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Astonishing pictures of 21st century pagan ritual garb from all over Europe
01.19.2016
03:25 pm

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Art
Belief

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Germany
 
You might not know it, but we’re in the middle of pagan ritual season! Every year from December until Easter, people from every country in Europe partake in pagan rituals in order to honor the planet’s annual cycle of death and rebirth.

Several years ago Charles Fréger set out to document the many costumes used all over Europe for pagan rituals, visiting 18 countries on his journey to pin down the archetype of the “Wild Man” that transcends any one culture. The pictures were then collected in a marvelous book called Wilder Mann. The costumes he found resemble something out of commedia dell’arte or Día de los Muertos, only far deeper and far stranger. They clearly represent the devil, billy goats, wild boars, and bizarre conflagrations thereof, using all manner of masks, straw, horns, pine twigs, antlers, bells, fur, and bones.

As it happens, I’ve attended pagan rituals myself, in rural Austria, and I’ve met men who work on their intricate, large, wooden Krampus masks all year long in preparation for the fantastical Krampus “performance” in early December. I mention this as a prelude to explaining that (in my opinion) telling the difference between some authentic pagan belief and just people partaking in a fun pastime isn’t a straightforward proposition. It isn’t that such people are necessarily undertaking such rituals in order appease the earth goddess Erda and improve next year’s crop yield or anything like that, but at the same time I think that participants and spectators alike would agree that everyone is getting something necessary out of it, something communal, something emotional.

Of the project, Fréger says, “‘It is not about been possessed by a spirit but it is about jumping voluntarily in the skin of an animal. You decide to become something else. You chose to become an animal, which is more exciting than being possessed by a demon.”

Enjoy these remarkable pictures.
 

Finland
 

Basque Country
 

Portugal
 

Macedonia
 
More pagan ritual garb after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The B-52s and Friends’ Art Against AIDS commercial, 1987
01.19.2016
12:25 pm

Topics:
Art
Queer

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In 1987, the B-52s produced an incredible public service announcement for AMFAR (The Foundation For AIDS Research) with the late NYC-based video artist Tom Rubnitz (best known for the “Strawberry Shortcut” and “Pickle Surprise” videos) and several of their closest famous friends. The colorful tableau vivant recreated the Beatles’ iconic Sgt. Pepper’s album cover with the flowers spelling out “Be Alive”

Along with the B-52s, you’ll see Korean video artist Nam Jun Paik, Allen Ginsberg, Dancenoise, “voguing” pioneer Willi Ninja, Nile Rodgers, Joey Arias, Tseng Kwong Chi, Mink Stole, ABC’s David Yarritu, “Frieda the Disco Doll,” John Kelly as the Mona Lisa, Lady Bunny, performance artist Mike Smith, Kenny Scharf, David Byrne and then-wife Adelle Lutz, model Beverly Johnson, NYC “It Girl” Dianne Brill and Quentin Crisp among many others.

If this isn’t eighties enough for you already, note the presence of “Randee of the Redwoods” (comedian Jim Turner) the acid-fried MTV “presidential candidate.”
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Man regrets getting tattoo of Henry the Hoover above his penis
01.19.2016
10:05 am

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Amusing
Art

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: When England-based Lewis Flint was just 16 years old, he thought it would be hilarious to get a Henry the Hoover tattoo right above his penis. Yes, you heard me, a freakin’ vacuum cleaner. Apparently the tattoo gag worked for a while, as Flint was the talk of town and the ladies really dug it. He got his Henry hoovered constantly!

But now that Flint is 21 years old, he’s starting to rethink the wisdom of his Henry the Hoover tattoo:

When I first got it done aged 16 I couldn’t stop getting it out, I got loads of attention and I was a bit of a local hero, I loved it. But I was with a girl recently and I liked her, things were going well until we got naked. When she saw it she said ‘what’s that? I am off!’ I was gutted, I never thought I would regret my tattoo when I got it done.

Naturally Flint wanted the tattoo removed:

When I think about that night the girl walked out it does haunt me and puts me off showing it to other women in the future. I know laser removal is painful but never getting laid again would be more painful.


 
Sadly, Flint tried to go through the laser removal process and found the whole thing to be too painful:

The thought of that going round near my balls is unbearable. I don’t know how people put up with 20 minutes of it. Laser is too painful for me to get rid of this tattoo, I am going to have to put up with it.

So it’s Henry the Hoover for life, I suppose. Perhaps he can cover it up with an even larger tat of the Kool-aid Guy?

via WOW

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Six Into One’: Seldom seen doc on Patrick McGoohan’s cult TV classic ‘The Prisoner’
01.18.2016
03:24 pm

Topics:
Art
Belief
Television
Thinkers

Tags:

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The actor Patrick McGoohan had been kicking around ideas for a new television series when writer George Markstein told him about Inverlair Lodge in Scotland. The Lodge had been used by Special Operations Executive during the Second World War as “a detention or internment camp” for those individuals who refused to take part in covert operations “once they became aware of the full details.”

Some were unable to kill when the occasion was reduced to a one-on-one scenario, as opposed the anonymity of a battlefield exchange. With information being released on a Need to Know basis, their training meant that they were in possession of highly classified and secret information relating to pending missions, and could not be allowed to return to public life, where a careless remark could have compromised their secrecy.

As Markstein later explained the residents were:

...largely people who had been compromised. They had reached the point in their career where they knew too much to be let loose, but they hadn’t actually done anything wrong. They weren’t in any way traitors, they hadn’t betrayed anything, but in their own interest it was better if they were kept safely.

Inverlair Lodge was also known as “No. 6 Special Workshop School.” McGoohan was intrigued by the idea and began developing a series idea set in a similar internment camp, The Prisoner.
 
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Patrick McGoohan started his career as an actor in theater. He was spotted early on by Orson Welles who cast him his production of Moby Dick. Welles thought McGoohan had “unquestionable” acting ability and thought he would become one of cinema’s greatest actors.

McGoohan’s early success in theater led to a movie contract. Unfortunately, the film producers who snapped him up didn’t know what to do with this unique talent. McGoohan was cast in a few B-movies that offered limited scope for him to shine. At his earliest opportunity, McGoohan got out of his film contract and moved into television.

Learning from his ill-fated experience in movies, McGoohan stipulated that he had control over what he did on the small screen. McGoohan was a Roman Catholic and eschewed violence and refused to kiss on grounds that he considered it unnecessary and even possibly adulterous.

In 1960, he starred as John Drake in Danger Man. The series was moderately successful on its first run, but quickly took off after the release of the first James Bond feature Dr. No—a film that McGoohan had knocked back as he disliked its script’s promiscuous sex and violence.

By 1966, Danger Man was a hit across most of the world and McGoohan was TV’s highest paid actor. But McGoohan felt he had achieved all he could with the character and wanted to move on. Determined to keep him working for his TV company, legendary producer Lew Grade asked McGoohan if there was anything he wanted to make. McGoohan pitched him The Prisoner. Grade liked it and agreed to a produce it. The deal was sealed on a handshake.

A secret agent (McGoohan) resigns his commission to his handler—a cameo from the show’s co-creator George Markstein who is seen in the opening titles. Returning to his apartment, McGoohan is gassed. When he awakes he is a prisoner in the “Village” a kind of Psy-Ops theme park on a strange island. He no longer has a name but is identified only as “No. 6.” He is interrogated by No. 2 who demands “information.” In each episode No. 6 attempts to escape the Village while trying to unravel the mystery of who is No. 1.

The Prisoner became one of the most famous TV series of the 1960s. It was hailed as “television’s first masterpiece”—one of the most talked about and controversial shows ever made. Almost fifty years after it was first aired, its appeal continues—and The Prisoner was even remade in 2009 with Jim Caviezel as No. 6 and Ian McKellen as No. 2.

There are numerous theories as to the “meaning” of The Prisoner, but it difficult not to view the series without some small reference to McGoohan’s own religious beliefs. Here is an island where everyone is watched, recorded, and examined by an omnipotent and omniscient overlord; where No. 6 is repeatedly asked to give up information—or to confess his guilt; and where No. 1 is finally revealed to be No. 6—“The greatest enemy that we have” as McGoohan described No. 1 in an interview with Wayne Troyer:

No. 1 was depicted as an evil, governing force in this Village. So, who is this No. 1? We just see the No. 2’s, the sidekicks. Now this overriding, evil force is at its most powerful within ourselves and we have constantly to fight it, I think, and that is why I made No. 1 an image of No. 6. His other half, his alter ego.

McGoohan suggests that “The greatest evil that one has to fight constantly, every minute of the day until one dies, is the worst part of oneself”—which is something he could have lifted directly from the Catholic belief in “original sin.”

Like another Catholic, writer Anthony Burgess—who wrote about the freedom of an individual to do right or wrong in his cult novel A Clockwork OrangeMcGoohan stated that No. 6:

...shouldn’t have to answer to anyone. It’s entirely his prerogative, his God-given right as an individual, to proceed in any way he sees fit. That’s the whole point of it all.

The Prisoner was not just a Cold War series about individual freedom in the face of totalitarianism but the freedom of each individual to choose one’s own path and take responsibility for their own actions in a materialist society. McGoohan was against the materialist/capitalist world of the Village and when The Prisoner ended in 1968, he aligned himself with the rioting students in Paris. He hoped his series might inspire a revolution, a point he discussed in an interview as to why the French were so obsessed with his series:

...there comes a time when revolt is necessary: In the last episode…there was no room for niceness anymore. There were machine guns, and people died. It was time for the Revolution. The French know that: Allons z’ enfants…

 
Watch ‘One Into Six’ plus McGoohan’s lost ‘LA Tapes,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Suck me, baby: The Virgin Prunes’ new form of beauty
01.18.2016
11:51 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Punk

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Meet the Pig Children…

“Like a crazy singer in a band that’s lost the words.”

I’ll go out on a limb here and declare that I think the Virgin Prunes are THE #1 most underrated group of the post-punk era. Go ahead and do your worst. What about _____? Or ______?  Or _____?

Well, what about ‘em? Sorry, but I’m right. No other band with their theatrical power and musical genius has been so wrongly overlooked as the Virgin Prunes.

The main reason for this gross miscarriage of cultural justice is simply because their albums were extremely difficult to find until the mid aughts. Unless you bought the expensive limited edition import vinyl pressed in France and Italy when they actually came out in the early to mid-80s, you were pretty much shut out of enjoying the din glorious of the Virgin Prunes. You probably weren’t going to encounter much, if anything, of the Virgin Prunes’ output in a used record store, either. People who owned those albums, even those who slimmed their record collections down considerably over the years (like me) held onto them. They were not common on Limewire or Napster. Not only were they rare and coveted albums, they were glossy, darkly glamorous and obscenely weird objects d’art in their own right.

I think another reason for their obscurity has to do with the (mostly) misinformed notion that the Virgin Prunes were a goth band due to their “Pagan Lovesong” being such a big dancefloor mainstay at places like London’s Batcave discotheque (which is admittedly where I first heard them myself). Being lumped in with bands like The Specimen, Danse Society, Gene Loves Jezebel and Clan of Xymox hurt their credibility with rock snobs, but their scary, intimidating noise/art rock had far more in common with Faust, The Pop Group, The Birthday Party, Public Image Ltd. or Throbbing Gristle, certainly, than it did with Sex Gang Children. The goth label was, and is, an unfortunate one for the legacy of the Virgin Prunes to bear and is still a barrier to proper critical re-appraisal of the group’s work. The goth label didn’t exist when they started. They were Irish hooligans who came of age with Bowie and punk. They threw pigs heads around onstage and spoke “in tongues” in cheek out of disrespect to their Catholic elders. To lump them in with goth is just… lazy. The Virgin Prunes wanted to do things like this:
 

 
(Imagine the collective reaction the people of Ireland had to seeing THAT on their tee-vee sets. Then shed a tear for the current generation of boring, well-behaved young people.)
 

 
“We entertain people from another level…”

Another excuse that they’re still so unknown and underground after so many years have passed is that their work is simply not for everyone. Motherfuckers are evil sounding. If you don’t like an evil-sounding racket, get back to your Carpenter’s albums—quick—and just keep moving. These guys might damage you for life.

If Satan himself had a band, they would try to sound like the Virgin Prunes.
 

 
“Mirror, mirror on the wall. Mirror, mirror, I’ve seen it all…”

It’s been remarked often that the Virgin Prunes are the reverse image of U2. Dik Evans, original Virgin Prunes guitarist, is the brother of The Edge and the members of both groups grew up as friends in Dublin. Quoting from the Wikipedia entry:

The band consisted of childhood friends of U2’s Bono. Lypton Village was a “youthful gang” created by Bono, Guggi (Derek Rowan) and Gavin Friday (Fionan Hanvey) in the early 70s, where every member got a new identity and where they could escape from dreary and predictable Dublin life and be anything they wanted to be. It was both lead singers Friday and Guggi who first gave a teenaged Paul Hewson his alter-ego and world-famous moniker “Bono Vox of O’Connell Street,” later simply “Bono.”

 

 
U2 were the good boys, the Christians. The Virgins Prunes were feral and downright demonic.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Falkor from ‘The NeverEnding Story’ plush toy
01.18.2016
08:50 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

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How did I not know about this amazing handmade Falkor plush by Etsy shop GameGuardians? The Falkor plush toy made the Internet rounds last Spring and apparently the demand was so huge for the Luck Dragon, GameGaurdians simply couldn’t fill the orders (they can only make about 15 per month). According to a short statement on their page, they’re going to offer a Falkor pattern for sale in the near future.

I’m going to start also offering my pattern for sale with detailed instructions and pictures. That way people are encouraged to make their own adding their own creative touches or make as many as they can and sell them. Thanks everyone!

So there you have it. We’re going to have to wait for the pattern. I highly doubt I’d be able to make this on my own. I’d probably have to hire someone to do it for me.


 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Incredibly detailed 3-D rendering of the book illustration that gave every kid nightmares
01.18.2016
08:43 am

Topics:
Art
Literature

Tags:


 
If you grew up with the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series, you are well-aware of the nightmares generated by the creeptastic illustrations of Stephen Gammell. The popular series’ “tales of eerie horror and dark revenge” are brought to life by Gammell’s macabre and disturbing illustrations—which are indeed much more frightening than the stories themselves.
 

Illustrations by Gammell
 
Artist Michael Perry recently uploaded photos of a scuplture he designed that should be familiar to anyone traumatized by Gammell’s illustrations. It’s an intricate 3-D rendering of the bizarre and surreal cover from the first book in that series.
 

 

 
It was recently announced that Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is being developed as a film project by Guillermo del Toro. Perhaps Perry has a future with the production in bringing those terrifying illustrations to life?
 

 

 
More after the jump, including the baby from David Lynch’s ‘Eraserhead’...

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Neo-hippie ‘bliss ninnies’ captured in their natural habitats
01.13.2016
01:14 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:


 
What does it mean to be a hippie in the age of Obama? Photographer Steve Schapiro is one of the people best positioned to answer that question. In the 1960s, he documented the Haight-Ashbury scene, and a few years ago got to wondering where that kind of thing was happening in our own time. So from 2012 to 2014, Steve Schapiro traveled throughout America with his son Theophilus Donoghue, visiting “free-spirit movement” festivals like Burning Man, Shasta Festival, and Rainbow Gathering in California.

Some call the people who attend these events “bliss ninnies.” Learning that there was an actual term in use called “bliss ninnies” totally made my day.

The result of this journey was Bliss: Transformational Festivals and the Neo-Hippie, which was publishd by powerHouse Books last year.

According to Schapiro, these “neo-hippies” are less into drugs than their 1960s forebears and more into meditation and organic food. And also, judging from Schapiro’s photographs, they are into group hugs, with or mostly without clothing.
  

  
On the “neo-hippie” movement, Schapiro says,
 

I photographed Haight-Ashbury in 1967 and it was the center of the hippie movement. My son and I photographed between 2011 and 2012 a lot of music festivals and situations like that and we photographed the spirit of a whole new generation who are not as much into drugs but into meditation and are conscious of organic food and good eating. Today there are these music festivals and there are people who just go from one to another and it is, in a sense, their religion. I met this one man who said I am not a Catholic, not a Baptist, I am a festivaltarian. What he meant was that, spirituality, he got an inner sense of a spiritual high. The books is really about the joy people have.

 
Interestingly, everyone’s obviously talking about, reminiscing, remembering David Bowie this week, and while I was researching this seemingly unrelated post, it emerged that Schapiro has a pretty close connection to Bowie. Probably the DM post I’m most proud of that I wrote last year was this baby about a mysterious manuscript Bowie gave Cameron Crowe in the mid-1970s, which I stumbled upon in an archive last spring. The lead photo for that post was the Rolling Stone cover from February 1976 with Bowie’s picture on it. Steve Schapiro took that photograph.

Schapiro also took the photo for the cover of my favorite Bowie album, Station to Station. He has a book coming out next year called Bowie but it’s only available on Amazon UK. If you want a quicker fix, I recommend Then and Now, which came out in 2012.

Without further ado, here are some outstanding pictures from Bliss. Click on any image for a better view.
 

 

 
More bliss ninnies after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Mother makes knitted version of her son so she can cuddle with ‘him’
01.13.2016
12:28 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Design

Tags:


 
Well here’s something you don’t see every day: Self-proclaimed “Smother Mother,” Marieke Voorsluijs, knitted a life-size version of her son because he didn’t want to cuddle with her anymore.

My son is reaching puberty. We used to cuddle all the time, but those days are becoming scarce. Now he rather hangs with friends, plays with his phone and listens to his iPod. Exactly according to nature’s plan. I am a good mother, so of course I accept this and I am happy he is a healthy kid.

We laugh a lot about the stretching gap between his needs and mine. Him needing more of his own space and my covert needs to keep on smothering him with maternal love. I am a textiles designer and he often helps me and has great creative ideas. So we started to fantasize how we could visualize this puberty gap. So I suggested to make a cuddly version of him!

When in doubt, just knit yourself another kid. I mean, that’s the natural thing to, right? I see nothing wrong with this. (Or do I?)


 

 
via Gizmodo and Bored Panda

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Bowie, Elvis, Warhol ‘Black Star’ connection: Popism eats itself
01.12.2016
07:57 pm

Topics:
Art
Heroes
Movies
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:

wkgfynr
 
Like everyone else on this planet, I feel the loss of David Bowie like a black hole in my heart and this sets me searching and thinking and finding weirdness a go-go (and everything tastes nice). After watching the new video for “Lazarus,” I was left chilled to the bone as though it was recorded as he was dying, and as if he were speaking directly to me. The whole thing with UK newspapers saying there are “clues” all over Blackstar and all that “Paul is Dead” sorta stuff. Except David Bowie is dead. I mean he is dead, right? Then I was alerted to the unreleased song “Black Star” recorded by Bowie’s birth mate (everyone knows they share a birthday of course) Elvis!
 
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This track was recorded for a 1960 film that was originally to be called Black Star but that wound up being retitled Flaming Star instead.

The original recording sat in the vaults until the 1990s when it became available to the public. Besides sharing a birthday with the King of Rock and Roll, Bowie was very interested in and influenced by Elvis, too, so there would be no reason to think that he wouldn’t have been aware of this song, with its aptly chilling lyrics that could be applied to Bowie’s end of life situation…

Every man has a black star
A black star over his shoulder
And when a man sees his black star
He knows his time, his time has come

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

When I ride I feel that black star
That black star over my shoulder
So I ride in front of that black star
Never lookin’ around, never lookin’ around

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

One fine day I’ll see that black star
That black star over my shoulder
And when I see that old black star
I’ll know my time, my time has come

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

 
Here’s Elvis’ “Black Star”:
 

 
And Bowie’s “Blackstar”...
 

 
...with its own chilling and obscure lyrics:

In the villa of Ormen, in the villa of Ormen
Stands a solitary candle, ah-ah, ah-ah
In the centre of it all, in the centre of it all
Your eyes

On the day of execution, on the day of execution
Only women kneel and smile, ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, at the centre of it all
Your eyes, your eyes

Ah-ah-ah
Ah-ah-ah

In the villa of Ormen, in the villa of Ormen
Stands a solitary candle, ah-ah, ah-ah
In the centre of it all, in the centre of it all
Your eyes
Ah-ah-ah

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

How many times does an angel fall?
How many people lie instead of talking tall?
He trod on sacred ground, he cried loud into the crowd
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar, I’m not a gangster)

I can’t answer why (I’m a blackstar)
Just go with me (I’m not a filmstar)
I’m-a take you home (I’m a blackstar)
Take your passport and shoes (I’m not a popstar)
And your sedatives, boo (I’m a blackstar)
You’re a flash in the pan (I’m not a marvel star)
I’m the great I am (I’m a blackstar)

I’m a blackstar, way up, oh honey, I’ve got game
I see right so white, so open-heart it’s pain
I want eagles in my daydreams, diamonds in my eyes
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a star star, I’m a blackstar)

I can’t answer why (I’m not a gangster)
But I can tell you how (I’m not a flam star)
We were born upside-down (I’m a star star)
Born the wrong way ‘round (I’m not a white star)
(I’m a blackstar, I’m not a gangster
I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar
I’m not a pornstar, I’m not a wandering star
I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

In the villa of Ormen stands a solitary candle
Ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, your eyes
On the day of execution, only women kneel and smile
Ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, your eyes, your eyes
Ah-ah-ah

And as all things in pop culture eventually lead back to Andy Warhol, the kicker for me is that as I was looking into this I realized that all the infamous Warhol Elvis silkscreen art that you have seen your whole life is from (of course) a still photo from Flaming Star. And I don’t have to remind you that Bowie played Warhol in the 1996 film Basquiat do I? More will be revealed, I’m sure. It’s like that Kennedy and Lincoln coincidence thing, isn’t it?
 
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Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
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