PETA’s ‘Meat Tray Demonstration’ yesterday in Times Square featured bloodied human beings wrapped in meat trays like slabs of beef. The point is a good one. Flesh is flesh, no matter the source. And seeing humans depicted as steaks and pork chops puts the whole concept of eating creatures with faces into grisly perspective. Meat is murder.
Marshall McLuhan would have turned 99 years old today, and his status as the god-daddy of media studies still seems pretty rock-solid. I wasn’t previously aware of how often the Canadian theorist appeared on TV, and was especially unaware of his November 1967 duet with New York novelist Norman Mailer on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation show The Summer Way, bravely moderated by Ken Lefolii.
Recovered from recent treatment for a benign brain tumor he suffered while teaching in New York, McLuhan gamely tugs at a few of Mailer’s pretensions. Mailer is recently back from levitating the Pentagon with the Yippies, with the siege of Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention in his future.
McLuhan pops off a bunch of gems, including:
The planet is no longer nature, it’s now the content of an artwork.
Nature has ceased to exist…it needs to be programmed.
The environment is not visible, it’s information—it’s electronic.
The present is only faced by any generation by the artist.
Communications maven Michael Hintongoesspeculative on his hero’s televised meeting with the Jersey-raised boxer-novelist, but of course it’s best to just check the thing out yourself.
Sorry for the lazy post, but the only thing I can think of to say about this guy and his sidekick is: What fucking assholes. In the video above, a “man of God” deludes himself that he’s fighting demonic forces (that would be teh gays) at a National Organization for Marriage (NOM) tour stop on 18 July, 2010. What an ugly, hateful display of ignorance and superstition! Jesus wouldn’t want anything to do with them.
Andrés Duque’s great Blabbeando blog has provided great coverage, including some enlightened sport-star involvement in the issue and the segment below featuring baby-dyke blogstar Cumbio. In a report for Buenos Aires TV magazine Vertigo, homegirl and her camera crew walk right up to participants in an anti-gay marriage demonstration and starts engaging them, taking in a bunch of the usual insulting arguments against equality. But in a startling scene that you couldn’t imagine in a similar segment here in the US, she’s actually embraced and kissed by some of the maternal types among the evangelicals who insist on the old cliché that “it’s the sin, not the sinner.” Cumbio comes out of it a little annoyed, but notes later that they “didn’t treat [her] badly.”
Kinda refreshing, eh?
Bonus clip after the jump: Federacion Argentina LGBT’s simple and powerful ad for marriage equality…
After I watched this video, stunned and laughing heartily, I was considering how to best showcase it here. One thought I had was the title: “It’s only 30 seconds long, just watch it first and read this later.” which I thought was a pretty good one, but in the end, I think it’s best to use the text of DM reader Tyler who sent us this link and the following note:
I want to thank you for your article on dangerousminds the other day about the news stories covering i-dosing in Oklahoma. Unfortunately that kind of news seems to be fairly normal here in Oklahoma. So I really enjoyed reading how shocked people were in the comments. If you are interested in some additional Oklahoma scary/wacky things, consider this commercial from an Oklahoma siding and window company. I thought somebody did a (fake) voice over at first but the same video is posted on the company’s website. In the video you will see the company’s owner somehow transition from talking about their windows to how we should end this “secular socialism right now.” Thank you for your time.
No, Tyler, thank you! This could be the next in line as an Internet meme if you ask me. I’m gonna post this one and then email it to Xeni, stat!
Oh dear me. Hermann Nitsch‘s bloody/Dionysian/biblical/medical performance art rituals have haunted me since I first learned about them via my high school library’s unusually well-stocked art book section (thanks Mr. Allen !) so I’m amazed to finally see great quality footage of an aktion that I’d previously only seen hazy stills of. I think it’s the combination of the studious manner of the participants and observers and the all out bloody fucking (literally) insanity taking place that unsettles me the most. This stuff causes all sorts of conflicting emotions, and that’s probably the point. See for yourself but only if there’s no kids or really anybody with delicate sensibilities around, alright ?
Dangerous Minds pal, Adam Parfrey of Feral House infamy, sent me a remarkable CD a few weeks ago, called Restored to One by Sabbath Assembly and I wanted to highly recommend it to y’all. If any of what you are about to read sounds like it might be of interest to you, then trust me, I think it probably will be. You can buy a copy via Feral House.
There is a bit of a back story to the Sabbath Assembly project. The group got together to perform the actual hymns from the 60s apocalypse cult, The Process Church of the Final Judgement as part of a several city book tour/multimedia performance for Timothy Wyllie’s excellent insider’s history of the group, LOVE SEX FEAR DEATH (See my interview with Timothy Wyllie here). They did events in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, Portland and Seattle. Not to imply they were some sort of occult Monkees, of course, but that’s I believe how this project came to pass. The New York ceremony was officiated by Genesis Breyer-P-Orridge, who has long been fascinated by the Process (and who wrote the introduction to the book).
From the Sabbath Assembly press release:
Restored to One is a modern response to the musical activities of a cult known as The Process Church of the Final Judgment, who used music to spread their visions of Gnostic reconciliation in a time of cataclysmic change. Sabbath Assembly has re-charged the original hymns of The Process Church and worked them into moving renditions that unite the trinity of rock, psychedelic, and gospel into one triumphant re-awakening.
The Process Church was an intensely creative, apocalyptic shadow side to the flower-powered ‘60s and New Age ‘70s. The influential group opened chapters in London, Europe, and across the United States. Dressing in black cloaks and walking the streets with German shepherds, they created their own intricately designed magazines, and promoted a controversial, quasi-Gnostic theology that reconciled Christ and Satan through deeper awareness and love…
So far, so good, right Dangerous Minds readers? It should sound pretty good, on paper, even, because it’s one of the most interesting albums of 2010.
To begin with, the “sound” of the recording is fairly stunning. It’s quite difficult to achieve a truly authentic early 70s rock sound, but the group, consisting primarily of The No Neck Blues Band’s Dave Nuss, San Francisco-based doom/psych singer Jex Thoth and Sunn O))) producer Randall Dunn perform ably in this regard. If someone played this CD for you and said “Hey, listen to this rad, witchy-sounding metal album from the early 70s that no one’s ever heard before” you’d not question it. (Although having said that, a typical rock snob like me might say “This sounds like Coven. Or Amon Düül” Not that this is a bad thing, of course!)
Musically, Restored to One consists of earnestly rendered doom-folk, ominous proto-metal, gothy call and response gospel and other minor key favoring musical genres. Some of the 40-year-old lyrics are intensely devotional, others quasi-blasphemous. As you might expect, this being from the Process, the lyrics name-check Christ, Jehovah, Satan and Lucifer. They sing of GODS and not God. The entire project is charged with a special kind of energy. The performances are inspired, in a way that only religious music can be (save for Christian Rock, natch). Religious music has a different quality to all other types of music—I think that makes sense, right?—and the Sabbath Assembly project is infused with that soaring, ineffable quality. As with the films of Kenneth Anger, there is a beautiful evil at the center of the art form, and a lot of conviction behind what they are doing. As a listener, you feel it.
Then there is the voice, the heavenly pipes of Jex Thoth, possessor of a powerful set of lungs and a uniquely retro sounding singing voice. I know the concept of having a “retro” voice seems absurd, but once you hear her voice, you’ll know what I mean by that. Overall the Sabbath Assembly sound does remind me of Coven, which is an obvious comparison, but an appropriate one, nevertheless, but Coven fronted by “Mama Lion” Lynn Carey. If this sounds even remotely like something you’d like, I urge you to check out this unique recording.
If you’re like me, your atheism has been challenged by the sheer force of certain metaphysically oriented artforms. One of those forms for me is African-American gospel music. One of the greats of that genre, the Grammy-winning Rev. Walter Hawkins, died yesterday of pancreatic cancer. Hawkins had plenty of Billboard chart success leading his Love Center Choir. Significantly, he’ll also be remembered as head of an Oakland, CA church that wholly embraced and was supported by folks like disco singer, drag queen and gay icon Sylvester.
Hawkins’ initial success came as part of his brother’s group the Edwin Hawkins Singers, which had a crossover hit with 1967’s “Oh Happy Day.” According to Joshua Gamson’s The Fabulous Sylvester, the Legend, the Music, the Seventies in San Francisco:
Hawkins was one of those who left church, but as he grew older he started looking for a way to bring together “all those young people who I knew could not survive in a traditional church setting.”
One of those was the young Sylvester James, who was a well-known child gospel singer in his LA hometown before running away and eventually moving to San Francisco. By the time he’d arrived at Hawkins’ Bible study group-turned-church the Love Center, Sylvester had already done a short stint with local psychedelic drag performance group The Cockettes and performed with the then-unknown Pointer Sisters. When he tells the anecdote about Love Center members’ jaded acceptance of a prostitute into their ranks, Gamson notes: “They took the same attitude to Sylvester. His strangeness, when it was even noticed, was beloved.” In fact, the Love Center Choir would appear on numerous mid-‘80s Sylvester tunes, including “Call Me” and his cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.”
When Sylvester died of complications from AIDS in 1988 at age 41, his memorial service was held at the Love Center. According to J. Matthew Cobb of Prayzehymm Online, the gospel industry and the black church in general has a lot of work to do with regards to its gay membership.
Followers of Meher Baba have made a holiday out of it. On this day 85 years ago, the Indian-born mystic Baba went voluntarily silent at the age of 31. He would stay that way for 42 years, until he died in 1969. Funnily enough, no-one saw it coming. Born in the cosmopolitan Indian city of Pune to part-Zoroastrian-part-Sufi Persian parents, Baba seemed to have had it going on before his transformation to mysticism, according to Wiki:
His schoolmates nicknamed him “Electricity”. As a boy he formed The Cosmopolitan Club dedicated to remaining informed in world affairs and giving money to charity — money often raised by the boys betting at the horse races. He had an excellent singing voice and was a multi-instrumentalist and poet. Fluent in several languages, he was especially fond of Hafez’s Persian poetry, but also of Shakespeare and Shelley.
Baba’s persona, work and metaphysics enrapture lots of folks in the West, many of whom celebrities ranging from Gary Cooper to Pete Townshend. As you can see below, though a silent man for most of his life, Baba was a chatty bastard.