Seroussi
08.27.2012
02:59 pm

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Art
Design

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Insectes by French photographer and graphic designer Laurent Seroussi.

From Seroussi‘s bio:

“Laurent Seroussi’s multifaceted imagery brings together his background in both graphic design and moving imagery. His immediate work stretches the imagination with playful visual tricks and postproduction wizardry.”
 

 
More images after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
3D-printed visualizations of Einstürzende Neubauten, Nick Drake and Portishead albums
08.27.2012
01:23 pm

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Art
Design
Music

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Einstürzende Neubauten’s ‘Jewels’ visualized in 3D.
 
Flavor Wire hipped me to the research and experimentation studio Realität. Their latest project is called Mircosonic Landscapes which is “An algorithmic exploration of the music we love. Each album_s soundwave proposes a new spatial and unique journey by transforming sound into matter/space: the hidden into something visible.”

According to Flavor Wire:

“Each piece was created with the open-source, three-dimensional data visualization programming language known as Processing, and then printed via a programmable machine that can print in plastic called MakerBot.”
 

Portishead’s ‘Third’ visualized in 3D.
 

Nick Drake’s ‘Pink Moon’ visualized in 3D.

Visit Flavor Wire to see 3D-printed visualizations of Antony and the Johnsons and the composition “Für Alina” by Arvo Pärt. I wonder how an album of music that is much more rhythmic and syncopated than any of these examples, say something where Tony Allen was drumming? A Phillip Glass piece? Bitches Brew? Sea santies? “Rapper’s Delight”?

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Two members of Pussy Riot flee Russia
08.26.2012
07:03 pm

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Art
Politics
Punk

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Two members of the Pussy Riot feminist art collective have fled from Russia to avoid prosecution for the same protest against Vladimir Putin that landed three of their fellow band mates two-year prison sentences. This according to the AP report and the Pussy Riot Twitter feed:

Five members of the feminist group took part in a provocative performance inside Moscow’s main cathedral in February to protest the Russian leader’s rule and his cozy relationship with the Orthodox Church. The women wore their trademark garishly colored balaclavas, which made it difficult for police to identify them, and only three were arrested.

After a controversial trial that highlighted Putin’s crackdown on dissent since he began a third presidential term in May, the three band members were convicted of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison on Aug. 17. Days later, Moscow police said they were searching for the other band members, an apparent warning to the group to stop its anti-Putin protests.

Even as the judge was reading the verdict in a Moscow courtroom, one of the band members who had escaped arrest played Pussy Riot’s latest song, “Putin sets the fires of revolutions,” from the balcony of an apartment building across the street.

Pussy Riot tweeted on Sunday that the two activists had fled Russia and are “recruiting foreign feminists to prepare new protest actions.” No mention was made of where they went.

Can’t say I blame them for wanting to keep mum on that count!

An essay appeared in The Moscow Times today arguing that the political art/punk pranksters have roots to earlier counterculture movements and strains of Russian political dissent going back to the 19th Century. Peter Rutland writes:

Much more interesting than the band’s antics in the cathedral, however, were the closing statements that the three defendants delivered to the court, which New Yorker editor-in-chief David Remnick described as “a kind of instant classic in the anthology of dissidence.” Each woman took a different theme. Yekaterina Samutsevich dissected the unhealthy fusion of church and state. Maria Alyokhina talked about the deficiencies of the country’s education system and the suppression of the individual. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova offered a critique of the “autocratic political system” in general and the conduct of their prosecution in particular.

The statements portray a society that is passive and disoriented in the face of an all-powerful ruling bureaucracy. Their critique is spiritual rather than material, and they are not particularly interested in leveling accusations of corruption, which have been the central theme of the mainstream opposition.

Many Russian observers have been dismissive of Pussy Riot, characterizing their provocative actions, including previous performances of a sexual nature, as infantile and offensive — and unpopular with the public at large. But it is not at all clear whether Pussy Riot expects or even desires a groundswell of public support. They do not aspire to be leaders of a revolutionary movement, either Orange or Leninist.

Rather, their appeal for truth and freedom puts them squarely in the tradition of the 19th-century Russian intelligentsia. Tolokonnikova directly referred to the group’s punk antics as equivalent to the truth-telling “holy fools” of centuries past and embraced the idea that their prison sentence proves the virtue of their cause.

Pussy Riot adopted the tactics of protest from the Situationists of 1960s France, the punk rockers of 1970s Britain and the feminist Riot Grrrls in the United States in the 1990s. The idea of donning masks comes from the movie “V for Vendetta,” which was popularized by the Occupy movement.

But the strategy of Pussy Riot has a deeper foundation. Their moral critique of authority and appeal to a higher truth is rooted in pre-revolutionary Russia, a tradition that fitfully resurfaced during the Soviet years. They cite 19th-century literary critic Vissarion Belinsky and Fyodor Dostoevsky, but not Voltaire, John Stuart Mill or other representatives of the Western liberal tradition.

The assertion of an individual’s right to exist — what Alyohkhina refers to as “inner freedom” — is not a problem for young people living in the West and has not been for a century or more. Whatever the shibboleths that are evoked by today’s Western radicals — such as capitalism, neoliberalism, Empire and racism — they are phenomena quite different from the challenge posed by the authoritarian Russian state.

There are at least twelve other members of the Pussy Riot collective who still remain in Russia.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Nuff Said: Stan Lee ‘naked’ centerfold, 1983
08.24.2012
01:09 pm

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Amusing
Art
Heroes

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Well, here’s something you don’t see every day: Stan Lee posing centerfold-style for a whimsical behind-the-scenes of office life at a Marvel Comics photoshoot in 1983.

Photographer Eliot R. Brown, who shot this gem, said of the session, “Stan indeed kept his fire-engine-red bikini briefs on—very business-like, I must add. You’d have thought he did this every day.”

From Sean Howe’s Tumblr:

When Stan Lee visited New York in January 1983, the editorial staff was at the peak of its yuk-yuk, hand-buzzer giddiness. They’d been shooting photos of each other in superhero costumes for some of the covers—several staff members appeared on the cover of the last issue of SPIDER-WOMAN—and now they were putting together a comic that consisted wholly of photos of intra-office hijinks. They wanted to include Stan the Man. Lee, the original ringmaster, jumped at the chance to pose for a nude centerfold. Marvel staffers photographed Lee with an oversize comic book covering his private parts; soon after, they received a call from his assistant in L.A. “Stan is wild,” said the assistant. “He should not have been naked for your centerfold. Please. Don’t.” (A Hulk costume was later superimposed over Lee’s body in postproduction.)

Stan Lee was obviously no Burt Reynolds, but he had nice gams 30 years ago, eh?

Via Nerdcore and Sean Howe Tumblr

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Salvador Dali and Walt Disney’s ‘Destino’
08.24.2012
12:48 pm

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Animation
Art
History
Movies

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Someone was kind enough to post an HD file of “Desinto,” the animated short that Surrealist painter Salvador Dali and Walt Disney collaborated on for over eight months in 1945 and 1946 (along with Disney artist John Hench who did the storyboards). The film was eventually shelved due to WWII-era financial problems at Disney’s company. Dalí described the film as “a magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time” and Disney said it was “a simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”

“Destino” came out of its cryogenic deep freeze in 1999 when it was revived by Roy Disney, then working on Fantasia 2000. The short film was constructed from the existing story art and production notes, a 17-second animation test, talking to John Hench and a few clues gleaned from Gala Dali’s personal writings. “Destino” was directed by French animator Dominique Monfréy (his first directorial credit) at the Paris offices of Disney Studios France and a team of over 20 others.

The “plot” of “Destino” involves a tragic love story: Chronos (time) falls in love with a mortal woman and they cannot be together. They dance across surrealist landscapes. Dalinian things happen.

The 17 seconds of extant footage from the ill-fated project is the bit with the Dalian parade floats on turtles moving towards each other as the baseball player looks on. Also, it’s worth mentioning, that there would have been a mix of animation and live action dancers in Dali and Disney’s original vision for “Destino.” The appropriately yearning soundtrack is a song by the Mexican composer Armando Dominguez, sung by Dora Luz.

I’ve seen “Destino” twice in museums (the huge Dali career retrospective exhibit in Philadelphia back in 2005 and the LACMA show focusing on Dali’s work in Hollywood). I loved it, but I have problems with it. It’s a remarkable work of art, don’t get me wrong, I think “Destino” is pretty great, but it’s not really a Dali/Disney collaboration like it was hyped-up to be, but something more accurately described as the work of that was inspired by (however faithfully) Dali and Disney’s vision. I was expecting something “archival” or “vintage” I suppose, so therein lay my disappointment, as a huge Dali buff, nothing to do with the actual work, which is marvelous, as anyone can see.

“Destino” is available as a special feature on the Fantasia / Fantasia 2000 special edition Blu-ray. There’s a gallery of some of the production art and correspondence between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali at the great Disney fanblog 2719 Hyperion.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Water Wigs: Water balloons explode on bald men, it looks like wigs
08.24.2012
11:40 am

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Amusing
Art

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Los Angeles-based photographer Tim Tadder and crew decided to gather up a bunch of bald men and photograph them while hurling water balloons at their heads “to capture the explosion of water at various intervals.”

The result: Water Wigs!

We used a laser and sound trigger to capture the right moments for each subject to create just the head of hair that fit best with the face.

We chose to work with triads of colors to create images that are arresting and amusing at the same time. We feel the color helps transform the water into some more and adds greater visual interest.

According to Tadder, “The Don King,” “The Conquistador,” “The Jesus” and “The Friar” are their favorites. I’d have to agree.
 

 

 
More Water Wigs after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Meatheads: Obama and Romney portraits made out of beef jerky
08.23.2012
12:38 am

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Art
Current Events
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We always get a kick out of San Francisco artist Jason Mercier’s witty portraits of pop culture icons made out of junk, garbage and recycled materials. His creations are often the very definition of “form is an extension of content.” In this case, Mercier may be making a statement regarding the current state of politics in America - the USA is being run by jerks and meatheads and we’re all headed for the slaughterhouse. Stampede, anyone?

In this instructive video, Mercier shows us the process of turning dead flesh into art.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Life-like ‘Redhead Girl’ portrait created with just ballpoint pens!?!
08.22.2012
04:40 pm

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Art

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What you’re looking at is not a photograph, but a portrait done with ballpoint pens on paper by artist Samuel Silva. It took approximately 30 hours to finish and lost about 20% of quality during scanning.

Apparently Silva is being bombarded by hundreds of questions concerning this piece. There’s a nice FAQ section on the artist’s page that answers the most frequently asked questions.

Click here to see a larger image of “Redhead Girl.”

Via High Definite

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
DIY restoration on 200-year-old masterpiece goes terribly wrong
08.22.2012
12:01 pm

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Art
Crime
Design

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An elderly woman (who goes unnamed) with “good intentions” decided a 19th-century Spanish fresco on a church titled “Ecce Homo” by Elias Garcia Martinez needed a lil’ facelift.

“The restoration work was completed without permission” writes The Telegraph.

Employees at the Centro went to check on the mural at the church of Santuario de Misericodia only to find it drastically altered.

What we are left with is something that now resembles André the Giant.
 

 
With thanks to Seán Sansom!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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